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Baekhyun slid down next to Chanyeol, keeping a comfortable distance between them as to not scare his peculiar neighbor. “We’ve lived across the hall from each other for years now. I’ve never seen you socialize with anyone.”

“I-I socialize…” Chanyeol whispered, taking quick side glances at Baekhyun. “I socialize all the time…”

“Name one time.”

“This morning…this morning I meowed at a cat!”

“I meant socializing with people, Chanyeol. Humans. People who can respond to you.” He turned and watched as Chanyeol twisted his hoodie’s string around his fingers; Chanyeol’s eyes focused on his hands as he mumbled something under his breath. “What?” Baekhyun asked, turning his body fully to face his neighbor.

“What’s the point?”

“To fit in, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun sighed, turning towards his neighbor. “To not seem like an antisocial psychopath who talks to animals and-“

“Does that make you feel better?”

Baekhyun paused, swallowing the rest of his words as he stared at the tall man sitting adjacent to him, eyes questioning him. “What?”

“Talking to people; being social. Molding yourself to fit into the norm…does that make you feel better?” Chanyeol asked, his fingers still twisting the string. “I see you, Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun laughed, sliding a hand down his face. “Well, duh. I’m not a ghost.”

“No. I see you.”

“And so does everyone else.”

“I see the way you trudge home every day, dead tired from the long hours at work. I see the way you slap on that fake smile every time you see people around, but instantly drop it as soon as they turn their backs. I see the loneliness in your eyes; the sadness in your soul. I see you, Byun Baekhyun.”

“I-“

“You pretend like you’re happy; like you’re content with the way your life is going. You force yourself to make friends; to go out with people you couldn’t care less about. I see the way you hide your pain behind that beautiful smile and melodious laughter; how you turn everything into a joke to make it appear less important; less hurtful. But you’re only truly happy when you’re home; when you don’t have to worry about fitting in; about pleasing others. Home is the one place where you can be you; and every day, as soon as your hand reaches your doorknob to open the door, the tired, sad look in your eyes changes to something completely different. A calmness takes over. You seem more content.” Chanyeol paused, turned, and cocked his head. “You and I….we’re not that different, Byun Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun could feel the tears beginning to sting at his eyes as his hands clenched into fists at his sides. “SHUT UP!” he yelled, causing the taller male beside him to jump in fright. “WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” he yelled, fuming, clenching his eyes close as he pushed himself off the ground. “You know nothing about me,” he seethed, back now facing his neighbor. “So don’t even pretend like you do.”

Chanyeol flinched at the loud sound of the door slamming shut. He sighed, hands flopping down onto his lap. “When will you understand….Baekhyun,” he whispered, staring at the shut door. “When will you remember?”

 

 

May or may not (probably not) be continued...