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Travelling alone is not so bad, after all

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Chanyeol almost jumped on the spot by the sound of the wind chimes that were placed on top of the door. Who in the world places wind chimes inside the door of a bar, of all places? He looked casually around, checking that no one had seen his little startle and headed to the bar counter.

There were not many people there, after all, Chanyeol was travelling through small coastal villages on purpose. So far, he had visited two and this was his third, and probably one of the ones he most wanted to visit. Its hidden charm intertwined with the sea breeze and gentle weather, even for a hot summer like that one, made it some sort of magical place. And Chanyeol couldn't wait to wander and get lost in it.

But for now, the bus ride had been terrible and the only thing he wanted to get lost into was a tall glass of cold water. Once he put aside his enormous backpack, he rested his arms on top of the counter and buried his head between them, trying to control the small amount of dizziness he was still experiencing from the trip.

"What can I do for you?" a bright, cheerful voice made him look up. Between the dark locks of his fringe, Chanyeol saw a beautiful face with sparkling dark eyes, a pink square smile adorned with the cutest little mole adorning it, and everything framed with soft bubblegum pink hair. Chanyeol's heart leapt inside his chest, and he found himself speechless before the handsome bartender. He tilted his head when he didn't get a reply, but didn't lose the smile. "Are you still shaken by my little wind chimes?"

Oh god. He had seen him. Embarrassment rushed to Chanyeol's cheeks, turning them a bright shade if pink. "I'm not shaken," he tried defending himself. The bartender then laughed musically, and Chanyeol's heart skipped a beat again.

"You look pale, sorry for thinking it was that," he sort of apologised, leaning on top of the counter and resting his head on his hand. "May I offer you a glass of water?"

Chanyeol simply nodded and the bartender went to get him a glass to pour some cold water for him. He looked at him while he walked around, his confident hands moving graciously. The white shirt he was wearing was too big for his seemingly thin body, but it somehow enhanced his grace, making every move almost ethereal.

"Here you go," the bartender announced, placing the glass of water in front of him. Chanyeol snapped out of his daydream and grunted internally. He could not fall for a handsome bartender the moment he set foot on the village.
"Thank you," he replied, taking the glass and sipping cautiously, so the cold wouldn't freeze his brain. The bartender just stood there, smiling at him, and Chanyeol shifted in his chair. "Don't you have to tend to your other clients?"
"Oh, it's okay," he said. "My uncle can do it, he's sitting over there," he pointed to a man sitting on the corner, reading a newspaper. The man didn’t really look like he was ready to tend to the locals, but again, none of the locals seemed to have to be tended to.

Chanyeol sipped again, the bartender’s gaze still very much fixed on him.

“Are you on holidays?” he asked Chanyeol, who nodded. “This is not a very touristic place, even with the beach and all.”
“I know, but I wanted to come here,” the bartender’s eyebrows rose until they were hidden by his pink fringe. “I’m visiting small coastal villages to discover their charm.”
“Oh, I can help you with that!” the bartender clapped his hands together, enthusiastically. “I know every inch of this village to the T, I could show you around!” suddenly, it was as if something had struck him and his expression changed to a serious and kind of pouty one. “Unless you want to go on your own.”

How was it possible that Chanyeol was finding that stranger’s pout so adorable?? He looked earnestly hyped by the idea of showing Chanyeol around, and his soft heart couldn’t just say no to the bartender, even if he was a bit too intense for him. So he left the glass on top of the counter and looked at him, intertwining his hands between his open legs just to prevent them from doing something unnecessary due to nervousness.

“Sure, you can show me around,” he could feel his cheeks flushing as the beautiful smile appeared again on the other’s face. “It will be fun to go with someone for a change.”
“Deal, then!” the pink-haired man smiled. “You can’t say no now.”
“I won’t,” Chanyeol smiled, somehow the bartender’s smile and happiness was contagious and he couldn’t stop it.
“Let’s go now,” he announced, untangling the small apron that covered his thighs. “You can leave your stuff here in the staff room, we’ll fetch it later.”
“Uh, sure,” Chanyeol blinked, but obeyed and stood up to follow the bartender to the staff only room.

The man was shorter than Chanyeol, with a small waist, but his shoulders were really broad and the taller wondered how would it feel to rest his head there.

“You can just leave it here,” the voice of the shorter male snapped Chanyeol out of his daydream again, and the taller blushed because he had fantasized about the bartender twice in less than an hour.
“Sure,” he replied as nonchalantly as he could, and left his big backpack leaning against the wall.
“Okay, let’s go!” the bartender took his hand in a way that was way too intimate for two strangers, but something in the warmth of his palm made Chanyeol want to not let go.

They headed for the door like so, the locals not even paying attention to the fact that the bartender was leaving or that he has holding hands with a tall stranger. The shorter opened the door and the wind chimes tingled again, but suddenly, he stopped and turned to the other man.

“By the way, my name is Byun Baekhyun,” he said, and Chanyeol then realised that he hadn’t asked for his name, nor had he introduced himself properly.
“I’m Park Chanyeol,” he replied. The smile grew bigger in Baekhyun’s face.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Chanyeol,” he said in a sultry voice. “For real.”

Chanyeol’s heart somersaulted at the same time the wind chimes announced the door was being closed.

---

Chanyeol had to admit that he was having fun.

Baekhyun wasn’t lying at all when he said he knew the village well. He took Chanyeol to some very interesting places near the beach, where the taller could make lots of pictures to bring back home. He also took Chanyeol to a bar near the beach, promising the most delicious fish he had ever tried and the best lemonade, and both turned out to be so amazing that the taller didn’t think it was possible for something to be that tasty.

The bartender was not only a wonderful guide, but also an amazing person. He knew a lot of trivia about the village, he was fun and quick-witted, not failing a single time to make Chanyeol laugh with his jokes and comments. Their personalities were very much in sync, excepto for the fact that Baekhyun was extroverted and charming and Chanyeol fell more on the shy category. But even with all that, the tall tourist thought that he had been very lucky to find him.

Baekhyun smiled at him all day, delighted with Chanyeol’s reactions, and even reached to remove a grain of rice that had stuck to the taller’s cheek at the restaurant. The contact was brief and Baekhyun’s soft and deft fingers didn’t rest there for long, but the taller’s heart leaped again inside his chest and a warm feeling extended from his chest to the tip of his fingers, making him feel safe. He thinks the shorter noticed the blush that spread on his cheeks, because his eyes glinted at the sight of his embarrassment and his smile became a little devilish for a second. However, Baekhyun commented nothing on the matter and eagered him to finish dessert so they could go to another good place he knew about.

“So, where do you live?” Baekhyun asked while they sat on the beach of a small cove that the shorter one had discovered not so long ago, and to which he guided both of them when the sun started to set.
“I live in Seoul,” Chanyeol replied, and the other one whistled in amazement.
“Big, big city,” he smiled. “So why did you want to come around here?”
“Because I was tired of the big, big city?” Baekhyun laughed audibly and it made Chanyeol smile in return.
“So you exchanged it for very, very small coastal villages? You’re funny, Park Chanyeol,” he said, still giggling.

Chanyeol could swore that he did not see the funny part on what he had said, but seeing Baekhyun laugh so charmingly and earnestly, made him want to be funny, so he could make him laugh again.

He really wanted to hear him laugh again.

“So,” Baekhyun started, once he stopped laughing, “do you like it?”

Without Chanyeol even noticing, the shorter one had leaned in, his face much closer than before, and the tourist could count the moles on his face easily, pretty dots here and there adorning the smooth skin. Baekhyun’s dark eyes were fixed on his, and Chanyeol had to breathe deeply, the air around them heavy but not unpleasant. It was full of something that gave him goosebumps and made his hands twitch from the desire to touch the pink-haired bartender.

The taller licked his lips before talking.

“What do I have to like?” Chanyeol asked in a low and smooth tone. Baekhyun giggled and tilted his head to the side. The sun glistened over his lightly tanned skin and his pink hair was glowing. He was so absolutely charming and handsome that the taller felt his heart ache.
“The village, the beach… the things you’re found here,” Baekhyun whispered back.

Chanyeol wanted to reply with something smart and interesting, but he couldn’t. He was too attracted to the twinkling dark orbs of Baekhyun, too lost in their depth, that the only thing he was capable of doing was nod. The smile on the other’s face widened, and he lifted a hand to put some dark locks behind the taller’s ear. The bartender caressed the skin of his cheek, probably rosy since Chanyeol could feel himself blush, and licked his lips before making the distance between them disappear.

Something sweet and soft pressed against Chanyeol’s lips, something addictive that made him slightly moan. Baekhyun’s lips moved slowly against his, as if tentatively testing the waters, but the tourist just closed his eyes and let the bartender lead the way.

Their lips moved in unison, both quickly adjusting to the other’s pace and needs. Baekhyun’s fingers went to tangle with Chanyeol’s dark hair on his nape when he tilted his head to deepen the kiss. The taller felt his knees getting weak, and he was sure that, if he was standing up, they would have failed him.

Baekhyun’s tongue caressed the taller’s bottom lip and he hesitantly opened his mouth to welcome it inside, a moan escaping his throat and heat suddenly running south inside his body. Baekhyun’s taste was so good, so madly addictive that Chanyeol even forgot how to breathe.

They broke the kiss slowly, Chanyeol could still feel the other’s lips on top of his, even though he could clearly see how pink and slightly swollen they were. Baekhyun looked intensely at him, a ghost of a smirk on his face.

A sudden breeze surrounded them then, and Chanyeol shivered, not entirely sure if it was because of the breeze or because the intensity in Baekhyun’s stare. The other noticed, nevertheless, and assumed it was because of the breeze; the sun had set a while ago, while they were kissing and it was starting to get cold next to the water.

“Let’s go back,” he proposed, and the taller agreed vehemently.

The bartender got up and offered his hand to help the other, to which the taller flushed, but accepted the help. However, once he was up, Baekhyun didn’t let go of his hand, much on the contrary, he intertwined their fingers together and smiled up to him. Chanyeol felt his heart beat furiously inside his chest and knew he was a goner for Byun Baekhyun. He tightened the grip and smiled back at the shorter one, who tiptoed briefly to give him a peck on the lips.

“So, where are you staying?”

-----

It turned out, Chanyeol wasn’t staying anywhere.

He had always arrived at a place and then looked for accommodation when he was there, with no problems whatsoever. Normally, villages that small only had one place to stay, and they were never fully booked, so he had always been able to rent a room for a couple of nights and sleep in a creaking bed.

But not this time.

“There is no place to sleep?” he asked Baekhyun, bewildered. The shorter nodded.
“Tourists normally come to only spend the day and then go, so the only place we had closed some years ago,” he explained.

They were back at the bar again, although it had already closed for the day and there was only the two of them there, surrounded by chairs on top on tables and the strong smell of lemon from the clean floor. Baekhyun was leaning backwards against the beverage refrigerator which had the ideal height for him to lean and almost sit on it. His arms were crossed on his chest, and he was looking at Chanyeol with a half amused, half pitiful stare, while the taller walked up and down the small space behind the counter of the bar.

“The last bus has already departed,” the taller was mumbling to himself, even though the bartender could listen to it clearly. “There’s no cab service here, I’d have to call a cab so they can come pick me up from the nearest town… but how expensive can that be…”
“I have a solution, if you want,” Baekhyun said, making the agitated tourist stop dead on his tracks. “Maybe not your ideal one, though.”
“I don’t care, what is it?” Chanyeol went closer to Baekhyun, his whole attention on the pink-haired man. He lifted his hand as he had done at the beach, and again put some of the taller’s dark locks behind his ear.
“You can stay with me,” the bartender said, looking directly into his eyes. “If you want to.”

Chanyeol’s eyes opened a bit wider while his cheeks flushed red, but he bit his lip and nodded. The other’s hand went to entangle with his own bigger one and when Baekhyun smiled at him, his heart skipped a beat. He was falling way too deep for the handsome man who was tugging on his arm so he could follow him outside.

It was dark outside already, the street was dimly lit by some lampposts here and there, but Chanyeol wasn’t afraid. He fixed his backpack on his back and followed Baekhyun, who was humming absentmindedly as he turned the corner of a street. It wasn’t a long way, and they soon found themselves in front of Baekhyun’s house. It was a one-floor construction, with a small front garden and a low wall topped by a tall fence covered in dense ivy.

“I like having privacy,” the shorter commented, as if reading his mind. “And my neighbours are a bit nosy,” he added in a small voice.

Chanyeol couldn’t help but giggle and followed the bartender inside.

It was spacious and cosy, and had a warm feeling to it, much as Baekhyun himself. The man took the backpack and hung it from the clothes rack next to the door, inviting him to go to the kitchen with him. The kitchen was inside the living room, an open space concept he would have not imagined in such a small village, but it somehow matched very well with the rest of he house.

“I hope you don’t mind eating ramyeon? I’m too tired to cook,” Baekhyun pouted with pink, glossy lips and Chanyeol only could say that he didn’t mind. “I promise breakfast will be better,” the shorter said happily, turning around to boil some water.

Chanyeol has to admit that it was funny watching Baekhyun waltz around his own kitchen, taking bowls from here and chopsticks from there, setting the table on the counter that divided the kitchen from the actual living room, where Chanyeol had sat after the bartender refusing profusely to his help. He was the guest, he argued, so he should just relax.

But when Baekhyun tried to reach a big bowl from the top shelf and couldn’t, the taller went to stand behind him and reached for the bowl. He didn’t notice how, trying subconsciously to look for balance, he rested his hand on Baekhyun’s hip, gently fixing him into place while he took the bowl and placed it on the counter in front of Baekhyun.

“I can be useful too,” he joked, smiling. But then, Baekhyun turned his head to look at him, and he was aware of the hand on his hip, how close they were to each other, and that beautiful shine in Baekhyun’s eyes. His breath got caught in his throat, unable to move, but the shorter turned around completely and, tugging on his shirt, made the taller go down to kiss him.

They both sighed when their lips connected again, as if they had missed each other’s flavour. Baekhyun’s arms when to tangle behind the taller’s neck while Chanyeol’s hands went to rest on the small of the bartender’s back. They kissed slow and hot, heavy pants could be heard between kisses and the temperature of the room started to rise. They broke the kiss half-heartedly, looking intensely at each other’s eyes, until Baekhyun smirked.

“I know you’re hungry, but I’m not your dinner.”
Chanyeol rolled his eyes, but he felt himself blush. “I wasn’t exactly thinking about dinner, you know,” he retorted, making the shorter smile wider.
“I know, but you need to eat, and the water is boiling already.”

It was true. They had been kissing for longer than Chanyeol had thought, because big bubbles were emerging from the pot on the fire. Baekhyun put the noodles on the big bowl with the dressing, and took the pot carefully to pour the boiling water on top of the dried noodles. Once that was done, Chanyeol gave him a kitchen towel as he was told to, so the shorter could bring the big bowl between the smaller ones he had already set on the table.

“Ready!” he announced happily, looking at the taller. “Come on, sit!”

The tourist obliged and sat across the table, taking the chopsticks and thanking his host before digging in. They ate comfortably, chit chatting and joking as the content in the bowl lowered a bit more each time. At one point, Baekhyun even picked some noodles and asked Chanyeol to open his mouth for him. It was extremely embarrassing, but at the same time, it made him feel warm when the shorter took care of the temperature of the noodles and put attention to not stain his clothes. He felt like a baby being taken care of by an older brother or something like that, even if what Baekhyun made him feel was nowhere close to brotherhood.

Once the bowl was empty, they silently washed and dried the bowls and the pot; putting them back on their shelves before Baekhyun took the taller’s hand and guided him to the bedroom.

“I guess you don’t have problems sharing the bed to sleep, right?” he smiled a bit devilishly, making Chanyeol blush again.
“No, I don’t,” the taller replied.
“You’re so cute,” the pink-haired man giggled, but showed him to the bathroom so he could change and wash before going to bed.

Half an hour later, Chanyeol was lying in bed, under the sheets, listening to Baekhyun humming while he himself was getting ready to get in bed. The bartender looked even better than he had in the bar. It was as though super sized T-shirts and messy hair were made for him to look like a walking god. He should have noticed Chanyeol’s stare on him, because he stopped and looked at him, smiling while the taller wondered if he could hide under the sheets.

“Are you looking at me, Chanyeol?” he poked.
“Is there anything else to look at?” he tried to flirt back, bus his voice was not as decided as he had wanted to.

However, his answer made Baekhyun smile at him even more, and the taller’s heart skipped a beat. Finally, the shorter slipped inside the bed and turned off the lights before circling Chanyeol’s waist with his arms and kissing his cheek. Baekhyun was warm, which was nice because the temperature had fallen at night and the sea breeze entering through the window was a bit chilly. The dark-haired man scooped a bit closer to him and left a peck on the mole he had just discovered below the other’s chin. It made Baekhyun giggle, and he smiled.

“So you live here all year round?” Chanyeol asked. Baekhyun’s hand started to caress his back, making him feel warm inside.
“No,” Baekhyun replied simply. The taller blinked twice, surprised, and moved until he was facing the bartender. He was smiling and Chanyeol was confused. “I come here during summer to help my parents with the bar when they are out on vacation.”
“But then… where do you live?”

Chanyeol could swore Baekhyun’s eyes shone brighter than diamonds under the moonlight.

“I live in Seoul.”

The shorter left the knowledge sink, and he giggled again as he saw how the meaning of what he had said downed on Chanyeol, big eyes wide open with pink cheeks and equally pink lips open in an O in surprise. Baekhyun took the taller by his cheeks and kissed him again, not letting him any space to ask him why he hadn’t said it earlier. Chanyeol did, anyway, once they broke the kiss to breathe.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?” the dark-haired man asked.
“It was fun pretending this could just be a summer love,” Baekhyun shrugged, but he then looked at Chanyeol and put some dark locks behind his ear before caressing his cheek, as he had done at the beach. “But the truth is, I don’t like summer love. I prefer a lifetime love.”

Chanyeol just looked at him in silence, his chest filled up with things he didn’t know how to express, but Baekhyun seemed to understand and smiled. Nevertheless, Chanyeol took his hand and breathed before speaking.

“A lifetime is a long path that takes a long time,” he said cautiously, “but I’d love to see how long we can walk together.” Baekhyun smiled back at him.
“I’d love that too.”

They kissed goodnight and went to sleep, with Baekhyun hugging Chanyeol and pressing his chest against the taller’s back. He looked at the nape of the taller and smiled once more before closing his eyes.

He was already looking forward to that walk.