#sehun angst Tumblr posts

  • dilatedpupils95
    09.05.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    One Week (III)

    Characters: Sehun x Y/N x Junmyeon

    Chapters: I, II

    Genre: Fluff; Angst; Smut (in the future)

    Summary: What could one week change in a casual friendship between a woman and a man? Sehun–the friend who unabashedly flirts and banters with you in the guise of friendship. Junmyeon–the friend who tried to woo you once, but now was just content in maintaining a casual friendship with you. When Sehun proposed a one-week relationship with you, you found yourself unearthing feelings for him you never thought were there. When Junmyeon ended up in a one-week study program abroad with you, you found yourself realizing that he just might be the guy you have been searching all your life.

    But all you have is one week.

    One week to figure out who is “the one”.

    "Home?"

    You looked to your right, and the bright face of Junmyeon came greeting you, his smile shining through the dusk of six o'clock.

    You smiled at him and nodded, but nonetheless continued walking to the direction of the train station, not minding his car slowly matching your even pace.

    "May I walk you home?"

    You looked at him again, and this time, laughed loudly more than you wanted to. Not only because of the fact that he can't exactly "walk" you home, as you're pretty sure you're going to ride his car.

    But also because it has been years since somebody offered to walk you home.

    "I've got a long way ahead of me, my friend."

    Junmyeon's face scrunched at the label given to him. At least she sees me as a friend. Gotta start somewhere.

    "Please, Y/N?"

    The sound of his voice was enough to persuade you, but looking at him again--his lips, now slightly pouting at you, as if he will be sulking all evening if you reject his request--was the point that completely changed your mind.

    And when you opened the door to his car, the smile that was growing on your face grew even wider.

    ***

    "Can you advise me on something?"

    You gave a glance at Junmyeon's side profile, his left hand on the steering wheel, and his right, comfortably deposited on his thigh. You may have probably been staring for too long, that he looked at you momentarily as if to recheck if you have heard him.

    "Okay," you say rather gently.

    You looked at him again, noticing the toothy smile he unconsciously gave at the sound of your voice.

    "What would you do if the person you have liked for years have not reciprocated nor noticed your affection for him?"

    You don't know why it happened, but at Junmyeon's question, Sehun's face quickly flashed before your mind. You shook your head a little in an effort to physically erase his image from your head, but Junmyeon was too quick to notice the gesture.

    "Do you think something's might be wrong with me? Do you think I ought to change something about me?" Junmyeon added.

    And at that, Sehun popped in your mind again, your own brain cells intent in making you believe that the question begs for a quick roundtrip ride about you and Sehun's history.

    Which only existed per your account.

    "Once upon  a time," you begin, which made Junmyeon glance at you interestingly, and to be honest, quite confusingly, "I liked a guy."

    A guy,  Junmyeon repeated in his mind. She has once liked a guy. That's normal right? He debates in his head.

    "Or I thought, I liked him.

    "I thought I liked him as more than a friend."

    And with that, Sehun's face popped in Junmyeon's head. He tried to think of all the other guy friends you have in university, but then realized that no one else comes close to the position Sehun held in your life.

    But no, she might have other friends, Junmyeon rationalizes, even though he knows that he might be a little in denial with this.

    "One day, it just dawned on me that I liked him," you start again. "From that little seed of affection, a flower fully bloomed in my chest, hoping that maybe--just maybe--one day, he will see me, not as a friend, but as a woman.

    "From there, I started dressing up for him. I bought summer dresses with sweetheart necklines, because he said I looked good on them. I wore my hair down because he mentioned in more than one occasion that I looked more natural with it than with my ponytail--" you paused, as Junmyeon gave an almost inaudible "ponytails are great", to which you gave him a grin. "So, I basically did everything I thought would make him like me.

    "For months, I've tried to secretly make him like me. There are times when I think I looked super good, but then he would be cold and very indifferent, as if he didn’t compliment me last week for the floral dress I was wearing, though my legs are begging to be in jeans." You bit your lip, remembering that time Sehun didn't even return your "hi" your light blue wrap dress swaying with the wind, as he deposited himself nonchalantly on a chair and texted furiously on his phone.

    "I often make excuses him--maybe he's just tired. Maybe he's just going through some personal things that's why he's not noticing me lately.

    "I also made an effort to pay extra attention to other girls he hang out with. And that's when the self-blames happened--I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, something is wrong with me, you know?" You say, completely oblivious to Junmyeon's jaw tightening with the words you just said. "Maybe I just have to change myself--my demeanor, my behaviour, even the way I speak--for him to like me.

    "But then one day, I was supposed to meet him for a rather romantic--or I guess, it was at least romantic for me--" you laughed, remembering the disillusion you were in a few years ago. "I was dressed to the nines--I even bought new underwear for that occasion because I really felt like it was the right time for him to realize that the girl he has been looking for--it's me, and I'm just right there in front of him, ready for him to take.

    "But when he showed up to our favorite restaurant, with his arms interlinked with a girl whose dress was definitely way fancier than mine, and wearing her hear in a low messy updo--someone whose style was completely different from the one I thought he liked--I felt cold. I felt like freezing water has been poured over me, and I was able to see things clearly for the first time."

    You looked at Junmyeon, who by then, has stopped in the car over the side of the road and whose eyes were already on yours. "It was then when I realized that nothing's wrong with him.

    "Most especially, nothing's wrong with me.

    "The truth is that, he just doesn’t like me that way."

    Junmyeon didn't know how to feel. He felt foolish at asking the question. But he likewise felt somehow relieved to hear your realization that you are fine--perfect in his eyes, even--and nothing's wrong with you.

    "I was just unlucky that I am not his type."

    ***

    "Is that why you rejected my advances before?"

    Huh?

    "Because you simply did not like me?"

    You turned to Junmyeon. Fortunately, a sly smile was playing on his lips, making you realize that he was having his fun on this.

    You sighed, staring at the long winding road before you.

    "They say that couples who have broken up need at least three months to recover before they enter into yet another relationship. It's infamously called as the '3-month rule,'" you explained.

    "Otherwise, a rebound relationship is bound to happen, which will hurt the recently broken person more, putting his in more misery than he was before."

    At this, you looked at him and said, "When you tirelessly invited me to coffee dates for a month, you and Geuhui have just been broken up for two months, Junmyeon."

    Junmyeon's head turned so fast you thought he had whiplash, his mouth slightly opened, as if you just landed a bomb on him.

    "I did not reject you.

    "I just wanted to wait the three-month period.

    "I just wanted to protect you from a likely painful rebound relationship with me."

    ***

    "Minseok hyung? It's late--why are you still here?" Sehun called out to the guy staring at the empty parking lot and scratching his head in confusion.

    "Well, I called Junmyeon to pick me up here at six o'clock," he explains, "But I don’t know where the hell he went to. I told him to fetch me at exactly six because I was supposed to meet someone."

    Sehun laughed at Minseok's misery. He pulled his phone out from his trusty leather satchel, deciding to wait with his hyung for Junmyeon.

    "Ah the motherfucker."

    Sehun turned to Minseok, but stopped before he could even begin to walk to his hyung's direction.

    Because there, glowing in Minseok's phone, is the answer why Junmyeon couldn't be here tonight.

    "He picked up Y/N, instead of picking me up!" Minseok exclaimed, staring at the photo posted by Suho in his IG stories, with him and Y/N singing to Chelsea Cutler and Noah Kahan's "Crazier".

    But Sehun has become oblivious to all of these already, his ears glowing red in jealousy, his steps quick to hatch his most awaited plan.

    One that he has been thinking every night. One that he has kept and suppressed all these years.

    ***

    It was midnight, and you are just preparing to go to bed when the doorbell to your unit rang.

    Could it be Junmyeon? You ask yourself, thinking you might have left something at his car.

    But when you opened the door it was Sehun.

    Speaking of the devil, you couldn’t help thinking, as you remembered tonight's conversation with Junmyeon.

    You just didn’t realize just how close that conversation could be related so much to tonight's events when he said his next words.

    Or no--maybe overturn is the more appropriate term.

    Because what he said next completely overturned what you thought was an absolutely plain friendship between the two of you.

    "Date me for one week."

    You were too stunned to speak and didn't reply.

    And so he repeated the words.

    "Date me for one week, Y/N. Date me for a week and I will walk you home every goddamn night."

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  • weishenbwi
    02.05.2022 - 3 weeks ago

    A Lesson Learned  Chapter 5: The Red Room

    Group: EXO (AO3 VERSION)

    Pairing: Kyungsoo/Jongdae

    Chapter 5: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Words: 6125

    CW: Dead Dove: Do Not Eat (CLICK ON AO3 LINK FOR ALL TAGS & TRIGGERS)

    Summary: This chapter features Jongdae’s forced feminization, dollification, and many other terrible things at Kyungsoo  and Daddy’s hands. Read the tags and read at your own risk. Messages that disregard this will be ignored.

    It’s Daddy that separates them, makes Baekhyun and Jongdae sit beside each other looking up. Anticipating. Naked. Vulnerable. Baekhyun is resting his head on Jongdae’s shoulder, calming his breathing and trying to latch his memory onto the only peaceful moment he imagines he’ll have tonight. Jongdae, on the other hand, is stroking Baekhyun’s hair but his eyes are on Kyungsoo who holds a camera and Kai who holds some type of recorder. The devices are a mix of newer and older models. He wonders briefly if they were stolen from some of the ones who came before.  

    “Kitten. Puppy. Pay attention. Daddy has some questions for you.” He can hear the camera click followed by the sound of film rolling out, capturing the moment. “Tell me a time you were happy.” Another click, the rolling sound of film. 

    "We were happier before... When we were… before this." Jongdae's voice trails off lost somewhere between heartache and disillusion.

    Another picture. Another close-up. It seems infinite. Jongdae imagines a sea of film floating on an endless expanse of blood and carnage. Pictures of all the ones who came before and didn't make it out. Their stories frozen on Missing Persons bulletins hidden away on websites only their families check until they can no longer bear it. Unfinished stories suspended in time. He prays they aren't one of them.

    Daddy strokes Kyungsoo’s hair but he doesn’t lean into it and it doesn’t seem to bother Daddy. Kai looks momentarily at the interaction and pauses before continuing filming. He knows he’s being touch starved on purpose so that he’ll crave whatever touch Daddy gives him later, gentle or violent. Kai misses the feeling of someone's hand on his body. It's times like these when Daddy doesn't let Kyungsoo or Chanyeol touch him either and he can't touch himself or Daddy will know. But with fresh meat and pretty boys at that, Kai will be loved again today. It makes the guilt of the entire fucking tragedy of taking hostages almost worth it. It's part of his training, Daddy says. To homogenize the starvation of touch and a desire for contact to the need and reward for bringing Daddy prey like Jongdae and Baekhyun. 

    “We were happy only a couple of hours ago before you took us.” His lips are tight, his breath calm, and the only sounds in the room are Kyungsoo’s camera clicking away and Baekhyun’s whimpering. Baekhyun nods and snuggles in closer to Jongdae. 

    “And are you not happy now?” Daddy asks. He blinks slowly and smiles. Like Kyungsoo, Daddy can sense that Jongdae’s cool exterior is on the precipice ready to snap or sever.

    Jongdae looks up at him. He breathes in deeply and bites his bottom lip. “No, I wouldn’t say that either of us is happy right now and I think you know that.” Another click, the continuous bright flash disorienting him. Kyungsoo pauses momentarily and whispers something to Daddy which makes the left side of his mouth curl up into a half-smile. “Excellent idea Kyungsoo.  I think kitten would look beautiful with some red lipstick on. Don’t you think so kitten?”

    A question that remains unanswered as Chanyeol mounts him, holding his hips down- pressing Jongdae between himself and the couch. He thrusts forward, dick hard and expecting. Wanting. It scares Baekhyun who jumps up and inches away unsure of what to do to protect his friend.

    Tight arms wrap around his small body pulling him in closer. “Shhh puppy. Just watch and I promise no one will get hurt. But if you try to escape, I’ll break your neck and make Jongdae here bury your dead body and then we’ll have so much fun he’ll wish we buried him with you. Do you want that for him?” Baekhyun shakes his head no mouthing a chorus of silent protests. Daddy’s arms tighten against his own, firm chest against quivering back. “Do you understand you have to obey so that kitten here doesn’t get hurt?” Baekhyun nods, can feel Daddy pulling him in so close his mouth nuzzles against Baekhyun’s neck, never minding the younger’s tears as they fall onto scarred arms that hold him in place.

    “Pucker for me, kitten. I don’t want to make this messy.” Chanyeol grabs Jongdae’s face gently and paints his lips red. He takes his time. Careful precision. These are going in their collection after all, a genesis from beginning to end. The metamorphosis of innocence. There are pictures of all the boys here. Maybe he'll show kitten and puppy their before and after... if they last long enough. “Hm kitten didn’t scratch, didn’t even try to get out of my grasp. You want this too? Like puppy over there. Want me to violate you? Want to me hurt you and leave you bloody?” He pulls Jongdae’s head back, a tight grip on his hair, and smiles that charming dimpled way that might have Jongdae blushing under different circumstances. “I’d prefer if we painted your lips red with blood but Kyungsoo seems to have a thing for you so I’ll let him do that later.” He bends down, lips aligned with Jongdae’s ear. “When I’m done with puppy over there, I’d love to get some kitten scratches. Want you to put up a fight and make me hurt you.” 

    Jongdae holds his breath, holds in his rage and disgust. Swallows violent vows.

    “These lips were meant for red! Don’t you think so puppy?” Daddy releases Baekhyun who is instantly caught and made to straddle Chanyeol whose arms rests casually against Jongdae's shoulder. “You don’t seem too bothered by it kitten. Do you love wearing lipstick? You know you look pretty in it, right? Wish you could wear it all the time and be a pretty whore for me?”

    Jongdae looks up but he’s speechless. It’s embarrassing. All the hungry eyes, heat, and hormones make him want to scream. Baekhyun would have looked just as pretty with lipstick. So why not him or why not both of them? Why does Jongdae have to be singled out like this in front of these animals? He could have calmed Baekhyun or at least some of the praises would have helped soften the blow but Kyungsoo and Daddy singled him out.

    “I’m not…” He shakes his head. “I…”

    “Spit it out kitten. You’re not… You’re not what? You’re not pretty? You’re not mine? Hmm that’s not it is it?” Daddy is playful, knows what Jongdae's thinking but wants him to say it for the sake of humiliation.

    “I’m not…”

    “You’re not  our  whore.” Kyungsoo says, causing Jongdae and Baekhyun’s attention to turn to him, something Chanyeol seems to disagree with as he picks up Baekhyun's small body, still straddling his waist, and removes the risk for temptation. Baekhyun is Chanyeol’s and he doesn’t get to look at Kyungsoo or anyone, only Chanyeol. Jongdae wasn’t expecting him to sound like this, like cacao meeting sugarcane for the first time. “You’re beautiful Jongdae. You will be my whore for tonight and for every night. As long as I desire. You don’t have a say in this.” 

    “I-”

    “You.” 

    “I... don’t have a say in this.” The bitter taste of defeat. 

    “Yes. And?” Kyungsoo waits. 

    Jongdae knows what he is according to them and how he should answer but he’s reluctant to give in. The more he gives in the less he has to leverage. But there’s no choice here. Maybe if Daddy had chosen him and not Kyungsoo, he could have circumvented. Or found a way to leverage his situation. Daddy seems playful sometimes and he makes jokes. Kyungsoo seems different. More strict. Severe. Better to obey than disobey.

    There is something dark about Kyungsoo that forces Jongdae to give in. For his own sake.  

    It’s beginning and Daddy sits back, motioning for Kai to join him. Kai has done this many times before. He knows when the toys go to play, he is to strip down for Daddy and let Daddy touch him however he wants. And Kai wants it too. Often he will watch Kyungsoo and Chanyeol play with their toys as Daddy plays with them or as they play with each other. Sometimes he’ll make Kai watch as he plays with the toys too - but only after. Daddy always joins the others after he’s satisfied they’ve “broken in their toys”. Until then he watches. Kai knows Daddy likes to be involved. Maybe if Kai’s own parents had been involved more he wouldn’t be here.  

    Kyungsoo steps forward, camera still in one hand, and grabs Jongdae by the other. “Come here Jongdae. I want you to see something.” Jongdae wonders what it would be like to refuse Kyungsoo but he obeys as soon as his hand is extended. “You can speak even if you’re not spoken to. I don’t like to be the only one talking.” 

    “Why are you doing this?” If the worst comes tonight, he has to know why. 

    “Why would you ask me this question when you already know the answer?” He stops outside a door and turns to Jongdae, eyes squinting slightly and Jongdae hates that he finds him... cute.

    Kyungsoo is a paradox. Undeniably cute face, small stature, not unlike Jongdae, and a voice with a seductive depth that mimics the extent of this truly fucked up situation. His youthful appearance and the way his face bunches up when he smiles caters to a deceptive playfulness that Jongdae’s sure doesn’t exist.

    “You’re doing this because you can.”

    “Yes.”

    Jongdae can feel his heart drop to his stomach. They’re doing this because they can and that means they'll do anything they want. “Is there a chance we can… leave? I promise I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m just hoping the answer is… possible.”

    Kyungsoo nods but doesn’t respond. It’s not his place to say what’s possible or isn’t. “Only Suho knows the answer to that, Jongdae, and I wouldn’t advise you to ask him.”

    It’s Jongdae’s turn to nod as Kyungsoo places a key into a door that locks from the outside. He doesn’t tell Jongdae to prepare himself, only opens the door slowly revealing a room that induces Jongdae’s skin to crawl. He blinks to will it away.

    He looks to Kyungsoo who remains stoic. “You already know what this room is Jongdae, don’t you?” How he can say this without a hint of emotion is beyond any normal human’s reasoning, Jongdae shudders, as a hand is placed firmly on his back urging him to step forward. Gentle. Kyungsoo’s hand is gentle on Jongdae’s back as he beckons him into the room covered from floor to ceiling in some type of clear plastic sheeting. There’s a bed at the back wall but that too is covered in heavy plastic. Every piece of furniture… nothing is left uncovered besides two pillows, a sheet, and a blanket. Every cloth, every piece of furniture is white covered by clear and he knows exactly why. It turns his stomach. The pillow has a collar attached by a chain on it. In the corner of the room is another chain. Jongdae assumes that’s where he goes if he’s been bad enough to warrant discipline but not death. These are the only two things that are not white or clear and Jongdae can tell they are meant to stand out in stark contrast to the bright sterileness of the room.

    “This… can’t be. I heard him. He said you can’t make us bleed or scar us! You can’t do this!” Jongdae makes to move back into the hallway and Kyungsoo doesn’t stop him. He takes one step out of the room of horror before he’s frozen in place. If he goes back to the living room, Daddy will be there and he’ll know Jongdae disobeyed. Daddy had told Baekhyun that if he tried to escape he’d break his neck and make Jongdae bury the body, then they’d rape and torture him until he wished for death. 

    He can’t leave. He doesn’t want to stay. 

    Something about this lack of choice pulls at the despair in his stomach and makes him turn back to the room of plastic and panic. Kyungsoo the quiet man with velvet cashmere for a voice. Kyungsoo who chose him, who chose this room and sterility and death. Jongdae turns back and falls to his knees body wracked with terror and tears until he’s getting the plastic wet beneath him. 

    Kyungsoo moves and he’s not sure if he’s coming to punish him or for sympathy but he looks up because he needs to look at something other than the plastic that will have his blood smeared on it later. He looks up and Kyungsoo is there, smiling, and it’s gentle. It’s gentle and Jongdae finds relief. Relief in that Kyungsoo isn’t Daddy with his mutable chaos and he’s not like Chanyeol who is only chaos. He reaches up, arms signaling  please  but it’s met without emotion, only the feeling of cold as a vial is pressed to his cheek and a  shhhh as Kyungsoo holds his head in place and collects his tears. Kyungsoo too is chaos but it’s muted not mutable. His chaos seems neutral and Jongdae considers, ragged breaths full of regret and tears filling the vial of an apathetic sadist, that maybe he's the lucky one.

    “Thank you, Jongdae.” 

    He watches in between blurry eyes as Kyungsoo fastens the lid on the vial and puts it in a drawer, closing it gently and locking it. Two locks already. Jongdae wonders if it’s a pattern. He also wonders if he looks in the drawer how many vials will he see, wonders what his chances are of surviving this hellish nightmare. If it weren’t for the overwhelming need to look after and protect Baekhyun, he’d charge Kyungsoo right now and die without the shame that will follow him to heaven or hell. St. Peter at the gates of Heaven and Jongdae is supposed to recount this night and how he didn’t fight back because he had to save his friend. How he knew they’d violate him and he let them because if he could make this time even a fraction less tortuous for Baekhyun, he would do it. Will God forgive him? He closes his eyes and starts to pray, wishing he had his rosary or a Bible or anything to strengthen his faith and resolve. Maybe he should have gone to confession before he left. Maybe God will make it easier on them if he prays hard enough. He isn’t sure that’s how it works but he has to try. If anything God will read his heart and understand whatever follows, whatever Jongdae is made to do, it's to save his best friend. 

    “Head, Lips, and Heart. So you’re Catholic?”

    Jongdae nods and sends his prayers up to whoever might be listening. “Yes. I am.”

    “Hm. Well, I will tell you when to stand, sit, kneel, and respond. Not your god.” Kyungsoo is a creature of habit but tonight he will try new things with his new toy and with this knowledge comes a new way of bringing out something wicked in Jongdae, something to make him fight back and regret it. For now, Kyungsoo will continue to blur the line between himself and Jongdae as equal and inferior. “Come here Jongdae. Come to your new god.” And there it is. He sees the flicker in Jongdae’s eyes, the anger and bile rise as he stands up and obeys. 

    “I need you to get dressed and then stand still. Cover your eyes. Don’t peek.” He can hear Kyungsoo taking things out of the closet, the drawers, notices a calming earthy scent diffusing in the room. It’s pleasant. It makes him breathe a little more peacefully. Maybe Kyungsoo will go easier on him. Maybe the room is just a precaution  in case  it gets messy, not  because it will get messy. Jongdae feels Kyungsoo’s hands on his own as he’s made to open his eyes. 

    He takes a few tentative steps back. “You can't be serious... I’m not wearing that. I can't..." 

    “Oh no? You will either wear it willingly or smeared with your blood. Choice is yours.” His voice is flat as he holds out the dress as if an offering.

    “Please. Look we can leave and I promise on my faith that we won’t tell anyone about you or this place. Just let us go. You don’t need us. You don’t need me.” Desperation personified. His plea hangs heavy in the stale air.

    “I do need you, Jongdae. I need you to put on that dress.” The dollification is meant to break people down but Kyungsoo would be remiss if he didn’t admit the swell of his member against fitted slacks with just the thought of Jongdae dolled up in such a petite and fragile dress. “If you refuse I will make it worse.” He stares Jongdae down and Jongdae stares back, neither budging until Kyungsoo tells him to sit. That, Jongdae can do. Kyungsoo doesn’t even tell him to close his eyes this time, just turns his back and starts gathering things and yes this is definitely worse.  Sooo. Much. Worse. OH GOD. 

    “Wait! No, I’m sorry. I’ll wear the dress. I’ll twirl in the dress! Just please. Not this. Not ALL of this. It’s too much. I can’t!” He’s up now, without permission, hands gripping on Kyungsoo’s arm begging him to stop. Kyungsoo turns his head back to Jongdae so fast the older flinches without Kyungsoo even raising an arm or hand to him. It makes the younger smile like Jongdae brought him freshly baked cookies instead of the twisted pleasure of arousing fear.  Yes. Like that.

    “Take your clothes off Jongdae.”

    “No. Wait. Please. Please Kyungsoo wait. I-”

     “Take It Off!” The change is sudden. From calm to I’ll slit your throat and leave you to rot in your own blood. Jongdae’s scared and doesn’t hesitate now to take off his shirt, a shiver running down his spine as tears fall down his pretty face. Kyungsoo considers collecting these tears but there will be more tears later and plenty of opportunities to fill an entire vial. For now, he sets down all the beautiful pieces Jongdae will wear. He lays them out orderly. After all, he’ll command his little kitten one by one to put everything on, a polaroid at each juncture.

    Kyungsoo will show him later when he’s a broken and sobbing mess. Or just when he's feeling confident enough to survive here.

    Jongdae is crying again. It's the most he's cried in years. He's trying to compose himself because this isn't like him, but he can't help it and the tears keep falling and he wonders how Baekhyun is doing. If Jongdae is this affected by the quiet Kyungsoo, how is Baekhyun being treated by the rabid Chanyeol? He hopes and prays with everything that Baekhyun is luckier than he is, that he doesn’t have to dress like a hybrid between the gender he doesn’t identify with and as a pet.

    “I’m sorry. You shouldn’t make me yell like that. You have to at least  try  to listen.”

    “I-m sorry Kyungsoo. I…”

    “You should have listened at the beginning. You made it harder. I could be a lot worse. Like Daddy or Chanyeol.” He takes a small step forward before turning around to face the drawer of vials, sighing in a small plea for Jongdae to consider the alternative. “Jongdae, Chanyeol is already fucking Baekhyun in there and I haven’t even touched you. All I’m asking you to do is put on  more clothes.”

    He’s right. Jongdae hasn’t been touched yet, hasn’t been kissed. The worst that’s happened with Kyungsoo is collecting tears and being told to wear cute clothes. Is he blowing this out of proportion? Is it really not a big deal?

    “I’m trying here Jongdae. You have to help me help you.” He stops straightening the clothes and looks at Jongdae, can see the doubt and questioning in his eyes. He continues. “I can’t do it alone, you know? I’m attracted to you and I think you’ll look beautiful in these clothes and with this kitten tail, you on all fours. But it has to feel good for you too.”

    Kyungsoo has Jongdae speechless again. It has to feel good for him too? He wants Jongdae to feel good? “I’ll help you. I will. And I’m sorry. I just never imagined… and now… All of this is overwhelming. I can’t even form all of my thoughts in complete sentences. I am really sorry though. I know you’re trying.”

    “I am. I put a lot of effort into this room, into selecting the clothes, even the lipstick. I tried to find a universally flattering color and I think I did a good job. It looks beautiful on you.” Jongdae sees Kyungsoo blush and looks away. He should not think this kidnapper is cute but physically he is and physically Jongdae feels sick to his stomach. 

    “Will you… come here Jongdae. Look in the mirror. Don’t you think it’s flattering?” 

    Jongdae stands beside Kyungsoo who positions him in front of the mirror and he examines them both, two boys who could have gone to the same school or met up somewhere, become friends. Yet the situation is completely different. Kyungsoo must be about his age but they couldn't be any more different. Jongdae is a devout Catholic who only wanted to spend a vacation with his childhood best friend. And Kyungsoo is part of a dysfunctional "family" where they kidnap, rape, and murder people. Where Jongdae is exceedingly generous, Kyungsoo is exceedingly cruel. In another life, they could have all been friends. In this life, he and Baekhyun are captives of Kyungsoo and his family whose every intention is to harm and defile. He tells himself to remember that reality amid this confusion and Kyungsoo's words of persuasion.

    “Don’t you think you’re beautiful?” Kyungsoo is behind him now, hands pressed firmly on his shoulders. He looks in the mirror and he's not sure if he's beautiful, doesn't know how to judge that from the perspective of his first time cross-dressing, and doing so against his will, so he doesn't answer. He does think it's as universally flattering as Kyungsoo said and something about the effort it takes to find a shade that would look good on everyone asserts a thing highlighted and underlined that Jongdae doesn't quite understand. "Look closer." He moves in closer, careful not to touch anything without asking, leans in. “I think you’re beautiful Jongdae and I know you think it’s weird but I think you’ll look even more beautiful with that white dress on.”

    He turns to face Kyungsoo, with his deep voice and dark aesthetic. His calm demeanor and honesty about everything Jongdae has asked. The way he doesn’t call them kitten or puppy so much as Jongdae and Baekhyun. The way he seems to see him as a real person and not solely an object or as Daddy had said, “a toy”. 

    “Do you want to put them on only for me? Suho usually gives us an hour or so before he comes in. He might even be with Chanyeol and Baekhyun now.”

    “I’d like that.” Jongdae wants to kick himself for letting his guard down but he doesn’t know how long they’ll be here and he would rather not keep his adrenaline up and his nerves on edge the entire time if he can help it. And maybe he’s weak for this but when the words “flattering” and “beautiful” came out of Kyungsoo’s cashmere voice, he all but melted into it. 

    “I want you to strip slowly for me, Jongdae.”

    Strip slowly on heavy plastic in what’s basically a kill room... He tries not to think about it.  Just think about getting out of here and Kyungsoo’s voice and his smile, the way his cheeks bunch up, and not the way he’s some deranged kidnapping, cannibalistic serial killer. He inhales and starts, slowly, with the first piece of clothing that seems to make him the least vulnerable.

    “Wait... I'll do it.” He needs to touch those legs, needs to sink his teeth in that flesh. Jongdae is already becoming more pliant under his gaze. The first night and he's already become so willing. The thought awakens something in Kyungsoo but he can't pass up this opportunity. Jongdae shakes his head yes as if consent is necessary and Kyungsoo obliges but given that Jongdae said no, he wouldn’t have denied himself the need to touch and bite and take. Not when his legs and ass look like this. No, Kyungsoo needs his hands and mouth on Jongdae now.

    And he takes. Kyungsoo takes and he doesn’t let Jongdae adjust to the feeling of his hands groping his ass, rubbing his face along his thighs, and inhaling Jongdae’s natural scent, sweat, and fear. Doesn’t let Jongdae adjust to his hands moving to explore and squeeze, bite and bruise. 

    “Fuck Jongdae. I could devour you right here. The plastic would take care of everything." If he could devour Jongdae's flesh between his teeth and have him reanimate, he'd do it in a heartbeat. For now, he'll bite leaving teeth marks, grab and squeeze tight making Jongdae cry out. Kyungsoo wants it to hurt. It's Jongdae's first night and he needs to remember it. He reaches to his back pocket and pulls out a black knife, newly sharpened. A gift from Chanyeol on a recent birthday. Jongdae's eyes widen and he starts crying. Kyungsoo wouldn't have imagined this one would cry so much but he's not complaining. He cries beautifully. His sad, soft whimpers and mewling. The perfect captive. "Yes, Jongdae. Cry for me.” He stands up and cradles Jongdae’s head in his hands. “I’m going to keep you forever and fuck you every night.” The image of Jongdae’s ass in the air and Kyungsoo’s face buried in it, directing orders to Chanyeol that he has to follow because Junmyeon demands it and Chanyeol can’t say no. Making Chanyeol eat Jongdae out while he fucks into Baekhyun. Chanyeol torn between having his toy played with and playing with a new toy. His primal instinct to possess. “I can’t wait to fuck you, Jongdae. You cry so pretty for me.” He buries his face between Jongdae’s legs and laps at his crotch, scratching his tongue on the fabric as he holds his knife to Jongdae's femoral artery, squeezing his thighs just to bruise. 

    Suddenly Kyungsoo stops. “It’s not fun when you don’t fight back.”

    Daddy hates boring guests. He wipes his tears and shoves Kyungsoo off of him, opts to run for the door but thinks twice before opening it. Good boy. It’s a game between himself and Kyungsoo. Opening the door and running out would only invite trouble and he has enough of that in the room here. Kyungsoo is on the other side, legs positioned to run in either direction Jongdae chooses. It’s not a big room and there aren’t many options so he runs straight for the closet and almost makes it to shut the door before Kyungsoo is on him, one arm wrapped around his neck and another around his chest, dragging him back to the bed. He’s kicking and flailing but it’s no good. The Butcher must have too much practice and Jongdae doesn’t have the strength. Not usually and not now. But it’s not like he knew he’d be in a situation where he’s fighting for his life against some psychopath. Kyungsoo seems to know many different positions to obtain and detain, making it impossible for Jongdae to get out of his grasp. 

    “Aw, you got the party started without me, Soo? I hope he gave you a run of it.” 

    Jongdae manages a look to the side as Daddy and Kai enter the room. He notices Kai is bruised and he’s been crying. 

    “YOU. You did this!” He manages through the tightness of Kyungsoo’s arms around his neck and chest. “You’re responsible for all of this madness. What is wrong with you?!”

    “Oh, kitten. Many things. But it won’t save you to know. You’re fucked either way. Although as I see you with your original clothes on, you haven’t been fucked by Kyungsoo just yet.” He turns his attention to Kyungsoo who is smirking from the struggling body under his strength. “And why the fuck not? And also why the fuck does he have his clothes BACK ON?! Chanyeol has abused Baekhyun countless times tonight. At least you made him cry. It’s almost the least you can do.” 

    “I like to take my time, Daddy. You’ll see when I take his pants off how much attention I gave him. Trust me, he’s been abused.” Kyungsoo starts to unbutton Jongdae’s pants when he starts inching back, not sure if he should fight now or not. It takes one look from Kyungsoo to know that no, now is not the time to fight him. It’s time to listen and obey. His pants are slid off, thighs squeezed along the way. When his pants come off, he sees what being left alone with quiet and “gentle” Kyungsoo does to him. His skin is littered with red marks, bites, and coloring that will turn into dark bruises. He’s made to stand up and show Daddy all the marks Kyungsoo gave him. Kyungsoo lies and tells Daddy that he was saving the best part of the abuse for Daddy, to get him riled up for his baby Nini. Jongdae notices that Daddy believes it without question. 

    “Nice work, son. I really shouldn’t doubt you. Now kitten is your toy so I’ll let you decide who you want to doll him up. You, me, or our Kai bear?” 

    Jongdae barely manages to stand, pressed against Kyungsoo, whose arms clutch around his chest and neck. No one asked him what he wanted, who he would rather have touch him. It doesn’t matter. Jongdae doesn’t matter. He wants to speak up and ask if he’s really good right now and obeys everything if he can spend the night with Baekhyun. But he knows the answer before it leaves his mind. 

    “Kai can put the dress and kitten ears on him, but I’ll do the collar and the plug. He's mine to claim.”

    Daddy nods in acknowledgment. “Then it's settled. Although by the look of it, you might fuck him before you put the plug in. I imagine he’ll look delicious once he’s dolled up with a retouch of that lipstick.” Daddy can’t wait for Jongdae to smear that lipstick all over his dick or to watch the tears run down his face as Daddy abuses him again and again. Seeing his little kitten like this with less fire and more confusion, the fatigue and exhaustion of the night already taking hold makes his dick press against his pants, hard and leaking. If Kai weren't on his way to doll up Jongdae, he'd have him bouncing in his lap to stave off some of this hunger. He grabs Kyungsoo instead, his small body bouncing on his dick while Kai goes to play with the toy. All of his sons are, after all, cockwarmers. 

    Kai stands in front of Jongdae, tears still present in his eyes, and takes off his boxers. This time he doesn't fight back. He doesn't make it easier for Kai either, makes him struggle to get his boxers off. He will not cooperate fully with these assholes. The fire in his stomach is raging again but it’s short-lived because as he stands there in that bright red lipstick, naked, and defenseless, the most he’s ever been exposed, he realizes that to everyone in that room, he is just a whore. A cockwarmer like Kyungsoo is to Daddy now.

    “Lift up your arms Jongdae. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can rest. From someone that’s been where you are, you’ll need it.” Kai sounds tired and it’s no wonder. Whatever Daddy did to him between the time he left with Kyungsoo to this room and the time they entered, drained Kai of what made him human. Is this how Daddy turns boys and men into soldiers? Is this how Daddy turned Kyungsoo into someone who collects vials of tears, someone who kills people and skins them, leaving their hides out to dry in the sun? Jongdae hopes that won’t happen to him or Baekhyun. He can't let it happen to them. He won't.

    But he's tired and he says he won't yet he's not even stopping Kai from undressing him as the others watch.

    Kyungsoo's hands are resting over Daddy's own and he's allowing Daddy to get off using his body, moaning along as if enjoying every thrust, but his eyes are focused on the vulnerability of his prey's naked form. His prey who's acting on autopilot now, afraid to break eye contact with his predator as he lifts his arms for Kai to dress him in the delicate fabric that will soon tear and stain red under rough hands that deny all protests.

    Kai brushes out a wig, the same color as Jongdae's hair, and puts the kitten ears over it. He gets a little closer and whispers “sorry” when Jongdae has tears in his eyes again. He can tell Jongdae has cried a lot his first night, coughing and straining many times over, the evident signs of red eyes and petechiae. He'll have to get used to it, learn to accept it, because it won't change. Nothing ever changes. He hopes he'll get the chance to impart this wisdom to Jongdae. He deserves to know. Kai wishes someone had told him, wishes he didn't have to find out the hard way. He's not even sure why he still cries. Maybe some part deep inside refuses to accept this wisdom. It makes him feel inferior because it's clear that both Chanyeol and Kyungsoo have accepted their reality and made the most of it. Or maybe they're more like Daddy than he'll ever be. He's not sure where Jongdae resides on this list but he knows without a doubt that Baekhyun is not cut out for this life. He's almost glad that Chanyeol chose Baekhyun. It'll be easier that way. He wouldn't survive Kyungsoo. Kai's not sure if Jongdae will either.

    He finishes the touch-up of red lipstick over pretty lips and then Jongdae's made to twirl and twirl until he gets dizzy, until he falls and hits his head. It doesn't matter because he’s made to get up and kiss Daddy, kiss Kyungsoo, and kiss Kai. Someone rubs the blood from his head onto his mouth and he's made to suck his blood off someone's finger but he can't remember who. He's dizzy but he's made to bend down and show his ass, spread his cheeks. Kyungsoo is playing with him but he can't feel it. Then someone else whose hands are colder is touching him and he only knows because he has goosebumps and he thinks that's why but he can't be sure. Then Kyungsoo is in front of him and he’s being collared. Jongdae’s in a daze but he knows he’s being collared, made to move around on all fours behind Kyungsoo as he tugs on the leash. Someone fucks him from behind, leash pulled tight against his throat and he can't breathe. Daddy’s clapping and Kai is stoic again. He thinks he sees Baekhyun and he's crying too but he can’t be sure because the tears are coming and his vision is blurry.

    He looks up again and no one is there, just Kyungsoo. He’s saying something but Jongdae can’t hear him. He’s being slapped and it doesn’t help. He doesn’t know what Kyungsoo is saying and he’s crying again and he only knows because the tears hit the plastic and reflect off the light. Kyungsoo is shaking him and he doesn’t know why. Then he’s being kicked but he can’t feel anything and he doesn’t know who. He still doesn't know why. He sees Kyungsoo laughing and taking pictures but he doesn’t hear him nor the sound of the film rolling. He sees Kyungsoo with his vial again and he's caressing his face. Jongdae thinks he leans into it but he can't be sure. He can't be sure of anything. 

    Then his vision fades- his small tired body abandoned in a white silk dress, ripped and bloody from abuse. A sleeping beauty. Shallow breaths escape against heavy plastic, the transparency stained with droplets of crimson and cream and somehow there’s blood and more blood until there’s only black.

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  • weishenbwi
    01.05.2022 - 3 weeks ago

    A Lesson Learned  Chapter 3: Callous

    Group: EXO (AO3 VERSION)

    Chapter 2: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Words: 2282

    CW: Dead Dove: Do Not Eat (CLICK ON AO3 LINK FOR ALL TAGS & TRIGGERS)

    Summary: Some fear this chapter. Chanyeol’s a real sadist f*ck boy and Kyungsoo is… 💀. Just an entire dysfunctional family that’s found some pretty toys to play with.

    “I know you do, puppy. I’m just glad you said it. And you know… you can’t take it back now.” He reaches out a hand and ruffles Baekhyun’s hair, taking pride that his puppy is already willing to obey without so much as even looking at Chanyeol. “You’re  mine to keep forever.”

    “Yours to… k-keep forever?” Baekhyun asks, a slight stutter in his speech as Chanyeol and Kyungsoo remove the blindfolds revealing the timid allurement beneath them. He grips Jongdae’s hands tighter, afraid to open his eyes and face the reality before him. Jongdae’s reaction is different. Eyes alert, his mind ready in anticipation for what the unveiling means and who intends to see them. He doesn’t take his eyes off of Kyungsoo’s glare, choosing to stare back to show that he’s not intimidated but notes a chill running down his spine at the blank face of the one whose interest he has peaked.

    “Of course, puppy boy. We’re going to keep you if you do well tonight. Remember I told you it’s like protecting you from that world out there?” Chanyeol reaches out his rough hand and runs it across Baekhyun’s smooth skin. “So soft.” This boy was beneath him in every sense. Smaller, timid, fragile, and pretty. He is everything Chanyeol could hope for in a toy and he can't wait to explore it. “It’s okay if you don’t remember, puppy. I’ll always do what I can to remind you.”

    Baekhyun opens his eyes now attempting to swallow all the fear that threatens to arise. “S-so you’re n-not going to hurt us?” 

    Jongdae breathes in, knowing, but Baekhyun doesn’t see it.

    “Oh, baby boy.” Chanyeol continues caressing Baekhyun’s face, a false act of comfort. “Of course we’re going to hurt you. It’s going to hurt when you ride my dick raw and it’s going to hurt when I choke that beautiful, little neck of yours. No, don't pout. You know you'd like that. I bet you're a little masochist, huh?” He’s hard now and he lets Baekhyun feel it, makes Baekhyun’s hand rub against the firmness pressing through his pants.

    Baekhyun shakes his head no, tears threatening to fall, sucking in his chest to try and calm his breath. He doesn’t want this. He’s never been with anyone and his first time should be consensual. It should be full of light and love and happiness. He doesn’t want his first time to be with this monster and he doesn’t know how to get out of it. 

    “No? Puppy doesn’t like being hurt? That’s too bad, baby boy, because I will hurt you and I’ll get off on it. I’m going to make it so you’ll never forget it. Don’t you want your first time to be memorable?” Chanyeol’s face softens as he bends down, eye level with Baekhyun now. “When you’ve thought about this before, you wanted your first time to be memorable, right puppy?” He wipes away the tears falling from Baekhyun’s face as the smaller nods into it.

    “That’s right, puppy. I know you want it memorable and I promise it’ll be just that. I might enter you raw and make you bleed but I’m also going to be gentle with you since it’s your first time.” He looks back at Junmyeon who nods his approval. “Some bleeding is fine as long as it doesn’t leave scarring. The type that’s not allowed is the type Kyungsoo had too much fun with one time and we had to scrub the entire room of all that blood. It was such a mess. But unlike Kyungsoo over there, I’m not THAT violent and I’m generous. I promise I’ll give you so much fucking pleasure with the pain. You’ll moan for me baby and beg for me before it’s over. You want that sweet aching hole eaten out, don’t you? Nod puppy. I know you want it."

    Baekhyun doesn't move, doesn't know how to react. Chanyeol helps him, nods Baekhyun's head for him. "Feel me, babyboy, I’m already hard for you.” He takes Baekhyun’s hand away from Jongdae and places it on his pants. Baekhyun notices Chanyeol's strength right away. It was this handsome boy in front of him that had carried him inside. Baekhyun thought for sure he'd be older yet he looks roughly the same age as Baekhyun or Jongdae. But he is bigger than both of them, towering and muscular.  He'd felt Chanyeol's back muscles flex across his stomach as he carried him inside and now he's seeing just how muscular this boy is up close, shirt sleeves barely fitting and thigh muscles so prominent he can see them through his pants. He knows that Chanyeol will use his towering size and erection to his detriment, making him suffer in ways he never thought possible. He tries to jerk his hand back but Chanyeol is strong, much stronger than Baekhyun, and he easily holds it in place. He presses it firmly to his erection and rubs Baekhyun’s hand up and down his shaft, leaning forward and moaning in Baekhyun’s ear. “This is all for you later, puppy.” He smirks and looks at Kyungsoo who hasn’t determined what he’s going to do with the pretty boy who remains sitting still, eyes on the ground. Daddy sits back and watches it all like someone would watch a movie; Kai by his side unmoving, silent. A good soldier.

    “Say something.” A command by Kyungsoo who doesn’t budge from his position. This has Jongdae looking up making eye contact for the first time. Captor and captive. Jongdae tries to mask the defiance in his eyes, the fire that burns everything Jongdae is holding back, but it’s to no avail. It’s almost as if Kyungsoo can see through him or read his thoughts and it’s in this moment that Jongdae realizes “say something” is both a test and a threat. On any given day Jongdae would retort with “something” as a one-up to the person making a threat to him and his best friend, protective as he is. But this isn’t any given day and he has no idea what reply he’s expected to give so he simply responds with “What would you have me say?”

    A smirk. It earns him a smirk from this psychopath. 

    The psychopath that gives off a very keen sense something is brooding within him, ready to overflow if the right buttons are pushed. Jongdae hopes to heaven or any saving grace that he will not push those buttons tonight, that he will control his tongue, and that he and Baekhyun will make it out alive. “Daddy” might be chaotic - with more of a stern temper, fluid in his reactions with each passing moment. And Chanyeol might be chaotic in that dark perverted sense. But Kyungsoo doesn’t  seem chaotic at all. Each movement seems purposeful. A machine, driven, with well-oiled parts. Or a ticking time bomb. It was hard to tell. And, for whatever reason, his interest was the soft boy sitting beneath him, head down and eyes averted.

    “Tell me Jongdae… Baekhyun…. Out of everyone here, who would you rather fuck first?” Their eyes look up to Daddy who interjects himself between the tension. “I’ll give each of you a chance to go first and you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t say it’s me.” He lets out a hearty chuckle, satisfied with his joke. The reality given normal circumstances is that Daddy is attractive and he knows it. Lush, thick hair, a beautiful hairline, thick eyebrows, petite face, and puckering lips. He has the type of face you’d see on the cover of a magazine or as a lead in a drama. Yet he chose this life and all it had or didn’t have to offer and Jongdae wonders where it all went wrong. “Hmm you two are quiet boys... That's okay. We’ll start with puppy boy.”

    Baekhyun’s panic sets in “I-I’ve never. I can’t…” 

    “You can and you will. Don’t make me take you for myself without you choosing Baekhyun. I am trying to do you a favor by letting you have this choice when my boy over here,” he motions to Chanyeol whose eyes stay locked on the timid boy before him, “wants to fuck you senseless and would probably do anything to have you first. So choose or I’ll choose for you.” Daddy’s personality is mutable. Laughing one minute, threatening the next. All tinged with a modicum of sober intent.

    Jongdae can feel Baekhyun’s dread, his hysteria rising. This entire situation is too much pressure on a boy who only wanted to enjoy a few days with his best friend. The dissolved safety coupled with never having sex before and now having to do so in front of or with strangers leads his usual cool demeanor to fade into oblivion while this panicked one emerges. 

    “I-I’ll do it.” Jongdae calls out, hoping he’s not reprimanded for inflating his turn. He’s never really thought about doing these things with Baekhyun but if it means he can save his friend some trauma and pain then by all means. At least he would be gentle with Baekhyun’s first time and if the tables are turned he knows Baekhyun will be gentle with him. He cannot say the same for anyone else here. Chanyeol had just threatened to rape Baekhyun and make him bleed. And God knows what Kyungsoo has planned for Jongdae. It’s better this way. 

    The indignation in Chanyeol builds swiftly. “Absolutely not! No fucking way! Kai did not steal these fucking twinks to let them have sex with each other. And my dick isn’t hard to fuck… who.. Kyungsoo… Kai… or your slut Sehun?!” 

    Daddy sits back, calm, smiling, and speaks in a slow manner. “If I wasn’t in such a good mood because of this fresh meat my baby Nini brought us, you’d be chained in the basement and I’d be telling Kyungsoo to sharpen his instruments. Don’t you EVER talk to me like that again. Do you understand me, Chanyeol? If you don’t want your meat suit drying in the sun, that is. Show. Me. Respect.”

    Chanyeol's eyes widen at the thought of what he had just done and it's instantly followed with prostration and a series of apologies, making clear despite size who has the upper hand here. “I’m sorry Daddy. I-I don’t know what overcame me. I didn’t mean to be so disrespectful. I’m sorry...”

    “You should be, boy. But as I said I'm in a good mood." He motions for Kai to sit on his lap. "Another reason I’m excusing you is that I like to see my boys primal. Primal urges. Primal actions. You want to rape this pretty boy so bad, make him yours? Be the first one inside him?”

    Chanyeol caresses Baekhyun’s face again, eyes tearing up at the thought of losing out on this innocent boy to anyone else. “Yes, Daddy.” 

    “Hmm… To be fair, I wouldn’t mind these two twinks fucking each other. But at the same time, I don’t want to - oh fuck- see you sad, son. It's quite the dilemma - ah ah fuck - don't you think so Kai?” Daddy says with a struggle because Kai's bouncing on his lap, stimulating himself from Daddy's growing erection in an attempt to earn affection from the older. And Daddy is doing his best not to give in and fuck into Kai's needs and wants, the thin fabric of their pants barely obstructing penetration the younger so desperately seeks. That's simply not how you train a soldier. He doesn't even reach out his hands to grip Kai's waist because a touch-starved Kai is eager and willing. A touch-starved Kai is best. Once he's properly trained Daddy will fuck into him as much as he does his baby Sehun. For now, there are many lessons to be learned.

    Kai doesn't let up bouncing on his Daddy's clothed dick but still manages to make a suggestion that he hopes will win some favor for later when Daddy is using him and touching him and finally giving him attention. He suggests writing the names down and drawing the choice fairly, leaving it up to fate. An answer Daddy acknowledges with the briefest touch against Kai's jaw. But it earns scorn from Chanyeol who suggests tossing a coin or a die. Kai knows Chanyeol has a one-sided coin that he has used more than once in his favor. He never told Daddy though because Chanyeol told him "Snitches get stitches" and he didn't bother to tell Chanyeol that Daddy already knows. But it's Kyungsoo who has the best idea.

    “Why don’t they fight each other and the winner takes all?” It wasn’t fair in the slightest and that's what made it perfect. Someone small like Jongdae could not take on someone like Chanyeol unless they were especially skilled in some type of fighting, which Jongdae was not. Daddy loves the idea because of what it means. That Baekhyun will tell Jongdae no, not to risk it, not with these men because you never know what could happen. And Jongdae reassuring he would risk it all to save Baekhyun from Chanyeol. To Baekhyun pleading even if Jongdae goes first, Chanyeol and the others will still share them both. And at least if Chanyeol goes first, Baekhyun can be safe in the knowledge that Jongdae’s not bleeding out somewhere and then still having to please these sadists, bruised and bloody. Daddy lets them discuss it between themselves, imagining the conversation. He sees Baekhyun and Jongdae cry and hug each other, knowing it means that Jongdae gave in to Baekhyun and that Chanyeol would, in fact, fuck Baekhyun first. 

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  • weishenbwi
    25.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    A Lesson Learned  Chapter 4: Pacify

    Group: EXO (AO3 VERSION)

    Pairing: Baekhyun/Jongdae

    Chapter 4: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    Words: 1657

    CW: Dead Dove: Do Not Eat (CLICK ON AO3 LINK FOR ALL TAGS & TRIGGERS)

    Summary: It’s Baekhyun who goes down to his knees first, peppering kisses along Jongdae’s neck to his chest and stomach, pulling his pants down slowly but deliberately, fingers wrapped around the waistband sending shocks that shiver across Jongdae’s body. There’s a pause as Baekhyun and Jongdae acknowledge the moment of evolution in their relationship, one they can never take back, one they had to sacrifice by force. A silent avowal that their actions and this moment forward are a choice, both willingly submitting their bodies to the other.

    “It’s settled. Chanyeol will have his time with our little puppy here and the kitten will watch until I feel like he’s had enough. What do you think Kyungsoo?”

    Like a second in command, Kyungsoo nods. 

    “Very well then. But first, the meat has to marinate. Does puppy or kitten know what I mean by that?” Junmyeon waits. Smiles. He loves when the game really gets started, when he gets to give  choices  to his captives. And he loves it more when they fail miserably. “If you get the answer right, I’ll let ONE of you have a 15-minute head start running away from this place. No one will chase you.”

    Chanyeol beams. He loves this game too. Loves the stakes introduced and the suffering that results. The pure adrenaline rush to chase down his captives. It was his idea to give them a 15-minute head start. He had told Daddy it would give the captives an illusion of escape only for Chanyeol and Kai to catch up. There was nothing like seeing the look on their faces when they think their escape or rescue is close. Running up behind them, tired as they always were, and placing his hands over their mouth as they struggle. Carrying them back to the house. Or, if the person is a little more of a challenge, Chanyeol would bring a rag soaked in chloroform as a backup. And sometimes, if they had been especially naughty, he'd run out with an ax or chainsaw and cut them to little pieces, covering himself and the trees with blood. Daddy had told him "It's a waste of fresh meat." so he tried not to do it often or only do it when Daddy gave him the look. 

    On occasion, Kyungsoo, Kai, and Daddy would give them longer than the usual 15 minutes, only to use the car and act like a rescue, slowing down cautiously as their victims run, waving their arms frantically as to flag down their savior - only to discover who it is behind the wheel. The look on their face is priceless. Sometimes they try to run back and that's when Chanyeol gets them, waiting in the shadows. It's a rush and he loves it.

    “If you guess, and you do have to guess, but answer wrong then we get to choose something special from Daddy’s game jar - and THAT can get a little bloody.” He laughs full-body, hitting Kai, and doubling over. It’s hilarious to him and Jongdae wishes he could slap that smile off Chanyeol’s face because it is anything but funny. It’s sick and twisted, grotesque, and Jongdae wishes that they’d all suffer in hell because who knows what they have done to those who came before. They deserve to pay for all the suffering they’ve caused. 

    “It means you want us to play lightly, before diving into whatever sick and twisted game you have planned for us.” The disgust is evident in his voice. Kyungsoo’s mouth twitches at that. He loves that Jongdae is getting worked up so easily, loves that Jongdae finds them disgusting. It’s easier to pull out that rage than it is to give confidence. Chanyeol loves building people up and tearing them down. Kyungsoo wants only to pull on the thread and unravel whatever sinister machinations a person naturally holds, some more than others. Jongdae more than Baekhyun.

    “Elaborate.” Kyungsoo’s smile is lifted only slightly. He can’t fully hide his excitement or his anticipation - when this little kitten will be whimpering and mewling under his heel, tears streaming down his face because he isn’t one to submit. 

    Junmyeon, on the other hand, sighs, stepping forward, and slaps Jongdae clear across the face. “I. Don’t. Like. Boring. Guests.”

    Jongdae’s lips tighten. He breathes in slowly. Out slowly. And Kyungsoo can see it building, closer and closer to the precipice. Jump, he thinks. Jump now. Indulge and light yourself on fire.

    But as much as that fire is raging inside Jongdae, he swallows it and gives the only answer that, he thinks, would not only satisfy this sadistic “Daddy” but serve as some type of barrier, a way to protect Baekhyun and himself. “You want me and Baekhyun hyung to play with each other, strip for you, and leave marks on each other. Right… Daddy?” The bile threatens to come up but he smiles, his eyes lighting up, the smile not quite reaching them, but it’s such a brilliant smile with wonderfully curled lips that Daddy pays no mind and grins at his kitten finally playing their game. Junmyeon himself was waiting to see if the kitten would come up with a creative answer and he did. A little tug and pull for the reluctant ones always work. 

    “Baekhyunie puppy. Come here.” He motions to Baekhyun who is sitting on Chanyeol’s lap, eyes wide and teary, bouncing reluctantly by the waist as Chanyeol stimulates himself with the smaller body. “Kitten, stand up.” He reaches out to touch Jongdae’s lips, making a mental note to lick and suck on them later. “Face each other. Make it interesting. This is the only direction you get. And no, you don't get a 15-minute head start because you pissed me off kitten. Now play.”

    “And remember” Chanyeol chimes up, hand rubbing against his pants to stimulate the area Baekhyun no longer occupied. “Daddy doesn’t like boring guests.” He smiles and Jongdae thinks how handsome he looks, a boyish charm coupled with masculine features and a dimple peaking out against tanned skin. The charm would catch anyone off guard and he wonders if that's part of the reason Daddy chose him. It further serves to piss him off but he shakes his head and turns his attention to Baekhyun.

    He reaches out, holding onto Baekhyun's hands, the warmth of his hands spreading to Baekhyun's own, and musters up a smile. “It’s okay Baek. We can do this. It’s you and me. Always. What can’t we do if we’re together?” Baekhyun nods, allowing Jongdae’s efforts to reassure him. “Just follow my lead hyung and kiss my forehead or hand to signal if you’re uncomfortable, okay? No matter what happens, I love you.”

    Baekhyun smiles, tired but genuine. “I love you too Jongdae. It’s us, right? Together?”

    Jongdae nods an affirmation before grabbing Baekhyun’s neck, bringing their lips together in a silent crash that has Baekhyun’s eyes widening as Jongdae parts the older’s mouth, tasting him without reserve. “You taste sweet Baekhyunie. Your taste fits your personality.” He kisses down Baekhyun’s mouth to his chin and slender neck, biting along the way gently as he lifts up the older’s shirt revealing soft skin, smooth and unblemished. Skin that he’s sure the others are making mental notes to twist, pull, bite, and mark. Skin they’ll want to make their own or at least leave an imprint that they’ve touched. But for now, this skin is Baekhyun’s and his own. Baekhyun too reaches out, unbuttoning Jongdae’s shirt, breath hitching at the intimacy of a moment he’d never imagine sharing with his best friend. Jongdae’s skin is smooth and unblemished like Baekhyun’s, both boys having small beauty marks that decorate their canvas. They take the liberty to kiss each other's freckled orchestration, careful and loving. Attentive. Gentle. Doting kisses along arms, hands, necks, anywhere skin and vulnerability grant a touch.

    It’s Baekhyun who goes down to his knees first, peppering kisses along Jongdae’s neck to his chest and stomach, pulling his pants down slowly but deliberately, fingers wrapped around the waistband sending shocks that shiver across Jongdae’s body. There’s a pause as Baekhyun and Jongdae acknowledge the moment of evolution in their relationship, one they can never take back, one they had to sacrifice by force. A silent avowal that their actions and this moment forward are a choice, both willingly submitting their bodies to the other. They take off Jongdae’s boxers together, hands clasping each other as Baekhyun wraps his lips around Jongdae’s length. Slowly. Deliberately. He moves Jongdae’s hands to his head, signaling for the contact that he knows Jongdae is craving. And Jongdae takes it. His fingers fasten their grip in Baekhyun’s hair as Baekhyun’s fingers tighten their grip on Jongdae’s thighs, stopping only momentarily to look up and tell Jongdae “You taste sweet Jongdae... like your personality.” They share a smile, their first one with some of the heaviness of the night removed. Jongdae moves Baekhyun’s head forward, gently, as Baekhyun bobs in and out, his tongue now licking strips up Jongdae’s length. Playful. Teasing. Alternating between teasing the tip and taking Jongdae in fully, both forgetting they’re entertainment; the focus being only each other. And so they continue. Jongdae’s hands in Baekhyun’s hair, never being too forceful with him.  And Baekhyun licking, sucking, teasing Jongdae. They take their time with each other, savoring perhaps the only peaceful moment they'll have the entire night.

    Once Baekhyun can tell Jongdae’s close, he takes him in as much as possible, as deep as possible, allowing Jongdae to control the speed of his own pleasure. He cums with Baekhyun on his knees, hands clasped to Jongdae’s thighs, his own hands gripping Baekhyun’s hair as he cums hard down the older's throat. He thinks it’s beautiful how Baekhyun takes everything he has to offer him, swallows affectionately, and rests his head on Jongdae’s thighs. He runs his hands through Baekhyun’s hair and bends down to kiss him gently, resting their heads together and waiting for the moment they both know is coming.

    It doesn't come quickly. Instead, Junmyeon lets them rest together. They’ve earned it. Their moment was like nothing he’d ever seen. It wasn't just a show to appease him, he figures. No, there is something between these boys even if they don't realize it themselves. They’re special. One of a kind. And they're his. After what he just witnessed, there wasn’t a chance he would ever let them go. 

    View Full
  • j-pping
    11.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    The Risk of Absence - Act III

    Part of The Fault in Light collaboration with @yeoldontknow​

    Story parts: Act I | Act II | Act III​​ (Final) Themes: astronaut!au; space!au; space exploration!au; themes of soulmate relationships; heavy angst; themes of abandonment; separation; romance; smut; love across age, space, and time; college sweethearts Pairing: Sehun x Fem!Reader Rating: PG13 - NC-17 for mild swearing and implied/semi-explicit sexual themes WC: ~25k (yikes!)

    Oh Sehun has always been an optimist – for someone whose work so firmly plants him on the ground, he lives everyday with the stars in his eyes. He makes it easy to love him, to get swept up in his determination – he brings you along in his effortless self-assurance, and he has done so ever since the day he declared you college sweethearts.

    Love and legacy, however, never guarantee the future. When he’s presented with an opportunity he can’t resist, one he’s dreamt of for as long as he’s known who he is, you both know there is only one path forward. He will not be deterred, even when distinguished professor and sole Mars mission survivor Loey Park just as fervently tries to make Sehun reconsider.

    Sehun is yours, and you are his. But Mars is a demanding, punishing mistress, and you can only hope that she will allow Sehun’s return.

    Reading Note: Tumblr doesn’t allow more than 10 images per post, so some of the scene headers (date/location) do not have setting images before them. Take care to note the timeline if you can!

    A/N: Thank you @changshapatrol​ for the new poster! It’s finally here! I can’t believe it. Happy early birthday (and belated 10y Exoversary) to Oh Sehun :) this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever written and I love this so much -- please drop a comment if you can to let me know if you enjoyed this! And this goes out to bee and planet anon, as well as all of you who sent in kind reminders to let me know you were looking forward to this as much as I was. Thank you for your patience. And of course a billion thanks to @yeoldontknow​, whose wonderful presence this weekend helped me finish this behemoth of an admittedly unedited story.

    (Tagging people who were interested or betaread earlier versions: @rosetvler​ @changshapatrol​ @ako-gamboge​ @baek-byunies​ -- thank you endlessly!)

    Early 2019, Southern California Your eyes trace up the length of his arm. Alabaster, smooth skin covers obvious muscle, and you marvel at the human form. Sehun is doing nothing but cutting a slab of pork belly into more manageable pieces, and yet you cannot help but see him as statuesque and elegant in spite of the way he tentatively, but carefully, holds his knife.

    “What would Kyungsoo say?” Tongue clicking, you pretend to scold him the way one of your college friends would. The older man is here for a personal visit, with family in tow, but both you and Sehun know he’s driven all the way across Los Angeles in search of an elusive dessert to bring back for dinner. Culinary connoisseur, Kyungsoo has hovered over (under, or rather, near) Sehun’s shoulder many a gathering, urging his junior to pinch the blade with a gentle reminder. Sehun’s stubbornness always wins out, though, as he prefers the handle grip over blade. (‘I’m not going fast,’ Sehun always plaintively chides. ‘And I’m not cutting a lot!’)

    “Kyungsoo isn’t here, is he?” Sehun lifts up the knife, fingers tightening around the handle with thumb firmly behind the bolster. You watch in rapt fascination as tendons glide over bone in the back of his hand; you’ve always loved his hands, finding them equal parts capable of holding your heart and perfect for many other ministrations.

    “What would Kyungsoo’s partner say?” The banter comes as a challenge. You have him trapped there, when you pointedly tilt your wineglass towards the dining room where she’s busy laying out the side dishes she brought from the Do house. She, too, is an excellent cook, but your threat is empty — unlike her spouse, she is less particular about Sehun’s knife skills.

    The snicks against beautiful butcher block stop abruptly. You look up, surprised by the sudden silence.

    “I missed this,” Sehun says, looking you directly in the eye with his face set to an expressionless mask.

    Your eyebrows wrinkle together in amusement. “What, being roasted by the love of your life instead of hanging out in zero-gravity?”

    The lack of response speaks volumes, but the sheepish turn away says even more. It’s cute when he hides his face like this, out of cringeworthy secondhand embarrassment or shy exposure and the like. He’s always been cute, though you wonder if you’re biased by a near-decade of being enamored with his very essence. Over the years you’ve both grown and changed, physically and mentally, horizontally and vertically, but Sehun’s appeal has been constant throughout each change.

    He allows your words to marinate in the kitchen air, mingling with the aroma of freshly minced green onions and ginger, as well as the latest box of kimchi his mother so lovingly made for you (though she certainly made too much, most of which still rests in the kimchi fridge in the garage. That, too, was a gift from his family, as if to preempt the impromptu vegetable drop-offs). Soft gasps of lipped food containers reach your ears from the dining table as Kyungsoo’s wife opens their lids. The input becomes too much, all the data flooding your senses.

    It’s not like anything is different, not like there’s any stimuli you really need to respond to. You’ve watched Sehun cook in the kitchen countless of times, and vice versa. You’ve had the Dos over for dinner at least once a month when Kyungsoo swings by the Valley for business. There’s nothing new in the kitchen, no new appliances with new sounds to register, no fancy renovations for Shaker cabinetry or white tile backsplashes. There is only Sehun, and routine, and the comfort of intimacy that extends beyond skin.

    “I’m going to miss this,” he says now, his voice dropping to a near-whisper. “All of this.”

    It doesn’t take much to understand that ‘this’ means everything you’re taking in, and more. Stolen moments of domesticity and simple bliss will be few and far between in a matter of months when Sehun is whisked back to Florida for the longest mission of his life. (A niggling, irritating voice in the depths of your mind worries that ‘longest’ might actually measure out to ‘forever,’ but you push those thoughts down when you notice Sehun’s expression tugging downward into forlorn anticipation).

    You jump down from your stool, quickly ducking around the kitchen counter to close the distance between your souls.

    “Hey,” you wedge yourself between his body and the counter as Sehun sets down the knife. His now-free hand smooths down the plane of your back, both for his emotional comfort and yours, but also to make sure your shirt doesn’t billow out onto the raw meat. “Don’t you worry about that,” you reach up to grasp his soft cheeks in your palms. “You’ll get these moments back, in spades, and then some. Maybe I’ll have finally found a contractor I like to get the kitchen redone, and then we’ll have a new…” Your voice falters as you stare into the depths of his eyes. “…a new… all of this.”

    He nods against your fingertips, peach fuzz delighting your nerve endings. You can feel a bit of his daily stubble growing back, and it’s the sensation of touch that shoots a pang of misery into your stomach when you realize that you, too, will miss the blessing of proximity.

    Sehun stiffens against you, straightening his spine and adopting a look of determination across his gentle features. “O-kay!” He cheers with the energy of a little boy, voice coming out choppy and thrown to sound cute. He knows what his weapons are, and he knows every one of your soft spots. Bolstered by your encouragement, he shoos you out from beneath his frame and resumes his slicing with reinvigorated motivation. A part of you is happy to see his mood restored, but another part of you keenly feels the loss of warmth as you’re ushered back to the opposite end of the kitchen counter.

    “One giant pot of kimchi-jjim, coming right up!”  He pauses, then glances up at the clock. “I mean, in an hour!”

    “And that’s why we brought side dishes,” Kyungsoo’s wife laughs as she enters the kitchen, though the beautiful sound fades when she notices the strange, spacey look on your face. “I don’t think Kyungsoo will be happy to wait that long to eat after driving back from Porto’s.”

    You compose yourself, giving her a slight smile to thank her for jarring you from your reverie. “I told him to start earlier!,” you whine, throwing an arm around her shoulder and wandering towards the awaiting dinner table. Behind you, Sehun sticks his tongue out at your back — you don’t turn to look, but you expect he’s doing something of the sort, and your guess is precisely on the mark.

    ———————————— Early November 2020, Los Angeles, California

    You wake in your bed, goosebumps traveling up your arms before you grapple blindly for your robe. A strangled gasp forces its way from your throat, and you reach for your face — it feels like your fingers move in slow motion, and it takes you a length of time for you to register the moisture at your fingertips as tears. Nausea waves over you, fueled by a strange feeling you can only describe as a horrific manifestation of loss and longing. It’s not the most pleasant to be served dreams that are not fiction, but rather memory. The dark creature of worry that now lives inside you stirs awake, sending a surge of panic up your spine and making your mind for you. Something is going to go wrong, the creature whispers, you need to be there. Where? You ask it, but you know the answer already. Your fingers tap at a saved number on your phone you’ve never called; ‘emergencies only’ they’d told you when you noted the digits. Somehow, your body takes over while your mind whirls through every possible worst-case scenario. When your brain finally decides to release you from your prison of anxiety and communicates with your body once more, you look down to see your hands poised over a laptop keyboard, the screen opened to an emailed flight confirmation for a one-way ticket to Houston.

    Mid-November 2020, Mars, near Arsia Mons

    Sehun leans over the tiny brushed-metal basin that functions as his bathroom sink, observing himself in the semi-useful (read: useless) mirror that adorns the wall above it. It’s not a fantastic mirror, made of reflective, polished metal, rather than glass, but he appreciates the safety feature nonetheless.

    Lean, dry fingers tug against the skin on his face; one cheek, then the other. He’s mildly grateful he got laser hair removal right before entering pre-conditioning, as it’s saved his chin from developing too much of a space scruff. He turns one cheek towards the mirror — it’s sunken in; he’s gaunt, despite his best efforts to maintain his caloric regimen — something about Mars burns more of his energy than he realizes.

    He’d taken inventory as soon as the messages came in from Mission Control in early October; he had approximately 60 days of emergency food left after his primary rations would dry up by the end of October — this had been planned, as the SpaceX shipment of new equipment and supplies had been initially slated to land by mid-October at latest. With the change in trajectory, however, he would need to take the next two-odd weeks traveling to the new rendezvous point in Gale Crater, where he would set up base using the container from SpaceX as his new home. But to traverse the planet, he would need to cut down his rations by a considerable amount — the rover could only fit so much within it, and that was with leaving many samples behind in his lab.

    It was anything but ideal. The equipment chamber that would land on Mars was intended only for storage and science, not living. It would be approximately the same size as his current abode, but filled with nearly three times as much stuff — therefore less space for him to live. In the least, it had been prepared for suitless human occupation as a secondary research facility, and secondly as an precaution were he to be trapped in the research bunker during a dust storm with no time to reach his regular home base. If Sehun added that knowledge to the reality that he’d have to live in his RV-equivalent research vessel (the Tank, as he now preferred to call it), he had to surmise that he, in fact, was fucked.

    He turns his other cheek, furrowing his brows and glaring at the scowling face in the mirror. Sehun doesn’t like what he sees; who he sees. Whoever’s looking back at him is haggard, exhausted, and only a shell of the sprightly young spaceman who landed after a six-month ISS stint not three years before. But he doesn’t feel like the man in the mirror; he’s scared, yes, but this is his life’s work — his dream — his everything, except for you. The image in the mirror doesn’t match how he feels inside, and the sight shocks him every time he gazes into his own eyes. Sighing, he turns away from the mirror and slides the impossibly small door that leads to the bathroom as he exits it. Even he’s not sure how he’s survived this far with an economy-class airplane bathroom, but life will find a way, he supposes.

    Dim, yellowed lights glow from the corners of his base, following him through his path towards the main living space of his room — not that there’s anything accurate about the words “living” or “space” anymore. Boxes upon boxes are strewn apart the room, with a few atop his semi-comfortable cot. Some are labeled, some are not; the labeled ones will come with him in the Tank  and the rest will be left behind to erode, much like Chanyeol’s old base somewhere on the other side of the planet.

    It’s weird to be saying goodbye to his Martian home already, and even weirder because his mission isn’t over.

    He pauses. He has to survive the next month first -- maybe the mission isn’t the highest immediate priority, but it’s hard for him to feel that way even in the face of danger.

    Narrowed eyes gloss over lead-insulated duffel bags stuffed with hastily processed hard drives and triple-layered plastic bags filled with Martian terrain. The hard drives are less important than the specimens; the majority of what’s on the hard drives has been sent back to Earth in summaries.

    Sehun’s eyes scan to his cot next, where he observes piles of high-calorie, vacuum-sealed biscuits and the remainder of his meals, emergency and planned. He might have to tap into the emergency supply if the trip over to Gale Crater results in a few detours, but he’s semi-confident that the route he and NASA have planned will be straightforward.

    There’s a small part of him that’s excited for the adventure ahead, even though he knows his real mission is on pause, and that this excursion is not one for science. But he knows no other man has had the opportunity (or otherwise, morbid motivation) to traverse nearly 6000 kilometers on another planet. Sure, he won’t be spending most of that time gawking at Mars, but at the rather slow rate of 17km/h he expects to take navigating the Martian terrain, he knows he’ll have much to look at.

    “16 hours a day seems a bit optimistic,” Mission Control texts him, but Sehun manages to win over his superiors by mentioning that his original plan was to chunk each day into segments perforated by only two REM cycles. He’s not sure if they’re worried about a sleep-deprived astronaut destroying a billion-dollar investment by mistake, or if they’re worried about his health (probably both, he surmises), but Mission Control eventually comes around to his proposal of a 16-hour workday, driving nearly 300km/daily for the next three weeks.

    Perhaps it is optimistic. But that’s what Sehun is, because he’s too scared to find out what happens if he loses hope.

    ————————————————————————————————

    Mid-November 2020, Los Angeles, California

    “I’m going to Houston,” you announce to a room of shocked, pained faces — but everyone quickly settles their expressions into those of understanding. “Jongin, can you housesit?”

    His voice is tentative. “I can,” he says. “But are you sure you want to be there? We can help support you if you’re in L.A.” Next to Jongin, Junmyeon and his wife nod enthusiastically in agreement; his wife strokes the hair of their daughter in her lap, as their daughter hides away from the apparent stress on your face.

    “I know that,” you almost snap, but stop yourself right before and make sure to correct your tone. “But who’s going to support Sehun?” Your voice cracks against your will and you reach blindly for an ottoman to sit on. Jongin quickly reaches out to push one closer to you. He notices as you glance at Sehun’s jacket, still draped over the couch, though now arranged differently as you’ve been picking it up for comfort all week.

    You can’t support him from here. You can text him, of course, but you can’t sit idly by a console, waiting for confirmation of either triumph or failure, waiting for any sort of news from NASA or Sehun himself. No — you need to know what NASA knows in real-time, if only so you can stay strong for Sehun through the security of being armed with knowledge.

    You’re not sure, though, that the security will will really feel like it. What happens if Control bursts to life with alerts and lights ablaze, engineers fretting over a complication? What will you do when bad news comes to you faster than the information can be screened through your NASA liaison, when it comes raw and real and unscrubbed? Even Sehun can’t relay emergencies directly to you quickly enough; his data is only as good as what’s on-the-ground in front of him and what can make it all the way back to Earth. But NASA, with their birds-eye view, can figure out what’s happening at once, sans 8-minute delay, and for that reason alone you know you need to be at Mission Control.

    When the offer was extended to you days ago, you hadn’t hesitated to say yes. It was clear to you that sitting at home would be impossible until you knew Sehun was safe, and the opportunity to understand Sehun’s predicament directly was one you couldn’t miss.

    Your shoulders now fall as you tuck your arms into yourself and try to make yourself smaller. “I know —” your voice catches in your throat. “I know that it’ll be stressful. I know that… that I might learn the worst right as it happens. But I have to be there to understand what’s happening to him. I have to be able to talk to him about anything without having to wait for NASA to explain his situation to me.”

    The living room falls silent. The others all know what you mean. Kyungsoo’s partner gets up from her seat, placing her hands on your shoulders for a quick squeeze. They all understand that you have to go to Houston prepared to learn that Sehun might not have made it; that it may all come to an end while you are away from their care and their love.

    “Call us as soon as you need anything — no matter what, no matter when, okay?”

    You nod, clutching your arms to yourself tighter, and lean into your friends’ embrace.

    ——————————————

    Mid-to-Late November 2020, Mars, near Arsia Mons

    Loading equipment and rations into the Tank is no small feat, what with Mars’ unfortunate gravity and for the arduous, annoying effort of sanitizing in the airlock every ‘trip to the car.’ It’s the worst grocery run Sehun has ever been on, and he’s been to bulk goods warehouses with you — so it’s saying a lot.

    It takes him two days to get everything loaded and all remaining local data shipped off into the stars towards Earth, and it’s all rather anticlimactic in the end. There’s no real good-bye, no sign-off as he closes the airlock to his base from the outside for the last time. At best he gives it a bit of a salute before clambering up into the body of the Tank and pressurizing the cabin.

    He pulls off most of the protective suit; he only plans to wear it when he’s sitting in the cockpit under the windows where the Sun will inevitably get to him. But when he bunkers down in the back, two thick layers of protective walling deep, he has to make himself as compact as possible.

    He’s MacGyvered the fabric of his old cot across the top of a stack of his equipment; everything is secured into place with shelves bolted to the walls of his space RV-Jeep—thing so the Tank can maneuver around roadblocks or traverse steep inclines. It takes a bit of adjustment to get used to, but Sehun figures out the best way to clamber up to the faintly claustrophobic sleeping alcove he’s made for himself (stepping on the hard drive duffel bags seems to work better than the slippery boxes of MREs), and he straps himself in every night.

    The crawlspace isn’t much at all; only 24 inches in height, and only just long enough to fit his whole body, but it beats trying to sleep out in the driver’s seat, which doesn’t recline for safety and spatial reasons.

    He closes his eyes to thoughts of you every night, clutching that small square of fabric as his overtaxed, overstressed brain forces him to bed.

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020, Houston, Texas

    The first thing you notice about Mission Control are the tense jaws worn by every engineer you meet. It’s not a good sign, but you are somewhat comforted by the fact that everyone looks just as worried as you do. They get it, you think, they understand the gravity of this all. It’s not true, of course, because while they are just as invested in Sehun’s survival as you are, they are not nearly as invested in Sehun. To them, he is an important asset and colleague, perhaps the hope of space exploration at best. To you, he is your presently missing half. You know you can pick up the pieces of your shattered self eventually should he not return (you shudder at the mere thought), but it will be a long and arduous process that you’d rather not endure. Here you’re able to type directly into a terminal that sends messages to Sehun; the delay is more or less the same (being at Mission Control saves you a few milliseconds; transmitting his messages from Mission Control to your home computer is the trivial part of their journey), but something about being one fewer jumps away from him helps. A little. Not much, but it’s better than nothing. The fact that nobody offers you platitudes or empty comfort is also strangely nice — it feels like you’re all suffering together, your muscles all clenched in the same, tightly-wound anxiety. The problem with Mission Control is that this static, buzzing energy of tension permeates every corridor, every glance, every single action taken in the cavernous building. You know the feeling too well, and while its familiarity brings some satisfaction, you are all-too-aware that it’s the energy of a tipping point. At home, you are shielded from this livewire energy and separated from it by physical distance and a computer screen. But here you are a part of it, and your own nails-bitten-to-the-quick worry adds to the the aggregate concern. You and everyone else in the room have the same wishes: you hope that the invisible threshold is never crossed, that no more news pushes past that tipping point. Hope, you learn, is a fickle mistress. She prevents you from moving on, instead holding you to her breast and whispering small comforts until you are pulled into the purgatory of not knowing, but not ignoring. Sehun is slated to reach Gale Crater in two days; the shipment of supplies is in orbit and everything seems to be on track. It seems too good to be true, but you find yourself wishing and praying to the cosmos that you might be able to hold onto your hope. You struggle with your relationship with hope nonetheless; knowing that the more you have the more any bad news will hurt. But day after day (for a full two weeks) of no change in Mission Control’s frenetic, constant energy allows you to cultivate more hope — it’s dangerous, you know, but you think you might go insane without it. When the energy changes in a split second, you correct yourself — you think you were destined to lose your mind and sense of reality by holding onto false hopes. The room changes so quickly you don’t have time to understand what’s happening — there are sharp beeps and barks and loud shouts and flashing screens, flickering lights, mathematicians and physicists scrambling to their notepads and MacBooks to figure something out. But what, what? You cry out internally, because your scream in Mission Control would have gone unheard above the din anyway, but you cry out to anyone in the universe who will listen nonetheless. You need answers, answers that the engineers are still trying to suss out, and the wait is torture. At the edges of the room you clutch at the sides of your chair, trying to make sense of the calculations and images flashing on the many screens lining the far wall. Your ears try to block out the flurry of activity, but the roaring is too intense to screen out. A firm hand lands on your shoulder, and you recognize its owner as one of Sehun’s mission facilitators; the director is elsewhere, presumably leaning over a physicist’s screen trying to understand why the room is in a sudden panic. “It’s a lot of input in here,” the man says, voice gruff. His thick mustache barely moves as he speaks. “Come with me.” Your feet carry you, though every step makes you feel as though you are made of lead. He leads you to a relatively quiet conference room; you can still hear the shouts and beeps and keyboard clacks from the other side of the door, but it is thankfully muffled. The man strides across the room to fetch you a cup of hot water. “Please,” your voice comes out weaker than you’ve ever heard it. “What’s happened?” The facilitator meets your eyes, but his gaze is downcast. “We don’t know for sure yet,” he pauses. “But it looks like a large storm is approaching the proposed drop site — we’d been monitoring it, but something changed its path. It’s speeding towards Gale Crater now, instead of missing it by a few hundred kilometers, and we’ll lose contact with both Sehun and the shipment in the drop zone.” A lump conquers your throat and renders you speechless. Your eyes try to form tears, but you freeze in your seat instead. The facilitator takes one of your blinks as a question: what does that mean for Sehun? “It’s not looking too great,” he admits. “It’s not the worst storm we’ve noticed on the planet, so assuming nothing else goes wrong, the rocket should be able to land using completely local instructions, without contact with Mission Control.” “But?” Your voice cracks. “But it’s a big risk. There are no human pilots on board; there’s nobody to manually ensure that it lands correctly. If it weren’t a matter of rations or death, we might have been able to try it, but we need to make sure the food isn’t blown up upon impact. We won’t be able to tell where exactly it lands if it goes even minorly off-course, and we won’t be able to let Sehun know, either.” You open your mouth to ask another question, but the door slams open as a harried-looking engineer calls for the facilitator. She nods at you, waving at you both frantically. “You’re going to want to see this,” she says breathlessly, and then the doorway is clear. The facilitator is hot on her heels with you not far behind, and you rush back to the main control room.

    “Sir, we tried telling him that we can still attempt the drop-off; the math might work out, this storm doesn’t seem to have speeds high enough to really interfere with the thrusters—”

    A woman who looks infinitely more severe than the facilitator who comforted you snatches a clipboard from the claws of a nearby scientist. She flips through the equations and predictions hand-scrawled onto the sheets, knowing the chicken scratch was supported by complex mathematical models run through one of the more powerful supercomputers. Her lips purse, and she hands the clipboard back.

    “But?”

    The scientist points at the row of screens, where the upper right quadrant of screens has been programmed to blow up the size of Sehun’s messages.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: DO NOT DROP SHIPMENT OUT OF ORBIT

    “What the hell is he thinking?” The female director mutters under her breath, echoing the same sentiment that thunders internally between your ears. She quickly strides over to a terminal, its resident engineer immediately swiveling away in their chair to give the director space.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: NOT AN OPTION. ESTIMATED DURATION OF STORM 6 WEEKS; RATION CALCULATIONS BASED ON LAST REPORT INSUFFICIENT

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020 Mars, near Gale Crater

    Sehun glances behind him, then mutters a few disdainful curses into the void. “Like I don’t know that,” he glowers, his mind running through his ration inventory for the thousandth time that day.

    Food, unfortunately, has been almost all he’s been thinking about for weeks. Sure, he portioned out his remaining spare rations rather well, but the food he’s eating is not nearly enough to sustain a man as tall as him for long — even with how thin he’s become. But he grits his teeth, forcing himself to think about something else as he estimates the chances of death for either of his options.

    Attempt to land the shipment in a dust storm and it’s likely the food will be lost to the dunes forever, imploded upon impact. Keep it in the (lack of) atmosphere in orbit for a bit longer, and gamble for another chance at a viable landing — and eat one half less cracker a day, hoping that an opening appears. He chews at his inner lip, the action reminding him of gum and providing temporary relief from his hunger.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: RATIONS ADJUSTED; ENOUGH TO WAIT OUT STORM

    It’s a lie, of course. Approximately a month and a half of normally-portioned rations lay abandoned in his old basecamp; he could only bring enough for three weeks with him on the rover. He’d been stretching those portions as thinly as he could, but operating the vehicle and dealing with the stress of navigating uneven terrain prevented Sehun from eating only crumbs each day. He was somewhat grateful that the physical strain of donning his safety suit and brushing electromagnetic dust from the rover treads forced him to indulge in at least a few bites of food daily — meager bites were better than nothing. But every bite he took was another bite he wouldn’t have in the future. He pushes those thoughts away now; he knows you’re in Houston, watching his messages at the other end, and the last thing he wants is for you to understand the full truth of his situation. He’ll tell you someday, he thinks, later on when his feet are back on Californian soil and this ordeal is well behind him. But for now, he estimates he can — somehow — make his last two weeks’ worth of food last him 6. His meals will be on the order of two bites each, but.. it’s entirely possible. It’s at least something he can control, something he can estimate for himself. The viability of landing a very necessary shipment correctly in a dust storm is something else entirely. Not only can he not control it, but he knows exactly how bad things are. Unlike the unmanned Mars Rovers, his food cannot simply be dropped from the sky and padded with inflatables; the shipment is too heavy and he needs to live out of the container that the food will arrive in — a single dent might leave him truly for dead, and one bounce too hard might send all of his food flying, never to be found underneath a fresh layer of Martian dust. No — the shipment must be landed with fuel-intensive retro rockets, thrusters gently lowering the equipment. A dust storm would interfere with the rocket’s ability to communicate with Mission Control, jeopardizing the landing. Too risky, Sehun concludes. At least eating less per day isn’t as big of a gamble.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: FUEL RESERVES MAY NOT HOLD

    Irritated, Sehun holds back from sending a highly workplace-inappropriate retort. He knows the fuel situation isn’t great; the rocket spent nearly eight months traveling from Earth. Of course it’s in the last leg, using the last bit of estimated fuel, and that’s including contingency supplies and redundancies. But he’s down here and Mission Control is up there, teeming with a small swarm of the world’s best astrophysicists. It’s their job to calculate everything, and to make the fuel supply work. If the rocket is held in orbit at a good height, somewhere between the heights of the two Martian moons Deimos and Phobos, then perhaps enough fuel might be conserved to nudge the rocket out of orbit with minimal thrust, with plenty left over to land once the coast was clear. So he ignores this warning, hoping that the engineers scrambling around in Houston take the hint and figure it out.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: ESTIMATED CONTACT WITH STORM?

    He can imagine the director’s face now; her lips are probably pressed into a thin line, asshole clenched with the full force of bureaucratic panic, and the image makes him laugh despite his present situation.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: STORM TO ARRIVE AT GALE CRATER IN FOUR DAYS, CONTACT WITH ROVER IN FOUR TO SIX DAYS <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: LAND SHIPMENT AT FIRST OPPORTUNITY; SEND COORDINATES PROMPTLY

    Four days is not enough to outrun the storm, but it is enough to get Sehun situated better along Gale Crater such that any emergency trips he may need to make will require little to no energy, using Mars’ meager gravity to carry his science tank somewhat downhill.  He pores over the tiny terminal, sighing as he tries to adjust his tired bones and get more comfortable (he knows it’s futile; living out of this vehicle for the past few weeks on his solo trek across this lonelier planet has taught him that there is no such thing as comfort in a non-reclinable seat). I’ll just make it work, Sehun thinks. He sighs and glances back at his dwindling supply of food, his mind wandering to your homemade pasta and his mother’s incessant supply of kimchi. His stomach rumbles much in the same fashion it has been since he left home base and set off for Gale Crater. All things considered, he’s doing alright, he tells himself. And it’s true; he’s traveled farther in distance than any of the unmanned Rovers have simply because he doesn’t need individual instructions from Mission Control to move a few feet. He’s literally done what no man has done before, and — if he survives this ordeal — he might just get to brag about it someday. Sehun squares his shoulders and stretches his neck from side to side, preparing himself for another long, bumpy, and precarious ride across the Martian surface. He checks all of his equipment and types off a brief report to Houston. Then, before setting off, his fingers hover over the small terminal one last time. He doesn’t switch to the separate line this time, primarily because he’s tired and achey and his heart has endured enough stress this past day (hell, year) to last him a lifetime. His mind registers the notion that what he sends will be visible, blown up across several giant screens, in front of a room full of his colleagues.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: TELL MY WIFE I LOVE HER

    Maybe it sounds a bit like a goodbye. Maybe it’ll end up being one. Either way, Sehun musters up the last of his energy to send this message, then puts the terminal in low-power mode so he can continue towards Gale Crater.

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020, Houston, Texas

    Your hand flies to your mouth. Half the room turns to glance at you, a few scientists catching a glint of light bouncing from your engagement ring. You’re not his wife — not yet. Had he not flown such an incredible distance away from you, you might have been his wife by now, a year’s worth of wedding planning and cake tasting and seating arrangements behind you. But that was not the reality you lived in.

    His failure to address you correctly worries you and encourages you in one fell swoop; did he make the mistake because he’s hungry and delirious, possibly inches from death? Or was it intentional, a way of telling you what you mean to him, a way of conveying how he sees you and how you’ve kept him company in his isolation? Or — was this a cry for help, a glimpse into his fear?

    A thousand implications race through your mind and the weight of all of them, good and bad, pushes on your shoulders. Your legs give out, and someone has the sense to quickly roll a chair over for you to collapse into. Someone else rolls you towards a terminal.

    Every press of your finger against a key feels incredibly loud and impossibly long, but you manage to string together a coherent set of words.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT. I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU

    You’re not sure who you’re comforting at this point, but you figure that you both probably need it.

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020, Mars, Near Gale Crater

    Sehun doesn’t hesitate to kick the rover into drive (if he can even call its glacial pace that, he thinks wryly), setting off on the desert planet and knowing that he will be completely alone once more. But there’s something about the difference between sheltering in place (alone) and trying to inch along a foreign landscape in a tiny tin can (alone), and something else entirely about said tin can being mostly reliant on solar power. He doesn’t lie to himself by pretending that everything is alright. Sure, he’s only a a week and a half away from the new estimated dropsite. But he’s only a week and a half away in distance alone. If he reaches the dropsite but the equipment can’t land, he’s left for dead with a set of rations that he isn’t sure can last through a long storm. That’s even if he reaches the dropsite; driving in without Houston’s assistance with his geopositioning, he may veer off course under the dust cloud cover and end up kilometers away from where he needs to be — thus stretching out his return trip to the dropsite’s coordinates. The seat bounces him along, the rover jolting forward as uncomfortably as it has for the past few weeks. Every few days in his trip so far, he’s made it a point to actually step outside of his rover and stretch (well, as best as he can in the behemoth of a protective suit he has to wear for these excursions). Those few minutes alone, Sehun finds, are worth it — he does try to shift in his seat or stretch laterally in order to ‘prevent his ass from getting chair-sores’ as the rover traverses rocky terrain — but they are still not enough to make him feel reasonably pleased in his own body. Lost in his own thoughts and faced with his own potential doom, Sehun barely hears the beep of the console as the Tank takes him closer to the impending storm. He glances down quickly, not giving it much brainpower, and glances back through the front windows. His eyes listlessly scan the same red horizon he’s been staring at for months now, and his stomach twists with the anticipation of his chances of survival narrowing further. “What?” He freezes, a small processor deep in the recesses of his brain finally comprehending the message he received. Sehun almost brakes the rover right there, but he catches himself in time and lets the vehicle continue — thank goodness; energy is his only valuable resource right now and he cannot afford to waste any of it by losing velocity. But he clasps the console all the same, leaning over to squint at the lines of text on the screen. I’m right there with you. He squints again, thick brows furrowed in confusion, while his brain struggles to deduce the meaning behind this message. It was sent from Houston, under official correspondence. A quick scroll through the most recent, panicked exchanges from Control and they all read the same; engineers disagreeing with his judgment, worrying over every detail, then finally relenting to keep the shipment in orbit. None of the messages ever come from an individual. None of them ever extend moral support — only technical guidance. There can only be one logical reason behind this message: you’re at Houston, watching his messages get delivered to the array of screens in the control room. You have no reason to be there. What with the earthquake recovery efforts and Junmyeon’s house rebuild, you certainly have your hands full. Your computer has the messaging software and you can directly contact him whenever you want. The only reason you would possibly drop everything to be at NASA for would be to receive real-time updates on his situation, rather than status reports filtered through the policy and liaison teams who always — always! — leave out as many mission details as possible. You need to be where the science is, Sehun realizes, because the scientific data flowing into Houston is the only source of truth you can get about every technical detail of his mission. Being in Houston puts you as close to Sehun as you possibly can across time and space — all to make sure you can be informed of every piece of minutiae. It is the ultimate way to support him from your limited scope on Earth, by sharing in his journey with him, good or bad, and by accessing all the knowledge he has. Sehun’s fingers hover over the console, but he can’t find the words to return. His eyes fixate on his last message to Houston, and the two words he uses to describe you — his wife. Thoughts race through his head, all competing for the chance to be sent across the solar system to NASA’s satellites. He faces his mortality, knowing that the odds of him having enough food and water to keep him alive until the dust clears are gravely slim and possibly none. But your few words give him just the shred of motivation he needs to cling to a thin hope that his idea will work out. He can feel you with him, in him, flowing through his veins as the love of a lifetime. He promised you he would return. You responded by doing your best to be by his side.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: thank you

    Sehun raises his eyes back to the horizon. His belly feels full even though his last meal was two bites of an energy bar five hours ago. Maybe, just maybe, this all just might work out for him. ————————————————————————————————

    December 2, 2020, Houston, Texas Several dozen pairs of eyes bore into almost as many dozens of screens. Some screens are blue, some are black with smatterings of code, but the majority of them are coppery red. The reddish screens flicker every second, pixels updating in a gradient and always in the same order: top-down, one row at a time. The differences between the images are imperceptible. Data points from another planet trickle in from powerful telescopes, relaying that same 8-minute-behind information to the watchers in what feels like real-time. One screen is almost only partially filled with dirt-red. A portion of the screen contains shadowy pixels, a grayer hue interspersed with dark lines. When the images update, this part of the screen moves up, up, up, towards a watercolor swirl made of tiny lights. The room is mostly silent except for soft, concerned murmurs and whispers of calculations. It’s quiet because there is nothing else anyone can do. The greyish splotch marches closer and closer to the watercolored red with every new frame. A few pairs of eyes look anxiously up at the black screens, wondering if a line of text might appear — a message, a last rite, some sort of greeting before the dark blot disappears into brick red. But the blot only inches into the watercolor swirl, beginning to disappear on the screen. One of the black screens, which continuously populates itself with lines of greenish code, keeps displaying new log data. The messaging screens stay blank. As the last of the blot’s pixels fades into red, one pair of eyes cannot bear to watch the last dot of grey vanish. This pair casts downward, inspecting the neatly vacuumed carpet. The room loses its last few sounds when the screens show all-red. Some people bow their heads in hopeful prayers and sentiments. Others slink into their desks, dreading the waiting game of the next few weeks. One person turns away from the screens, exiting the room to find a space to be alone — as alone as the astronaut represented by the disappearing pixels.

    ————————————————————————————————

    January 18, 2021, Houston, Texas The only indication you have to know that you are somewhat keeping it together is the relatively cleanliness of your extended-stay hotel room. It’s been nearly two months now that you’ve been in Houston, save for a brief stint back in Los Angeles to listlessly celebrate the holidays with your friends and family. But as soon as the new year began, you immediately flew back, feeling incredibly uncomfortable in your own home and with festivities that you could barely enjoy. That being said, you realize that maybe your suite is only tidy because you occasionally allow housekeeping to do their good work. Tucked between the crisp sheets and with the air conditioner at a comfortable temperature, you drift into yet another night of dreamless sleep. You never wake up that rested these days even though your smartwatch says you’re getting enough REM cycles in — you can’t wake up rested when the night feels like the void and the days do too. But tonight you are rudely awakened by a commotion outside our suite; you blink blearily at the red digital readout of the alarm clock. It’s not a normal waking hour; it’s approximately 3AM, a mere ninety minutes after you finally fell asleep. The commotion continues for a bit longer. It’s not until someone yells your name (and other tenant down the hall yells at whoever is screaming at you) that you sit up, instantly alert from alarm. You realize that the banging sound is on your door. You quickly leap out of bed, throwing the provisioned robe around your form, and answer. Two terse-looking security guards and one frazzled engineer with deep purple beneath his eyes tighten their gazes at you. “Ma’am,” exhales the engineer. “We’ve heard from Mars.” You don’t say anything in response, turning on your heel and disappearing into the suite to grab clothes. There’s no time to change here; you shove items into a duffel and follow the two men and female engineer down to the garage where the nondescript black car waits for you (as it typically does, albeit at 7am most mornings). ——— In the car you try to glean more information from the frazzled engineer, but she passes out next to you in minutes to grab the smallest nap on the way to Mission Control. Every time the car brakes to flash credentials at whatever security outpost, you feel yourself getting more and more irritated. Mere minutes stand between you and vital information and the wait feels more like an eternity. ——— There is a lot of beeping. When you first stepped into Mission Control two months ago, you expected the energy to be frenetic, but this… this is different. There’s a sense of panic, one that unsettles you to your core, but something tells you that it’s not bad news, because nobody is looking at you and averting their gaze. In fact, nobody is noticing that you’ve arrived, which is saying a lot, because most days at least a few sympathetic glances are thrown your way. (At first, some engineers scoffed at your presence; a civilian? Given clearance and access to the finest secrets in space travel, simply because they were engaged to a spaceman? But after you disappear to a conference room for a few days to help orchestrate disaster relief and research efforts in the wake of the Los Angeles earthquake, a few engineers step forward to thank you for your work — particularly those with family living near CalTech. A simple Google would have probably helped prevent them from judging you as a misguided romantic, but you don’t hold this against them — if they’re to ensure the safety of your lover, you need them to be focused on him and not you). Today, nobody pays you any heed. If something bad had happened, you would have had a roomful of eyes on you, waiting for a leader to break the news to you. Instead, people run back and forth, pens behind ears and flying out of pockets, and you notice a cluster of scientists lugging around dusty cardboard boxes full of print binders. That’s… puzzling, to say the least. But nobody has time to spare to explain anything to you. You sit in the chair you usually occupy, out of the way but still involved. As you wait for someone to have the chance to breathe and talk to you, your eyes scan the wall of screens. The usual images are displayed: flickering images of Mars; one static profile of Sehun with his height, weight, and mission length listed out; dotted lines tracking as much of his rover journey as possible; meteorological reports and every possible bit of data that NASA would find relevant. Except today, one-third of the screens display something else; the feed is zoomed into a part of Mars that seems to be emerging from a dust cloud. A little blob of orange-white, next to a smaller blob of dark grey, flickers in and out as each image frame captures the dissipating storm. The blobs are not consistently visible. For some seconds the dust clears; for other minutes-long stretches of time, the burnt orange-red covers them. Your eyes scan the other screens in this cluster, until a pair of screens flash to black and are rebooted with terminal code. You shift your gaze to the group of scientists flipping madly through age-yellowed pages in thick, official-looking binders. An ancient device, presumably a decades-old hard drive, rests atop a cart with myriad frayed wires plugged into as many adapters, which are finally fed to one of the more modern desktops at Mission Control. Flicking your eyes back up to the booting screens, you catch a very familiar name, Boreal I, flashes the screen, before the terminal populates with lines of data. That’s… “Chanyeol Park’s mission,” says a gruff voice behind you. You jump, but quickly gather yourself and stand to greet the director. “The dust storm appears to be clearing up a bit earlier than anticipated. We started getting delayed information, at first it was one ping from the Rover’s computer, but we didn’t get much else. That woke us right up, but what happened minutes later was odd; we got a ping from Park’s base in Gale Crater. He shut everything down before his return trip, so there’s no reason for us to be getting feedback from the base when we haven’t in decades.” He raises his eyebrows at you, his mustache quirking. Clearly, he expects you to put two and two together. “Is he… Is it possible…?” “That Sehun somehow made it to Chanyeol’s base instead? That’s what we’re thinking. We didn’t anticipate this so we currently don’t have things set up to receive that data correctly, hence the —“ the director gestures at the pile of old cardboard boxes and archaic technology. “— archival knowledge. We’ll have more for you soon, but we’re tentatively taking this to be a good sign. The base was known to have a considerable runway of water and dry goods when we picked up Park, and we’ll be able to drop the new shipment out of orbit in a few days if the meteorological reports are to be believed.” You slump back into your chair, eyes transfixed — like all the others in the room — on the feedback coming in on the Boreal I screens. ——- At some point throughout the night, you’re handed cups of coffee that are quickly refilled. You head to the bathroom out of pure need at 7AM, but you go as quickly as possible so not to miss any potential news. Then, at 8:30AM, almost all of the screens (except those with crucial data) flip, creating a mosaic that builds a grainy image of your incredibly gaunt fiancé’s face. “Thought I’d send a video,” Sehun croaks. You can’t tell when it was recorded; you know he has video software at his fingertips but that he’s restricted to recording local logs to his on-premise hard drives rather than sending clips for real-time communication, so it’s odd for him to be showing his face. “This is old-ass technology; tell Loey Park he’s ancient!” You burst into laughter, a piercing sound amidst all the bated breath of NASA’s finest. Everyone turns to you, and only when someone hands you a tissue do you realize you’re crying. ——————————————————————————————

    December 24, 2020, Mars, Gale Crater It is… cold. So very cold. Colder than when you forget to flip the central heat on early enough for the decades-old boiler in his parents’ ski cabin in Canada to do its job correctly; colder than the most extreme wind chill Sehun has ever had the pleasure of experiencing in Chicago. He doesn’t bother to look at the external thermometer reading; he knows it’s some absurd, un-human-livable number. He’s just grateful that the rover is insulated well enough to keep him alive, though he sorely wishes he was in his old basecamp, which was insulated to keep him comfortable. He turns in his seat. It’s leaned as far is it will go, though it’s not completely flat. What he would give to not be sleeping in his mylar sleeping bag for another night — he’s so cold, down to his bones, and it’s not only because of the low temperature outside but because he imagines he’s barely skin and bones at this rate. Sehun is hungry, but if the dust storm is going to last three more weeks he cannot allow himself another bite or sip of water for the day. His ration is spent, and he must sleep (or rather, try his best to do so) before he can ‘unlock’ another day’s worth of almost-sustenance. He’s already had to re-size his portions ‘just in case’ things don’t work out, but the longer he goes on eating in this fashion, the more he is acutely aware that humans were not meant to subsist on crumbs per day. But it’s hard to sleep when he can feel his stomach eating itself from the inside out. So, on nights like this — which come frequently these days — he gives up. If he won’t sleep anyway, he’ll drive, in the efforts that he will reach the edge of the storm sooner rather than later, and get to his new shipment of equipment just in time for him to have a proper meal. So far, this has worked out. Not well, per se, but it has at least allowed him to cover more ground than he could if he did actually rest. The sleep deprivation is getting to him, of course, but after a few days he is usually so beat that even the hunger cannot keep him awake. He sleeps for 16 hours on this days, and he wryly calls his new schedule ‘intermittent sleeping’ as if it were an optional diet and not a survival mechanism. Today he sighs and inches the rover forward. Thankfully, it can run (poorly) by converting some of the static electricity that the dust brings to his vehicle. It’s not much, but it lets him get a few more feet each day from the diffuse, barely-there light that manages to eke down between clouds of dust. Without direct sunlight, he can’t send messages, but the little indirect light he does get is enough to support a little bit of travel each day. Sure, his rate is less than the 17 km/h he really wants, but since he can only estimate whether he’s even on track or not towards his destination from localized topographical readings and old-school, map-reading navigation, any movement is better than no progress. An hour later, he’s no less hungry. While he’s tired beyond all belief, he cannot compel himself to sleep, though he tries. Thankfully, he seems to be on a slight slope, with Mars’ barely-there gravity, it doesn’t send him careening down but at least burns somewhat less of his precious energy. Something beeps. That’s not a normal sound; Sehun has gotten very acquainted with how Mars moans and groans, and how his Tank communicates with him. Most beeps are quiet and routine; this one is not. It’s not an emergency alarm, at least, but it is not one he expects to hear. Sehun squints, looking at the various displays in front of him and trying to figure out which one is screaming at him. The low-energy radar beeps again, and he glances at it. As the needle sweeps over the stretch of terrain in front of him, a bright green dot appears at the edge of the detection range. Strange. There shouldn’t have been any big obstacles on the route he chose, based on the data he collected when he first plotted his path and still had some connectivity to NASA’s database. And the dust storm, while inconvenient, shouldn’t have been strong enough to lift large masses of rocks. He shivers, but continues driving the rover forward, and pointedly tries not to think about the granola bars behind him. Some delirious, hopeful part of him wonders if NASA ended up attempting the equipment drop and that the freshly-landed container is emitting a low signal — an oasis waiting for him in the blustery desert. As the dot gets closer, Sehun doesn’t see much. He has a reasonable visible range before him; it’s far shorter than the radar can detect, but he can at least see about 50 feet in front of him. Not clearly, of course; the dust makes the image a little difficult to make out, but as far as he can tell, the ‘road’ is clear. But when the radar’s dot passes into that 50-foot range, he sees an oddly rectangular-looking orange rock. Or rather… orange-white; it’s paler than its surroundings. He narrows his eyes more, trying to focus his pupils better — his nose scrunches and his brows deepen. It… sort of looks like a building. No. Sehun shakes his head, trying to clear his eyes. This must be a mirage; he’s imagined the world of Dune long enough and watched enough Mad Max films to understand that some things are things of fantasy. There are no buildings on Mars; no oases built by other travelers in this desert. This isn’t the Sahara; the only other building on this entire planet is the one he vacated hundreds of kilometers away. But the ‘building’ persists, getting bigger with every foot the rover slowly covers over the sand. It’s when the ‘building’ is 30 feet away that Sehun can make out some symbols amidst the whipping winds and stirring dust. There is one other building on Mars, discounting the corpses of Mars rovers past. When Sehun sees the navy blue curves of the NASA logo, he remembers that Chanyeol Park’s basecamp was near Gale Crater. His mind — half-lucid, half-not — recalls all of the research he’s done on the Boreal I mission since he was a little boy watching a documentary on it. Chanyeol’s mission went off without a hitch; supplies were overestimated and there should be (should being the operative phrase) be something for Sehun there — even if only shelter. He prays to whoever will listen that this is reality and not his starved body creating illusions, and pushes the Tank ever-forward. ———

    It takes some effort to scramble out of his lighter protective gear and into his Mars-walking suit, especially in the tight constraints of the rover’s cabin, but he’s done it so many times in the past few weeks to brush dust of off the windshield that it’s almost effortless for him in his excitement. Parking the rover by the side of the building he is now 90% convinced is real, Sehun trudges forward. The effort winds him almost at once; his physical decline accelerated over the past few days after he re-portioned his rations, and it shows. But hope, that dangerous thing, has Sehun gritting his teeth against the heaviness of his suit and weakness in his muscles. He sucks in as much oxygen as he can from the suit’s limited supply, needing every bit of energy his muscles can convert, and he slumps against the door when he reaches the base. If there’s one thing to be grateful for regarding the deep loneliness of being the single living being on the planet, it’s that there are no other beings that you require protection from. The camp has no passcode; no secretive locks to keep thieves and robbers at bay. No — the base has the same, albeit older, mechanism on its door, which Sehun operates with great exertion. Ten minutes later, after screwing the double-walled door shut behind him, figuring out the retro air supply mechanism, and making it past the airlock, Sehun takes off his helmet and gasps in a breath. He coughs at once; while the oxygen levels are now fine thanks to the basecamp’s filter, his presence has unsettled the thin (but present) layer of dust that covers Chanyeol’s base. It could be worse, Sehun thinks; without the airtightness, the base internals could be completely covered in Mars dust and not the regular build-up that occurs with human life. Sehun sweeps his flashlight right, then left, taking inventory of his surroundings. Light bounces off a marked box with cylinders resting atop it; he lunges forward to unscrew the cap of a cylinder. He gives the liquid inside one millisecond of a cursory glance to make sure it’s not any strange color, then immediately lifts the bottle to his lips. As the ice-cold water, still preserved after all these years,  slips past his throat, he groans, slumping to the ground and downing the rest of the bottle. His stomach protests at the sudden invasion of much more mass than it’s gotten accustomed to, and Sehun knows his stomach feels ill — but he, stomach aside, feels like a million bucks. It is much quieter inside the base than it is inside the rover. While the building feels like an icebox due to neglect, it’s already more comfortable than his past few weeks’ of accommodation. I’m alive, Sehun thinks, and this thought alone gives him the spring in his step to power up the rest of the unit’s battery. I’m going to make it! And just in time for Christmas. ——-

    Late February, 2021, Houston, Texas It takes a few days in mid-January for all of Sehun’s back-dated queue of messages to get to Mission Control; it comes in incomplete segments, interrupted by the still-dissipating traces of the dust cloud’s solar interference. Once Houston receives the last of his reports and both parties across space and time are finally on the same page, the full picture of Sehun’s survival become quite clear. There are some details you retroactively think you could have done without. For example, some of the engineers eventually force Sehun to go back and take inventory of the rations in his rover. While he would have had enough to make it out of the storm, he might not have been around long enough to wait for any delays in the new equipment drop. Medics make him take his vitals and send back as much data as possible; this takes quite a while to compile, but eventually he’s given a clean bill of health — though he’s also given a warning about his nutrition and a strict plan on how to begin rehabilitating his body after weeks of deprivation. You’re at Mission Control every day; especially now that Sehun’s started to send some other pre-recorded video reports from Loey Park’s old software. These are all technical, save for one video in which he asks if you’re still in Houston (you send a message to his rover’s computer, and he sends a paragraph that is partly an apology for being too busy with updating NASA to talk to you and partly an ode to how much he misses you). It’s understandable, though frustrating that he doesn’t use the video feed to communicate with you (the technology cannot be adjusted to open a private channel for Sehun to talk to you — while this is technically feasible, it is certainly not the best use of the engineers’ time or budget). You feed yourself on his reports. Being able to see him is a blessing in itself, and you will take whatever you are given. By early February, Sehun has sent over a list of his inventory at the Boreal camp, and a few cheeky messages about how disgusting forty-year-old hardtack is (though he tells Mission Control to thank Chanyeol for leaving behind so much honey). The new shipment is dropped out of orbit and landed successfully a few days after that, which gives his rover enough time to charge under direct sunlight to make the trip to the dropside. He sends another video after that, and while he still looks incredibly thin, the medical team seem to be satisfied with the color in his cheeks and the disappearing circles beneath his eyes. It will take him some more time to become slightly less skeletal, but the new shipment contains wet goods and proteins for him to fill up on. 

    <<< it was really weird to heat up the honey in an old cleaned-out tuna can. When I got to the Boreal camp it was rock-solid and I had to chip it off with a spoon, can you imagine? But the calories in the sugar helped a lot. I’m feeling a lot better now, I promise.

    He carefully decides not to tell you that he feels like death warmed up in messages he sends you. Word from him comes more frequently now, after the flurry of work he had to send to Houston. You can tell that he tries to keep the tone light and reminiscent of his usual jaunty self, but something itches at you. There’s something he’s hiding, you can feel it, but he gives off the stubborn air that he doesn’t want to be pressed on it. Even so, you match him, not wanting to bring up how close he was to not outliving the storm. It’s difficult, limiting your conversation, and sometimes you don’t know how to reply to him when you have very little to share about — but you try your best. There will be time for unpacking his experience, you think. For now, you are merely grateful for his safety.

    <<< the vent filtration system wasn’t as nice as mine, of course. Weird to be seeing 80s’ tech on another planet, lol. But I cut up some of the synthetic fabrics used to pack up the new shipment of supplies and taped it over the vents and things are a lot better. I can’t convert the supplies bunker into my main camp until I clear out all the supplies, which will take a few more days, but I at least sleep there now and it’s definitely nice and warm. Definitely don’t enjoy having to commute to the Boreal camp all the time to send videos, but  I’m permanently at the dropsite’s new camp now.
    >>> i hope the honey didn’t taste like tuna!
    <<< it didn’t! But I had tuna from the new shipment yesterday and it was glorious. Not as good as when you put tuna in kimchi-jjigae, but still.
    >>> I’m glad. Really, Sehun, I’m just glad you’re doing well.

    It takes him a day to respond to that, a bit longer than his other replies even with the delay.

    <<< I am too.

    His fingers hover over the keyboard; there’s so much he wants to convey, but the 8-12-minute loop prevents him from pressing down on more keys. Sehun wants to tell you that he kept re-sizing his rations and stretching them out for you; that he would never forgive himself from reneging on his promises. But he can’t possibly relay that information to you now. He can’t bring himself to share anything but a light, happy tone, even when it’s not how he’s been feeling since arriving at the Boreal I camp. There’s too much he’s learned; too much he realized was at risk when he set off to drive across Mars. He wants to share a world of knowledge, on suffering and love and loss and survival, but he has yet to understand it himself and knows he may end up saying something misinterpretable if he attempts to share his learnings with you now.

    ———

    Late December 2020 to Early January 2021, Mars, Boreal 1 Camp Sehun has perhaps the best Christmas of his entire life. No, that’s wrong; there have certainly been better Christmases, but this year he’s received the best gift — an extended lease on life, after thinking his lease was soon to run out. He lets himself celebrate during his first day at the Boreal I camp; he dines on a splendid feast of hardened honey he chisels chips out of and sucks on like a lozenge. As he scavenges the dimly lit room, he finds some extremely stale hardtack (as if hardtack weren’t a stale food to begin with) and a few vacuum-sealed bags of highly suspicious jerky. Thankfully, all of the food is surprisingly in good condition, if a bit dry — thanks to the airtightness of the chamber and the special Martian atmosphere being void of anything that could rot away at any nutrition. His stomach, unfortunately, has yet to adjust to increased portion sizes, but Sehun does feel physically better than he has for nearly two months now. After Christmas, he takes inventory of his surroundings. There’s not much else to do when he’s already collected plenty of rock samples on his road trip, and the dust storm is still a few weeks away from its estimated departure. Besides, he’s essentially in Loey Park’s Martian bedroom; for decades, Sehun has only seen dated pictures of this place and dreamed of it. He finds some old Polaroids that look like some of the famed photos that are branded into his memories — these were clearly the candids, or the failed attempts before Chanyeol selected his favorite items to bring back to Earth. Otherwise, the camp is relatively unremarkable. It’s not like Sehun’s base had an abundance of personal touches, either, but for some reason the camp feels a bit more ghostly than Sehun expected it to. Perhaps it’s that he feels Chanyeol’s presence here. There’s something about how items in the camp were initially discovered; Sehun remembers distinctly feeling like someone left in a hurry, ready to never return. And truly, Chanyeol would never return.  Boxes were left half-open, less important items stacked without precision, and his blanket still crumpled in a heap on his bed. All research items were taken back to Earth, of course, and Sehun notices an emptied part of a shelf where Chanyeol’s report binders would have sat. In wall compartment, Sehun finds binders full of unfilled sheets — the little dreamer inside him that longed to be a spaceman since childhood delights in the paper forms NASA created to help structure Chanyeol’s logging, and he stows away a few pages to keep for himself, maybe to frame in your home as a souvenir from the dream that start this all. But it’s right at the cusp of the new year when Sehun finds a worn journal in a half-empty trash can. He thanks his lucky stars it wasn’t discarded near any food waste but in the office area instead, in between crumpled sheets of mis-filled report pages and Polaroid photographs of the lens half-covered by a finger. Sehun is first drawn to the notebook because it’s in an odd place, and secondly because Professor Park had been so stoic, so adamantly private about his experience both to the public and to Sehun himself, that he was thrilled to come across what he thought might be the first Martian’s uncensored thoughts. This was the true goldmine — forget the red rocks stowed away in airtight capsules; this is what Sehun always wanted to know. The background story — the real experiences of Astronaut Chanyeol Park. He flips through the first few pages as a bedtime read, right before the clock strikes midnight on Earth and rings in 2021. Sehun remembers dashing out to his rover to wish you happy new year, knowing you wouldn’t receive his messages until well after the storm cleared and all of his outbox messages were finally sent. These pages are fairly boring in content, though still exciting to Sehun by virtue of being the first real logs of his favorite famous person. But since most of the scientific reports were documented in official binders — and since Sehun had already read most of those in the run-up to the Ares V mission, he didn’t find Chanyeol’s personal notes on ration maintenance all that enlightening. He dozes off to sleep easily, the journal tucked in his arms. Behind him, the duct-taped fabric around the air vents flutter gently. ———

    In the next few days of Earth’s 2021, Sehun gives himself a well-earned vacation and uses the journal as entertainment. Chanyeol’s next few pages document his phone calls back to Houston. (Sehun reads these pages in deep jealousy; he somewhat curses his youth and his upbringing in the texting era. How he wishes to receive voice or video footage from Earth — by that he means you, not so much Houston — but he cognitively understands that the amount of data required to send each frame of a video and bits of a voice feed would have made his work much more inefficient than it already was, on top of the information delay. It was certainly faster to read messages and process them than it was to wait for a whole voice message to load. To this day, he still wonders why NASA went with that method, but his history classes remind him that it was the golden era of television and assumptions about telecommunications had been vastly different than today. He is grateful for these learnings towards improved efficiency for his own mission — and truth be told, Sehun is much happier waiting mere minutes for more frequent communication than days or weeks for longer-form videos. It is much more pleasant being kept in the loop).  Chanyeol’s mission starts off more mundanely than the history books make it out to be; the elder spaceman diligently documented his calls with Control, noting his next tasks and objectives and writing down items he wished to bring up in his next meeting. There are some notes about the specimens Chanyeol collects; Sehun already knows the results by heart as he studied those samples himself in preparation for Ares V. Sehun is enamored with this glimpse back in time, and begins to see Mars through Chanyeol’s eyes through the pages of his log. But it’s the progression of Chanyeol’s entries that turns sour. What spans months of Chanyeol’s Martian experience takes mere days for Sehun to consume, and what he discovers is impossible for him to fully process within the span of a week. Sehun watches Chanyeol in his mind’s eye, puttering around this very same cabin, waiting for not only data to come in but to fully compile, frame-by-frame, for each few minutes of video exchange between himself and Houston. The journal details the first two calls to Houston, spread out over a few weeks, as taking nearly 5 hours to complete in sheer footage. Sehun has only seen some segments of these, NASA having filtered out filler content or lagged footage, and otherwise having given Sehun the written reports of the video. Sehun realizes that each 4.5-hour conversation must have taken days to relay back-and-forth, and it’s only when Sehun begins reading Chanyeol’s documentation of the latter two hours of these calls that Sehun realizes the calls were partly with a woman named Victoria. Within the first lines of Chanyeol’s first discussions with Victoria (following those first 2.5 hours of boring checks with Houston), it’s clear that Victoria is not a NASA engineer but rather a civilian woman. And not just any civilian woman, but — according to these pages — the love of Chanyeol’s life. Sehun smiles as he reads along; both Chanyeol and Victoria seem to be struggling with the distance, but they make do — even in their considerably more analog time. Sehun finds himself cheering for them, because he sees himself and you in their conversation, marred by the information delay, and he resists the temptation to flip to later pages to find out how things go. He pauses, puts the journal into his lap as he takes a swig of delicious water, then realizes that Professor Loey Park is unmarried and has never once mentioned a partner to Sehun. Uneasy, Sehun continues. He reads about Chanyeol’s next call, which goes about the same, but then checks the date and duration of the third call — it’s shorter, only about two hours, and mostly filled with technical reports. At the end of this journal entry, Chanyeol briefly mentions that Victoria was not in Houston for the call. Sehun swallows thickly, not really enjoying where this is all headed. But even as a feeling of discomfort settles in his still-unhappy stomach, he cannot peel his eyes away from the yellowed pages. The entries do not improve. Chanyeol documents more calls with Houston and still no word from this Victoria; the writing becomes more melancholy and longing. Sehun watches as Chanyeol makes excuses for Victoria; perhaps she was busy, perhaps something happened; perhaps the trips to Houston were getting expensive and she would return next month. The weeks drag on and turn into months, and the pen-strokes dig into the paper deeper, leaving textured imprints as the letters become darker, thicker, and Chanyeol clearly unhappier. Another call, a few months after the first two, is noted after Chanyeol describes a dream about his love and how deeply he misses her. This urges Sehun to painstakingly pull on his suit and head to the parked rover, if only to find the picture album in storage that you gave him before he departed. He takes a break from the journal for today, choosing instead to flip through images of you smiling up at him, and he goes to sleep with wet cheeks. But the journal calls, and Sehun is compelled by it. After another boring breakfast of jerky and honey (he skips the hardtack today), he reads on as Chanyeol’s words become nearly dissociative. He’s jarred by the acute descriptions of loneliness — not because he doesn’t understand them (Sehun, after all, has not spent a day outside of a dust storm not talking to you at least for one text), but because he does understand. Chanyeol documents, in excruciating detail, all of the fears Sehun pushed down deep inside himself when he committed to Ares V; the pages contain all of the worst-case what-ifs Sehun did not allow himself to entertain when he first met Loey Park at that coffee shop in Southern California. The words on these pages force Sehun to reckon with the desperation he felt in those few weeks, starving in his rover. Chanyeol’s very real, very tangible experience shake Sehun to his bones — without today’s technology, Sehun would be left much in the dark, alone on an entire planet, wondering when he might next hear from his own lady love. It is painfully clear to Sehun that Chanyeol is so broken, so hurt, and yet still so rawly in love. He’s not sure why he never gave this much thought before he left, but deep down he knows he avoided the possibility of things not working out. Sehun knows he relied on that optimism and his proposal — his promise to you — to give him strength to endure his mission. But as he watches Chanyeol devolve in ink and paper, Sehun wonders how close he himself might have been from losing it all. It’s when Chanyeol questions what the planet is taking from him that Sehun begins to feel sick to his stomach. Chanyeol wonders whether anyone would care if a dust storm resulted in the termination of his life; it’s clear by now that the abandonment, coupled with the duality of Martian sounds — howling or silence — is overtaking the first astronaut on the planet. The words describe a fever dream of wedding bands and clinked champagne glasses; they detail a mortgage downpayment Chanyeol put down before leaving for Mars, a secret he had been planning to reveal upon return. The following entry has angry pen strokes that wish for the paid-for house to be bulldozed, and Chanyeol laments before Sehun’s eyes that he has nobody to talk to — that the one person he wants so desperately to hear from has not shown up. In some of the later calls to Control, Sehun notices a line Chanyeol jots down. “I asked if she would possibly come this call,” Chanyeol writes. “They said to give up.” He writes about Control shaking their heads, giving him sympathetic frowns. What comes after this is alarming. Gone is the love; gone is the hurt that comes from your lover injuring your idea of them. Chanyeol’s words become angrier, completely void of the optimism that lifted his first few entries and the interviews he conducted before departing for the Red Planet. By the time the journal — and Chanyeol’s stint on Mars — ends, he is a bitter husk of his former self. It’s clear to Sehun that the Chanyeol that leaves Mars no longer believes in love; he believes the planet and its depraved isolation are the source and cause of his grief. There is nothing left but ire in the last written pages. Chanyeol hates this planet, Sehun feels, and suddenly Loey Park’s conversation over two cold glasses of iced coffee makes sense. Sehun closes the worn journal, feeling wholly stressed by the descent into fury he just witnessed. Things with you were different, right? You spoke to him every day he wasn’t obscured by a dust cloud; despite the little hiccup with his jealousy over Jongin, you were fine. He loved you, you loved him — yes, this experience (and particularly his last two months) were changing him, and presumably you were also being changed by your own troubles on Earth, but… you would be fine, right? The two of you would not face what Chanyeol and this Victoria did … right? How… close had or could the two of you been to the very same situation documented in those accursed pages?  You wouldn’t suddenly go radio silent on him for no reason. You would come back to him. And he would make every effort to be there for you. So there was nothing to worry about. Not at all. But a niggling seed of doubt plants itself into Sehun’s mind — and he thinks it was placed there by the extremity of his life-and-death excursion across Mars, then cultivated by Chanyeol’s desperate, powerful words.

    ——-

    Early March, 2021, Houston, Texas The dust settles fairly quickly in the wake of the successful shipment and Sehun’s miraculous survival. You eventually find enough comfort in his situation to return to Los Angeles — back to working at your job in-person, furthering the edges of seismology and patiently waiting for Sehun’s mission to end. Something, however, is off. You wouldn’t quite call him withdrawn, but he is certainly… quieter, or perhaps duller than he normally is. Sehun is a person who speaks in bright primary colors; the world, to him, has always been beautifully simple. Perhaps it’s the dreamer in him, or the hedonist, but few things have come to him through trial and tribulation — he’s certainly been privileged, but he’s also always been so self-assured and committed to his own goals that his confidence has rarely been shaken.

    You’ve tried to discuss his near-death excursion a few times, but Sehun changes the subject towards something lighter. Either he asks about your day, or riffs you for your taste in television, or otherwise showers upon you the attention he sorely wishes to give you in person.

    But you can feel him pulling away. It’s hard to say you’re not concerned; you are, surely, but you have learned to place the trust in him that he places in himself. He will come back to you, whole and ready, when it is the time to do so. You tell him as such, however, and he falls silent for almost a full twenty-four hour period. 

    >>> You give me too much credit.

    This message he sends is perplexing. It sounds nothing like the sometimes misguidedly confident man you fell in love with. This man sounds shy, broken, and doubtful.

    <<< I don’t. When have I ever? If anything I’m the one who has to put you in your place. >>> That you do. >>> I love you.

    He’s quiet again for almost a full day, but remembers to send a quick note to remind you not to forget your lunch on your way out to Pasadena. It’s odd. Usually he has a snappy quip at the ready, always sending you something a little spicy to keep you on your toes. You don’t much appreciate the terse responses, but in the least he is responsive. That day, you remember your lunch (a rather delicious one; Kyungsoo and his wife dropped off some containers of home-cooked food earlier that week). In your regular commute, you can’t help but wonder if Sehun is struggling alone, with nobody to talk to in real-time; nobody to reduce his isolation. You send him random updates throughout your day, to which he replies lightly or distractedly, and it’s perhaps the first time he’s ever sounded so disengaged with you outside of a fight.

    ---------------------------------------------------------- July 2021, Our Solar System

    >>> I can’t believe you made me read Dune and got me all fussed over Jongin joining our two-person interplanetary book club and DIDNT FINISH IT YOURSELF
    <<< in my defense, there are way more distractions on Earth than there are where you are, on planet with a population of one (1).
    >>> excuse me: population of two (2).
    <<< what, you and your right hand? <<< wait, NASA, don’t read that
    >>> too late. >>> thank you for helping me getting a masturbation joke into the annals of scientific history >>> I consider it to be a valuable contribution
    <<< if the historian team doesn’t slap [[REDACTED]] over everything we say anyway
    >>> wanna go for a redaction record?
    <<< no sexting.
    >>> I tried
    <<< at least Professor Park got some video action in. though from what I remember you telling me years ago, it was mostly official communications, right? I wonder if he was seeing anyone at the time. can’t imagine it would have been easy for them with the telecoms tech we had back then <<< Sehun? <<< I gotta run to work but I’ll check back in during lunch <<< lunch was good. busy collecting samples?
    >>> he had a partner
    <<< oh? good evening to you, too
    >>> her name was Victoria, and she abandoned him
    <<< she abandoned him? not the other way around with him, I dunno, leaving for a very precarious mission to a hostile planet? <<< sorry. guess you didn’t like that. just missing you a lot, and got snippy
    >>> it’s fine. it’s not you >>> I don’t know, there’s this journal
    <<< ah, the journal.
    >>> did I already mention it?
    <<< not quite. Professor Park dropped by the other day and asked me if you’d said anything to me about it. I met his partner as well! Made them a lovely dinner — rather, Julia helped out a lot while Chanyeol — he’s using that name again now! — asked about you <<< ah, he says not to put too much stock into the writings of a lonely man. why would he say that? what’s in the journal?
    >>> he said that? >>> ironic >>> anyway, don’t worry too much about it. it’s always weird reading someone else’s diary
    <<< oooo, a space diary!! <<< are you keeping one, too?
    >>> NASA, are you reading this? this is my diary
    <<< ha, ha. why do I have to co-author?
    >>> can’t sext alone.
    <<< is that what’s on your mind? you’ve been so busy with data analysis and that’s what you make it a point to tell me in 12-minute-delayed asynchronous messages?
    >>> consider it a blast from the e-mail past >>> I might start sending chain mail that you have to forward to another astronaut in five days or else you won’t get your crush to like you back
    <<< hm, last I checked he already did. proposed to me, too
    >>> sounds like a stand-up guy
    <<< he might be!
    >>> god. how much longer am I stuck here
    <<< oy. I thought you were loving it, eh spaceman? <<< but as if you didn’t remember, I’ve been scribbling all over our wall calendar with all the tentative dates your pick-up right’s supposed to show up. Thank god that launch was successful. Here’s hoping the pick-up isn’t terrible, either. <<< hold out just six more months until december, yeah?
    >>> I’ve been obsessively checking the launch pod here. No changes day in and day out. Not too many storms this season, either, so I think it’ll all be good. >>> I miss you. So incredibly much. I want to see you again and smell grass and eat burgers and pass out on our couch. >>> but I’m also scared
    <<< of what?
    >>> what if you don’t like me anymore?
    <<< of course I’ll still like you. Why wouldn’t I?
    >>> I dunno >>> I might be different >>> I am different. I feel different
    <<< I’d be more surprised if space didn’t change you, love
    >>> still.
    <<< I know you promised to return to me. I didn’t really get a chance to say this, but I promised to be there when you came back. <<< and you’re not the only one who keeps their promises.
    >>> I’ve been put in a very spacious solitary confinement for nearly three years if you count travel time. you sure you want to stick around for crazy?
    <<< you’ve always been crazy <<< you decided I was your girlfriend and then promptly told me you were going to go to mars, two months into freshman year <<< and guess what? you made it to mars. crazy would have been making a bunch of random shit up and never executing on any of them
    >>> are you sure?
    <<< where is this coming from? <<< sehun? <<< whatever it is, when you’re back, we’ll work it out. i promise.
    >>> whatever it takes? >>> even though I’ve left you alone for the past two years?
    <<< sure, you left me alone without YOUR presence. but I haven’t been alone. you’ve been here with me this whole time. and I’ve been with you, in the device you’re typing into right now. <<< besides, if I wanted to get revenge for you trapping me in the longest-distance relationship ever, there would be other methods
    >>> like???
    <<< hm <<< months of edging?
    >>> I’m never coming back, that sounds like torture. You’re a mean, mean woman
    <<< try living through that torture, then
    >>> :O >>> you??? You didn’t???
    <<< okay, half kidding. But it’s just not the same without you. <<< so you’d better return in one piece
    >>> see? sexting.
    <<< oops. hi, NASA :^)

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    December 25, 2021, Our Solar System

    The Guardian, UK Ares V Coverage: A Christmas Miracle! NASA Astronaut Successfully Departs Mars Thirty-four-year-old Sehun Oh of Los Angeles, California completed a series of maneuvers from the Martian surface towards the in-orbit shuttle. Over the coming weeks, the pilot and astronaut of the resoundingly successful Ares V mission will leave Martian orbit and set sail for Earth. The Ares V mission had been peppered with survival situations throughout the months Oh spent on-planet. In a feat of self-preservation, Oh traversed over 2000km in the span of a few weeks into a large Martian dust storm, all to align with a shipment of much-needed rations. With the world holding its bated breath, Oh was revealed to have come upon Chanyeol Park’s 1986 Boreal I mission basecamp, which provided vital supplies like water and sustenance to tide him over until the rendezvous. Prior to ascent, Oh sent a few final messages to NASA, cheekily mentioning his rendezvous with the ruler of his Zodiac sign — a message that will surely perplex the definition of astrology and astronomy on social media in its wake — including a few words for the press. For the Guardian, he exclusively reports: “Mars has been nothing but a harrowing trial of my fortitude — both physical and mental. Would I recommend it for aspiring astronauts? Yes, but with company.” Oh is expected to enter the atmosphere in mid-July of next year, after which he will descend into the Atlantic. He will then then spend approximately three months of rehabilitation and monitoring at the recently-renamed Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

    ——————

    July 28, 2022, Florida, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

    Sehun has never slept quite so soundly as he does in the first few weeks after his arrival back on Earth. He’s awake for perhaps four to eight hours a day; these hours are mostly filled with a team of medics and researchers poking and prodding every inch of him. Loey Park — or Chanyeol again, Sehun guesses -- warned him about this, but Sehun finds he doesn’t much mind. He doesn’t remember much of it, anyway — he passes through a fugue state, obeying commands when prompted and only having enough mental strength to remind someone to give him a phone so he can call you and hear your voice for the first time in almost three years. He cries when he does, and he hears you sobbing the other end (he thinks he hears Jongin trying to comfort you, but he’s far too tired to be truly miffed that Jongin’s there holding you and he isn’t). The fifteen-minute call leaves him wrung out and miserable in its wake — but even from those few minutes he knows he is far from ready to face you for real. Some days, he’s asked to record some footage for NASA’s historical documents — other days, his directors tell him about his press schedule (all over Zoom; he’s still quarantined for now, and all visits from scientific personnel occur in hazmat suits).

    Other days, he undergoes a batter of tests and biopsies that leave him sore and fatigued. This, he suspects, contributes to his deep sleep. But when the whirlwind of the short day is done and the medics can sense his energy fading, he dumps himself back into his sterile bed in an observation room and is forced to confront his swirling thoughts.

    For the past year, he’s been unable to get the pace of Chanyeol’s journal and descent into furor out of his head. Your texting helped distract him while he was still on Mars, and he spent most of the journey back home in the same induced coma that makes the past year feel more like six months, but now that he is back on real soil with a body that feels alien on this terrain, the doubts planted in his mind begin to fester. Maybe it’s because his acclimatization isn’t going as smoothly as he wants it to (he has acquired a new habit of vomiting every morning when he gets up from bed; they refuse to give him any medications that aren’t life-saving until he has more of a bearing of Earth living). Maybe it’s because a few months seems like an eternity more to wait when he longs to go back to you — but maybe it’s because he’s also not sure if he can even go to you without completely destroying your relationship. He’s not sure if he’s ready, and he hates this feeling of hesitation that he has never once felt before this off-world excursion. It’s the dichotomy between his deepest wants and his deepest fears that keep him rooted to the spot, stuck in the limbo of wanting to throw himself into your open arms and wanting to hide away for your protection.

    He doesn’t recognize himself when he looks in the dull mirror of his confinement chamber, and even less so when they give him an access card with his NASA employee photograph on it (taken days before his departure) for him to wander around the quarantine facility for brief outdoor walks.  How can he think to go to you when he hasn’t the faintest clue who he is now — and who you might have become?

    —————— —————— —————— —————— 

    October 14, 2022, Florida, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

    Chanyeol eyes the handsome young astronaut in his early thirties with a softened gaze of understanding. Across from him in a very familiar and still-dated quarantine facility sits the only human alive who understands even the smallest portion of his plight, of his past, of a Chanyeol who once was.

    He’s changed now, Chanyeol is, thanks to the love Julia gives him. He lives now as Chanyeol Park once more, former astronaut, no longer needing to hide it. In part it’s because he’s no longer the only one, and in part it’s because he now — finally — understands that Sehun’s 2018 optimism was, perhaps, not misplaced.

    On the contrary, Sehun watches the lines in Chanyeols face, notices how much more relaxed he is, how much less hardened he is. Sehun can tell his own face carries a few new wrinkles and a wearier expression than a returned spaceman probably ought to have.

    Chanyeol is the first person to greet him outside of the usual NASA staff, and the first person allowed beyond most of the safety enclosures that keep Sehun quarantined as he adjusts to Earth and Earth adjusts to him. In part it’s because Chanyeol has walked those shoes before, has gone through this quarantine and received a full bill of health after months of rehabilitation, but another part of it is that NASA is curious about the long-term effects of the Martian experience and simply want to know if the two men might react to each other in some extraterrestrial way. (They don’t). But it’s mainly because Chanyeol is the first person Sehun requests to talk to on his own volition — not you. His directors exchange strained glances when he makes this request, having already told Sehun that both you and Chanyeol have been in Florida for a few days now, waiting for Sehun to be  cleared for contact with other human beings and moved to Houston for the last leg of his rehabilitation tour. Chanyeol doesn’t question Sehun’s request, though he silently commends the understanding he sees behind the hurt in your irises when you watch him leave the hotel for the Space Force Station. (Julia, Chanyeol’s brilliant partner, takes you into their suite for a bit of tea and her company as a distraction).

    Sehun thinks he’s ready to meet someone from outside the NASA bubble. He thinks it’ll be an interesting conversation with Chanyeol — a trading of notes, an inquiry into a mentor’s mind, a sharing of secrets between the only two men in the world who know what it’s like to live on another one. And yet the experience of sitting across from his senior, mirrored so carefully against their first meeting, transcends human understanding. Sehun comes to understand this feeling in his stomach as fate; he’s felt it only a handful of times before, one instance being the time he stood in a dorm building elevator, shoulder-to-shoulder to his still-future wife.

    “You survived,” Chanyeol comments gruffly, but the roughness to his voice comes only from natural raspiness and not from his mood.

    Sehun nods. Behind his lips are a multitude of questions and comments but his mind has not made up which should emerge first. What about Victoria? What about the seething, white-hot anger that lifted from those penned sheets? What about all the warnings Chanyeol gave him before left — what about the way he, Sehun, has changed in irrevocable ways? What about the fact that both of them were more likely to die than to live, never to return to their loved ones or their former lives?

    “How—” he starts, then stops.

    “You—” he tries again.

    “You were right all along,” Chanyeol finally says, uncrossing his arms so he can lean over and rest his elbows over his knees. “About Mars being worth it. For yourself, at least, and for science, but also for your pigheaded desire to hold onto hope.”

    Sehun swallows. That’s not at all what he expected the great Chanyeol Park to say, especially after reading the former astronaut’s words from nearly forty years ago. He knows just how thin the ice he tread on was, how he was inches away from losing it all: his life, his mission, and you. He knows now why Chanyeol only gave him warnings and never gave him reason to hope; he understands that love doesn’t hold on by chance but by effort instead.

    “How?” He says at last, this time ending his sentence there. The rest doesn’t need to be spoken.

    “Just because my mission failed, doesn’t mean all of them will. Isn’t that what you wanted to tell me when we first met?” Chanyeol’s full lips quirk to the side, hiding a smile the older man wishes to suppress.

    “Your mission didn’t fail,” Sehun bites out. “You came back, just like I did. But everything else went to shit for you.”

    Chanyeol merely raises an eyebrow. “What do you want me to say? Yeah, that all happened. I’m not proud of how I handled it and still not terribly pleased with the outcome I endured at the time. But what have you chosen to learn from my past?” He knows from one look into Sehun’s tired eyes that the younger man is haunted by the intensity of his own desolation — while Chanyeol doesn’t regret the truth of his words for who he had been back then, he does regret the near-scaremongering he gave the kid when Sehun first came to him with questions on the Boreal I mission. The younger astronaut, while triumphant in the pursuit of science, seems truly afraid that he might still lose the love he so confidently clung to years before.

    Sehun bites his lip, frustrated, and looks to the side. How does he explain that he’s scared of returning to you, knowing he’s changed and so have you, that he’s shaken by Chanyeol’s experience? He’d always felt that people always have something to learn from others, but this is one lesson he thinks he could have done without. And yet the truth of knowing how delicate all good things are is better than ignorance. But how can he face you, when his mind is awake with worries and echoes of Chanyeol’s haunted past? He knows your relationship didn’t grow as much as it should have while he was away; it didn’t deteriorate, and it withstood its challenges, but it was put in maintenance mode. How can he be ready to begin developing that love again when he now knows how fragile a relationship with an astronaut can be, especially when one partner is tested with survival against all odds?

    Chanyeol allows his groupie to simmer in his thoughts for a few silent minutes, before sighing and stretching in his uncomfortable metal seat.

    “Look. You made it across space and back, across half the goddamned Red Planet and back. Wasn’t it you who looked me square in the eye and told me another Mars mission could be done? Wasn’t it you who told me it was worth it at all costs? Now that I’ve been somewhat convinced, you’re suddenly shying away from all that you’ve accomplished?” Chanyeol lets out a harsh scoff. “What a disservice to your girl.”

    Sehun’s eyes flick up at that, a murderous glare peeping out from beneath his expressive brows. Laughter bubbles from Chanyeol’s chest.

    “There we go. That’s the drive that brought you home, kid. Back to Earth, back from the brink of starvation. Against all odds, just like you were adamant was gonna happen. You gonna waste that by drowning in the ghosts of my past?”

    “That’s not fair and you know it,” Sehun barks, voice clearly warning the older man away from pushing too many buttons. “I just—” He pauses. “I just mean that… I get it. We weren’t guaranteed to stay together through the mission, even with advanced communication technologies. If even a few more things went wrong, my future could have been much the same: pointless—”

    “That’s where you’re wrong,” Chanyeol interjects. He shoves his hands into his pockets, pads of his fingers brushing over his worn leather wallet where he has tickets from his last date with Julia tucked away. “I thought it was pointless, especially after I came home to find the house empty and Victoria mothering some other person’s child at a completely different address. But it wasn’t. It took your mission, time, and Julia to help me realize that. Don’t make my mistakes, especially when you’ve been given the benefit of modern technology to keep your love alive.”

    Silence settles over the two men, save for the faint hum of equipment somewhere deep in the facility.

    “But how do I move forward?” When Sehun speaks up next, his voice is barely a whisper.

    Chanyeol grins at that, reaching forward to slap the younger astronaut across the arm, hard. It’s the first human touch Sehun has had since leaving Earth that hasn’t been a probing or a prodding for educational purposes. (Sehun yelps, his much-weakened muscles still on their way to full recovery). “One small step for mankind at a time, son. One step at a time, until you’re back home.”

    ——————————————————————————

    Chanyeol returns to the hotel, his face expressionless but his footsteps light. Julia quickly rises to greet him, tugging towards where you had been having a minor nervous breakdown over tea. You immediately begin asking questions, but Chanyeol closes his eyes and puts his hands up for you to pause.

    “He’s okay,” Chanyeol tells you. “But I imagine he needs to talk to you soon.” Your brow furrows in worry as your phone blares to life. The caller ID reads the local liaison’s number, and you bid the couple good night before disappearing back into your room.

    After you disappear, Julia turns to Chanyeol, curious. He only lets out a bark of laughter, then reaches for her waist and pulls her tight into his side. “They’ll be fine,” he says without doubt. “They’ll get there. In time.”

    “Just like you did,” she replies warmly as she spreads her fingers across his chest and gives him two quick pats.

    “Just like I did,” Chanyeol repeats in mild wonder, before leaning down to press a kiss into her hair.

    —————————————————————————

    “I think you should fly back home.”

    You stare at the image on your laptop screen, so caught off guard by his words that they don’t register. Your heartbeat thunders in your ears from the adrenaline rushing in your veins from the thought that Sehun just had his first in-person visit from someone outside of the quarantine team, so it takes you a minute to understand what the hell Sehun just said. You still don’t get why he’s Zooming you instead of getting the NASA folks to let you see him through Plexiglass or something — anything — but the call notification came faster than you could even come up with questions to ask Chanyeol about his talk with Sehun, and the rush back to your hotel room for some privacy had been even more frantic.

    “Sehun, I missed you so much—” His words form in your brain mid-sentence. “Wait, what?”

    He tucks his lips into a tight line, then sighs, shoulders slumping. “Don’t stay at the hotel too long and just head home.”

    “Sehun, why? What? You’ve just been cleared for visitations. I’m okay seeing you behind barriers, that’s totally fine, don’t worry!” You’re too shocked to have any other emotion other than panic. “I took time off in case there were other precautions we needed to wait for.”

    “I need more time, babe,” he says, and it’s then that you notice how weary he sounds.

    Your face falls. He starts, body lurching forward and hand shaking right in front of the camera in a fuss.

    “No — wait — don’t get me wrong, I want nothing more than to see you,” he admits hastily. “God, what I wouldn’t give to have you in my arms and the scent of your shampoo in my nose. I haven’t held you close in so long—” his voice cracks. “Haven’t heard your voice live and in person, unfiltered through technology; haven’t seen you, felt you, touched you—” you feel your own face heating up at the need apparent in his voice. “But… I can’t.”

    Your breath keeps itself in your throat, preventing exhales or inhales. You don’t like how his voice breaks in agony.

    “You can’t what?” You ask tentatively, wishing you could reach through the screen and cup his cheek in your hands, ironing the tension in his jaw away. “I just can’t,” he lifts his arms lamely, waving them in the air pointlessly. “I am not myself and I won’t face you until I’m whole again.”

    “Sehun, what—” You’d pick up the pieces of him if that’s what it took — you never expected him to come back unchanged. “I can handle it!”

    “But I can’t,” he croaks, and it’s then that you notice light bouncing off the tears staining his cheeks. “I need to process—” he waves his arms again. “Everything. There’s so much I learned, so much I still don’t understand, and until I can face you the way I want, I can’t come back home. I need this. Please.”

    You close your mouth, heart breaking at the worry evident in Sehun’s usually cheerful timbre, but you know you can’t stop him once his mind is made. He’d seemed so upbeat in those messages leading up to his return trip, even if there were only a few exchanges per day. But you have no idea what’s gone on in his mind during the entire duration of the trip; without real-time communication and hard work, it would be impossible.

    “It’s not my decision to make, Sehun,” you hear yourself saying, but the words fall on your ears strangely, as if you’re underwater. You want to see him as soon as he’s cleared; there’s nothing you’ve wished for since he left in that first rocket. But you want him to feel fully actualized when you finally meet again — so that’s what leaves your lips even as your heart longs to beg him to allow you in. “I don’t understand, to be clear,” you warn. “But we’ve come this far, what’s a bit longer, right?” You give a weak smile; you’re aware your voice affirms your lack of strength, and your body has run out of the energy and adrenaline that came from the knowledge that Sehun was home. Almost. 

    Sehun hangs his head. “I’m sorry. I just don’t want you to see me until I’m ready. I want to come home to you, not as a weak invalid with my mind still haunted by Mars, but as the man you deserve. In sound mind and body.” “Sehun,” you sigh. “You are more than complete and deserving. No matter what.”

    He swallows thickly. He wishes he could feel that way, but he knows he needs this for himself.

    Neither of you say anything, but your eyes roam the computerized images of each other with great appetite, committing each new detail to memory. Your hair is shorter; Sehun swears he can see the fuzzy growth of the side-shave you mentioned getting months ago when the heat from the Southern Californian summer became too much. Sehun is gaunt and frail-looking, an aesthetic you haven’t quite seen since you met him at eighteen, but he’s still him albeit a bit worse for wear. His hand absently raises to rub at the tears forming in his eyes; to you, he looks like a gaunter version of his teenage self who cried at the saddest movies or when he felt he hurt you too much in a fight. Your heart sings to him, hammering in your chest and fighting back tears of your own as you focus on what matters now. Most importantly, he’s home, on a local internet connection — he’s no longer a series of photographs and memories tied to an occasional text from a faraway planet.

    “Please wait for me,” Sehun suddenly says, voice small and worried, even though you’d just resignedly agreed to give him the time he needed. Did he think you’d refuse? Did he think you’d be unwilling, or perhaps unable to see the future months through?

    “Is that even a question?” The question comes out without malice, and you lift your hand for him to see the ring he gave you mere hours before takeoff so many moons ago. “I’ve got a wedding to plan, and I don’t plan on seeing venues without my fiance,” you chuckle, and Sehun smiles.

    “I’ll look forward to my suit fitting, then,” he says softly. He whispers an ‘I love you,’ looks directly into the camera at you, and logs off before you can reply.

    —————— —————— —————— ——————

    Early December, 2022, Houston, Texas

    Once freed from physical quarantine and now entitled to go where he pleases, Sehun opts to go to Houston. This puzzles his higher-ups, who thought he’d have raced back to Los Angeles instead, but word gets around that he wanted (needed) more time to process his experience.

    There’s a strange hush that follows him around Mission Control — a sort of awe at his feat. He’s not sure why that is, because Chanyeol technically did it first, but then he remembers just how poorly Chanyeol reacted to his own return to Earth. Right. Everyone probably expected someone withdrawn and unhinged, angry with the world and with the cosmos. Well, Sehun can’t blame them. He is a little quieter than all of them remember; before liftoff and while he had been training and educating for his mission, he had always been one of the first to tease his team or beg for free coffee with a pout on his lips and a light breeze in his heart.

    He checks himself into a short-stay rental not unlike the one you booked over a year ago. He can afford a suite, but keeps it simple.

    By day he sits in the library on-campus, poring over the yellowed pages of the Boreal I mission documents or at his laptop, reviewing notes from the Houston side of Ares V. It’s a bit jarring to see his experiences reported in such a clinical fashion. Sure, he submitted his own reports in a dry manner, but he was the one out there in the howling winds and extreme temperatures — it wasn’t just lines of facts in a database, it was a real lived experience that tested him emotionally and spiritually.

    It’s nice, though, to be able to socialize with the people who made his trip to Mars a reality. He gets to thank them in person and be regaled with stories of them panicking over his survival road trip — naturally, he’s asked to recount his own side to several different groups. (One time, a group of Texan kindergartners are invited to the Space Center. A teacher records his tale on an iPhone, and the video quickly goes viral on YouTube. Sehun later learns that the ad money was used to fund a new STEM program for the kids, and he can feel the clutch of fear pried around his heart start to lose its grip).

    He makes it a point to video-call you at least once every two weeks during his stay in Houston, but something else he tries is sending you snail mail. It’s odd; he’s got his phone back and could text you at his every whim. But Sehun wants to overwrite the images of Chanyeol’s dark, angry ink in his mind, so he writes with a simple blue ballpoint and diligently goes to the post post office every two business days in order to send you his letters.

    To his delight, you write back, in variable colors of ink (at his request). With every exchange, with the responses Chanyeol never got back, Sehun begins to forget the lines he once memorized from that angry journal, until only a faint image of black ink against beige paper bound in a notebook remains.

    In the evenings, he reads voraciously, pointedly avoiding any technical sources and instead purchasing book after book on introspection, self-discovery, survival against the odds, and spirituality. He devours the Talmud, contemplates the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, and gorges himself on shorter pieces on superhuman feats by determined people.

    A few evenings (and some mornings), he puts himself through a punishing gym regimen that he absolutely hates. It’s strange to him, because he used to pride himself on his good looks (a point of humility you’ve always told him he needs to learn) and stature. The first weeks are barely any better than the physical therapy he underwent in Florida, but as he pushes himself to the brink and begins to eat better (this is much more entertaining — and delicious), he feels his physical strength begin to return. He glances down at his ID badge with less dysphoria these days.

    On weekends, he indulges in vintage car rentals and drives to the coast. In this reflective period, he reacquaints himself with the sensations of this planet: of the air, of the land, of the ocean, of the sand. He rebuilds his understanding of the strength of humanity and the power of the mind as the ringing of Martian winds fades from his ears.

    But it’s the nights that trouble him most, even has he makes marked progress and settles his heart. At night, he thinks of you, missing your form by his side. He can’t remember what that feels like; he thinks he lost those memories on his trek across the barren red wasteland during his descent into starved delirium. He thinks back to those lonely nights on his cot, soothing himself with mental images of you beside him, beneath him, encompassing him. It frustrates him that he can’t remember. He’s not once forgotten your face thanks to his photographs, and upon arrival he instantly re-memorized your voice. As the weeks go on and he feels his strength rebuilding, he feels this frustration building back into a desire that supersedes his doubts and fears.

    He’s almost there. He knows he is. And he says as much in his more recent letters — going so far as to give you a date range to look forward to, and mailing you a printout of plane tickets: one-way, Houston to Los Angeles. ——————————————————————————

    December 23, 2022, Southern California, Los Angeles International Airport

    Your gaze bores into the tile floor of a very familiar place. Not four years ago, you were standing right here, shifting your weight nervously between your feet, waiting for a certain man to return from a trip to space.

    That trip had been much shorter, and you felt much younger then.

    This time, the airport is even more crowded than usual. You’re only safe from jostling thanks to NASA-hired security guards who keep Chanyeol (and you, by proxy) sheltered from the rather large throng of fans gathered to cheer Sehun Oh on his return to normal society. You haven’t the faintest idea how people got his flight information — the way the crowd acts, you’d think he was a Hollywood celebrity or something. But you suppose that some people are here for Chanyeol, too. It’s just as well that the only to men to have made it to Mars and lived to tell the tale are good-looking, as well.

    Julia squeezes your arm in comfort, and you place your fingers over hers gratefully. Your heart thunders in your chest with every slide of those doors; your eyes sweep over every person coming through.

    After nearly half an hour, you begin to fidget more and avert your eyes back down to the tile once more. The tile is safe. The tile doesn’t get your heart rate up the way that strangers passing through the Arrivals door do. The tile is definitely not Sehun and does not carry the possibility of ever being Sehun.

    You only get to stare at the tile for a few more seconds.

    “Hey, look.”  Chanyeol nudges you, voice tight. Your eyes follow where he points at the arrivals coming through the sliding doors. At the end of the hallway, you see a tall, sturdy-looking man with perfectly coiffed hair striding up the ramp, a small weekender bag in one hand, a boxy shopping bag in the other, and nothing else. Guess he didn’t have enough interplanetary possessions to warrant a whole suitcase.

    Your heart leaps into your throat. The air feels thin and your ears feel filled with cotton; you can’t hear the wild screams that erupt behind you that well. You gasp for your breath, trying desperately to refill your lungs as your chest tightens. Every step he takes towards you largens the image of him before your eyes; it’s hard for your brain to reconcile the people in front of you with reality. For so long, he has only been a few pixels programmed to replicate the curves of his face, or words on a screen, or paragraphs on a sheet of paper. He cannot be reality. He cannot be home. And yet you have yearned for nothing else since he left.

    You swallow thickly, the motions of your throat loud in your ears. The professor clears his throat beside you and nudges you again. Momentum propels you one step forward, but you don’t notice — everything in the room except the man before you faded away as soon as the doors opened. Nothing else exists on this astral plane except your astronaut. The bouquet you’d thought to bring Sehun drops to the waxy tile floor, bouncing once before Chanyeol tries to catch it. You try to run forward, but your legs refuse to obey. They manage one shaky step forward, but Chanyeol catches you in time and stabilizes you by your elbow before you’re enveloped in a pair of strong, familiar arms. Cameras flash all around you and voices clamor to get an interview with the second Martian, but on this side of the rope your world only consists of Sehun.

    An unfamiliar scent initially comes to you, but beneath it is something much more reminiscent of the love of your life. A strange sound fills your ears only for you to realize it’s your own sobs. The body in front of you moves away, your fingers grappling at their back so that you can try to cling on, but in the next moment a pair of capable lips covers yours, and the arms return to hold to you even tighter.

    “See?” Sehun croaks as he pulls away and presses his forehead to yours. The skin of his eyelids is tired but the light in his eyes burns bright. “I kept my promise,” he falters, swaying a bit as you both struggle to manage your emotions. You muster up your courage and attempt to support your own weight as he wraps thin arms around you — it’s a strange feeling to have him feel so slight in your grasp, especially knowing he’s been diligently trying to rebuild Earthly strength during his extended rehabilitation. But if there is one thing you have known about the life you built with him, it is that you are — and always will be — his strength. The body in your arms is foreign, weaker than the experienced swimmer who left your home for the stars three years ago, but as you fold into his embrace, you know exactly who he is: he is your home.

    ——————————————————————————

    April 8, 2023, Southern California, Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory

    A few rows of chairs line the front lawn at the Observatory, graced with floral arrangements in tasteful colors. A jazz quartet from the local music college sits off to the side, gently playing a soft, romantic song that lulls everyone into feelings of goodwill and comfort. The sun looms over the horizon, hanging out for the golden hour, and drenches your backyard in diffuse light. It’s warm today, not warm enough to be sticky but not warm enough to prevent you from shivering in a slight breeze.

    You stand in the front, facing a tall man in a well-fitted suit. To your right, Junmyeon is decked out in much the same, but it’s your retired astronaut that fills your entire consciousness. He looks amazing as always, but it’s been a while since he bothered to style his hair into perfection. He also looks incredibly nervous, which is a fun sight to see while he’s dressed to the nines in a crisp navy suit. Sehun has been where only one other man has been before and survived against poor statistical odds, and yet despite his amazing feats, the man is still somewhat terrified to get married in front of all of your friends and family. Maybe he’s scared to get married in front of Chanyeol, who sits with Julia in the front row next to Sehun’s parents. But considering how close the two Martian men have gotten in the past few months, it must not be that — it must just be those wedding nerves that get the best of even the strongest-willed.

    His hands are tucked into yours as Junmyeon says some words that both of you barely remember responding to (you’re going to get scolded for this later at the reception, after Junmyeon has one too many G&Ts, because Junmyeon really did put in a lot of work for your ceremony). Sehun looks almost lost, though not like a child at a mall but rather like a man who is perfectly content to be drowning in your eyes.

    And he is definitely lost, because Junmyeon has to clear his throat three times and tug at Sehun’s sleeve (to which Sehun gives a very intelligent ‘hunh?’) in order to get Sehun to recite his vows.

    Sehun looks at you, trying his hardest to prevent the moisture in his eyes from vacating their premises. He averts his gaze and glances towards the guests as he lets go of your hands and fishes out his bulleted notes from his pocket. From the front row, both sets of your parents smile at you, your fathers dabbing at their eyes with handkerchieves. That doesn’t help him keep the tears at bay any, so he tucks away the notes that he’s not capable of reading right now and looks down at your dress instead as he clenches and unclenches his hands by his sides.

    But the words he’s rehearsed in his mind won’t come out. They’ve been with him so long, laced into his breath when he first started practicing his vows in the lonely Martian nights. They refuse to come to him; they hold themselves in his chest and take root.

    “I—“ He lets out a nervous laugh and turns towards the audience. “I had vows written, I promise, but right now I’m completely too overwhelmed to speak them.” The guests chuckle along; it’s obvious to everyone that Sehun’s nerves are on edge. Then he turns back to you, giving you a shy smile as he takes your hands in his once more. You rub your thumbs over the his knuckles reassuringly, though you yourself are trying to keep it together as you watch Sehun struggle valiantly with maintaining composure.

    Sehun sniffs, clearly experiencing a wave of emotion, and turns his eyes skyward. He allows his eyes to rest upon space for a few meaningful heartbeats. Everyone knows what it means to him. When his eyes meet yours again, his gaze is confident and clear.

    “I wrote my vows during my first month on Mars,” he admits, and chuckles a bit when he hears touched gasps ripple through the audience. “I know, right? Cheesy.” You grin at him, suddenly shy under the intensity of his stare. “I’ve practiced them so often that I have them memorized, but for some reason I can’t say those words now — there are other things I want to tell you, so many multitudes that you don’t yet know.” Sehun watches with great curiosity as you bite your lip, trying to keep it from trembling. “The time I spent apart from you — twice — felt like a lifetime. But after each lifetime, I knew I had to you to come back to, and it made all the waiting worth it. Thank you for showing me your patience and your willingness to fight through the odds for us, and also for your faith in my ability to keep my promise to return.”

    He heaves a loud sigh, then adjusts where he stands. His spine straightens, and he tugs you a few inches forward to be nearly pressed up against him.

    “Today I’m making a very different promise. First, I promise not to leave you for space again —“ (Clearly, he’s going for crowd-pleasing jokes to assuage his ego). “— rather, I promise to forever be by your side, through whatever life throws at us, to be with the family we’re so excited to build in the coming years. I know the entire world now knows I call you my North Star because I let it slip in that one interview, but I’ve always meant it. You are not only my home, but my way home, and the point toward which my axis turns.

    “When you handed me your sidekick in 2010, I had no idea I was giving my phone number to my future wife. But you can bet I felt something when I saved my name as ‘Sehun! Space man! Same dorm floor!’ as a means of making sure you remembered me. I didn’t know we’d end up getting together barely two months later, or that we’d get to experience all that we have together. I think, though, in that moment I somehow knew, deep down inside, that I was meant to be guided to you and by you. Always. So…” He pauses to squeeze your hands. “Whatever marriage is supposed to mean — all of it and everything that happens within it — I will be here for it, and for you, and good luck trying to get rid of me.”

    This time, you laugh before your guests do, but it’s a sort of laugh-cry that has you mock-punching him right beneath his boutonniere. His hand is instantly at your cheek, thumb grazing over the corner of your eye to catch the tear before it falls. You barely hear murmur of sentimentality as you struggle to recall your own vows, and you can feel your smile faltering on your face as you are faced with the totality of your future with the man you will forever love.

    “I vow to never get rid of you,” you tell him, partly because you know he’d appreciate the humor, but because you can’t remember your vows at all, either. “So kiss me already, yeah?” You turn to glance at the Junmyeon for approval; he merely raises his eyebrows and waves his hand to give Sehun the permission to kiss his bride. (As soon as the vows portion began, Junmyeon had already noticed Sehun losing his ability to recite the vows they’d rehearsed in private, and gave up on the rest of the ceremony’s script).

    Sehun needs no prompting as he pulls you those last few centimeters to him with an arm around your back and his hand at your neck. He closes the distance eagerly, giving you a kiss that reminds you of so many others and also promises so much more. The kiss goes on for a few more seconds than even you anticipated, but when you pull away even a half-millimeter, Sehun asks for more with a deft swipe of his tongue. Normally you’d be embarrassed, pushing him away with a laugh of mock-disgust — especially with the whistles going through the crowd. But just when you’re about to break away and scold him with a swat of your bouquet, you feel him smile against your lips. Sehun withdraws, gazes down into your eyes, then pecks you just once more, for good measure. Next to you, Junmyeon rolls his eyes, but he shrugs it off and announces your marriage to your guests, ending with a very dad-like “now, let’s party!” (You hear his kids groaning from the second row, but Sehun leans in for another kiss before you turn to grin at them). People get up from their seats and come towards you to give their congratulations, and you tuck yourself neatly into Sehun’s side as you smile in a happiness you think might never wear off.

    —————

    Later, well after the sun sets and your guests (and you) have all gone home, you curl up on your couch with your wedding dress on. Honeymoon hotel be damned; you were perfectly happy to spend your first night married in the home you intended to be stay married in. You tug the skirt and drape it over your tucked legs; who knew wedding dresses made such excellent blankets? Behind you, the stretch of sofa fabric is empty — no longer is there a jacket strewn over it for sentimentality or for longing.

    Sehun trudges in, a sight to behold as he’s already shedded his suit jacket and dress shirt, but still dons his plain white under-tee tucked into his expensive, tailored dress pants. You stifle a laugh at the sight, lifting your hand to cover your mouth. He grins at the glint of your wedding band on your finger, his gait becoming jauntier as he saunters over to you.

    “Like what you see, Mrs. Oh?”

    “Don’t call me that,” you snipe. “But yes, very much. It suits you.”

    He looks down at himself, then lifts his head back up. One strand of destabilized hair falls from the where the rest of his ‘do is held up by hairspray, and it takes you back to one of your college formals. In the shirt, he looks like he’s milling about on a random weeknight at home and ready to head to bed (though, in all fairness, that’s exactly what he’s doing). You’ve always loved the little incongruences that add up to Sehun. He’s always been unerringly himself, someone who exudes a much more intense air by looks than by personality.

    Flopping down onto the sofa, he pulls you into his arms and holds you tight. Your dog barks happily, glad to have the crowds all gone and just his parents at home like any normal day, though he jumps up onto the expanse of your wedding dress with dirty paws.

    “Vivi, no—“

    You shush Sehun with a kiss; there’s no need for scoldings today. “It’ll dry clean,” you murmur against his lips, and a thrill goes up his spine at the way your voice sounds when you begin to get distracted by his proximity.

    “Oh?” He turns, resting his shoulder against the cushion and sliding a warm hand from your collarbone to your neck.

    “Yup,” you hum, leaning in to draw another kiss from his lips. “On Earth, you see, we’re a very civilized folk and have many amenities.”

    “Ah,” Sehun’s voice is low and measured. When he pulls away from you, his gaze is sure. “I see.” His lips tug into a slow smile. He scoots forward, pressing into you and pulling you into him with a hand at your waist. “I hear you have these wonderful modern technologies called beds? And I’m told they’re far more comfortable than cots in research bunkers, and that they often have room for two…”

    You blink at him then, resisting the urge to laugh at Sehun’s sass. But you find this easier to do than anticipated, because Sehun fixes you with such a heady look that nearly has you making a mad dash to the bedroom.

    “That we do,” you say carefully. It’s clear by your tone that you’re no longer that invested in the banter. “And I think you should take me to one.”

    “Say no more,” Sehun replies breezily, collecting you in his arms as he stands up. He ignores your little yelp of surprise and instead hoists you up higher so you can wrap your arms around his neck. He purses his lips in request, and you happily oblige, leaning in to kiss him as he navigates to your bedroom expertly. He passes through the doorway, expertly closing the door behind you to temporarily lock Vivi out. You’re dumped unceremoniously onto the bed with little more than a cocksure grin, but you’re not left there for long before deft fingers begin exploring beneath your skirts.

    Outside, Vivi gives the door a grimace. Without a witness to his indignance, he settles for resting by the door. He can wait a little longer to sleep at the foot of his parents’ bed, because he knows, somehow, that his father will be there everyday from today onward.

    There will always be tomorrow.

    View Full
  • mochii0park
    01.04.2022 - 1 mont ago

    Sinners birth reapers; ch 3

    Genre: Strangers to Lovers, Goblin au

    Pairing: Kim Taehyung x Reader x Park Jimin x

    Synopsis: With memories taken away from you by the deities as a punishment for your past sins, you spend the next 1000 years paying for them by collecting souls of the dead and guiding them to their final judgment; heaven or hell. When a black envelope containing the name of your last soul, the most painful one, lands in your hand you feel conflicted. Your life on Earth is coming to an end and so is the life of Kim Taehyung, the heir of one of the most powerful families in Korea.

    Rating: 18+

    Warnings: mentions of death, blood

    Chapters 1 I Chapter 2 I Chapter 3 I Chapter 4 I Chapter 5

    Taglist: @ctvrty​, @seokjinkismet​, @sunshinee0-0​

    Your nails click against the wine glass before the rim touches your red lips. A frown appears on your face when the bitter taste drips down your throat. With your free hand, you trace the photo delivered by a lost soul for you to find on your porch this morning.

    Park Jimin.

    Just like the wine, the name itself leaves a bitter taste in your mouth even more so after his whole charade. You twirl the photo in the air, biting your lip. Weeks passed since your last encounter. You visited the hospital under the false pretence to be sick, but it was of no avail. Jimin took a leave and hasn’t come back or at least that’s what the nurse kept telling you whenever you called.

    Jungkook huffs as he drops the heavy box containing the last of his belongings. “So, when is the truck coming tomorrow to move our belongings?”

    You snort, rolling your eyes. “It’s not coming.”

    With a snap of your fingers, the picture burns and the ashes fall onto the ground. Jungkook scratches the back of his head. “Are we even moving tomorrow? Did you have a change of heart?”

    “Of course not, we are moving tomorrow. There is only much you can stay before people start to notice you haven’t aged,” you drink the last bits of wine and put the glass on the table before jumping off the sofa, “but I am not paying one million won for something I can do with just a wave of my finger.”

    “I guess that makes sense. Just this morning Mrs Choi asked me for the special formula we use to keep our flowers alive.” Jungkook laughs while you roll your eyes.

    Mrs Choi was one of the nosiest neighbours who at first was bothersome but later posed to be somewhat of a threat because of her constant snooping around. It only amplified when Jungkook moved. It took a month for her to drop the subject of Jungkook’s relation to you.

    “Should’ve told her it’s magic,” You pretend to throw confetti at Jungkook who snorts, “She already thinks we are part of some cult after having a conversation with Yoongi.”

    “She and Yoongi spoke?” Jungkook grins leaning against the door frame.

    You chuckle remembering the encounter. “More like she tried to talk with Yoongi who insulted her by calling her a mundane pest.”

    “Sounds like something Yoongi would say. By the way, I know you can use your abilities to spare us the extra work, but people will find it suspicious if the moving truck never comes. They’ll know something is up.” You raise your brow at Jungkook who gives you a questioning look before you grab the glass and turn around heading to the kitchen.

    “How will they know?” You set the glass into the sink reaching for the cardboard box nested underneath it.

    “They will know, plus Yugyeom told me people nowadays are more obsessed with mystery and reapers than they were before. Jaehyun also confirmed this after he saw a TikTok video.” Jungkook fires back as you enter the room putting all the papers from the table into the small box.

    “Yugyeom? Jaehyun? TikTok?” You wrinkle your nose in confusion.

    “Reapers I met during orientation day. Jaehyun is under Hoseok’s mentorship,” you halt for a second finding it odd that Hoseok had young apprentices let alone that they engage into conversation with other reapers, “and Yugyeom works for Namjoon. TikTok is a social media all the young people use.”

    “Orientation day? And did you just call me old?” You couldn’t help but feel flabbergasted at the information Jungkook was throwing.

    He puffs a strand of hair that escaped from his perfectly slid back hair. “I mean after the ceremony and everything you have an orientation day where they tell you in detail what your duty will be and so on. Didn’t you have one? And yes, you are one thousand years old sorry to break to you.”

    You scoff biting your tongue to prevent yourself from spitting some rude words. “I assume this was Namjoon’s doing. No, I was given an assignment and expected to have it done. And we died at the same age idiot, I just happened to be born in a different era.”

    Sensing the tensed atmosphere, he quickly changes the subject by nodding his head in the direction of the box you just closed shut. “I thought you gave the case a rest as Seokjin instructed you.

    You glance at it and remember its content; Jimin’s schedule printed on a big sheet of paper next to a map of Seoul covered in red dots, his latest locations according to the lost souls. Seokjin suggested you give it a rest until they find a better solution Yoongi however, asked for you to try to find the reasoning behind Jimin’s involvement because for a goblin to take interest in a human is rare.

    “Honestly, I am trying to make peace with the idea of having to wait for another sixty to seventy years before leaving.” You sit on the floor next to the box as Jungkook observes you closely.

    “Surely you won’t have to wait for him to die of old age. Life expectancy has dropped drastically, people hardly make it to the age of sixty now.” He tries to lighten up the mood with a chuckle.

    “Did Jaehyung or Yugyeom tell you that? Or perhaps Tok or whatever you just mentioned.” He rolls his eyes but smiles,” When a goblin revives someone, they give a piece of their soul hence why Taehyung is under Jimin’s protection. Having a goblin’s protection means that the soul will be protected until it dies of old age or the Goblin’s bride appears.”

    Jungkook’s eyes widen slightly at the mention of the Goblin bride not knowing that the legend was true.

    “Some reapers mentioned it not long ago after the incident with Taehyung happened. You know word travels fast,” his cheeks take on a shade of red as the embarrassment was evident when he continues, “However, they brushed it off as a myth because not much is known about her. How do we find the bride?”

    “It’s more complicated than that.”

    Jungkook furrows his brows. “If we find the bride and he marries her that’s it? He’s free and you can take Taehyung’s soul?”

    You shake your head laughing as you remember what Yoongi and Namjoon told after one urgent meeting. “I mean she is a bride in theory, in practice it’s different. Also, I am not a soul stealer but a reaper we do have laws. I can’t just kill him off and be done with it.”

    “You know what I mean. But what’s the bride’s purpose?” his gaze feels somewhat interrogating and a part of you wants to keep the information to yourself as per Yoongi suggestion but another one does see Jungkook as your partner no matter how opposed you felt at first.

    “Goblins serve a sentence of their own you know that. A bride is needed to set them free of the immortal life and essentially the sins. To set Jimin free the bride needs to pull the sword out of his chest. Such bride appears every thousand years.” You exhale at the last sentence.

    Jungkook seems conflicted at the revelation. “Which means you have to wait for Taehyung to die of old age if the bride doesn’t appear?”

    You nod and he closes his eyes mumbling some words before he taps your shoulder awkwardly albeit lovingly.

    “How will we know if she appeared?”

    “Usually the lost souls feel her presence but so far they haven't heard anything. They are as clueless as I am.” You whisper trying to gather your thoughts when Jungkook claps startling you.

    “On a lighter note, what is the location of the new house we are moving into?” Jungkook nestles himself on the sofa in front of you tugging a pillow underneath his head for support.

    You pull your phone from the pocket of your jeans scrolling through the conversations you had with the landlord. You chose Byun Baekhyunat at the suggestion of Hoseok who deemed him as trustworthy for he doesn’t ask much nor requires a lot of paperwork like other landlords. Ever since meeting him, you came to two realizations, he was a high-profile person, two he was a walking scandal gracing the headlines of many gossip magazines.

    "It is on the upper side of the town among the luxurious neighbourhoods. Yoongi thought it would decrease the chances of stumbling upon one of our previous neighbours.” You swipe through the conversation, looking for the time Baekhyun suggested you come.

    “What’s the cover-up this time?”

    You look at him, half-asleep snuggled against the pillow. “I went for the brother and sister one.”

    He hums as his fingers trace the pattern of the sofa. “If the souls are correct, Jimin seems to spend an awful lot of time in the upper part. Is that perhaps your reason for the choice of the location?”

    Your eyes follow the movement of his fingers. “Surprisingly, I’ve never given much thought about it. It would make sense if he lived there after all Taehyung surely owns an apartment there and Jimin has lived long enough to be able to afford one too.”

    Just as Jungkook was about to respond the screen of your phone lit up, a text message showing up in your notification centre.

    Oh Sehun Just to confirm that you are coming tomorrow at 12 pm.

    “We needed to be there at noon. Try to ease it with the games tonight.” You lightly tap his head with your phone and leave the room and head towards your bedroom.

    Before you close the door, you hear some commotion and a sigh followed by loud footsteps. Jungkook drags his body across the hallway into his room, closing the door lightly.

                                              ____ 

    “I am not paying one million won for something I can do with just a wave of my finger, and then proceeds to use public transport to go to the house,” Jungkook whines loudly ignoring the stares of people around you.

    The train stops abruptly, and a man pushes his way through the mass, stomps on Jungkook’s shoes and in the process causes Jungkook to lose footing and fall directly into an old woman’s lap. He apologizes cowering behind you immediately, in a desperate attempt to avoid the glare of the woman.

    “I wanted you to experience some human things.” Your grip on the pole tightens as the train goes off.

    He sulks leaning his forehead against your shoulder. “Are we going to address the elephant in the room? I am positive Jimin has a car that he uses for transport, not the underground.”

    You scoff jerking your shoulder away so he would remove his head. “You think my world revolves around Park Jimin.”

    “Yes. At least now it does since he’s connected to Taehyung.” You lightly punch his shoulder as he gasps grabbing the attention of onlookers.

    “Stop abusing me for stating the truth.”

    “Stop sputtering nonsense and I won’t.”

    “You were the one who started with the nonsense, teaching me mundane things as if we are normal people who live normal lives.”

    “Shut up.”

    “Make me.”

    You turn to him hoping that the stare would give him the hint to drop it before you would literarily zip his mouth.

    “You know this is the part where you kiss the main protagonist according to the movies Yugyeom and I watched.” He cheekily whispers.

    “Do you want me to ask for a transfer? I can give the papers to Seokjin to assign you to Yugyeom.” You reply with a small smile which Jungkook deems as creepy before he shakes his head sending you his signature grin.

    The train stops at your station, and you exhale as you make your way out to the platform with Jungkook’s hand gripping your blazer so he wouldn’t get lost in the mass. This part of Seoul was vastly unfamiliar to you although you’ve spent a good amount of fifteen years living in this city. In the distance, a red sports car captures your attention. Baekhyun is leaning against it typing away on his phone with an occasional giggle escaping his lips. In any other situation you would’ve declined the free ride he offered but the strict policy of the neighbourhood prevented you from entering the estate without the owner of the house accompanying you for the first time, some sort of assurance of your identity.

    Baekhyun notices, waving enthusiastically. “Hi, it’s nice to see you again. You must be the brother. I am Byun Baekhyun.”

    Jungkook catching a liking to Baekhyun who emitted the same vibe as him shakes his hand flashing him a smile. “Jungkook, nice to meet you too.”

    “Shall we get going?” he motions to the car, Jungkook already hoping in the front seat grinning like a child.

    Taking a seat back you look through the window as you pass the expensive houses. It wasn’t like you couldn’t afford all the luxurious things life had to offer, working as a reaper for thousand years earned you enough money to buy all these houses but the life you led prevented you from pampering yourself. Yoongi was someone who worked from the shadows and as such lived a life full of modesty, unlike Hoseok who basked in designer clothing. Some of your mentor’s attitude rubbed off on you and living an average life provided comfort and ensured safety from being discovered. People loved to gossip and dig information and if you stay low and out of their sight guaranteed a peaceful life.

    Baekhyun stops in front of a white house far larger than the one you and Jungkook previously lived at. He exits the car leading you into a huge garden decorated with flowers and bushes high enough to prevent curious gazes. Entering the foyer, you are greeted with a modern minimalistic design that fits well with the exterior of the house. For a split second, you understood Hoseok’s thirst for posh things.

    “Take a look around the house. Make yourself at home while I fetch us some refreshing tea.” He pats Jungkook on the back before disappearing.

    Jungkook grabs your forearm shaking you slightly. “I don’t know where you found this guy, but I am already in love with this house.”

    “Hoseok suggested him, “you shake off his hand and walk around the living room feeling so foreign and small and in such a large space.

    Jungkook shoots you a puzzled look before his attention drifts to the huge pool visible from the floor-to-ceiling windows. “I can almost kiss you how happy I am.”

    “I’m good thanks.” You mumble when you hear footsteps coming from the lobby.

    Your head snaps towards the sound as a figure enters the room. Park Jimin strolls inside the house not paying close attention to the guests having a tour through his house. Not that he expected any guests to be frank. However, when he does notice you standing in the middle of the room with a very surprised Jungkook behind, he wished he prolongued his walk. Perhaps that would’ve saved him the unpleasant encounter.

    He stops in his tracks, a part of him ready to fight. “What are you doing in my house?”

    You raise a brow unable to withhold the surprise. “You live here?”

    Before Jimin can answer Baekhyun’s voice cut through the room. “You will love the garden, especially the po-“

    The sight of Jimin Baekhyun’s voice flattens, the charming salesman's personality slowly diminishing. “When did you come back, uncle Jimin?”

    “Uncle?” you splutter.

    Jimin ignores your question as he reaches for the cup of tea on the tray Baekhyun was holding. “Explain.”

    “The house was supposed to be vacant for twenty years and you know how much money we could get by charging monthly rent.” His voice grows quiet as Jimin throws him a stare.

    “Do you even know who that is?” Jimin angrily points towards you and for a second you feel offended that he excluded Jungkook,” that thing over there.”

    “Don’t talk to our tenant like that. She owns a tea house.” Baekyhun whispers pulling Jimin by the sleeve of his jumper hoping the latter would behave more mannerly.

    Jimin scoffs at the mention of the tea house as Baekyhun turns towards you.” Uncle tends to be a little reserved towards newcomers.”

    Your lack of expression stirs a new wave of nervousness in Baekyhun before he leans into Jimin, whispering: “She didn’t pay yet.”

    Jimin already fed up with the behaviour of the guy moves away gesturing to the front doors. “I suppose the sports car magically fell from the sky?”

    “The rent is already paid in full amount.” You say to which Jimin reacts by shooing Baekhyun away making the latter bows rather awkwardly and run away from his piercing gaze.

    “You don’t want to mess with a goblin,” Jimin warns his eyes holding unfounded hatred.

    You pull out the contract pushing it to his face. “It’s already signed.”

    With the tip of his fingers, the paper in your hands begins to burn, ashes crumbling to the floor. Rolling your eyes at the goblin’s dramatic antics you cross your arms having enough of the attitude. “This was a copy. The real estate agent has the original.”

    “I’ve given you more than enough of my time. Leave now.” He takes a step closer, the move although intimidating in his mind only draws a laugh from you.

    “You know what signing a contract with a reaper means, right? How about I take him instead of the house?” your reply makes Jimin stumble back as Jungkook gawks at you.

    He stands there observing as you don’t’ deter even the slightest bit under his threatening gaze. The silence is defying making the tension high enough it could be cut with a knife. After a minute Jimin exhales in defeat running a hand through his hair, the frustration clear on his face.

    “Take whichever room you want but if you think you can come in and kick me out you have another thing coming.” He says as he walks past you and upstairs.

    You take a moment to compose yourself never being in a situation where you blackmailed a person with someone’s life. Jungkook however does a little victory dance around you.

    He leans down to your level both hands holding on each of your shoulders holding you captive. “Y/N did we just win the lottery?”

    “Can you stop with the touchy-feely moments? It’s making me uncomfortable” This seems to fly over his head as he lets go of you and runs upstairs ready to claim one of the vacant rooms.

    You decided to head to the kitchen to ironically brew some tea, mentally cursing Hoseok for creating this unintentional mess of a situation. You open the cupboard and reach for whatever bag of tea there was. Seeing a familiar metallic round box, you push aside the rest and slowly begin to prepare the water. Opening it you take a few spoons of the matcha powder and spill it into the small teacup whisking the content until it took a smooth green texture.

    As you take a sip Jimin enters the room, the atmosphere immediately dropping not that you were emitting happy energy after everything that happened but having him around dampened your mood. You ignore the obvious daggers he was throwing your way as he reaches around you to grab a bottle of juice. For a second you question your decision to stay but your pride was at stake and so was your hard-earned money. The silence occupys the kitchen as each one of you did their thing.

    Placing the cup into the sink you think of a way to approach him and ask for simple matters such as billing and groceries but before you can even ask the goblin disappears without a trace.

    “And they say reapers are dramatic.”

                                                              _____

    Park Jimin questioned the day he brought Taehyung back to life. Ever since the young man realised he could summon the goblin by blowing out a candle he’s been abusing it. Jimin couldn’t even count how many times he was called for stupid things such as a spider is on my wall, does my outfit look good or is it too much, I am lonely let’s go watch the sunset.

    The list was never-ending and quite honestly Jimin was debating about giving him up to the reaper.

    “I swear if you summoned me to assist you with another wardrobe malfunction, I will burn all of your last year’s Gucci blazer collection,” Jimin yells as he strides through Taehyung’s flat.

    “That was one time and it was an important occasion, stop crying about it.” Taehyung walks out of the bathroom dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie, drying his damp hair with a pink towel.

    He gives Jimin one of his signature boxy smiles and the older man scoffs crossing his arms. “I won’t watch the Notebook again. Call your girlfriend for that one, I’m leaving.”

    Taehyung leaps forward slithering his arm around Jimin’s elbow as he leads him to the living room. “As tempting as that is I didn’t call you for that. I have a proposal for you.”

    “That doesn’t sound good.” Taehyung looks offended for a second before he shrugs it off with a smile.

    Once they enter the spacious living room, he unhooks his arms from underneath Jimin’s and heads towards the cabin supplied with various costly alcohol drinks. “I’ve been thinking-“

    “That doesn’t sound good”

    Taehyung turns suddenly shooting a mischievous glare. “You know how lonely I am-“

    “Very much so.” Jimin takes a seat on the cosy sofa, the only thing he grew to like in this apartment.

    “Ya would you let me finish,” Taehyung protests and Jimin disregards his annoyance with a wave of his hand, a sign for him to resume,” An idea came to my mind. We work so well as a team. You and I, so what do you think about us being roommates?”

    Jimin does a double-take just to be sure he heard him right. “Excuse me?”

    He hopes Taehyung burst laughing calling it a park and a funny jab at his stony personality, but he never expects his smile to flatten. Suddenly he took a better look at him and noticed the small fragments which showed cracks in Taehyung happy go lucky façade. The bags under his eyes were more pronounced as he put the glass of whiskey in front of Jimin before he took the seat on the opposite side.

    Taehyung plays with his drink for a second and then swallows it in one go. “I understand I might’ve been clingy but gosh. I see them everywhere Jimin. I know we agreed to ignore them and you’ve helped me so much but I just can’t shake them off.”

    Jimin tilts forward comprehending quite well how he felt. Taehyung glances up at the ceiling exhaling loudly as he tries to lighten the mood with a chuckle.

    “Mina asked for a break,” Jimin’s stare moves from the drink towards Taehyung, “she said I changed a lot after the accident. She keeps pushing me to visit a doctor thinking my fear of leaving the house is connected to my accident. Little does she know I see all the ghosts flying around us when we try to go on a date. She doesn’t see them reaching out and whispering in my ear.”

    “Taehyung-“

    He instantly brushes off the pity Jimin’s voice carried. “I am not sorrowful about the break; it was long overdue if I am being honest. I am angrier at myself for being a coward.”

    As Jimin listens to him, he begins to understand why Taehyung summoned him so often. Jimin has lived this life so long that he overlooks how traumatising it must’ve been for Taehyung who never even knew supernatural beings such as goblins and reapers existed.

    “I can’t believe I am saying this,” he chuckles and Taehyung joins,” but I would gladly offer you that if it were achievable.”

    “If money is an issue, I am more than keen to pay for the rent.” Hearing Jimin consider his idea makes Taehyung jump from his seat and land next to him.

    “It’s not the money,” Jimin shakes his head the image of Y/N standing in his living room plays in his mind, “Baekhyun decided to rent the house without consulting me beforehand.”

    Taehyung stares at him as if what he told was a minor inconvenience. “So? We’ll find another one.”

    “It’s complicated.”

    Taehyung throws his hands in the air frustrated with Jimin. “It’s more like you are making it complicated.”

    “He rented it to the reaper and her companion.” This shuts up Taehyung promptly.

    There is a small silence as Taehyung takes in his words. He was told by Jimin how the reapers function and what would be of him now that he was under Jimin’s care so the fear of seeing Y/N again wasn’t as big as before. Taehyung thoughts raced in different directions as he calculated the pros and cons of his new idea.

    “I’ll move in.” He breaks the silence and for the first time, Jimin thinks Taehyung has lost it.

    “Are you insane?” Jimin counters taking a good look at him.

    Taehyung claps his hands as the idea becomes more apparent in his mind. “This is the only way to get over my fear, isn’t it? I face the one thing that frightens me the most.”

    “Having one near-death experience wasn’t enough for you.”

    “Let me do this.” Taehyung reasons as Jimin stands up prepared to leave this nonsense of a discussion. There was no way he was about to throw him into a lion’s den just for the sake of getting over his fear.

    “No is my final answer. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.”

    “You selfish prick,” Taehyung yells out of the top of his lungs, “you bring me back to life knowing fully well the consequences of your action. Knowing I’ll never be able to live a normal life and never be able to confide in anyone except you. And now you are robbing me of the only chance to overcome my fear and have a shot at living my life as normal as I can.”

    Jimin flounces to Taehyung fuming at his behaviour. “You want to go and live with a person who can kill you with a snap of her fingers? Are you dense?”

    “Perhaps I am.” Taehyung shouts as Jimin runs a hand over his face pinching his lower lip with his thumb and index finger.

    “This isn’t a game. There is no redo if you lose.” He whispers when he sees the desperation in Taehyung’s eyes.

    “I am begging you.”

    “I can’t guarantee your safety.”

    “I am okay with that.”

    Going against his better judgment Jimin crumbles under the pressure of Taehyung’s plead.

    Taehyung’s vision becomes blurry, but he pushes the tip of his tongue against the palate to prevent tears from spilling. “I’ll come tonight.”

    Jimin nods before leaving.

                                                          ____

    You don’t foresee Jimin coming back tonight which is why you are startled when he reappears in the middle of the dining room. The knife falls out of your hold clacking against the marble floor, the sound deafening. Jungkook unaffected by all of it continues to munch on his food.

    “You know how to make a grand entrance.” You put the fork down reaching for the knife and setting it to the side.

    “Well, you can’t blame me, until a few hours ago I lived alone,” Jimin remarks seeing an additional dish set on the table.

    Jungkook gives him a sheepish smile. “I’ve made some extra food so I supposed you might want to try it.”

    Jimin reluctantly takes a seat at the table jabbing the fork into the steak Jungkook made. You were still doubtful about the Goblin and unsure about the whole situation wanting to put some space between him and you whereas Jungkook saw this as an opportunity to expand his social circle. You shift awkwardly in the seat not used to the suffocating silence.

    “So how was everyone’s day?” Jungkook speaks up causing both you and Jimin to look at him weirdly.

    Again, Jungkook is oblivious to the tension determining to continue the conversation on his own. “I had a blast swimming in the pool.”

    You hit him under the table wanting to eat in peace without awkwardness polluting the air. Jungkook hisses in pain shooting you a glare as you pretend not to notice.

    “I was out for a stroll,” Jimin answers curtly to which Jungkook bobs his head with a smile.

    “For 10 hours?” you couldn’t help but throw the comment Jimin whoever deliberately ignores it.

    “How’s the food? Steak is my special dish; I call it the Reaper’s wish.” at this point you were contemplating smacking Jungkook at the back of his head.

    Jimin hums his fork mid-air when the atmosphere around you began to shift. You couldn’t pinpoint what was different, but the air felt threatening and Jimin took notice of that when he looked at you. Jungkook also became silent. The tingles coursing through you were indicating incoming trouble but what made things unsettling was that neither you nor Jimin seemed to know in which form the trouble will occur. In a matter of seconds, grey smoke arose engulfing all three of you and transporting you to a dark road encircled by nothing but trees.

    You stood in the middle of the lane, a car driving towards you at full speed. Jimin reacts first breaking all the streetlights and lastly, the car’s too putting it at a disadvantage. It slows down and as your eyes get accustomed to the sudden darkness you see four figures in it among them was Taehyung.

    You and Jungkook follow Jimin as a blue light conjuring a large sword in his hand. Running straight towards the car he slashes it in half. Jungkook springs to the side in which Taehyung was using his power to stop it from falling. The man originally sitting in the front seat wiggles out of the wreckage trying his best to flee but with one wave of your finger, a force drops him to the ground clasping him tightly.

    Jimin circles the wreckage and opens the door untangling Taehyung out of the ropes. The latter holds Jimin for dear life breathing heavily.

    “Are you hurt?” Jimin asks as Taehyung gasps for air.

    It takes a moment for Taehyung to regain the ability to speak before he strikes Jimin’s shoulder. “Am I hurt? Are you for real? Asking me that after cutting the damn car in half. For fuck’s sake couldn’t you just stop it like a normal human being?”

    “I mean he is right.” You lean your head looking at the wreck Jimin caused.

    Once Taehyung moves further away from the car Jungkook lets go of it, the wreckage falling with a loud boom. You move from the scene and go to the other two men Jungkook gathered. Squatting down careful enough not to get dirt on your jeans you lean in looking them straight in the eye.

    “You will go to the police and surrender yourself, admitting the abduction and other crimes you’ve committed.”

    Turning around you join Jimin, Jungkook and Taehyung ignoring the persistent tug you felt ever since laying your eyes on Taehyung. Noticing your presence, he looks at you still shivering from the events.

    “Nice to see you again Mrs Y/N.”

    #goblin au #bts x reader #jimin x reader #taehuyng x reader #sehun x reader #park jimin x reader #kim taehyung x reader #bts fantasy#bts writing#bts fanfiction #jungkook x reader #jeon jungkook x reader #jimin angst#jimin fluff#jimin au#taehyung au#taehyung angst#taehyung fluff#taehyung fanfiction#taehyung writing#taehyung story#jimin stroy#bts au#bts fluff#bts angst #yoongi x reader #hoseok x reader #jin x reader #hoseok au#hoseok angst
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  • dilatedpupils95
    13.03.2022 - 2 monts ago

    One Week (II)

    Characters: Sehun x Y/N x Junmyeon

    Chapters: I

    Genre: Fluff; Angst; Smut (in the future)

    Summary: What could one week change in a casual friendship between a woman and a man? Sehun–the friend who unabashedly flirts and banters with you in the guise of friendship. Junmyeon–the friend who tried to woo you once, but now was just content in maintaining a casual friendship with you. When Sehun proposed a one-week relationship with you, you found yourself unearthing feelings for him you never thought were there. When Junmyeon ended up in a one-week study program abroad with you, you found yourself realizing that he just might be the guy you have been searching all your life.

    But all you have is one week.

    One week to figure out who is “the one”.

    "So, that leaves the two of us."

    What? You turned your back and looked at him, his eyes still looking down, but the smile emerging from his lips is sly and noticeable.

    He must have felt your longing stare, and so he stole a momentary glace at your direction, only to meet the confusion swimming in your eyes, too.

    "Oh, I mean--" Sehun clears his throat, "We're the only ones unmarried now." His emphasis on the word unmarried not lost on you.

    You pursed your lips at him, shrugging your shoulders in the process. "That's life," you said curtly.

    Sehun and you had just gotten home from the wedding of your friends--two of them belonging in the same circle you have since high school. This was not in fact the first marriage you have been into which involves your very close friends. A few months ago, two of your other friends--still in the same circle--had also gotten hitched, and in fact was now expecting a baby. You used to joke around that your circle mimics that of the Friends' cast, with the exact number of boys and girls. You just didn't think it would resemble the tv show so much, with the four of them coupling like Ross and Rachel, and Chandler and Monica.

    Does that make us Joey and Phoebe, then? You wonder to yourself.

    But one look at Sehun makes that thought disappear.

    Because even before the others started liking and being in love with each other--you had them first.

    You and Sehun had those familiar feelings of attraction, flirtation, and pining, first.

    Which is the story you believed in your mind.

    Because from the looks of reality, it appears that Sehun has an entirely different version in his head.

    Sehun has always been some sort of a woman-magnet--though he does not go sleeping around like your average jock, he nevertheless has a way of getting into women's pants. Anyone who knows him is familiar with this irresistible and compelling aura, his charismatic way of talking, and his manner of gazing as if he knows you down to your core. Of course his tall, almost-vampiric looks don't help at all in further cementing his reputation as a womanizer. That's why even though he has only had two serious relationships in the past, everybody still thinks he's some sort of a casanova who makes women swoon and despair.

    The same, however, for some reason, does not work for you. Even before you realized and admitted to yourself that Sehun and you might be regarding each other differently, you have always seen him as a friend--someone to endlessly banter and make jokes with; someone to cry and mourn with; someone to just casually hang-out on the very mundane days of your pathetic existence. He is a dear friend to you--one who shows up when he's needed and even when he's the least person you could think to be there.

    But somehow, in the recent years, you started to see him......in a different type of way. One that makes you see him as someone you will always have an almost soulmate-like connection. Maybe that's just the writers in both of you, that makes you romanticize about everything; that makes you like the same books; that makes you write about the same most delicate and mundane things; that makes him hold your knee in random conversations, mindlessly or thoughtfully.

    But one that will remain unconfessed and you will take to your grave.

    Maybe it began when your six-person circle went on a hotel staycation and the inevitable truth or dare came up at 12am. When one of your friends tactlessly inquired what's with the two of you, neither Sehun nor you responded in a heartbeat, the seconds that went in silence didn't go unnoticed by your friends. And by the two of you. You could not ultimately remember what both of you answered that night. But you do remember how you looked at one another, as if beckoning the other to just confess whatever it is that needed to be confessed--if there is ever any.

    Or maybe it started when one random evening, he inquired about your personal blog--the one he knew was full of your rawest, most intimate feelings. And despite good judgment--despite every single heartstring displayed there for the world to witness how you feel things deeply and intensely--you gave the link to him--

    A link which you changed after a few months, because you started writing about him again.

    You know that changing the link will mean that he cannot access it again. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for you, however, he has not mentioned it, making you think that he stopped following your blog long before you decided to change it.

    But right now, as he's here at your apartment--taking off his shoes, picking them up gently, and placing them neatly in your shoe rack (because he knows how anal you can get around cleanliness), walking around your space as if he's here all the time and the place is also his--you want to ask. And you want to give him the link to your most personal and intimate feelings and thoughts, again.

    Specially when he said the next words.

    "Have you ever thought what it would be like if we dated?"

    You looked over at his figure lounging over your bedspread. You noticed that he was now just wearing his inner white shirt, the blazer and coat he was donning a while ago, now folded neatly in a nearby chair, knowing that you don't want anyone sitting in your bed without changing clothes worn outside.

    "We're friends, Sehun," you reply shortly, as if your response is enough explanation to his otherwise intimidating question--one that you yourself has been asking all these years, whenever your thought reaches him.

    But Sehun, being Sehun, just persisted. "Have you ever?"

    You rolled your eyes, calculating your next expression and actions, because any wrong one will send him some signal. Looking at his eyes from the mirror in front of you, you reply, "Are you asking me that because everyone else got married except us? Are you going to marry me in pity?"

    Sehun smirked at you, then lied his body across the expanse of the bedspread, his head still facing you, but his eyes now closed. "You know that's not my point."

    Do I really know what's your point? You asked yourself. Because right now, you don't really know if you two are on the same page.

    "Do you like Junmyeon?"

    "What??" Your voice came across an octave higher. Something which Sehun noticed. Very much.

    He opened his eyes again, this time, the sleepiness in them very much obvious, as if any given second he will strut off to dreamland.

    "I don't know," you reply, your mind immediately thinking of Junmyeon--the nice guy friend you now have in college. The guy who once upon a time, you could have dated if not for....wew.

    "He's nice," you respond, picking up the bottle of micellar water and pouring it over a round cotton. "Actually he's more than nice--he's very kind, generous, friendly, and a gentleman. Not to mention, he's very smart, too."

    Ahhhh Jumnyeon--there was one point in time you actually considered him as your one who got away. The man who has showered you with attention and niceties from day one, but one you could not return.....because it's not the right thing to do.

    "You still haven't answered my question, though."

    You grinned to yourself. "Which one?"

    "You know which one I'm talking about."

    Swiping the last round cotton on your face, you went to the bathroom, cleansing your face in a dash, and going back to the boudoir in the room once again. It was when you're already applying your occlusive moisturizer when you realized Sehun's already asleep, a soft snore emerging from him.

    You walked to his direction, crouching down a little, and swiping up the bangs that have fallen down his forehead. You looked at his delicate face, the same face you have been seeing since high school through your ups and downs; the same face that has been confusing you since then.

    And from out of the most honest, confused, but hopeful part of your heart, you whispered, "I did."

    When he didn't move, you continue, "In fact, sometimes, I still do."

    But Sehun remained snoring throughout all that, the calmness in his face rivaled by the loud, but determined beating of your heart. You smiled at him, tucking him in your blankets, and leaving the room in darkness and silence.

    Somewhere in the next few seconds of your departure though, the sound of soft snoring stopped and the echo of a mellow, but sleepy "hmm" and a hazy smile from a man supposedly asleep were witnessed by the four corners of that dark and silent room, still smelling of the freesia oils from your skincare routine.

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  • baekluvie
    03.03.2022 - 2 monts ago

    obsession | chapter 4

    pairing: reader x baekhyun

    words: 10k+

    genre: yandere au | this is heavily inspired by the show 'you'

    tag list: @mayboy @vishary15 @greasywall @loversmantra @cityexos @kavvs

    warnings for this chapter: mention of murder, murder, mental illness(s), mention of death(s), manipulation, mature language, violence, obsessiveness, aggression, suicide.

    do not read if: you are triggered by any of the warnings i listed prior. this fic will contain this theme throughout the chapters. if you are not comfortable with that; please skip this post. please remember this is a work of fiction.

    viewer discretion is advised

    playlist for this chapter:

    love taste - baekhyun pov

    knee caps - baekhyun pov

    creep - baekhyun pov

    pacify her - y/n pov

    (a/n) im so happy with how this turned out. and i hope you guys do too. sorry for the long wait. also yes- there is only one pov for this chapter. it won't stay like this. like always replies are open. please send me messages, requests, your thoughts! always appreciated! reblog and like as it really helps me out. enjoy this chapter!

    Baekhyun’s POV

    hey don’t worry about texting back fast i just had a question-

    No.

    how are you? did you sleep well? you didn’t throw up right?-

    No.

    i love you so much, i want to be buried in your skin. i think about you all the time and i can’t stop.

    Baekhyun sighs as he retracts his last text to you. This was hard. Putting a whole act on just so he could be with you. He wished that you would just fall in love with him just as easily as he did with you. He rises from his desk, lumbering his phone in his hand as he makes his way to his bathroom.

    As he flicked on the lights, he intensely peered at himself in the mirror. He was growing some stubble on his chin, frowning, he brushed his hand over it. He hated facial hair, especially on him. He had a youthful, pretty face, there wasn’t any need to grow it. His features were perfect, clear pale skin with a rosy hue to his full lips. He liked his moles too; they were like pretty little stars sprinkled here and there. He removes his hand from his chin, admiring himself some more.

    His black hair was flat, it didn’t have much volume. As he bundles a fragment of it with his hand, he attempts to floof it up, add some texture to it. The mirror version of him frowned, obviously not satisfied with the results. He looked down at his phone, an idea popping into his head. He searched up hair salons nearby, not noticing that he was biting on his fingernail. His finger pauses over one location, it had good reviews, they specialized in coloring. Hm. Baekhyun never thought about dying his hair, he preferred his dark locks, thought it made him look more natural. He debates over it for a moment.

    Baekhyun doesn’t like unwanted touching, that’s why he enjoys cutting his hair himself. People didn’t deserve to be close to him like that; his body was a temple after all. Anyone but you were not allowed to enter it. But this could be a good change, maybe you would like it. And if he was going to plan a date with you, he wanted to make sure that his looks were up to the best of standards.

    Change.

    That annoying word that was embedded in his thoughts for the past couple of days. He didn’t think he was capable of it, in fact he didn’t think that there was anything needing to change in the first place. Sure, he’s a bloodthirsty murderer who kills people whenever he pleases, but hey, who doesn’t get a little angry sometimes? He snaps out of his train of thought when his phone buzzes lightly in his hand.

    this is baekhyun, right? it’s y/n.

    It’s you. Baekhyun nearly fumbles his phone in his grasp, a sudden sweat washing over him. He sinks down to sit on his bathroom floor, his back laying against the wall as he reads over the text you sent him over and over. You texted him first; that was a good sign. He’d take it.

    this is he. i’m surprised you texted me first. i’m supposed to do that >:(

    He waits, his body shaking with excitement. Somehow you made him feel like a little kid again, Y/N. Every moment he spent with you, whether it was virtually or physically, he will always become the happiest person in the world. He eyes the dots dancing on his screen, imagining you’re just as nervous and excited as he is right now.

    haha, i beat you to it. get used to having a woman take charge >:)

    Oh, Baekhyun will definitely get used to that. He tries to ignore the growing tent in his sweats, licking over his lips as he quickly texts you back.

    i don’t mind that. i’ve been thinking about what we should do for our date.

    A second passes, you respond.

    i was just thinking about that too. :) what did you have planned, mr.perfume boy?

    In all honesty, Baekhyun has racked through his brain thinking of the perfect date all morning, his indecisiveness getting in the way of picking someplace to go to. His immediate thought was a nice dinner, maybe they’d take a stroll in the park after. But no, you’d get cold. The second choice was the amusement park. The colorful lights, the innocent atmosphere could cheer you up. But Baekhyun hates roller coasters, and doesn't like touching railings or handlebars. They’re disgusting and don’t ever get cleaned. Until finally…he got it.

    i want you to come over. i’ll cook us dinner and we can buy a movie of your choosing.

    He knew you; you liked simplicity and not going over the top. Although your choices of decor were…brash, right now you didn’t need to be wooed by an extravagant, fancy dinner. You also didn’t need to be around people too, and maybe Baekhyun just didn’t want men staring at you. You would like this, you would appreciate him for thinking about you in such a dire time.

    that actually sounds…perfect. when are we doing this???

    Well obviously today, Y/N. He couldn’t stand being away from you, especially this long, especially after being around you, feeling your lips on his. You feel the same way too, don’t lie to yourself. You liked him, Y/N. You like his teasing, the sweet smiles and staring. You savored it, you loved the feeling of being taken care of. This was all part of the manipulation. He smirked as his fingers dashed on his screen.

    tonight, duh. i’ll pick you up around 8. i’ll have a surprise for you. :)

    So he decided to schedule the appointment. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be such a bad experience letting someone take care of him for once. He waits as the phone rings, thumping his foot on his bathroom floor.

    “Hello, this is Yoo Salon. How can I help you?”

    He fidgets a bit. “I uh- I wanted to schedule a hair appointment. I’d like to dye my hair?”

    “Of course. Do you have someone you’d prefer?”

    He snorts. “I’ve never been there before. This is my first time going to a salon in years.”

    “Sure. So it doesn’t matter who I get you in with?”

    “Not at all. I just need it done before 8 o’clock.”

    “Well… we’ll see. Can I ask what color you’d like done?”

    Baekhyun ponders on it for a moment. He snaps his fingers, his lips pushed together in a pout.

    “I want something different. Ah, something that will make me stand out.”

    “Platinum is quite popular these days, sir.”

    Hm. “Platinum it is then.”

    -

    He shouldn’t have done this. No, he really shouldn’t have. Do you know why, Y/N? Because this bitch won’t stop flirting with him, and although she is somewhat decent, Baekhyun has no intention of playing it up for her. You are the only one that matters, and this bitch with pink hair isn’t getting the point at all.

    She finishes putting the toil in his hair, and Baekhyun scrolls mindlessly on his phone. Really all he does is look through the same conversation you had earlier, he thought his hairdresser would get the idea that he’s a taken man. But yet, she proves him wrong once again.

    She stands behind him, smirking at him in the mirror that’s placed in front of him.

    “You know, so many girls are going to think you’re cute with this color.”

    He raises his eyebrows, laying his phone in his lap.

    “Yeah? Well I’m not interested in girls.”

    “Oh? Men?”

    He sighs exasperatedly.

    “I’m interested in women.”

    She pouts, and Baekhyun is disgusted. Her foundation is two shades too dark, and she chose to wear a bright pink lipstick; matching the dreadful dried out hair of hers.

    “Oh come on,” She places a hand on his chest, “You don’t want a different taste?”

    He bats her hand away, he almost, almost, wants to strangle her right now. But he takes a deep breath and smiles.

    “I’m taken. Now can you make yourself useful and do my hair?”

    She blinks, a stunned expression pops up.

    “Y-yes. Well at this rate, your hair lifted well. Give it 5 minutes and I’ll come back to finish up.”

    He opens his phone up again, not saying a word. He could see her in the corner of his eye, her stumbling hands searching through her tools. She was nervous. She should be.

    “Can I ask what you do for work, sir?”

    She asks softly this time, not in the loud and obnoxious tone she had previously.

    “I work in the fragrance business. Why?” He tilts his head, his eyes piercing through her.

    She blushes. “You look like someone famous.”

    If there is anything that Baekhyun loves more than you, it’s attention. So he changes his mood a bit, a mischievous smile etching onto his features. He taps his phone case with his nail.

    “Do I now? Have you heard of Prive?”

    The hairdresser drops the brush she’s holding, her hand immediately covering her mouth.

    “O- Oh my god. You’re Byun Baekhyun. I love your perfume line!”

    He winces.

    “Don’t call me by my family name. Baekhyun is fine.”

    He waves her off, but he thrives off of compliments and being recognized. It made him feel superior, powerful. If he were to get everyone’s salary here, and see what they make in total after a year; they still wouldn't be anywhere close to what he makes in a week alone. It’s something he prides himself in; the luxurious clothing, colognes and perfumes, the lifestyle. He was fucking rich. He couldn’t wait to spoil you and buy you anything that you wanted. That’s the dream for him. To live a happy, wealthy life with you; see you smile at jewelry he buys and trips he’ll plan. He smiles to himself as he thinks about it, the woman becoming shy all of a sudden.

    “I’m sorry Ba- Baekhyun. Please excuse me for a moment.”

    He gives her a questiongly look, but instead goes back to rummage through some Youtube videos. It wasn’t even a couple minutes into the game review he was watching until he noticed the pink haired woman was making it completely obvious she was gossiping to her co-workers. He frowned.

    Like Baekhyun stated before, he loved the overwhelming adoration and swooning over him, but when it came to people eye fucking him and oogling him; when he already fucking told her he was taken, well. It would make any person mad. The thoughts of her neck being snapped and watching her take a last breath resonated in his head, his fingers started to twitch ever so slightly over his phone. So he raises his finger at her, curving it inward, motioning for her to come over. She immediately widens her eyes, scurrying off from her friends who were all smiling at him.

    She places her hands on the back of his chair, her hazel eyes darting from his phone to his hair.

    “Yes?”

    He chuckles, covering his mouth with his hand. He rolls his eyes, licking his lips as he looks at her.

    “Can I ask you something… what’s your name?”

    She gulps.

    “Eunbi.”

    “Eunbi, that’s a pretty name. Is my hair ready yet?”

    Eunbi peeks through the foil, and Baekhyun can catch a glimpse of the new shade of white.

    “Actually…yes. Let me rinse this out and I can touch anything else up.”

    He shakes his head, turning his body to face her. Her cheeks began to turn a nice shade of red.

    “I have another question for you Eunbi.”

    Eunbi nervously smiles.

    “Y-yes?”

    “Do you mind giving me your card? I’d like to have you as my hairdresser again.”

    “Me? Really? I- of course! That’s not a problem!”

    The radiating happiness emitting from her deflected straight off of Baekhyun, the fake smile he plastered on his face just shining through his disgust. He tips his head down as he takes the card from her, purposely letting his fingers linger on hers, catching onto the shyness that’s painted in her eyes. She’s so dumb, and so very careless. He couldn’t wait to kill her. He places the card in the front pocket of his black coat.

    It didn’t take too much longer for her to finish, her carefully washing his hair and the occasional lip bite in his direction. He had to say…even though she was a stupid cunt, she did a pretty great job. There were still parts that were darker, but the overall job was executed perfectly. He checks himself out for a moment when she takes off his apron, dusting it out behind the chair.

    He stands up, letting a small cough out. “Ah, thank you so much, Eunbi.”

    Eunbi bows, a small giggle slipping past her lips.

    “Thank you for allowing me to do your hair, Baekhyn. Please- call me.”

    She winks, and Baekhyun resists the urge to throw up. Instead he gives her a tight knitted smile and a nod. As he walks away to get to the front desk and pay, he’s stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He snaps his head to the side in frustration, the anger rising in him. He swiftly turns around, giving her a sweet smirk.

    “Yes?”

    Eunbi fidgets with her fingers. “I- I think you’re really handsome. Please give me a chance.”

    He blinks in confusion. Then, he scoffs as he looks off to the side.

    “Would you do something for me?”

    “A-anything.”

    He places his hand under her chin, moving his head forward opposite of her ear as he whispers,

    “Be a good girl and don’t be so needy.”

    He pushes her face to the side harshly, his teeth grinding together. She doesn’t say anything else, just peering at him with tear filled eyes. He rolls his own, trying to cover up the sarcastic laugh that’s crawling up his throat. It wasn’t like Baekhyun wasn’t used to women flirting with him, trying to sleep with him. But when he’s a taken man, he doesn’t want to entertain anybody’s fantasies and hopes that he’ll give them a chance. He was repulsed when his friends or acquaintances would ever so easily sleep with any woman that flung themselves onto them. Baekhyun was a gentleman after all; he believed in having one person and that was it.  Perverted thoughts, looking at porn, speaking to other people when you were with someone was cheating. Call him old fashioned but that was the way he liked it.

    Baekhyun finished up paying for the appointment, the receptionist smiling brightly at him before he gave his thanks. He gave Eunbi one last glance as she was sweeping up her area; he just wanted to remember how stupid she looked right now. Because soon, she would be dead, suffocated and betrayed by the blood that pumped life into her. He chuckles as he pushes the glass doors in front him, exiting the building.

    He grunts as he enters his car, pulling out his phone from his front pocket. The business card he received from the woman slightly poked out, and he pushed it back into place. He checked the progress on the meal that he purchased for the both of you from the restaurant he took Mina to not too long ago. Because yes, he promised he’d cook, but he didn’t trust himself enough to make it himself. He wanted everything to be perfect, because that’s all you deserve. Plus, he didn’t mind spending a grand on this; it would be worth it. It wouldn’t hurt if you thought he was an amazing cook, better than Kyungsoo.

    Ding!

    He eyes flash to a notification on the top of his screen;

    Jihyo, you placed an order for takeout! Estimated time of arrival: 9:00.

    Oh yeah, he forgot about that. He managed to tap into her phone easily. The problem he was facing however, was that it was 7:30. And he made plans to pick you up around 8. So you could probably understand how this was slowly turning into a troublesome scenario for Baekhyun. He bit his lip as he threw his head back against his headrest, looking at the gray interior of his car.

    “I can just say…” He drums his finger on the dashboard, “I forgot something.”

    He wanted to kill her as soon as possible, and it doesn’t help that it had to happen tonight. The longer the bitch was alive, the more pain it caused you, Y/N. You wouldn’t say it, but Baekhyun knew that’s how it was. He wouldn’t be able to live, no, he would rather die if the person who cheated with his significant other was living their life happily and without a care in the world. That’s why you had him, Y/N. He would deal with it, he would do the thing you wouldn’t do.

    He’s going to kill her and savor the image of her last, dying breath.

    -

    Baekhyun had finished setting up the dinner plates and placing the expensive food in their designated places. He poured wine into two glasses, red, because he preferred the dark and sweet flavor. It also reminded him of the satisfying and beautiful shade of blood. He was…nervous. Driving to your home was extremely difficult for some reason, his heart beating against his rib cage and the shallow breaths he pushed out from his tightening throat. He’s never felt like this before, Y/N. Only you could make him react like this, make him feel normal about first date jitters.

    Sure, he’s had to play it up for you, manipulate you, pretend he wasn’t a bloodthirsty killer. But Y/N, you made him feel like a human being. He wasn’t just someone who kills because of important reasons, not someone who would die for you, not someone who was obsessed with you. You looked past those things, even if you didn’t know about it. You saw him as an innocent, caring, nurturing man. Maybe his mother was right, he was changing. Just maybe, he wasn’t a monster.

    Monsters don’t kill out of love, after all.

    He shakily grabs the bouquet of roses he bought for you from out of the passenger seat, looking at himself in the rearview mirror. He decided to keep on the black coat, a black button up with white polka-dots splashed on it, and simple black slacks. His platinum hair was combed back, some strands falling on his forehead. He looked good. He gives himself a small, ‘fighting’, and exits out of his vehicle.

    He wondered what you were wearing as he walked up the steps to your nimble apartment, would you go all out for him? Just like he did for you? Of course you would, you were in love with him after all, why wouldn’t you try and impress him? He pauses before he knocks on your door, afraid of what will eventually transpire between the two of you. Would you end up not sharing the same emotions he had for you? There was no reason why you wouldn’t; after all you ended up kissing him. Even if you were drunk, that still meant something. It had to.

    So he finally knocks. He takes a step back, looking down at his outfit. He almost didn’t want to look you in the eyes, too afraid if you didn’t like any of this. The flowers, the new hair. As he tries to regain his breath, you swing open the door. And wow, Y/N. You…you are beautiful.

    You had on a white satin dress that stopped before your knees. It almost looked like a shade of luminescent pearl, the way it had a subtle glow to it. You accompanied the dress with white stiletto pumps, nothing too fancy, it had a short heel. Your hair was slightly curled, falling effortlessly past your shoulders. And then your face. Light makeup, you didn’t need it anyways, but Baekhyun knew that you wanted to feel prettier. Just as he’s about to say something, he stops.

    Your lips. He knew that shade. The…brand.

    Chanel Red Lipstick.

    “Baekhyun?”

    He dizzily snaps out of it, trying to take his attention off of the abomination that stained your lips.

    Baekhyun smiles at you, raising the bouquet forward. You let out a small chirp, your eyes aglow.

    “You look…amazing. I- wow. You really had to outdo me, huh?”

    You laughed as you gripped the flowers close to your chest, your cheeks beginning to burn pink.

    “I can look good when I put in the effort. It was hard but…I was excited to see you. But look at you,” You reach forward to touch his hair, and Baekhyun takes the chance to inhale your scent, “Your hair is different.”

    His eyes glimmer with curiosity.

    “Yeah. Do you like it?”

    You purse your lips, your eyebrows furrowing together as you drop your hand.

    “No, I hate it.”

    He doesn’t know what to do other than gape. But then you hit him playfully on his arm, laughing.

    “Of course I like it. I think you look really…handsome.”

    The last word comes out strained, and he can see that you’re thinking of something else, maybe, someone else. He takes this moment to erase those thoughts by reaching his hand out to you, bowing his head to the ground and letting a light hearted laugh out.

    “Will you accompany me to my house?”

    He feels your soft skin touch his, the familiar and intoxicating sensation that burns through his entire body. This is it. This date, this was going to be the story that he would tell his children about. He can picture it already, two bubbly, beautiful kids sitting next to him and you, their curiosity of how their parents met; the heart of the conversation. He’d bring you closer to his side, slightly tickling you to hear the melody-like sound that is your laughter, and he’d look adoringly at what the two of you made, together, and talk to them about your first date. How he swooned you with his amazing cooking skills, how nervous he was before he knocked on your door, how entranced he was when he saw you like this for the first time.

    “Of course, Baekhyun. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.”

    He smiles at you as he raises his head, ushering you to come outside with him.

    “You won’t need anyone else when you have me.”

    “Is that a threat or something?” You say sheepishly as you lock the door behind you.

    He squishes his lips together to form a pout.

    “It’s a promise.”

    You falter for a second as you adjust your dress, the flowers cradled into the nook of your arm.

    “You…you can’t break a promise, okay? You promise?”

    Baekhyun simply looks at you, his demeanor changing into something more serious. He places both of his hands on each of your arms gently, lightly pushing into your glass-like skin.

    “You won’t ever have to worry about me breaking a promise,” He takes a step down the stairs, “I’ll prove it to you tonight. I’m nothing like what you’ve experienced, Y/N. Trust me.”

    You look like you’re debating in your head, your eyes never leaving his. He stands there waiting, and for a second he’s afraid you’re going to run back inside, too scared for this, for him. But then you quickly shake your head, brushing your hair back behind your ear. You nod cutely, linking your arm with his. He hides the sharp breath he had concealed for a moment and leads you down the staircase. He opens the side door for you, his eyes never tearing away from the enchanting view that was you.

    It was nice having you with him, Y/N. He can’t remember the last time he enjoyed a conversation like this, a conversation that wasn’t filled with bickering and artificial compliments. You had a way with words, the way it flowed smoothly. He imagined your voice like honey, soft and sweet, dripping slowly but gracefully. It was almost poetic, the tone you displayed with each word. He stopped at a red light and out of habit looked in the mirror, making sure nothing was out of place. You snicker, and he turns his head to you.

    “What?” He asks shyly.

    You look down at your shoes, a toothy grin pops out.

    “It’s just that you’re really cute. Checking yourself out and stuff. Kyungsoo- um, I mean…he never cared about his looks when he was around me. I didn’t think you would be so attentive about it. You know you’re effortlessly attractive right? Don’t be so nervous around me. I wouldn’t care if you showed up in battered clothes.”

    Baekhyun’s heart skips a beat.

    “You’re too sweet. You’re making my heart flutter. I’m supposed to be doing that to you.”

    He shakes his head and grins, pressing on the gas as the light turns green. He hears you hum quietly, and during that, he steals a side eye glance at you. He’s been trying to ignore it this entire time, but… the lipstick. He doesn’t want to ask you, doesn’t want to hear that he was right. That it’s the Chanel lipstick that he forced Mina to never wear around him, to scrub it off with those chemical infused makeup wipes. You pulled it off, so much more than that whore ever did. But in the back of his head he can’t shake the unnerving thought that it’s okay. It’s not okay. So why was he trying to convince himself that it is?

    As they finally reach his apartment, you give him a small grin, but your eyes say something else.

    He leads as you follow behind him, not saying a word. He becomes worried, was his place not what you had expected, Y/N? It was hidden away, in a remote area. He chose it mostly because he liked being isolated from people, and didn't want to bother with neighbors if things ever got out of hand with previous lovers. He reaches in his pocket to fish out his keys, but he has to know what’s on your mind. You were standing there quietly, your bubbly and charming self that was in the car had seemed to disappear.

    “Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?” He stands in front of you, letting the keys dangle against his leg.

    You look around him, your attention gravitating to the garden of flowers that’s proudly displayed before the entrance. Again, you look around, your eyes dancing to the staircase that leads to the second story of his apartment. You look back at him, your mouth dropping every second.

    “This…this isn’t an apartment. You live in a fucking mansion, Baekhyun.”

    He turns around to look at his home. Sure, it was bigger than most apartments. But that’s what the tenant said it was. It was a two story building, a staircase outside that went to his office workspace, the garage underneath held two parking spaces, for his other two vehicles. He didn’t have any people that lived within the building, it was all for him. But to Baekhyun, this was small. It was a simple, normal apartment. He never thought of it as luxurious in any way, mostly because he’s owned mansions in the past. He decided to move here because it was quaint. It didn’t draw a lot of attention. It also didn’t have any other houses or apartments near it, he requested a location that was away from most civilization.

    “This? No way. You should have seen my other homes. This is nothing.”

    You stutter, your heels clacking on the cement nervously.

    “You- I guess I underestimated how much money you have. You’re like in the middle of nowhere.”

    He shrugs as he flashes you a smile, pushing his key into the lock.

    “I don’t like to talk about it. I’m a very humble person.”

    You snort as you follow him inside of his place.

    “You’re not going to kill me or something right? Taking me out where there’s no one around.”

    He freezes in his steps, and then swerves his body to face you.

    “The truth is I’m a murderer.”

    Silence.

    He breaks it by chuckling, your facial features twitching between a smile and a frown.

    “A joke. Come on, where’s your sense of humor?”

    You laugh awkwardly.

    “R-right. You had me there for a second. Totally believed you.”

    He could hear the relief in your voice. He pushes away the nerves that were bundling in his chest after noticing it, and instead grabs your hand to lead you to his living room. Baekhyun really outdone himself here. He lit small tealight candles and placed them on the glass table that was in the middle of the spacious room, the plates sat around them. The glasses were perfectly set, and the lights were dimmed. He doesn’t miss the small gasp from you, his ego starting to inflate. This was what you needed, Y/N. You needed him to remind you of your worth, and he swears that he’ll always be doing these types of things for you from now on. Seeing the expression on your face was enough to drive him crazy, leave him wanting to know how you would react to the expensive gifts and trips he would do for you. He wanted you to love him. He loved you. He loved you. He loved you. He loved you. He loved you-

    “Do you like it?” Baekhyun silences his thoughts.

    You stare at him, your lip trembling. You place the bouquet on the black couch, then you make your way to him, a slight hurry in your steps. You wrapped your arms around his neck, pulling him in close. He could replay this moment forever, Y/N. Your perfume ringing in his nostrils, the way your hands fit perfectly around the round of his neck, the undenying love that you had seeping out of you for him. You were falling; so quickly, and he wasn’t prepared for you to do it so easily, so beautifully. You would be like him, obsessed.

    “I love it.” You sniffle into his left shoulder. He feels your throat bob up and down against him, trying not to cry. He simply rests his head on your shoulder, closing his eyes as he takes you in. He wraps his arms around your waist, tightening his grip on you.

    “You deserve this.” He whispers against her neck.

    She pulls back, and he watches as the foundation melts away from the tears trailing down your cheek. He brushes his thumb to stop the upcoming tears from falling, smiling at you. You laugh softly, your hand stopping on the front of his chest pocket. Suddenly, you pause, and Baekhyun looks down, confused.

    “What’s this?” The paper that was still in his pocket was peeking out, and he chuckled as he pulls it out to show you.

    “It’s kind of a funny story. My hairdresser was so adamant on giving me her number so I just took it out of pity. It’s just her business card, but I was going to throw it away.” He lies.

    Something flashes in your eyes, and Baekhyun, for the first time, doesn’t know what it was. You drop your hands from him, a look of hurt splashing amongst your features. He falters.

    “You’re not just using me right? Because it took alot for me to do this a-and-”

    He comforts you by shushing you, throwing the card on the ground and cupping your cheeks.

    “I would never- do that to you. You’re important to me, Y/N. Don’t ever- say that.”

    The tears that once displayed a sign of happiness were shadowed by tears of sadness. You purse your lips, your gaze searching for something else, someplace other than him. He can’t have that. You can only look at him, you don’t have to be afraid of him hurting you, Y/N. Your eyes belonged to him, they were reserved only for him. He snaps you out of it by shaking you lightly in his grasp. You hiccup, your eyes filled with confusion.

    “Do you understand me? I’m not like him. I will never be like him. You have me, only me.”

    “I…I’m scared Baekhyun.”

    He pauses, letting his hands release from you. You stare at him numbly. He sighs.

    “Scared of what?”

    “I’m scared of losing you. I know that we just met but,” You run a hand through your hair as you step off to the side, your voice reaching a higher frequency, “you’re the only person that’s been there for me; that understands me. I don’t want to scare you off or anything but why…why am I so attached to you? I don’t know why. Am I crazy? Do you think I’m crazy?”

    You were shouting now, looking at him with a crazed expression, and Baekhyun…he loved it. Because this, this, Y/N, this is what he’s been feeling and knowing for a while now. It was refreshing to see it in someone else rather than himself, and it was so fucking lovely. He loved seeing you strung out like this, coming to terms with the infatuation that he knew you had for him. The worry and fear of not wanting to be without him, the creeping and haunting obsession that is love, that terrorized you, the obsession that he created in you. Sweet and unsuspecting manipulation that played to you like a symphony, that he orchestrated with his charm and innocent facade. So he doesn’t want to calm you down right now, the mess that you are. But he knows that he has to in order for you to become accustomed to your newfound feelings.

    He rushes over to you, shaking his head and smiling. You look at him exasperated, short breaths that are coming out too quickly, the signs of a panic attack. He holds your hands in his his, and you look down at the intertwined flesh, your cries starting to slow down.

    Baekhyun attempts to hide the growing excitement in his voice when he speaks.

    “You’re not crazy. I understand you. It’s okay. I will never abandon you, Y/N. You’re so much stronger for admitting this to me. I’m not scared of this, of what we have. It’s fucking real. It’s more real than you’ll ever know. So when I tell you to trust me, I want you to trust me. Can you be good and believe that, Y/N?”

    Your words come out as a whisper.

    “I trust you.”

    He tightens his lips together as he grazes his finger on your lip, smudging the red down your lip.

    “Do you want to be with me?”

    You look up at him with big eyes, your features softening.

    “I- I do. But I want to take things slow.”

    He nods.

    “We can take it slow. We’ll go at your own pace.”

    You shy away from him now, a flush of embarrassment spreading over your face.

    “I-I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me-”

    He moves his hand swiftly to your waist and pushes you against the wall. You let out a small yelp, not expecting the sudden closeness between you and him. He looks at your hair, combing a strand that stuck to your wet eyelashes. He focuses back on you, his heart beating fast.

    “Don’t apologize for that. I needed to hear that. I was so lost until I met you.”

    You suck in a breath, your eyes flickering from his eyes to his lips.

    “I feel like I’ve been lost too.”

    He flattens his hand that was formed as a fist against the wall, licking his lips.

    “You’re going to be mine, do you know that?”

    “Am I?”

    “We don’t deserve to be alone. We deserve this; me and you. We’re deserving of the chance for happiness. Don’t you see? We’ve only been thinking of each other and the connection we share. We’re good for each other. Don’t you agree?” He mutters out desperately.

    “I guess so. I just don’t want to be by myself anymore.”

    “So say it.” He hisses out.

    “Say what?” You mumble.

    “Say you’ll be mine.”

    You take a moment before you tremble out the words he’s craved.

    “I’m…yours.”

    A guttural hum crawls from out his throat, pleasing the thirst that he’s been wanting to quench.

    “That’s my girl.”

    He doesn’t miss how you enjoy hearing that, a small grunt slips past your pretty lips. He wants to kiss you right now, to tear your white dress off your body and explore every single part of you.

    As he inches towards you hesitantly, watching as you move your body closer to his, he could smell the light fragrance of mint. He squeezes your hip, nudging his nose with yours, closing his eyes.

    “Baekhyun…”

    “Don’t…say anything.” He murmurs against your lip.

    “Please- don’t hurt me. Don’t be like him.”

    He opens his eyes, meeting your lovestruck brown ones, there’s a hint of curiosity, worry.

    “I will never hurt you.”

    You suddenly push your lips on his, your eyes closed tightly shut. Baekhyun’s eyes are still glued onto you, surprised by your neediness. He smiles into the kiss, silently laughing to himself when you don’t move against his pink lips. He raises his hand to grip the back of your neck, holding you in place as he deepens the intimate moment. You moan quietly as he licks your bottom lip, tugging on it gently, right before he sweeps his tongue into your mouth. Your tongues fought for dominance, the heat radiating off of your bodies making the mood of the room that was once romantic into something hungry; the sweet and undenying desire for one another.

    You tug on the bottom of his shirt, releasing it from where it was tucked into his slacks. He grabs your hand, pinning it against the white wall. He pulls back from you, a string of saliva dripping off his lip, you whimper from the loss, putting your knee gently in between his legs, rubbing him. And fuck, Y/N, he would have taken you right there and made love to you, soothing your fiery deprivation of him, but his phone buzzed, halting the interaction.

    You looked up at him like you were in trance, your hand placed on his chest. He clicked his tongue as he released your hand from the wall, reaching to his pocket.

    Jihyo your food was delivered! Enjoy.

    “Fuck.” He scolded himself, how did time pass so quickly?

    You curiously try and peek at his screen, but he abruptly pulls it back, earning him an angry look.

    “What is it? Why can’t I see it?” You protested.

    Just go with what you were going to say, Baekhyun.

    Baekhyun stammered, “I- I forgot something. I forgot I ordered some desert.”

    You squint at him. Instead of him cornering you, it felt like he was the smaller person now.

    “Yeah? Are you lying?”

    He scoffs, “Of course not. Just give me 20 minutes and I’ll be back. You can look around, start eating. It won’t take too long. I promise I’ll be back before you even notice.”

    You move past him without saying a word, plopping yourself on the couch. You reach towards the wine glass and swirl the crimson liquid around, a deadpan face being given.

    “Why can’t I come with you then?”

    He shifts his weight, uniting his hands together while trying to fight the nervousness he’s exhibiting inside. “Because I want it to be a surprise.”

    “So? I want to come with you. Let me come.”

    “No.”

    You put down the glass, leaning back into the couch cushion. Baekhyun continues to stare. He hoped you would say something else; the silence becoming too loud. Why did you have to be so adamant on this Y/N? Did you really want to come with him so you can watch your boyfriend’s secret affair be stabbed to death? You weren’t thinking about anything else but him, which was nice. Baekhyun would be thrilled about it if he was going anywhere else, but not this. Right now, he wasn’t happy about your neediness to be with him, he just wanted you to stay put.

    He crouches down, putting his head in his hands.

    “Can you please…just stay here?” He whines out.

    You sigh.

    “Fine.”

    He looks up excitedly, rushing over to you and planting a kiss on your cheek. You’re still mad, he can tell, but he doesn’t miss how the corner of your lips were fighting off a smile. He rubs the top of your head before he pulls the keys out of his pocket.

    “Don’t miss me too much, okay?” He smirks at you as he walks away.

    “Yeah yeah. This better be some good dessert, Baekhyun.”

    “I promise.”

    He gently closes the door behind him, the sweet front he put on for you vanishes; the only thing that’s on his mind now is Jihyo. He resists the urge to moan as he pictures her dead body on the floor, the blood seeping from underneath her, the way she’d scream for someone to help her. There wouldn’t be anyone to save her, not from Baekhyun. He’d do it quickly, he already written the suicide letter as well, it was in the glove box along with the new knife he bought, specifically for her.

    He sings a tune that’s been stuck in his head as he drives, smiling to himself.

    You were something else, Y/N. A beautiful, loving and driven woman who knew what she wanted. Baekhyun already knew that you had fallen for him; it was just a different experience altogether to hear your rambling in person. To hear how much you needed him, the way that something clicked inside of you after spending one night with him. He didn’t know just how powerful he was, being able to get inside your head like that. Death works in miraculous ways.

    It only took killing your boyfriend to make you realize what you really are.

    You were just like him.

    He checks the time as he finally reaches his destination, 9:30. He parks his car a street down from the apartments, grabbing a black hoodie he stashed in the back seat. He looks at himself in the mirror as he stuffs the knife and letter in the hoodie’s pocket, examining his looks. He would never get over this; the high before the kill. A rush of adrenaline pumping in his veins, the delicious feeling of taking one’s life. If he had to do this for the rest of his life, he wouldn’t complain. So he finally exits the car, keeping his head down to avoid any looks from anyone outside.

    He grips the black handle of the knife that’s hidden away in the pocket, revelishing the very touch of it. Baekhyun already knew where she lived, of course he did, he’s not sloppy. He walks into the apartment building, his eyes washing over the bright and grand decor of the open area. She was rich after all. She worked for her father’s business, the well known CEO of Samsang, an electronic company. He doesn’t once raise his eyes as he approaches the receptionist desk, which earned him a confused stare from the woman standing behind it.

    “May I help you with something, sir?”

    He looked off towards the elevators to the left, he just had to get past this first.

    “I’m just meeting a friend. Is there a problem?”

    The woman sighs as she ducks her head down to try and look at him. He shys away, covering his mouth with his hand.

    “I just have to write your name down. It’s just for records.”

    Really?

    “Uh, it’s Oh Sehun.”

    She types away on the desktop computer, the clicks and clacks ringing out in the silence.

    “And who are you meeting with?”

    He looks up this time, giving her a hard stare.

    “Why does that matter?”

    She had short black hair that stopped before her shoulders, a navy blue uniform on display. She just rolls her eyes, bringing her hands to fold into one another.

    “Many residents that live here are famous. I need to make sure you’re not a paparazzi or a fan.”

    “She’s no one important.” He lashes out.

    She pauses, giving him a puzzled look. He watches as she reaches towards the phone, sirens begin to go off in his head. He reaches over the desk, grabbing her arm. She looks back at him shocked, but he quickly removes the hood, flashing her a smile. That did something.

    “I’m sorry. I’m meeting with my friend Jihyo. She just went through the loss of her boyfriend and sent me an alarming text so I’m just checking in on her. This shouldn’t be a problem right…Nayeon?” He looks at her name tag placed neatly on her shirt.

    She blushes as he removes his hand from her.

    “A-ah yes. Jihyo. I heard about that too. Poor thing,” She bats her eyelashes at him, “That’s so nice you’re checking on her. She hasn’t seen anyone since it happened. You two must be close.”

    He chuckles, how far from the truth that was.

    “Super close. She’s been stuck in my head for a while.”

    The receptionist giggles at that, fidgeting with a pen she picked up.

    “She’s lucky someone like you is thinking about her.”

    Baekhyun is just too good at this shit. He nods at her before he starts to walk away.

    “I’ll be going now. Can’t imagine the state she’s in. Thank you Nayeon.”

    “N-No problem. Please stop by whenever you’d like Sehun.”

    He almost trips, forgetting the fake alias he gave her. He waves at her sweetly before he presses the button to enter the elevator. Nayeon was still staring at him until the doors closed, and Baekhyun finally let out a sigh of relief. He rubs his eyes harshly, then slapped himself in the face. He needed to focus. It takes him out of it when stupid distractions get in the way of his job. He listens to the small bell-like noise as he stops on the floor he memorized.

    This was it. He was going to do this for you, Y/N. Watch the stupid bitch die and come back to you, you who were waiting for him at home. That had a nice ring to it. He couldn’t wait for the phone calls and texts that you would send him before he came home from work, the cuteness and neediness of wanting to see him. Nothing could get in the way of him pursuing you.

    He walks towards the door that had 56A engraved into the frame, a gold-ish hue bouncing off of it. He covers his face once more with his hood, reaching his hand into the pocket to make sure he still had everything prepared. He licks his chapped lips as he knocks lightly, then puts his ear on the cold wood to listen for any footsteps.

    He draws back from it once he hears a loud obnoxious moan emitting from the other side. He watches as the door knob rattles a couple of times, and finally, it swings open, revealing a depressing sight. The woman didn’t have any makeup on, dark circles decorated underneath her dark brown eyes. She had blemishes scattered over her pale skin, her long black hair tied into a bun. Her sweats were stained with food remnants, crumbs lingering here and there, her shirt filled with wrinkles.

    She gives him a frown.

    “I already got my food.”

    He smiles.

    “We forgot something.”

    Jihyo elicits another groan, turning around to look inside her apartment.

    “I got everything. By the way, the food is terrible. I couldn’t even eat a bite-”

    He pushes her limp body back from where she came from, inviting himself in as she scrambles. He slams the door shut behind him, taking off his hood and smirking down at her. He brings out the knife from his pocket, watching how it gleamed in the dark living room. Jihyo raises her hands in front of her face, her voice wavering as she cries out.

    “Who are you!?”

    Baekhyun scoffs as he gets down at her level, pressing the weapon’s tip to her head.

    “You don’t need to know. You have some fucking nerve, thinking you could get away with what you did.”

    “What I did? What are you-” She freezes, her eyes widening as she takes him in, “I-I know who you are. You’re the fucking guy that was at Y/N’s apartment. What the fuck are you doing?!”

    That put a damper on things. He presses the knife into her head slowly, covering her mouth to mute any screams. Tears run down her dreadful face, her lips trembling in Baekhyun’s palm.

    “Jihyo…don’t you know you’re a whore? A sick, disgusting cunt. The world doesn’t need you.”

    Just as he’s about to push the blade straight through her puny skull, she bites down on his hand, making Baekhyun drop the knife and hold his hand in pain. Jihyo stands up, but before she does, she grabs his prized possession and points it at him. He tilts his head at her, a smile erupting on his face. This would be fun.

    “Get the fuck away from me. I’ll fucking kill you.” She spits out angrily. She doesn’t move from her spot as Baekhyun stands up, massaging his hand from the bite she had given him.

    “You’re going to kill me? Okay, I’ll give you a chance,” He raises a finger at her, motioning her to come at him, “If I win, I get to ring your neck and stab that little heart of yours.”

    What he didn’t expect was for Jihyo to throw the knife behind her, then run at him at full force, landing a hearty kick to his stomach. He doubles over and stumbles into the cream colored couch. Before he could even react, the small woman grabs a lamp that sat on a little nook beside him, breaking it on his head. He groans in pain, his vision stained red as blood dripped from his eyebrow. What the fuck.

    “What the fuck are you? A fucking rabid dog?” Baekhyun raises his hands to defend himself.

    Jihyo stands a couple feet away from him now, her hands balled into fists.

    “Six years in Taekwondo. Still think you can kill me?”

    He can’t stop the giggle he lets out.

    “I did martial arts too. Hapkido. Didn’t think I’d ever have to use it until now.”

    Jihyo snarls at him, repeating the speedy encounter she landed on his unsuspecting self a moment ago, but this time, he was prepared. He ducked down, rolling himself underneath her, watching as her foot collided with the broken glass. She yelps in pain, but Baekhyun was one step ahead of her. He leaps towards her legs, huddling them together as he throws her onto the ground. Her head bangs on the wooden floor and he quickly crawls up her body and pins her. Jihyo however knees him in between his legs, Baekhyun gritting his teeth together as he slaps her across the face.

    She pushes him off, crawling towards her kitchen. He limps after her, his eyes spotting a picture frame that sat on her tv stand. He hurriedly picks it up and throws it at her back, watching as her tiny body contorts in the sudden attack. Baekhyun smiles to himself as he jumps, his weight crushing her. He spins her body around to face him, the left side of her forehead swelling up, her teeth stained with blood. Jihyo tries to kick him again but he just reaches down to stop her movement.

    “I think…” He takes a deep breath, wiping the blood from out of his eyes, “I win.”

    Jihyo looks frightened for the first time, her mouth hanging open in defeat.

    “N-No. I don’t want to die!”

    He laughs loudly, throwing his head back.

    “You’re so fucking delusional. Did you actually think you’d fucking kill me? I never lose-”

    Oh.

    Oh.

    Her shaky hand holds the forgotten knife that she threw earlier, holding it to his throat.

    “Move, and I stab you.” She threatens him precariously.

    He brings his hands in the air, not ripping his eyes away from the sharp blade. He removes himself from her body, standing up. She follows suit, keeping the knife in its place.

    “I’m going to…call the police. If you make one fucking move on me, I’ll do it.”

    Baekhyun nods slowly, walking with her as she makes her way over to the couch. He watches as she dips down to grab her cell phone, her eyes never leaving him. Jihyo looks down at her phone to input her password, and Baekhyun thinks this is it. He actually…lost. He was done for.

    He would never be able to see you again, you would know what he did, be disgusted with him.

    A lone tear falls from his eye. He pleads.

    “Please. Don’t do this.”

    The woman looks at him and laughs, blood spitting from her mouth.

    “Just a moment ago you were trying to kill me. Are you delusional?”

    All of a sudden, a knock makes itself known in the apartment. Both of them look at the door in surprise, Jihyo still holding the phone in her hand, the call still not made.

    “Go to the door.”

    She presses the knife into his throat a little more, Baekhyun wincing as the flesh breaks. He nimbly walks over to the awaiting person on the other side of the door, Jihyo behind him.

    He doesn’t want to answer it. So when he doesn’t do anything once he stands in front of the frame, Jihyo grabs a handful of his hair and yanks his head back. She hisses out,

    “Open. The. Door.”

    Baekhyun didn’t know what he expected, really. Maybe it was Nayeon, checking in on the situation. She seemed worried about the tenant living here, and obviously made it known that she was attracted to him. He wouldn’t mind seeing one person that liked him before he went to prison anyways. But what he didn’t, honestly, expect was…

    You.

    You stood there, your eyes wide as you took in the scene in front of you. Baekhyun lets out an audible gasp, his heart breaking in two. This couldn’t be happening. Why the fuck was this happening? How did you get here? When did you get here? Why…why are you here, Y/N?

    “What the hell is going on here?” You press anxiously. You don’t move, keeping your eyes on him.

    He tries to speak but his voice betrays him.

    “I’ll tell you what’s going on, this fucking guy just tried to kill me.”

    Jihyo rages out, digging the knife into his throat more. Baekhyun’s pretty sure he’s going to pass out. You look at him, worried, but then you direct your attention behind him, to Jihyo. There was something in the air before it happened, he couldn’t describe what it was. The look of pure hatred floods your face, and before he could register anything else, he’s being flung to the side, Jihyo letting out a screech.

    You shut the door behind you, your back to the both of them. Baekhyun covers the wound on his neck, trying to stop the bleeding. You slowly turn around, your white satin dress flowing gracefully as you did so.

    “Baekhyun. Tell me what’s going on.”

    He stares in disbelief on the ground, watching as you don’t tear your gaze away from Jihyo, who is still holding the knife in her hand. Her eyes bug out, a quick breath exhaled from her.

    “I- I…I wasn’t trying to kill her, Y/N. You have to believe me.” Funny how in a pretty obvious situation of what’s going on, he still chooses to lie. But he’s willing to still paint himself as innocent to you, anything than what he actually was.

    Jihyo throws her arms in the air, waving the knife around as she gasps loudly.

    “Oh come on. He came here and told me he was going to kill me. What happened to believing the victim?”

    Baekhyun stutters out, “I’m the victim here. You wouldn’t stop texting me. I came over to stop your persistence of being with me. You attacked me when I told you no.”

    You look at him this time, shocked.

    “She was texting you?”

    Jihyo shakes her head, “I don’t even know him. I wouldn’t do that.”

    You laugh this time, looking at her.

    “You wouldn’t try and take someone away from me? Isn’t that your whole shtick? Let’s see…you willingly got with my boyfriend, knowing that he was already in a relationship. And I’m supposed to believe you? Jihyo, let’s get one thing straight,” You walked towards her, Jihyo cowering, “I’m the victim here. You will never be the victim.”

    She lets her guard down as you spit the last word out, and you snatch the weapon from her hand. Jihyo looks at you stunned, abruptly getting to her knees and bowing her head.

    “P-please. I never meant to hurt you. He said he loved me!”

    Baekhyun watches in amusement with a sly smirk. He adjusted himself on the ground, leaning on the couch. He didn’t know you had this in you, Y/N. This raw power that only he thought he had concealed. But here you were, knife in hand, showing the whore who was in control here. You weren’t real, no, you were everything that he dreamed about having. You were a monster, just like him. His mother was right.

    He saw her in you.

    But instead of a terrifying and gruesome beast only made in nightmares, he saw something beautiful.

    You’re just like an angel.

    So he sits and watches more as you bring your foot to stomp on her head, Jihyo letting a gurgled out scream as her nose collided to the floor. He could hear the snap from where he was, and he laughed at her pain. You crouch, bringing the knife to her chest. You speak so sweetly to her, the words sounding so light and airy rolling of your tongue.

    “He didn’t love you. He didn’t love anyone. You don’t get to stand here and tell me that my boyfriend loved you. Who do you think you are? Who the actual fuck, do you think you are telling me you weren’t trying to make a pass on Baekhyun? For the first time since Kyungsoo’s death, I’m happy. And here you are, again, trying to take my happiness away from me. This time, I’m ready. I’m fucking ready to stop you. I deserve to be fucking happy. Fuck you.”

    You raise the knife in the air, bringing it towards Jihyo’s chest. But before her demise, you freeze, inches away from the kill. Baekhyun gapes, confused. He crawls over to you, looking at your eyes shake in fear. He smiles at Jihyo, who is just as confused as he was. He places a hand on your back, to which you jump a little, staring at him with teary eyes.

    “I’m not a… murderer, Baekhyun.”

    He puts his knee on the fallen woman’s throat, a hitched gasp escaping her lips. He gawks at you, trying to camouflage the overwhelming love he felt for you right now.

    “Of course you’re not a murderer, Y/N. This poor woman killed herself.”

    Your words stumble over each other, as if your mind is trying to understand what you meant.

    “What do you mean?”

    He gives you a twinkling beam as he rests his hand over yours on the hilt of the knife.

    “I mean…Jihyo here was suicidal after Kyungsoo’s death. She couldn’t get over it. The only way to deal with the pain was by killing herself. Do you understand?”

    Your once puzzled expression is wiped away with realization. You mimic him quietly, looking down at the assaulted woman whose eyes race between you and him.

    “She couldn’t get over it.”

    He nods, bringing the knife back up in the air with you.

    “Right. She killed herself.”

    Like a trance, you repeat it.

    “She killed herself.”

    He raises his eyebrow as you push his hand off of the weapon, violently pushing the knife into Jihyo’s chest. She arches her back, blood gushing out of her mouth. He stares in amazement as you swiftly pull it out, a smile appearing on your face. Just as he’s about to say something, you surprise him by stabbing the lifeless body once more. Then another. And another. Until finally you plow it deep into her neck, her blood splattering onto your white material.

    Baekhyun was stunned. Not only did you initiate the killing yourself, you fucking liked it. It was written on your face. You enjoyed killing Jihyo, the worthless pile of shit that had this coming.

    He didn’t think he could be more in love with you; but you proved him wrong, Y/N.

    You drop the knife, taking deep breaths as you turn to face him.

    “I just killed her-”

    He crashes his lips on yours, grabbing your waist to pull you into his embrace. You comply, twisting your hands in his hair, slightly tugging on it. He chuckles darkly into your mouth, to which you pull back and giggle nervously.

    “I got paranoid so I followed you here. I’m sorry, I just- I don’t know. I thought you were going to see the hairdresser. I-I thought she lived here and you were coming to meet her-”

    Baekhyun shakes his head. “It’s okay.”

    You let out a sigh. “It’s okay? It’s okay that I did this, right?”

    “It was meant to happen.”

    “I think I like you too much, Baekhyun.” You stutter brokenly.

    He looks at you adoringly, and nothing was more breathtaking than the view he had of you right now. Blood has covered the side of your cheek, your dress, your hands. Your lips were shaking slightly, and someone might assume that you were in a traumatic state, but the look in your eyes showed complete control. He knew there was something different about you. From the start.  You finally admitted the love you had for him by saving his life. You killed for him.

    “That’s my girl.”

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  • dilatedpupils95
    14.02.2022 - 3 monts ago

    One Week (I)

    Characters: Sehun x Y/N x Junmyeon

    Chapters: II

    Genre: Fluff; Angst; Smut (in the future)

    Summary: What could one week change in a casual friendship between a woman and a man? Sehun--the friend who unabashedly flirts and banters with you in the guise of friendship. Junmyeon--the friend who tried to woo you once, but now is just content in maintaining a casual friendship with you. When Sehun proposed a one-week relationship with you, you found yourself unearthing feelings for him you never thought were there. When Junmyeon ended up in a one-week study program abroad with you, you found yourself realizing that he just might be the guy you have been searching all your life.

    But all you have is one week.

    One week to figure out who is "the one".

    A/N: This new series is part of the CdC Universe.

    P.S. Welcome back, Kim Junmyeon. :)

    P.P.S. Happy Valentine's everyone!

    P.P.P.S. Credits to the creators of these headers! They're so lovely!

    "Is that Baekhyun?"

    Yes, and he just broke my heart, damn it. Why does this always--hey wait, who is that? You look behind you and saw Taeri. "How long have you been there?"

    She snickered at you, taking one last look at the man's retreating figure before entangling her arm around yours, dragging you slowly back to the classroom. "Is that his wife?"

    You nodded rather absent-mindedly, your head still quite caught up with the conversation you had with Baekhyun a while ago before the girl in the powder blue hoodie took him away. Somewhere. Everywhere. Whatever.

    "I didn't know he was married," Taeri continues, which subconsciously reminds you that your friend had a long-time crush on Baekhyun.

    "Oh no, Taeri--" you begin. "I completely forgot that you.. That you like him so much."

    But Taeri just shrugged her shoulders at you. "That's her, right? The girl he has been in love with for like forever, but couldn't just admit to himself? The girl from law school? His 'savior'?"

    You pouted sadly at her. Oh, poor girl, nodding your head as slowly as possible, as if the gentleness in your motion would make your friend feel better.

    "That's fine. He looks so happy," Taeri says, looking back again at the girl with the shoulder-length hair, bouncing up and down her powder blue hoodie.

    "Chanyeol's already dating someone else."

    Taeri's head whipped at you. "What?"

    "Yeah, that's why Baekhyun is here," you confirmed. "He's here to deliver the bad news."

    It was now Taeri's turn to pout at you. "Oh no, Y/N."

    But you just shook your head. "Oh don't give me that look!" you said, as you playfully nudge your friend's shoulder. "It doesn't hurt that much, puh-lease."

    "But you're starting to like him, don't you?"

    Do I? You sighed. "We just went for one date. It's nothing serious."

    Liar, your brain screams back. And it was as if your mind and Taeri's are communicating, when she raised her eyebrows at you.

    "It's true," you opened the door to the classroom, mindlessly walking over to your seat.

    "It doesn't hurt me that much," you start. "But of course.."

    Taeri waits, almost anticipating the "but" from your sentences. She knows you so well that she can predict your conversations already.

    "Of course it's nice to be liked by someone, you know," you explained, casually opening your laptop and typing in the password. "Sometimes, it's nice to belong to someone."

    Taeri sadly smiles at you. I know, she says, as she gives your shoulder a sympathetic pat, before you got up and transferred to another seat, leaving her at the back of the room.

    But the thing is, Y/N, Taeri says to herself, the thing is--

    Somebody already likes you.

    You just have to pay more attention.

    And as if Taeri was the narrator in Y/N's melodramatic life, two fine men--both equally handsome and equally kind, but with completely different attitude and dispositions--approached you, their smiles reserved for no one else inside the room, but for Y/N.

    The first candidate: Oh Sehun, Taeri says to herself, her eyes tracing the figure of the tall guy, his cheeky banter already finding you even before he can finally reach your seat.

    The longer Taeri stares at Sehun, she can't help but summarize the guy's history with you, in almost like a dating profile that looks like this:

    Wow, what a history, Taeri thought, as she looks at the way Sehun absent-mindedly tucked a strand of your hair behind your ear, as if it was the most natural thing for him to do.

    Which did not escape Junmyeon's attention, the guy staring at Sehun's hand, his eyes like heated magnet. Thankfully, it was then that you lifted your head and looked at him, your eyes immediately connecting to his already smiling ones.

    The second candidate: Kim Junmyeon.

    Sehun got a pretty stiff competition, Taeri laughs to herself, continuously amusing herself with the almost artistic painting before her--a too-oblivious girl between two fine men, who, if not, for their courtesy and respect for one another, would be fighting over her like two beasts now.

    Oh, Y/N--you, my friend, are in for a wild ride, Taeri smiles to herself, as you laughed at something that Junmyeon said, his smile beaming at you, with Sehun, clenching his jaw in the background.

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  • dilatedpupils95
    12.02.2022 - 3 monts ago

    A new fanfic series maybe coming your way tomorrow... when you least expect it.

    And when I do least expect it, too. XD

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  • sekaificlibrary
    05.02.2022 - 3 monts ago

    Summary : Sehun's marriage with Jongin was an arranged one. He expected to get some time to adjust. Heck! He didn't even know how his husband-to-be looked like until just a few months ago. However, the whole castle was hell-bent on throwing them into embarrassing situations (the aphrodisiacs, the skimpy nightclothes, and the perfumed oils, etc.) just to make sure they produced an heir for the throne as soon as possible.

    Or

    Jongin was well aware of all the silly tactics his mother employed to get him to be intimate with his extremely shy husband, but the fact that Sehun was so damn oblivious wasn't helping the situation at all. He wasn't sure how much longer he would be able to hold back before the Wolf inside him finally snapped and ravished the innocent Omega.

    Author : EXOSANGEL

    Side Pairing : Kyungsoo / Baekhyun

    Length : One Shot

    Word Count : 32148

    Status : Complete

    Rating : NC-17

    Genre : ABO, Alpha/Beta/Omega, Slow Burn, Angst, Fluff, Romance, Royalty, Strangers to Lovers, Mpreg

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  • sekaificlibrary
    05.02.2022 - 3 monts ago

    Summary : Sehun hates his ex-husband and wants nothing to do with him. It doesn't help his case when (1) he still finds Jongin extremely attractive and drop-dead gorgeous, (2) almost all of their meetings end up with Sehun bending over the alpha's knot and (3) Sehun is once again pregnant with Jongin's pup.

    Author : imrune4u

    Side Pairing : Xiumin / Junmyeon

    Length : One Shot

    Word Count : 20000

    Status : Complete

    Rating : NC-17

    Genre : ABO, Alpha/Beta/Omega, Mpreg, Angst, Fluff, Romance, Happy Ending

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  • mgg-81
    30.12.2021 - 4 monts ago

    Of Torn Ropes [O.SH]

    (CREDITS TO THE OWNER OF THIS PHOTO: L'OFFICIEL HOMMES MAGAZINE)

    A/N’s NOTE: I found this playlist in Youtube concerning the likes of Amy and Laurie from Little Women and I got hit immediately with the feels. I've also thought about Ga-on and Soo-hyun from The Devil Judge (go watch it if you haven't!) in their final moments together and thought why not combine the two and this was the result. Hugest of thank you's to @bookishcatto for reading this. This one-shot is dedicated to ma'am @enaasteria because her stories are absolutely gorgeous and link to her masterlist can be found in my fiction recommends here.

    ANOTHER NOTE: I think I'll write my stories based on which seems fitting for the story which is either "You", "She/Her", "GN! Reader" or "OC" and it's not always going to be a "You" or "Y/N" version. Also, throw a tomato at me if this one-shot is cringy AF or something LMAO.

    Genre: Angst

    Ratings and Warnings: PG

    Characters: Oh Sehun X Seo Jaeun (Cop!OC)

    Word Count: 1,636

    Date of Publication: 31-12-2021

    “WHAT?”

    The thin line of agony and anger snapped at the thunderous slamming of her hands as boiling silence engulfed the two of them. They were at the meeting of their eyes, never swerving to the left nor the right. Those orbs of hers, those lovely visions of expression of hers were now like extinguished flames while he was of a deer caught in the headlights. The air surrounding them was so dry it might have probably cracked everything in them.

    Or furthermore fissured her already lacerated heart.

    Glassy eyes scrunched eyebrows, and almost bleeding lip from too much biting in holding back, the aching pound of Seo Jaeun’s heart against her chest was beginning to be taken over by fear. The danger was not evident in their zone yet her veins were almost made out of cement from the tension. She let out a controlled yet shaking breath as she refined the words that emanated from Oh Sehun’s mouth before she might explode in tiredness.

    “You heard me,” his voice was firm yet at the end was pleading like a child’s.

    She sat back from her chair, a scoff passing her lips as her fingers kept brushing on her short disheveled hair. This was at the moment and it was truly happening as if it was a novel of her favorite that came to life and relayed its message in this chapter of her being. Sehun…loves her?

    Jaeun looked back into Sehun’s features again; face hoping, lips pursing whilst waiting. This was the man she adoringly gave her heart for so long, the cause of her sadness and happiness, the cause of her downfalls and uprisings, and now, the cause of her topical heartache. Wasn’t this what she wanted all along? To hear those three words she never thought would be aimed at her at him?

    But alas, dreams, while they are sweet, some are bitter.

    And they must end as she wakes up.

    “Fuck you,” she said sternly.

    Sehun’s eyebrows raised at the confusion in her words. He was about to retaliate and support his statement but she raised a hand to halt him.

    “Fuck you, Oh Sehun,” Jaeun repeated. “Do you think this is all a bluff?”

    “Please, listen—”

    “I’ve been listening!” she clenched her fists to keep herself from repeating on hitting the table. “At all times! I always listen to you; your rants, your dreams, your thoughts and ideas, and most especially your love for her! But this? THIS? Sehun…you’re mean.”

    “Jaeun,” Sehun tried to reach for her hand, but she quickly slipped it away. “I love you, always have been. You were always—”

    “If you love me,” she gritted between her teeth. “You shouldn’t have always come to me about her."

    Jaeun saw Sehun’s jaw shut tight, which became a cue for her to continue. “Have you ever thought what I’ve felt all these years? I had to keep on carrying you despite the growing pain in me. That yes, I may be here with you but your focus…is on her.”

    “And I’m tired,” tears were threatening to spill from her eyes. “I’m sick of picking you up in ungodly hours, drinking away. I’m tired of how you came to meet me only because of your heartaches. And I'm wary of the fact that you're so unfair. That out of nowhere, my best friend just told me he loved me just because he didn't get her.”

    Sehun quickly stood from where he sat, his long lower limbs taking two steps before kneeling in front of Jaeun like he was praying for some miracle to happen between them as his warm hands cupped her delicate face, their foreheads touching each other.

    “I’m sorry,” Sehun’s eyes were watery as he sniffled. “I’m so sorry. Please…forgive me. Please, let me make it up to you. Please, don’t disappear from my life. Please.”

    Please. It was one word yet it made Jaeun feel weak again for him, but the daggers that were plunged in her chest made her realize it was now the time for her to pull it all out, letting her heart slowly heal from the pain.

    “I love you, Sehun,” Jaeun finally muttered while feeling Sehun’s thumbs caressing her cheeks. “I love you always but…I’m done. As much as I’ve been waiting to hear those three words from you, it all seems so…dull.”

    Dull indeed.

    That’s what Oh Sehun felt right now.

    Nothing was making sense to him as if his head was reaching for something he could not comprehend. It all happened too quickly in the blink of an eye like a stream that swiftly passed by him. Blasts of sirens here and there that were rounded up like loose animals were muffled away from his hearing while his surroundings were faded into nothing but black and white.

    Along with all he could ever see right now was crimson as thick pools of the color were sticking to the ground, to his shirt, and his hands.

    And to her.

    Her.

    Jaeun!

    He stared dumbfounded. His hands trembled while looking all over Seo Jaeun, desperate to where he should place his palms just to stop the bleeding, to stop everything, to stop the horror that grew before his eyes. Eventually, he placed it where the actual gunshot wound was, hovering over her hand. The shock was not the word that fit what he was experiencing. He was ashen, lips trembling.

    “J-Jaeun…” he stuttered. She can only gaze at him as she lay in his arms like a doll.

    “Shh….” Jaeun gasped and winced. “Y-you…are…o-okay.”

    “N-no…” Sehun looked up and down her body. “Jaeun…”

    Sehun’s manner was disoriented; he kept holding back his sobs while glancing at her face and up around their environment; almost nobody was there except the two of them, save for a few who were held in their frozen states.

    How the hell did they end up to this?

    A presidential event where EXO was invited.

    Turned into a horrific attempted assassination incident with a bomb on the loose.

    Her clasping his hand, her sole concern was him.

    Just the two of them.

    Away from aid and surrounded by perpetrators.

    Sudden running…

    Guns firing…

    Her pushing him to the ground…

    Bullets flying…

    Jaeun suddenly fell to her knees.

    Clutching her right side and chest.

    Him shouting at her.

    More guns erupting from afar…

    Him reaching her….

    Sehun immediately looked down at the fading body he held; Jaeun's eyes fluttered up at him, trying to see him. Her form shook in pain as if a thousand syringes were plummeted in her skin, her hand pressing against where the blood continued to ooze out of her while she breathed heavily in panic.

    Jaeun hazily lifted her shaking hand, steadily brushing her fingers against his cheek which received a cut from the glasses that spread throughout the vicinity.

    “F-Fuck…” she still managed to laugh. “Y-you…got a c-cut here...ah.”

    She shut her eyes and grimaced as Sehun clasp her soaked shirt, and he felt like shit; his best friend was in the line between life and death, still having the audacity to save him despite everything that conspired to the two of them.

    And he felt nothing but remorseful as he’s incapable of providing anything to her at the moment.

    “P-please,” Sehun choked. “W-we…we h-have to stop the b-bleeding. S-stay…s-stay with m-me baby, please.”

    Tears flooded Sehun’s eyes as he tried to keep himself together for her sake. His heart felt like it was twisted and crushed to a pulp, wishing he had been the one shot instead of her. His body flew from stiff to mere actions and having more blood of hers in his hands got him to nowhere. Sehun knew that this was an almost everyday scenario for Jaeun on account of the fact she became a woman of law and order. What he wasn’t prepared for was to have this kind of scenario happen right in front of him.

    “W-why…” Jaeun started. “S-stop...don’t c-cry…”

    Sehun pay heed to her as she inhaled and exhaled deeply, her eyes threatening to shut down. The coldness of the night was creeping up to her as blood continued to rush out as Sehun tried to talk to her to keep her awake. He frantically hoisted his head to check the encircling, surveying for anyone possible to help them as he hauled Jaeun in his arms more properly.

    “Jaeun…” Sehun whispered her name, attempting to keep a smile. “W-we’re going to…b-be o-okay, y-yes? P-paramedics may b-be here s-soon…”

    Despite his aim to put up a brave front for Jaeun, it soon faltered as her eyes were only halfway from open, and she eye him intently. Sehun took ahold of her hand gently moving towards his hand, firmly grasping it.

    “Sehun…” Jaeun wheezed. “I…I c-can’t hold…any l-longer…”

    “No!” Sehun yelled as he shook his head. “H-help will b-be h-here! T-they’ll….they’ll c-come soon! P-please! We’ll b-be a-alright! Jaeun—”

    “I-I…love y-you.”

    He froze.

    “S-Sehun…” Jaeun panted as if her breathing had already amounted to a small-sized helium balloon about to pop. “I love you.”

    His world frailly crumbled as Jaeun’s hand lost its seize of his fist as her head tilted backward in his arms.

    With her eyes now closed.

    Moments later, shouts and footsteps were heard coming, revealing members of the Seoul Metropolitan Agency and the Special Operations Unit, their guns and other aid holding out. They ceased and halted their steps at the scene that unfolded before them. Blood was everywhere that came from its root which was Jaeun’s now lifeless form. One of the men who entered stepped up, his expression glum as he raised his walkie-talkie.

    "Commander," he said "Lieutenant Seo Jaeun...she's now gone."

    And it was followed by the gut-wrenching wails of Sehun who lost someone so dear.

    View Full
  • iibonniee
    29.12.2021 - 4 monts ago

    Stories for The Year

    Requests open!

    Monsta X Scenarios

    How the members deal with their s/o getting horny in public (warnings: mentions of sex) [Requested]

    Son Hyunwoo (Shownu)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    I’ll Take Care of You (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Hyunwoo couldn’t see himself leaving for work knowing his girlfriend was sick.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “It doesn’t bother me.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “I'm yours.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Lee Hoseok ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    I Wasn’t Really Jealous (Warnings for this fic: jealousy)

    ↳ Step One, don’t tell Hoseok a man flirted with you. Step two, calm the pouting baby.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Ways of Relaxing [Requested] (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex)

    ↳ Y/N is stressed. Hoseok knows how to help her destress.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I did the dishes.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “I found this meme that I think you’ll like. Wanna see?” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Lee Minhyuk

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Six Fairies and a Toddler (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ A last minute phone call requires Y/N to head into work. On her way in she drops off her daughter with her father and her five uncles.

    Ten Thing I Hate About You (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ “All I see on this list is nine reasons.”

    “I’ll think of the tenth later.”

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    So Warm (Warnings for this fic: cockwarming, unprotected smut)

    ↳ Y/N just wanted to try out something new. Minhyuk wasn’t too thrilled to learn what it was.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “Can I kiss you?” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Give me a brush. I’ll fix your hair.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    Hey, I’m talking To You

    ↳ He knows she’s busy, but he just wants her attention

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Yoo Kihyun

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Your Heart Is Far, Reduce the Distance (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ All Kihyun could remember was that she was in America, and he was in love.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    What If You Said Yes Twice? (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ All Kihyun wants to hear is a simple, “yes”? “Yes” for this sudden expensive vacation and yes for taking his last name.

    Blame Me [Angst/Smut] (Warnings for this fic: one sided pinning, friends to lover's trope, smut)

    ↳ Kihyun didn’t plan on falling in love with his best friend. He also didn’t plan the events that followed after either.

    Not a Romantic (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Kihyun has told her time and time again that he wasn’t a romantic. His actions often spoke louder than his words. He’s proven that 10 times already.

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Got me in chains (Warnings for this fic: dom!reader and sub!Kihyun, masturbation, oral (male receiving), unprotected sex)

    ↳ Kihyun lost a bet. Y/N is going to make sure he regrets it.

    Focus (Warnings for this fic: oral (fem recieving)

    ↳ All she needs to do is focus.

    Rivals (Warnings for this fic: enemies to possible lovers, unprotected sex, teasing, semipublic sex)

    ↳ Hate. She hated everything about him. That means she should hate the seductive looks he gives her too, right?

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Mercy [Requested] (Warnings for this fic: mentions of past cheating, heavy angst)

    ↳ Kihyun had it all. An amazing girlfriend, an amazing job with amazing fans. Or, well, he had it all. After a stupid decision that had caught him where he shouldn’t have been, Y/N makes sure he regrets ever thinking about cheating on her.

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I bought you a ticket.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Do you want to help me fix dinner tonight?” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Chae Hyungwon

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Let’s Meet Under the Moonlight (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Hyungwon was allowed to be nervous. After all, he was finally meeting his girlfriend’s parents after three years.

    All The Art but You’re My Favorite Piece (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Needing some inspiration for photography Y/N and Hyungwon decide to visit an Art Museum while in New York. Y/N couldn’t help but take her eyes off of one piece, however.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing Compares to You (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Everything led to their first kiss

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    A Warm Bath (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex)

    ↳ Who would’ve thought a nice warm bath would be so…relaxing?

    Let’s Have a Baby (Warnings for this fic: impregnation, unprotected sex)

    ↳ Baby fever was alright to feel. But it was itching away at Hyungwon’s skin. Far too much for him to handle.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Don’t Go (Warnings for this fic: angst)

    ↳ The only thing that was painful was knowing he stopped loving her. His words screamed it wasn’t true, his actions proved otherwise.

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I’ll meet you halfway.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Your voice is so relaxing.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    Regret (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Hyungwon was lazy when he wanted to be. So why exactly did he agree to take a hike with his girlfriend?

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Lee Jooheon

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Home Movie (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex, filming during sex, oral (both receiving))

    ↳ Surely a home movie would help Jooheon survive the months of touring without his girlfriend by his side.

    Envious Eyes (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex, jealousy, choking and praising kink) [Requested]

    ↳ The only person who can hold Y/N's attention is Jooheon.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “Call me if you need anything.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “I’d like to take vacation one day." (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Im Changkyun

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Picnic Date [Part One] (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ She could see it in his eyes how nervous he truly was. Deep down she enjoyed how adorable he looked.

    Can I Have This Dance? [Part Two] (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Watching her brother get married only made Changkyun want to do the same thing.

    I Do [Part three Final] (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ He didn’t care about the fame or the angry fans that hated her. All he cared about was how beautiful she looked walking down the aisle.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planed yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    What’s Mine (Warnings for this fic: jealousy, unprotected sex, edging)

    ↳ Don’t get it twisted. There’s a difference between being showing jealousy and showing who you belong to.

    Shy (Warnings for this fic: teasing, masturbation, unprotected sex) [Requested]

    ↳ She never wanted to be a burden to him, but her needs were slowly itching away at her especially when she watched him walk out the door.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “This is my favorite picture of us.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “You don’t have to pay me back.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    Kim Minseok (Xiumin)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “Let me bandage that up for you.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Kim Junmyeon (Suho)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Penny For Your Thoughts? (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ “Penny for your thoughts?” He’d always ask that single sentence without fail. She didn’t know him, but each week he asked with a penny in hand she wished she did.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I took care of the laundry already.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Zhang Yixing (Lay)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher) (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “Your skin is so soft.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Wait!” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Byun Baekhyun

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    I Didn’t Know He Talks (Warnings for this fic: Dad!Baek AU, mega fluff)

    ↳ Whether it was him being impatient or not, Y/N found it funny when her husband would voice their newborn son acting as if he was having a one-on-one conversation.

    Laser Tag (Warnings for this fic: none)

    ↳ Deep down she regretted accepting Baekhyuns offer on a Laser Tag date.

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    No Touching (Warnings for this fic: teasing, unprotected sex, slight choking kink)

    ↳ Baekhyun seemed to make his priorities clear as day. Y/N is going to make sure he regrets making that his number one priority.

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Mile High Club (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex, hand job)

    ↳ Something that Baekhyun always wanted to do was join the Mile High Club.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “You’ve never let me down.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Park Chanyeol

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    See "Welcome to America" details under "Long Shots").

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Welcome to America (Warnings for this fic: light smut other than that none)

    ↳ Too many months of not seeing each other led to this very moment. Their tight hug in the middle of the airport.

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Who, Her? Never (Warnings for this fic: unprotected sex) (moved to 2023)

    ↳ The day she ever admitted being jealous of the backup dancer was the day she’d block each member of Exo on the spot.

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I named my little plants after you.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    Setting an Example (Warnings for the fic: none)

    ↳ Never let Park Chanyeol and Byun Baekhyun around a child unattended.

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Doh Kyungsoo (D.O)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher) (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    "Here. You look hungry." (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    "Thank you for making me smile." (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Kim Jongin (Kai)

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I was just thinking about you.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Have you been drinking enough water?” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿୨♕୧‿︵‿︵︵‿︵‿︵‿

    Oh Sehun

    ⸺ one shots (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ long shots (5k or higher)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ smuts (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ angst (1k - 3k)

    Nothing planned yet...

    ⸺ drabbles (1k or less)

    “I was in the neighborhood.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    “Don’t be scared. I’m right here.” (Part of the "100 Ways to Say, "I Love You")

    Hate You

    - Unknown updates! Each chapter will be 2k or more!

    End date: Unknown.

    Coffee Shops

    - Unknown updates! Each chapter will be 2k or more!

    End date: Unknown.

    Public Adventures

    - Unknown update! Unknown work count for each part.

    End date: Unknown.

    #monsta x imagines #monsta x x reader #exo x reader #hyungwon x reader #exo imagines #minhyuk x reader #monsta x fluff #oh sehun x reader #changkyun x reader #jooheon x reader #kim junmyeon x reader #minseok x reader #lay x reader #chanyeol x you #byun baekhyun x reader #kai x reader #kihyun x reader #shownu x reader #monsta x angst #monsta x smut #exo smut #exo mafia au #kihyun imagine smut
    View Full
  • jxstadaydreamer
    04.12.2021 - 5 monts ago

    heartless

    Pairing: Oh Sehun x F.Reader

    Genre: Angst

    Word count: 475

    Summary: He's had enough.

    Authors note: This came out of nowhere and it really hurt to write, sorry in advance!

    “I think we should end this.”

    You stared at him blankly, face void of emotion. Not entirely sure you’d heard him correctly and not wanting to respond in case you said the wrong thing.

    “See, even now, you don’t have anything to say.”

    You blink your eyes, forcing the tears to stay hidden and look down.

    “You really don’t have anything to say? Shit, Y/N. Do I mean that little to you?”

    “What am I supposed to say?” you manage to ask softly.

    “Ask me why? Ask me to stay? Something! Anything!”

    “But if you’ve already made up your mind, what can I do about it? I won’t make you stay with me if you don’t want to.” you sigh.

    He laughs dryly.

    “I fucking love you, you know that? But you’ve built this wall around yourself and you won’t let anyone in, not even me. I waited for you. I was so patient, more patient than I’ve ever been for anything in my life. I guess I wasn’t enough.”

    With your vision still glued to the floor beneath you, tears welling at your eyes and threatening to spill, you nod your head once to let him know you heard what he said.

    “Seriously? Nothing?”

    You give him a small shake of your head.

    He suddenly grabs your shoulders and shakes you.

    “Say something!”

    His index and thumb gently grasp your chin and try to lift your face up.

    “Look at me.”

    You refuse to budge but he’s not giving up. He still wants to fight for you, he just needs you to give him something, anything. A sign that you want him too. His last ditch attempt to hold on to you.

    “Please, just look at me. Look me in the eyes and tell me you’re okay with this.”

    Inhaling a deep breath, you slowly turn your head upwards to look at him.

    His eyes flicker back and forth between your own, searching for the slightest hint of something. Love. Sadness. Fuck, even if they were happy, relieved even. Anything.

    But you were good at this. You put on your mask, let your eyes glaze over. Locking away the windows to your soul. You stared back at him, waiting for him to give up like you knew he already had.

    Sehun sighed. His hand dropping from its hold on your face.

    “Fuck. You really are heartless.”

    Funny how when he said that, said organ squeezed inside your chest.

    “Goodbye, Y/N.”

    No more words said as he gave you a final, longing stare. His usual cool-guy exterior now visibly broken, replaced with a sad aura, heartbreak in his eyes.

    He turned away from you and walked away. Away from you and out of your life.

    It shouldn’t hurt this much. You knew it was coming. You knew this would happen.

    People always leave.

    View Full
  • j-pping
    01.12.2021 - 5 monts ago

    The Risk of Absence -- Act III PREVIEW

    I’ve been missing this fic a lot, and some of your lovely asks have reminded me that I should be making more progress on this, more intentionally. As such, here is a ~6kish word preview of the first section of Act III. This will be taken down once the full third act is complete and edited, but since it will still take me some time to finish, I figured a partial update is better than none.

    There are still approximately 6-7 main plot points (with several subscenes) left to write; this preview section constitutes only 2 main plot points I wanted to cover.

    Please do engage with me and let me know what you think. Hearing from you has been very helpful in encouraging me to get this work past the finish line, and I hope you drop by with a DM, comment, or ask even if it’s just to say you’re still going to read the finished product (lol)!

    No header images in this preview; I just wanted to get something out there for you guys to read ASAP. Thank you endlessly for your patience! Unedited; final version might differ slightly.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Early 2019, Southern California

    Your eyes trace up the length of his arm. Alabaster, smooth skin covers obvious muscle, and you marvel at the human form. Sehun is doing nothing but cutting a slab of pork belly into more manageable pieces, and yet you cannot help but see him as statuesque and elegant in spite of the way he tentatively, but carefully, holds his knife.

    “What would Kyungsoo say?” Tongue clicking, you pretend to scold him the way one of your college friends would. The older man is here for a personal visit, with family in tow, but both you and Sehun know he’s driven all the way across Los Angeles in search of an elusive dessert to bring back for dinner. Culinary connoisseur, Kyungsoo has hovered over (under, or rather, near) Sehun’s shoulder many a gathering, urging his junior to pinch the blade with a gentle reminder. Sehun’s stubbornness always wins out, though, as he prefers the handle grip over blade. (‘I’m not going fast,’ Sehun always plaintively chides. ‘And I’m not cutting a lot!’)

    “Kyungsoo isn’t here, is he?” Sehun lifts up the knife, fingers tightening around the handle with thumb firmly behind the bolster. You watch in rapt fascination as tendons glide over bone in the back of his hand; you’ve always loved his hands, finding them equal parts capable of holding your heart and perfect for many other ministrations.

    “What would Kyungsoo’s partner say?” The banter comes as a challenge. You have him trapped there, when you pointedly tilt your wineglass towards the dining room where she’s busy laying out the side dishes she brought from the Do house. She, too, is an excellent cook, but your threat is empty — unlike her spouse, she is less particular about Sehun’s knife skills.

    The snicks against beautiful butcher block stop abruptly. You look up, surprised by the sudden silence.

    “I missed this,” Sehun says, looking you directly in the eye with his face set to an expressionless mask.

    Your eyebrows wrinkle together in amusement. “What, being roasted by the love of your life instead of hanging out in zero-gravity?”

    The lack of response speaks volumes, but the sheepish turn away says even more. It’s cute when he hides his face like this, out of cringeworthy secondhand embarrassment or shy exposure and the like. He’s always been cute, though you wonder if you’re biased by a near-decade of being enamored with his very essence. Over the years you’ve both grown and changed, physically and mentally, horizontally and vertically, but Sehun’s appeal has been constant throughout each change.

    He allows your words to marinate in the kitchen air, mingling with the aroma of freshly minced green onions and ginger, as well as the latest box of kimchi his mother so lovingly made for you (though she certainly made too much, most of which still rests in the kimchi fridge in the garage. That, too, was a gift from his family, as if to preempt the impromptu vegetable drop-offs). Soft gasps of lipped food containers reach your ears from the dining table as Kyungsoo’s wife opens their lids. The input becomes too much, all the data flooding your senses.

    It’s not like anything is different, not like there’s any stimuli you really need to respond to. You’ve watched Sehun cook in the kitchen countless of times, and vice versa. You’ve had the Dos over for dinner at least once a month when Kyungsoo swings by the Valley for business. There’s nothing new in the kitchen, no new appliances with new sounds to register, no fancy renovations for Shaker cabinetry or white tile backsplashes. There is only Sehun, and routine, and the comfort of intimacy that extends beyond skin.

    “I’m going to miss this,” he says now, his voice dropping to a near-whisper. “All of this.”

    It doesn’t take much to understand that ‘this’ means everything you’re taking in, and more. Stolen moments of domesticity and simple bliss will be few and far between in a matter of months when Sehun is whisked back to Florida for the longest mission of his life. (A niggling, irritating voice in the depths of your mind worries that ‘longest’ might actually measure out to ‘forever,’ but you push those thoughts down when you notice Sehun’s expression tugging downward into forlorn anticipation).

    You jump down from your stool, quickly ducking around the kitchen counter to close the distance between your souls.

    “Hey,” you wedge yourself between his body and the counter as Sehun sets down the knife. His now-free hand smooths down the plane of your back, both for his emotional comfort and yours, but also to make sure your shirt doesn’t billow out onto the raw meat. “Don’t you worry about that,” you reach up to grasp his soft cheeks in your palms. “You’ll get these moments back, in spades, and then some. Maybe I’ll have finally found a contractor I like to get the kitchen redone, and then we’ll have a new…” Your voice falters as you stare into the depths of his eyes. “…a new… all of this.”

    He nods against your fingertips, peach fuzz delighting your nerve endings. You can feel a bit of his daily stubble growing back, and it’s the sensation of touch that shoots a pang of misery into your stomach when you realize that you, too, will miss the blessing of proximity.

    Sehun stiffens against you, straightening his spine and adopting a look of determination across his gentle features. “O-kay!” He cheers with the energy of a little boy, voice coming out choppy and thrown to sound cute. He knows what his weapons are, and he knows every one of your soft spots. Bolstered by your encouragement, he shoos you out from beneath his frame and resumes his slicing with reinvigorated motivation. A part of you is happy to see his mood restored, but another part of you keenly feels the loss of warmth as you’re ushered back to the opposite end of the kitchen counter.

    “One giant pot of kimchi-jjim, coming right up!”  He pauses, then glances up at the clock. “I mean, in an hour!”

    “And that’s why we brought dishes,” Kyungsoo’s wife laughs as she enters the kitchen, though the beautiful sound fades when she notices the strange, spacey look on your face. “I don’t think Kyungsoo will be happy to wait that long after driving back from Porto’s.”

    You compose yourself, giving her a slight smile to thank her for jarring you from your reverie. “I told him to start earlier!,” you whine, throwing an arm around her shoulder and wandering towards the awaiting dinner table. Behind you, Sehun sticks his tongue out at your back — you don’t turn to look, but you expect he’s doing something of the sort, and your guess is precisely on the mark.

    ————————————

    Early November 2020, Los Angeles, California

    You wake in your bed, goosebumps traveling up your arms before you grapple blindly for your robe. A strangled gasp forces its way from your throat, and you reach for your face — it feels like your fingers move in slow motion, and it takes you a length of time for you to register the moisture at your fingertips as tears. Nausea waves over you, fueled by a strange feeling you can only describe as a horrific manifestation of loss and longing.

    It’s not the most pleasant to be served dreams that are not fiction, but rather memory. The dark creature of worry that now lives inside you stirs awake, sending a surge of panic up your spine and making your mind for you. Something is going to go wrong, the creature whispers, you need to be there.

    Where? You ask it, but you know the answer already. Your fingers tap at a saved number on your phone you’ve never called; ‘emergencies only’ they’d told you when you noted the digits.

    Somehow, your body takes over while your mind whirls through every possible worst-case scenario. When your brain finally decides to release you from your prison of anxiety and communicates with your body once more, you look down to see your hands poised over a laptop keyboard, the screen opened to an emailed flight confirmation for a one-way ticket to Houston.

    ————————————————————————————————

    Mid-November 2020, Mars, near Arsia Mons

    Sehun leans over the tiny brushed-metal basin that functions as his bathroom sink, observing himself in the semi-useful (read: useless) mirror that adorns the wall above it. It’s not a fantastic mirror, made of reflective, polished metal, rather than glass, but he appreciates the safety feature nonetheless.

    Lean, dry fingers tug against the skin on his face; one cheek, then the other. He’s mildly grateful he got laser hair removal right before entering pre-conditioning, as it’s saved his chin from developing too much of a space scruff. He turns one cheek towards the mirror — it’s sunken in; he’s gaunt, despite his best efforts to maintain his caloric regimen — something about Mars burns more of his energy than he realizes.

    He’d taken inventory as soon as the messages came in from Mission Control in early October; he had approximately 60 days of emergency food left after his primary rations would dry up by the end of October — this had been planned, as the SpaceX shipment of new equipment and supplies had been initially slated to land by mid-October at latest. With the change in trajectory, however, he would need to take the next two-odd weeks traveling to the new rendezvous point in Gale Crater, where he would set up base using the container from SpaceX as his new home. But to traverse the planet, he would need to cut down his rations by a considerable amount — the rover could only fit so much within it, and that was with leaving many samples behind in his lab.

    It was anything but ideal. The equipment chamber that would land on Mars was intended only for storage and science, not living. It would be approximately the same size as his current abode, but filled with nearly three times as much stuff — therefore less space for him to live. In the least, it had been prepared for suitless human occupation as a secondary research facility, and secondly as an precaution were he to be trapped in the research bunker during a dust storm with no time to reach his regular home base. If Sehun added that knowledge to the reality that he’d have to live in his RV-equivalent research vessel (the Tank, as he now preferred to call it), he had to surmise that he, in fact, was fucked.

    He turns his other cheek, furrowing his brows and glaring at the scowling face in the mirror. Sehun doesn’t like what he sees; who he sees. Whoever’s looking back at him is haggard, exhausted, and only a shell of the sprightly young spaceman who landed after a six-month ISS stint not three years before. But he doesn’t feel like the man in the mirror; he’s scared, yes, but this is his life’s work — his dream — his everything, except for you. The image in the mirror doesn’t match how he feels inside, and the sight shocks him every time he gazes into his own eyes. Sighing, he turns away from the mirror and slides the impossibly small door that leads to the bathroom as he exits it. Even he’s not sure how he’s survived this far with an economy-class airplane bathroom, but life will find a way, he supposes.

    Dim, yellowed lights glow from the corners of his base, following him through his path towards the main living space of his room — not that there’s anything accurate about the words “living” or “space” anymore. Boxes upon boxes are strewn apart the room, with a few atop his semi-comfortable cot. Some are labeled, some are not; the labeled ones will come with him in the Tank  and the rest will be left behind to erode, much like Chanyeol’s old base somewhere on the other side of the planet.

    It’s weird to be saying goodbye to his Martian home already, and even weirder because his mission isn’t over.

    He pauses. He has to survive the next month first -- maybe the mission isn’t the highest immediate priority, but it’s hard for him to feel that way even in the face of danger.

    Narrowed eyes gloss over lead-insulated duffel bags stuffed with hastily processed hard drives and triple-layered plastic bags filled with Martian terrain. The hard drives are less important than the specimens; the majority of what’s on the hard drives has been sent back to Earth in summaries.

    Sehun’s eyes scan to his cot next, where he observes piles of high-calorie, vacuum-sealed biscuits and the remainder of his meals, emergency and planned. He might have to tap into the emergency supply if the trip over to Gale Crater results in a few detours, but he’s semi-confident that the route he and NASA have planned will be straightforward.

    There’s a small part of him that’s excited for the adventure ahead, even though he knows his real mission is on pause, and that this excursion is not one for science. But he knows no other man has had the opportunity (or otherwise, morbid motivation) to traverse nearly 6000 kilometers on another planet. Sure, he won’t be spending most of that time gawking at Mars, but at the rather slow rate of 17km/h he expects to take navigating the Martian terrain, he knows he’ll have much to look at.

    “16 hours a day seems a bit optimistic,” Mission Control texts him, but Sehun manages to win over his superiors by mentioning that his original plan was to chunk each day into segments perforated by only two REM cycles. He’s not sure if they’re worried about a sleep-deprived astronaut destroying a billion-dollar investment by mistake, or if they’re worried about his health (probably both, he surmises), but Mission Control eventually comes around to his proposal of a 16-hour workday, driving nearly 300km/daily for the next three weeks.

    Perhaps it is optimistic. But that’s what Sehun is, because he’s too scared to find out what happens if he loses hope.

    ————————————————————————————————

    Mid-November 2020, Los Angeles, California

    “I’m going to Houston,” you announce to a room of shocked, pained faces — but everyone quickly settles their expressions into those of understanding. “Jongin, can you housesit?”

    His voice is tentative. “I can,” he says. “But are you sure you want to be there? We can help support you if you’re in L.A.” Next to Jongin, Junmyeon and his wife nod enthusiastically in agreement; his wife strokes the hair of their daughter in her lap, as their daughter hides away from the apparent stress on your face.

    “I know that,” you almost snap, but stop yourself right before and make sure to correct your tone. “But who’s going to support Sehun?” Your voice cracks against your will and you reach blindly for an ottoman to sit on. Jongin quickly reaches out to push one closer to you. He notices as you glance at Sehun’s jacket, still draped over the couch, though now arranged differently as you’ve been picking it up for comfort all week.

    You can’t support him from here. You can text him, of course, but you can’t sit idly by a console, waiting for confirmation of either triumph or failure, waiting for any sort of news from NASA or Sehun himself. No — you need to know what NASA knows in real-time, if only so you can stay strong for Sehun through the security of being armed with knowledge.

    You’re not sure, though, that the security will will really feel like it. What happens if Control bursts to life with alerts and lights ablaze, engineers fretting over a complication? What will you do when bad news comes to you faster than the information can be screened through your NASA liaison, when it comes raw and real and unscrubbed? Even Sehun can’t relay emergencies directly to you quickly enough; his data is only as good as what’s on-the-ground in front of him and what can make it all the way back to Earth. But NASA, with their birds-eye view, can figure out what’s happening at once, sans 8-minute delay, and for that reason alone you know you need to be at Mission Control.

    When the offer was extended to you days ago, you hadn’t hesitated to say yes. It was clear to you that sitting at home would be impossible until you knew Sehun was safe, and the opportunity to understand Sehun’s predicament directly was one you couldn’t miss.

    Your shoulders now fall as you tuck your arms into yourself and try to make yourself smaller. “I know —” your voice catches in your throat. “I know that it’ll be stressful. I know that… that I might learn the worst right as it happens. But I have to be there to understand what’s happening to him. I have to be able to talk to him about anything without having to wait for NASA to explain his situation to me.”

    The living room falls silent. The others all know what you mean. Kyungsoo’s partner gets up from her seat, placing her hands on your shoulders for a quick squeeze. They all understand that you have to go to Houston prepared to learn that Sehun might not have made it; that it may all come to an end while you are away from their care and their love.

    “Call us as soon as you need anything — no matter what, no matter when, okay?”

    You nod, clutching your arms to yourself tighter, and lean into your friends’ embrace.

    ————————————————————————————————

    Mid-to-Late November 2020, Mars, near Arsia Mons

    Loading equipment and rations into the Tank is no small feat, what with Mars’ unfortunate gravity and for the arduous, annoying effort of sanitizing in the airlock every ‘trip to the car.’ It’s the worst grocery run Sehun has ever been on, and he’s been to bulk goods warehouses with you — so it’s saying a lot.

    It takes him two days to get everything loaded and all remaining local data shipped off into the stars towards Earth, and it’s all rather anticlimactic in the end. There’s no real good-bye, no sign-off as he closes the airlock to his base from the outside for the last time. At best he gives it a bit of a salute before clambering up into the body of the Tank and pressurizing the cabin.

    He pulls off most of the protective suit; he only plans to wear it when he’s sitting in the cockpit under the windows where the Sun will inevitably get to him. But when he bunkers down in the back, two thick layers of protective walling deep, he has to make himself as compact as possible.

    He’s MacGyvered the fabric of his old cot across the top of a stack of his equipment; everything is secured into place with shelves bolted to the walls of his space RV-Jeep—thing so the Tank can maneuver around roadblocks or traverse steep inclines. It takes a bit of adjustment to get used to, but Sehun figures out the best way to clamber up to the faintly claustrophobic sleeping alcove he’s made for himself (stepping on the hard drive duffel bags seems to work better than the slippery boxes of MREs), and he straps himself in every night.

    The crawlspace isn’t much at all; only 24 inches in height, and only just long enough to fit his whole body, but it beats trying to sleep out in the driver’s seat, which doesn’t recline for safety and spatial reasons.

    He closes his eyes to thoughts of you every night, clutching that small square of fabric as his overtaxed, overstressed brain forces him to bed.

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020, Houston, Texas

    The first thing you notice about Mission Control are the tense jaws worn by every engineer you meet. It’s not a good sign, but you are somewhat comforted by the fact that everyone looks just as worried as you do. They get it, you think, they understand the gravity of this all.

        It’s not true, of course, because while they are just as invested in Sehun’s survival as you are, they are not nearly as invested in Sehun. To them, he is an important asset and colleague, perhaps the hope of space exploration at best. To you, he is your presently missing half. You know you can pick up the pieces of your shattered self eventually should he not return (you shudder at the mere thought), but it will be a long and arduous process that you’d rather not endure.

        Here you’re able to type directly into a terminal that sends messages to Sehun; the delay is more or less the same (being at Mission Control saves you a few milliseconds; transmitting his messages from Mission Control to your home computer is the trivial part of their journey), but something about being one fewer jumps away from him helps. A little. Not much, but it’s better than nothing. The fact that nobody offers you platitudes or empty comfort is also strangely nice — it feels like you’re all suffering together, your muscles all clenched in the same, tightly-wound anxiety.

        The problem with Mission Control is that this static, buzzing energy of tension permeates every corridor, every glance, every single action taken in the cavernous building. You know the feeling too well, and while its familiarity brings some satisfaction, you are all-too-aware that it’s the energy of a tipping point. At home, you are shielded from this livewire energy and separated from it by physical distance and a computer screen. But here you are a part of it, and your own nails-bitten-to-the-quick worry adds to the the aggregate concern. You and everyone else in the room have the same wishes: you hope that the invisible threshold is never crossed, that no more news pushes past that tipping point.

        Hope, you learn, is a fickle mistress. She prevents you from moving on, instead holding you to her breast and whispering small comforts until you are pulled into the purgatory of not knowing, but not ignoring. Sehun is slated to reach Gale Crater in two days; the shipment of supplies is in orbit and everything seems to be on track. It seems too good to be true, but you find yourself wishing and praying to the cosmos that you might be able to hold onto your hope. You struggle with your relationship with hope nonetheless; knowing that the more you have the more any bad news will hurt. But day after day (for a full two weeks) of no change in Mission Control’s frenetic, constant energy allows you to cultivate more hope — it’s dangerous, you know, but you think you might go insane without it.

        When the energy changes in a split second, you correct yourself — you think you were destined to lose your mind and sense of reality by holding onto false hopes.

        The room changes so quickly you don’t have time to understand what’s happening — there are sharp beeps and barks and loud shouts and flashing screens, flickering lights, mathematicians and physicists scrambling to their notepads and MacBooks to figure something out. But what, what? You cry out internally, because your scream in Mission Control would have gone unheard above the din anyway, but you cry out to anyone in the universe who will listen nonetheless. You need answers, answers that the engineers are still trying to suss out, and the wait is torture. At the edges of the room you clutch at the sides of your chair, trying to make sense of the calculations and images flashing on the many screens lining the far wall. Your ears try to block out the flurry of activity, but the roaring is too intense to screen out.

        A firm hand lands on your shoulder, and you recognize its owner as one of Sehun’s mission facilitators; the director is elsewhere, presumably leaning over a physicist’s screen trying to understand why the room is in a sudden panic.

        “It’s a lot of input in here,” the man says, voice gruff. His thick mustache barely moves as he speaks. “Come with me.”

        Your feet carry you, though every step makes you feel as though you are made of lead.

        He leads you to a relatively quiet conference room; you can still hear the shouts and beeps and keyboard clacks from the other side of the door, but it is thankfully muffled. The man strides across the room to fetch you a cup of hot water.

        “Please,” your voice comes out weaker than you’ve ever heard it. “What’s happened?”

        The facilitator meets your eyes, but his gaze is downcast. “We don’t know for sure yet,” he pauses. “But it looks like a large storm is approaching the proposed drop site — we’d been monitoring it, but something changed its path. It’s speeding towards Gale Crater now, instead of missing it by a few hundred kilometers, and we’ll lose contact with both Sehun and the shipment in the drop zone.”

        A lump conquers your throat and renders you speechless. Your eyes try to form tears, but you freeze in your seat instead. The facilitator takes one of your blinks as a question: what does that mean for Sehun?

        “It’s not looking too great,” he admits. “It’s not the worst storm we’ve noticed on the planet, so assuming nothing else goes wrong, the rocket should be able to land using completely local instructions, without contact with Mission Control.”

        “But?” Your voice cracks.

        “But it’s a big risk. There are no human pilots on board; there’s nobody to manually ensure that it lands correctly. If it weren’t a matter of rations or death, we might have been able to try it, but we need to make sure the food isn’t blown up upon impact. We won’t be able to tell where exactly it lands if it goes even minorly off-course, and we won’t be able to let Sehun know, either.”

        You open your mouth to ask another question, but the door slams open as a harried-looking engineer calls for the facilitator. She nods at you, waving at you both frantically. “You’re going to want to see this,” she says breathlessly, and then the doorway is clear. The facilitator is hot on her heels with you not far behind, and you rush back to the main control room.

    “Sir, we tried telling him that we can still attempt the drop-off; the math might work out, this storm doesn’t seem to have speeds high enough to really interfere with the thrusters—”

    A woman who looks infinitely more severe than the facilitator who comforted you snatches a clipboard from the claws of a nearby scientist. She flips through the equations and predictions hand-scrawled onto the sheets, knowing the chicken scratch was supported by complex mathematical models run through one of the more powerful supercomputers. Her lips purse, and she hands the clipboard back.

    “But?”

    The scientist points at the row of screens, where the upper right quadrant of screens has been programmed to blow up the size of Sehun’s messages.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: DO NOT DROP SHIPMENT OUT OF ORBIT

    “What the hell is he thinking?” The female director mutters under her breath, echoing the same sentiment that thunders internally between your ears. She quickly strides over to a terminal, its resident engineer immediately swiveling away in their chair to give the director space.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: NOT AN OPTION. ESTIMATED DURATION OF STORM 6 WEEKS; RATION CALCULATIONS BASED ON LAST REPORT INSUFFICIENT

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020 Mars, near Gale Crater

    Sehun glances behind him, then mutters a few disdainful curses into the void. “Like I don’t know that,” he glowers, his mind running through his ration inventory for the thousandth time that day.

    Food, unfortunately, has been almost all he’s been thinking about for weeks. Sure, he portioned out his remaining spare rations rather well, but the food he’s eating is not nearly enough to sustain a man as tall as him for long — even with how thin he’s become. But he grits his teeth, forcing himself to think about something else as he estimates the chances of death for either of his options.

    Attempt to land the shipment in a dust storm and it’s likely the food will be lost to the dunes forever, imploded upon impact. Keep it in the (lack of) atmosphere in orbit for a bit longer, and gamble for another chance at a viable landing — and eat one half less cracker a day, hoping that an opening appears. He chews at his inner lip, the action reminding him of gum and providing temporary relief from his hunger.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: RATIONS ADJUSTED; ENOUGH TO WAIT OUT STORM

        It’s a lie, of course. Approximately a month and a half of normally-portioned rations lay abandoned in his old basecamp; he could only bring enough for three weeks with him on the rover. He’d been stretching those portions as thinly as he could, but operating the vehicle and dealing with the stress of navigating uneven terrain prevented Sehun from eating only crumbs each day. He was somewhat grateful that the physical strain of donning his safety suit and brushing electromagnetic dust from the rover treads forced him to indulge in at least a few bites of food daily — meager bites were better than nothing. But every bite he took was another bite he wouldn’t have in the future. He pushes those thoughts away now; he knows you’re in Houston, watching his messages at the other end, and the last thing he wants is for you to understand the full truth of his situation.

        He’ll tell you someday, he thinks, later on when his feet are back on Californian soil and this ordeal is well behind him. But for now, he estimates he can — somehow — make his last two weeks’ worth of food last him 6. His meals will be on the order of two bites each, but.. it’s entirely possible. It’s at least something he can control, something he can estimate for himself.

        The viability of landing a very necessary shipment correctly in a dust storm is something else entirely. Not only can he not control it, but he knows exactly how bad things are. Unlike the unmanned Mars Rovers, his food cannot simply be dropped from the sky and padded with inflatables; the shipment is too heavy and he needs to live out of the container that the food will arrive in — a single dent might leave him truly for dead, and one bounce too hard might send all of his food flying, never to be found underneath a fresh layer of Martian dust. No — the shipment must be landed with fuel-intensive retro rockets, thrusters gently lowering the equipment. A dust storm would interfere with the rocket’s ability to communicate with Mission Control, jeopardizing the landing.

        Too risky, Sehun concludes. At least eating less per day isn’t as big of a gamble.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: FUEL RESERVES MAY NOT HOLD

        Irritated, Sehun holds back from sending a highly workplace-inappropriate retort. He knows the fuel situation isn’t great; the rocket spent nearly eight months traveling from Earth. Of course it’s in the last leg, using the last bit of estimated fuel, and that’s including contingency supplies and redundancies. But he’s down here and Mission Control is up there, teeming with a small swarm of the world’s best astrophysicists. It’s their job to calculate everything, and to make the fuel supply work. If the rocket is held in orbit at a good height, somewhere between the heights of the two Martian moons Deimos and Phobos, then perhaps enough fuel might be conserved to nudge the rocket out of orbit with minimal thrust, with plenty left over to land once the coast was clear.

        So he ignores this warning, hoping that the engineers scrambling around in Houston take the hint and figure it out.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: ESTIMATED CONTACT WITH STORM?

    He can imagine the director’s face now; her lips are probably pressed into a thin line, asshole clenched with the full force of bureaucratic panic, and the image makes him laugh despite his present situation.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: STORM TO ARRIVE AT GALE CRATER IN FOUR DAYS, CONTACT WITH ROVER IN FOUR TO SIX DAYS
    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: LAND SHIPMENT AT FIRST OPPORTUNITY; SEND COORDINATES PROMPTLY

        Four days is not enough to outrun the storm, but it is enough to get Sehun situated better along Gale Crater such that any emergency trips he may need to make will require little to no energy, using Mars’ meager gravity to carry his science tank somewhat downhill.  He pores over the tiny terminal, sighing as he tries to adjust his tired bones and get more comfortable (he knows it’s futile; living out of this vehicle for the past few weeks on his solo trek across this lonelier planet has taught him that there is no such thing as comfort in a non-reclinable seat).

        I’ll just make it work, Sehun thinks. He sighs and glances back at his dwindling supply of food, his mind wandering to your homemade pasta and his mother’s incessant supply of kimchi. His stomach rumbles much in the same fashion it has been since he left home base and set off for Gale Crater.

        All things considered, he’s doing alright, he tells himself. And it’s true; he’s traveled farther in distance than any of the unmanned Rovers have simply because he doesn’t need individual instructions from Mission Control to move a few feet. He’s literally done what no man has done before, and — if he survives this ordeal — he might just get to brag about it someday.

        Sehun squares his shoulders and stretches his neck from side to side, preparing himself for another long, bumpy, and precarious ride across the Martian surface. He checks all of his equipment and types off a brief report to Houston. Then, before setting off, his fingers hover over the small terminal one last time. He doesn’t switch to the separate line this time, primarily because he’s tired and achey and his heart has endured enough stress this past day (hell, year) to last him a lifetime. His mind registers the notion that what he sends will be visible, blown up across several giant screens, in front of a room full of his colleagues.

    <<< OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE; OH, SEHUN: TELL MY WIFE I LOVE HER

    Maybe it sounds a bit like a goodbye. Maybe it’ll end up being one. Either way, Sehun musters up the last of his energy to send this message, then puts the terminal in low-power mode so he can continue towards Gale Crater.

    ————————————————————————————————

    November 29, 2020, Houston, Texas

    Your hand flies to your mouth. Half the room turns to glance at you, a few scientists catching a glint of light bouncing from your engagement ring. You’re not his wife — not yet. Had he not flown such an incredible distance away from you, you might have been his wife by now, a year’s worth of wedding planning and cake tasting and seating arrangements behind you. But that was not the reality you lived in.

    His failure to address you correctly worries you and encourages you in one fell swoop; did he make the mistake because he’s hungry and delirious, possibly inches from death? Or was it intentional, a way of telling you what you mean to him, a way of conveying how he sees you and how you’ve kept him company in his isolation? Or — was this a cry for help, a glimpse into his fear?

    A thousand implications race through your mind and the weight of all of them, good and bad, pushes on your shoulders. Your legs give out, and someone has the sense to quickly roll a chair over for you to collapse into. Someone else rolls you towards a terminal.

    Every press of your finger against a key feels incredibly loud and impossibly long, but you manage to string together a coherent set of words.

    >>> OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT. I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU

    You’re not sure who you’re comforting at this point, but you figure that you both probably need it.

    View Full
  • cotton-myeon
    30.11.2021 - 5 monts ago

    Been Through [09 - The Remorse]

    Genre: non-idol!AU, chaebol!AU, angst, drama, slice of life, friendship

    Characters: OC (Choi Seoyeon), Oh Sehun, and many others.

    Word count: 1.3k words

    Remorse [/rəˈmôrs/] : feeling of deep regret or guilt

    A/N: Sorry for going MIA for a while- I was quite busy with work and family. And since this is update is very short even though it's been a while, I promise to update the next chapter soon!

    Home Prologue 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

    It had been a week since then; I did not contact Sehun at all, nor did Sehun tried to contact me. I suppose Sehun really did not need me any longer, not when he had Joohyun now. It hurt a lot when I realized that I was probably just used as a rebound by him. No one was there by his side when he broke up with Aeri except me, and just like what Jongdae said months ago, he became too clingy with me, yet I did not notice that I had taken his bait just like that. It hurt so fucking much that I could not stop crying that night at the airport, and almost made Junmyeon postponed his flight to the USA- especially after I told him of Sehun’s little confession before he came to the rescue. I did not let him do that just because of my cries, of course, although in the end his parents and Jongdae did come along to my house to help explain things to my parents and brother of what happened, and also to ease Junmyeon’s worry over me. Still, I could not help but to cry myself to sleep that night, and the nights after.

    It was only three days after that, when I started to get numb to the feeling, and tried to focus on the impending final revisions of my thesis to distract my mind of what happened. It worked until now, when unexpectedly, a call came from Bae Joohyun. I also had not contacted Joohyun since the incident at the airport- although it had nothing to do with her. Well, okay, it did, but nothing directly damaged my friendship with her, because she was in the dark of all this anyway. All that she knew was Sehun was a close friend of mine, just like she was to me, and period. It was not easy though, because like I said, my heartache both had something and nothing to do with her.

    “Hey, Hyun, what’s up?” I answered the call in the end. “Get ready, I’m picking you up in half an hour,” she told me without further explanation. I choked on nothing, “What?”

    “You heard me Yeon; you and I both know that we need a small break from thesis,” she reasoned, “So we’re having girls time tonight,” she said again. I scrunched my nose, I did need a small break from everything, although somewhat preferably not with her. But then again, she was in the dark of everything. “I can’t say no, can I?”

    “Nope.”

    “Where are we going by the way?” I sighed, knowing that I could not deny her request no matter what. “Probably Hongdae, I still haven’t had the chance to go to that Harry Potter themed café.” Well, that was a temptation. I huffed, “Fine, see you later,” we hung up the call.

    And that was how I ended up having a life update with the one and only Bae Joohyun two hours after the call. I actually hesitated and almost cancelled the plan when a thought of Sehun being with us came into my mind- but then I remembered she said that it was going to be a girls time, which usually meant only the two of us and no one else. We also had just finished dinner earlier in a dalkgalbi restaurant nearby, and were now having a heart-to-heart talk inside the infamous 943 Kings Cross Harry Potter Café in the heart of Hongdae.

    “Enough about me,” I told her. After talking a little about our thesis defense preparation and business, the topic mostly revolved around me- apparently there were rumors about how I was close with Samsung’s President- well, the currently inactive President, Kim Junmyeon. I told almost everything to Joohyun, of course, and emphasized on how Junmyeon and I were just friends and nothing else. He had said that he only saw me as a little sister anyway. “What about you? Anyone you fancy now?” I asked her as I sipped on my caramel macchiato.

    She blushed at that, “Sort of, that’s why I want to talk to you,” she muttered under her breath. My heart panged at the possibility of who that someone was- I just had a hunch. “What? Is it Oh Sehun?” I raised a brow. Her face went an even deeper shade of red if possible, “Is it that obvious?” I snorted, trying to seem playful although the pain in my chest was multiplying. “Is it not obvious?” I gave out a teasing grin at her. “Oh come on Seoyeon!” she groaned and hid her red face behind her arms. I could only laugh at her.

    “It’s been a while since you like someone, Hyun-ah,” I smiled softly at her. She bit her lips then, “It is, but... I don’t want to come between you and Sehun, Yeon,” she whispered. I blinked my eyes and felt my heart beat faster, did she know that I liked Sehun? “What do you mean?” I asked her. “Well, here it goes,” she muttered under her breath. “Don’t you like Sehun, Yeon-ah?” I felt my heart stop right then and there, but I still managed to keep my expressions neutral. “Sehun and I are just friends, Hyun,” I told her. “But the two of you seem...” she trailed off with a shrug. I sighed, “There’s nothing between us, Hyun, believe me.”

    As much as I wish there’s something between us, there’s actually nothing, I thought to myself.

    Now it was Joohyun’s turn to sigh, “Well, if you say so; I guess that’s one question out of the list,” she nodded to herself. “There are other questions?” I tilted my head to her. “Yeah, it’s uhm...” I could see that she was wrecking her brain to find the right words. “As you know, we’re quite close with each other now, so I think it’s going to be weird if I date him... right?”

    “I just, don’t know what to do, I don’t want to ruin my friendship with him if this doesn’t work out,” she bit her lips again. It was a habit of hers when she was anxious about something. “With the way you’re wording this out... he had told you that he likes you, didn’t he?” I gave out a sad smile. She did not notice it however, as she was clouded with her own thoughts. She nodded her head at that, then slumped down on her seat again with her face on top of her folded arms on the table. “I really... don’t want to lose our friendship,” she murmured as she looked out the window.

    I bit my own lips to prevent my tears from pouring out- I could not believe that I was going to give an advice to a friend, an advice that I resolutely rejected this whole time. “If you’re sure of how you’re feeling, then just go for it,” I told her softly, “You might regret it for life if you don’t,” I quirked a small smile when she glanced at me.

    “Are you sure it won’t ruin our friendship?” she whispered. I forced myself to smile without spilling out the tears in order to tone down her anxiousness.

    “I’m his close friend for a long time, so trust me; if he’s serious, he won’t let you go,” I reached out to hold her hand in mine. “He will cling onto you like you’re his lifeline, that, I can assure you,” I squeezed her hand to reassure her, although my own words were piercing my heart.

    “Thank you, Yeon-ah,” she squeezed my hand back. “You won’t regret it, I promise you,” I gave her the final reassurance.

    You’ll have your happy ending with Sehun, Joohyun-ah, unlike me.

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    #exo#exo fanfic#exo fanfiction#exo imagine#exo scenario#exo angst #exo x you #exo x reader #exo x oc #exo non idol au #exo chaebol au #sehun#oh sehun#sehun fanfic#sehun fanfiction#sehun imagine#sehun scenario#sehun angst #sehun x you #sehun x reader #sehun x oc #sehun non idol au #sehun chaebol au #bycottonmyeon
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  • thedeviousdo
    20.11.2021 - 6 monts ago

    Gravity: Just As Usual Side Quest

    Chapter 1

    "Would you like to talk about that day?"

    Minseok gave a small shrug of his shoulders, eyes not leaving the outside view of the nearby moon in his window. Mind instantly recalling everything that happened that day, it took all he had not to shake his head to wish them away. "I failed them." 

    He could see the therapist out of the corner of his eye of the monitor writing something on his pad of paper before asking, "Why do you think you failed them?"

    Minseok looked down at his folded hands, "Because he died."

    **

    Sehun rolled his eyes for what he knew had to be the 10th time since getting on the shuttle with Minseok only one hour ago. "You don't have to take me all the way to my parents place, I can go on my own."

    "Your mother said she wanted to see me, so deal with it." Minseok said as he scrolled through his tablet. 

    "She just wants to fawn over you, her and my grandmother think you're cute. I can tell them you had better things to do." Sehun looked down at his watch, "Should've made JD use the Jump Transport and send us that way, instead of taking this slow ass shuttle."

    "Command said not to use it so soon after what happened to you, just in case." Minseok looked over at Sehun when he saw him recoil a little. 

    Sehun pretended to pick lint off his pants,”Where are you staying?”

    “Oh, Kyungsoo’s letting me use his family’s home since his parents and brother are off planet.” Minseok had barely said he was going to take a break, before Kyungsoo was offering him a place to stay. It’s quiet and hasn’t been used in over a year. Go enjoy. Quiet and big, if Minseok remembered right, there were enough bedrooms that only two had to bunk together when staying there last a few years ago.

    “All alone?” 

    Minseok shrugged.

    “I’ll just come stay with you then.”

    Minseok looked up, “What?”

    “I don’t want to be staying with my parents for two months, I’ll go out of my mind. The rich son of a bitch has a massive family home, you won’t even notice me.”

    “Your family will be disappointed.” 

    Sehun waved his hand dismissively, “I’ll tell them you need me around, help take care of the place. It’ll be fine.”

    Minseok nodded, something inside him relaxed a little knowing Sehun was going to stay there with him. He knew Sehun was fine, but it didn’t stop the worry that would build that maybe he wasn’t. Not after what happened. But truthfully, were any of them fine? Jongin threw himself into reconstructing the virus or whatever it was that Burrs created, in hopes to get over what had happened to him. Or in Minseok’s professional opinion, to hide and suppress it. Jongdae makes more jokes than he did before, and Junmyeon is the exact same as he was before being captured.

    He knew when he got back to the ship he was going to have to set aside his own issues and take his spot back as the ship’s psychiatrist. Help his brothers work through what all has happened to them in the last few months. Things that happened that he was responsible for. 

    **

    “Well, at least we have food to last us two or more weeks, thanks to my mother.” Sehun said as they started to bring the bags and bags of food from their hover shuttle inside. 

    Minseok ran ahead and unlocked the door, “It was that or she was coming over everyday to make us meals.”

    They made their way down the hallway towards the large open kitchen, both with full arms, feet echoing on the dark wood floors. 

    “I want peace and quiet, I’ll take the ridiculous amount of food.” Sehun said, dropping his bags on a counter. 

    They both turned when they heard a thump from the other room. Sehun had a gun in his hand before Minseok even saw him move, gesturing to him to get behind him. Minseok didn’t move from his side, palms raising with shards of ice already formed. 

    Sehun gave him a brief look before starting for where the sound came from, Minseok sticking to his side. They made it past the large living room when they saw a shadow through the window to the garden. Sehun let Minseok open the sliding glass door before stepping outside. 

    “Holy fu- you scared me!” A woman yelled, a large sharp, jagged rock floating above her hand. 

    “Roe?” Minseok asked, hands dropping as he took in who was in front of them. 

    The girl lowered her hands to rest on her hips, the rock landing with a dull thud beside her feet. “You’re early.”

    TBC

    Masterlist

    #here we go on a little adventure #exo#exosnet#minseok#sehun#my fanfic#exo fanfic #gravity just as usual side quest #hope you all enjoy what i have in store for you #xiumin #angst and romance
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  • huihuiheart
    31.10.2021 - 6 monts ago

    Goretober D31: Lone- Sehun

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    EXO Masterlist

    Pairing: Sehun x Vampire! GN Reader

    Genre: Suspense? Angst?

    Summary: He was the last of his kind, just trying to blend in among those who were not like him.

    Warnings: Vampire themes, mentions of death, graves.

    Word Count: 469

    You watched as he stood before the mirror, the one that only served him any purpose at this point, working on his appearance before getting up to join him with a sigh. Smudging the makeup he placed around his eyes to make him look more like your kind, thumbs working to blend the color into his skin and appear more natural.

    “Remember to hide your scent before going out, and take the stuff to slow your heart so it’s harder for someone to pick it up.” You remind him leaning in to kiss his cheek, you know he won’t listen to your offers to let him stay in while you run around outside to do whatever needs to be done. He insists on living his life as dangerous as that is and as much as that weighs on you. So you try your best to respect what he wants to do.

    “I’ve made it almost 8 years blending in with only vampires my love, I think I’ll make it another day.” Sehun tries to assure you, but it does little to help your fears. He’s been getting so lax lately, allowing his guard to lower because no one had found out his secret in all this time. Only you knew and that was long after he trusted you.

    “Just be careful still.” Your voice is soft but he doesn’t seem to notice as he kisses your forehead before rushing out to do whatever he had planned. Something clicked in your mind a moment later and you decided to follow after him to see what he was so adamant about always doing.

    The natural perks your kind had allowed you to follow after him silently without him noticing, even being in tune to what to listen and watch for after all these years of surviving alone. Your heart drops when you watch him enter a small clearing in the woods with a few makeshift graves. Watching as your love sits before them, reaching to carefully dust them off before quietly singing the song his mother sang to get him to sleep back to her resting site now along with the rest of his family. A sight that for the first time in all these years was interrupted by someone finding it, someone other than you. Another vampire lunges out from his hiding spot in the woods and at Sehun, moving on instinct to get between the two of them before your lover could be harmed.

    “You followed me?” Sehun questions in shock after you throw the other vampire back, something you’re quick to dismiss as it’s not currently the concern you have as the other vampire starts to get up.

    “We’ll talk about that later, for now just run. Go home! Be careful! I promise I won’t be far behind.”

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