dorochi (dorochi) wrote,
dorochi
dorochi

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Going Through the Motions [ii]

Title: Going Through the Motions

Ship: Baekhyun-centric, Baeklu if you squint, Kaisoo if you read, also Hunhan and Jundae and multiple others if you're creative enough.

Word Count: 18,806

Plot: Going through the motions isn't enough; not for Baekhyun, not for Luhan, not for anyone.



<< ii.

Three days pass faster than Baekhyun ever thought possible. Saturday comes and he finds himself with a dreading anticipation. Also, with twenty or so texts from his bandmates.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

8:15 – CONCEERTT

Message: U excited? ;)

To: Baekhyun the Ferret

From: Chanyeol :)

9:34 – Yay

Message: Don't forget the performance is tonight~

To: Baek-hyung

From: Kim Jongin

11:52 – Concert yo

Message: Don't mess up, hehe.

To: Byun Baekhyun

From: Kris Wu

12:00 – Performance tonight.

Message: First performance is tonight at 8, in the bar next to school. Try to be there around 7 or so. Semi-formal attire. See you there.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

13:14 – Heeey

Message: Wai no answer.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

13:26 – Baconnn

Message: Are you in class?

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

13:32 – :P

Message: I'm more important than class, anyways ;)

To: Baekhyun the Ferret

From: Chanyeol :)

15:31 – Lul

Message: Lay says answer his texts XD

To: Baekhyun the Ferret

From: Chanyeol :)

15:58 – Hmm

Message: Maybe you are in class...

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

16:09 – -___-

Message: I hope you left your ringer on

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

16:09 – -___-

Message: Just so Twinkle goes off continuously

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

16:13 – -___-

Message: Still PMSL that you have SNSD as your ringtone, lol

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

16:41 – :D

Message: I guess it's not or you woulda answered by now

To: Baekhyun the Ferret

From: Chanyeol :)

16:50 – Meh

Message: Ferret-Baek :)

Baekhyun practically cries in despair because there is literally one normal text in that mix.

Of course, when he gets there at seven, Lay and Chanyeol get mad because he didn't answer their texts. They also laugh at him because he's wearing makeup, to which Baekhyun simply states eyeliner is cool and he looks like the shit, so he doesn't care what they say.

He's surprised that Kyungsoo shows up with Jongin ten minutes later, but apparently stage directing is part of “the things Jonginnie doesn't want to do” because Kyungsoo admits that he directs every time. They're not late every time, though. Kyungsoo makes a very good point to tell Baekhyun that while Jongin wanders off to get his equipment. When Baekhyun asks why they are late this time, Kyungsoo just blushes furiously and points to Jongin's open collared shirt and a suspiciously off colored patch of skin, muttering something like, “I didn't know it'd take so long to cover up.”

Luhan ends up coming last, at around 7:20, though his excuse for Kris is that “I don't need to tune up like all of you do.” And that's apparently that. He just goes to get the keyboard.

(Baekhyun may or may not have to admit that considering the “semi-formal” attire, Luhan cleans up rather well.)

The rest of forty minutes is spent setting up and warming up, or in Baekhyun's case, hyperventilating and struggling to remember all of the lyrics he's memorized. It doesn't help that Jongin takes delight in saying, “Don't mess up,” every time he's near. Kyungsoo just smiles apologetically and tells him he'll do fine.

Actually, Luhan is the only one without comment; even Kris pats his shoulder awkwardly with a gruff, “good luck.” Baekhyun isn't sure if Luhan's silence is a good or bad thing. There's no telling what he would say, so maybe it's a blessing. He needs to focus.

By the time eight rolls around, the bar is filled with people and Baekhyun is seriously debating whether to make a run for it. His panic only gets worse when Kris ushers them all out on stage, in miscellaneous order, it seems. He finds himself standing next to Luhan and wishes he'd chosen a better spot.

“How you guys all doing tonight?” Kris yells over the crowd, microphone in hand. If anything that just makes them get louder. Baekhyun can feel his eardrums deteriorating and wishes he'd brought earplugs.

“You know who we are, right?”

“EXO, EXO, EXO!” they scream. Kris smiles and adjusts his earpiece.

“Hi everyone, I'm EXO's duizhang, Kris!”

Everyone cheers again. Kris passes the mic to Lay, who starts his introduction by calling himself “EXO's unicorn.” Baekhyun stands there and blinks, wondering if he heard something wrong because duizhang is definitely not a word in Korean. The confusion must show on his face, because after Lay finishes and Chanyeol begins, Luhan leans over to speak in his ear.

Duizhang is “leader” in Chinese. He said he's EXO's leader.”

“Oh.” Baekhyun isn't sure what surprises him more, the fact that he couldn't figure that out or the fact that Luhan decided to tell him.

“Thanks.”

Luhan only shrugs nonchalantly.

“ - I'm our other guitarist and I like ferrets!” Chanyeol yells delightedly to the crowd before he passes the microphone to Jongin (who starts saying something about being EXO's visual, which gets him laughter in response). Baekhyun rolls his eyes and scans over the crowd, then noticing that there is quite a bit of whispering and pointing going on, most of it directed at...him?

A girl standing in the front row glares at him, lips moving as she says something. Whatever it is, it's presumably not very good. Baekhyun shrinks back, bumping into Luhan's shoulder on accident as he does so. Luhan gives him a dirty look. Baekhyun wonders if it's possible for him to just turn in the other direction and run right now. Why are they all staring? Do they not like him? He hasn't even spoken yet, how could that be possible? Is it because he's new? Do they prefer Jongdae or something? Is that why?

He's in the process of backing away when someone grabs his wrist.

“What the fuck are you doing,” Luhan hisses in his ear. Baekhyun's panic only worsens.

“I can't do this,” he whispers, horrified. Luhan tightens his grip.

“Yeah? Well, you should have thought about that earlier. Chill your ass out and stay put.” Jongin hands the microphone to him then, and Luhan smiles, letting go of Baekhyun to wave to the crowd.

“Hi everyone! I'm EXO's deer prince, Luhan!”

Quite a few references he doesn't get, Baekhyun thinks to himself as he wipes his sweaty palms on his jeans.

The most horrifying thought occurs to him a second later; if everyone is introducing themselves, does that mean he's expecting to also? What is he supposed to say, Hi I'm replacing the last guy? What if they boo him off stage? What if they throw things?! The only things they have to throw are beer bottles and cans, that'd hurt!

He swallows hard, clenching his hands at his sides to steel himself. He's Byun fucking Baekhyun, he can do this. Yes. There's no possible way for them not to like him, because he's just too fabulous for that.

His self motivating speech is having little to no effect, but a little voice in the back of his head reminds him that Luhan will probably kill him after the performance if he tries to ditch. His desire to flee is replaced with alarm. Luhan already hates him enough, how much more would he hate him if he ran? What would he do to him? Who knows how many ways the Chinese could have to kill someone?

Luhan's elbow jamming into his side brings him back to reality just in time to hear the other boy say: “So, do you want to meet our new singer?”

The cheers overwhelm the complaints, to Baekhyun's relief. He accepts the microphone that Luhan holds out, clearing his throat before he speaks.

“Hi, I'm B-Baekhyun.”

Luhan elbows him in the side again. Baekhyun struggles to think of something else to say.

“Ah, are you guys excited for tonight?”

The responding cheers are almost deafening. Baekhyun tries to smile, though it probably comes out more like a grimace.

“Well, you can't take that back later, okay? Alright, this first one's called Hey You...”

It all goes surprisingly better than expected – besides accidentally misnaming a couple songs (Lay has to correct him) and forgetting a few lyrics, there are no catastrophes. No one throws things at him (that's the part Baekhyun's the most thankful for, to be honest), and he even kind of remembers the set list that Kris iterated for him the day before.

Everything goes well, at least, Baekhyun thinks so until he sees Lay and Kris whispering during one of Chanyeol's guitar interludes. The lights and eyes are on Chanyeol, so Baekhyun makes his way over.

“What's up?” he stage whispers, and Lay turns to him.

“We're trying to figure out what to do. We have twenty minutes left and we've reached the end of our set list.”

“It's too much time to plausibly end early,” Kris muses, “but we don't have any other songs prepared.”

And now Baekhyun begins to panic again.

“I thought you said Kris would think of something,” he hisses to Lay, as if that'll help the situation.

“I am thinking of something,” Kris replies, “We don't have any alternatives because those are the only songs you've rehearsed...we could just tell someone else to sing but to be honest the rest of us aren't that great...hmm...”

After a minute, he smiles.

“Got it.”

“Got what?”

Kris ignores the question, instead offering one of his own. “Baekhyun, would you mind sitting out for this one? You can chill by the keyboard.”

Baekhyun blinks. “Sure, but isn't that where Luhan is?”

“Yixing, you still remember how to play Zhai Xia Yi Wan Ke Xing Xing, right?” Kris turns to Lay.

“Yeah, but the only one who knows the lyrics is - ”

“Luhan,” Kris finishes for him, standing up as Chanyeol's playing ends. Baekhyun shrugs and steps over the power cords and cables to where Luhan is. Luhan stares at him like he's gone insane.

“What?” he asks, just as Kris picks up the mic and addresses the crowd.

“Hey, do you guys mind if we try something new tonight?”

“I think Kris says you're singing,” Baekhyun tells him with a shrug.

“He says I'm what?”

“Does anyone remember back when we had Luhan sing?”

Baekhyun assumes the respondent cheers are a yes.

“Do you want to hear him sing again?”

“Is he serious?” Luhan demands. Kris turns to look at him.

“Luhan, come here.”

Luhan gets up, walking slowly to the front. He still looks very confused as Kris hands him the microphone, saying something in his ear.

“Um, hey guys,” Luhan says as Lay goes over to get his acoustic guitar from the rack. His voice sounds uncertain, as if he doesn't know whether to protest or not. But hey, he was bitching about not being allowed to sing, so this should be a good thing for him. “I guess I'm going to sing...wait, what?” He cuts off as Kris says something again, replying in Chinese. There seems to be some sort of disagreement, but finally Luhan turns to the crowd again. “Um, so this one's Chinese, Take Off Ten Thousand Stars.” He falls silent then, nodding to Lay. He starts playing, something slow and completely unfamiliar. Baekhyun sits down on Luhan's stool behind the keyboard as Luhan starts singing.

Qing qing bi shang shuang yan, wo jiu zhai ni shen bian. Qiao qiao de ji ge yuan, wo jiu hui rang na shi xian...”

Baekhyun doesn't know what to think of Luhan's voice; it's obvious that he's out of practice, because his transitions are rough and his vocal range seems to be significantly diminished. There's quite a few notes that he doesn't quite hit. But what he lacks in mechanics, he makes up with other means. Baekhyun doesn't know what this song means to Luhan. Hell, he doesn't even know what he's saying. But either way, he can still hear the raw emotion in his voice, the feeling behind every word, even if he can't understand it. Put simply, it's moving. He can feel tears coming to his eyes even when he doesn't know what the song means. It's that powerful. The audience's reaction seems to be the same – he can see a few people crying, wiping away tears as they sway to the music. Maybe they're the ones who understand the Chinese, he wouldn't know. It's certainly emotional enough without the translation, that's for sure.

Jiu rang jing wan mei you jin tou,” Luhan finishes quietly, and there's a few seconds of stunned silence before the mad applause. Luhan doesn't say a word, just puts the microphone back in the stand and turns to go back to his spot. Baekhyun gets up hurriedly, but Luhan walks right past him and the piano. Kris jumps up before the absence can be awkward, smiling and saying, “Thanks guys, have a great night!” They all go wild again, and Kris bows a couple times, waving as Lay gets up to run after Luhan. The rest of them are left standing there rather awkwardly as fangirls in the audience profess their undying love.

When they come backstage twenty minutes later, equipment packed and cleared, they find Luhan sitting on the floor, staring at the wall across from him silently. Lay is sitting next to him, a careful distance away, saying something in Chinese. Luhan doesn't look up when they walk in, but Lay does, staring at Kris pleadingly. Kris sighs, running his fingers through his hair and coming over to crouch down in front of Luhan. His expression is grim. Baekhyun almost wants to ask what's going on, but Chanyeol and Jongin grab his arms to start pulling him away with poor attempts to be cheery.

“Let's go talk to the fans!”

They run into some as soon as they enter the bar – two boys are standing right outside the door to the stage. One of them looks kind of uncomfortable – the other (who has his arm around his companion) grins like an idiot and says, “Great concert, guys.”

“No thanks to you, asshole,” Jongin says darkly, letting go of Baekhyun to punch the guy's arm. It doesn't look like it has much force behind it, but the boy still yelps and swats him away.

“Yah, is that any way to return a compliment, Kim Jongin?”

“After you left with two days of notice? Yeah, it is!”

“It shouldn't have been that much of a problem, you guys worked it out in the end.” The boy frowns, turning to look at Baekhyun. “So this is the new guy?” He smiles, holding out his hand, and Chanyeol lets go of him so Baekhyun can shake it. “Hi, I'm Jongdae.”

Ah, so this is the old singer.

“I'm Baekhyun.”

“Nice to meet you, Baekhyun.” Jongdae squeezes his hand before letting go, looking to Chanyeol and Jongin again. “You guys know Joonmyeon, right?”

The boy standing next to Jongdae smiles uneasily, nodding his head a little. “Jongdae's told me a lot about you guys,” he says.

“Oh, has he - ” Jongin starts, but before he can finish, Kyungsoo comes from the stage door they just exited from, wrapping his arms around Jongin's waist with a smile.

“Good job, guys.”

Jongin immediately becomes occupied with fawning over Kyungsoo again. Jongdae turns to Chanyeol.

“It couldn't have been that hard to find a replacement, though. I thought you guys would just have Luhan sing again.”

Wait, did he say again?

“Luhan's a bit out of practice,” Chanyeol replies before Baekhyun can ask, shrugging his shoulders.

“Really?” Jongdae suddenly looks kind of uncomfortable. “I thought that the only reason he wasn't singing was because I was there.”

“Kris didn't give him much of a choice.” Chanyeol turns his head to look back at the closed stage door. He looks worried. “He did sing a bit today, though...”

“Yeah, but wasn't that the song he hated - ?”

The door opens again before Jongdae can finish, and this time Kris comes out, followed by Luhan and Lay. None of them offer an explanation; Lay just smiles and informs them that they're going home. Baekhyun is so absorbed in trying to figure out what's up that he almost doesn't notice Lay's arm is wrapped around Luhan's shoulders reassuringly. Luhan doesn't look at any of them, staring at the floor as Lay leads him away. Kris watches as they go, then turns back to them and clears his throat.

“Hello, Jongdae.”

“Hi,” Jongdae answers, but his brow is furrowed like he's confused too. His next sentence is something in (badly accented, even Baekhyun can tell) Chinese, to which Kris just shakes his head, forcing a smile that looks more like a grimace as he holds out his hand to Joonmyeon.

“Hi, I'm Kris. You must be Jongdae's boyfriend.”

Joonmyeon stares dumbly at Kris' outstretched hand like he has no idea what to do. He looks terrified. They all stand there, waiting for him to do something, until Jongdae finally nudges him with his elbow.

“Hyung. He won't bite.”

Joonmyeon blinks uncertainly, raising his head to look at Kris again. Kris offers an uncomfortable smile. Joonmyeon gulps and finally takes his hand, shaking it gingerly before pulling his hand back again.

“Um.” Jongdae smiles apologetically. “He's just shy. Anyways though. Great concert guys. Let's go, hyung.”

“...come on,” Kris says after a minute, watching as the two of them make their way off into the crowd. “I'm not that scary, right?”

“Suuuure, hyung,” Chanyeol says, grinning and patting Kris' shoulder. “You're not scary at all.”

“Maybe it's the height,” Jongin suggests, untangling himself from Kyungsoo's arms to look over at them. Baekhyun is surprised that he's paying attention, because it looked like Jongin and Kyungsoo were too engrossed in their, ah...affair, to be listening. “And the eyebrows.”

“What's wrong with my eyebrows?” Kris demands indignantly.

“They look like someone glued fuzzy caterpillars to your face!”

“Hey, Kris?” Kris turns to look at him, and Baekhyun asks, “Is Luhan okay?”

Everyone goes silent.

“Ah.” Kris scratches his head, chewing his lip like he doesn't know what to say. “He's fine. Physically, at least. He's kind of upset, though.”

“Well, why?” The words come out a little too quickly, and Baekhyun amends, “I mean, am I allowed to ask?”

“That's Luhan's shit.” Kris sighs, shaking his head. “I don't know what I can tell you, really. That song just doesn't bring good memories for him.”

“Wait a minute, did you tell him to sing Take Off Ten Thousand Stars?” Jongin interrupts, gaping at Kris in disbelief. “Hyung, you know that he associates that song with Se – mmmph.”

He's cut off then. Baekhyun doesn't know if Kyungsoo has a sudden impulse, or just needs to shut Jongin up. Either way, he's led in the next moment to grab Jongin by the front of his shirt and kiss him, hard. The interruption is effective, as always. Chanyeol takes the opportunity to cut in, smiling uneasily and saying:

“Well, let's go mingle, shall we?”

- - -

Three hours and no answers later, Baekhyun finds himself back in his apartment. It makes sense for him to be frustrated, Baekhyun thinks, because one of the things he hates most is not knowing anything. That and spinach. That frustration is apparently evident, because the minute he walks in the door, Minseok very nicely asks if he wants food.

...but then again, that could just be because Minseok is Minseok, and Minseok likes food.

So that's why he's sitting there at one in the morning, consuming unhealthy amounts of kimchi rice and trying to figure out what to do. Sure, he could just let it go, but the ability to restrain curiosity is not an ability Baekhyun possesses.

The problem is, he doesn't know where to start. There's too many questions and not enough connections between them. He knows, what, that there's another person involved? Baekhyun can't even remember the name. The only information he has that could be remotely helpful...isn't.

Baekhyun pulls his phone out of his pocket, balancing his bowl precariously on his knees as he types out a message:

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

24:02 – Hey

Message: Hyung?

He stares at the screen, waiting for it to send. It does; a minute later, his phone vibrates.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

24:13 – Re: Hey

Message: Sup?

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

24:15 – Re: Re: Hey

Message: Can I ask you a question?

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

24:22 – Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: What?

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

24:34 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: ….....................

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

24:40 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: …......what .____.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

00:12 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: No really, what is it.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

00:36 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: Baekhyun, you're scaring me. What's the question?

Baekhyun stares at his phone for a long moment, finally typing out a reply:

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

00:52 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: ...did Luhan used to be the singer for EXO?

He waits a few minutes, eating a couple more bites of rice (because if he wastes food, Minseok will just short of murder him.) Then:

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

00:54 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: Yeah, he used to be.

Well, there's one answer.

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

00:57 – Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey

Message: Why isn't he now?

“Who are you talking to?”

Baekhyun looks up as Minseok sits down on the couch next to him, his own bowl of rice in hand. “A friend.”

“Your friend is named Potato Chip?” Minseok raises a single eyebrow skeptically.

“No, his name is Yixing or something.” Baekhyun puts his phone down on the couch next to him. “But he says to call him Lay if I can't pronounce it.”

“Yixing,” Minseok repeats, only with slightly more success than Baekhyun has. “Chinese?”

“Yeah.”

“So he wants to be named after a potato chip...?”

“Something like that.”

His phone buzzes insistently. Baekhyun pounces on it, scrambling to turn on the screen.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

00:59 – Lulz

Message: Try asking him yourself, Bacon~ ;)

Stupid Lay.

“What did the potato chip say?” Minseok asks curiously.

“He called me Bacon,” Baekhyun groans. “Dammit, my name does not sound like – WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING, IT'S NOT FUNNY.”

“Bacon,” Minseok sniggers. “Bacon. You're food.”

“Shut up!”

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

1:04 – NO

Message: D< I NO BACON. NO. BAEKHYUN DOESN'T EVEN SOUND LIKE BACON, OKAY.

To: Potato Chip (Lay)

From: Baekhyun

1:08 – Erm

Message: ...also, if I ask Luhan he might kill me. > >;

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

1:10 – Re: NO

Message: Bacon.

To: Bacon

From: Potato Chip (Lay)

1:14 – Re: Erm

Message: ...yeah, probably.

Lay is the most helpful person in the world.

- - -

They have Sunday off – Baekhyun spends the day catching up on homework – and then rehearsal again on Monday. He comes into the room after class to see everyone minus one; it looks like Luhan isn't there.

No explanations are provided – Kris must be in on it, because he just tells them that Luhan is taking a week off. Baekhyun tries to bug Lay about it (they are roommates) but Lay only gives him a noncommittal shrug.

So asking Luhan is not an option, and asking Lay is...also not an option. Kris probably won't be of any help, either, Baekhyun muses. That leaves him with Jongin and Chanyeol, and maybe Kyungsoo, since he's pretty closely associated with the band too. He spends most of rehearsal thinking of ways he can ask, what he can ask, all of that. It's not great for his concentration, though – he gets a couple lyrics wrong in multiple songs. Jongin gives him icy glares. Kris asks if Baekhyun is alright. Baekhyun reassures him that he is.

Most of them stay after practice again – like Baekhyun is hoping – with the exception of Kris (again) because the peach/ninja/roommate is apparently really good at misplacing his keys. Baekhyun is left with Lay, Chanyeol, Jongin, and Kyungsoo.

Baekhyun tries to subtly bring the topic up. Unfortunately, discretion is not one of his strong points.

“Soo...does anyone know where Luhan went?”

Alright, maybe it's a little obvious. Lay gives him a look, like he's saying really, now. Chanyeol is suddenly busy examining his can of soda (their fridge must have an endless supply). Jongin is the only one who bothers answering him.

“Well, it's getting around that time of year. He probably went to go see Se- ow!”

He's interrupted when Kyungsoo smacks his arm. Jongin is immediately occupied with the phenomenon of why his boyfriend just hit him.

“Hyung!”

“Don't mind Jonginnie, he talks too much sometimes,” Kyungsoo says, patting Jongin's head. Jongin pouts. “Whatever reason Luhan is gone for, I'm sure it's legitimate.”

“It's not that I don't think it's legitimate, I'm just curious.” Baekhyun shrugs innocently. “And it's not like anyone decided to tell me that he used to be the singer for EXO.”

There's a barely perceptible pause in which they all freeze before Lay smiles uneasily. “I just told you on Saturday.”

“After I asked. Besides, the first time I asked, you said he wasn't.”

“But that wasn't referring to Luhan.” Lay shifts in his chair (Kris' chair, actually), crossing his arms. “You asked me who you replaced and that was Jongdae.”

“Fine.” And Lay nods, like he thinks Baekhyun's finished, but the next question comes a second later:

“Why did Jongdae replace Luhan?”

Lay looks ready to kill him.

“Do you really need to know?”

“I know you guys didn't kick him out, 'cause he's still here. But why move to keyboard? And why stay on it if he obviously wants to sing again?”

Silence. Lay glares. Baekhyun stares right back, unwavering. It's a simple enough question; there should be nothing wrong with answering it. But Lay just keeps glaring, until finally, Chanyeol speaks.

“There was an accident and Luhan was out of commission for a while. Happy?”

Chanyeol,” Lay hisses, which Baekhyun takes as a sign that this is classified information. Jongin and Kyungsoo don't make any comment, but Kyungsoo stares with wide eyes.

Chanyeol is unfazed.

“What? He deserves to know something. Luhan's been giving him shit because of it.”

“It's not your place to tell, though,” Lay points out. Chanyeol only shrugs, turning to Baekhyun.

“Something happened so for a while Luhan couldn't sing. That's all we can really tell you.”

“Then, who's the person everyone keeps mentioning?”

“Oh, you mean Sehun?” Jongin pipes up, which earns him another smack from Kyungsoo. “Ow! Hyung!”

Sehun, Baekhyun muses. So that's what it was. “Yeah, him.”

“Sehun was one of Luhan's friends.” Chanyeol says the words slowly, like he's mulling over every word before it's said. “Great kid. Could be a bit of a brat sometimes, though.”

Baekhyun frowns, because that entire explanation was in...past tense?

“Where is he now?”

The room falls silent again.

“...guys. Really.” Baekhyun is getting a very bad feeling from the expressions on their faces. No one will look at him. “Please tell me he just moved away or something. That'd be great.”

It's like no one heard him. Only after another long minute that could fit eternity, Lay says, “He...he was in the same accident Luhan was in.”

“And...”

“Except...” Lay takes a deep breath to steady himself. Baekhyun could swear he sees tears in his eyes. “Except, he didn't survive it.”

- - -

Baekhyun thinks he's hit a dead end.

He's been told what he wanted to know but it doesn't help, because now he feels terrible. He had no idea that he was trying to pry into a situation like that – if he had, then he wouldn't have done it. Probably. Trying to figure out why someone is acting like an ass is grounds for snooping; prying into their (very) personal life is not. After all, he already gets the feeling that Sehun and Luhan weren't just friends. They had to have been really close either way, but Baekhyun's suspicion is that it wasn't quite platonic, and Baekhyun's suspicions are normally right.

The only problem is, he can't do much about it now. He's already essentially decided that he won't bug them about it anymore. There's not much left to find out, anyways, only the minute details. Sure, he could go bug Kris more about why he won't let Luhan sing,
or he could ask what kind of accident it was that caused everything, but it seems these subjects are more sensitive than Baekhyun was originally aware of.

So, really, he's left with no more options.


>> iii.

Tags: exo, fic: going through the motions, pairing: baeklu, pairing: hunhan, pairing: jundae, pairing: kaisoo
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