INT. BUZZFEED MEETING ROOM - DAY.
Wide angle shot of senior staff gathered in the meeting room, eyebrows furrowed in varying sizes of knots. At the podium stands KIM JOONMYUN, Chief Strategy Officer, in an ugly as fuck Christmas sweater and with his hair slicked back. He's wearing the brightest smile he can muster even as the staff stare at him with squinted eyes, leaning back as if in disbelief. He tries to ease the tension in the room with a faint 'he...llo?', but silence is thick, rivalled only by the humming sound of the airconditioning, the low murmur of the laptops gathered at the conference table, the shuffling outside.
JOONMYUN breaks into light laughter. Feet away, KIM HEECHUL, head of content, cocks his head a little and coughs out. HEECHUL clears his throat and, very slowly, pushes himself up on his feet and straightens himself up. CLOSE UP on JOONMYUN as he gulps down hard, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat and the smile on his lips quivering.
HEECHUL pauses, tilts his head in a manner that can only be dramatic. He purses his lips.
JOONMYUN lets out a loud 'hah'. HEECHUL's face crumples into a more pronounced frown after a few seconds in thoughtless retaliation, but it might as well be the age talking. He looks like one of those grumpy cats the content team decided to feature in their pet shop video from six months back. He looks like one of those sad clowns that freak the fuck out of him when he's drunk or helplessly overworked. He doesn't look pleased, and if HEECHUL ever finds out that someone from his senior staff has been doing an elaborate narration of his actions in his head then he's sure to kick said section editor in the balls. Regardless, MIN YOONGI, section editor for lifestyle and thought pieces, the best the company has seen in years, presses on, keeping his eyes on HEECHUL and HEECHUL alone. (** This is not how you write a script in your head, Min Yoongi. How will people know what your boss is even thinking unless he actually says it or show it on his face? This is why Seokjin is still better than you, Yoongi. This is why you'll never win. **)
HEECHUL blinks several times, then takes a shuddering breath. He looks weird when he does that. Then again, HEECHUL has always been weird. (** You're better off writing storylines, Yoongi. Stop making scripts! **)
Yoongi looks up from where he's been drumming his fingers on the keys of his laptop and heaves a sigh. Four in the afternoon would normally see him with his ass parked in the pantry, too busy rushing an article or name studies or at least three different content angles for whichever artist has released a new music video or a song, but today he's locked up in Buzzfeed prison, more fondly called the conference room. He's been here for around thirty minutes already, wasting his time away listening to Joonmyun talk about the future of the company instead of working on securing a future for the company. Don't get him wrong: he doesn't have too many qualms with company meetings, especially the ones creatively labelled as 'huddles with the section heads' rather than a boring status update meeting or an alignment, but then he still has one write up due before the end of the day, and he's finally been able to come up with ideas for the content angles after a week of searching for inspiration, and he still hasn't had his 4 p.m. coffee.
He sniffles. Joonmyun promised to feed them and give them coffee if they attended the huddle because he knew people needed fuel to be able to think and make sound adult decisions. Joonmyun said it would be quick and painless, and filled with yummy treats, but where's the food? groans a voice in Yoongi's mind. Where's the coffee? Joonmyun and Heechul have been staring at each other for the past thirty seconds and Yoongi could honestly be doing more important things, like crossing items off of his task list for the day (that Sunyoung had made for him, bless her kind soul), but here he is, pretending he cares about the important adult matters they have to discuss when, in fact, the only thing he cares about is free food.
Joonmyun promised them coffee and food. Joonmyun isn't supposed to be the type who'd break promises. Joonmyun is a liar.
And Yoongi is hungry as fuck.
"It is what it is," comes Joonmyun's voice after a while, cutting through the silence and crumpling the static in the air. Yoongi shifts his gaze to his side, casting Heechul a glance, then he's looking back up at Joonmyun, catching his reflection on his screen that has now dimmed, catching the dark circles under his eyes. The scars on his features make it look as if he hasn't slept for days, and the exasperation in the light knot of Joonmyun's eyebrows and the awkward pull at the corners of Joonmyun's lips make it seem like he's seconds away from throwing his hands up in the air in defeat. He doesn't though. Presses on, instead, and licks his lips, then looks up to survey the group. I'm sorry I didn't get you guys coffee. I'm sorry about the lack of food—
"I'm sorry, I guess, for not soliciting your thoughts on the move, but I— We had to make a call." Joonmyun nods, firm and resolute, then curls his fingers into fists on the podium. He looks as if he's chewing on the inside of his cheek too hard for whatever weird reason, because everyone in Buzzfeed has a certain kind of weirdness that kind of makes them seem 'buzzed', but then... Yoongi doesn't know this. He's never seen this Joonmyun before — the one who's suddenly regretting three out of the seven things he's done, and that one thing he didn't do. "We're not going bankrupt — Jesus, we aren't — but it feels nice, knowing that your company's secure for the next four, five years, you know?"
Yoongi snorts. That's an understatement — it's the best feeling in the world, especially for someone who's had to work a 9-to-whenever job and still have to do freelance on top of that. He's seen how his friends have become a lot happier with their lives after getting themselves a job that pays well and with happiness as currency. He'd like to think he knows enough about that to be able to nod vigorously without fearing Seokjin cackling at him, or Heechul going, It's not about you, Yoongi. It doesn't have to be about you all the time.
"So... yeah. We've found organizations that can support our company, and they've agreed to fund a huge part of our expenses. For the next five years. Which is good, really good, because that means we're pretty much guaranteed to have a job 'til end of contract, but I'm trying to push for ten so we can be a bit more adventurous with exploring more ways we can make content for our consumers." Joonmyun finishes with a smile. It doesn't quite reach his eyes, doesn't quite brighten up his features like it normally would, but it does ease the furrow of Joonmyun's eyebrows just a touch. "It's gonna be exciting, I know it! Just— Just think of all the possibilities: we have better funding now so we can actually put more money into our productions, buy better equipment, have the green room repainted, finally. We have money for talents, oh my God. We can actually our guest Youtube creators better and they won't bite us in the ass anymore. It's gonna be great—"
A great mistake. An awful decision. We're gonna be a sell out, that's what you're saying, hums a voice in Yoongi's head, and he takes a deep, shaky breath. Right — investors coming in pretty much means Buzzfeed will have to slap X company's brands and Y organization's assets in whatever material they'll be producing. Planning to make a feature on how the modern Korean student prepares for sooneung? Management will probably recommend that the content writers mention something about some local shop selling rice cakes and other sticky treats for fifty-off. Hoping to do a product feature on the burgers seeing a surge in popularity amongst university students? Might as well have an incidental appearance of Ottogi's ketchup and mustard and whatever else there is in their product portfolio. Nothing too overt, but nothing too subtle, either. Just the right balance of there but not-really-there.
"Can we find a way to push the brand benefit more in this without making the material too branded?" one of Yoongi's clients from his dark days in advertising had once pleaded. Yoongi had responded that time was a dry snort, but he saved face by laughing it off and telling the client he was funny, "Man, your humor's out of this world. So... branded but not branded, right? Like the no-make up make up trending going around right now?"
His client beamed at him in agreement.
In hindsight, maybe he shouldn't have drawn that parallelism in particular, but eh. He'd found a way to make it work, anyway, without compromising much of his integrity as a copywriter who doesn't in shoving a product up a consumer's ass. Once they'd mounted that on-ground campaign, however, he reworked his resume and portfolio, sent both to at least ten different employers, and handed in his resignation letter, financial stability be damned. He knew it was sexy and, quite possibly, the biggest turn on ever, but he'd rather be poor than to keep hollowing himself out until he had nothing to give anymore, not even his soul.
"Right. We're going to be a sell out — that's what you're saying," someone remarks from a few seats away, and Yoongi has never felt more freaked out about the concept of telepathy. Granted, he's been working with these people for the past two years already and, when you're lumped together with the same people in a tiny-as-fuck conference room five days in a row just so you could finish planning the content calendar for an entire year, it's hard to not to get a sense of how each and every single one in the group thinks, but still — Heechul has never spoken out Yoongi's words, verbatim, and he's sure as hell that this guy — 'section editor for food and production director of Tasty' Kim Seokjin,' grumbles the scriptwriter in him — has never paid too much attention to his speech patterns to reevaluate how he's going to enunciate his own thoughts so that they'd sound a lot like Yoongi's.
Or maybe he's made that his assignment or something. Because he absolutely has to find dirt on me all the time. Yeah, of course he would. Yoongi's nose scrunches in thoughtless agreement. He's about to pick up from where Seokjin had left off but, soon, Seokjin's speaking up again, stealing everyone's attention at the same time that he steals Yoongi's thunder and his words.
"You're saying we're gonna let some... ketchup brand penetrate our content whenever we talk about fries and burgers and hotdogs, and that if we're gonna feature mocha frappuccino then we might as well tell them that we're in Starbucks, where else, testing how one's choice of milk affects the taste of the patented coffee slushie that people love so much, is that it?"
Yoongi wrinkles his nose. Obsessed. This guy's obsessed with me, is his first thought; his second, What the hell? I was literally thinking of the same thing just minutes ago and this guy goes ahead and steals— What the fuck is wrong with him?
"Okay, first thing's first: don't panic," Joonmyun begins, voice a little louder than before. "We're not gonna sell our souls to the investors. We're not going to... give them the power to decide what goes up on our site, or to rewrite what we stand for. I've worked with these people before, and I know for sure they understand the charm of what we do and what we stand for, so relax, kids. Relax!" His voice thins into light laughter. He bites down on his lower lip, tilts his head a little, then he's letting his shoulders fall forward and breathing out, loudly. Now this is the Joonmyun Yoongi knows from some five, six years ago, when they were both still working as advertising slaves for the same unreasonable client. This is the same Joonmyun he had the pleasure of working with, because as much as Joonmyun looked like the textbook definition of a pushover he was the only account director Yoongi knew who defended his creatives' work 'til the clients gave their final 'no'. Joonmyun was demanding and had insanely high expectations of others, at worst, but only because he knew what his writer or his artist or whoever he was working with was capable of.
Joonmyun never was a slave to his clients; he was a slave to his own work ethic and his standards. If there were times when he pushed his creatives a bit too hard so they could deliver, and well, then they were never done out of the desire to kiss ass. He just wanted to do a good job, and he would stop at nothing to make sure he could go to bed every night knowing he didn't have big bubus to fix the following day.
Then there was Kim Seokjin. Kim Seokjin from production who was a lot like Joonmyun, except a bit more louder, bossier, annoying-er. A lot more abrasive, a lot more intent on getting things done his way instead of finding a compromise, and everything that grated on Yoongi's nerves. He was unrelenting, at best, and Yoongi could work with characters like him from time to time, but something, something about Seokjin ticked him off and made his insides lurch all the fucking time.
It's his face. It's annoying. Who the hell even gets ass drunk but still looks fuckin' at—rocious? grumbles a voice in Yoongi's head. He brushes that off and, instead, looks to his side, meeting Seokjin head on with a focused gaze. He's not the type to stir trouble, but he won't back down from a challenge. And if there's anything he's learned from working with Seokjin for more than half a decade already, back when they were still in the chaotic world of advertising and 'til they landed a job as content creators here, it's this — everything Seokjin does, no matter how big or small, is a challenge, if not an attempt to score a point against him. Who the hell even seems like he's about to pick a fight with someone but still looks absolutely—
The corners of Seokjin's eyes crinkle. A long, hard stare, then he winks without preamble, lips curling up into a shit-eating grin before he looks away. He's already pressed his mouth to his clasped hands and it's impossible to make out whatever it is that Seokjin is doing with his lips, but Yoongi's pretty darn sure Seokjin is already cackling at the back of his head, laughing his ass off, having the time of his life.
Bad. Awful. Abso-fucking-lutely horrible. Yoongi seethes. When he catches Joonmyun turn his head in his direction, he drops his gaze to his laptop and clacks at his keys, types up a name study for one of his articles befitting the moment in an attempt to brush the weird feeling off — The five people in your workplace that will make you lose faith in humanity. You won't believe number four!
"We won't be a sell out, okay? I promise," Joonmyun adds after a beat, breaking the thickening silence. He rests his elbows on the podium and leans forward, tucking his chin on clasped hands, then coughs out a laugh that sounds rougher than usual. Then again, when has Joonmyun not been sick or lugging around a cold, at the very least? He's been like this even when they were still in the agency, and Yoongi supposes that's what being in the same company for seven long years does to you — ingrains its culture in your roots and makes it nigh impossible to unlearn habits you've formed around it, the bad, bad habit of still going to work despite feeling under the weather included. "I'm too hipster to let that happen and you guys are stubborn as heck, so if I want any chance at living a peaceful life here then I definitely shouldn't let the investors dictate a hundred percent the type of stuff we'll be dishing out, right?"
"You'll just let them influence the type of content we produce, yeah. Huge difference. You just said it better than I did." Heechul scoffs. His lips are pulled down at the corners into a frown and his eyes are cold and empty, like barricaded doors, but the look eases as soon as he heaves a sigh. "I know you and Yunho and Jungsoo are doing your best to keep the company from... crashing or something, at the very least, but— We're Buzzfeed, Joonmyun. We're not Brandsfeed—"
"We are Buzzfeed, and we'll just be allowing more brands to come in so we can make them part of pop culture. We'll make them socially relevant. That's it. We'll help them get there, because we're the best when it comes to making things relevant. That's what's gonna happen," Joonmyun says through light laughter, the corners of his mouth pulled up and his cheeks giving a tiny quiver. His eyebrows are arched a little and his forehead's kind of crumpled into something Yoongi knows can only be him trying his hardest not to throw a shoe in Heechul's general direction, whoops, but there's a very good reason why Heechul still seeks Joonmyun's approval on nearly everything that goes up on their website — Joonmyun's ace at self-control, but even better at crushing people in his head. "I'll have you know we weighed all the options before going with this, Heechul, so don't you even think I just did this on a whim—"
To date, Yoongi's pretty sure Joonmyun has only done one thing because he was in the mood for it. The opening of the Buzzfeed office in Gyeonggi-do, that was when it happened. Joonmyun, the poor guy, decided to keep taking shots from everyone who offered because why the hell not? It was a Friday. At least two weeks' worth of content was already scheduled to go up on their website and social media accounts — or, wait, was it three weeks' worth? He'd been working on the press release materials for the opening for the past three months, and he'd been working out the little details of the party to make sure they weren't going to screw anything up for the past month, so fuck it, he was going to have whatever the hell he wanted. Time and undivided attention were apparently some of them, Yoongi and Seokjin soon realized, when Joonmyun walked up to them and started groaning about all the shit he had to deal with as one of the company's heads, and even if it they'd already known Joonmyun for years then it still felt a bit weird, hearing your boss talk about his struggles at work.
"It's hard, you know?" Joonmyun had said out of the blue, cutting through the strangely peaceful conversation Yoongi and Seokjin were having about how the new office might just be a sign of a brighter future for content creators for them, whatever that meant. He took a deep, deep breath, shook his head, then wedged himself in that tiny space Yoongi and Seokjin kept between them, turning to them with a look in his eyes that was half-apologetic and just half hopelessly drunk. It looked like something taken straight from a romcom, except it was all com without the slightest hint of rom. There their boss was, seated between them and staring dramatically into the distance, mumbling just loud enough for the three of them to hear, "It's lonely at the top. You'd think it's easy, and that it's nice because, y'know, you're rich and powerful and everyone's supposed to love you, but noooo. No! Everyone hates you! Everyone wants you out of the office and the org and out of their fudgin' lives— Ah, fudge cakes, I just cussed— Shiznitz, I'm gonna— You can't tell anyone about this, okay? I have to be a good example. To all of you. But now I'm a mess, and that's not how a leader's supposed to act, and— Hey, you, Min. Get me some soju!"
And Joonmyun was, apparently, that kind of drunk — an all-around comedian three shots in, and a nightmare five more shots after. He'd have enough room for a couple more bottles of beer, as evidenced by him snatching some from the waiter passing by while he was telling Yoongi and Seokjin about that one time Heechul put up an article he hadn't greenlighted, but it wouldn't change things — he'd still be a crazy ass drunk too tempting to record on camera if he didn't have the capacity to kick them out with a snap of a finger. It was Joonmyun unlike they had seen before, and that said a lot because they — all three of them — had worked with each other on at least the same three accounts the entire time they were in the same advertising agency. It turned out three long years of working in the same agency, in the same creative circles, in the same goddamned black hole, weren't quite enough to reveal everything there was to know about each other.
Apparently, getting stuck with each other in a dark place wasn't enough to uncover all their little secrets.
Not that Yoongi wants to know any more of Joonmyun's, or Seokjin's, or whoever else's. He doesn't clock in at ten in the morning everyday to make friends in the office, nope. He's here to work, and he's here to do it well. He's also here to take advantage of the free food and coffee and the booze that comes in every Friday. And all the things can reimburse from the company, internet bill at home included. He's pretty sure there's at least one person in the company who has the same motivations in mind.
"Stretching things, we'll be opening our site to advertisers," Joonmyun adds after a while, voice a lot more even now, steadier. He works his way closer to where the people are, leaning against the podium instead of standing behind it, getting rid of the wall. "Banner ads and advertorials, nothing that can and will damage our equity as a content hub for the fans, by the fans. It's not— We're not selling our integrity, Jesus. Whoever gave you that idea?" He lets out a sigh. There's exasperation in the undertone of his voice, muffled only by distance and Heechul's well-placed snort, but Yoongi has been paying enough attention this time to not miss the little details. "We just have to find better ways to create content. We have to give people, be it our audience or potential investors, reason, a better reason, to actively search for our content so that placing ads there won't be a waste of time—"
"We blew up a watermelon last year and nearly a million people watched," Namjoon offers.
Heechul chokes down a laugh. Right, they did wrap rubber bands around a hugeass watermelon last year. Mostly to test their audience and see what kind of content they'd be willing to 'waste time on', but part of it was also for science — what if they brought watermelon to a camping trip and didn't have a knife with them? What if, coincidentally, they had six hundred and eighty-six rubber bands stuffed in their bag, somewhere, or scattered all around the place? What if, right? Yoongi came up with the idea of streaming something on Facebook on a Friday, something utterly mindless and fun, and Seokjin had, naturally, brought up the subject of doing something with food. His initial suggestion was a long, long cooking show spanning three meals and two snacks; Yoongi's was to trash that because, "Nobody will tune in for that long. And that's deliberately asking your viewers to watch the entire time versus giving them a choice to close the tab or to just, y'know, leave it playing in the background. Think something that won't require much thinking. Something you'd rather be watching on a fuckin' Friday but can't, because your boss is asking you to do ten million things. Keep thinking—"
Seokjin had arched his eyebrows then and pursed his lips. A beat, then the corners of his eyes were crinkling into that look that made Yoongi want to throw things (mostly pillows; he didn't want to get kicked out of the company for reckless imprudence) at Seokjin. "Are you actually talking about Heechul-hyung?" Seokjin had hummed after a beat, the corners of his mouth tugged up into a tiny smile, and Yoongi swore to every god he knew Seokjin probably followed him to Buzzfeed for the sole purpose of making his life ten times more difficult than it already was. "But anyway, mindless stuff. About food. What if we do weird food combinations? Like, uh, strawberry jam on these really salty scones—"
"It's not weird. I've already tried it. It's actually good," Yoongi grumbled. He jotted down the idea, anyway. When he was done scribbling, he brushed off the voices in his head, all of the groaning about him not being able to come up with that idea before Seokjin did. "Or we could do a drop test video. From what height to do you have to drop a pineapple before it cracks?"
"You mean with how much force will you get kicked in the ass for dropping fruits from the top of our office building and potentially injuring people?"
"Right." Yoongi rubbed the tip of his nose. It was ass o' clock in the evening and the last meal he had was around eight, nine hours ago, when Sunyoung and Soojung dragged him away from his laptop so he could have lunch. His vessel of creativity was running dry. He was out of ideas. He didn't even have a creative enough comeback that could shut Seokjin up. "Never thought of that. Bad idea."
He hung his head low. Drummed his fingers on the table, breathed in deeply through his nose, then risked a glance up at Seokjin through the mess of his bangs. It wasn't an admission of defeat, not yet, but if there was anything he as expecting from Seokjin, it was this — a sharp remark, a bark of laughter, or maybe a grunt of agreement because finally, Yoongi was admitting that he did something wrong, and there was something they could finally agree on.
But then Seokjin was twisting his mouth and cocking his head to the side. He wasn't chortling at Yoongi in amusement, or in his subtlest attempt at shoving victory in Yoongi's face — instead, he was standing from his seat and settling right beside Yoongi, leaning into his space, moving closer. He kept his mouth pressed into a thin, thin line, squinted at whatever it was Yoongi had scribbled and crossed out on the paper, then took a deep breath as he nodded in thought, processed everything, acknowledged what little space there was between them, if the jerk of his limbs was anything to go by. A beat, then he was looking up, and if Yoongi ever had to mark a turning point in his life where he'd both grown more annoyed at Seokjin and a bit more fond, that was it — eleven in the evening on a Thursday, in the Buzzfeed office in not-so-far-away Gyeonggi-do, when Seokjin decided that it was okay to not turn every damned thing into a competition and that it was okay to be on the same team, for once. Close to midnight on a Thursday evening in one of the conference rooms, with close to nothing between them but three safe inches of space and a deep, shaky breath.
"Unless we put a fence around the whole office building. But then we'll have to secure a building permit or something— Nah, that's too much work. Interesting idea, though," Seokjin had murmured after a while, then slumped in his seat. There was nothing but silence for a few sacred seconds, nothing but the distant sound of cars rushing by on the other side of the window, then Seokjin's eyes were blowing wide open at the same time that he was wrapping his arms around himself, curling in. "Whoops, sorry. My tummy's mad. I haven't eaten anything since—"
Seokjin pursed his lips, then leaned back in his seat. With a couple more inches between them, Yoongi could see Seokjin better, but he wasn't sure if he wanted this — a bright image of the slow-forming smile on Seokjin's lips, a clearer, crisper image of the way Seokjin's eyes crinkled at the corners as he grinned even wider. A peek at the way Seokjin curled in his fingers as he asked, voice just barely above a whisper, "Hey, you wanna grab something before we try to come up with more ideas? I'm starving."
Yoongi dropped his gaze to his hands, then shrugged. There was no point in trying to run away. His insides had already said 'yes' for him, anyway.
So they went out to grab takeout from one of the food trucks nearby. Or they would have just grabbed some food from the truck and left with their midnight snack in tow if they didn't get hit by inspiration as soon as they'd taken a whiff of the scent, but the allure of tteokbokki and twigim were too hard to pass up. That, and it was finally spring in earnest, so they didn't have to run away from the harsh winds of winter anymore. They could sip their odeng broth in the stall and ask for refills until they felt like summer. They could keep asking for more spicy sauce for their twigim until they could fill in the gaps in each other's ideas, smoothen out the kinks, until they could finish each other's sentences with grins perched on their lips, reaching the corners of their eyes. And they did, after a good hour and a half, and they spent the entire trip back to the office finalizing their plans, rehearsing lines they were going to type out in their proposal email to Heechul.
They sent the email at one in the morning. Got an 'okay' from Heechul around ten minutes after that and a directive to send it to Joonmyun for final approval, then got the go signal from the big boss a few minutes after. 'Great job, guys,' Joonmyun's email had read, 'I can't believe I'm letting you stream mindless stuff on Facebook but it definitely sounds like something only we would do. Nice!,' and upon seeing the second half of the letter Yoongi and Seokjin made an agreement to get the interns to do the experiment for them. Kids were a lot more shameless when it came to these things, anyway, and for all of Yoongi and Seokjin's lack of filter when it came to critiquing each other's work, work ethics, and general existence, they had at least three hundred walls pulled up in front of them when it came to the 'doing weird science experiments on camera for lulz' department. They would never want to get caught on cam making a goddamned watermelon explode. Unless Joonmyun paid them a billion won or something. Maybe then they'd reconsider. 'If you're the ones doing the experiment, make sure to make meme faces at the camera! Then you two can rise to fame as the real fruit ninjas of Buzzfeed and be part of pop culture. It'll be your greatest legacy, guys. You will never die.'
His friends from Daegu still managed to take a screenshot of his five seconds of fame, though. Right after the watermelon exploded, Chanyeol, the asshole of a director that he was, apparently flicked on the switch for camera three which, coincidentally, was the one in Kyungsoo's possession. Kyungsoo, being Kyungsoo, panned to the crowd and zoomed in on everyone's faces, Seokjin tilting his head back as tried to duck from the flying fragments of watermelon until he was exposing his philtrum to the entire Facebook population, and even Yoongi scrunching up his face in a cross between surprise and utter disbelief. Then Kyungsoo panned further to the right, away from that split-second when Yoongi and Seokjin exchanged looks through the wild cheering of the crowd, and breathed out a sigh of relief.
We're fucking fruit ninjas, Yoongi, Seokjin mouthed at him, shoulders jerking in laughter. Yoongi had never been a fan of Seokjin smiling, or grinning, or doing whatever indecent thing with his mouth, but he swore to every god he believed in that at that very moment Seokjin made his breath hitch. We actually did it—
Then Namjoon was colliding into Yoongi and sending him crashing to the floor, flat on his ass.
Then Seokjin was bursting into a loud roar of laughter.
Then Yoongi was crawling on the floor, ducking from the crowd, moving as far away as possible from the scene of the crime before Seokjin could even cackle 'til Kyungsoo was focusing the camera on him.
"We almost got half a million comments then. Craziest time of my life, but I don't regret anything," Amber yawns out more than says, and that jolts Yoongi out of his trance, making blood rush back to the tip of his fingers and acid claw at his throat. He coughs out and beats his chest with his fist, or at least until he feels something hard and cold bumping against his knuckles. Seokjin just slid his water bottle across the table and now there's a trail of droplets there. Great. "We don't even get a hundred thousand on our Tasty videos, and that's Tasty!"
"Because people are too busy cooking to comment. The reactions are what you should be looking at. We get more hearts than likes on a normal day," Yoongi murmurs. He coughs out, trying to ease the weird feeling in his throat, then adds, "There's been a spike in engagement recently, though. Check out the comments. A lot of our users actually like the weirdass captions and the new music bed. 'Told you they'd like the vids more if they're a bit on the crazy size."
"It's the weekly traditional Korean recipes raking in more hits," Seokjin corrects, then wiggles his eyebrows at Yoongi. He's wearing one of his menacing grins of his again, the one that makes Yoongi want to draw on his face with permanent marker. Except that will just validate Amber's drunken state about him being Jigglypuff so nope, he's not going to do anything. He will just sit on his hands and try to strangle Seokjin in his head as Seokjin presses on, as Seokjin says, "'Told you they'll love that more than the fusion food stuff you guys keep pushing for."
"The annotations, though—"
"Are silly and weird and written by yours truly. 'You know your page's market so well, Seokjinnie!' Yes, thank you. I know." Seokjin punctuates his statement with a perfunctory smile. It's gone in an instant, though, replaced instead by something a lot more neutral, a face Yoongi has only ever seen Seokjin put on eleven in the evening onwards. Then again, he could've just been seeing things all those times because, even if he claims his mind works better in the evening, his eyesight is terrible after normal and humane office hours. "Anyway, back to the watermelon video. I think the occasional mindless content's still good, to be honest? I mean, sometimes people just want to watch things or not think, y'know? Or to listen to things, if they're busy or don't have much time to spare. Which is why it probably would've been better if we had a running commentary for the watermelon stream, like what Yoongi suggested before. It kind of takes away some attention from the experiment, but—"
But Seokjin wasn't supposed to bring that up, because it has been a year since and the stream was a huge success, anyway. But Seokjin isn't supposed to be siding with him on that, because even if they do team up for certain projects there always comes a time when they're on the opposite ends of the spectrum, not seeing each other eye-to-eye. (And it helps a lot to have someone shoot down your ideas 'til you come up with a really solid one, but Yoongi will never admit he appreciates Seokjin playing the role of the evil rival really well.) But Seokjin isn't supposed to be looking at Yoongi like he's expecting something — a nod, a smile, anything that might hint at Yoongi acknowledging Seokjin's efforts at making peace with him after the water bottle incident — because really, really, if Yoongi needed help getting that thing stuck in his throat out of his system, then he would've asked for help already. Maybe not from Seokjin, but he would have asked for help from someone. Anyone.
He scoffs. Throws his head back in his seat and closes his eyes for a few good seconds before swimming back to the surface. It's the fact that the ghost of advertising past has finally come to haunt him that's making him feel queasy. It's the lack of food and coffee and fucking warmth in this conference room that's making him feel jittery. It's the fact that Seokjin has somehow managed to snatch his water bottle back without Yoongi realizing that's making him feel weird, because his throat feels like it's about to explode any minute now, going into overheat, and the only way to make himself feel better is to fucking drink water. The one Seokjin had offered him just a minute ago, but never reached out to take.
"I would've shared the stream on my Facebook if that had a commentary," Yoongi coughs out, then sniffles. When Heechul hands him a glass of water, he takes it without another word. "Because it would've been easier to follow. Just think about it: if you came across the stream on your news feed around... twenty minutes after it started and you saw nothing but a huge watermelon on the table wrapped with white stuff, would you have—"
Seokjin cocks an eyebrows in thoughtless response, and the rest of his features light up. Yoongi's insides lurch in an instant.
"You didn't share it on Facebook?"
Yoongi huffs. Honest answer: he was too engrossed with the experiment to even think of telling his friends to tune in and try to spot him in the thick crowd of weird Buzzfeed employees. And, well, he... kind of forgot. He was running on just a few hours of sleep and three cups of coffee. Surely, no one would've been able to function at his prime if he was in the same state. Everyone, even top management, would've understood.
"Don't lie to me. I know you're shit at texting and replying. You just forgot," Heechul had said when he found out, but Yoongi only responded with a roll of his eyes and by walking away. "You can't bullshit me, Min Yoongi! I know that face and that face is telling me you forgot!"
In his defense, he still had to help the interns clean up, but Heechul wasn't wrong — he didn't see the need to broadcast the stream to his friends because nearly ninety percent of them had already subscribed to the page, anyway (something he made his friends do when he went back to Daegu for the holidays; he took them out for meat and soju after). That, and because if he wanted to find out if their little experiment indeed 'went viral' then the easiest way was to check if people on his feed were talking about the phenomenon without him planting the seed. He didn't expect people to understand; he expected them to think he was either too hipster to ride the trend or too particular with the stuff that appeared on his wall. If there was ever anyone from the team who eventually figured out why he did what he did then awesome. Thank you. Have a fuckin' nice day.
"I can't believe you actually didn't— Wow, Yoongi. Just... wow." Seokjin shakes his head. He presses his lips together, drops his gaze to his hands, shakes his head, then looks up dramatically. Like he's in one of those afternoon dramas Heechul likes watching so much. We are not in a k-drama, what the fuck? "I was kind of expecting you to be the first one to share it since it's ours, but— Are you actually ashamed of our baby?"
Baby. Yoongi chokes on his own spit. Baby. We don't have a baby. I'm not giving birth to tiny human and I'm definitely not pushing a watermelon down my dick. What the fuck? Sure, he's hung out enough times with Namjoon and Taehyung to be brainwashed into believing that male pregnancy is a thing that has been happening behind-the-scenes for at least a decade already, but nope. He's not buying the idea. If Taehyung wants to get pregnant then okay, that's fine, Yoongi will try to provide whatever emotional support his friend needs, but if anyone ever asks him to carry a tiny creature in his tummy for nine long months, he's gonna nope his way out of that.
"'Brainchild'. Get it right. I'm not having a baby with you." Yoongi shudders. Taking a deep breath, he reaches over and snatches Seokjin's water bottle, purposely avoiding Seokjin's steady gaze, but it's not as if he has to see Seokjin's face to know the look scrawled across his features at the moment. Eyes blowing wide open and lips pulling up at the corners into a shit-eating grin, accompanied by a jerk of the shoulder or his limbs or his entire body — standard Seokjin reaction to the stimulus that is Yoongi kind of admitting defeat. Still, he keeps his gaze steady on the bottle even as the numbing cold bleeds onto his palm, the back of his hand, all the way up to his wrist.
The first gulp eases the burning sensation in his throat, makes it easier for him to gather his thoughts and string them together into something mildly cohesive, a comeback that can somehow put him back in the game even when he's pretty sure he's trailing Seokjin 1-10. "Anyway, content marketing," he manages after a while, then pauses to take a deep breath. "I guess we can start adding product incidentals in our listicles? We have to limit the exposure, of course — and this also applies to our videos — or be very upfront that, 'hey, we're gonna see if Coffee Bean's vanilla latte's better than Starbucks' so if you have a problem with that, better x-out of the video now'—"
"Wait." Seokjin lifts a finger, then looks up to meet Yoongi's gaze. Yoongi makes the mistake of looking him in the eye as he squints, leans forward, lures Yoongi in. "I have an idea."
"A 'versus food segment'?"
Yoongi nods and nudges Seokjin in his side. They came up with at least five other name studies for the program they're hoping to sell to top management when they asked to be excused from the discussion, but the truth is they can only function properly when provided with ample food and coffee. And maybe some ramyun, too, because the temperature in the office is always freezing cold — they have Joonmyun's fascination with sweaters to blame, but it's not as if anyone can really blame Joonmyun because he never asked them to keep the temperature on low. The point is, they both should have known better than to go ahead and try to come up with ideas before rushing to the nearest food cart for a quick snack because now they're stuck with a lame ass explanation of how they've envisioned the program to be, which means they probably won't be able to sell it.
Or that they'll just have to dissect the idea a bit more, something they don't have enough energy for. Either way, they're still screwed.
"Yeah. A 'versus food segment'," Yoongi croaks out when he feels his tongue again, then drops his gaze to his notes. He's never had stage fright, not even as a kid, but Heechul always puts on this face whenever they're presenting to him that makes him look like he'll never be a hundred percent pleased with whatever they come up with. That, and there are at least ten other people in the pantry who might listen in on them, even if they look like they're too busy digesting whatever it is plastered on their screens. It had become easier with time, trying not to be consumed by the crippling fear of being judged, but three days out of thirty it would fuck up Yoongi's system and do weird things to his body.
Often, it would just make his throat feel unbearably tight and his chest impossibly heavy. Sometimes, and this has only ever happened once, it would make him throw up without preamble.
Right now, it's a bit of both.
He digs his nails into his palms and shrugs off the thought. Focuses on his notes, the concept board he and Seokjin managed to come up with in the ten minutes they were given to gather their thoughts while Joonmyun wrapped up his talk about home and dreams that won't ever be shattered, and takes a deep, deep breath. If he summarizes the brainstorming they had earlier the same way he did at the end of their talk, he won't have trouble selling the concept to his boss. Besides, Heechul was the same guy who approved the watermelon explosion concept. A program where they basically try to score a free food trip from the company every week should be good enough to earn a green light, right?
"Except we won't be pitting different kinds of food against each other," Yoongi adds after a while, pausing only to clear his throat. Out of a corner of his eye, he catches Seokjin cocking an eyebrow at him a little, and he furrows his eyebrows for a bit before he gets it — right, visuals. Heechul's a visual kind of guy. Of course, Heechul would be able to appreciate the idea more if they showed him the concept board they'd haphazardly put together. He doesn't glower when Seokjin turns his laptop around, then, instead just moving a little to his left so he can see the display better, draw little lines on the visuals with his gestures, direct Heechul's attention to this, this, then this. "More like we'll be pitting different places that sell the same food. Like, uh, the ramyun they serve in Mapo Dumpling versus the one you can easily buy from convenience stores. They're supposed to be the same Jin Ramyun, really, except one has egg and the other doesn't. And that strangely makes a lot of difference. Or, say, the tteokbokki we usually get from food carts versus the ones that we get from restaurants and stuff—"
"Even then, every ahjumma or ahjussi would have their own style of tteokbokki, so no two food carts offer exactly the same thing. Like the ahjumma right in front of the Dunkin' Donuts in exit one — her tteokbokki's a little more on the sweet side versus the one in the... pop-up place just across the street, the one across Coffee Bean," Seokjin pitches in, then navigates to the next slide. He'd put in four images for this, placed them side-by-side even if they all featured the same thin slices of tteok swimming in a sea of spicy, spicy sauce. The differences were insignificant enough that Yoongi had missed them the first time he saw the slide, but after a while they'd started standing out for him more. Sort of like little sore thumbs, except they felt more like a discovery than an eyesore. And a realization, too, because wow, he never realized his body didn't agree with peas until Seokjin pointed out that, to his knowledge, only the stall near K-Arts sells tteokbokki swimming in a sea of peas, and that was the only time Yoongi's tummy rumbled after eating street food.
Yoongi's first thought is, Okay. So that's what fucked up my tummy then. No more peas for me, I guess. His second, Huh. You remembered. You actually remembered.
He blinks the thought away and refocuses, squinting. When he turns to look at Seokjin, he's met with a relaxed smile pulling up at the corners of Seokjin's mouth, bleeding onto his voice and evening out. Yeah. I remember that, too.
"I thought cheesebokki was weird, at first, but it's actually good," Seokjin says after a while, then laughs a little. Right across them, Heechul hasn't said a word yet, but the tiny upward curl on the corners of his lips is enough to urge Seokjin — them, when Yoongi nudges Seokjin again and taps on the trackpad to flip the presentation to the next slide — to go on. "So really, we're not trying to start a food trend with this or anything, but we are hoping to... kind of change the way people see eating. It should be an activity more than just an action or something you do. It should be an... an adventure, does that make sense? Everything starts when you gather your ingredients and start prepping, and when the food finally gets to your table and you consume it, that's the second leg of the food journey. All we're saying is that every little thing contributes to your overall appreciation of food, so that's why—"
"We want people to experience eating," Yoongi fills in, voice thinning a bit, just a little louder than a whisper. He looks up at Seokjin, eyebrows lifted a little and lips poised to move, to ask if he did get it right because Seokjin has a habit of slipping into twenty feet of long sentences until someone cuts him off, but Seokjin is nodding even before he can get that tiny sound of indecision out. He pushes it down, then, and meets Heechul in the eye again, wiggling his fingers in his pockets to thaw himself out a little. Trying to get rid of old fears and creating new happy thoughts to hold onto — the knot of Heechul's eyebrows easing, the corners of Heechul's eyes crinkling, and the rest of his features lighting up as the smirk on his lips blooms into a smile. "We want eating to be an experience for everyone — be it in different places and at different price points, so that they'll understand why this costs this much, and that costs too much. It's— We're definitely not discounting how good food cart food can be because the tteokbokki from that ahjumma right across Dunkin' is still my favorite, and, hyung, I know the odeng broth from the ahjumma across the office is the only thing that can cure your hangovers. We just want people to be able to appreciate food more, no matter how common or rare it is, so..."
So yeah, of course Heechul would fall silent and squint and lean back in his seat at the same time that he things his lips into a hard-to-read look. Of course Heechul would fold his arms across his chest and let out a heavy sigh, like he was expecting more from them all of a sudden, something better, and that they failed to deliver. Of course it would be the perfect time for Joonmyun to come in and settle right beside them, a big paper bag of something in tow, and of course Seokjin would deem it the best time to swoop in and save the goddamned day—
"Is that food? And coffee?" Seokjin asks, soft, tentative. Yoongi's stomach groans. It's the sheer desire to chug down all those cups of coffee at work, he knows it. It can't be anything else. "For us?"
Joonmyun laughs. He sets the bag down on the table, then gives them a nod. "Only if you take us through the whole thing again."
So Yoongi exits from presentation mode, pulls up the first slide again, places himself to Seokjin's left while Seokjin pulls at the hem of his polo and clears his throat. For a second, Yoongi thinks he sees Heechul shooting Joonmyun a look, a knowing glance, but it's gone just as soon as a familiar opening card flashes on the screen. He takes that as his cue to inch forward, then, to urge Seokjin to do the same with the shy tilt of his head and a cock of the eyebrow that says, c'mon, let's get this thing done and over with.
"Alright," Seokjin begins, pausing to lick his lips. Yoongi lets his eyes flicker south, down to the column of Seokjin's neck and eventually back to his keyboard. "Good after—afternoon, yeah. Good afternoon, Chief Kim and Editor Kim. Thank you for giving us some of your precious time for this idea pitch. We promise it will be quick and painless, and we thank you in advance for the coffee and the food. Please know that we appreciate it. a lot."
Yoongi taps the trackpad, then looks up to meet Seokjin's gaze. Seokjin's eyes are blown wide open, his ears are too fucking red, and hah. The guy's fucking nervous. But then, so is Yoongi. "Yeah, we— Thanks for the coffee and food."
Out of a corner of Yoongi's eye, he spots Seokjin grinning. He'll make sure to kick Seokjin's sorry ass later, once they've already stuffed themselves with their daily sustenance. For now, they have to kick ass. Together.
Together, meaning Yoongi taking them through the topline idea and Seokjin taking care of the specifics, the little details, covering for Yoongi when Heechul and Joonmyun ask for a few more examples. Together, meaning both of them flicking switches quick enough to know who's turn it is to speak already, or who's on clicking duty now. Together, meaning when Heechul brings up the topic of bingsu, Yoongi contributes without a quiver in his voice, "There are actually bingsu places where the shaved ice they used isn't that fine. Like... Lotteria, there you go. Lotteria. Their shaved ice is more crushed ice than anything else—"
"Which is okay for someone since, y'know, some people like chomping down on ice. I know Amber does but, even then, she hates Lotteria's bingsu. Says it tastes like being told Santa isn't real," Seokjin offers, not missing a beat, then quickly pulls up a couple of photos of bingsu — one of them, from Lotteria. "It makes a lot of sense, though. You eat bingsu for both the taste and the refreshing feeling it gives you so, naturally, when you're served anything less—"
"You'll look for something else. Something better," Yoongi continues, then pulls up a couple more pictures of bingsu. He hasn't even heard of some of these restaurants or pop-up stores, whatever you call them, but if the big gaps between the ice 'shavings' are anything to go by then he already has a feeling they shouldn't be trying any of those. Unless one of their investors is actually a company that manufactures ice shavers — in that case, this would be the perfect opportunity to promote their top-of-the-line shavers. The product intrusion won't even fee like an intrusion. "Something that will give you the complete package because, c'mon, let's not kid anyone here. Will you eat bingsu that's eighty percent just chunks of ice and twenty percent fruit toppings and, I dunno, splatters of milk that isn't even condensed milk? That's not how real bingsu work, geez. I mean, you can't just dump fruits on crushed ice and get away with that being 'real bingsu'—"
Seokjin snorts, hums, "Exactly," and takes a step to his slide, inching closer to where Yoongi is until Yoongi can feel Seokjin curling his fingers into loose fists in his sides. His hands aren't cold, and he isn't shaking, but Yoongi knows nervousness of any level when he sees it, hears it. It's there, in the way Seokjin's voice gets progressively louder as he says, "It's a combination of the shaving process, their milk solution, and the toppings that make up the whole flavor." It's there in the way he thins his lips together like he's thinking of taking back what he'd just said, because it sounds as if he's fighting for bingsu rights when he's just, in fact, trying to pitch an idea to his boss. It's there in the crack in his voice when he says, "Take one away and you can't expect the other two to compensate for that loss because that's not what those two other ingredients were made for!" in the jerk of his limbs as he lifts a finger up in the air and shakes it madly like he's lecturing a group of kids, or a class, or simply some of the highest-ranking people in the organization.
Yoongi shoots him a glance, then leans back a little to see more, better — first at Seokjin's features, searching for answers, clues, any sign if he's okay or needs help or needs someone to distract Heechul and Joonmyun, then straight into Seokjin's eyes when he runs out of options. There are faint dollops of pink on Seokjin's cheeks, the same shade they take on when he gets into a heated argument with anyone during editorial meetings, or when he's taking Heechul through two weeks' worth of concept boards for the Tasty videos they have to produce. It's a bit similar to the look he gets when he's nervous and he's been trying so hard but feels he isn't doing enough or when, but then this one—this one—
This one turns into a flash of shock before that dissipates, easing into something more relaxed. This one has Yoongi wondering if Seokjin really is that passionate about any kind of food instead of the 'real food' he keeps raving about, whatever the hell that is, because as much as Seokjin claims he only ever puts good food in his tummy he can only resist the allure of fried dumplings and donuts so much. It makes him wonder why Seokjin decided to brainstorm with him on this idea when he could've easily turned to another editor, or sought Amber's help because data, Seokjin fuckin' loves data, or just gone straight to Heechul, if he wanted to claim all the fame. It makes him think, and a thinking Yoongi who hasn't had his afternoon coffee yet is a lot more dangerous than a Yoongi who's had five cups of coffee and is still powering through articles upon articles upon articles at ass o' clock in the morning.
Maybe because he knows your brain works differently, sort of like his except not really, hums a voice at the back of his mind. He brushes that off when he catches Joonmyun tilting his head in Heechul's direction, shooting Heechul a look, then pressing the back of his hand to his mouth in an effort to muffle a laugh.
"You two are doing this, right?" Joonmyun asks, shifting his gaze between them, pointing an innocent finger to his left, then to his right. He thins his lips into a smile, the type that makes him look half murderous and half amused. Half the model boss he's always wanted to be, yet also half the kind of superior Yoongi who could make Yoongi drop to his knees in fear. The corners of his mouth are quivering a little, like he's still not done laughing, but his voice is incredibly steady and his eyes are focused and damn if Yoongi can ever find enough courage in himself to ever say 'no' to any of Joonmyun's requests, knowing full well that Joonmyun can crush his dreams in the blink of an eye, if he wanted to, or if he had time. Nine days out of ten, Yoongi thinks Joonmyun is incapable of hurting anything that moves, but then he remembers it's tough, getting to the top, and Joonmyun has had his fair share of haters, and yet he's still there, so— "I mean, the company's top performers finally working with each other is every boss' wet dream, and considering you two are always being a dick to each other, I'm really surprised—"
The tip of Yoongi's nose twitches. Even in his most drunken state, he's pretty darn sure he wouldn't want to know anything about Joonmyun's love life, or his fantasies, or whatever lucid dreams he has involving work. He wants to urge Joonmyun to go on, sure, to say more good things about him — them — but if it's at the expense of his sanity because Joonmyun might just spill more about his supposedly private life, then he'd rather live the next two or three years not getting praise from Joonmyun at all. As long as he retains his position and gets an annual increase, then he's okay. He's well aware that he's in Joonmyun's good book. He doesn't need to hear it straight from his boss' mouth, and he sure as hell doesn't need to see it in moving pictures—
"I don't know," comes another voice this time, a little louder but a lot more uncertain, not any less familiar than the tone Yoongi has gotten used to even if the shuffling around them makes it a lot harder to focus on just one thing. Yoongi looks to his side, then, up at Seokjin whose eyes are squinted and whose eyebrows are furrowed and whose lips are twisted into a weird sort of frown. Not that Yoongi makes it a point to collect all these... Seokjin faces and file them at the back of his mind for future reference, nope. They're handy at times, when he's annoyed and needs to cheer up a bit so he'd make fun of Seokjin's weird face because that always does the trick, but he has no use for them, otherwise. "I'm just— I'm not sure if Yoongi would want to collaborate on this. I mean, we lead two different departments, and we specialize in two different things, and, sure, they both fall under the umbrella term 'the brighter size of Buzzfeed', but—"
But it's weird for two people who hardly get along to work with each other on a big project — that's it. That's the problem. Trust Seokin to go around in circles with the point he wants to get across when he's trying to be nice. It's not the worst thing, rivals trying to make peace with each other just so they can get something done and make their bosses proud, but if they have the option of doing things separately then why not, right? Seokjin has his own team; Yoongi has his. Yoongi has been working with the same people for the past three years already, and the chemistry he has with the team is off the charts... on most days. So really, if they can take the idea and break it into two so they can create more content, then why, why, why do they have to—
'Make our lives difficult', Yoongi meant to say, but his body is a goddamned traitor. Soon, he's mumbling, "It's your idea. It's not my call who you want to work with, if you want to work with anyone at all." Too soon, he's choking on his own spit, wheezing and beating his fist on his chest, looking away but not without catching that flash of surprise flickering across Seokjin's features. There are other things he should be saying, like 'we won't make a good team' or 'we'll just waste time trying to sabotage each other' or 'we'll try to make it work, boss, but no guarantees' but, nope. His unrehearsed words are out there even before he can think twice. Even before he can do a double-take and end up just giving Seokjin a funny look in retaliation. "Besides, this will work better as two separate series. Probably. Seokjin can do one for food, and I can do one for... music? Fashion? Gadgets? Uh, technology?"
"Relationships?" Heechul offers. "Actually, no, I don't think— You'd be the worst at that. Unless we're talking about quiet suffering and pining after all these years—"
Joonmyun laughs a little. His eyebrows are arched, and he's doing that weird eye-smile of his again that makes Yoongi feel as if he's just booked himself an appointment with death, and he's moving his lips, saying something that looks a lot like, "I don't know about that." It's gone as soon as Joonmyun mentions something else, though, about partnerships and working together and giving things a shot, and Yoongi isn't sure if he'd rather go back to loop that little slip in his ear or listen to Joonmyun proclaim what a great tandem they would be to everyone in the pantry.
"You, Jin — you have great ideas," Joonmyun rushes. "Really crazy ones, most of the time — and that's not bad, don't get me wrong — but sometimes you need someone sort of... guide you back to the right path, you know what I mean? Which is mostly Heechul-hyung's job, I know, but help from your peers is just as good as help from your boss, sometimes. That's where you learn a lot from, and I think that's where Yoongi can help. He's great at making sure things will work. He's... really good at making sure things will still be cute and shareable enough even if they are, first and foremost, functional. So really, really, don't you guys see—" He furrows his eyebrows a little, stares at them for a few good seconds, then lets his lips curl up into an impossible smile. "Maybe you haven't realized it yet, but this experience will be good for you, I'm telling you. You'll be able to bring out the best in each other. You're a perfect match."
Joonmyun finishes with a wink. A beat, then he's turning to look at Heechul, perfunctory smile curled at the corners of his lips. "Can I expect to a sample video by Monday next week?" he asks, voice lilting, and Yoongi isn't sure if he'd actually signed with hell when he affixed his signature on his contract or if this is how Buzzfeed bosses across the globe actually are. Sure, Joonmyun is one-of-a-kind, but if he's friends with Heechul then Yoongi is pretty darn sure there are a lot more people like him — two parts evil and one part kind. "Can I see something in my inbox by 9 a.m.?"
Seokjin wheezes. It's five in the afternoon on a Friday. The Chief Strategy Officer literally cleared their idea just two seconds ago. They haven't even filed for a budget request for this project yet, and Yoongi is pretty darn sure none of the directors will agree to work on something like this on such short notice. Sure, he and Seokjin both know how to shoot and they're pretty decent cinematographers because that's the minimum requirement when they both applied for a spot here in Buzzfeed, but that's it — they're decent, at best. Above average, if they're stretching it, but if they're pitching this to Joonmyun a second time to make it a full series and to get funding, then they have to make the video 'Buzzfeed-worthy'.
Yoongi takes a deep, shaky breath. The last time he had to shoot, he almost dropped the camera to the ground and gotten his knee scraped because it was rocky as fuck in the area. Granted, he was low on sleep then, and it was three in the morning in the province in autumn so that meant chilly winds and a biting cold, but yeah. He's sort of... tried to stay away from cameras ever since. He'd be the one directing talents, telling them to tilt their head this way, to say their lines like this, but actually gripping a video camera with his hands and taking footages, capturing scenes, framing moments in clips?
Nah, mumbles a voice in his head. He gulps down hard. But what if— Nah, never mind. Just stick with what you know, Yoongi. Stick with what you're actually good at.
"So?" comes Joonmyun's voice, faint but crisp in the thinning noise in the pantry. Right, it's a Friday, which means everyone is trying to get some semblance of work and life balance, and that means Yoongi can have the office all to himself as early as seven in the evening. Awesome. You can actually work on the script. You can say 'yes', you know. Go, say 'yes'— "If not early morning, how about before noon? So that we can break with the video come 3 p.m. then have it boosted, then we can start checking if our viewers actually like the material, then you guys can either start developing more scripts if we get good results or start coming up with a new content angle—"
Or we can start crying and writing our resignation letters and dying, Yoongi is tempted to say, but everything zaps to a blank when he feels Seokjin staring at him. He'd look up, if he can, or nudge Seokjin in his side, at the very least, in quiet support, but he can't even feel his face right now, not when he's trying with every fiber of his being to not scream in front of the big boss. So instead, he keeps his eyes focused on nothing, no one else but Joonmyun, the way the soft smile on Joonmyun's lips quirks up into something mildly menacing, and the subtle arch of his eyebrows as if reminding them, I asked, and you're supposed to answer. Don't be rude.
"Sure. You can count on it," they say in unison after a heartbeat, in two different tones of uncertainty. Only then does Yoongi look to his side, meeting Seokjin's wide, wide eyes and trying his hardest not to snort at the twist of enthusiasm and regret scrawled across Seokjin's features. He's— They're going to regret this, both of them. Yoongi is dead sure they're going to regret this for the rest of their lives. "We'll do our best."