Live Fast, Die Young, Be Wild, and Have Fun
Dedicated to Anna and her 20th birthday.
It was quiet and empty in the car. Sehun was alone. With two bodies, of course.
It was never good to drive when he was fucking pissed.
A cigarette hung between his lips. His hands were almost choking the steering wheel. His shirt was off once again. It wasn’t even that hot. His hands were red. His arms were red. Everything about him was red, except for his rainbow hair that Lu Han loved and the black ink tattoo on his chest.
The road was long. But he carried on. He was never good with sorting things out calmly. He was pretty good at scaring people, though.
The time read some ungodly hour in the morning. Sehun had no idea where he was. Wyoming? Utah? Nevada? What if he was already in California? That was where he wanted to go. That was where Kai wanted to go. But most of all, California was where Lu Han wanted to go.
His eyes narrowed at a sign on the side of the road.
Welcome to California.
And he grinned, the stupidest, silliest, widest smile that had ever crossed his face. California. LA; he could almost taste it now. His baby could finally find his daddy.
He peered at Lu Han through the rear view mirror. He looked like he was sleeping; a sleeping baby angel. His eyelashes were lace against his pale snowy cheeks. Pink hair was ruffled and fell across his forehead effortlessly.
Kai was sitting in the passenger’s seat. His body was awake, but his brain wasn’t. It was tense in the car, at least for him. He snuck at look at his brother. Sehun kept peeking at Lu Han. Jealousy, or something, ignited in Kai’s veins. It was always Sehun. But now he couldn’t focus on that. He wasn’t able to tell if Sehun knew or not. In the hotel room, Sehun woke him up with a serious face, but he was always serious. If he knew, he didn’t show it. He only demanded to leave that very night, and Kai felt that churning in his stomach attack. But Sehun was a very jealous person, and he did nothing to indicate any malicious feelings toward the two. He only acted cold. That was the Sehun Kai knew.
So the car ride was awkward and silent and tense for Kai. The air was thick, and it wasn’t from the humidity.
The road was long.
That is, until Sehun decided to swerve over to the side and turn off the car. “Get out,” he growled.
Kai stared. “What?” Sehun was unbuckling his seat belt and opening the door and coming around and—oh, fuck.
“I said, get out. Get out here.” Sehun jerked Kai’s door open and motioned for him to come out. Kai slid out of his seat and stepped aside. Sehun slammed the door. Hard.
Subconsciously, Kai backed away a couple of steps. Sehun’s muscles were rippling and defined. A light coat of sweat; the shine of the moon. His strong jaw, his rainbow hair that definitely did not reflect his emotions.
Sehun was leaning on the car, glaring at Kai. His arms were crossed over his chest, his eyebrows—perfect eyebrows, girls always said—were drawn down in sharp lines. Kai gulped.
“Why would you do that?”
Strangely, Sehun’s voice was calm.
Kai had been expecting Sehun to tackle him to the ground. He was always deathly physical. There was a time when Kai was nine and he had to read a poem he wrote in front of the class. During recess another boy made fun of him and Sehun beat the kid up. Suspended for three days.
“What?” Kai heard himself say.
“Don’t play dumb with me. You know what I mean.” Sehun was off the car now. And Kai realized, just how big Sehun was. He was even taller than Kai was now, and his shoulders were broad and strong. He really did gain much more muscle mass since their teenage years, and even his neck grew thicker with muscle. The tendons inside were sticking out with tension.
Kai took a step back. And in a second, he was slammed up against the car, a pair of big pale hands on his collar and he felt like a grain of salt with Sehun looming over him.
“Don’t fuck with me.” Sehun’s voice was low and dangerous. “Why the hell would you do that to me?”
“I…” Kai’s mouth was dry, as dry as the grass they were standing in. Maybe Lu Han would wake up. Maybe Lu Han would stop Sehun. But his tongue was twisted, and he couldn’t look down no matter how hard he tried, so he was stuck with Sehun’s cold brown eyes, so unlike Lu Han’s warm ones.
“You fucked him.”
Short, sweet. With one hand, Sehun held him against the car. And the next thing Kai knew, there was a something pressed against his temple.
He almost stopped breathing. Death by a bullet through his brain, death by self-asphyxiation—he didn’t know which was worse.
“No,” Kai whispered. His brother. His ally. His best friend. His fucking twin.
“Admit it, then.” It was frightening, how Sehun was relentlessly holding him against the car, the fire in his dark eyes, his lips curled, yet his voice was so steady, so calm. Just deep, just dangerous. Kai said nothing, even though every other part of his body screamed at his mouth and tongue and lips to just move.
“You’re not going to? Don’t you want to remember? The way he was, around you? How he screamed your name? Your real name, not Kai. It must have felt good. It always does, with Lu Han,” Sehun spat. Kai was trembling. The gun was cold against his temple.
“Did he beg for you? Did you take advantage of him? Of course you did.”
Kai felt like he was being interrogated. Well, he was. And he didn’t know, didn’t know if Sehun would shoot or not. Didn’t know if Sehun would dare kill his own brother.
“Sehun,” Kai whispered. His lips were dry. Mouth, dry. Tongue, dry. Throat, dry, and it hurt to speak. He didn’t even know he was crying until a strong wind blew by and carried his tears across his cheeks.
“Why?” Sehun let go of him. But he didn’t drop the gun. He backed away, his face lowered. The gun still stared down at Kai, but this time from a few feet away. Kai shivered; at least the gun wasn’t pressed up against him. But his knees ached and his legs shook and he was sure that he might pee his pants any second now.
“Why did you do that?” Sehun was looking at him now. And Kai was shocked to find that Sehun, the one so strong, the one so cold, so dark, was crying, too. His hand with the gun was still strong and steady, but the other wiped away his tears. “Why? I loved him. I love him. You’re my fucking brother. Why would you—Why? Why would you do that?”
“He’s the only person I’ve ever really loved!” Sehun screamed. “I fucking love him, Kai! Jongin!”
“I’m sorry,” Kai whispered. And Sehun’s eyes were so wild, so crazy, that Kai really thought—really thought—
“Why?” Sehun whispered. He shook his head, and Kai saw every muscle, every tendon, every vein in his neck. Sehun still had the gun, and Kai’s eyes darted to the side. Maybe he could run. Jump into the car, drive off, with Lu Han. But he knew he couldn’t. What if Sehun shot him?
Sehun was crying unabashedly now. Because he was human. Because he was a man. Because he was in love. And Kai ruined it; he ruined everything.
“Just,” Kai began. He peeled himself off the car, and began walking toward Sehun. An idiot, yes he was. “It’s not his fault.”
“I know,” Sehun muttered, his hand covering his face. “You think I don’t know that? You think I don’t know you took advantage of him? I know he’s fucking fragile, Kai! I know you’re always making yourself feel bad! And you just made him sad, too, didn’t you?” He was speaking rapidly now, words falling out of his mouth so quickly and sharply. “And then you fucked him. I know he needs people to need him so that he’ll feel happy. Damn it, I should’ve never let him alone with you. Fuck you. Fuck you, Kai, fuck you, Jongin.”
Kai’s mouth was dry. He couldn’t beg for forgiveness. Somehow his tongue was twisted and he couldn’t look down no matter how hard he tried. So he stared the gun down instead of Sehun, instead of the boy, the friend, the brother, the twin he hurt. And he waited, because one part of him hoped and wanted to believe Sehun would never kill him. But he remembered that they were both humans.
He breathed softly. He never was very good at speaking.
Sehun wiped his tears again. He didn’t look twenty-five anymore. He looked so young, like a teen, as if he were Lu Han’s age. He lowered the gun. “I… I can’t do it. Not to you. Not to you, Jongin. You’re my brother.”
Kai never felt worse. Not because of the fear. Not because he almost died.
Because he hurt his best friend, his brother, his twin. He made someone so strong, so cold, so close to him, cry.
Maybe he deserved to get shot.
Sehun sank down on his knees, the gun limp in his hand. Kai shivered. He didn’t know what time it was. He didn’t know what day it was. He didn’t know where they were. But it was dark, it was cold, and—
Sehun’s eyes widened almost dangerously. Lu Han rounded the car. “Lu Han—” But Lu Han walked over with wobbly legs and big wet eyes. For a moment, he did not register what was happening.
“Sehun? What… OH MY GOD!” Lu Han screamed. He ran over, tripping over himself quite a few times, and was at Sehun’s side in seconds. He started to cry, hugging Sehun’s body tightly and saying over and over again, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t do anything.” His small hands shot out and took the gun. Sehun didn’t put up a fight, thinking that Lu Han was just taking it away for safety.
“No, baby, it’s okay…”
“Were you going to shoot him?” Lu Han asked. He looked toward Kai, who only stared back with teary eyes.
There was a silence. The question hung in the air. And a strong wind blew past them and pushed it away.
“I don’t know.”
It chilled Kai to the bone, more than the wind, more than the air.
“It’s all my fault.”
Lu Han was standing up now, his legs shaking, his hands trembling. Sehun’s head shot up. Kai’s eyes widened.
Lu Han pointed the gun to his temple.
“What the fuck is wrong with me?”
“Oh my God. Baby,” Sehun breathed, already standing. He hands reached out slowly, as if he meant to take the gun away. But Lu Han kept taking steps backward.
He tapped his temple with the gun.
“You’re brothers,” Lu Han whispered. And his voice only grew louder. “I’m such a fucking slut! A fucking whore!” he screamed, doubling over like he had been punched. “I slept with both of you! And now you—you’re fighting. Sehun… you almost killed Kai! God damn it,” he sniffled. He never wiped away his tears. Kai was almost ready to rip out his heart. Sehun was trembling, crying, begging, begging, begging Lu Han not to do it.
“I’ve got nothing left,” Lu Han continued. He kept backing away. Away, away, away. Kai was literally frozen. No words. Nothing. And Sehun, the one so strong, the one so cold, the one who loved Lu Han, could say nothing. Sehun, the one who was so good with words, the one who knew what to say. He said nothing.
“Nothing left. I don’t want to go home. My mother hates me. My dad left me. I don’t give a fuck about going back to college. There’s nothing there for me.”
“No, baby, don’t—you’ve got a future—“
“Don’t.” Lu Han sniffed again. He crossed the street backwards, with blind eyes, not even bothering to look to see if there were cars. “Jongin,” he called. “You said I should do something I love.”
“Lu Han,” Kai breathed, so softly; no one heard him. He and Sehun were on the other side of the road. And he took a step forward.
“Don’t follow me!” Lu Han yelled. “Don’t! I’ll fucking shoot!”
Sehun’s hands were trembling. He sunk down on his knees again, and he covered his face. Kai’s legs were wobbling too, and he leaned on the car for support. But it gave none.
“Daddy…” Lu Han’s voice turned sickeningly sweet. It was so breathy, so airy, as if he was being fucked. He touched himself with his free hand, rubbing up and down his chest and his sides. He was gasping, moaning, pleading, “Daddy, Daddy, I love you so much. Daddy, Daddy, I like when you love me. I like when you fuck me, hard. I like your tattoo, Daddy.”
Sehun was shaking his head, his veins and tendons and muscles protruding out of every part of his body. “Lu Han, please, just—“
“Let me put on a show for you, Daddy,” Lu Han sang, the last word becoming sickeningly high pitched and sweet and baby-like. He shook his hair out of his eyes. “Jongin, help me. I want to put on a show for my Daddy. Can I dance? I’m horrible at it. But can I? Daddy? Can I dance, if I want to?”
“Of course you can,” Sehun said. His voice was deep, throaty, caught up in folds of vocal chords and tissues. “Of course you can dance.”
So he did. Lu Han danced, with a gun pointed at his temple, finger on the trigger. Spins, turns, jumps; he wasn’t sure what he was doing, but he was moving.
Kai and Sehun watched the sight with empty mouths. Both of them; both of them wanted to rush over, grab the gun and plead for him to stop. But they knew that was impossible.
“Can I sing, too? I hate it! I hate singing! My voice is ugly and I know I’m terrible, but I don’t give a fuck. Can I sing?” But this time Lu Han didn’t wait for the answer. He started singing, his voice so deadly and tragically beautiful floating in the air. He never moved the gun.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
“My daddy used to sing that to me.” Lu Han walked over, his elbow bent, his eyes wild, his head cocked, the gun at his temple. “Did your daddy sing that to you too?”
He was standing in the middle of the road.
“Please don’t do that,” Sehun begged. He was on his knees, pleading, groveling. Lu Han looked down at him, with sad teary eyes and trembling lips. He stepped closer, closer, closer. And he kneeled in front of Sehun.
“Can I paint?”
“Yes! Baby, you can do anything, anything, just—don’t—don’t do this to yourself—“
“Kai. Jongin. Can I write?”
Kai said nothing. Because, somehow, his tongue was twisted and he couldn’t look down no matter how hard he tried, so he was stuck looking at Lu Han point the gun at himself.
“I need something to paint with, something to write with.”
“I have everything, baby, just—“
“I want my ink and paint to be red. Red.”
The meaning was silent. And Sehun, too, fell silent. He looked so young, so sad, sitting in front of Lu Han, a dark angel with death in his hands and life in his body.
“If I shoot myself,” Lu Han murmured. “I won’t be a burden for you anymore. I won’t burden Mama anymore. I won’t burden my daddy anymore, either. He probably doesn’t even want to see me at all.”
“Of course he wants to see you,” Sehun sobbed. “Baby. We’re in California now. We got you here. We can do this. We’re so close, baby, just believe. Come on.” And he dove in, he grabbed Lu Han, without a thought, and hugged him close, his baby, his sunshine, the only person he had ever really loved. “Don’t do this. Please. I need you.”
“You don’t need me,” Lu Han whispered back. “And neither does Kai. He needs his muse. And I’m—I’m just—“ He babbled for a moment, trying to find the right words, but he couldn’t even speak anymore. He couldn’t say anything. And Sehun held him; he was so warm, so big, so strong.
Lu Han was protected.
He slowly set the gun down on the ground.
His lips trembled, but Sehun’s were strong and forward as they pressed together; bodies, molding, hands, intertwining.
Sehun tasted like a combination of sweet and bitter and sour. He tasted good, though. Kai watched for a moment, his heart screaming in his chest, as Lu Han wailed for Sehun, as Sehun gently lay Lu Han in the waving blades, as Sehun and Lu Han made love on the side of the road, in grass, in dirt, in the earth.
He turned away.
And Lu Han felt it, felt everything; Sehun held him in his arms, like Lu Han was someone he needed, like he loved Lu Han. Lu Han, who was broken, Lu Han, who had so many dreams; dreams that he killed. He wanted to be a writer, a poet, an artist, a singer. He wanted to make something beautiful, something worth mentioning, something important. He wanted to stitch words together, paint deep pictures, soothe with his voice, and make people feel emotions as strong and overwhelming as those that he did. Most of all, he wanted people to feel his love for everyone and everything. But he was not one of the lucky few; the lucky few people who had dreams that came true.
Lu Han was one of the many who killed their own dreams, through doubt, through self-hate, through disbelief.
Kai tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. They were parked right outside of a Starbucks, stealing the WiFi. But Sehun made a promise. He was in the back again, holding Lu Han. They were lovers, now, Kai supposed. Official. And he didn’t really know what to think. But there was one thing he knew. He could never touch Lu Han again. And he’d never have another chance. Lu Han was Sehun’s, and there was nothing he could do about it. So he avoided Lu Han now, going back to the way they were in the beginning.
“Here’s the address,” Sehun said, showing Lu Han his phone. He wrote it down on his notepad. After Sehun carried Lu Han back into the car, he promised that they’d find Lu Han’s father’s address. Sehun and Kai were a bit nervous about bringing Lu Han to someone he didn’t know, while his mother had idea where he actually was. But Lu Han had insisted. They camped out in the car again for the night, but it was a new day. The summer afternoon’s sun beat hard through the window.
“He’s in Pasadena,” Sehun told Kai.
“I have no idea where that is.”
“Give me the fucking map. Let’s just get to LA, first, okay? I think I read somewhere that Pasadena is near LA.”
“We’re already in LA, you idiot.”
“And turn off the fucking music.” Sehun looked at Lu Han with a smile. “I want to hear Lu Han sing.”
Lu Han stared. “Me?”
“Of course you.”
“I’m not very good—I don’t have a strong voice and I can’t hit high notes.”
“Are you kidding?” Sehun said with a laugh. “Well, so what if you don’t have a strong voice or you can’t hit high notes? You sound like an angel. The most soothing voice I’ve ever heard.”
It was kind of ironic, because Lu Han had the most soothing voice while he was about to put a fucking bullet through his brain.
“What do I sing?” Lu Han asked. Something was already rising inside of him, something that made him a little queasy, a little nauseous.
“Anything you want,” Sehun responded. “Take a left here, Kai.”
So Lu Han looked out the window, saw palm trees and warmth and just summer—Los Angeles, seventeen minutes to Pasadena, Sehun had said—
Drive fast, I can almost taste it now
LA, I don’t even have to fake it now
You were like so sick, everybody said it
You were way ahead of the trend, get get it
Elvis is the best hell yes, honey put on that party dress
And he turned around, to see Sehun with that small smile—his Daddy—and he didn’t hide himself anymore. He started bobbing his head, waving his arms to his imaginary beat. “Like oh, oh, oh, oh, oh; oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.”
You make me crazy, you make me wild
Just like a baby, spin me ‘round like a child
He tapped Kai on the shoulder. Your skin, so gold and brown. Kai smiled. And for some reason, he didn’t mind that he was wearing a tank top and not a shirt with long sleeves.
Be young, be dope, be proud like an American. Lu Han was swaying now, leaning into Sehun, leaning away, singing loudly, singing proudly. There were no more thoughts of I’m not good enough I sound horrible I can’t sing. It was only—I love to sing.
He sang through several songs, leaning into Sehun’s warmth and waving his arms because just didn’t give a fuck anymore. He was free, free with Sehun and Kai. The windows were wide open; it was hot and sticky but the breeze rushed in. He could see everything, taste everything; he tasted LA, he tasted California, the USA, America; he could even almost taste Pasadena. And when he breathed; when he breathed. When he breathed, he did not feel pollutants or gasoline or smoke rushing through his body. He breathed in the Fourth of July; he breathed in freedom, independence.
But the feeling quickly faded. Kai was slowing down, checking numbers on houses. It was a nice neighborhood. Green grass. Quaint houses.
“Is this it?” Kai asked as he pulled over on the curb. Sehun’s eyebrow rose.
“I don’t know.”
Lu Han stopped singing. He didn’t know if it was actually his daddy’s house, but it was the address. And when he breathed, he wasn’t aware of what he was inhaling. He breathed shallowly, breathed quickly. And he tasted nothing but air. “I’m nervous.” Lu Han tugged on Sehun’s sleeve. “Daddy? Daddy?”
Sehun turned around and cupped Lu Han’s cheek. “Baby, you have to go check if it’s your dad, okay?”
Lu Han bit his lip. “I can’t.”
And he supposed they were pretty lucky, because just then, someone opened the door and strode out of the house to get the mail from the little white mailbox. It was like time stopped. Lu Han covered his mouth. His heart twisted painfully in his chest, and he found that he could not breathe. “Daddy,” he whispered, Daddy to Sehun, Daddy to his father.
Daddy was tall. He had chocolate brown hair, dark hooded eyes. He was big and strong; he looked a little older, a few more wrinkles on his handsome face, a little more grey dotting his hair.
Was he happy? Lu Han wondered. And he didn’t even realize he was crying until Sehun wiped the tears from his cheeks.
“Is it him?” Sehun’s voice sounded so, so far away.
Wordlessly, Lu Han nodded. And he saw a woman peek from the doorway, saw a little girl, most likely not much older than six, at the woman’s side.
They all watched as Lu Han’s father took the mail and went back inside the house. He kissed the woman on the cheek. He patted the little girl’s hair, and then picked her up. She was small, with hair pulled into two pigtails. Her cheeks were chubby, the way Lu Han’s used to be.
“Do you still want to…?” Kai’s voice hung in the air.
Lu Han found himself shaking his head.
It wasn’t appropriate. Daddy had another lover now, another child.
Daddy had a new family now. And there was no room for Lu Han.
He didn’t know what to feel. So he flattened himself against his seat. His hand crawled over to Sehun’s. To his Daddy’s.
Neither Sehun nor Kai said anything. Lu Han was grateful for that. The silence was calming. And Lu Han was plagued by thoughts, evil thoughts again, thoughts of doubt, of self-hate, of disbelief.
Well. He wanted to see his father. That was his dream. He hadn’t thought it would come true at first, during those days back at the gas station. And he had started believing with Sehun and Kai. He was here now. He saw his father. He could meet him, too, if he wanted.
But Daddy had a new family now. And Lu Han was the one who thought he had no place. No one else told him that. No one else made him feel that way. Like most people, he doubted himself. Like most people, he hated himself. Like most people, he didn’t believe in himself.
Like most people did, he killed his dream, just as he had with all his other dreams.
They sat in the car. It was dark now. Lu Han was curled up in Sehun’s lap, like a little baby, holding on as he cried and cried and cried.
Kai would’ve written in his notebook. But then he remembered he tore it up and left it somewhere. Somewhere, he didn’t know. Maybe it was Colorado.
Sehun rubbed circles into Lu Han’s back and whispered to him. His kisses were warm. His voice was soft. And Lu Han remembered.
Daddy was tall. He had chocolate brown hair, dark hooded eyes, eyes that crinkled up when he smiled. He was big and strong, and he smelled like soap. Sometimes he would sit little Lu Han on his leg and pat his hair and kiss his cheek and intertwine their hands together. At night he would sing to Lu Han, in a deep, warm, rich voice.
“Daddy, sing it to me! The sunshine song!”
“You’re still not asleep, little sunshine? Mama will be mad at me. I’ve been keeping you up,” Daddy said.
“That’s ‘cause you tell the best stories, Daddy. Now sing! Sing, sing, sing, Daddy! The sunshine song!” Lu Han squealed, grabbing his father’s hand and swinging it back and forth.
With a laugh and a ruffle to Lu Han’s hair (“Hey! Daddy, you messed up my hair!”), Lu Han’s father started singing.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
Lu Han could still hear the song, his father’s voice, the warmth of his hand. It brought back something. He didn’t remember any other verses, but that one stuck out in his mind. Something that twisted his heart like the blade of a knife. Something that made the nerves in his lungs burn and freeze and shrivel and bloom and branch out so far they transcended the tissue of his lungs, of his muscles, of his skin, and ripped out of his body. It brought back something that made him remember, remember his picture, remember his letter with the little poem, remember his recording, remember his Polaroid, remember his dream.
So he slowly removed himself from Sehun’s lap. He turned on the light in the car. He took out his notebook and his pencil from his backpack. And he wrote. He wrote, he wrote freely, he wrote, with tears streaming down his face and loud sniffles echoing in the silent car. He did not see anything but the paper in front of him. He wrote, to his father, to his daddy. He wrote.
His hand was aching. His tears were staining the paper. There was a little mucus dripping from his nose to his lip. But he wrote. He trembled. Every part of him trembled. His hand, his lips, his eyelashes, his hands, his arms, his legs, his feet, his heart, his lungs.
And he ripped off the pages he used. He turned to a fresh one. He took Sehun’s colored pencils. He didn’t ask, but he didn’t need to. And he drew, lungs, because it was so fucking hard to breathe, because it always was. He knew why.
Lu Han tried hard not to cry, now. The lungs. They were growing; trees on the paper. One, with soft green leaves growing on branches and twigs of nerves. The other, empty, bare, naked.
And it was not easy, but not hard either, to draw. Because he drew what he saw. Because he drew exactly what he meant, exactly what he felt, in his chest.
He ripped off the page.
Sehun already had the video camera. Lu Han didn’t know how he knew, but he watched as Sehun popped out the memory card and put a new one in.
“So you can give him the card,” Sehun supplied. Lu Han smiled slightly through his tears. He took Sehun’s video cam, turned it on, began recording. He tried not to cry. He tried not to mess up the lyrics. And he remembered how sometimes, he got enough courage to sing with his father, remembered how his father told him to sing if he wanted to. So he did.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
He didn’t know all the lyrics. Daddy did, but not he. So he sung what he knew; it only lasted twenty seconds, but it didn’t matter. And he was crying again, the tears trickling down his face as he held the camera with shaking hands. He smiled slightly, after he finished the song. He turned off the camera and popped the memory card out. He took Sehun’s old Polaroid camera and took a snapshot of himself. The photo slid out and he smiled. It’d appear soon.
A letter, a drawing, a recording, a photo. His dream, to make Daddy stay. It wasn’t the same dream, no, not anymore, but there was a dream still inside him.
His legs, his arms; they were moving on their own. And he found himself placing his—his creations—his art—in a little plastic bag—it had held bagels, Lu Han vaguely remembered—and he opened the door of the car, walked across the lawn—cut fresh; it smelled nice. He breathed softly. He was standing in front of the door. A boy, with pink hair, puffy, teary eyes, trembling hands, shorts that were a little too short—he had picked them up randomly at a lost and found in a recreation center somewhere—a boy.
And Lu Han knew what he was going to do. He placed the bag down on the step, rang the doorbell, and ran.
He was back in the car, breathing hard even though the run from the porch to the car wasn’t all that long. And something hitched in his throat when he saw his father, who wasn’t his father, who was his father, his daddy, open the door and pick up the bag curiously.
“Let’s go,” he heard himself say. Voice, strangled. He forced his gaze away from his father. Kai hesitated.
“Please,” Lu Han whispered. Kai blinked, several times, and started the engine before he even put on his seatbelt.
But Lu Han did turn back. He did turn around, he didn’t leave himself high and dry. He looked back, over his shoulder, through the rear window, his heart beating quicker and quicker, the nerves of his lungs burning and freezing and shriveling and blooming and branching out so far they transcended the tissue of his lungs, of his muscles, of his skin and he saw—
Lu Han breathed softly. The hotel room was quiet. Kai was on his left, Sehun on his right. And every time he inhaled, he felt the branches of the nerves in his right lung grow longer and longer, with leaves sprouting from the ends. It was summer in his right lung, because Sehun made him feel so fucking alive. But on his left, it was cold and empty. The branches were bare, just as those of a tree in winter. Because Kai was distant, always looking out into the horizon.
Lu Han had approached him one day, his hands behind his back and trembling. Kai had turned to him, his eyes tired and his mouth twitching.
“Hey,” Lu Han had mumbled. And he held out what he was holding behind his back. They weren’t organized in the best way; he had tried to save and gather as much as he could on that day. He just sort of… forgot to give them to Kai until now.
Kai’s eyes widened. He took the paper, his work, his writing, ripped, but together. He didn’t say anything.
Lu Han tried to smile. And he turned around.
But still, Kai hardly paid attention to Lu Han anymore. It was winter in Lu Han’s left lung, because he needed to grow, he needed to become warm and lively, because he knew that deep inside Sehun fulfilled him in the short run but in the long run—
Sehun had a job. So did Kai. And Lu Han had school.
Lu Han smiled, but just slightly, with tears pricking at the corners of his eyes and a strange pain in his lower back. He sat up in the bed, wiped the tears away, brushed the hair out of his eyes. He breathed.
He heard the creak of the bed; Kai sat up next to him. His voice was soft in the darkness. “What’s wrong?” It was strange, because he barely paid attention to Lu Han now. He was always writing; his hand was on the go constantly, using the old paper he had ripped and some of Lu Han’s.
“I just…” Lu Han swallowed. There was something in his throat. So he was bad, now, he supposed. Bad, in the sense of lost innocence. But for how long? How long could he keep pretending? That he was free, that he had no care in the world. How long could he keep pretending that he had no responsibilities waiting for him? How many days had he been out here, on the road? He liked Sehun, a lot, and he even liked Kai, but he remembered that college was only about a month away, that he had to go back home, reconcile with his mother.
And he didn’t even know that he was crying until Kai reached out with shy hands and wiped away his tears. “You can tell me.”
“I…” Lu Han bit his lip. And there was something rising in his chest, words, perhaps, or bile, maybe, or just—just something that was going to come out. “Sometimes I feel like… I’m free. Like I have nothing to worry about. It’s nice. But then…” He paused, wiping his tears. “Sometimes you feel like it’s all okay. Sometimes, it’s like nothing can touch you. Like you can’t be bothered with anything. Like you can just keep going, never turning around, never saying goodbye, never leaving yourself or anyone high and dry. And you feel like you’re fucking crazy, like you’re so high, so invincible, so free. But no one is ever free, really.”
He wasn’t as free as he thought he was.
They were sitting in the car. Sehun was silent. Kai was silent.
“Hey, Jongin,” Lu Han whispered. Kai looked up from his writing. Lu Han smiled. He’d be writing a lot lately.
And Lu Han felt his throat closing, bile rising, stomach turning, blood expanding. “Did you ever find your muse?”
Kai thought for a moment. He sighed, and patted Lu Han’s head. “Yes. I did, Lu Han.” And he looked at Lu Han, with such sad brown eyes, that were so warm yet so cold and empty. He smiled slightly, and Lu Han bit his lip. Kai looked like he had lost something. Like he had something, something so tangible, so clear, in his hands, and lost it. Lu Han couldn’t really imagine what, though. And he didn’t nuzzle into Kai’s warm hand, nor did he turn away. Instead, he only felt himself close up. “I guess…” The words were bitter on his tongue, bitter and sour. “I guess the journey is coming to an end, right? Since you’ve… You’ve got your muse back.”
“I see.” Lu Han bit his lip.
“Did you… Did you do what you came for?” Kai asked softly. “Has your journey ended, too? Is it going to?”
Lu Han breathed softly. But his nose was hurting and his eyes were burning and he just wanted to curl under the covers of a warm bed, his hands intertwined with Kai’s and Sehun’s, and never come out. And he remembered his mother, he remembered the college application, he remembered all the textbooks he ordered—oh, he’d have to go to Boston to pick those up—he remembered that he still had to pack, still had to move in. He remembered, that he still had a life, still had responsibilities. And he wished that he could be free, truly free, like Sehun was, hell, even like Kai was.
But he answered. “Yes. My journey is going to end today.”
The drive back to Massachusetts was quiet. Sometimes Sehun and Lu Han made love underneath the stars. Never when Sehun was driving, though. Kai never touched Lu Han again; at least, he tried not to. Because Sehun was his brother; his twin, his best friend, and Sehun was in love with Lu Han. So Kai stopped his heart, stopped his mind, and poured himself into all the paper Lu Han gave him. He wrote, in tears, in sweat, in the pain that ached through his hand. He wrote, watching Lu Han kiss Sehun. He wrote, watching them make love. He wrote, as he heard Lu Han whisper I love you I love you I love you, as he heard Sehun whisper I love you I love you I love you back. He wrote, because Lu Han was his muse; no, more than his muse. Lu Han was the love he lost.
So he watched, as Lu Han cuddled up to Sehun. He watched, as they kissed. He ignored the pain in his heart. He ignored the tightness in his lungs. He ignored the tears that pricked at his eyes when he wrote about Lu Han, the one he loved and lost.
It was okay to act a little childish, Sehun had said. Because Sehun had said, “I’m your Daddy, okay, baby? So you just rely on me, and I’ll get us anywhere you want.”
Lu Han bounced a little in his seat. Sehun’s hand was so warm. “I don’t want to go home,” he whined. Regrets were normal. Hesitation was normal. He knew what he had to do. But he needed someone to tell him.
“Baby, you have to, you have school,” Sehun said gently, petting Lu Han’s hair with his free hand.
“I don’t want this to end,” Lu Han whined, kicking his legs. “I want to stay with you forever. Can’t we do that?”
“No baby,” Sehun murmured, kissing Lu Han’s forehead. “Don’t drop out of college. You’re going to get somewhere. That’s something we need you to do. We need you to make a good life for yourself.”
Lu Han shrugged. “Okay…”
Sehun chuckled. “Don’t worry, angel. Don’t worry. I love you, okay? Once I’m done with all my commissions back at home, I’ll come by, saying your name, and we’ll get a nice little house wherever you want. And you’ll grow up, so beautifully, I just know it. Study hard, and remember me, because I’ll remember you. So someday, I’ll come by, just remember that. I’ll be your artist, you’ll be my doctor, and we’ll paint the world in blue. I’ll draw you, thousands of times over, and you can take care of me when I’m sick. I promise. How’s that sound, angel?”
Lu Han grinned, his eyes crinkling up and the lungs in his chest blooming. “I like the sound of that.” He really did like the sound of that, the sound of Sehun’s voice as they entered Massachusetts.
And all the while, Lu Han felt the freedom slip through his hands. He was going to be right back where he started, although a lot sadder.
“Do you want to be dropped off at your house, or…?” Kai asked. His voice sounded strange.
Lu Han fought to keep his voice steady, but the tears were already pooling in his eyes. His throat was closing up and his palms were clammy. “The gas station. The one you picked me up at. Do you remember?”
“Yeah. Do you want us to walk you home?”
“No. I don’t want my mom to see you and get angry. She can get a little violent.” And secretly, Lu Han wished one of them would insist on walking him home. But Kai didn’t. And neither did Sehun.
The car fell silent again. Sehun was smoking, unreadable eyes focused outside. His hand was big and strong in Lu Han’s.
Lu Han’s heart felt into his stomach when Kai pulled up into the gas station. For a moment, he didn’t want to move. This was the end. This was really, really the end. He had so much to lose now. He wasn’t free at all, and it was all because of the fact that journeys end. So he wrenched himself out of the car and found himself standing next to it, backpack heavy in his hands, tears rolling down his cheeks. Sehun and Kai were by his side, squeezing his hands, telling him it’d be okay. But it wouldn’t. It fucking wouldn’t.
Sehun hugged Lu Han so tightly, he thought he might break, not from the force, but from throwing his whole fucking heart up.
Hugs, kisses, last good byes.
Lu Han smiled at Kai. Kai smiled back, but there were tears in his eyes. And he dared to do it. He dared, to hug Lu Han, and kiss his cheek. It was a small moment, but a moment nonetheless. He didn’t know if he’d see Lu Han again. Maybe it’d be ten years from now. Maybe it’d be when Sehun called him up and invited him to come visit for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Maybe it’d be a day in the future, when he’d see Lu Han cuddled up in Sehun’s arms, once more. But for now—for now, he smiled, no matter how hard it was.
“I love you,” Lu Han whispered into Sehun’s chest, into his broad shoulders, into his black tattoo.
“I love you too, my baby Lu Han,” Sehun had replied with a kiss.
Lu Han stood there, his backpack hanging awkwardly off his skinny frame. His hair was falling into his eyes and tickling his eyelashes, but he didn’t give a damn. He was crying, fucking crying in public, and other drivers getting gas were staring.
“Don’t be sad. This isn’t the last time we’re going to see each other,” Sehun reassured him. “You have our numbers and emails. Call us anytime. Email us, too. And keep these,” Sehun murmured as he piled notebooks and pencils and drawing pads and photographs in Lu Han’s arms. “It’s all our stuff. We want to give it all to you.”
Lu Han bit his lip. The tears were hurting. His heart was going to fucking jump out of his chest. He was touched, and he tried not to get the tears on anything.
“So keep in touch, okay?”
“I will,” Lu Han whispered. Sehun kissed his forehead. Kai awkwardly ruffled his hair. And then it came too soon. They were back in the car.
“We’ll see you later, okay?” Sehun called.
“Okay. Bye, Daddy. Bye Jongin.” Lu Han wiped his eyes, adjusted his backpack. He straightened up. Sehun and Kai, the ones who made him free. He waved as they pulled away from the gas station.
He bit his lip. The tears were coming once again. He turned away, saw his house through the walls, through the trees, through everything.
Lu Han went back. He rang the door, breathing hard and hands trembling and forehead full of sweat even it was a cool summer day and he walked at a snail’s pace. Mother opened the door, tears already in her eyes, and she pulled him into a big hug without a single word, except, “My baby.” It didn’t sound the same as when Sehun said it, but it counted for something.
Lu Han didn’t know if Sehun would keep his promise. He didn’t know, because the world changed constantly, and time waited for no one. Maybe he’d even get to see Kai again.
Lu Han had many dreams. He wanted to be a writer, a poet, an artist, a singer. He wanted to make something beautiful, something worth mentioning, something important. He wanted to stitch words together, paint deep pictures, soothe with his voice, and make people feel emotions as strong and overwhelming as those that he did. Most of all, he wanted people to feel his intense love for everyone and everything.
It was a silly dream. But it was a dream, nonetheless; a dream, to be reunited with the person he loved. He didn’t know if Sehun would wait; he didn’t know if he’d ever meet Kai again. But he wouldn’t hate himself. He wouldn’t doubt. He would believe. He would hope. It was the only thing he could do.
And this time—this time, Lu Han would not destroy his dream.
thanks for reading. anna, i really hope this was okay and that you liked it despite all the errors and whatnot. OTL i am sorry i can't write daddy kink omg ;_; i tried though, haha. i love you. happy birthday anna. <3