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Troubleshoot Me

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Ten catches his first glimpse of Johnny in the Technology Advising Center (also known as the TAC) when his roommate, Yuta, brings in his laptop for emergency repair during finals week.

Yuta, being the delicately clumsy kid he is, spilled scalding tea all over his precious Macbook Pro the night before his term paper was due, and of course, he whined and begged for Ten to accompany him down to the TAC.

“Why can’t you go by yourself, you big baby?” Ten huffed, feeling more than a little put out by his roommate’s request, considering he, too, had important papers and projects due soon.

Yuta had pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “First of all, I’m older than you, so if anyone’s a baby here, it’s you. Second of all,” he whined, coming over to Ten’s desk to cling to the younger man’s arm, “I’ve never been to the tech center. They’re all... scary geeks.” Ten had to hand it to his roommate for upping the theatrics as the older shuddered.

Ten craned his neck to look Yuta in the eye. “They’re students just like us, you know. And you’re just as big of a geek as they are,” he reasoned, and Yuta looked alarmed.

“It’s a different kind of geek, though! I’m... a nerd. I like manga and roleplaying and fandom, but tech geeks? They’re scary. They code,” the older asserted.

Ten rolled his eyes. He knew he wasn’t going to get out of this one unless he put his foot down--and he specifically reserved that move for those Big Important Fights that happen once in a blue moon. So he had to suck this up.

“Fine. But you do all the talking. I’m only going for emotional support,” he huffed, and off they went.


It doesn’t surprise Ten at all that Yuta can’t talk to the people at the TAC counter. He’s all stuttering tongue and sheepish smiles, and when one of the employees, a skinny man who looks like he’s about fourteen, asks him if he has insurance on the laptop, he looks back at Ten with large, round, uncertain eyes.

Ten sighs and steps up beside him.

“Yes, he does. It’s with Apple. I was there when he bought it,” he answers the employee, and the latter nods his head, inspecting the laptop from all angles.

“Okay, well, if your friend could contact them and notify them of this, that would work best. He’ll have to get a whole new laptop it seems. The water damage fried everything,” the employee announces, and Yuta’s jaw drops.

“A new laptop?” Yuta squeaks, and Ten immediately brings a comforting hand to his shoulder.

“You have insurance. That’s what it’s for. They’ll probably ship you a new one for free,” Ten reassures him, but this just sends Yuta into a new frenzy.

“But my paper! It’s due tomorrow and I didn’t back it up! Is there any way you can salvage that?” he frantically asks the employee, who shakes his head, looking genuinely sorry.

“I wish I could do more, but-”

“Let me see it.”

The employee is interrupted by a newcomer behind the desk, and Ten doesn’t have the self-control to stop himself from doing a double take.

He’s hot. Still definitely a geek--a very slight overbite, wavy brown hair cutting into his eyes at all the wrong angles, and an actual pen in the pocket of his shirt--but he’s undeniably hot.

He’s brought back to reality when said man looks up at him, and then to Yuta. His eyes are gorgeous and piercing and it feels like in that fraction of a second that the man met his gaze, he looked right into his soul.

Ten gulps. Hard.

“You said you spilled tea on it?” he asks Yuta, and the latter hurriedly nods. “You mean you spilled it like you dumped it on the keyboard or that you kinda, sorta knocked it over on the table and it seeped under the laptop?” The man’s voice is biting, but has no malintent.

“Uh.” Yuta blinks for a second, and Ten can’t help but glance between the two and start to admire the guy over the way the he looks completely calm and not like he’s about to bust a nut out of frustration from dealing with Yuta. “The first?” Yuta squeaks.

“Cool, let me see if your hard drive is still intact,” he says, and Ten just barely has the mind to look at the guy’s nametag as he wrestles the laptop away from the first man, who looks a tad peeved that his coworker just made more work for both of them.


It’s right there in big, bold, letters with the TAC’s customer service slogan (Computer trouble? We’re on the double!) right under it. The name sounds British or American or something and Ten’s heart does this weird flip-flop thing because wow, there’s more foreigners here!

Johnny gets out the tiniest screwdriver Ten has ever seen and opens up the underside of Yuta’s laptop with the same delicacy one would adopt when performing open heart surgery. His fingers are slender and slightly veiny, and Ten’s eyes trail up the rest of his arms.

Ten frowns. He didn’t think geeks worked out.

“The hard drive is mostly dry. I’ll see what I can recover,” Johnny announces, and the first employee (who Ten, by the way, had not taken any interest in learning the name of) sighs, slumping down into one of the swivel chairs on the other side of Johnny.

A few minutes, filled with Yuta pacing nervously near the entrance and Ten having a hard time not ogling the stranger named Johnny, go by before there’s any news.

“You’re in luck. I managed to get a good portion of your stuff on the drive copied over to here,” Johnny says, handing Yuta a USB, “and I think your paper is on there. The only stuff I couldn’t access was in videos and pictures. And I’m sure you can always find that stuff again, right?” he asks, sending a teasing smirk to Yuta, who looks about ready to either piss his pants or punch someone.

Ten clears his throat. “As his roommate, I can testify that those won’t be missed,” he adds, and Yuta’s face burns a bright red when he catches on to the joke.

Johnny regards him for a second and Ten feels his own face heat up when he thinks the other man gives him a once-over. Johnny cracks a smile--one of those “it’s eleven at night and it’s finals week so my night is only halfway over” smiles--and hands Yuta his laptop.

“You’ll still want to let Apple know this happened and they’ll replace it for you, but in the meantime, you can rent out a loaner if you want,” he says, and Yuta immediately nods.

After a few more minutes of Yuta gawking over how expensive the rental rates are and Ten all but forcing him to hand over his credit card and student ID, they’re ready to leave the TAC.

Ten really doesn’t want to. Not when he’s met a ridiculously attractive, geeky foreigner with a good sense of humor.

But staying around any longer would be weird and Ten’s not planning on confessing to the guy right then and there, so he waves Johnny a polite goodbye and follows Yuta back to their dorm.

“Thank you for coming with me,” Yuta says sheepishly as they enter the shared room, and Ten rolls his eyes.

“You’d think between the two of us, I was the older one,” he retorts, and Yuta elbows him lightly in the stomach.

Ten goes to sleep that night with Yuta’s side of the room still brightly lit (read: how it normally is) and tells himself that his sudden obsession over the TAC employee, Johnny, is a finals-week-induced craze and that when he wakes up in the morning he won’t feel the urge to do something stupid like break his own computer in order to see him again.


He’s wrong.

He wakes up and the first thing on his mind isn’t how he has a presentation and multiple-choice exam today and then a paper to put finishing touches on after that, but instead is the surprisingly muscular TAC employee from last night.

He blinks up at the ceiling, brows furrowed and lips turned down into something between a pout and a frown, and promptly turns over to groan into his pillow.

Unfortunately, there’s not much time to dwell over his new muse, because he’s got places to go and tests to take, so for a few hours Johnny leaves his mind.

At lunch, he is fully affronted by his new crush when he spots him sitting only a few feet away from the fast food stall he ordered lunch from. He freezes, unsure if he should go up to him, but he quickly pushes that thought away. What would he even say if he went up there where he was surrounded by other guys who were probably his friends and probably not cool with a random stranger wanting to sit with them?

“Hey, you helped out my roommate with his laptop last night. Can we make out?”

Ten purses his lips and quickly turns on his heels to find somewhere else to sit.


Ten is thankful and extremely relieved when finals come to an end, and the entire rest of the student body seems to let out a collective sigh with him.

The wind wrapping around him is alarmingly chilly, but he guesses he should expect that with it being December in South Korea and all. He grew up in a much, much warmer climate, but if he’s got to be honest, he loves being able to see and feel all four seasons.

So he zips his thermal jacket up a little higher and tells himself to enjoy the cold while he can before he goes back to his family for the break.


The winter break passes in a flash of hugs and well-wishes and family, and soon Ten finds himself opening the door to his dorm again.

Nothing has changed. Everything is still where it used to be--the posters, messy floors, and various knick-knacks laing around--and Ten lets his shoulders fall. He likes change, and he really likes seeing his family, but there’s something ridiculously comforting about coming back to something that hasn’t changed at all. Something that’s been waiting for him.

Yuta comes in about an hour later with two suitcases and a dozen souvenirs from Japan for Ten and their other friends, and they spend their first night back watching some anime Yuta thinks Ten would really like.

But Yuta has gotten out a pristine Macbook Pro--one not stained the color of liquid shit--and Ten falters.

He sends out a silent prayer of sorts, hoping that Johnny has had a good break and that he’s happy to be back.

Ten falls asleep a bit after Yuta, the laptop speakers still blaring with Japanese, but he doesn’t bother to stop it. The machine will go to sleep eventually, too, so he closes his already half-lidded eyes and basks in the familiarity of his dorm and roommate.


Ten really cannot believe this.

It’s way too early to even begin trying to debunk it, but he thinks the kid sitting in front of him must be some sort of myth.

It’s his first-ever 8:00 AM class and there’s about two-hundred other people in the room trying to find space to sit and get through the first day of Statistics just like him, but there’s no mistaking he’s chosen a seat right behind him.

His first thought, after getting over the initial shock, is that even though the row he’s in is a good few inches taller than Johnny’s row, the guy’s head is still blocking his view of the board.

He must not have noticed just how tall he was that night.

Ten shifts in his seat and wonders if it would be weird to call out to him. That would be weird, right? He never even introduced himself to Johnny, and he only knows his name in the first place because he had been a total creeper and ogled him enough to read his nametag.

And then someone enters his field of vision and sits down in the seat next to Johnny, and, belatedly, Ten realizes they’re both wearing basketball uniforms.

“Hey man, I didn’t realize you were taking this class,” the new guy says, and Ten immediately narrows his eyes, sizing him up. He’s pretty tall (not as tall as Johnny, though) and has a head full of curly hair and a round, full face, and Ten hates him from the start.

The man and Johnny exchange a fist bump/handshake of sorts.

“Um, it’s kind of required,” Johnny says, his brows arching in that way one would use to tease a friend, and Ten feels his stomach do something funny.

He has absolutely no right to be jealous. There’s no grounds for it. None at all. He hasn’t spoken more than two sentences to Johnny and the other isn’t even aware he exists, so really he shouldn’t feel this way.

“No, I mean, I thought you would have taken this class ages ago. This is a sophomore class and you’re a junior,” the Other Guy says, his eyes quirking up into crescents, and Ten grips his pencil hard.

Johnny just shrugs; any sign of embarrassment, regret, or unease at Other Guy’s words doesn’t show. “It just didn’t fit in with my schedule then,” he says, and Other Guy nods.

There’s a moment of silence (unfortunately for Ten it’s not uncomfortable) until Other Guy speaks up again. “Are you ready for the game today?” he asks, expression nearing giddy.

Johnny, on the other hand, rolls his eyes. “Oh, please. Like we ever play at all,” he remarks, and Ten’s brows furrow at this. He’s never really looked into his university’s sports, which is why he had no idea Johnny was on the team (although, that would totally explain the amount of muscle he has), but he can’t fathom why they wouldn’t get to play.

Other Guy snorts. “That’s true. I think we have a combined play time of a minute,” he adds, and Ten grows even more confused.

“Why don’t you play?” Ten blurts, and oh my God, he thinks, I just said that out loud.

Johnny and Other Guy turn around slowly, obviously totally unaware to Ten’s presence until just now, and Ten wants to hide under his desk and possibly drop this class.

“Excuse me?” Johnny questions, and Ten lets out an awkward laugh, rubbing the back of his neck.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop,” he quickly apologizes, and thankfully both boys look slightly less alarmed. “I just noticed the uniforms and got curious. It’s a bad habit, really.”

Ten’s awkward laughter and slight self-insult makes the boys in front of him relax further, and they share a look.

“It’s not that we don’t want to play, it’s that we’re basically benched the whole season. The rest of our team’s really good and we’re, like, third string,” Other Guy admits, and Ten nods his head.

“That’s too bad ‘cause you both look super in shape,” Ten says, and holy shit, where is the off switch on this thing?

Johnny and Other Guy laugh, though, to his surprise.

“You really don’t have a filter, do you?” Johnny asks, eyes bright, and it takes a lot of willpower on Ten’s part to not drool.

“Nope! Some people call it my charm,” Ten boasts and flashes him a brilliant grin.

“Who are you again?’ Other Guy suddenly asks, and Ten really wants to squeeze his neck until his eyes pop out of their sockets, but that’s not very polite and Ten wants to leave a good impression on Johnny.

“I’m Ten. Performance major. You?” he manages to say with a tight smile that he knows his hidden underneath the years and years of practice he’s had charming people to get what he wants. He sticks out his hand.

“Jaehyun. Political science major,” the guy says, smiling warily, and they shake hands.

Ten turns to Johnny, who has been quietly watching the two interact, and raises a brow at him. Johnny jerks to life, like he’s just remembered he’s a part of this conversation, too.

“Johnny. Comp sci,” he says, and Ten wishes he could give him a smile that says I know you’re working at the TAC, so of course you’re a comp sci major.

“Cool. Sorry again that I eavesdropped,” Ten settles on saying, and Johnny waves a hand.

“No biggie. Everyone’s guilty of it at some point,” he says, and Ten wants to giggle like a five year old because who even says no biggie anymore?

At that point, the professor walks in through the door and the decibel level in the class reduces a smidgen. Johnny and Jaehyun flash him equally polite smiles and turn back around in their seats.

During the lecture, Ten can’t stop staring at the back of Johnny’s head (not just because it’s right in the way of his view of the board) and quietly assessing his and Jaehyun’s relationship. They don’t talk much, and when they do it’s to ask the other about something they missed or to borrow a new sheet of paper. Ten feels a bit better by the time the lecture wraps up because Jaehyun doesn’t feel that threatening anymore and doesn’t seem to have the hots for Johnny. He can’t be sure, though, and that makes his stomach flip-flop in a very uneasy manner.

Johnny lets out a friendly “see you later!” and Jaehyun waves when class is dismissed and Ten regrets not asking if they want to get lunch later. But it’s probably for the best because they have their own basketball diets and their own set of friends and all that so it wouldn’t be in his best favor to offer.

Ten heads to the rest of his classes, making small talk with classmates he knows and those he doesn’t, and ends up with only a preliminary pre-test to take for homework in his stat course. He quickly blasts through that (it turns out he’s fairly good at stat in comparison to algebra and calculus) and makes his way back to the dorms.

“How was your first day back?” Yuta asks him as soon as he steps over the threshold into their dorm.

“Pretty good,” he replies, and then turns to his roommate, who is engulfed by something flashing across his laptop screen, and asks, “Hey, did you know we had a basketball team?”

Yuta looks up at him, brows scrunched and face reading all sorts of where the hell have you been this past year and a half? “Uh, yeah,” he says slowly, probably thinking Ten’s trying to prank him somehow. “Did you not?”

Ten just shrugs and flops down on his bed. “I just never thought about it before I guess. But there were two guys on the team who sat in front of me in Stat today.”

“Has anyone ever told you just how oblivious you are?” Yuta asks him, and Ten doesn’t have to look over at his roommate to receive the judging look he’s getting.

“Shut up,” Ten grumbles, but doesn’t deny the accusation. Sure, he can charm his way out of a tank full of sharks (provided there’s a human there to actually charm), but he’s never been known to be all that aware of his surroundings.

“Anyway,” Yuta begins again, “there’s a formal being held by student gov next month. You should find a date and go.”

Ten sits up at this, eyeing the hell out of Yuta. “What are you, my mom?”

Yuta rolls his eyes and snorts. “No, I’m just saying you should try getting out there, you know? You’re not really involved in anything on campus-”

“I totally am!”

“-other than the dance club that meets every other week, and you should put that really insufferable personality you have to use.”

Ten makes a face, but sits on his bed a little dumbfounded nonetheless. “Why do I have to be involved, huh?”

Yuta shrugs and casts him a long, deadpan look. “They say kids who are social in college are less likely to flunk out or develop anxiety issues.” Ten throws his pillow at Yuta, who blocks it and throws it right back. “I’m serious. You should make more friends besides me and my other nerd friends, who don’t count by the way because I introduced them to you!”

Ten groans and puts his face in his hands. It’s not his fault he’s never really had time for social hour, even though he’s the most charismatic person he knows. He had a job his first year and all other free time was devoted to studying and dancing. The previous semester was a breath of fresh air without the job and he had been basking in the commitment-free time and doing virtually nothing.

So really, his friend circle includes two guys from dance named Shownu and Taemin, who never have time to hang out other than dance class itself, and Yuta’s other nerd friends, Taeyong and Sicheng.

“Fine, I’ll try,” Ten finally says.

“Will you, though?” Yuta retorts, shooting Ten a knowing look. “You have to promise me you’ll really try.”

“I promise!” Ten cries, holding his hands up in innocence.

Yuta narrows his eyes. “Whether it’s a date or just a friend, bring someone new to the formal next month and I’ll believe you,” he says.

“What? How is that fair?” Ten whines, but Yuta ups the ante even more.

“If you don’t, I’ll send in those pictures of you stealing Fluffy from the quad to the journalism department,” he threatens, and Ten’s eyes go wide. How dare he? That had been a very, very Stupid Freshman Mistake where he ripped a statue of the school’s mascot (a wolf known endearingly by the students as Fluffy) out of its holder in the quad and dumped it in the lake on a dare. Yuta, Taeyong, and Sicheng had been there as witnesses, but all four of them swore to never bring it up ever again.

“You wouldn’t,” Ten breathes, but he knows from the blank stare Yuta is giving him that he very much would. “Fine! I’ll bring someone to the formal!” he groans, burying his head into the readjusted pillow on his bed.

“New! It has to be someone I’ve never been close enough with to call a friend,” Yuta reminds him, and Ten nods.

“Fine,” he mumbles again, but a couple seconds later adds in a very caustic tone, “mom.”

Yuta snorts, but he’s smiling again, and that’s how Ten knows they’re okay.


Ten dreams about bringing a vague, tall, broad-shouldered man to the formal, but there are lights shining right behind him so he can’t make out the guy’s face. When he wakes up, however, he knows it was Johnny.


Three weeks pass and Ten has tried talking to people in every single one of his classes. None of them, in his mind, are the same caliber as Johnny. Sure, he could bring that guy he’s gotten close to in music theory--a red-headed kid with huge eyes that make him look somewhat similar to a bunny--to the formal, but not when he has his sights set on Johnny.

He could also bring that girl named Joy in his jazz step class who always seems a bit too eager to dance with him in partner assignments, but, again, there’s Johnny.

The only problem is that Johnny has spoken, like, five sentences to him in the past three weeks since they introduced themselves formally. Ten knows his charisma is nothing to laugh at, but he’s not that good to go from nothing to something.

So when there’s only three days from now until the dance, Ten kind of freaks out.

He’s made no progress on talking to Johnny because Jaehyun is always there and something inside Ten dies a little bit when he sees Jaehyun’s calm yet piercing gaze, and he knows Jaehyun is just trying to be a protective friend and probably thinks Ten is a little weird--but still. Ten hates it.

He racks his brain for every pickup line he’s ever used, every possible way to get close to him in class, but he comes up short because there’s always Jaehyun metaphorically leaning over his shoulder sending him a very scary death stare.

In fact, Ten is so at a loss, that he’s thinking about swallowing his pride and asking Joy (who will undoubtedly say yes), but then he realizes something.

Johnny is an employee at the TAC. Johnny is a geek.

And Jaehyun, well, Jaehyun is neither of those things.

Ten knows it’s kind of crazy, but it’s how he met Johnny in the first place, so he knows what he has to do.


“Do you know how to get a virus? Like, on your computer?” Ten asks Yuta in the dorm with two days left until the formal. They haven’t brought up the topic since Yuta set the parameters of the ultimatum, but Ten is pretty sure Yuta knows he hasn’t had any luck yet.

“Are you being serious right now? Or is this one of your weird ‘let’s make fun of Yuta’ things?” his roommate asks, eyes narrowed in suspicion.

Ten raises a brow. “I didn’t know those were a thing. But if I do make fun of you, it’s always in front of your friends,” he teases, and Yuta grits his teeth.

“Don’t I know it,” Yuta sighs, but then turns back, schooling his expression into one of nonchalance. “But really, why do you need to know that? Are you trying to put a virus on someone’s computer?”

Ten can tell Yuta is judging him very hard right now, but it doesn’t matter because Ten is clueless about these things and Yuta watches anime illegally all the time, so he probably has some good ideas on where to start.

“Um, yeah. Don’t ask,” Ten instructs, waving his hand to dismiss it, but quickly asks, “But do you know, though?”

Yuta laughs. “Yeah, man, they’re everywhere. The easiest ones to get are from porn sites, to be honest.”

Ten scrunches up his face. “Okay, thanks.”

And that is that.

A few minutes later, Ten puts his sound on mute and searches up some porn. It’s not like he’s a stranger to these sites, it’s just that he’s not the biggest fan of the terrible acting, the gaudy high heels, and very unreal... assets both the male and female actors boast.

He quickly backs up his laptop before doing anything else and saves all his school files just in case, and then, ever-so-reluctantly, disables his antivirus and ad-block.

Ten holds his breath and waits, but nothing’s happening, and he realizes he probably needs to click on something first for a virus to take root.

So he opens up a tab and searches “download gay porn” (not that he has anything against the straight variety, he just happens to have a preference for the former) in Chrome, and seconds later, he’s assaulted by a billion pop-ups and very uncensored penises.

He grimaces and clicks on the third link down and it all happens very quickly. His sound suddenly comes unmuted, the porn is full-screened, and poor Microsoft Windows is alerting him with pop-up box after pop-up box that something very bad has happened to his computer.

Thick moans fill the air and he thanks high heaven his roommate is in the shower. Frantically, he starts pressing buttons (When has ctrl + alt + del ever failed him before? The answer is now.) and doing just about anything to stop the sound because it’s filthy and just so loud, but the Microsoft pop-up boxes start appearing by the dozen and without any warning, his screen goes black. The sound has stopped, thank God, but it truly sets in then what he’s done. His laptop could be completely ruined by this. He doesn’t have another five hundred dollars lying around for this shit.

Well, he got what he wanted, didn’t he?


Ten announces, a lot less happily than he originally thought he would be, that he’s going down to the TAC. Yuta shouts back an okay over the stream of the shower, and Ten makes his way outside and across the quad.

He’s greeted by the same flourescent lights and wiry employee who looks bored out of his mind from the first time he came with Yuta.

“Hey, I think I got a virus,” Ten starts to tell the employee, glancing around for Johnny.

The guy across the counter snorts and smacks on his gum which makes Ten visibly flinch.

“What’d you do?” he asks, and Ten scrunches up his face.

“Does it matter?” he asks. “Look, I was actually wondering if-”

“Ten?” a voice calls out, and Ten looks up to see Johnny rounding a corner and entering the workspace. He’s never been happier to see him, despite the times he’s looked forward to seeing him in Stat.

“Holy crap, Johnny, thank God,” he sighs in relief, and he’s totally aware that he’s supposed to be flirting, not sincerely reassured by Johnny’s geeky prowess.

“What happened?” Johnny asks him, and Ten rubs the back of his neck.

“Uh,” Ten starts, “I downloaded something... and it turned out to be a virus?” he says, voice rising at the end.

Johnny’s brow lifts, and something that looks like the urge to wistfully tease Ten flits across his expression, but that disappears into a small smile. Ten wonders if it’s because they aren’t close like that or if he doesn’t really want to know what Ten’s been up to.

“Give me five minutes,” Johnny declares and plops down in one of the workstations behind the counter. The wiry, gum-smacking employee has long since left.

“What’s that other guy’s problem?” Ten wonders aloud, and Johnny glances up at him. “I mean, he was just as rude when I came here with my roommate last semester,” he says.

“Oh!” Johnny suddenly remarks, and Ten almost jumps. “That was you? I thought you looked familiar in Stat.” His tone changes slightly to something more endearing and Ten’s heart squeezes.

Yes! Yes that was me. Do you remember checking me out? Because I do.

Ten flashes him his signature blinding smile, and for a fraction of a second, Johnny looks like he’s blushing.

Johnny’s head quickly dips back down to the laptop in front of him, pressing all sorts of buttons and keys, and even pulls out a long cable and connects it to a desktop computer next to him. Ten can’t help but stare as he works: long fingers diligently typing away, brows furrowed in concentration, and pink tongue slipping out to lick his lips when he encounters something new on the computer.

“I almost got it. Nasty virus, though. It’s wiped out most of your essential .dll files, but I can easily copy those from this computer,” Johnny says, and then Ten’s world come crashing down in a span of two clicks.

Johnny releases the mouse and suddenly Ten’s laptop is whirring back to life, and to his utter shock and horror, the porno he had downloaded is blaring and very much in Johnny’s surprised face.

“Oh my God,” Ten breathes, freezing in place. Johnny grimaces, hits a button on Ten’s keyboard, and the sound is gone again. Ten exhales shakily and waits as Johnny’s head lifts up, a small smile tugging up at the corners of his mouth, eyes knowing and amused.

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed you swung that way,” Johnny says, and Ten wants to melt into the counter and become a dead piece of concrete or whatever the hell the thing is made out of. Not only because of Johnny’s reaction, but because Ten has never seen another human being smirk (aside from himself in the mirror, of course) because who the hell smirks?

“Uh, really?” Ten squeaks out, picking at the sides of his shirt. He’s never been rendered speechless in his entire life as he’s known it. He’s always had some sort of weird or sly comeback--always had something to say to diffuse an abnormal situation or make someone laugh--but he just can’t comprehend forming one right now.

“Yeah, you send out pretty strong straight vibes in my very professional opinion,” Johnny says matter-of-factly.

“Oh. Well, I’m pan if that helps,” Ten returns, and Johnny’s smile widens.

“Not many people know what that is, that’s really cool,” he says, and Ten is just simply at a loss for anything other than to just stare at Johnny with his jaw slightly hanging open.

“Are... are you...” Ten mumbles, eyes wide, and Johnny quickly picks up what he’s alluding to.

“Pan? No. Just gay,” he says, then pauses to laugh. “Never thought I’d say that, ‘just gay.’”

And then Ten is chuckling along with him, because yeah, being just gay sounds weird out of context and in today’s society.

“Oh, and for future reference, you might want to use an ad-blocker,” Johnny says, standing up and disconnecting Ten’s laptop from the TAC’s computer. “Just a suggestion.”

And then Ten’s mind is gearing back to life because Johnny is openly gay and wow??? He hadn’t even thought about what to do if Johnny wasn’t gay.

“What if I want to use it as an excuse to come see you, though?” Ten says, feeling exponentially more confident about where he stands in the metaphysical flirting world.

Johnny’s face does this weird thing where one second Ten is very sure he’s going to stutter and balk at him, but quickly it is schooled into one of flattered cheekiness.

“You mean you did this intentionally?” he asks, and Ten’s eyes go round in panic.

“Oh my God, I swear I didn’t,” he says, but his voice kind of falters, and for as much as he is a good flirt, he’s an awful liar.

Johnny snickers. “You don’t need an excuse to see me,” he finally responds, having the audacity to wink, and Ten is absolutely floored.

“Holy shit,” he says aloud, and he feels like cursing himself until Johnny snickers.

“You seriously don’t have a filter, do you?” he asks, and Ten shakes his head no very seriously.

“I really don’t, so would you maybe want to go with me to the student gov formal on Friday?” he asks, and Johnny’s brows lift up into his hairline.

“You mean the one happening in two days?” he questions, and Ten swallows hard. “You should really give a guy more warning than two days.”

Ten fidgets a bit at that because if he knew it was cool with Johnny to ask before this, he totally would have. But also because Johnny hasn’t actually answered.

“Sorry,” Ten squeaks, and Johnny sighs.

“I’m already going with someone who asked two weeks back,” he admits, and Ten’s face falls. “But we’re just going as friends,” he quickly amends, and Ten’s countenance lifts at that because people only add that when they don’t want the person they’re talking to to think they’re taken.

“So you’d be open to maybe getting dinner sometime else then?” Ten asks hopefully, and he’s downright giddy when Johnny nods.

“I never thought you’d ask,” he says, taking Ten a little off-guard. “No really, I thought you’d never ask ‘cause I thought you were straight. Or if you weren’t, you seemed way more interested in Jaehyun than me.”

“J-Jaehyun? Me?” Ten splutters, face exuding disbelief. “I thought you two were a thing! And then I think he thought I was some super stalker or something...” he trails off, wringing his hands.

Johnny laughs. “Jaehyun? He’s got a boyfriend. They’re attached at the hip actually, even though you probably wouldn’t guess that from the times you’ve seen him. He and I go way back, though, and he always tries to look out for me. I used to... get bullied a lot. And he stuck up for me. I guess he’s just kind of wired to be protective.” Johnny shrugs like it’s no big deal, and Ten nods, genuinely understanding, but also thinking about how he wants Johnny to tell him more--to open up to him and tell him his life’s story, likes and dislikes, dreams and fears--the whole works.

“Oh, well I’m glad you have a friend like that looking out for you,” Ten replies, the words sincere in his heart, too. “By the way, is that a yes?” he asks, leaning an arm on the counter.

Johnny cocks his head to the side, but eventually it twigs that Ten’s referring to the date. “Oh! Yeah, totally. I’d love to,” he says.

I’d love to.

Ten wants to squeal like a toddler at that.

So he kind of does.

The wiry, gum-smacking employee strides over to give them dirty looks and remind them it’s five minutes ‘til closing.


“Yuta, these are my very good friends Joy and Doyoung,” Ten announces as soon as he’s all but broken through the doors and spotted his roommate. “Are you happy, now?”

Yuta frowns and looks at said very good friends, who are both giddily latched onto Ten’s arms, and raises a brow.

“Did he blackmail you? You can tell me. I have an even bigger blackmail over him,” he tells them, and Doyoung’s face scrunches up while Joy lets out a giggle.

“We’re his friends! We promise! He’s a very nice person,” Joy says, and Ten beams at Yuta, a silent I told you so.

“Okay, good. And yes, Ten, I’m very happy,” Yuta says, and Ten snorts.

The reception hall of the alumni building has been converted into a very classy-looking party complete with a beverage bar (no alcohol, though), a buffet line, round eight-seater tables, and high-tops for lingerers.

There’s also a small wooden dance floor in the middle of everything, which is where Ten spots Johnny awkwardly shifting to some classical music with a girl who looks very out of place, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Ten cocks his head to the side because something’s gotta be up with that, and he tells Doyoung and Joy that he’ll be right back.

“Hey,” Ten says, tapping Johnny on the shoulder, which is very high up by the way.

Johnny jumps a little and whirls around to face him, his face quirking into a natural smile.

“Hey yourself,” he says, and Ten feels awfully domestic in this weird setting. “Oh, this is Wendy. Wendy, this is Ten,” he adds and Ten bows slightly in greeting.

“I’m gay,” she blurts, face completely deadpan. “I’m not trying to steal your man. Just thought I’d let you know.”

Ten kind of freezes at that, but then laughs and relaxes a little. “Good to know,” he says, and then Wendy and Johnny share a look and Wendy pats him on the shoulder before exiting the dance floor.

“How are you?” Johnny asks, the very conservative party lights (read: soft off-white bulbs set up at the edges of the dance floor) making his face appear soft and dewy.

Not that Johnny’s face isn’t normally soft and dewy in Ten’s book.

“Pretty good. Happy. You?” he asks in return, and Johnny just holds out a hand.

“May I have this dance?” he offers, and Ten feels heat rise to his cheeks. He nods and grasps onto Johnny’s hand.

Ten’s not about to ask if Johnny’s ever taken dance classes, because he clearly hasn’t, but Ten doesn’t know the first thing about ballroom dancing. They make pretty shabby waltz partners, but then again, so do every other couple out on the floor at the moment.

So Ten lets Johnny lead him through whatever half swaying, half turning thing they’re doing and clasps his arms around Johnny’s neck. It’s a pretty bold move for him despite all the charisma he prides himself on, but he relaxes when Johnny puts his hands on Ten’s waist and leans a little closer.

“I’m happy, too,” Johnny whispers in his ear, and Ten grins into Johnny’s shoulder.

Even though they both came with different people, they both later recall that night as their first date.