Pairing: Baekhyun & Krystal
Length: ~2200 words
Summary: Krystal wonders whether it would matter to the people she loved if she just disappeared one day. What better way than to really disappear into thin air on whim and stage a little disappearing act?
a/n: this was written for a special friend whom I've now lost contact with.
Sometimes, I wonder.
Would life be any different for people around me if I vanished into thin air? Would they panic and look for me?
I think mom and dad would be too busy to notice. Maybe Jessica would go into hysterics; maybe she would even cry. Amber would swear, I know. Victoria would probably try hard to piece together whatever I last said to her and find out where I had probably gone. Kris would raise an eyebrow questioningly and brush it off. Henry? Hmm, it's hard to imagine him getting worked up, but maybe he'd worry a little.
Or maybe, they wouldn't do anything? Maybe, they'll just continue with life?
So today, I, Krystal Jung Soojung, am going to stage my disappearing act.
I mean, what better way than to know their reactions when I disappear?
Besides, I need a vacation.
Krystal hadn't actually thought about where she would want to go or what she would want to do. She did consider a few options, however, but had yet to make a conclusion on her destination. Sunny L.A. was getting a little boring for Jung Soojung. She sought a place that wasn't so hot, maybe in its autumn season, the better to enjoy fall earlier, watching the leaves brown and fall about her, a few getting stuck in her hair. A place in its winter season didn't sound that bad either. She missed having snow fights with her younger cousins and lying in the snow, making snow angels. The last time she actually managed to have any fun in the snow was almost two years ago, during a family vacation to Korea.
Her right fist met her left palm; with her things packed, all she needed was a ticket and she was good to go.
It was going to be Korea, snow, bundling up in scarves and layers of clothes, building snowmen and sipping hot cocoas in central-heated cafés.
Krystal never felt lighter as she almost skipped into the departure hall. Dressed casually in a shirt and jeans, she pulled on a hooded jacket and matched it off with dark colored sneakers. A duffel bag slung on her right shoulder, she handed her passport over to the immigrations officer to be checked. She was humming a tune softly as the officer gave her clearance.
She smiled, thanking the officer as she kept away her documents.
Blowing her fringe out of her face, Krystal straightened her clothes and took one last glance backwards, beyond the glass partition she has just walked through.
This is it.
Switching off her mobile phone, she fished around for her iPod and earphones. Plugging the ear buds into her ears, she turned up the music and began her walk to the gates.
Day one in Korea was spent sleeping. Krystal didn’t know how businessmen traveled the world without feeling the slightest itch to punch someone because of the jet lag and screwed up body clock.
Day two in Korea was spent wandering about and window-shopping. Dressed warmly in a beanie, trench coat, stockings and boots, Krystal roamed the streets of Myungdong aimlessly. A top hat was picked up and the beanie stashed into her bag, along with a game of Detective Krystal shadowing the oh-so-innocent-looking middle-aged woman who was involved in the murder of several of her neighbors. How she never got caught whilst trailing an innocent civilian and put into custody for inappropriate behavior, Krystal didn’t know. She was enjoying herself all right and everything else didn’t matter.
Day three in Korea was less eventful and Krystal found herself sitting by a window in a café, sipping a mug of hot chocolate. Switching on her mobile phone for the first time in near seventy-two hours, she smiled as she wondered what messages she would receive for her two-day-disappearance. She watched the screen light up and load. Five minutes passed and not a buzz came from her phone.
Something wrong with the connection, maybe, Krystal reasoned.
Giving it a few more minutes, she fumbled excitedly with her phone when she received a message. To her dismay, however, it was a message from the telecommunication service provider in Korea.
The fourth day in Korea was spent dragging her feet around Dongdaemun. It may be home to huge shopping malls, but Krystal didn’t even spare a glance at a single article put at the windows of the many shops. Often, she would check her phone, but there was not a message, not a call, not a person missing her. Upset, she made her way out into the open-air streets. Snow had fallen last night and it took quite a bit of effort to wade through the snow. Suddenly, Krystal slipped, her fall cushioned by the blankets of snow, thankfully. Usually, she would have laughed it off and picked herself up. A sound was heard from her all right, but it was hardly a happy bubble of laughter; it was a whimper, followed by a sob. Warm tears started to fall, turning cold on her cheeks fast because of the cold atmosphere.
A hand appeared in her view and her blurred vision couldn’t make out the facial features of the person. She ignored the helping hand, wondering why a random passer-by on the streets would be that kind to bother with helping her. The stranger, strangely enough for one too, crouched down and picked her up to set her on her feet.
“I thought you looked familiar enough,” the man chuckled, as if hearing Krystal’s thoughts, brushing the snow off Krystal’s shoulder and beanie.
Krystal stared at the man, bewildered. He grinned, and then greeted, “Never thought I’d meet you again, Krystal, at least not lying in the snow upset over a slip.”
Krystal felt a blush spreading across her face as she struggled to place a name to the face before her.
Pushing the almost accusing finger pointed at him away, Baekhyun laughed and nodded. “Been a real long time since we’ve met, eh?”
“So, how have you been?”
Krystal paused a little as she brought a mug of hot chocolate to her lips. Baekhyun noticed, but didn’t press further.
If she wanted to tell, she would tell.
The past hour had been spent reminiscing their younger days in high school; how Baekhyun would prank teachers and students alike, how Krystal always kicked up a fuss when a classmate touched or misplaced her things, how they were paired up for group work sometimes, how Baekhyun always made Krystal laugh at his jokes whilst working together and how they were almost polar opposites but still got along well. Baekhyun pointed out that neither of them seemed to have change very much. He was still a prankster now and then at the place he worked; Krystal was still a pretty bad-tempered person who hated it when things didn’t go her way. Krystal had scowled at that accusation; Baekhyun only shrugged and murmured a see? and laughed.
Krystal shoulders dropped into a hunch and she sighed after a sip of the chocolate liquid.
“Do you have a lot of time to spare right now?” Krystal questioned.
"I guess. I don’t exactly have any appointment for the day. So, what went wrong this time?" Baekhyun chuckled, picking up his mug of hot chocolate.
"Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you just disappeared on the people in your life, out of the blue? Get onto a plane, not tell anyone, leave everything familiar behind. Go on a vacation to a place that you don't know anyone and not contact your family and friends... Do you wonder if anyone would miss you if you did that? Would people panic at the realization you left? Or maybe, what would happen when you're not around; how'd things change after you're gone?
"I thought about it. The idea just came to me like that. I thought Jessica would be in hysterics discovering her baby sister missing. I pictured Amber spewing profanities, Victoria trying hard but failing to calm down as she pondered over my last words to her, Kris -- well maybe he'll stay nonchalant about it..."
Krystal didn't even realize that tears had started to fall until Baekhyun pulled out a wad of tissue and offered it to her. Taking the paper napkin, she clutched it tightly, as though it was her life buoy.
"Well, I guess I didn't matter much to them."
Taking a hold of Krystal's hand, Baekhyun brought it up to her face and used the paper napkins to dab away her tears.
"Feel better spilling it all out?"
"Well, for one, I've never thought so much about staging a disappearing act like you did. Don't get me wrong, but the truth is that life goes on with or without a Jung Soojung in those people's lives. Be it your sister, your close friends, your uh, boyfriend I presume --"
"Kris is not my boyfriend. He's gay."
"Right, your gay guy-friend... Where was I...? This is why you shouldn’t interrupt me. Oh yes. Those people you listed, every one of them, their lives don't revolve around you. I'm sure they missed you some way or another, but think about it, the days you've spent here, time hasn't frozen like the snow outside has. Time didn't stop for them the moment you're gone. They have moved on with life, moved on with the fact that you have gone missing, but that doesn't mean you have become any less important to them. You feel taken for granted that not a single person has been looking for you, right?"
Baekhyun paused as Krystal nodded once again.
"What makes you think they don't feel taken for granted, that you disappear without a word and expect them to come after you? It's easy to leave everything and everyone behind. What's difficult is realizing that it's your job to keep yourself in the lives of the people you want in your life."
Baekhyun’s words echoed in Krystal’s head as she took down all her clothes from the hotel room’s closet. She stashed them into her luggage hurriedly. She checked every nook and cranny of the room for her things and exhaled deeply when she finished packing. Whipping out her phone, she checked it one last time, then typed out a message to Baekhyun to tell him she was leaving for America. She paused as she almost hit the send button, grabbed her bag and left her room in a hurry.
Krystal spotted Baekhyun easily in the same café around the corner from the hotel she was soon going to check out of. He waved her over with a smile that Krystal couldn’t help but return with an equally bright grin. He eyed the paper bag she carried along with her as he pushed a cup of hot cocoa to her.
“Here, this is for you.”
Krystal smiled as she pushed the paper bag towards him. Baekhyun peered into the paper bag and saw a nicely wrapped up box.
“What’s this? What’s it for?” Baekhyun questioned.
“It’s to thank you. And it’s two days to Christmas, too; treat it as an early Christmas gift. Open it only when it’s Christmas!” Krystal instructed.
Baekhyun chuckled and nodded, thanking her and apologizing for not getting a gift for her.
“It’s fine. You’ve given me a much better gift. I’m going to take the next flight back to America soon. Like you’ve said, it’s my job to keep myself in the lives of the people I want in my life. So I’m going back there to right things all again,” replied Krystal.
“I wish you all the best, then.”
“Thank you. Really, thank you very much. You really have the knack of righting things for me.”
Baekhyun only smiled.
Meet me at the same café.
Baekhyun stared at the screen of his phone. She wouldn’t—Would she?
“You’re really here.”
Krystal looked up from the game she was playing on her phone and smiled. “Of course, I did tell you to meet me here, didn’t I?”
“I thought you just went back—“
“I did, and I just arrived again this morning. I’m suffering from a terrible jet lag right now, but I guess it’s all worth it,” Krystal interrupted.
Baekhyun was about to ask another question but was silenced by Krystal at once.
“You want to know why I’m not celebrating Christmas with my family and friends, after I righted things with them, right?”
“Well, you told me that it’s my job to keep myself in the lives of people I want in my life. I decided that you were on the list of people I want in my life as well,” Krystal explained and grinned, a sheepish one at that.
Baekhyun only chuckled in response and took the seat opposite hers, took her mug of cocoa and drunk from it without feeling the slightest bit bashful about it.
“That wasn’t in my plans in keeping you in my life.” Krystal raised an eyebrow questioningly at him.
“What wasn’t?” Baekhyun questioned cheekily.
“My drink getting stolen.”
“Get used to it. Stealing your drinks is my way of keeping you in my life.”