Chanyeol’s world is gray. The sky is pale gray, the grass is darker gray, the sheets on his bed are deep gray, everything is different shades of gray and white and black. Because everyone sees gray until they meet their soulmate. That’s when colour seeps into their life and they know they’ve met the person they’re bound to spend the rest of their lives together. Everyone wants that. Everyone wants to see the blue of the sky, the green of the grass, the red of the roses. Everyone wants to find someone to share it with as well.
Chanyeol doesn’t. He never wants to see colour. Doesn’t want to know what a sunset looks like in colour or what shade his eyes are. Because Chanyeol has already found the person he wants to spend the rest of forever with. It had been hard, for both of them to admit it, because their worlds hadn’t painted in vibrant colours as soon as their eyes met. But in the end it hadn’t mattered because they’d found a way to make each other’s worlds more colourful than any soulmate could. Chanyeol doesn’t mind having his world looking dull because Baekhyun made his soul shine in golden light. He’s happy.
It doesn’t mean he isn’t curious, of course. Every so often he’d ask Jongin, whose world had been colourful since the moment he’d set his eyes on Do Kyungsoo on the train in year one (and hasn’t shut up about the depth of his eyes approximately since then, either), to describe him the shade of Baekhyun’s hair or the colour of his eyes. Jongin takes pity of him every time and comes up with ways to describe it to him without using the actual colours. It works and Chanyeol finds it beautiful.
It happens on a Friday afternoon, just after the last class for the day. Chanyeol is walking down the hall, alone. Jongin has whisked Baekhyun away to have him help with something in the library and Suho has stayed behind in class to finish taking extra notes none of the others really need. The girl is walking with her friends, giggling at something when their eyes meet. Something flickers in Chanyeol’s vision and slowly the gray he’s known his whole life, grown to find comfort in, fades away, leaving strong colours in its place. The girl’s eyes widen in realization, she’s a Ravenclaw fourth year if Chanyeol isn’t mistaken, he thinks he’s seen her friend around several times, and then a smile creeps onto her lips.
No. Chanyeol refuses to believe it, or accept it for the same matter. He doesn’t care about soulmates and he most definitely doesn’t care about the girl who is now watching him with confusion as he takes a step back. With a shake of his head he turns on his heels and runs, ignoring the ‘Wait!’ she shouts after him. He runs and doesn’t stop until he’s up in the Gryffindor tower and safely closed in his room. The bed covers are red. Real red and he knows that for some reason despite never having seen the colour before.
He takes a look at himself in the mirror Jongin keeps in his trunk. His eyes are brown unlike the gray he used to see before. His skin isn’t gray anymore either, it’s... well skin colour. His lips are pink, and really Jongin had been right, colours really are beautiful. But he doesn’t want them. He doesn’t want the black haired Ravenclaw girl coming for him to demand what she believes is hers by right. Because he belongs to someone else already and no shade of any colour can change that.
When Jongin arrives in the room half an hour later, closely followed by Baekhyun, Chanyeol feels more terrified than he ever has felt in his life. What is he supposed to do?
When he looks up at them he is nearly blown away by how beautiful Baekhyun looks. He’s been beautiful before, too, but now, he’s perfect. His eyes, no longer gray, are the best colour Chanyeol has seen. And true that he hadn’t seen every colour that’s there to see but he knows it’s his favourite colour already.
He doesn’t realize he’s staring until Jongin snaps him out of it by calling him loudly.
“-Chanyeol! Are you okay, mate?” Jongin’s brows are furrowed and his eyes are brown. They’re warm and Chanyeol likes them, too.
“Huh? I mean, yeah, I’m good.” He pries his eyes away from them and tries not to look at everything like he’s never seen it before. He also misses the strained look Baekhyun gives him.
He manages to hide it good, or at least he thinks he does, for the whole weekend. He does find himself staring in Baekhyun’s eyes for a second longer than normally but he can’t help himself. They’re liquid gold.
On Monday he’s sitting at lunch, laughing at Jongin and the pudding he’d managed to spill on his shirt, when a familiar girl, wide blue eyes, approaches them. Chanyeol is up on his feet and at her side before she can reach them completely. She opens to speak but he grabs her by the elbow and shushes her.
“Not here.” He hisses under his breath and drags her out of the Great Hall. Thankfully she stays quiet until they reach an empty classroom not far from the Hall. “What do you want?” He asks once the door is shut behind them.
Confusion is written all over her face. “You know what.” She says but her voice is uncertain. “I saw colour when I saw you. We’re meant to be.”
Chanyeol sighs and shakes his head. “No we aren’t.” He says simply.
“What do you mean? We’re soulmates! I know you saw colour, too!”
“I did. But that means nothing. I’m not going to play soulmates with you.” He knows he sounds harsh but it’s better like that. He doesn’t want to give her any false hopes.
The girl, and he realizes he doesn’t even know her name, looks as if someone slapped her. “Play soulmates? It’s destiny! We are perfect match, destined to be together. You can’t change that.”
Chanyeol sighs again. He feels bad for her. She had probably spent her life dreaming about meeting the one who’d make her happy. “Look, I’m sorry to crush your dreams like this but I’ve already found the person I will spend my life with. And it’s not you.”
Now she looks completely shocked. “But you can’t.” She says and he isn’t sure if the note in her voice is accusation or desperation. ”Relationships between people who aren’t meant to be are bound to fail. You’ll never last, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to stay together.”
Those words sting in Chanyeol’s chest and make him angry. “Who are you to say this?” He snaps. “What I feel in my heart is worth a thousand times more than couple of nice shades and pretty colours. Why should I leave the person who makes me feel alive to be with you, someone I don’t even know?”
“We can get to know each other! I felt it when I saw you, my heart stopped for a second; I know yours did as well!” Her voice wavers a bit, like she was about to cry.
“I felt nothing.” He says back, and it’s cold but true. He feels nothing when he looks at her. Doubts he ever will.
“Okay.” She breaths and he can tell she’s fighting tears. “But what will happen when she finds her soulmate? What if she decides she wants to be with the one she’s destined to be with?”
Chanyeol has thought about that a lot, and despite the fact they have discussed it before, that they didn’t care about soulmates, a part of him still feared that Baekhyun might change his mind when he met his soulmate. “If he does, I will let him go. I won’t be one to stay in the way of his happiness but until he says he wants me gone I am not leaving. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have other places to be.”
He ignores the tears that roll down her cheeks at his words and steps around her to leave the room. Her face reads surrender and he knows she won’t try to get him change his mind. He hears her collapse on the floor but doesn’t turn around to look.
The door has barely shut behind him when he sees Baekhyun leaning on the wall several steps away, his expression unreadable.
“Baek,” he breathes out, but doesn’t know how to proceed. How much had he heard? “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough.” Baekhyun’s eyes search his face for a second before going passive again. “Since when?” He asks and it’s almost too quiet to catch.
“Just as I thought.” Baekhyun sounds sad. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Chanyeol sighs and there’s heaviness in his chest. “I was scared.” He admits and Baekhyun nods.
“She can make your life whole.” Chanyeol’s heart sinks. “Give you everything you need and more. It’s how soulmates work.”
“I don’t want to feel whole.” He whispers and now it’s his voice that wavers. Is Baekhyun trying to leave him?
“You may change your mind one day.” Chanyeol doesn’t like how neutral the other’s voice is. Void of any emotion. Like he’s stating a mere fact.
“I won’t. Baekhyun, I swear to Merlin, I won’t. I’ve made my choice long time ago. I know what it means. And I am not going to back away now. Nothing has changed for me because of this. Please.” He sounds begging and his heart maybe breaks a little.
Baekhyun’s eyes flicker for a moment then his expression softens and becomes more open, welcoming. Chanyeol might actually sob in relief. “Okay, I… Okay. I kinda freaked out a little. It’s… This is big, Yeol.” He says and Chanyeol finds himself cutting the space between them, reaching out to take the other’s hand.
“I know.” He whispers. “But we’ll make it work, yeah? Destiny is overrated.” Baekhyun chuckles over a nod and it’s music to Chanyeol’s ears. It will be okay.
Hand in hand they head back to lunch.
“What about them?”
“They’re my favourite colour.”
The smile on Baekhyun’s face is worth the shine of a thousand suns.