summary: Kris thinks, he may just get used to writing songs just so he can force Yixing to sing them to him.
a/n: written for tatoeba for runandgun ♥
“No,” Kris repeats, as he flips another page of the newspaper and Baekhyun exhales loudly.
Beside him, Lu Han shifts a little in his seat, the sound of his jeans scraping against the leather of the seat cushion muffled by Sehun’s incessant typing on his Blackberry. Baekhyun yanks the newspaper out of Kris’s hands, much to Kris’s annoyance, and flips it over, his finger pointing on an article that makes even Chanyeol cringe. “For the last time, this is for the good of the band. Your face is on the cover of every newspaper in the nation with derogatory titles being plastered over your eyes. We need something to shift the public’s attention. This is management’s orders, not mine, so stop taking that princely attitude with me.”
A gentle hum dusts across the room, before Chanyeol clears his throat. “Well, you know how the media’s like, the news will blow over in a week or so and everything will be fine again!”
His attempt at a laugh upon finishing his sentence causes Kris to raise an eyebrow and Sehun looks up from his phone long enough to elbow him in the ribs to shut up if he’s not going to help. Lu Han coughs lightly into a balled-up fist and suggests, albeit weakly, “Maybe we should take a vote on this?”
Kris raises both his eyebrows and Lu Han shrinks back a little in his seat, failing at what Kris supposes is a casual attempt of avoiding eye contact with him. “Maybe next ti-”
"You are not pulling this shit with me," Baekhyun deadpans, gritting his teeth as he glares at Kris. "Not unless you can come up with a satisfactory explanation on why you disappeared for almost a month without notifying management."
When Kris falls silent, his gaze fixed steadily on the trees outside the window across him, Baekhyun sighs. "Look Kris, this isn't some place that you can just walk into when you feel like it and leave when you're out of it."
Kris rolls his eyes and keeps his hands folded across his chest, staying silent nonetheless. Baekhyun seems to take this as an approval on his part as he chirps, “All in favor, hands up!"
There’s silence in the room, once again, before Lu Han hesitantly raises his hand, followed suit by Sehun. Kris’s fingers tighten around the wooden handles of his chair and he shoots Chanyeol a glare. If anything, Chanyeol respects him way more than the caramel-headed deer and the attitude kid, he would never-
“Looks like the majority’s in favor!” Baekhyun exclaims happily, clasping his hands tightly, while he bounces lightly on the spot.
Kris grits his teeth and glares daggers at Chanyeol’s right hand, raised so timidly that it could have been easily passed off as him trying to catch a fly. He falls back in his chair and tries to even out his breathing, fingers pressing roughly against his forehead as he tries to massage away an impending headache.
“Excellent! Try-outs will commence tomorrow and I’ll inform you again of the final candidate!”
Beside him, Lu Han whispers excitedly to Sehun, bouncing in his seat at the thought of having a new face to push around, totally oblivious to the dark stares Kris is shooting in his direction.
“Look on the bright side?” Chanyeol attempts, while he pokes Kris’s right arm miserably. “You won’t have to sing half as much with a new vocalist around, so it’ll strain your vocals less.”
“And you think just anyone can pull off my songs? Lu Han was supposed to be second vocalist but why do you think he’s stuck doing harmonisation instead?” Kris snaps, brushing Chanyeol’s fingers off his leather jacket.
Chanyeol contemplates this for a moment, before he snaps his fingers and exclaims, “Maybe he can write his own songs so it won’t be a concern!”
If looks could kill, Chanyeol would have been skinned alive and deep fried like a potato wedge.
“Hey, we’re out to relax tonight but it doesn’t mean you should get yourself shit-faced drunk,” Jongdae muses, as he watches Kris down his fourth shot.
“Why didn’t you stop me from starting up a band? I could be free and loaded like you,” Kris laughs bitterly, falling back into the soft velvet cushions around him.
Jongdae clicks his tongue and hums a soft tune under his breath. “Not everything is rainbow and sparkles for me either, Kris. Nobody’s really free or rolling in riches in our line, I thought you knew better.”
Kris scoffs and reaches for another shot, only to have Jongdae rapping at his knuckles - a warning before he starts shrilling in that voice which annoys Kris to no extent. So Kris relents, drops his hand and revels in the low bass booming from the speaker next to their booth.
“What if,” he begins abruptly and Jongdae casts a glance over at him with mild interest. “What if, I hate him?”
“Then you’ll learn, you’ll learn to love him.”
It barely even fazes Kris when Baekhyun walks in two days later, before their band practice starts. A small guy, not too much taller than Baekhyun, follows closely behind, his long, black fringe falling into his eyes, an acoustic guitar slung across his back.
“Gather please,” Baekhyun announces, setting down four cups of coffee on the table, while he takes a sip out of his own cup. “Let me introduce your newest member. He’s Zhang Yixing and he -”
“I want to hear you sing,” Kris deadpans, his voice still gravelly with sleep.
Baekhyun frowns a little at that, the corners of his lips tugged down. “Kris, it’s ass o'clock and you’re going to make him sing?”
“If he doesn’t even sound as good as Lu Han, there’s no way he’s going to pull off anything,” Kris snaps, staring down at Baekhyun.
“Duizhang, why don’t you -”
Kris puts his hand out before Lu Han and Lu Han falls silent, his eyes trained on the ground. “Sing.”
Zhang Yixing looks a little fazed, his pupils blown as he swallows hard and opens his mouth. There’s a slight tremor in his voice as he sings, his eyes trained on a spot behind Kris’s head. And Kris is not exactly surprised, because Baekhyun’s always had high standards, but he’s still rendered speechless nonetheless.
“To your satisfaction, Kris?” Baekhyun asks, his lips pressed into a tight line, when Yixing’s done singing, his small frame shaking slightly.
Kris narrows his eyes at Baekhyun and turns on his heel, picking up his electric guitar from its resting spot, against the wall, for fine-tuning. Yixing visibly relaxes as Chanyeol gives him a firm handshake and a hard clap on the back.
“Hey, I’m Chanyeol, the drummer.” He grins at Yixing, who smiles back at him timidly. “That’s Lu Han, our keyboardist. And the one with the platinum blonde hair is Sehun, our bassist.”
“The dick who just told you to sing is our guitarist cum soloist cum the worst leader on Earth,” Sehun supplies helpfully as he waves a hand at Yixing.
Kris rolls his eyes and flings a guitar pick at Sehun, who growls in response and mumbles some baseless threats about cutting all the strings on Kris’s guitar when Kris is fast asleep.
“I’ll leave him in your care then,” Baekhyun beams at Chanyeol and ruffles his noodle-like hair for a couple of seconds, before exiting the room.
Lu Han’s eyes are bright as he bounces slightly next to Yixing, pointing at various parts of their room, explanations falling from his lips.
Kris grimaces slightly as he exerts too much strength twisting the tuning knob and his guitar string snaps, burning a deep red line into the back of his hand. He chews on his bottom lip, hard, and glances up, his stomach twisting into tight knots when he sees his members’ backs facing him, oblivious to the bright wound etched on his hand.
If he knew this was what him coming back would spin-off to, Kris would have gladly stayed in Canada.
“Say it,” Lu Han mumbles, as he nudges Kris in the ribs the moment Yixing walks into the room, balancing four cups of coffee in his hands.
Kris rolls his eyes and says, instead, “You’re hired to be a guitarist cum singer, not a clown, so you can cut the balancing act.”
Yixing looks slightly bewildered as he sets his guitar down and scrambles towards them. “Um,” he starts. “Strawberry cheesecake frappuccino for Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol raises both eyebrows, but accepts the bubblegum-colored drink, exclaiming happily on Kris's behalf, “Welcome to your first band practice!”
It earns him a small smile from Yixing, and Kris notices the small dimple in his cheek, as he nods at Chanyeol and scurries over to Sehun. “Java chip for the maknae.”
Sehun’s eyes light up as he bounces lightly on the spot, a bright smile toying his lips. “You bought me coffee!” He chirps, suddenly devoid of his mono-expression. “You’re officially my favourite hyung!”
This seems to please Yixing a little, his eyes disappearing into small crescents, before he makes his way over to Lu Han. “Caramel macchiato for Lu Han-ge.”
Lu Han accepts the drink and takes a long sip, exclaiming loudly, “Look, Yixing got us drinks. Isn’t that just the sweetest?”
Kris chooses politely to ignore him, fingers still tight on the tuning knobs.
Yixing will never get his favourite drink right, because he’s not insanely predictable like the other three. Besides, no one’s ever gotten his favourite drink right. Not even Chanyeol. And they get coffee together every morning.
“Um, Americano for you, Kris-ge?”
Kris’s fingers halt momentarily on the tuning knobs, his eyes flitting up to the timid figure just hovering a few meters away from him. He bites back the amazement and glances back down at his guitar. “Just leave it on the table.”
Yixing visibly relaxes, as he nods and scrambles off.
Sehun slides into the seat beside him, tongue darting out to lick the brown off his lips, as he muses aloud, “Looks like he did his research.”
“It’s just a drink, Sehun,” Kris responds, with a gentle roll of his eyes. “It’s barely anything to be amazed about.”
“Whatever you say, duizhang,” Sehun hums and shrugs, although Kris doesn’t miss the skepticism in his tone.
Kris leaves the coffee on the table, untouched, until Lu Han declares it to be undrinkable and dumps it in the trash, only to be met with Yixing’s sad puppy eyes.
They’ve barely started practice for five minutes before they hear loud banging against the door and Chanyeol sighs dramatically.
“Can’t you idiots practice at normal times? For fuck’s sake, it’s seven in the morning and some of us would actually like to get some sleep!”
Yixing’s eyes widen in shock as his hands still on the guitar strings. Sehun sets his bass down and swings open their garage door to face a very enraged and half-awake Kim Jongin.
“Why don’t you just sound proof your house,” Chanyeol quips, and Kris can see him fighting the urge to roll his eyes, smiling sweetly instead.
Jongin pushes past Sehun, arms crossed over his chest. “I could call the police and sue you guys for noise pollution.”
Kris raises an eyebrow at Chanyeol, settle it, he’s your neighbour, and sighs, adjusting the tuning knobs on his guitar further.
When Chanyeol had suggested using the garage at his house as their practice room during pre-debut days, he had failed to mention that he has an annoying, good-looking prick as a neighbour. Said neighbour is a smart ass who has no appreciation whatsoever for rock music, as Lu Han had once put across snidely, only to be met with a growl from Sehun.
“Now, now, Jongin,” Chanyeol starts, gently resting an arm around Jongin’s shoulders. “We’ve been down this path many times. I thought we would have reached the point of mutual understanding by now.”
Jongin blinks at him coolly and brushes his arm off. “If we had reached that point, you guys would practice at Earthly hours and you would stop touching me.”
Chanyeol gapes for a few seconds at Jongin and Kris catches Lu Han stifling laughter behind his hand. It’s not often that Chanyeol’s charms are rendered useless.
“Now, now, Jongin,” Chanyeol tries again, unfazed by Jongin’s narrowed eyes. “I’m sure there’s something you want from us and -”
“Bribery gets you nowhere, I’m not one of your pathetic fans,” Jongin deadpans, while he rolls his eyes dramatically. “And you can’t give me what I want most from your band, Chanyeol.”
He turns on his heel and stomps out, casually brushing past Sehun, who’s still standing frozen at the door. Chanyeol scratches his head in confusion and shoots a look at Kris, who just shrugs in response. Hey, whatever gets rid of the pest.
“Good morning,” Sehun attempts weakly, a small, almost nervous smile playing his lips, as he gives Jongin a small wave.
A look of surprise passes Jongin’s face, his eyes softening slightly, before it’s replaced again with his usual steely look. “It would have been a good one if I didn’t have to march in here.”
There’s no real venom in his voice, but it doesn’t stop Sehun from wilting pathetically once he’s gone, and Kris wishes, that they could both stop being so fucking blind.
“I want you guys to get new hairstyles! New wardrobes! New everything!” Baekhyun exclaims happily, as they trudge into the newly opened salon, just down the street from their apartment.
Kris makes a face and mutters under his breath, “Why not get a new leader too, while you’re at it?”
If Baekhyun hears him, he doesn’t give any indication, and continues, “I want EXO to have a brand new look. I want fans and non-fans to look at you guys and fall in love all over again!”
Lu Han raises both eyebrows and leans towards Sehun, whispering something behind his hand that has Sehun giggling like a little school kid, while Kris rolls his eyes. Baekhyun’s been a little sugar-high lately. Too much pressure from management to make sure their first appearance with Yixing would be well-received.
“It’s probably not that bad,” Chanyeol tries with a small grin, as he stares at the neon lights on the salon sign looming ahead of them.
Except, they should have trust their instincts that this place isn’t sane, from the bright neon lights to the baozi-looking stylist, Minseok.
Kris, regretfully, only realises that when he looks into the mirror and realises that more than half of his hair has been chopped off, and the remaining half has been dyed black. He bites back the urge to scream and forces a smile at Minseok, who simply brushes him off and bounces back to finish off Lu Han’s hair.
He spins his chair around and stares up at Baekhyun, who’s chewing on his lower lip, brushing wine red bangs out of his eyes. “It just takes getting used to!” Baekhyun attempts, smiling encouragingly.
Next to him, there’s a slight shriek and Kris turns, just in time to see Sehun bury his face in his hands. Kris blinks a couple of times, a small smile spreading across his face as he muses, “Well, at least I’m not the one who looks like I fell into a chalk bin.”
“Shut up,” Sehun hisses, without lifting his face from his hands, while Baekhyun pats his head sympathetically, cooing softly.
Yixing watches, in slight horror, from the sofa and Kris shoots him a glare when he catches his eye in the mirror. This is all your fault. Yixing simply smiles and waves a little in return, much to his annoyance.
He’s distracted momentarily but a sudden eruption of laughter, as Chanyeol walks towards them, his hair cropped and surprisingly straight. He’s clutching his stomach, eyes squeezed shut, a slightly sullen Lu Han trailing weakly behind him. Kris raises both his eyebrows and decides it is a wise idea to keep his mouth shut when Lu Han shoots him a death stare.
“If you say I look like Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls, I will end you,” Lu Han threatens, as he sinks into the sofa next to Yixing.
Sehun momentarily pauses in his drama queen act and glances up, blinks twice, before sinking his face back into his hands and wailing loudly. Baekhyun looks torn between staying by Sehun’s side to reassure him that no, he doesn’t look like a rainbow bitch and floating over to Lu Han to comfort him that yes, bubblegum pink is a totally hot color.
“I think you look nice,” comes Yixing’s soft voice, from his right, and Kris fights the urge to jump in surprise.
“Flattery,” Kris deadpans. “Gets you nowhere.”
Yixing pouts a little and scoots a little closer to Kris, his voice just barely above a whisper next to Kris’s ear. “I think it makes you look manlier. Cooler. I kind of like it, a lot.”
“Since when was your opinion valuable,” Kris spits, trying to stop that small spark of happiness from filling up the space in his heart.
Yixing’s shoulders visibly droop a little and he scurries back to Lu Han’s side, poking at Lu Han’s cheeks until Lu Han gives up and breaks into a small grin.
Yeah, that’s it. He’s just trying to get into everyone’s good books because he knows it’s his fault that we’re all miserable, Kris reasons with himself. He’s definitely not special. And Yixing’s approval absolutely did not make his heart soar. Not even a little.
It becomes somewhat of a pattern, one that Lu Han spends a lot of time snickering about with Sehun.
Yixing tries to do something for their band. He screws it up. Kris gets insanely mad but cleans up for him anyway. Rinse and repeat.
So, it comes as a surprise to all of them when Kris just rolls his eyes as Yixing timidly reports his latest mistake, before making a few phone calls to settle it.
Chanyeol raises an eyebrow at Kris and Kris shifts uncomfortably in his seat, before snapping hotly, “What? Stop staring at me like that. It makes you creepier than usual.”
“What happened to the hell as long lecture, that’s what I want to know.”
Kris sighs and drops his phone on the space between them. “Look, his heart’s in the right place, alright? And I appreciate the effort, I guess.”
The shit-eating grin Chanyeol shoots him almost makes Kris want to gather up his words and stuff them back down his throat. “It doesn’t change anything,” he finishes with a wave of his hand.
“Sure,” Chanyeol replies way too quickly, waggling his eyebrows in glee.
Kris is glad that he has impeccable aim, as Chanyeol doubles over and whines loudly, when the cushion that used to be on their chair hits him square in the face.
No new messages.
Kris blinks back tears and flings his phone to the ground, curling up a little as he stares at the stars. “Is it so hard to just let me know he’s still alive?” Kris exclaims aloud.
He squeezes his eyes shut and lets the night breeze whip through his hair. Even in the darkness, he can see his mother, curled up on the sofa in the dark, palms pressed to her eyes in a weak attempt to stop the tears from flowing.
“It’s been five years,” he continues, opening his eyes and keeping his gaze fixed on the brightest star in the sky. “Would a ‘I miss you too, son’ kill him?”
The stars just blink at him in return.
A can of Coke appears before him, and Kris glances up to see Yixing chewing on his lower lip. “Because it’s too late for Americano,” Yixing says abruptly, as though that’s the most important question Kris has on his mind right now.
Kris blinks and looks away, his hand wiping away any tear remnants carelessly. Yixing settles down on the grass beside him, pulling his legs close to his body silently.
“How did you find me?” Kris asks, several moments later.
Yixing shrugs in response, and sets the can of Coke down on the ground between them, his eyes averting Kris’s. Kris picks up the Coke, rests it lightly in his palm for a moment, and answers, “It’s late, you shouldn’t be out here. Go home, Yixing.”
“I won’t say anything,” Yixing blurts out, and Kris stares at him in slight confusion. “I. Just. Please just let me stay by your side. I can’t sleep knowing that you’re not alright.”
The can in Kris’s hand almost slips, and Kris sighs, ignoring the way his heart skipped a beat at Yixing’s words. Yixing continues, his eyes downcast and his hands trembling. “You shouldn’t be alone when you’re upset. Negativity will consume you.”
“I’m fine,” Kris insists. “Look, this is just a day that I have to walk through every year. The others have stopped caring and -”
“Just because they don’t care, doesn’t mean that I can’t,” Yixing exclaims, his eyes meeting Kris’s. “And that’s just how I am. I’m annoying and I don’t know how to draw boundaries and you’re going to have to live with that tonight.”
If this had been any other night, one where Kris isn’t feeling particularly lonely and cracking at the edges, he would have turned on his heel and walked off.
Instead, Kris lets Yixing curl his fingers around his wrist, and he doesn’t even fight it when Yixing pulls him to his feet. He just keeps his eyes fixed on Yixing’s back, and he thinks, maybe, just maybe, tonight won’t be such a long night after all.
The stars look beautiful tonight. Even more so when they’re framed by sprays of blues and greens.
Kris only realises that when they come to a halt at Banpo Bridge. Yixing turns to him and throws him an easy smile. “Beautiful, isn’t it? The fountain’s even more stunning at night.”
He nods, his eyes fixed on the scene before him, as he tugs the cap on his head lower. Kris closes his eyes, a melody playing in his head, accompanied by the soft splashing of water.
And in that moment, Kris thinks, he almost sees another world. A world where he’s happy. A world where there are no sad endings. A world... that he wouldn’t mind living in.
It isn’t until he feels a thumb rubbing over the back of his hand, does Kris press a palm to his eyes, wiping away tear streaks hastily. The warmth around his hand has never felt more comforting. So Kris lets Yixing rub circles against his hand, as they watch the medley of colours spraying into the night sky before them.
“Why?” Kris asks, his gaze fixed carefully on the steps he’s taking instead of Yixing. "Why do you bother with me?"
Yixing turns to him and tilts his head slightly. “Have you heard of the North Star?”
Kris raises an eyebrow, but nods slowly, unsure of where the conversation’s headed to. Yixing smiles at him and continues, “You’re like EXO’s North Star, always leading us in the right direction when we’re lost or we’ve wandered too far from home.”
His breath catches, and Kris averts Yixing’s eyes carefully, willing his heart to slow the hell down. Yixing rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, but presses on anyway, “And I was hoping, that for once, I could do something right and lead you back to us, instead.”
A dull hum falls between them, filled only by the roaring engines of cars speeding past them.
“Thank you,” Kris says finally.
Yixing’s eyes widen as he holds his hands out before him, shaking them from side to side. “It’s nothing, really! I just hope you’re feeling better.”
“This,” Kris begins, pausing a little to catch his breath. “Has probably been the noisiest night I’ve had for a long time.”
Yixing’s shoulders droop a little and he opens his mouth, most possibly to apologise, but Kris stops him, holding out a hand between them. “Thank you, Zhang Yixing, for making this long night pass by so quickly.”
He thinks, he will probably fall asleep with Yixing’s brilliant smile burned into his dreams that night, but Kris shakes the thought from his head and lets Yixing lead him back to the dorm instead.
Kris leans back into the plush cushions around him, downing another shot as he watches this new guy - what’s his name again? Joonmyeon? - take the stage with a slow number. He’s not half bad, and Kris considers recruiting him into their band if he could play the keyboard. Stupid deer needs to learn his place before Kris replaces him.
Next to him, Jongdae pours him another glass of whisky and raises an eyebrow. “I’m sure you didn’t ask me out just so I can be your bartender,” Jongdae snipes mildly.
Kris looks at the glass in his hand and gives it a swirl, ignoring the orange liquid that spills onto his fingers. Jongdae sighs dramatically and turns his attention back to Joonmyeon while he takes small sips out of his shot glass.
“He,” Kris begins abruptly, and Jongdae tears his eyes away from Joonmyeon long enough to raise an eyebrow at him. “Doesn’t seem so bad.”
“Is that so?”
Kris turns to Jongdae and frowns. “Why is it that you always doubt me at times when I’m trying to have an honest confession?”
“Because it’s out of character, for you. You hate people coming in to disrupt the path that you’ve spent time and energy paving out,” Jongdae answers simply, raising his shot glass a little at Kris, almost like he’s proving a point.
Kris shrugs and downs the shot. “He’s... different. He notices things that Chanyeol misses and things that Lu Han can’t be bothered to give a fuck with. And he tries. He tries really hard to do things right, even though he ends up screwing a lot of it up and I have to clean up his mess in the end.”
He pauses abruptly, suddenly self-concious under Jongdae’s eyes, clear and focused on him. “Stop looking at me like that,” he grumbles, fidgeting in his seat uncomfortably.
Jongdae hums lightly in response and turns his gaze back to Joonmyeon. And Kris almost assumes that the topic has been dropped and done with, until Jongdae responds, his gaze unwavering on Joonmyeon, “You know, it was just a figure of speech when I told you to learn to love him.”
“I,” Kris sputters indignantly, because this is Jongdae of all people. “I’m not in love with him.”
“Sure,” Jongdae shrugs. “What was that saying in Chinese that you’re always preaching to me? Oh right, a third party sees it clearer.”
Kris opts to ignore Jongdae, reaching for the bottle of whisky and pouring himself another shot. He pretends that the small pool of whisky dripping onto the table instead of into his shot glass is a result of the alcohol pooling in his blood, and not the trembling of his hands.
He doesn’t love Zhang Yixing. Jongdae’s clearly had too much to drink for the night.
Kris thinks, after repeating this in his mind for the rest of the night until they’re shooed out of the club by the owner, that he just might believe it.
“You’re actually crazy,” Sehun says, his face void of emotion, as he stares at the field before them.
Baekhyun wrinkles his nose a little and quips, “Come on, it’ll be fun! And you’ll be remembered as the group with the coolest promotion techniques.”
“What does this have to do with promoting our new album?” Kris snaps, his arms crossed over his chest. “Or introducing Yixing to the public for the first time?”
“I don’t know, it looked cool when they did it in Those Years, so stop being a bitch and just do it. The reporters have already gathered around anyway,” Baekhyun answers, dropping his smile and fixing Kris with that stare.
Kris sighs and follows the others out onto the field, sparing a quick glance at the small glimpses of sunlight that has yet to disappear behind the mountains.
Somehow, he ends up sharing a lantern with Yixing and Kris spends more than half of the time stealing glances at Yixing’s face, scrunched up with concentration as he writes on the lantern with his paintbrush. It’s only when Baekhyun lets out a pleased sound, accompanied by Chanyeol’s loud clapping, does Kris realise that his side of the lantern is still half-empty and he curses inwardly, scribbling more wishes onto the lantern hastily.
“What did you wish for, Kris-ge?” Yixing asks, trying to steal a glance at Kris’s scrawly handwriting, over his shoulder.
“Secret,” Kris replies, his eyes still focused on filling up the empty spaces with more wishes. “Wishes won’t come true if you go around announcing them.”
A small pout forms on Yixing’s lips, but he doesn’t press on, and shuffles back to his side of the lantern.
Kris laughs a little, and takes a step back, examining his work. Maybe Baekhyun’s idea wasn’t so insane after all. If anything, it lets Kris express himself with words that he usually keeps buried in his heart.
“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Lu Han grins at them, when the reporters have dispersed, whispering excitedly amongst themselves about the headlines that will hit the local papers the following day. “And now we have a hell awesome after-party to go to!”
Kris shrugs a little, casting a small backward glance at the lanterns they’ve released into the air moments ago, watching them slowly disappear into the horizon.
Thank you for giving me a second chance.
Thank you for giving me EXO.
Thank you for bringing Zhang Yixing into my life.
“Ah, you’re up here.”
Kris glances up from the glass he’s holding in his hand, before relaxing a little as he sees Yixing walking towards him. He shrugs and gives Yixing a wan smile when Yixing pauses next to him, his hands clutching the handrail before them, staring down at the bright city lights before them.
He’s never been much of a party person, and Chanyeol usually has his back when Kris gets tired of the party scene, opting to sneak off to the roof for some time to clear his thoughts instead.
“It’s always a good idea to leave when Lu Han gets near alcohol. Experience tells me nothing good happens,” Kris hums, laughing a little under his breath.
Yixing’s eyes are a little glassy, his cheeks are slightly red and his smile a little lopsided, as he laughs and waves off Kris with a hand. “Yeah, he was going on about how pretty some of the reporters were and other stuff like that when I went off.”
Typical Lu Han, Kris muses as he laughs into the back of his hand and marvels in the way Yixing laughs along with him, his eyes twinkling as brightly as the stars surrounding them.
“Is this what it’s like to be famous?” Yixing asks, his eyes focused on the bustling streets laid out before them. “Getting shit-faced drunk at after parties while celebrating?”
“I won’t deny that it makes up a big proportion of stardom,” Kris laughs, eyebrows raised in slight amusement at Yixing’s bluntness. “But it’s the fans, the music, and the people you meet along the way that makes this crazy journey more worthwhile.”
Silence ensues, and Kris fidgets uncomfortably, stealing a small glance at Yixing, who’s staring straight ahead, his brows creased in concentration. He takes a seat, for the lack of anything to do, legs sprawled out on the cement before him, and pats the ground beside him absently. Yixing sits down slowly, his knees quaking a little at the effort, before he leans back on his palms.
“I don’t believe it, you know,” Yixing announces abruptly. “The things they say about you in the tabloids.”
Kris forces a laugh, and Yixing glances over at him, amending quickly. “I’m sorry, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately and I just wanted you to know. But it was still rude of me, I’m sorry.”
“But it’s true,” Kris mutters, inhaling deeply as he stares up at the night sky, aware that Yixing’s wide eyes are now fixated solely on him. “I ran away because I was afraid. This -” he makes a rough gesture with his hand. “Isn’t going to last forever, I’m aware of that. And I rather leave it all behind before I’m left behind.”
When he doesn’t get a response, Kris keeps his gaze on the brightest star in the sky, something he can never hope to become, and laughs drily. “Selfish of me, isn’t it?”
He chances a quick glance at Yixing, slightly surprised to see that there isn’t a look of disgust or disappointment, like he’d expected. Instead, all he sees is a look of empathy, as Yixing reaches for his hand, and this time, Kris doesn’t pull away.
“Everyone’s afraid at one point or another. It’s alright to take a break, just as long as you remember to come back when you’re feeling better.”
Yixing’s fingers are warm on his palm, tracing random patterns into it, his eyes downcast. And Kris allows himself to relax into the touch, allows his hand to close up into a fist, squeezing Yixing’s hand tightly as he manages a smile.
He turns his attention back to the sky, watching the stars twinkle before him and wondering silently which one resembles Yixing the most.
It isn’t until he sees Yixing’s head drooping, drool trickling from the corner of his mouth, does Kris realise how late it is and how worried the others must be about them. He tries to shake Yixing awake lightly, pausing when he notices the dark eye rings around Yixing’s eyes which hadn’t been there when they’d first met.
Kris brushes a thumb across them lightly, and scoots over a little, letting Yixing’s head fall against his shoulder instead. “Let me do something for you in return this time,” he whispers as he silently drapes his leather jacket over Yixing’s limp frame.
He falls asleep that night, watching the slow rise and fall of Yixing’s chest, and waiting for his heartbeat to fall into synchronisation.
“You look like shit,” is not what Kris expects to hear early in the morning, much less from Kim Jongin.
Jongin’s leaning against the door frame of their practice room, amusement colouring his tone as he gives Kris a once-through, tapping his chin thoughtfully. “You look like shit,” he repeats, several seconds later, with a nod.
“I heard you the first time,” Kris snaps, massaging his temples; he’s having a terrible headache and he’s in no mood to listen to Jongin’s snide.
Jongin fidgets around awkwardly, and Kris sighs, setting his guitar on the ground. It’s too early for him to deal with rude brats. “I doubt you’re here just to criticise my hair. What do you really want, Jongin?”
There’s a lot more fidgeting, on Jongin’s part, as he twirls his hands, before he gives up and flops on the seat next to Kris. “Are you guys having practice today?”
“No, I’m just here because I love Chanyeol’s garage much more than my own bed.”
Jongin puffs out his cheeks, before allowing his shoulders to droop sadly. Kris chews on his bottom lip and amends, “Yes, we’re having practice, but I came in too early and Chanyeol’s still sleeping.”
When Jongin doesn’t reply, eyes downcast on his phone, Kris nudges him slightly. “What’s wrong? I’m not used to a depressed Jongin.”
“I,” Jongin begins awkwardly, fumbling around with the charm on his phone. “I texted Sehun a while back but he hasn’t replied me and I’m just. I don’t know if I did something wrong or anything.”
Kris bites back a laugh and Jongin scowls in return. “Forget I said anything,” he snaps and gets to his feet.
“Sehun’s been wilting lately,” Kris calls out, when Jongin’s almost at the door.
Jongin freezes, throwing Kris a small glance and Kris smiles.
Young love has always been cute.
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise, considering how obvious things had been.
Nonetheless, Kris finds himself frozen to the spot when he pushes open the door to their practice room to find Jongin pinned against their dark walls, Sehun’s tongue halfway down his throat. And he’s pretty sure Jongin’s rubbing the crotches of their jeans together.
That’s one image he could have lived without ever seeing.
It’s all Yixing’s fault, is the first thing that fills Kris’s mind. Definitely. Because he is a really observant person and he wouldn’t have not known this, had he not been so distracted with Yixing and his stupidity and his stupid smile which is not charming at all.
There’s a small gasp beside him and Kris manages to tear his eyes away from the disgusting couple long enough to raise an eyebrow at a gaping Yixing. “Rare of you to be on time, much less early.”
Yixing shoots him a look and yanks Kris’s guitar out of his hand, setting it on the ground with his own. “Let’s get out of here. It’s going to get awkward as hell when they’re done and they see us.”
Kris stays rooted to the spot, ignoring Yixing’s gestures of going out the door behind them, his mind suddenly filled with images. What if he presses Yixing against the opposite wall. What if he proceeds to kiss the breath out of Yixing. What if Yixing actually kisses back. What if.
“Come on,” Yixing tries again, his hand finding Kris’s, before giving it a hard tug and dragging Kris out of the door.
It isn’t until they’re a few kilometers away from their practice room, the wind wisping through Kris’s badly-dyed strands, does Kris realise the warmth still pressing against his right hand. Yixing seems oblivious to it, laughter falling from his lips as he muses over the weird scene they just witnessed, his cheeks tinted a light pink from the chilly Autumn air.
“Yixing,” Kris finally manages, when they finally slow down and he manages to catch his breath.
There’s a look of amusement, before it turns into shock mixed with embarrassment and Yixing finally lets go and takes a few steps back. “I’m so sorry! I don’t know how that happened and I -”
Kris yanks on his outstretched hand, pulling Yixing back to him as a bicycle speeds past, Yixing’s heartbeat at his fingertips. And Kris tries to remember how to breathe.
“Thanks,” Yixing mutters, his face a little too close for comfort, and Kris muses for a second what would happen if he were to push fingers under Yixing’s jaw and tilt it upwards and -
“Are we interrupting something?”
Chanyeol’s voice, too bright for someone who’s supposedly embarrassed for walking in on an intimate moment, coupled with the knowing look that Lu Han’s shooting Kris with a slight waggle of his eyebrows, is enough for Kris to pull back and rap Yixing’s head with his knuckles. “Idiot, stop getting into accidents and causing trouble for me,” he mutters half-heartedly.
A look of confusion crosses Yixing’s face briefly, before it is replaced with his usual blank stare and his child-like smile. “Sorry, duizhang.”
Kris grunts a little in acknowledgement, before smoothing out the creases in his leather jacket and striding back to their practice room, with a quick glance at his watch. They’re officially two minutes late, which means Sehun should have already detached his lips from Jongin’s.
“I don’t see why you bother,” Lu Han hums gently, as he catches up with Kris’s quick strides.
“I don’t know what you’re referring to.”
This earns him a light pat on the back from Lu Han, along with a roll of eyes. “Whatever floats your boat. But you’re fooling no one, duizhang.”
“Why don’t you channel the energy you use to spout nonsense into harmonising on key instead?” Kris snaps, as he brushes Lu Han’s hand off his back.
“You’re not even fooling yourself.” Lu Han’s face is devoid of its usual smile, as he ducks into the practice room, leaving Kris rooted to the spot amidst falling orange-brown leaves.
He hears it before he sees anything. He hears the soft clinking of keys, a familiar melody falling off them, fused with Yixing’s melodious laugh.
Kris freezes, he’s supposed to be practising with Yixing, not Lu Han. And they’re not supposed to be having so much fun. Yixing’s not supposed to be laughing, hand warm on Lu Han’s thigh as Lu Han frowns at the piano score before him. No. No. No.
“Let’s try again, from the top,” Lu Han announces, just as Kris grips the door knob. “No goofing off this time round.”
The music that follows in the seconds that Kris spends contemplating on whether he should enter the room is enough for him to lose his grip on the knob. If Yixing sounded amazing back then when Kris first heard him sing in the recording studio, he sounds mind-blowing right now, his tenor voice a perfect blend with Lu Han’s light tone.
Kris leans against the door frame, his eyes fluttering shut as he listens and pictures images, more beautiful than what he had in mind when he first wrote the song.
The song ends way too fast, and Kris reluctantly pushes himself off the door frame, casting a casual glance into the room. Yixing looks ecstatic, his eyes bright with mirth as he blabbers on excitedly to Lu Han.
Idiot, he should be practicing with me. I’m the one who wrote the song, I would know what’s required better than Blossom.
Lu Han catches Kris’s eye and Kris takes a moment too long to glance away, before he turns on his heel and walks off.
“Hey!” Lu Han skids to a halt next to him, a hand tight around his arm. “You’re late! Yixing’s been waiting for you.”
“Why is he waiting for me?” Kris finally asks, casting a small backward glance at a slightly bemused Lu Han. “He has you to practice with him, doesn’t he?”
A look of confusion crosses Lu Han’s face, before he’s frowning and shaking Kris’s arm back and forth. “What are you talking about? You should be practicing with him. You’re the songwriter, you’ll know better what -”
“I’m glad,” Kris starts, harshly extracting his arm from Lu Han’s vice-like grip. “That at least one person in that room is aware of this.”
And he turns on his heel, ignoring the bright look of panic that’s painted on Yixing’s face as he skids to a halt before them and the words Lu Han left unsaid.
You’re a childish prick, Kris Wu.
Kris huffs in frustration as he balls up the music sheet before him and delivers a lousily-aimed throw at the bin.
Betrayal. Heartbreak. Shattered dreams. It needs to stop. He needs to stop. He’s supposed to be writing a love song - a happy and hopeful one, as Baekhyun had emphasised while calling him a sadistic creep - not this, whatever this is.
“The minute my heart skips a beat, Love starts to turn tragic.”
“Go away,” Kris hisses, his eyes still downcast on the fresh manuscript sprawled out before him. “Didn’t you see the sign on the door? It says ‘Get Lost’ for a reason, you brat.”
The manuscript disappears from before him, landing softly on the ground as Sehun leans against his wooden desk, his hand devoid of his phone for once.
“What,” Kris grits out, once he’s figured out that glaring does nothing to Oh Sehun.
“Just tell him,” Sehun replies simply.
“I don’t know what you’re referring to, Oh Sebrat.”
Sehun rolls his eyes and props himself up on the table, ignoring Kris’s protests that he’s going to break the table with his ass - skinny bitch can’t break anything. “I’m trying to give you genuine advice here, duizhang. So can you please stop being an asshole and listen because it isn’t often that I would bother with you or your girly mood swings.”
“I don’t -” Kris sighs and snaps his jaw shut at Sehun’s raised eyebrow.
“Thank you,” Sehun continues with an exaggerated wave. “You know what you look like right now?”
There’s a dramatic pause and Kris sighs. Kids these days. “Enlighten me.”
“You look like me back when I thought Jongin likes Chanyeol. Unhappy. Lonely. Pathetic. Use-”
“I think I get it,” Kris interrupts drily.
Sehun blinks a couple of times at him and drops the hand he’s gesturing wildly with, before folding his arms across his chest and rolling his eyes. “My point is, just tell him. You’ll never know what comes out of it.”
“So you want me to just go up to him and spit it into his face?”
“No!” Sehun exclaims, throwing his hands up and whacking Kris’s pen out of his hand. “Write him a song or something. You’re a musician for Christ’s sake, do it musically, please.”
“Was that how you won Jongin over?” Kris challenges, raising an eyebrow as Sehun turns a bright shade of red.
Sehun nearly falls off the table in shock, as he sputters indignantly, “Why are we suddenly talking about this?”
“Inspire me,” Kris teases, biting back rising laughter. “You need to give me an example to strengthen your point.”
“I. You,” Sehun starts, before running fingers through his multi-colored bangs and sighing. “I was kinda grumbling to myself about my hair while tuning my bass before practice. And he happened to be passing by, so he overheard and told me it looks good on me. And yeah, I kinda blurted it out somewhere in the conversation.”
“So did the confession get you any ass?” Kris muses, enjoying the way Sehun is fidgeting with his fingers way too much, his gaze cast on every object in the room, save for Kris.
Sehun looks up abruptly and folds his arms across his chest. “Yeah, and it was mind-blowingly amazing. Are you jealous?”
Kris wrinkles his nose in disgust and shoos Sehun away, despite Sehun’s protests that he at least deserves bubble tea for all the ‘help’ he’s given. He stares down at the blank manuscript instead and starts writing, writing the words he’s kept bottled up for way too long.
It isn’t until he’s lying in bed, the music sheet filled with a multitude of notes lying on his wooden desk, that Kris realises that he’s finally admitted it.
And to Oh Sehun of all people.
He’s never going to live this down.
“I wrote a song for you.”
Yixing glances up, his hands stilling on his acoustic guitar to reach up to brush his long bangs out of his eyes. He frowns a little and asks, “Aren’t you going to sing it too? I’m not here to steal your spot, ge.”
“I know,” Kris huffs in slight annoyance, as he reaches into his bag for the music sheets. “But you’re new and you deserve a solo as well. Maybe we can get Lu Han to harmonise or something, you guys sound good together.”
Yixing’s on his feet in a split second, fingers pressing creases into Kris’s jacket. “I’m sorry, duizhang. You know I respect you and I like singing with you, please don’t be mad anymore -”
“I’m not angry!” Kris grits out, regretting it almost immediately when Yixing’s hands fall from his jacket and he chews on his lower lip. “Really, I’m not angry.”
“Then sing with me,” Yixing insists defiantly, fingers tightening their hold around Kris’s wrist.
“No!” Kris explodes, yanking his hand out of Yixing’s grasp. “Can you just stop defying me and just sing that solo? At least that way I can pretend that you’re using the damn song to confess to me.”
Yixing’s eyes are wide with shock as it suddenly dawns on Kris what he’s just said, and he moves back, almost instinctively, when Yixing reaches for him again.
There’s a light click behind them and Sehun strolls into the studio, dumping his bag unceremoniously on the ground and raising an eyebrow at them. “Something up?”
There’s an edge to Yixing’s voice and Kris isn’t nearly ready to deal with the consequences of his idiocy, so he does the only things he’s good at.
He runs. And continues lying to himself.
“It’s really not that funny,” Kris deadpans, as he shells another peanut and watches Jongdae roll around on the velvet sofa, clutching his stomach.
It takes another five minutes before Jongdae straightens, dabbing tears from the corner of his eyes. Kris watches him sullenly, before rejecting another one of Lu Han’s calls - the fourth one that night.
“You know, you’re a real pro at charming MCs on shows and just the audience in general. I don’t get why it’s so hard for you to confess to someone,” Jongdae hums thoughtfully, a finger tapping his chin. “I mean the kid’s seen all your asshole-ness off stage. Nothing you do can scare him off further.”
“Thank you for your affirmation. You’re always a joy to be around, Jongdae.”
“You’re welcome!” Jongdae chirps, as he reaches to pour himself another drink, before taking a small sip. “Seriously though, you don’t throw a song at someone and force him to confess.”
“What was I supposed to do then!” Kris exclaims, throwing his hands out in frustration, almost toppling his own shot glass.
Jongdae rolls his eyes and patiently puts down his glass. “Did it ever occur to you that you should just sing the song to him? Throw in a light confession at the end and viola, you have yourself a fish caught on the hook.”
Kris blinks at Jongdae for a few seconds, before he slaps his own forehead. Jongdae pats his back, in what Kris assumes to be mock sympathy, and pours more alcohol for him.
He spares a glance at the Caller ID of his phone and rejects Chanyeol’s call once again. Screw this shit, he’s going to get shit-face drunk tonight.
“Fuck,” is the first thing that Kris manages to croak out.
He has a pounding headache, his throat feels like it’s rubbed raw and who the hell drew his curtains so that the sun shines on his face? It’s too early for sunlight.
Two pills and a glass of water are shoved under his chin, and Kris takes them gratefully, too tired to even bother looking up at the owner of the hand.
Maybe him fucking up with Yixing had been a dream after all. Yes, that’s it. It’s all been a terrifying nightmare because of his endless nerves and he’s finally waking up from a long dream to -
“Are you alright?”
When Kris finally forces himself to look up, Yixing’s standing at the edge of his bed, an acoustic guitar in hand, his expression unreadable. He forces himself to swallow the bile rising in his throat and manages a small shrug before nodding.
Yixing moves towards him hesitantly, pausing a few steps away from his bed and answering, eyes downcast, “That’s good.”
“Much as I appreciate you being around, I really just want to sleep this headache off, so can you -”
“I’ll leave,” Yixing starts, much to Kris’s surprise and slight disappointment. “Once I’m done with what I have to say. Or sing.”
“Yixing, I -”
But Yixing’s not even listening, as he picks up his acoustic guitar and glances down at it, gently strumming chords, chords that have been etched into Kris’s memory. And Kris is lost all over again. Lost in questions, in amazement, in the melody filling his ears.
Lost in Yixing, Yixing, Yixing.
He doesn’t even notice when Yixing finishes, too preoccupied staring at the bangs falling in his eyes while he plays. Yixing gently props his guitar against the wall and shrugs. “I don’t know if it’s what you had in mind when you wrote the song, but it’s my interpretation of it.”
“It sounds good,” Kris manages, finally finding his voice and swallowing hard, eyes carefully averting Yixing’s.
He doesn’t look at Yixing until he feels a hand resting lightly upon his, only to notice the close proximity between them; so close that he can count the eyelashes framing Yixing’s eyes. Yixing sits down lightly, on the edge of his bed and smiles at him, almost as if he’s taunting Kris to close the remaining distance between them.
“Good, because I sang it with you in mind.”
And Kris really doesn’t think there’s any pride in him left, because Yixing is so much better at this whole confession shit than he is or ever will be.
But he supposes it’s alright when Yixing leans in, pausing just millimeters away from his lips, daring him to make the move. “Do you really have to annoy me when I’m not feeling well?” He grumbles, and presses his lips against Yixing’s before Yixing can come up with a good retort.
Kris figures, all the countless times he’s imagined kissing Yixing - against the wall, in the car, when they’re changing for an interview - pales in comparison to when it actually happens. He’ll probably never get over the way Yixing’s hand tightens around his arm, pulling him closer, or the way he tilts his head before allowing Kris to stick his tongue down his throat. And he probably won’t forget the electricity jolting through his body when Yixing bites on his lower lip, enough to bruise, or how flushed Yixing’s cheeks look when they finally pull apart.
“Well, I already did the confessing, so you should have some action to reciprocate my words,” Yixing fumbles, minutes later when his breathing has slowed back to its normal rate.
It takes Kris a minute before he realises that Yixing’s giving a belated response to the pre-kiss question, and he makes a face. “You’re borrowing my words and my tune to confess, you asshole.”
“Only because you did a terrible job of it,” Yixing quips, humming lightly under his breath, a playful glint in his eyes. “But it made me really, really happy.”
Kris returns the smile, pulling Yixing back in to proceed to kiss the breath out of him. And he thinks, he just might get used to writing songs only to force Yixing to sing them to him.
Nothing really changes in the band.
Except Yixing clings on to him a whole lot more, and Kris sometimes kisses him in front of Lu Han just to watch Lu Han cringe in annoyance and throw pillows at them.
“God, if I’d known how annoying they would be, I wouldn’t have given Yixing advice when he was drinking soju and crying his eyes out,” Lu Han grumbles, although there’s a small smile playing his lips.
“You did that?” Kris asks, both his eyebrows raised as he casts a downward glance at Yixing, who’s clinging onto his shirt and sinking into the sofa.
“Just shut up and watch the movie,” Yixing mumbles against the cotton of Kris’s shirt, although Kris catches the pink tinting his cheeks.
Kris laughs, but obliges while ruffling Yixing’s hair gently.
So, this may not have been what he hoped for when Baekhyun announced the recruitment of a new member. But Kris thinks, considering how everything had taken a turn for the worst in the past few months, this is an ending he’s pretty satisfied with.
“Ready?” Chanyeol throws Kris a smile, while twirling his drumstick between his fingers.
Kris nods, throws the team a thumbs up, before stifling a laugh and reaching towards Yixing to loosen the tie around his neck. “You’re a guitarist playing in a rock band, not a businessman sealing a deal.”
Yixing smiles back at him sheepishly and adjusts the tuning pegs of his guitar one final time, his shoulders tensing as Lu Han gently shoves him towards the center of the stage, nearer to Kris. “I’ll be here, every step of the way to back you up. So just sing, like you did that day in the recording studio,” Kris whispers, as Yixing’s hand finds his and gives it a gentle squeeze.
Kris tugs his hand out of Yixing’s and turns towards the crowd, just as the curtains part.
Behind him, he can imagine Chanyeol waving one drum stick in the air maniacally, before three familiar wooden taps reach his ears.
And it starts.
Kris knows, even when they’re stepping back onto stage to play their encore, that nothing lasts forever; especially not Fame. Groups rise, groups fall, and more groups rise to take their place.
But then, Yixing catches his eye and throws him a smile, and Kris thinks, everything’s fine again. Because he knows, at the end of this crazy ride, he’ll walk away with the thing that matters most to him.
this was supposedly loosely based off you’re beautiful. in my mind, kris is hwang taekyung and yixing is go minam. minus the cross-dressing and stuff. yes.
thanks to both onyu and feixing for reading through this, reassuring me of the plot and correcting my sentence structure/grammar here and there. thanks also for listening to me whine endlessly while writing this fic ;w; you guys laughing mercilessly at my increasing word count will always be remembered and lamented u____u
thanks to hoaegi and euphorias for holding my hand while i was writing this and kinda yelling at me to go and write when i was getting distracted by exo videos. extra credits to shu for helping partially to come up with the title yay :D
special special sparkly thanks to thatdayismine for holding my hand throughout the entire fic writing process and reminding me to write when i get distracted with exo. and happy camp. thank you for constantly encouraging me (i must have been a real pain). knowing that you’re proud of me, regardless of everything going on, is really encouraging ♥ ♥