Title: April story
Summary: Kyungsoo finds out that Chanyeol was right—about almost everything.
Author's note: I’m sorry because I had more ideas for this but due to time constraints I couldn’t finish it in the way I wanted to ;-; I do have a few thousand words written that I’d like to finish for one of your other prompts so please hit me up if you’re still interested and I hope you like this!!
It’s a Saturday, and if Kyungsoo was any other boy his age he should be at home trying to rush his homework so that he could go play with his friends without a worry. That, or he should be walking his date home after their day out, all shy smiles and feeding each other street snacks as they walk down the streets of Ilsan.
Except that he isn’t any other boy his age, and he’s in Seoul instead. After seventeen years of living in Ilsan, he’s back in his hometown, where the billboards shine brighter and the restaurants are noisier. He’s almost forgotten how the city looks like, having been too busy studying to even drive up for a short visit. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that he was blinded when he first got off the train—by the people, the signs and the directions they pointed to, the sheer activity of people trying to get to their trains before they miss it. Everything about this place screams metropolitan so loudly that Kyungsoo has to make an effort to not drown in all the noises around him, too used to the peace and serenity of living in the suburbs.
The honk of a car startles him and he takes his earpiece off, bowing his head in apology before he quickly scurries off the junction lest he makes a bigger fool out of himself. Looking around, he finds that no one is looking at him at all. Everyone is walking towards their own destination, some with friends and others alone. Kyungsoo sometimes forgets that in a city everyone is too busy for their own good, their feet always moving almost as quickly as their hearts beat.
Walking past the convenience store below his rented apartment, Kyungsoo stops when he sees a copy of W Korea with the idols Super Junior on it. He picks it up and flips through a few pages of it, skimming through their interview while wondering how much of it was memorized. Putting it back onto the shelf, he gives the cover a good look. Will he ever have the chance to grace a magazine cover for a photoshoot? If he does, will it be with a group—his group—or will it be just him alone? The thought of posing alone for a magazine as big as W Korea has him suppressing a shiver. Some day, he promises himself.
For now, all he can do is get home and sing in the shower, hoping that none of his neighbours mind too much when he tries to record himself and sings the same song more times than he should.
9 a.m is Kyungsoo’s favourite time to be up, but it definitely isn’t Kyungsoo’s favourite time to be doing exercises of any kind. Kyungsoo tries not to groan as he stretches, cheeks reddening when his bones are the only ones creaking in the entire practice room. It’s only 9 a.m, yet the room already smells like sweat. Kyungsoo doesn’t doubt that some of these people have been here the entire night, trying to think of ways to improve their angles and lines, of ways to show their best side on screen. Profile shooting is soon, and no one wants to show anything less than their best on that day.
Having woken up a little too late this morning, Kyungsoo rushed out of the house and forgot his glasses in a haste. Now he’s left squinting at vague silhouettes trying to figure out who some of these people might be. He thinks he sees one of the friendlier looking ones—Joonmyun?—talking to another guy he doesn’t recognize, and there’s the boy who’s too good at dancing—Jongin—practicing alone in one corner further away. Kyungsoo only recognises the black sweatpants and jacket, something that seems to be an essential in Jongin’s closet, not that Kyungsoo is in any position to judge. He swears by his few black shirts and pants, having been unable to fit anything much into his small luggage. His parents seem to think that he’s only up in Seoul for a holiday, that Kyungsoo will one day wake up and miraculously realise that he has been wasting his time all along and go back to them and help them till the fields or something. Kyungsoo wishes that he could tell them otherwise, that he wants to be here for as long as he could be, on stage and singing.
Dance classes are usually never more than three hours, for most of the trainees have other commitments to rush to. Trainees like Kyungsoo, who got in with his voice, have vocal classes, which are obviously more important than dancing classes. Kyungsoo has never liked to spend too much time on things he isn’t good at.
At the end of the three hours, Kyungsoo is the first to get out of the class while the other trainees talk about where they should go for lunch, speed walking over to his vocal class where his teacher is probably already there with the studio set up and waiting.
Profile shooting comes up faster than expected, and before he knows it, he’s being dragged into a makeup room to have powder caked on his face. The stylists had told him that he shouldn’t be wearing his glasses, not on set at least, and he hadn’t felt that contacts were necessary. A natural look is what they are going for, or so he was told. Shifting around in his seat, Kyungsoo takes the time to look at all the other trainees who are present. Some of these pictures will be released to the public if they’re deemed good enough, to test for the public’s reaction. It is mostly a way for the company to tell which people should be put together, if it is time for some of these people to debut. Kyungsoo doesn’t dare to be too hopeful, knowing that he’s one of the trainees with lesser experience here. Kyungsoo has heard some of them talking before, about how long they’ve trained, about their greed for the spotlight, to be able to stand on a stage and show everybody what you have and what you have worked hard for.
There are some trainees laughing together as the makeup artists struggle to keep their faces still enough for them to continue with their work, and there are others with earphones plugged in to keep out the noise, eyes closed and hands moving in some resemblance of a learned choreography. Kyungsoo walks past all of them on his way out, standing around the managers and crew to watch some trainees pose, hoping that he can learn something.
“He seems unfriendly,” someone to his right says. It came out a lot louder than it was intended to, Kyungsoo could tell. When he glances over, he finds Joonmyun hurriedly looking away and avoiding his gaze.
“Yeah, he’s like, always glaring at people.” Kyungsoo has to pretend that he didn’t hear that, squinting his eyes a little to get a clearer look at the expression on the current trainee’s face. Gossip is never anything new, not when it’s on a battlefield. There’s always the topic of who’s better than who, who deserves more and who doesn’t.
Kyungsoo is so engrossed in watching the current trainee pose, that he misses the telltale sound of someone coming up next to him, jumping when he feels fingers tap on his shoulder out of nowhere. The trainee is now sitting on a block, long legs stretched out and pretty eyes crinkling when he smiles, Kyungsoo is almost reluctant to look away.
“Hey, what’s your name?” And Kyungsoo has to turn at this, the deep voice making his ears perk up. The boy’s voice doesn’t seem to match his face, though, for he looks young, youthful, another pretty face. He’s tall too, long legs rivalling the ones the trainee he was watching had. Kyungsoo feels a little tinge of jealousy.
“Do Kyungsoo!” The cameraman shouts, a little too loudly for his liking. He gives the tall guy an apologetic look before he walks forth to take his place on set, trying to settle down amongst all the props.
It ends before he knows it, his aching cheeks the only tell of how long he had spent posing as bright lights continuously shone upon him. He walks back to the spot he was previously standing at to find Tall Guy still there, arms crossed and a contemplative look on his face. The cameraman calls for Park Chanyeol next, and Tall Guy trips in his haste to get to the set. Kyungsoo suddenly feels assured that at least he has all his limbs in control as he tries to stifle a small laugh, hand covering his mouth when Tall Guy—Chanyeol—turns around at the sound. He hears mutters to his right, but he ignores them in favour of watching how Chanyeol fares.
As things turn out, Chanyeol does pretty well, actually. So well that Kyungsoo would’ve pegged him for a trainee about to go into modelling instead of one about to debut, but then he remembers that he’s in an environment where everyone is almost perfect at doing anything. More trainees enter the shooting set and take up the space he once previously took, and soon Kyungsoo gets bored watching the trainees put up the same few poses. A look around shows that at least half of the original bunch who entered at the same time as him have left, and a quick check with one of the directors lets him know that he’s no longer needed for more retakes. Kyungsoo takes that as his cue to leave, careful not to step on any wires as he makes his way back to collect his things.
Overpowered by the sound of the photographer shouting different orders and by the murmuring of the waiting trainees, Kyungsoo misses the sound of footsteps quickly making their way towards him, promptly jumping again when he feels a tap on his shoulder.
“You should really stop doing that, to me at least,” Kyungsoo says. Chanyeol blinks at him, as if taken aback by Kyungsoo’s lack of proper greeting, clearly not used to being greeted by anything less than friendliness by people.
He chews on his lip when he realises that Chanyeol isn’t one of his long time friends, that this is the city and not everyone knows each other, and maybe that wasn’t the best conversation starter. “Sorry,” he mutters, leaving his things alone for a moment to show Chanyeol that he’s listening.
“We should get lunch together sometime,” Chanyeol offers. Kyungsoo’s sure that his smile would’ve been bigger had he not been a victim of Kyungsoo’s unfiltered bluntness just a few seconds ago. Kyungsoo has to take some time to process this, for he doesn’t ever remembering anyone asking to have lunch with him ever since he’s entered this place.
Which hasn’t been that long, but he has always presumed that with how caught up everyone was in making their way towards the debut stage, making friends was only a secondary priority.
Chanyeol seems harmless enough—if anything, he looks like he wouldn’t even hurt a fly. Kyungsoo doesn’t try to fight back his smile when he sees Chanyeol’s own smile widen.
“Sure, whenever you’re free?”
The next week goes on as usual, except that the monthly evaluation is coming up soon, and Kyungsoo has been spending more time in the studio, trying to work on his pitch and registers. His vocal coach has long deemed him as someone who’s able to pass the vocal evaluations without much trouble, but Kyungsoo doesn’t want to only settle for passing it.
There’s also the added pressure of the pressure of the dance evaluations, and Kyungsoo’s almost glad that he can’t rap when he walks past some other trainees furiously writing and erasing lyrics in the practice rooms. There’s only a week or so left to the monthly evaluation, yet he’s still unable to decide on his song choice, having to stay up to listen to himself time and time again in an effort to try to come to a decision. It makes him irritable on some mornings, tired on most, and when he gets up he finds himself knocking into things in his small one-room apartment.
Today Kyungsoo’s nursing a stubbed toe, having stumbled into the dining table’s leg as he stuffed a piece of toast into his mouth. Three hours more, Kyungsoo tells himself, even though he has only just entered the practice room.
He scans through the room and notices that there’s a lesser amount of trainees than usual, most of them probably off to the other rooms to practice by themselves at this time. Rumour has it that a new group is in the talks and he has seen the way some of the trainees tense up at the topic, others smiling widely, as if they knew they would be chosen.
Kyungsoo catches a pair of eyes looking at him through the mirror, and finds that it’s Chanyeol. Before he’s even able to tilt his head in question, the instructor announces his arrival with a loud Let’s start warming up!
It’s already the third water break, and Kyungsoo is sure he doesn’t have the control of his limbs anymore. Wiping off his sweat with a towel slung around his neck, Kyungsoo looks for Chanyeol, and finds that he’s talking to a bunch of trainees different from the ones he was conversing with in the first and second water break—not that Kyungsoo had really been looking.
They are laughing at whatever he had just said, and Chanyeol excuses himself soon after, joining in the conversation with Joonmyun and Jongin instead.
Whatever it is that they’re talking about, they seem pretty engrossed, and Kyungsoo is no less than amazed at how Chanyeol has been moving around like an actual social butterfly. He has gone to almost all corners of the practice room to talk to various people, and none of them seem to have a particularly bad impression of him—if anything, he’s always greeted by smiles and laughter. It’s almost intriguing.
At the fifth water break, Chanyeol makes his way towards Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo sees him coming this time, but he pretends to be busy with his bag as he fiddles with it, arranging and then rearranging the things inside as if he was looking for something.
When he sees a pair of worn out Converses stop right in front of him, he looks up, ears red at the way Chanyeol’s eyebrow is raised, clearly not buying Kyungsoo’s act. Chanyeol bends down then, and Kyungsoo definitely knows how to appreciate a good looking face when he sees one. There are acne scars on Chanyeol’s cheeks, a clear imprint of his growing years, and if Kyungsoo stares harder, Chanyeol’s eyebags are probably worse than they really seem. Not that that really takes away how bright Chanyeol’s eyes are—Kyungsoo’s really tempted to run a thumb down the bridge of Chanyeol’s nose too-
Kyungsoo’s not one for using violence on people he barely knows, but Chanyeol’s smug smile definitely makes his hands itch. Instead, he settles for clearing his throat, pretending that he doesn’t know what Chanyeol is talking about.
“What can I do for you?”
Chanyeol laughs and takes a seat beside Kyungsoo, long legs stretching out and back leaning against the wall. His arm is somewhat pressed against Kyungsoo’s, too close for comfort. yet Kyungsoo can’t bring himself to move away. The sheen of sweat glistening on both their skin definitely doesn’t make things better.
“Getting formal here, are we?” He glances at Kyungsoo, as if about to say something else, but he spots the instructor coming back in just then. “I just wanted to ask if you were free to have lunch today.”
The instructor takes his place back in front of the mirror, hands clapping as his way of calling all the trainees back together. Kyungsoo’s glad his okay didn’t go unheard for how soft it was, if Chanyeol’s wide smile as he makes his way back to his usual position at the back of the class was any indication that he heard it.
After the instructor leaves the room, Kyungsoo immediately reaches for his bag, taking a few seconds to get himself together. He’s positive he has never danced as much as he had in the past three hours, and he wonders how he’s even walking at this point.
Most of the trainees are already starting to leave, but Jongin seems like he has plans to continue practicing, even if his sweat has already drenched through his shirt. Kyungsoo briefly wonders if this is what dedication is, as he watches Jongin blink sweat out of his eyes while he scrolls through his iPod, presumably looking for a song to practice to.
Kyungsoo packs his things for real this time, all ready to go when he spots Chanyeol talking to Joonmyun. Joonmyun glances over at him before he shakes his head, a polite smile on his lips. The conversation seems to end there as Chanyeol walks over to him and they head out of the practice room.
“I know a great ramyun place nearby, if you’re okay with that?” It isn’t until he’s walking beside Chanyeol that he realizes that he doesn’t know anything about Chanyeol at all, name aside. Chanyeol is almost freakishly tall for someone who has such a young face, and Kyungsoo doesn’t dismiss the possibility that Chanyeol is younger or of the same age as him, though he does look like he has been training for a long time.
“Ramyun is great.”
As a trainee who is living alone and away from his family, anything that doesn’t burn a hole in his wallet is great. Kyungsoo knows his parents probably won’t be too happy when they hear about how he’s been living, but he doesn’t want to waste unnecessary money on extravagant meals when he’s probably going to be feeling hungry for another one after his practices anyway.
The ramyun place is conveniently near, and Kyungsoo makes a mental note of the shop’s name when they arrive.
Kyungsoo soon comes to realize that for someone who seems to be pretty talkative, Chanyeol is actually pretty quiet when he eats, not that he has ever been one for noise. The silence isn’t uncomfortable nor is it awkward, and he is almost surprised by how Chanyeol’s presence is almost comforting. Chanyeol only starts talking after they finish their food, stomachs and hearts full after all the exhaustion.
Within minutes, Kyungsoo learns about Chanyeol’s age, the fact that he has a sister who looks like him and how he had a pet ferret who ran away from him when he was 12. Chanyeol talks about how he joined the company just two years ago, and how he’s the closest to Jongin because they have been training for the same amount of time, and how Jongin was the one who introduced Joonmyun to him and they have been hanging out ever since. Despite all the information he’s shared, Chanyeol never pressures Kyungsoo to reveal anything he doesn’t want to, but with how transparent Chanyeol is being, Kyungsoo wants to share too, wants to know more, wants to know him better.
He briefly mentions about how he had asked Joonmyun if he and Jongin wanted to join them for lunch, and Kyungsoo remembers how Joonmyun had glanced at him then. Joonmyun told Chanyeol that they had to practice for the upcoming evaluations, Kyungsoo tries not to think of how much of a timely excuse that was.
Over their sodas and an old ballad playing in the background, Chanyeol talks about how he wanted to introduce Jongin and Joonmyun to Kyungsoo so that they could all be friends, and how he has another close friend who is too busy with school to practice much these days. Sehun, his name apparently is. Chanyeol talks about how he thinks Kyungsoo would like him and Kyungsoo almost asks how do you know?
It isn’t fair for Chanyeol to be the only one doing so much talking, Kyungsoo feels, so he tells him about his brother, how singing seems to be the only thing going on for him and about his humble apartment that he’s renting all by himself. He stops there and realizes that he doesn’t have much else to say anymore—thankfully, Chanyeol reminds them that they both still have practices to go for, and they quickly pay before leaving.
When Kyungsoo ends vocal practice at eight p.m. later, he walks out of the recording studio only to find a familiar figure standing right in front of the door. He has a hand in a pocket, the other fiddling with his phone. Kyungsoo wonders if he has been waiting for some time, but before he can ask what the figure is doing there, the figure beats him to it.
“Want to go home together?”
It isn’t the first time Kyungsoo has found that he can’t say no to Chanyeol.
Firsts become seconds, and seconds become thirds until they blur and blend in with the whirring of engines they always hear when they take the train home together.
Kyungsoo finds out that Chanyeol was right—about almost everything.
When Sehun returns and fits back into his group of friends, Chanyeol brings Kyungsoo over, even urging him forward in that gentle way of his with a hand on his back, as if telling Kyungsoo that he’s free to lean on Chanyeol anytime he feels uncomfortable.
With them, Kyungsoo feels like it’s easy to forget about how his ramen stash at home is running out soon—or how he hasn’t felt like calling home for the longest time, with no real news to bring to his parents except for the fact that he’d probably need to spend more of their money again—even if for a few seconds.
The winter hits as they finish up their last monthly evaluation for the year, and they all agree to spend their new year’s together, having no real home to go to. Most of them would only stay there for a bit until the pressure gets too much anyway, too many questions for any of them to handle.
The wind is cold and almost harsh when they all meet up in Kyungsoo’s small apartment, and normally Kyungsoo wouldn’t fancy having a whole lot of people over, given that most people forget the basic rule of not leaving a mess when they get drunk. He thinks he doesn’t mind this, at least, when they all crowd around the couch to watch the television, Chanyeol right there beside him with his elbow this close to stabbing at Kyungsoo’s ribs. He’s warm, however, and Kyungsoo doesn’t let himself ignore that fact, shifting to get a little closer.
He thinks he definitely needs this, when Chanyeol hands him a beer and he downs half of it within seconds.
Golden Disk Awards is showing live, and they’ve all gotten together to watch their seniors, none of them voicing out the fact that they wish they were the ones on stage performing instead, they wish that they were the ones with thousands of people screaming their names when they go up to receive an award—or at least not sober.
As time passes, they get more drunk, Kyungsoo, Sehun and Jongin aside. He thinks he wants to be sober enough to be able to clean everything up later, at least. They’ve been trying to keep any alcoholic beverages out of Jongin and Sehun’s hands for as long as they can, though when Kyungsoo looks over at their red cheeks, he’s sure that they’ve had a little bit too much.
Their cheers are starting to sound more drunk too, and Kyungsoo is unable to fight back a laugh when he hears Joonmyun cry out a particularly sad sounding Whoop! when Super Junior wins the Asia Popularity award. They keep their eyes open enough for that at least, eyes shining when they watch their seniors move around on stage, trying to get into their usual formation before they take the mic to give their acceptance speech.
Chanyeol stands up then, and bows before clearing his throat, eliciting a bout of drunken laughter.
“I would like to thank all our fans, who have been with us before we’ve even debuted,” Kyungsoo laughs and thinks about how he sometimes sees cameras pointing in their direction and how the girls behind them hide when any one of them turns to find them. He wonders how many of them were for him.
“I would like to thank the company for its horrible canteen food and their stinky practice rooms, at least the recording rooms have equipment that work though,” nobody makes a sound except for the occasional snickers, all silently agreeing. “Also, I’d like to thank our parents for always being with us, supporting us in their own ways, and for giving birth to us.” Chanyeol’s voice sounds weirdly choked, and he’s starting to hear some sniffles.
“There’s also our staff members, who’s always putting in effort into making us look good. We never thought we’d be able to receive this award, so thank you, everybody, really!” Everybody claps when Chanyeol bows for the second time and pretends to wipe his tears like he’s the one actually receiving the award, though Kyungsoo doesn’t doubt that Chanyeol had really shed a few tears back there.
With a few clumsy steps, Chanyeol returns back to Kyungsoo’s side on one end of the couch, and Kyungsoo tunes out the others who attempt what Chanyeol had just tried to do, not when they aren’t even able to get up on their own. He stares at them, hand curled into a fist because he’s scared he’d want to reach over to hold Chanyeol’s if he doesn’t.
Reaching over for another can of beer, Kyungsoo settles for pressing into Chanyeol’s side.
It’s too easy to let the days pass by, Joonmyun’s told him. He has already been here for five years, and he’s long stopped counting the days since he was dropped out of SHINee’s debut. It’s too painful, he said. Kyungsoo forgets that it hasn’t really even been a year since he’s started, and wonders if its too much to hope that it’s his name that gets called each time they call in more people for another evaluation when there’s people like Joonmyun who have been here for a far more longer time than he has, the string of hope he had for his future probably already too close to snapping by now.
The last fragments are starting to fade away by the time more rumours of new upcoming group have rolled in, and by now, Kyungsoo is too tired to get hopeful anymore. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to debut, but he believes that he still has a lot more to learn, and given a few years, he will be able to show a better version of himself than he ever will if he were to be given the chance now.
Clearly Chanyeol doesn’t think that way, because he’s the one who excitedly skips to them with the news, musing about how great it’d be if they were all in the same group as none of them tries to burst his bubble. He doesn’t miss the way their eyes all shine a little, as if they were all trying to suppress that little voice that’s telling them this is your chance. He can’t imagine how it must feel like for the others who have stayed here for more years, who have heard more of these rumours than he has, and how they let themselves get hopeful each time.
A few of the better trainees have left recently, some of them saying that they want to return to school, others saying that their parents no longer have enough money for them to waste their youth away like this anymore. He knows some of them have been asked to join another company, that they’d be able to debut faster there and how they couldn’t resist the temptation. Kyungsoo is unable to understand how some of them could just let go of their talent like this, and tells that to Chanyeol when they sit on one of the benches by the Han River at night.
They’re near the start, where there are always lesser people, and the silence is always welcome. Trainees are never advised to spend too much time running around like this, for once their names get out and people learn about them, it’s too easy for people to dig out past stuff about them or for them to do foolish things that won’t ever be forgotten by the citizens, ruining their chances of building a positive image. Chanyeol dragged Kyungsoo out one night when he said he needed a breather, telling Kyungsoo that he’d bring him to his secret place.
As it turns out, Han River isn’t the most secretive place Kyungsoo knows, but he knows this is Chanyeol’s way of sharing with him. Sometimes he still catches himself staring at Chanyeol for a moment too long, wondering if he’d ever be able to figure Chanyeol out, figure out why Chanyeol always has so much faith in whatever he does, why he never seems to let anything get to him too much, although he has been witness to Chanyeol’s tears for a few times already. They seem to go as fast as they come, disappearing before Kyungsoo’s even able to want to wipe them away for him.
“Are you never scared that you’ll never be able to debut? That you’ll just be wasting your time?” Kyungsoo realises that that sounded too harsh, so he takes in a deep breath, focusing on the skyline and the rooms which still have their lights on even at midnight, at the people who never sleep. “I mean, what if we debut and get buried? There’s just so many people out there already famous, and there are many others like us, the market is getting too saturated—“
“—statistically speaking, it’s easier for us to fail than to succeed, the debt is going to be too much to pay—“
“Kyungsoo.” At the squeeze on Kyungsoo’s shoulder, he stops, letting out a breath he didn’t realise he had been holding in. They had been talking about all the possibilities again, but Kyungsoo’s found that he has never been one to focus too much on the happy what ifs—that’s for Chanyeol. He has always been the one to think about the possibilities of failures and he’s starting to hate it.
Chanyeol lets the silence wash over them again, along with the soft sound of nature and people still walking around at this time. For a moment, Kyungsoo thinks Chanyeol is just going to ignore whatever he had said, but then he feels a warm hand slip into his, fingers interlacing before closing and squeezing.
When Kyungsoo looks at Chanyeol, it’s as if Chanyeol knew what he was going to do.
“Your hand looked cold,” Chanyeol quickly defends, eyes wide, as if he was surprised by what he himself had said.
The wind has long settled and the grass has been reduced to soft rustling by now, given that it will soon be time for the sun to rise. The light of the lamppost isn’t enough, but he’s sure that Chanyeol’s ears are red by now and no matter how many times Kyungsoo or their other friends tease him about it, it’s one of the things Kyungsoo loves about Chanyeol. He laughs and lets Chanyeol hold his hand, not saying anything about it even when Chanyeol moves their linked fingers into his pocket, where it gets even warmer.
In April, a year or so after he had first packed his things and left for the city to take his first steps towards his dreams like his parents had always urged him to, Kyungsoo makes his first call back to his parents after a few months .
“Dad? Mom? I’m debuting.”
New trainees by the name of Baekhyun and Jongdae had just joined, and while Jongdae isn’t too noisy or loud for a newcomer, he settles in well enough and fits in like a piece of a puzzle the group never knew they needed. Baekhyun, however, had fit right into Chanyeol. By the time it was time to sleep on the first day Baekhyun and Chanyeol had met each other, they seem to have told each other at least half of their life story already.
The others watch on, amused at the chemistry that seem to come as easily as dancing did to Jongin between them, and think that they’d make a good pairing.
Time flies by after that, and Kyungsoo wonders if this was what Joonmyun meant by how he had stopped bothering to count the days.
Sometimes when Kyungsoo looks over, he sees Joonmyun smiling to himself as he watches all of them practice, like a proud father. When he goes over to tease Joonmyun about it, the smile only widens. Kyungsoo has never felt more glad as a friend.
When Baekhyun’s hands shake after getting scolded for what seemed like the nth time, Kyungsoo holds his hand this time, slowly coaxing the notes out of Baekhyun. He knows this path, one that he had walked down one too many times. The pressure of being a vocal comes when the trainers insist that you can push more, and you follow because you’re unsure of where your boundary lies, only to be scolded when you find that it isn’t very far at all. Baekhyun hides these thoughts behind well-timed jokes and too wide smiles, like someone Kyungsoo knows. Kyungsoo doesn’t know when he started it, but when this happens, he always thinks of someone who’s too tall, with big ears and bowed legs, and how he had held Kyungsoo’s hand back when winter was dying out and told Kyungsoo how it was his hand that seemed cold.
It makes him have faith, that him, and all of his other group members, that they can do it.
Chanyeol has been spending a lot of time with Baekhyun lately, acting like they were soulmates who lost each other the previous lifetime and are spending time together now to make up for it. No one really minds, because they tell jokes that make the rest of them forget that in a few months, a few weeks, they’re going to be shown to the public, and that the watchful eyes will probably follow them for the rest of their lives.
They’ve just moved into their dorms, and of course Chanyeol would choose to room with Baekhyun. Jongin ends up with Kyungsoo, which does well for Kyungsoo because Jongin spends too much time in the practice rooms to really come back anyway. Kyungsoo doesn’t tell anyone about how his bed dips in the middle of the night sometimes and how he’s awake through all of that, awake through Chanyeol’s deep voice simply talking, about anything and everything. When Chanyeol talks about his worries, Kyungsoo fakes a sleepy groan and turns around to bury his face into Chanyeol’s neck. Chanyeol doesn’t shut up then, but Kyungsoo is still scared that his breathing is too laboured to be that of someone who’s supposed to be in deep sleep, afraid of what Chanyeol would think that he’s actually speaking to someone conscious when he never really wants to let anyone step into his unconscious worries.
On other days, he finds himself in Chanyeol’s bed, a size too small for someone with legs that long. Baekhyun’s occasional sleep noises do nothing to distract them when Kyungsoo presses his front against Chanyeol’s back, arms securely wrapped around Chanyeol, and he hopes that Chanyeol knows that this is his way of telling him I’m always here for you.
It’s a few days before their scheduled debut date when they find themselves out on Han River at midnight again. Trainees are never advised to spend too much time running around like this, much less trainees who are about to debut, but they can’t find it in themselves to care enough. After telling their managers that they’re going to get some snacks at a nearby convenience store, they quickly got out and went straight for the bench.
“It has been a long time since I needed to come here,” Chanyeol muses.
Kyungsoo wonders if Chanyeol’s heart is beating as fast as his. None of them are really able to sleep back in the dorm, sounds of soap dramas or music shows still playing even at three a.m. They’ve been continuously nagged to get enough rest so that they’ll be able to do their best when it’s their showcase, but Kyungsoo knows that it’s because they want to do their best that they are unable to sleep.
Spring is here, the cold winds of winter almost a forgotten memory now. If anything, Kyungsoo enjoys being able to walk around the dorm in only a shirt and his briefs. It helps that none of them really care anyway, having been too used to scenes where they take their shirts off after sweat soaks right through them during long hours of dance practice. He thinks about EXO-M—supposedly what the other half of their group will be called—and wonders if they feel scared about having to stay in a foreign land to perform for the Korean members, and if flying to China to stay for promotions will feel like going home for the Chinese members.
“We have come really far,” Kyungsoo agrees. When Chanyeol reaches out to hold Kyungsoo’s hand this time, Kyungsoo makes sure to grab Chanyeol’s hand first, lacing their fingers together in some resemblance of a similar scene that happened a few months ago.
Cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom when they make their way to the back of the stage. Their debut showcase had passed by them so quickly that none of them make a sound while walking, not even Baekhyun or Chanyeol, all too overwhelmed with everything to even crack a joke.
They were there, on that stage, with the bright lights shining on them, they were there and they heard the shouts everyone has been telling them about, about how it is these cheers that will push you on to work even harder in the future. Kyungsoo doesn’t think about the flashing cameras and how many of them were for him anymore, Kyungsoo thinks about all the cameras and phones and about how they were all for them, his group.
As they thank the staff for their hard work, Chanyeol gets sudden flashbacks of a certain bespectacled boy who loves to sing, of his habits of stress cleaning and worrying about everything, of how he squints when he doesn’t have his spectacles with him. Chanyeol goes up to him, and tells him you made it.
As they thank the staff for their hard work, Kyungsoo gets sudden flashbacks of a young teen with too long hair and too long legs, of the times when he would cry over something that happened long ago, of his endless faith and optimism, as if he knew that everything would turn out fine. Kyungsoo wants to tell him that he was right, again, but when he hears said guy tell him you made it, he gets on his toes so that his mouth is right by Chanyeol’s ear, and says we made it.