t (tetrys) wrote in sassyneki,
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tetrys
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1.5 Hearts [1/1]

hunhan, oneshot, 5.4k, tragedy, au, nc-17 / aff, ao3

Luhan quite literally stumbles into love with half a heart, because he can't bring himself to try.

Warnings (highlight to see): may be triggering, eating disorder, implied character deaths




1.5 Hearts

The first snow has started to fall. White blankets the grass outside like a mother caressing her child, replacing the moss green of the ground with a dirty white. He can hear the wind building up, howling against glass panes, and he swears the windows shiver with each breeze.

"Luhan?"

They look at him expectantly: his mother - since when did her hair become so streaked with white and her face lined with creases at the brow? - and the lab coat-clad doctor.

"Your operation is tomorrow, you know that, yes?" the doctor asks. He places a hand on Luhan's wrist and the boy quickly snatches it away. There's a sneer, an underlying tone of condescension in the man's voice. And he doesn't like it.

His mother's voice is emotionless. "Your father and I will be here until you wake up."

Of course they will, he thinks. But will they stay?



When he wakes up, there is a scar across his chest and a blank space in his mind.

"He's awake," a voice says. He can't quite hear it properly, finds that it overlaps with all the other voices in his head. "Luhan, can you hear me? It's your dad."

He blinks once, twice. The world slowly comes into focus again, and he feels like the star of his very own tragedy. Two faces hover above his and a third lies in the distance.

He opens his mouth and tries to speak, but only a croak comes out.

"Don't strain yourself," an unfamiliar voice says. The owner walks closer, armed with a clipboard and a dirty white coat. He taps his pen on the clipboard twice. "We've replaced half of your heart with the pump and there seem to be no problems, but we will still need to monitor your condition. You will have to stay here for at least another week or two, and once you've been certified healthy, you can go home."

He wants to ask a question. What about the needle protruding from his arm? What about the giant machine that's whirring at his bedside, the one he's connected to? What about medication? What about his heart?

"We'll come by every evening," his mother says. Her voice is expressionless as usual, the lines on her face not matching the monotony of her words.

He can't say anything, so he merely nods.



The next couple of days, he is babied by the nurses who fawn over his face as much as they fawn over his health. At first, he tried making an effort to remember their names and their faces - really, he did - but it was all for naught. Eventually, like everything else, they blurred into a faceless, nameless mass.

He learned not to flinch whenever they touched him because that meant more visits from the doctors. He learned to fling his food into the bin discreetly so they wouldn't give him suspicious looks. He learned not to ask too many questions.

The giant machine is still there by his bedside though, its whirring an ugly reminder of what he's become. And it is not as if he needs the machine. He's been able to walk outside for a bit, sans machine, with the aid of a nurse or two. The doctors and nurses all said it was a precautionary measure, one that they had to take in the initial recovery stage, but Luhan knows it is all for show. They just want to trap him here.

He keeps track. He notes down how many unfamiliar faces visit him every hour; on the first day, the number is TWO; the next day, ONE; and today, it is POINT-THREE-THREE-THREE. He has even got their pattern figured out.

And so, he leaves. There's an art to escaping. If you pretend that you are doing something that is definitely not out of the ordinary, no one else will think otherwise either, especially not when you're just one face amongst many.

It's not hard. His parents have forked out for the best ward there is, one that is secluded and large and quiet, with few staff and even fewer patients. As if the stench of death and illness was contagious.

There are a couple of nurses patrolling the area, eyes on their phones. But they don't recognise him. He walks down the hallway as lightly as possible, head up and strides purposeful. A slight pang of pain shoots up the side of his ribs with each step, one that makes him stumble and curse under his breath at first; but his pain tolerance is high - has to be, you see - and his face a well-practiced blank.

It is nice to get fresh air again, even if it is interspersed with the stink of disease. Sick people have a certain smell. (Luhan would know.) An aura of death and melancholy clings to them; it's not ugly by any means, just oddly out of place amongst a predominantly healthy population. When there's so much medicine and technology out there to change the way you look and add years to your lives, it makes one wonder why a simple heart disease can't be cured.

The hospital's put in no effort in beautifying the place. Maybe they think everyone who sees it is going to die soon anyway, so what's the point of making it look good? The grass is slightly overgrown and in desperate need of a trim, the flowers drooping under the weight of snow.

Luhan shivers. The cold is starting to get to him, a cashmere sweater is not enough for warmth.

But as ugly as the garden is, it is large and spacious, larger than his own bedroom. There is a little patio in the middle with a pathetic bench that looks like it will fall apart soon, and there is at least some attempt to incorporate a miniature fountain. Its best feature, though, is that it is secluded. It is hidden in a corner of the hospital's grounds, well away from any itchy ears or prying eyes.

He starts walking, in part to build up some body warmth and in part to have something to do. There isn't much point in just standing there. The snow gives way beneath his feet; it's a thin layer, maybe an inch or two, but enough to leave footprints behind.

(Since when were his feet so small?)

He knows he will fall before he actually does. A misstep here, a trip over nothing, and he slips on the uneven snow, arms darting out automatically to soften the impact. But instead of the cold ground, he lands on a warm body, one that is longer than his but just as thin.

"Oh, sorry," Luhan mutters. He gets up, unsteady on his feet, brushes the dirty snow off his sweater and pants before looking up. The boy he's stumbled into is still on the ground. His head is tilted to a side, eyes curious and wide, and he would be the picture of childhood and innocence, if it were not for the fact that he reeks of sick.

(It is a different kind of sick, different from the kind that Luhan is used to. But it is a stench that clings to his skin nonetheless.)

Luhan holds out a hand and the boy latches onto it, pulling himself up. He is both lighter and taller than Luhan expected, towering at least half a head over him and sporting bony wrists, bony ankles, collarbones that peek out underneath his shirt.

"Thanks," the boy smiles. He has a nice smile, Luhan thinks. It makes his eyes go crinkly and makes him look much younger. "I'm Sehun."

"Luhan," he replies. He can see Sehun's jaw move and shift and snap back into place with each syllable. "Are you a patient here, too?"

"No, I'm just visiting my friend," Sehun says. "Stupid boy went and got himself injured during dance."

"Oh." Luhan isn't good at making small talk. "Well, I am. A patient, I mean."

(That's just one of the many reasons why he avoids people.)

"What for?" he asks. Sehun looks genuinely curious, leans toward Luhan a bit, sheltering him from the non-existent midday sun. He can't help but think that the boy's being a little intrusive, a little rude, but he's hardly a poster boy for etiquette himself. He's in no position to judge.

"A surgery," Luhan says. "Just a small thing. I'll be discharged soon."

"Oh, that's cool," Sehun smiles. He reaches a hand toward the daisies that adorn the adjacent bush, rubs the petals between his fingertips and watches as the snow falls to the ground. The white of the daisies is slowly revealed, hardly discernible from the dirty snow that's now gone. "Funny how they have daisies in winter, isn't it?"



Because Luhan has been a good boy, he is now allowed to wander around the hospital grounds alone. He has to go with an IV drip - something which he forgot, and whose absence was the reason why he felt oddly light-headed after his little escapade to the garden - but it's a start, at least. A sort of consolation prize for having half the lifespan of the typical human.

He goes back to the garden again. Seems sort of symbolic, he thinks, to go back to the beginning.

The snow is as heavy as yesterday, if not more so. It's dirtier, too. The grass has gotten its trim, but the bench still looks as dilapidated as ever and the flora's still miserable.

"Hello Luhan," Sehun greets. Luhan stumbles a bit, startled. He didn't see Sehun there; his skin is pale, camouflaging with the snow. He eyes the needles sticking out of Luhan's arms, gaze travelling to the IV drip that the patient is clutching on to. "How're you doing?"

"Hi Sehun," he says. He rights himself again, grip on the IV drip tighter. Funny how a burden suddenly becomes a safety net. "A little tired, but I'm fine. How's your friend?"

"He's getting discharged today. We're going out for a celebratory dinner later."

"That's nice," Luhan says, rather wistfully. He wishes he could have more than just bland hospital food; it was even worse at the start, where they just gave him meal tablet after meal tablet, as if the different colours would make up for the lack of sensation. "Guess I won't see you around anymore, then?"

"Nah, you won't get rid of me so soon." Sehun cracks a smile, and Luhan wants to ask why that is so, why won't he leave like everyone else. "Do you want to get ice cream?"

Luhan throws him an incredulous look. He gestures toward his IV drip. "With this?"

"You can remove it for a little bit, hide it somewhere. In the lobby, in a toilet. Then we can come back and get it."

He expects Sehun to look hopeful, maybe a little desperate. That would have fed his ego just nice. But no, that's not what he sees; Sehun's face is calm, maybe a little dispassionate, though there is a mischievous flicker in his eyes and in the way he speaks and stands and moves, one that draws Luhan in like a moth to a flame.

He looks around at the rather depressing garden. Fuck it, fuck it all.

"Alright, let's go."



They stow the IV drip away in a broom closet amidst dusty shelves and unused cleaning supplies. Sehun lends him a pair of sweats that hang too low around the waist and a hoodie with the number '94' on it.

It only hits Luhan how strange this all is when they're halfway there. He's going to get ice cream in the middle of winter with a stranger he only met a day ago; he's half the person he used to be, in more ways than one, and if his perception is still as good as it used to be, so is Sehun.

"What's good?" Luhan asks, peering at the different flavours. He almost plasters his face onto the glass display; it's been so long since he's felt the sweetness of ice cream melt on his tongue.

"Everything," Sehun says. There's a shrug, a strained smile.

"I'll have the strawberry margarita," Luhan says to the cashier.

She wears an unimpressed look on her face as she scans him up and down. "ID?"

"Fine, I'll just get the strawberry." It's times like these he really curses his baby face. He tries not to sneer at the girl too much. "What are you getting, Sehun?"

A pause. "Nothing."

"Come on," Luhan prods. "I'll pay."

"You don't even have money," Sehun scoffs. Eh, it's true.

"When we get back, I'll pay." If anything, Luhan is stubborn as a mule. He pokes the boy's cheeks. "Really. Pick anything."

"Fine then," Sehun sighs. His shoulders slump down, body turns toward the array of flavours, like colours of the rainbow distilled into dairy and sugar. "I'll get the mint."

"Eugh." Luhan pulls a face. He knows he looks ridiculous - he's been said to have no jaw when he makes those strange expressions - but can't care enough to change.

"What, why?"

"It's like toothpaste," Luhan says. "You're eating toothpaste ice cream, and you look like a toothbrush. Haha. That's funny."

Sehun throws him an amused look as he chuckles to himself. He still thinks Sehun's choice in dessert is strange, but there is too much to do and too little time, so he allows Sehun to pay for their respective cups and they decide to eat outside, a small ceiling ledge preventing stray snow from messing up their food.

They lean against the brick wall, thighs touching and shoulders bumping. There aren't many people outside at this time of the day, this time of the year, not when the indoors holds alluring promises of warmth and comfort. Hell, it's weird that they're eating ice cream in the snow.

Sehun nurses his scoop slowly. The spoon hits the mound of ice cream, only to come back up with less than a pinch of it. Each taste is not one that the boy savours; it is one that has his hand shivering as he brings the spoon to his mouth, one that has his eyes shutting not in euphoria, but in pain.

"Try mine," Luhan urges. He shoves his spoonful of strawberry ice cream into Sehun's mouth. "Much better than your mint, isn't it?"

The other boy freezes into place. His brows are furrowed, eyes two wide marbles against pale skin and gaunt cheekbones; and if Luhan wasn't so deliberately violent, he knows that the lick of strawberry ice cream would have remained there, lingering on thin lips, instead of traveling down a slick throat.

He reaches over to Sehun's ice cream, barely touched, steals a pinch of it. He pulls a face.

"Eugh," he groans. "Nope, not for me."

Sehun's finally broken out of his little reverie, cracks a smile that seems to be the only genuine one Luhan's seen today.

"How old are you?"

"Twenty-two," Luhan replies. "Just turned in October."

"I'm eighteen... That makes you my hyung. Boo."

"Call me hyung," Luhan orders. He turns slightly, the side of his body leaning against the cold wall. "Luhan-hyung!"

"But you look so much younger than me," Sehun insists. "I don't call people who look younger than me hyung."

"Disrespectful child! Insolence!"

"I came out here to eat ice cream, and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now."

Luhan bends down carefully, slowly, and leaves his cup of ice cream on the ground. Then he gets up on tippy-toes and, staring the other boy straight in the eyes, flicks him in the forehead.



They are almost caught. He sneaks back into his ward, Sehun on his left and the IV drip on his right.

"Luhan," a nurse calls out. "Why isn't your IV drip attached?"

He mouths an 'Oh shit' before turning around and plastering on a megawatt smile, the kind that leaves mothers and daughters (and some sons) alike in little puddles of goo.

"We went to the garden," he explains, gesturing toward Sehun. "It was quite bothersome."

The nurse fusses over him, makes sure he's okay. When she inserts the needle back in, he makes a visible wince even though it no longer hurts. "There you go, all better."

"Thank you!" he chirps. He wonders how they haven't yet noticed that he never calls anyone by their name. "My friend will be with me, is that alright?"

"Sure, just make sure he leaves once visiting hours are over."

Once she leaves, he pulls out the IV drip and rummages through the wallet he's kept at the bedside table. He pulls out ten dollars and shoves them in Sehun's hands.

"Here you go," Luhan says. "Today is my treat."

For a second, Luhan thinks Sehun will throw the money back in his face.

"Okay, but the next one will be mine."



"You're doing very well, Luhan."

"You'll have to go back to school in the spring, so make sure you catch up on your schoolwork soon."

"How's that friend of yours doing?"

"At this rate, you should be discharged very soon."

He doesn't speak of the way his chest tightens up, the way it skips a beat one second and then speeds up the next.

He is tired. He is so, so tired.



The next few days, Luhan sees Sehun all the time. He is given much more freedom now, and it's something he spends no time wasting. They usually meet in the garden because it's where the snow is the dirtiest and the wind the loudest, camouflaged by the white expanse and billowing breeze.

Time passes quickly, and it's spent talking. He learns that Sehun is in his last year of high school, is in the dance club, likes long walks in the forests and fancy cars and Mathematics. He tells Sehun of his Literature classes, of his family and non-existent friends, of how he stays up late at night because his mind goes into overdrive the moment the sun slips beneath the horizon.

The second time they sneak out, it is to a bookstore.

Luhan finds it strange that he would suggest such a place, but he's not in the mood to ask. And so he follows, stashing the IV drip in a hidden corner and all but stumbling into Sehun's clothes.

"It's a nice place," Sehun reassures him. "I know the owners."

"Do the owners know you?"

"Haha, very funny."

But it is a nice place, and Luhan lets Sehun know with his exuberant 'Ooooh's and 'Aaah's as he pours over the thick hardbacks, covers faded from years of use but not worn in the slightest. There are literary classics lining the shelves, each one of them different and well-loved, but there are also titles completely unknown that play hide-and-seek between the more popular ones, and finding one is like discovering a diamond in the rough.

"I wish I could buy something," Luhan sighs wistfully. He fingers the dog-eared pages of a copy of 1984.

"I can pay for you first, if you'd like," Sehun offers.

"No, it's alright." He returns the book to its shelf. "I've got no time anyway."



Luhan's on his way to the garden to meet Sehun, but on this particular day, decides to make a detour to the restroom. There's no one else inside, except an Oh Sehun who's wriggling out of hospital clothes and into casual ones.

"I can explain," Sehun says, voice desperate. It's a funny sight. His jeans are unbuttoned and his shirt hanging halfway of an arm, a smooth, pale expanse of stomach exposed. One, two, three, four - Luhan thinks he can play the xylophones on the boy's ribs.

Luhan shakes his head. "I don't really care." He really doesn't. If this is what the boy wants, so be it. "Where do you want to go today?"

Sehun hesitates for a moment, then quickly shrugs into the t-shirt. The jut of sharp collarbones against thin, thin skin never looked so glaring. "I was thinking you could choose."

He knows just the place. "Follow me."



They end up at a bar. Well, not a bar, exactly; it doubles up as a cafe in the daytime, but Luhan has connections, knows the people in charge, and so his access to alcohol is not restricted by the position of the sun in the sky.

"Yixing," Luhan says. "How are you?"

"Cut the bullshit, Lu," Yixing says. He flings the tea towel at Luhan's face. "Where've you been? No one's been able to contact you all winter break."

"Family vacation," he replies, scrunching up the towel and throwing it back at his friend. He's glad that his dreary hospital clothes are hidden underneath Sehun's hoodie and sweats; he doesn't need Yixing asking any more questions. "You know how it is."

"Yeah, yeah," Yixing says dismissively. But Luhan catches the quirk of his lips, and soon enough, it becomes a full-fledged smile, dimples and all. "Should've still told us where you disappeared off too, though. Just saying."

"Yes, mom," Luhan says. He points toward Sehun, who's seated on the stool beside his, hands fidgeting and eyes on Luhan. "This is my friend, Sehun. I met him while on vacation."

"Hello Sehun, I'm Yixing. This idiot's exponentially smarter friend."

Sehun smiles. "Hello."

"Get us a glass of scotch each," Luhan says. Then he tacks on, for added effect, "Please."

Soon enough, Yixing is busy with the pre-dinner crowd, and he disappears off to perform magic tricks behind the bar. Luhan and Sehun nurse their drinks, though Sehun has barely touched his. Each sip the younger takes has him cringing.

"Not used to it?"

"No, not really." Sehun hesitates. "Your friend's nice though."

Luhan feels his stomach churn, his chest tightening up in a very unpleasant way.

Instead, he forces a smile. "Yeah, he is."



The next time they meet, it is the middle of the night and in the bathroom. It's not planned, so it must be fate.

"Sehun?" Luhan asks. The room is dim, and it would be eerie, if not for the sounds of retching coming from the second stall. "Is that you?"

He opens the stall's door anyway. There he is, Oh Sehun, in all his lanky glory, bent over the porcelain throne, forcing out the non-existent contents of his stomach. Sweat lines the crevices between his neck and shoulder, catches on the sharp edge of a collarbone. His chest heaves up and down, knuckles turning white.

Luhan kneels down beside the boy, slowly pries him away. He is silent as he lifts one arm, throws it over his own shoulder, and carries the boy toward the sink. There is a towel by the side - he doubts it is clean, but beggars can't be choosers - and he soaks it in water, uses the cloth to wipe Sehun's mouth, face, neck.

Up close, the boy is more beautiful than he thought. His eyes are closed, but the curve of his eyelids give way to long lashes, the slope of his nose straight and smooth, his lips thin and pale but inviting all the same.

And because he is a sucker for tragedies, he leans in the same moment the other does.

The kisses start out soft and slow and hesitant, and they quickly morph into something sloppy and much more true to the fucked up nature of their selves. He throws caution to the wind, lets his instincts guide him. Knuckles scrape down the curve of Sehun's spine and the other boy's shudders send pleasant tingles down his own spine. Sehun works his way up his neck, across his jawline, the tip of his nose, the corner of his ear; as if memorising every bump and ridge and imperfection, as if they will disappear any time soon.

(Because they will.)

Clothes are off, and the tiles are much, much colder than expected, a sudden shock of ice against warm skin. Luhan arches against the floor anyway, arches as Sehun bends down and licks a thick stripe up Luhan, as he hears the light whispers that escape the younger's lips.

Soon it's a tangle - a fucking fight - of mouth against mouth, limbs against limbs, and Luhan can no longer tell where he ends and Sehun begins. And it is with a final cry, one that escapes from his lips as a harsh whimper against Sehun's own groans, that it finally ends.



They don't speak of that day, because neither of the two events makes for good fodder for a conversation. Sehun doesn't act any different, and neither does Luhan. And, truthfully, nothing feels different, except for the extra spark of electricity that travels up his own spine whenever their shoulders rub, whenever their fingers touch.

"Here," Luhan says. He pushes the bowl of rice toward Sehun. "Kimchijage."

"Thanks, Luhan." The stubborn boy still refuses to call him hyung. Brat. Sehun pushes the rice to a side and starts on his soup, and Luhan knows enough not to expect him to finish any of it. "Next time will be my treat."

He doesn't know when the next time will be, though. The doctors have all said he's recovering well, that he will be discharged in a couple days' time. The lingering ache in his ribs is one he doesn't bring up.

He opens his mouth, hesitates for a moment, but decides to say fuck all and, for the second time in two days, throws all caution to the wind.

"Sehun-ah," he starts. He licks his lips. "What's your number?"

Sehun pauses, looks up from his soup. For a moment, Luhan thinks he will laugh mockingly, maybe even jeer, but then he whips out his phone and motions for Luhan to enter his number. He relaxes, does as prompted, and a few seconds later there is a telltale beep from his own pocket, and he can't help but smile at the flashing numbers.

"I'll text you."

Sehun nods. "So will I."



Luhan is discharged the next day. The doctor gives a long lecture on the mandatory regular check-ups, the waiting list, the medical assistance, but Luhan tunes it all out. Instead, he focuses on a spot on the wall behind; it's much more interesting than whatever's being spouted out.

It is still winter break. There is still time before he has to fall back to his usual routine of school, study and sleep, and so he spends the first of it at Yixing's bar.

"You again," Yixing sneers. This time, Luhan catches the tea towel with finesse. "Where's your skinny friend?"

"Busy," Luhan says. He taps on the counter once, twice. "Scotch, please."

He whips out his phone, sends a text to Sehun:

TO: OH SEHUN
got discharged today, will come see u tomro

This is when his phone dies, because, really, what kind of heathen charges his phone overnight?



The garden is as dreary as ever, perhaps even more so because Luhan is no longer confined within it. The snow is still dirty, the flowers still a pathetic attempt at a saving grace, the pile of wood still a poor excuse for a bench, the leaves still sinking underneath the weight of frozen water.

He waits. He draws circles in the snow, shapes and lines and all sorts of strange things, and at one point the squiggles join up and begin to look suspiciously like 'OH SEHUN'. He violently shakes the snow off the flowers, off the leaves, watching as they rejoin their cousins on the ground. He hops up onto the patio and jumps onto the bench, surprised when it doesn't collapse beneath his weight.

But evening comes and goes, and even when the sun has dipped beneath the horizon and the skies have turned from blue to orange to black, Sehun still hasn't appeared.

TO: OH SEHUN
whr were u yesterday

TO: OH SEHUN
are u ok



"You're looking more tired these days," Yixing remarks. He folds both arms, rests them on the edge of the counter and peers forward. "What's on your mind?"

"Nothing," Luhan says.

"Is it about Sehun?" Yixing has always been remarkably perceptive, and that doesn't seem to have changed. "You know, one of my friends is a friend of his. Maybe he knows something."

"No, it's - it's fine," he grits out. No need to drag other people into his own problems. Sehun probably got sick of him and left, just like everyone else. "It's fine."



The next time Luhan sees Sehun, it is at Yixing's bar, and he is not alone. Two boys are with him, one tall, tan and toned, the other smaller and slimmer.

"Sehun," Luhan says. His voice is soft, low, barely making it over the cafe's buzz.

When Sehun looks up, Luhan feels his heart clench and swell, almost reaches a hand up to his chest to stop it from bursting. The boy's face is still the same; eyes, nose, lips and all. He wants to reach out and memorise the nooks and crannies with fingers, just as Sehun did to him with lips.

"Luhan," Sehun smiles. He's looking a little gaunter, too. Collarbones and cheekbones poking out more prominently than ever. "How've you been?"

"Didn't you see my messages?"

"Ah, I," Sehun struggles.

He's saved from answering, though, when his companions turn toward Luhan and appraise him with knowing smiles.

"Hello, I'm Jongin," the tall one smiles. He has a wicked grin, the kind that makes boys and girls alike fall at one's feet. "A friend of Sehun and Yixing's."

"I'm Kyungsoo," the other greets. This one has wide eyes and full lips, looks even more like an angel next to the playboy persona that the other is sporting.

"Luhan," he says.

"Yep, we know," Jongin says.

Sehun excuses himself a while later, leaves his tea at the counter as he heads to the bathroom. It must be a familiar sight, Luhan thinks.

"You've helped him a lot, you know," Kyungsoo says. His face betrays no expression except thoughtfulness, but his voice is tender. "He likes you."

"Huh?"

"He likes you a lot," Jongin chimes in, and his voice is softer and there's no more of that arrogant undertone. "I think he's just afraid. Always says Luhan this, Luhan that, but doesn't quite know where you guys stand."

Luhan frowns, dropping the teaspoon on the tabletop with a loud clatter.

"You see those collarbones, those wrists? They always got worse whenever he went to the hospital, but for some reason, after meeting you, they got better," Jongin says. "It's like you reminded him that there's something worth living for."

But no, Luhan thinks. It can't be that, not when I'm only half alive.



When Sehun returns, Kyungsoo and Jongin have left.

"So, why didn't you return my messages?" Luhan asks. This time, he is adamant for an explanation.

"I, ah," Sehun stutters. It's kind of adorable. "I was worried you'd find me annoying."

"What, why?"

He shrugs, licks his lips nervously. "A kid four years younger than you, stuck in the hospital while you go out there and live your own life."

"That's stupid, Sehun," Luhan frowns. He flicks Sehun on the forehead and is replied with a loud 'Ow!'. "Very stupid."

"I know, I know," Sehun sighs. "Anyway, I'll be discharged soon, too. We have the rest of winter break to text."

"And eat ice cream, and go to funky bookstores, and buy kimchijage for each other," Luhan adds pointedly. And when Sehun smiles, the crinkly-eyed one that makes him look years younger, it sends his own heart into a dizzying spiral, sends a pleasant shiver down his spine.

They spend the next few hours talking even though they both know there is the rest of winter - and, if they're lucky, the rest of the year - to talk. And though it's only been a week since they've seen each other, somehow, it feels like they are old friends, old lovers, bonding over a cup of tea and a shared past, one that binds them together like the red strings of fate.

Luhan offers him a bit of his own sandwich. He can feel the slight speeding up of his heart - is it even still his any more, he wonders - when their fingers brush. He stumbles a bit, not afraid to wince when the very act of getting up to shift his stool closer to Sehun's sends a sharp pain along the side of his ribs.

"How's your heart?" Sehun asks, wiping his lips. The bites he took were tentative and small, as if reluctant to make even the slightest dent.

The answer is unspoken, hangs in the air between them. No matter what the doctors say, neither have much time left. And they're okay with that.

Luhan smiles. "How's yours?"



A/N: what is this mess? idek how to classify it, at first it was tragedy, then fluff, and now that I've reread it I'm kind of leaning toward subtle tragedy-mindfuck-fluff? I don't think it's outright angsty. hmmm but here is my first 'completed' fic I guess. sorry, it's 1.30am and I'm half-dead




Tags: au, exo, hunhan, nc-17, oneshot, tragedy
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