someday it will be more than just a (flightlesswish) wrote,
someday it will be more than just a
flightlesswish

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[oneshot] Nulla

Title: Nulla
Author: flightlesswish
Pairing(s): Chanyeol-centric, Chanyeol / Baekhyun, mentions of Baekhyun / Taeyeon, Sehun / Lu Han
Genre: Tragedy, Angst
Rating: PG-13
Length: 3,500~ words
Warning(s): Chose not to use warning(s).
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. I write fiction not reality.





NULLA





Sometimes when Chanyeol closed his eyes, he would see a field of sunflowers on a warm summer day. He would be gazing at the sun, floating in the midst of fluffy cotton-white clouds painted on a divine canvas of blue skies. He would lay himself down and he would be able to feel the warmth, rushing all over his body; like he’s being engulfed in a thick, fluffy, comfortable blanket during a winter in the safety of his bedroom back home.

Like a lover’s embrace.

(Almost.)

One of those days, Chanyeol wished he wouldn’t ever have to open his eyes again. It’s good enough for him to stay still like that; relaxed, warm, alone, and very much painless. He didn’t have to pretend. He simply had to be still and enjoy the feel of gentle wind nursing him off to sleep. He didn’t have to smile until his cheeks feel hurt, he didn't have to laugh when all he wanted to do was to curl up in his bed, and simply breathe.

And maybe, just maybe, he would cry.

Just a little bit.

Just a little crack; a minuscule break in his heart.

But then he would start counting, and around four hundred and thirty-three, reality would always pull him closer and closer; forcefully prying his eyes open to make him look at it straight in the eye, without fail, over and over again.






It started as a stunt.

An act; a pretend.

Calculated steps, words, and touches.

It will be a good way to get more fans in the fandom, the management had said at first. Remember Yunjae, Yoosu, Eunhae, and so on? Look at how legendary they are. Their merchandises sold millions.

Temptations, temptations.

Park Chanyeol and Byun Baekhyun were nineteen then; wide-eyed hopefuls, very much eager to get a taste of fame. It would be so easy, they both thought back then. So, so easy.

At first was shyly interlocked fingers.

Then came the hugs and gentle caresses.

And finally, of course, the kiss.






Baekhyun’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. His smile lighted up the room, the stage, everything; and many people found themselves smiling along when they saw it. Chanyeol had captured the image many times; in glossy papers, his phone, his mind, and eventually his heart. It’s inevitable, it really was. They lived together, slept in the same room, and of course — the act.

The fall didn’t happen quickly. It slowly built up with each touch, each word, each gaze. It happened so slowly he didn’t even realise the beginning, or the moment he eventually fell. All he knew was one day, when they’re laying on the bed in one of the hotels in London, as Baekhyun curled up in his sleep, fingers clutching the hem of Chanyeol’s shirt loosely, Chanyeol realised how much he wanted to just stay like that. It was very quiet and Chanyeol could only hear his heart beating faster, then slower, until it’s so slow and painful; how his heart clenched as the realisation slowly, finally, dawned upon him. Chanyeol took a deep breath and starting to count.

Baekhyun fluttered his eyes open sometime between Chanyeol’s two hundred seventy-fifth and two hundred seventy-sixth count, eyes still heavy with sleep. The time read four in the morning and maybe Chanyeol could blame it on that; how it’s still early, how he wasn’t thinking straight just like any other human being at such ungodly hour, maybe he could blame the way he leaned in and sealed the other’s soft lips with his on that.

It had taken him two years.

It took him two whole years to realise just how hard he had fallen for Byun Baekhyun.






Chanyeol kept on counting, but he couldn’t really wake up when he’s already awake, could he?






It was hard to breathe.

The tingling sensation on his cheek felt numb after a while, but his heart still felt as if it had been stabbed until it bled raw. Every gulp of oxygen he took flowed through his veins like small sharp knives, all aiming for his battered heart; all at once.

The sound of the slammed door kept on ringing in his ears, even long after. A drop of tear, and reality shook him. It was real. He had kissed Baekhyun, and now Baekhyun was gone. He had given his heart and didn’t receive anything but a bitter, painful, wordless rejection in return.

He took a sharp intake of breath and choked.

One, his trembling lips let out. Two. Three, four, five, six

He finally let himself broke down at twenty one.






The distance between them became as clear as a crystal glass after a few days of subtle stretch. Chanyeol turned a blind eye and decided to plaster a thousand of smiles on his painted face, because he would not let this break him. He would not.

Not again.

Sometimes he would steal a glance at Sehun and his shy touches on Lu Han. Stolen kisses and caresses when the lights were out, where nothing else mattered but the two of them. It was harder when it’s not an act, sure, because it’s hard to calculate just how many times you could show your affection while the both of you didn’t want to care and just want to do it countless of times; but Chanyeol couldn’t help but to feel envious.

He’s tired of acting.

He’s tired of pretending.

A few times he would stand still after a performance and simply takes the ocean of lights in front of him in. The cheering crowds, shouting and chanting words he could barely comprehend with all of those mixed loud sounds. More often than not it would leave him speechless, eyes widened, as if it took him by surprise that these lights, these people, were there for him. And then a smile would make its way to his lips, and the crowds would scream even louder.

He loved this too much.

And then he would shift his gaze to his left, and the smile that lighted up the world would greet him, always greet him, warm like a little piece of home, and at that moment Chanyeol would blink; as if he were capturing the smile like a camera would.






I love you too much.






A week after Kris left the band, when he got a much-deserved, long-awaited week off, Chanyeol decided to learn how to swim. It’s at a private indoor pool somewhere in Seoul. He would swim for two whole hours at a time, and he eventually learnt how to swim deeper and longer.

One of the first things he learned was how to breathe.

The world’s record for the longest time for holding breath underwater is twenty two minutes, his personal trainer had told him. A Dane did it just a few months after your debut.

Twenty two minutes, Chanyeol echoed. One thousand and three hundred twenty seconds.

Yeah, the trainer smiled. An average person usually can hold it up to two minutes, though. Think you can do it?

Chanyeol eyed the calm pool in front of him and smiled slightly. I can try.

After stretching his body for a bit, Chanyeol inched closer to the edge of the pool. One thousand and three hundred twenty seconds, he repeated mentally. One thousand and three hundred twenty seconds.

He took a deep breath.






One.






I’m seeing Taeyeon-noona, Baekhyun blurted out one night when they’re laying in their respective beds, absent-mindedly staring at the ceiling. The news will be out tomorrow.

Oh, Chanyeol replied; numb. Okay.

Yeah.

Silence.

Don’t think badly of me, Baekhyun broke the silence quietly. This is for the best.

Chanyeol’s next word trotted out from his mouth before he could stop it. Whose?

Yours. Mine. The both of us, Baekhyun answered after a brief silence.

How could you know? I… how could you say that

Chanyeol… please. Baekhyun interrupted, his voice weary, and Chanyeol hated himself for it. He hated himself for making Baekhyun act like this. He hated himself for making Baekhyun choose. He hated himself for making Baekhyun eventually made the decision. Please.

Chanyeol hated himself to pieces.

Okay, Chanyeol responded hoarsely. Okay.

I’m sorry… Baekhyun whispered, and Chanyeol thought he could hear a drop of tear. I really am, yeol. A pause. Don’t leave me?

Chanyeol froze for a moment before averting his gaze to the shorter man.

A pair of eyes full of tears were gazing straight back at him.

Please?

Chanyeol’s eyes, surprisingly, softened. Do you know how selfish that sounds?

I just… Baekhyun choked. Don’t want to lose you. You mean a lot to me.

Chanyeol opened his mouth to answer, but no more words were spoken that night.






The water felt cold against Chanyeol’s pale skin.

Yiruma’s Chaconne is playing from the mini speakers he had brought with him. It was too quiet for him, alone in the pool. The gentle tunes helped him to relax, at least as relaxed as he could then.

He leaned his back on the cold tiles at the edge of the pool and shifted his gaze toward the ceiling. He wondered if the stars were scattered on the skies tonight. He wondered whether they would accompany the moon longing for the sun yet again, another fruitless attempt, tonight. He lowered his gaze to the water surrounding him. It was shoulder-high. He smiled as he splashed the water slightly. The moon had the stars, and Chanyeol had the water. It’s funny how silly it sounded, and yet how much it was actually true. Chuckling slightly, he shook away the things happened that day, the past two years, and took a lungful of air. Closing his eyes, he sank himself down closer to the earth and started counting.






One hundred and fifty six.






Lu Han left them one quiet Thursday morning.

Sehun was quiet the whole day. He didn’t yell, cry, laugh — nothing.

Chanyeol found him later in the evening at the balcony, hands firm on the railing, dark-brown eyes fixed on the shattered stars above. Chanyeol quietly slipped in beside him and tilted his head upwards slightly.

Penny for your thoughts, Chanyeol started casually. The answer wasn’t immediate, and Chanyeol let the sound of Seoul’s evening life fill in the silence for them. It was oddly relaxing.

I wonder… Sehun trailed off after a few moments of silence. I wonder how heartbreak feels like.

Chanyeol hummed. He drummed his fingers on the cold railing; five knocks. Have you ever been drowning, Sehun?

Sehun shook his head. Chanyeol smiled, thin, and began untangling the strings of memories stored in his brain. He eventually stopped at one summer day when he was about seven, and all he could see was blue blue blue. He remembered the slip. He remembered the cool water of the Han river. The shrill cry of his sister. The dreadful feeling of not being able to breathe.

It’s like having all of the air in your lungs forcefully pulled out, Chanyeol continued. And when you realise can’t breathe and start struggling, it would only weigh you down. He paused. It’s like being stabbed in the heart with thousands of sharp knives, and the one throwing the knives is someone you love the most. It’s like that.

Sehun exhaled. I see.

The gentle breeze brushed their bare skin, making Chanyeol shudder a little. The night had grown noticeably colder.

I was thinking… Sehun paused. Now that I have become many things… I want to become nothing.

Nothing?

Yes. Nothing.

Why?

Because with being nothing I wouldn’t have to be like this… Sehun shook his head. I wouldn’t have to feel like this…

Like what? Chanyeol asked, turning his full attention to the slightly shorter male.

Sehun lowered his gaze and averted his eyes to meet Chanyeol’s; a small, sad smile playing on his lips.

Like drowning.







It’s getting really tiring.

Really, really, tiring.

Chanyeol threaded through the water as Chopin’s Étude No. 3 Op. 10 No. 3 in E was playing. He kept on swimming, to the end and back, again and again.

Again, and again.






How does someone get zero, hyung?

What… Joonmyun stopped fidgeting with his shirt and looked at Chanyeol, eyebrows raised. Why would you ask that?

Chanyeol offered him a shrug and a grin. I don’t know, it just popped out in my mind.

Hmm… let’s see. Joonmyun hummed, tapping his chin with one of his long fingers absent-mindedly. I remember my teacher saying that if you divide zero with any number, you’ll always get zero.

I see. But how do you get the zero?

What?

How do you get the zero to divide with the number?

What… You get the zero from… Joonmyun frowned. Nothing, I guess.

Chanyeol raised his eyebrows. Nothing?

Yeah, nothing.






Has someone ever counted to zero?

The perplexed tone in his trainer’s voice could be heard even from the other side of the pool. To zero?

Yeah. Chanyeol nodded, looking up, and simply breathed. To nothing.

That’s… I don’t know. People usually try to break the limit rather than to limit themselves.

Chanyeol smirked and swam his way to the other side. There, the trainer was already waiting for him with a towel in one hand and a bottle of mineral water in the other.

I think it’s important to limit oneself, Chanyeol said after emptying the bottle, hands toweling his messy wet hair. Breaking the limit is too overrated.

A raised eyebrow. You think so?

Yeah. It won’t do to lose control, now, will it?

The trainer chuckled. I guess.

Chanyeol shot him a grin and tilted his head slightly to the side. You should go first. I’m gonna shower for a bit and then head home.

You sure?

Yes.

Okay then, the slightly older male shrugged. I’ll see you again next week?

Chanyeol simply smiled.

The smile faded as soon as the door was shut.






Chanyeol went to a small, old photo studio near his old neighbourhood the next day. He was wearing a set of formal attire: a black three-piece suit with a pressed white shirt peeking underneath, all buttons up, complete with a jet black tie. The black pants complemented his long legs nicely, with black dress shoes. For this occasion, he had dyed his hair back to black.

The old man he had known from his childhood was still running the studio, now assisted by his son. Chanyeol gave them a warm smile and greeted them, shaking their hands gently as he elaborated his wish to get his photograph taken.

But you can have your photographs taken by the best in this country, the old man, Mr Kim, said, looking rather perplexed by Chanyeol’s request. Why come back here?

You’re still much better, Mr Kim, Chanyeol grinned sheepishly, hand unconsciously reaching for the back of his neck. I don’t want any elaborate poses and stuff. Just a simple photograph.

Mr Kim smiled. Alright then. Please come this way.

Chanyeol chose a simple dark-brown background and sat down on the wooden stool provided in the middle. Fixing his hair and attire a bit, he scanned around as Mr Kim was getting ready. This room must have witnessed many memories getting captured. Happy ones, awkward ones, and maybe even sad ones. Chanyeol wasn’t really sure which one he was about to take, but he knew it wouldn’t be a happy one. Quite an irony, considering his nick name was the Happy Virus.

Alright, let’s begin. Mr Kim said as he stood behind the camera.

Yes, Chanyeol nodded and stared right at the camera, a thin smile on his lips. He evened his breathing, fluttered his eyes shut, and stayed still for the next cue.

One!

Two!

Three!

He opened his eyes.






When Baekhyun came to the dorm, three days later, he was surprised to see a new photo frame sitting on their shared desk in their bedroom. It was of Chanyeol, all neat and handsome, eyes staring softly at the camera; the corners of his lips rose slightly to play a small, soft smile that was rare from the tall man. It was always more when it came to Chanyeol; wider smile, more playful smirk, much louder laugh. Baekhyun found himself smiling at the rare image and wondered when the younger man had taken the shot. He didn’t remember seeing Chanyeol in such attire with such hairstyle. It reminded him of Chanyeol’s photo from his high school days, the one he had shown Baekhyun when they hadn’t debuted, only with more maturity.

Speaking of the man, Baekhyun hadn’t heard of him for the last ten hours or so. Frowning, he checked his phone to find no new texts or calls from the said man. He tilted his head slightly, pensive, and bit his lip. Should he call? Will he even pick up…

Shaking his head, Baekhyun hit the first number on his speed dial.






The number you are calling is not active or out of the service area, please call again or leave your message after —






Chanyeol fluttered his eyes open as he felt the water getting colder on his skin. There’s a crescent moon hanging in the sky tonight, he had observed before coming into the pool. It was really beautiful, and he’s glad to see a divine copy of the smile he loved the most on a sky full of stars.

He hadn’t felt this peaceful in a long time.

Sitting on the edge of the pool was a picture of their latest group shot. He reached out to it and lifted his arm, eyes gazing at the now wet picture fondly. Good times, good times, he thought. His eyes lingered at the smiling boy standing on the far right; flawless straight, white teeth bare as his eyes turned into a pair of inked crescent moons. And then there’s the boy at the opposite side, hair dyed a mix of brown, silver, and purple, straight white teeth showing as the boy smiled oh so widely. The boy winked his big eyes, posing in a playful pose with a peace sign raised near his eye. Chanyeol drew the picture closer and carefully moved his finger to cover the winking boy out of the picture, and zoomed the picture out again. He smiled.

Nine was indeed a perfect number.






One thousand and three hundred twenty.






Baekhyun let out a long sigh. No matter how many times he called the rapper of the group, Chanyeol wouldn’t pick up. The last call had been the ninth, and Baekhyun started to feel uneasy. Chanyeol had never gone this long with his phone off. He absent-mindedly walked to Chanyeol’s bed and sat down, fingers rapping on the neatly-made bed. He took in the surrounding and finally noticed a neatly folded piece of paper sitting on the pillow. Eyebrows raised, he took it and unfolded the plain white paper.

I’m sorry, the familiar writing began the first out of the mere two sentences, and Baekhyun froze. He instantly felt dread creeping up beneath his skin. Something was terribly, terribly wrong.

A moment later, when he’s finally able to move again, he shakily stood up. Crushing the truth in his hand, Baekhyun ran as fast as his feet could.

I love you.






One thousand and two hundred fifteen.






Sometimes when Chanyeol closed his eyes, he would see a field of sunflowers on a warm summer day. He would be gazing at the sun, floating in the midst of fluffy cotton-white clouds painted on a divine canvas of blue skies. He would lay himself down and he would be able to feel the warmth, rushing all over his body; like he’s being engulfed in a thick, fluffy, comfortable blanket during a winter in the safety of his bedroom back home.

Like a lover’s embrace.

(Almost.)

One of those days, Chanyeol wished he wouldn’t ever have to open his eyes again. It’s good enough for him to stay still like that; relaxed, warm, painless, and very much alone. He didn’t have to pretend. He simply had to be still and enjoy the feel of gentle wind nursing him off to sleep. He didn’t have to smile until his cheeks feel hurt, he didn't have to laugh when all he wanted to do was to curl up in his bed, and simply breathe.

And maybe, just maybe, he would cry.

Just a little bit.

Just a little crack; a minuscule break in his heart.

But then he would start counting, and this time he counted down to zero.

Around one thousand and one hundred forty, Chanyeol cracked his eyes open to see nothing had changed. He’s still at his meadow of solace, and this time, when he looked more carefully, there’s a familiar silhouette of the boy with the smile he treasured the most standing in the middle of the meadow. His long, slim fingers were wrapped around a few freshly-picked sunflowers; his lean, scintillant, beautiful figure framed perfectly by a halo of sunlight.

Smiling, Chanyeol raised himself from the ground and finally exhaled.










A/N: I started this last month and meant to write something under 1k, but it somehow got this long. It's been awhile since the last time I wrote Chanyeol / Baekhyun as the main pairing in my fic, I think, so here you go. I really enjoyed writing Chanyeol in this, to be honest. I was just browsing through his tag on tumblr and found some beautiful black and white pics of him and ended up getting so many feels from it lol.

Joonmyun made a cameo in this because I realised that I didn't mention him at all in my last fic. Oops. I really, really like his Pathcode teaser ;-;.

I wrote this while listening to TK from Ling Tosite Sigure's Unravel (Acoustic Version), EXO's My Answer, and Yoon Hyun Sang's Always be with You. I think Unravel (Acoustic Version) fits this fic the best, so do try reading this fic while listening to the song! :) Googling for the song may spoil the ending of Tokyo Ghoul Root A if you're following the anime and haven't watched the final episode yet, though. Great manga, great anime, great song.

Anyway, the boys' third anniversary is just in a few hours. Time sure flies. I remember getting excited waiting for my MAMA albums to come, and now three years later I'm waiting for my EXODUS. Sehun only gets more and more gorgeous with time istg what has he been eating, seriously. I wish them the best of luck!

You can also read this on
Ao3.

Finally, the title means Zero / Nothing. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you all liked it!
Tags: c: chanyeol-centric, f: exo, fanfic, g: angst, g: tragedy, l: oneshot, p: baekyeol, p: hunhan, r: pg-13
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