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the stars still spell your name

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cold sheets weren't very comfortable. maybe on summer days when the house grew too hot, or when you're sick, but in this very moment, they felt horrible. they didn't belong on his bed, he wanted a warm body next to him instead.

it hasn't been very long. in fact, it's only been about a week since it happened. the thoughts in his brain swirled around, making him wonder again what exactly happened, where everything went wrong. doing this was never good for him, and perhaps he knew; but that never stopped him from thinking. honestly, chan was a thinker, and it either pushed him forward or held him back.

he rolls over, taking in the cold sheets. his warm skin is such an amazing contrast. he wishes he wasn't alone here, wishes that he had the boy back and in his arms, a giggle falling from his lips and teasing words being thrown around in the air. chan really did miss it, no matter how much he told his friends that he didn't.

lying was something that chan has grown used to doing. they always slip off his tongue in order to defend himself and keep his real feelings hidden. deep down, he wanted to actually full on cry to his friends, sob in their arms, admit that these feelings made him want to crawl away and hide for the rest of his life. yet he couldn't tell them the truth. everyone expected him to move on quickly. forget the boy, they would say, he was just a small excerpt in your novel.

his fingers grazed over the material beneath him. they've both laid here, together and apart. movies playing on the television on their wall, eyes locked on eyes and hushed words said to one another. sweet "i love you"s and gentle touches. they were like a fairy tale, falling in love. chan really did miss it.

but what did he miss more?

he missed the things he gained from the relationship. the physical contact on the daily, even when they were arguing and fighting. they never hurt each other physically, never laid a rough hand on one another. every single touch they shared remained soft and gentle, and chan has felt so thankful for that. he missed having arms wrap around his neck as he wrapped his own around the other boy's waist, whispering kind words and pressing soft kisses into even softer skin.

yet, he missed the other things. ranting about something at two in the morning because it's plaguing your mind and your boyfriend offers to listen. telling him proud you were of him, rightfully claiming and telling him how beautiful he was. he missed expressing his emotions out loud, he missed having that body next to him to speak to when no one else  was going to be around.

a sigh falls. he could be thinking too hard into this already. always allowed to miss people, never allowed to fix it. he couldn't fix this, either. not when it was mutual and already broken, not when he would be called weak for crawling back to someone who said they should stay away from one another.

he has his moments. the times when he thinks about picking up and dialing the first number in his list. crying over the phone, begging for his return, because what else can you do? chan already has lost every ounce of motivation he once held, all because there was nobody to remind him that what he was doing was okay.

did he depend on other people too much?

no. he was independent; he did everything he wanted. moving from australia to south korea and back to australia again; that was his idea. it was an adventure, it was the most exciting thing he's done on his own in a while. he doesn't like following other people's directions - such as minho telling him to move on. why would he do that? he's not ready yet.

but he is dependent. he was dependent, and it hurts a little too much. maybe he had a slight thing for praise and compliments (really, who doesn't?), but they pushed him to really do better. he misses a voice in his ear guiding him along, reassuring him that he would come out okay, that this wasn't all for nothing. times when he wanted to doubt, when he wanted to give up, there was that sweet voice in his ear, reminding him that he could do whatever he put his mind to.

motivation has been lacking since. his greasy hair and tired eyes are a telltale sign; sleep was hard to find anymore, and it was hard to get himself to realize that self care was a real thing. sometimes his friends would stop by with takeout food, and since it's only been a week, it's happened four times, each time with a promise of him repaying them back. then they would sit with him in his room, attempt to get him to get up and shower, only to be shot down because chan can't imagine getting out of bed.

he doesn't want to be like this. in fact, he wasn't aware that heartbreak hurt this much, even if he didn't want to admit it was heartbreak. mutual agreements shouldn't feel so horrible, but yet it made him want to break down all over again, clutch his pillow, sing himself a lullaby and find out if dreams do come true.

the phone on the nightstand called his name. it wouldn't be hard to just type a message out and send it to his (once) love. wouldn't be hard to call his name and strain his ears to hear him call back.

the more he thought, the more it started to hurt.

maybe he was actually better off on his own.

 

-

 

it was the ninth day without the person he used to love before chan pushed himself into scorching hot bath water.

he squeezed his eyes shut as he forced his body in, feeling the way his skin began to burn from how hot he made it. not that he meant to do it; he just turned on the water and forgot to set the cold water on. it was his fault, just not intentional.

after a minute of struggling, he finally relaxed, putting his head against the wall. the wall was freezing compared to the water, so while his head was cold, the rest of him burned. taking  a bath was probably useless, since no one would even see him for a while. what did it matter if his hair was greasy? at least he was alone.

the bathroom was quiet.

he can remember shared baths. chuckles and yelling, splashing water onto each other like they were kids. but then there were the days when they were both stressed and just laid on each other, pushing hands through each other's hair to clean. chan loved those days; the relaxing ones where he could just enjoy his lover's presence without worrying that things were going to crumble.

chan hated silence. he wanted sounds. he wanted to hear laughter bounce off the walls and echo back to him, wanted to hear a voice yelling from the kitchen, asking what they should eat for dinner. he just misses the background noise and not the silence; because with silence came more thoughts.

two hours later, chan managed to pull himself out of the tub, grabbing a towel from under the sink and wrapping it around his shoulders. he didn't care about the wet footsteps he left on the tiles or how he could see them on the floor of his bedroom.

without even thinking about it, he pulled out a hoodie from the closet and shoved some other comfy clothes onto his body. the material clung to his wet chest, his blonde hair dripping onto his forehead and into his eyes.

was it normal to miss someone?

so chan took a seat on his bed, pulling his knees up to his chest. he missed him, more than he thought he could. and for what? what was the reason? why did this one boy mean so much to him, why did the thought of him never being near him again hurt so much?

 

-

 

"i already promised you i would be okay. stop stressing so much, minho," chan sighs out, grabbing a muffin as they checked out with their food. the younger boy only looked at him from the corner of his eye, clearly not believing him a single bit. "i'm getting somewhere. haven't thought about him in a few days, but you just ruined the streak now."

sure, he was guilt tripping. making it seem like minho was really the bad guy here, when there was no way that he was. maybe that was just something chan did to get attention off of him. although it was such a bad thing to do, chan just didn't want to deal with answering questions anymore.

at that, minho had finally looked away, handing some bills to the lady at the counter before leading them back to their table. there was also jisung, minho's boyfriend, someone who chan hasn't met often.

minho and jisung were in love. in actual love, thought chan. they held hands in public, and chan was sure they rubbed circles into the skin. they kissed each other's cheeks, smiling after the deed. they looked at each other in the eyes, sparkles showing and smiles showing again, and it was starting to make chan sick. they were in love while he was heartbroken over a boy, who, in fact, he met because of jisung.

honestly, chan didn't know why minho liked jisung. the youngest loved to talk about anything and everything, and sometimes, chan despised it. he also hated how minho stared at him like he was the whole world. listened to every word, curious on what his boyfriend had to talk about, and for some reason, the only thing chan could think was about how fake they were.

no one could just listen to the same stories over and over. fall in love with someone who never shut up. it made chan's blood boil, because yeah, maybe he was just jealous he didn't have that anymore.

"hi, baby," minho whispered as they sat down, kissing jisung right on the lips. it was chaste, sweet, but chan still frowned, setting his coffee and muffin down on the table. a smile spread over the youngest's face.

chan tried to tune them out as he nibbled on the baked good, having no interest in what they were planning to do the following weekend. he didn't even know why he accepted minho's invite to come out; he missed his bed and sulking around, missed being able to mumble about how heartbroken he was to himself. around these two, he had to suck it up and act as if it never had any effect on him.

now he was starting to feel guilty. guilty for hating jisung because he was literally perfect for minho. hated him for introducing him to felix, who only ended up hurting him in the end and never coming back. chan was hurting more than he thought, and suddenly, he wanted to leave the dumb coffee shop and make his way back home.

he looks up when he hears minho call his name. "chan, do you need anything for the week? i can go grocery shopping with you or something."

suddenly all chan can think about is how bad of a friend he's really been to his friends.

his face starts heating up as he looks away, not noticing how worry starts spreading into the two other boy's features. his throat feels like it's closing; wow, he thinks, this really does hurt.

before he knows it, minho is sitting at his side with a hand on his shoulder, telling him to breathe and just calm down. chan tries, squeezing his eyes shut as a shuddered breath leaves his lips, and tears start stinging in his eyes. he's tried so hard not to cry over felix, not let himself feel what he didn't want to feel.

minho's trying. he's trying to be that reassuring friend he knows chan will need. although, minho is never like this. he's not gentle with everybody, he's not soft. he's full of jokes and teasing, ready to show people love through more than just kind words. but with chan heartbroken, with felix staying at changbin's, with jisung coming to him in such panic these nights, it's all fallen away.

he's become the worried boyfriend. the worried friend. all he wants to do is provide that comfort that everyone seems to be missing, he wants to prove to everyone that they are worth more than they feel. so when he notices chan is crying, muffin and coffee forgotten, he doesn't waste time to try to get jisung to help him.

they're both wrapped around him, ignoring looks from other people in the cafe. chan is sobbing hard, not even daring to move a muscle, his whole body seeming to go limp except his sobs that make him bounce. minho can feel his whole entire heart just fall to the bottom of his stomach and just roll around.

"come on, channie," he tries, which only makes the oldest cry harder. "tell me what's wrong, yeah?"

he feels chan lift his head, and minho starts to really take in his features. his eyes are puffy and red, like he's cried a million times before now. but that wasn't the case. he was just finally crying so hard, finally letting all the pent up emotions bubble over, letting everyone see his true colors.

"i miss him," he cries. "i say i don't but i do. i miss him and i can't have him back."

from behind chan, jisung frowns and hugs chan. "i bet you do, hyung. but there's nothing you can do now. felix… i think he's moved on."

minho's arches an eyebrow. he didn't know that. felix was already moving on? it's been a week and a half, there was no way he would just move on and forget chan, someone who gave him his all when nobody thought he could. chan, who bragged about felix, who loved felix more than anything in the world, who got hurt in the end.

"i don't know what to do. i want to call him. everything reminds me of him. i can't do anything without him," the oldest rambles. "i'm so unmotivated. i can't get out of bed. take a shower. i can't make food. why does this hurt more than i thought?"

it hurt because of his dependency. he depended on the other aussie too much, and in the end, his heartbreak tore the last thread. he was now alone, alone with nowhere to go, scared that he's going to fall back down and fail.

minho can't say anything. he's scared for chan and he wishes he would smile again. he missed being able to send teasing texts in the morning, misses being able to swing by chan's place whenever he wished. now his door is always locked, now chan doesn't answer texts often, now all he does is frown.

if chan was broken, minho thinks they all were.

 

-

 

night falls and it's the same feeling only repeated a million times worse. chan thinks his insides are going to cave in, thinks his heart might stop, thinks that maybe there's nothing that can ever make him feel better, no matter how hard he tries.

his fingers are gripping onto his own shirt, tears flowing freely down his face as he tries to not feel like the world was going to end around him. why was this so hard? getting over a boy who didn't mean to hurt him, getting over a boy who meant everything to him, getting over a damned boy.

chan thinks his love has gone to waste.

tonight is full of waiting. why was he hoping felix would call him after avoiding him for two weeks now. through tears, he takes a glance at the cell phone on his nightstand. the lock screen was just black so his friends wouldn't ask questions, but his home screen was them. it was him and felix, smiles on their faces.

felix was always beautiful to chan.

it's so cliche to compare freckles to stars and constellations, but chan would be lying if he said it wasn't one of his favorite things to compare the australian to. felix was full of stardust, making his entire soul light up against the dark, his smile heavenly when everything felt like hell. who was he, coming into chan's life and changing everything?

weird. weird that chan used to be a normal college student with a dream to pursue after and friends to fuck around with. before felix, he had a fuckbuddy who he visited often. after felix was introduced, he thinks he remembers the tears he cried to the boy he visited every night, scared about these feelings he was feeling for the red haired boy. it was weird, chan keeps deciding, that he fell in love with someone who ended up leaving.

who was he? chan. who was chan? someone who cried in the middle of the night over a broken heart, thinking to himself that he'll never find someone as beautiful and kind as felix was to him. someone who took baths at four in the morning, eyes glued on the water he sat in, thinking that there was no way he could ever find someone to hold him and take care of him in the way he wishes.

"what am i doing?" he asks himself, wiping away a stray tear. was he crazy for missing felix? was he pathetic for wishing he wasn't so alone? he can't stop thinking so bad about himself anymore, it felt like his whole world would never be the same again.

so when he finds himself calling a number that was at the top of his contact list, he finds himself not freaking out.

he doesn't care if felix doesn't pick up. he doesn't care if he answers. all he wants is a place to speak about what he's feeling, and sadly, maybe felix's voicemail will provide a safe haven.

once, twice, it rings. then, when chan thinks he's going to be okay that felix doesn't pick up the phone, a deep, groggy voice answers. "hello?"

he freezes.

another two second pause before the boy on the other side tries again. "chan, i know it's you. what's up?"

"i don't know," chan whispers back. he's angry about how calm felix is while talking to him, acting as if chan calling him is a normal occurrence. this wasn't supposed to happen. felix was supposed to be upset that chan interrupted his sleep, curse him out for even calling him when they said they would cut off contact.

yet, felix would never do that. what it all boils down to is that felix is felix; a warm hearted boy full of stars and happiness.

"that's alright. did you just need someone to talk to? i know it's hard for you to sleep sometimes," felix tries, and chan hears rustling on the other side, meaning the boy was now sitting up. it's confirmed when the younger yawns through the phone.

chan sits up as well. "i think i did. also didn't realize how bad i needed to hear your voice. i'm so sorry, fe."

a chuckle. "don't apologize, hyung. i understand that." chan feels himself calm down a bit. "i missed your voice too. i think about you a lot, you know. thought about calling you a few times, but i just couldn't bring myself to do it. i'm glad you did it. i'm a coward."

suddenly it feels like nothing ever happened to the two. they felt like they've just been best friends for years and are catching up. chan's heart is still broken, but as the night goes on, he feels it start mending itself slightly.

at three, felix yawns again. "i am tired, though, hyung. i want to meet up and catch up. see how you're really doing."

"i think i would love that," chan breathes, looking around his room. "i'm free on tuesday. we could meet up and grab some coffee. heard you moved on?"

"whoever told you that is absolutely wrong," felix laughs. "let me guess… jisung. he thinks i have a thing for my roommate, changbin, but i really don't. changbin just feels familiar and like someone i could lean on, not a romantic interest. what about you? anyone in your life yet?"

relief floods chan's chest. "i can tell you on tuesday. you need to sleep, felix."

"if you really make me wait until tuesday to know whether you're in love with someone, i think i will combust," felix jokes. "come on, don't do this to me, chris."

"i am in love, but i think it's not under best circumstances," chan answers, closing his eyes. "i think i'm still in love with someone who made me feel like i was also made of stardust, because he was full of it. is that pathetic? i'm trying to get over him and i think that with an ounce of closure, i can."

silence. again. chan doesn't think silence is the best answer, but he throws that away when he hears felix crying over the phone.

"i've been trying so hard , hyung." his voice is full of rush, like he couldn't believe his own words. "it's so hard. i can't find myself getting over you. i look at everyone else and just can't see what i had with you. are we both pathetic then?"

"not at all. it's hard to get over someone who meant the world to you. especially when they helped shape you into the person you are today. if we both found closure in each other, i think we could move on. we could fix what ripped us apart and try again, but then there's the risk of feeling this all over again." chan suddenly found himself saying everything that he's been looking for. "you're strong, felix. you've always been strong. i love you and i always will love you, whether you're my boyfriend or my best friend. never forget that, yeah?"

a sniffle, and chan can imagine felix nodding. "i think i want to try again. not yet. but when i make myself a better person for us both."
"you've always been the better person."
felix chuckles through his tears. "until i broke up with you. that was my lowest point. sadness doesn't last forever. i wish i just let you help me through it instead of going to my worst idea ever."

"you learn and you grow. that's what makes us human, bub."

when they hang up, chan can finally breathe out without feeling weight crushing his chest and holding him down. he felt better now. maybe it wasn't the kind of closure he was looking for, but it was reassuring.

even if they didn't get back together, they would forever be appreciative of how they work together as friends.

chan couldn't wait until tuesday.