faye (carvone) wrote,

and the history books forgot about us, ot12, kai/luhan

and the history books forgot about us.
ot12, kai + lu han, g, 2,004w
For prompt at seoulfulness. EXO's last concert.

and the history books forgot about us.

Lu Han has been spending the last two weeks following Minseok around with pitiful sad eyes and wobbly lips, hugging him from behind at the most random moments while whining, "Minseok, don't go! Baozi, don't go!!" Lu Han has taken to calling himself a little bun parasite, gluing himself to his friend's back and making the same 7-year-old baozi jokes every half sentence. Minseok indulged this nostalgic madness for the first five days with all the patience of a round-faced Buddha, until that one time Lu Han jumped on him while he was holding a hot ramyun noodles cup, a small reward after five non-stop hours of practice. Lu Han learned that noodles just didn't taste very good if one had to eat it off a sweat-soaked t-shirt.


Minseok quickly stuffs a large kimbap piece into Lu Han's little mouth. Lu Han's protest is garbled by the rice. Kris nods absently in gratitude, hands flicking through a stack of paper as he goes over their schedule, long legs nudging at Chanyeol who is hugging his calves on the floor in imitation of Lu Han The Parasite.

"Final rehearsal at twelve, interviews at five, and then showtime at seven, sharp."

As if they haven't learned the motions by heart now after five world tours pulling at their feet. Same old, same old, but this is their final stop. Seoul Beijing Tokyo Bangkok Los Angeles London Paris Shanghai and back again. Today is Seoul, the encore concert, the last leg of EXO's 5th World Tour. Twelve days from now, Kim Minseok will be the first EXO member to go into military service.

It isn't the end, not really. EXO-K still have their variety show corner every week on Wednesday night; EXO-M (sans Minseok) is still booked for the next China-Korea Friendship concert. Joonmyun and Baekhyun's radio show every day at ten in the evening. Cosmopolitan group photoshoot next Monday. SPAO endorsement contract in the winter season. BBQ and karaoke night hosted by Joonmyun the day just before Minseok's enlistment. The thing about having twelve people in a group is it takes a while before the stage starts to feel too big and empty.

Yet everyone knows this is the beginning of the end.

The truth is no one knows whether the next album would even happen. It's Minseok this year, but next year it's Joonmyun, then Chanyeol and Baekhyun and Jongdae. These days Chanyeol burns out his energy in the sleepless nights at drama filming locations instead of the practice room. So does Kris, but in China and Taiwan. Kyungsoo runs from one musical to the next inbetween his uni classes. Lu Han is buried in the preparation for his first solo single, always somewhere halfway between China and Korea. Everyone is busy with a piece of their own career, and before they know it, their lives don't revolve around EXO anymore. Lu Han says that's what growing up means. Your life stops revolving around anyone but yourself.

Lu Han said all these wise-ass words, but he still cried like a baby at the end of their final Beijing encore concert just two days ago, despite swearing up and down that handsome manly men like him would never. Okay, so it wasn't as bad as Zitao's or Yixing's or even Kris' ugly waterworks, but he was still standing there sniffling with eyes all red and watery as the whole stadium screamed and cried their names during duizhang's final thank-you speech. He'd never admit it, but Jongin brought over from somewhere a whole box of paper tissues and wiped his nose for him. The kid then stuffed the crumpled dirty tissues one by one into his pants' pockets, how kind. He didn't even notice it, his vision all blurred and blinded by bright lights in those final moments, his hands just holding on to Jongin's wrists as warm fingers pressed over his face, strong and reassuring.

Today Lu Han swears that kid would be the one crying into his shoulders.

Except Jongin is not a kid anymore, seven years after their debut. Lu Han prods Jongin's sharp shoulders when he catches him sitting on the edge of the empty stage, just staring up at the empty seats rising high up the venue in the white hours between three and five in the early morning. He remembers thinking they all seemed so small compared to the stage in their very first concert, so nervous Jongin and he couldn't even sync their beats together between one solo and the next. Five years later after that nerve-wracking first time of too much anxiety and bone-deep exhaustion, they finally look tall and grounded enough to own this stage now.

Jongin looks calm. He feels calm. Lu Han slings an arm around Jongin's shoulders. Kai and Lu Han of EXO. Soon enough they won't be that anymore. Just Lu Han. Just Kai, or maybe just Kim Jongin.

Jongin leans his head against Lu Han's smaller shoulders. Comfortable in his own skin. Strands of hair tickle Lu Han's cheeks. They will miss this.

Ten minutes until showtime, and the buzz of shouts and cheer in the concert arena is already deafening. It drives sharp vibration through all their frames, a pure rush of adrenaline and fierce joy. They all squeeze in next to each other, all twelve of them in a squished circle for the last time in a long long while. Twelve hands gripping each other's, strong and warm and so so familiar. Someone's nails are digging hard into his hand, but it's impossible to wipe the grin off his face. Jongin's arm is slung over Baekhyun's shoulders, but his hand is curling around the back of Lu Han's neck. They are all grinning and smiling now, the joy close to bursting out of their hearts as they hold on to each other, mouths opened wide for one last cheer.

They grew up together. They've grown up together. Eight plus years of tentative acquaintances, colleagues, friends, brothers. Family.


The shout is the loudest they've ever done, drowning out even the pressing background buzz. Chanyeol's voice booms the loudest over all of them, his voice cracking into a hoarse cry half-way. Baekhyun is laughing, but Jongin could already see his eyes getting red as Baekhyun buries his face into his shoulders. Their hands linger over each other's even after the cheer stops ringing in their ears.

They have been doing this for years and years; they have stood on all the biggest stages across the continents, oceans, and language barriers; yet Jongin still thinks the most beautiful moment of a concert is those few brief seconds when they slowly rise up to the stage, soaking in the heat of thousands of people and the bass of the track thrumming under their feet, when the air dips into a collectively held breath and the lights finally hit them and Jongin discreetly tugs off one of his earbuds and--

The arena explodes.

This is their story. They are not the first nor the last, just twelve boys with dreams and hopes and sweat and tears and a fierceness in their hearts that keeps pushing them forward. They've all seen this story before. Eleven-year-old Kim Jongin saw Shinhwa on a tiny TV and fell in love. A teenage Lu Han found his dream future in TVXQ and a whole new country. Some stories have a sad ending, some go on into the history books.

Some people say it's just the same old songs, the same old kids with glitter make-up and sparkly clothes and perfect skin all crooning catchy tunes about young love and superficial teenagers. But those people, they don't know the fierce joy in their ribcages when they're standing high on that stage with all the lights shining bright, singing their hearts out to a crowd of thousands singing back. They don't know the burn and stretch of muscles pulled taut against hard wood floors and dirty mirrors in the early murky hours. They don't know the tears and smiles of all these young girls and boys who all reach out for them as they run up to the edge of the stage, screaming the most genuine declarations of love.

All the best songs are love songs, and you don't know a story until you're living it.

They have lived it, Joonmyun and Kris and Chanyeol and Yixing and Lu Han and Jongin and Kyungsoo and Sehun and Jongdae and Baekhyun and Zitao and Minseok. EXO, all seven years of a collective dream. All the little boys who spent their youth chasing the lights and their hearts' desire, they've done it. Together.

"Saranghanda! Wo ai nimen! Aishiteru! I love you! Je t'aime!" Chanyeol's voice booms across the arena, voice going hoarse and cracking around the edges, and the whole place echoes with returning shouts. They are all running along the edges of the stage now, waving and laughing and shouting and crying.

The girls are all crying, cheeks wet with tears and smeared make-up, but they are all smiling, too. They've all grown up together with the boys, too - young women now with career and love and a fierce pride in their hearts for these young men. Jongin's knees hit the edge of the stage, his hands reaching towards them, and he's shouting into his mic, "I love you, I love you, I love you!"

The words he used to struggle with have become strangely easy to say after seven years.

"I love you!" He shouts as Lu Han's lithe form slams into his back, and Lu Han's arms tighten around his shoulders. Lu Han is laughing into his shoulders, and then suddenly Baekhyun is slamming into him from the left side, enveloping both of them into a hug.

"Group hug!" Someone shouts, and out of nowhere Sehun and Jongdae and Chanyeol and Yixing and everyone are throwing themselves on top of each other, squishing and pushing and toppling everyone off their feet.

"Get off, get off!!" Lu Han shrieks from somewhere underneath the mountain of limbs and crushed ribs, but no one is listening, everyone too busy laughing and trying to elbow each other in the face. Buried at the core of the human mountain, Lu Han clings to Jongin's neck for dear life, his face smushed against Jongin's cheek.

Someone is laughing and shouting "EXO, saranghaja!" on top of the pile, and he's pretty sure that's Jongdae.

Years later, they will miss this. The glory days. They will never live these golden moments again, when the lights are bright up high and their hands are all clasped tight together and the crowd of thousands are shouting their names. They will never be able to experience this bursting joy in their hearts again, that feeling when they're all invincible on top of the world and they've lived their dream in their twenties and nothing will ever come close to the high of this joint stage. Never again.

Twenty-six going on thirty, and they have already lived the best years of their lives.

But this is not the end. This is when a chapter closes, and a new story begins. One day maybe the public will forget their story, drowned in a neverending wave of young kids living this same old dream, but they will never forget this. Tomorrow, when they splinter off on their own ways with TV shows and dramas and musicals and one-person dance practice, EXO will still be something that ties them together in memory. Maybe they will see each other once every four months, maybe one day they will all get together and cry manly tears as they finally send off the little grown up maknae-line Jongin and Sehun into military service, maybe Lu Han will be in China and Taiwan and everywhere in Asia but Seoul during those two years Jongin is not there, but for now--

For now, in this moment, their hands are all clasped tight together. The lights shine bright.

Tags: can you tell i've stopped trying, will these pls stop going out of control
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