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Seaweed Soup - Phantom
Weeks started to pass by quickly, and soon, winter came to grace the nature-filled EXO Planet. Today was a lazy Sunday.
Naeun pulled her sweater’s sleeve over her hand and rubbed the fog that clung onto the window beside Baekhyun’s bed. Interestedly, she peered outside, cupping the sides of her temples.
Slowly but surely, small white flakes fell from the grey sky onto the pure white floor. A big smile filled Naeun’s face, “It’s snowing!”
“Again?” Baekhyun murmured from his lying down position beside her. Naeun was sitting on her knees on the inner section on the bed, peering out the window, while Baekhyun was lying down on the outer side, quietly reading a book. The other members were mostly lazing around in their beds, too tired to get up. EXO-M was there too, lying down or sitting on the other’s beds.
Naeun turned around and pouted when she saw that Baekhyun was making small talk just to amuse her. He was too engrossed in his book. Naeun made a face and glanced at the blankets. He was snuggled warmly inside them, while Naeun was sitting on top, shivering.
“Scoot over.” She decided and pulled the covers on top of her, shuffling closer to Baekhyun’s warm body.
Baekhyun hummed and instinctively moved one arm under her head, holding her close. Naeun let out a sigh of contentment and chirped up, “Hey, we should go out and play in the snow!”
Xiumin, wielder of frost and ice, piped up from D.O’s bed, “That’s a great idea!”
Naeun clearly heard Kai’s annoyed voice, “No way. It’s too cold outside, and I’m too lazy to get up.”
“Oh, lighten up, Jongin. It’ll be fun.” Kris coaxed, although he didn’t sound really sure either.
“I want to go!” Sehun piped up. “Let’s go enjoy the outdoors. It’ll be refreshing.” Suho mused. Luhan smiled, “I agree.”
“Lay? Chen? Tao? Chanyeol?” D.O questioned.
“I guess it’ll be fun.”
Naeun innocently smiled up at Baekhyun, “And you, oppa?”
Baekhyun put down his book and made a face at her, “You traitor.” Naeun giggled, “It’s not my fault you’re lazy like Kai oppa.”
“Naeun!” Kai protested. She laughed, “So? Are you going or not, lazybones?”
Baekhyun pondered for a moment but then sighed, putting the book down. “Fine.”
Naeun pecked his cheek, “I knew you’d give in.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Baekhyun rolled his eyes as he sat up, picked up her small body, and swung her down to the floor on her feet. “Go get ready.”
“Roger!” She saluted and whizzed out the door. Baekhyun shook his head with a smile.
“You seem happier now, Baixian-ge.” Tao blurted after smiling at the happy scene. Baekhyun turned around to blink at the inky-haired boy, “What? Really?”
Chanyeol rolled his eyes, “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed, Baek.”
D.O grinned, “Yeah, Baekhyun. You’re singing and smiling all the time. It’s like the sun shone on you.” Lay laughed at his comment.
Baekhyun stared at his hands and made the connection. Byun Baekhyun, wielder of sun and light. The sun shone on him. Haha. Real funny.
He ignored D.O’s cheesy joke. “Naeun makes me happy. That’s all there is to it.” He chuckled and went to go wash up.
Luhan softly smiled. *Let’s just hope that happiness lasts for long.*
Naeun wiped her face with the towel and slipped on a long-sleeve shirt, beaming happily. *Winter’s finally here.* She smiled and touched her white EXO necklace that hung around her neck.
She closed her eyes and softly smiled. *Baekhyun and I… Will we really be able to have a future together?* She let in a shaky breath, her eyes fluttering open.
“Better get ready.” She murmured and stood up. Just then, a sharp dagger of pain struck her head as she yelped, “Ah!”
In just a matter of minutes, she sank to the floor, hands clutching her head painfully. *Not this again…* She hissed as she felt another poke of pain hit her. Trying to calm down, she let in a breath, and let it out.
Soon, the pain began to subside. Naeun’s breathing began to slow down. She bit her lip and opened her eyes, staring at herself into the mirror through her fuzzy vision.
A sad purse of her lips, and she was gone.
“Whoa! This is awesome!” Xiumin hollered, running into the cold outdoors with nothing but a t-shirt and pants on.
Naeun gaped at the eldest from beside the other warmly dressed boys. “Isn’t he… cold?”
D.O snorted, “Minseok hyung? Cold? Please. He’s never cold in his proper habitat.” He nodded his head at Xiumin, who was freezing a nearby pond, stepping on it with his sneakers and gliding around with a goofy smile.
Naeun chuckled, “I guess so.” She hugged Baekhyun’s arm closer to her and blinked at Chanyeol, who was so bundled up with scarves, coats, and mittens that she could barely see his face.
Yanking on Baekhyun’s arm, she glanced up and tilted her head to one side, “Why is Chanyeol caked with clothes?”
“He’s… cold?” Baekhyun guessed, also perplexed.
Chanyeol turned and made a face at Naeun, “It’s because I’m fire. I hate the cold, but at the same time, I think winter is fun.” She could barely see the flash of his blinding pearly whites.
Naeun smiled, “I do too.” Feeling suddenly pumped up, she called out Xiumin’s name.
“Oi, mei-mei! Come skate with meeee!” He waved his hands frantically. Naeun beamed, willingly going when the maknaes, Tao and Sehun, both grabbed her arms and pulled her along to the frozen pond.
“Oh, that looks like fun!” Suho exclaimed, feeling excited. Happily, he pulled a protesting Jongin and D.O to it as well. Chen and Lay shrugged as they followed behind. Kris ended up tagging along too.
Luhan approached Baekhyun with his cherubic smile, “Aren’t you going too?”
Baekhyun gazed at Naeun laughing with the others and smiled in content, “I guess so.” Luhan pulled him along, “Come on then, Baekhyun-ah.”
Naeun let out an exhilarated squeal as Xiumin twirled her around. She was gliding in light boots, but that didn’t mean the ice wasn’t as slippery.
After ‘skating’ with Lay and spinning around in circles with Suho, Naeun found herself in front of a cool-looking Kris. His hands were jammed in his pockets, and his lips were tightly pressed together in a thin line.
“Aren’t you enjoying yourself, Wu Fan?” She snickered at the use of his real name. Kris rolled his eyes at her immaturity but shrugged, “We don’t even have real skates. You can’t possibly call this skating.”
Just then, Tao skid over towards the two. “Mei-mei!” He opened his arms and hi-fived Naeun gleefully as he passed by. “Tao.”
Tao grinned and turned to his leader, who looked very bored. Instantly, his eyebrows furrowed as he put his hands on his hips, “Duizhang!”
Kris cursed under his breath, “Here we go again.”
“I told you to have fun and skate! You look like you’re angry at the world!” He disapprovingly frowned, “Come with me. I’ll teach you how to skate.”
“Skate?!” Kris blurted, “I already know how to skate! You don’t need to—“
“Bbuing bbuing!” Tao put a fist to his cheek and winked.
Kris started to crumble, but continued objecting, “Tao, seriously—“
“I said bbuing bbuing, duizhang!” Tao became angry again, “What part of bbuing bbuing don’t you understand?!” He grabbed a hold of Kris’ long arm and practically yanked him aside.
“Naeun—someone—!” Kris yelped.
“Bye~” Naeun pleasantly waved. Chen snorted beside her, “Duizhang’s going to regret not listening to Tao now.” The pair laughed at the sight of the smaller maknae reprimanding the elder.
“Naeunnie! Lookit meee!” Sehun passed her quickly and frantically waved as Chanyeol pulled his arm all the way around the rink in large circles. The taller boy was skating fast.
Kai smirked from the sidelines and snapped his fingers, disappearing into thin air. When he reappeared, he was head-to-head with Chanyeol, grinning, “It’s a race, Chanyeol hyung!” In no time, he was skating faster than Chanyeol.
“Wha—No fair, Jongin! I have to lug the maknae around! You’re not pulling anyone!” Chanyeol whined.
Kai sighed, “Fine.” After scanning the rink once, his gaze locked on Naeun. A devious grin crept up onto his face as he quickly pulled her aside. In no time, Naeun was being pulled on the rink with Sehun beside her.
“K-Kai!” Naeun squealed, unable to contain her laughter. Kai merely smirked, glanced challengingly at Chanyeol, and sped off.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Chanyeol roared and bolted off. “Hyung! Ack—!” Sehun was pulled around at full speed. A snowball sailed for his head and he ducked just in time. From the corner of his eye, he saw D.O and Xiumin hollering, “Sorry!” As they continued their snowball fight.
In the midst of Kai and Chanyeol’s race, their grip loosened on Naeun and Sehun. Sehun went crashing towards the ground, when Luhan extended his palm, stopping him just in time.
Naeun spun dizzily as a pair of very familiar arms wound around her waist, “Caught ya.” She looked up to see Baekhyun smiling down at her.
Naeun shook her head and jokingly hugged him, “My hero.”
Baekhyun lowered his cheek down towards Naeun, “And the hero’s reward…?”
Giggling at his childishness, she smacked a kiss on her boyfriend’s cheek, “Does that suffice?”
“Mmm…. For now.” Baekhyun winked as the two laughed.
When the day was done, everyone began to walk back home.
Naeun was laughing at Kai and D.O’s squabbling when Lay noticed something and glanced at Naeun’s bare neck.
He tapped her shoulder quickly and whispered, “Mei-mei.”
“Huh?” She faced him with a confused expression on her face. Lay pointed to her neck, “It’s gone.”
“What’s gone—“ Naeun touched her neck and froze when she didn’t feel a silver chain around it. She glanced down at her bare skin, “My necklace…”
Baekhyun stopped walking alongside her and turned around, “Your necklace is gone?”
Naeun didn’t confirm this. She frantically searched around her and shook her head, “It’s not here. I’ll go back and find it. You guys go on ahead!” She dashed off before anyone could stop her.
“I’ll make sure she’s okay.” Baekhyun patted Lay’s shoulder once before he followed her.
When they went back to the frozen pond, Naeun desperately searched for her necklace, but since it was white, it was easy to get it lost in the snow if you didn’t look carefully enough. Naeun tried her best to find it, searching on her hands and knees, and even digging through the snow, but to no avail. Baekhyun helped out too.
After a good 20 minutes, Naeun sunk to the floor, dejected. “I can’t… find it.”
Baekhyun crouched down in front of her, stroking her hair. “It’s alright.”
“No, it’s not alright.” Naeun sighed, disappointed in herself. “It was a very important present. To me, it felt like a welcoming gift because you gave it to me when I first came to EXO Planet. Now, it feels like a link between us. I’m sorry. I should’ve been more careful not to lose it.” She hung her head in shame.
Baekhyun looked sad and in the cold air around him. “Naeun.”
“Look.” He ped his jacket a bit and pulled out a silver chain similar to hers. On it was his matching black EXO necklace. Naeun gaped and zoomed in to take a closer look.
“Is this… yours…?” She stared at it.
“This is mine. You didn’t know at the time, but I had actually bought a matching EXO necklace for me, too. Both of them were secretly couple necklaces, but I didn’t want to suddenly scare you off, so I didn’t show mine to you… until now.” Baekhyun explained.
Naeun softly smiled, “A couple necklace… That’s wonderful.”
“You’re not mad…” Baekhyun looked taken aback, “That I didn’t show it to you all this time…?”
“You’re showing it to me now, aren’t you?” Naeun replied back with ease, still amazed by his necklace.
Baekhyun’s expression turned tender and gentle. *This is the reason why I fell for you in the first place.* He pressed a short but meaningful kiss to her lips and stood up, “Come on. We should head back home.”
“Mianhae.” Naeun stood up too, feeling guilty. Baekhyun turned back, softened, and merely re-adjusted her scarf so that it properly covered her neck. “You’re going to be cold if you wear it like that.”
Naeun flushed adorably, “Thanks.” Baekhyun smiled and held out his arm. Naeun grinned and looped her arm through his. They began walking back, when suddenly…
Clink! A strange sound came from under Naeun’s boot.
“Oh,” Naeun blinked, “What the…” She carefully lifted it to see a white hexagon. Her eyes widened in realization as Baekhyun bent down and picked up the necklace. A relieved smile spread across his face, “You found it.”
Naeun held out her hands as Baekhyun slowly dropped the chain in them. Thankfully, Naeun hadn’t stepped on the necklace too much, so it wasn’t broken at all.
An ecstatic beam filled her face, “No, Baekhyun oppa. We found it.” She laughed.
Baekhyun put a hand on her head comfortingly, “Here. I’ll put it on for you.” She handed the necklace to him as he swiftly clipped it on her.
The necklace was in its rightful place—around Naeun’s neck. Both Naeun and Baekhyun held up their necklaces and secretively chuckled.
“Don’t lose it this time, or else I’ll be mad, araso?” Baekhyun joked.
“I won’t. I promise.” Naeun giggled and went on her tiptoes to kiss him on the lips.
“Sealed with a kiss.” She made a peace sign with her hand as the couple smiled widely.
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