Summary: Wu Fan thinks he’s content with traveling with just the six of them, but then he feels Chanyeol’s warmth sidling next to him on stage and realizes that without Chanyeol, nothing’s ever enough.
Prompt Used: Infinite – Chaser (mainly second supplementary prompt)
Wu Fan adjusts his backpack straps so they don’t dig in so much and looks over to where Lu Han’s leaning his head against the back of Yixing’s neck. Tao’s messing with his bulky headphones Jongin gave to him for his birthday, and Minseok’s waiting for Jongdae who scurried off to the bathrooms right after they landed. They’re jetlagged and too tired from the five hour plane ride, and Wu Fan can already hear the fans in the waiting area.
Their manager rushes them out, and the flashes from the cameras are just as blinding as ever. Wu Fan grabs onto Lu Han’s elbow to make sure he doesn’t fall again and walks briskly ahead, nodding and smiling to some of the fans waving their hands in his face. No matter how many times they fly back and forth from Incheon to Hong Kong, Wu Fan thinks he will never get used to the overwhelming feeling of fans pressing into them on all sides.
They know K’s waiting for them on the other side, and everyone’s desperate to see everyone else before they’re dragged away into separate vans. Wu Fan feels his phone vibrate and he’s looking down to see who texted him when Tao cries, “Sehun!”
The screaming gets a little louder but Wu Fan hardly notices because Chanyeol’s about five yards in front of him, waving his cellphone and his smile is showing all of his teeth. Wu Fan feels Lu Han jerk out of his grasp and jog towards Jongin and Sehun. Suho’s somewhere behind them and he’s calling excitedly for Jongdae, and Minseok’s probably wherever Kyungsoo is.
Wu Fan approaches the group last but Chanyeol is the first to reach out for him, fingers curling lazily around his wrist as he jerks Wu Fan forward into a hug. “Hyung, you’re back,” are the first things out of Chanyeol’s mouth, and it reminds Wu Fan of how they were before stage lights and stardom pulled them apart - when Chanyeol had smiled at him on the first day like they were old friends, and Kris really couldn’t understand anything he was saying besides hyung and few pronouns here and there.
“Did you wait long?” Wu Fan asks when Chanyeol pulls away. He likes how Chanyeol doesn’t let go of his wrist, enjoying the warmth of someone else’s hold.
“No, I texted you though.” Chanyeol holds up his phone and laughs. “I guess I’m just impatient.”
Wu Fan smiles when he sees the string of pouty emoticons Chanyeol had sent him along with Where are you? “Yeah, me too,” he says and it sounds a lot like I missed you too. “Let’s go before we lose them.”
Chanyeol nods eagerly and lets go of Wu Fan’s wrist. Wu Fan almost reaches out again but stops himself when he sees five Nikon cameras poised up ahead and sighs. He shoulders his backpack strap again before following Chanyeol out of the airport.
The vans are waiting for them, and it’s hell getting inside because one manager isn’t enough to push all the fans away. He sees Chanyeol helping Baekhyun into K’s van before following him in, and Wu Fan feels Yixing tugging him into their own van, urgency obvious in the way Yixing’s eyeing the crowd nervously.
On the ride back, with Tao dozing off on his shoulder, Wu Fan checks his phone. Chanyeol’s previous message is the first thing he sees and a smile spreads across his face before Wu Fan can stop himself. Where are you?
He texts back - right behind you - and tucks his phone away, turning his head to gaze outside. Buildings and people rush by them in a blur. Korea becomes alive at night, but Wu Fan thinks he’ll enjoy it more with Chanyeol next to him.
Wu Fan thinks he fell in love with Chanyeol when he saw him across the stage during their first showcase in Seoul. It might have been the thrill of performing for the first time, the rush of adrenaline shooting through his veins, but all Wu Fan could see at that moment was Chanyeol beneath the halo of spotlights.
After the show, Chanyeol pulled him to the side, hands slick with sweat and shaking with excitement, and Wu Fan had never seen him so alive, eyes brighter than before and his smile was almost blinding. “We did it, hyung! We made it,” Chanyeol said and all Wu Fan could do was smile and nod.
He wanted to keep him close for a little while longer but then Chanyeol was bouncing off again, finding Jongin and Kyungsoo and wrapping his arms a little too tightly around their shoulders. That’s when Wu Fan remembered that there are ten other members and thousands of fans and he can’t keep Chanyeol all to himself, not when they’re supposed to belong to everyone else.
“Chanyeol, it’s two o’clock in the morning.” Wu Fan had woken up and saw dim lights flickering through the cracks of his door. He tiptoes out to see Chanyeol sitting on the couch with his knees pressed to his chest, the TV showing some Korean comedy set on mute. “Come on, go back to bed.”
“Not sleepy,” Chanyeol mumbles, and Wu Fan laughs softly when he sees him trying to stifle a yawn.
“You’re a horrible liar. We have practice tomorrow at eleven, you’re going to collapse if you don’t get some rest,” Wu Fan says as he takes the remote and shuts the TV off.
“Carry me?” Chanyeol holds out his arms, and there’s a small smirk on his lips. He knows he’s too big and Kris knows it too, so he grabs onto Chanyeol’s wrists and pulls him up to standing position. He lets go but then Chanyeol’s leaning against him, cheek pressing against Wu Fan’s shoulder.
Wu Fan freezes, arms hovering awkwardly around Chanyeol’s lax body, and he desperately hopes Chanyeol can't feel how fast his heart is beating right now. “Chanyeol, we have to sleep, come on.”
“No, stay for a while,” Chanyeol says, and Wu Fan holds back a shiver when Chanyeol’s breath brushes against his neck. There’s a sigh and Chanyeol presses himself closer, and Wu Fan carefully wraps his arms around his waist and links his fingers together so that his hands rest on the small of Chanyeol’s back. “You’re warm.”
Wu Fan laughs because Chanyeol sounds so much like a child right now, content and drowsy. Chanyeol leans away, and Wu Fan’s already missing his warmth. His face is unreadable as he looks up at Wu Fan, eyes flickering over his face, before he pulls away completely and lets out a loud yawn he’s probably been holding in for a while.
“Night, hyung,” he says as he walks back into Minseok’s room because Yixing wanted to sleep in K’s dorm for the night. Wu Fan nods and says good night a little too late.
Wu Fan think he hasn’t seen the sun rise up in the sky in months because he’s dragged out of bed a good hour before the night melts away into day, and there are no windows in their practice room.
“Bought a present yet?” Lu Han walks up, his right arm bent behind his neck as he stretches it out. Wu Fan shakes his head.
“No, I’m not really sure what to get,” he says, mouth twisting at the corners ruefully as he starts stretching his legs.
Lu Han smiles a little, twisting his body so his right elbows smacks against Wu Fan’s back playfully. “Come on, Duizhang, you know him probably better than most people. You should be good at this.”
But Wu Fan isn’t good at this, isn’t good at guessing what sort of present would bring a smile on Chanyeol’s face as effortless as how Chanyeol makes Wu Fan forget about the stress of being a leader and eases him out of his rigid shell. Chanyeol makes it easy to be around him, the constant air of cheerfulness that is so contagious, Wu Fan immediately latched onto it when he first laid eyes on Chanyeol.
“I’ll probably go out tonight and see what I can find,” he says, bending down and trying to touch the floor with the tips of his fingers. Lu Han hums contently, now swinging his arms from side to side. Jongin stumbles in later, sleepy-eyed even as he does a few hops on the balls of his feet, shaking out his loose muscles. He grabs Lu Han without saying a single word and starts going over the choreograph. Wu Fan watches quietly, smiling softly when he sees Jongin’s hands fluttering over Lu Han’s shoulder, ready to steady him when he needs it.
“Ah, look at those two, they make it looks so simple.” Wu Fan straightens up when he hears Chanyeol from behind him. He’s dressed in a simple white tank with grey sweatpants, one leg pushed up to the knee, and laces tucked into his shoes instead of being tied. His hair is a little flatter on his left side - he didn’t brush it very well - and his eyes are a little wet at the corners. He looks as tired as the rest of them, and Wu Fan feels a sympathetic pang because the K group performs nearly twice as much as M.
“At least you don’t have to suffer alone,” Wu Fan says, swinging an arm around Chanyeol’s shoulder, surprised once again at the lack of height difference. Chanyeol laughs and tucks himself into Wu Fan’s sides like he belongs there, and Wu Fan feels the familiar ache in his chest knowing he’s on a time limit once again, the days counting down to zero when he and his group have to book a flight to Hong Kong.
Their company holds a private party for Chanyeol before the lucky fans are invited, and Chanyeol grabs Wu Fan’s wrist and drags him out first. “Hyung, help me,” he whines, showing Wu Fan the carts upon carts of wrapped gifts sitting outside the SM Entertainment’s doors.
Wu Fan laughs when he sees a box of boxers stuffed inside a gift bag and helps Chanyeol carry all the gifts outside, soaking in the lazy morning light and the way Chanyeol grins every time he shakes a wrapped gift box, trying to guess what it is. He thinks of the gift he has sitting on his pillow, a simple snapback that Wu Fan had the initials PK CY stitched on the front. He doesn’t know if Chanyeol would even like it and it will probably get lost in his pile of snapbacks a few weeks in, but as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.
The party poppers make Chanyeol jump a little every time but he laughs it off, lanky arms wrapping around Jongin’s and Sehun’s necks and pulling them in. They pose for the polaroid camera Joonmyun bought for the occasion, cheeky smiles flashing and eyes pushed into crescents. Wu Fan stands a little in the back, trying to will the moment to slow down because this is how Chanyeol should look everyday. His shoulders aren’t so tense, and his fanservice smile has melted into a more relaxed one, the fear of being caught on camera disappearing with the fake facade they are all forced to put on most of the time.
“We have a few more weeks together,” Chanyeol says after they’ve cleared away the ripped gift wraps and dishes of cake crumbs. “Hong Kong will be fun.”
Wu Fan nods, smiling a little to himself because this is probably the longest K and M have ever been together. Which, in turn, means the longest he and Chanyeol have ever been together since debut, and he tries not to let it get to his head. Packing and moving and flying five to six hours is nothing new to Wu Fan, but Chanyeol has been grounded in Korea and he’s not the type to stay in one place for too long.
Wu Fan’s fine with Chanyeol wanting to be everywhere at once, just as long as he can still reach out and grab Chanyeol by the wrist and pull him in close. Because that distance is the only sort of distance Wu Fan can handle between them.
It’s the little things Wu Fan notices when he’s in his hotel room by himself with his cell phone; the lacking background noise of laughter and unnecessary clapping, the missing warmth by his side whenever he’s lounging in the main room, the absent chin on his shoulder when he’s scrolling through his Renren.
Wu Fan thinks he might be exaggerating when he feels more than a little lost without Chanyeol by his side, but the emptiness is a little overwhelming even when he has five other members with him twenty-four seven.
“Duizhang seems a little under the weather lately,” Yixing smiles, dimples as prominent as ever as he settles in the chair next to Wu Fan’s bed.
Wu Fan stretches, letting the heels of his feet dangle over the edge of the mattress. He thinks back to the late nights he and Chanyeol shared before they had to worry about things like fanservices and looking alive every second, legs hanging off the bed because they were always too tall. Wu Fan remembers Chanyeol’s hair was the natural black, tinges of brown seen in the tips because he’s been out in the sun too long. But his laugh never changed; the way his eyes scrunched up as his teeth flashed in the dim light, the soft chuckles that always lingered afterwards, they were a part of Chanyeol as anything else.
“Just missing our other half,” Wu Fan says, flipping his cell phone in the air before catching it between his fingers. Yixing watches with interest, legs tucked neatly underneath him.
“Or you’re just missing your other half,” he says mildly, smiling a little wider when Wu Fan looks at him, puzzled.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m not really sure myself,” Yixing admits, shrugging his shoulder. “It’s just sometimes I look at you and Chanyeol and then I look at you now, and it’s... empty.”
Wu Fan sits up slowly, fingertips pressing into the starch white blanket. “How’s it empty? I have you guys.”
“You do,” Yixing smiles, and Wu Fan’s more confused than before. “But it’s like you and Chanyeol are always chasing each other, missing each other, like you guys are out of step on purpose.”
“You make us sound like some cliched romcom,” Wu Fan snorts.
“You guys kind of are.” Yixing laughs when Wu Fan throws a pillow at him, not even attempting to dodge it and letting it hit him softly in the chest. “You guys are stupid and clueless, and it’s frustrating watching you two dance around each other.”
“Well, sorry for that, then, I’ll try harder.” Wu Fan glances at his cell phone when it vibrates with a new text. “I don’t know what to do with him sometimes.”
“Sure you do. Like you said, try harder,” Yixing stands up and stretches his arms over his head, tossing the pillow back onto Wu Fan’s bed. “We have two more weeks. Figure something out.”
Minseok’s calling them out for dinner, and Lu Han’s excited yell can be heard two doors over. Yixing gently shuts the door behind him while Wu Fan unlocks his phone to check the text.
Did you have dinner yet??? There’s a picture attached to Chanyeol’s text showing a steamy bowl of kimchi jjigae and a blurry hand in the background which Wu Fan guesses is Baekhyun’s.
I’m just about to, he texts back. It only takes five or so seconds before Chanyeol responds again, a line bouncing smiley emoticons greeting Wu Fan.
Hurry and eat!!!! You need energy!
Wu Fan chuckles and locks his phone when he hears Lu Han calling for him to hurry the fuck up or they’re leaving without him.
“What do you want?” Jongdae asks him as they clamber down the stairs.
“Kimchi jjigae sounds really nice right now,” Wu Fan says, weighing his wallet in his hands. Jongdae makes a face.
“You’re in China, why do you want Korean food, you get plenty of that back in Seoul.”
“What’s wrong with wanting Korean food every now and then?” Wu Fan shoots back, wrapping an arm around Jongdae’s neck and squeezing a little harder than usual. Jongdae squawks and hunches his shoulders, trying to squirm away while Wu Fan simply drags his small frame down the stairs. He catches Yixing watching them along the way, his eyes glowing like he knows some sort of secret Wu Fan doesn’t, but then Tao’s pulling Yixing behind him and complaining about how slow everyone is.
The soup isn’t as spicy as it is in Korea, but the tofu are as soft as Wu Fan remembers them to be, and the steam feels warm against his cheeks. Everyone’s talking around him, Lu Han stealing small bites of fried rice from Minseok’s plate and laughing when Minseok pushes him away with his shoulder.
He thinks about Yixing’s words and yeah, he feels a little empty without Chanyeol sitting across from him with chopsticks dangling from his mouth. But when he sends Chanyeol a picture of his own kimchi jjigae and remembers that there are only two weeks left before they’re on the plane back to Incheon, the ache of the distance dulls a little. Two weeks is still too long, Wu Fan thinks, but it’s manageable, and absence only makes the heart grow fonder.
Wu Fan missed the familiarity of his home in Vancouver when he was still training and doubting and waiting for his turn. He kept an old family portrait tucked in his bag; he pulled it out every now and then after a phone call with his mother, feeling his smile waver and the tears threatening to spill over.
But when he’s in Beijing, surrounded by the warm tones of his mother tongue, he finds himself missing the loudness of Chanyeol’s voice, the random scatters of magazines and jackets and snapbacks in their dorms like little pieces of Chanyeol spread everywhere.
It was Chanyeol who made the harsh glare of the polished hardwood floor in their practice room a lot less threatening, made the idea of dancing for hours on end so much less daunting with his gangly arms as uncoordinated as Wu Fan’s. It was Chanyeol who pulled Wu Fan along with warm smiles and even warmer hands.
“It’s getting colder,” Lu Han says, burying himself deeper into his jacket. His thin fingers shake a little as he tries to slide his phone open, and Wu Fan rubs a cold hand along the sleeve of Lu Han’s jacket.
“Malaysia isn’t so bad from what I hear,” Tao says softly, hoodie pulled over his head as he settles himself in the seat behind Lu Han. They’re headed to SM and the sun has long disappeared, the moon hanging like a lonely penny in the sky. The van’s heater is broken, and Wu Fan can still see his breath.
He punches in the code to their dorms automatically, eyes dropping close even as he barges into the empty dorm, lugging a suitcase and a duffle bag behind him. Jongdae pushes past him and heads immediately to his room where Wu Fan hears him collapsing on his bed. The air smells faintly of dish soap and spices, and when he opens the fridge, there are wrapped plates of fried rice waiting for them. Wu Fan makes a mental note to thank Kyungsoo for the food.
Their plane arrived a few hours behind schedule, and Wu Fan had planned to head to K’s dorm first. But it’s the middle of the night, and he thinks his legs are going numb from jet lag so he tosses his bag somewhere near the foot of his bed and promptly collapses on the mattress, the thought of seeing Chanyeol’s million-watt smile and messy hair the last thing on his mind before he drifts off to sleep.
Even when M and K finally share the same schedule, it’s hard getting everyone together. Wu Fan thinks he’s only seen Baekhyun once or twice the whole time he’s been back because Baekhyun’s been dragged away with Kyungsoo, Jongdae and Lu Han for vocal training nearly every day.
The most frustrating part is the fact that the few fleeting moments he’s had with Chanyeol only ever lasted for a few minutes before they’re pulled apart, each one sent into the opposite directions even when they have the same position in their respective groups. He wonders why it should be any different from how they trained for their debut, how they would be locked in the recording studio for hours on end until Wu Fan was sure he was going to lose his voice if he rapped anymore. He remembers how Chanyeol had brought him a chilled bottle of Sprite afterwards, exhausted smile as he slumped a little against the wall.
They’re finally shoved together into their shared practice room, performance outfits restricting and suffocating as ever. But even then, they practice in separate groups, K first and then M would join in later.
Jongin’s in the front and middle because that’s where lead dancers should be, but Wu Fan finds his eyes drifting to the back where Chanyeol is half the time. Chanyeol’s eyebrows are furrowed in concentration, and he’s smiling less because there’s no crowd to smile for, and his movements are still a bit hesitant at times but the dedication is there.
Wu Fan nearly misses the moment when M moves in to join K, too busy keeping count of the steps in his head based on Chanyeol’s movement. The rest of practice goes smoothly enough, and Wu Fan finally gets a chance to talk to Chanyeol when they’re given a small break.
“I think my legs are going to fall off,” Chanyeol mutters around the opening of his water bottle. Wu Fan watches the way his throat moves as he gulps down mouthfuls of water, how the drops of sweat collect in the hollows of his clavicles.
“It’s not like it’s something you’ve never done before,” Jongin says, chest heaving because he puts in a hundred percent of his effort even when it’s dress rehearsals.
“This body wasn’t built for dancing like you, dancing machine,” Chanyeol retorts, throwing the empty bottle into the trashcan. “Not everyone is made of pure adrenaline.”
Sehun laughs behind his hand, and Jongin goes to annoy him instead, Lu Han dragged unceremoniously into the conversation because they’re spoiled maknaes.
Wu Fan catches Chanyeol’s attention with a careful hand on his waist, feeling the moistness of his shirt from the sweat. Chanyeol smiles at him, his eyes crinkling the same way as they always do even when Chanyeol looks too tired to hold himself up, back pressed against the mirror. “How much sleep have you been getting, huh?” Wu Fan asks softly.
Chanyeol grimaces. “Practices have been going on longer than usual. And, well, I just can’t fall asleep sometimes.” Wu Fan knows this because some of Chanyeol’s texts to him on kakao are timestamped at three o’clock in the morning, usually random emoticons that Chanyeol wastes actual money buying.
“You’re eating enough, right?” Wu Fan knows he sounds a bit too caring, but when it comes to Chanyeol, Wu Fan can’t help but to worry too much.
“As enough as the company allows it to be,” Chanyeol says, smile just falling short of reaching his eyes. Wu Fan looks at the sharp angles of Chanyeol’s shoulders, how the dip between his collarbones grew deeper, and remembers how Chanyeol’s eyes had watered so much during the opening of S.M.ART Exhibition.
“Hey, you still owe me a hotpot date,” Chanyeol says, nudging his elbow into Wu Fan’s ribs playfully. “I announced it on television, so you have to live up to your words, Duizhang.”
"Is that all I'm good for, food?" Wu Fan says, mockingly shaking his head.
"What do you think?" This time, Chanyeol’s smiling wide enough to show all of his teeth.
Chanyeol pulls Wu Fan aside when they’re done booking the hotel rooms and flight tickets to Malaysia. “Can I -” he pauses.
“What do you need?” Wu Fan asks after a few more seconds of stilted silence with Chanyeol biting the inside of his cheek and looking, for the first time, scared.
“Can I room with you? For one night? I mean, if you don’t want to, that’s okay.” Chanyeol has the nervous habit of talking a little too fast like he isn’t really sure of what he’s saying anymore. He brings a hand to his neck, laughing quietly like he’s embarrassed. “It’ll just be a one-night thing. If you don’t want to, I totally get it, I’ll just -”
He stops when Wu Fan reaches over and wraps long fingers around his wrist and pulls his hand away from his neck. “I want to,” he says. “I’ll tell manager hyung I’m switching over for one night.”
Chanyeol’s shoulders sag with relief, as if he was bracing himself for rejection. Wu Fan thinks it’s a bit ridiculous because when has he ever rejected Chanyeol from anything? He gives Chanyeol a comforting smile, or as comforting of a smile as he can manage with a racing heart, and the way Chanyeol brightens at him is enough to get him through the security check up and flashing cameras at the airport.
Baekhyun’s looking at him oddly the whole time they’re waiting to board. Wu Fan sends him a questioning glance, and Baekhyun smiles like he knows the world’s biggest secret.
“Everything’s so much better when you guys are here,” he says. He looks younger without the ten tons of eyeliner darkening his eyes. His hair looks, and probably feels, smoother without the gel and chemicals. His lips are curled in a curious smile, dulcet voice drooping a little with fatigue and general sleepiness they’re all feeling.
“We are one,” Wu Fan pumps his fist, laughing when Baekhyun makes a face and shoves at him.
“Wow, I take that back, I forgot how ridiculous you are sometimes,” Baekhyun says. He stops abusing Wu Fan’s shoulder to look over at Chanyeol, who is slowly dosing off with his Macbook perched precariously on his knees. Jongin’s watching him carefully, and Wu Fan trusts him enough not to worry too much.
“He’s better too, you know,” Baekhyun turns back around, and this time his smile is more genuine. “He’s actually sleeping and not just laying awake in his bed staring at the ceiling.”
His eyebrows furrow slightly when he talks about Chanyeol’s sleep cycle, or lack thereof, as if the very memory of it frustrates him. Wu Fan starts to worry about what Chanyeol’s telling him and what’s actually happening but then they’re called to start boarding, and there’s no more room for thinking until they’re all settled.
He’s seated next to Lu Han, which is a little relieving. Lu Han’s good company even though he’s just as much as a handful as, say, Sehun who’s been listlessly listening to his music from the moment they left their dorms till now.
“You’re going to get wrinkles early if you keep frowning like that,” is the first thing Lu Han says after Wu Fan places his bag in the overhead luggage container and sits himself down in his seat with a sigh.
“Wrinkles,” Lu Han rubs a thumb between his eyebrows. “It’s not good for your image, Duizhang”
Wu Fan snorts. Lu Han laughs quietly, settling down with a blanket lying on his lap and his hands tucked behind his head. There are hushed whispers around them and still a few cameras clicking away, capturing their every movements. They do nothing to calm Wu Fan’s nerves.
The flight is longer than what he’s used to and it leaves too much room for thinking. He worries over the schedule for when they arrive in Malaysia, what he’s going to say, the trip the down the red carpet.
He glances down the aisle and sees Chanyeol a few rows in front of him, tapping his fingers to an invisible beat. Wu Fan can’t see his face but he bets Chanyeol has that quiet smile he has whenever he’s drowsy or winding down from a long night of performances. Wu Fan likes it better than the automatic smile Chanyeol gives to the fans when he’s on stage and looking a little dazed beneath the spotlights.
The airport is as packed as ever, fan banners and signs posted everywhere and there’s even a fan screaming through a megaphone. He stumbles a little but a hand on his elbow steadies him. He turns to see Chanyeol wearing his fur hat, a tight smile pushing into his cheeks as he tugs Wu Fan towards the check-up line.
“Sir, please take off your hat,” the security woman says absently as she pushes Wu Fan’s bag through the scanner. Chanyeol pauses in removing his watch and blinks in confusion. It’s oddly endearing how wide his eyes get when he’s lost, and Wu Fan likes how he’s the first person Chanyeol turns to for directions.
Wu Fan can hear Sehun whining with impatience somewhere behind him so he simply reaches over and tugs Chanyeol’s hat off. Chanyeol’s eyes brighten and he lets out a small ah before turning around and saying “sorry” in English.
Chanyeol tugs the hat back on when they’ve passed through all the security checks. He turns around to Wu Fan and opens his mouth to say something but the coordis are suddenly pulling them away, bags of suits draped over their arms. Wu Fan almost jerks away on instinct because the words he and Chanyeol had been able to pass between each other have been decreasing with each passing day. But the fingers dig into his arm like a warning, and he has no choice but to follow and leave Chanyeol’s unspoken words behind.
He raises his arms for a high five, feeling his hands shake from the adrenaline and nerves that will never go away no matter how many times he talks in front of thousands of people. He convinces himself it’s just that, nothing else, not because Chanyeol’s next to him with the brightest smile on his face and is dressed in that ridiculous shirt that matches surprisingly well with Wu Fan’s own.
He feels Chanyeol’s fingers wraps around his and this isn’t a high five anymore. It’s Chanyeol grabbing his hand in front of those thousands of people and jumping so close to him, Wu Fan’s certain if he hadn’t backed up in time they would’ve bumped into each other. The cheering gets louder but he barely notices, still focused on how the spotlight hits Chanyeol’s face at certain angles and brightens the spark in his eyes.
Backstage, everyone’s exhausted but more than content with the award in their hands. Jongin and Sehun are arguing with each other over who gets to hold onto it on the way to their hotel, and Joonmyun solves the issue by grabbing it and holding onto it himself.
Chanyeol tugs him off to the side when they’re about to leave. “Sit next to me. We’re all going to the same place,” he says, eyes eager. Wu Fan doesn’t really care for the reason and readily agrees.
Tao was right about the weather in Malaysia. The heat is a little more oppressive than Wu Fan expected which means the temperature inside the van is stifling. But he finds that he doesn’t mind the press of Chanyeol’s arm against his, skin sticky with sweat - they had changed out of their outfits and Chanyeol decided to forgo a shirt and simply wore a wifebeater - and Wu Fan can smell hairspray and BB cream on him.
Chanyeol has his hand resting on Wu Fan’s knee, the warmth of his palms seeping through the thin material of the jeans. Wu Fan thinks he’s asleep but whenever the van jolts across one of the bumps on the road, Chanyeol’s fingers tighten as if he doesn’t want to let go.
The first thing that comes to Wu Fan’s mind when he pushes open the door to his and Chanyeol’s room is to shower. The second thing is Chanyeol and why he wanted the switch in the first place.
Wu Fan isn’t going to start complaining about it. They’ve done this enough times before, rooming together predebut because it made practicing easier. But it was always more than that, and in between the random pillow fights and competition to see who can outblast each other’s music, they never got much practice in anyway.
“I’ll go shower first,” Chanyeol says and then yawns loudly, and Wu Fan wonders if he’s overthinking again. “You can take whichever bed.”
“Chanyeol,” Wu Fan stops him. Chanyeol looks at him, sleepy eyes wide with surprise. “What was it that you were going to say? At the airport?”
“Oh,” Chanyeol rubs his eyes, dragging his hand down his cheek afterwards. “Just... thank you. For helping me at the security line.” There’s something else he’s not telling, and Wu Fan wants to know what it is.
“Why did you want to switch rooms? Not that I don’t mind,” he quickly adds when Chanyeol looks at him in alarm, “It’s just... why?”
Chanyeol’s biting his bottom lip, a nervous gesture. Wu Fan doesn’t know what to make it. He reaches over and gently holds Chanyeol’s wrist, tugging him closer. “Hey, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I was just curious.”
Chanyeol shakes his head, and suddenly blurts out, “It’s because I missed you.” Wu Fan blinks but it seems like Chanyeol can’t stop himself and everything spills out in a rush. “It’s because I haven’t been able to talk to you or really see you, and I miss when I would wake up and know you’re next to me, and how you never make me feel lonely. I have to go through fancams and fansites just to see your face once in awhile and sometimes chatting with you on kakao isn’t enough, and I hate it every time you have to leave because that means you’re leaving me.”
Wu Fan realizes he’s staring when Chanyeol jerks his hand out of his grasp. “I'mgoingtogoshower,” he mumbles and locks himself in the bathroom without grabbing a change of clothes and leaving Wu Fan behind, stunned.
Wu Fan hears Chanyeol slide down against the door and Wu Fan can imagine him with his legs folded against his chest, face pressed against his arms. He walks quietly to the door and kneels down, pressing a hand against the cool wood.
“Chanyeol,” he says softly. There’s shuffling on the other side but the door remains locked. “Chanyeol, come out, please?”
“No, I’m an idiot, why did I say all that, oh my god, I ruined everything,” is Chanyeol’s muffled reply. It makes Wu fan chuckle a little because this is how Chanyeol always is, exaggerative and flaily.
“You didn’t, just - come out, okay,” Wu Fan reaches up and jiggles the doorknob. There’s a few beats of silence and then the door clicks open just wide enough for Chanyeol to peer through with watery eyes. Wu Fan smiles and waves, making no move to walk in.
“I’m an idiot,” Chanyeol repeats, sniffing a little and looking like a kicked puppy.
Wu Fan sighs. “Keep saying that, and it might actually come true,” he says, smiling when Chanyeol pouts and ducks behind the door again. Wu Fan pushes the door open a little bit more and finds Chanyeol leaning against the cabinet under the sink, arms wrapped around his bent legs. “Right now, you’re being ridiculously dramatic so just come out.”
“You probably think I’m a freak,” Chanyeol whispers. “I am a freak, saying all that, you probably don’t even care -”
“Hey,” Wu Fan says, a little bit sharper than he intended because Chanyeol flinches. “I’m here. I care.”
Chanyeol’s eyes are still filled with doubt and a tinge of fear, unshed tears making them shine brighter than usual. Wu Fan wants to get his message across and the door between them is wide enough for him to slip through and lean in to clumsily catch Chanyeol’s lips with his own.
He isn’t quite sure what exactly happened or what he’s doing, but then Chanyeol’s shaking hands are sliding up his arms and wrapping gently around his neck, and Wu Fan can feel his quickening breath in his mouth and how Chanyeol’s chest is pressed against his.
They break apart quickly because the way Chanyeol’s whole body is shaking is scaring him. He sees Chanyeol’s eyes first, wide and dazed and still wet with tears that are now spilling down his cheeks. On instinct, Wu Fan reaches up and wipes them away with his thumbs and then leans in to kiss them away. The shaking in Chanyeol’s body gets worse, and Wu Fan pulls back quickly.
“Don’t - don’t play with me,” Chanyeol says, bringing a hand up to cover his mouth. “Don’t do that when you don’t even -”
“Idiot,” Wu Fan mutters when he realizes what Chanyeol was getting at. “I missed you too, okay.” I love you, too. He leans in again and this time the kiss is a little bit smoother, and Chanyeol presses back eagerly after a beat, hands gripping his shoulders tightly as if Wu Fan’s an anchor and Chanyeol has been set adrift at sea.
In the end, none of them showers and they end up crashing together in one bed, Wu Fan’s arm wrapped securely around Chanyeol’s waist and Chanyeol’s back pressed against his chest. This is different from what Wu Fan’s used to but he likes it better this way.
“When?” Chanyeol asks when he leans in, resting his hands on Wu Fan’s knees. They’re having their dress rehearsal for their performance in the Philippines and the sun is scorching hot. Wu Fan has his what Chanyeol dubbed “Sherlock” hat on to shield his eyes from the blinding rays but Chanyeol’s smile is just as bright.
“When did you fall in love with me?” Wu Fan nearly chokes on the water he’s drinking because there are still stage directors and producers around them and Chanyeol isn’t known to be very soft-spoken.
“What are you doing,” Wu Fan hisses, and the way Chanyeol smirks makes Wu Fan simultaneously want to hit and kiss him.
“Being curious,” Chanyeol says and then puts on his best puppy face.
Wu Fan feels heat flare up in his cheeks and he quickly looks away. “Our first showcase. During the Two Moons stage, now if you’ll excuse me -”
“Disney,” Chanyeol chirps before leaning away. Wu Fan stares. “I fell in love with you when we were listening to my iPod and waiting for everyone.”
Wu Fan remembers that day, when he exited the park with still-wet hair and a sunburn on his shoulders. Chanyeol had came to him with headphones dangling from his hand, asking Wu Fan silently to take one. They had sat on the curb for a good half hour that day, soaking in the lazy evening sun. Watching Chanyeol was just as amusing as playing the park itself, the way he imitates B.A.P’s dance moves with too-clumsy arms.
He had leaned in close at one point, eyes bright as he asked, “Do you like it? It’s my current favorite,” and Wu Fan had nodded yes even though he was neutral about the song but he wasn’t neutral about Chanyeol.
“Because you didn’t roll your eyes at me like how Sehun would every time I do something stupid or silly, and you listened to everything I put on, even if you hated it,” Chanyeol continues and suddenly blushes. “When my headphones fell out and you put it back in for me, I knew in that moment...”
He trails off, unable to finish, and Wu Fan smiles because the way Chanyeol’s trying to look everywhere but at him is so ridiculously endearing he wants to kiss him. He looks at the way Chanyeol’s body fits in the black wifebeater and wants to do a million other things but right now is not the time or place, not with managers and coordis all around them and probably a few cameras here and there.
So he settles for slinging an arm over Chanyeol’s shoulder and pulling him in close, pretending like he’s going to whisper into his ear, but instead he places a quick kiss on Chanyeol’s neck, short and fleeting. He pulls away to see Chanyeol’s dazed expression, and Wu Fan’s so happy it’s disorienting.
He knows it won’t be as easy as this in the future. They still won’t be together as twelve so he could never be together with Chanyeol for any longer than a few weeks. There are times when Wu Fan wishes he can just grab Chanyeol with him to China or stay in Korea if it means just being with him, seeing him and hearing his voice instead of relying on texts and long voice messages.
They’ll miss each other and cross paths and barely manage to meet up, but in the short moments that they do, it’s almost as if the sun and the moon aligned and the brilliance of an eclipse is nothing compared to Chanyeol’s smile when he looks at Wu Fan from across the stage, the distance between them at the same time an arm’s length and an ocean’s width apart, but they learn to live with it.
Because if the sun and moon are light years away and they are still be able to kiss in that one moment when they meet, Wu Fan thinks he can survive however many days or weeks or months there are of separation as long as he can still return to Chanyeol and his wide arms and bright smiles. As long as he can still go home because home, he realizes, is where your heart is.
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