avirjin: (Default)
Title: Meticulosity
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Tao-centric, slight Kris/Tao
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Length: Oneshot, 1000 words
Summary: Both Kris and Tao manage to care too much about things that shouldn't matter, but actually do.

When they had checked into the hotel that night, the beds had looked as soft and plush as any of the others Tao had become acquainted with. Big, fluffy pillows and soft, thick comforters -- he'd been all too eager to just bury himself in them and never emerge, regardless of their schedules. But when he flops down, arms spread in anticipation of sinking into the mattress, he finds himself disappointed.

Despite its deceptively cushiony appearance, his bed is surprisingly stiff. He feels a little like Goldilocks and tentatively wonders if he should test out Kris's.

Glancing at the closed bathroom door -- Kris had wasted no time in claiming it first, as if Tao would honestly challenge him for it -- Tao rolls over and stretches his leg across the space between their beds. Kicking the blankets aside, he bounces the heel of his foot down onto the surface once, twice, three times before deciding that a bed switch would be pointless.

"Duizhang," he calls out, careful to keep his voice low, "Duizhang, the beds suck."

Tao knows he shouldn't complain -- at least he's not stuck sleeping on a hardwood floor next to a flailing Chen again -- but that doesn't mean he has to like it. He kicks at Kris's bed as if it'll magically soften beneath the force of his blows, but no luck.

"Just go to sleep, Tao. Long day tomorrow."

Tao rolls his eyes, even if Kris isn't there to see him do it. "I'll sleep when you do."

There's a quiet scoff muffled by distance and a closed door, but no argument. Tao takes it as silent assent -- not quite as good as Kris's approval, but surely he's getting too old to be constantly seeking that.

The problem with waiting for Kris is that there's not much to do in their hotel room other than sleep. Tao doesn't dare raise his voice anymore, let alone practice his singing or language skills even if Kris is the least likely to tease him about it. There's no room for him to practice wushu or their new choreography either. He can already feel his eyelids drooping out of utter boredom.

Tao definitely doesn't want to sleep though, not before Kris does, not after what he just said.

"What are you doing in there anyway?" he asks after a few close calls. He reaches for his luggage and pulls out his laptop as he waits for Kris to answer. It takes just as long for his laptop to boot up.

"Getting ready for bed."

Tao frowns at the screen -- Kris's idea of getting ready for bed was far more elaborate than his own. There'd be no telling how long they'd be staying up tonight. "Just the three-step today?" he asks hopefully, trying to keep out any hints of childish petulance.

He looks up when he hears a click, just in time to see Kris poking his head out of the bathroom. His blond hair is tied up and his fingers are rubbing small, hypnotic circles into his skin. Tao's eyes linger seconds too long, but he can't help how Kris and his strict skincare routine fascinate him.

Kris takes a second to wiggle five foam-covered fingers at him, his eyebrows narrowed in concentration as he continues applying the product with his other hand. Tao stifles a impulsive groan and silently hopes that his leader is at least in the midst of using his toner -- and not just because it's the third step out of five. He knows from experience that it stings like a bitch, no matter how straight Kris's face stays.

With that, Kris returns to work. He doesn't bother shutting the door this time so Tao can see him hovering over the sink out of the corner of his eye, his profile as sharp and striking as ever as he splashes warm water on his face.

"Was that the toner?" Tao asks, turning back to his laptop. A slew of fantaken photos and videos from the group's latest outing have just been posted onto their Baidu Bar. He clicks on one in which his name is featured prominently, only to exit once an unflattering, unfiltered close-up of his pores load. Kris never has that problem he thinks glumly, clicking through other links.

"Exfoliant," Kris corrects. "It's important to scrub everything off."

Not everything needs to be scrubbed off in Tao's opinion, cleansed and toned and buffed until it shines like gold. There's no use telling that to Kris though, whose entire concept revolves around coming off as effortlessly flawless. There's a reason all of Kris's candids look like photoshoots and Tao's don't.

He continues searching through the site, his mouse hovering anxiously over certain links. Each click is a game of chance. The compliments may outweigh the insults tonight, but that doesn't keep the bitter sting of humiliation away every time he finds someone insulting his looks, his personality, his existence.

He doesn't even realize how long he keeps at it, not until a large hand closes his laptop for him. Obviously long enough for Kris to reach his last step: an overnight facial mask that whitens, tightens, cleanses. Creates an idol, an ideal.

"You shouldn't worry so much about what they say, Zitao."

Tao feels long fingers at the back of his neck, rubbing in those familiar, reassuring circles. He leans into the touch, tilting his head so he can look up at both of Kris's masks. Staring at Kris's mouth, he wonders whose words will come out -- the Kris he follows through airports or the one he first met back in Korea?

"You too, Duizhang."

Kris's lips barely twitch, a smile not worth ruining his mask. "That's different," he answers in his leader voice. So smooth, so sure, so authoritative. So wrong. But Tao can hear traces of Yifan in every pause, buried beneath sharp, shiny angles and fine details; he hopes Kris never manages to wear him away.

Prompt: Taken from seouldout's Round 6 Challenge Five/Final Challenge:
i give myself five days to forget you.
on the first day i rust.
on the second i wilt.
on the third day i sit with friends but i think about your tongue.
i clean my room on the fourth day. i clean my body on the fourth day.
i try to replace your scent on the fourth day.
the fifth day, i adorn myself like the mouth of an inmate.
a wedding singer dressed in borrowed gold.
the midas of cheap metal.
tinsel in the middle of summer.
crevice glitter, two days after the party.
i glow the way unwanted things do,
a neon sign that reads;
come, i still taste like someone else’s mouth.

- Warsan Shire,

Author's Note: I will explain this story later, when it is not 2AM in the morning LOL. I was very liberal with the prompt though. Very, very liberal.

It is no longer 2AM so I will elaborate! Haha. Well, the truth is that I had a whole lot of trouble with this prompt for a whole lot of reasons. Firstly, the new word limit. Ughhh. Also, I'm sure it's pretty... noticeable by now, but I don't really write stories where people are actually together or have broken apart. I write implications, longing, hoping. Sometimes there's mutual interest, but I rarely write actual couples because I am horribly inexperienced in that area and I don't feel like I can handle anything more than a strong interest lol For a writer I'm not very imaginative.

So. Faced with a poem -- the fact that there was only one prompt rather than two to choose from was troublesome as well -- that was very straight-forward in its topic... really screwed me up. So I did my best to make my old English teacher proud and I analyzed the shit out of it, in hopes that I could take bits and pieces and assemble something relating to the theme without actually writing a straight-up romance/break-up.  Which is how I ended up with this.

What happens here is that Exo M books a hotel for the night and Tao and Kris room together as usual (or I think it's usual. They mentioned that roommate assignments get switched up when they stay in hotels). Kris does his infamous facial care regiment while Tao refuses to sleep and instead spends his time online looking at netizen comments. Kris tells him he shouldn't because Tao is easily upset by the negativity, and Tao thinks Kris should do the same. The question is how does this relate to a prompt about someone trying to forget their ex-lover and is intent on getting rid of all traces of them?

Ahem. So, I refocused the subject of the poem (the ex-lover) to mean the real Kris (Yifan, if you will) and basically internalized the shit out of everything. I like internal conflict and the dichotomy between who we are and who we're trying to be, if that isn't obvious. I should probably try to get new material. That dichotomy is pretty much played out long story short in the first few paragraphs about the beds -- they appear soft and perfect, but in reality they're stiff and uncomfortable and Tao cannot ignore that. Anyway. So what Tao is witnessing is Kris attempting to scrub away all traces of his old self, rather unsuccessfully, and polishing himself up. I got the idea for this part from reading lines 5-11, because it did remind me of the principles of a skin-care routine? An attempt at deconstruction followed by a superficial reconstruction. 

I guess a huge influence was the
Kris meta on KFA from almost three months ago? About Kris's awkward stage presence and how he seems to handle himself like a person who wasn't always considered good-looking and had to work on that? I tried to make it so any self-consciousness on his part was more subtle than Tao's and would only show up towards the end as Tao was making comparisons between the two of them. There's a reason why the title is "Meticulosity" which means "taking extreme care of about minute details" and the original title was "Careful, Careless". It comes from the line about how Tao considers Kris's concept to be "coming off as effortlessly flawless" which is a joke. Because they're idols, they're all about hard work and training and being coached in controlling how they're seen and then there are all of these fans who praise Kris for looking like a model in the most mundane places, as if that's his natural state and he can't help how good-looking he is. When I guess my head-canon is that he works super hard at keeping up appearances. This ties into lines 8-11 of the poem, where there's all of this bright, attention-grabbing imagery that reflects the person's desire to... grab attention after they've been abandoned (lines 1, 2, and 12).

Again. I tried not to let this completely influence my characterization of Kris, who from Tao's POV would come off as grown-up and mature and something to aspire to. I will continue more on Tao later, I swear. lol Kris doesn't actually show any insecurity in this story other than what Tao thinks he hears in the little pauses Kris takes. And the reader just has to take his word for it, that he thinks he's seeing bits and pieces of the Kris he met in Korea behind the mask of Duizhang and Exo-M's Kris. It could just be Tao's delusion, that he thinks Kris is having the same problems he is because he wants to identify with Kris so much, but honestly I wrote it so that Kris does have that little bit of doubt, just smothered under denial and his... adultness. Maturity! There we go.

As for the "whose words are coming out of Kris's mouth" part, that comes from the emphasis on mouths in the poem tbh lol. So instead of "I still taste like someone else's mouth" referring to the ex-lover, I had it refer to whether it's... Kris or Duizhang really answering Tao. Someone else. Yeah lol

Okay. Now for Tao. I wanted him to come off as only a little bit childish, but wanting to come off as mature.Tao does try very hard to act like an adult -- he wants to stay up until Kris, an actual adult in his eyes, goes to sleep; he knows he shouldn't complain and tries not to sound like a brat -- but in the end, he is still a teenager. Insecure and immature. I wrote him as still being freaked out about the whole "Crayon" recording incident and being affected so easily by the negativity online even when he's trying to be mature about it all and just. Yeah. And then there's that stroke of insight at the end, where he can recognize that even Kris, who he highly respects and looks up to and aspires to be, isn't perfect and isn't as mature and... confident (?) as he seems. idk. I hope I conveyed that.

As for any hints of Taoris. Honestly, I ship them. They were my first Exo ship. But I tried to write this where it could be taken as mere admiration, a platonic relationship between the two. I guess it was from reading so many complaints over at KFA about how Taoris is portrayed in fic and I just wanted to go for something mellow? Like, make it obvious that Tao admires Kris but not to make him completely controlled by that. I didn't get to work in any real banter, but I did want to level out their relationship a bit. idk if I succeeded though :(

Also, just for fun, my idea of the three-step routine was cleanser, toner, moisturizer while the five-step was cleanser, exfoliator, toner, moisturizer, and overnight facial mask. I don't really know if this is the proper order because all of the research I did actually contradicted each other at certain points, but ehhh. lol I tried at least to be legit! Also, the thing about the toner stinging is from personal experience ;__; I chose the exfoliator as the one step other than the mask to be described because it is the rougher scrub. Better at washing away unwanted things on your skin. Ahem.

Another long-ass A/N. Oi. /o\

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Old Man Winter
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Xiumin-centric
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Length: Oneshot (drabble), 200 words
Summary: Exo celebrates Chanyeol's birthday and their first snowfall together. Minseok celebrates them, in his own way.

The first snow falls on November 27th. There's enough piled up that all forms of transportation -- all schedules -- are canceled. Chanyeol's outside first, tugging on the new boots Minseok had conveniently, knowingly, given him earlier. Baekhyun races after, Kyungsoo following with their forgotten scarves. The rest quickly follow, cheeks red for reasons other than the chill.

Minseok watches as they stare wide-eyed up at the sky and stick their tongues out in hopes of catching snowflakes, noses scrunched up and smiles broad. They're childish, endearingly so.

"Hyung, come play!"

He'd rather lie sprawled out, the cold soaking through his clothes. Chanyeol's birthday preparations had exhausted him, and it's not for the first time that Minseok feels ancient compared to these kids.

His musings abruptly stop when a snowball lands on his face.

"Sorry!" someone yells unapologetically, so despite his age and the chill in his bones, Minseok gathers a handful of snow and chases after the others like a child. If the frost nips a bit more sharply at their fingers, he's been overdue for payback anyway. He might as well enjoy this, enjoy them before everything melts away.

"Best present ever!" Chanyeol laughs breathlessly. Minseok grins, agreeing.

Prompt:Taken from seouldout's Round 6 Challenge Four:
1. Word set: frog, snow white, secrets, cinderella
2. Picture:
City, glass windows by sirenchild @ tumblr

Author's Note: I thought I had this drabble nailed down when I was working on the first draft earlier this week, but in the end, I don't think my point came across as clearly as I would have liked :( The hints I put in were probably too subtle, but I usually explain my drabbles here anyway sooo. Ahem.

The word count really bit me in the ass this week, although I did find editing pretty easy this time around. Once I made the decision to cut some things out completely, it fit pretty nicely and does read coherently in my opinion. Although the point of the drabble is in danger of getting lost, as is the usage of one of the prompts.

Speaking of prompts, I used primarily the word prompt this time! When I first read them, I was a bit confused about what I could possibly do because it screamed "Fairy tale" which was just... kinda... obvious. To do, I mean. So I got to thinking, about (not-so) old ideas I never really got to flesh out and the one I found was a good fit. \o/

So, on the surface, we've got the first snowfall since Exo's debut occurring on Chanyeol's birthday, which provides the boys with the happy "coincidence" of having a day off and enjoying both due to the snow day. (Also, I looked up the day and it would have been a Tuesday, so no music show appearances anyway! Haha.) It's at this level we get three of the prompts: the others all look like frogs trying to catch flies with their eyes wide open and their tongues sticking out as they try to catch snowflakes instead, the snow fall is obviously related to the snow white prompt, and the gifting of boots is the shout-out to the gifting of the glass slippers in Cinderella.

But then underneath that surface, there's Xiumin's story even if it is Chanyeol's special day. I focused a lot on the image of what separates Xiumin from the others, and one of the easiest things is that he's the hyung of the group. Not just another hyung, not just one of the oldest -- he's the oldest out of all of the Exo members even if he doesn't look it at time. I wanted there to be this invisible line drawn between him and the rest, which is why I have him thinking about them all in terms of "kids" or "children". If I could, I would have portrayed their collective childishness even more, but there's no easy way to fit twelve people into 200 words without lumping them together.

So this drabble gets a bit introspective. Xiumin feels his age, tired and weary. But he gets up with these kids and plays with them, enjoying that youthfulness before it slips away the way snow can melt right as you touch it.

But then there's the secret layer to this drabble. It comes up in how Xiumin "conveniently, knowingly" gives Chanyeol brand new boots right before the first snowfall of the year, how he seems to enjoy soaking up the cold, how Chanyeol's birthday preparations tired him out when all we know is that he got Chanyeol boots, how the frost nips at the others when he's going after them for payback. Xiumin is actually Jack Frost, or some version of him. The whole nipping thing comes from the line "Jack Frost nipping at your nose" and one of the first lines I wrote was actually:

Minseok lets the cold nip a little at Lu Han's fingers, numbing them until the other boy finally gives up and grudgingly pulls on his mittens. There will be no cheek-pinching today, he thinks, which is a relief seeing as his face is already red from the cold. For that, he grins just a bit wider.

So the preparations Xiumin was working on was making it so that the first snow fell on Chanyeol's birthday. (None of the others would have been an option for a first snow, the next birthdays are in January.) He's tired from making it happen lol, because if you think about it, it should be a pretty monumental task. That's how he knew to get Chanyeol the boots too, hahaha. Him being a manifestation of a force of nature also suggests that he's, in my own words, "ancient" compared to the others who really would just be kids compared to him then lol. And that's the big secret. It also makes him a bit of the fairy godmother from Cinderella because the snowfall was really a gift for all of Exo.

And that leaves the explanation of the title. The "Old Man Winter" part should be obvious now that I've said he's a form of Jack Frost, but it also refers to his feeling old compared to the others. Feeling like he's in the winter of his life compared to the others being all youthful and energetic lol

Last notes: the payback... was for all the cheek-pinching and teasing he's had to endure hahaha. Xiumin's really a good sport though :) He's so great, I hope I got his "chill" nature captured. Heh. And the idea of him being Jack Frost comes from his ice powers from the MAMA promotions lol

Maybe I'll continue this one day. Probably not though.

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Asymptote
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Suho-centric
Genre: Gen, mild angst
Rating: G
Length: Oneshot (drabble), 200 words
Summary: Joonmyun's a leader, but he has his limits.

2009's a momentous year: DBSK cracks into two, Super Junior chips into fragments, SM debuts their last group for three years. Joonmyun watches with ridiculously misplaced hopes as his contract changes, most of the terms just prettily, precisely reworded.

It's not for the last time. By 2011 he's well-versed enough to comb through twelve contracts with Yifan one night, armed with pens and dictionaries -- Korean, Chinese, English, legal. The smallest differences are circled, cross-analyzed, counted. He doesn't know what numbers to look for, just that they should be the same. Numbers determine debuts and disbandments.

"Is it really important?" Yifan asks, rubbing his eyes with ink-smeared fingers. Joonmyun stares at them despairingly. A group split down the middle -- strained by distance, differences, dreams -- is a bad enough start. How can they protect Exo if the odds are already against them?

But then, that's his job. Being leader's more than a label, and "I'm Exo's Guardian" actually means something.

A nightlight's batteries die out eventually though, dream-catchers dry up over time -- Joonmyun is just as aware of his own limits. He'd like to be an Eric, but it'd be a miracle if he could just be Suho.

Prompts: Taken from seouldout's Round 6 Challenge Three:
1. Word set: drunk, trouble, attention
2. Picture:
Dream catcher by morphinetheory @ tumblr

Author's Note: I honestly only used the picture prompt for this. :( Mostly because I have no experience being drunk, although I did think of ways I could have interpreted that differently. But anyway, yes. Picture prompt, which was of a dream-catcher this week! Honestly, for starting out with as good an analysis as I had this week, I just couldn't do justice to this prompt and that makes me pretty regretful :(

So. What does a dream-catcher mean. Obviously a dream-catcher... catches dreams. Haha, I actually had to go look up things about dream-catchers and I found a few interesting points! While a dream-catcher has protective qualities in that it filters good dreams from bad and allows the good ones to trail down to the sleeper's head, they are actually meant to dry out and break over time! Well, the wood and sinew they're made out of are supposed to, because the sleeper eventually has to learn to sleep without depending on them for good dreams. So that was my theme -- limited protection, protection with a limit. 

Here, Joonmyun is worried about Exo's future. Since it takes place in 2011, this was before Exo debuted, but after they were put together as a group. Joonmyun, as the longest-running SM trainee, has seen what happens in SM. The breaking imagery of DBSK and Super Junior were deliberate so it'd match the breaking of the dream-catcher. Anyway, because of what happened with JYJ and Han Geng, the SM trainees had their contracts changed. Also, at the time of f(x)'s debut, it was assumed that SM's next boyband would be released in 2010. We -- and here, Joonmyun -- were wrong. Here he thought the new contract meant a closer debut + better conditions, but he was wrong on both counts.

Fast-forward to 2011, he's working with Yifan who hasn't taken on the name of Kris yet, the same way Joonmyun hasn't taken on the name Suho yet. They're going through the contracts because if there are too many differences -- specifically in the amount of money earned and the number of years someone is contracted to -- the group is more likely to be unstable and have tension. Too many differences, too many marks (the ink on Yifan's fingers) make Joonmyun nervous. That's why numbers are important -- cost and profit are driving factors in producing an idol group and Joonmyun knows that, and a difference in the numbers will ultimately hurt Exo.

The last two parts... focus on the protecting imagery. Suho means "Guardian" and Joonmyun wants to protect Exo -- for his sake, for the group's sake. But he has his limits, the way a nightlight and a dream-catcher (both protective images) would. There's only so much he could do. The asymptote in the title refers to these limits and to Joonmyun's aspirations at becoming someone like Shinhwa's Eric, who successfully kept his group together for 14 years after having to pretty much buy the group with his own money. Joonmyun doesn't ever see himself becoming like Eric, however much he'd like to, like in an asymptote, the line never meets a certain point. :(

And that's pretty much it. I didn't pull as much from the prompts this time, so I'll probably try to do an alternative drabble that does.

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Livin' Eyes Wide Shut
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Suho-centric
Genre: Gen, Angst
Rating: G
Length: Oneshot (drabble), 200 words
Summary: Joonmyun's a toy soldier, losing his soul.

Walking around alone isn't a luxury Joonmyun receives often for the same reason he has his hood pulled low, a scarf wrapped too tight around his neck. Even under the cover of darkness, he needs comfort, protection. Armor.

But then he hears them -- not the sounds of a busy crowd, the echoes of shadowing footsteps. Joonmyun's a Seoul boy, a people person.

It's the tell-tale clicks. Rapid-fire, never-ending, sounding closer with every step. Flashes go off in his periphery. He should be used to it, but as the shadows grow the pressure builds, weighing heavy on his chest. Squeezing him tight until a stale smile breaks out. Not Joonmyun's smile -- small, weary, chipping at the corners -- but Suho's.

The smile carves itself into Joonmyun's face, the mask pressing down until he can't breathe. But it can only take so much pressure before shattering to pieces, embedding into his skin and--

His eyes jolt open.

The bedroom is quiet, flooded with the morning's hues. A deep breath, a heavy sigh -- he almost relaxes until realizing they belong to a sleeping Sehun instead. A bitter reminder.

Inhaling the remains of Kim Joonmyun, Suho smiles complaisantly.

So it goes.

Prompts: Taken from seouldout's Round 6 Challenge Two:
1. Word set: espionage, dream, sunrise
2. Picture:
Lego by onelego365days @ tumblr

Author's Note: This week's response to the seouldout challenge. I honestly wasn't sure if I would be able to complete it this week, but I put off working on a lab report and studying for a test to polish it up before the deadline tomorrow. :)

So. The very first thing that should be noted is that I have an unhealthy amount of affection for the dichotomy between stage/real life personas of idols. Keep that in mind throughout this lol. The second, and far more important, thing is that both prompts were used for this and that through idea association, they both led to me using
Epik High's Scenario (Paranoia Part 2) ft. MYK as my primary inspiration. When I saw the Lego-man for the first time, I found myself singing the lines

"Goemul gateun na I'm an old boy,
A toy soldier losin' my soul, boy.
In this matrix, the devil plays tricks,
And there's no great escapin' this."

And then I went and looked up the lyrics and, well, it really does match the paranoia theme in its title. There's talk of chases and stalking and murder and how all of it is just in the protagonist's head -- and that's what I wanted. That alone matched the espionage and dream parts of the word prompt really well, and also led to me picking the title from one of the English lines of the song. 

As for what made me think of the Lego-man as a toy soldier, when he appears to be more of a pirate based off of the hat, the brown foreground (his boat) and the blue background (the sea) were his epaulets. Pretty minor, but the image wouldn't go away, haha. 

Now for the serious part -- what is this actually about? The first part is actually Suho's dream, which is actually a very mundane nightmare. In real life, Suho seems to have this weird thing about being on camera -- he's very stiff, very awkward. He's a try-hard and a people-pleaser in my opinion but for some reason he can't handle a camera the way he's reportedly been able to handle people in real life for years now. It's a very interesting contrast, so much so that I made it so that his paranoia is centered around the cameras following him rather than the people. This part was also inspired by the recent Tao incident and sasaeng fans in general.

As the pressure -- to perform for the cameras, to put up a front -- builds up, it starts chipping away at everything that makes him Joonmyun and even starts straining his "Suho" mask until it breaks. Because that would be the worst case scenario (pun unintended) -- that he loses that control over his image in addition to losing himself. The shock of it is what actually wakes him up, and for those first few moments he's thinking he's just a regular guy again. No pressure, no anything.

But then he realizes he's sharing a room with Sehun, the youngest in his group. It's a realization that he is still Suho, that he's living a high-pressure lifestyle, that he has this role to play, that his dream -- while highly exaggerated -- is an extension of his reality. The dream may be over, a new day may have begun, but his... "role-playing" never ends. That's one reason why I use Kurt Vonnegut's "So it goes" from Slaughterhouse-Five as an allusion here, to portray that sense of weariness and endlessness. There's nothing Suho can do about his situation really. (As for the other reason I used that line, it's because the part of the song "Scenario" that inspired me most is chock-full of allusions so it keeps to that theme.)

A few more points: the "armor" in the first section is another nod to the toy soldier theme, and the idea of "Suho" is also a type of armor. "Complaisant" means "to be inclined to please; to be agreeable, obliging" and refers to his try-hard, people-pleasing ways I mentioned earlier. "Inhaling the remains of Kim Joonmyun" basically refers to him sucking up and holding what's left of him (his broken pieces, the soul he's losing) inside of himself underneath the mask of Suho. 

As for the title -- it comes from a line in the song that goes "Livin' eyes wide shut in this city of blindness" which felt fitting since Suho is dreaming and that's not supposed to be obvious until his eyes "jolt open". Living eyes wide shut means he's in that dream, and he continues living that way even after he wakes up. There are other allusions to the song throughout the drabble too. It was fun. I love this song, probably listened to it twenty times a day this week.

avirjin: (Default)
Title: Washed Out
Fandom: Exo
Focus: Kai-centric, slight Suho/Kai
Genre: Gen, mild angst
Rating: G
Length: Oneshot (drabble), 200 words
Summary: Kai takes a shower, Suho interrupts.

Jongin breathes in the steam rising around him. He rests his head against smooth glass, letting the spray of hot water wash away all signs of the day and watching as the droplets race down the paths forged by his hard-earned sweat. When he's like this -- hidden away behind a frosted door, shut off from the world of cameras and fans and never-ending dance practices -- it's easy to forget everything.

All it takes to break the illusion is one word.


He groans at the interruption, at the shadowy figure approaching from beyond the door. Eventually, he can see the dull orange of Joonmyun's stupid sweater through the glass. The faint outline of hands appear, cupped around a pair of eyes Jongin doesn't bother meeting.

"Is your back okay? You're supposed to take it easy."

Jongin holds back the growl in his throat, but not the scowl on his face. The glass can only hide so much from someone who's known him for five years.

"I'm fine. I'm done."

Even the running shower can't drown out the sounds of resignation, of a retreat. Jongin watches the last of the water slip through his fingers and into the drain.

Prompts: Taken from seouldout's Round 06 Challenge One
1. Word set: water, heart, black and white (from in_vazn)
2. Picture:
Strangers. London, England. July 2012. by chattelatte @ tumblr

Author's Note: I'm not participating in seouldout, not officially. I decided to give it a try though on my own, which means I'll be following the prompts and the deadlines. This is a writing exercise for myself. A word count limit is actually very difficult to meet, I was constantly going over. This drabble actually uses both prompts as in inspiration. My explanation will likely be longer than the drabble itself, so sit tight or skip it. Either one.

How it meets prompt 1:
There is obviously water all over the place since Kai is in the middle of a shower. The heart is formed when Suho is trying to peer through the frosted glass door at Jongin. If you cup your hands around your eyes, it makes a heart shape. The black and white are actually covered in two ways: one is in how very straight-foward Kai is towards Suho, and the other is Suho's shadowy figure behind the frosted glass -- which often appears off-white. I should know, I googled it.

How it meets prompt 2: 
My analysis of the photo prompt was that is was essentially about the disconnect between two people, as seen by the two people about to walk past each other, probably not even meeting eyes. A disconnect where you either can't meet eyes (the frosted glass obscuring Kai and Suho's views) or you refuse to (Kai not even trying). The fact that the bridge was in the picture, but the people were far away from it made me think of a failed attempt to bridge a gap between people. The gray color of the picture inspired the somber, distant tone. The orange of Suho's sweater comes from the woman's jacket in the photo -- it is eye-catching, but not enough to actually result in the meeting of eyes between people. And then there's the river -- the Thames to be exact. I don't know how it is now, but when I read Heart of Darkness it had a reputation as being polluted, which was another reason for the somber, resigned tone. It also led to the use of water lol. There's also the sense of isolation in the photo, that was transferred over to the drabble by putting Kai in what was essentially a glass box lol

There's more I wanted to say in this drabble. I originally thought I would have had enough words to fit in a non-argument where Kai thinks more about Suho and Suho firmly identifies himself by his role as Suho, the leader of Exo-K and Kai's hyung rather than as Joonmyun. I wanted to have Kai tell Suho to stop smiling, which he knows Suho is doing even when he can't see his face clearly through the frosted glass. I planned for more dialogue actually. I'm glad I got the "I'm done" part in, because it's showing Kai's unwillingness to open up to Suho. He says "I'm done (with my shower)" and means "I'm done with you. I'm done with this discussion." The title barely connects to this train of thought -- "Washed out" refers to Kai's weariness in addition to being a shower pun.

I guess the only other thing I'd like to point out is the ending. It's a bit of a pun -- Suho is the water slipping through Kai's fingers due to the lack of understanding between them, and this is happening as Suho is finally leaving Kai alone. And also, Suho's "power" is water control. While Kai is, by this point, "drained". Heh. And that by that point, it should be possible to read the "resignation/retreat" part as applying to either Suho (who is backing down) or Kai (who isn't even bothering, is hiding away).

Final note: an unofficial inspiration was Maroon 5's "Payphone", specifically the part where "all of our bridges burnt down". About the futility of a relationship where one person isn't even trying.

June 2017



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