acatwhowrites: (Ricky♡laugh)
A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2014-10-19 03:02 pm

Not Alice

title: Not Alice
players: Lu Han/Luhan, Zhang Yixing/Lay, Kim Joonmyun/Suho, Byun Baekhyun, Kim Jongdae/Chen, Park Chanyeol, Do Kyungsoo/D.O., Huang Zitao/Tao, Kim Jongin/Kai, Oh Sehun
word count: 4,000
rating: PG
summary: Chanyeol's crush crushes on him back. Everybody but them knows.

a.n.: I forgot to post this.
Written for the Chanyeol/Kai exchange. (Original posted here.)





Chanyeol's friends decided to spend an evening of their break at The Rabbit Hole, a new club and bar. He's kind of iffy on it, but his friends insisted, and someone might have said something about a particular Kim being there, which was playing dirty but also effective.

The walk from the subway to the club was cold. Baekhyun clung to Kyungsoo, who didn't push him away for once but shuffled him along with “We're going to be late,” and Chanyeol's tempted to drape himself over them both to steal their heat, but he shoved his hands in the pockets of his puffy blue jacket and hurried as fast as he could among the crowd. Beside him, Jongdae's all smiles, as usual, bundled smartly in a large jacket, scarf, and hat with only his eyes showing.

A couple bouncers checked IDs as they arrive and waved them in after stamping their hands with ink that glowed an ethereal yellow under the blacklight.

It's much warmer inside the club. The atmosphere was nearly tinted red with heat and lust as alcohol and close-quarters worked their magic. Dancers are the main heat source, jumping and popping on the floor and shedding layers as the temperature rose.

Chanyeol's little group was in luck; a table was vacant, and Baekhyun practically threw himself across it, staking claim. He shed his layers and stuffed them in a corner of the booth, bouncing up to his feet once the others sat. “Drink orders!”

“Coke,” Chanyeol replied. “In a can.”

“Lame,” Baekhyun chides with a smile. He skipped off to the bar, mumbling their orders so he wouldn't forget.

The trio sat and waited, warming up and waiting for drinks before meandering onto the dance floor, although Kyungsoo is holding Jongdae down with a hand on his thigh. “You'll hurt someone.”

“That's a hurtful thought, Kyungsoo.” The gleam in Jongdae's eyes was almost manic.

It took a while, but Baekhyun eventually returns. “I saw Jongin,” he informed as he popped open the soda can. “He's here with Sehun. Looked like they're trying to out-gay one another … .”

Chanyeol held out his hand. “I'm capable of opening my own can, Baek.”

“Huh? Oh, here. Fine. See if I try to be a good hyung.”

“We're the same age.” Chanyeol rolls his eyes and takes the can. He spins the tab around and plays with it with a fingernail.

Baekhyun stuck his tongue out, and Chanyeol replied in turn, clearly demonstrating their same age and maturity levels. “But yeah “ Baekhyun continued. “Jongin's here.”

Chanyeol didn't rise to the bait, the little shit. For someone so huge, he was incredibly shy about one guy. They weren't friends, maybe, but they knew one another through mutual friends and saw one another between classes or at cafes around campus.

Baekhyun kicked him beneath the table. “You should talk to him. Maybe not dance, because you'd injure yourself, but this is prime opportunity, my friend.”

“You've only been stalking him for, what, nine months?” Kyungsoo mumbled around his beer bottle.

“I haven't been stalking him!” Chanyeol protested. “I just see him a lot.”

“And rather than talking to him like a normal human being, you stare and drool.”

“I don't drool … .” He couldn't help it. Seeing Jongin, his mind just kind of went on vacation and left him a mindless idiot.

“You may be surprised what you find out if you just talk to him, Chanyeol,” Jongdae offered, nudging him beneath the table but eyeing the crowd.

“If it'll get you vultures off my back, I'll talk to him.” He sipped his Coke, adding a mumbled, “Later.”

Kyungsoo, Jongdae, and Baekhyun collectively shook their heads, but it was out of their hands.

“That's better than waiting for him to just drop onto your lap.” Baekhyun paused, glass to his lips. “That would be something, though … .”

Jongdae finally weaseled away from Kyungsoo with Baekhyun, and the two slipped into the crowd after slamming back whatever fruity thing they ordered.

Kyungsoo sat quietly for a while, trying to keep an eye on his friends.

“It'd be easier if you were with them,” Chanyeol commented, glad their attention was no longer on him.

“I will not play into their tomfoolery.”

“It's just dancing.”

Kyungsoo simply hummed critically, wide eagle-eyes seeking out Jongdae and Baekhyun. Jongdae zeroed on their friend Joonmyun, ass-to-crotch with him while Baekhyun's plastered to Joonmyun's front.

Chanyeol coughed a little and drank his soda. It was safer to just pretend to not be associated when they started playing Guess My Sexuality or How Gay Can I Be with My Best Friend Before It Gets Weird?.

He debated heading onto the floor himself when he saw a flash of white out of the corner of his eye. He didn't know why he's curious, but he set his can down and muttered, “Bathroom,” before standing and weaving through the outskirts of the crowd.

He caught glimpses of white, but he didn't see who it was, or if it was a person at all. It could be someone he didn't even know or someone carrying something, then he'd look like a real idiot.

But no. The white is a shirt. Chanyeol only saw their back, but the dark brown hair and tanned skin was unmistakable—he'd stared at Jongin's back enough to identify him solely by his butt or even ears.

He followed Jongin to the far end of the club, where an open door stood. The flashing lights didn't illuminate all that far, but Chanyeol thought he saw movement and followed it into the darkness.

The darkness was disorienting, and it didn't help that there's a cool breeze coming from somewhere.

He bumped his toes against a wall, eventually, and moved his hands along it until his hit a protrusion, which turned out to be a doorknob. As he turned the knob and pushed, a blast of icy air cut through his clothes and tried to snatch the door from his grip. He squinted into the dimly lit alleyway, frowning. Why would Jongin go back here?

But he couldn't have. The filthy snow on the ground showed tire tracks, no footprints.

With a sharp shiver and chattering teeth, Chanyeol tugged the door closed and was about to return to the table his friends had claimed when he heard a small sneeze on the other side of the door. Anything that sneezed should have footprints, but maybe someone got locked outside. Odds were good it was no one he knew, yet he still braced himself against the cold and pushed the door open again.



Well then.

This was different.

He could've sworn that he opened the door the first time to a back alley. The second time, it was still snowy, but there were trees, and tiny paw prints dotted the ground.

Logic said it was impossible Better Judgment said to turn around and go back, but Curiosity shut them both up with a sharp kick to the metaphorical nads, so Chanyeol stepped into the snow “Just for a better look.” It crunched beneath his sneakers.

It reminded him of the Narnia movie. A random lamp post in the middle of a forest, but here it was a random door in the middle of a forest. The door was weird enough, but a forest in the middle of Seoul?

Bizarre.

A tiny sneeze drew his attention further into the trees, and the door shut behind him with a soft sigh, keeping in its warmth. Just beyond the trees, sitting out of the snow on a fallen log, sat a rabbit as white as the snow, holding a handkerchief to its nose and squinting at its watch with sleepy, teary eyes.

Chanyeol meant to approach carefully. It wasn't every day he saw a rabbit wearing clothes and using a watch, but his mouth had other ideas.

“Hey!”

The rabbit jumped straight up with another sneeze and bolted into the trees.

“Well, now you've done it. He was skittish before; now he'll be plain impossible.”

“Huh? Oh … . Hi.” A deer chewed on a patch of lichen pulled from a tree at Chanyeol's shoulder. It wasn't very large, but its antlers held enough of a threat for Chanyeol to shuffle a few feet away.

The deer watched him. Never before had Chanyeol ever seen such a clear message of Really, dumbass? conveyed just through eating.

“It'll be fine, Lu Han. Give them time.”

The deer turned its head to look onto its back, where a lizard was curled in a large scarf. “He's been checking his watch for so long, now, and this guy just ruined any chance they had.”

“No … Give them time,” the lizard replied with a sagely—or sleepy; Chanyeol wasn't sure the reptile even had eyes, because they were closed so tight—nod.

“I have no idea what you're talking about.”

“Of course you don't,” Lu Han the deer snorted, gray breath clouding in the cold air.

“But you will, Alice. Don't worry,” the lizard smiled a lazy, very reptilian sort of smile, and snuggled back into the scarf.

With another snort, the deer shook its head and loped away, not even jostling the sleeping lizard.

Chanyeol smacked his lips audibly and nodded to no one. “Thaaaaaat was different.” He pushed his hair off his face and looked around, shrugging when his sense of direction failed and walking randomly.

It was a pretty place, he had to admit. It wasn't even all that cold, even though it was coated in snow. Some trees bent beneath the weight, and he passed the time pushing off just enough of the snow so the trees snapped upright and shook the rest of the snow off, dancing away to not get wet.

After some time of walking—it figured he'd have left his phone in his coat pocket and not his jeans—he heard laughter and voices.

He found a long table set haphazardly in the middle of the snow. Small fires flickered in tea cups or on small saucers, spread out here and there among tea posts and cups and plates of food.

A brown rabbit, a young man, and a mouse, all dressed in mismatched finery as if they'd dressed in the dark for a party, sat around the table completely surrounded by chairs.

“You're late, Alice!” The mouse threw a cupcake wrapper at him.

“He's always late, chasing that poor bunny,” the man giggled, choking on his tea until the brown rabbit smacked his back.

Chanyeol was dragged to sit by the hem of his shirt by the mouse, who nudged an entire cake his way and a short cup of what he could only hope was tea.

“You know, you'd have better luck catching him if you'd stop trying.”

“It's that trying spirit that's so endearing, though.”

“More like painful.” The mouse tore into a piece of coffee cake. Chanyeol kept his hands safely on his lap.

The rabbit nodded. “Try, try again.”

The man inclined his head, hat falling over his eyes. “If at first you don't succeed—”

“You're doing it wrong.”

“Kyungsoo!” the rabbit and man chided in unison.

Shrugging, the mouse returned to his own tea, dunking a flower into it and eating the bud.

“If you're looking for a white rabbit in the snow, how do you know were to look?”

Chanyeol blinked. Were they talking to him? “Uh … .” Guess and check hadn't worked so well thus far.

“That's not even a riddle. It's too easy.”

“We can't start too hard with him.”

“It's like you're pointing him out with a giant sign THE RABBIT IS BEHIND YOU.”

Chanyeol turned; there was nothing there but snow and trees.

They chattered and argued a mile a minute over bubble tea and cakes that Chanyeol barely touched. Maybe he could just kind of sneak away without them noticing, since talking to them was going nowhere. “Where are you going, Alice?” Maybe not.

Chanyeol frowned at the trio as he stood. “I'm going home. And, for the last time, I'm not Alice! I'm a boy!”

“Alice in Chains.”

“Alice Cooper.”

“Alice's Restaurant!”

“That's not even a person.”

“I thought we were doing name associations.”

“I'm going to associate your name with 'dead.'”

“How dead?”

“Very dead.”

“Capital vee?”

The little mouse glowered, large eyes eerie half moons in the shadow of the teapot he sat against. “All capitals.”

“A Capital Crime!”

Chanyeol huffed a laugh and hitched a thumb over his shoulder. “I'm just gonna … go … that way. See you around.”

“I'm not Around. Are you Around?”

“No, I'm Baekhyun!” They cackled like hyenas, slapping their knees and spilling tea that started an epic food fight aided by tennis rackets that someone produced from beneath the table.

Chanyeol dodged a pink cupcake and made it into the trees with only a small smear of frosting on his sleeve. He breathed easier away from the party. If he had the time, he could see himself having fun with them, but he just wanted to go home.

Which way was home, though?

He stopped and looked around. The trees just looked like trees; there was nothing special about any of them. The snow looked new. When he glanced over his shoulder, his own footprints were facing the opposite direction he was walking.

“You've gotta be kidding me … .”

Chanyeol was so engrossed in his spinning and searching that he didn't notice the little moon on a tree branch above him. It rotated to stand like a smile and split into two.

“Looking for something?”

Chanyeol dropped the bough he was looking under, dumping snow down his shirt and squealing as he shook it out. He whirled around, looking for someone who wasn't there.

“Let's just leave him.”

“That'd be mean, Zitao.”

“But look at him; he's not even trying anymore.”

Chanyeol looked left, right, forward and back. No one anywhere. Being hopelessly lost shouldn't make him hallucinate voices, right? “Um … Where are you?” Yes, talk to the phantom voice.

The moons floated down from the tree to hover over Chanyeol's feet. Stripes and faces faded in like smoke from a fire reversed, and two cats with dark, slanted eyes and wide smiles sat in the snow with their tails curled primly over their paws.

“We couldn't help but notice you looked a little lost,” one cat commented. The other turned figure eights around Chanyeol's ankles.

“Uh, yeah. I'm looking for someone. A rabbit.”

The cat not tying Chanyeol's shoe-laces together tilted its head. “A white rabbit?”

“Yeah! Have you seen it?”

“No. I was just wondering about the color.”

“Oh. I don't even know why I'm looking for it.” Chanyeol dropped to a crouch to untie his laces.

“Never know what you'll find.” The cats sat hip-to-hip. “Once you catch him, that is.”

He looked up, brows raised. “So you know him.”

“Know who?”

“The white rabbit.”

“What white rabbit?”

“The one I said I'm looking for!”

One of the cats stood, tail weaving eagerly through the air as it looked passed Chanyeol's arm. “That rabbit?”

Chanyeol turned and saw nothing but snow until a dark piece of brush jolted and hopped into the underbrush. He turned and chased after it, shouting, “Wait up!”



He lost track of the white rabbit in the white snow very quick, but he kept crashing around, hoping he had some good luck on his side for once.

He didn't.

But he did find a white castle. Kind of close. Both were white.

It was made entirely of white stone and stood much taller than any building Chanyeol had ever seen. Clouds obscured the top-most towers, and Chanyeol could just make out a small flock of birds playing in the buttresses.

“Hey.” To Chanyeol's right, a knight-shaped snowman—or an actual knight covered in snow; who knew how long he'd been standing there—stepped away from a shallow alcove and brandished a sword. “You shouldn't be here. Fight me or die.”

Chanyeol didn't like the odds either way. He had no weapons; his own legs usually worked against him.

Dropping fast, he scooped up some snow, packed it in his hands, and chucked it at the knight, more than willing to play coward if it meant living.

The snowball hit the knight's face square on his nose and dropped off his chin. The sword fell to the ground, and he bowed. “I've lost. You may see the king.”

Oh. “Okay.” A king should know his kingdom, at least. Hopefully, he'd be able to point Chanyeol to a way out of the forest and back to that door.

After retrieving his sword and sheathing it, the knight led Chanyeol to the castle, footsteps barely a whisper on the soft snow.

Inside was just as pale but not entirely blinding. It was pretty, Chanyeol thought, and he couldn't help walking with his head tilted back to try and see the end of the vaulted ceiling.

“Thank you, Sehun. I'll take him.”

Chanyeol walked right into the bowed knight's backside and grabbed his hips for a split second before throwing his hands up and apologizing, completely red-faced.

Ignoring Chanyeol's apology, the snow knight left as quietly as he came.

“Hello, Alice.” The king was a relatively small man with a kind face and hair so dark it was almost shocking against all the white, like someone dumped ink on him.

“My name's Chanyeol, not Alice, but hi.”

“I'm sorry.” Even his smile was kind. How snow could stick around with something so warm was beyond Chanyeol. “I've heard you're looking for something? A rabbit?”

“Yeah. I followed it from a door but lost it a couple times.” He shrugged. “It's dumb, really. I was just curious. Now, I just want to go home.”

“He's just as curious about you.” Chanyeol's eyes popped wide. The king laughed behind his fist and nodded. “He's just shy. You have to approach him, first, gently, or wait to let him come to you. Running after him just scares him off.”

That made sense.

“And as to finding your way back, you've never gone too far. Leave here the way you came and walk straight. You'll be back in no time, Not Alice.”

“Oh, cool. Thanks!” He bowed belatedly as he started to walk and nearly hit the floor with his face. Upright with his feet beneath him, he repeated, “Leave here the way I came and keep going straight … .” He waved at the snow knight as he passed, earning a stoic glance in return but not really minding.



“Leave there and go straight my butt. Everything's the same.”

The rabbit peered around the tree. Not Alice was parked on a tree stump, looking around and rubbing his hands together. The rabbit's tall ears stood straight up from his head, curious and nervous. He'd never been so close to the boy before, always watching from a safe distance when the boy wasn't looking.

He checked his vest pocket; his watch read 11:27.

It always read 11:27.

He thumped his foot nervously on the moss, torn between leaving and creeping closer, but a familiar moony smile stopped him. “What's wrong, Not Alice?”

Not Alice rubbed his nose with his knuckles and sniffed. “I just want to go home, but I can't find anything familiar, so I was just … taking a break … .”

“Oh, that's too bad.” The striped cat slunk to Not Alice's feet to rub across his shins, purring loudly. “But what about that rascally rabbit?”

“I dunno. Maybe he doesn't even exist.”

“Oh, no! He really does! He's just shy.”

“He is?”

“Who is?”

“The rabbit.”

“What rabbit?”

“The—The white rabbit! You were just saying—Arrrgh!” Not Alice groaned and ran his fingers viciously through his hair. The cat sat and licked a paw.

“Losing your temper helps nothing, you know,” the cat commented. It nudged the boy's arm until he sat up and hopped onto his lap. “What if I let you in on a secret?”

The rabbit watched, whiskers quivering. He liked secrets; he was curious.

Bright eyes caught his through the dark, pinning him in place.

Caught. He shrank back but couldn't run.

“You have been going in circles, chasing something that was chasing you. If you go forward, you go backwards. If you turn around, nothing is there.”

The rabbit's heart beat wildly in his chest. Dummy! He knew getting so close was dumb, but he was too curious.

And where was the other cat? Where one went, the other followed. They were striped shadows of one another.

The bright eyes suddenly flashed closer, and a toothy moon of a smile made the rabbit jump back, but a heavy paw caught his vest. “Gotcha!”

Lifted by sharply clawed paws, the rabbit struggled and kicked until he was dropped right onto a very surprised Not Alice's lap.

The cats smiled, tails linked in triumph.

The rabbit's ears sat against his back, and he hid his face in his paws, whiskers twitching.

Not Alice touched his shoulder. “Jongin?”



Chanyeol's head fell to the tabletop with a thud heard even on the dance floor. He laid there a moment, arms around his head and too worried and in pain to check for bleeding. When had he even fallen asleep? His eyes kind of hurt; he probably fell asleep with his eyes open again and looked like a corpse. Great impression.

“Chanyeol? Here.”

The familiar, deep voice had Chanyeol sitting upright fast enough to get dizzy.

Jongin, wearing a plain white shirt and dark vest, held out a towel of ice. “I asked the bartender. For your head; it sounded like it hurt.”

“Thank you … .” He took the towel and held it gingerly to his head.

“I'm always teased for falling asleep everywhere, but I've never passed out at a club, before.”

A lesser man would have blushed in embarrassment. Chanyeol laughed; it hurt. “It's a first for me! Thank you for the ice.”

Jongin smiled, and Chanyeol's stomach did a little flip. Blacklight and neon should not be flattering on anyone, but it highlighted Jongin nicely.

“I hope it helps. See you—”

“Wait!” Jongin's hand was cool beneath Chanyeol's. “Uh, join me? M-My friends are on the floor, and I don't know if I should be moving so much with this headache, now, which is entirely my fault, but I don't want to keep you, so it's okay if you don't want to; I thought it might be nice to hang out a bit, though.” Talking used up oxygen; he felt light-headed again. It totally wasn't because Jongin was actually talking to him.

Rather than backing away slowly at the garbled nonsense, Jongin pushed aside the pile of jackets so he could slid into the booth beside Chanyeol. “I don't mind. I'll keep you awake to be sure you don't have a concussion.”

“I appreciate that, but I have a pretty hard head; I should be good.”

“I heard you over the music. A hard head is one thing, but it sounded hollow,” Jongin laughed, holding a hand over his mouth.

Chanyeol tilted his head back and forth a little, frowning. “It's not entirely empty. I always hear something rattling.”

If Jongin could laugh at such terrible humor, Chanyeol must be doing something right. “This is kind of sudden, and you don't really know me, but would you maybe want to go out for coffee or something, sometime?” He tilted the towel. “A 'thank you' for the ice.”

It could've been the lighting, the weird red-hot atmosphere, but Chanyeol was pretty sure he saw some color rise to Jongin's cheeks as he nodded.



END