Prompt #: 329
Title: Method Acting and Other Dangerous Things
Word Counts: 5332
Side Pairing(s): None
Disclaimer: The celebrities' names/images are merely borrowed and do not represent who the celebrities are in real life. No offense is intended towards them, their families or friends. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this fictional work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Baekhyun is used to playing second male lead, just not like this. Never like this. (Or: Byun Baekhyun, well known for his numerous roles as second male lead in dramas, stars in a romcom movie opposite newbie idol actor Park Chanyeol. Everything goes straight to hell.)
Author's Note: thank you to K for holding my hand through the last stretch of this fic…you’re my everything! and big shoutout to the mods for being the best, most understanding people ever! i ran into a lot of difficulty writing this, and they were ready to help me at every turn. although this isn’t what i expected it to become when i first started writing it, i’m glad i am able to share this with everyone. i hope you enjoy the ride! (and prompter if you’re reading this…i hope i was able to do your lovely idea some justice)
"So, yes or no? I need an answer quick or I'll cast someone else. Do you know if Park Bogum is free these days?"
Baekhyun is sitting opposite Kim Heechul at a coffee shop in Garosugil, flipping through a script and trying to lie low. Which is decidedly difficult because Heechul is wearing massive hangover sunglasses, last season's Louis Vuitton, and plaid pajama pants. Baekhyun can almost feel people's eyes trained on them.
"Hyung, these things require thought. My company wouldn't want me rushing into this. They say I have my image to think about!" Baekhyun shoots Heechul a playful smile.
"Oh, you mean your Byun Strikeout image? My bad, maybe I should find some other young actor to rocket into stardom and critical acclaim."
Baekhyun sighs heavily into his Americano. Baekhyun got his break playing second male lead in a sappy teen drama opposite a popular female idol. Two years later, he still comes across Youtube videos about their secret dating life edited to pop songs. Apparently anything looks romantic if it’s slowed down to half speed and set to Some. Honestly, even he's surprised he isn't involved in a clandestine relationship with her despite not having met up in over a year.
After his breakout role, he started getting offers by the dozen, and before he knew it he had been typecasted. The playful, lovable second male lead who absolutely never, ever gets the girl. In fact, netizens have gleefully taken to calling him Byun Strikeout. The thought of never getting the chance to mature as an actor keeps him up at night.
And so: Baekhyun has gotten good at playing a shiny facsimile of true love. Baekhyun lives alone in an apartment in Gangnam with his dog. Baekhyun has not dated someone since he started training. Baekhyun knows which angle to turn when photographers flood him at the airport. Baekhyun has always been good at playing a role, even before he started acting.
Baekhyun is used to playing second male lead, just not like this. Never like this.
"You really think this is what I need?"
"Oh, Baekhyunnie. Would hyung lie to you?" Heechul reaches over and pats Baekhyun's shoulder. "This film has stellar writers, a ridiculous budget, a famous cast, and a refreshing storyline. And it has me. Don't you trust me?"
Baekhyun does trust Heechul. He's known the director for years, introduced to each other by his ex girlfriend. Heechul, for all his childishness and eccentricity, is undeniably a visionary and a professional. A galeforce that took the Korean film industry by storm. His works have been featured at the Toronto International Film Festival, and are known to be innovative and captivating. And if the rumours about how many dicks he had to suck to get where he is now bother him, he doesn’t let it show. Baekhyun respects that immensely. He's always wanted to be part of a Heechul production, and he's sure this could be the first step to becoming a real actor. It's just--
"Who is acting opposite me again?" Baekhyun asks. Heechul grins, knowing that he's won.
"Park Chanyeol of Exo. He has zero experience but he's hot and I need his fanbase. Let's pray you two have chemistry."
It's just that.
The next morning, Baekhyun’s phone is blown with notifications. “Byun Baekhyun and Park Chanyeol movie” is top search on Naver. Baekhyun ignores all of it and checks Neko Atsume first. In the midst of refilling food, he gets a call from Jongdae.
“Park Chanyeol? Really, Baekhyun? Really? I thought you wanted serious roles?" Jongdae starts off immediately, his voice a perfect imitation of a fire alarm. Jongdae, not unlike Baekhyun, has never been quiet in his life.
Baekhyun groans loudly, feeling hungover all of a sudden. Mongryong looks up from his spot by the bed, and Baekhyun reassures him with a ruffle of his ears. Mongryong wiggles his tail.
“I don’t really know him beyond those Baskin Robbins commercials. What’s he like?”
“Does it matter? Just know that he is a tall bastard with no talent!” Jongdae’s last comeback coincided with Exo’s and he has never quite let go of that particular grudge. Jongdae has public recognition in spades and several all kill drama OSTs under his belt, but no one can beat Exo on music shows.
“Jongdae, please. If I’m going to be working with him on a movie I should know some things going in.” Baekhyun rubs his forehead.
“One time I stood next to him at an awards show and he breathed through his mouth the entire time.”
“Thank you. I always know I can count on my best friend.”
Jongdae gives his signature cackle, the one that makes people feel like they’re both the joke and in on the joke. Baekhyun feels better in spite of himself.
“Have fun at filming!” Jongdae cheers. “Don’t worry, Baekhyun. You get along with everyone. How bad could it go?”
On the way to the first script reading, Baekhyun’s manager makes eye contact with him in the rear view mirror.
“Hey, isn’t it funny how you’re both the second male lead and the male lead?”
Baekhyun beams and hopes his lack of amusement translates. “Hilarious!”
He turns his attention back to the thick script he is holding, and rereads lines he’s already memorised to calm his nerves. He had spent the past few weeks familiarizing himself with the story, texting Heechul his questions, and monitoring the response to the casting news on the internet. For the most part, they are surprisingly positive. His fans would follow him no matter what, which he knows and is eternally grateful for, but many others have commented their support for the producers’ choice of casting two male actors opposite each other as love interests. Though he has seen some people mockingly calling him Byun Progressive and telling him to go back to high schooler dramas.
He really hopes that one doesn’t catch on.
Pulling up to the venue, he can see the small crowd of reporters and fans already gathered, and he reminds himself that this is what he loves to do. That he was born for this.
Park Chanyeol is even taller than he’d expected.
Baekhyun sees the back of him first, leaning down slightly to pick up a paper cup of coffee from the refreshment table. His first thought is that he’s glad he didn’t wear his favourite Supreme shirt today because Chanyeol is wearing that exact, same one. His second thought is, hey, how hard can it be fake fall in love with someone who has the same taste in clothes as you?
Suddenly, Chanyeol turns around and spots Baekhyun observing him. He gives a small bow, and smiles with the kind of practiced confidence that Baekhyun totally understands. It’s what you need to survive in this industry. Baekhyun wonders just how nervous he really is.
“Baekhyun-sunbaenim. I’m honoured to work on this project with you. The members and I like to watch your dramas after schedules.”
Baekhyun lowers his head in response. “Thank you. I’m also excited to start.”
The wide grin Baekhyun gets in return leaves him a bit disarmed. Over-familiar is the word that comes to mind, but all of that falls away when the script readings begin.
It turns out that Park Chanyeol is a worse actor than he’d expected.
Chanyeol is eager, and wet behind his gigantic ears, but there’s no way around it. He sucks. He stumbles through a confession scene, unable to look Baekhyun in the eye. He pauses in odd places. He speaks too loudly, and sometimes doesn’t enunciate properly. Baekhyun tries to steer them back on track, but Chanyeol seems to not want to let Baekhyun lead.
In the middle of a particularly painful run through, Baekhyun makes eye contact with Heechul, who seems to be trying very hard not to laugh out loud.
Baekhyun imagines this is what the beginning of a year long headache feels like.
(After a grueling five hours, Heechul corners Baekhyun, who is in the midst of making a speedy exit, lest Chanyeol suggest they practice lines some more.
“Fix it,” he says, like it’s an ultimatum. “Filming starts in two weeks.”)
Their first scene is the last scene, funnily enough. A grand, sweeping declaration of love on the banks of the Han River, and the only scene that is to be filmed in Korea. The rest of the story takes place throughout Western Europe, as the story follows the post-graduation vacation of two college students, and Heechul wanted to get this one over with before they left.
Which makes sense. Which is totally reasonable. Which should be perfectly doable.
Except it’s a kiss scene and Chanyeol still acts like an alien pretending to be human in front of the cameras. The 25th take passes before Heechul lets out a guttural scream and Baekhyun wants to follow suit. He stalks over to where Chanyeol is still clutching awkwardly onto Baekhyun’s jacket, angled down to initiate the 26th awful kiss.
“This isn’t working,” Heechul says, pacing around them. Baekhyun brushes Chanyeol’s hands off of him, as politely as he can. Heechul is getting a wild look in his eyes and Baekhyun is a little bit terrified. “I have an idea. Why don’t I assign you two some homework? In the name of acting.”
Baekhyun has learned to be wary of any of Heechul’s ideas, but Chanyeol nods vigorously.
“Method acting, as we all know, is the practice of inhabiting the characters you’re playing. Living inside their experiences, and acting on that basis,” Heechul’s eyes flash dangerously. “But since you seem to be having some difficulty with this, why don’t I make it easier for you?”
Baekhyun’s heart drops.
“From now on, you two are dating. And will act as such even off screen. Consider it intensive method acting practice. I really didn't know want to bring out the big guns, but you two have really forced my hand.” Heechul does not look even a bit apologetic.
Baekhyun’s mouth flaps open, and he closes it. Opens it again. He feels, for all intents and purposes, like a fish out of water. Baekhyun isn't speechless often. He can see the quizzical tilt of Chanyeol's head in his peripheral vision.
"We can put this scene on hold for now, and film it when we come back from Europe. What I need from you two right now is to not look like two animals trying to mate in captivity. Do you understand?"
Baekhyun looks up at Chanyeol looking down at him. They shrug at the same time.
They're professionals. What could possibly go wrong?
While packing for Europe, Baekhyun calls up Taehyung, his cute model-turned-idol friend who he usually has dogsit Mongryong.
"Taehyung, I'm leaving for Europe to film again next week. Can you take care of Mongryong for me while I'm gone? You know he likes you best!" Baekhyun can almost hear Taehyung's giddiness at that praise through the receiver.
"Of course, hyung! Good luck on your filming! Chanyeol-hyung told me about the locations and they sound great."
Baekhyun grumbles. How has Park Chanyeol shoved himself into every aspect of his life already.
"You know Chanyeol?"
"Oh yeah! We were backstage with him for Music Bank and he was showing everyone and anyone his script. He wouldn't stop talking about you, too." Taehyung pauses. "He really likes you. I got that impression."
"Huh." Baekhyun says, and turns the image of Park Chanyeol following people around to tell them about the movie over in his head. It's almost as funny as the thought of Park Chanyeol liking him is unsettling. But now Baekhyun remembers eager eyes and jostling limbs. Suddenly, it doesn't seem so unlikely. He shakes the feeling of dread and continues folding socks.
Taehyung launches into a monologue about how much he loves Mongryong, and Baekhyun is glad the subject has dropped.
Paris is exceptionally hot this time of year.
Chanyeol is wearing a sleeveless shirt, and Baekhyun stares at his biceps with equal parts admiration and jealousy. The fansite masters following them around the airport with their giant DSLRs are having a field day, Baekhyun imagines.
“How the hell did they follow us to France?” Baekhyun says under his breath to Chanyeol, who is walking disturbingly close to him. Someone’s flash almost blinds him. Baekhyun rubs his eyes.
“My fans are very dedicated.”Chanyeol’s voice is muffled by the face mask he’s wearing. “Is anyone here for you?”
“Yeah,” he says and grabs Chanyeol’s hand with great force. “You.”
Some twenty off cameras go off at once. Fuck it, he thinks. If he’s going to do this, he’s going to do it right.
(On their first date, they try to cross all the bridges over the Seine. Chanyeol beams at Baekhyun over a cup of overpriced coffee and Baekhyun absentmindedly thinks it puts the entire City of Lights to shame.)
In Vienna, things become easier.
Scenes start making sense, start coalescing into a narrative that is more than an assemblage of broke pieces. Against his will, he starts to understand Chanyeol and how he thinks. Baekhyun would be the last to admit it but Chanyeol is really, really amazing. Chanyeol has taken to coming into Baekhyun’s hotel room when the day is done, and reading lines until they both are too tired to even speak. On those nights, they lean against each other and Baekhyun is grateful for the comforting thump of Chanyeol’s heart.
During a lunch break, Chanyeol drags him into a musty, old music store and Baekhyun lets slip that he almost wanted to be a singer, or a musician. Chanyeol almost trips over and breaks a beautiful Stradivarius cello trying to lug a handmade guitar to the counter. The whole time he is checking out, Baekhyun stands nervously behind him babbling about how he doesn’t need to do this.
“Of course I don’t,” he says, signing his name like an autograph on the receipt. “I want to. I’m going to teach you how to play guitar. Consider it a present for being the best fake boyfriend ever.”
Baekhyun flushes head to toe, and the elderly shopkeeper stares at them with a bemused expression as he hands them the guitar in a carrying case.
Leaving the store, Chanyeol swings their arms as they walk hand in hand.
"So," Baekhyun starts. "What's your favourite food?"
Chanyeol raises his eyebrows but doesn't break stride.
"What is this, an interrogation?"
"Well, we're dating. Shouldn't we get to know each other?"
"Fair enough," Chanyeol scratches his chin. "Hmm. I like kalbi. What's your least favourite food?"
Baekhyun scrunches his nose. "Cucumbers. I hate the smell of them. You?"
"Weirdo. I don't like really spicy food much."
"Weakling. Do you have siblings?"
“So you know the entertainment interviewer for Channel 4?”
“Huh? Oh yeah, I think she did my first interview. I was a nervous wreck but she was nice—wait what?” Baekhyun’s mind spins. “No way…she’s your sister?”
“Yeah! Park Yura. You don’t see the family resemblance?” Chanyeol says and shoves his face closer to Baekhyun as if to let him take a closer look. Baekhyun pushes him away very roughly.
“I’m shocked. But she’s so…pretty!”
“Hey. Don’t be so cruel,” Chanyeol pouts. “What about you?”
“I have an older brother. When we were younger, he would always get his way and that instilled a lot of fighting spirit into me. We’re close now, though. Got married a couple years ago.” Baekhyun glances up at Chanyeol, who seems to be paying rapt attention. “It feels weird because when we were younger, I always thought I’d be the first to get married since I was way more popular and outgoing. Guess it’s harder to meet people in this line of work than you’d expect, right?”
Chanyeol stops short and before Baekhyun can even wonder what’s happening, Chanyeol is down on one knee before him, holding a hand to his heart.
“Byun Baekhyun,” he all but yells, drawing the attention of a group of high school students across the street. “I don’t have a ring, or anything prepared. I only have my earnest feelings. You’re a very bright person, but you’re very lonely aren’t you? Please, fake marry me, and I’ll make sure you always get your way from now on.”
Baekhyun peeks through his hands, hoping to god his ears aren’t too red. “Are you finished,” he hisses.
“Not quite,” Chanyeol grins, and stands up into a kiss. So this is what it’s like to get swept of your feet, Baekhyun thinks as his knees buckle a bit, but Chanyeol is holding him tight by the arms. The high school students start clapping.
When they break apart, Chanyeol has the nerve to look a little embarrassed. Baekhyun kinda wants to smack him but also kinda wants to pull him back down.
“What do you say? Make me the happiest fake husband in the world?”
Baekhyun glances at the audience they’ve amassed and sighs. “Fine.”
Chanyeol immediately turns around and flashes the students a thumbs up and they burst into cheers and applause.
(“We got engaged,” Baekhyun tells Heechul back at the hotel, arm linked around Chanyeol’s. “We wanted to ask for your blessing.”
Heechul peers over the newest issue of Cosmopolitan, amused but Baekhyun detects some genuine concern in the once over he gives them too. “Huh. Extra credit, then.”)
They spend an entire day off in Venice, and end up wandering in San Marco Piazza.
“Did you know those four horse statues were originally from the Hippodrome in Rome? The Venetians stole it and put it on their basilica.” Chanyeol says, out of the blue as Baekhyun licks at chocolate gelato.
“Oh, nice history lesson, Professor Park.”
“I’m just reading from this travel guide.”
“Very uncool. My boyfriend is a nerd. Get your head out of that book and enjoy the sights! Live in the present!”
“Your awful sense of direction is going to get us lost.”
“Precisely,” he says, and wrangles the dog eared travel guide out of Chanyeol’s hands. “Don’t you want to get lost with me?”
Chanyeol visibly gulps, and Baekhyun tracks the movement of his Adam’s apple.
Baekhyun knows they are headed for dangerous territory, but he grabs Chanyeol’s hand, and leads anyway.
(In the end, they don’t exactly get lost, but at the end of the day they collapse on the soft, damp grass of a park in Castello and point out constellations they know. Neither of them know many, but the warmth of Chanyeol’s proximity is enough to make Baekhyun feel both grounded and adrift.)
On the plane to London, they’re holding hands and Baekhyun wonders if that rush of glee when Chanyeol squeezes his fingers is ever going to go away.
Chanyeol is being uncharacteristically quiet, though, and has been since that day in Venice. When Baekhyun asks him what’s wrong, he looks more troubled than he did before. Baekhyun reaches up to smooth the furrow of his brows. Chanyeol’s ears turn pink.
“It’s just,” he starts, looking absolutely lost. “I just realised I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t actually know what method acting is. I’ve just been winging it, and I don’t know if I’m doing it right.”
“You’re doing fine, Chanyeol. You just have to look at me like you’re in love with me. Talk to me like you’re in love with me. Act like you’re in love with me. Pretend. Take yourself out of your own shoes and walk in someone else’s. Easy right?”
“Like I’m in love you with you,” Chanyeol echoes, sounding far off. For a moment, Baekhyun wonders if he should repeat himself but then Chanyeol nods quickly. “Right. It’s easy.”
Baekhyun gives his hand a squeeze that’s meant to be a little painful. “Greasy.”
Chanyeol grins cheekily at Baekhyun, and it both reassures and unsettles him. Sometimes he’s like this. Sometimes Baekhyun wants to know where Chanyeol’s mind goes when his eyes go distant. Sometimes he doesn’t, because he thinks he already knows, but if he puts it to words, the result would be disastrous.
For now, he leans against Chanyeol’s shoulder and closes his eyes.
London is the last stop before they return to Seoul, and both of them know they’re assignment is coming to a close, and fast. Things go fuzzy. Chanyeol starts reaching out less, starts acting more seriously. Baekhyun knows this is for the better, but the feeling unravelling inside his gut is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.
The night before they leave the city, Chanyeol knocks on Baekhyun’s hotel door. When Baekhyun opens the door, the sight of the pronounced dark circles under Chanyeol’s eyes hits him like a freight train.
“How did you guess?” Chanyeol says, drily, as he closes the door behind him.
“I know my boyfriend inside and out,” Baekhyun singsongs, then immediately regrets it because of the way the corners of Chanyeol’s mouth droop. Baekhyun brings his script up to his face so he won’t have to look him in the eye.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol keens. There’s a desperate edge to his tone. “I have problems.”
“What’s the problem?” Baekhyun says, stubbornly not looking up from his coffee-stained and dog-eared script.
“I’m in love with you.”
Baekhyun tries to ignore the tingle down his spine. “Right, and your character is conflicted because—“
“No,” Chanyeol says, emphatically, and pulls the script away from Baekhyun’s face so their faces are inches apart. Baekhyun holds his breath and counts Chanyeol’s eyelashes. “I’m in love with you.”
“Oh,” Baekhyun says woodenly. Oh shit.
It makes sense. It makes so much sense.
“Are you sure?” Baekhyun asks, because his mouth has always been faster than his brain. “Are you sure you’re in love with me?” All things considered, the heart is just a muscle. The strongest muscle in the human body, at that. Baekhyun has spent the past few months training his to love Chanyeol, and he can't help but wonder if this is all just muscle memory. If the voice in his head screaming to make this leap is his voice or his character’s.
For all his bluster and bravery, he feels like a kid who still doesn’t know how to love.
“I get it now. Maybe I am getting all mixed up,” Chanyeol says. There’s the defeat in his stance that’s been there for a while now. Baekhyun reaches out for his arm, but Chanyeol darts away, already backing towards the door. “It’s fine. It really is. It was an honour to work with you, Baekhyun-sunbaenim.”
Baekhyun is about to call out for him, but he’s already out the door.
The next morning, Chanyeol can't even look at Baekhyun, let alone talk to him. In the van to the airport, Chanyeol jams his earbuds in and stares out the window sullenly. It's not until they’re past security that Baekhyun says something reckless just to get Chanyeol's attention.
"Hey, shouldn't we break up?" Baekhyun hates himself for being a masochist like this, hates himself more for the way Chanyeol flinches at his voice.
When Chanyeol looks at him, it seems more like he's looking past him. Baekhyun hasn't felt so small and awful ever in his life. A woman shoves between them with her luggage cart and the moment breaks.
"Right," Chanyeol laughs mechanically. "Tie up the loose ends." He clears his throat. "Byun Baekhyun. This isn't working out. I like you too much. I can't bear it anymore. Let's break up."
Baekhyun's traitorous heart actually twinges. If he cries at the airport over the fake end of a fake relationship he'll never forgive himself. He throws a weak punch at Chanyeol's side, and Chanyeol has the audacity to look like he’s in pain.
"That's a stupid reason to break up with someone."
"It's a real one, though." Chanyeol puffs up his chest, and his idol armour is back on. This is Exo's Chanyeol, who is always smiling and always self-assured. This isn't the Chanyeol whose face crumpled when Baekhyun ran out of that hotel room. "It's very adult, don't you think?"
"Oh yeah. Super mature." Baekhyun humours him, because it's what has become second nature to him.
They stand like that for a while, just standing at a terminal as the world spins nonstop around them.
(They go home .They film that end scene. Chanyeol leans down, and kisses Baekhyun like he means it, one last time for the camera. The entire cast and crew bursts into applause, except Heechul, who makes worried eye contact with Baekhyun.
Chanyeol leaves with his manager, and Baekhyun leaves with his. It really is the neatest possible end to a love story. Still, Baekhyun can’t quite parse the tornado in his heart.)
In a way, this is the realest break up Baekhyun has had in years.
At the press conference, Chanyeol puts his arm around him and Baekhyun has to do everything he can to not lean into the touch. Habits are surprisingly hard to unlearn. Reporters ask questions about their technique and experiences, and Chanyeol transforms into the happy-go-lucky idol the public has come to know. After the closing remarks, though, he leaves without a word. Baekhyun doesn’t know if he even has the right to feel jilted if they were never really together in the first place.
Out of sheer desperation, Baekhyun barricades himself into his apartment, promising to not return to the public eye until he’s completely Over It. It gets to the point where Baekhyun hasn’t left the house in a week, and has been ordering in junk food every night, diet be damned.
The eighth day, Taehyung shows up at his doorstep and Baekhyun almost shoos him away, but he holds up a box of fried chicken and Baekhyun folds. He almost immediately regrets this because as soon a Taehyung walks in, he holds up a DVD in a paper sleeve.
“Heechul-hyung told me everything. He also gave me this uncut copy of the movie. Let’s watch.” It’s obvious that Taehyung is not asking for Baekhyun’s permission, and he is already popping the disc into Baekhyun’s DVD player.
"He was just getting too involved in the role," Baekhyun says hollowly, and sinks his teeth into a chicken wing. "We both were. It was really confusing. Method acting is dangerous, Taehyung. Occupational hazard."
Taehyung stares at the TV, seemingly deep in thought. "You know, hyung...no offence...but I've seen Chanyeol sunbae's acting and it's pretty bad."
Baekhyun lets out a bark of laughter.
Taehyung pauses the movie and points. Movie Chanyeol is leaning forward and looking at Movie Baekhyun like he's seeing his whole life laid out before him. In spite of himself, Baekhyun's breath catches.
"My point is," Taehyung says in a mock sage tone. "I don't think he's acting here. I think he really means it." He drops the pretense and lowers his voice. "I think you mean it, too."
Baekhyun squeezes his eyes shut and exhales. "I’m scared I ruined it all."
"Talk to him, hyung."
And so he does. A couple days later, Baekhyun swallows his pride and dials Chanyeol's cell. He squeezes his eyes shut and waits. After three rings, Chanyeol picks up.
"Hello?" Chanyeol all but rasps, then clears his throat awkwardly. "Who is this?"
"I know you have caller ID, Chanyeol. It's 2016."
Baekhyun nervously taps his feet. "I'm outside your dorm. I have some stuff to say, can you come down?"
"It's...late. Leader might get mad at me and everyone's tired after the Inkigayo stage..."
"Chanyeol..." Baekhyun is struck by how pitiful he sounds, and for a devastating moment he thinks Chanyeol will hang up. He doesn't.
"Okay, I'll be down. Wait there for me." There's a shuffling noise and then Chanyeol hangs up.
Baekhyun shifts from side to side, feeling like he's shown up to filming without looking over the script. Except this is real life. Inside the building is a real boy who Baekhyun loves for real, and he wants to fix this for real. He's scared he'll fuck it all up for real.
Abruptly, Chanyeol walks out of the door. Remnants of stage makeup are still stuck to Chanyeol’s face but his hair is down. He looks young but so, so tired. Baekhyun’s heart aches. He wants to take away all the sadness and exhaustion in Chanyeol’s frame. He wants to make him smile.
Chanyeol hunches his shoulders and casts his eyes down at his Nikes. “You didn’t have to call me out. My manager and leader are going to be worried. You don’t have to clarify anything because I get it. You don’t love me.” He winces at his own words. “Please don’t say it again.”
“I never said that.”
Chanyeol meets Baekhyun’s eyes for the first time since he arrived. Even in the stifling darkness, Baekhyun sees the fire there. Baekhyun clamps down on all the longing, all the inevitability, and tries not to pretend for the first time in his life.
“I'm here to apologize, actually. Trying to make up for lost time, even if I don't think I could ever make it up to you. Anyway. Sorry, Chanyeol. Sorry I took so long. I like you, all too much. I might even love you. Not your character, just you. Not the way you look at me on screen, but the way you do off of it. I like Park Chanyeol. I like you more than I ever think I could have." Baekhyun is aware he's babbling, but he's scared that if he stops, Chanyeol will stop listening and never start up ever again. As if trying to match him in fanfare, the sky opens up and torrents of rain pour down. Chanyeol is staring, and smiling at Baekhyun like nothing in the world could ruin them. Then he pulls an umbrella out of nowhere. Baekhyun really does think he is magical sometimes.
“You sure about that?”
Baekhyun scoffs, and kicks Chanyeol’s shin lightly as he opens the umbrella over them.
“I’m a good actor, but not that good.”
Chanyeol positively beams.
“That reminds me. Congrats on Best New Actor,” Chanyeol all but shouts over the din of the rain. Chanyeol nudges him and almost sends Baekhyun careening into a puddle. “What a shoe in.”
Baekhyun lifts his head and smiles, feeling the weight of the world lift off of him.
"How did you even make it here? I thought you didn't gave your license." Chanyeol barrels on.
"Took the bus."
Chanyeol freezes. When Baekhyun meets his gaze, he's looking down at him like he's the loveliest thing in the world. Baekhyun can't help but feel like he would trade anything to live in this moment forever.
"At night? Across town? To see me?"
Baekhyun scoffs, jokingly. "Don't gloat about it. It's what any good boyfriend would do."
"Right, of course, of course," Chanyeol shrugs, faking nonchalance while smiling so wide that his face is twitching. "Need a ride home?"
"Well, if you're offering..." Baekhyun grins back. There's a sudden banging noise from above, and Baekhyun looks up to see the rest of Exo standing at the window. Sehun has his fist raised as if to pound the window again. When Baekhyun catches his eye he lowers his hand sheepishly. Suho appears behind him and drags him out of view, then makes a questioning gesture down at them.
Baekhyun exchanges a look with Chanyeol, and they both give thumbs up. Chanyeol's arm is slung around Baekhyun's shoulders. Suho's constant expression of worry breaks into a sunny, proud smile, and he gives a thumbs up in return before shooing the members away and jerking the curtains shut.
Chanyeol bursts into laughter and starts to lead Baekhyun away. His car is at the bottom of the hill, and as they head down, Baekhyun stuffs his hand into Chanyeol’s hoodie pocket, launches into an unflattering impression of himself crying at the after party just to hear Chanyeol laugh again, and again.