Pairing(s): KaiSoo, mentions of XiuHan and BaekYeol
Summary: Daily progress
A/N: wow okay this turned out to be way longer than I'd ever imagined or wanted it to be lol. Dedicated to my new kaisoo friend ;A; Katie. She runs this amazing KaiSoo blog so check it out and give her some love ^-^
D-40 Project Due Date
Kyungsoo is determined to come out of this with minimal irritations, minimal damage, the minimal amount of migraines, and the minimal amount of money wasted on Tylenol (which he isn’t too worried about because recently Baekhyun’s been giving him discounts). And in order to minimize all of that but still maximize his grade, Kyungsoo has laid some basic ground rules that are to be followed while he works with Kim Jongin.
Jongin looks down at the piece of paper Kyungsoo has just given him, as he takes a seat across from Kyungsoo in the desk pit (they have to work in the lobby because the only free time Kyungsoo has is when he’s on his shift). “This is it?” Jongin asks, frowning at the paper.
“For you,” Kyungsoo says shortly. “I’m doing the rest.” He waves his own project schedule in the air.
The frown on Jongin’s face deepens. “Wait—why—”
“Less work for you,” Kyungsoo cuts him off, meeting the dancer’s gaze head on (and feeling another brush of irritation when he’s met with perfect eyelashes, perfect eyelids, perfect clear dark eyes), “and less worrying for me.”
Jongin falls silent then and Kyungsoo breathes an inward sigh of relief. He’s glad that there’s no further opposition because the last thing he wants to have to do is argue with someone he already doesn’t even want to talk to. He supposes though that it’d be far stupider for Jongin to try and argue against Kyungsoo’s decision anyway because this way Jongin can maximize the sex and drugs and alcohol and whatever other vices the dancer has, while minimizing his work—while Kyungsoo can minimize the headaches and maximize his grade (because it’s not like he’s going to trust Jongin with any of the work that actually matters).
There’s a total of three things on the piece of paper, the project agenda, that Kyungsoo gave to Jongin—buying two new thumb drives for all the project material to be put on so each of them always has a portable copy of everything, getting their topic checked over by the professor before this weekend, and transferring the project material through each thumb drive whenever there’s new material ready.
Jongin understands that Kyungsoo is one of the top students in their year because he’s a scholarship student, and he also understands that Kyungsoo probably doesn’t trust Jongin because of the reputation that seems to come hand-in-hand with the old money he, Sehun, and Joonmyeon all have entitled to their names—but he thought that, if anything, Kyungsoo would put at least some of that aside considering that this is a major project and Kyungsoo can’t possibly have time to do over seventy-five percent of it alone.
(He tries to convince himself that he just wants to help with Kyungsoo’s workload—tries to convince himself that he has no reason to feel hurt over something like this because Kyungsoo’s just being objective and efficient)
D-35 Project Due Date
This is their routine.
Jongin drops by at the desk once Kyungsoo is already on his shift after both of their respective lectures for the day are over with—once both of them are back at the apartment. Kyungsoo doesn’t mind all too much because Jongin, at the very least, brings a laptop along with him so Kyungsoo can get double the work done by asking Jongin to keep certain windows open on the dancer’s laptop while Kyungsoo does all the research-compiling on his own.
Kyungsoo researches while Jongin does whatever Jongin does (Kyungsoo tries to remain behind his laptop so he doesn’t have to look at Jongin, whether by accident or with his peripheral, so he has no idea what Jongin does to keep himself occupied when the dancer could just go the fuck home and leave Kyungsoo alone) for about two-and-a-half hours on a normal day, one hour on a busy day, and three hours on a really good day.
Then Jongin stands up and leaves silently without attempting to make anymore stupid conversation the way the dancer used to, because Kyungsoo supposes that Jongin’s finally understood that it’s best that they just work through this project with the minimal amount of bullshit necessary.
(It has nothing to do with the fact that there was a splurge of parties at the clubs near campus and, recently, all of the students—guys and girls—who’ve been seen disappearing off with Jongin have had rumors coating them from head to toe ever since. The last thing Kyungsoo needs is to somehow be pulled into that just because he had the misfortune of being partnered with Jongin—because from what Kyungsoo’s also heard, even Jongin’s dance partners get stickered with shitty rumors.
It has nothing to do with the fact that it’s general knowledge at their university that mere association with Kim Jongin seems to get you into trouble.)
D-33 Project Due Date
Kyungsoo is asleep.
The choral major is slumped over behind the desk guard, so Jongin doesn’t see that Kyungsoo is asleep until the dancer walks into the pit. Kyungsoo has his face pillowed in his arms, right on top of his notebook with the laptop still on to a website for their project. Jongin drops his backpack onto the floor and stares at the screen for a few seconds before sighing and taking a seat on the empty chair beside Kyungsoo.
He pulls out a few sheets of looseleaf from his backpack, takes out a pen, grabs the mouse from the other side of the desk, and tries to peer as closely to the laptop screen as possible without waking Kyungsoo up.
Jongin packs up an hour and fifteen minutes later, placing the completed notes (he managed to work through ten pages of the website) beside Kyungsoo’s laptop (Kyungsoo’s head). He debates whether maybe he should take one of the sticky notes beside the stapler on the receptionist desk and leave a note, but decides against it.
After all, what does he have to say?
Plus, Kyungsoo seems to like Jongin a lot better when the dancer doesn’t say anything anyway.
The notes are perfect.
The information is concise and useful.
It’s more than Kyungsoo would’ve gotten through in two hours by himself in any case.
(It wouldn’t hurt, he supposes, as he shuffles the pieces of paper together, to talk to Jongin because at the very least, Kyungsoo needs to thank him for taking over their project while Kyungsoo’s schedule had gotten the best of him for an hour or two—before Chanyeol had later on walked by with Luhan, whistling straight into Kyungsoo’s ears to wake him up)
D-32 Project Due Date
“Fuck, ow—shit,” Jongin hisses, and clutches at his knee, quickly trying to rub away the pain of hitting it (bruising it) against the underside of the receptionist desk. He hastily looks back to Kyungsoo, who is now staring wide-eyed at Jongin. “Sorry,” Jongin says hurriedly. “I—what?”
Kyungsoo blinks slowly, eyes still wide and Jongin can’t really blame him for looking at the dancer like that because Kyungsoo has basically just thanked Jongin—spoken to him for the first time—and Jongin reacts by hitting his knee on the fucking desk like a fucking dumbass. “The notes were really good,” Kyungsoo repeats, still staring at Jongin oddly with those eyes that take up half the receptionist’s face. “Thanks.”
“I—yeah,” Jongin says, “no problem—yeah—I—you’re welcome.”
Kyungsoo infinitesimally scoots his chair away from Jongin.
“D’you need me to do anything else?” Jongin asks. “I can do the notes again—”
“No, it’s fine,” Kyungsoo says shortly, and Jongin convinces himself that the dancer probably just didn’t have enough to eat at lunch today and that’s why it feels like something from his chest dropped into his stomach at those words. “You probably have a party to go to tonight since it’s Friday, right?”
Kyungsoo continues on scribbling, no longer looking at Jongin.
“Not—not since the project started,” Jongin says, confused, because since when does Kyungsoo keep track of the parties that go on within the circle of dancers Jongin hangs out with? “I’m not going to them until the project’s done—and—like—most of my friends have the project too so—”
Kyungsoo begins typing away on his laptop, eyes glued to the screen, expression colorless.
Jongin swallows dryly and sighs, blinking down into his lap for what feels like eternity, mulling words over in his head—turning them around and around, phrasing and rephrasing until he decides that maybe all of that will probably just turn into shit anyway and he should just go for the simplest, mushiest, way possible because it’s the only way he knows—and it’s not like he has anything to lose anyway.
“I like your eyes,” Jongin says.
Kyungsoo stops typing.
“They’re really big,” Jongin goes on, and feels like the dumbass Kyungsoo already probably thinks the dancer is.
Kyungsoo looks up and meets Jongin’s gaze, blinking. Jongin doesn’t know what suddenly possesses him to do so, but he puts either of his hands near each eyes, opening and closing his hands like blooming flowers. “They’re like deer eyes,” he says, even widening his own eyes to demonstrate. “And like—yeah.”
Kyungsoo’s big, deer eyes grow to twice their size as the seconds tick by and the regret quickly sinks in through Jongin’s entire body. When the regret morphs into embarrassment to the point where Jongin feels his own skin peeling away in shame, he scrunches up his eyes and covers his face with his hands. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles into his palms. “Ignore that.”
It’s because Jongin looks utterly stupid (cute), utterly absurd (cute), utterly ridiculous (cute), so utterly dumb (cute) that the smile takes up Kyungsoo’s entire face before he realizes it’s even there—before he has the time to control it.
“Fuck,” Jongin shouts, as his knee suddenly connects with the desk again. “Okay—ow—ow.”
Kyungsoo’s smile fades away as he stares at Jongin nursing his knee again because Kyungsoo is pretty sure that desk isn’t something that’s very hard to miss—especially considering that they’re both sitting in chairs at the desk. But apparently, Jongin’s knee really must like this desk. “Um,” Kyungsoo says, “are you okay? Maybe you should scoot your chair out. So—um—you don’t do that again.”
Jongin shakes his head profusely, looking away (Kyungsoo notices that the tips of the dancer’s ears are red). “I’m okay,” he says, and coughs.
Kyungsoo blinks—shrugs—turns back to his notes (because you’d think that someone like Kim Jongin would be less of a loser—a better flirt—but it doesn’t seem like Jongin even has control of his limbs—which is weird because he’s a dancer). “Okay.”
Joonmyeon feels the brunt of Sehun and Jongin’s growth spurts—spurting the two inches above Joonmyeon himself—when he has to hold Jongin back from tackling Sehun out of the twelfth story window of their apartment because Sehun apparently had passed through the lobby and witnessed a few minutes of Jongin and Kyungsoo working on their project. Sehun had then promptly laughed himself all the way to the elevator, and now Jongin is back home after finishing working on the project for the day and is fueled with righteous anger at the fact that Sehun’s laughter had caused Jongin to hit his knee against the desk for the third time that day.
Joonmyeon, personally, just wishes that Sehun would laugh a little quieter because the last thing Joonmyeon needs is for Wufan to start with the complaint page again.
D-30 Project Due Date
“So,” Chanyeol leans over the desk guard (because he’s running a little early before he has to pick Baekhyun up for the pharmacy for their picnic date—since the journalist has the day off today), “you’re getting along with Jongin-shii, I’ve heard—and seen.”
Kyungsoo peers up at the journalist. “He’s tolerable,” the receptionist shrugs, scribbling something in at the margins of his notebook. “The Tylenol helps.”
Chanyeol smiles at the tone of his best friend’s voice. “He’s nice, huh?”
Kyungsoo shrugs again. “He does his work pretty okay.”
“He’s hot, huh?”
“He’s not ugly,” Kyungsoo says, and looks up at Chanyeol. “Don’t you have a date with Baekhyunnie?”
“I’m running early,” Chanyeol blinks.
Kyungsoo blinks back. “How about you get him some flowers on the way?”
That’s a pretty good idea.
Chanyeol usually passes by the florist on his way to work, and yesterday there were new batches of lilacs that had come in—the ones that smell exceptionally nice, the ones that are Baekhyun’s favorite. Also, it’s been at least two weeks since Chanyeol’s last given Baekhyun flowers, and fourteen days is a pretty long time to go without flowers. “That’s a good idea,” Chanyeol says brightly, reaching out and pinching at Kyungsoo’s cheek (the receptionist flails at the sudden pain and slaps Chanyeol’s hand).
“Okay—okay,” Kyungsoo says. “Goodbye.”
“Be nice to Jongin-shii,” Chanyeol calls over his shoulder as he heads for the door.
“I’ll think about it,” Chanyeol hears Kyungsoo shouts back, just as the receptionist buries his head back into his work.
Jongin is late.
Today, Jongin is supposed to be back at the apartment by five, except it’s six-thirty and Kyungsoo is only still here because he’s still on shift. However, his shift ends at seven-thirty, and even if Jongin arrives before then, Kyungsoo plans on refusing to work with him today because Jongin is fucking late and even though it’s not like Kyungsoo lets him do much anyhow, he’s still fucking late and Kyungsoo already less than likes him so it’s really not doing a lot for Jongin’s book at this point.
That was the train of thought milling through Kyungsoo’s mind two minutes ago, before he saw Jongin walk in through the doors at six-thirty-two—except that Jongin doesn’t really walk in through the doors at six-thirty-two. Jongin limps through the doors, half-jogging as best as the dancer seems to be able to with this limp, hair matted to his face with perspiration, in t-shirt and sweatpants instead of the usual pristine brands of the over-privileged and under-parented.
“I know, I know—I know,” Jongin says hastily, slamming down into his seat and tossing his backpack to the side, “I’m late—sorry, sorry—rehearsal was shitty so we were kept late and then my dance partner got fat or something or I screwed up and dropped her kind of and then my ankle’s all messed up so I couldn’t run to get on the shuttle on time—sorry—but I’m here—okay—it’s all good—how far did you get?”
Jongin heaves a deep breath, widening his eyes and rubbing at them with one hand before brushing his perspiration-soaked hair off of his forehead. The damp strands stick up waywardly. “I’m really sorry,” Jongin repeats, eyebrows furrowing. “No—like—seriously, I’m not making this up—I’m really—”
“What the fuck are you doing here?” comes out of Kyungsoo’s mouth before he can stop it, because if he could stop it, he would’ve worded it so it didn’t sound like that and Jongin’s face didn’t immediately take on a hurt expression. “I—no—I mean—like—you should go home. You’re limping.”
Jongin blinks. “I’m not—I’m not injured. I’ll stretch it out and—”
“But you’re limping,” Kyungsoo repeats because maybe Jongin doesn’t understand that he was limping. In Kyungsoo’s book—in anyone’s book—he’s pretty sure that if you had a crappy ass day and by the end of it, you’re limping, you deserve to fuck everything and go home. And besides, Kyungsoo knows that Jongin knows Kyungsoo never lets the dancer do anything of substance anyway, so what’s the point in still coming?
“Chill,” Jongin says, smiling a little—and looking unsurely at Kyungsoo. “I’m fine. It happens all the time—I’m just supposed to stretch it out, ice it a little, and it’ll be all good tomorrow.”
(Something tugs inside of Kyungsoo’s chest—he marks it off as allergies—since Chanyeol reeks of pollen every time he comes around because of all the flowers)
Kyungsoo swallows, looking around before taking his own backpack and stacking it on top of Jongin’s. He slides the backpack tower in front of Jongin. “At least elevate it,” he says. “You’re supposed to do that too, right?”
Now it’s Jongin who’s staring.
Kyungsoo waits a few seconds before deciding to disregard the fact that the dancer’s turned into a statue, and lifts Jongin’s foot up onto the stacked backpacks. “You really should go home, y’know,” he says worriedly, frowning. “I mean—taking the pressure off of it helps a little—but—yeah.”
In all honesty, he has no idea what he’s rambling on about because obviously Jongin will know more about muscles and exhausted muscles than Kyungsoo does because Jongin’s the dancer and Kyungsoo is the singer. He watches Jongin’s expression nervously (why is Kyungsoo nervous?) and Jongin is chewing at his bottom lip when he meets the receptionist’s gaze. “Thanks—it’s good for now, though,” Jongin says and smiles again, “seriously.”
The receptionist finds himself staring again, mouth open slightly.
“So—how far did you get?” Jongin asks again, smile turning brisk as he turns his eyes towards Kyungsoo’s notes and laptop. “Anything you need me to do or—?”
The dancer asks that every single day. And every single day, for the past week or so, Kyungsoo’s said the exact same thing—told Jongin that Kyungsoo has everything covered and while he’s thankful to Jongin for doing those notes that one time, it’s better that Kyungsoo does everything alone. But regardless, Jongin arrives on time and asks the same question every single day anyway—and refuses to leave before Kyungsoo’s shift and research hours finish.
Maybe—Kyungsoo should give him a different answer today.
“Yeah,” Kyungsoo says, and coughs because his throat is suddenly a little hoarse, as he avoids Jongin’s gaze (because he can feel Jongin’s eyes widening, blinking in surprise at the change in answer) and slides over one of the other notebooks. “Um—I got onto this new site and the info’s pretty nice—so—if you want—you can take over from that page.”
It seems that there’s an established pattern now—that they take turns staring, and right now it’s Jongin’s round again. Kyungsoo breaks the eye contact when the awkwardness starts to creep in and shoves the notebook closer to Jongin before going on to continue with his own work. “Thanks,” Jongin says with a cough of his own, and it’s not long before Kyungsoo hears the scribble of a pencil and typing on the desk computer.
(Kyungsoo dismisses the fact that his heart is beating a little too fast—it’s only because of the awkwardness—Kyungsoo always gets nervous when things are awkward, that’s all)
D-25 Project Due Date
Luhan wraps his arms around Minseok’s waist, chin resting on the teacher’s shoulder and raises his eyebrows. “You’re not on shift?” he asks, watching Kyungsoo fiddle around with something behind the desk guard, but the choral major has a backpack on and clearly isn’t settling onto the chair. Luhan and Minseok are on their way, heading out to the mall and then the market tonight to run errands—but they stop by the desk the way they always do (and because Luhan is interested to know how Jongin’s endeavors with Kyungsoo are going).
“Not tonight,” Kyungsoo says, as Minseok reaches over the edge of the desk guard and helps Kyungsoo rearrange the cables for one of the monitors. “Just getting things ready for the person after me—she’s going to do a double shift for me, since she wants the extra pay.”
“Where’re you going?” Minseok asks. Luhan clasps his fingers together against the teacher’s stomach, tilting his head inward so that his hair will tickle Minseok’s cheek.
“Back to campus,” Kyungsoo says. “Jonginie has dance practice, and he invited me to watch, so we’re going to work on our project at the studio after he’s done.”
Luhan turns his head, burying his face against Minseok’s neck to muffle the incoming laughter, as he hears Minseok say (with laughter also threatening the teacher’s tone), “You seem pretty close to him now.”
“Compared to—like—before, I mean,” Minseok adds.
Luhan hides a snort against Minseok’s neck along with the suppressed laughter. Minseok turns his head infinitesimally—just enough to discreetly exchange an amused gaze with Luhan.
“He’s put off drinking and partying because of the project,” Kyungsoo says, coming out from the desk pit. “So he’s not that bad when he can actually walk in a straight line.”
Personally, Luhan thinks that it also has something to do with the fact that Kim Jongin is actually incredibly charming and kind once given the chance (and Luhan has a thing for how Jongin’s ears always turn bright red whenever they pass each other in the halls the morning after Jongin comes home late after drinking and walks in on Luhan steaming buns in the elevator), and now that Kyungsoo’s seemed to pull whatever it is out of his ass and give Jongin that chance—well.
But he decides not to say anything on account of Minseok having had spoken to the translator about being nicer to Kyungsoo (“It’d be nice if you eased up before he has a real mental breakdown,” Minseok says sympathetically, while Luhan rests his cheek against the inside of Minseok’s thighs and tries to decide to lick Minseok’s left or right hipbone first.).
“Have fun,” Luhan says, and smiles sweetly at Kyungsoo (who edges away like a frightened rabbit after locking gazes with the translator).
Once Kyungsoo is through the doors, Minseok leans his head back against Luhan’s shoulder so he can meet the translator’s eyes. “Can’t you go one day without scaring him?” Minseok asks with a small grin.
Luhan tilts his head and touches his lips lightly over that grin. “I don’t know,” he says, “can I?”
Sehun lies flat on his back, trying to ignore how that position makes the back of his shirt stick to his skin (with his sweat as the glue) even worse. He balances his water bottle against his stomach and turns his head, glancing up at Jongin as the other boy collapses onto the floor, whipping perspiration-soaked hair out of his eyes and stealing the bottle of water out of Sehun’s hands, off of Sehun’s stomach.
“You look like a nervous wreck,” Sehun says. They’re the only two left in the studio as the sun sets—orange light bathing the entire room, reflecting off of the mirror wall.
“I’m not a nervous wreck,” Jongin snaps. And then his face visibly falls—winces—once he hears his own tone. “Oh.”
Sehun snorts. “Yeah, exactly.” He sits up and steals back the water bottle once Jongin’s finished downing half the contents. Footsteps echo off from somewhere in the distance—the sound coming from the hallway outside. Sehun stands up, eyes traveling to the door, as Jongin suddenly scrambles to his feet as well, wiping his palms nervously against his sweatpants.
“What if he wants to see me dance?” Jongin asks, grabbing at the back of Sehun’s shirt as the younger man tries to throw his backpack over his shoulder.
“Then dance, you dumbass,” Sehun rolls his eyes, clapping Jongin on the shoulder and lightly brushing his mouth over Jongin’s full lips. Jongin glumly strokes his fingers through Sehun’s hair. “And don’t be late for dinner again or Joonmyeon-hyung is going to start plastering the wall again.”
“Buy me some cheese cubes on your way back,” Jongin says, waving as Sehun leaves the room—
Just as Kyungsoo walks in.
Jongin is floored by the statement.
“I—what?” he says, dumbfounded (because he probably just didn’t hear correctly—the sweat must’ve poured into his ears or something).
Kyungsoo swallows, looking horribly nervous for reasons Jongin can’t seem to understand because Jongin is the one standing here like a nervous wreck (hoping to anything and anyone up there who’ll listen that nothing goes wrong tonight and Kyungsoo likes working with Jongin at the studio—likes sharing a tiny slice of Jongin’s world). “I didn’t know you and Sehun-shii are dating.”
Jongin stares. “That’s because we’re not.”
“He kissed you.”
It’s been a while since anyone aside from Joonmyeon has seen (and subsequently asked about) how Sehun and Jongin are (always have been and always will be). “I know,” Jongin says. “I kiss him sometimes and he kisses me sometimes. We’re kind of weird best friends. I—yeah—don’t know how to explain it.” He chews at his bottom lip nervously because he knows how this probably sounds to Kyungsoo’s ears—Jongin is probably losing points in Kyungsoo’s scale as the seconds tick by (but this is one thing that Jongin isn’t going to sugar-coat or lie about because it’s Sehun). “It’s okay if you don’t believe me, I guess—”
“That’s kind of hot.”
Kyungsoo laughs (the kind of laugh that takes up his entire face—that’s so big and full, that even his large eyes disappear—the kind that makes all of his white teeth show, his full lips curling upward—the sound bouncing off the walls of the studio).
Jongin continues to blink.
“I get what it’s like to have a best friend,” Kyungsoo says, slinging his backpack off his shoulder and lightly tossing it to the floor, “who’s a lot more than a best friend—but he’s still just a best friend.”
A huge metal vase filled to the brim with flowers suddenly zooms through Jongin’s mind, and he feels a smile tug at his lips. “So—what do we have to do today?” He sits down on the floor as Kyungsoo starts pulling his laptop out.
“Just finishing up from yesterday,” Kyungsoo says, sitting down across from Jongin. He meets Jongin’s eyes and grins. “So extra time for you to dance for me.”
Jongin scrunches his eyes shut (suppressing a smile, suppressing his racing heartbeat). “Fuck.”
D-1 Project Due Date
Chanyeol blinks, leaning back on his palms on Kyungsoo’s bed, as he watches the younger man buckling his belt and frowning at his reflection in the mirror. “Party?”
“Not really a party,” Kyungsoo says, and tries to push down a wayward tuft of hair. “Just—like—Jonginie performs a lot at clubs, and they always give him free passes in and drinks and stuff, and he invited me to go watch him tonight. Like—since we finished the project and all.”
“Oh,” Chanyeol says, and then grins, meeting Kyungsoo’s gaze in the mirror. “So like a date?”
Kyungsoo snorts. “No—like project partners going out to celebrate the fact that they fucking finished on time something that’s worth a huge ass percent of their grade. I already told you that I don’t want to date him.”
“But you like him,” Chanyeol frowns (even though he’s already expected this because Kyungsoo never seems to understand that sometimes taking a deep breath and some flowers gets you pretty far in life—and love).
Kyungsoo just snorts again, and straightens his shirt.