Expression is something Byun Baekhyun isn't sure he has. It isn't that he's stony faced, isn't that he lacks emotion in the way he goes about his daily life; that part is alright, he thinks. It's just that when he performs everything washes away and the only thing he can do is concentrate so hard that the life falls from his face. It drains him to balance his violin properly, to concentrate on the sounds he's making when the other sounds -- the ones from within -- threaten to burst their way into his thoughts and have his instrument clattering to the floor.
Baekhyun lets the others talk usually, is okay with allowing them free reign of the world inside his head, but not during a performance, not during an exam in which he must play perfectly, must be perfect.
Baekhyun is not perfect.
He pretends to be, holds his head up high and his eyes bright, restless energy and constant chatter both a way to hide from the world and to hide from himself. After all, the best way to make friends is to be outgoing, and the best way to quiet a voice is to talk over it. During a performance all is silent and there's no voice except the haunting sound of his violin carrying through the auditorium.
Baekhyun isn't the top student, isn't the virtuoso of the academy, but he thinks he could be if he were normal. He's aware of his talent, aware of the ability he has to break hearts. To strike hope into the hearts of a listener with a single note, but his practice time is limited, and his hands shake with every movement.
Baekhyun's ears explode with sound as soon as his song finishes, as soon as the crowd finishes cheering and he's being ushered off stage. The voices scream, shrill and absolute, angered by their silencing, by the music they hate so much that he's made them endure.
A dancer walks past Baekhyun as he exits the stage, and he's speaking, saying words that Baekhyun doesn't understand because a voice he can't recognize is telling him he did terrible, echoing through the caverns of his skull. Baekhyun bows slightly, wild eyes and hands shaking, shoving his way past the dancer to the back rooms of the concert hall.
The dancer had looked confused, large eyes concerned and ribbons falling from his wrists in his rush to rest worried hands on Baekhyun's shoulders. He wouldn't understand, but Baekhyun thinks he would appreciate it if he weren't so controlled, so crazy.
that's the pretty one that dances like a girl and likes the soft touches of boys much better looking than you. more sane than you are. that's the pretty one with the talent and grace you'll never have.
Baekhyun doesn't even know his name but he hates him for being able to dance with grace across the stage without shaking hands or a misstep. A wall inches closer to Baekhyun as he sits in an empty room and cradles his violin between his legs. He's dropped the bow somewhere, but he doesn't care, whimpering out loud when the world spins.
He needs his pills, some water, but Jongdae is watching the show. Jongdae is always fooled by Baekhyun's ability to act normal, to let the pupils of his eyes still as to appear normal. Jongdae won't be rushing back to help him until after the audience has filed out and the auditorium is an empty, hollow cage that traps Baekhyun inside a tiny room of walls that grow smaller.
jongdae doesn't care, you know. we bet he's watching that pretty dancer, bet he's forgotten your pills at home and won't come. how long can you stay in this room baekhyunnie? long enough to go crazy?
The show tonight had been too much. Things are getting worse, the voices are too loud and the lights are too bright and the flickers that dance in the corner of Baekhyun's eyes are too jarring.
Baekhyun falls asleep in a backstage room with the floor cold against his cheek, and his violin cradled in his arms.
You're up! ~ hunhunya