Word Count 4,947 (including bonus chapter)
Pairings Baekyeol, Kaisoo
Summary [office!au] Twelve guys and one software startup. Baekhyun’s that new guy, Chanyeol's the guy who falls for the new guy, Kyungsoo has pedo problems, Junmyeon's the oblivious CEO, Kris is the cutthroat CFO, Yixing’s out to get more vacation time, Tao’s a receptionist (sorta), Minseok is a closeted romantic, Jongin’s the intern that actually does stuff, Sehun’s the intern that doesn’t, and Luhan and Jongdae just like messing around.
|| prologue | episode 1 ||
| shared space blues |
As a recent college student, Baekhyun prides himself in the ability to work under a variety of conditions.
For instance, there was that one time he pulled an all-nighter for a midterm while his suitemates threw a party, flipping through econ and philosophy as dubstep beats drummed through the paper-thin walls, stopping only to get up and throw out the occasional drunken couple that would sloppily burst through his door.
And there was that one time he wrote an essay through a drug-ring bust, typing paragraph after paragraph about how the Romans' usage of aqueducts mirrored the rise and fall of the empire through wailing sirens and frantic yells.
But somehow incessant dull pounding sound coming from the hallway is really starting to grate on his nerves. He ignores it for a few more minutes before popping his head out of his office.
Minseok’s there in the hallway, arms crossed, head tilted, and eyes squinted at a sheet of printer paper attached to the wall.
“What are you doing?” Baekhyun shuffles down the hall and peeks over Minseok’s shoulder.
“Putting this map of the office up,” Minseok cocks his head to the other side and squints. “Do you think it’s level?”
Baekhyun studies it for a second before realizing he really doesn’t care. “Yeah it’s level.”
“You didn’t even look,” Minseok objects and frames the map with his fingers.
“You’re right.” Baekhyun scans the room behind him, “Why do we need a map? You can see the whole office from here.”
“We don’t need one,” Minseok steps forward and attempts to adjust the sheet of paper. “I had some time, so I took it upon myself to make one.”
“You don’t have much work, do you,” Baekhyun squints at the map again. Something’s off.
“Nope,” Minseok over adjusts the sheet of paper and tugs on the other side.
“I’ve always wondered, how does one decide to enter technical writing,” Baekhyun asks, examining the sheet. It’s not the names, everyone’s there.
“I majored in English, haven’t gotten any publishers to take my manuscripts, didn’t feel like working at a coffee shop or teaching high school kids at a low wage,” Minseok gives one last tug and smiles. He crosses his arms again as he admires his handiwork, “”I was in the same frat as Kris, so he decided to help me out.”
“Ah interesting.” Baekhyun’s eyes drift to the top of the paper, and suddenly he realizes what’s wrong. “Why didn’t you use a thumb tack?”
“Tao was too stingy. He also wouldn’t let me use the tape.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you used nails,” Baekhyun eyes the hammer nestled in Minseok’s arm. “For a piece of printer paper.”
“I bought a lot of stuff from IKEA recently,” Minseok lazily lifts the hammer. “So this was just lying around.”
“Er, okay,” Baekhyun looks at the 4-inch long nails lying innocuously on the ground. “Also, aren’t those nails kind of long for the width of the wall?”
“Whose office is on the other side?”
“Hmm?” Minseok bends down and scoops up the nails. “Oh, I think it’s Junmyeon’s.”
“I’m like 90 percent sure.”
“Isn’t that a bad thing?”
“Hey guys,” Junmyeon cautiously leans out of his doorframe, visibly upset.
Minseok looks at Junmyeon then back at Baekhyun, “Ahh, see I was right.”
“Hey guys,” Junmyeon tries again. “Why is there a nail through my high school diploma? It wasn’t there like five minutes ago.”
“The real question should be why are you hanging up your high school diploma,” Minseok apathetically shrugs. “You graduated like four years ago.”
Minseok shoulders his hammer and wanders back to his office. Baekhyun is left there alone in the middle of the hallway, a little more than bewildered.
Junmyeon stares pleadingly at Baekhyun.
“I think maybe you should give him more work,” Baekhyun lightly suggests. He turns his back on Junmyeon’s kicked puppy expression and slides back to his office, wondering why he feels a bit guilty.
Luhan sighs contentedly into his mug of coffee. He has a thing for instant, maybe it’s the simplicity, maybe it’s the sharp taste. Either way, he’s the only one in office who can chug it down, and there are always wholesale sized containers just for his taking.
He’s so engrossed in his drink that he almost doesn’t notice the flash on Jongdae’s screen just as he passes Jongdae’s cubicle. But he does, and so Luhan takes a sip of his coffee, craftily grins, and silently sneaks up behind Jongdae.
“I saw that,” Luhan creepily breaths over Jongdae’s shoulder.
“Holy ,” Jongdae violently flinches and spins around to face Luhan. “I hate it when you do that.”
Luhan laughs for a little bit before pulling a mock-somber expression. “What are you hiding?”
“Uh,” Jongdae furrows his brows. “What?”
“I saw you minimize something,” Luhan leans a hand against the edge of Jongdae’s chair. “You can tell me what you’re hiding.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell Kris. Or Junmyeon,” Luhan looks down at his cup and swirls his coffee. “Not that Junmyeon would really do anything.”
“What wouldn’t I do?” Junmyeon pokes his head over the divider, propping his chin on his fingers.
Luhan doesn’t even turn around. “Nothing, you can go away.”
Junmyeon stalls before he lets out a small whine, “As the CEO, I don’t feel like I’m being apprecia-”
“Please go away.”
“If I was Kris-”
“You’re not Kris.”
“If he were here-”
“But he’s not. He’s away on a sales call with Chanyeol.”
Junmyeon bites his lip before finally sighing, “Okay. Also I wanted to tell you our bi-weekly team bonding session is going to be combined with a welcome party lunch outing thing for Baekhyun on Friday, so bring change. We’re going to that cash-only noodle house down the block.”
“Cool, thanks,” Luhan waves as Junmyeon slips off. “As I was saying-”
“Yeah, no. I’m not concerned about Kris knowing,” Jongdae mutters as he types an email. “I am, however, concerned with knowing. So I’m saving myself the pain.”
“I won't judge. Every healthy guy enjoys porn,” Luhan rubs his nose. “Well maybe not at 1 pm on a work computer, so you might actually have a problem, but-”
“Wait...what?” Jongdae swivels around to face Luhan.
“It’s porn right? You’re watching porn, so you hid it.”
“It’s not porn,” Jongdae turns back to his computer.
Luhan raises an eyebrow as he takes another swig of coffee, “What is it then Jongdae, child porn?”
“No, I just said it wasn’t porn. How could it be child porn,” Jongdae hisses. “What is it with you and porn-”
Sehun peeks over the divider and loudly laughs, “Did you thay JONGDAE and CHILD PORN?”
Jongin looks across the aisle, “Jongdae watches child porn?”
Kyungsoo looks a little more than horrified, “You’re into child pornography?
“Wait, ” Jongdae protests.
Tao shoots a judging glare at Jongdae from across the room while Yixing shakes his head in disgust, “Gross Jongdae.”
“No I don’t, I’m not, no, no, no ” Jongdae raises his voice. “Luhan just assumed that I watch child porn-”
“You watch child porn?” Baekhyun sticks his head out of his doorway just as Kris and Chanyeol saunter through the front door.
“Who watches child porn?” Chanyeol’s wide eyes grow wider as he looks to Baekhyun.
“Apparently Jongdae does,” Baekhyun points with his index finger. Minseok looks like he's about to hurl.
“WHAT THE FUCK, I DO NOT-”
“Jongdae,” Kris shakes his head condescendingly as he slings his jacket over his shoulder. “I thought you were better than that.”
“I. DO. NOT. FUCKING. WATCH. CHILD. PORN,” Jongdae screams at the top of his lungs.
The entire office falls silent. Jongdae wildly pants as he frantically scans the office, throwing accusatory glares at each of his co-workers.
“Wow. Okay. Calm down soldier,” Luhan throws a hand up and takes another sip of coffee. “Could have just said so.”
Jongdae just stares incredulously at Luhan for a moment before letting out a small cry and burying his head in his palms.
As the office resumes activity, Luhan lays a hand on Jongdae’s shoulder, “So...what is it?”
Jongdae lets out a groan before muttering into his hands, “Why do you so fixated on this.”
“Uhh,” Luhan looks up at the ceiling. “I dunno. Curiosity?”
Jongdae lets out another groan before mumbling, “S’parkelot.”
Jongdae lifts his head from his hands, and clicks on a minimized window on his desktop toolbar. A security camera feed of the parking lot pops open, showing the early afternoon sun beaming over the swaying trees and the rows of glimmering cars.
Jongdae bangs his head against the desk, “It’s a fucking live feed of the parking lot.”
“Wait, that’s it?” Luhan scratches his head.
“Yes. It is just a fucking live video of the parking lot. Not porn.”
Sehun pokes his head over the divider again, “DID YOU SAY PO-”
“DON’T YOU START AGAIN,” Jongdae roars as he flings a notebook at Sehun’s face.
“I’m very tempted to say ‘lame,’” Luhan sighs as Sehun slowly sinks back down, rubbing his nose bridge. “Damn, I thought you were more interesting than this.”
“I’m stuck in the middle of a cube farm, blocked off from all natural light, hacking away and staring at nothing more than two 17-inch screens for a nine-hour shift,” Jongdae slowly lowers his head until his forehead touches the surface of the desk. “Sometimes I like to open the security feed to have a fleeting, artificial glimpse at outside world. It’s one of my only sources of happiness.”
“...that is the single most depressing thing I’ve heard all day.”
“Thanks,” Jongdae mumbles, rolling his head away from Luhan.
He lies in that position while Luhan stands behind him, eyes locked on the screen, drumming his fingers against the edge of Jongdae’s chair. After a moment, Jongdae peeks up at Luhan. “Why are you still here?”
Luhan tips back his mug, letting the last drops of coffee slowly drip into his mouth. He wipes his lips lethargically with the back of his hand, gazing fixedly at the sun winking through security feed.
“The outside world,” Luhan says almost dreamily, leaning a leg against the back of Jongdae’s chair. “You’re right, seeing it is actually kind of nice.”
| bets: part ii |
“Uh, huh, fascinating,” Kris nods at Tao.
“I know right? The Gucci Spring Collection was phenomenal.”
Jongin, staring at his watch, flashes 20 with his fingers, and Sehun rolls his eyes and drops a ten dollar bill behind Tao.
“...You know what you should try? The Brogue Oxford shoe. I notice that you wear a lot of black and it would really match...”
Jongin flashes 24, and Kyungsoo sighs and tosses a crumpled twenty onto the desk
“...it’s the logo that really draws people in. The twin Gs, the juxtaposition, the mirroring...”
Jongin flashes 30, and Baekhyun and Chanyeol give twin groans before tossing in $15 each. Kris looks over Tao’s shoulder and grins at the onlookers, sticking out the tip of his tongue between his teeth.
“Then there’s the classiness...” Tao trails off, realizing that Kris’ attention is focused behind him.
“Is this getting boring for you,” Tao looks a bit worried.
“Huh? What? No, it’s utterly fascinating,” Kris shakes his head quickly, snapping his attention back to Tao. “Keep going.”
Jongin flashes 34 and Yixing flings a ten onto the desk.
“Okay,” Tao brightens with a smile and launches into an analysis of Gucci’s latest line of belts.
“Hey thanks for that,” Kris claps Tao on the shoulder and inconspicuously reaches behind him to scoop up his winnings.
“No, thank you. I really needed to sort out my thoughts about Gucci’s spring collection.”
“Hmmm?” Kris looks up from counting the bills, midway between a clump of twenties and a five. “Oh, yeah, I guess for that too.”
Tao contorts his face into a mildly confused expression before shrugging it off and striding back to his desk.
“Let’s see, $112, $122, $142,” Kris leafs through the last bill before pocketing the stack. “Hehe, who’s good?”
Luhan hits his forehead with his palm as he marks another tally under Kris’ name.
“I cannot believe Tao talked about Gucci for 40 minutes straight,” Jongdae mutters. “What. How. Why.”
Luhan rubs his wallet against his cheek. “Shh, Baby don’t cry.”
“Uh...do you need something?” Baekhyun stops abruptly in the middle of the hallway and turns around to see Chanyeol behind him for the tenth time.
“Uhh, nope,” Chanyeol shakes his head.
“Er...okay,” Baekhyun scratches his head and resumes walking, acutely aware of Chanyeol trailing him.
“So what we’re going for is good enough quality for the consumers that it will tide them over until the next bug fix,” Junmyeon taps the glass surface of the conference room table. “Then you can test it more thoroughly over the next few weeks and we’ll release a patch in a month or so.”
“Okay,” Tao nods, propping his feet up on the surface. “Though it’s going to be tough considering you’re only giving me a week.”
“Get your feet off the table,” Kris stares at Tao. “Work quickly then.”
“You realize shit’s going to hit the fan if I find anything major,” Tao slides his feet up and sits up. “That’s less than 168 hours to find and fix things, assuming we never sleep.”
“There’s not a whole lot we can do about it, we’ve already delayed the release by two weeks,” Kris leans back in his chair. “Also all the engineers know that they’re going to be on call, so we’ll have them at our disposal 24/7.”
“Ugh, I hate late night hacking,” Luhan rubs his face.
“End of the cycle, you should know what to expect,” Kris shrugs. “You do get compensated, remember.”
“How much this time,” Yixing’s eyes light up.
“Enough,” Kris lazily closes his laptop. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Hey Junmyeon and Kris,” Baekhyun pokes his head through the door. “Can I catch up on the meeting late—oof,” Baekhyun grunts as Chanyeol runs into him from behind.
“Sorry!” Chanyeol springs back, waving his arms apologetically.
“No worries, but are you sure you don’t need anything?” Baekhyun eyes Chanyeol warily.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Chanyeol smiles a bit too widely.
“Okay,” Baekhyun looks at Chanyeol, unconvinced. He turns back to Kris and Junmyeon, “Yeah, I have to make that call right now.”
“Sure thing,” Kris waves him off.
“Cool, thanks,” Baekhyun pulls his head out and strides back down the hallway. Chanyeol trots after him, unfazed by the multiple confused glances Baekhyun throws over his shoulder.
“What was that about,” Luhan hides a laugh.
“Baekhyun’s coordinating a potential collaboration project with SHINee Applications,” Kris twiddles his thumbs. “Still hashing out the parameters, and they’re still deciding whether they’re interested.”
“No, no, not that,” Luhan watches as Chanyeol rounds the corner. “The other thing.”
“Oh, I told Chanyeol I’d let him off of going to that sales conference if he trailed Baekhyun for the entire day without telling him why,” Kris shuffled a stack of papers.
“Niiice, props,” Luhan pounds his fist against Kris’s extended one.
“Hey,” Junmyeon frowns worriedly. “We actually need him to go and network.”
“Yeah I know,” Kris says nonchalantly. “I wouldn’t worry; he’s going to give up soon. Chanyeol already knows Baekhyun is teetering between thinking he’s oddly endearing and fucking weird. Following through with this will tip him over the edge into the fucking weird pit.”
“Hmm, that’s true,” Junmyeon sighs. “Make him go either way though.”
“Will do,” Kris grins. “So anyway, back to the QA discussion...”
Baekhyun stops at his door, puts a hand on the knob, and pauses. He closes his eyes with a sigh and turns around, “Okay, I need to make a call now.”
“Okay,” Chanyeol cheerily grins.
“I get nervous when people watch me call. So can you just stay out here for the next...” Baekhyun pulls out his phone to check the time,”ten minutes?”
“Er...” Chanyeol shifts awkwardly.
“I don’t know who put you up to following me,” Baekhyun put a finger to his lips and winks. “But I won’t tell anyone you weren't with me the entire time.”
Chanyeol wrings his hands behind his back and looks to the side.
“Just ten minutes,” Baekhyun clasps his hands together. “I’ll treat you to lunch afterwards as thanks. Though you’ll have to drive since we took your car today.”
“It’s a date then,” Baekhyun smiles as he slips through the door.
Stunned, Chanyeol stands frozen in the hallway, wide eyes staring at the door as Baekhyun pulls it shut.
“Hey man, you just lost,” Kris stops at Chanyeol’s side, arms folded. “Start preparing for that conference.”
“Yeah, actually I’m okay with that,” Chanyeol says in astonishment. “Because I think I just scored a date in exchange.”
“Yeah. He said it himself,” Chanyeol says distantly. “Well, I mean I’m pretty sure he meant it like, ‘it’s a deal,’ but whatever. I’ll think of it as a date.”
“Okay, congrats then. Kinda. ” Kris shoves his hands into his pockets. “Also, I wanted to let you know that you may be called to give a seminar. The coordinators want to put a workshop for startups and I nominated you. You know, for PR purposes. We need to start getting EXO’s name out there.”
“Sure, whatever, but I have to get ready for something more important right now,” Chanyeol absentmindedly pats Kris’ chest as he takes a step down the hall. “You take care of yourself old man.”
“The conference is in three weeks, that is less time than you think,” Kris calls after Chanyeol.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll get you an outline by tomorrow,” Chanyeol raises an arm in acknowledgement without turning around.
“And the fuck? I’m only older by two years. That’s not that old, right?” Kris mutters to himself as he checks his reflection in the window.
“This cereal tastes really stale,” Jongdae wrinkles his nose as he swings a spoon between his fingers. “Like really stale.”
“It’s probably just you,” Minseok curls a few fingers around his mug.
“Hmm,” Jongdae lifts the box and peers at the bottom just as Kyungsoo paces in.
“So?” Minseok asks.
“It expired a year ago,” Jongdae says as he digs his spoon in and shovels another bite into his mouth.
“Gross,” Luhan grimaces.
“No, this would be gross,” Jongdae flicks his spoon at Luhan, and a few drops of milk hit his face.
“You bastard, they’re both gross,” Luhan wipes his face on Jongdae’s sleeve. “You can have the milk back.”
“Sigh,” Kyungsoo flops dejectedly into the chair next to Luhan.
“Did you...” Luhan trails off as he looks from Minseok to Jongdae and back to Minseok. “Did you just say sigh?”
“Yeah,” Kyungsoo actually sighs. “Sorry, picked it up from my friends.”
“Er...okay then,” Luhan nods slowly, brows furrowed. “What’s up with you? It’s like 4pm and Jongin’s almost here. You’re usually like exuding giggles and rainbows and shit.”
Kyungsoo suddenly sits up, “Wait you can tell?”
“Oh,” Kyungsoo hesitates. “Can I ask you a question? I kind of...have a problem.”
“Have you ever felt attracted to your intern?”
Jongdae chokes as Luhan scoots back enough to squint down the hall. Sehun is leaning against the fax machine, giggling (like a retard, Luhan notes) at a text. Luhan scoots back in and turns to face Kyungsoo, “uh.”
“I guess it’s different. I don’t quite have a purely mentor-mentee relationship,” Kyungsoo buries his head in his arms.
“Oh yeah, you guys went to grade school together,” Jongdae flips his spoon towards Kyungsoo, dripping milk on the table. “You’ve like known each other for forever.”
“Dude, come on,” Luhan shoots Jongdae a glare as he throws a few tissues on the growing puddle.
“I haven’t seen him for a couple of years,” Kyungsoo picks at the vinyl tablecloth. “Then suddenly he shows up here, and it’s like, wow. He’s really attractive now.”
“Cute,” Jongdae wipes the table. “Did you bring him into the internship?”
“No,” Kyungsoo traces figure eights with his finger. “Like I said, I haven’t seen him for a couple years.”
“I heard from Kris that Jongin specifically asked to work under you though,” Minseok pipes in.
“Really? I doubt it, we’re not that close anymore.”
“So...if we get back to the problem,” Luhan scoots closer to Kyungsoo. “Maybe you should try get closer? Like actually talk to him and stuff.”
“I can’t. I already feel like a pedophile,” Kyungsoo mumbles.
“Okay,” Jongdae dumps the rest of his cereal and the tissues into the trash and flash rinses his bowl, quickly throwing it into the dish rack. He tugs on Minseok’s arm. “This is becoming a talk we can’t relate to. Or want to relate too. I think we’ll leave now.”
“No wait,” Minseok protests as Jongdae pulls him out of the room. “This seems interesting.”
“Well Jongin is in the post pubescent phase of life, so technically you’re not a pedophile,” Luhan supplies cheerfully. “Just go for it. You’re only two years apart, no one will care.”
Kyungsoo looks up hopefully, “really?”
“Nope,” Jongdae calls from the hallway. “Both I and the rest of society will still judge you.”
“I knew it,” Kyungsoo moans, covering his face again.
“Don’t listen to Jongdae,” Luhan places a hand on Kyungsoo’s shoulder. After making sure Kyungsoo isn’t looking, he shoots a glare at Jongdae and makes a cutting motion across his neck.
Jongdae just laughs, “I’m going to win.”
“Huh?” Kyungsoo mumbles.
“Ignore him,” Luhan mutters before mouthing to Jongdae I’m going to kill you.
[here] is Minseok's floor map in it's entirety. I included some trivia about their arrangements as well.
Also [here] is an explanation post for some of the references I've made in the past 3 chapters. If you don't get something, then it might be there.
Also, yes. I used MLK and porn in the same paragraph in a fanfiction. I will see myself out.
Holy crap, that was a long chapter for me. To the individuals that can churn out 10k+ stuff in a week, I salute you.