A/N: Mayhaps, Author-nim has snapped! Lol. This is probably 65% more than the first 2 chapters!!! I’m quite surprised with myself, but it took too long and I’m sorry. This story should’ve ended a long time ago but, you know, life happened. And it ain’t cute!!! D:
ALSO! If you read my other story, Diamond, you will read a little itsy bitsy Diamond easter egg in there. Tho they are not in the same verse, I just gotta add it, sorrynotsorryloljksorry. XD
“You look like .”
Baekhyun blurts out suddenly after a few minutes of staring right at your face. He said it without a mix of humor, it was direct to the point. He couldn’t help it. You looked like you haven’t slept or eaten in months. Your skin lost its glow, cheeks and under eyes are so hollow, it almost scared him. He was scared for you and your well-being.
Chanyeol bellows, slapping Baekhyun on his thigh as a warning. Baekhyun’s mouth has no filter, but what he said was too much from Chanyeol.
“No Chanyeol, look at her. She– She almost looks like a forty-year-old woman on meth!”
“Geez wow, Baekhyun. Thanks.”
You had your palm flat on your left chest as your jaw drops. Your sarcastic answer is masking the hurt that you feel with how uncalled for and unnecessary his honesty was. You can’t blame Baekhyun, he has almost caught you barfing out your feeling for Yixing a few times already. You always tell him you’re okay and that you just ate something weird-tasting. You are aware you’re not okay, but he doesn’t know that.
He doesn’t need to know that…
“No, Sunshine. I’m not joking. I have no jokes this time, girly. Are you okay?”
The crease on his forehead and the middle of his nose bridge was so intense with how much he’s furrowing his brows.
“Yes Baekhyun, I am fine. I’m doing great.”
“Yeah? Tell that to your declining weight. Look at that shirt!”
Baekhyun points at the shirt you’re wearing, your favorite, most comfy shirt you own. You look down at it and frowned when you see nothing on it, not even a stain.
“What’s wrong with my shirt? You know this is my favorite!”
“No! Look at you in it. You’ve lost a significant amount of weight.”
You hear Chanyeol sigh from beside Baekhyun, the both of them are across from you on the island table. The three of you are doing last minute cramming for tomorrow’s first day of the finals exams.
“You know, I have to agree with Baekkie. You’ve lost weight, Sunshine.”
Chanyeol agrees with a really big pout on his face. The pet name they always call you sounded sad from his lips. It doesn’t have that normal tinkle of ardor and warmth to it.
“Are you hiding something from us? From me?”
Baekhyun settles his pen on his opened reviewer notebook and focuses his attention more to you. His eyes hard on the middle of your face and it’s suddenly making you feel very uneasy.
“W–wha— Of course not. You know I can’t hide anything from you, Baeks.”
You tried calming your nerves and fixing your sentence, but the slight stumble at the beginning didn’t go unnoticed by Baekhyun.
“Sunshine, are you—”
Baekhyun pauses, swallowed before continuing.
“Are you bulimic, Sunshine. Please tell me the truth. We can help you.”
Bulimic? You laugh. It was an obnoxious kind of laugh. Both Baekhyun and Chanyeol were taken aback by your sudden guffaw.
“Am I bulimic? God, no Baeks.”
You continue to laugh. There’s nothing funny about eating disorders, but you laugh because you were relieved to know that Baekhyun’s thinking didn’t even travel to the real issue you have. The crazy nerves you had that was caused by his sudden confrontation is now soothed because he thought you were hurling out the food you eat instead of barfing out your gaddamn imminent death, a.k.a your gaddamn unrequited pining for your own gaddamn soulmate.
Baekhyun or Chanyeol or even your own mother doesn’t know that you’re dying each day because you can’t be with the only man who was supposed to be just for you alone. The man who will give you the happiness, the love, and the undying support you’ve always sought after for. You’re not asking for much; money, fame and otherworldly (or unworldly) wants. You’re only asking for his love, that is all.
But “Hell no!” says Mother Destiny herself. She’s punishing you for what you haven’t done. It’s like it’s your fault that your parents met and created you at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
“Why are you laughing?”
Chanyeol asks, his and Baekhyun’s face look somewhat offended. Like you did something really wrong. You probably did, they thought you were laughing because of the mere mention of being a bulimic.
You say as you clear your throat, calming your sudden outburst of laughter.
“Baeks, Channie… I’m not bulimic. I’m sorry, it’s just… It’s finals and I’m just busy and I sometimes forget to eat something when I need to, you know...”
You pause a bit, touching your sunken stomach.
“And sometimes when I do eat, my stomach doesn't wanna accept it for some reason. I’m probably too stressed with school work, plus we are graduating next two semesters. So, there's that…”
Baekhyun lets out a giving-up sigh. You can tell exactly it is because that’s what he does when you win an argument. You probably convinced him enough to make him give up just like that.
“Promise? You know you can tell me anything. You know I will always listen, right?”
Baekhyun reached for your hands and you met him halfway, reaching for his as well.
“You killed a person, tell me… Heck, tell us! We’ll help you bury the body!”
“Hey! Not me, I wanna graduate next year…”
Chanyeol made a face as he raises both hands up in the air as if surrendering.
“Of course, babe you will probably rat on us too. So you can save face and claim your innocence.”
Baekhyun hissed at Chanyeol, and the tall one retaliated by sticking his tongue out at his boyfriend.
“But really though, Sunshine. Tell us if anything is bothering you, okay? Baby, you’re a beautiful girl, you don’t need to lose any more weight.”
You gave them a convincing smile and they seem to believe it enough because both your best friends smile back at you with much more enthusiasm as they did just a few minutes ago.
“Of course, always.”
Another lie convincingly spews out your mouth, you’re getting better at this…
“Kids, what are your plans this summer?”
Your father asks both you and your sister as you all set up the table for another monthly family dinner. Even Yixing, Baekhyun and Chanyeol are here to join. Since reuniting with your father, he and Sunye have always been included in your monthly tradition and it made the get-together louder and happier.
“I already told eonni about this, but I got a summer job with my professor in a University in Bangkok.”
Sunye beams, her smile is almost blinding with how happy she is. Your dad’s eyes lit up with the news.
“That’s great, honey. I am so proud of you.”
“How about you, my dear?”
Your mother asks, craning her head to your direction.
“Yeah me too. I will be assisting Professor Lee for his upcoming summer classes. I took the job because it would look good on my credentials when looking for a job after I graduate.”
You answer nonchalantly as you lay placemats for eleven people on the dining table.
“Ooh, really?! Yixing will assist Professor Choi for summer classes, too. Glad you’re doing it together since I’ll be away for most summer.”
Sunye frowns to the thought of missing out for the whole summer.
“Wait, I thought you'd take a detour trip together to Changsha first before going to Bangkok and Yixing will stay there with you for two weeks?”
“Well, I changed my mind. Mr. Choi offered Yixing the job for the summer and I told him to take it. You know Mr. Choi is picky with his student assistants and it’s a big honor to b—”
“Wait, WHAT? Sunye… Haven’t you two already planned this way ahead?”
From the short year you’ve known Yixing, you know he hates it when plans get canceled. He sulks for a few days and gets kind of salty over it, whatever it was maybe a big thing or a small one.
“Eonni, it’s fine. We even refunded the plane ticket in full, free of charge.”
Sunye smiled although her face shows confusion as to why you were suddenly getting apprehensive over a canceled plan— Their canceled plan.
“Nobody gives a about plane tickets, Sunye. Why would you just tell him to take the job, though? Did you even let him decide for himself—”
“Of course I did, it was a mutual decision!!! Why are you even scolding me over this? I know you’re older than me, b—”
You started shouting and Sunye shouted back.
“—or did you nag him again into a decision he doesn’t wanna do, huh Sunye? Am I not correct?”
You continue your sentence that she has abruptly cut.
“Wait… What the hell?”
Sunye’s jaw drops at what has left your mouth.
“Woah, woah! What is happening? Your mom and I left for the kitchen for just a bit and you’re suddenly screaming at each other.”
Your dad barges through from the kitchen, carrying a big platter of different cuts of steak that both he and your mom cooked together. Your mother just behind him carrying side dishes face full of confusion with the sudden commotion.
“I don’t know, dad. Ask her, she started it!”
Sunye maintained with a waver in her voice, pointing at you not angrily but rather reeling. She was obviously bewildered by your sudden outburst. Yixing and Baekhyun then appear from the living area to check out what was happening and what were the screaming was all about.
Baekhyun’s attention immediately falls on you, eyes scanning your all over mood and he can tell by your flushed cheeks and flaring nose that you’re already on edge. He ran to your side right away, grabbing your shoulders and enveloping you in a quelling embrace.
“Heyyyy, Sunshine, it’s alright…”
Baekhyun whispers in your ear as everyone just stared at you for an explanation. You can see Sunye already bawling her eyes out in hurt and frustration, Yixing by her side trying to soothe her disheartened self. And so does your eyes start watering as well. You can’t help the tears now, angry at yourself for suddenly raging at your sister as you did. It’s not like she controls what opportunities come to her or Yixing.
“I– I need a– I need a moment, sorry…”
You grip hard onto Baekhyun’s hand, pulling him to the direction of your bedroom.
You heard your mother’s voice call out to you and you halt mid-step to face her.
“I’m… I’m okay mom, I just need a minute with Baekhyun. Please don’t follow us.”
The concern and unease painted on her face broke your heart. She has always been there for you through everything, from your first fall on your first bike ride to your first B minus on your report card, you name it and she was the first to appease you.
But your situation right now is something you need to hide. For her, because you don’t want to see her so repentant and self-condemnatory towards herself again, because you have lived your whole young life with your mother punishing herself over your bearings that she has no control over.
You see her time and again blaming herself when you went home running to her crying because your stupid classmates were teasing you about your tattoo already etched on your skin in kindergarten. Or that time when you tried hurting yourself with a razor in your teenage years because you were the of the joke for the whole duration of your high school year when one of your teachers insists you remove your cardigan during your Junior Prom night.
Sure, it really was her and your father’s doing why you are what you are right now, but they fell in love. Nothing’s wrong with falling in love, even with the right person at the wrong timing. Their only fault was that they were young and stupid. What can you do? What can anyone do, really. No one and nothing defies love.
You brave yourself to look at Yixing, the cause and cure for your emotional and physical damage, but you instantly regret that decision when you saw him just looking at her. Looking at your sister who was still crying because of you, his full attention and affection only for her alone.
There’s already a million situation where you always wish you were her, that you have his complete thoughts, his entire propensity, but right now you really, very, and truly want to be her— To be Kim Sunye. You wish for his touch, his inclination, his kisses, his – heck, even his farts, and other disgusting bodily excretions. You long for love, is all you ask of him. You crave, you want– no, you need him. You need him for you, you need him for him, you need him for all good and you need him for all that is necessary to the world— your world, as selfish as it sounds.
It’s only right for you, for your souls to be together, but what would you do if you’re not meant for your soulmate?
You’ve discussed this with Professor Lee, he always insists that you confess to Yixing, that it’s only fair for you and for your well-being that you finally be with the person that was right for you. That you can be selfish, that you’re allowed to be greedy especially when you really deserve it.
But that’s not you. You’re not selfish, you’re not greedy, and you’re not wrapped up in your own self.
Because your mother has taught you to be kind, she has taught you that giving is a fulfilling thing. Because she knows how it feels like to have nothing at all, to crawl on the ground just to raise a child in a comfortable way even when she was just a child herself.
Although you never knew what it’s like to have nothing, to live from paycheck to paycheck, you still choose to live by your mother’s advice.
But what you do not know is that by being selfless, you’re slowly destroying your own happiness. Slowly sabotaging your own weal by not telling Yixing that his name is written on your skin, by letting him fall more deeply than he already is for Sunye, who turns out to be your half-sister from a father who didn’t know you existed until recently.
Of course, you are willing to hurt yourself over that, because you love and care for them. Because that’s what you are, a selfless, generous, and benevolent fool.
You didn’t know when or how it happened, but you find yourself already seated on the edge of your childhood bed in your old room. Baekhyun is knelt in front of you, eyes shaking as he searches your pale face for any source of life. You may be breathing, but you’re dead inside. You can actually feel your entrails rotting as you keep swallowing the flower petals that have been threatening to exit your stomach since this morning. You are surrounded by family, you do not want them to catch you projectile vomiting a million and more of your slow and painful bereavement for a man who cannot reciprocate your feelings.
“Baek– I… I need—”
You cut yourself mid-sentence to sniff, to wipe your tears and to steady your breathing. Baekhyun doesn’t speak, only waiting patiently for you to find your element again.
“I need a– I need a ing miracle.”
“You need a what, a miracle? Sunshine, I don’t understand…”
His reply wasn’t judgmental, despite your weird behavior and even weirder words, he was understanding. Like a father who listens to his child instead of brushing their feelings off as most parents do nowadays. (But not your mom, thank heavens!)
Without much thought, you peeled your cardigan off of you and flash your left wrist onto Baekhyun’s face. His eyes minuscully follow your soulmark of jumbled words, letters, and doodles.
“Remember how we became best friends in our Senior year?”
You ask and his eyes lands back to your face, he nods his head yes and gave you a small smile as he remembers that special day. It was actually one of the many dreadful days of your life, but because of Baekhyun, it became something unexpectedly momentous.
He simply answers as he holds your arm, pushing it down on your lap. He starts caressing the embossed skin of your soul tattoo with the smile still plastered on his pretty lips.
“You stood up for me, pushed a bully away. Weeks in on our budding friendship, you asked me what name is written there…”
“You refused to answer,”
Baekhyun pauses as he recalls.
“And I saw the pain in your eyes whenever your soulmark is mentioned—”
“So, you never asked again ever since…”
You continue his sentence and Baekhyun bobs his head up and down in agreement.
Not-so-distant memories of pain fill your mind and so your tears build up again, Baekhyun straight off cradles you in his arms, humming a beautiful tune to help you ride out your emotions.
It took you a few moments before you can start talking again without bursting out crying.
“It’s… Yi– Yixing.”
And right before Baekhyun’s eyes, the mishmashed tattoo assembled into the proper cuneiform you have always seen it on.
“What the f– Zh– Zhang… Sunshine, I—”
Baekhyun was lost for words. The tight embrace he gave almost suffocated you. You felt wetness then drip on the skin of your neck and the vigorous sniffle he did made you bite your lower lip to stop yourself from crying yet again.
You mumbled shakily, it’s now your turn to mollify his distress.
“Sunshine, I am so sorry… I– I didn’t– I didn’t know…”
His trembling words tumbled messily out from his lips as his tears continue to shed. It took a while before Baekhyun calmed enough to talk. You know, and you feel that he has a lot of questions. Probably will nag you for not telling him about it.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t notice before. I keep telling you about my friend who was denied by his soulmate, yet I didn’t know you were being rejected by yours as well.”
“It’s fine, Baekhyun. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I don’t want to be a burden to you.”
“You’re never a burden to me, okay. Never think you are.”
He gave you another tight embrace before wiping yours and his tears away using his sweater sleeves. You lift your arm up again to show your wrist, twisting it left and right.
“Can you see his name now?”
“Yes, I can see now... How golden it is. It used to be just random doodles and shapes of a black mess. Is this how you always see it?”
Baekhyun the tattoo of Yixing’s name on your wrist and you know he can feel how embossed it is on your skin. Somehow, his face became sadder than it was before he touched your soulmark. It’s like it is making Baekhyun feel how you’ve been feeling all through your whole life. Giving whoever touched it a taste of what it’s like to be shunned by the one person who was meant to be for you alone.
“Yes… Before, I only hid it because of my anxiety. The past year I was hiding it because I couldn’t bear to see it myself. The gold of his name, it’s like a big insult. Taunting me every single time that he will never be mine.”
“Don’t say that we don’t know what will happen in the future.”
You laugh, not because you find what Baekhyun said funny, but because you know how much Yixing loves Sunye. That probably only death will tear him away from her.
“Have you seen him with her? Sunye got him in the palm of her hand, dude.”
You continue to laugh bitterly as another set of tears started rolling down your cheeks. Baekhyun couldn’t say anything more because you are right. Yixing is so whipped by Sunye, he will do anything she asks.
Since you came to your mother’s house in your car with Yixing and Sunye, Chanyeol left his vehicle so Yixing and Sunye can drive back to Seoul. You wanted to immediately flee the place because you have no more will or energy to interact with any of them. Especially Sunye. You can’t, for the life of you, even look at her way, not when her eyes are so red and puffy from crying because of you.
But before you, Baekhyun, and Chanyeol left, you promised your parents that you will explain your little tumult someday... When you’re ready. And you don’t know when that will be.
You have fortunately ignored Both Yixing and Sunye for a whole week. You stayed home glued to your bed for the whole duration of your week-long rest before the summer semester starts. You didn’t even go to the airport to send your own sister away for her trip. Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Yixing kept texting you the whole day, telling you how much Sunye kept mentioning your name obliviously then she’ll get sad and then angry when she realizes what she just said.
Looking through your apartment door peephole, you made sure no one, a.k.a Yixing is around before exiting. You open the door silently even though it doesn’t make any sound at all, it’s just for extra measures so you can dodge any circumstances of ever being face to face with Yixing.
You do feel ty at times when Baekhyun or Chanyeol or even your own Mother mentions any of them. Your dad was even sadder when he found out that you’ve completely stopped talking to them since the night of your emotional overflow.
As you were about to close the door behind you, Yixing suddenly exits his apartment, looking so dapper in his vest over a white dress shirt with black tie. A dark brown laptop bag on one hand and his keys on the other, ready to lock his door.
Gaddamnit, you decided to leave two hours earlier than your scheduled time and here he is. Just your luck! You rapidly but shakily look for your apartment’s magnetic key from the bajillion other keys on your keychain and Yixing looked your way when he hears the jiggle of it.
You curse under your breath when you saw that he was looking at you. Yixing shouts for you when you successfully opened your door and was about to push it back close, but he was fast and his dress shoes wedged in between to stop you from slamming the door to his face.
“Hey, hey! Please...”
“Yixing, ugh dammit…”
“Please, don’t. Stop avoiding me, please…”
After a minute or two of your little push and push battle, you finally gave up and let him win. Guess you can’t avoid Yixing forever, huh?
“One Medium Iced Green Tea Latte and One Large Cold Brew Oolong Tea for Lay!”
Minseok, your university’s resident coffee shop friendly barista, called out for yours and Yixing’s drink. You would’ve gotten a really strong coffee only Minseok knows how to mix for you, but your stomach has been sensitive since you’ve contracted the gaddamn Hanahaki, so you opted for the tea instead. Yixing knows what you usually order, but you’re glad he asked you what you wanted.
You have been trying different kinds of morning tea with less caffeine for a few months now, and so far so good all of them were working on waking you up. Today is your first day as a Student Assistant though, so you needed the extra caffeine of the oolong.
Yixing slides your drink in front of you, he starts sipping his and the ice crinkles as he shakes the container. You haven’t talked or moved since he put down your drink and the condensation of your cold beverage is starting to sweat out from the paper cup.
Your hand reaches out to your cup and you started playing with the moisture on it. You finally look up to his face to see him staring at you with a warm smile on his face.
“It’s okay, I forgive you… I don’t even know why you’re apologizing, but I forgive you.”
Yixing returns and beams you a bigger smile.
“I was an to Sunye last week…”
“What happened last week?”
Yixing twists his neck to one side like a confused puppy bends its neck when hearing a weird noise for the first time, pretending not to know anything. As if nothing happened the week prior.
You whine silently, your lips quivers, nose flaring, and eyes begin to water. Yixing rapidly hops on the armchair next to you and wraps you in a tight embrace. With his warmth enveloping your entire being, the area where his name is tattooed on your wrist started tingling... Burning. The kind of burn that will melt any mass that you built around your heart.
And you tried to nudge him off, but he didn’t budge. You were probably too weak and too frail for him to feel your flimsy escape. But did you really try pushing him off, or was it just your mind telling you what it wants to do but your body openly and boldly disobeyed?
“Hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to explain yourself to me. If you don’t want to talk yet, it’s good, okay? I mean I know you haven’t talked with your parents yet, who am I to get a reason first, right?”
‘Well you’re my soulmate, you idiot!’ You screamed inside your mind.
You just nod your head yes while your face is still buried on his chest. Gosh, you’re glad you don’t wear makeup or Yixing’s gonna have a few problems on the first day of his summer job.
It took a while before your trembling stopped. When both of you finally let go of each other, you see his vest drenched with your tears.
“, I’m sorry about that, Yixing…”
You then rub both your sleeves over to the soaked area of his clothing, but Yixing gingerly grabs your wrists and slides them down on your lap, not letting you go.
“It will get dry eventually, Sunshine.”
Sunshine? Since when did he use that pet name with you? Only Baekhyun and Chanyeol does, sometimes your mom or dad or Sunye slips the word out their lips when Baek and Chan are around. But never Yixing.
“So, uhm, what’s your schedule for the summer semester?”
Yixing clears his throat, finally letting go of your wrist as the mood suddenly dips a bit. If Yixing was uncomfortable, he didn’t let you see it. Instead, he smiled warmly again as he reached for his iced latte on the other side of the table and sat it beside your untouched, probably already watered down drink.
You paused to reach for your journal inside of your backpack. You sniff silently, your nose still a little bit stuffy from your little bawling session.
“Professor Lee only has one to two classes a day per week. One-thirty to two-thirty PM every Monday and Wednesday, Eleven AM to One PM and then One-thirty to two-thirty PM again for Tuesdays and Thursdays. My Fridays to Sundays are free. Although, I think he will ask me to come on Fridays too to help grade papers or something.”
“Wow, our schedules are weirdly the same.”
Yixing related as he scrolls through his phone to look at his assigned schedule.
“Doesn’t Professor Choi and Professor Lee’s office in the same building?”
“Their office is beside each other.”
You recounted as you reach for your drink. The top part of the tea was already watered down because of the melted ice, but you continued to gulp down feeling dehydrated from all the crying that you did just now.
“Wow, then this summer won’t be as lonely as I thought it would be.”
Yixing gushes out, grinning so brightly. The actual sun will be outshined and beat to a useless pulp. You can’t help but smile along with him. It has been a week too long and you yearn to see his beautiful face again. Pictures on his social media didn’t do the job for you anymore, you needed to see him in the flesh.
Everything feels nice in the world again.
You get to go to work with Yixing right beside you.
Buy cookies and coffee before the class starts.
Get to eat late lunch and dinners with him.
Create visual aids and handouts together at home where he sometimes falls asleep on your couch and makes him breakfast the next morning.
He apologizes again and again when he makes a camp out of your sofa and you dumbly accept his apology wholeheartedly.
You don’t mind, not at all.
In fact, you really like it.
LOVE IT, if you’re truly being honest.
It comes really natural for you to take care of him like that.
Where no soulmarks, no stupid fate and definitely no Kim Sunye to stop you from living your wildest fantasies.
But with good, comes with the bad.
Because you’re only three weeks in on the summer sessions and it’s already hectic as hell. Since summer semesters are shorter, it means everything is fast-paced.
Professor Lee literally tackles two lessons in one day and then have a big test by the next. He teaches three different sets of classes and it’s harder to keep up with him since you’re the only student assistant he has for the duration of the summer semester. You share responsibilities with two other TA’s (including Baekhyun) on a normal school year, though right now is very different.
Attending each class and proctoring tests, grading papers, meeting with students and making sure their concerns reach the professor. Plus printing and passing along the handouts and making sure all the visual aids are perfect before Professor Lee actually uses them takes up most of your time.
Literally, the only opportunity you get to relax is when you sleep at night. You don’t even have a moment to spare to call your mom or Baekhyun and Chanyeol who, by the way, were enjoying their little trip to Japan, since the classes started. You can only reply to their hours and sometimes a day old texts before bed.
That’s why you’re stunned to see Baekhyun screaming at the TV screen, maneuvering the Playstation controller and bumping shoulders with an unknown person. Well, the guy is not that unknown to you, you’ve seen him with Chanyeol and Baekhyun from time to time and he’s a student in one of Professors Lee’s classes. But you were never introduced and you only know him by his name and his performance in class.
You say with one eyebrow raised as you drop your backpack and laptop bag from the adjacent armchair next to the couch they both occupied.
“Oh great, you’re home!”
Baekhyun pauses the game and ran to you to give you a big and warm hug you haven’t received in a long time since the summer started.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in Tokyo with your boyfriend right now?”
“There was an emergency, so we had to go home.”
“An emergency, why? What happened?”
You pull Baekhyun down on the couch to sit next to you, concerned that something might have happened to somebody you love and care about. You check your best friend for any signs of injury but he looks perfectly fine to your eyes.
“Ah, no! Nothing like that!”
Baekhyun laughs, swaying both his hands in front of your face. You finally relaxed your back knowing no one was injured or hurt in any way.
“What was the ‘emergency’?”
“Chanyeol’s sister, she—”
Baekhyun hasn’t properly explained yet when you abruptly cut him off.
“OH MY GOSH! What happened to Yoora eonni? Is she okay? Is she hurt, oh God I hope not!!!”
Baekhyun grabs both of your cheeks inside his palms to keep you calm.
“Oh my God, Sunshine! Relax. Yoora Noona just gave birth!”
“Oh my gosh!!! Shouldn’t we go visit now?”
You started overreacting onto your seat, looking left and right for something but also nothing, at the same time. Baekhyun then laughs so loud, you have to stop what you were doing.
“They will be fine, relax. We will have a chance to see Noona and the baby.”
You slumped on the couch, sliding down almost with your falling for dramatics. Well, you couldn’t help it. Seeing Baekhyun again made you realize that you haven’t taken a break.
It’s not like Professor Lee is forcing you to do everything. You’re actually volunteering to do everything for him, you like being busy and you find it not so bad since it gives you the reason to be by Yixing’s side.
“Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever introduced you two…”
Baekhyun added after a few seconds of silence. You look up from your position to see him pointing at his friend who was smiling gently at you, his lips curl on both sides similar to a cat. Baekhyun mentions your name to him.
“This is Kim Jongdae…”
“Oh I know, she is Professor Lee’s TA. Nice to finally be introduced to you...”
Jongdae stood and offers his hand politely to shake with yours. You stood right up too and takes his hand in a similar polite manner.
“Ah… Y-yeah, nice to be introduced to you too, Jongdae-ssi.”
“Aish, you two are weird. We’re all the same age here!”
Baekhyun playfully slaps both your hands, causing you to let go of the handshake.
“Anyway, remember the guy I told you about? You know, the one who got rejected by their soulmate? It was Jongdae.”
Baekhyun casually says and sat back down on the couch to grab his console controller.
“Baekhyun! That’s rude!”
Your eyes grew wide and gave Jongdae an apologetic look and he gave you another gentle smile. Wow, this guy loves smiling a lot, huh?
“It’s fine, really. It was four years ago, it’s nothing for me anymore. Like just another story to tell. I don’t even know where she is anymore, and her name finally faded anyway.”
You see Jongdae slightly rubbing his left wrist where a name should be, but nothing was there. Not even a little bit.
“This game is not going to play itself, Jongdae-yah!”
Baekhyun whines and Jongdae obliges easily and gave you a slight nod of acknowledgment before restarting their game.
It took you a while before you stood up to go do what you were supposed to do. But you couldn’t focus, because you kept thinking about Kim Jongdae.
You already know his story, even though you didn’t know it was him because Baekhyun couldn’t shut up about him.
You can’t say that you’re envious of him, but you’re jealous of the fact that he got through a soulmate’s rejection. You weren’t really rejected by Yixing— not yet, at least but that’s how you already feel. You couldn’t even tell him that his name was written on your skin since you were born.
You wanted to tell him. You wanted to tell him how all these years, you have suffered because his name was already imprinted on you since you were born. And you wanted him to comfort you, to hug you and to kiss you, and tell you that everything will be okay. That he will be by your side to love you and that you don’t have to hide— not anymore.
You wanted to tell him, but you could not.
You could not hurt your sister. And you could not— Would not, for the life of you, want to hurt Yixing as well. Never!
Your pain is not their pain, but their pain will be your pain when they find out the truth.
A lot of people will also get hurt once the actuality comes out.
Your mother, your father, and heck, probably even Chanyeol. Only you, Professor Lee and Baekhyun knew.
You’d rather torture yourself in reticence than crush any of them with your misfortune.
Your busyness is finally catching up to you, you didn’t know that you fell asleep in the middle of doing your work.
You groan as you scratch your eyes with your balled-up fists and stood up straight with caution from your pillow, you now regret working on your bed instead of your actual desk. You ALWAYS fall asleep but you never learn, you still lay out and do your work on the bed anyway.
As you’re about to push away the hundreds of papers you were grading from your lap, you stopped midway when you see someone sleeping beside you on the bed.
It was Yixing.
And his face was tear-streaked, his forehead is knotted and lips quivering. He was obviously having a bad dream and you shake him softly awake.
“Yixing, you’re having a nightmare.”
Yixing jolts up and grabs your shoulders to lock your body with his in a death grip. Your heart immediately leaped from your rib cage and into your throat. You tried squirming but Yixing’s embrace was so tight, you couldn’t even move.
Your words dissipate by his sudden outburst.
Your assumption was true. Yixing was crying, you don’t know if before he fell asleep next to you or during his nightmare. But whatever he was dreaming about, it’s probably really bad for him to cry this much.
How did he even get in your room in the first place? Well, that’s really not important right now, he is crying. You need to know what's wrong with him.
“Shhh… It’s okay, Yixing, I’m here.”
You coo into his ear, one hand caressing his back slowly and the other petting his head with your fingers wrapped around his hair.
You’re basically sitting on his lap but there was no awkwardness between the two of you. You expected to at least feel some hesitation, but it actually feels right— like you belong where you are right now— in his arms.
“Tell me what’s wrong?”
You say slightly pushing him away to dry his eyes with the sleeves of your hoodie. He let out a sad giggle as you continue to fix him up.
“Sunye broke up with me.”
He murmurs and you froze. You honestly don’t know how to react to his news.
Of course, you’re shocked— beyond disturbed and confused— but there’s a little tiny itsy bit part in your chest that wanted to sigh in ease. And the part of your wrist where Yixing’s name is etched is beating as hard as your heart is for him.
“I don’t know what to say.”
You admitted sadly, gave him a small gloomy smile and pushed his hair back again for the umpteenth time. You’re trying to ignore but his hands were mindlessly fondling the small of your back and you never wanted it to stop.
“It’s okay, I understand. I didn’t know what to say either when we were talking on the phone—”
Yixing paused to let out a heavy sigh, continuously caressing your back still oblivious to the somersaults his action is causing your fragile little heart.
“She just keeps on crying as she tells me sorry and that it wasn’t my fault but hers.”
“I’m sorry Yixing, wish I could tell you it’s okay. But I know you’re not okay right now.”
He bent his neck to the side slightly like a puppy, with his eyes still red and puffy from crying.
“Actually, it’s not fine. But I really expected you to immediately take her side, she’s your sister after all.”
“But you were my friend first before I found out she’s even my half-sibling.”
Yixing hugs you again, adjusting his chin to perfectly fit on the junction between your neck and shoulder. He inhaled a long breath and immediately release it, the heat from the air he took hits your back.
The feeling is making you want to fight for your right. Your right to be loved by your soulmate. The right to be held by him just like currently, whenever you feel like to.
But there’s a timing to everything. And today is not it.
After a while, you excused yourself to go to the bathroom. All the tea you drank before falling asleep is finally wanna be let out. And lowkey, your throat is itching too because of your condition.
Yixing blushed the moment he realized that you were sitting on his lap the whole time. He apologized for it because it was his fault you were in that ‘awkward’ position but you told him it was fine with you.
You exit your room to see Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Jongdae on the living room, playing some game on Baekhyun’s console.
Since the couple got back from Japan a few days ago, Jongdae has been hanging out a lot in your apartment and you were slowly getting acquainted with him too because you see him almost every day. He’s in all of Professor Lee’s classes. He said he was catching up with his classes since he took a break ‘cause he was suddenly enlisted for his mandatory military service and just got back last semester. He wanted to graduate already.
You squeak a bit over their loud banters and since Baekhyun was the one who wasn’t holding a controller, he was the only one who looks behind to glance at you. Your best friend immediately smiled when he saw you standing there.
He stood up and hopped over the couch to run up and hug you, and it distracted both Jongdae and Chanyeol from the game. But Chanyeol immediately recovered and focused his eyes back on the game, but not Jongdae. Causing him to lose the round and the giant suddenly jolts up with a scream of victory!
“YES ! WHO IS MY ? YOU ARE MY !”
Chanyeol shrieks in Jongdae’s face.
“Aha, alright, Park…”
Jongdae rolls his eyes at Chanyeol but smiled when his eyes fell back to yours. You acknowledge him with an identical beam. Baekhyun pokes at your side a bit and maliciously grin when he noticed your exchange with his friend.
He innocently said with a shrug.
“By the way, how did Yixing get in my room? I woke up and he’s there?”
You ignored his jeers.
“I didn’t know you were asleep if I knew I would have woken you up first.”
He pouted his signature moue complete with his puppy dog eyes.
“No, no! It’s okay but I think you should check on Yixing too.”
“Wait, what do you mean?”
Baekhyun’s forehead creased, his playfulness long gone.
You push him to the direction of your bedroom and he shrugs as he makes his way there in complete silent confusion.
“I think you should tell Yixing.”
Your best friend suddenly blurts out after Yixing just closed your bedroom door to pee after telling Baekhyun what Sunye did over a phone call. Baekhyun was livid so to speak, that she can't even give Yixing an explanation as to why she's breaking up with him. She had the audacity to do it through a phone call and not even over video chat.
“Baekhyun!!! He might hear you.”
You chastise him, slapping his thigh slightly. But he ignored you and continue to scroll through Sunye’s SNS.
Baekhyun started becoming not so fond of Sunye since he found out that Yixing is your soulmate. Paired with the fact that she has found new friends in Bangkok already and has been touring around there, having fun with her “Bkk posse”.
Of course, Baekhyun will take your side. He knows your history with Sunye before you found out you’re sisters. He knows that she has been a competition to every aspect academically. Other people even compare you physically, even though you almost have the same features, you’re still very different.
“Look at her out and about at night in a bar after just hours of breaking up with Yixing…”
“She’s probably stressed and needs to blow off some steam.”
You justified your sister’s questionable choices. You may not really fully know her just yet, but you’re giving her the benefit of a doubt. That’s what family does, right???
“Yeah by drinking her Piña Colada and taking pics of it with her crew. Gosh, her choices of captions are so cringe-worthy. ‘With my BKK Crew with our pineapple emoji, cocktail emoji. XOXO.-i’ The xoxo takes the cake!”
Baekhyun rants and then rolls his eyes as he exits the SNS app and throws his phone on the bed with a sour look on his face.
“Yixing is so blind, Sunshine! I can't believe this…”
“Guess love does blind people, huh.”
You sigh in defeat. You should already be used to this, but for some reason, it still makes you sad.
You don’t exactly want to but for some reason, your two best friends convinced you to go on a blind date.
Chanyeol said it would entertain you for a bit and could let off some steam from your TA job, would help you relax before your last semester started.
Baekhyun, on the other hand, was brutally honest about feeling bad for you. He said he’s saddened by the fact that even though Yixing and Sunye are already broken up, he was still rejecting you, albeit unintentionally. Since the moment he met you, he has never seen you with anyone. You don’t even try to go out there to find your mate, and when you did, he already belonged to another.
Maybe the universe will be jolted enough when you actually tried falling in love, he said. That fate would slap Yixing across his face to tell him that he actually belongs to you. It’s time for him to feel how it’s like to be rejected by their soulmate, not that he deserves it or anything. He also pointed out that Sunye never had a name on her wrist just like all of you. You weren’t really sure because you never paid attention, you do what you want people to do to you, respect their privacy.
And that prompted your brain to agree to his offer of introducing you to a new person. The fact that Baekhyun used your weakness for Yixing allowed him to drag you into this nice Italian restaurant twenty minutes away from your apartment. He stayed with you for a bit, waiting for your blind date to arrive. And he finally left you to fend for yourself when he’s right outside of the restaurant. He will meet your date outside first to orient him about you, without you being there. He was looking out for you like that. That’s what best friends do!
When Baekhyun texted you that your date already went inside, you look up from your phone to the door and see Jongdae looking around.
When he laid his eyes on you, the both of you gave each other a confused gander. He looks around again before finally deciding to advance your way.
“Jongdae, what are you doing here?”
You ask with a surprise smile on your face.
“Oh, I’m here to look for my date.”
He looks around again, cranks his neck to the side once like a confused puppy.
“Oh, me too. I’m waiting for him to arrive.”
It took you a few seconds before the wires connected.
The both of you exclaims over the hustle and bustle of the restaurant.
You didn’t let his sentence continue before closing your eyes and biting your lower lip with the realization of the current situation.
“Yeah… Yeah, Baekhyun did…”
“I’m… I’m sorry you’re disappointed that it’s me.”
Jongdae cheeps silently. You look up again to see him blushing, probably in unease and embarrassment, rubbing the back of his head as he was looking away from you, trying to avoid your distant eyes.
You open up your mouth to veer. To tell him that it’s not him, but he was already scrambling his mouth with an implied apology.
“Sorry… We should probably go, I could drive you home and—”
“Oh, I’m sorry then. Did you drive here? I just thought—”
You grab the hem of his shirt and tug on it. He looks down to your fist on his shirt and then back up to your face.
“No, Jongdae. I’m not disappointed that it’s you. I’m sorry if I acted like I was dissatisfied. It’s just… I’m upset at Baekhyun that he has to do this to us.”
You explained with a calm smile on your face. Jongdae finally stopped the shifting of his eyes and relaxed when he saw that you are sincere with your words and that you were okay with him as a date.
“Please, sit down?”
And he did actually complied, more of obeyed like a puppy, to your offer. He smiled awkwardly as he pulls up the chair to sit on it. Before you can even speak again, a waiter suddenly laid down a menu each in front of you on the table.
The date went surprisingly well, albeit a little awkward at the beginning, but you talked non stop about random stuff. From your favorite movies to your favorite weird combination of food. You found out that he has a secret talent at singing when he mindlessly sang one particular opening song of his favorite anime.
It’s probably why he, Baekhyun and Chanyeol were so close. All of them were kinda the same, with a musical inclination and love for anime, it was just like talking to your best friends. That’s why it wasn’t hard to warm up with Jongdae.
And ever since then, you and Jongdae have been hanging out a lot. He would wait for you every after class, would hang out in Professor Lee’s office (much to your professor’s joy, he said it was refreshing to see a new face hanging around you) and would also help you do some of your work.
But the more you spend time with Jongdae, the more Yixing become distant. It wasn’t instantaneous at first, but slowly, Yixing has been saying no whenever any of you would ask him to hang out.
Yixing has been locking himself inside his apartment, only going out to go to Mr. Choi’s classes and then go back home when he can. At first, you thought he was still moping around over Sunye, he probably does, but you can feel in your gut that he’s avoiding you. You have to confront him and you have to do it now!
You stood up from your bed, grabbing your hoodie that was dangling on the door hook and swiftly putting it on.
Both Jongdae and Baekhyun greeted you when they see you running, exiting your bedroom. And as you open the door wide, you were met face to face with your sister.
“Hey, I was just about to knock.”
You finally notice the guy she’s with, just a bit behind her and they were holding hands. It took a few seconds before you removed your scrutiny from their intertwined fingers. You looked at him, he was significantly taller than Sunye but shorter than Yixing. He’s good-looking, eyes cat-like and holds a strong authority but you can still tell that there’s kindness in them. When you finally looked back at Sunye she shifted minuscully, wary of your watchful eyes.
“T-This is Minseok… Oppa, my sister.”
Sunye silently introduces the man next to her. “My soulmate.” She added and your jaws drop.
“Soulmate? What about Yixing?”
Baekhyun suddenly rebukes, him and Chanyeol are now behind you looking at Sunye disapprovingly. Jongdae is farther in the back, watching everything unfold in front of him. He was cautiously looking at you with concern in his eyes.
You look at the people in front of you again and as you were about to pipe up to say something to your sister that you know you will regret, you hear the loud ding of the apartment building elevator. The three of you looked towards the direction of it and then comes Yixing, gym bag around his torso, obvious that he just got back from his workout. He was about to step out of the lift, but he suddenly froze when he sees Sunye holding hands with another man. It’s like you weren’t even there, all he sees is her. It hurts but the instinct of comforting him is much, much stronger than anything that can be felt on this planet.
“Yi– Yixing! Yixing, wait!”
You call out to Yixing as the elevator doors start closing in again, squeezing yourself in between Sunye and her soulmate, forcing them to let go of each other.
His eyes widen when he saw you running after him. But your connection was cut off when the doors shut close.
Your brain is running so hastily and you quickly ran towards the exit stairs, and you can hear your friends screaming for you as you push the door and hurriedly make your way down to the main lobby. You found him briskly walking away when you exited the apartment building.
“Yixing, wait… Please!”
You call out, Yixing turns to look at you and then walked off a bit more faster than you have to jog to get to him.
“Yixing, don’t do this. I’m here to help you.”
You beg and he sighs out as if you’re just some kind of an annoying, solicitous Jehovah’s Witness person who’s after him to preach about God’s supremacy and not his friend for well over two years now…
“Leave me alone, I don’t need your help.”
He stopped in his track to face you. His eyes are hard, dead-set and not wanting to be bothered at all.
“You need my help, Yixing. I’m your friend and I—”
“YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I NEED?!”
Yixing suddenly snapped, very out of character of him. And you immediately feel your chest constrict with hurt and your eyes prick with tears.
You couldn’t verbalize what was in your head, what you wanted him to know from your heart.
“I NEED SUNYE BUT OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T HAVE HER. DO YOU SEE MY PROBLEM NOW?”
His words sting, it cuts you deeper than any blade. It left you helpless and bleeding, useless and heartbroken. Yixing immediately regrets screaming at you like that, his eyes soften the moment your tears start dropping nonstop.
“P–Please just… Let me be, Sunshine. I don’t need you or anyone to tell me that everything will be okay when I know everything will never be the same again.”
Your nickname on his lips doesn’t feel the same anymore. Though it sounded regretful, it doesn’t have the same tenderness to it as it used to be. Your feet are planted on the ground and you couldn’t move to stop him when he begins to walk away from you. How can you hold him back when he doesn’t even want you to prevent him from running off. He probably doesn’t want you either. You fell on your hands and knees, you couldn’t stop your tears from falling like rain on a gloomy day and you could care less about the people walking and talking by you. Because the only person who was meant for you just left you there.
You were suddenly lifted from the ground by two strong hands, immediately nuzzling you in their embrace.
“Shh, I know you’re not okay but I’m here for you.”
You flat out start to sob when you hear Jongdae’s soothing voice whisper soft words in your ear. The fact that he cared enough to follow you out here makes you feel relieved but also sad because it’s not Yixing. It should be Yixing appeasing your wounded heart right now. Why is he not here by your side to ease your pain?
It took a long while before you calm enough to stop yourself from weeping. Jongdae finally came back from the pharmacy near the park where you are at at the moment. Bringing along a bottle of water and a kit to clean and cover the petty and insignificant wounds you got on your knees and palms. Small wounds are nothing compared to the bug that’s literally rotting your insides right now.
Jongdae places the plastic bag of stuff beside you, pulling out the bottle of water first, handing it to you.
“Drink this, Sunshine. You’ve been crying for the last hour, you’re probably dehydrated by now.”
The natural curl of his lips lifted some more in a kind smile when you finally look up at him, at the bottle of water and then back at his face again. He pushed it to your hands, gently coaxing you to take the bottle. You took it with shaky hands, Jongdae’s palm hovers over your knuckles to open the bottle cap for you. The warmth of his hold slightly placates your worry and wheedle you enough to take a few sips. Much to his peace of mind, Jongdae smiles again in satisfaction from watching you drink the water and then proceed to take out the cleaning kit from the plastic bag. He got down on one knee to examine yours and he sighs when he saw that the wounds aren’t that bad. You jerk your legs a bit when he sprayed some hydrogen peroxide on your cuts.
He said, biting his lower lip in caution and then continue to wipe and clean your skin before applying wound ointment and then cover each knee with large band-aids. He then sat beside you on the bench once he was done with your knees, with only the cleaning kit in between you and him.
“Give me your hands.”
He requests voice doesn’t falter of sounding gentle and benevolent. You gently place the water bottle you were holding beside you, facing Jongdae to extend both your hands to him. He gingerly held your wrists and places your hands, palm up to his lap. You retreat your hands back when he starts to roll your sleeves up, but he held you tightly to stop you from pulling away.
“It’s okay, I already know. I’ve seen it.”
“You sometimes nonchalantly ride your sleeves up when we hang out.”
Was his only explanation, not pushing the subject any further. You were thankful you found another person who’s careful around you and you feel bad that he has to do that already at this stage of your friendship even though he doesn’t need to. Jongdae is a really kind guy and you were baffled why any person, let alone his own soulmate, would throw him away like they did like he’s trash when clearly Jongdae is a precious piece of diamond, perfectly cut and blinding with how bright his personality is.
“Do you wanna know which name is written on my wrist?”
You squeak after being silent for a while.
“I... S–Sure, I mean if only you want to…”
You can tell Jongdae is suddenly nervous. He his lips, his full Adam’s apple bobs up and then down when he swallowed on nothing. Slowly, you pull up the sleeve of your left arm, Jongdae looking straight at the jumbled shapes and doodles of your soulmark. You watch how his pretty brows knit together as he waits for you to reveal who might be you are destined to. His eyes widen and then shake when you whispered Yixing’s name, he marvels at how the tattoo changes from random shapes and doodles to the beautiful cursive that of Zhang Yixing’s name. The gold of the soulmark glints under the moonlight.
Jongdae’s only response upon seeing the name tattooed on you. And before you can even say anything, you feel your stomach hurl. You stand up and ran behind the bushes, you heaved an impossibly deep breath for your lungs but instead you inhaling, you gag and disgorge red colored roses. You can feel each petal scratch and burn your throat as it all makes its way out of your gut. Jongdae screamed your name as he makes his way to you. You tried pushing him away but it was too late, he already saw the damage. Scattered all around you were wilted red petals, some are already almost black.
“Oh my God! You have H–Hanahaki—”
The last words you heard from Jongdae before everything around you turns to black.
You hear muffled conversations as you start to tumble out of unconsciousness, something about your Hanahaki. Sniffling and hitching, shaky breath starts to get clearer and clearer as you wake up some more. You open your eyes to white. Everything was white, from the walls to the curtains on the heavily barricaded windowsill and to the bed, you’re laying on. You groan when you tried to move, but your stomach pummels like you were punched or kicked in the gut, hurts too much when you even just move an inch.
Baekhyun ran to your side, his eyes bloodshot with tears, nose and cheeks flushed and his overall appearance crestfallen and sluggish.
“What happened?, Where am I?”
Your voice came out rough and croaky, too dry and desiccant you’re surprised you were still able to speak out, it’s like the Sahara desert in there. Chanyeol and Professor Lee eventually came by your bed as well, Chanyeol obviously were crying too with how red and angry the veins on his eyes are.
“Jongdae brought you here in the University Hospital ER, he said you collapsed after vomiting some red flower petals when you were at the park together.”
“He’s sleeping on the couch.”
Baekhyun points at the small and uncomfortable-looking leather sofa behind them and sure enough, Jongdae is curled sleeping on his side like a little baby child. The poor guy has suffered enough already because of you. Instead of enjoying his last few weeks of vacation break somewhere fun and exciting yet here he is, staying at the hospital just for you. You wish you could do something nice for him even just once.
“Since when are your petals red?”
Professor Lee interrupts suddenly. You swallow on nothing, trying to lubricate your throat before answering.
“T–The other day, it was still peach, until… Until Y–Yixing p–pushed me away last night…”
“I guess, the rejection finally triggered the red.”
Professor Lee closes his eyes and sighs out in concern and stress. Concern for you and your condition, and stress because he couldn’t do anything to help you.
You try really, really hard with all your might not to think about what happened last night, what Yixing did and said to you, how hurt you were (and still are) when he was explicitly driving you away. But your lips tremble and your nose flare as you struggle to not let your emotions fill you up. And you failed irrevocably. Your tears fell involuntarily hard once again and Baekhyun’s face fell mad. His lips curl, almost snarling, with anger and you palm his hand that was laying on the hospital bed railing on your side. You tried gripping his hand, but you are still too weak so he ended up hovering over your frail ones instead.
“I need to talk to Yixing! I’m– I’m so…”
Baekhyun starts rambling, but his words falter from his lips as his tears continue to flow. Chanyeol’s just biting his lips, trying to suppress his emotions as well, trying to conceal his feelings so as to seem like he’s strong for your sake and for his boyfriend’s sake as well.
“Baekhyun, please… Please don’t tell him.”
“He needs to know! He can cure you, Sunshine. He can make all the pain go away—”
“You’re delusional if you think he’ll reciprocate my feelings.”
You interrupt him and he opened his mouth again to speak but closes it immediately with how absurd your words were to him.
“He made it clear last night that he doesn’t want anyone but Sunye.”
You choke on the heavy inhale you took as more tears wash down from your eyes.
“I am nothing to him.”
Professor Lee was just watching the three of you with such sorrow in his eyes. He should know anything and everything about soulmates and then some more (like, why you contracted Hanahaki because of your soulmate) in between, yet he doesn’t have an answer as to why this is happening to you. It’s so rare not to be your soulmate’s soulmate and even more unheard of having Hanahaki because they don’t return your feelings. He has asked every colleague and every professional he knows, read through every book he has, but there were no known records of your case.
Your mother came a few hours later, already crying a river the moment she sees you so weak and so vulnerable laying there in your Hospital bed. You (with the help of Jongdae) had to explain to her what happened. You also had to finally tell her who your soulmate was and that you contracted Hanahaki because of him. Your heart broke to a million tiny pieces when she starts blaming herself again. How it’s her fault for being such an irresponsible teenager, falling in love and getting pregnant at the wrong time. You have to convince her not to tell your dad about what was happening to you. He was absent your whole life anyway and he doesn't need to blame himself as well. He doesn’t deserve the emotional anguish he will surely get because of you, not that he only recently found out about you being his first child. And you definitely do not want him to be disappointed at Yixing or Sunye. Especially Sunye. She is still his daughter and your sister.
“I’m giving you four more months before your condition becomes worse than it already is. Sure, pills will help with the pain, but you’re already beyond curing with medications.”
Your doctor gave you a sad smile. She lowered the earpiece of her stethoscope to her neck and inserted the diaphragm inside her coat chest pocket.
Four months? That’s enough for you to survive your last semester and even attend your graduation, you thought to yourself.
“The strongest antibiotic known to science will not work anymore as the infection has already rooted and pierced out from your lungs and through your heart. We’ve been trying since you got admitted, and nothing was working.”
She added as she readjusts the speed of your IV, also fixing the splint that’s supporting your hand and wrist so that your IV catheter won’t move.
“You don’t have to endure when it’s getting difficult and you can’t take it anymore. I’m sorry for saying this, but I’ve had patients died on me because they tried to tolerate the pain and suffering even beyond the deadline I gave them.”
She paused, taking both your hands with hers to give you a soft squeeze and you return her sweet gesture with a snug hold as well.
“I know you’re in love, but you don’t have to sacrifice your well-being for anyone. The only person who will love your more than anything until the end is yourself. Are you sure you want to wait that long before we proceed with the surgery?”
She asks both you and your mother again about your decisions regarding your cure. Your mother tightened her lips for a moment, trying not to burst out crying once again before speaking.
“Whatever she wants, doc. My daughter is an adult, I’m fine with whatever choice she makes.”
Your mother’s response was for the doctor to hear, but her eyes are focused on you, letting you know that she believes in you and that she will support you through anything and everything, no matter what happens. The doctor swivels her head to your direction for confirmation.
“I’m sure, doc. I still have hope.”
Yes you know it’s pretty dumb, but you still have hopes that Yixing will eventually come around, one way or another. The doctor allows another sad smile on her face before excusing herself to tend to other patients.
The first two months of your final semester was, for the lack of a better term, a living hell. But you endured.
Academically, that was the easiest part for you. Studying is just like breathing for you anyway, easy peasy.
But the lack of Yixing by your side was the tiest of all things ty. You hated it.
He was deliberately avoiding you now. Whenever you tried going up to him in the one class you share, he would transfer seats that were way too far away from you. There are times when Jongdae would physically stop you from approaching Yixing because he knows he will surely and purposely dodge to escape your advances.
But the more he shuns and fends you off, the more you seek his presence, you crave and desire for his attention and the more your insides hurt. Day by day, the colors of the petals you release becomes darker than the last.
And when you see Yixing still chase after Sunye, the more pain you have to brave and bear with.
None of them knows that you’re hurting because of them. Not Sunye and especially not Yixing.
It’s stupid and dangerous, but you don’t want to tell them.
The more Yixing strays, the more Jongdae keeps you on close hold. He would stay with you whenever he’s not doing anything. Would stay longer hanging around your apartment until you fell asleep. Sometimes would even sleepover just to make you breakfast in the morning. Would constantly remind you to eat before taking your medicines. Would buy anything and everything you said you wanted to eat. Would go along with you on Doctor’s appointment, would replenish your prescriptions and would drop anything he’s doing just to be by your side.
And at one point confessed his feelings for you. You told him after your operation, you would give him a chance, but for now, your love for Yixing is much, much stronger than anything you can ever imagine. And he understood, he was patient and he was kind. Your happiness is important to him.
But you didn’t even last the four months the doctor gave you because you have to be rushed to the hospital again.
It was the day you found out through Sunye herself that her name has disappeared and your name surfaced on Yixing’s skin. She was so shocked to see your name tattooed on his wrist that she has to ask what was going on.
Tears and Hurtful words were thrown between the two of you. At one point, she blamed you for keeping secrets from her and then she’s blaming herself next for not reading in between the lines. Blaming herself that she has kept Yixing away from you for far too long.
You awoke at the ER again, with only Sunye on your bedside, crying her eyes out.
The moment she sees you waking up, all could speak of were apologies and she loves you and that you have to tell Yixing what was happening. You convinced her not to tell a word to him and that you would tell him yourself. She made you promise that you would and that you have to gain your health back.
Here you are now, on your graduation day, preparing for your operation.
You have to lie to all your friends that you postpone your operation on a later time so that they can go see you before going under after the graduation ceremony. That was only to convince them not to skip their commemoration just for you.
You’re lying on this cold operation table, hospital staff connecting all necessary apparatus for your surgery.
Slowly slipping away from reality because of the anesthesia registered to you.
This is it.
It’s really happening.
This is the last straw.
You have given all the time you can for Yixing to come for you.
But alas, he never did.
Not even when your name starts to appear on his.
Not when he explicitly knew you are his real soulmate, that you are each other’s soulmate.
He was still holding on to that thin thread of Sunye’s fading name.
Until the end, Yixing still chooses her and not you.
But what can you do?
He has lived the last five years of his life knowing that he belongs to Sunye.
Fate has not only played you, but it also played with Yixing and everyone else around you. Shook all of your, for the most part, normal lives to the point of no return.
This is it.
This is going to be the last time you will have any sort of feelings for Yixing.
Hopefully this time, you’ll finally find peace and happiness, if not with the man you expected it from, but at least from someone else new. Someone else like Jongdae.
And hopefully this time, it’s Jongdae for real. Hopefully.
Two Years Later
The moment the airplane touches land, you disabled your phones airplane mode and ticked on your mobile data. And immediately, your phone was bombarded with notifications from work-related emails, to SNS notifications from old college mates inviting to hang out the next weekend. One missed text from Baekhyun, wishing you a safe flight, using his last name as wordplay with “Byun Voyage~” even though the flight is literally just two-plus hours only. You also got one text message from your sister asking you to buy a cloisonné cat figurine because her fiancé, Minseok, has a ‘healthy obsession™’ with their pet cat, Tan.
You laugh reading all the messages as you wait for the torrent of people to leave the plane first. You stand finally from your seat and take your carry-on bag from the overhead compartment when the passengers are starting to fairly decrease by volume. The flight you took was booked to the brim, full of tourists. You even heard some lady gushing that this is her first in Beijing and that she’s excited to tour the city.
[17:05:34] UseHerName: Just landed~ ^^
[17:15:27] UseHerName: Going through immigration now...
[17:15:50] Ahh김종wae: ㅇㅋ … im just about near the airport…
[17:17:50] UseHerName: AAAAAAaaaaAAAaaAAaAa there’s a long line at the immigration. ㅠㅠ
[17:55:01] Ahh김종wae: where u now?
[17:55:03] Ahh김종wae: i just pulled up.
[17:56:04] UseHerName: Gettin my luggage now~
[17:56:14] Ahh김종wae: tell me if you’re done, I’m just at the arrival area.
You rapidly pocket your phone and did not able to reply to Jongdae’s last message when you finally see your two big luggage drifting through the airport conveyor belt. Lugging your travel bags, you make your way out to the arrival area and there he was, in all his glory.
His black hair parted to the side, in a comma style blowing slightly in the pre-evening cool breeze. Wearing his casual but chic clothing of black jacket with a white shirt inside and jeans. With his sleek black rental car (he was so extra and told you he will pick you up with a nice rental car hahaha). This man is thriving really well here in Beijing, he’s only been here for a month and will only be staying for five months more, but he’s adjusting really well to the environment.
You both work for the same big corporation and both of you were promoted and have to stay in Beijing for your promotional training. He was just there earlier than you are because he wanted to familiarize with the culture and over-all surroundings (of both the city and the Chinese branch of the company you work for). You had previous commitments you have to finish at work that’s why you weren’t able to go with him last month.
Jongdae instantly flashes you his handsome guy smile when he saw you walk out through the sliding door, looking like you just got out of bed with your simple white t-shirt, long black cardigan with your low cut pajama style pants and slides.
He met and greeted you halfway with a really tight hug, him burying his face on your hair and breathing you in like he hasn’t seen you in forever even though it’s only been a month. And you constantly talk on the phone or through video chatting anyway. You hit him slightly and blushed when he called you beautiful. He took both your luggage from your grip and you held his strong arm as you both walk the rest of the way to the car he rented just so to seem boujee on your first day in the new city.
It’s a constant joke between the both of you since you found out about your pending promotion.
Jongdae clicked on the car key remote and the door of the SUV trunk slowly opens up. As he swang up one of your luggage to place inside the compartment when a red sedan type car promptly braked behind him, almost making Jongdae go tumbling forward the car compartment. Your luggage wheel slightly grazing the surface of the front car.
“Oh my… Are you okay, Jongdae?”
You jumped immediately to his side, checking his appearance if he’s hurt or anything. He doesn’t look like it though, thankfully.
“No, I’m okay.”
He smiled but urgently look behind him in concern. He has scratched the car with your luggage.
“Oh, my gosh! I am so sorry, sir. Are you okay?”
A girl promptly comes out of the car with a jump. Her eyes were blown up in worry. She was really pretty. Her long, black silky hair flowing through the pre-evening breeze. Her cheeks flushed in sheer embarrassment. Her slim but toned figure looks stunning with her cute flowy dress.
“I wasn’t paying attention, I was in a rush. I–I’m so, so sorry…”
“I–I’m okay, not hurt, or anything... But I–I scratched your car. I, uhh… I was swinging the thing carelessly.”
You notice that Jongdae noticed that she was indeed pretty and he started stumbling his sentences on his tongue. You rolled your eyes and almost laughed at his staggering words. Ugh, men...
“Oh no… My new car.”
Her face fell, lips jutting out cutely like a lost child. And you can feel Jongdae melting. He likes that stuff, he’s weak for it.
“Ugh, I have no time for this. My boss is almost here… Know what, let’s exchange info and talk about this next time. Here are my insurance details and my business card.”
The girl took out two cards from her wallet and extended her hands for Jongdae to take the cards from her. Jongdae scrambles to his feet and grabs his wallet from his jeans back pocket and also took out one business card from the inside.
The both of them exchanged info and settled with a smile.
“Mr. Kim Jongdae… I will call when I have time. I am so sorry again, I have to go.”
She flashes another pretty smile both your ways.
“No, it’s fine. I’m sorry about your car.”
You elbow Jongdae’s side when she was making her way inside the arrival area building and he was still following her back with his eyes as she made her way in faster than the speed of lightning.
Jongdae looks about he finally woke up from his daydreaming after you nudged him for the second time.
You smile knowingly at him and looked at the card in his hand and reads the name ‘Liu Yanmei’ and a couple of telephone numbers and other pieces of information.
“Cute name for a cute face.”
You teased and he laughs and nudges you right back before he continues to put your luggage on the car compartment again.
Jongdae helped you settle in the apartment that you will be sharing with him for the next five months, he said he has been keeping the quaint place tidy and clean for you and you thank him for his consideration. Ever since your operation a little over two years ago, your lungs have been a bit sensitive with dust and other similar allergens. Your sinuses are especially not fond of flowers, that’s why it when spring comes you literally have to stay indoors or wear ugly and uncomfortable masks instead of enjoying its beauty like you always used to do.
After settling in a bit, you both decided to go out for dinner since it is your first night in Beijing. He found a great small hole in the wall restaurant just right around the corner from the condo and he said they make the best zhajiangmian and jiaozi he has ever eaten in Beijing so far.
You notice that every girl or woman you encounter as you walk on by the streets to get to the restaurant always have a glint of something in their smiles when they see Jongdae walking past them. You mention to him how the ladies here like him a lot but he told you in good jest that he is only loyal to you. So you continue to walk while your arms are around each other, joking that it will make all the ladies jealous.
Jongdae abruptly stopped walking, making you halt as well when you were about to round the corner where the restaurant is located.
You ask and Jongdae is just looking ahead, mouth slightly ajar. You look towards where he was staring at and there was the car from the airport a while ago and the girl, Yanmei exiting the vehicle with…
His eyes widen when he saw you inside Jongdae’s hold with your left arm around his waist. You fist on the fabric of Jongdae’s jacket when you made eye contact with Yixing and everything came back to you like it was only yesterday...
It’s their graduation day. Baekhyun should be really excited. Him, his boyfriend Chanyeol and their friend Jongdae decided to prepare for the ceremony together in his apartment. He hired his makeup artist and hairstylist noona friend to help them get ready for the day.
He should be happy, excited and charged, but his mind is still somewhere else.
He couldn’t stop thinking you and your operation.
Immediately, right after the ceremony, the three of them will go straight to the hospital for your operation. God forbid, whatever happens to you later today, he should be there to morally support and pray for a successful Hanahaki excision.
As the three were talking, the makeup artist styling Chanyeol’s hair and joking about, Baekhyun suddenly stood from his seat and proceeded to the door. Eyes focused, almost burning a hole through it.
“Where are you going?”
Chanyeol calls out, the three of them stopped their activities and look towards Baekhyun.
“I’m telling Yixing.”
Was the only thing Baekhyun said before storming out and on to Yixing’s apartment just a few doors down, ignoring Chanyeol and Jongdae’s protests. When he was about to knock, he noticed that the door was slightly ajar and he pushes it open to see a lot of people inside Yixing’s apartment.
Baekhyun greets, suddenly shy and hesitant. About five sets of eyes turn towards him, including Yixing. His eyes light up when he sees Baekhyun in his space.
“B–Baekhyunnie? Come in...”
Yixing walked towards him who was just glued at the front door.
“Baekhyun, this is my family. My Baba, Mama and my grandparents…”
Yixing wraps his arm around Baekhyun and pull him forward inside as he introduces him to his family like they haven’t been not talking in the last four months. The two female elders wrapped Baekhyun in warm embraces like he was part of the family as well.
“We have heard so much about you. Our Yixing said you’re like his best friend here in Korea.”
The two said. After a while, Baekhyun finally got to pull Yixing outside on the apartment building hallway when the four elders all fell in their own little conversations.
“We need to talk, Hyung…”
“Baekhyunnie, I know. But let me just say sorry first. I’ve been really distant and ty these past few months. I–I have just been dealing with a lot, and I...”
Yixing trail his sentence, the words just disintegrated on his tongue and he just lay his head back down in guilt and shame.
“Hyung, I know how you… No, actually I don’t know how you felt, but I do understand…”
Baekhyun took a deep inhale, trying to stabilize his already shaking voice before speaking again.
“But… Sunshine… She’s your soulmate.”
When he heard those words, Yixing just nods his head a few times, tears already streaming down his face and he swipes them with his suit blazer sleeves.
“I know… Professor Lee told me. And… I can’t face her with me like this, hung up on her sister. That’s why I was avoiding her. I was still hanging on to the last string of mine and Sunye’s memories together and I know how ty Sunshine must have felt because of me.”
Yixing continues to sob. Baekhyun let out a single humorless chuckle and Yixing was kind of taken aback by his action.
“You think she felt ty? No, hyung it wasn’t just ty for her, it was very difficult. She has Hanahaki because of you!”
Baekhyun chokes on his emotions and Yixing’s mouth fell open. His heart sank when the truth about you suffering because of him hit him like a speeding twenty-wheeler truck on the highway.
Chanyeol and Jongdae came out of the apartment when they heard the commotion the two were causing.
“Wh–Where is… Where is she right now?”
“She’s at the University Hospital, preparing for her surgery instead of preparing for our graduation.”
Jongdae pipes up with implication when Baekhyun couldn’t talk because of crying. Chanyeol consoling his boyfriend and looks at Yixing with sad accusing eyes.
Without saying or questioning any more, Yixing ran.
He ran and ran.
His feet automatically knows where to take him.
His head running a mile a minute with thoughts of you.
His heart beating as fast as his feet go.
And his tears running down from his eyes non stop as he continues to run to get to where you are.
Running straight to the private rooms, Yixing saw your mother being consoled by your father.
Sunmi was there as well, with her soulmate, crying.
She saw her and when he got to them, Sunye immediately met him halfway ready to throw slaps.
Yixing is prepared to take them all, but the collision never happened because the raging and exasperating Sunye was stopped by Minseok.
Your mother burst out crying again as she hugged him. He couldn’t believe that she’s still kind to him even though everything is his fault.
“I–Imo, w–wh–what happened?”
Yixing’s lips quiver, his heart sinks to his stomach. What if the operation was a fail? What if you’re laying there barely hanging on or worst, lifeless. Already gone because he was selfish.
“Because of you, she is not herself right now!”
“I told you, Yixing, I ing told you the moment I saw her name on your wrist that you come to her. But you didn’t!!! Now she’s not herself anymore. And she won’t be in the many more months to come!”
Sunye is all out hysterical and your mother crying without stopping, her whole face flushed and swollen.
“Yixing, go inside if you wanna see her, there might still be hope…”
Your mother finally lets go of her hold on Yixing, coaxing him to come inside your hospital room. With a slow movement, Yixing slides the door open.
“I didn’t completely remove the Hanahaki root because the healing process will be slow and painful if I did. Feelings may come back, but with the help of your prescription, you won’t get any more longing symptoms. It’s up to you wanna continue with your medications. But there is also an option for alternative remedy and your doctor will talk to you about it.”
Your surgeon smiles before excusing herself. When he started backing up and not blocking your view, you saw there by your door was Yixing.
Your heart almost stirred, but the new supply of pain medication they injected to your IV just now are already starting to take effect. So just sat there, staring at him void of any emotions. The pain was no more. The strong feelings you had for him just hours ago is just a mere memory to you now.
You almost wanted to say something when he went up next to you, looking at you with such sad eyes that only wanted to pour out all the emotions he has been keeping in there but couldn’t.
He was speaking softly about how sorry he was, and how he feels so ty about ing things up with you. But you couldn’t say anything back. You were still too weak from just waking up. And highkey too tired to even try anymore.
His voice came out softer when he mentioned your name. You haven’t heard that nickname spoken with those handsome lips in a very long while. And you let your heart beat again for him. Come to think of it, you never let it beat erratically like this for anyone. It’s still him. And it will always be him. Your heart swells and you flare your nose, trying to suppress your wildered emotions. You offered him a small smile as both you and Jongdae let go of each other.
“Mr. Kim Jongdae? Fancy seeing you here.”
Yanmei’s surprised chirp penetrated through the thick aura that was starting to build around the three of you.
“You know them?”
Yixing asks, regretfully leaving his focus on you to acknowledge Yanmei.
“Oh no, not really, Sir. But we had a little incident at the airport a while ago.”
Yanmei answers shyly. Did she just call him Sir? Yixing is probably the ‘boss’ she was speaking about a while ago at the departure area. How weird is it that you bumped into someone who knew Yixing.
“Oh, that’s why you have that little scratch on your car?”
“You know them, sir?”
Yanmei asks curiously.
“Yeah, they were my college friends…”
Yixing laughs shyly, to steam out a little pressure from his chest.
“Yeah, sorry about your car... Again. I’ll contact your insurance company soon.”
“How about we talk about this over dinner.”
Out of mind, you suddenly blurted out, even Jongdae were surprised with your action.
“YES! I–I mean… Yes, I’d like that.”
Yixing replies, quite enthusiastically.
Both of you smiled absent-mindedly, rubbing your wrists simultaneously. Unbeknownst to each other that your names are still strongly imprinted on your skins.
Yixing is like the petrichor. That smell the earth produces when rain falls. It makes your stomach upset but you can’t get enough of its pleasant scent. Just like how Yixing makes your heart ache, but can’t get enough of his presence. He’s the cause and cure of your heart’s imminent torture.