Words Erased Leave Traces Behind

"Good morning. My name is Park Chanyeol, and your's is Byun Baekhyun. You were in a car accident two years ago that affected your memory before our wedding day. I succeeded in making you love me yesterday, and today I plan on succeeding again."


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1. Final

White.

If there was ever a color that could prove just how blank the world could be, white was the correct option. It's a complete paradox, however. White may seem to be void of all color, but it actually contains all the colors in the world at one time. If they wanted to paint the walls the color of nothing, they should've chosen black.

For now, though, it was nothing more but a wall, and a pillow, and a blanket. When he raises his arm into sight, it's also his clothes, but his skin stands out as the only hue seperate. It would require more blue to reach such a bright color.

He doesn't recognize the walls, unfortunately, or the pillow, or the blanket, and not even the clothes. He doesn't know when he put them on or where he was - how he got there. Truthfully, he didn't know the name to call himself, either. It felt like a void in his brain, or a missing puzzle piece. He should know it, because he knew he should have one.

But he did know what the name was for the color of the walls, and what blue looked like. He faintly pictures a rough image of feathered white blobs on a background of a vibrant blue that could never be recreated with anything but ozone. He knew what blue was just like how he knew what the ozone was, but not his name.

He blinks himself awake further, thinking that he might as well catch more sleep until he understands exactly what woke him up, wondering how he could miss such a clash to the brilliant white room. The stranger sitting on the edge of the bed lifts a hand and sets it on his head, running his fingers through the hair he has yet to discover about himself. It threatens to send him back to sleep and he wonders why this man knows this about him, which he wasn't even aware of.

He blinks his eyes a few more times and the stranger tips his head to one side with a warming smile. This man must know who he is if he's in the room with him, touching him this way and sitting so close. How was he able to tell what color the man's hair was - gender, even - and not know his own?

He wets his lips as he prepares a question on his tongue, tasting a dry mouth.

"What is my hair color?"

His voice at first is a mess of pitchy syllables that he smooths out towards the end, hearing his own voice as feeling as distant towards it as his own body. It had to have been him when he spoke, but he didn't recognize the sound. The stranger pulls his hand away and sets it in his lap with a small humming sound.

"Every morning you say something different." He mumbles to himself, smilling at a thought and shaking his head. He knows the reply wasn't directed towards him, so it doesn't help solve his question.

The stranger lifts himself off the bed and he tries to follow him with his eyes. The foot of the bed was were his head sat, so he slowly rises on his elbows and turns his head to see the stranger opening a white sliding door, revealing coupled uniforms hanging on a metal rack inside the small closet. The stranger picks the first one out and pulls it off the hanger, slowly folding each piece and laying them on his arm.

He walks back over and sets the clothes on the blanket where his legs weren't underneath.

"Can you sit up for me?" The stranger asks and he does as he's requested, not knowing anything better to do. The stranger squats down before him and places his hands on his own thighs to rest, "It's a brand new day."

Letting his knees touch the ground, the stranger finds the small buttons of his night shirt with dexterous fingers, slipping them through the button holes until the shirt is loose. He's not afraid of the stranger as the man helps the shirt off, picking up the fresh uniform shirt from the top of the pile and rolling it so he could slide his head right through. It flows around him and he pushes his arms through the holes, the stranger grasping his elbows and urging him to stand up.

His pajama pants pool around his ankles and the stranger helps him out of them, rolling the white uniform pant legs up so they're easier to step into. The stranger pulls them up and around his waist before standing up. He gives the stranger a look that portrays his wish for answers and the stranger sighs when he looks him in the eyes.

"Good morning. My name is Park Chanyeol, and your's is Byun Baekhyun. You were in a car accident two years ago that affected your memory before our wedding day. I succeeded in making you love me yesterday, and today I plan on succeeding again."

Baekhyun. It sounds like a wholesome name, but he can't determine if it sounds right to be paired with him. Chanyeol, though, somehow fits the man in front of him. He wasn't a stranger, apparently, but he wasn't familiar either. Everything he said doesn't create any connections in his brain.

This Chanyeol person picks up the limp hand at Baekhyun's side and he can't find the energy to pull back, instead letting himself follow the story. Chanyeol uses a key from his pocket - his uniform was a pale blue - to open the white metal door to the small room. The outside hallway was beige, and the floor laminated tile. There were more doors lined up on either side of the hallway.

Chanyeol's hand is warm and stable enough for him to trust, so he shuffles along in his fuzzy night socks across the tile. The other rooms are silent, but they meet a person working behind a glass divider at the end of the hall. She was flipping through her clipboard, but she pauses to look up and smile at Chanyeol and Baekhyun.

"Cafeteria for breakfast?" She asks and Chanyeol nods. Baekhyun watches his guide with a careful eye as he interacts with other people, "I have a favor to ask. Dr. Zhang was supposed to be here by now but I think he might be on the first floor. If you see him will you send him up?"

"Will do!" Chanyeol happily agrees and he waves to her as he leads Baekhyun towards the fortified doors a few feet away. The nurse - her outfit was blue and she had a name tag. It fit the image in Baekhyun's mind - presses a button behind the desk and a buzzing noise follows. Chanyeol pushes the unlocked door open and leads Baekhyun though the opening.

The new hallway was green, and the floors were wooden. There were more people here than the other wing. This must be a type of hospital. Baekhyun feels like he's seen one before, but this wasn't the same. A few official-looking people with white coats pass and nod to the couple as they continue walking. Chanyeol takes baekhyun's hand softly and they round a corner, pressing a button built into the wall. It lights up and they stand before two metal doors, waiting to see which one opens first.

"Elevators." Baekhyun mumbles, recalling their name. His voice still sounded so foreign to him that he didn't really like using it. Chanyeol looks over at him and smiles encouragingly.

"Yes, that's right."

The one to their right dings and opens, releasing a woman in blue with an older woman in white. They slowly exit the elevator and the pair take their place. When the doors close Chanyeol presses a button and they descend. The sudden drop causes Baekhyun to grab onto Chanyeol's arm in surprise. The taller looks down at him in concern and he holds Baekhyun's second hand for assurance, "It's alright. We're almost there."

The elevators stop moving and Baekhyun continues to cling to Chanyeol's arm as they walk out, only slowly letting go when his feet touch solid ground. In this new hallway - the walls were yellow - a man in a white lab coat and dark hair casually walks past and Chanyeol flags him down.

"Dr. Zhang!" He calls and the other man stops and turns around, smiling with dimples when he sees who it was. The doctor walks over and tucks his pen into his front pocket, one arm wrapped around a clipboard.

"Ah, Chanyeol! Baekhyun! I wasn't planning on seeing you until our talk at nine. What are they serving for breakfast this morning?" He asks cheerfully, but there's a slight break in his smile when a man down the hall cries out and a male nurse tries to restrain him. One of the doctors runs over and says a few words that appear to calm the man down, and he blankly stares ahead, allowing himself to be lead to another room.

Baekhyun looks up at Chanyeol in distress, piecing together just what kind of hospital he was in. Chanyeol tightens his grip on Baekhyun's hand for assurance and gives him a small smile before looking back up at Dr. Zhang.

"Ah, we haven't discovered that just yet. We're getting to that now, actually." Chanyeol replies and the doctor nods his head.

"You'll have to inform me later," He places a hand to the side of his mouth as if it would stop the sound from reaching the taller male, locking his eyes on Baekhyun playfully, "Be glad Chanyeol cooks for you."

"The cafeteria food isn't that bad. The cooks work hard to make it." Chanyeol objects.

"The last time I ate there I was served a hamburger I later learned was actually made of turkey. Lies, I tell you. Lies." Dr. Zhang shakes his head and waves them goodbye until Chanyeol stops him.

"Oh, Sandara asked me to find you." He states and Dr. Zhang smacks his forehead with his palm.

"Oh! I almost forgot!"

The doctor quickly boards the elevator and takes it up to his missed appointment and Chanyeol waves his goodbyes, but Baekhyun remains silent. Being forgetful should be so innocent and forgiven. He looks up at Chanyeol when they start walking again and feels guilty. If what the other said was true, then he had forgotten an entire relationship - and even more if he included unknown family members - but not even that. He had forgotten a love so powerful they were going to get married.

The void he felt inside felt larger, especially when he can't find any trace or leftover sensation of being loved, or loving someone back. What was their first kiss? Their first date? Who proposed? When was it? How did it happen? Engagement parties? When was their wedding supposed to be?

His brain begins to throb as he tries to pull it apart in search of something - anything.

Then he's at a table and Chanyeol's speaking with his mouth full of noodles. Baekhyun was in the middle of a laugh from whatever Chanyeol had said, but he doesn't have any idea how he got there, or what he was eating, or what Chanyeol had said.

Baekhyun cuts the laugh off and his smile fades. He looks down at his plate to see the same things Chanyeol had in a small bowl, with a serving of rice next to it. Everything had a certain placement to it that Chanyeol's didn't have, and it soothed an inner urge inside of him that Chanyeol's plate didn't. A cup of fruit - his was empty, but Chanyeol's wasn't - was on the other side of his tray and the main pieces were together, so he could just spin the plate in the order he wanted to eat them. Seeing his chopsticks in his hands, he carefully picks up a mouthful and lifts it up, the noodles hanging from his lips.

Chanyeol looks over at him and he gives a sad smile, but places his hand carefully - like he was trying not to startle him - under Baekhyun's chin and lifts it up so he could slurp the noodles better. Baekhyun chews with full cheeks and Chanyeol sighs.

When Baekhyun swallows, he looks at Chanyeol and forms a question on his tongue.

"When, um, or who did the...uh, how...how did we do it?" He finally asks and Chanyeol pauses mid-bite to look over at him, lowering his noodles.

"What?"

Baekhyun can't decide what to say first, "How long did we date?"

Chanyeol stares at him in disbelief, his mouth open slightly. Baekhyun feels selfconscious; He probably just repeated something he already said.

"Six years." Chanyeol finally replies and fills his mouth slowly, his eyes tracking Baekhyun's reaction. On the other side of the cafeteria, a man in a blue uniform feeds his wife at a table.

"How did we start?" He asks and Chanyeol tries to swallow, almost choking. He coughs and picks up his water bottle to wash it down. Baekhyun waits patiently.

"Well...," he coughs into his arm quickly and clears his throat, "We were seventeen, and it was while before winter break. We were friends for years before, but it was that year that I was determined to move out of the friendzone. You friendzon-ed me a lot, but you also flirted with me at the same time. We decided to do a duet for the Solo Ensemble competition and you wanted me to come over so we could work on the piece together since you had a piano."

"I can play piano?" Baekhyun softly asks and Chanyeol leans his head on his hands, reaching to pick up Baekhyun's hand and rub his thumb over the fingers with a loving smile.

"You have the most beautiful hands."

Baekhyun focuses less on the hunger that was fading and more on the adoration he saw in the latter's expression, catching a wisp of emotion.

"Anyway," Chanyeol releases Baekhyun but his hand remains on the table, "I came over like any other day and we spent most of the time messing with each other on the piano. Our hands would colide because we both wanted to play at the same time, and our notes crossed over a lot. Eventually we just ended up playing whatever we wanted. You went to get your music out so we could discuss choir songs and I played "All of Me" for you. When you came back you sat on the bench and leaned against me and said "Do you ever just sometimes want to kiss someone?""

"I said that?" Baekhyun laughs and it encourages Chanyeol to keep talking.

"You really did, but me, being the dork I am, replied with "Sometimes I want to kiss you." Talk about a Freudian slip, am I right?" Chanyeol chuckles to himself and Baekhyun's waiting eagerly for more.

"What happened next?"

"You laughed, of course. "Do you want to kiss me now?" You had asked me. I choked up, but eventually nodded my head. It was..."

Chanyeol was blushing by now. He smiles to himself and the memory, but Baekhyun didn't mind that he couldn't share the experience. He could share it right now instead. Chanyeol pats his cheeks and sighs dreamily.

"It was our first kiss, by the piano, in the middle of music practice. We got a Superior rating for our piece."

Baekhyun laughs and Chanyeol grins cheekily.

"Do I play well?" He asks and Chanyeol nods.

"You play beautifully."

Yes, Baekhyun could see why he fell in love with the giant. All awkwardness had vanished between the both of them. Chanyeol already had the attachment that prevented it, and Baekhyun knew that Chanyeol knew more about him than he did, so he had no reason to be afraid of him.

"Can we find a piano to play?" Baekhyun asks and Chanyeol's eyes twinkle.

"In the second level rec room. The piano there isn't open unless they have special privlegdes, but I have a visitor's badge." Chanyeol pulls out a laminated ID tag from his front pocket as proof. Feeling his hunger gone, they pack up leftovers and throw away any trash. Chanyeol drops the lunch box at the front registration and excitedly leads Baekhyun back to the elevator. Their hands clasp together as they ride up a floor and meet orange walls.

The rec room was right before the small office with the nurse and the glass divider, but it was a different woman with a clipboard. Chanyeol greets her and requests for the key to the piano. They chat casually for a second or two before it's handed over. Since the residents of the wing were in Recess outside, they were able to sit down at the old grand piano in the corner.

"Why are the doors different?" Baekhyun asks as Chanyeol unlocks the lid. He looks up and glances down the hall. Baekhyun's door was metal and locked, with only a small window. Those doors had larger windows and no glass, but a hole in the wall and a simple door knob.

"This is a lower level wing. They're two steps away from being mentally healthy." Chanyeol replies, pursing his lips and checking Baekhyun's reaction.

"I'm four steps away?" he asks softly and Chanyeol pulls the lid up, sitting down next to him on the bench.

"You're only up there because it's safer for you in case you wake up without your memories and panic. Less objects to hurt yourself with." Chanyeol picks up Baekhyun's arm and pushes the fabric back lightly to reveal a faint trace of a shallow wound that healed to a pink scar near his elbow. He follows it with his finger before pushing the fabric back down again.

There was a sadness in Chanyeol's eyes from the memory he couldn't come up with. Baekhyun looks down at the exposed keys and places his hands on them to change the train of thought. He presses down on a key and pulls back when it echos louder than he expected. The piano was one of the original items in this wing. The edges were worn from patients leaning on it and trying to open it so they could play themselves, but the doctors and nurses didn't want a plethora of random and scattered piano noises nonstop, so they locked it.

Baekhyun uses this strand of information as he looks for any familiar key or pattern.

"What do you want to play?" Chanyeol whispers and they look at each other. Baekhyun reaches for Chanyeol's hands and places them on the keys. He picks up Chanyeol's left arm and reaches for his left thigh to move it more to the side, shifting up and under the arm so he was sitting between Chanyeol's legs. Chanyeol sits back further to accomidate him, watching with interest as Baekhyun places his left hand back on the keys and leans against him.

"Take me back. Take me to that day that you told me about. I want to remember, and, if I can't, then I want to feel it again. I want to feel like I was there."

Chanyeol smiles and he presses his cheek into the back of Baekhyun's head as his hands settle on the right keys, playing a familiar melody of a long time ago. Baekhyun sighs as the notes appear from the piano and Chanyeol starts singing. The sound of it is against his ear - soft, but warm - and he can feel the vibrations through Chanyeol's chest against his back.

Somewhere in the song, he's not sure when exactly, Baekhyun places his hands atop Chanyeol's to feel the movements, pretending that he was spinning the song through the air, pretending it was him who was playing such a graceful tune, pretending he never forgot how.

It was just a song, but it was so much more. It was their first connection - their song. Playing it now felt like a link between the two realities he's lived in. The transfer of Chanyeol's emotions was strong as the words of the chorus ring. Baekhyun giggles when Chanyeol sings about curves, but he becomes breathless as his voice lifts up and catches notes that feel like clouds in the sky - those feathery white shapes in the blue.

Baekhyun feels a lump in his throat and he takes Chanyeol's left hand off the keys to replace it with his own, dancing a harmony on them that makes him smile.

And, as the song nears it's end, he's positive he'd give Chanyeol all of him, because the latter has already done the same. It was a fair trade - heart for a heart. He wasn't sure who gave their's first all those years ago, but it didn't matter anymore, because the exchange was already made.

It ends and they sit in silence, feeling each other's breathing. When they finally break the silence, baekhyun's the first to speak.

"Do you ever just sometimes want to kiss someone?" He asks and Chanyeol's short burst of laughter almost startles him.

"Sometimes - no, I always want to kiss you."

Baekhyun smiles, but he feigns annoyance and he stands up, walking around the bench to stand in the open.

"Do you always want to kiss me now?" He asks, half mocking the other by putting his hands on his hips and wiggling them when the incorrect word passes through his lips. Chanyeol laughs and he stands up as well, walking over to the smaller slowly. Baekhyun's hands fall from his hips when Chanyeol gets closer, his heart beating in his ears. It was like a first kiss to him, and he supposes that it always will be. How many times have they had moments like this that he never remembers the next day? How could Chanyeol still be so strong?

"I always want to kiss you." Chanyeol repeats, his voice more serious. Baekhyun feels himself blush and dexterous fingers touch the bottom of his chin, lifting it up slightly. They make eye contact and Baekhyun thinks about how, just a few hours ago - was it breakfast he was at or lunch? - he had no idea who he was. His eyes close and he feels a warmth inside that covers the empty void inside, filling him up.

"I've never been one for spicy food, personally"

Baekhyun's eyes open in the blink he was finishing and he suddenly pales, feeling sick to his stomach. Dr. Zhang was sitting behind his desk in his office, the walls covered in bookcases. Baekhyun's chair was on the other side, facing the good doctor.

He grips the armrests in horror and leans as far back in his chair as possible. Dr. Zhang puts his hands up to help soothe him and his heart rate increases.

"You are not in danger. My name is Dr. Zhang, and your's is Byun Baekhyun. You were-"

"I was in a car accident that messed with my memories. I know." Baekhyun cuts him off and he looks around the room once more, feeling empty inside again. Where was Chanyeol?

Dr. Zhang leans forward in his chair until his elbows were against the wood. He pulls out a folder and begins to jot things down, "What was the last thing you remember?"

Baekhyun makes a face, but he looks at his feet and purses his lips together.

"Piano with Chanyeol."

Dr. Zhang stops writing and he sets his pen down to stare at Baekhyun, his expression amazed.

"Unbelievable. How many memory lapses have you had today, if you can remember?" He asks and Baekhyun calms himself down.

"The one at, uh...fruit and rice and noodles. I don't know if it was breakfast or not, and right now." He answers and Dr. Zhang writes this down.

"Twice, but not a complete reset." He comments and Baekhyun shifts in his chair, but he nods.

"What does that mean?" He asks and the doctor smiles, chuckling to himself quietly.

"It means you're getting better."

"Where's Chanyeol?" Baekhyun asks and Dr. Zhang scribbles something down.

"Don't worry, he's waiting outside. Have you been having any sort of dreams lately?"

Baekhyun gives him a confused look, but it was disinterested, "What? I don't...I don't know."

Dr. Zhang hums his response, writing a few things down on a paper Baekhyun couldn't see.

The grandfather clock behind him suddenly chimes and Baekhyun almost jumps in his seat, but remains still. Dr. Zhang turns to look at it and closes the folder with a smile directed at Baekhyun.

"And that's the bell. I hope our meeting tomorrow will be equally satisfying." He exclaims and Baekhyun nods, bowing his head in respect and getting out of his chair. He quickly opens the door and slips through the opening, seeing Chanyeol sitting on a loveseat, reading a Highlights magazine with a pen in his hand, circling the hidden shapes in the picture. he looks up at the sound of the door and smiles, but it turns into concern when Baekhyun rushes over to him. He throws the magazine aside and stands up just in time for Baekhyun to reach up and grab his face, bringing their lips together. Chanyeol's surprised gasp is muffled, but he cups the back of Baekhyun's neck and melts into the kiss.

When they break Chanyeol seems breathless and Baekhyun craves more, but the seventh chime of the grandfather clock warns him that they should move on to their next item on the agenda.

"What was that for?" Chanyeol asks, leaning so their foreheads could press together. Baekhyun swallows the new lump in his throat and he laces his hands with Chanyeol's.

"I forgot the first one."

Chanyeol's laugh is breathy, but curfew was coming up, so they place a little more distance between them and hold hands as they take the elevator back up to the fourth floor. As determined as he was to remembering everything for the next day, how many times has he tried and failed?

Chanyeol produces fresh night clothes from the closet as usual and helps Baekhyun brush his teeth at the small sink in the corner. As he changes, everything seems better and with more clarity than before.

And right before Chanyeol leaves for the night, Baekhyun grabs his wrist and holds on, his other hand tightly gripping the blanket tucked in by his chin.

"Chanyeol." He pleads and the taller comes back to kneel at the side of his bed, eyes kind.

"Yes?"

"Why do you still love me?"

The question catches him off guard, but it's not the first time. Chanyeol sighs and presses Baekhyun's hand to his cheek, leaning into it.

"Because I would be impossible for me not to love you. You're my downfall, you're my muse. My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues." He sings softly and Baekhyun smiles, using his thumb to caress Chanyeol's cheek.

"Isn't it hard?" He asks and Chanyeol takes his time to answer.

"Sometimes, but it's worth it. Everyday you get to experience falling in love again, and I'm reminded why I love you so much."

He's surprised when Baekhyun suddenly starts crying silently, his eyes watering and a sob catching his breath.

"Don't let me forget, Chanyeol. Don't let me forget." He begs and Chanyeol nods, releasing Baekhyun's hand so he can kiss his tears away, slowly standing up.

"I never do."

He walks over to the door and opens it enough so he could still be visible even halfway out, smiling at Baekhyun as he turns the light out with a quiet goodnight. He closes the door behind him and locks the heavy-duty handle on the outside.

But, instead of walking down the hall like usual, he presses his back against the door and slides down it slowly, pressing the palm of his hand against his eyes.

"I never do."

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