Simple Smile, Fading Away

Title: Simple Smile, Fading Away
Genre: Friendship, Life, slight!Angst. Writer!AU
Started on: July 19th 2014
Ended on: July 31st 2014
Words count: 6100+
Special for: | Fearless B | A Malay One-shot Contest

Summary: The forgotten dream, exhausting work, and long lost passion; it only needs a simple happiness to change all of them.

~*~

“My wish is to be friend with the person I adore the most. And since you made things that inspire me the most, you become that person.”

“I want people to recognize my works. That was my dream when I was starting off. Maybe I had done too much that I forgot how it feels to dream. All of this is just a work for me. A job.”

.

.

.

February 27th 2016

The soft murmurs of morning slowly slipped into Baekhyun’s lonely apartment. It was in the middle of spring and the weather was warmer than the prior month. The poinciana trees in front of the apartment building were starting to grow flower buds in each shaft. The small red dots amongst the sea of green seemed lovely whenever Baekhyun came out of the building.

Baekhyun checked the Larva clock on the wall. It was 6.30. He still got thirty minutes before the appointment. Baekhyun walked to the front door, putting on his jacket and shoes, ready to gone off. He’d rather not late in every appointment he had because he didn’t like making people wait, as much as he didn’t like waiting. As he was about to lock the door, he stumbled a few steps back, when he found a body lying right next to his door. For some good seconds, he stared at it. Dumbfounded. It was a body of a girl. After coming to his sense, he squatted down and poked it. She didn’t move an inch, but groaned at least. Thank God she was still breathing.

His watch told him he had twenty minutes before the meeting but what should he do now. He didn’t know this girl and suddenly she appeared in front of his house in morning. He inspected her face, and he was sure enough she was not a homeless, judging by her clean but a bit messy appearance. Baekhyun tried poking her face some more times, he even tried tickling her feet and her side, but to no avail. He didn’t dare shouting, afraid of waking up his neighbor and having them misunderstood him as pedo or something. Speak of the devil, he heard some noises from the door next to his. Someone was about to come out of there! He screamed internally.

Creak…

Baekhyun’s neighbor, Mr. Do, walked out.

“Hm? I thought I heard some noise from here just now,” he wondered since he didn’t see anything wrong in front of his house. He brushed it off and walked away to pick his morning newspaper downstairs.

Meanwhile, Baekhyun was exhaling the air of relief from his lung. He’s safe. And then, reality hit him in the head. “Oh God…what have I done?” He stared at the body in his arm. He only got a little bit more than fifteen minutes to get a solution and come in time. He observed the girl for a moment. Her face was a bit pale, probably from the cold, her figure so slender, he could feel the bony features well with his fingers, she got that innocent sleeping face, and she wore an animal pattern pajama with a thin blue jacket covering it. She didn’t look like some burglar or sort of it so Baekhyun was a bit relieved, he believed in his judgment.But then again, ”I should have just left her there for goodness sake!” he groaned. He didn’t know what strings that had pulled him to make the move before. He blamed it to his weird reflex.

He checked his watch again. He had to make a quick decision now if he didn’t want to break his own record of coming on-time. Maybe leaving her in his living room wouldn’t hurt, he’d be back in two hours at last. She didn’t bring any suspicious thing in her clothes, he was sure, so she couldn’t break through the door when he’d locked it. Plus, it was not likely she would jump off the third floor.

Safe, it was safe, he decided.

—–

Baekhyun came home after buying some groceries from the supermarket near the meeting place before. It was 11PM already. Time flies, he though, as he unlocked the door to his apartment. He set his groceries on the top of dining table and then went to the fridge to retrieve some cold water. After downing a glass full of it, he looked around and reality hit him when he found that the girl was still in the same position as he left her this morning.

Putting aside the glass, he walked toward the girl. It was almost noon and the sun was getting hotter outside. The wind chime clinked as a cool breeze rushed inside. He squatted down beside her head.

The girl was probably 13 or so, judging by the soft jaw line of her and her petite body. He wondered what she had been doing in front of his house. He never saw a beggar around his apartment block. Or perhaps, she mistook his house for someone else’s. Yeah, it could be. The best thing to do was to ask her directly.

“…pi…”

Baekhyun lifted his eyes and noticed something strange. Sweats were gathering on her face. The gasping from her mouth became rapid. Her brows deeply furrowed. The barely audible whisper was the only thing that left her lips. Baekhyun immediately shook her shoulder.

“Hey, wake up.” He shook harder.

The girl’s eyes were finally awaken, eyes wide-open, her mouth agape.

“Are you okay?” Baekhyun asked.

Upon hearing his voice, she immediately looked up, and stopped for a moment of astonishment. The moment she saw Baekhyun, she mumbled, “Bi…” and her face suddenly turned bright.

“Er—what?”

“B!” She exclaimed, now with wide grin plastered on her face. “I’ve found you!” She hugged him, which earned her a smack in the head. “Yaay, I’ve finally found you!”

“Yah! What are you doing!?”

She still gripped Baekhyun’s arm so tightly. “…B! Finally—”

Before he could explode in confusion, anger, and embarrassment, he shoved her from his body. “What are you talking about!?” He glared. But the girl seemed unaffected by his glare.

“B! I’ve been looking for you! I’ve been waiting and waiting you to come out!” She grinned, so brightly that Baekhyun almost forgot the annoying whim before.

What the heck?

—–

Baekhyun had just done cooking his lunch—well, their lunch—when a certain someone walked in leisurely to the kitchen.

“Hey you! Just stay in your seat. I’m almost get this done,” he said.

“I’m just going to help you. Don’t worry I won’t make a mess, if that’s what you’re worrying about,” she said, bringing a pot of boiled noodles to the dining table.

Alright.

“Let’s eat!” she exclaimed.

Baekhyun nodded with a small smile. “Let’s eat.” But strangely she didn’t move her chopstick yet, which made Baekhyun even more confused with her action. “You said you’re hungry. Then just take some and then—” Leave. But for some reason Baekhyun didn’t have the nerve to say such harsh thing even to the uninvited guest. The one who brought her in was him after all.

She shook her head. “You first.”

“Oh.” He snorted. The girl had some etiquette at least.

Truth to be told, Baekhyun didn’t know why he had to cook for her, too. Normal people should have called 911 for having a stranger appear in front of his apartment, stating that she had been looking for him as though a creepy stalker. But maybe it was due to his stomach that growled in the most inappropriate time.

“So… what’s your name?” Baekhyun asked between the chews. She slurped a mouthful of noodles it made her cheeks puffed, it was rather cute in Baekhyun’s eyes, then she gulped them.

“Me? I’m Lily.”

Baekhyun hummed.

“And what brings you here? Are you running from home?”

She halted in motion and her face turned red instantly. Baekhyun chuckled inwardly seeing that somehow his random guess seemed to hit it. “Of course not!” she exclaimed, trying to proof the other way around with futile attempt.

He smiled knowingly, “…Really? You don’t want to tell me?”

“Actually I…I…I came here to see you!” she stuttered.

“Hmm… so that’s it. But, why, have we met somewhere? I’m sure we never—”

“No no no. I’ve told you already, right? I’ve been looking for you.” She put down her chopsticks. “Well, I—

—I love your books.”

There was silence.

For a couple of seconds, Baekhyun forgot how to breathe. Then he coughed, awkwardly. “My books? You mean…”

“You know what. Yeah. And I don’t know that you can cook well.”

He blushed nonchalantly. “It’s just noodles…”

“But somehow it tastes better when you’re eating it with me.”

There we go again, that bright smile. This girl… she had to be an ahjussi-killer or something. “…I can make something better than this…” he said without much thought to consider what would happen next.

“Really? Which mean… you’ll let me stay here!? Aww, thank you so much, B! You’re the best”

“What! I didn’t say… And don’t call me B, I’m Baekhyun!”

“I’m really honored! Thank you, thank you!”

For goodness sake, Baekhyun just had gotten himself to a bigger trouble.

—–

The intruder—Lily, came to his house on Friday morning. Baekhyun had finished all of his appointment today and got nothing to do but to review his next week assignments—he was never fond of procrastination for he knew well the consequence.

It was a sunny afternoon. Baekhyun turned on the TV and then headed to the kitchen. When he was picking the ingredients from the fridge, his ears caught something on TV.

“A female patient of XX Hospital had gone missing since yesterday. Her name is Lily Jung, age 13. She last seen wearing sky blue hospital gown and gray jacket. Anyone who find people with those resemblance should call…”

Baekhyun pondered about it for some minutes. Lily had not been awake yet and still napping so soundly in his couch in the living room. She surely was a heavy sleeper since she did not stir one bit at the loud volume of the TV Baekhyun had turned on. It reminded him of koala.

After some more minutes and looking alternately between TV, Lily, and telephone, Baekhyun finally decided.

He was going to call the hospital.

He tiptoed to the phone even though he knew she wouldn’t hear his footstep. Slowly and carefully, Baekhyun reached the phone. He started to push the buttons, slowly one by one. He was about to let the phone connected him with the hospital.

“What are you doing?”

A sleepy voice made his heart nearly jumped out of the ribcage.

“…Nothing. I was just… calling a friend.”

Baekhyun held the phone to his ear, only to realize that his call was disconnected. He must be press it accidentally when Lily started him before.

“Don’t call the police and hospital.”

“Why?” Baekhyun tried to dig some information out of her.

“…I just can’t say it to you right now. I’m not ready,” she said, suddenly looking pale.

Of course Baekhyun really want to know whether it was safe to let the girl stay here and he could call them later, or maybe he really had to make the call right now, in case Lily was a dangerous mental patient or something.

“Then I’m ready to call,” he said suddenly.

“No! I told you not to!” she got up from the couch.

“And what if I don’t want to?”

“Then you will be the cruelest human in the world!”

Baekhyun laughed, sarcastically. “It’s not you who decide that.” And he didn’t get any reply after that, so he spoke once again. “I’m gonna call the hospital anyway.”

“Nooo!” Lily caught Baekhyun’s waist, trying to prevent him from doing so.

She was way too innocent, he thought. He was really going to get fun of this. “I’m really going to do it~”

“Nooo! Please no! Don’t do it!”

“I’m—”

“If you want then just do so after I fulfill my wish before I die!”

Baekhyun’s chuckle died, and he went silent after that. What did she just say? Definitely not something he expected from a kid.

“Hey, you. Don’t throw such jokes. It’s not funny.”

And then Baekhyun noticed a glint of anger appeared in her eyes. “This is no joke!” She screamed. Gone all the trace of her previously happy-smiley face.

He sensed the truth in her words, though. Maybe he was starting to believe it but Baekhyun could not lose to it. He had gone too far. He couldn’t going back now. “I’m so not buying it,” he finally said.

“…I’m going to die soon. I don’t want… I don’t want to regret dying for not granting my wish! My almost impossible wish until this morning.”

Baekhyun was surprised. Maybe a little bit shocked and much more confused. But then Lily continued on.

“It is your fault… It is you fault… If only you didn’t show up. If only I didn’t wake up in your house… If only…”

Baekhyun reached his hand toward her cheeks instinctively. Lily seemed surprise, the anger in her eyes suddenly disappeared. “Huh?” She was surprised, after noticing that she actually cried when Baekhyun showed her the teardrops on his finger.

Baekhyun was never good with kid, or people in general. Moreover the crying one, so he did his best to smile softly and said, “You sure have a lot to tell me, no? If you tell me the truth, then, perhaps I’ll change my mind.”

—–

February 28th 2016

Saturday morning came. Baekhyun woke up to a pair of big brown eyes, staring down at him, immediately making him jump.

“Morniing!”

“You start me…” Baekhyun said, placing his hand upon his racing heart.

“I’ve cleaned the house but your room. So, get up now, I’m going to clean your room,” she beamed.

“Uh, why would you?”

“For your kindness of letting me stay here for some time.”

“Oh…”

Baekhyun blinked for a moment, trying to regain his consciousness before getting up from the bed. He walked to the bathroom just next to his room. Lily then closed the door, doing her job happily.

Upon the sink, Baekhyun wondered again if letting Lily stay at his place was the best decision. He felt guilty somehow, because it sounds like he was hiding a kid in searching but his heart took the best of him—as always. He didn’t know if he could defend himself if the police found them. Baekhyun splashed the water against his face once again. For now, maybe he could care less, he thought.

The knocking sound at the door brought him back to reality.

“Baekhyun-ssi, are you there?”

“Coming!” he replied.

Baekhyun cooked the breakfast for them both. And after they finished the meal, Lily asked. A grin ear-to-ear was plastered on her face.

“What are we going to do after this?”

Baekhyun thought for a moment before answering, “I don’t have any meeting today, but I’m doing a review for my project—”

“Are you going to write a new novel?” Lily asked, eyes wide in excitement.

“Yeah—but no, I haven’t set what it revolves around. I have written a great amount of it, but I’m just piling as many idea as I can get in it. But yeah, the thing is, main plot is not decided yet. ”

“Wow, would you give the first book to me?”

Her big brown eyes that looked so much like an overly-eager puppy seemed to have worked successfully in Baekhyun’s brain. He couldn’t resist.

“Fine,” he said finally.

“Yaaay! This is an honor! I’m sooo looking forward to it!”

And Baekhyun could only smile at the sight. Never had he found this real excited fan in front of him. Truthfully, he never thought he—well, his book—would receive much attention. His writing was not particularly unique. His words are mere simple words from admiring the truth, and his view of what he had experienced in his 28 years living on the earth. His publisher was not even a big one. His book was maybe hidden in the corner of bookstore. But this kid somehow found it anyway.

—–

February 29th 2016

“Actually, what do you like about my book?” Baekhyun asked out of curiosity.

Baekhyun was sitting in a café bookstore. A cup of cappuccino was lying before him, and hot chocolate before Lily, who was sitting across him. It was Sunday afternoon, Baekhyun had done reviewing all of his assignment, and he wanted to go outside. Any place was fine as long as he didn’t have to stay in his not-so-lonely apartment now.

“Everything.”

“That’s not an answer. At least, tell me what part or what sentence or something?”

“Well, but that’s all. Your books are really inspiring me. Reading your books feels like having someone telling me a story in my head, telling me about someone who live like this-and-that and then there are so much trouble I never expected to occur and somehow the character can solve the problem, with his own power, with her family or friend’s help, with some other people’s help. It’s amazing!”

Those simple yet honest words had rendered Baekhyun speechless. What she said was basically what most fiction novels are about.

“You summarized my stories in a quite unique way.”

Lily slurped her hot chocolate and relished in the sweet taste it gave her tongue.

“Is it based on true story?”

“….No. Those were a mere fiction. I write because I need to.”

Lily was silence for while. Finally she was going to realize it, Baekhyun thought. He never used to lie, even to a kid since he didn’t like people lying at his face. Now he was sure the girl would change her perception and maybe she would go home on her own will and she was going to do it soon—

“Awesome! All of those greatly inspiring stories are actually made inside your own brain? Then you must think a lot of those who’s suffering. You really are a kind hearted man, Baekhyun-ssi.”

Dear God…

On the way home, Lily asked him to buy her a floss candy. And what annoyed him was her pushing him to try some. Baekhyun didn’t hate sweets, but floss candy was just not the type of sweets he liked.

“This fluffy stuff gonna feel good in your mouth. It melts in the tongue!”

Not that Baekhyun never tried them before.

“I don’t want it.”

“Come on~ Just one bit,” she pouted so childishly that finally Baekhyun gave up.

“Alright, just one—oomph.” The girl pushed one big chunk into his mouth. And the big chunk melted in his tongue, down his throat.

“How does it taste?”

“Not bad.”

“Hee-hee. Wanna try some more?” she asked over eagerly.

“Eat it yourself!”

She giggled some more. Baekhyun didn’t understand kid well. They’re annoying and he never fond of one. But the thing he understood well was that most children have a never ending supply of happiness. Most but him. When he was kid, he was never the expressive one, even until present.

And when they had gone inside the apartment, he seated himself on the couch and Lily on the carpet.

“Now what would we say if people asked about you?” Baekhyun raised his hand to his chin.

“I’m your sister!”

“No. People know well I don’t have a sister.”

“Eh? But I’ve just known the fact.”

“Well, people who I work with to be exact.”

“What if step-sister?”

Baekhyun shook his head, “Definitely not. I don’t want to think my parent married someone else.”

“Then what?”

“My cousin.”

—–

When the day was getting dark, and Baekhyun and Lily had done taking a bath, he let the girl helping him with cooking. She was a nice kid, he admitted. He had seen so many bad examples of middle school kid but Lily was good. She must have good parents in the first place. So after they had done eating, he asked the girl, with two cups of honey milk he put on the table.

“Lily,” he called out to seek her attention. “Aren’t your parents worried now?”

“I’m sure they are. But… only for this time I’m gonna get my limited freedom.”

“You should have tell them, you know.”

“No, please don’t say it. I’m happy to be here. To come see you for real. From all the things I wished for, this is my ultimate wish. My brother and I know that our wishes would never come true because it is against my parent’s wish. But we can’t help it. We’re not rich, just a little more than enough. We don’t want to let our parents down. Too bad I—”

“You don’t have to say it. I’m going to give my little help, okay? So don’t cry.”

Only then that Lily realized her throat was stinging from pain, her cheeks wet from tears. Baekhyun found it saddening him, too.

“Go to sleep.”

Lily went to sleep on the couch, with a thick blanket draped over her.

Just when Baekhyun went after retrieving some water from the kitchen, he heard soft murmurs.

“Ahjussi…”

Baekhyun walked closer to the couch, squatting down to her level. “What is it?”

“Are you not feeling lonely?”

“What?”

“You don’t live with your family. You don’t have wife or kids, the only friend is your job. Isn’t it lonely?”

Hearing those made Baekhyun smiled softly at her. “Yeah, sometimes it feels lonely. But then again, this is what I want. With my family around, I wouldn’t be able to write peacefully.”

“Why do you write? I want to know.”

“…Why?” Baekhyun pondered about it for a while. He had started to write since God knows when. “When I was a kid, around your age I think, I really love to write. I write about everything that happens around me. Everything I feel and see. Maybe… deep inside I just want people to recognize my works. That was my dream when I was starting off. Maybe I had done too much that I forgot how it feels to dream. All of this is just a work for me. A job.”

Lily listened to his story, even though she had trouble keeping her eyes open. Baekhyun went on about his story, somehow he felt like telling his tale to the girl, as if telling his own little sister. It was giving him a warm feeling of having someone listening to you, just like when he knew his friends were reading his very first short story in the middle school.

And right here right now, a reader of his book came to him, saying that she loved his books, that she loved everything about it, it was enough. It brought him happiness. It was not an ultimate happiness he thought he know of. But it was enough for him to smile from inside and outside.

Baekhyun decided that he would do an all-nighter. He walked to the window and closed the curtain. But just as he was about to do so, he was sure he saw a tall figure of a man just in front of the apartment’s gate.

He brushed it off. And then he walked to his own bedroom, turned on the lamp-desk, started his work.

—–

March 1st 2016

“Now, where is your workplace? I’m so getting to see how it looks like,” Lily chirped at only 8 in the morning.

“It’s plain and stuffy, you know.”

“I don’t know.”

“In short, it’s ordinary.”

“But I always think that you’d be working in a cool place, like the café yesterday, or like Google’s office.”

“What you think is not my business.”

“Anyway, I bet you look cool when you’re working.”

Baekhyun snorted. He had wondered since yesterday actually, how this girl had made him couldn’t hold his smile every time she spoke, somehow. It was a bit disturbing but, nonetheless, he enjoyed it. For every time she spoke her mind, he could sense the truth pouring out from her words, as if her very being was made not to let anyone astray with lie. It was almost too ridiculous to be true. But somewhere in his heart, he didn’t want that pure heart tainted.

The pulling on the tip of his shirt brought him back to reality.

“B!”

“What did you say?”

“I’m calling you several times already,” she pouted.

“Sorry,” Baekhyun smiled in an apologizing way. He ruffled her hair. He had just realized that the kid’s hair was so soft, softer than the cat’s. He adjusted the sunglasses too big for her on her face. “Remember what I said, never show your face, okay?” The little girl answered with one big nod.

“Wow, Baekkie! Who’s this?” A deep bass voice entered his hearing. “Your secret child?”

Vein popped on Baekhyun’s head. “No, you silly. This is Lily, my cousin. Her mother entrusted her to me since she was going to have a honeymoon trip for two or three weeks.” The lie flowed naturally from his lips.

“Oh. Hey, li’l one. I’m Park Chanyeol. Baekhyunnie’s best friend.”

Baekhyun was sure he saw some kind of emotion he couldn’t decipher in Lily’s eyes as she gazed to Chanyeol. “Call me Lily. I’m my cousin’s best friend, too,” she said, emphasizing at ‘best friend’ which made Baekhyun raised an eyebrow.

“Oh my, you really are a cute one. You love your cousin so much I can tell.”

Lily nodded, and she added. “He is my inspiration.”

Chanyeol looked up to see Baekhyun’s reaction. But he found that Baekhyun had walked pass him toward his own desk, deliberately avoiding Chanyeol’s hunting eye. Both Lily and Chanyeol didn’t know that Baekhyun’s ears had gone red hearing the almost too cliché words, but maybe it was because Lily, his first fan who showed up before his very eyes, who said it.

Somewhere along the lines of working, Chanyeol asked the petite girl. “Don’t you have to attend school?”

Which she simply answered, “I got my leave absence, ahjussi.”

“I see. Actually I’m a bit surprised. Baekhyun is never good with kids, you know.”

She giggled. “I know that. Baekhyun-ssi said that I’m a good kid, ahjussi, so he likes me.”

“That is so adorable!” Chanyeol ruffles her hair.

—–

So this was what Baekhyun looked like when he was working. Lily smiled.

Baekhyun worked on his desk, staring too seriously at the monitor, while Lily waited and watched everything he did from a small sofa behind him.

When Baekhyun was working, he seemed to be in another different world. His back was broad and seemed strong. He was actively moving in his desk until he brought some papers to the editor. He was discussing something with him.

Suddenly she was feeling a terrible headache. Baekhyun was still talking to his editor. She placed her head on her knees, hands gripping her stomach, hoping to ease the pain somehow but to no avail.

Her vision was starting to get full of black dots. And then she felt light, her world started to spin. And she heard Baekhyun’s friend from before calling out to her.

“Lily!”

And the world went pitch black.

—–

Upon hearing Chanyeol’s voice loud from the editor’s room, Baekhyun immediately looked up. His eyes widened as he found Lily’s body falling on the floor. He said something to the editor and went to checked on her.

“Lily! Wake up!” Chanyeol shouted as he carried her to a small sofa in the room. “Baekhyun! What’s wrong with her.”

Baekhyun’s face was pale as death. Was it because of her illness? If so, then he really needed to get her out of here to the hospital!

“I don’t know, either. I’ll take her to the hospital.”

He carried the girl on his back. His mind was full of worries. His body was racing due to rising panick.

As he exited the office building, he felt Lily moved on his back.

“Lily! Are you there?”

“Ahjussi…”

“What?”

“Don’t take me there.”

“Wha— Are you nuts? You have to go to hospital!”

“Baekhyun-ssi…”

Baekhyun stopped for a moment. Was her wish a priorities over her life? His brain told him to just go but his heart told him to stay. Amidst the conflict in his mind, a stranger approached him.

“Are you B?”

“Yes?”

Then Baekhyun heard Lily murmuring faintly, “B-Brother…” But he was not sure.

“Let’s get back to your apartment. I know what to do.”

“Wait. Who are you?”

“I’m his brother and stop asking for our priorities now is her life.”

Baekhyun went silent after that. They stopped taxi and got home as fast as possible.

—–

The man said his name was Kris, Lily’s brother.

After Lily’s condition seemed to get better, they seated themselves in the living room, with two cup of tea on the coffee table.

“I’m sorry if Lily had been such a trouble for you,” Kris started.

“No, no. That’s alright. I know what happens. Your sister is adorable, too.” Baekhyun said for he really thought that Lily was very endearing to him who did not like kids.

“I’m the one who helped her getting out of the hospital, you know.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard about if from Lily. I hope your parents are not deadly worried. But it sounds impossible, right?” Baekhyun chuckled.

“Mm. For her happiness, I’m willing to do everything.”

“Everything?” Baekhyun asked, which was only answered with a shrug. “Then please bring her back to the hospital.”

“What? Why, I’ll bring her for sure when it was time. I think she’s fine for now.”

“You couldn’t be sure,” Baekhyun said, suddenly feeling that the siblings were alike each other. “I think the best thing to do is having the hospital do their job supporting her life. And I’ll do my part to grant her wish.”

It needed times to convince Kris, but finally it was decided. Kris was going to bring her back.

“I just hope you know what you’re doing. It will be saddening her, too.”

“You bet. You can punch me in the face if I didn’t make it.”

—–

March 2nd 2016

Baekhyun took 3 days off from his work. He took down all of his scheduled work. His lamp was turned on for 24 hours.

His back felt sore but he could not complain.

He had to do this.

—–

March 3rd 2016

In one of the plain white room at the hospital, Lily stared blankly at the sky; only stirred from her position when Kris walked in her room.

“Lily, I bring your lunch.”

“Brother… Why?” she asked, the sadness was heard through her tone.

Kris seemed hesitant. All the expression Lily showed since she was brought back was plain and monotone. Kris hoped that at least she would be smiling as her usual self, but he knew asking for it was too much.

“Don’t you believe me? I’m sure B wouldn’t forget you. You’ve told him your wish, have you?”

Lily nodded.

After eating the lunch, Kris went out of the room with the tableware. And Lily stared outside the window, to the clouds moving by the wind. They seemed free while they were actually tied with the wind to every direction they would go.

I didn’t, she said in her mind. Truth was, she hadn’t said it. She finally got to say that she loved his books before him, and then she only said that she want his first book later. That was just the second and third wish of her. Her ultimate wish was—

—–

March 4th 2016

Baekhyun felt like his 28-years-old body was going to wreck.

His back felt so sore, his hands went numb, his legs also felt numb. His heart was racing due to the coffee he consumed and the fast food that only entered his stomach. He was going to have a hell long time to pay for this blunder. He never was the one to gone off track of his healthy life-style but, right now, he had to.

Baekhyun waited impatiently for the last page to come out of the printers. Sighed in relieved when it turned out to be clean and neat. And then he bound all the papers and the cover together; all by himself.

He had to finished it now so he wouldn’t regret this for the rest of his life. For his very first fan he knew.

After done with the binding, he immediately took the coat off the hanger and marched outside, not caring to change his clothes from 3 days ago.

He stopped a taxi and told the driver the address.

—–

Inside the hospital, Baekhyun ran to the receptionist, asking her about the patient with the name of Lily.

“I’m sorry but this patient can only get a visit from her families, Mr. Byun.”

Baekhyun was about to do the most reckless thing that popped up in his nearly crazy-mind when Kris showed up just in time to help him with the lie.

“Hyung! You finally come! We’ve been waiting for you!” said Kris, circling his arms around Baekhyun’s shoulder.

Finally got past the receptionist, Kris told him briefly that Lily’s condition was getting worse.

So Baekhyun ran to the room where Lily stayed. Finding her to sleep.

“Am I too late?” Baekhyun asked himself. His expression turned grim and sad.

He gripped the book in his hand harder. And then he put it in her hands.

“I’m just wishing the best for you…” he whispered. “I hope I can grant your wish. I have done my newest novel. And as I’d promised, you will the first to receive it, remember? It is in your hand now. I hope you enjoy it.”

Baekhyun would prefer staying there if not for the sudden headache attacking his head mercilessly. He immediately got up to exit the room. He didn’t want the girl to see him in such state. Maybe it was due to the lack of sleep and food for three days full. He was really at his limit.

Just outside the room, in the empty hall, Baekhyun fell hard on the ground. Consciousness lost from his grasp.

—–

Lily was never asleep.

She might be closing her eyes but she never did sleep. So she knew Baekhyun had entered the room. To have him saying all those things to her, she couldn’t help the pain that was rising in her chest.

When Baekhyun exited the room, she wished nothing but for him to stay. She screamed it but it never escaped from her lips for she was unable to say anything anymore.

Opening her eyes were hard, as if there were stones upon her eyelids.

When she finally manages to open her eyes, the tears that were held in the back of her eyes started to stream like a waterfall, falling nonstop on her cheeks.

In her struggle, she tried opening the book in her hand, reading the first page of it where it was written:

—dedicated for my friend

Lily Jung.

Her sobbing could only get harder by the ticking seconds.

You know what, B. My ultimate wish is—

The book fell away to the floor from her limp hands. A smile was forever plastered on her face.

—to be friend with the person I adore the most. And since you made things that inspire me the most, you become that person.

——-

March 6th 2017

Baekhyun walked out of his car. He inhaled the scent of magnolia that enveloped the area. He walked through the black gate, through the stone paving, through the shade of magnolia trees along the sideway, and finally he reached the destination.

—Jung Lily

Born in July 27th 2003

Died in March 6th 2016

When he was adjusting the white lily in front of the grave, he felt someone’s steps coming closer.

He turned his head, and found a tall guy with a familiar blonde hair.

“Good afternoon, B,” he greeted Baekhyun. “It is a nice day today, isn’t it?”

“It is.”

“So how’s life? Does getting best-seller label on your fifth novel feel good?”

Baekhyun chuckled at the mockery. “Too good even.”

The wind breezed through their hair.

“I’m still feeling bad for not getting it done earlier, you know.”

“Oh my, don’t you know that she smiled in the end, after reading the book you gave?”

“Really?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, then. You just lost consciousness in front of her room that day. But, seeing her face, I know that she died regretting nothing. For that, I thank you so much, B.”

“…It’s okay. Just don’t call me that, I have a name.”

“But your pseudo is B.”

“The one who deserve to call me that is my fan.”

Kris smiled hearing that. “I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear that from you. Aren’t you, Lily?” he said toward the grave, her everlasting home for now.

.

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