For slashedsilver who requested muffin au:
Hakyeon doesn't want to sound like he's bragging to the rest of the cooling rack, but:
"I'm very delicious," he says, because the baker did exclaim out loud that he used the finest and darkest of imported chocolate on him and of course it wouldn't do to downplay his assets. He's going to be part of the bakeshop's muffin sampler after all--half a dozen of the bakeshop's best in a quaint box of green with their signature orange fish logo.
"You tasted yourself?" Taekwoon, one of the orange zest muffins, looks at him like he's entertaining the thought of sampling the candied orange peel on the top of his own head. Hakyeon wants to bring up the uncomfortable topic of cannibalism and how Taekwoon shouldn't go cooing at the mini cupcakes while also wanting to take a swipe at their frosting. But Jaehwan also has this hungry expression on his face that maybe he wants to--
Jaehwan shrugs. the walnut on his head going up and down with the motion, and says, "I won't mind checking it for everyone else if they want to contest hyung's claims. I have a very discerning tongue, I can just lick and I'll know!" The rest of the muffins either try to avoid Jaehwan's gaze in embarrassment, because Jaehwan's waggles his eyebrows like he means something else.
--okay, okay, there's no maybe. Jaehwan wants to eat him. Hakyeon makes a note of this and moves away from the banana walnut muffin, because he didn't made it here past the trials of fire to be consumed just before he gets into a box.
For neko_90 who requested N/any, time travel au:
Being a true student of history meant time lags, spatial and temporal disorientation, and an acceptance of the immutability of time. Hongbin is working up to that third one, even as he texts another lie to his supervisor ("need to take more photos at '12 KTX gas attack"), as he waits at the train station with a trembling and trigger-happy finger on his Canon and telling himself repeatedly he's just going to take his photo, one photo, and then he'd be able to leave this timeline behind. It's 1:05 in the afternoon. Hongbin is ten minutes early.
Cha Hakyeon emerges from the ticket gates in a thick and warm fur-lined coat, a bounce in his step ("At 1:15pm, terrorists boarded the train and brought 1.8 liters of liquid sarin in plastic bags and punctured it using the tips of their umbrellas...the nerve gas killed 17 passengers and injured 20 inside the train-") and Hongbin, for once, doesn't call out his name.
In another year, in another place, Cha Hakyeon has come upon Hongbin lost in the middle of a mall in Apgujeong, who is just trying to get his assignment done in documenting ancient consumerist culture. Hakyeon chose to give Hongbin a mall tour, in which they decidedly got more lost, and Hongbin whined this couldn't be happening on his birthday and Hakyeon bought him a slice of birthday cake and smeared icing on his cheek and told him to lighten up, you have a nice smile.
Hakyeon doesn't remember him. Time is slick and oily around students like Hongbin, and this third visit (or fourth or fifth) Hongbin forces himself to stay rooted on the station platform and take pictures just as he promised himself. Hakyeon's hair is brown, permed ("It's my dream to be a performer," Hakyeon said to him once, when they'd cross paths again and Hongbin was stuck in 2010). And Hongbin wished he could've seen him dance, wished his laugh hadn't been too mean in response to Hakyeon's earnest answer.
"Not to sound like I'm too full of myself," comes a tentative voice, and it's Hakyeon and Hongbin jolts, almost dropping his camera, "but are you taking photos of me?" 1:08 pm, Hongbin's watch tells him. He's tried all kinds of things trying to hold back Hakyeon from boarding the train before but this is so far the closest Hongbin has come--he's either arrested or thrown out of the train station each and every time.
"No, I was focusing at the scenery," Hongbin says. Hakyeon raises an eyebrow, and what the hell, this was about Hongbin accepting things, so he amends, "and, yes, I wanted to take pictures of you. Y-you can say," Hongbin swallows, can feel the blood rush to his head. "I'm a fan."
"Ah, that's. I didn't expect that answer. I haven't debuted for long." Hakyeon rubs the back of his neck. He's embarrassed, Hongbin realizes distractedly as his clock moves to 1:10, and has the strongest urge to document this beautiful thing too. "Do you want to have a photo of us together? This is a big thing for me, having a male fan."
"It'll be awkward with this camera." There's a voice in his hindbrain that suspiciously sounds like Park Hyoshin sunbaenim telling him off--we are the eyes and mouths and ears of history, we do not have a hand in changing the proceedings--but then Hakyeon is calling for the train station guard to help them, and Hongbin is handing over his very expensive state-of-the-art camera. A little exercise in futility wouldn't hurt if it makes Hakyeon a tiny bit happy; their picture wouldn't get taken properly, because Lee Hongbin isn't really here, and time may not move in a straight line but it keeps true to itself.
There's laughter in the guard's eyes as he takes their photo ("--the entire security team were sacked and sued by the families of the victims--") and Hakyeon is close and warm beside him. Alive. And Hongbin remembers standing in the microfilm section of their uni archives and coming across Cha Hakyeon's name and thinking, oh man, what a waste, what a goddamn waste.
"What was your name again?" Hakyeon asks, smiling giddily up at him, and it's already 1:13pm and the sound of the train pulling into the platform is breaking Hongbin's heart for the fourth or fifth or sixth time.
"Lee Hongbin." The train doors slide open--he should go, he shouldn't be here, really--and he wants to grab hold of Hakyeon's wrist, shout--go be a stupid dancer, just live, you don't deserve this, this is too early. And yet Hakyeon is stepping back from him, too quickly, lengthening the distance between them in seconds.
"I've got to go now but it was really nice to meet you, Hongbin!" Hakyeon calls out and boards the train.
Hongbin doesn't stay a moment longer and calls his supervisor to pull him out.
In his apartment's darkroom, Hongbin sits for an hour without touching his camera. And when he does start to develop the pictures he's taken, he's thrumming with that low-level anger and frustration, driven by the determination of documenting a life well-lived. Except Hakyeon hadn't even reached his thirties yet, was just starting to--
Hongbin stares at the pattern emerging from one of the drying photo papers: Cha Hakyeon's warm smile, his hand holding out a V-sign to the camera, Hongbin's own bemused facial expression, Hakyeon holding him in a one-armed hug. A souvenir of their earlier meeting. That it happened. That it was real.
Hongbin's hand doesn't shake when he takes down the picture and stares at it some more.
Time is immutable.But clearly something has changed.
Time travel au (version 2!) N/any :
"I'm not your hyung," Hakyeon mumbles in a whisper so low Hongbin almost misses it, like how he definitely missed the quaking of Hakyeon's shoulders this entire time, and the prickly anger and panic deep in Hongbin's gut curls up and withers. He reaches out a hand in a gesture of comfort but Hakyeon smarts at him.
"I'm just fourteen and you've been dropping out of nowhere left and right--"
Hongbin backs up on his haunches, stuttering, "I didn't, I couldn't even control what time I land let alone-"
Hakyeon still refuses to look at him. "--and people think I'm crazy that I have this 'imaginary friend' but you drop by anyway and keep on saying mean things to me. I, I don't know anything about you, Hongbin-sshi, yet you keep on calling me hyung and looking at me like I know you and I know everything, but I don't, I really don't."
"Are you crying, hyung?" Hongbin asks, hearing a different kind of panic in his own voice now.
"I almost died!" Hakyeon shouts back, glaring at him, tear tracks visible on his cheeks.
"Well, you keep finding new ways to off yourself!" and of course that was an entirely wrong thing to say as Hakyeon's face crumples and he scrambles to his feet. Great job Hongbinnie, you've just retroactively nixed all chances of Hakyeon wanting to debut with you in the near future. On one hand, less chances of Hongbin developing a time displacement disorder during one of their tours near an unstable time field.
Time paradoxes makes his head hurt.
"Look, I'm sorry," Hongbin offers as he trails after Hakyeon who's limping slightly on the sidewalk. There's a dirty patch on Hakyeon's shoulder where he landed earlier and he wants to run after him and brush the dirt off. Hakyeon's always been particular with his own personal cleanliness. "Aren't you even going to a clinic to get those bruises looked at, hyung?"
"Stop trying to call me that."
"So I'll be Hongbin hyung to you now?"
This time Hakyeon stops and turns back to look at Hongbin properly. He's even way smaller than he usually is, with Hongbin a good head taller, but his posture is the same: straight but not stiff, dignified. Hongbin had thought that Hakyeon's gracefulness was one he learned and ingrained into himself through his dancing, but no, it has been there all this time.
"What do you want from me, Hongbin-sshi?" he asks, and for a moment it's like Hakyeon hyung asking him that fateful day he found Hongbin after he ran away-What is it you want, Hongbinnie?
I just want to go home. I just want you to live until we're VIXX again. Please hyung, I don't know what to do, tell me.
"Let me look at your scratches. I'll shut up and won't say anything else," Hongbin says instead, because the kid is right, he isn't Hongbin's Hakyeon hyung yet.
Hakyeon nods warily and waits for Hongbin to catch up with him.