“I don’t want to be dramatic or anything,” Jeonghan says before tossing himself onto Seungcheol’s desk with the utmost dramatics, “but I might as well die.”
Seungcheol watches blankly as his coffee cup (still half-full) crashes to the floor along with half his paperwork (Jeonghan is lying face down on the other half) and his computer. Some of his pens go flying as well and his stapler gives a pathetic little snapping sound before meeting its demise. There’s a great moment of silence as neither moves nor speaks before Jeonghan’s head pops up.
“Aren’t you going to ask me what’s wrong?” Jeonghan asks with great offense.
“I figured you were going to tell me anyway so I don’t see the point in giving you a cue,” Seungcheol replies dryly.
“God,” Jeonghan says. “I don’t even know why I came to you of all people; you have the emotional range of a coconut.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be working or something?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jeonghan waves Seungcheol’s questions away, and not for the first time, Seungcheol wonders who the boss really is in this relationship. “But anyways, as I was very-not-dramatically saying, Big Bang tickets went on sale ten minutes ago!”
“…and?” Seungcheol asks in a very defeated manner when Jeonghan pauses and gestures with big eyes and flappy-hand motions for a cue to be given.
“And I couldn’t manage to get onto the website because of our crappy Wi-Fi and now I’ve missed the chance of a lifetime to see Taeyang’s magnificent abs in person. How the hell are you gonna make it up to me, Seungcheol? How will I ever bounce back from this terrible loss?”
“Why is it my fault you couldn’t get tickets to the concert? Our Wi-Fi is fine and for the last time, I’m not gonna get it replaced.”
Glaring with all the ferociousness of a person whose dreams of seeing Taeyang’s abs in person has been snatched cruelly from them, Jeonghan jumps off the table and leans down to pick up Seungcheol’s fallen computer. Propping it back up, he then proceeds to steal Seungcheol’s keyboard right from under him and pulls up Google. A little dinosaur sadly proclaiming: There is no Internet connection meets their eyes.
Triumphantly, Jeonghan smirks at Seungcheol’s blank face before sauntering to the door. Right before leaving, however, the blonde haired man turns around and says, “Do something about the Wi-Fi, Cheolie, or I swear to God I will eat Jihoon.”
With that he disappears. Seungcheol tries refreshing Google but the same little dinosaur pops back up.
“Eat Jihoon for all I care,” Seungcheol mutters spitefully under his breath. His little container of paperclips chooses now to tumble off the desk.
“Jun!” Wonwoo calls from his office. A few seconds pass before the sound of half-running footsteps reach his ears. Junhui’s head pokes in right after.
“How’s it going, Wonwoo?”
“Don’t you ‘how’s it going’ me,” Wonwoo says with exasperation. “Today’s column, explain right now.”
“What’s there to explain?” Junhui blinks with semi-fake innocence as his shuffles into the office. Plopping down on the plush seat across from Wonwoo, he smiles at the other sweetly. “Did I mention how I really like your shirt today, Wonwoo?”
“Don’t change the subject,” Wonwoo replies, despite preening a bit. He quite likes his rather daring dark purple button-down too, but that’s not the point. “This, explain this.” Picking up the paper, Wonwoo clears his throat before reading: “‘For all the Scorpios out there, it’s your lucky day when it comes to romance! Go to that new Singapore restaurant you’ve been telling your friends you want to try, keep wearing those baggy shirts if they make you happy, and maybe finally accept that date from your handsome coworker who has been asking you out for forever.’ What the hell is this, Jun?”
“It’s tomorrow’s horoscope for Scorpios,” Junhui answers obediently even as his smile takes on a slightly abashed edge.
“You can’t use the paper to flirt with Minghao!” Wonwoo cries in exasperation and Jun gives a fake scandalized gasp.
“I am a professional, Wonwoo. I would never dream of using the paper for such selfish reasons!”
When Wonwoo stares at him, unmoved, Junhui’s smile takes on a sweeter edge. “Please Wonwoo? I was told that nice romantic gestures like this might work. I really like Minghao, and I want to woo him properly. Please Wonwoo? Please, for me?”
Wonwoo stares unmoved for a moment even as he feels himself slowly giving way. He curses internally at his soft spot for Junhui and bemoans – once more – at having to oversee his best friend at work. One day, one day he’ll be able to say no to Junhui, but today is not that day.
“How am I gonna explain this to Seungcheol-hyung?” Wonwoo sighs, rubbing his temples and Junhui gives a quiet cheer. Pushing himself off the chair and rushing around the desk, Junhui throws himself on top of Wonwoo who catches him with practiced ease.
“Thank you, Wonwoo! I love you so much, you’re the best!” Junhui rubs his cheek against Wonwoo’s, and tightens his arms around the other’s neck.
“Okay, okay,” Wonwoo says, patting Junhui on his back before gently pushing the other male off. “But seriously, how am I going to convince hyung to publish this?”
Junhui stands there, thinking for a long moment before he smirks mischievously down at Wonwoo.
“Convince Joshua-hyung to do it!”
Wonwoo stares up at him in half-awe and half-fear. It’s always the nice ones, he thinks as he watches Junhui giggle in glee. It’s always the nice ones.
“Hyung,” Chan says, approaching Minghao’s desk with brisk steps and grim determination painted on his face. “The photocopier isn’t working.”
“Again?” Minghao asks, pushing himself away from his desk. “We really need to get it fixed or replaced.”
“Yeah,” Chan nods in agreement. “It’s really inconvenient, especially when there are important things that need to be photocopied.”
“What do you need photocopied?” Minghao asks. Chan shifts nervously on his feet for a few moments before handing the piece of paper to Minghao. The Chinese man flips the page over and is greeted with a picture of Michael Jackson, the words DANCE SHOWCASE: AUGUST 29th, 7PM AT MANSAE STUDIO printed in bold underneath. Minghao stares at the page for a long moment before looking back up at a flushed Chan.
“This is truly a matter of great importance and takes precedence over literally everything else,” Minghao says, completely serious.
“Yeah, hyung?” Chan asks, and a bright grin slowly takes over his face when Minghao nods.
“Of course.” Minghao gets up and walks towards the photocopying room with quick steps. Chan follows after him with a bounce to his steps. “Let’s get that stupid machine fixed.”
“Minghao? Has anyone seen Minghao? Minghao!” Joshua’s head pokes into the room and he smiles when he sees the Chinese man. “Oh there you are. Minghao, I need you to give our new photographer a tour and to show him the ropes around here.”
“Sorry, hyung,” Minghao grunts before leaping on top of the photocopier like some overgrown housecat. Joshua’s gentle smile disappears and he watches in horror as the Chinese man begins bodily shaking the machine while Chan grins sheepishly from the sidelines. “But I’m kinda busy here, if you couldn’t tell. Ask someone else who actually has time to do it. There are so many slackers around here, I’m sure you can find someone. I believe in you hyung!” Minghao flashes Joshua a sweet smile before ferociously smacking the photocopier like some professional boxer.
Joshua slowly pokes his head back out and pulls the door shut.
“Sorry hyung!” He hears Chan call from inside before a series of loud clattering noises sound from inside. Joshua turns around and smiles self-consciously at their newest employee.
“Sorry about that,” Joshua says. “That was Minghao, by the way. The one straddling the photocopier. And Chan was the one beside him. He’s our intern, he’s very sweet and hardworking. I’m sure you’ll get along well with him.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Hansol responds with a boyish grin. “They both seemed really nice. Strange, but nice.”
“Yeah that’s…that’s one way to describe them,” Joshua laughs lightly. “Now let’s see who can give you that tour. Ah!” At that moment, Seungkwan rounded the corner with a stack of paper in his hands, and Joshua beams. “Seungkwan!”
Stopping, Seungkwan turns to Joshua with an inquisitive look. “Yeah, hyung?”
“Are you free right now?”
“I just handed in my article for tomorrow, so yep! Do you need something?”
“Perfect. Seungkwan, you’re a lifesaver,” Joshua says. “Can you please give our new photographer a tour around the building? I would do it myself but I haven’t finished answering the advice column yet.”
“Of course, hyung!” Seungkwan agrees before turning around to face Hansol. His smile drops immediately, and the shock that takes its place is reflected perfectly on Hansol’s face.
“You,” Seungkwan practically snarls, and Hansol throws his hands up in the universal sign of surrender. “How dare you show your face again? And on my territory too!”
“Ah,” Joshua’s head whips between the two of them frantically. “Do you…do you know each other?”
“This smarmy looking asshole,” Seungkwan hisses, “is my ex-boyfriend and the reason I cry everytime Rolling in the Deep comes on.”
“Oh my,” Joshua simply says.
“I can’t believe this, oh my god this isn’t happening,” Seungkwan says before his eyes narrow. “You…you jackass! How dare you look handsomer than before? Where is the justice? Where is the righteousness? I hate you, don’t ever come near me ever again, jackass!”
With that, Seungkwan runs off, stray papers from his stack fluttering behind him. Joshua and Hansol watch him go, the former with a look of shock on his face while an indecipherable one is painted on the latter’s.
“Well,” Joshua basically squeaks out after a moment. “Maybe I should just give you the tour, instead.”
“I’m telling you, I can bring in more readers than you can!” Soonyoung proclaims passionately while Seokmin watches him with affectionate eyes. “I’m a fantastic writer and I always manage to sneak in these great puns; people gobble that shit up! You stand no chance, Seokmin, just give up now.”
“Why? Are you afraid you’ll lose, hyung?” Seokmin teases and Soonyoung throws out a playful punch. Seokmin catches his fist before it can make impact with his shoulder, however, and the two end up giggling while swinging their intertwined hands back and forth.
“No way,” Soonyoung half-laughs, and his eyes curve up happily. “I’m Kwon Soonyoung! I’m not afraid of anything, especially not my snot-nosed dongsaeng.”
“How dare you,” Seokmin gasps in mock-outrage. “My nose is super clean, the cleanest nose possible. I just wiped it in the bathroom. See?” With that, he presses his face close to Soonyoung who continues giggling.
“Yes, yes, you have the cleanest nose possible,” Soonyoung concedes before affectionately bopping Seokmin on said nose. “My apologies, Your Nosiness.”
“Hmph,” Seokmin pulls back. “I’ll accept your apology only if you accept the terms of the bet.”
“You know what? Fine,” Soonyoung agrees. “I’ll accept, but only because I know I’ll win.”
“That’s the spirit! It’ll make kicking your ass that much sweeter.” Seokmin cheers and he gathers Soonyoung into a hug which the other gladly reciprocates. The two of them are in the middle of jumping up and down when the door opens and Joshua and a stranger appears.
“And this is our breakroom,” Joshua says before gesturing to the two frozen men entangled together in the middle. “And that’s Soonyoung and Seokmin. They both write for the entertainment section of the paper. Guys, this is Hansol, he’s our new photographer.”
“Hey,” Hansol says, barely blinking at the odd sight and the two writers offer semi-awkward waves without letting go of each other. “It’s nice to meet you guys. I hope you’ll take good care of me.”
“Anyways,” Joshua cuts in. “What are you guys doing?”
“We’re just celebrating the commencement of a new bet,” Soonyoung replies.
“Oh no,” Joshua says with a cluck of his tongue despite the fond look in his eyes. “And what are you guys betting this time?”
“On who can get more clicks on their online articles this month,” Seokmin answers. “Loser has to take the winner out on a fancy date and pay for everything.”
“Are you guys dating?” Hansol asks, and the two in question burst out into giddy laughter.
“No, we’re just friends,” Soonyoung says with great mirth. Seokmin nods in agreement before tenderly nuzzling his face against the top of Soonyoung’s head.
“I see,” Hansol responds.
“We’ll leave you to it!” Joshua smiles and waves before closing the door behind them.
Soonyoung and Seokmin continue swaying peacefully in the middle of the breakroom.
It’s nearing the end of the day when Jihoon bursts into Seungcheol’s office with fury in his eyes and frustration rolling off his body in waves. There looks like there’s honest-to-God tears in his eyes, and Seungcheol jumps up from his chair and runs towards Jihoon immediately.
“What happened? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Who do I need to crush between my thighs?”
“Okay, one: never say ‘crush between my thighs’ ever again if you value my employment. And two: this,” Jihoon lifts up their office’s modem, which looks as though it’s been crushed to oblivion by a sledgehammer. “I can’t work without the internet. I don’t even know what people did before the internet. They probably just stared at each other from sunrise to sunset, and I can’t live like a primeval creature. Fix this. Fix. This. Hyung.”
Seungcheol stares at the destroyed modem and at the angry lines of Jihoon’s face before storming out of his office. Jihoon follows after while cradling the modem against his chest like a precious babe.
“JEONGHAN,” Seungcheol roars, and the entire office seems to freeze. The man in question rises from his desk with absolutely no fear on his face but a lot of confusion, and Seungcheol feels a vein throb violently at his temple.
“Yes, Cheolie?” Jeonghan asks once he’s standing in front of the other. Seungcheol’s eye twitches, and he sticks out his arm. Jihoon places the crushed modem there before Seungcheol presents Jeonghan with the victim.
“Care to explain this?”
“…you destroyed the modem like I asked you to? And now we can get a new one?”
“You destroyed the modem. And after I specifically asked you not to!”
“I didn’t do this!” Jeonghan exclaims. When Seungcheol’s face remains stormy, Jeonghan continues. “I swear this wasn’t me. I usually take great pride in my work but this time I’m not the one you should be pointing fingers at. Honest!”
“Are you honestly expecting me to believe that?” Seungcheol cries in disbelief. “You’ve been complaining about the Wi-Fi for months now; you burst into my office just today to cry about it! And now the modem conveniently breaks? Come on Jeonghan, I expected better from you. At least lie better.”
“Okay first of all, I didn’t cry when I went to your office. I was bitching moderately. And second, I really didn’t do this. I was on my best behaviour today; the office incident withstanding.”
“Just admit you did this, Jeonghan,” Seungcheol sighs.
“Seungcheol, I honestly didn’t—”
“Um, actually,” a voice suddenly sounds and everyone’s heads swivel to face the newcomer. Mingyu is standing there, looking sheepish and ashamed, and his eyes flicker nervously between the two standing off and the floor. “I broke it. I’m so sorry hyung! I tripped and landed on it. I was going to tell you immediately but then Minghao called me to the photocopying room because he needed help. I’m so sorry; I’ll pay for the new modem!”
Jeonghan turns to Seungcheol with pursed lips and unimpressed eyes as Mingyu is repeatedly bowing. Jihoon snorts behind Seungcheol and – not for the first time – Seungcheol debates quitting his job to become a shepard in Iceland.
“Hyung…” Minghao’s voice suddenly sounds, and everyone’s eyes immediately turn towards the Chinese man. He shies a bit away from the attention before straightening back up and speaking as confidently as possible. “This might be a good time to tell you that we need a new photocopying machine…”
“…and that the photocopying room is covered in ink…” Chan adds meekly from his desk.
“That too,” Minghao agrees. Seungcheol breathes in deeply for four seconds before releasing it in seven.
“How?” Is all he asks, and Minghao shares a look of apprehension with Chan before answering.
“I was trying to fix the photocopier but accidently dislodged a cartridge or something. With my foot. Because I was on top of the photocopier. When I was trying to fix it. Yeah.”
The long, drawn-out moment of silence in broken by Seungkwan who suddenly chimes in with a: “If Seungcheol-hyung is taking complaints right now, can I request that we get a new photographer? I’m not sure I can stomach the one we have right now.”
“Hansol is staying, Seungkwan, end of,” Seungcheol sighs.
“Yeah,” Joshua pipes up. “I didn’t go through all that trouble of a tour just for Seungcheol to fire him.”
“Thanks guys,” Hansol says, and Seungkwan tosses a pen at his head. Hansol catches it with his mouth before realizing that it’s a pen and not a grape and spitting it back out.
“Also,” Junhui says and he sidles up to Seungcheol’s side with twenty-percent grace and eighty-percent limbs, “I finished the horoscopes for tomorrow; can I please get your stamp of approval?”
“Sure,” Seungcheol sighs.
“Fantastic,” Junhui says before sending a smirk in Wonwoo’s direction. The other man rolls his eyes before ducking back into his office.
“So,” Seungcheol says after a long moment. “Is that all?”
“It’s actually past our shift now,” Soonyoung says. “Can we go?”
“Yes, yes!” Seungcheol bemoans before entering his office. “Get out of here please! I have to stay behind and call for a new modem and photocopier. I don’t need any help, but thanks for offering guys!”
“No problem, hyung!” Seokmin says with a bright smile. “See you tomorrow.”
“I’m so sorry, Seungcheol-hyung,” Mingyu whispers as he’s walking past Seungcheol’s door. “So sorry.”
“Bye bye, hyung,” Minghao simply says.
“I’m leaving the horoscopes here,” Junhui drops the pages on Seungcheol’s desk. “Remember, they need your approval. Don’t stay too late, hyung! Wait for me, Minghao!” And Junhui scampers away.
“Do you need any help?” Joshua, bless his soul, enters the room with concerned eyes.
Seungcheol rubs at his throbbing temples, before opening his mouth to reply. Before he can say anything, however, Jeonghan sticks his head in with narrowed eyes and a scowl set on his lips.
“You’re my bitch forever, Cheolie. My bitch.”
Seungcheol allows his head to drop onto his desk with a dull thud.
“Can you check out how much it costs for a one-way flight to Iceland, please, Joshua?”
“No, Seungcheol. You’re not going to Iceland to become a shepard.”
“Think of the killer beard I’ll be able to grow out though.”
“You think going to Iceland’s gonna stop me from cashing in forever? Think again, Cheolie. You’re my bitch until the day you die.”
Seungcheol groans in agony.