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hear my heartbeat (baby)

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“I love you.”

Though the day has chilled as it transitions into night, the wind feels almost halted as the words work past his lips. Wooseok is painfully aware of a bead of sweat that trails from his neck to mid-back, fists clenched at his sides. Seungwoo looks pained at the confession. “I know.”

Wooseok stares at him, and momentarily forgets to blink.

Later, he’ll fill himself with remarks of validation at how his nerves of steel slowly melted into regret. Maybe he expected too much, but the answer is bleak and offers nothing, akin to a subtle rejection. He thinks he’s entitled to reach out and shake Seungwoo violently by the shoulders, demand he outright tear out his heart and tell it to him straight instead of this roundabout statement that only seems to indirectly confirm his worst fears. 

Perhaps it’s the part of him that always wants to give Seungwoo the benefit of the doubt, which wonders if the other thinks he’s protecting him this way, not stomping on his revelation of feelings with an outright and transparent dismissal, a move so inherently Seungwoo.  

But Wooseok doesn’t feel gratitude in the moment, nor will he every time he looks back on the moment  -- the only thing he’ll remember is how it feels like his lungs are collapsing all at once in front of his favorite ramen shop, his once sacred space to go with the other man.

He expected this outcome, predictable as the sky is blue, because why would Seungwoo love him back? 

He just didn’t anticipate on it hurting this much. 

He works a sheet of iron upon his expression, and gives a tight nod. “Okay.”

Seungwoo sighs, eyes closing for a moment before reaching out for him. “Wooseok—,”

“No,” He says, shrugging him off. “I understand. Goodbye hyung.”

Maybe a part of him expected Seungwoo to chase after him, to take him into his arms and profusely apologize for the misunderstanding, that he was slow on the uptake but he loved him too, of course he did. 

But as he rounds the corner on the familiar path to his own home, no one comes and Wooseok swallows back on the bitterness ever present upon his tongue. 

 


 

Reflecting on his actions, he promptly decides he has horrible timing.

Or rather, it’s when he goes to work the next day and passes by the human resources break room as soon as Seungwoo is making his way in, a coffee in one hand, his briefcase in the other. They pause as if at an intersection, and Seungwoo opens his mouth to say something, an uncomfortable look etched into his features. Wooseok is quicker, however, nodding in greeting before grabbing a hold of a passing Seungyoun’s arm, and latching on.

“Dude.” Seungyoun fixes him with a look, and Wooseok notices the coffee mug in his other hand, a splash of coffee now transparent on his tie. He rolls his eyes and reaches out to brush the wet spot. 

“Don’t be a big baby, it’ll dry.”

“It’s a gift from Hangyul! Given with love, it’s literally irreplaceable!” As they round the corner, Wooseok tunes Seungyoun out, unable to ignore the urge to glance back. Seungwoo’s still there, watching them go with a heavy and indescribable gaze.

Wooseok is quick to look away. 

 


 

So, maybe confessing to a fellow co-worker one is bound to bump into on the daily isn’t the brightest idea, but so isn’t confessing to one’s best friend, to someone that knows him better than he knows himself.

Well, excluding Jinhyuk of course, but the other’s been with him since their diaper days, practically from the same womb and thus feels he should be considered a given. If Jinhyuk is his soulmate, then Seungwoo is his other half, the one he latched onto at the slightest show of affection in early middle school days. He’d always had an open smile, one that beckoned Wooseok in almost enchantedly, as he goes home one day and tells his mom excitedly about his new favourite hyung that was a family friend of Jinhyuk’s, someone a little older but treated him like an equal.

Always fond of Seungwoo? A checkmark on the list of How to Discern if You’ve Fallen In Love With Your Best Friend checklist. He deems it a perfect excuse for why it takes so long to come to a sound conclusion. Instead, when the blurred lines become unavoidable and he’s faced with the realization that he’d given his heart up for the other some years ago, Seungwoo is already off to university and he’s left to deal with his newfound feelings on his own. 

Wooseok is also a great secret keeper. 

Clearly a fatal flaw, as he eventually buries the realization deep inside himself where it can’t hurt anyone, in a place that won’t ruin what he already has with the other. He dates other people, goes to a different university, but keeps in contact with Seungwoo regardless because he’ll always be his best friend. 

And then Wooseok gets a job offer at Seungwoo’s place of employment, and everything changes. 

 


 

He isn’t slick.

“Going bowling tonight.”

He can hear the traffic in the background as Seungyoun navigates through the crowds on his way back from work. The call is placed on speaker beside him as he attempts to work through the reports he has stacked up for the office tomorrow, having taken a sick day to avoid going in for no real reason at all, but it’s safe to say he’s distracted.  

“Sure.” An offhand response as he scrolls through pages of different lens shapes in search of his new glasses, though he doesn’t necessarily need them. A pause then, his finger visibly halting on the mousepad as his brain gets to work and presents an urging question. “Who’s going?”

“Hangyul can’t make it, which is weird but I bet he and Yohan got into another argument, haha.” Wooseok rolls his eyes. “Yohan’s in, though, as is Jinhyuk, Seungwoo hyung, Eun--”

“Can’t come, sorry.” He promptly hangs up the call.

No one’s ever given him props for being the smoothest person out there, but his heart lurches in his chest and he slowly closes his laptop in lieu of doing something dramatic in the moment. It’s been a couple weeks since d-day went down, but it’s easy to drown himself in work and pretend the source of his stress sits only in arbitrary means such as employment, and not the man a whole floor and a few offices down. 

So, when he says he can’t make the occasional outing, usually once he discerns knowledge of a certain someone planning on being present, he tells himself he’s entirely justified, no one can think differently of it. 

As naive as the sentiment might be, he’s also keenly aware shutting down as soon as Seungwoo’s name arises in conversation isn’t the best way to go about things. 

That doesn’t mean he’ll do anything about it, however. 

 


 

Maybe it’s irrational how irked he is at the rejection. 

He didn’t necessarily go in thinking Seungwoo would welcome him with open arms and they’d ride into the sunset together, life unfolded in visions of pink and red to mirror their fairytale ending. 

Perhaps it’s the part of him that can’t stand to process how he feels the response he’d been given justifies that ugliness inside him that has festered for ages -- that it meant Seungwoo agreed Wooseok just wasn’t good enough for him. 

No matter how he feigns anger and embarrassment to himself whenever the other is brought up, the lie is better than the unsettling pain that clenches his heart. 

 


 

“Let me get this straight — you confessed your undying love and all he said is ‘I know’?” Jinhyuk waits for Wooseok to nod, the latter scowling as he begrudgingly does so. Jinhyuk drags out a whistle, looking around the rest of the coffee shop and the morning buzz of people on their way to school and work. “That’s brutal.”

Wooseok groans, burying his face into his hands. “Let’s not talk about it.” 

Jinhyuk had shown up outside his apartment just in time for them to head outtogether, offering innocent eyes and playing the “you’re my best friend and I want to spend some time with you outside of work” card, which Wooseok had begrudgingly accepted. 

Clearly, a mistake.

Jinhyuk stares at him for a moment, gaze entirely analytical and Wooseok almost squirms where he stands. “What?”

“I’m surprised you told him,” He concedes eventually, tone kept levelled though the inquisitive nature feels more transparent. 

Wooseok looks away, following the line to the cashier as it slowly grows smaller. “Yeah. Me too.”

“It’s strange though, I could swear he also…” The other trails off, lost in thought as he stares at the menu in front of them, eyes not entirely focused. Wooseok doesn’t rise to the remark. 

Jinhyuk bumps his shoulder against his after a contemplative silence. “Does it feel cathartic?” 

Does it? It feels like it should be an easy answer, that of course it does. A life long secret kept nurtured in the space between his heart and lungs, begging to be said at any moment, should feel like a weight off his chest. It should discern a sense of inevitability, the way things worked out. It’s his fault if some part of him expected anything more to come out of it, if he yearned for reciprocity. 

Instead, there’s a small sense of hollowness where the overwhelming emotions had once been, and Wooseok summons a smile.

“No, not really.” 

The way sympathy splashes across Jinhyuk’s expression tells him he failed with his attempt at subtle nonchalance, but luckily the barista calls for them to order and the conversation gets brushed under the rug as the rush to get the morning started takes over. 

 


 

Wooseok doesn’t know when everything changed, when life could secularly fall into two categories: pre-loving Seungwoo, and then everything after. 

A process of normalization for the way his heart clenches and oozes with certain sentiments every time the other so much as breathes, Wooseok sometimes wonders if he was born for the sole purpose of loving him, loving Seungwoo until it hurt.

Then a voice resembling Jinhyuk’s calls him stupid (though without the fond edge his real life persona can’t withhold) and the dramatics of it all are daunting. He’s not dependent on Seungwoo, not at all. The other is but a personification of everything he can mold together to create the ideal companion, someone to love till the end of the line, the one he wants to grow alongside and drown in intimacy with to the utmost essence of what it means to truly know someone. Seungwoo is simply the one he wanted to share his life with, to hold and love till his final days.

No big deal, not at all. 

 


 

(It doesn’t strike him that maybe this mold of the perfect companion came from years of pining after said man, when his partners over the years found themselves subject to quiet and unfair comparisons to everything he imagined and knew Seungwoo to be. Maybe he’s just not ready to admit he’s wanted Seungwoo for longer than he cares to admit, becoming someone shaping his desires from day one.) 

 


 

Lies are hard to hide from friends, especially from those with a keen eye. 

“Are you and Seungwoo hyung okay?” Dongpyo’s gaze is inquisitive and burns bright in question, and Wooseok doesn’t know what to say. He turns back to his plate for a moment, fiddling with his chopsticks as he picks up a piece of meat before putting it back down. He doesn’t look in Seungwoo’s direction, but he can feel his gaze still on him from the other side of the table, and so he looks back at Dongpyo and gives an attempt at a smile, as genuine as it’ll get. 

“Why the sudden question, kid?” Dongpyo rolls his eyes at the use of the nickname, and Wooseok rues the day he agreed to these friendly get-togethers among family and childhood friends. Dongpyo is the closest to Seungwoo, a younger cousin quickly adopted into the little brother figure, so of course he’d notice if something was off. He continues.

“You haven’t met each other’s eyes all night, which is weird considering hyung is usually attached at your hip and is all touchy or whatever.” His nose wrinkles in faux disgust and Wooseok opens his mouth to offer a quick defence but the younger continues with a hint of reluctance and a pointed look. “Also, Seungwoo hyung looks sadder lately, and you haven’t been around in a while — the logical conclusion seems to be you two are fighting.”

Wooseok doesn’t know what to say, staring at his pseudo baby brother figure with a sense of wonderment (and a hint of pride) at the idea of Dongpyo growing so observant over the years. Yet, the words also seem to confirm his suspicions, that their friends had sensed things were unsettled between the two, and he holds back the urge to bury his face into his arms and will himself to disappear to avoid dealing with it all.

Instead he offers a smile, and reaches out to ruffle the other’s hair. “Cute.” He continues before the other can protest, keeping his lips plastered up, unwilling to let the other worry about something as arbitrary as Wooseok’s feelings.  

“Yeah, kid. Everything is fine, don’t worry about us.” It’s bland, but the verbal reassurance seems to satisfy the younger, as if he can now hold them to his words if something does go wrong between them -- Wooseok wouldn’t put it past him.

“Good,” He almost chirps, before turning away. He halts, though, turning back as if struck with a thought. “Hyung loves you a lot, you know that, right?”

It feels like a set-up, but innocence and sincerity shines bright in Dongpyo’s eyes, and so Wooseok swallows back on the way his throat threatens to close up. He nods slowly, eyes falling to his plate as he picked up his chopsticks again. 

“Yeah,” He answers, tone a little rough and tinted with emotion. “I know.” 

 


 

Maybe he has been ignoring Seungwoo, but after a few weeks of space settles, Wooseok is struck with yearning so heavy, it weighs down his heart entirely. 

The ugly feeling manifests at the unsettling fact Seungwoo hasn’t approached him either, keeping himself situated away and never alone in a room together. He never seeks him out, doesn’t reach out via phone either save for a call two days after the confession that he hadn’t picked up. He’s never gone this long without talking to the other, not even when they went to different schools and only saw each other during the holidays, with Seungwoo making sure to send a text, or call (his preferred method of communication, citing he liked hearing Wooseok’s voice) to check up on him.

Perhaps it’s desperation speaking, but he tells himself he’s come to terms with the whole affair. 

So Seungwoo didn’t love him -- that’s okay. 

The human heart is fickle, and so, he’s sure to get over it. Seungwoo will find someone else to love, someone more deserving and affectionate, someone he’ll encourage with open arms. Wooseok will stand at the sidelines and be the friend he’s supposed to be, supportive and approving, watching the man he loves settle down with someone that wasn’t him. 

As long as he can be by his side, he’ll be fine. 

 


 

“Seungwoo hyung says he misses you.” He jolts up from his presentation, engrossed in memorizing as much as he can before the afternoon meeting later. Yohan peers down into his cubicle, offered a look of innocence as he waits for an answer.

Wooseok raises a brow. “Did he send you over here to relay the message?”

“No, not technically. Just wanted to let you know.”

He narrows his eyes for a moment. “And that’s exactly what he said -- that he misses me?”

Yohan hesitates then. “I mean -- it was obvious?”

He stares at him, unfaltering. The other eventually juts out his chin, expression a little petulant. “Why don’t you two just make up? And before you deny it, everyone knows. Lost fifty dollars the other day because I thought the cold war would be long over by now.”

Yohan mumbles through the last part, not entirely realizing his mistake. “You’re betting on this?” This tone is slightly incredulous, though with further thought, he’d accept how little of a surprise it really is, with how the office bet on everyone and everything to keep stuff interesting.

He should know, he’s usually involved. (Funny, how much he despises the idea when he’s the source of entertainment, a hypocritical play).

“Yeah, so you owe me fifty dollars now. Lunch is on you this week!” His cheery disposition leaves a tick in Wooseok’s forehead, a foreboding sense of annoyance growing the more the younger speaks. Yohan, with his self-preservation skills kicking in, pulls on a more serious look. “You’ve never been angry for this long before. Not with hyung.”

It’s overwhelming, to a degree, how well his friends seem to know him. He’s not sure how to respond, hesitating for a moment, then looking away. He’s underestimated how much his stubbornness may impact the group dynamic, and so, there’s a new hint of shame that grows at the acknowledgement.

“I’m not angry.” Not anymore, he should say. Instead, he sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose as he struggles to find the right words. “Don’t worry about it. Instead, how about you focus on the afternoon meeting?”

Yohan takes the cue, offering a grin, though sympathetic in nature. “Didn’t you hear, hyung? It’s been moved to tomorrow.”

“What?” He moves his mouse with a frantic motion, and after the screen prompts him to enter his password, there it sits, a notice at the top of his inbox in all its glory. He drags out a groan, burying his face into his arms with a dramatic flair. 

“I feel for you, I do. More time to memorize, though?” He groans even louder, and Yohan reaches down to pat Wooseok’s back in a show of consolation. “Sorry! It was a long shot of an attempt at comfort, I know. Anyways, I have to go fill in for another intern, but speak to Seungwoo hyung, please. I wasn’t lying when I said he misses you.”

Wooseok looks up in time to see Yohan wave farewell, but not before the latter whispers, “and possibly do it before the end of the week? No specific reason, thanks, love you!”

He hates his friends.

 


 

Yohan’s words stay on his mind throughout the rest of the week, intermingling with Dongpyo and Jinhyuk’s respective comments from earlier, almost taunting him. It’s a sudden awareness that creeps up on him as he makes his afternoon tea, that it’s been almost two months since d-day had occurred. 

Two months of pretending he can ignore Seungwoo’s existence entirely. 

Before he knows it, Seungyoun’s birthday rolls around and it’s time for another dinner together, one he can’t get out of. The said birthday man leeches onto him once the work day ends, physically and emotionally dragging him to the restaurant with Jinhyuk at his side, amusement and a hint of glee in the latter’s smile.

He really hates his friends.

Yet, the night goes well, celebratory in nature like it intends to be, many warm sentiments are passed around as they drink to themselves. It’s when he gets a few drinks in him, loosening up as the night goes on, does he acknowledge the bout of affection he feels for his forever friends, people he’s grateful to know. 

Byungchan arrives mid-way through, loosening his tie as he drops beside Jinhyuk. He throws a small box at Seungyoun’s face, paired with a birthday wish and a laugh as the other fumbles in attempt to catch it, before turning to his boyfriend and pulling Jinhyuk into a long and drawn out kiss. A few catcalls, mostly courtesy of Hangyul respectively, fly among them, and Wooseok ignores the wistful thread of longing that suffocates his heart at the sight, looking away to instead accidentally make eye contact with Seungwoo. A bout of emotion builds in his throat, and he averts his eyes and busies himself as he reaches for his drink. 

He chooses not to focus on the way the other had already been staring at him before he even turned. 

The night passes in a blur from there, everyone stumbling out once Seungwoo reminds them all it’s still a work night, groans passing through the room. Buzz-kill, s omeone calls out, sounding suspectedly like Byungchan, who quickly pulls on his usual air of gentle innocence as Jinhyuk laughs behind a hand.

“I’m off.” He waves, yawning as he’s dismissed by the group. “See you tomorrow.”

“I’ll walk you home.” Seungwoo’s suddenly beside him and before Wooseok can process the sudden offer, a hand plants itself upon his lower back. The touch almost burns, and Wooseok’s knees grow weak at how Seungwoo’s familiar cologne embraces his presence. 

“I’ll be fine.” The words are stilted, and he takes a step away. Despite himself, he chances a look in Seungwoo’s direction, and catches the frown before the other can smooth it out.

“Both of you are going in the same direction, just let him take you, Seok-ah.” Jinhyuk points an easy grin towards the two, something urging in his eyes as he pointedly looks towards Seungwoo and then back to Wooseok. Hangyul mumbles an agreement as well, waving them off as he leeches himself onto Yohan’s arm, both of them irrevocably distracted from that moment on about some situation in their apartment. Seungyoun is too busy thanking Byungchan for his gift, an emotional exchange going down a few feet away that everyone is decidedly choosing to ignore.

Wooseok huffs quietly, and Seungwoo is quick to lead him away, waving their friends off. His hand returns to the same spot on his back as if that’s where it belongs, guiding him forward. He resigns himself to his fate and falls into step.

“I can walk myself home.” Wooseok is nothing if not stubborn, features set in stone as he speaks. The smile is too apparent in Seungwoo’s voice when he next speaks, that Wooseok doesn’t even need to look over to know how soft his expression must be.

He knows him too well, an unfortunate perk courtesy of all the years spent together.

“I know. I want to, though.”

Wooseok wills himself not to bristle. “I see. Be my guest.”

Stiled words don’t discourage the other, and so they continue in a fit of silence, only cars and the gentle buzz of the passing crowds as background noise for the journey. Perhaps the silence should be awkward, for the circumstances definitely were, had been for the last while. Yet, despite it all, despite the time spent away since d-day had occurred, the truth remains that awkward has never been synonymous with Seungwoo. 

Someone once commented Seungwoo felt like an extension of Wooseok, the way their interactions flowed with an intimacy and genuinity as a result of growing up side by side since sandbox days. Seungwoo has seen him grow into his skin, go through heartbreak and the ignorance of teenage years, all without an ounce of judgement to back it up, with only the slight wisdom that comes to some with being older to offer when he reached his own hurdles in the path of life. 

Seungwoo will always feel inevitable.

They reach his apartment without another word, and Wooseok hesitates for a moment, as Seungwoo opens his mouth to say something, before looking away. 

“Wooseok--”

“I should go in.”

“Wait.”

The urgency is fluid in his steps as he moves away. “Goodnight, hyung.”

“Listen,” Exasperation taint the words as he reaches out and takes Wooseok’s hand in his, pulling him back. He feels like a paper bag then, with how effortless it is to stop him, sigh on his lips as he narrows his eyes and looks back at Seungwoo. “Wooseok, please.”

“What.” Manners escape him as he stares expectedly, impatience staining his actions.

“I…” He cuts himself off, frustration growing, and Wooseok notes he’s yet to let go of his hand. “I miss you.”

It’s like his breath gets knocked straight out of him. The way he yearns to grab his middle is reminiscent of a bruised rib cage, and Wooseok eventually has to remind himself to take a breath. The effect is immediate, and he despises how affected he feels in the moment, searching for the right words to offer the other. 

“I’m right here, hyung.” He’s gentler than he aimed for, especially considering he knows he has little blame to shoulder in this instance--

--except no, because the blame is entirely his, for the distance between them is like a wall erupted and built by his own hands, out of a place of both shame and resentment.  

Seungwoo’s shoulders slump and his expression is marred with misery. “I know I messed up, but I didn’t -- want things to be like this.”

Wooseok absentmindedly works his free hand through his hair, a habit created out of a sense of growing disheartenment. “Look. You didn’t do anything, okay? We don’t need to do this. I just -- I needed some time.” Seungwoo has long since perfected the art of puppy eyes, and Wooseok wants to reach out and cover them in this instance. 

“But you’re my best friend, and I know I haven’t been fair lately, but,” He swallows, before going on. “I’ll always love you. Platonically, even.”  

Seungwoo is quick to jump in, taking a step closer. “And you’ll always be my best friend too, of course. I just -- need you to understand where I was coming from that day.”

He shakes his head and instead plants his eyes on a passing car, at the way a dog pokes its head out the window because any sight would be easier than meeting Seungwoo’s eyes in the moment. “You don’t need to explain anything, hyung. You don’t feel the same, I get it. Let’s just -- try to move on.”

He pulls his hand out of Seungwoo’s grip and lets it drop to his side. He can still feel the other’s warmth on his skin, like a phantom kiss that won’t fade away. He clenches it into a fist. 

“You’re wrong.” 

Seungwoo’s words linger in the air, as he takes his time turning his head back. He’s met with desperation in the other’s eyes, as he works them over Wooseok’s expression. He waits then, beckoning him to continue with silence. Seungwoo swallows. 

“You’re wrong,” He repeats, softer this time. “I wanted to reply in the moment, tell you right away that of course I felt the same, I love you more than I have ever loved before."

"But, I don’t know -- I was scared for some reason. Maybe it’s selfish but I convinced myself it was better to let you go, no matter how long I’ve been waiting for you to say those words.”

Wooseok forgets to breathe, lungs burning. “What?” 

“I do love you. I don’t remember when it went from loving you like a friend to something undefinable, but I’ve always loved you, Wooseok. So much that it scares me.”

“You’re lying.”

His tone borderlines on accusatory, and Seungwoo’s smile looks pained. “I’ve hurt you.”

Wooseok scoffs at that, now refusing to meet his eyes. Seungwoo reaches out again, taking Wooseok’s hand to hold in his once more, squeezing gently. “It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. I’m sorry.” 

A moment of silence falls between them, and the summer breeze dances through the night, ticking the back of Wooseok’s neck as it passes. A million thoughts continue to race through his mind, but nothing concrete makes it through the chaos. All he knows is the way Seungwoo strokes his palm, in the manner the other knows comforts him most, patience interwoven in his posture. 

“All I’ve ever wanted is you,” He says eventually, another confession that weighs heavier than one from weeks ago. He feels a hint of embarrassment, ears flushing at the tips, but remains unnerved as he searches for an answer.

“I know.” The words are reminiscent of d-day, only this time it isn’t hurt that engulfs his lungs, but rather an undeniable surge of warmth. Maybe he should be angry, but the essence of red has clung to his actions for so long, and forgiveness is a virtue given in abundance, especially when it comes to Seungwoo.

“I love you,” He says then, a hint of hesitation still lingering around the edges, but as Seungwoo smiles and leans in, the feeling quickly washes away. He presses his lips to Wooseok’s, first kiss a little chaste and entirely intended to be a seal of affection. Wooseok’s heart somersaults in his chest, and he squeezes Seungwoo’s hand as a result.

“I know,” Seungwoo murmurs then, and Wooseok can’t help but smile against his lips before kissing him again.

 



“So?” Seungyoun’s tone is impatient as he invades his cubicle without warning. 

Wooseok looks up from his report to see Yohan and Jinhyuk have also surrounded the space, the looks on their faces intermingling with curiosity and expectation. He knows why they’re here, having deducted the farse from last night to be a plan of the group’s making. 

He leans back in his seat, and reveals nothing. “Can I help you?”

Seungyoun and Yohan groan at the obvious act at obliviousness, as Jinhyuk sips his tea, eyes narrowing. He says nothing, however, seemingly attempting to piece it together on his own. 

“Yohan here is convinced he’s won the bet. Confirm or deny -- is the cold war over?” Seungyoun keeps his eyes planted on Wooseok, suspicion and doubt in his words. 

Wooseok tilts his head, smiling.

“Quick, Jinhyuk -- you’re a master at Wooseok speak.” Seungyoun points a finger in Wooseok’s face, shaking it about. “What does it mean?”  

Before his best friend has a chance to reply, a new voice cuts in, immediately startling his cubicle invaders. “Looks like we’re having another party here.” The amusement is clear in Seungwoo’s voice. 

“They’re wondering if we’ve patched things up,” He says, tone wry as he tilts his head up to clearly see Seungwoo. The other hums in acknowledgement, holding out a fresh cup of tea for Wooseok to take. 

He’s keenly aware of how the three stare, almost entirely sure Jinhyuk’s mouth must’ve fallen into an “O” shape in sudden realization, validated as a snicker travels through the air. 

“Thanks,” He tells Seungwoo, pointedly ignoring how the other two shake at Jinhyuk’s laughing shoulders in demand of answers. 

“I’ll see you at lunch, baby,” Seungwoo murmurs, leaning down to press his lips to the top of Wooseok’s head before he’s off in the direction of his office. Seungyoun covers his face with his hands as he groans, sliding slowly to the floor. Yohan immediately cheers, fist pumping the air with a shout of “I knew it -- pay up, losers!!”

God, he hates his friends.