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Serendipity

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The room is almost full, most of the team present as people catch up with each other and compare notes. Jimin sits in his seat, eyes boring into the material he has in his hands as he resolutely ignores everyone. Flipping the cover page and reading the key points once again, he ignores the urge to tap his foot against the ground. 

Perhaps he shouldn't have turned up early. He should have waited till a minute before the meeting started and then slipped in through the doors. But the seats would get filled up and he might not get one in the corner. At times like these, Jimin wishes he could fall asleep at will and wake up right before the manager strolls in.

It's not fair, manager Kim takes ages to get there, and when he does, he spends the first five minutes interacting with his subordinates and asking them how their week went. As if that's required, when all Jimin wants to do is talk about the pros and cons of a particular production, present his report and then metaphorically dissolve into air as the rest of the team gives their report. To top it all off, being in the corner means that he often is the last to give his report. So he also has to sit through all of that, pay attention, then talk when it's his turn.

It's not like he doesn't like people. He's just shy. And being shy means he can't talk and laugh with the rest of his team properly without making a fool out of himself. He used to be able to do it swimmingly (he thinks), but too many bad experiences have rendered him wary. He's resorted to just smiling politely at people when they strike up conversations with him, and giving short answers. It works half the time, and he can carry on serious talks. The rest of the time… Well, let's just say that Jimin pretends not to know the cute names people call him. He's twenty-five, a grown man, but to the women in his department, he's just the resident marshmallow.

God, isn't that just the icing on the big cake of embarrassment that's been baking ever since he joined the company three years ago?

Three years ago, when Jimin was fresh out of college, wide-eyed and hopeful that he could make it in the world with everything he'd learned till then. 

At the same time, Min Yoongi had joined the company.

Funnily enough, his best friend happens to be someone that people are terrified of. He's an absolute sweetheart underneath everything, but on the surface he's frigid as anything, and people just don't want to reach further. Min Yoongi is just a man of few words, and Jimin's perfectly alright with that.

He'd surprisingly hit it off with him at the initiation three years back, when they'd both been new and quietly sitting in the corner minding their business while their senior coworkers behaved rowdily.

Jimin wishes Yoongi was present in the meetings with him, but alas, he's not in the same department, much less the same team. Yoongi's in the IT department, while Jimin's in the Research & Development department, specifically in the team headed by manager Kim Seokjin.

The diva. The 'face' of the team, hell, the entire department. The narcissist. The weirdo with the dad jokes, according to some unfortunate souls. He's known by many names. Jimin prefers referring to him as the slightly self-obsessed and surprisingly highly competent manager. ('Slightly,' because Park Jimin is nothing if not a polite boy- no, man. He's a polite man.) If not for his habit of making his subordinates socialise, there's nothing wrong with the manager.

In regards to work, he's a bit too perfect.

Jimin's compliment session stops when the door opens loudly, the manager standing in the doorway. Forget that, manager Kim is not a perfect man. The tacky lab coat that he's wearing is enough proof. It's fine to wear it in the lab… but when they're in the meeting room, does he really need to wear the coat? It's not as if the coat is a sign of his allegiance to the R&D department.

But hey, at least he's here now. The sooner he swoops down upon his people, the sooner they can discuss the product and go home. It's a quarter past five in the evening, Jimin's hopeful that the meeting will be over in under an hour and he'll get to take the 7 PM train home. The station is approximately half an hour away from the office, on foot. 

"Ey, how's everyone?" The greeting is met by a chorus of good's and well's. The manager smiles brightly, continuing, "You're all better now that I'm here, I know. Let's hear a bit more about how you've all been, though. Can't have you getting distracted during the actual meeting, so I'll give you all time to swoon over my face and talk about your day." he smiles another winning smile, and Jimin resists the urge to thump his head against the table and groan. Why is the manager like that?

The men make faces and the women giggle, and Kim looks proud of himself. Everyone says a line or two, and as they get to Jimin, he tries to catch a few of the words trying to run away from him. When it's his turn, he looks at the manager wordlessly. 

"Jimin-ssi~, how's your day been?"

His face flames at the lilting pronunciation of his name, and he mumbles out, "Alright." Knowing that it wouldn't be satisfactory and he'll get prodded more, he hastily adds the first thing that comes to mind. "I'll leave soon and listen to music."

"Oh, planning to leave soon, are you?" Jimin nods. " Wow, I can see just how eager you are for the meeting to end. So you can listen to music." The manager goads, and people laugh into their palms. Great, just great. Regardless, Jimin nods again. It's not like it's a crime to want to go home. At least he finishes his work on time, unlike half his coworkers.

Thankfully, manager Kim takes pity on him and calls to order, and everyone starts presenting their report. 

Miss Han next to him is the second-to-last person to stand up. She takes way too long, and right when Jimin's about to yawn (because the room is too silent and still, save for her voice), she stops speaking, bows and sits down. She gives him a nervous smile, and he thanks his lucky stars for not having yawned. She's one of the few people in the entire department who's worse at socialising than him, and he doesn't want to be mean to her, even if they're not friends.

Nodding his head a bit, he springs up, smoothing out his shirt and giving a cursory glance to his paper. Then he starts talking, confident in his ability to put forth his argument. The heavens blessed him with the ability to talk when he's in work-mode, and he loves that. Soon, he's done, smiling down at the table while manager Kim claps. 

"Excellent, excellent. You've put a lot of thought into it. Remember to email me the report. You too, Heongwoo-ssi." he points to the man on the other end of the table. I'll look at them both and forward them to the Production department later. I think we're all agreeing upon this project?" The team nodded, murmuring to each other, and the manager breathed out, satisfied.

"Great! So I guess that concludes our meeting. Thank you everyone for your precious time!" 

"Thank you too, manager Kim," they all chorus, and the person in question smiles again. They start filing out of the room one by one, the manager staring hard at the table. When Jimin's almost to the door, he calls out, "Have a nice evening, Jimin-ssi. Enjoy clubbing!"

Confused, Jimin turns to the manager. "I'm not going clubbing, though."

"Aren't you?" The manager's eyes widen dramatically. "Then do you plan to spend your evening indulging in other pleasurable activities? I didn't know you required music for that. But I can see why you'd want it, you seem like that kind of guy."

Other… pleasurable activities? That kind of guy? Jimin doesn't want to be Jimean… but is the manager high? Jimin has no idea what he's talking about. And then it clicks.

Colour floods his face, and he chokes on his spit. Aghast, he splutters, "I'm- I'm just going to listen to music! Alone." Wait, that's even worse. Now the manager will level other allegations at him. Jimin can feel his skin prickling as he swallows back his frustration. "God, I'm only going to listen to some music that's been out for a day and a half. Or more."

That's when manager Kim's face crumples, muscles twitching as he bursts out laughing, continuing to the point that he wheezes, stumbling and holding onto the edge of the table as he doubles over, and Jimin hightails it out of there. Why do people love messing with him? Did it really sound as if he was going clubbing? It's not like he had any friends to take along. And he already had plans, thank you very much. Which were not the embarrassing kind that his manager implied.

He goes past the corridors and rooms full of cubicles, and stops by the IT department for a moment. Yoongi's working at the moment; his Friday hours always drag on till late at night. Jimin pokes his head into the room, eyes zoning in on where his friend sits. He smiles and waves slightly when Yoongi raises his head, sparing him a glance. His friend smiles as well, then goes back to typing, and Jimin leaves.

He exits the building with a skip in his step.

For the past two days, he's been so busy that the new SOPE track that dropped in the wee hours of Thursday is still downloaded onto his laptop, not even played once. Wednesday night, Jimin stayed up so late finishing his report that he fell asleep before he could even think of SOPE. 

Thursday morning, when he eagerly downloaded the track, he realised to his dismay that he'd get late for work if he started listening to it, and since then there's been one hindrance after another.

Tonight, Jimin for sure is hoping to melt over the song till the sun rises the next morning. He doesn't have work tomorrow, he's already clocked in his hours of the week. He's so blessed. All that waits for the weekend is indulging himself in his favourite pastime. 

He loves SOPE. He's been a fan ever since he first came across their music on the website he frequents. By now, it's been a year and a half and his love for them only increases. It's a two-man team, both of them primarily rappers but also dabbling in all genres. Jimin likes how one of them raps so fast that it's like a whirlwind, leaving him no time to think but just hum along, while the other one's voice is so unique that it makes him smile. Their names are unknown, but Jimin is happy to just think of them as SOPE, or The Most Talented Duo, In His Opinion.

He used to talk about them to Yoongi all the time, animatedly relaying his emotions whenever he heard their music, and his friend would give him an exasperated look bordering on pained. It didn't matter though, he knew that despite everything, Yoongi cared about him and didn't mind Jimin yammering on. It was only when Yoongi also brought along his friend Hoseok to one of their drinking sessions that Jimin realised how embarrassing his worshipping really was. He'd been in the middle of gushing about the latest song that had come out after a fortnight, not paying mind to Yoongi's sighs and rolling eyes, but then Hoseok had burst out laughing, and for a moment that'd been the only sound in the room. Then the drunk Jimin had ever-so-elegantly pouted, and refused to talk to either of them for the rest of the night.

He knew that not everyone could handle the extent of his adoration. But he wasn't going to give up SOPE. He'd just keep it to himself and his late night schedule.

Hoseok had apologised the next day, smiling brightly and admitting that it was just surprising to see him talk so passionately about something, and Jimin had sheepishly smiled, all the while promising to himself that he wouldn't bring it up again.

Looking back on it, it's just amusing; one more thing to add to his embarrassing life. And it's really nothing to hide. But for the moment, he plans to keep it just as hidden as it is now.

He reaches the station soon enough, and boards the waiting train. Finding a seat easily, he shuts his eyes and thinks about his week. Report, done; meeting, successful. He has no obligations for the weekend.

For once, he can sleep in late without the fear of forgetting some important task. His Saturday will be a nice, peaceful one. Or he could even head down to Busan and meet his family. He's not been there for a long time, and his mother's been asking when he'll drop by. He thought he'd go in a few months, but since it's a rare free weekend, he could afford to now.

Even if he doesn't go, he'll have a good time at home. 

He has the best possible neighbour in all of Seoul, and he couldn't be more grateful to the person. As far as Jimin knows, the neighbour has a night shift job, and sleeps all day. By the time Jimin gets back from work during the week, his neighbour is either already out, or almost. Which means he's never had any complaints even after blaring SOPE's music at three in the night, nor has the neighbour ever given Jimin a reason to complain. Their schedules are polar opposites, and Jimin couldn't ask for more.

He's also the only one who can hear the music, because Jimin lives in the apartment at the end of the corridor, with only one neighbour on his right. Spectacular. 

Even now, when he'll get back, the neighbour will be out, and after cooking a light meal for himself, Jimin has the whole night ahead of him.

Eyes still shut, head lowered, he smiles to himself.