Pairings: Kris/Lay, Xiumin/Lu Han
Genre: Blade Runner!AU, Sci-Fi, Angst, Romance
Rating: PG - 13
Summary: In a dystopic future, the line between human and replicant is drawn solely by the experience of emotion. Except, that is, if you know the right place to look. Wu Fan is a replicant hiding from the law, blending in to humanity by taking pills which stimulate emotion. And then he meets Yixing.
Disclaimer: I do not own EXO or Blade Runner.
A/N: This is based off the universe in Ridley Scott’s film 'Blade Runner' but many aspects are changed so it may not be completely accurate. You do not need to have watched Blade Runner to read this.
Translations; Vietnamese part 1 part 2
It is almost midday but it is still dark; the sun struggles to pass through the dense cloud of ash and dust that hangs over the city. Wu Fan slips into a loose white shirt, leaving the buttons undone, and sits down in the chair beside the window. A siren sounds from below, a red light zooming past and he flinches; it is an automatic reaction now. His apartment floor is so high up that is near impossible to see the roads below, instead he is surrounded by other monstrous buildings all vainly attempting to touch the sky. Sometimes, he wonders if there even is a sky left.
It’s a desolate view and it should perhaps fill him with despair – but it doesn’t, he feels nothing.
Wu Fan runs a hand through his hair and stands up, walking over to the bathroom sink. He sighs and leans against it, picking up one of the containers that line the ridge under the mirror and clicks it open. He takes out two white pills flecked with colour and pops them into his mouth, pausing a moment before swallowing, eyes closing as he does so.
It’s a flood of emotion so overwhelming that he clenches his fingers around the edge of the sink, his body quivering for a few seconds until the feeling subsides.
He looks up, meeting his own gaze in the mirror past the haze of dirt which spreads in from the corners. He blinks and the eyes in the mirror blink back, dark lashes brushing against his cheek.
He reaches a hand out, brushing his fingertips against the reflection before letting his hand fall back beside him.
It’s time to go.
It’s darker on the bottom – less light filters through to the old streets.
He walks quickly to the subway, ignoring a crying boy on the side of the road asking for money. The boy throws himself forward, awkwardly since his arms are missing, amputated cleanly from his body. Wu Fan feels a slight stab of disgust – they do it to themselves, they sell parts of their own body for money and then ask for more. It’s sickening.
A street vender on the side on the road yells out to him, the smell of something roasting drifting over. His stomach rumbles so Wu Fan pulls out a protein bar – it should get him to work at least.
The train arrives just as he gets on to the platform; he always does time it perfectly. He is about to step on to it when somebody knocks into him. Wu Fan instinctively reaches out – it’s probably a thief – and his hand catches on the man’s shirt. Their eyes meet and Wu Fan realises he is mistaken – with clothes like that, there is no way this man is a thief. The man offers a short apology and hurries off quickly.
“Wait!” Wu Fan calls, but his voice is lost beneath the crowd, “You forgot your ID.”
Wu Fan bends down and picks it up, “Zhang Yixing” it reads beside a photo of the man’s unsmiling face. He sighs and glances at the train and then out into the crowd into which Yixing disappeared. He flicks the ID a few times as the announcer warns the doors to the train are about to close.
Sometimes, he thinks he is too nice – perhaps he should have only taken one pill this morning.
He grits his teeth and begins to run back to where he came from, the crowd swarming around him. It shouldn’t be too hard to find Yixing, the ID offers all of the information about him that is readily available: his date of birth, his heritage, his current employment status – all down to relationships. It says he works at one of the ministry buildings – the Ministry for Technology - which explains the expensive clothes Wu Fan thinks.
The Ministry for Technology is one of the tallest buildings in Wu Fan’s district and is the only ministry building to be so far from the inner city. It doesn’t take him too long to make his way there – he knows the shortcuts fairly well, he’s been hiding here for at least two years now.
Inside, the building is all glass and platinum silver. White corridors snake their way around hundreds, thousands, of rooms. He feels uneasy – it’s a feeling he isn’t used to, so it is intensified. He flicks the ID at the lady at the front desk who glances at it and waves him through.
A person walks up to him and bows offering a shaky smile, “How are you going sir, would you like me to help you?”
It’s one of them Wu Fan realises – one of him – and he backs away, anxiety pressing against his chest.
“No I’m fine,” he says: measured. He wonders if the replicant knows.
The replicant nods and walks off to find another person to talk to. Wu Fan only realises then that his heart is beating unusually fast and he breathes deep through his nose. He looks around having no idea where he is and thinks perhaps he should have asked for directions or for which department Yixing works in but he doesn’t have to think about it for very long as he sees a familiar head a few metres away, slipping into a lab coat.
Wu Fan hurries over, “Excuse me sir, but you dropped this at the subway this morning.”
Yixing glances at him and for a second, his eyes are filled with mistrust but when he sees what Wu Fan is holding he inhales sharply. He takes it quickly from Wu Fan and slips it into the top pocket of his shirt, under the coat.
“Thank you so much,” he whispers, relief flooding his features. Wu Fan can understand this – identification is crucial, without it you don’t exist, and if the society finds you without your ID, they have the authority to eliminate you.
Wu Fan smiles tightly at him, “It’s not a problem.”
He turns and walks away throwing a glance at his watch – his work shift started an hour ago, they would not be happy.
The next morning he only takes one white pill, it will be enough for today he thinks.
He smiles a little as he gets to the subway on time again – he has it timed down to almost the exact minute.
There is a flurry of movement and Wu Fan sees Yixing in the crowd. He lifts a hand in a curt wave and Yixing seems a bit surprised but waves back. Almost immediately though, he is lost amongst the bodies.
Today it’s one white pill and one yellow pill.
He gets to the subway on time - the doors open and there is a swarm of people who push to get out and push to get in, a fluctuating mass of arms and legs and bodies. Wu Fan steps back and waits patiently and he lets out a small grunt as someone is pushed into him.
A familiar face looks at him and a smile spreads across those lips.
Wu Fan laughs a bit; incredulous. “Hello Yixing.” He holds him steady by his shoulders as people brush around them. “I’m Wu Fan by the way.”
Yixing just stands there for a moment watching him. Wu Fan feels those dark eyes search his soul and yet he can’t seem to break their gaze.
“I have to catch this train sorry.” Yixing nods and steps away from him.
“Thanks again,” Yixing voice calls out as the doors to the train close. Wu Fan turns and offers him a small smile before Yixing disappears behind the empty darkness of the tunnel.
Wu Fan turns around to Yixing sitting on the ground of the subway watching him. Wu Fan frowns a little in confusion and Yixing gets up.
“I got the earlier train,” he says. There is a pause. “I wanted to see you.”
Wu Fan feels a rush of wind as his train screeches to a halt in the tunnel and he brushes a strand of hair away from his eyes. Yixing’s eyes move over to the train before flicking back to Wu Fan. He steps forward, close enough so that their shoulders touch and he brushes his hand against Wu Fan’s, pressing something into his fingers.
“Have a good day,” he says quietly and breezes past. Wu Fan watches him leave before he uncurls his fist to find a note with what assumedly is Yixing’s handwriting.
It’s his number.
He debates calling Yixing for almost two hours. He sits at his window - the darkness spreading through is room is only interrupted by the occasional weak lamp. The phone sits on his lap untouched and his fingers trace the numbers on the note. It would be ridiculous to call; not only is Yixing a human, but Yixing works with replicants; it’s almost like voluntarily giving himself up. He has to remain conspicuous and this may possibly be the worst thing he could do.
The phone beeps through.
“Hello?” Yixing’s answers and Wu Fan can hear the exhaustion that laces his voice. There is a pause where Wu Fan is about to disconnect but he pushes on.
“It’s Wu Fan.”
There is the sound of movement on the other side. “Wu Fan? Oh, are you busy tonight?”
Wu Fan panics for a second; it’s much too soon but he answers, “No.”
Yixing clears his throat, “Okay, then meet me at the subway in an hour.”
The phone clicks and Wu Fan has to take a moment to process all of that before he quickly gets to his feet. He flicks the bathroom light on and it buzzes to life. He splashes water on his face and slips into a plain white shirt and jeans, combing his hair once. He is about to leave when his eyes pass over the bottles on his shelf and he leans forward, picking one of them up and unscrewing the lid. He glances at himself in the mirror and clenches his teeth – he probably has enough time.
He walks quickly along the street noticing the slick pavement and puddles – it must have rained. He stops at a streetlight and turns down an alleyway. It looks cold, but he doesn’t feel it. He reaches a man sitting on the ground by a small lamp, head of curls and a wide smile on his face which doesn’t seem to reach his eyes.
“Hello blondie,” the man giggles and stands up and he is even taller than Wu Fan. He sways a bit and coughs, smile faltering for a moment before he pops two yellow pills into his mouth. His grin widens.“What are you here for?”
Wu Fan leans back as the other leans closer, eyes glazed.
“I need some more,” he says and the man laughs, and doesn’t stop laughing until tears are running down his cheeks.
“I’ve missed you blondie,” he says and pokes him in the chest. “I have a few new ones; did you want to try Jealousy or Empathy? Or just the usual Multi-Pill?”
Wu Fan shakes his head and pushes the man away. “Just the usual but also,” he pauses and inhales, “I also want some Love.” The man’s eyes widen – he supposes it would seem rather comical if he didn’t look so manic.
“Love? Oh, is it a human!?” he squeaks excitedly. Wu Fan hums and patiently waits for the man to find the right pills in his bags.
“Love can be intense so I would only take one a day – it should be enough to keep up with their feelings at least.” He rustles through his bags, pulling out a few bottles. “You know I’ve been losing customers, the Blade Runners are getting better. But some humans come here now too which is good for business I suppose. They’re all after Happiness - just like me!” he says and giggles again, slipping another yellow pill into his mouth. Wu Fan can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him and when the man reaches over to transfer the pills and take Wu Fan’s money, Wu Fan closes his fingers around his hand for a moment.
“Don’t take too many okay?” He says softly and the man blinks and Wu Fan swears he sees a flicker of life in his eyes before they glaze over again and the man laughs.
“You can never have too much happiness!”
Wu Fan inwardly disagrees as he slips the plastic bags into his pocket.
He takes a red pill on the way, swallowing it without the need for water. Yixing is waiting for him when he gets there. The subway has an eerie atmosphere at night after the thrums of people have long gone. There are still a few who wait for trains, a few who walk around but it feels strangely empty and lifeless.
Yixing doesn’t look up until Wu Fan is standing right in front of him but when he does; his lips pull into a smile. He looks unsure and Wu Fan feels a wave of affection wash over him – the pill must be working already. Yixing tugs at the scarf around his neck and licks his lips.
“Ah, there might be a restaurant still-”
Wu Fan leans forward and kisses him, feeling a shiver as Yixing gasps against his lips. He wonders if his lips are warm too, if they are soft like Yixing’s.
Yixing’s apartment is so much nicer than his; the windows are clean, the bathroom is made of porcelain and the lights are bright. But his memory of the place is vague – instead it is the hot kisses along his jaw, the trembling fingers, the thrusting of hips that he remembers vividly.
Yixing is clumsy and a little desperate and Wu Fan supposes he must be too – desperate, that is – because he wouldn’t normally risk so much for so little. When Yixing tangles his fingers in his hair and screams and Wu Fan feels explosions of heat everywhere, he forgets for a moment what he is.
As Yixing falls asleep, legs entangled with Wu Fan’s, the ghost of a smile on his face, Wu Fan feels a slight tug at his heart and wishes he could etch this image onto his brain. Instead though, he slips out from beneath the sheets, carefully untangling their legs, before pulling his clothes back on.
“Good night Yixing,” he whispers as he closes the door tight behind him.
It’s a few days before he calls Yixing again.
“Hey it’s Wu Fan.”
“Tonight at ten?”
It becomes a regular, irregular sort of relationship. Wu Fan calls and Yixing waits. There isn’t much of a space for relationships in their world, at least, not those that involve feelings. The sex is nice, good even, but they both know at the end of the night Wu Fan will leave and Yixing will wait.
The arrangement is perfect.
It shocks Wu Fan then when one night Yixing moans his name with such evident and raw emotion.
“I love you,” he whispers against Wu Fan’s lips.
Wu Fan thinks his heart stops.
It takes a few more days for Wu Fan to call back but it’s an addiction now, he can’t stop.
Yixing sounds even more exhausted if that’s possible, answering with a weak, “Hello?”
“It’s Wu Fan.”
He can only hear Yixing’s breathing for a moment before, “Let’s go out tonight instead.”
Wu Fan frowns.
“Okay, where should I meet you?”
“Same as usual.”
Yixing is dressed in tight jeans and a black jacket when Wu Fan reaches the subway. He smiles at Wu Fan, “Let’s go eat dinner.” Wu Fan nods, still a little unsure what he is doing – their arrangement had been perfect as it was. He starts as he feels something against his hand and he looks down, seeing Yixing link their fingers together. Yixing smiles at him and Wu Fan thinks it’s beautiful. He has never really understood beauty until this point; why people found trees so beautiful, why they thought stars were pretty – it was a concept lost on him.
But this – this –is beauty; and he thinks he understands now.
Yixing takes him to a fairly nice but out of the way restaurant, pressed into a little alley and all lit up with fairy lights. There are enough people inside to keep up a pleasant hum of noise but not enough to be too crowded. It’s kind of funny, Wu Fan thinks as he watches Yixing’s fingers play with the corner of his menu, how nervous he is. It’s so very sweet, and so very human. Yixing sees him watching and smiles –albeit shyly – back at him.
They don’t have sex that night but Wu Fan isn’t that disappointed. Yixing kisses him deeply and pulls away almost regretfully, letting his hands fall before turning and disappearing into the darkness.
It’s nice really.
Wu Fan lays awake in bed in the morning, the weak sunlight struggling to reach his face. He blinks at the ceiling and black dots spark around his eyes. He wonders what love is – he wonders if he feels the same way as Yixing. He supposes he doesn’t; what he feels is only an imitation of emotion, it couldn’t begin to even scratch at the surface of true emotion. He sighs and rolls over, letting himself fall back asleep.
“Do you think replicants are real?”
Wu Fan traces a finger along Yixing’s abdomen, feeling the skin shiver beneath him.
Yixing laughs and leans forward, kissing his jaw. “You always ask the strangest things,” he murmurs.
Wu Fan presses himself closer and snakes an arm around Yixing’s hip. “Do you?” he repeats.
Yixing blinks at him and Wu Fan sees the answer before he hears it.
“Of course not. I make them, I know they aren’t real.”
Wu Fan pulls Yixing into a deep kiss, desperate to block his words from his mind; but it does nothing stop his heart from shattering to pieces.
Yixing gets off work at five in the afternoon.
“What are you doing here?”
Wu Fan shrugs and folds his arms, “I was just walking by.” Which is a lie since he’s been waiting by the gutter for almost three hours now. Yixing is clearly unconvinced but doesn’t question him further. He starts to walk, clearly expecting Wu Fan to follow him, which he does.
“Do you want a coffee?”
Yixing smiles at him and Wu Fan nods.
“There’s a shop just up the road.” He turns his gaze straight ahead but his hand reaches out and curls around Wu Fan’s own.
Wu Fan feels a spread of warmth from Yixing’s fingers and he shivers because it’s such a nice feeling. It disappears almost immediately though as he notices the road block up ahead. He tenses and Yixing must be able to feel it because he turns to him quickly, eyebrows creasing in worry.
“Nothing.” Wu Fan wonders if he could run but he supposes it’s too late now, it would just arouse suspicion.
Yixing squeezes his fingers, “It’s okay, just a random check. They’ll let us go quickly.”
Wu Fan forces himself to breathe evenly; he took his pills, they shouldn’t know. A Blade Runner walks up to him, his hat tilted arrogantly and smirk playing on his lips.
“Just a routine check boys,” he says with a slight drawl. Yixing lets go of Wu Fan’s hand and stands obediently as the Blade Runner attaches the portable Voight-Kampff machine onto his wrist and holds a small camera against his eye.
He hasn’t been checked for almost a few months now – the routine checks operate all the time, randomly allocated to different areas to search out any stray runaway replicants. The questions are designed to test levels of emotion, something which replicants lack – the only thing replicants lack.
The Blade Runner only asks five questions to Yixing – Wu Fan thinks they must be getting lazy by this time of the day – and then he turns to Wu Fan.
“Hand,” he says and Wu Fan offers him his wrist. The sticky pads feel itchy on his skin and he can feel the slide of his heart rate as it increases. The Blade Runner blinks at him and shoves the camera against his eye.
“What is your name?”
“Your ID number?”
“Who are your parents?”
“My parents are dead.”
The machine whirs a little louder and the Blade Runner clears his throat.
“What is your relationship with this man?”
Wu Fan freezes – he was not expecting this. The Blade Runner watches him carefully as the machine makes little clicking noises. He can feel Yixing trying not to look but can see his eyes dart over.
“He is- he is my boyfriend.” Wu Fan feels himself blush uncharacteristically because he feels so vulnerable as he says those words.
The Blade Runner snorts and pulls the camera away from his eye. “Disgusting,” he mutters under his breath. Wu Fan just stands there, body stiff. The Blade Runner sneers at him, “You can go now, you’re clear” and Yixing bows gratefully before reaching for Wu Fan’s hand, dragging him away. Wu Fan silently thanks a god he doesn’t believe in and the pills that he does. It’s nothing short of a miracle that the Blade Runners haven’t caught on to him yet.
As they get around the corner, Wu Fan is suddenly pushed against the wall, the bricks pressing painfully into his back but he doesn’t care because Yixing is kissing him and oh- it’s so good. A tongue is pushed into his mouth and fingers twist in his hair and when Yixing pulls away, panting hot against his cheek Wu Fan feels a little dazed.
“Why,” he breathes.
“Because I’m your boyfriend,” he says with a smile.
Yixing kisses him again until he can’t breathe.
They intensify, these “emotions” of his, swirling around his heart, overwhelming him with affection. He find that the first thought he has in the morning is of Yixing, and he is the last thing on Wu Fan’s mind before he falls asleep. He wants nothing more than to spend every moment of his day with Yixing because Yixing helps him to forget.
“You know I love you right?”
Wu Fan nods and leans his forehead against Yixing’s.
“Yes,” he whispers, breath ghosting over Yixing’s lips.
The first time Wu Fan invites Yixing back to his house, he knows it’s a bad idea and yet he does it anyway because it’s Yixing and he has this overwhelming desire to offer every aspect of himself to the other man. Maybe living in isolation has that effect eventually.
Yixing doesn’t comment on his rundown apartment but Wu Fan can see the way his eyes flicker around the room, the little flash of sadness that skirts across those pupils. Instead he just pulls Wu Fan closer and kisses him, softly at first, intimate; but then it gets deeper and heated and soon Yixing is arching against the hips that straddle his.
Wu Fan wakes too early the next morning, his brain numb with warm happiness. He rolls onto his side and watches as Yixing breathes, his bare chest rising and falling slowly. His eyes flutter and Wu Fan wonders what he dreams about, if his dreams are happy. Wu Fan reaches out hand and brushes his thumb along Yixing’s cheek as Yixing lets out a long sigh and his lips curve at the edges. Wu Fan smiles in return and feels his heart swell with an intensity of happiness he’s never felt before. He slides out from beneath the sheets, stretching his back before slipping into a pair of loose pants that had been carelessly thrown over the dressing table the night before.
He gets up, padding across the floor as quietly as he can, not wishing to wake Yixing. He flicks the bathroom light on and sniffles a bit because its cold and his nose has become numb. He reaches out and picks up a pill bottle, unscrewing the lid quickly. There is a pause and his eyes widen.
There are none left.
Wu Fan’s hands are shaking as he tips the bottle all the way and yet nothing falls onto his outstretched palm. A bubble of hysteria rises in his throat and he glances at Yixing asleep on his bed, his naked body face down and a sheet thrown haphazardly over his legs.
Wu Fan breathes deep because he is beginning to feel hot now. He starts to open every single bottle in the hope that one might house a pleasant surprise. He has blue ones left, a scatter of green and a single yellow – but these aren’t what he needs. It’s in the last bottle that he finally finds what he has been looking for and scoops out the single red pill. He smiles, relief flooding his body and on a whim, decides to take out the yellow one too.
“What are you doing?”
Wu Fan starts, the pills almost falling from his hand. He spins quickly to see Yixing leaning against the doorframe, eyes still rimmed with sleep and his hair falling over his face. He is so beautiful, Wu Fan thinks.
Yixing’s eyes dart down to his hand and his smile falters a little. He walks forward but Wu Fan can’t move as Yixing picks up one of the pills – the red one – and brings it up to one of his eyes.
He hums, “This looks like one of those Emotion Pills.” His eyes flicker up to Wu Fan and seeing the terrified look on the other man’s face, he inhales sharply and he backs away.
“Oh my god it is. You-”
Wu Fan steps forward, “Yixing it’s not like it looks please-”
“You’re a replicant? What the fuck! You don’t feel anything for me – you aren’t even human!” His mouth has twisted in a sneer but Wu Fan is shocked to see tears prick at the corners of his eyes.
“No, it’s not like that!”
“Yixing pushes him away forcefully, “Like hell it isn’t!”
He swings a fist and hits Wu Fan directly in the mouth and Wu Fan hears something crack – he hopes it’s not his jaw, jaws cost so much to be re-wired. It’s not though – its Yixing’s hand which is now bleeding and raw and Yixing glares at him, the animosity in his eyes radiating through Wu Fan as he cradles his broken and bloody fist.
“Fuck you,” he says quietly, words dripping with venom. “You’re not even real.”
Yixing turns and walks away, grabbing his jacket and shoes off the floor before he slams the door behind him.
Wu Fan stands there for a moment, blinking into space, those words echoing in his mind.
“I love you,” he says quietly and is surprised when he realises he actually means it.
The red pill lays discarded on the floor.