junxouji (junxouji) wrote in zhonqrens,
junxouji
junxouji
zhonqrens

ache

pairing: byun baekhyun/wu yifan
rating: pg-13
word count: 3.1k
genre: angst/friendship
warnings: character death
author's notes: I could have made this prompt for krisbaek so much better but truthfully, I suck so much. Hopefully, this does not disappoint too much. :')


Ache



Everyone was going to die. It was the unfortunate truth everyone had to face at some desperate point in their life. The invincibility, the glory, and the power of Yifan’s former youth had begun slipping out of his fingertips. It was exclusive and it was degrading it easily was swept from his reach.


His body ached in more places than one, his eyesight was failing him, and his hair was peppered here and there with greys signaling his upcoming maturity. He’s only in his late thirties and he has already received his deathwish. It’s in the form of paper this time as he sits chained to his wheelchair in the unsuspecting park not too far from his usual clinic, his nursing aid Junmyeon not too far away.


The words mush together on the paper meaning nothing to him. A bunch of doctor jargon to beat around the bush. He can only focus on the bold print signaling his end: a rapid neurodegenerative disease. Yifan might not face immediate death but he considers this far worse. He has experience over time being stripped of his dignity and every ounce of himself. He doesn’t have many people left behind: a handful of close friends, a few coworkers, no lover or family to mourn the death of him being him.


It tastes bitter in his mouth. Just twenty-nine and told that he’s facing the onslaught of muscle loss. It had started off harmless. Muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue… He hadn’t thought anything of all the little signs that were clear as day. He didn’t have anyone around him to observe any of the small changes either. To know he’s facing its severity so young is unpromising for his future. Hell, he had been so focused on his career not only did he not have that anymore but he didn’t have any family he had built--always pushing it off for later.


It was too late now. Everything he had accomplished was for nothing. Everything he hoped to accomplish at some point was waning into an indistinguishable future.


He knew it’s severity now. He had difficulty doing most things now. Swallowing was a chore. Standing for long periods of time nearly impossible. He lifts a shaky unstable hand to card weakly through his hair, pushing back locks of brown meshing with his undyed roots. Even now as he know what lays on his horizon he cannot help but feel anything but numb with the control simpling through his fingers like water. He can watch his life figuratively collect on the pavement in a puddle of disparity. In other words: Yifan is having a pity party.


After nearly thirteen years working at a prominent Chinese company based in Seoul he had turned in his letter of resignation. There had been a small dinner in his behalf but there was the gloomy atmosphere lingering around the reason for his leave. They had all known him as the strong and capable man able to turn a little into a lot. Now, he was a man who couldn’t care for himself properly. He had only stated medical reasons that prohibited him from doing his duties to the best of his ability but they all knew. He wasn’t expected to live past the New Year. Now without his career he really had nothing to look forward to given he had put so much of himself into his job.


“Say, Yifan--” Junmyeon’s cheerful voice chimes in at his side. He has that innate ability to sound positive about absolutely everything. Yifan really hates it. “Perhaps you want to go to this nearby fortune teller? They’re quite well known in this area of Gangnam.”


Yifan presses his tongue on the roof of his mouth. What could a psychic tell him that he didn’t already know? Perhaps he would know exactly how Yifan would die and spare him the wait? Would it be system failures or heart attack? The nurse’s bright smile keeps Yifan’s cynical lips sealed shut as he nods stiffly. For this once he would indulge Junmyeon. After all, he didn’t have anyone else and the cheerful nurse had been there through the hardest moments. The misplaced anger, the fear induced vomiting, the panic attacks-- Junmyeon had always been there both supportive and steadfast.


At one point Yifan had been able to wheel himself places. Now it wore him out to steer the automatic wheelchair so he just grumbles to himself silently when Junmyeon spares him the humiliation of asking and just steers him. The pace is slow and leisurely. Yifan pretends to not notice the stares of passersby as if they never saw a dying man before. Junmyeon hums upbeat as he rambles off at all the possible places they could potentially have lunch. Yifan half-heartedly listens.


The first smell that fits Yifan straight in the face is the overwhelming odor of pressed flowers. He can barely distinguish it from it anything else around him as he settles his hands on his lap. He doesn’t know why he is allowing the other to talk him into this but he does nonetheless. He could at least indulge him after giving him crap on a daily basis.


There is a loud and pleasant voice that booms from somewhere in the shop. “Welcome to Byun Herbal and Fortune Telling!” Out pops a bright eyed and fluffy haired male that reminds Yifan vaguely of an overactive pup. He winces in spite of himself.


“This guy here would like a reading.” Junmyeon responds with just as much enthusiasm. Unfortunately, Yifan should have know the inkling that something was up by the odd feeling that rumbled in his stomach when the male smiled cheerfully not even glancing twice at Yifan who caught many odd stares in his metal contraption on two wheels.








Baekhyun was not a fortune teller. At least not yet. He mainly ran the shop when his father was busy around other parts of Seoul. He had been raised in the art of magic and mysticism since he was a kid so he was more than able to man the fort down.


Naturally, that did not stop his father from calling him to make sure he hadn’t burned the place down. (That happened once and Baekhyun had been regretfully sorry enough to learn his lesson.)


He didn’t expect today to go out of the ordinary. However, much like fate is-- she seemed to have another thing on her mind for Baekhyun. His ears quirked up when he heard the hum of the bell when two entered. They were impossible not to notice. One was confined in a wheelchair and the other looked too cheerful for his own good.


Baekhyun glued on his smile.








He is sad. Baekhyun didn’t need to be a fortune teller to be able to tell that. He watched him settle in his wheelchair when Baekhyun took him to the backroom. The nurse waited lingering in the store. Baekhyun cleared his throat with a faint uneasy chuckle. He didn’t get nervous often but the impenetrable stare of the other was unnerving.


“How do these things go? You read my body language and tell me something I want to know?” Yifan asked.


Baekhyun smiled faintly. “You sure are a skeptic. Let the cards do their magic. Just sit and enjoy me work my magic.” He laughs and slides a deck of cards out between them. “These were made by father. They’re not your average reading cards.” He splits the deck and hands it to Yifan to stuffle.


Unsteady hands take the cards and shuffle before Yifan is pushing them back towards the younger male.


“You will pick three cards.” Baekhyun explains as he spreads them before Yifan face down. Yifan looks for a moment before carefully tapping three random cards. He doesn’t have much faith in this but he would do it for the sake of his own curiosity and to sedate Junmyeon’s enthusiasm.


Baekhyun takes the three cards through slender fingers and flips one. “Ace. Emotional conflict. Obsession. And death. Things in your life are coming to a head.” Baekhyun says thoughtfully and hums to himself.


“Tell me something I don’t know.” Yifan says shortly.


Baekhyun shakes his head. “Let the cards do their magic.” He says and picks up the second. “Seven. An unexpected burden. A warning to tell you to beware of sorrow.” He can almost feel Yifan rolling his eyes as he picks up the last card. “Ah! Good news.Ten. Good luck. Something you really want will be granted to you. It’s a card that promises your wishes will be answered.” Baekhyun says with a small smile. He places the card down.


“You didn’t tell me anything my therapist already hasn’t. Anyone with two eyes can see my source of burden and sorrow.” Yifan says somewhat bitterly. “I’m in a wheelchair. Of course, I’d wish to be normal again.”


Baekhyun’s brow scrunches some. “Don’t talk lightly on what fate has bestowed on you. You came here whether consciously or subconsciously to seek the answers to your questions. Walking through the door of this shop was not a coincidence. You’re in my hands now so I will do my best to seek the ultimate truth for you.”


Yifan doesn’t look convinced and Baekhyun doubts he is the type of person who can be.


Baekhyun huffs disliking this cloud of gloom that follows the other around. He doesn’t know his story and cannot say he doesn’t have a reason to be unhappy. All Baekhyun knows is that he wishes he wasn’t unhappy. He wishes happiness for anyone but the other male looks like he’s been through a lot. Baekhyun wonders why some have seemingly easy lives and others get stuck with more than their fair share of burdens.


Baekhyun runs a hand through his hair, pushing it from his forehead. His lips lift up and he pushes past the weight in his chest for this stanger. “Would you like to know a secret, Mr. Yifan?” Baekhyun asks.


“What is it?” Yifan asks, skeptical.


“Magic is only as real as you make it.” Baekhyun says with a soft but sad smile.






Baekhyun is thoroughly surprised to see the grumpy male returning. He did not expect to ever see him again. He would remain a face in the crowd of many. However, it seemed fate had something else in store instead.


Accompanied by a eagerly grinning nurse, Yifan makes his way back to the shop. Baekhyun doesn’t question it and somewhat is pleased the other has returned. He’s gifted a coffee and a pat on the back from the nurse.


“Someone has broken through to our Yifan.” Junmyeon is saying much to Yifan’s horror. He knew that coming back to this shop would be a bad idea but there was something unique about this place.


(Ultimately, it has to do with the brightness that seems to effortlessly radiate off Baekhyun but Yifan will ignore that fact and pretend to be ignorant.)


“Well, you’re both welcome here any time.”


It’s when Yifan is distracted by a herbal medicine book that Junmyeon gives a small reluctant look. “He’s lonely.” He mouths and hurries by Yifan’s side to give him his afternoon medicine he carries around.


Baekhyun understands what it means to be lonely and decides to take this a sign from the universe that he has an obligation to Yifan to erase some of that loneliness.






Baekhyun doesn’t question why Yifan returns again and again. Mainly they go over his daily astrology or Junmyeon convinces him to pick out some new burning oils to lift the ambience of his home. Baekhyun is often gifted a coffee or pastry from a nearby place so he cannot really complain. Business is slow and he’s sure that his father would appreciate the business even if it’s just a facade to hold conversation.


Yifan doesn’t seem like the type to openly admit he just comes for Baekhyun’s company but that’s alright. All Baekhyun knows is that it’s hard to see someone’s light waning out slowly and everyone is quite aware but afraid to mention it. He cannot imagine what it’s like for Yifan.






“Yifan! Just the man I wanted to see.” Baekhyun says with a small laugh as he hurries to help Yifan through the door.


Yifan swats at his hand weakly but he doesn’t bark out any insult so it’s progress. “What has you all chipper?” Yifan asks.


Baek notices Junmyeon isn’t there with him. He wonders if Yifan traveled on public transportation alone. His lips purse at that. He knows Yifan is independent and doesn’t need or want his help but he cannot think about the difficulties the other might have encountered in the rowdy Seoul morning traffic. He doubts it was anything but merciful for the wheelchair bound man.


“I got in a new herbal tea and today marks a new personalized horoscope reading for my favorite customer.” Baekhyun smiles cheerfully.


Yifan has the decency to not point out he’s probably his only costumer. He only finds himself stuck on Baekhyun’s unwavering smile that he reluctantly finds himself agreeing….again.






“You know I used to wonder why my dad did this sorta thing, you know.” Baekhyun says, eyes focused on some point in space Yifan cannot see. Yifan shuffles in his wheelchair uncomfortably. “But I understand now.” Baekhyun’s smile is radiant--painful, almost. Yifan tries to not stare too long but he’s almost certain Baekhyun knows why he continuously shows up.


Baekhyun has a way of infecting those around him with happiness. Even if it’s a light, simple happiness that is merely a reflection of Baek’s own optimism. Yifan knows it’s not fair to leech off the other, especially when this was only going to end one day. It’s December and his time is running out. The sands that once filled Yifan’s enteral timekeeper are passing through his fingertips.


“I’m glad.” Yifan merely mutters, feeling weaker than usual that day. Junmyeon isn’t too far off. He’s shopping in the nearby stores and only a phonecall away if Yifan needs him. He isn’t sure his heart hurts because he’s found someone he could really be good friends with or if it’s because he’s had the same cold for the past week.


“You know, when I read your palm before I wasn’t exactly honest.” Baekhyun says lounging in his chair, breaking a piece off of melon bread to feed it dutifully to Yifan. Afterwards he plops a generous piece in his own mouth. “I saw struggles, you know. Real life problems. But, I think everything is going to turn out well for you. Better than you think.” Baekhyun smiles softly, not trying to soak up the moment in cheesy cliches.


Yifan smiles at this. His smile is a rare occurrence but not one Baekhyun takes lightly. If only he knew why Yifan was smiling- Baekhyun was right. This life was hard. It was waning and everyone around Yifan knew it. They were distancing themselves from him and preparing for the inevitable end. But, somehow in someway, a complete stranger had accepted him with more openness than anyone else had his entire life. Baekhyun wasn’t thinking about shielding himself from the impending loss he would experience. Instead, Yifan knew, he was trying to comfort and be the friend Yifan needed most in his ending days. So, yes things were considerably better for Yifan.


He had the fear that since he had no family, no friends, no one to remember him after he was gone he would just fade from this existence with no proof he was ever here to begin with. Junmyeon was his friend but he was also someone he had hired to take care of him. To see him during his most humiliating moments.


Baekhyun, on the other hand, was important too just in a different way. Despite him being confined to his wheelchair and being too weak to do much, Baekhyun knew him as Yifan solely. Not the man taking more medications than he could count, or the man who got hysterical when he was alone, or the man who could barely lift a mug by himself.


Baekhyun didn’t judge him but more importantly didn’t show him that wretched sympathy or offer him useless advice.


He was his friend. And that is a lot more Yifan could say than most people he knew for years had been.


“For the first time I don’t doubt your reading.”


“How about you come for Christmas? Bring Jun too. I’m sure you both would love to meet my dad. He’d love to see his most loyal customers.”








Baekhyun already knows when the doorbell rings and Junmyeon comes in alone. His eyes are swollen and his nose reddened. It’s not from the cold. Baekhyun feels his gut drop to his ankles and his eyes well up with heat.


“He got really sick this morning and his organs just gave out.” Junmyeon explained tearfully, fingers moving to wipe away any stray tears. “I just wanted you to know so you wouldn’t expect him to come by. He really appreciated your presence, you know. He didn’t have that from anyone else and had far too much pride to tell you what your daily conversation meant to him.”


Baekhyun swallows and nods. “Thank you, Jun. I’m glad you came all the way here to tell me.”


Junmyeon smiles sadly and pulls a small envelope from his pocket, pushing it into Baekhyun’s hands. “He wanted you to have this.”


Baekhyun takes it and carefully opens it. Inside there is no letter only a small ten card written in messy Korean in black ink ‘thanks’. Baekhyun does not know but it brings tears to his eyes but he finds himself smiling. Such a small, insignificant thing but totally Yifan. “Thank you, Junmyeon. For bringing me this.” Baekhyun says with a small smile, hand moving to wipe his tears. “I think this means he was happy and content.” That was comforting in the moment of loss and it does not hurt so much knowing Yifan had been somewhat happier.


“He wouldn’t want us to be to be sad.” Junmyeon says.


“No, he wouldn’t.” Baekhyun agrees and carefully places the card in his breast pocket feeling the weight just permeate there. A piece of Yifan would always remain with him this way.



Tags: genre: angst, genre: friendship, length: oneshot, pairing: krisbaek, triggers: character death
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