Aug. 26th, 2016

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Volition
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Suho-centric
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Length: Drabble, 200 words
Summary: May 15th, 2014. 

Junmyeon can only hear blood pounding in his ears, his world muted despite the managers still speaking. Chanyeol’s already yelling, but Junmyeon doesn't know how to even find words when the only ones in mind are lawsuit and what now? Betrayal tightens his throat, traps even those words inside.

As the others are herded out of the waiting room, still in make-up and stage outfits, he hears someone say “We’re taking you back home.”

“It’s our comeback -- we’re even expected to win.” He can’t stop himself. “Everyone will be watching.”

“Exactly.” Yongmin says, sympathetic.

“One of us should be here.” They both know that’s not true though. The boys watch him, and Junmyeon wonders, worries about them. “I’m staying.” He sounds stronger than he feels, will need to from now on. “I will never let us down.”

Even on a crowded stage, Junmyeon feels everyone’s eyes on him. The others should be safely sequestered away already, every stumble and tremble escaping scrutiny.

This is what a leader does, he tells himself firmly, gripping onto the proof of all of their efforts. No one’s taking this away from them.

He clears his parched throat and brings his microphone to his lips.

Original Post: Here.
Prompt: "Trust me on this one"
Author's Note: Written for Round 3 of EM's EX'ACT Drabble Competition. This is set on 05/15/14 -- the day of Exo-K's belated Overdose comeback following the Sewol Ferry tragedy, and the same day Kris filed his lawsuit to terminate his contract with SM and leave Exo. I have a lot of feelings about that day -- overwhelmingly negative feelings, enough to stir up my blood even now, because I find it so unfair that Exo had to pick up the pieces after someone made such a mess out of their own greed and ambition. I don't think I can ever explain how painful watching
Suho accepting that award alone on stage was, knowing that everyone in that room had heard about the news, not knowing what would happen to Exo when they had finally just made it. It was supposed to be a glorious day for Exo, but it was such a painful one instead. I still start to cry when I think about what they went through, what Suho had to go through standing on that big stage all by himself and I don't know how anyone could not be bitter that he was forced into that position, where he had to put on his brightest face and continue performing for the fans, and everyone who wanted to see Exo fall. Fuck, I'm crying now.

The research I did for this mainly focused on the timeline of events. The lawsuit was filed approximately two hours after Exo-K had already started their pre-recording, and given how long pre-recordings run, it's entirely likely they were just finding out about the news as they finished up at Mnet Countdown. Suho accepted Overdose's first win and made his acceptance speech ten hours later. Those ten hours were hell for me as a fan, who had little to no idea what was going on. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for Exo and for Suho, who ended up on that stage whether by orders or of his own volition. From what we know about Suho's personality though, about how seriously he takes his role as Exo's leader and protector, about how committed he is to Exo... I feel like it's highly likely that Suho chose to get up on that stage, even when the easy answer would have been to hide away at SM. They had already recorded their performance, and winners are missing from the encore stages all the time and they had just been hit by their first big scandal -- it would have been completely understandable for SM to keep the boys away from any media presence. Honestly, this was one of the lowest points for Exo, and I have so much respect for how Suho handled it and the fact that he handled it, and I have no respect for anyone who can't see that or even attempted to twist his words. 

Now, about the actual drabble. I actually hesitated a lot before writing this, before submitting it, because compared to my previous Suho introspection pieces, this one was a lot more raw and covered such a sensitive issue. I personally hate going through fic that covers this period, but when I saw the prompt... "Responsibility", "commitment", "trust"... those are words I strongly associate with Suho. And I wanted to write a moment where everything was so uncertain for Exo, but Suho took this horrible event and stood firm and tall and told his members and their fans "you can trust me". That while Kris was a leader who utterly failed at his duties, who threw away that responsibility -- Suho wasn't like that. Refuses to be like that. Suho has said that being a leader doesn't come naturally to him, but I think what it comes down to is that Suho is the one willing to step up to do whatever it takes to lead, and to do what he thinks is best for the group. The last paragraph of the first scene is loaded with double meaning, and while I know for sure I meant that for the last line of dialogue in it, I can't say for sure I meant to do that with the first two lines of dialogue in that paragraph because it's been so long, but it fits. 

In the second scene, I think the only real clarification I wanted to make was that what Suho's holding onto is the trophy. What a bittersweet victory. But I think what I wanted to establish was this was Suho trying to reclaim this win, this day, this comeback. It will forever be associated with the first member departure, but Suho did as much as he could to make this as much about Exo and their fans and the victory they shared together. My heart still goes out to him, will always go out to him. 

To be honest, I did worry that some readers would see it as a cheap grab for emotional points, but I didn't really approach this drabble that way. This was primarily about Suho's feelings at that moment. About what it means to be a leader. Sigh, I've probably spoken too much about that lol.

I debated a lot on the title because there were two songs that I felt really tied into this and I wasn't sure which one I should turn to for inspiration for the title. In the end, I chose neither because I ended up coming up with "Volition" which is defined as "the act of making a choice or decision; the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action. It is defined as purposive striving". I felt like this best described what happened in this drabble: Suho is very consciously making choices, proving what those choices are and what they mean -- staying on stage, staying for the group, in the group. The two songs I had been debated with though still deserve mentions though. The first one that came to mind was
Yuya Matsushita's Trust Me, the lyrics of which I found very apt since it was about reassurances, a promise to stay together and support each other during difficult times. The second song was Exo's Stronger from their newest album. 

"Even on days that were like a
storm that comes for no reason
Everything’s just gonna be fine"

"When my heart wore out
you became the strength
that filled me up"

It wasn't that the whole song suited the theme of this, but Suho's lines actually matched what I meant for him here. It's actually amazing how well it fit together. Reassurance, reliability, responsibility. I honestly don't know how he couldn't be respected. I really... adore him haha. Suho, hwaiting~ God, this is a long A/N.

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Leveling Out
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Chanyeol-centric, platonic Chanyeol/Suho
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Length: Drabble, 200 words
Summary: They've never been the closest of friends, but after Exo records their Christmas episode of Showtime, Chanyeol and Suho have a talk.

“That book was actually meant for you,” Chanyeol admits grudgingly once Minseok’s out of earshot. He doesn’t know why he even bothers – Junmyeon had been thrilled with Kyungsoo’s vitamins, had obviously meant for that self-help book of his to go to Sehun. As responsible as Junmyeon tries to be, it’s hard to deny he plays favorites, and Chanyeol’s never been on his nice list.

There’s something about Junmyeon’s expression now though, under the dim Christmas lights of the hotel room rented out for their latest recording. Not quite skepticism, but there is a question there, written all over his face.

“I’ve already read The Little Prince. Multiple times, even.” His voice is soft, tentative.

“I thought…” Chanyeol hesitates, decides to take Junmyeon’s attention as encouragement for once, “a dorm copy would be nice. And that maybe you could discuss it with me sometime. I could use some new material, for my songwriting?”

There’s a small quirk to Junmyeon’s lips. He reaches up to gently ruffle Chanyeol’s hair like he never has before. “I’d like that.”

Chanyeol looks down at Junmyeon the way he always has. But for once, it feels like he’s finally seeing eye to eye with his hyung.

Original Post: Here.
Prompt: The Little Prince
Author's Note: Written for Round 3 of EM's EX'ACT Drabble Competition. This is set in November 2013, right after the recording of Showtime's Christmas episode. It always amused me that Chanyeol ended up gifting a copy of The Little Prince during the present giving game, since it's actually Suho's favorite book. (Honestly, I was a little annoyed at a reader who though I shoehorned the book into this scenario, when I'm drawing this based off actual facts. Hmph lol.) This is also based off of the fact that Suho and Chanyeol have said they're not too close (never forget the 17% synchronization rate lol) but that they're still friendly, and truth be told, have known each other for a very long time. (There's even a picture of Chanyeol at Suho's high school graduation! Though not a pic of the two of them together lol.) Suho also said recently, now that he's getting into songwriting, he's been getting a lot of advice from Chanyeol since Chanyeol has more experience in it. 

The title comes from the idea that the two of them never really matched. There was actually a line I had to take out, "Chanyeol doesn't ever remember Junmyeon being taller than him, but now he feels so small", partially because of the word count but also because I didn't... want Chanyeol feeling small. I did want him to feel like Junmyeon's dongsaeng, but even then I wanted there to be the start of a bond between the two of them, or an agreement to try. The looking down part might've been a little mean on my part though, given the metaphorical meaning of it making Chanyeol look a little bad lol. 

Hm one more note: I made the very conscious decision not to write anything based off of the content of The Little Prince, because the story isn't as universal as people like to think. There were three really lovely quotes in it I would've loved to use as the inspiration for drabbles, but I don't think it would come across to nonreaders nearly as well.
avirjin: (Default)
Title: Reification
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Suho-centric, one-sided Sehun/Suho
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: G
Length: Drabble, 200 words
Summary: Kim Junmyeon pieces Oh Sehun together, pixel by pixel. 


Junmyeon watches the sharp eyes on his monitor, how naturally they soften upon landing on him. Thin lips curl into a sheepish smile, and he remembers the smirk they replaced -- Sehun’s default expression before Junmyeon had expanded his visual references to decades-old SNS accounts overloaded with more casual, cheerful snapshots of his subject. He must’ve clocked in dozens of hours on reprogramming that correction, but it’d been worth it.

“Morning, hyung.” The greeting’s somewhat awkward, syllables slurring together. Junmyeon would suspect a coding error if he hadn’t specifically studied the cadence of the real Sehun’s voice, analyzing every decrepit FLAC file he could dig up in order to perfectly recreate it. “Need your schedule again?”

“No, Sehun,” Junmyeon chuckles, gazing down proudly as his pet project pokes at his desktop’s shortcuts. The avatar idly, unnecessarily, adjusts the seam of its pants with a strange leg wiggle, its mannerisms identical to the real Oh Sehun.

Junmyeon’s no Frankenstein, and there’s no technology yet that could revive famous strangers lost to time. But even if the Sehun of flesh and bone was long gone, maybe one of pixels and codes could outlast even the digital remnants its inspiration had left behind.

Original Post: Here.
Prompt: Artificial Love
Author's Note: Written for Round 3 of EM's EX'ACT Drabble Competition. Tbh, I felt like this was leaned a bit on cheating because this was actually an idea I've had since... 2013? After watching some science documentaries about the future of AI and digital avatars. But in the end I never really acted on it so it's been wallowing around for ages. Anyway, so this is a story set in the far off future, where Suho is a programmer who creates an AI of Sehun, who was a celebrity in our present-day, as a pet project of his. Suho uses all of the information left on the internet about his subject, like Sehun's instagram posts and audio and video files of him, in order to create an avatar as close to Sehun's likeliness as he can get. I tried my best to show that it was set in the future by referring to the SNS accounts as old, and FLAC files as decrepit when currently they're one of the highest quality audio file formats we currently use. 

There was actually supposed to be a longer story to this, where as Suho researched more about Sehun, he started falling more in love with Sehun. The real one or this recreation? I'm not sure to be honest haha. The digital Sehun was going to be an AI that learned as time passed, but the only way Suho was going to be able to bridge the distance between them was leaving his own avatar behind so that maybe one day the two of them would grow to love each other naturally, long after Suho himself has passed away. Obviously I couldn't cover that in this. Idk, I feel like my wording of it is poor, but I really can't think at the moment haha. But yeah, because of that, I could only really address the "Artificial" part of the prompt, more than the love. Though at least, most pet projects are labors of love.

Title comes from a word meaning "making something real, bringing something into being, or making something concrete". It has a meaning in computer science as "the process by which an abstract idea about a computer program is turned into an explicit data model or other object created in a programming language" which I took to mean Suho taking the idea of Sehun and turning all of the aspects of him into a new whole, something more concrete than just facts like how he spoke and how he stood around. I'm probably using it wrong, but that's what it sounded like to me lol.

June 2017


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