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Clean Break
shayepuree
Title: Clean Break
Pairing: Sehun/Lu Han
Rating: pg-13
Genre: angst, romance; college!au
Summary: They had known from the beginning that this couldn't last forever. Lu Han was only in Korea to study for a year. They knew that, they both knew, but the draw had been inescapable. Ever since Lu Han had asked if he could sit down at Sehun's table in that overcrowded coffee shop -- attraction, a spark that caught, and then they were stealing kisses in the library and walking to class with their fingers laced together.
But he had to go.






a/n: Inspired by Sunggyu's Shine, because it's perfect and he's perfect and my feels are all over everything. ㅠㅠ



Whenever this season comes, I think of the last times of you and me.
Your voice, your eyes, your touch...I can't forget any of those things.
You're so clear, it seems like we can touch when I hold out my hand.

I miss you.






"We should probably just make a clean break, huh?"

He felt Sehun's eyes on him, but Lu Han kept his gaze focused determinedly on his bubble tea. He'd gotten the strawberry milk kind today -- Sehun's favorite, and it was sweet and sat heavy on his tongue and in the pit of his stomach.

"If that's what you want," Sehun said finally, and Lu Han nodded without lifting his head.

"Yeah...I think it'll be easier this way."

Sehun's grip tightened slightly on Lu Han's hand, but Lu Han didn't make any move to pull away. He watched Sehun wet his lips with his tongue - nervous habit - and then he gave a tight nod.

"Okay."

...

They had known from the beginning that this couldn't last forever. Lu Han was only in Korea to study for a year. They knew that, they both knew, but the draw had been inescapable. Ever since Lu Han had asked if he could sit down at Sehun's table in that overcrowded coffee shop -- attraction, a spark that caught, and then they were stealing kisses in the library and walking to class with their fingers laced together.

Sehun was his safety net in this unfamiliar place, and he -- he was Sehun's smile.

But he had to go.

He had to go back to China, graduate, get a job somewhere closer to his family to make his mom happy. He had to go.

They both knew that, but that didn't make it any easier, when Sehun kissed him softly in the doorway and said "goodbye".

Lu Han didn't cry until the door clicked shut behind him, but once he started he couldn't stop.

...

He was sick at the airport the next morning. He rinsed out his mouth in the washroom, and his phone vibrated in his pocket.

A text, from Sehun.

get home safe, hyung

And it wasn't enough, it wasn't damn near enough, but all he could send back was

thank you

before he forced himself to turn off his phone.

...

China was just as he'd left it. A bit more attention from his mom, from his friends, for the first week or so, but everything else was more or less the same. He was finally back in his home country, speaking a language his tongue didn't trip over, but he felt more disoriented and alone than ever. He kept catching himself checking his phone, his email, hoping -- but no, a clean break meant no contact, and Sehun had never been much for rule-breaking. He sort of hated that about him, now.

Lu Han checked his phone first thing every morning, last thing every night -- and finally he got sick of himself and deleted Sehun from his contacts.

But that broke him.

The tears came so fast he almost choked on them. His chest hurt, he couldn't breathe. His contacts list looked wrong without "Sehunnie~<3" listed there, first on his speed dial. It was just a name. Just a stupid pet name and a number, a number he wasn't allowed to use anymore.

But he needed it.

Even if he never used it, he needed it to be there.

His hands were shaking, but he got them to cooperate enough to add Sehun's number back in from memory.

Thank god he'd memorized it.

Thank god.

...

He spent his summer interning at a marketing agency. It was pretty easy work, he was good at it, and there was a lot to be done. His coworkers were nice. One of the older secretaries liked to sneak him homemade treats and told him he should smile more, while he was still young, and he just nodded and said "okay".

When his supervisor asked him why he was working so much overtime, he just flashed that smile he'd been practicing and said he wanted the experience.

...

The walls of his bedroom were his favorite shade of blue, but he missed the cracking paint of Sehun's dorm room.

...

He lasted weeks before he finally told Yixing. All Yixing had said was "what's up?" and Lu Han hadn't slept the night before, he'd been stuck thinking circles about the upcoming school year, about going to university every day and not seeing Sehun there, and he couldn't stand it. It poured out of his mouth in a rush of languages mixing at the memories, and they were in public and he was crying but Yixing listened anyway, without interrupting.

Sehun would be going back to school soon, too. Lu Han hadn't heard anything from him since that text at the airport, and he felt like he was going crazy. He wanted to call him so badly, he wanted to hear his voice. He wanted to know if Sehun missed him, because fuck, he missed Sehun so badly it scared him.

"So why don't you call?"

But Lu Han shook his head and buried himself in the hood of his sweatshirt.

"I can't."

"Why not?"

Because he didn't deserve to.

"Because I'm the one who left."

...

The summer ended and the marketing agency offered him a job for after he graduated the following spring, and he promised to think about it.

...

He should have probably deleted their pictures together, or at least the ones of just Sehun from off of his phone, but he couldn't. He'd finally changed his background from the picture of Sehun smiling at him all soft and beautiful, that day they'd skipped class in favor of spending the day in bed with a stack of movies and more junk food than they'd been able to eat. Now it was just the generic background the phone had come with, empty and blue. It was safer that way.

But the picture was still there, saved to his phone with all the others. Sehun laughing at a stupid joke he'd told, Sehun's face when he was sleeping all curled up on his side with his mouth partway open, Sehun with his arms around him from behind, leaning his chin on his shoulder...

The oldest one, he'd taken the day they'd met in the coffee shop, when Sehun was getting up to leave. Lu Han had said "wait!" and snapped it the second Sehun had turned, so he looked surprised and a little confused -- but Lu Han hadn't wanted to forget his face. The face of the first person he'd met in Korea who he hadn't been too afraid to talk to.

It was funny, now. He'd taken that picture to remember, and now he couldn't possibly forget.

...

University was the same as he remembered it. The classes seemed boring and easy, now that he'd muddled through an entire year in a foreign language, but at least there was Yixing. They had a couple of classes together, and Yixing finally convinced him to start going with him to dance again.

It hurt, at first, because Sehun was a dancer, too. But it hurt in a way that felt okay. Because at least they still had this in common.

He hoped Sehun was still dancing, too.

...

Lu Han counted down the days without thinking too much about it. January, February, March... This, his brain wouldn't let him forget.

On April 11, 11:00pm, he bit his lip and hit 'send'.

happy birthday!

And then he panicked, because that had been a mistake, hadn't it? A clean break, he'd said. But it was just a birthday text...it wasn't anything too meaningful, too personal. He'd edited out all he'd really wanted to say and condensed it into two words, and he hoped it was okay. They'd had no contact whatsoever for 302 days, so it was probably safe, right?

Probably not, since he was still counting days like they were hours.

...

46 minutes later, his phone buzzed with a new text message. He dove for it, where he had shoved it under his pillow in an attempt to make himself forget his own stupid need, his blind hope that Sehun wouldn't be too pissed to talk to him for bending his own rule, his fingers fumbling in desperation.

Sehun.

It felt like all the air was going out of his lungs. He couldn't breathe, and his phone slipped from his hands.

I miss you.

He'd made a mistake.

...

Lu Han agonized over it for days.

"That's what you wanted to know though, right?" Yixing asked, elbowing him where he was slumped across the table.

But Lu Han shook his head. He'd thought it was, but it sent sharp pain through his chest and made him feel empty all over again, because it meant that Sehun was hurting, too. Sehun was hurting, and it was his fault for leaving. He'd probably ruined Sehun's whole birthday with that stupid, shallow text message. He shouldn't have sent it. He shouldn't have tried.

"Did you text him anything back?"

"No," and Lu Han's smile was watery. "I couldn't. I can't."

Yixing made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat and ordered more hot chocolate for both of them.

...

A clean break... Lu Han remembered now why he'd wanted that.

It would have been easier that way, if it were possible. If he had just resisted that stupid temptation and swallowed his feelings down even though they burned, it would have been better. They would forget each other eventually, right? That was what people were supposed to do. That was how relationships really ended -- not in breaking up, but in forgetting.

But he couldn't forget Sehun. Sehun's smile was in the morning sun, his skin was in the silk of his sheets. His heartbeat was in Lu Han's bloodstream.

They'd spent so much time together. Stayed up late studying for exams, walked along the Han river with bubble tea in one hand and Sehun's in the other. More nights in Sehun's room than in his own, by the end of it, and his clothes in Sehun's closet. Sehun's lisp, his habit of licking his lips whenever he was nervous or thinking hard. The way Sehun's breathing deepened as he fell asleep. How was Lu Han supposed to forget any of that, to forget those things that meant everything?

He couldn't. He couldn't, but he hoped Sehun could.

Sehun deserved someone who would never leave him alone.

...

On April 20, 12:00am, Lu Han's phone went off.

He knew who it was from without looking at the screen, and he bit his lip and opened the message.

hyung, happy birthday!

He laughed, but there were tears blurring his vision and his hands were shaking again. He wasn't sure what to call the feeling twisting in his gut -- like hope and relief and despair all at once, but he choked it down and hit 'reply'.

thank you

But that wasn't enough, so he hit 'reply' again and added

I miss you, too

...

Yixing bought him a cake and a new pair of shoes, and he slid a card across the table about halfway through dinner. Lu Han raised his eyebrows. "Don't you think you're overdoing it?" he teased, and Yixing just shrugged his shoulders.

"Read it."

"Okay, okay. Weirdo." The card's design was simple, but when he flipped it open, Lay's handwriting slanted across the page.

Happy birthday, Lu Han!
You're a year older, and hopefully a little smarter, too. Dumbass.
Stop getting in the way of your own happiness.
That's my wish for you this year.
--Yixing
PS: You're my best friend and I love you.


Lu Han just stared at him for a long moment as the words sank in. Then he shoved him, because really -- "You bought me this card just so you could scold me with it? Asshole!"

"Hey, didn't you read the last part? I said I love you, at least," Yixing deadpanned, and Lu Han burst out laughing, because this stupid guy was his best friend. His best friend who had suffered through 310 days of his sulking and had never complained once. His best friend who only wanted the best for him.

"You're an idiot."

"Whatever. So are you."

They finished up their meal and took turns kicking each other good-naturedly under the table. Yixing paid the bill and they parted ways -- but Lu Han called out after him, "Hey, Yixing! Thank you!" and Yixing just waved like it was nothing.

Lu Han had some thinking to do, and that knowledge that he could made him dizzy with possibilities.

...

Lu Han graduated, and his mom cried.

So did Yixing, which just made Lu Han laugh and shove his shoulder. "God, you're so embarrassing!"

"Whatever. Shut up."

His phone went off somewhere in the middle of it all, and a slow smile spread across his face, because he knew who it was from.

hyung, congratulations!

He made up his mind right there.

...

Lu Han called up the marketing agency he'd interned at the summer before and asked to speak to his boss.

"Lu Han! Glad you called! That job's still here waiting for you, if you want it."

"Actually, sir, I was wondering if you'd be willing to write me a recommendation...?"

"Ah, that's too bad... We could use a mind like yours." A pause, then, "You're not going to one of our competitors, are you?"

Lu Han laughed and shook his head. "No, no -- I promise I'm not!"

"All right, I guess I believe you. So, where are you headed, kid?"

Lu Han smiled and clutched the phone a little tighter. "To Seoul."

...

He got the job.

...

"Be safe, okay? Be happy," his mom said as she hugged him outside the gate.

He adjusted his bag over his shoulder and smiled at her, so thankful that she'd agreed to let him go. "Thanks, mom. I will be."

...

He was nervous and jittery the whole two hour flight.

Honestly, he had no idea what he was doing. He couldn't make sense of his own thoughts, they jumped so quickly between 'fly faster damn it' and 'oh god I'm making a horrible mistake' and stuck on Sehun in between, but he was every bit as hopeful as he was terrified.

He just hoped he wasn't too late.

...

Lu Han didn't really have a plan. He just had to move, had to go, so he collected his bag and got on the subway toward his old university.

Seoul was surreal. It was hot but beautiful, flowers hanging on to their last bit of vibrance before the rainy season washed them all away. The murmur of Korean on the train was soft and familiar, like he'd been dreaming about for months, and he had to pinch himself to make sure that this was real, this was happening.

He didn't know where he thought he was going or what he was doing, really -- only that this was where he was supposed to be. His feet took him toward the coffee shop all on their own. He didn't fight it. He broke into a run and only slowed down when he got to the corner, because there were butterflies in his stomach and nervous energy coursing through his blood and he needed to stop to breathe.

He probably should've called, texted, something -- but he didn't know how to, after all this time. It wouldn't be good enough, anyway. This, going back to where everything began, was all he could think of. He wanted to try again.

He pushed the door open.

Sehun was sitting right there, at the table where they'd first met with a book open in front of him, just like Lu Han had somehow known he would be. Same sleepy eyes, same mouth moving around the words as he read them, though his hair was longer now and he was so beautiful, god --

Lu Han took a deep breath and a slow step forward.

"Can I sit here?"

Sehun's gaze flickered up, and Lu Han saw him forget, for a second, how to breathe. He stood up so quickly he almost knocked his chair over, and then his arms were around him and Lu Han's bag was in the way but he didn't care, because Sehun smelled just the way he'd remembered, and for the first time in 446 days, he was home.




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OMGSD:LFKSJDLFSKJ!???!??!?!?!???

so scared this was going to complete angst but then the ending. so so so cute. ;uuuuu;

also, lu han and lay's friendship omg too precious.

"Lu Han graduated, and his mom cried.

So did Yixing, which just made Lu Han laugh and shove his shoulder. 'God, you're so embarrassing!'"

just wow, thank you for writing this. totally made my day a little better. ♥

Edited at 2012-11-09 12:03 am (UTC)

I can't just straight angst HunHan anymore -- they're too precious. I just want them to be happy and in love. ㅠㅠ

Haha! Glad you liked it~ Thanks for reading!!

Beautiful! I feel like crying :') Some of the things Luhan thought in this story really struck me. So glad there was a happy ending though :)

Thank you! Of course, I have to give my boys a happy ending~ I'm not allowed to write straight angst anymore. xD Thank you for reading!!

aww ;_;
at first i thought it was going to be a sad ending.. leaving both of my babies broken hearted.. </3 but yay! beautiful, and sad, and cute! ugh (:

Trolled all you fools~
No, but really -- no more HunHan angst for me. Sorry the happy ending was so short! I had another scene written, but it didn't flow well enough, so I had to cut it out. Glad you enjoyed it anyway! Thanks for reading~

Awww! I love this!
I'm glad they got together again... cos i dont like broken!hunhan :( ;w;
Anyway, this is lovely! :)

I don't, either, but it had to happen. Because it's all about the reunion, really~
Thank you so much!!

OH, THANK GOODNESS. I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT A SAD ENDING AND I WAS SITTING THERE WAITING FOR IT, JUST /WAITING/ FOR IT. BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

okay now i have a project to finish due tomorrow whoops why am i here.

SORRY I KNOW THE HUNHAN TRUST HAS BEEN BROKEN D:
But really. I'm sorry. ㅠㅠ
Everything is good. They live happily ever after and there is lots of fluff and rainbows. I promise. Maybe I'll write a fluffy follow-up at some point~

first things first, favorite bubble tea in existence = sehunnie's favorite.
not even mad.
i'd drink it with him.


then here come the sads with "He watched Sehun wet his lips with his tongue - nervous habit - and then he gave a tight nod."
yep.
because really.
sehunnie bby is hurting and i can't help but sympathize with him because feels.


lu han pov this time though. i like~~~
^^

"Lu Han checked his phone first thing every morning, last thing every night -- and finally he got sick of himself and deleted Sehun from his contacts.
But that broke him."

BROKEN LU HAN. OH MY GOD.
NO.
DON'T BE BROKEN.

"His contacts list looked wrong without "Sehunnie~<3" listed there, first on his speed dial. It was just a name. Just a stupid pet name and a number, a number he wasn't allowed to use anymore.

But he needed it."

literally started to die a little by this point because "sehunnie~ <3".
because that's reality.
let's be real.
if they were allowed phones, that'd be sehun's name in his phone.

"But the picture was still there, saved to his phone with all the others. Sehun laughing at a stupid joke he'd told, Sehun's face when he was sleeping all curled up on his side with his mouth partway open, Sehun with his arms around him from behind, leaning his chin on his shoulder..."

WHY DON'T WE HAVE THESE PHOTOS IN OUR POSSESSION.
CAUSE YOU KNOW THEY EXIST.
GODDAMNIT.


YIXING.
COME BACK TO MY #1 BIAS SPOT ON MY M BIAS LIST.
KICK DUIZHANG OUT.
PLEASE.
YOU WERE THERE FOR SO LONG.
I'M SORRY.
THIS IS SUCH GOOD YIXING.
LIKE REALLY.
YOU DID WELL.

AND THEN HE ENDS UP WITH A SIMPLE ""Can I sit here?"

NOPE.
THAT WAS IT.
I CAN'T EVEN.
CAN I SIT HERE.
LERLYWERJYLEWYJLERKJYLEWRJYLWERKJYLWERKJYLWERJYLWEKRJYLEWRHYLEKRYLERJYLEKRJYLEJLJ

okay. i realize this is only fair because woogyu earlier.
obviously our time in Asia class is well spent.
this was so good.
i can't even.

also i enjoyed the layhan banter. ^^
YEP.
I CAUGHT IT.
"Lu Han just stared at him for a long moment as the words sank in. Then he shoved him, because really -- "You bought me this card just so you could scold me with it? Asshole!"

"Hey, didn't you read the last part? I said I love you, at least," Yixing deadpanned, and Lu Han burst out laughing, because this stupid guy was his best friend. His best friend who had suffered through 310 days of his sulking and had never complained once. His best friend who only wanted the best for him.

"You're an idiot."

"Whatever. So are you.""

bahahahahahah so quality~~

but yeah.
you are good job.
ALSO IMMA TEXT YOU AT SOME POINT TOMORROW TO LET YOU KNOW ABOUT SATURDAY/MAYBE SUNDAY IF WE DON'T GET IT ALL DONE TOMORROW.
^^ 0000000000000000000000
all da ovals for you, gull.

I'M REALLY GLAD YOU LIKED THIS BECAUSE BY THE TIME I WAS FINISHING THIS UP I WAS SO JUST LIKE AHGDPOWEUIR I WASN'T SURE IF IT WAS OKAY OR NOT
There was a whole additional scene I typed at the end that got deleted because it was too drawn out and dumb, so yeah. Glad the ending is okay, too~ After I cut it, I wasn't sure if it was too abrupt. ^^;
(spoiler: Sehun totally lets him sit there.)

Lay is actually pretty good to write! I knew I had to give Lu Han a friend to confide in, and I knew I wanted it to be someone Chinese...and obviously Kris was out. Because duizhang feels don't need to get involved in any of this. So yeah. Lay alternately deadpanning, being a freaking softie, and offering the best, bluntest advice, because that's how I think he'd be irl.

Okay~ Yeah, text me, gull. I have to meet with my scene partners for my acting class at noon on Sunday, probably just for an hour or two, but other than that I'm free~ Well, that and homework in there somewhere. But you know. ^^;

"But he couldn't forget Sehun. Sehun's smile was in the morning sun, his skin was in the silk of his sheets. His heartbeat was in Lu Han's bloodstream."
i was practically sobbing when i read this line

this was so beautifully written omg ;w; like, i felt everything lu han was feeling?? the dying feeling of separation hanging between him and the person that was practically his life buoy for an entire year while in a foreign country and the need, the want, to talk to hear to feel sehun again while he struggles to put his life back to what it was used to (china life) just---ugh

i love this, i love you ( ・_・)♡

Really happy if this could get to you so much! I think that feeling of missing someone is so powerful -- especially when you're not 'supposed' to miss them, or when you don't necessarily see it coming.
You summed this fic up so well alshgpweru That makes me so happy!
Haha! I love you, too~ Thank you so much for reading!

So beautiful.... </3 I LOVE LOVE LOVE this ugh oh my god the pain of their separation ///////////dying Adding this to my favorites haha ok Thank you for writing this.

Omgggg i wanted to cryyyyyy this was so beautiful and you captured everything sooo perfectly. Okay forgive me for not leaving a longer comment but id start bawling.

Really glad you could get emotionally invested in this little thing! Dry your internal tears with the knowledge that everything is okay in the end~ Thank you for reading!

They got back together. Yes.
I don't know what else to say orz sorry orz

Haha! It's okay, you don't have to say anything~ Thank you for reading and commenting!!

MY FEELINGS ARE EVERYWHERE !@#$%^&SGHJKL /keyboard smashing

This is just so beautiful! You did an amazing job T__________T
The birthday message really had me close to tears to be honest, because I saw myself there a year ago, sending a happy birthday text to my ex, even though he already moved on. Thank God Sehun hadn't, he was still waiting, and just because Sehun's bday is actually 8 days earlier, if it was the other way around i'm pretty sure Sehun would also send a happy bday text to Luhan, and then the rest would just happen the exact same way!

Thank you dear, I love this!

That feeling sucks so much, bahhhh. Yeah. Really wanted to try to work that weird mix of hope and confusion and futility into this fic, and I figured birthday texts were the way to go. They can mean so much or so little -- and they had to work out which this was.
I agree -- if their birthdays were flipped, Sehun would've sent the text first. Though I'm glad their birthdays do fall the way they do, because I think Lu Han would be a lot less likely to admit that he missed Sehun, because he didn't think he deserved to, since he was the one who walked away.

Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!!

THAT LAST LINE HAS GOT ME FLIPPING TABLES IN HAPPY HUNHAN FEELSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

GOOD BECAUSE THAT WAS MY GOAL~
Tried to compress as much fluff as I could into that last line especially, to make up for all the angst. xD

Thank you for reading!

Just beautiful ♥
I feel like crying though haha ! But it's a good happy ending so it's fine :D
Thank you for sharing :)

Aww! Make them happy tears, then, because they're back together and Lu Han never runs away again.
Thanks for reading!

dsajfkdsfja love! so happy they got back together at the ending keke

Of course they did~ I couldn't be that mean to my HunHan babies. Sehun was waiting for Lu Han the entire time. He spent more time at that coffee shop than he'd ever be likely to admit, the cutie. xD

Thanks for reading and commenting! ^_^

Love ... love ... love
hunhan is love

Oh God! The ending was so asdgkdlhjflhdj CUTE! >///<
I thought it would be so angsty that I should prepare tissues. ;u;
That was great! Thanks for shared~

QAQ I was so scared this was gonna be a permanent breakup but hAPPY ENDING CRIES HAPPY TEARS THANK YOU

YOU'RE WELCOME <3 <3 <3
Not gonna lie, I love me some angst fic, but happy endings are just really nice sometimes, aren't they? Especially when they're not all that expected. Because life is like this! Sometimes things really do just magically seem to work out. ^^
Anyway, thank you for reading! Glad you enjoyed it~ ^^

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