Warning: This is a mood fic—just feels and images and fluff and bits of Barcelona.
Length: 1707 words
Disclaimer: My apologies if there are any inaccuracies with the Mandarin and Spanish in this fic.
Summary: Yixing finds out the real meaning of home
Notes: Written as part of the Write-all-the-Lay-ships Project on orange_unicorns. Do click on the link and check out Yixing fics written by amazing writers!
The drizzle is coming down in chantilly sheets and Yixing looks up warily at the gathering clouds. His hair is already starting to twist and curl in the humidity as he reaches inside his black leather backpack and finds it—it being a collapsible scarlet umbrella with a chestnut handle and white unicorns hand painted onto the panels. Yixing had bought it in the Plaça del Pi when he was a high school student in Barcelona and he’s kept it safe for ten years now. It’s a little faded and wilted around the edges after a decade of wear and tear but it still works well. Yixing loves it because it makes him feel just a few steps closer to the city of his heart.
Free to enjoy the rain now that he’s sheltered by prancing white unicorns, Yixing exits the Seoul Metro station and steps onto the puddle-splattered sidewalk. It’s a relaxed ten-minute walk to the apartment he calls home in this city which isn’t really his home. But Seoul isn’t so bad as cities go and it’s only two hours and fifty minutes by air to Changsha when he feels like sipping on Nainai’s special ginseng tonic broth, or going on nature walks with Baba, or visiting art museums with Mama.
After fifteen years of living in Barcelona, his parents had decided, after all, that it was time to return to China. And besides, Yixing’s only surviving grandparent is getting on in years and needs watching over. Baba’s mother is 83 years old and her knees are weak and her eyes a little rheumy now, but she is still the best cook in Changsha as far as Yixing is concerned. So Yixing happily travels back to China to spend time with his family—sometimes on his own, and sometimes not. But Changsha isn’t really home either.
He strolls along—watching with something like bemusement as people stride and skitter past. Everyone’s always in such a hurry but Yixing likes to move slowly so he can take in more details: people, buildings, colors, lines and shapes. Everything is fodder for the imagination. A potential seed for designs he comes up with on his drafting table. But sometimes, sometimes he doesn’t want to observe so much as absorb the sights. And when it rains, he misses Barcelona. He misses Barcelona and homesickness overcomes creativity.
It’s spring and the city is festooned with pink and white cherry blossoms and the occasional pale magnolias. Cherry trees line the sidewalk he’s traveling on, the dark branches weighed down by waterlogged blossoms. The petals look almost like they’ve been bruised and diluted by all the moisture and Yixing is suddenly overwhelmed by longing for a completely different kind of flower. It’s warmer in Barcelona in spring than it is in Seoul, and Yixing misses the robust purple and vibrant pink of the jacaranda blooms that line the streets back home.
The yearning for Barcelona. . .it's something Yixing can usually keep at bay but all of a sudden, the thick emotion floods his skin with such intensity it's almost a physical ache. He misses the Spanish city's peculiar mishmash of avantgarde Modernist architecture and classical Gothic buildings. He misses the magnificent stained glass ceiling of the Palau de la Música Catalan. Structures in Seoul are mostly utilitarian, angular blocks of glass-steel-concrete and Yixing misses the bizarre, organic contours and curves of the Casa Batlló and the magical lines of the Sagrada La Familia, where nothing makes sense but it doesn't even matter.
He misses curling his tongue around the rolling syllables of Spanish words. Hangul is still a little alien to him even after five years of being with him and after three years of living in Seoul. He misses sipping bittersweet sangria and eating tapas on the terrace of his favorite tapas bar near Las Ramblas, as he watches street artists juggle flaming torches and Andalusian dancers give impromptu flamenco performances in the square. He can almost taste the rich flavors on his tongue and it makes an exquisite kind of ache in the back of his throat.
Letting out a long sigh, Yixing decides that this weekend, they'll cook some gambas al ajillo, pimientos de Padrón and patatas bravas. They'll whip up a huge jug of sangria blanco and they'll dine out on the balcony. They won't be sitting in the comforting, slightly sticky warmth of the Mediterranean spring so it won't quite be Barcelona but it will be good enough. Maybe it's the atmosphere and pulse of Barcelona he misses more than anything. Seoul has its own rhythms and he likes them well enough but they don't resonate with him. Yet. But one day. Maybe.
Abruptly, the rain comes to a halt and Yixing shakes the drops of liquid off his red umbrella. He's about two hundred steps from his apartment building and he quickens his pace as images of Barcelona swirl in his head and his heart, unsettling him. There's only one thing that can help right now. Only someone.
Carefully, Yixing slots the wet umbrella into the steel stand they have by the main door. There are no sounds in the apartment aside from the ticking of the wall clock in the dining room. Where was he? He'd left the office a couple hours ago, saying he had to visit a construction site across town and run a few errands on the way home. Maybe he's caught up in traffic, Yixing sighs. Disappointed, he shrugs off his light jacket and hangs it in the hall closet. Then he turns to face the simple, wood-framed mirror on the wall and finger combs slightly wavy, slightly damp honey brown hair; he hates rain induced frizz.
He looks around the apartment and it's welcoming in its own way. There are traces and pieces everywhere of them both—the navy blue and forest green throw rugs they picked out together, the antique wood coffee table, the sofas and armchairs upholstered in garnet because red is their favorite color. That's how they'd met in Barcelona five years ago—hands reaching out for the same scarlet knit scarf at the same time, both looking up at the same moment when they'd felt a resisting tug.
It had been the last one in that color and the tall stranger had said, in heavily accented halting Spanish, you have it. I'll take the green one. I like green too. And Yixing had loved the way he tried so hard to wrap his tongue around the foreign syllables. He looked Korean, not Chinese, but Yixing took a chance and spoke to him in Mandarin—telling him, no, you can have it. Relief had flooded the man's features as he replied in fluent Mandarin. His intonation wasn't perfect but Yixing could understand him well enough. He'd insisted Yixing take the scarf and Yixing had agreed on the condition that he allowed Yixing to buy him a cup of coffee. Coffee had evolved into lunch dates, lunch dates into dinner dates, dinner dates into sleepovers, sleepovers into moving in. Two years later, Yixing had found himself living and working in Seoul—content to be with him.
But today. . .today, Yixing is not happy to be in Seoul because he wants Barcelona in the worst kind of way. Unfortunately, it will be months before their work schedules will allow an extended trip to Spain so Yixing will just have to deal with things for now. He'll start by making tapas and sangria blanco this weekend. And they can watch a Spanish film on Netflix after dinner—perhaps Fernando Trueba's Belle Époque? It won't be anywhere near the same as actually being in Spain but it can be good too.
Feeling better already, Yixing enters the study that lies beyond the living area. It's a large room with ceiling-high, plate glass windows that illuminate the space with natural light. They both have their own work areas with architect desks on opposing ends of the room. And somewhere at the mid-point, there's a glass wall covered in strong, mint green lines and arcs, with mysterious configurations of numbers. Yixing's eyes travel over the glassboard marker tracings, squinting a little against the light bouncing off the glass. Things have changed a fraction from last night and Yixing smiles. He must be home after all.
He stares at the newly added numbers and lines, his forehead wrinkling. It's often a strain on the eyes—staring at things on the glass wall—but Jongin has always favored aesthetics over practicality and Yixing likes to indulge him as much as he can. Besides, this is a collaborative space where they can put down their ideas for the Art Centre annexe they're designing together. Frowning, Yixing tries to make sense of the neatly written figures in his head in a determined attempt to push away the images of Barcelona which keep trying to climb over the wall he's erected. Fingers of melancholy and nostalgia are just beginning to creep over Yixing's consciousness again when strong arms reach around him and a warm chest presses against his back.
He hears the whispered words as Jongin turns him around so they're facing each other, only three centimetres apart in height. Perfect for kissing, Yixing thinks as Jongin leans closer. Their lips touch as Jongin pulls him in for a tender hug. An end-of-the-day, I-missed-you-hug that Yixing allows to sink into his bones and recharge him. Jongin's hugs are comfort and solace and everything. They always have been—both in Barcelona and in Seoul. And so Yixing forgets to be bleak as he breathes in Jongin's soapy scent and drinks in his coffee colored eyes, his beautiful face, his ash pink hair.
"You're home," deep chocolatey tones tickle his ear and the corners of Yixing's lips lift in response as he realises that Jongin is right. It doesn't matter where they are and which city they live in. It's Jongin that matters.
He’s right, Yixing thinks as his husband kisses him, I am home.