Chanyeol had lived for hundreds of years and had witnessed thousands of seasons pass by him. He did remember being born during the Joseon dynasty sometime in the early 18th century in a small town that was now a major hub city in the region.
Although technically human, Chanyeol was one of the rare humans who were born with magical affinities and could go on to become wizards, witches or sorcerers depending on which field of magic they decided to pursue. Collectively, they were known as magicians. Among ten thousand humans, at least one would have the magical affinity and Chanyeol was one of them.
The spring of 1828 was the most memorable for him, although in the ways he didn’t wish it to be. It was the same time when the Joseon dynasty began to outlaw magic and those who practiced it.
Elsewhere around the world, other countries were also following suit, whatnot with tensions and discrimination against magical folk being higher than it ever was.
Most people did not understand magic and although magical practitioners often used their powers to aid others, there were also those who abused their powers and invoked fear in the eyes of non-magical practitioners. This invoked fear of magicians among the humans who viewed them as “different, “strange” and “dangerous”.
Initially, magical practitioners like Chanyeol were chased out of their country and stripped of their citizenship whereby they became stateless. Then, as humans made advancement in weaponry and technology to go up against magic practitioners, war and eventually genocide was launched against them.
The genocide was practiced by many countries and nations throughout the world. It was declared on a spring day when the flowers were in full bloom. It was made lawful by governments to publicly drag out a magician from their own homes and slaughter them on the streets in front of everyone else, magician and non-magician alike.
Chanyeol remembered that day vividly, when he had to witness his fellow magicians slaughtered and how their blood splattered on the petals of the flowers that were in full bloom.
On top of that, he could never forget the stench that was the smell of burning hair which reeked in the air for weeks to come, which had came from two different sources. Chanyeol didn’t know which was grimmer; the fact that the smell was coming from the burning dead bodies or the natural repulsive scent that came along with the dark magic from a certain magician, showing that even the frowned upon dark magicians were joining in on the fight to protect the other magicians who would usually scorn them.
By the end of the 19th century, only less than half of the initial number of magical practitioners was still alive. Magic was outlawed almost everywhere around the world.
During the war against magicians, there existed two camps of them; those who chose to hide out from the war against them and those who went out to resist it. Chanyeol was part of the former.
Chanyeol had survived the genocide by hiding in deep forests and living near mountains no human would ever attempt to reach.
Despite living a reclusive life in the deepest forests with harsh landscapes, Chanyeol still caught wind of a powerful magician known as “Camellia” because of the flower’s symbol they chose to identify with. Camellia was said to be a prominent magician in the resistance of their efforts to seek justice.
Some debated if Camellia actually existed as an individual, whether it was a role taken on by several magicians or whether it was just a persona created by the magicians in their fight against the humans. The one thing that was known was that Camellia’s magic had a rather distinctive smell akin to that of burning hair, leading some to believe that they were a dark magician because dark magic tended to have an accompanying horrid smell behind.
In the early 20th century, humans turned their attention to fighting wars against each other instead of against magical practitioners. The genocide against magicians was never declared officially over. It was simply forgotten and sidelined so humans could fight other humans instead.
The world wars were actually a time of peace for the magical folk because they were not being hunted by humans at the time.
After the Second World War, society had forgotten much about magical folks. By then, an entire generation of humans- who never seen magic or those who practiced it- had been born and grown into adults to bear children of a new generation.
Historical records on magic and the existence of magicians had been destroyed during the genocide. Now, they were largely forgotten and had nothing to prove that they really existed.
Although magicians were no longer persecuted and the ban on magic was lifted, magicians were basically non-existent and thought to be mere tales.
Those who still had magical powers like Chanyeol continued to live in hiding and young children who were born with magical affinity were not aware of their powers to know what it was, least to even use it.
Camellia wasn’t heard of again and some even believed that they had died, caught in the crossfire of the war of humans against humans. But still, the camellia flower remained as a symbol of remembrance among magicians against the horrors they had to live through.
Towards the end of the 20th century, magic was considered an urban legend or fantasy. There were those who believed it and those who disapproved it in favor of science and technology.
Like the few magicians left, Chanyeol still remained, unbeaten by the passage of time and the rough days he had been through.
Although it was peaceful for the magicians now, over time, Chanyeol had seen his own fellow magicians fall in love with regular folk or other magicians alike, whom they could not be with sometimes.
After the years of hiding and persecution, they too sought a normal life, which was almost impossible because of their differences and the need to keep magic a secret. There was still a heavy and lingering stigma and fear of being involved with a magical practitioner.
Although magicians were technically immortal, they were not invincible and unrequited love for them was very dangerous, as it meant contracting the Hanahaki disease which had no cure unless their feelings were returned.
First, it would be petals and then as the disease progressed, the victim would eventually be coughing up entire flowers. Then, they would die when the flowers grew roots deep enough in their lungs, as the victim would die painfully and slowly while choking on their own blood and the flowers.
The Hanahaki disease only affected magicians and somehow, it was like a curse to an already persecuted group of people like them. It wasn’t a surprise that magicians began to hide away from the rest of the world even more.
After burying one too many of his fellow magicians and seeing their numbers dwindle down by the passing day, Chanyeol decided that he had enough of it.
In the early 2000s, Chanyeol moved to a small homestead in the German countryside, where he lived alone and continued to practice his magic in secret, choosing to interact with as little people as possible.
By day, he ran an antique shop in downtown Seoul, which was actually a cover for his magic business where he would offer any of his services to those that were interested. Chanyeol was delighted to be able to return to his home country, although they had once followed policies to disown and kill magicians like him.
By night, he would travel back to his home in the German countryside with a magical door that could transport him between the places. There, it would still be daytime while it was already night in Seoul.
In both the shop in Seoul and his home in Germany, Chanyeol kept two walls clocks each; one to tell the time in Seoul and another to tell the time in Germany.
Because of this schedule, Chanyeol hardly if ever slept, using his magic to keep him going past what his body was capable of.
Chanyeol’s clients were mostly superstitious or spiritual people who still believed in magic and a few other magicians themselves who preferred if he did the job for them.
Because Chanyeol was a sorcerer, he was already meddling with the blacker side of the magic spectrum by nature, and most wizards and witches turned to him if they needed to. Often, these other magicians traveled far from different countries just to enlist his help.
His relationship with them was strictly professional and for work-related purposes only. After all the hurt and terror he had been through, Chanyeol wasn’t really intent on forming personal relationships with anyone anymore.
Business wasn’t exactly good. In a busy week, he’d get twelve people at most coming into his shop. And out of those twelve people, more than half of them were there to sell him some vase they found in their deceased grandmother’s attic or whatnot. Hardly anyone came for his magical services. That was if they could even believe in the existence of magic.
There was hardly anyone else who believed in magic and not many witches or wizards wanted to be affiliated with a sorcerer either because they were particularly known for being most likely to stray to the darker side of magic.
With no room to be picky, Chanyeol took almost any job he could get. Although he could be without any money and rely on just magic, he still felt the need to blend in with society and have a job like everyone else too, hence the antique shop front he ran.
Somehow, it also gave him a purpose and some reasons to feel accomplished with his mundane life, even on a small scale.
On one occasion, Chanyeol was hired by some witch to defeat Gremory, a dark wizard, who was practicing necromancy, a field of magic that was frown upon and which involved resurrecting the dead.
Chanyeol took up the job, only to discover that Gremory was way more powerful than he was, especially with his legion of the undead.
Chanyeol lost the duel and had to flee with his tails between his legs, also becoming heavily injured because of it.
He was less worried about not receiving the payment for the completed task and more about the fact that he wasn’t as strong and capable as he thought he was.
In the aftermath of his defeat to Gremory, Chanyeol went through his old sorcery books again and found the outlawed practice of blood magic, which was actually illegal to use because of its potency. Although the general public didn’t believe in magic anymore and thus, there was no more enforcement against using it.
The few remaining sorcerers did frown upon its use and even among them; it was considered a taboo as it was basically selling one’s soul to the devil in exchange for magical prowess’s.
Sorcerers were the only magicians capable of blood magic because their magic revolved around summoning, and unlike wizards and witches who drew their powers from nature and their surroundings, sorcerers expended their own spiritual energy to conjure magic.
Blood magic allowed a sorcerer access to a wide variety of summons which usually involved dangerous creatures thought to come from Hell itself. Blood magic also allowed a sorcerer to use powerful lethal spells that were especially for killing and destruction.
It was said that the moment the first drop of blood was given in exchange to use blood magic; the said sorcerer would be condemning their soul for all of eternity.
Although Chanyeol wouldn’t admit it, he was still very affected by his past trauma of being banished from his home country and later having almost the entire human race try to kill him.
Thus, Chanyeol believed that he if practiced blood magic, he would be strong enough to protect himself from any additional dangers that might come his way, especially this particular dark wizard he wasn’t able to defeat, whom Chanyeol feared would come after him again one day.
But Chanyeol didn’t want to be the one whose soul would be dragged to hell and tormented for eternity in exchange for practicing blood magic. He believed he had suffered enough while being alive and that he shouldn’t need to suffer more even after he was dead.
Chanyeol found a loophole that had been exploited by a few in the past and planned to use the blood of another sorcerer for the blood magic, although he would be the one to draw the powers from it.
Chanyeol had his eyes set on Kyungsoo, an assumedly younger sorcerer who worked in a flower shop just a few blocks down from Chanyeol’s antique shop.
All Kyungsoo used his magic for, was to summon nymphs and plant spirits to make his flowers bloom and grew healthily. The flower shop was owned by a human who was unaware of Kyungsoo’s magical powers and thought that Kyungsoo was just merely good with flowers.
It certainly did help the business to flourish, exponentially greater than what Chanyeol’s business was doing. In the eyes of the regular folk, Kyungsoo just appeared to be a regular florist and gardener with a gift for his occupation.
The strong scent of the flowers also helped to mask the natural scent that came from Kyungsoo’s magic, making it the perfect occupation for him too.
Kyungsoo was aware of Chanyeol being a sorcerer too, and sometimes he’d wave and smile at Chanyeol when the latter passed by his shop.
Sometimes, Kyungsoo would try to strike up a conversation but Chanyeol never stayed long enough to say more than a few sentences before removing himself from the encounter.
Kyungsoo could tell Chanyeol was keeping his distance and Kyungsoo respected that.
Occasionally, Chanyeol would receive flowers sent to his shop as a gift from Kyungsoo. The flowers were arranged intricately and they were the same ones every time; red camellias, which were a favorite among magicians due to it being a symbol of their freedom and resistance from older times.
The red camellias never survived long enough under Chanyeol’s care and he’d throw them out in the trash when they wilted after a few days. Chanyeol didn’t care for flowers and he never fancied them either, because it only served to remind him of how many of his fellow magicians he had buried after dying from Hanahaki.
Chanyeol wasn’t sure but it seemed like Kyungsoo was too young, by magician standards, to have lived through the genocide, and was born in already relatively peaceful times for magic practitioners.
It was the only way Chanyeol could explain why Kyungsoo was always so positive, happy and outgoing. Chanyeol didn’t understand how a magician who had lived through the genocide could be so cheerful and unbothered without being bitter about the past.
Chanyeol had planned it for a while and thought up of a way to use Kyungsoo as his personal “blood bank” to use for the blood magic.
In older times it would have been illegal but they were literally the only two sorcerers left in all of Seoul. There was no one to stop Chanyeol to tell him otherwise or warn him that what he was doing was wrong.
Chanyeol justified it as needing to protect himself against a fast-paced world where magic was dying out, in fear that one day the humans would just finish the job and finally eradicate the world of all magicians.
In mid-April, in the spring when the flowers were beginning to reach their full bloom, Chanyeol closed his shop up early that evening and waited in the park where he knew Kyungsoo would walk past every day to go home.
Chanyeol had been watching and observing Kyungsoo’s movements and routine since fall of last year and by now, he had it all memorized.
It was already dark but the park was adequately lit by the garden lamps at night. The temperature was still a bit cold at night in mid-April and the park was deserted at the time.
The pink blossoms growing on the trees in the park were almost at their full bloom. There was a gentle breeze that blew at times, rustling the branches on the tree, dropping pink petals that fluttered to the ground.
Like Chanyeol had planned, Kyungsoo was walking through the park. Kyungsoo’s hands were tucked in the pockets of his jacket. He was on the way home after the florist had closed up for the day.
Kyungsoo pushed up his glasses on the bridge of his nose with a finger as he walked with his head lowered and his back slightly hunching over, before putting his hand back into the pocket of the brown jacket he was wearing.
Chanyeol had used an invisibility spell to hide as he waited, also using another spell to mask his presence and traces of his magic. It wasn’t easy for an inexperienced magician to be actively using two spells at the same time, but Chanyeol was already considered a trained and seasoned magician for the time.
As Kyungsoo was walking down on the brick walkway between the trees in the park, he stopped to look up at the flowers as another breeze blew and rustled the petals.
Kyungsoo smiled to himself as he watched a petal slowly flutter down and then land on his shoulder. He was smiling but there was something melancholic about it. Kyungsoo closed his eyes and enjoyed the feel of the warm breeze on a cool night, blowing on his face.
But when Kyungsoo opened his eyes again and looked ahead, what he saw was a colossal and monstrous scorpion, easily the size of a stallion.
Kyungsoo knew this creature well from his studies; it was one of the beasts that a sorcerer could learn to summon. The monstrous scorpion was known for its poison properties, as well as having a venomous bite that could cause its victim to hallucinate before dying a painful death.
Kyungsoo, as a magician, would have been able to sense the magic by its scent but he was unable to do so, due to how well Chanyeol was masking it and the overwhelming smell of the blossoming flowers around him.
Kyungsoo loved the flowers and their smell but now it was actually a hindrance to him, as it prevented him from sensing the magic in the air.
On the spot, Kyungsoo summoned the elemental spirit, Hix, to help him against the scorpion summon. Hix was a fire spirit that Kyungsoo usually used to heat up and give light to plants during the winter.
Kyungsoo had not fully mastered Hix’s final form yet and had only learned to conjure up the spirit at its medium form. Kyungsoo was honestly new when it came to summoning friendly spirits. Because it was a friendly spirit too, Hix didn’t really stand a chance against the scorpion spirit whose specialty was in immobilization and killing.
Hix in its medium form appeared to be half as tall as Kyungsoo was, with the form of a humanoid spirit that had fire spouting of its head and limbs.
Hix pelted small fireballs towards the scorpion to halt it as the scorpion was baring its stinging pincers and screeching, attempting to get past Hix and towards Kyungsoo.
With Hix’s powers, Kyungsoo created a protective firewall between him and the scorpion that would last as long as Kyungsoo could keep Hix up.
In exchange for the ability to summon and sustain the spirits, sorcerers expended their own spiritual energy for every second the spirit spent in the material world. Expert sorcerers could sustain simultaneous and more powerful summons for longer times.
Hix continued throwing and pelting small fireballs towards the scorpion, protecting Kyungsoo from it but was injured badly through the process too.
Kyungsoo was very sensitive and receptive to a spirit’s feelings and pain, which was painstakingly fighting on his behalf.
Unable to watch Hix injure itself further, Kyungsoo de-summoned the fire spirit and returned it to the spiritual realm. The fire wall protection that Hix provided for Kyungsoo also vanished when Hix was gone.
Kyungsoo now had to face the scorpion face to face with no barrier between them. Kyungsoo thought of running but he didn’t want anyone else, or an innocent passerby to get injured. So, he knew he had no choice but to deal with it.
Kyungsoo cast a spell on the earth to create a hole in the ground, intending to swallow up the scorpion when it passed above the hole.
Chanyeol saw this happening and came out of hiding to quickly cast another spell on the earth that would temporarily block all ground-based spells for a limited time, including his own.
When Kyungsoo witnessed this, he knew instantly knew that another sorcerer was behind this, although he wasn’t aware of that person being Chanyeol.
Kyungsoo chose to focus on the scorpion first, despite sensing another sorcerer’s presence now.
Kyungsoo cast a spell on his arms to strengthen them to be as hard as a rock, before charging head on and grabbing the massive scorpion by its pincers.
Wrestling with the scorpion that was biting away on Kyungsoo’s arms, reinforced by the magic, Kyungsoo gripped hard enough to detach the scorpion’s pincers from its mouth.
Kyungsoo would rather not hurt any spirit if he could help it but he was forced to do so at the time. He didn’t mind getting hurt but he would never have peace if someone else was, when he could have done something to prevent it.
The scorpion shrieked, wailing like a banshee when Kyungsoo ripped its pincers off from its mouth. That was definitely something a regular scorpion wouldn’t be able to do.
Chanyeol de-summoned the scorpion once it was beyond use and before Kyungsoo could see who it was, he was struck from behind by a spell that pierced clean through his chest.
Chanyeol had another summoned lightning spirit nearby that he used to pierce a lightning rod through Kyungsoo, heavily injuring Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo fell to the ground, grabbing his chest where the lightning rod had made a clean entry in and out of him. Kyungsoo was heavily bleeding and breathing was hard too as blood began to fill in his lungs.
But Kyungsoo was determined to not die that day, not under the wind and the fluttering pink petals that continued to fall everywhere around him. That would such be a cruel way for him to go.
Kyungsoo could barely get up and run to save himself. He was too weak for any more spells or summons, and his mental state slowly became a hindrance too.
Kyungsoo was certain that he didn’t get poisoned by the scorpion summon but yet he began hallucinating that he was surrounded by flowers of all colors in a lush field where they grew prettily and abundantly.
The wind was cool yet warm there in his hallucination. All his friends and family who were long gone and dead were all there smiling, laughing and inviting him to come along with and join them. They held out their warm hands to him and looked happier than ever, a stark contrast to their cold hands and the horror permanently etched on their faces when Kyungsoo last saw them.
Even in a hallucination, Kyungsoo could feel how tired he was, how he was done with everything and how he just wanted to lie his head down in the bed of flowers and give up because it seemed like the easiest thing to do. Everything leading up to that moment in his hallucination had been so difficult.
Kyungsoo wailed in tears, reaching out his hand to them in the hallucination. Somehow, he knew it wasn’t real but yet he felt like it was. This was what could have been if magicians had been allowed to live and co-exist peacefully alongside humans.
In reality, when Kyungsoo reached out his hand, Chanyeol was the one who caught it. But Kyungsoo was too far gone to realize that now.
Kyungsoo only snapped out of his hallucination for a brief moment to see Chanyeol holding his hand, Chanyeol’s dark hair framing his face and swaying in the wind among the fluttering pink blossoms.
“Chanyeol…” Kyungsoo cried out, still holding hands with Chanyeol, now knowing that Chanyeol was responsible for all of this.
Chanyeol did not say anything in return and instead released Kyungsoo’s hand from his so he could remove Kyungsoo’s glasses from his face. Then, suddenly, Chanyeol stabbed Kyungsoo’s eyes with his fingernails, driving his fingertips into Kyungsoo’s eyeballs and into his brain within his skull as he cast the forbidden spell he had been preparing for.
Kyungsoo screamed out in pain, unable to stop Chanyeol as he continued to bleed out of almost every orifice.
Doing so, Chanyeol had stolen Kyungsoo’s memories and implanted fabricated ones into Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo was now all for Chanyeol to use and bend at his will. Chanyeol had violated the magician code of ethics but he couldn’t even start caring about it the slightest now.
That night, Kyungsoo disappeared from the human world he had been living and blending in with. He was missed by those who know him, from the owner of the shop to his apartment neighbors to his regular customers and even the delivery boy who made rounds at the florist.
They held a candlelight vigil for Kyungsoo outside the florists, planted missing posters everywhere and continued to look for him without knowing that he was actually alive in a place far away from there.
Chanyeol saw this and although he wasn’t fond of Kyungsoo too much, he still thought that it was rather ironic for humans to be holding a memorial and putting efforts into finding a magician, whom they had tried so hard to rid the world of just two centuries ago. If only they knew, Chanyeol wondered.
When some of Kyungsoo’s human friends came by Chanyeol’s shop to hand him flyers in an attempt to look for Kyungsoo, Chanyeol only smiled it off and lied that he’d tell them if he knew anything. He obviously knew things but he was not going to let them know at any cost.
Two of Kyungsoo’s sorcerer friends, Baekhyun and Jongdae, who lived a bit far away but still maintained contact with, heard about Kyungsoo’s disappearance and went all the way to Seoul to investigate.
Kyungsoo wasn’t the type of person to just disappear and abruptly cut contact with people, so they believed that foul play was possibly involved.
Even with their magic, they were not able to find Kyungsoo or any traces that could lead them to answer his disappearance. It was as if some other magician was using specialized magic to cover up their tracks regarding Kyungsoo’s disappearance.
In all of South Korea; other than Chanyeol, Kyungsoo, Baekhyun, and Jongdae, the only other magician was a kind old witch who was probably thousands of years old, who lived in a small house by the sea where she cared for many stray animals.
It wasn’t hard to put two and two together when Chanyeol was literally the only other sorcerer living within the next few thousand kilometers. Baekhyun and Jongdae suspected Chanyeol but they had no evidence or proof to back their theory up.
Chanyeol had foreseen Baekhyun and Jongdae, Kyungsoo’s two closest friends, coming after him. Therefore, he had taken the necessary precautions and made sure that they would not be able to trace Kyungsoo back to him, no matter how much they suspected him.
Kyungsoo was asleep for two months as he recovered, while his eyes healed and the new memories implanted in him took their time to form inside his mind.
While Kyungsoo was asleep in the upstairs bedroom of Chanyeol’s cottage in the German countryside, Chanyeol had been drawing small amounts of blood from Kyungsoo’s fingertip on a weekly basis.
It also occurred to Chanyeol that it was alright if Kyungsoo were to remain in a comatose state forever. He didn’t care and it would actually make things a whole lot easier for him.
But the time did come for Kyungsoo to wake up, and when he did, spring was over and it was already summer.
Chanyeol had just come into Kyungsoo’s room to check up on the latter which he did regularly when he saw Kyungsoo lying in bed awake with eyes blown wide.
“Kyungsoo!” Chanyeol called out, already making the mistake of using his real name when he should have thought of giving Kyungsoo a different identity instead.
Kyungsoo gasped, croaking, as he attempted to talk after not using his voice for months. After not using his body for so long, Kyungsoo was unable to get up by himself too until Chanyeol helped him into a sitting position.
Chanyeol arranged some pillows behind Kyungsoo’s back against the headboard of the bed so Kyungsoo could sit up.
Chanyeol thought fast and helped Kyungsoo put on his glasses, which had been sitting around on the bedside table for two months now.
“Can you see me now?” Chanyeol spoke slowly, low and calm, sitting on the edge of the bed so as to not crowd Kyungsoo.
“Who are you? Where am I?” Kyungsoo asked in return, with a soft and also unenergetic tone.
Kyungsoo then tried remembering who he was but he only had vague memories and images of the fabricated past that Chanyeol had implanted in him. It had worked for sure but now that Kyungsoo was finally awake, he still needed to be fully adjusted to them.
“It’s me, Chanyeol. I am your husband. We haven’t been married long actually but we have known each other for years. You were injured in a battle against a dark sorcerer two months ago and you have been asleep since then. You’re in our home in Germany now,” Chanyeol lied straight through his teeth, holding Kyungsoo’s hand reassuringly.
Kyungsoo heard and digested what Chanyeol told him, as the fabricated memories of him being married to Chanyeol began to grow more vivid and felt even more real in his head.
Kyungsoo “remembered” meeting Chanyeol when he was very young, gradually falling in love as they grew older and then having Chanyeol propose to him less than a year ago.
In Kyungsoo’s memory, he had a fake family and fake friends he grew up within a completely different place than the real one. He didn’t remember his actual friends and family, only the ones in the fabricated memory Chanyeol made for him.
In the fake memory, all of Kyungsoo’s fake family and friends were dead too, so there was no one else left whom he knew except Chanyeol.
Kyungsoo also remembered being heavily injured in a battle which took place in the spring night with pink blossoms and petals fluttering all around him.
Kyungsoo just didn’t remember that Chanyeol had been responsible for that attack and that he was never married to Chanyeol in the first place.
But somehow, even then, Kyungsoo could feel something was off when he felt absolutely nothing for Chanyeol. If they were married and known each other for so long, then why wasn’t he in love with Chanyeol? Why is it that he felt like he didn’t know anything about Chanyeol? Why is it that his supposed husband felt almost like a stranger to him?
Magic could fabricate memories but it couldn’t fabricate feelings because that had to come from the heart from one’s own will. And not even the strongest magic from the strongest magician could control one’s heart.
And also somehow, Kyungsoo’s memory felt off to him. He had the memories but it felt like he had never experienced nor lived through them. As if he was watching a movie and simply remembering what he saw instead of what he experienced.
Kyungsoo remained bedridden for a week or two after that as he slowly recuperated. Kyungsoo was only awake for a few hours after he woke up from the coma, and gradually he began waking up for longer periods of time as the days passed.
His memory was still fuzzy and he’d forget almost everything when he fell back asleep, only to remember them all over again when he awoke again.
While he was still recovering, Chanyeol stopped drawing blood from Kyungsoo. Because, soon enough, Kyungsoo would be the one doing it willingly for him.
In the meantime, it was Chanyeol who fed Kyungsoo, helped washed him up and changed his clothes. Chanyeol even helped clean Kyungsoo up after he accidentally peed on the bed and suffered from incontinence during his recovery.
Chanyeol happily entertained all of Kyungsoo’s questions as he was slowly trying to regain his memories, albeit the false ones Chanyeol had fabricated.
Chanyeol did everything for Kyungsoo while the latter was bedridden, becoming Kyungsoo’s sole caregiver.
Chanyeol had thought everything through to maintain and upkeep this façade of him being Kyungsoo’s husband. With nothing magic couldn’t help, Chanyeol bought clothes that Kyungsoo would wear and make them appear worn and used.
With magic, he also created fake pictures of him and Kyungsoo together, which he hung around the house to make it appear that they were indeed married and had been living together for a while.
He even had made wedding bands made to fit both his and Kyungsoo’s ring finger, which he slipped onto Kyungsoo’s finger to further reinforce this lie.
Kyungsoo also learned of Chanyeol’s shop in Seoul and how he traveled back and forth every day, from there to their home in the Brandenburg state in Germany.
Only when Kyungsoo was asleep did Chanyeol return to his shop in Seoul. Chanyeol played the role of a caring and loving husband very well, and somehow he felt something oddly calming about it.
It made him feel like he was actually making an impact and a difference to someone like he was accomplishing something and leaving a mark on someone or just anything for that matter. Chanyeol did not understand why he felt like that but it was the way it is.
Eventually, in a slow, gradual and cautious manner, Chanyeol introduced the concept of the blood magic and why he used Kyungsoo’s blood instead of his own for it.
With some help from magic too, Kyungsoo bounced back to full health very quickly.
Then, for the first time since he got there, Chanyeol brought Kyungsoo outside their countryside cottage.
They didn’t go far, just outside to the largely unkempt garden within the fencing of the house. It was supposed to be a sight that Kyungsoo had seen and was familiar with, but it still felt like it was the first time he had been standing there and looking out at the scenery.
There were scattered fluffy clouds in the blue sky and the garden could look a whole lot better whatnot with the overgrown weeds and the cracked, dry soil.
Their cottage with two floors was the only house within the vicinity. There was no other human or magician living near them for miles. Ahead of them were wide green pastures with forests in the distance and a small path leading up to their home and down to the road.
Kyungsoo sighed, watching the scenery in front of him with Chanyeol reassuringly placing an arm around his waist.
“You mustn’t go far. You should stay home here where you’re safe. Those other magicians who attacked you that night might still be after you, so it’s important that you are safe here,” Chanyeol advised.
“-but what should I do in the meantime? Don’t you need help with your shop too? Haven’t I always been helping you with that?” Kyungsoo asked, looking up towards Chanyeol, referring to the fabricated memory where he had been helping run Chanyeol’s shop all along before this.
“I can get by myself. It’ll be all right,” Chanyeol assured, “You can still help make me some spells while you’re home. Since you like flowers, you can fix up the garden if you’d like. It hasn’t been looking so good since then.”
“Sure then,” Kyungsoo lowered his head, looking to the ground and the overgrown weeds near his feet, “-but why were those magicians after me that night? Did I do anything wrong to anger them?”
“No, you didn’t,” Chanyeol bluffed, “They’re just dark sorcerers who don’t like the good ones like us. They use dark magic and the likes to gain an advantage against those like us.” Chanyeol gulped, pretending to be remorseful, “-which is why you meddled with blood magic for our sake. You’ve been using your blood in the spells to protect both of us from them.”
Kyungsoo looked up at Chanyeol and then at a finger where blood was drawn from with a needle just a few days ago. This time, it was Kyungsoo himself who had done so for Chanyeol, who mentioned needing the blood.
Kyungsoo did question and wonder about it but when Chanyeol put it like that, it seemed plausible and reasonable as to why he got involved in blood magic. And for Kyungsoo, on the other hand, it was believable that he would be giving away his blood for Chanyeol to use, because they were married, and it was normal for a husband to want to protect their spouse as much as possible.
Kyungsoo may have forgotten his old memories and everyone he used to know, but he could just feel that he and other magicians had been through some tough and tragic times too. And even though he was doing something forbidden by meddling with blood magic, it was for the sake of the bigger picture and that was keeping himself and his husband, Chanyeol, safe.
When it was daytime in Germany and Kyungsoo was awake, it was nighttime in Seoul and the antique shop was closed up at the time. Chanyeol was home around those times but he was almost always away or locked in his study, allegedly researching magic or out taking jobs from other magicians.
Once in a while, Chanyeol would come to Kyungsoo with a saucer and a needle, asking him for blood. Kyungsoo didn’t say much, despite the thoughts racing in his head and easily obeyed, pricking himself the needle and giving Chanyeol the few drops of blood the latter needed.
Kyungsoo never asked much about it and Chanyeol never talked about it either. They were supposed to be married to each other but Kyungsoo just couldn’t wrap his head around that fact. They seemed more like roommates instead of a married couple.
Therefore, even during a time when they could spend it with each other, Kyungsoo usually found himself alone and soon started to find things he could do to spend the time with.
For the first few months, Kyungsoo never left their house in Germany. He would stay at home tending to the gardens and the house; cooking, cleaning and even doing the laundry with some help from the friendly nymphs he summoned through magic.
Kyungsoo still remembered everything there was about being a sorcerer, although the current memories he possessed were false and fabricated. Therefore, summoning the nymphs to help him around with the household chores was not really much of a big deal to him.
The nymph’s appearance was that of a humanoid female that was no taller than a few feet tall. The tallest ones were barely higher than Kyungsoo’s waist level, and Kyungsoo was a bit below average height, to begin with.
Kyungsoo also seemed to somehow retain his gardening knowledge and quickly went to work on the unkempt garden in the yard, which Chanyeol never bothered to care for.
It was already September, towards the end of summer and beginning of fall. It wasn’t really a good season to start planting most trees and shrubs because most plants would be dormant during the incoming colder seasons.
With the help of earth nymphs, Kyungsoo had them fertilize and fix the dried soil that was in Chanyeol’s garden so it would be conducive for plants to grow in.
Then, Kyungsoo had some of the plant nymphs obtain him camellia seeds all the way from Japan so he could start planting them. Camellias bloomed in the winter and Kyungsoo thought that it was indeed the best flower for the timing.
So, in a few months, when it was winter and most of the plants were dormant, the camellias in the garden would be in full bloom. That way, there would be some life in the garden even in the coldest month.
Kyungsoo spent the rest of summer and early fall, constantly sitting on a stool in the garden as he tended to each and every plant, making sure they were growing healthy without problems.
Sometimes, Chanyeol would leave his study to get something to eat or a glass of water and he would see Kyungsoo from the window, gardening out in the yard.
Whenever Kyungsoo noticed Chanyeol there, he would wave and say hi from outside, reminding Chanyeol of how Kyungsoo used to wave at him when he used to pass by the florists. Almost all the time, because of the reminder, Chanyeol pretended to not see Kyungsoo there and continued along his way, ignoring Kyungsoo.
They were supposed to be a married couple who loved and wanted to be with each other so Kyungsoo honestly believed that Chanyeol did not notice him, refusing to even think that Chanyeol was deliberately ignoring him.
When it got colder to be outside for most of the day, Kyungsoo spent more time inside the house, although he still did spend an hour or two inspecting and watering the garden with the help of the water nymphs.
Now that Kyungsoo was spending more time in the house, he spent his time tending to the house with the help of summoned brownie fairies, who helped him with the household chores.
The brownie fairies were no larger than the nymphs and usually appeared to be stout. Kyungsoo was particularly fond of how easy they were to please. All he needed to do was leave some milk by the hearth in return for them helping him with the household chores.
While the summoned brownie fairy swept the kitchen, Kyungsoo was boiling potato stew in a pot on the stove. Kyungsoo lifted up the glass lid of the pot to stir the contents while it was still simmering. As he did so, a wave of steam rose up and fogged his glasses.
Kyungsoo quickly stirred the soup in the pot before closing the lid again and then taking off his glasses to wipe them on his apron so he could see clearly again.
As Kyungsoo was putting his glasses back on the bridge of his nose, Chanyeol arrived in the kitchen with a notebook held up to his face and a pen in his right hand, writing down as he went along.
Chanyeol was dressed in his usual clothes; a white dress shirt, a brown vest on top of the shirt and black trousers. Almost every magician seemed to dress like that except Kyungsoo who liked the combination of sweaters, t-shirts, and jeans instead.
Chanyeol did not notice the brownie fairy sweeping the floor beside him and almost tripped on it, apologizing as he moved away when the brownie fairy swung the broom at him, spewing swear words at him. Brownie fairies could get rather cranky at times.
“Hey, the food is almost ready. Do you want to eat together?” Kyungsoo asked Chanyeol from across the kitchen with a jovial tone.
“Sure,” Chanyeol replied, putting the book down and placing his hands on his waist, “-I came down here to eat too actually.”
“Wonderful! I’ll get everything ready then. It won’t take long. Just sit and wait a bit,” Kyungsoo expressed, rather cheerfully, retrieving bowls and plates from the kitchen cabinet as he scurried over to the kitchen table to set it out.
“I can wait,” Chanyeol muttered, watching as Kyungsoo darted back and forth from watching over the soup on the stove and setting the table for their meal.
Chanyeol did as he was told to, which was to sit and wait at the dining table in the dining area just outside of the kitchen. He continued to watch as Kyungsoo would appear in the dining area to put some more cups or spoons out for the both of them to eat with.
It had been a few months now since Kyungsoo had assumed this position of Chanyeol’s “husband” and housekeeper, although Chanyeol had to put up the façade that it had been like this for years now.
From what Chanyeol could observe, Kyungsoo seemed to have fallen into the “husband” routine quite fast and naturally. Meanwhile, Chanyeol himself still felt very awkward and something unnatural to the situation- maybe because he knew how false all of this was.
Whatever it was and ignoring how he felt, Chanyeol still had to play this role for a bit longer because he needed Kyungsoo’s blood, who like a good loyal husband gladly gave Chanyeol as much as he needed.
So far, Chanyeol’s plans were working.
Once the stew and the other dishes were ready and the plates and cups had been set out, Kyungsoo joined in at the dining table with a spoon in hand.
“Eat up. You haven’t eaten today at all, haven’t you?” Kyungsoo urged, pushing the bowl of bread closer to Chanyeol, “You can eat the stew with bread if you want. Is it not enough? I can go get more from the kitchen if you want.”
“No, it’s alright. I’m good,” Chanyeol tried to decline, feeding himself with a spoonful of stew from his bowl, sipping slowly for as long as he could so it didn’t seem like he was barely eating at all.
Truthfully, Chanyeol had gotten used to eating so little that whenever he tried to eat a normal person’s meal portion, he ended up feeling stuffed and feeling like he might throw up. Chanyeol knew it wasn’t healthy but he was too busy researching magic and coming up with new spells and summons to master, too much that eating seemed like a waste of his time.
“How does it taste?” Kyungsoo asked, grinning even as he chewed, “After I lost some of my memories in that attack, I even forgot what kind of food you liked but I thought something soft on your stomach would be good since you don’t eat that much. Is there anything else you wanted me to cook for you?”
“It’s good,” Chanyeol praised, “-don’t worry about me. Just make whatever food you want to eat.”
“Oh, okay,” Kyungsoo accepted, adding more salt from the shaker into his bowl, “By the way, I just remembered that I needed to ask you something regarding some of the stuff I forgot.”
“Sure, go ahead and ask,” Chanyeol looked down towards his bowl, stirring his spoon around in the stew. Chanyeol was actually a bit anxious and afraid that Kyungsoo might have discovered the truth and was going to ask about it.
“I was wondering, when is your birthday?” Kyungsoo questioned, “When is my birthday too? I can’t seem to remember.”
Chanyeol innately heaved a big sigh of relief when it turned out that that was all Kyungsoo wanted to know. Gladly, he answered, “Mine is on November 27th. Yours is on January 29th.” Chanyeol didn’t actually know when Kyungsoo’s birthday was, so he had given out the first random date he could think of.
“Oh,” Kyungsoo nodded, his face lighting up as he realized, “So your birthday is just a few more weeks away!”
“I guess so,” Chanyeol made light of, resting a hand on the table.
“You should have told me earlier!” Kyungsoo almost jumped up in his seat, excited. Kyungsoo put out a hand to rest his hand on Chanyeol’s atop the table. Kyungsoo interlaced their fingers with each other, “Since I don’t remember our previous birthday celebrations, this will be like the first time I get to celebrate yours. So, I want to make it as special as possible. Can you clear up your plans for that day so we can get to spend it together?”
Chanyeol forced himself to smile at the irony of the situation as he chuckled dryly, “Sure, of course.” There was just no way could he say no to that despite how uncomfortable it actually made him feel.
Chanyeol had foreseen these kinds of things- such as celebrating birthdays and anniversaries- happening when pretending to be married to someone else. However, he had not foreseen himself feeling this way; feeling so strange, scared and vulnerable by letting someone be so close and personal with him.
It felt as if Kyungsoo was tearing down each and every brick of the wall that Chanyeol had put up between himself and everyone else, human or magician alike. And Chanyeol felt like he was the one most responsible for this happening.
Magicians were known for having a long lifespan, numbering hundreds to thousands of years. Just like their lifespan, they could go up to a few months at a time without needing to sleep, although when they did go to sleep, they could be asleep for over two weeks at longest.
While Kyungsoo preferred the more human routine of sleeping at night and waking up every day in the morning, Chanyeol preferred the magician sleeping pattern of staying awake for as long as he could and then taking a long sleep only when he absolutely needed too.
Time was important to Chanyeol and for someone who couldn’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes of his day to eat, it wasn’t a surprise that he would push himself to stay awake for as long as he could until he could not handle it any longer.
Since Kyungsoo woke up from his coma sometime in June, he had yet to see Chanyeol go to sleep until that day in mid-November.
It was already chilly that time of the year in their German countryside home but it hadn’t started to snow yet.
When Kyungsoo woke up in the bed in the room that was supposed to be his and Chanyeol’s, the fire nymph was still guarding and watching over the bedroom fireplace that still continued to burn, radiating warmth and emitting low crackling sounds throughout the room.
And there beside Kyungsoo, lying on his side with a spellbook still in his hand was Chanyeol, still fully dressed, looking extremely tired as he slept soundly. Chanyeol had dragged himself all the way to bed with Kyungsoo, come under the blankets and then fall asleep.
Kyungsoo smiled softly to himself, admiring Chanyeol’s features even as the latter slept. Kyungsoo caressed Chanyeol’s hair and pressed a kiss to his forehead. Then, Kyungsoo carefully pried the spellbook away from Chanyeol’s grasp and put it away on the bedside table.
Slowly and not wanting to disturb Chanyeol’s long deserved sleep; Kyungsoo climbed out of bed and rearranged the blankets to cover Chanyeol with before starting his day.
For the next few days, while Chanyeol remained asleep, Kyungsoo’s routine hardly changed much if at all. He was used to not really doing much with Chanyeol anyway. The only different thing was that Kyungsoo could actually come up to check on Chanyeol every now and then, unlike when Chanyeol spent most of his day away and shut out from the world.
Kyungsoo did wonder about Chanyeol’s shop since there was no one to take care of it while the owner himself was fast asleep. Kyungsoo could not remember how it was when Chanyeol had to sleep previously, but he trusted that Chanyeol would have it closed up for the time being.
In the time being, Kyungsoo carried on as usual. In the morning, he would maintain the house and care for the growing camellia shrubs in the garden which had yet to bloom but were at least a foot tall now.
On some days, the temperature would drop to below freezing with rather strong winds and Kyungsoo would set up a protective magical barrier to protect his camellias growing in the garden. Kyungsoo was eager to see the first flowers bloom in the garden and he wasn’t going to let the weather stop that from happening.
At night, before Kyungsoo went to sleep, he would enter Chanyeol’s study and write small spells out on special magical paper that were sold for a one-time use of the spell by someone who would otherwise be unable to use it. Kyungsoo knew that Chanyeol had been selling this at the shop for side income and he decided to help out.
Then, Kyungsoo would go to bed every night with Chanyeol by his side until he woke up almost six days later.
When Kyungsoo woke up the next morning to see Chanyeol no longer there, he grabbed his glasses off the nightstand quickly and left the room to look for Chanyeol.
He found Chanyeol in an empty spare room downstairs, which housed the door that connected their home to the shop in Seoul. The door was just a simple wooden door with a knob, built into the wall of the room but allowed them to travel back and forth as much as they pleased.
Chanyeol was just about to open the door to leave when he saw Kyungsoo huffing at the entrance of the room, having run around the house and all the way down there to catch him before he left.
“Wait!” Kyungsoo halted, pressing his hands to his waist as he regained his breath.
“What is it?” Chanyeol sounded grouchy as he turned around to face Kyungsoo.
“You shouldn’t leave so fast. You just got up! I haven’t even made breakfast for us yet,” Kyungsoo reasoned.
“I’ll be fine. I had enough sleep and I can find something else to eat,” Chanyeol tried to excuse himself, “The shop has been closed up for too long. I need to go back and start working now since I’ve wasted too much time sleeping.”
“No- wait!” Kyungsoo put an arm out, stepping and making his way closer to Chanyeol, preventing him from leaving.
“Is there something you want?” Chanyeol sighed, denying everything he had said earlier on because of how tired and disheveled he looked like.
Kyungsoo’s voice was soft as he asked, “Do you really have to go now?”
“Of course I have to. Why?” Chanyeol answered like it was the plain obvious thing to say.
“Well,” Kyungsoo paused, “-I just thought that we don’t really spend much time together these days because you’re always busy with work. But now, since the shop is still closed, I thought that we could spend some time together at home.”
Chanyeol honestly hated the idea of staying home doing nothing and watching Kyungsoo cook and clean and tend to his garden. It wasn’t very appealing at all when there were lots more of other things he could do instead.
But Chanyeol still had to put up with this role of a husband he had put onto himself, and reluctantly with a heavy heart, he stayed home that day and spent it with Kyungsoo instead.
Luckily for Chanyeol, Kyungsoo didn’t really expect much out of him. Kyungsoo just wanted Chanyeol to comment on his cooking, listen to him talking about his garden layout and plans for the spring and read some books together.
In the evening, it began to snow for the first time that season. Kyungsoo and Chanyeol were curled up on a couch overlooking the glass window, watching the snow fall from within the warm confines of their home, with a blanket covering both of them.
Chanyeol was still tired and had dozed off on Kyungsoo’s shoulder while they were supposed to be reading a book together.
Chanyeol was awoken shortly later by the sensation of slight moistness around his lips. He slowly opened his eyes and saw Kyungsoo kissing him with his eyes closed. Seeing that, Chanyeol gently pushed Kyungsoo away and turned his face away.
Chanyeol left the couch and went back to his study and Kyungsoo wondered why they never so much as kissed if they were supposed to be married to each other.
But even, a week later, when Chanyeol was alone behind the counter of his antique shop in Seoul, he still remembered the warm yet wet kiss Kyungsoo had given him. It was his first kiss in a very long time and even though he had initially panicked when Kyungsoo kissed him, the memory of it actually put a smile on his face.
While it was already dark and raining very coldly outside in Seoul, alone in the empty shop, Chanyeol traced his lips with his fingers as he recalled how it felt like and wondered as to what Kyungsoo would be doing now at their home in Germany.
Chanyeol honestly forgot about his birthday because he had been busy working and undertaking jobs for other magicians in the days leading up to it. He had even forgotten about telling Kyungsoo when his birthday was.
He completely forgot about freeing up the date and had spent the entire day working. Lucky for him, time zones existed and he didn’t have to face a disappointed Kyungsoo.
In the evening of November 27th, he closed up his shop and returned to his home in Germany where it was still noon of the same day.
When Chanyeol entered the house through the magical door that connected the two places, he was greeted by a myriad of nymphs and brownie fairies that pulled him out into the living room where Kyungsoo was waiting with a cake and candles on top.
“Happy birthday, Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo announced, smiling wide and bright like the sun in summer.
Chanyeol gasped, his breath hitched in his throat as he saw all the birthday decorations, the cake and then remembered what day it was.
Chanyeol slumped down onto the chair next to him as he held his head in his hands and began to cry. Worried, Kyungsoo put the cake down onto the table and rushed to Chanyeol’s side.
“Chanyeol, what’s wrong?” Kyungsoo flustered, putting his arms around Chanyeol.
Chanyeol shook his head, turning his face away from Kyungsoo as he cried. He couldn’t admit to Kyungsoo that it had been so long since anyone even remembered or celebrated his birthday. They were supposed to be together for a long time so they would have celebrated birthdays with each other.
Chanyeol’s emotions were real but the words that came out of his mouth weren’t so much real, “I’m just so relieved that I get to spend another birthday with you this year especially after what happened. I was so afraid I’d be alone this year.”
“You don’t have to be afraid, anymore. I’m here with you now,” Kyungsoo consoled, rubbing up and down on Chanyeol’s back.
“Thank you,” Chanyeol muttered, grasping back onto Kyungsoo, “Thank you so much, Kyungsoo.”
Kyungsoo made Chanyeol feel all the emotions he hadn’t felt in so many years. Kyungsoo made Chanyeol feel warm, wanted, cared of and most importantly, he made Chanyeol feel like there was a home for him to belong to.
Chanyeol actually began looking forward to coming home every day and waiting for Kyungsoo to wake up every morning. Kyungsoo was always there for him and Chanyeol liked that the most.
Slowly and gradually, he too was learning to be a husband and doing the things that made Kyungsoo happy. Chanyeol learned to smile more, learned to praise Kyungsoo more and learned that Kyungsoo liked holding hands even when it didn’t involve Chanyeol pricking Kyungsoo’s finger to draw blood.
There was something else that came across Chanyeol’s mind when he learning to play this role of a husband but he was too reserved to bring it up yet. He believed that if Kyungsoo desired that, then he should be the one to do so.
On a snowy night in early January, several days before Kyungsoo’s birthday, Chanyeol was actually helping to clear up the table after dinner with the help of the brownie fairy when Kyungsoo posed him the question.
“Say, Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo spoke softly and lowly in the already quiet house, “I was wondering about something.”
“What is it?” Chanyeol replied, passing a plate to the brownie fairy to bring to the sink.
“I-,” Kyungsoo paused, biting on his lower lip before he continued again, obviously avoiding eye-contact with Chanyeol, “I was wondering why we hadn’t made love yet in the past six months since I woke up from the coma. Didn’t we use to do that before?”
Chanyeol was caught by surprise even if he did expect Kyungsoo to eventually ask about it. He couldn’t just tell Kyungsoo that they had never made love to each other at all though.
Chanyeol quickly came up with an excuse, also trying to not make eye-contact with Kyungsoo too, flustering, “Yeah, we used to but I didn’t want to bring it up because I wanted you to recuperate after that attack by the dark magicians. I didn’t want you to feel like you were obligated to do it.”
“Oh, I see,” Kyungsoo bought the explanation, “That makes sense.”
“Please don’t worry about it,” Chanyeol assured, “It can always come later and it’s not something we want to force either. There’s always a time and place for it.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Kyungsoo accepted, smiling a bit.
Although they never talked about it again, the thought and topic were like a seed that was planted into their heads, which continued to grow and bloom as time passed.
It was hard to forget such a thing and the more they avoided talking about it, the more it actually encouraged the thought.
In that aspect, magicians and non-magical human beings weren’t that very much different. They had carnal needs and wants too.
It didn’t take long for Chanyeol to cave in. Just some days after talking about it, on Kyungsoo’s birthday, which Chanyeol made sure to celebrate, he found himself laying down and undressing Kyungsoo on the warm bed they rarely slept together on.
Apparently, it was supposed to be one of the many times they had made love with each other, but it still felt very much like the first time that it really was.
Kyungsoo enjoyed how full and split open he felt because of Chanyeol. On the other hand, Chanyeol had to admit how warm and inviting it was to have Kyungsoo wrapped around him, moaning his name and panting from the delirious of pleasure.
They took things slow and steady. Kyungsoo felt so good for him that Chanyeol was almost lulled into believing that this lie he had made up was actually real. Chanyeol felt like he really belonged there, between Kyungsoo’s legs and by the said person himself.
It had been their real first time together but it certainly wasn’t the last for the time to come.
After that, Chanyeol felt like they had finally become a real married couple who had been together a while. It wasn’t an immediate change but Chanyeol felt himself looking forward to coming home from work to see Kyungsoo every day, looking forward to listening to Kyungsoo talk about his day, looking forward to eating Kyungsoo’s cooking and starting to feel comfortable with where things were headed.
Even despite the fleeting moment of comfort and the initial high of emotions he was feeling again in a long time, Chanyeol still had this unnerving feeling that the truth would always prevail. That this lie he had orchestrated would all be unraveled one day because, frankly, Chanyeol was actually quite enjoying this style of life he led now.
Chanyeol didn’t know when the day would come and how Kyungsoo would react to the truth, but Chanyeol was determined to make the most of it by remembering why he had come up with this lie in the first place, reminding himself of his true purpose.
The lingering fear in his head eventually made its first physical appearance sometime in early February in the middle of winter.
Chanyeol had been asleep for a few days prior to that and he had woken up to Kyungsoo skipping around the house excitedly about something. Kyungsoo was gushing about how the flowers he planted in late summer were finally blooming.
Kyungsoo held Chanyeol’s hand and led him to the window, drawing open the curtains to show Chanyeol the flowers outside.
While Kyungsoo was smiling, happily showing it off, Chanyeol felt like his heart had sunk to the pits of his stomach.
Chanyeol knew Kyungsoo had been planting some flowers in the garden but he had never bothered to ask what kind of flowers they were. Now that the aforementioned flowers were blooming, Chanyeol could see what kind it was as clear as day.
Chanyeol knew next to nothing about flowers but there was no he way couldn’t recognize the red camellias that Kyungsoo used to gift to him. Out of all the flowers Kyungsoo could have chosen to plant, Chanyeol began to worry if the red camellias growing in their garden outside were more than a popular symbol among magicians or Kyungsoo hinting that he was beginning to regain his real memories.
“They’re pretty,” Chanyeol praised, honest that the flowers were indeed beautiful as he tried to mask his worry.
“Thank you. I worked hard to take care of them especially with the frost and strong snow this winter. I’m happy that they’re finally blooming,” Kyungsoo responded, his arm wrapped around Chanyeol’s waist as they stood together, looking outside from the window at the garden.
“Why red camellias though?” Chanyeol had to ask, quickly covering it up with, “I’m just curious because you used to grow almost every type of flowers possible. So, what made you choose to plant the camellias first?”
“Oh, it’s because they can bloom in the winter,” Kyungsoo replied, nonchalantly and then explaining, “I didn’t want to wait so long until spring or summer for the flowers to bloom so I grew the camellia first. At least I can see some life in the garden even during the winter.”
“I see,” Chanyeol understood, a thin smile formed on his lips as he gazed fondly upon Kyungsoo beside him, “They really are beautiful though, just like you. Camellias always remind me of you. You probably don’t remember but they have always been your favorite flower. You liked to give them to me.”
“Yeah,” Kyungsoo smiled too, “I always felt rather fond towards camellias for some reason. I guess that explains it. I can’t believe I have forgotten that too when I lost my memories. Anyway, I can’t wait for spring so I can finally see the rest of the garden in bloom. I can’t wait to show that to you! ”
“I can’t wait to see it too,” Chanyeol supported, interested in it for Kyungsoo and his sake alone. At that point, Kyungsoo could be showing Chanyeol paint drying and he would still think it was exciting, as long as Kyungsoo enjoyed it.
It was one of the signs that he had fallen so hard for Kyungsoo but Chanyeol would not realize it until spring came that year.
In early April, on the night before the day, the pink blossoms reached full bloom that year, Chanyeol was walking through the same park he encountered Kyungsoo in exactly a year ago.
He had just gotten back from a house call from a regular customer who often hired Chanyeol to remove the “noises” in her houses, which were really just a poltergeist causing mischief. Chanyeol relied on the few people like her who still believed in magical entities for a living.
Unlike when he was there on that night a year ago, the park was a bit crowded that night as everyone was excited for the next morning when the full bloom would officially begin.
There were already a few stalls set up in the park, selling food and merchandise. Groups of people, especially couples were posing under the tree and taking pictures.
Chanyeol continued to ignore all of them as made his way down the brick path in the middle of the park, eager to get home and back to Kyungsoo.
As the pink petals fluttered down to the ground in front of his eyes, blown away by a light breeze, Chanyeol couldn’t help but stop and stare at it, his eyes following the petals before it landed on the ground at his feet.
Pink blossoms in full bloom in the spring used to remind him of the day the war against magicians was launched. Now, it only reminded him of Kyungsoo and of what he had done to the said man.
Just as Chanyeol tilted his head upwards to look at the tree and flowers above him, he felt some dryness in his throat and his chest constricting. His throat felt a bit itchy and sooner than he knew it, Chanyeol began to cough and felt what he thought was phlegm rising from his lungs, up into his throat and into his mouth.
Chanyeol put his hand out in front of his face and what came out of his mouth was not phlegm. It was the petal of a red flower, which ominously resembled the red camellias Kyungsoo grew in their garden.
As the breeze continued to blow and brought the red petal in his hand away with it, Chanyeol knew that he had contracted the deadly Hanahaki disease. At most, he would live to see next spring but that was it.
Right there and then, Chanyeol also realized that he had fallen in love with Kyungsoo, who probably didn’t feel the same way back towards him. After all, if Kyungsoo really loved him, he probably wouldn’t be starting to cough up the petals.
Chanyeol laughed to himself at the irony of the situation. He was the one using Kyungsoo but he had become a victim of his own orchestration. It was totally understandable that Kyungsoo did not love him but Chanyeol couldn’t believe he’d be the one to actually fall in love.
Chanyeol believed that, maybe, he deserved this punishment.