Author: Anonymous until 1/30/14
Word Count: 4,800
Summary: All Baekhyun wants is to be friends with Tumblr user chickencharmer.
Warnings: un beta-ed
Anonymous asked: hi kai!! ur blog is so amazing and i luv ur posts so much wish we could be friends one day >.>
chickencharmer: hey, thanks man :) of course we can be friends!
lusci0us-lips asked: *blows you a kiss*
chickencharmer: right back at chu *winks*
Anonymous asked: can you please please pleaseeee post a selfie???
chickencharmer: posted one a long time ago, but i don't really wanna have my face floating around the internet. if you really want to see, you'll have to look through my +25k posts, sorry!
Baekhyun sighs loudly as he lazily scrolls down his dashboard. Every now and then, he'd see popular bloggers reply to followers' messages while he sits staring at his forever empty inbox. It's not that he doesn't have followers or that people don't reblog from him, but rather no one has ever really talked to him on Tumblr other than some of his closest friends. And he really doesn't get it, because he makes friends so easily at school. What's so different about the internet?
He feels mostly jealousy, but not towards one particular blogger.
Tumblr user chickencharmer.
Kai is everything he dreams of being - likeable, easy going, the go-to guy for advice, the one everyone wants to be friends with. He has thousands upon thousands of followers who talk to him every day, asking how his day went (he usually says it goes well with the occasional bummer, how about you?), what he likes to do in his spare time (he's a very sporty person - soccer, basketball, and swimming), how many past relationships he's been in (he always replies with a wink), or where he lives (somewhere in the milky way galaxy).
And no, he absolutely does not keep track of little things about Kai. He hasn't got the slightest idea how old Kai is or how many pets he has or his favourite colour.
(In the back of Baekhyun's mind, a small voice reminds him that they are in fact the same age, he has three toy poodles and loves black, red, and sky blue.)
Just thinking about Kai can make Baekhyun's thoughts upside down - Kai's personality shines through his tags and text posts and Baekhyun wishes so, so much that he could be as cool as him. He imagines that Kai must be extremely handsome to go along with his personality, something along the lines of smoothed back hair, creamy skin, lean and toned in cardigans and dark denim.
A loud knock on his door followed by a muffled grunt from his brother shakes him out of his reverie. It reminds him that he has one last meal to enjoy before life hits him again. He hurriedly throws on some wrinkled pyjama bottoms and washes up for dinner before going downstairs.
"Honey, tomorrow you're moving into your dorm room but you've barely gone out of your room all day," his mom looks at him disapprovingly from across the dining table. "Are all your bags packed?"
Baekhyun stuffs some grilled chicken in his mouth and randomly thinks about how Kai loves fried chicken. "Sure I have. I'm not in my room now am I?" he grins. "Don't worry mom, basically all the boxes are packed, I just need to tape them up."
"Who else is moving onto campus? Just Joonmyun and Chanyeol right? What happened to Kris and Ryeowook and Zitao and the rest?"
"Some of them went to study abroad. Some are commuting from home, since they live closer. Actually, I don't really know who's staying in res, haven't really kept in touch with anyone over the summer other than my closest friends."
"Actually, he doesn't have friends."
"Baekbeom," their father sighs.
Baekhyun flicks a piece of carrot at his brother's forehead. "Hey, don't be jealous that I was the most popular kid in high school while you hung out with all the nerds."
"Well don't talk too soon. University is different."
"Yeah, we'll see," Baekhyun snickers.
Back up in his room, he messily tapes shut his boxes of books and clothes before logging back onto Tumblr.
n-credible asked: I hate school :( are you going back soon?
chickencharmer: aww :C actually, yeah I'm starting university in a few days!
Baekhyun chews on his lip as he reads and rereads Kai's reply.
Should he wish Kai good luck for university?
Nah, he probably already has tons of messages from other people around the world wishing him luck.
Baekhyun only looks at a few more posts before logging off again and instead texts Chanyeol and Joonmyun.
Tree in 20?
"What are you going to major in?" Joonmyun leans against the old oak tree.
Chanyeol shrugs as he pulls at the grass. "I don't know. I've always liked media and film production, so I guess I might do that. You?"
"I've always dreamed to be an actor, to be the next big thing in Hollywood."
Baekhyun snorts. "Remember that time you were so nervous during the school play that you almost pissed your pants?"
"Hey!" Joonmyun huffs. "We were seven, okay. Plus there were only two others on stage for that scene, was it Kyuhyun and Sulli? I don't remember. Anyway the point is, I had a legitimate reason to be nervous. I was perfectly fine in drama class all throughout high school."
"I kind of want to go into journalism. Maybe music on the side. But we have two years right? There's still a long time before we declare majors." Baekhyun lies down in the grass and crosses his arms behind his head.
"Not that far, if you think about it."
"It's kind of scary to think we're supposed to be adults now, huh?" Joonmyun mumbles.
Chanyeol wrinkles his nose. "Whoa, in four years we'll probably have our own apartments and have to get full time jobs and wear suits and pay bills."
The three are quiet for a while, worrying about uncertain futures and hazy aspirations before Baekhyun breaks the silence.
"Come on, let's have one more go at the arcade and forget about responsibilities and shit."
"Just until tomorrow," Joonmyun warns.
"Yeah, just until tomorrow. Loosen up, old man. Race you there!"
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Good god," Baekhyun groans.
The digital clock reads 8am.
He buries his face into his pillow, vowing to end the fool who had set his alarm clock to this unearthly hour.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Baekhyun, we're going to have to leave in an hour or you'll be late for orientation!"
"Dad, what are you talking about what orienta-"
He shoots up and shuts off the alarm before jumping out of bed. Within the hour, he's showered, dressed, and downstairs with all his boxes and suitcase.
"Ready?" His mother smiles at him.
"Uh, wait. Let me go check if I forgot anything." Baekhyun looks around his room one last time. He hadn't packed much, but the uncluttered desk and empty closet makes him feel oddly nostalgic.
Baekhyun goes into the kitchen, stuffs a bagel in his mouth and drags his suitcase to the van. "Okay. Let's go."
He falls asleep in the van and wakes up an hour later. He steps dazedly outside and peers at the dozens of other first year students, some looking nervous while others chat excitedly with new friends. All around are parents and siblings, some too tearful and attached to let go. Baekhyun looks back to his own family.
"Mom please, please don't cry," Baekhyun begs. "I'll only be an hour away."
His mother smiles fondly and gathers him into her arms. "I know, honey. But it seems like only yesterday when you stepped into high school for the first time, and now you're all grown up. Promise you'll take care of yourself well, alright? Don't stay up too late, remember to take your vitamins, do your laundry every week and-"
Baekhyun kisses her cheek. "I will mom. Don't worry. I'll miss you a lot, as well as your cooking," he chuckles.
He hugs his father. "Thanks for driving me all the way here. I'll miss you too."
Finally, he lets his brother mess up his hair before hugging him as well. "Bye big bro, take care of mom and dad alright? See you around."
"Will do. Now go make some friends for once!" Baekbeom laughs.
Baekhyun waves. "Goodbye! I love you all."
He turns towards the dorm wing and takes a deep breath.
"Alright, here we go."
Baekhyun looks at the number on his assigned key then looks back up at the door in front of him.
He knocks a few times before sliding the card in and opens the door to his shared room.
"Hello? Anyone home?"
Baekhyun sees a suitcase leaning against one of the beds along with a few duffle bags, but no sign of his roommate. He walks towards the unoccupied side of the room and unpacks his belongings until he hears his phone ring.
"Hello?" Baekhyun mumbles while he stuffs his books on the shelf and throws some clothes into his closet.
"Dude where are you? Orientation starts in fifteen minutes. We saved you a seat." Chanyeol's voice can barely be heard over the background noise of students in the auditorium.
"Shit, already? I'll be there soon."
He finds them near the left side of the auditorium. "How long will this take? I want to go back to my room and sleep," he complains.
"Academic orientation lasts about an hour and then we have the campus tour." Joonmyun checks his watch. "We'll probably be finished at around 3pm so you have a few hours before we meet up for dinner."
After a speech from the Dean, an upper year student motions for them to follow him for the tour.
"Hey guys, I'm Changmin. Welcome to your home for the next four years! I'm in third year, so if you have any questions regarding academics or dorms or school life, feel free to ask throughout the tour. Also, let me know if there's any particular place on campus you want to see."
"Where do we eat?" Chanyeol blurts out. Joonmyun sighs.
Changmin grins. "Don't worry, we'll be there after I show you the main lecture halls. But essentially, there are small coffee shops in nearly every building on campus for breaks in between class, as well as the main cafeteria near the dorm buildings. There are also small restaurants out in..."
After the tour, Baekhyun collapses on his bed and almost immediately falls asleep to the sound of soft rain pattering on the windows.
When he wakes up two hours later, he sees a figure hunched over by the desk on the other side of the room.
"Hi, you're my roommate right? Nice to meet you. I'm Baekhyun." He walks over towards the other boy and stops when he sees a familiar blue screen. He rubs his eyes. "Oh hey, you blog too?"
Startled, the other boy quickly slaps his screen shut and shakes Baekhyun's hand. "Hi, I'm Jongin. And yeah, just a bit, not much. I'm gonna go grab dinner, see you later."
"I was going to ask you if you wanted to eat with us-"Baekhyun watches Jongin practically run out the room. Puzzled, he stares after him. "What's the big rush?"
At 6pm, he meets Chanyeol and Joonmyun and they talk about their roommates over dinner.
"My roommate is a complete clean freak," Chanyeol groans. "He already has all his books arranged alphabetically and his clothes hanging in the closet and who the fuck makes their bed in the middle of the day? I bet he'd kill me if I even leave a shirt lying around."
"Maybe you'll pick up some good habits from him."
Chanyeol glares at Baekhyun. "Shut up. You're not much better anyway."
"That's true," Baekhyun agrees. "But my roommate isn't so picky about cleanliness. Actually he barely seems to want to talk to me," he frowns.
"What's his name?" Joonmyun asks, mouth full of lettuce.
"Jongin, I think. He mumbles when he talks."
Chanyeol stopped chewing. "Didn't Jongin go to our high school too?"
"Oh right, wasn't he that kid who transferred during the middle of last year?"
Baekhyun stares. "Really? Wow I never noticed. Are you sure it's the same one?"
Joonmyun nods. "You said he doesn't talk a lot right? It's probably him. He's a nice kid, he was in my biology class."
"I didn't really get to see his face. He looked a bit sleepy, but I'm pretty sure he was blogging right when I woke up."
"Great, another Tumblr addict," Chanyeol rolls his eyes. "With him as your roommate, neither of you will ever leave your room because you'll be reblogging dumb shit all day."
Baekhyun grunts. "Hey! It's not dumb shit. I learn tons online every day."
"Is that where you learned your awful sense of humour?"
Joonmyun sighs. "What classes do you have tomorrow?"
"I have media studies and English literature," Chanyeol replies as he looks at his timetable.
Baekhyun checks his own timetable. "I only have a music class. Holy shit Joonmyun, your schedule's packed."
They all peer at the timetable in question.
"Musical theatre, psychology, and modern Western civilization studies. Really?"
Joonmyun nods. "There's also going to be a club fair tomorrow afternoon, we should go check-"
"Excuse me, sorry, coming through-" A tray of friend chicken and an array of dips fall onto the floor right by Baekhyun's feet.
Baekhyun looks up at the embarrassed looking boy. "Oh hi, Jongin right?"
"Yeah. Hi Baekhyun, nice to see you again," Jongin mumbles as he cleans up the mess on the floor and dumps it in the trash. "Hello Joonmyun."
"Hey, how's it going?" Joonmyun motions to the empty chair beside him.
Jongin sits down, looking very uncomfortable. "I didn't know so many people from our school come here."
"Yeah, quite a few are here actually," Chanyeol agrees.
Baekhyun looks at Jongin's unfortunately empty cafeteria tray. "Here, you seem to like fried chicken. Have some of mine, I'm not really that hungry."
"Really?" Suddenly Jongin's sleepy looking eyes light up. "Thanks man."
"No problem. What do you guys want to do before school officially starts tomorrow? Should we catch a movie?" Baekhyun suggests.
"Sure, sounds good. How about you, Jongin? If you don't have other plans, you should come with us."
"Um, actually I was going to go play some soccer with a friend. Wouldn't mind hanging out next time though," Jongin says, unsure.
Chanyeol grins. "Cool. Well you'll probably see us around a lot, since you room with Baekhyun."
"You guys should go soon, best get back earlier so you won't be tired tomorrow. Thanks again," he nods to Baekhyun before picking up both their trays and gets up from his seat. "I owe you one. Gotta run now, see you guys later!"
"Weird kid. Always in a hurry," Baekhyun shrugs.
"Actually, Jongin's right. We should probably hurry up and catch an earlier showing so we can get back to our dorms earlier."
"Okay, okay. So, American Hustle or Thor?"
Baekhyun gets back just before midnight and Jongin is already in his pyjamas, on his laptop.
Jongin looks up before shutting off his laptop. "How was the movie?"
"Really good! But ugh the cliffhanger," Baekhyun groans. "God dammit Loki."
"Yeah, I was disappointed in him too. But then again, it's Loki we're talking about. It should have been expected, in all honesty," Jongin rationalizes.
"Yeah, I guess so. You going to sleep?"
Jongin nods. "8:30 am class tomorrow."
"You're a morning person?" Baekhyun asks, surprised. "You don't seem like it."
"I don't? Well yeah I'm not really a morning person," Jongin admits. "But this class isn't so popular here I guess, so the only time they had was early in the morning."
Baekhyun nods in understanding. "Hey, can I follow you on Tumblr?"
Jongin is caught off guard. "Um, maybe later. I was just about to sleep now. Goodnight!"
"Oh, alright. Goodnight."
Jongin flicks off his bedside lamp and promptly starts snoring softly.
"Wow," Baekhyun stares.
Later on, Baekhyun rolls around restlessly in his blankets in the late autumn heat. He gets up to open the windows in hopes that there will be a breeze, and then sits at his desk.
Out of habit, he types in his email and password and presses enter. The familiar blue dashboard welcomes him, as do all the usernames he's grown fond of since he began blogging in the second year of high school. It's way past midnight now, so he turns down the sound and screen brightness.
Baekhyun clicks and opens Kai's blog and works up the courage to type in a short message.
good luck in uni, kai!
He stares at the page for a long time before deciding against using the anonymous option and finally hits ask.
Sighing, he shuts off his laptop.
Hopefully he'll be able to see my message.
When Baekhyun wakes up, Jongin is already gone. His bed is messy and clothes are scattered all over the ground but Baekhyun doesn't mind.
(At least he doesn't have Chanyeol's roommate.)
After grabbing a coffee, Baekhyun walks into his contemporary music studies class and sits down beside a dark blonde haired boy. He has his earphones in so Baekhyun taps his shoulder.
"Do you mind if I sit here?"
The boy looks up. "No, not at all!"
Baekhyun grins. "Hi, I'm Baekhyun."
"Luhan. Are you a music major?"
Baekhyun shakes his head. "I love music, but I'm not sure if that's what I want to do for my career."
"Ah, I see. That's kind of like me with soccer - love it, but can't make a career out of it. Instead, I want to become a music teacher."
"Do you play an instrument?"
"Actually, I sing. How about you?"
"No way! Same here. We should join a choir or glee club or something like that."
Luhan laughs. "Slow down. I heard the choir here isn't really popular, but everyone likes musical theatre. Have you ever tried it?"
"Nope. My good friend is actually in musical theatre though, so maybe I'll try it out this year. I'll introduce him to you later."
"Sounds good," Luhan nods, just as the professor begins the lecture.
During lunch, Baekhyun scrolls down his Tumblr dashboard on his phone app. A notification tells him he's just received an inbox message. Curious, he looks at the message.
byunbyunbyunbyun asked: good luck in uni, kai!
chickencharmer: thanks baekhyun! you too :)
Baekhyun blinks a few times and rereads Kai's reply another seven times.
"He knows my name? He knows I'm in university too?"
"Who knows your name?" Chanyeol asks. Then he sees Baekhyun staring at his Tumblr inbox, and sighs. "Some internet famous person recognized you?"
"Hell yeah!" Baekhyun fist pumps. He rereads Kai's reply again.
Another notification goes off.
chickencharmer is now following you!
Baekhyun swears his heart nearly stopped beating. "Oh, my god. Chanyeol."
"What now," Chanyeol grunts, disinterested.
"He followed me. I think. Oh my god."
"The one and only Tumblr user, chickencharmer. Obviously," Baekhyun rolls his eyes. "Oh my god I can't believe this is happening. Chanyeol, why do you think he's following me? Do you think it's because of that message I sent him? Wow if I had known I would have totally sent him a message before but I was too chicken... Chicken! Haha, get it Chanyeol? I was too chicken to talk to Tumblr user chickencharmer." Baekhyun smiles widely at his own joke.
Chanyeol sighs again.
At club fair, Baekhyun signs up for musical theatre auditions with Joonmyun and Luhan. They practice their parts later that week until their voices begin cracking.
"We should probably stop now," Luhan clears his throat.
Joonmyun downs half a bottle of water. "You're right. You have a really nice voice, Luhan. And thanks for teaching us vocal techniques! Have you trained professionally?"
Luhan smiles brightly. "Thanks! Actually, I have been taking vocal lessons for a few years during high school. I want to teach music one day."
"Looks like you're well on your way," Joonmyun grins back.
Baekhyun stuffs the music sheets in his bag. "Hey guys, I'm gonna call it a day. See you tomorrow!"
He heads back to the dorm, stopping by a snack bar near the gym on the way. As he leaves, he hears an R&B song playing from one of the dance studio rooms he happens to be passing by. He glances briefly through the window and stops in his tracks when he sees a familiar figure dancing alone.
Baekhyun tries the door handle, and steps inside quietly.
"Wow," he breathes.
Jongin's body flexes easily to the slow beat of Ne-Yo's Part of the List, movements melting from one to another without breaks. The way he loses himself in the music makes Baekhyun feel almost as if Jongin himself is the music with the way he never misses a beat and the way his chest rises and falls with every octave.
Baekhyun isn't aware that he's staring until long after the music has ended, and he sees Jongin look at him through the mirror's reflection, embarrassed.
"W-what are you doing here?" Jongin stammers as he stuffs his sweatshirt in his duffel bag.
Baekhyun blinks. "Oh, uh, I heard music and saw someone dancing and was curious because I thought it looked like someone I knew. So yeah I came in the room and kind of watched you dance a bit. You're really good at it, holy crow."
Jongin rubs the back of his neck. "Gee, thanks. Are you going back to the dorm?"
"Yeah, just finished practicing for musical theatre auditions with Joonmyun and Luhan."
"Oh, you've met Luhan? He's the friend I was talking about the other day, the one I play soccer with. He's actually amazing at it, but isn't confident enough to pursue soccer professionally." They leave the building and step outside into the cool air. By now, only a few students are still walking around campus. Some heading home from late classes, some dressed to go out to late night parties.
"Really? He told us he wanted to teach music." Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows.
Jongin shrugs. "It was always going to be one or the other. Soccer or music. Those were the only two things he was ever passionate about. We're pretty close - grew up together through elementary all the way until the last year of high school. Then my parents moved so I had to transfer to your high school."
"It's great that you guys are at the same university now, though."
"Yeah, I guess. But I think he's ditching me," Jongin frowns at the ground.
Jongin snickers. "He seems pretty attached to Joonmyun. Wouldn't stop talking to me all week about how 'amazing his voice is even though he's never taken professional music lessons' or about 'the way he's always looking after and taking care of his friends'," he mimicks Luhan's voice.
Baekhyun laughs. "Wow, so you think they're really hitting it off, huh?”
When they get back to their room, Baekhyun insists that Jongin shower first, since he just had dance practice.
"Alright, I'll shower quickly so you won't have to sleep too late," Jongin reassures him.
"Don’t worry, Take your time."
Baekhyun logs onto Tumblr and reblogs some movie gif sets and some text posts before opening Kai's blog again. Ever since Kai followed him, they'd exchanged a few messages but he's still extremely self-conscious about the types of posts he reblogs, afraid that Kai might think he wasn't cool enough. So he decides to ask.
hey kai, just wondering. why did you follow my blog again? idk if you really like the stuff i post lol
He lets out the breath he wasn't aware he had been holding as he clicks ask.
Just as he exits the window to start writing his essay for his journalism course, Jongin walks out the bathroom in only boxers.
His dark, towel-dried hair slightly covers his eternally-sleepy eyes and his muscles ripple lightly as pulls on a shirt and throws his soiled clothes in his laundry basket.
Baekhyun freezes and gulps.
"You can use the shower now. I'm going to bed. Night." Jongin plops face first onto his bed and doesn't move.
Baekhyun opens and closes his mouth a few times before mumbling "Goodnight" and hurries into the bathroom.
"Jesus Christ, Byun Baekhyun. Pull yourself together."
He takes a few breaths and turns on the taps.
because i like your blog and your posts. besides, i think you're really cool.
That night, he dreams of chicken and sleepy eyes peering from behind dark, messy hair.
"How are your professors? Do you like your classes?"
"Yes, dad. Everything's great! I really like it there." Baekhyun hauls a huge bag of laundry through the front doors and dumps it in the foyer. He makes a mental note to do the laundry later that day.
His mother sighs. "Didn't I tell you to do your laundry every week?"
"Yes, mom. School work got busy though, so I couldn't do as much as I wanted."
Baekbeom claps his shoulder. "Hey lil bro, how's the uni life?"
"Honestly, a lot better than I imagined. Joined tons of clubs and made a lot of friends. I don't know what you were talking about, but it's pretty easy to get acquainted with new people." Baekhyun rolls his eyes.
Over dinner, Baekhyun tells his family about all the things he's learned in the past month, as well as the musical he'll be performing in next spring. He tells them about his new friends and he tells them about his roommate.
"He dances. He's danced since he was in grade two!" Baekhyun shakes his head in disbelief.
"You've been singing since you were in grade two," his father comments.
Baekhyun shrugs. "It's not really the same thing. He's serious about it - he wants to make dancing his career."
They're all in the living room watching TV when Baekhyun's phone lights up with a notification. He taps on it.
no way, we go to the same university! we should hang out some time :)
Baekhyun drops the remote control.
No way. Kai? Goes to his university?
And wants to meet him?
A few days later after the long weekend, Baekhyun walks slowly towards his favourite cafe on campus. What if Kai doesn't like him? He'll probably think he was a waste of time or-
Baekhyun jumps, and relaxes when he see's it's only Jongin. "Hi, what are you doing here? Are you studying?"
"No, I was waiting for you."
"Waiting for me? But how did you know I'd be here at this time? Actually I was going to meet someone here-"
"Tumblr user chickencharmer."
Baekhyun stares at him, uncomprehending. Then he looks around the cafe.
"Actually, I've kind of been going on your blog for a few months..."
"Wait, you what?"
Jongin sighs. "When I transfered high schools, it wasn't easy for me to make new friends. But I saw you and you were literally the coolest person ever. Everyone knew you. You were the student events coordinator on the school council and everyone loved you. I wanted to be the kind of person you were, but I wasn't. I'm still not," he shrugs. "But online, I could be that person I've dreamed of becoming. Charismatic and kind, known and loved by everyone. Someone really personable. I didn't know you well at all during high school, but I guess things have changed since becoming your roommate. I thought it was only fair that I told you Kai isn't real."
Baekhyun is still having trouble comprehending. "This whole time... you wanted to be like me? You're kidding right?"
"Nope," Jongin grins sheepishly. "It's true, I do like fried chicken and the colours black, red and sky blue and I have three toy poodles and play soccer, but that's only as far as it gets. I never spoke about my real passion for dancing because I wanted to make myself seem cooler than I really am. I'm sorry Baek."
Baekhyun's mind is a whirlwind of thoughts. But all he really ends up doing is chuckling. "This whole time... I wanted to be the person you were online. You know I admired you so from afar and never had the guts to message you until a month ago? You were my favourite blog. Still are," he grins.
"Really?" Jongin blushes just the tiniest bit.
"Yeah. I definitely think you’re cooler in real life. But don’t worry, I'll always be your number one fan," he winks.
Jongin elbows him in the ribs and takes a deep breath. “So the reason I asked to see you today. I was wondering. D-do you want to come to my dance showcase in two weeks?”
Baekhyun beams. “I’d love to."