Word Count 5,929
Pairings Baekyeol, Kaisoo, Hunhan
Summary [office!au] Twelve guys and one software startup.
|| prologue | episode 1 | episode 2 • b | episode 3 • b ||
"Hey, happy first week," Junmyeon nudges Baekhyun.
"Thanks," Baekhyun taps his foot against the sidewalk. "You really didn't have do all of this though, treating everyone and everything."
"Naw, it's an EXO tradition of bringing new recruits out to lunch after their first week. Like a sort of right-of-passage, right Yixing?"
"Sure," Yixing snaps a twig with his foot. "But for mine you took us to McDonalds. What is this fancy noodle house shit?"
“Anyway...what do you think of the office?” Junmyeon leans against the window of the noodle house, raising his voice just over the rumble of restaurant chatter and the clink of bamboo against cheap china.
Baekhyun glances at Junmyeon, taking stock of his expectant smile. Then he looks behind him at the rest of the office, at Sehun who was attempting to engage Jongin in a play-fist-fight, at Kyungsoo who was watching with wide eyes, at Tao who was wandering around the parking lot and snapping selcas, at Luhan who was animatedly telling Jongdae, Minseok, Kris, and Yixing a story, bursts of wild laughter echoing off the building, at Chanyeol who stood at the fringe of the circle, and repeatedly stared at Baekhyun, eyes drifting towards his face until their eyes meet, then he quickly looks away, hair flopping forward just enough to shade his expression.
Baekhyun turns back to Junmyeon and his expectant smile, “Uhm, it’s interesting.”
“Interesting? How so?”
“Everyone’s...” Baekhyun looks back just in time to see Jongin dodge Sehun’s swing, swiftly sidestepping as Sehun lunges forward and trips over the sidewalk ledge. “...very unique.”
Minseok taps Luhan’s arm and points at Sehun sprawled on the ground. Luhan looks down, shaking his head and muttering intelligible words to Sehun as he gingerly picks himself up.
“Or maybe special,” Baekhyun watches as Luhan extends a hand towards Sehun and quickly retracts it just as Sehun is about to grasp it, laughing harder at his prank than a 22-year-old should. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Chanyeol’s eyes trained on him. “Special’s probably the more accurate word.”
“Kim, party of 12?” A waiter warily eyes the gaggle behind Junmyeon. “We have your table ready.”
“Awesome,”Junmyeon smiles and turns around, cupping his hands a round his mouth and hollering, “EXO, LET’S GO.”
“We can hear you,” Minseok winces. “We’re only a like a foot away.”
“Just making sure.”
“Hey,” Luhan tugs on Sehun’s and Yixing’s sleeves as they begin to file towards the door. “Are we still on for Stage 3 of Mission Blocking the Cock?”
“Mhmm,” Yixing hums as he watches Chanyeol inch his way towards Baekhyun. “I take the left, you guys take the right?”
“Yeah,” Luhan nods.
“Also, can you stop calling it Block the Cock?” Yixing mutters. “Because then I get an image of a literal cock being literally blocked.”
“Uh,” Luhan looks at Yixing, furrowing his brows. “I think envisioning penises is a different problem.”
“No, I mean like when you change the object-verb order to blocking the cock, it sounds like a dick is being stopped. As opposed to using the word cockblocking, which is like a figurative verb for blocking someone. You get it?”
“No I don’t. But fucking unique snowflakes, am I right?”
“Not interested,” Luhan winks at Yixing and slinks towards Chanyeol. “Autobots, roll out.”
“Hey buddy,” Luhan smiles as he sidles up against Chanyeol’s right side.
“Huh?” Chanyeol glances down.
“What’s up buddy,” Sehun smiles a similar smile as he sidles up against Chanyeol’s left side.
“Uh,” Chanyeol grunts as his eyes flick towards Baekhyun.
“What are you going to order today?” Luhan grins.
“No idea,” Chanyeol mutters distractedly, fidgeting as Yixing moves alongside Baekhyun and slings his arm around his shoulder.
“You don’t know?” Sehun gasps, tone fringing on mockingly, hands flying up to the sides of his face.
“Uh...no?” Chanyeol bites his lip as he watches Baekhyun smile and throw his arm around Yixing’s shoulder.
“Hey, we should help him,” Luhan latches his hand on Chanyeol’s arm just as Chanyeol takes a large step towards Baekhyun. “Let’s help out a friend.”
“Huh?” Chanyeol looks down at his arm. “Uh thanks, but I don’t need help?”
“Oh we insist,” Sehun latches his hand on Chanyeol’s arm and tugs him towards the opposite end of the table from Baekhyun.
“Can I like...reverse insist?” Chanyeol helplessly pleads as Luhan and Sehun drag him towards a seat.
“Hey what are you getting,” Kyungsoo gently nudges Jongin, eyes locked on the menu neatly laid out in front of him.
“Uh,” Jongin looks up from a text, thumbs poised on the screen of his phone, “What? Sorry didn’t hear you.”
“Oh sorry,” Kyungsoo quickly raises his hands and squeaks. “I didn’t realize you were busy.”
“No that’s okay,” Jongin pockets his phone, leaning against Kyungsoo as he stuffs his phone in his jeans pocket.
The warmth from Jongin’s shoulder feels nice against Kyungsoo’s arm, even over the chills racing down down his spine. Kyungsoo doesn’t move away, and instead leans slightly towards Jongin, hoping that Jongin doesn’t notice.
Jongin plops back into upright position and clasps his hands cheerfully, “I usually get the combination, so I’m probably going to go with that.”
“Oh,” Kyungsoo presses an index finger on the description, and bends down to read. “How does it taste?”
“I mean I like it,” Jongin shrugs. “But you’re the foodie, so I don’t want to give a critical opinion. You actually know what you’re talking about.
“I’m a foodie?”
“Yeah,” Out of the corner of his eye, Kyungsoo can see Jongin glance at him. “Like didn’t you start that cooking club my freshman year?”
“You remember that?” Kyungsoo’s eyes grow wide as he looks at Jongin.
“Yeah.” Jongin smiles. “I really wanted to join, but between dance practice and classes I couldn’t find the time.”
Kyungsoo feels his face begin to flush, “Oh.”
“You probably don’t remember but I bought lunch from you guys every time you sold stuff in the quad,” Jongin closes his eyes. “Like literally every time, I never missed a day. Fricken highlight of Friday, it was that good.”
“You did?” Kyungsoo eyes grow wider.
“Yeah. My favorite one was...” Jongin taps a finger against his chin and looks up at the ceiling. “Kimchi Spaghetti. I think you made that in November of my second year?”
“You even remember the month?” Kyungsoo asks disbelievingly.
“It was really good,” Jongin slides out a pair of chopsticks. “My mom never puts on enough cheese, but you got it just right.”
“Yeah.” Jongin folds the paper chopstick sleeve in half. “And you looked so happy when you were giving out food, I’d never seen you like that before. That was probably the best part.”
Kyungsoo can feel the heat rise to his face, and he squeaks, “It was?”
“Yeah,” Jongin drums a chopstick against the table.
“What can I get you?” The waiter politely interrupts, pen poised over a notepad.
As Jongin points to an item, Kyungsoo takes the opportunity to quickly scan the menu, trying to block out the butterflies from Jongin’s shoulder leaning against his as he twists to talk to the waiter.
“And for you?” The waiter looks expectantly at Kyungsoo.
“Uh,” Kyungsoo looks down at the menu, no closer to deciding than he was ten minutes ago. He points to Jongin, “I’ll get whatever he’s getting.”
As the waiter trundles away, Jongin glances at Kyungsoo, “My tastebuds are not refined, so just a disclaimer if it doesn’t taste good.”
“No, they’re probably fine,” Kyungsoo mumbles.
“Hah, it’s true, you don’t have to be nice about it,” Jongin folds his chopstick sleeve into a square. “Though you should help me build a palate.”
“How would I do that?” Kyungsoo looks at Jongin.
Jongin pauses for a second, before he suggests slowly, hesitation weaved into his words, “You should make me lunch.”
“Like not every day,” Jongin quickly clarifies, making a few more folds. “Once in awhile. Whenever you feel like it”
Kyungsoo fidgets in his chair. “I could make it every day. I have leftovers from dinner anyway, if you’re fine with that.”
“Wait really?” Jongin looks up, eyes lighting up.
“I throw the excess away anyway,” Kyungsoo pokes his seat cushion. “Single-living problems.”
“Single-living,” Jongin repeats, snorting.
“Hey,” Kyungsoo shields his reddening face. He hesitates, slightly hoping that there’s little truth to his next statement, “I know it’s not a familiar feeling for you, but some of us aren’t popular enough to have another person every month.”
“Hey look, a mini-hat,” Jongin makes one more fold and displays his work on the edge of his fingers.
Jongin places it on Kyungsoo’s head, “There you go.”
“Thanks?” Kyungsoo tries to hide his embarrassment as he notices Luhan subtly laughing and nudging Jongdae.
“Also,” Jongin begins drumming a chopstick again. “I haven’t been with anyone else.”
Kyungsoo looks up slowly, catching the hat as it slips off his head. “Huh?”
“I haven’t been with anyone else,” Jongin repeats, levelly staring at Kyungsoo, eyes unflinching and unreadable.
“...Oh,” Kyungsoo quickly looks down . “That’s nice—no wait not nice, but good—no not good, but I mean like that’s interesting, but like not in a good way—”
“Can I make a request?” Jongin interrupts.
“Sure,” Kyungsoo nervously scratches his face. “What do you want on Monday?”
“Hey, what are you doing?” Luhan watches Yixing unscrew the cap of the saltshaker.
“Adding a little kick to Kris’ water.” Yixing glances over his shoulder, taps the side of the glass, and dumps a spoonful into Kris’ cup, stirring it with a clean chopstick.
“Good luck living.”
“I’ll make it through,” Yixing dumps the same amount into his own glass, swirling it until the crystals dissolve. Then he gestures at Luhan’s glass. “Are you going to drink that?”
Yixing grabs Luhan’s glass and dumps twice the amount of salt and swirls.
“I’m right here you know,” Luhan looks at the glass as Yixing places it back in front of Luhan with a thump. “I’m not going to get tricked into drinking it.”
“That’s not the point.” Yixing screws the lid back on and slides the saltshaker back into its original place.
“The doors don’t lock in the bathroom,” Kris sighs as he settles back in his seat. “Most nerve-wracking 5 minutes of my life.”
“Too much information,” Tao mutters.
“Thought you would like to know,” Kris shrugs as he brings his cup to his lips.
“No, I really didn-”
“FUCK,” Kris spits out his water, the spray misting over Tao.
Tao stares, horrified, at his newly speckled designer jacket.
“Holy shit, I’m really sorry, I’ll help you clean that up as soon as I get some water,” Kris apologizes as he grabs the cup offered by Yixing.
“SHIT,” Kris spits again.
Tao gapes at the new dark spots on his jacket.
“Really sorry, really sorry,” Kris pushes away the glass offered by Jongdae and snatches Luhan’s glass.
“FUCKING HELL,” Kris spits a third time.
“Don’t. Even. Say. A. Word.” Tao screws his eyes shut and slowly raises a hand. “Let the next paycheck do the speaking.”
“You,” Kris whirls around to glare at Luhan, then turns to glare at Jongdae and Yixing. “And you, and you.”
“Well, honestly Jongdae didn’t have anything to do with this,” Yixing holds up a finger.
“I didn’t either,” Luhan protested. “Though I kind of wish I did.”
“You fucker,” Kris narrows his eyes. “You motherfucker.”
“Well, your father is a motherfucker,” Yixing shrugs.
Kris slams a hand on the table and snarls, “Don’t bring my dad into this, you little shi-”
Yixing raises a hand, “I mean that literally.”
Kris frowns, “What the fu-”
“Just think about it,” Yixing taps an index finger against his head. “Think about it for a second.”
“You’re retarde-” Kris starts.
“If it helps, every biological father was a motherfucker at one point,” Jongdae chimes, stirring his soup with his chopsticks.
“What?” Kris frowns again.
“You are so slow,” Junmyeon shakes his head. “Even I get it.”
“Hey,” Kris glares.
“In order to...produce that mass of cells and shit that is you,” Yixing points at Kris. “Your father probably fucked your mother.”
“Okay...” Kris looks to the side and furrows his brows. “That is a terrible visual.’
“Why are you visualizing it? You sick man,” Yixing slurped down a few noodles. “So...he’s a motherfucker. A fucker of a mother. One who fucked, or fucks, a mother. That’s it.”
“So that’s why, his, his, his, his, his, my, his, his, your, his, his, and his biological father,” Luhan points to every member at the table and stops at Baekhyun. “Is almost certainly a motherfucker.”
“I never knew my real father,” Baekhyun looks down dejectedly at the floor.
The entire table falls silent.
“Holy shit,” Yixing whispers. “Abort mission, joke gone bad, joke gone really bad.”
“I am really sorry,” Luhan reaches across the table with a hand. “I had no ide-”
“Haha,” Baekhyun pops his head back up. “I'm joking, I was just messing with you.”
“Oh my gosh,” Luhan whispers to Yixing. “I think he may be as terrible as us.”
“What if a father had intercourse with multiple women?” Jongin asks, looking up from his bowl. “Like what would you call that?”
“Good question,” Yixing looks up at the ceiling. “I guess mothersfucker?”
“That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it,” Jongdae frowns. “Maybe motherfuckers?”
“No,” Yixing taps the table. “That would just be multiple fathers.”
“Yeah, maybe it’s still motherfucker, like it’s is one of those single and plural words. Like moose,” Luhan scratches his chin.
“Isn’t the plural of moose, meese?” Chanyeol looks at Luhan. “Like goose and geese?”
“Really?” Luhan pulls out his phone. “Let me check.”
“So would it be like mertherfucker then?” Jongdae asks.
“What?” Yixing looks at Jongdae.
“Like, you replace the o’s...with e’s...?” Jongdae trails off as Yixing’s face becomes increasingly disdainful.
“No,” Yixing pinches the bridge of his nose. “Just no.”
“Well, also no, because,” Luhan scrolls on his phone. “The plural of moose is just moose.”
“Aww,” Chanyeol slouches in his chair.
“It’s okay,” Baekhyun raises a thumbs-up at Chanyeol. “I thought the plural was meese too.”
“Yeah,” Baekhyun smiles. “In first grade.”
Chanyeol hangs his head.
“Holy fuck,” Luhan looks at Yixing as Baekhyun apologizes repeatedly to Chanyeol’s deaf ears. “He really is one of us.”
“No,” Yixing watches out of the corner of his eye as Baekhyun gets up, walks over to Chanyeol’s side of the table and taps his shoulder.
“Apology bro-hug?” Baekhyun asks, opening his arms when Chanyeol turns around.
Chanyeol glances at Kyungsoo, receives some kind of unseen approval, and nods. As Baekhyun reaches in for a customary one-armed hug, Chanyeol wraps both long arms around his waist and pulls him in tight.
“Not yet,” Yixing mutters, observing Baekhyun’s feeble attempts to break out of the bone-crushing hug, and his awkward smiles aimed at the staring patrons. “He’s not quite here yet.”
“So,” Minseok pokes at the soup in his empty bowl. “Would all biological mothers be fatherfuckers then?”
“Hmm,” Jongdae scratches his cheek. “I guess so.”
“Wait, hold up,” Yixing drops his chopsticks into his bowl. “That would depend on whether you consider ‘fucking’ a directional verb.”
“Huh?” Jongdae looks at Yixing.
“Like, you know, when a guy-”
“Okay, skip that part actually.”
“Here’s another way to...think of it,” Yixing wipes his mouth with a napkin. “Are biological mothers fatherfuckers or fatherfucked?”
Jongdae looks up at the ceiling for a second before realization dawns, “Oh.”
“Probably fatherfucked actually.” Yixing shrugs.
“That’s sexist!” Sehun pipes up.
“Maybe,” Yixing shrugs again. “But if you think about it, if you punch someone, you are the puncher. The guy you punched though isn’t called puncher, but the punched. So if you substitute the fist for a pe-”
“Okay, that’s enough.” Kyungsoo hastily throws up a hand.
“Whoa,” Jongdae puts down his chopsticks. “I just realized you can replace mother with another descriptive word.”
“Huh?” Yixing looks at Jongdae.
“Like people can be all sorts of fuckers, like escortfuckers, custodian fuckers, doctorfuckers, cowfuckers.”
“Mentorfuckers,” Luhan whispers loudly while staring at Jongin.
“The possibilities are endless!” Jongdae ignores Luhan and throws his hands in the air.
“So good news,” Yixing claps Kris’ shoulder. “Your father isn’t just confined to being a motherfucker, but he’s also a financial-analyst-fucker! That’s what your mother is, right?”
“What the fuck,” Kris lowers his head into his hands.
“Well the question really is ‘Who he fucks,’” Yixing grabs a sauce dish and squirts bright red Sriracha into the tiny plate. “But you’re getting there.”
At the fifth doorbell ring, Jongin cracks the door open to find a semi-worried Luhan standing on the porch with a cell phone in hand.
“I got a text from Sehun with nothing more than ‘It’s an emergency,’ and this address,” Luhan says. “You’re lucky I was in the area, what’s the problem?”
Jongin wordlessly steps back and there’s a shuffling sound for a moment until Jongin swings the door entirely to reveal him with a half-asleep Sehun draped across his back.
“Can you drive us home,” Jongin hops, readjusting Sehun.
Luhan hesitates, eyes drifting from Sehun, to a boy (Tae...Taemin was it?) hovering in the back, to Jongin, “...sure. Why not, I’m already here.”
“Cool,” Jongin steps out, and calls over his shoulder. “Thanks Taemin.”
“Anytime,” Taemin snaps the door shut.
Luhan watches as Jongin wobbles while walking and Sehun hiccups, “Are you two...drunk?”
Jongin stops and turns, eyes slightly unfocused, “Enough that neither of us should drive.”
Luhan strides to his car, unlocks it, and sighs loudly, “Get in.”
Jongin slides Sehun into the passenger’s side and slips into the back seat.
“Where to,” Luhan asks as he feels for his seatbelt. “I’m assuming you don’t want your parents to see you like this.”
Jongin bites his lip, “We were hoping we could crash at your place.”
“Nope,” Luhan straps Sehun in. “I live 45 minutes away.”
“Call Kyungsoo, he lives around here, doesn’t he?”
“So call him.”
“...is there anyone else?”
“Only Kris. You don’t want to wake him up right now. Trust me.”
“Are you sure we can’t stay at your place?”
“What’s wrong with Kyungsoo’s?”
Jongin looks out the window before muttering, “I don’t want to impose on him anymore.”
Luhan exhales then reaches out a hand and fumbles with Sehun’s jeans.
“What are you do--aw gross, I didn’t realize you guys were that close,” Jongin pretends to hurl.
“Get your mind out of the gutter,” Luhan finds Sehun’s pocket, grabs Sehun’s phone, and scrolls. “I’m finding Sehun’s address, I’ll be dumping you guys there if you don’t get me another option.”
Jongin suddenly pales and snatches Sehun’s phone away from Luhan, “Okay, okay, I’ll call Kyungsoo.”
“Hey,” Luhan glances at Jongin “Why are you guys getting drunk anyway?”
“Sehun wanted to try it.”
“He heard about your plans to play beer pong at the product launch party. He didn’t want to look like an alcohol noob, so...here we are now.”
“Okay, you guys don’t get to play though,” Luhan drums the steering wheel with his index fingers. “Your parents would kill us.”
“Yeah. You don’t.”
“Hey guys where are we?” Sehun groggily peers around.
“Driving to Kyungsoo’s,” Luhan grips the wheel.
“Cool,” Sehun blinks. “Hey...I don’t feel that drunk.”
“I think I can drive.”
“No you definitely can’t.”
“No, no, I really can, I feel just fine, give me the wheel,” Sehun reaches a hand out.
Luhan slaps Sehun’s hand away and groans at Jongin, “Oh fuck, he’s a talkative drunk, isn’t he?”
“Hey don’t ignore me,” Sehun whines. Luhan ignores him.
“Looks like it,” Jongin mutters.
“What kind are you,” Luhan looks at Jongin.. “A sleepy drunk?”
“No,” Jongin’s face turns slightly pink.
“You seem like it though.”
“...I can hold my alcohol pretty well.”
“And you know this...how?”
“Like you didn’t drink in high school.”
“I actually didn’t.” Luhan shoots out a hand and smacks Sehun’s wandering fingers away from the wheel again, “And obviously this guy really doesn’t either.”
“Ouch,” Sehun slowly rubs his hand.
“Hmm,” Jongin muses.
“You’re not off the hook, what type are you?”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
“Lips are sealed.”
Jongin mumbles into his hand. “I get...”
“Ugh,” Sehun suddenly moans and swings his head towards the window before clumsily rubbing his eyes, “Ugh, I really have to...take a piss.”
“Hold it,” Luhan glances over his shoulder as he changes a lane.
“I’m not sure I can.”
“Why didn’t you use that kid’s, Tae-what’s-his-face’s bathroom?”
“I didn’t need to...go then,” Sehun frowns.
“Use all of your willpower. Believe that you have bowels of steel.”
“I don’t think I can...like...really...really...really..I have to,” Sehun hiccups, “Take a piss.”
“And I really, really, really, prefer to keep my seats clean.”
“Seriously,” Sehun’s face slowly slips into a serious expression and he crosses his legs together, “I need to...piss, like now. Like...for real.”
“Holy fuck, fucking find the nearest restroom,” Luhan throws his phone at Jongin, who fumbles with it for a moment before tapping the screen. Luhan mutters, “This is why I fucking hate high schoolers.”
“Did you say something?” Jongin asks.
“Nothing, search faster,” Luhan snaps.
“The nearest exit is three minutes away, and there’s a fast food joint about five minutes from that,” Jongin turns the screen towards Luhan.
Luhan takes the phone back, “Can you hold it for eight minutes Sehun?”
“Haha I don’t think so,” Sehun looks down at his seat. “I like have to piss more than I’ve had too my entire life. I think I might pee a waterfall in your car really soon.”
“DO NOT TAKE A PISS ON MY SEATS,” Luhan yells. “OR I WILL RETURN THE FAVOR TRIPLE-FOLD AND PEE ON EVERYTHING YOU LOVE.”
“Hehe...no guarantees,” Sehun giggles.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” Luhan rakes his hand through his hair as he puts pressure on the accelerator. “I was going to trade this car in. I don’t want to be denied because I have Sehun’s piss stain in the middle of my seat. How am I going to live this down?”
Jongin shrugs, “He could always use a tree.”
“What do you mean,” Luhan glances out of the corner of his eye at Jongin.
“Like you could just pull over and have him pee behind a tree,” Jongin squints out into the dark, wiping away fog from the window. “Or a bush. There don’t seem to be a lot of trees out here.”
“We’re doing that then,” Luhan swerves into the shoulder, stops the car, and pushes Sehun out. “Go go go go, there’s a bunch of bushes over there. We’ll stay here, take your time.”
Sehun stumbles out and slowly makes his way towards the bushes.
“It’s a Saturday night,” Luhan bangs his head on the wheel twice before resting his head on it and turning to face the clock. “No it’s actually 1 am, so it’s Sunday morning. What am I doing here? What am I doing with my life?”
Jongin watches Sehun stumble over a rock, “Because you’re the best mentor ever?”
“We both know that isn’t true.”
Jongin is silent until Sehun totters out of sight, then turns around to face Luhan, “Sehun’s a good kid, you should go easier on him.”
“That’s funny,” Luhan snorts, slipping off his shoes and propping his feet up on the dashboard.
“He is, he’s just under a lot of pressure,” Jongin says. “His parents really want him to go to a top 10 school, so they sign him up for a bunch of activities so he can look like a ‘well rounded’ individual on his college applications. Then as soon as he achieves some level high enough to stick on his resume, they yank him out. He’s just trained to do the minimum.”
“More like trained to do nothing at all,” Luhan mutters. “I demoted him from programming after the first week. I think that is some kind of record. Probably a national one.”
“He’s pretty effective at data entry though. It’s not like you’re not about to fire him.”
Luhan looks at the moon, “That’s true.”
“You know,” Jongin leans forward. “His parents want him to quit as soon as he submits his college apps. Which is at the end of the month.”
“He hasn’t mentioned that.”
“Because he’s fighting with them to stay. He doesn’t want to leave.”
Luhan watches the empty road for a moment, “Why?”
“He likes it there, he feels like he’s actually doing something.”
“Doing something,” Luhan snorts again. “He was shooting staples at me the other day.”
“He’s also mentally 11 years old.”
“But yeah,” Jongin smiles at the ground. “He won’t shut up about you at school. Like he brings you up almost every time during ‘Good News’ during class.”
“What’s ‘Good News?’”
“We go around the room and everyone shares something good that’s happened. It’s one of the best parts of class, honestly.”
“And you’re seniors?”
Luhan coughs, “...squirrelly.”
“Hey,” Jongin shrugs. “It kills 20 minutes of class every day.”
“Ah, and here I was thinking you were being virtuous.”
“Luhan taught me the count function on Excel yesterday, Luhan told me a funny joke the other day, Luhan gave an awesome presentation,” Jongin imitates Sehun, raising the pitch of his voice. “Even our teacher refers to you as ‘Sehun’s mancrush.’”
“Somehow I’m both flattered and less than flattered at the same time.”
“You’re like the brother he never had,” Jongin slides back and leans his head against the window. “Actually,” Jongin traces a smiley face in the condensation. “I guess you’re more than that.”
The hairs on Luhan’s neck rise.
“What do you mean,” Luhan croaks, questioning almost rhetorically, because as Jongin looks him dead in the eyes in the rearview mirror, he knows exactly what comes his mouth next.
“He likes you hyung.”
Luhan looks away and starts fiddling with his keys, swinging them around his index finger and watching as the orange light from the street lamps glints off the edges. “I’m calling bullshit.”
“You know how I deleted the facebook group?”
“I did it by stealing his password,” Jongin picks at his fingernails.
“What a cool kid.”
“Do you want to know what it was?”
“Woainiluhan,” Jongin looks at Luhan.
“You’re not serious.”
“But I am. Try it.”
“What else,” Jongin rolls his eyes. “Your phone.”
“Since when have you been snarky?” Luhan glares. “And no, I have limited 4G.”
“Come on, it won’t even take up that much data.”
“It’s expensive. You have unlimited, right?” Luhan turns around. “Let me use your phone instead.”
“You’re ruining the moment.”
Luhan shrugs. “I have to pay if i go over.”
“It’s seriously not that much data.”
“I’m really close to the limit,” Luhan taps his phone. “Seventy-five percent as of an hour ago, and I’m only a week into my billing cycle.”
“What are you using it for?”
“Manga,” Luhan taps his home screen. “I just got into Detective Conan.”
“Doesn’t that have like 800 chapters?”
“Exactly,” Luhan looks down at his phone. “So addicting.”
“Whatever, it’s only $15 if you go over.”
“But it’s $15! I’m not a rich motherfucker like you.”
“The way you throw money around for bets makes me think otherwise,”
“Those are investments,” Luhan waves a hand.
“Dude fine, whatever,” Jongin rolls his eyes and pulls out his phone. “Try it on mine.”
Luhan can feel Jongin’s eyes as he types into the page, hits enter, and waits, pale blue glow illuminating his face. After a moment, the page flashes, and Luhan finds himself staring at Sehun’s newsfeed.
“Cool,” Luhan, expressionless, hands the phone back to Jongin. “Still doesn’t prove anything.”
Jongin turns back to his drawing and sketches a circle around the smiley face, “You know he’s teaching himself how to code. He’s only been at it for a little while but he already has a decent grasp on Java.”
“So? We’re a startup software company, we don’t have the resources to carry noobs.”
Jongin looks levelly at Luhan, “He’s doing it for you. He goes to sleep everyday at 3 now. That’s why he keeps falling asleep.”
“So what do you want me to do about it?”
“Not much,” Jongin squiggles a moustache on the face “Just realize he’s trying. And he’s doing it for you”
Luhan looks out the window to see Sehun staggering back.
“He’s the type of guy who won’t show you he likes you,” Jongin draws a stick figure body. “So it’s up to you if you want to dig it out of him. Of course, it’s also up to you if you want to ignore it.”
They sit in silence. Jongin scribbles five letters under his drawing and taps it proudly with his finger, “Hey, it’s you Luhan.”
Luhan frowns and rubs his upper lip, “Since when do I have a moustache?”
“I thought you needed a shot of manliness.”
“See this,” Luhan swipes his face with the palm of his hand. “This is the smooth curve of clean-shaven confidence. Now run along and play in the peewee leagues, peach fuzz face.”
Jongin opens his mouth to retaliate when Sehun stumbles against the car, awkwardly grappling with the handle. When Sehun finally gets the door open and slides into the seat, Luhan suddenly becomes hyper aware of everything Sehun does, and he can’t tell whether the heavy-lidded eyes (the ones that repeatedly slide to his face and glance away) are due to alcohol or the truth in Jongin’s words. He doesn’t quite like the way his heart starts to thud, and dimly wonders why he feels like he’s in high school again and-
“Hey guys,” Sehun moans, slowly rubbing his face with his hands, and Luhan snaps out of his trance. “I’m really thirsty now.”
Jongin starts to pull out a water bottle.
“No, put that away Jongin. Sehun, you get to wait until we get to Kyungsoo’s,” Luhan turns the engine on.
He’ll ignore it, because he’s lazy and life’s easier that way.
“But I’m thirsty.”
At least as long as he can.
“Suck it up.”
“We’re like five minutes away,” Luhan shakes his lingering thoughts away and checks the lane next to him as he starts to merge. “Between then and now, we are not giving you anymore piss fuel.”
At the third knock, Kyungsoo opens the door blearily, hair slightly disheveled, and smiles slightly at the sight of the three—Jongin yawning, Luhan piggybacking a knocked-out Sehun—as he rubs an eye.
“Do you have room for a third person,” Luhan steps onto the porch. “It’s kind of late and I don’t think I can make it home.”
“Yeah, I set up a place in the living room,” Kyungsoo closes the door and leads them to the right, where a futon is set up in the middle of a room next to a paisley couch. “Probably can squeeze another person in here.”
“Interesting taste in fabric,” Luhan notes as he unceremoniously dumps Sehun on the futon.
“It was free.”
Luhan belly flops onto the couch and nuzzles his face into the cushions, “And apparently it’s free to be fucking comfortable.”
“Hey,” Jongin lightly hits Kyungsoo’s arm with the back of his hand. “I’m going to go get Sehun some water.”
Kyungsoo flinches slightly, “You know where the kitchen is.”
As Jongin pads away, Luhan observes, “He knows your place pretty well.”
“Yeah, we used to be next door neighbors back in grade school,” Kyungsoo picks at the carpet. “Then he moved to the burbs, and my parents left me this place.”
“Hmm,” Luhan’s eyes start to slip shut.
Sehun begins to snore.
“Hey, shut up,” Luhan takes a pillow and throws it at Sehun’s face.
Sehun doesn’t even twitch as the pillow flops off his face.
“He’s out cold,” Kyungsoo observes.
“First time,” Luhan shakes his head. “And got smashed.”
“Oh boy,” Kyungsoo sucks in a breath. “Well you can hang out here, maybe sleep on the couch or something.”
“Cool,” Luhan traces a finger over the cushion pattern. “But where’s Jongin going to sleep.”
Luhan points down at the snoring and sprawled Sehun, “It looks a little more than occupied.”
“Oh huh,” Kyungsoo blinks. “I guess...use my room? This place is pretty small, and I don’t have anywhere else. All the other rooms are storage.”
“Oh,” Luhan conceals a growing grin with cough. “Oh.”
“I mean for you,” Kyungsoo blinks again. “You’re the oldest, you should get a bed.”
“No, this couch is fine,” Luhan pats the armrest enduringly. “Really fine.”
“Are you sure?” There’s a hint of pleading in Kyungsoo’s voice.
“Extremely fine, in fact, simply fantastic,” Luhan pulls out his phone and begins to text.
“Who are you texting?”
“Well we haven’t done this in a while,” Jongin wiggles his toes under the sheets. “Had a sleepover.”
Through the thicket of butterflies in his stomach, Kyungsoo feels a sense of foreboding as he stares at the ceiling.
“We haven’t,” Kyungsoo agrees, on the edge because he can’t quite place the source of his fear.
“Why did we stop?”
And somehow in his gut, Kyungsoo knows his fear is linked to the reason, “I’m not sure.
“I guess we’re not kids anymore.”
There’s a lot of things they’re not anymore, Kyungsoo thinks. “Nope, we’re not.”
Jongin rolls on his side, back facing Kyungsoo, “Well goodnight.”
“Or good morning, since it’s one.”
Kyungsoo clutches the sheets with his hands, heart drumming rapidly in his chest. The sense of dread grows as Jongin’s breathing slows, and peaks when Kyungsoo hears a light snore.
And suddenly he feels strong arms wrap securely around waist, and he remembers why.
“Kyungsoo,” Jongin throatily whispers, and Kyungsoo can feel his breath ghost over his ear.
“No,” Kyungsoo attempts to push Jongin away.
“Kyungsoo,” Jongin repeats, and tightens his grip, fingers ghosting over Kyungsoo’s waistband.
“No,” Kyungsoo nearly begs. “Stop, please.”
“Kyungsoo,” Jongin shifts, hand slipping under Kyungsoo’s shirt.
“No,” Kyungsoo makes a last feeble attempt to break free. “You’re dreaming, you’re not really a professional athlete!”
“Goes down!” Jongin flips and throws Kyungsoo down, pinning him lightly with his arm. “Three! Two! One! World Champion wrestler Kim Jongin is the winner!”
Kyungsoo glances up, and sure enough, Jongin’s eyes are unfocused in sleep.
“Victoooooory!” Jongin sleep-yells. He pounds his chest for a moment with his hands before he flops down and begins to snore.
Warily, Kyungsoo pulls the comforter back over himself and falls into a fitful sleep.
He slips in and out of consciousness over the next few hours, feverishly checking over his shoulder during his moments of wake.
And then, at four, Kyungsoo wakes up to a solid kick in the back, and suddenly he’s flying off the bed and hitting the floor.
“Kim Jongin, boy prodigy, makes the overtime goaaaaal!” Jongin yells in his sleep. “He’s the next Lionel Messssssssi!”
“Hey, move over.”
“What,” Luhan groggily asks, fumbling in the dark to regain his sense. “What the fuck.”
“I can’t sleep,” Kyungsoo sleepily shoves Luhan to one side of the couch.
“Jongin’s too distracting?” Luhan mumbles drowsily.
“Cage fighter Jongin enters the ring!” Jongin’s voice floats through Kyungsoo’s open door.
“Among other things,” Kyungsoo settles into a sleeping position.
sorry for the absence! also no edits for a while, i thought i was cool by switching to a mac. turns out i need to buy the program again, so i'm out for a few weeks at least.
office antics has now been optimized for hunhan. i thought long and hard about this, especially since i didn't insert into the pairing when i initially started it. there were plenty reasons for not doing it, but in the end, i ultimately decided to add it, because there's a lot of stuff i can do with it that I can't with Baekyeol and Kaisoo, and (hopefully) make funny. sorry if that section came out angsty, it sets up stuff in the future. it won't be angst, i promise. if anything, they serve like as a parallel to Kyungsoo and Jongin. Don't worry, I won't be compromising Baekyeol and Kaisoo. The chapters will probably end up being longer as a result, like this one.
and don't drink you guys. if you're underage. oh yeah, the law's 21 years of age in california. that's the one i'm using.
also wo ai ni means i love you. i am not sure if Sehun was grammatically correct though. and Java's a language CS people typically learn first. i think, correct me if I'm wrong. And Lionel Messi's like the best footballer. In my opinion. Or maybe it's an objective truth.
and honestly, i don't know what Taemin's doing there. He just kinda appeared.