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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2. Epilogue

Sleep. He could try all he wanted, but it ate away at him. How many days did he go through before with the same issues? How many nights did he fight through knowing his memory would be lost the next day? How many times did he wake up wondering why he was so tired?

Sleep. Eventually is descended upon him like a silent killer. It's grip held him until he fell deeply under it's spell and dissolved into nothing.

 

 

It was all so white. It was the blue that gave him some sort of relief. He woke up facing the far wall and wonders why. Did he not like to sleep with his head in the corner? 

The hands threading through his hair softens his awakening to the point where he wishes he could remain like this for the rest of the day. A deep, warm voice welcomes him to a new day and he swallows saliva into his dry mouth, opening his eyes to dark hair, big ears, brown eyes. He licks his lips and takes in a deep breath, feeling his lungs expand greater than before, stretching them out, as it seemed. His eyes refuse to open further, but he forces himself to wake up when the tall male shows him the clothes on his arm with a welcoming smile.

"Come on out of bed, sleepy-head. We have to get you into the bath!" The man exclaims.

He complies tiredly, staring up at the taller as he places socked feet against the floor, his palms pressing into the mattress. As his brain begins to spin, he forms a question in his mouth and takes his time to process it.

"What do I look like?"

The other tilts his head to the side slightly and he chuckles quietly, "Well, there are mirrors in the bathrooms. You're probably confused, and that's okay."

No, he wants to say, but he's too caught up in something stirring in his mind. He remembers something like this. He remembers Algebra homework, tutoring, pet ferrets and insisting they study at his house.

"My name is Park Chanyeol and your's is Byun Baekhyun. You were in a car accident that affected your memory right before our wedding day. I succeeded in making you love me yesterday, and today I plan on succeeding again." The other explains and he helps him to his feet, clasping their hands together and leading them to the door.

Baekhyun. He remembers the first time that voice said his name, hearing it over the phone, seeing it over text: Baek, Baekkie, Byun Baek, Baekhyun.

Chanyeol, Channie, Yeolie, Chan.

Chanyeol unlocks the door and Baekhyun tiredly wipes at his eyes, his hand feeling warm in it's embrace with the other. He remembers beige walls and tiles before the door opens to reveal what he previously imagined. This time, as they exit the room calmly, they head to the other end of the hallway and push open a door that leads to porcelain tubs lined up along either wall. Chanyeol brings them to the first one tucked behind the little corner and sets the clean clothes on a small stool to the side.

The walls were blue and the tiles of the same color. Baekhyun's inclined to compare Chanyeol's scrubs for contrast as the taller male kneels to begin filling the tub with water. His large hand remains under the stream until the temperature suits him, and then he plugs the drain to wait.

"I'm going to have to undress you now." He softly explains and Baekhyun looks at him, gently pursing his lips. He takes a step closer to Chanyeol and holds his arms on either side of his body. The taller smiles and begins to unbutton the nightshirt, the bathroom colder without it so he shivers. Chanyeol moves to stand behind him and he squats down slightly to pull his pants off, fighting the elastic until they slide down his legs. When his hands feel his underwear, Baekhyun stiffens, but then he giggles and crosses his arms over his body. Chanyeol looks up at him when he turns around with an amused smile to mirror Baekhyun's expression.

Baekhyun places his hands over his backside in defense and Chanyeol sees the playfulness in his eyes as he takes a step backwards.

"I promise I won't violate you," Chanyeol states and Baekhyun gives him a shooing gesture, so he turns around. He hears Baekhyun stepping into the filling tub and moves to stop the water, placing his hands over his eyes to do so. His other hand bumps into the handles and he turns one of them to stop the cold water, then the other for the hot, "Can I look now?"

"Yes."

He uncovers his eyes and meets Baekhyun's to direction his gaze. The other sighs in the water and sits up when Chaneyol kneels by the tub.

"Can I see myself now?" He asks and Chanyeol claps his hands once, getting back onto his feet and running over to a locked room at the other end. With a key, he gets inside and produces a mirror on a black handle, closing the door and walking back over. He hands it to Baekhyun, who slowly but curiously adjusts it to see his own face.

His skin is pale and his hair black. The image was familiar: teenage acne memories, putting his mother's eyeliner on for a first date, that bruise he got on his cheek when he hit himself in the face with a water bottle, selcas in the bathroom.

As he's busy examining himself, tracing details and experiences, Chanyeol lathers a sponge with soap and drags it over his shoulders to produce bubbles across Baekhyun's skin. He smiles from Baekhyun's actions and takes up a nearby cup, dipping it in the water and cupping his hand on Baekhyun's forehead so the water wouldn't get in his eyes. He pours and Baekhyun makes a face, seeing it in the reflection and laughing. Chanyeol chuckles as well and repeats until Baekhyun's hair was completely wet.

He pours soap int his palm and massages it into Baekhyun's hair. The smaller lowers the mirror and lean into the fingers in his hair. He supposes Chanyeol knew he loved this sort of thing, seeing as this was his wake-up.

The shampoo is washed out with the cup and Chanyeol continues washing him as the conditioner sets in properly. When he's rinsed Chanyeol helps Baekhyun out with a waiting towel and the latter gets wraped up in it, Chanyeol rubbing his arms to help him warm up. He takes another towel and ruffles Baekhyun's hair with it to dry it out.

"We'll have to hurry. You have a visitor today." Chanyeol enthuses and Baekhyun becomes confused.

"Who?"

"Your brother."

He's confused, but he lets Chanyeol dress him. As he's slipping the shirt over his head, his hair gets mussed and he tries to put it back into place, grabbing Chanyeol's hand.

"Can we still play the piano again?" He asks and Chanyeol freezes. He thinks he's said something wrong - maybe that wasn't really what happened. Maybe he was dreaming, or something - but then Chanyeol's eyes water and Baekhyun becomes concerned, "Chanyeol?"

Chanyeol looks at the ground and a tear break free from his eye to tumble down his cheek. He gives off a single sob before hesitantly placing his hand on Baekhyun's shoulder. Baekhyun reaches up and encloses his fingers in Chanyeol's hair as he presses their foreheads together.

"Chanyeol?" Baekhyun asks and the said person shakes his head, wiping under his eyes and wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug. He sniffs back his emotions and Baekhyun soothingly strokes the back of his neck until he can muster the strength to pull back again, this time nodding his head with a partially broken smile.

"Yes. We can play the piano again." He replies and Baekhyun smiles to try to cheer him up, but Chanyeol wasn't crying from sadness.

They walk out of the bathroom arm-in-arm. There's a familiar nurse, and a familiar door, and a familiar elevator ride as they slide down to the first floor. It makes Baekhyun feel acomplished when he recognizes yellow walls. A man in a white coat waves to them, his pen cap in his mouth, and Chanyeol waves back.

"Dr. Zhang!" Baekhyun greets, waving himself and the doctor is taken back, but his expression brightens and he rushes over to make conversation.

"Baekhyun! It's nice to see you up and about with such vitality! I thought Baekbeom was coming to see you." He inquires and Baekhyun lets the name echo in his brain as Chanyeol nods.

"On our way to get him from the front now." He concludes and the doctor nods his head in understanding.

"I presume that we'll meet in my office then?"

Chanyeol nods and they say their goodbyes when he peeks at the clock hanging on the wall. Still linked, a man behind a U-shaped counter helps another man sign in his name and recieve a visitor's badge, but it isn't as official as Chanyeols. Baekhyun does notice, however, that this man looked a lot like his reflection in the bathroom.

The stranger glances up and he smiles as his brother cautiously, always slightly reluctant to come in fear he'd be heartbroken all over again. How could Chanyeol stand to stay here for so long?

"Baekhyun!" He greets and the two walk closer until the brothers could see each other face-to-face. Baekhyun reacts to Baekbeom's smile with curious eyes. The elder isn't sure what it means, but Chanyeol says his temporary goodbye and keeps his promise to see the doctor.

The front doors to the institution were made of maxiglass and let in the light. Baekhyun squints as his brother leads them outside and into the protected courtyard, walking along a cute path with stepping stones mixed with the grass. The flowers were still dead from a long winter, but a few showed signs of early growth and renewal. The path leads them to an empty wooden bench overlooking the rest of the garden. Coupled with the light breeze and the early morning air, it was a beautiful place to sit.

Baekbeom gestures for his brother to sit down before he does and they stre at the plants, neither of them knowing what to say. they'd drilled Baekbeom many times on questiosn that either helped Baekhyun get a clear picture, or just ice breakers, but he never wanted to use them. Why would he have to break the ice with his own brother - of course, unless he'd forget him the next day.

"When did the cast get taken off?" Baekhyun suddenly breaks the silence and Baekbeom glances at his brother. The younger didn't even look his way with the question, but worries his bottom lip with his teeth. The elder feels a sliver of hope in his chest swell - how did he know?

"Oh, um...I only needed to wear it for a few weeks." He comments and Baekhyun looks at him.

"How long ago was that?"

Baekbeom leans forward so his elbows were resting on his thighs and his hands clasped together between his knees, "A year and a half, maybe."

Baekhyun hums a little and nods, looking back over the flowers as he remains squinting from the premature sunshine. Baekbeom wets his lips in anticipation, forgetting just about every line they taught him for a situation like this in his shock.

"How did you, uh, remember that?" He asks and Baekhyun clears his throat lightly. He blinks his eyes and sighs.

"I'm still trying to piece it together a little. All those days were the same events on repeat. It's hard to distinguish them apart." He explains and Baekbeom nods his head in astonishment.

"I suppose it would." He awkwardly replies, his mouth somehow getting dry. Baekhyun purses his lips and looks at his hands in thought.

"Do you remember that song mom used to sing us before we'd go to bed?" He asks and his brother furrows his brows, but his heart speeds up.

"Not entirely. Which one?"

"The one about...gemstones - charms, I think. Something about charms. Count all the charms about Baekhyun." He sings and Baekbeom laughs once, but he swallows and follows him.

"And lately it seems, in all of my dreams, I love Baekbeom." He continues and Baekhyun lightly pushes him.

"Wait, wait! We have to start from the beginning. Do you remember now?" He asks and Baekbeom nods his head, tears shinning in his eyes.

"When I go to sleep..." Baekbeom starts and Baekhyun nods his head enthusiastically.

"Right! I never count sheep..."

They spend the next five minutes singing the song of their childhood together, placing in each other's names in the song like it was a contest. They end up laughing about when they tied the neighbor's dolls to fireworks and tried to set them off, or when Baekhyun had to attempt to be a wingman for his brother's prom date. Baekbeom had wanted to return the favor, only to discover that his baby brother was already going with the person he was going to set him up with.

It was no invisible fact that Chanyeol liked his brother when they were in highschool. Everytime he came over for anything - school, music, video games - the signs were there. It was just a concern when he didn't know if his brother liked the poor soul back. He should've suspected something when the latter always practiced wearing eyeliner and skinny jeans as soon as his 'best friend' was supposed to some over for the weekend.

Baekhyun gives off a final sigh to calm his laughter and Baekbeom coughs into his arm from the sudden attack.

"You should sneak some in for me." Baekhyun insists and his brother glances at him in confusion.

"What?"

"Some eyeliner. You need to hook me up if I'm to seduce Chanyeol into marrying me again." He explains and Baekbeom sighs.

"I don't think that's necessary," Baekbeom looks his brother in the eye, "He's been waiting for it since you first checked in."

Baekhyun's expression falls and he clasps his hands together again, as if he was nervous.

"It's been two years; Two years of constant heart break because I couldn't remember who he was. We won't be able to just pick things up again."

Things remain silent and Baekhyun looks over at his brother to see a glare being pointed at him.

"As much as I should be glad that you can freaking remember again, you've got to be kidding me. Chanyeol's been here the whole time. He's never left. He's been waiting for you so you could finally live together forever, Baek. If you think he's going to drop the love of his life off with no hope then you obviously have not remembered everything." Baekbeom scolds and Baekhyun quickly nods his head.

With another silence, Baekbeom drapes his arms on the back of the bench and looks over the flowers again.

"So...eyeliner. Anything else?" he asks, trying to soften the atmosphere. Baekhyun blinks and smiles faintly, giving his brother a bright look of illumination.

The request is passed on through a series of silent requests and then an object is handed between them. Their time is up for the visit and they head back on the path, seeing the great building of the institution ahead. If he looks hard enough, Baekhyun's sure he'd be able to see Chanyeol looking for him through one of those windows, but it's take too long to look and he still hasn't eaten.

The promise of Chanyeol's food excites him and he's sad to say goodbye to his brother at the desk, but Chanyeol picks him up again with a wide smile that he mimics.

"Ready to go?"

Baekhyun's momentarily speechless and he nods his head as his companion links arms with him. The smaller clings a bit more than Chanyeol expects, but it makes his heart soften as they pick up their food back from the visitor's office and enter the cafeteria. Baekhyun's content as Chanyeol places his food on his tray in order from what he wants to eat the least to what he wants to eat the most.

Baekhyun was bubbling with anticipation, wondering when he could finally announce himself to Chanyeol. What should he say? What was the best thing to bring up? They already spoke about their first kiss yesterday, so that wasn't useable.

So he starts talking about his walk with Baekbeom and describes how wonder it was to see the colors of nature and how cool the air was. He swallows his fruit down before continuing, stopping only when he glances up to see Chanyeol resting his head in one hand, the elbow standing him up as his fingers splay over his cheek. The look in his eyes stops Baekhyun short in his story and the words tumbling from his mouth were just natural.

"How far away is that little cafe from here?" He asks and Chanyeol tilts his head slightly.

"What cafe?"

"The one we went to for our first date. Does Minseok-hyung still work there?"

"The...uh..." Chanyeol's left speechless and his hand falls away, "What?"

"You know. I think it was June? You ordered vanilla bubble tea but it tasted like soap in your opinion so I gave you mine and we swapped."

"July." Chanyeol croaks, his voice suddenly gone. Baekhyun smiles and nods curtly.

"I always mixed those two." He laughs and Chanyeol suddenly leans forward, searching for Baekhyun's hand until he finds it and intertwines them.

"Baekhyun," He melts and the said male looks up in concern, seeing two years worth of pain and sadness behind Chanyeol's irises, "Tell me more."

"Can we use the piano now?" He asks and Chanyeol nods quickly, cleaning up their food so fast that Baekhyun could swear he's practiced this. As soon as their containers are packed away and ropped off, they're in the elevator, and Chanyeol can't help but wap his arms tightly around Baekhyun, one hand against the back of his head as if he'd lose him. Baekhyun holds his hand together as they travel up several floors, moving out when the doors open on their stop. They check in with the nurse again and Chanyeol opens the piano to play, as if expecting a miracle to come pouring from the keys when, in reality, the miracle had already happened.

So, before Chanyeol could even figure out what to say or do, Baekhyun was placing his hands on the keys, smiling as he recalls years worth of lessons and practice to form chords and melodies. Even though there wasn't really a clear song to what he was playing, it didn't matter, because Chanyeol was still recovering.

"Baekhyun." He gasps. Baekhyun stops and sees Chanyeol's gaze on his hands, where the ring Baekbeom gave him was sitting on his ring finger - the ring Chanyeol gave him as a promise of an eternal happiness and devotion he had yet to claim. With the break in his train of creative thought, Baekhyun finds Chanyeol's hand and rubs his thumb over the matching ring on the latter's ring finger; He's never taken it off.

Then, Baekhyun's hands search out a familiar pattern and a familiar sound of the piano keys until Chanyeol's cheeks were wet with soft tears.

"How many times do I have to tell you even when you're crying you're beautiful too. The world is beating you down. I'm around through every mood. You're my downfall, you're my muse. My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues. I can't stop singing, it's ringing in my head for you."

"My head's underwater but I'm breathing fine." Chanyeol chokes up on the line he's chosen for himself, trying to spare a hand on the keys and Baekhyun puts one down to let him play with him. They falter only once when Chanyeol's trembling hand slips on a chord, but it's a perfect blend of everything they've ever had to go through and more - speaking of the future and the present and the past that once eluded them all at once.

Soon, Baekhyun's crying as well, feeling all those years of clueless existence slipping through his fingers like the wasted time they were. He feels guilty; He feels content. Their heads touch when they lean against each other, both of their voices reaching a lovely falsetto when their regular voices can't reach the note in the degradable state they were in.

Their hands slip from the piano when they can't find the energy to play anymore, Baekhyun's head against Chanyeol's shoulder. Chanyeol sniffles to himself and tries to wipe away the tears, only for Baekhyun to shift aside and erase them with the pad of his thumb. When their eyes meet more of them are created and fall past his lashes.

"I love you." Chanyeol whispers and Baekhyun nods his head.

"I love you."

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