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#1: Orange Blossoms

Tags: Hogwarts AU

Inspired by:  ...The Haagan Dazs Orange Blossom (Limited Edition) flavour I ate at 2am. 


 

She is confused, to say the least.

The mixture bubbles in the gold cauldron and she makes another tentative swirl of the liquid, transfixed by the pale pinkish sheen of the potion and the spiral tower of steam curling above the mixture.

That can’t be right, can it?

Oranges.

She’s never liked oranges that much, but the cauldron’s emitting a light, citrusy scent with a rich undernote of bergamot rounded out by the fullness of vanilla. She struggles to place the source of this scent but draws a blank. Did she brew the potion wrongly or something?

But beside her, Seo Juhyun laughs. Why did they ever decide to pair the two together, Joohyun would never know. Doesn’t it only serve to confuse the professors, especially since she’s heard the professors refer to them as the “two Korean girls with the same names”. Maybe it’s easier to grade their pair-work this way.

“Do you smell books? Parchment? Ink?”

“That’ll be telling, no? But yes, I suppose so. New parchment, an array of fruits… What are you smelling?”

Joohyun hums. “Did we somehow get the potion wrong?”

Seohyun raises her right eyebrow. “Hardly. Look, the professor’s coming over.”

Joohyun jerks as the professor’s booming voice suddenly rings next to her, jumping even after Seohyun’s warning.

“Marvellous, you’ve outdone yourselves again! Look, class, they’ve managed to produce a perfect batch of Amortentia. This is wonderful, wonderful indeed. What a lovely sheen of mother-of-pearl… good, good. At the rate you two are going, I’ll only be able to give you Os! Good work ladies.”

Another student mutters something, annoyed, and their professor turns, sharply, and rebukes him with, “Just because you can’t read the instructions doesn’t mean that they cheated, Mr Inkwell!” He turns back to them, his smile visible even under the mound of beard. “Carry on, Miss Seo and Miss Bae.” 

“Thanks, professor.” Seohyun smiles up at him, effecting all her grace, and turns to Joohyun with a brighter smile. “See, we got it right. Now… tell me. What’s got you all up in a twist?”

“I…”

Who smells like oranges?

She sniffs it again. There is no mistaking it. It smells very distinctively like oranges. Joohyun doesn’t even own anything to do with citrus. So she can’t even chalk it down to her smelling something that comforts her. She expected lavender. Cinnamon. Something homely. Something that reminded her of being at home amidst the laundry. But no

“Hey, earth to Bae Irene!”

“Oh. Sorry. Got lost in my thoughts.”

Seohyun doesn’t quite snort, but her nostrils flare a little in demonstration of her wry amusement. “Care to share? You looked really…”

“I don’t know who it smells like. Or why I’m smelling it.”

“Hmm.” Seohyun cocks her head. “I don’t exactly go around sniffing people for fun. “So who could it be? Byulyi? Suho?”

“Ew. No. Besides, Yongsun will kill me if I smelled Byulyi.”

“So… what did you smell?”

“I… it smells like oranges. I don’t know anyone who smells like oranges.”

=====

A fight with Chanyeol takes her outside, her fists still shaking in anger. How could he have said such things? The nerve of him! She lets out a huff of air. And he didn’t even apologise even after Jared was obviously uncomfortable with the whole situation and…

She sighs. It’s not as if Chanyeol’s going to take back anything he’s said about it, and it’s not as if it’s her duty to speak up against Chanyeol.

It’s getting tiring, however, having to defend themselves against everyone else. The Second Wizarding War might be done and dusted but there are just some lines that are always bound to exist. Gryffindor. Slytherin. Questions of loyalty. Of colour. And the few of them are so obviously Asian, their skin marking them out in an obvious way.

If someone like – Oh, I don’t know – the Cattermole siblings said the same thing, it wouldn’t be up to her to say anything anyway. Merlin. This is getting exhausting— 

She doesn’t exactly notice where she’s walking, and she walks right into a broomstick. Well, more like she trips over a stray broomstick and her face is about to fly straight to the ground before she gasps as a set of hands grab her shoulders to halt her fall.

“Joohyun-unnie?” She hears Seulgi’s concerned voice. “Are you okay?”

Seulgi helps Irene steady herself. She can see the hesitation on Seulgi’s face as she reaches forward to help Irene rearrange her hair. To adjust her robes. Seulgi’s fingers shake slightly. Joohyun doesn’t stop her.

“Yeah.” She lets out a breath and visibly deflates. “I’m just… annoyed I guess. Thanks for catching me.”

Seulgi’s brows furrow. “Wanna talk about it?”

“No.” She realises she must’ve said it too curtly because Seulgi’s face falls, and she hurriedly adds, “Thanks for the offer though. And really, I’m glad to not have wound up with a face full of mud.”

“Yeah. Would’ve been pretty bad.” Seulgi’s arm reaches to scratch her head. She’s so awkward about it that Joohyun wants to laugh and pinch her cheeks. “It’s rained recently you know.”

“Your Chaser reflexes are here to save the day!” She lets her smile soften. “What are you doing out here so late?”

“Just taking stock of the field. We’re going to be playing the first game of the season next week. Are you going to be coming?”

“You guys are playing Gryffindor, right?”

Seulgi’s eyes light up, surprised that she even knows the match fixes. “Yeah. My team’s been training a lot but well, the rain’s pretty bad and there’s only so many Impervius and warming charms that we can cast on us you know. Bloody hell it’s so bloody cold out there. And so yeah I wanted to come take stock of the field and I don’t know, get familiar with each corner of it and like maybe fly better or at least figure out how much time and velocity and what not it takes to fly from one end of the field to the other? Something like that! And oh, I really do want to beat the Gryffindors this year, knock them off their perch! They really do need to be taken down a peg or two!”

Seulgi’s face suddenly reddens. “Am I talking too much? Merlin, I’m rambling, aren’t I?” She scratches the back of her head again. “I’m so sorry!”

“Don’t be. I like listening to you talk.” Joohyun wants to bite back the words after she says it because what did she just say? But Seulgi doesn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, Joohyun thinks her blush deepens.

“Say, do you want to fly?”

===

“I… Merlin help me, Seulgi!

She doesn’t know why she agreed to it. She hates flying. She does not fly.

“Relax, Joohyun-unnie, don’t you trust me!”

“I… Yes?”

She can hear the pout in Seulgi’s voice even though she can’t see her face. “Have faith in me. Come on. I’m going to fly quickly—”

Before Seulgi finishes her sentence, she angles her broom just so and leans forward and Joohyun shrieks as they tear through the air.

She clings onto Seulgi.

For dear life.

Merlin help her.

It helps that her brain somehow thinks that wrapping her arms around Seulgi’s waist is going to keep her safe. It doesn’t help that her heart is beating so fast that Joohyun’s more worried that her heart’s just going to stop right there and then and she’d die before she dies by falling to the ground or something.

She presses into Seulgi. Takes a deep breath. She smells nice. Even if she’s mostly just sweaty and all she can smell right now is the clean smell of grass, soil, and wood, there’s something else, something vaguely fruity, that makes her insides squeeze a little, she thinks.

More breaths. Breathe, Joohyun.

Seulgi’s scent fills her nostrils. The ground below them gets smaller and smaller. It’s altogether more sensible for her to just squeeze her eyes shut and cling onto Seulgi more tightly.

A small voice in her tells her that she doesn’t need to hold onto her so tightly, but honestly, who’s judging?

===

Seulgi’s hand is warm she tugs on Joohyun’s own hand.

“It’s not so bad, wasn’t it?”

Seulgi’s eyes are shining. Her grin is wide.

Joohyun shakes her head. No, it’s not that bad.

“I’ll come watch your match next week, if you’d like.”

Seulgi’s eyes grow wide. “Would you, really? It’s okay if you have to study for your N.E.W.T.s and all that though! I mean yes well er it's not going to be for another year and you’re probably already going to beat the rest of your class, except maybe for Seohyun, but that’s to be expected—”

She can’t help from grinning. “Really. I don’t mind.”

Seulgi’s smile stretches even more, if that’s possible.

“Thank you, unnie!”

Without warning, she throws her arms around Joohyun’s shoulders. She wants to jump at the contact. But she doesn’t. A million different things do jump inside of her though.

Something lodges in her throat and all she can think of is how Seulgi doesn’t usually hug people, and yet, has hugged her.

Chapter Text

#1: Orange Blossoms [cont]

Tags: !Hogwarts AU

Inspired by: A Tumblr Prompt, "i’m not allowed to go to hogsmeade but you always tell me stories about it and bring me candy from honeydukes”

 


 

 

The match goes about as well as it could have.

Really, it did.

Or at least, she hopes that it did.

With the amount of cheering going on outside in the corridors right now, she’s probably able to bet a hundred galleons that the Puffs won this time.

Finally.

The room’s not about to get any cleaner though. Joohyun and Taeyeon have a rag each in their hands, sporting matching expressions of annoyance. The classroom is lined from ceiling to floor in a thick layer of dust and no amount of scrubbing at the surfaces seems to be of any good. All they’ve managed to accomplish was to get very, very wet, and very, very grimy.

To say that they’re both unhappy with their current predicament is the understatement of the century.

“Do you think Hufflepuff’s won?” Joohyun asks, casually, pretending that she’s not about to strangle Professor McGonagall for slapping detention onto the duo. At least they didn’t have to do it with the Gryffindors. She’d probably have gotten another week of detention if they were forced to clean a room together.

Taeyeon makes a noise. “Of course. I suppose you should be off congratulating your Hufflepuff.”

“Sorry?”

Taeyeon blinks, turning to look at Joohyun. “Hey, aren’t you…”

“What?”

Taeyeon makes a quizzical expression, her eyebrows furrowing and her mouth quirking to the side. “The portraits said… never mind.”

What?”

“Nah, it’s just something the portraits seem to be saying recently. They have nothing better to do but to gossip, you know?”

“So… what nonsense have they been up to lately?”

“Oh, you know. The usual drivel. Nothing to get your knickers up in a twist.”

Taeyeon.”

“Really, it’s nothing! I swear! Will I ever lie to you?”

Joohyun rolls her eyes as she plonks her rag back into the pail, trying not to grimace at the sight of the dark grey water splashing out. “We’re both from the same house, you idiot.”

“Now, now, is that any way to speak to a sunbae like that?”

Joohyun swears her eyes would be stuck in a permanent lolled back position if she hangs around Taeyeon any longer. How the rest of her friends withstand her presence is a mystery. They’re something else entirely.

“Fine. Keep your secrets. But let me remind you that we’re stuck here because of you.”

Taeyeon clears her throat. “Yeah, sorry about that.” Some sheepishness makes her way onto her face. “But they were being very insulting, you know. I don’t get wizards sometimes. They’re totally okay with Metamorphmagi and Polyjuice Potions and stuff but the second someone thinks that ‘oh, well, I don’t think I’m a wizard I think I’m a witch’ they kick up such a fuss. Honestly. That son of a bloody Bludger.”

Joohyun snorts. “And you just had to get involved.”

“Yeah well, Tiffany fought them first. So…”

“She holds up just fine herself, idiot.”

“Yeah, yeah. Hope she’s doing okay though.”

“I’m sure Madam Pomfrey’s going to work her usual wonders again. But geez, you’ve really got to get us banned from Hogsmeade right?”

Taeyeon sighs, flinging her rag into the pail. “Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry, will that be enough, your highness?”

“But it’s for an entire fortnight! I was looking forward to going this weekend—”

Taeyeon mutters something that Joohyun doesn’t quite catch.

“What?”

“If you don’t know what I’m getting at, well… That’s not my business.”

“What isn’t?”

“Alright I’m just going to change the water!”

“Taeyeon!”

“Shh. You’ll figure it out soon enough. And no, don’t look at me like that! You’ve got to figure it out yourself! Oh, come on, you’re brilliant. It’ll come to you eventually.”

“What will?”

Taeyeon shrugs, getting to her feet as she picks the pail up. “Like I said, you’ll figure it out.”

=====

Joohyun kicks her feet on her way back to the dungeons.

Taeyeon’s probably snuck into the hospital wing by now. Which means that Joohyun’s finally alone with her own thoughts.

Merlin’s beard, what was Taeyeon being so cryptic about?

Stupid Slytherins.

What are the portraits so interested in lately? All the stupid Fat Friar ghost and his damned portrait gives her are strangely broad smiles. Gosh, he’s ignored her for six whole years before this, but now? Portraits and those pesky ghosts are pretty darn weird.

Never mind that, Bae Joohyun. You’ve got an essay to write. Just get to that Arithmancy essay before Monday. Then maybe she’ll catch up on some reading before the weekdays slap her again. And maybe read the next chapter in Hogwarts: A History?

It’s really becoming a bit of a pattern, but she doesn’t notice Seulgi’s presence until she hears the girl’s voice call out at her, pulling her out of her thoughts.

“Joohyun-unnie! I didn’t see you at the match today… and… Well I heard you got assigned detention?”

Her head jerks up to see Kang Seulgi in front of the entrance to her common room. Seulgi’s hair looks suspiciously like it’s clumped with mud, probably because the Pitch was pretty darn wet from the morning rain. The brown spot on Seulgi’s jaw might be mud. Or it really could be chocolate. The torches down here are too dim for her to really tell.

“Yeah,” Joohyun grouses. “McGonagall made Taeyeon and I clean one of the unused classrooms. Without magic.”

Seulgi shakes her head in sympathy. “That must’ve been pretty shit. And you… got into a fight, right? You’re okay?”

“Yes, yes, I am fine,” she bites, somewhat irritably. Seulgi pulls back slightly at her tone, and Joohyun berates herself for letting her irritation at everything be thrown onto Seulgi. “Sorry. It’s just been a really long day.” She forces a smile onto a face. “Tell me. Did you guys win?”

“Yeah! We didn’t get the Snitch, but we still won! Well, by ten points. But we still beat them!”

“Oh yeah? I suppose a ‘congratulations’ is in order, Miss Hufflepuff Chaser. How many goals did you score?”

“A few,” Seulgi says, modestly. “Anyway, I saved something for you.”

“Oh?” She steps forward so she can finally see Seulgi properly. “Jelly Slugs! I haven’t had any in so long… But aren’t they your favourite? If you’re giving me all these Jelly Slugs, do you still have any for yourself?”

“Well, erm, I was hoping Honeydukes has some in stock when we go out tomorrow, actually.”

Joohyun gasps. “Oh no, I couldn’t tell you earlier! I’m so, so sorry – I can’t go with you tomorrow. Part of my punishment includes a Hogsmeade ban.” Her voice trails off, bitterly.

Seulgi’s bottom lip pushes out to form a pout for about two seconds before she shakes her head, a smile forming. “It’s okay! Give me a shopping list. I’ll get the stuff for you.”

She almost lets it slip that hell, it really doesn’t matter to her that she’s not allowed to go to Hogsmeade, per se, and that she’s more upset that she’s not going to spend a Hogsmeade weekend with one Kang Seulgi.

Instead, she swipes her thumb against Seulgi’s jaw, wiping the brown spot off.

Seulgi jumps backwards. Hits the wall. Winces.

The two of them stare at each other for a while.

Joohyun’s sure her face is red. Seulgi’s not faring any better either.

“Sorry,” Joohyun finally says. “You had a spot… of… chocolate right there.”

“Oh my. Guess I didn’t wipe my face properly after the celebrations. So… er, yes, will you want me to get anything for you?”

Joohyun hums. “It’s really okay. But if you’re going to be at Honeydukes anyway, can you get me a few Chocolate Frogs?”

At this, Seulgi relaxes. “Are you one of those people trying to collect the Limited-Edition Hermione Granger?”

“There’s a Limited-Edition Hermione Granger? Merlin’s pants. I mean, I won’t mind adding a war heroine into the collection. But I’m really trying to get one of Circe. She’s always eluded me.”

Seulgi laughs. “Well, maybe you’ve got to be some bloke who goes to war for an entire decade for some girl whose face sails a thousand ships… But hmm, you're really more Helen than Odysseus, don't you think? Not to say that you aren’t badass enough to be some Grecian hero but I don’t know, I don’t really see you clinging onto the belly of some poor sheep…”

===

By the time she’s back in her common room, nibbling on a Jelly Slug, all she can think about is how her heart’s fluttering like the golden wings of a Snitch in flight.  

And how utterly terrified she is when it strikes her that all her annoyance with McGonagall has all but dissipated because of one encounter with Kang Seulgi.

And maybe, when Seulgi hugs her for the second time this week, she’s finally discovered what she smells like out of her Quidditch uniform. 

Merlin help her.

 

Chapter Text

#1: Orange Blossoms [cont]

Tags: !Hogwarts AU

Inspired by: those moving staircases!! 

 


 

 

It’s Wednesday morning and Joohyun’s at breakfast nursing a glass of pumpkin juice. Her left hand flips a galleon over and over again. Her eyes are trained in a glare at the coin, boring a hole into the poor lump of metal.

Megara’s skirts.

A portrait of Circe burns in her pocket. She really needs to pay Seulgi back for the entire stash of Frogs she received from the younger girl. And maybe make the other Slytherins pay her too because they got to eat all eleven out of the twelve Frogs that she tore open to check if she got the card. She only got Circe on the last Frog that Seulgi gave her. Luck is ridiculous. Maybe she should’ve brewed some Felix Felicis before she opened the packaging. 

“A knut for your thoughts?”

“Shut it, Taeyeon.”

“My, my. Someone’s cranky aren’t we? And by Salazar’s snake, your eye circles are looking pretty bad this morning.”

Taeyeon.” Her voice is strained, and she’s not sure if she wants to use what little energy she has in her to strangle her senior.

Taeyeon.” Tiffany’s still smiling, but her voice is laced with warning. Her voice lightens when she speaks again, “Joohyun-ah, you know you can tell us anything, right?”

Taeyeon bites into her toast, nodding in agreement at what Tiffany’s said. Joohyun can only stare blankly at the duo, wishing she had it in her to hold anything more than just liquids down.

As it stands, her stomach’s been invaded by a billion butterflies and her throat is stretched by the feathers of a thousand wings to the point of constriction. Nothing but air can escape her throat. Hell, the pumpkin juice is somehow excessively sweet but ridiculously tasteless at the same time.

Nothing makes sense.

But oh, at least she’s found out why.

Or at least, she thinks she knows why.

And she dreads this knowledge. This piece of knowledge is something she would really rather do without, thank you very much!

She glances up again and realises that Taeyeon and Tiffany are still waiting for her to reply, or at the very least, acknowledge Tiffany’s concern. To be sure, she’s fishing for gossip, but her concern does seem rather genuine. She wants to dismiss them, to say that there’s nothing the matter, but she can’t really bring herself to. She lets out a low groan, and Tiffany tuts a little as she refills Joohyun’s juice for her.

“Irene, are you okay?” Seohyun comes up to their table.

“I told you…” Joohyun sighs, groaning again and putting her face in her hands. Everything’s too bright. Too loud. “You know what, the three of you—”

“Would this have anything to do with your little crush?” Taeyeon suddenly cuts in.

What?” She snaps her head up. “Who’s said anything about a crush?”

Seohyun’s eyes widen a little and Joohyun can tell that somewhere in her head, the gears are turning and the signs are starting to line up nicely. Then she lets out a tinkling laugh. Joohyun should just admit defeat. Even if she doesn’t like losing.

“The girl who smells like oranges. It’s her.”

“Who’s said anything—”

“Come on, Joohyun. We know you’ve been avoiding her.” Seohyun pats her back, somewhat awkwardly, as she slides onto the bench next to Joohyun. “If you look behind you, you might be able to catch her stare. Poor girl’s looking like some abandoned cub right there.”

“What?”

“You’ve been avoiding her since Sunday, Joohyun.” Seungwan’s the one who comes up this time, sandwiching Joohyun between two Ravenclaws.

“I—”

“Oh, come on, don’t deny it. You aren’t as subtle as you like to think,” Taeyeon levels this evenly, and Joohyun can feel her cheeks start to burn. “We’re Slytherins, please. And we’re also friends, you know.”

Tiffany turns to Seungwan, a mischievous grin creeping on her face. “So, Seungwan, no need to be strangers between all of us. We all want to help Joohyun, right?” Her grin is wide, her eyes are all crinkled and twinkly. “How’s Seulgi doing?”

Seungwan’s eyes pop open, as if stunned that she’s now in the spotlight. “Okay?”

“Try again.” Tiffany’s voice make it clear how unimpressed she is with Seungwan’s non-answer.

“Hey, don’t you guys have better things to do, like, I don’t know, write a paper or something? Study for your N.E.W.T.s, instead of butting into my non-existent love life?”

“Aha, she’s said it. Love life! How cute.” Taeyeon finishes her slice of toast and Joohyun’s somehow immeasurably annoyed by how she’s left two flakes of breadcrumb a centimetre away from her cup.

Seungwan shifts a little. “Seulgi’s… Seulgi’s a little upset? That you’ve been ignoring her? She’s not sure what she’s done wrong for you to well, erm, walk in the other direction when you see her.”

Her heart sinks a little. She knows that the younger girl’s probably a little hurt. But hearing Seungwan confirm it isn’t great either.

Taeyeon whistles. “Unsubtle indeed.”

Joohyun groans. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Talk to her, maybe?” Seohyun suggests. It’s got to be the least helpful statement that has ever come out of Seohyun’s mouth. And she makes sure the look she gives Seohyun conveys that. “Don’t look at me like that. You know that communication is important. But guys, why don’t we leave her alone for today, hmm?” More kindly, she adds, “You might want to take the day off today.”

“Wait, our Seohyun-ie, advocating that Joohyun skip class?” Taeyeon is too good at affecting mock horror for her own good.

“As much as I abhor truancy, you’ve got to admit she’s in no shape to go for her classes today,” Seohyun reasons. At Taeyeon, she instructs, “You should give her one of your Lunchboxes.”

“Won’t Madam Pomfrey know that Joohyun’s skived off classes though?” Seungwan bites her lips worriedly.

“If she bothers to check. It’s still pretty troublesome, and George Weasley’s really done some pretty great work with the latest batch of Lunchboxes. So… why not?” Tiffany says, nodding, as she follows Seohyun’s line of logic. “You do deserve a bit of a break. And Seo’s going to duplicate her notes for you anyway.”

“On the condition that Joohyun stop ignoring Seulgi, though,” Seohyun decides. “She’s not doing herself or Seul any favours by sinking into such nonsense.”

Really?” Joohyun sighs again. “Can’t you just let me hide from my problems?”

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem, Joohyun?” Seungwan tries.

“What do you mean?”

“Erm. Hmm. Never mind. Catch some sleep! I need to head off for Herbology, you know, gotta run off to the greenhouses! Bye!” Seungwan extricates herself so quickly and flees with such little dignity that Joohyun finds enough in her to roll her eyes.

=====

Seulgi swings by the hospital wing. Because of course she does.

On one hand, Joohyun’s glad she doesn’t have to pretend to be asleep when Seulgi comes by. Because she was truly dead to the world for the hours between breakfast and five p.m.

On the other hand, Seulgi’s left a little note, written in a series of cute and cramped Korean letters for her on the bedside table. It doesn’t say too much. Just a get well soon, unnie! Hope to see you up and about. And of course, a small assortment of candy. It tugs at her heart, makes her gasp a little, and grab a fistful of the bedsheets as she squeezes her eyes shut.

Madam Pomfrey’s knowing look is well, a little too much for her.

=====

Joohyun finds herself walking along an unfamiliar corridor. All because she took one wrong turn and the staircases decide to switch themselves when she was atop one of them.

And now, she’s surrounded by portraits that are gazing at her rather curiously. Three of them whisper in each other’s ears.

Dead people painted onto magical canvases can be truly annoying. Even middle-aged witches don’t get this judgemental. But with death comes liberation from all social niceties, she supposes. With the amount of times the Bloody Baron’s walked through her…

One of them tuts. The other makes a tsk-ing sound. Emeric Switch clicks his tongue.

Sirius Black did the world a favour when he tore up the Fat Lady.

Just where in Hogwarts is she? She’s quite certain that Emeric Switch isn’t usually in this particular frame, so she’s not really clued in to her current location. Hmm. She’s never had classes in any of the rooms along this corridor before.

One of the door’s ajar.

She hears her first. Her soft voice. Laced with hurt. Confusion. Talking to… a portrait?

She really does smell her before she can make out the words that she’s saying. Free from the fresh smell of grass and the faint sourness of mud, the scent of Kang Seulgi’s orange-scented shampoo wafts through the air.

“Yeah, so I don’t know, Joohyun has been ignoring me recently? Oh okay, by recent I really mean the past two days. The Fat Friar’s clued you in, I guess?” A small laugh. “You lot are really gossipy. Aren’t there better things to do?”

Ah, that’s why the paintings all look at her weird.

The portrait grumbles something at her. Seulgi slips into Korean, “Ah, right. You guys can only watch us. Sorry. I forgot. Oh. Hey. Right. Why do you guys want me to blab about her? It’s not as if people in the past didn’t…” 

Engrossed as she is in talking to the portraits, or simply that she doesn’t expect anyone to chance upon her, Seulgi jumps when Joohyun taps her shoulder.

“Oh my god. Joohyun-unnie!”

She’s never seen Seulgi look more stunned than she is currently.

Her first question: “How much did you hear?”

The next: “You are better now right?”

Backtracking: “Hello, sorry, Joohyun-unnie, didn’t hear you!”

Joohyun giggles. Seulgi is cute. She cannot begin to deny this anymore. Truly, it’s quite the futile struggle to do so.

“What have you been telling the portraits around school, Kang Seulgi?”

“What? Nothing! Nothing at all!” Her face grows as red as the Gryffindor colours. “My word, you are better right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Nothing to fret about. Really. I am better. What brings you here?”

Seulgi’s ears burn too. “I got lost once. And wound up here. Lady Ceridwen here is pretty good to talk to, so I come back sometimes. And she doesn’t tattle as much as the other portraits do. Oh, come on, Lady Ceridwen, don’t look so put out. We all know that not everything stays within the four sides of your frame. And… you?”

“I got lost too,” she admits. “Staircase changed directions.” One of the portraits coughs. Loudly. She doesn’t choose to dignify it with a response. “I have no idea how to get back down, actually.”

“You… just head down?” Seulgi tries. “It’s not that hard.”

She gives Seulgi a look.

“Well, okay, you get the portraits to lead you back down.”

“And in exchange you’ve got to tell them something that’s been going on in your life.”

“Right! Yes, that’s the deal. I mean, they don’t usually go spilling your secrets elsewhere at least. And I’d hate to be stuck on this room forever.”

“I’d hate for you to be stuck here too,” she blurts out.

Seulgi stares at her owlishly for half a second before a peal of nervous laughter sounds. “Yeah. Would be bad. How long do you think it’ll take for people to notice I’m gone?”

“Not that long, I’m sure.”

“But will you have noticed… Oh, never mind.”

Kang Seulgi.”

Seulgi sighs. “I’m… just…” The girl looks as if she’s trying to figure out exactly how to phrase it without coming off as accusatory. Or needy. Or whatever she thinks might damage her standing with Joohyun.

Joohyun says it first. “You know what? I’m sorry. I’m sorry for avoiding you for the past couple of days. It’s very rotten of me to have done so. And I apologise. For the record, I would notice if you’ve gone missing.”

Seulgi’s eyes are wide again. “Joohyun-unnie? You… didn’t have to apologise?” At Joohyun’s stern look, Seulgi withers a little. “Okay, maybe I was a little hurt… But well… Wait, did you rehearse that apology?”

“Why?”

“Did Seohyun-unnie make you say it?”

“You’re asking me two questions, Seulgi. So yes, and no.”

Seulgi groans. “Unnie.”

“No, Seohyun didn’t make me apologise. And yes, I guess I didn’t want to get the apology wrong. I don’t want to ruin our friendship, Seulgi.”

Seulgi cocks her head to the side, clearly still trying to process something. “But why? Why did you ignore me in the first place?”

The golden question, isn’t it?

Heart. Lodged in throat.

She’s never been a Gryffindor, but Seulgi’s going to let her down gently. She can live with that.

“I didn’t want to confront my feelings, okay? It was… it was scary. I don’t want to have these feelings at all. I just want to study to become a Healer. Graduate from Hogwarts. Have fun in school. You know. Nothing more than that.”

“Your… feelings?”

“Do I have to spell it out for you, Seulgi?”

“I… I don’t understand.”

Joohyun’s expression mirrors Seulgi. Her head is canted slightly to the side. Brows furrowed. And the fingers of her left hand are rubbing against each other. 

It clicks. “You don’t want to understand, do you?” She lets out a mirthless laugh. “I suppose you don’t need to. You won’t have to deal with the trouble of rejecting me if you don’t. I’ve… I’ve got to go.”

She turns and dashes out of the room. She has no clue how she’s going to make her way back down.

“Wait!” A quick shuffle of steps. Seulgi is a Chaser, after all, and the eight-second head start that Joohyun gets barely clears enough distance between the two.

“Joohyun-unnie! Stop running! That’s the wrong way anyway!”

Joohyun halts. Merlin. She hates losing in any form.

“Joohyun-unnie. I… Do you like me?”

Joohyun’s palm swings to slap Seulgi across the shoulder. “Yes. Are you trying to be cruel, now? Do you really need me to outline it for you, to say that yes, I do like you, to say that I really can’t stop thinking about you and that you were the one I smelled in my Amortentia brew? I never knew that you had this in you, Kang Seulgi—”

“—I like you too.”

“—You’re a terrible, incorrigible— Wait, what are you saying?” Joohyun’s mouth hangs open. “Kang Seulgi!” Seulgi’s shoulder receives another whack. “What are you saying?” she repeats.

Ow, unnie, that hurts! I like you. I like you too. If you like me still, I mean!”

“I’m sorry? Come again?”

Seulgi laughs. “Joohyun-unnie, how can I not like you?”

“You’ve got to be joking, right? I mean that I like-like you, not in like… the friendly way. Not that well, not that I don’t want to be your friend if you don’t like-like me. Merlin. I sound like I’m eleven.” She pouts as Seulgi’s grin just stretches more. That damned eye smile. It only serves to make her heart beat more wildly. She’s really got it bad, huh.

I’m really, really not joking. Really.”

She exhales. Her heart is light, free to race. “What does this mean, then?”

“That maybe when your detention with McGonagall ends next week, you’ll be my date to Hogsmeade?”

She stares at Seulgi. Squints. Then giggles. “Where did Ddeulgi get her lines from?”

A sheepish smile. “Something I’ve wanted to ask for quite a while.”

“Ooh. For how long?”

Seulgi sighs. “A while. Fine. There’s no exact date… but at the very least, since before the we broke for summer last year?”

She laughs, and then realises she’s not even answered Seulgi’s question yet. “Also, I will be your date to Hogsmeade next weekend. Would you like to be my study date too?”

“Will I ever say no?”

“Hmm. Please don’t say no if I asked you to kiss me.”

Are you asking?”

“Well…”

Joohyun!”  

She laughs and decides that Seulgi’s really been patient enough. “Can I kiss you?” She moves closer to Seulgi. Close enough to see Seulgi’s pupils dilate, just a little. “Please?”

She doesn’t really wait for Seulgi’s yes to fully leave her mouth before she leans forward to press her lips against Seulgi’s. She pulls away quickly enough but lets her finger Seulgi’s bottom lip. Gosh, if her heart leaps out of her chest she’s not going to be too surprised. Judging by the slightly dazed look on Seulgi’s face, she feels the same way too.

“I think someone else might be coming this way so we might want to get going soon. But we should maybe do that again sometime.” Seulgi finally says, a radiant smile bursting on her face.

“I think so too. Now, will you walk me down?”

“Can I really bear to say no?”

Chapter Text

#2: wedding shenanigans

Tags: Modern Day AU, Established Relationship

Notes: mild crack?

Summary: Yeri plans for a wedding. Things… go well?  

 


 

 

"Sooyoung-ah. Do you think that there is something that they're not telling us?"

Sooyoung looks up from her book, frowning to express some displeasure at being interrupted, but honestly, she didn't really mind. The book was skull-numbingly dull anyway.

"They?"

"Yeah! Seulgi and Joohyun have been... have been so... happy recently!" Yeri throws her hands up in exasperation as she finally finds the correct adjective. "They're never like this! Doesn't it get on your nerves at all?"

Sooyoung returns to making a show out of reading her book. "Hardly. They're totally allowed to live their lives."

"God. No – you don't get it do you? They've been so damned chummy with each other – which reminds me – was that a ring on Seulgi's finger that I saw?"

Yeri continues pacing, furiously. 

Sooyoung can't really feign any further interest in her book anymore. "What are you saying?”

"Yeah! It's a small thing – but it's finally on that finger..."

"Don't tell me you're jealous," Sooyoung jibes with a laugh.

"Me? Jealous? Of course not!" Yeri laughs, slightly forced. "Okay, maybe a little, but... I'm not sure whether I should be more jealous of Joohyun-unnie or Seulgi-unnie."

"How about neither?" Seungwan says as she walks into the room, balancing three cups in her small hands. "You claimed that you're definitely over your little crush on Seulgi, and well, Seulgi's just as lucky that she's finally... what – did you say a ring?"

Yeri exclaims, "Yeah! Like, dude, I know they're both beautiful and shit but like hey they finally got together–"

"–And one of those idiots got their act together enough to pop the question?" Sooyoung's voice is laced with such incredulity.

"I mean, who would have thought they would get engaged before the entire planet crashes and burns and we all starve to death, right?" Yeri finishes.

"Fair enough..." Seungwan slowly sets the cups down onto the desk. "So... this is relevant because…?"

"We should plan a wedding for them!" Yeri cries out, jumping at where she's standing. "God, that's a great idea. Why didn't I think of it before?"

"Hmm." 

"Err, hang on. What makes you so sure they want to get married so quickly?"

"Shush, Seungwan-unnie. Why not? They're in love and they are engaged, and they've known each other for more than a stupid decade – of course they need to get married! Heck, my parents got married in less than half that time – not that it was their best idea but whatever. Anyway–"

"Why don't we plan something else instead, like... a bachelorette's party? Wouldn't that make more sense?" Sooyoung interjects.

Yeri scoffs, shaking her head. "Why not we just do both?"

"I don't think–"

"Seungwan-unnie, are you in this, or are you not?" Sooyoung's eyes grow steely and Seungwan lets out a sigh that spoke of ten years of long-suffering.

"I still think that maybe we should ask Joohyun or Seulgi what they want before–"

“Shut up. Don’t spoil the fun.”

“Yeah, you’re either with us, or you aren’t.”

Seungwan sighs again, throwing her hands up. “Fine, fine. But if something goes wrong...”

“Don’t worry. We’ll sort it all out,” Yeri grins, brightly, and Seungwan wonders just what the hell she signed up for.

––––––––––––

The plans swing into motion.

Yeri throws together a contact list of all of Seulgi and Joohyun’s friends. The list grows too long. Sooyoung slashes out some names. Sooyoung wonders if she should slash out more names. But Seulgi collects female friends like Sally collects seashells on the beach or something. Oh well. They both know that if Joohyun’s the one putting the list together, none of them would be invited for this party. With the exception of Moonbyul and Yongsun, possibly. But Yongsun’s more of Joohyun’s friend, and god, why do they have so many overlapping friend circles?

Seungwan comes up with an entire working plan. There is a list and there are bulleted points and things that are bolded and/or underlined all throughout the Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents she has drawn up.

Yeri rolls her eyes at the PowerPoint. Sooyoung’s the one that actually comments on how pointless it is, since they’re throwing an impromptu quick celebration together, and they certainly didn’t need a thirty slides long presentation deck.

They let Seungwan go ahead with her plans though.

Within the week, Yeri manages to convince Sunny to pull enough strings for them to secure a venue. Seungwan’s full repertoire of caterers was narrowed down. They find enough entertainers. Yeri makes Taeyeon draw an invitation, which she promptly sends to Seulgi and Joohyun.

––––––––––––

“Joohyun-ah,” Seulgi coos. “You look very cute like that.”

“Eung?” Joohyun makes a noise, surprised. “You like these pink pjs?”

“I like anything you wear. Or don’t, for that matter.” If Seulgi was next to Joohyun, she would have earned a round smack on her leg for that comment. As it is, all Joohyun does in response is to turn slightly pink. “It’s pretty cute. Where did you get them from? Can you get up, turn around, let me see them?”

“Sure.” She slants her laptop to face away from the bed and hops onto the floor. “I bought you a matching set, by the way. When are you coming back again?”

“In two days. Why? Do you miss me?”

Seulgi.”

Seulgi laughs. “I miss you too. Tokyo isn’t quite the same without you darling. It’s too bright. Too much smoke. Is the dust situation bad in Seoul right now?”

“Yeah. It kind of is.” Joohyun clambers back onto the bed, adjusting her laptop on her legs such that it faces her again. She clicks through the tabs on her computer. “Ooh, Yeri sent us an email...”

Thirty seconds and a group call later:

“Wait, you guys are planning a bachelorette’s party? For… us?” Seulgi can’t sound any more surprised if she tried.

“Yeah! Isn’t it exciting? Congrats on finally getting engaged, by the way!”

“I…” Seulgi swallows, her brows scrunching for a moment. Then she beams. “Thanks.”

Joohyun giggles. “Thank you. So we just have to be there on Friday?”

“Yeah! Wear something nice! None of that ‘scrubby flannel nonsense’ as Sooyoung’s told me to remind you guys about.”

Joohyun gives an easy shrug. “Okay.”

––––––––––––

“They will hate this!” Seungwan cries out, her hands wringing. “I don’t even know why I agreed in the first place!”

Taeyeon nods, sympathetic. “Well, what’s done is done. I mean, if things don’t go that well, at least Yeri’s really enjoyed herself all throughout this entire process.”

“You, on the other hand, look really stressed out,” Yoona observes. “If you don’t mind me saying, that is.”

“How can I not be?” Seungwan bites her lips, nervously. One of her brow is angled in a way that signals how utterly perplexed she is. “We didn’t even ask them whether they wanted a party thrown for them! And then they’ve probably just gotten their rings and might not even want to get to the vows stuff yet! Oh my god, are we going to ruin their entire engagement?”

Taeyeon laughs. “There, there. I’m sure it can’t be that bad.”

“It can be that bad.”

––––––––––––

Seulgi adjusts the long sleeves of her body-hugging black dress. Her hair is carefully curled and pulled into a low ponytail. Her eyes shimmer when the light hits them.

Joohyun thinks it is unfair that Seulgi gets to look this good all the time. Although she knows very well that Seulgi thinks the same about her. She watches as Seulgi paints her lips a deep shade of red.

“Are we ever going to tell them?” Seulgi inquires, popping her lips to let her lipstick spread more evenly.

“Tell them what?” Joohyun asks, innocently.

Seulgi gives her a look. Then she laughs. “I guess we’ll have it your way.”

“I mean, you could tell them.”

“Nah. Your way is better. Most of the time.”

Most?”

“There was the time you told me that the salt shaker was the sugar one!”

Joohyun’s brow rises. “I told you that the one on the left was the sugar one. And it would’ve been, if you hadn’t switched them and forgot about it.”

“Okay, you get that one. But what about the other time you told me to take a left on the first turn instead of the second and we wound up in the middle of some random suburb where all the stupid little houses look the same?”

“You still remember that?” Joohyun’s lips curl upwards. “Are you keeping tabs on all my mistakes, Kang Seulgi?”

“Maybe. I mean. You don’t make many and I want to remember everything about you.”

She laughs again. “I love you, do you know that?”

“I love you too. You really look great, Joohyun-ie.”

“Stop saying such things!”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t go for this little party that Yeri’s thrown for us if continue like this! Seriously. But are you really up for it? You look kind of tired. Were the Japanese investors really that bad?”

Seulgi waves her concern off as she gets to her feet. “I just missed you, that’s all. At any rate, we should probably get going. Sooyoung’s going to kill us if we’re late.”

––––––––––––

Somewhere in the back of the building, Tiffany’s fingers are clutched around her iPhone and her brows are hitched so high that they’ve nearly disappeared beneath the fringe of her recently bobbed hair. There is nothing but incredulity in her voice as the woman demands, “You’re hosting a bachelorette’s party with both of them in attendance? What are you guys all playing at?”

“Fany–”

“Don’t you dare, Kim Taeyeon! This has got to be one of the most poorly planned things I’ve ever encountered in my life, and God, I’ve seen too many piles of shit hitting the damn fan in my life, you hear? How did I not hear about this before today?”

“Well. Yeri took a week to plan this,” Hyoyeon tries to point out. “You have to give her a chance?”

––––––––––––

At the very least, Yeri’s managed to get a ton of alcohol for the event. Seungwan privately wonders how much underage drinking Yeri’s done, but it won’t do her own sanity any good if she spends too much time dwelling on the question. After all, it’s not as if she’d be able to assert any claim over Yeri’s upbringing. That would be Joohyun’s job. Or Seulgi’s, for that matter.

She bites down on her lips nervously as she watches Yeri and Sooyoung pull the couple apart with gusto. Watches as Seulgi gives Joohyun a slight pout before she lets herself be frisked away by Kim Yeri. And bites her lips more when a small frown appears on Joohyun’s face. Seungwan’s heard Tiffany’s complaint from Taeyeon, who realized that maybe they weren’t really thinking all that clearly when they were planning this entire… gala.

But it’s too late to back out now.

At the very least, none of them hired any strippers. A pity, Sooyoung and Yeri had scoffed. But a little logic never hurt anyone here: Taeyeon was a little worried that Yeri would find herself on the wrong end of Joohyun’s temper. Certainly, none of them wanted any heads to roll.

So instead, they settled for light entertainment. Some pole-dancers.

But no stripping.

There would be no nudity involved tonight, Seungwan had managed to empathetically declare. There had been some dissent, but the majority, again, valued their lives more than the entertainment value that voting otherwise might bring.

Still, Yuri’s tiebreaking vote got the lighting all dim and purplish, much to Yeri’s delight. After all, Joohyun-unnie’s favourite colour is purple!

––––––––––––

“So let’s have some fun!” Yeri squeals as she pulls Seulgi to one section of the room, somewhere deliberately partitioned from the other side with dividers and an elaborate series of flowers and balloons. The decoration’s nothing short of being out-of-sync with each other, but time was at a premium after all.

Seulgi nods, beaming as she looks around to meet the laughing expressions of her friends. There’s a lot of loud music blaring from the speakers and honestly, she’s sworn not to go to clubs anymore, but… there are always exception. And it’s not as if Joohyun’s not here, probably trying to figure out where Yeri’s dragged her to. God. How much did they spend on booking this floor?

YooA’s excited voice pulls her out of her thoughts. “Now that you guys are finally here, we can get the party started!” She wobbles over to Seulgi, grabbing her arm to pull her towards the others. “We’ve cracked open a bottle for you – look the staff’s put such pretty lights into the bottle! Say ‘ah’, that’s it!”

“Aww, she spluttered! Kang Seulgi, that vodka didn’t come cheap!”

She fends them off, lightly, with a silly grin blooming on her face as she wipes some of the stray drops of vodka off her chin. “Sorry, sorry, but wow, I’m like, really surprised that all of you could make it today.”

Sunmi’s cherry red lips stretch into a wide grin, her white teeth flashing under the strobe lights. “How could we miss this? Seulgi, please!”

“So. Tell us. How’s Joohyun like in bed?”

Yoona-unnie!” Yeri’s voice cannot hide her the shock. “What even—”

“I mean. Our Sooyoung-ie used to do that a lot,” Taeyeon points out as neutrally as she can, her lips set in the straightest line. “Guess someone has to compensate for her absence today.”

“It’s a fair question,” Sunmi points out.

“But… still!” YooA’s already large eyes are wide. “Yeri’s here!”

“So?”

“So I don’t need to hear about any lewd details between you and Joohyun-unnie! My god, please hold your mouth until I get out of here—”

––––––––––––

Joohyun finds herself clinging to Sooyoung’s arm, just slightly annoyed that the music’s much to loud for her comfort. Or at least, it’s truly much too loud without any ethanol in her system.

The first thing she does when Sooyoung lets her open her eyes is take a swig of the bottle of rum. Straight. It’s lukewarm and honestly sort of meh without any ice.

So the second thing she does is to take Yongsun’s proffered glass of, “it’s rum and coke, you idiot”, and glug the entire glass down within six seconds.

The third is to step towards the bar to order a Graveyard, because well, why not? The entire tab’s not falling on her anyway.

The fourth is to let herself be wrapped in a bone-crushing hug from Jennie, who’s “so glad that you and Seul are finally engaged!”

The fifth is to take the Graveyard and get Jisoo to take her glass too, and ensure that she, Bae Joohyun, beat Kim Jisoo at downing the entire thing in one breath. (She wins, of course.)

––––––––––––

One hour and twenty minutes later, the party is still in full swing. Seulgi’s lost somewhere in the gaggle of her semi-drunk friends, and her left temple sports some smudged lipstick. Not that Seulgi could tell whose lipstick it came from, not in this lighting.

Her throat is parched, and her tongue feels a bit like sandpaper from drinking all that alcohol and she needs to escape to the washroom. Where is it?

After some gesturing and loud questions yelled into ears, she finally gets someone to point her towards the general direction of the washroom. She nearly trips over her own feet four times as she traces her way down the stairs to the toilet downstairs. She grimaces at the sight of the red against her forehead, taking some tissue to swipe it off. Her own lipstick is coming slightly undone, but only slightly. The Bobbi Brown’s pretty smudge-proof.  Yay. She’ll have to go thank Sooyoung for that present then.

It’s when she makes her way out of the bathroom when she stumbles into someone. Someone who’s probably hs had too many martinis by this hour, for her gait’s worse than Seulgi’s. Which says quite a bit.

In apology, she offers Seulgi some of her martini, her smile wide and altogether very friendly.

Seulgi doesn’t remember getting her name, nor does she remember what exactly she tells this girl, but she begins to cry. The kind that’s full on tears, completely and utterly bawling her eyes out.

Caught off guard, Seulgi tries to awkwardly pat her arm. “You okay?”

“No! You’re… you’re… you’re too pretty to be married!

“Thanks? Please stop crying—”

“No! Not until you become un-married!” Her tears do stop though.

Seulgi pulls back, shaking her head vehemently and pouting. “But that would mean un-marrying Joohyun! That’s nuts and totally not happening, okay?”

“Come on. You’re pretty. I’m pretty. You’re already pretty so your husband or wife or whatever can’t be that good looking because that would be totally against the laws of the universe for two people to congregate together like that.”

“Erm.”

“Are you saying that I’m not pretty?” There’s a tremor to her voice. Like she’s about to start bawling again.

“No, no, that’s not…” Seulgi sighs, defeatedly as she tries to make out the person’s face in the darkness. It doesn’t look like anyone she knows, so she figures that she’s probably one of the regular partygoers from the floor down here. “Look, we’re kind of blocking the way to the toilet and—” Seulgi jerks them out of the way of a projectile of vomit that was about to land and her feet. “Yeah. Blocking the way. Come on. Let’s go elsewhere?”

“Yes! Elsewhere!” The girl gleefully claps her hands as she stumbles after Seulgi.

“No, hey it’s really not what you’re thinking!”

For someone so small and drunk, the girl has a really strong grip. She all but drags Seulgi through the crowd. Seulgi guesses that she’s familiar with the bartender, for the guy’s eyes light up in recognition when he sees her, grinning easily as he pours the ice into his shaker and mixes a tray of kamikaze shots.

“I really shouldn’t—”

“Oh, c’mon. What harm can it do?”

She supposes it couldn’t hurt. Could it? She squints, somewhat uneasily, at the bartender and the drunk girl. She did see the drink being made in front of her after all. And she didn’t really want to hurt the girl’s feelings. So she takes a shot, for politeness’ sake. Or two.

She thanks them. Tries to extricate herself. Gosh. How does she get someone off her arm?

“There you are!” Seungwan’s voice cuts through the noise. It’s a wonder how Seulgi manages to hear her but Seungwan’s always been loud, to say the least. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Seungwan-ie!” She cries out as she makes another attempt at freeing herself. “You’re here.” The relief that washes over here is laden in her voice. “Can I go yet?”

“What, no!” Then the girl stalks up to Seungwan, frowning deeply. “Are you her wife?”

Seungwan blinks. Her mouth dropping open. “What, no? No, no, no, she’s not–” Then, at Seulgi’s frantic blinking, she quickly corrects herself. “Actually, as a matter of fact, I am. So get your hands off her.”

Drunk girl relents, her vice grip loosening and Seulgi feels a rush of blood run through her veins. “God. Whatever. Be happy in your married-ness, I guess. But if you ever change your mind…” A paper magically slips into the front of Seulgi’s dress and she jumps at the contact. “Call me.”

“Oh my god. Get away from her?” Seungwan repeats. She sounds moderately unconvincing in the role of Seulgi’s wife but would otherwise sound like a perfectly good friend. More jealousy would be good, Seulgi notes. “Come on, Seul. Let’s go.”

When they hit the first steps of the staircase, Seungwan demands, “What was that?”

“What’s what?”

That, you idiot.”

“Someone wanted to hook up with me, clearly?” Seulgi tries. “But hey. I didn’t go with her. Obviously. Please don’t tell Joohyun anyway.”

“Speaking of Joohyun… you told the girl you were married already?”

“Erm. Hmm. Maybe.”

“Wait, so were you lying? Because you could very well have told her that you were still engaged or something…” Seungwan pulls Seulgi’s left hand up. “Wait a minute this ring’s different from the one you had two months ago! What the hell? Did you guys run off to get hitched without telling us?”

Seulgi nods, slowly. “Maybe?”

“God. Kang Seulgi! It’s not just a simple technicality, you got married without telling your friends!”

Seulgi winces. “Yeah. Well. Since we aren’t really doing an actual bachelorette party, why don’t you like… unwind a bit. Drink with me.”

“I really shouldn’t.”

“What Yeri doesn’t know won’t kill you.”

––––––––––––

Neither of them are sure how much alcohol has made its way into their systems, but Seulgi’s BAC is probably creeping too close to the point of mild alcohol poisoning to be safe. By this time, Moonbyul has located them and Seulgi’s back in the embrace of her friends, tucked into the leather couches. Sunmi giggles when she notices how Seulgi can barely recognise any of them by this point. She’s mostly content to let herself drape over the others, snuggling against the shiny sequins that Sunmi’s wearing.

(Sunmi’s not exactly sure if she’s going to make it out of this alive: yes, it’s entirely platonic but Bae Joohyun’s never been known to like sharing Kang Seulgi.)

“How much did she drink?”

“Er…” Seungwan tries to remember, but honestly, she’s lost count. “A lot?”

“She doesn’t usually drink this much,” Sunmi points out, slowly. “How did she let herself get this drunk?”

Moonbyul shrugs. “Also. I think that’s Joohyun I see coming over.”

Sunmi silently thanks Moonbyul for the warning. She values her neck to quite a substantial degree, after all. Seulgi groans a little as Sunmi hastily shifts the younger girl’s head onto her knee instead. Even from a small distance, Joohyun’s steps are obviously a little unsteady, but her bright smile cannot be matched by anyone around her as she spots Seulgi.

“Hello!” Joohyun calls cheerily. “Sooyoung says that we can go home. Seulgi-ya, come on, we’ll head home now.”

Seulgi doesn’t open her eyes, and just shakes her head vehemently. Then she groans because everything spins a bit too much when she does so. She mumbles something that none of them catch.

“Come again?”

“Won’t go home with nobody,” Seulgi mumbles again.

“Come on, Seulgi-ya. We should go. I want to go home.”  Sunmi’s still trying to free herself from Seulgi, but the others have swiftly shifted themselves away from the couch. Sunmi’s heart nearly stops when Seulgi tries holding onto her knee with Joohyun watching, but Joohyun doesn’t seem to care that much.

“But. No— Can’t. Didn’t I tell you already?”

“Tell me what?”

“Told youuu, I’m married, and I’m not un-marrying Joohyun-ie for anybody,” Seulgi slurs, clutching more tightly onto Sunmi’s knees. Sunmi’s eyes are grow comically wide. Whether it’s because she’s still terrified of Joohyun or whether it’s because of her surprise at Seulgi’s revelation, she’ll figure that out later.

Something in Joohyun flares for a second – who in the world tried to proposition Seulgi? She knows that Sunmi wouldn’t dare, so… But in any case, Seulgi’s fending off all advances. Even from her. It’s kind of cute, and she lets out a chuckle as she looks down at Seulgi.

Joohyun moves to crouch next to the couch, helping Sunmi free herself from Seulgi’s grip. “It’s me, Joohyun-ie.”

“Yeah, Seul, it’s really her. Open your eyes, kiddo,” Sunmi encourages with a slight prod of Seulgi’s shoulders, exhaling in relief as she’s finally extricated herself.

Seulgi groans a little as her head’s gently lowered onto the couch. She opens her eyes briefly and catches a glimpse at Joohyun before squeezing them shut. “Can’t really see you properly. Are you as pretty and smart as my Joohyun-ie?”

Is Joohyun really meant to reply with an affirmative? “Yeah, it’s really me.” Then she wrinkles her nose a little. “You really stink.” Then she turns to Sunmi, demanding, “How much did she drink?”

Sunmi shrugs. “A lot. I think she drank the most when she made Seungwan do shots with her though. Byul found her like this.”

Joohyun sighs. She’s not Sober Enough to deal with this. She tries again, “Seulgi-ah, let’s go. Come on.”

“But Joohyun-ie will be mad if I leave with someone else – and I never want to make her sad,” Seulgi whispers as she shakes her head again. Tears suddenly leak out from her eyes. “Making Joohyun-ie sad will make me sad.” Joohyun manages to push her up to a sitting position, though Seulgi’s eyes are still squeezed shut. Seulgi shakes her head once more. “Please. I don’t wanna make anyone sad.”

“Shh.. shh, it’s really me. Come on. Seulgi. Open your eyes.”

“You’re very pretty, I’m sure, but…” Seulgi frowns a bit before she pouts. Her hands crack her knuckles and Joohyun slaps at them to make her stop. “Maybe you really are her. But if you are really Joohyun, you would know the password.”

“The password?”

“Yeah!”

She hesitates. “I… love you?”

“I love Joohyun-ie too. But not that. And not my phone’s password either.”  

Joohyun considers this. “Okay. You do remember the time I messed up. The one time I messed up at doing the laundry. Like, it was what, a couple of years ago? Somehow, I managed to use two kinds of softeners instead of the detergent in one wash. And everything smelled great since the scents happened to mesh well, but you also realised how I messed up because the towels seemed like they were coated with too much of that weird softener layer. And for the record, I still blame you for this one because you were really being too damned distracting that day.”

“And what did you do after?” Seulgi’s bunched up left fist is trying to wipe at her eyes, clumsily, as she tries to squint at Joohyun to get a better look at her. Joohyun realises that Seulgi’s contact lenses either fell out or were removed at some point, for whatever reason.

“I banned you from all your leather jackets for a week. A pity, because you look stupidly good in them. But the laundry had to be done. You felt bad enough, somehow, even though we both knew it wasn’t objectively your fault. And then you tried doing the laundry the week after. But you didn’t unbutton the shirts before you washed them. And you also overdried everything.”

Seulgi’s eyes are finally open enough now. Although, with how she’s simply grinning and leaning into Joohyun’s shoulders, Joohyun can’t really tell.

“But come, let’s go home now.”

––––––––––––

It takes three hours and forty-seven minutes for someone to finally tell Yeri to call off whatever plans she had for an actual wedding. It takes Yeri another hour to send out a series of texts and emails to get all the plans she had in motion cancelled.

Yeri’s brows are stitched together.

She’s annoyed that Seungwan’s completely sloshed and that well, all her plans are for naught. But well. Joohyun and Seulgi are cute and she can’t really yell at them either. She’s probably going to KIV this, and bring it up in the future, remind them that neither of the two bothered to tell any of their friends that they were already married. Aha. Some guilt tripping is in order. Hopefully, one of them would feel bad enough to buy her a present. Or at least, treat her to lunch.

“Sooyoung!” She calls out as she scurries to her feet. “We need a new plan.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Title: I'm taller, but...?

Tags: Modern Day AU, IKEA Shopping

Notes: Dedicated to fellow SG Uni sufferee @pikaseuls

Summary: Two best friends go shopping at IKEA. (It's a bit too domestic for Seulgi's liking). 

 


 

 

Seulgi winces as the wheels screech. Loudly. Ten metres away from the car, Joohyun makes a face, her hands leaping to the defence of her ears. It’s… not her proudest parking moment.

She kills her ignition and hops off the car. “Sorry for running late! Traffic wasn’t great.”

Joohyun takes two seconds to massage her ears before she shakes her head with a light smile. “It’s okay. Thanks for coming on such a short notice. I swear, I’m going to murder Yongsun for ditching me.”

Seulgi shrugs, tossing her car keys up in the air and catching it as she returns Joohyun’s smile. “Wasn’t about to ditch you to carry your bookshelf home alone. I mean, can you even manage? You’re so small!”

“Hey!”

“Unnie, it’s true and you can’t begin to deny it. Anyway, we both know that Yongsun’s a shit driver –  Byulyi’s the one who drives them around. Do you want to grab some food first? I’m kind of hungry.”

“You’ve not eaten?”

“Yeah, classes ended late today.” Seeing the worried expression on Joohyun’s face, she quickly adds, “I’m okay! Really. You don’t mind if we head to the cafeteria first?”

“No, no, not at all,” Joohyun replies as they get onto the escalator. “Ha! I’m taller than you now.”

“Ha, ha, very funny, unnie.”

 

=====================

 

Clang. Clang. Clang.

Seul.”

“Yes?” Seulgi’s smile is wide, innocent, and Joohyun isn’t falling for any of that.

“Stop trying to stab your food with your eyes closed.”

Her eyes grow smaller as her smile widens. “It might work.”

“My god. Just let me eat your broccoli already.”

“But. I still have a meatball—”

“Kang Seulgi.”

Seulgi deflates as she surrenders, handing Joohyun the fork. “Thanks for always eating my vegetables.”

Joohyun rolls her eyes, though not without some fondness. “Yeah, yeah.” Seulgi watches her curiously as she chews somewhat contemplatively before her fork meets a meatball instead of the carrot next to it.

Seulgi pouts. That’s what she gets for playing with her dinner.

But Joohyun doesn’t eat it. Instead, she motions for Seulgi to open her mouth.

“What?”

Joohyun swallows a mouthful of broccoli. “Ah. Oh come on, don’t make me repeat myself.”

Seulgi obeys instantaneously. Joohyun doesn’t usually try to feed her, unlike say, with Seungwan. Which Seulgi’s always been mildly upset by. It’s not the sort of thing she’d ever bring up around Joohyun though, because why would she do that? (That’s just weird.) She thinks she might want to re-evaluate her displeasure, because Joohyun actually feeding her makes Seulgi’s stomach twist together and makes her feel like all the oxygen in her lungs were swapped with helium – so light, so tight, that Seulgi does not know what to do with how she feels.

With the way her throat is constricting, she barely manages to swallow her meatball.

 

=====================

 

Seulgi dashes forward gleefully as she flops onto the sofa. “Unnie, unnie, unnie, look at this toy! It’s so cute.” Seulgi grins up at Joohyun as she holds up a plush toy in her hands. Something soft and about as fluffy (as Seulgi’s cheeks are to Joohyun).

Joohyun bites her lip for two seconds before she bursts out laughing, joining her on the sofa. “You already have one of those plushies, Seul.”

“Yeah, well, the Velcro on Sung-ie’s mouth doesn’t really work anymore. But come on, look at it, unnie, can we get one?”

“We?”

Seulgi backtracks. “Er… you can get one? So Sung-ie can have a friend? I mean. Not that you have to. But. But. I mean. It’s not a real dog! You aren’t scared of soft toys so like, Sung-ie can get a new friend? Jaehee’s eyes are super cute, aren’t they?”

Joohyun laughs again as Seulgi’s ears burn. “Can I really say no now that you’ve named it?”

Seulgi’s eyes widen as she realises her slip-up. “Oh my god you don’t have to buy it okay, I will just. Put it back here on the sofa now.”

“It’s okay.”

“Really?”

“Yes. You’re such a baby sometimes, you know?”

Seulgi shrugs, pouting only slightly before returning, lightly, “You’re a bigger one. A bigger baby. Even if you’re older.”

That earns her a light smack as Joohyun’s brows stitch together. “You’re terrible.”

Seulgi only grins. “I’m your terrible baby.”

“That you are,” Joohyun agrees, her voice slightly pitched and Seulgi can’t really figure out why before she realises just what she’s said, but taking it back would be weird, and well, in some ways, all of them are Joohyun’s kids. Even if well, Seulgi wants to change that, sometimes. Only sometimes.

Today’s one of those times.

“Come on, unnie, let’s go grab a brand new Jaehee from the cage. Do you want to start with the kid’s section? Unless well, you’re in a rush, that is!”

Joohyun shakes her head. “Nah. We can take our time. You don’t have a project or anything, do you?”

Truthfully, she does. But does she really want to work on the script for her next presentation?

She shrugs in a non-committal display. “Let’s go! I’m going to have to bring Sung-ie over the next time…”

Seulgi leaps to her feet, her hand tugging on Joohyun’s insistently. The younger girl tows Joohyun towards the cageful of toys. While Joohyun pretends to protest and complain that Seulgi’s being too forceful, and hey, I can walk on my own!, she clearly doesn’t mind – and Seulgi knows that. Seulgi’s only response is to attempt to quash the appearance of an excessively dopey grin on her face, but she knows she’s not really succeeding. Not when she’s holding Joohyun’s small hand in her own like that.

 

=====================

 

A brand-new Jaehee is tucked in Joohyun’s hands as they wander about the showroom section. Truth be told, Seulgi’s now a little upset that Jaehee’s monopolised Joohyun’s arms because darn, now she doesn’t get to link arms with Joohyun.

Which kind of sucks, but eh, well, Joohyun-unnie looks pretty cute with Jaehee in her arms like that.

Oh.

Hmm.

Something to think about later.

“—I’ve always wanted lights like that in my room, you know! Like a bedside lamp and all but also some decorative stuff scattered about. Maybe a lava lamp but that’ll betray my age, don’t you think? Lava lamps are so… out of vogue.”

“Using a phrase like… out of vogue betrays your age, Joohyun-ie,” Seulgi points out as she finally stops zoning out. “Besides, a lava lamp’s going to clash with your room’s aesthetic! Unless you move to a new place that’s full on dark curtains and what not… which…” Seulgi scrunches her face as she tries to visualise Joohyun deciding to decorate her room as such, and it draws a blank. “Anyway, that’s… not it, is it? Do you want your future house to be decorated like that?”

Joohyun hums. “I don’t know. What do you think?”

“Joohyun… Joohyun’s aesthetic…” Seulgi muses aloud, cocking her head to the side. How does she vocalise what she thinks Joohyun might like? “Why don’t you tell me.”

Joohyun shakes her head lightly, smiling as she clutches Jaehee even more tightly. “No, no, I asked you first.” Her eyes are wide and bright and they make Seulgi want to stare at them until IKEA closes for the night. “Tell me how you think I should decorate my new place when I finally get one.”

Seulgi’s brows knit together more. “I don’t know, if you’re going to be living alone you won’t have that much space to put stuff you like everywhere, but you’d prefer a more simply decorated room, I think? Something functional, a place that lets you store all your books… maybe a bed with drawers in them so you get to put more stuff…”

“Are you going to help me assemble that bed too?”

“Too?”

Joohyun suddenly stops walking as lips are rearranged into a pout. She stutters. Only slightly, when she says, “I… I kind of assumed you were going to help me with the shelf.”

“Oh!” Seulgi’s eyes widen. “Oh, oh, yes, of course!”

Joohyun’s face now bears a relieved smile and they continue to walk again. “Thanks again, Kangsseul. Say…”

“What?”

Seulgi squints at the rather questionable display that is laid before them. It’s probably a kid’s room. And if they subscribed to gender conventions, the room is probably meant for a twelve-year-old boy. But good to honest gracious this showroom was hideous. IKEA’s metal bunk beds were never the height of fashion but painting them this shade of slime green was questionable, at best. At worst, she wonders if the person picking the shades might’ve been colour blind – running the risk of sounding ableist but, truly… the clashes in colour were truly atrocious. And don’t get her started on the decorations in this box.

So engrossed she is in trying to figure out the motives of the showroom’s decorator that she misses Joohyun’s next question.

Joohyun’s looking at her expectantly, and all she can do is blink in response.

Before she could ask Joohyun to repeat herself, Joohyun quickly shakes her head and dismisses her query with a hasty, “Never mind.”

“I… I missed your question, unnie,” Seulgi confesses. “What did you ask me?”

“It’s okay,” Joohyun replies as she shakes her head again.

If Seulgi doesn’t know any better, she’d say that Joohyun’s cheeks were slightly pink. Hmm.

Impulsively, she reaches forward to touch Joohyun’s cheeks, which were warm to the touch.

Joohyun startles. Nearly drops Jaehee. Then she uses Jaehee to whack Seulgi’s face.

“Ouch,” Seulgi cries out as she dances away from Joohyun’s swats. “Unnie, unnie, unnie, why do you always hit me?”

(And can't you just hit on me instead?)

“You deserved it,” Joohyun retorts, sticking her tongue out.

“I did? What for?” Seulgi pouts.

Joohyun shrugs. “Just because. Now, let’s get out of this section of the showroom. This place is hideous.”

“Joohyun,” Seulgi presses, knowing she’s wheedling. “What were you trying to ask me?”

“Ah. I was just. Wondering. If you… you guys would move in with me.”

“And risk being hit by you every day? I don’t think my insurance plan covers that.”

Seulgi neatly avoids being whacked by Jaehee again.

Chapter Text

Title: I'm taller, but...?

Tags: Modern Day AU, IKEA Shopping

Notes: (I really should have just finished everything and posted parts ii and iii in one go but as it stands I'm too lazy to do that and I feel bad that I've not dumped something out in a while so yes let me just yeet this 1.6k thing at the fanfic void // i also feel ridiculously... rusty... or it might just be the fact that I don't have a deadline breathing down my neck and thus I don't actually have an excuse of not putting out something better whoops?)  


It takes them more time than it should to get to the IKEA marketplace.

It’s not as if they are bad at navigating at all, really. With all the nicely drawn, huge white arrows on the ground, it’s pretty much impossible to truly get lost if you stuck to the grey pathways in the showroom area.

But of course, Seulgi doesn’t want to get to the end of the showroom.

Maybe it’s because the furniture this season’s kind of cute, or that the showrooms prepared for the upcoming festivities actually matched her sense of aesthetic, for once. And maybe it’s also because Seulgi spotted a sofa within one of the many cardboard framed boxes that was placed in front of a TV, where she promptly dragged Joohyun down onto the grey couch with her. And that they spent the next half hour watching loops of IKEA’s quirky advertisements, colourful blobs and abstract shapes all voiced by that one narrator with a vaguely Swedish accent. And no amount of, “hey, come on, we need to go before the store closes!” could get her butt off the sofa before the end of the second loop of ads.

Or, for sure: set anyone loose in IKEA and they’d fall victim to gravity, forever unwilling to get off the bed they’ve flopped onto. And even when they did get to the expanse of towering shelves, Seulgi would run to the nearest chair they assembled “for display, Kang Seulgi!” instead of proceeding to the correct row. “But Joohyun, can we stay longer? Don’t you love the smell of the wood?”   

By the time they finally get around to hefting a series of brown boxes off the shelves around them onto the trolley, Joohyun lets out a yawn, making Seulgi laugh and also the receiving end of an annoyed smack.

“You know, I don’t think that we can all fit in the same car,” Seulgi points out. “There’s a lot of stuff.”

Where she worriedly nibbles on her lips, Joohyun simply shrugs as she searches for the last barcode. “I could take the bus back, you know. You could just bring the stuff to my place first? We can sort it out in the morning if you want.”

“Are you sure you’re okay taking the bus?” Seulgi plucks the handheld scanner from Joohyun’s hand as she spots the barcode first. “Isn’t it getting kind of late?”

“It’s not even ten yet, please. It’s not like my area’s a hotspot for crime or anything. And you have the audacity to tell me that ten is late?” The card reader beeps and Joohyun slides her credit card back into her wallet. “Weren’t you out until like, what, three, the night before?”

“That’s different.”

A pause. Joohyun’s brow rises.

Squirming, she adds, “I was out with the guys!”

“Who promised to protect you, right?”

Seulgi shrugs. “I did get home. Anyway, you know I don’t really care for their protection, or whatever it is, I can get home myself!”

“Wasn’t Kyuhyun there too?”

“What about him?”

“You know he’s only there—” Joohyun bites her tongue. “I shouldn’t say that.”

Seulgi looks at her curiously. “Say what?”

“Nah. Forget it.”

Seulgi laughs. “I know he likes me, Joohyun-ie. Don’t worry about him, he’s not going to try anything, I think?” Somehow, she thinks it’s important to press that she doesn’t care for them, and that Joohyun needs to know that she doesn’t favour their company over Joohyun’s. “But it doesn’t matter anyway, I don’t like him. Not that way.” She’s somewhat self-conscious that what she’s saying makes her sound a bit like she’s a middle schooler again, and that’s really something she doesn’t want to come off as, especially not in front of Joohyun. Sometimes, she wonders why it matters to her that Joohyun doesn’t immediately kid-zone her. But it does. Those thoughts can come later. (Pushing everything aside, again).

“Let me pay you for Jaehee.”

“Hm?”

Seulgi fishes her wallet out of her bag and hands Joohyun some notes. “Here, can you take your wallet out again? I’ll pay for the dog. Pretend I paid for it so it’s like, a gift.”

Joohyun blinks, bemusedly, before she lets out a laugh. “If it makes you happy, sure. Now help me with this, will you?”

 

=====================

 

The drive to Joohyun’s place feels longer than it should without Joohyun in the car to keep her company. At least there’s no traffic by this time of the night, thank God. Boredom is staved off by humming to whatever’s playing on the radio and listening to the DJ chatter animatedly about her day. The DJ’s decided to go on some throwback indie thing, and she’s surprised at how much of four-year-old indie songs from Hyukoh and the like she remembers.

After she parks her car in the basement lots, she grabs some of the smaller boxes and hauls them into the lift with her. The other guy in the lift gives her as wide a berth as he can, carefully avoiding bumping into the pile she’s trying to balance, rather precariously, in her arms. Her neighbours are mostly a motley mix of younger people, the kind that moved out of their parents’ homes because they couldn’t stand them, the sort that had to move because commuting in and out from the outer suburbs was driving them nuts, some college kids, a bunch of hipsters reading translated versions of Pynchon and David Foster Wallace, and the former pop industry aspirants that are easily spotted in their too-tight skinny jeans or too-baggy pants.

When the lift door dings open, she narrowly avoids running into someone that Seulgi registers as ah, that neighbour. Who promptly shrieks and apologises with more intensity than anyone Seulgi’s ever seen, what with her various repeated deep bows.

“It’s okay, don’t worry about it—” Seulgi excuses herself as she steps neatly out of the way. She sets the boxes down, punches in the password to Joohyun’s apartment.

“Would you need any help?” The neighbour appears again, her footsteps stopping right behind her. “Sorry for startling you earlier – I can help you with the stuff? I have some friends over and if you need a hand with anything…” her voice trails off. “Yeah. Just. Hey. Offering!”

Seulgi shifts the stuff over the threshold and nods – of course she’s glad for any help. “Are you sure? It’s getting late, I don’t want to impose—”

“It’s okay!” The neighbour plucks herself away from Joohyun’s doorstep and runs towards her unit, calling out two names that Seulgi doesn’t recognise as she does so. Their faces are equally foreign to her.

“You’re Irene’s friend, right? Seen you around lots!”

“Oh? Yeah, Joohyun and I have been friends for a while, yeah.”

The lone guy friend whose name she didn’t catch from earlier turns to look at Seulgi, and asks, “Is Irene-ssi single?”

His voice sounded too hopeful.

Seulgi fights a frown. “Yes, but…”

There’s no buts to this, is there? Seulgi’s never been able to figure out who Joohyun liked. Whenever she asked, Joohyun would only offer a cryptic smile in return. Which is so like her to do so, but it’s urgh, pretty darn frustrating. But when has it really been her business to care about this? They’ve been friends for a really long time and Seulgi swears that she knows Joohyun, but sometimes she’s reminded of how she isn’t always privy to what goes on in Joohyun’s head.

“You don’t really pay attention to me, do you?”

What do you mean? (Seulgi knows that Joohyun abhors drinking coffee. She never orders chicken when Joohyun’s around, even when Sooyoung is clamouring for the chicken. She knows that Joohyun’s recently acquired a fondness for long walks and has splashed an unholy amount of money on those flying yoga classes even though they’re always complaining about how empty their wallets are.)

“You know, you’d always tell people the same things about me.”

That she does. But what else should she say in front of other people? (Because what Seulgi knows of Joohyun – she’s, quite admittedly, selfish about sharing any of it. Joohyun’s hard to read at the best of times, and what she’s gleaned from her is not up for grabs. It’s hers. But how does she tell her any of this?) Seulgi can only turn away, sighing.

“Seulgi-ssi?” The neighbour waves a hand in front of her.

Oh. Whoops. “Sorry, got lost in my thoughts.” She turns to look up at the guy. “No, well, she’s single.” Still, she can’t hold back a bite in her voice.

She still doesn’t know his name but decides that she doesn’t care. They don’t say another word as they take the rest of the stuff back up. She feels like an ingrate and that grates at her. Which only makes her clamp her mouth shut more tightly (petulantly).

She’s being unfair. Of course she is.

But he seems like the sort of person who thinks that his pair of oversized black glasses suits his face (which it does not). Or that wearing a brown vest over an overly crisp white shirt with its sleeves rolled up with a pair of tan Bermudas held by a brown belt is what constitutes a good idea (no). Really, does she really have to say anything about those Victorian townhouse wallpaper-esque socks, (and does it help that his shoes were, oddly enough, embroidered with golden bees)?

Meanwhile, Joohyun’s the kind of girl that would wear white tops and jeans and hoodies and sneakers. Basics. Clean lines and elegance. A guy who dresses like this wouldn’t match her fashion sense at all.

With all the stuff shifted into the apartment, she only offers a curt, “Thank you." Then she shuts the door in their faces. She doesn’t miss the faltering smile of Joohyun’s neighbour. For another moment, she feels bad.

Oh, whatever.

She’s quite determined to start assembling the shelf before Joohyun gets back. Maybe she could impress her? Now, where are the instructions…?    

Chapter Text

Title: don’t be too afraid (to me, it’s always you)

Tags: Sharing a Bed / Sleepovers / (Useless) Baby Gay Panic 


 

She’s been waiting to watch that film with Joohyun all week, but now that the film’s about to end, a deep ball of air wells up in her and she finds that gravity has suddenly become a very powerful force. She inhales and exhales, hoping that it’ll eradicate the strange way that the very air inside her has curled to pull powerfully at her insides. It does her no good. Her nails dig into her palms – maybe she can distract herself from this… whatever this is?

Next to her, it doesn’t seem as if Joohyun’s really noticed. She’s still watching the last four minutes of the film intently, her earpiece perfectly in place. That’s good. Seulgi wouldn’t want to dislodge her earpieces simply because she can’t seem to sit still.

It doesn’t get better. In fact, her insides seem to shrink into themselves when the end credits roll.

Heavy feet, heavy heart.

This time, Joohyun hears her sigh. Or, at least, she chooses to comment about it, “Seulgi-ah, what’s wrong?”

But… is there anything wrong? Seulgi shakes her head. “No, it’s okay, unnie. Nothing’s the matter.”

“Are you sure? You seemed…” Joohyun cocks her head to the side for a few seconds, both scrutinising Seulgi and finding the correct words. “A little put off.”

Seulgi shakes her head again. “No, I’m fine. I’m just a little tired, that’s all.”

“Well…” Joohyun shuts the lid of the laptop. “If you’re tired on Fridays, just let me know and you can always come over some other time. We can always watch all these shows another day, you know.”

“No!” Panic seizes her for two seconds before she realises that it comes out a little more loudly than she intended it to. “No, no, it’s cool, I’m just extra tired this week, you know? Coach has been really stressful about the trainings lately…”

“You’d best be going off to sleep then? I’m sorry for keeping you, you must be tired—”

“No, no, no,” Seulgi cuts in. “Wait, yes? But… I… I don’t want to cancel on you.”

“It’s okay, I won’t be mad,” Joohyun’s voice is soft.  

“Really, you promise?”

“Promise. Are you going to go home?” As their feet slide off Joohyun’s bed and hit the floor, she seems to puzzle over her words for a little while more before she continues, “I’ll walk you to the bus stop.”

An arm slides into Seulgi’s own. Joohyun’s warm. Her room is warm. The outside’s cold.

“Unnie, you don’t have to walk me out.”              

The arm falls. “Oh?” Seulgi thinks she may see disappointment flit across Joohyun’s face. Then, playfully: “Why, do you not want me around anymore?”

Seulgi laughs. This time, the words tumble out of her mouth without her thinking, “That’s never possible.” Only when she says it aloud does she realise that it’s true. She’ll never really tire of Joohyun, can she? How could she, when all she thinks about is this one pretty girl? “I was… going to ask, if I could sleep over? Just tonight, maybe.”

Yeah, hey, sounds like a good idea. She’s tired, after all. And it’s really getting quite chilly lately.

Joohyun’s brows rise. In the dim bedside light, Seulgi’s not really sure if Joohyun’s cheeks are turning slightly pink. Is the heater turned up too high? “Sure, of course you can. Do you want to borrow some clothes to change into?”

*****

Twenty-five minutes later, Seulgi’s blow-dried her hair and steps out of the bathroom. She’s suddenly all careful, her footsteps light and measured.

She’s not sure if she’s so sure if it’s the best of ideas.

Her parents texted her back about her last-minute request to stay over at Joohyun’s, and approximately nineteen minutes ago, she had been half hoping that her parents would say no, Seulgi, come home this instant, but they did not. Instead, they sent her smiley emojis, completely fine, altogether nonchalant.

Sure, have a good time!

Let us know whether you need a lift from us tomorrow, princess!

Appa says you can stay out till whenever tomorrow.   

Oh god, she’s not feeling so well. Was it something she ate? What is it?

But if she tells Joohyun, Joohyun’s going to be worried.

It’s okay. You’ll be okay.

Inhale. Exhale. Just breathe like how they’ve taught you to. Come on, Seulgi.

“Joo…” Wait, no, try again. That didn’t come out right. “Joohyun-unnie, I’m done! Where do I put the towel?”

Instead of yelling back like a regular person, Joohyun scuttles out of her room and takes Seulgi’s towel from her. “Give me a second? I’ve got to brush my teeth too, you know. Sorry bout that.”

“Ah, y-yes. Sure.”

She goes back into Joohyun’s room and takes her place on the empty lower bunk. She wonders where she’s going to sleep tonight. Technically, they could clear the stuff Joohyun’s chucked on the upper bunk, tidy it up a little and all, and it’ll be fit for her to sleep in. It’s not even that much of a hassle. It’s just a bunch of books and a (clean) shoebox. Unlike Seulgi, Joohyun’s not one to let her room fall into squalor.

Should she clean it up then? But… where is she going to put the stuff? On the floor? On the desk? On the top of the dresser? Or does she put it underneath the bed?

Best wait for Joohyun.

But with each passing second, her heart beats a little bit faster. Even though she can hear the running tap water from here and she bets that Joohyun’s probably skipping some of her assumedly extensive face wash routine – what with the range of products on the counter and her flawless white skin – she wishes that Joohyun’s back already.

Then, oh, the thought of that makes her heart beat even faster and good god, what is wrong with her?

“Seulgi!” Joohyun bustles back into the room, closing the door after her. “Thanks for staying over tonight.”

“No, no, thanks for having me over unnie, please. I’m at your place! You lent me your towel and shampoo and clothes and—”

“Do they fit well? They’re okay right?”

Seulgi shrugs, forcing her shoulders to relax. “Yeah. We’re just about the same size, I think?”

Joohyun smiles, brightly. (Useless heart!). “Oh yeah? If you want to borrow my clothes…” Then, she laughs. It’s a bit louder than Joohyun’s already loud laughter, and Seulgi wonders if Joohyun somehow wants to retract the offer. But she doesn’t. “I mean, if you want to borrow like, training wear or something, please, help yourself to them.”

Joohyun glides next to Seulgi. “Also, you don’t mind if we just use my bed right?”

“Erm…” There’s something about Joohyun’s expression that stops Seulgi from saying that she minds. Because no, she doesn’t quite mind, per se, but it feels mildly like her body’s allergic to the very thought of sleeping in the same bed as Bae Joohyun.

But, it’s not like a bad allergy at all, is it? It’s not like she thinks that she might break out in hives. It’s just that her throat’s constricting and everything inside her still feels like they’re in the midst of rearranging themselves for the hundredth time in a single night. Or that she’s felt like this for days, mostly when she’s around Joohyun. Perhaps she should ask her dad if there’s something wrong with her – she’s so young, there can’t possibly be something wrong, right? Or maybe, is this something that’s a part of growing up? Maybe she should ask her brother when she gets home tomorrow? Or she could ask… Joohyun? But what if Joohyun thinks she’s a freak for being sick, if she is sick?

“Hello, earth to Seulgi!” Joohyun waves her hands in front of her, still smiling. Her smile is less sure now, more uncertain. “I could… I could clear the bed for you, if you’d like, you know. It’s not a huge deal—”

Seulgi determines that her neck muscles work well enough for her to shake her head. She nudges Joohyun to slide into her own bed and she joins her under the covers after turning the ceiling light off.

“How was the film, did you like it?” Joohyun asks.

“It was nice!”

(Yeah, what a liar. You didn’t even watch the film, Kang Seulgi.)

“What’s your favourite part?”

“Erm…” This, she’s not quite sure how to respond. She’s a terrible liar, so she’s not sure if she can feasibly cook something up. “I dunno.” That’s truthful enough.

(Yeah, well, how are you going to say, “I was watching you the whole time?” aloud? That’s just weird.)

“Ah, well, you must’ve been tired. I liked the songs, actually. They were good songs, weren’t they?”

“Yeah, definitely.” (She’s listened to all the soundtracks before tonight. This is the one thing she’s sure about in this movie.) “I could sing them for you, if you’d like?”

“You would?” Joohyun perks up, twisting her body to look at Seulgi fully. “That’ll be great.” And then Seulgi’s shoulders are suddenly wrapped by a warm circle of arms. “Not now, though. You’re tired, right?”

“Y…Yeah.” She hopes Joohyun chalks her stuttering down to well, her exhaustion.

(She’s not really that tired. Or maybe, she is, but with everything in her thrumming and her body too warm even on a cold night, she thinks she’s not been more awake in quite a while.)

Joohyun’s arm pulls on her. “You don’t mind, do you? I like hugging things to sleep.”

Seulgi glances down at the bolster on the ground. Fair enough. She’s displaced the bolster. It’s only fair that she replaces it, right?

“And, besides,” Joohyun continues, “you smell nice.”

“What? I smell like you, unnie!”

A giggle. “Yeah, exactly.”

Is Joohyun trying to say that she smells nice? It’s not like Joohyun doesn’t smell nice, of course. Joohyun’s hair and skin always smells great. (How does she even know this?)

Or like, is it because Joohyun thinks that Seulgi doesn’t usually smell nice? Why does she even care to know whether Joohyun thinks these things about her, surely it doesn’t matter.

And before Seulgi can quite ask what that means, Joohyun giggles again, “I can hear your thoughts through your skull. You always smell nice, dummy.” Joohyun shifts a bit. “Go to sleep. I want to go out tomorrow. Don’t worry, you can borrow more clothes from me.”

“What makes you think I want to go out tomorrow?” Then, more incredulously, “When have you ever volunteered to go out?”

She can feel Joohyun’s pout against the back of her head. “If you don’t want to…”

Seulgi flips herself around, laughing as rolls around to concede, that okay, she will go out with Joohyun tomorrow. When she does so, she realises her mistake. Because she’s now tangled them together. Joohyun’s warm breath fans her reddening neck.

Wide-eyed, she’s not quite sure whether she should stumble her way out of bed. But why should she even be running? Joohyun’s still smiling, still clearly amused by… something. Why is it so warm in here? It’s not too late to stumble her way back still. Joohyun’s just probably going to think that she’s clumsy, right?

(But will Joohyun still think that she’s cute?)

(Okay, where did that come from?)

“Just go to sleep, Seulgi. You’re tired, anyway, aren’t you?” Joohyun’s hand frees itself to pat Seulgi’s hair. “Come on. Go to sleep, Kang Seulgi. Or do you want to stare at me all night?”

(It’s not a bad idea. But, hey, Seulgi-ah, that’s creepy.)

“No, no, no, it’s okay.”

She snaps her eyes shut. Then, she realises she’s still facing Joohyun. And so, she kicks herself free and flips herself back, willing her heart to just shut up, stop racing, please. Joohyun shakes with silent laughter. She finds that not staring at Joohyun makes her heart slow, just somewhat, but only barely.

“Goodnight, unnie.” She deserves an award for not stuttering. (You did well, Kang Seulgi.)

Mirth-filled, Joohyun’s voice is soft in Seulgi’s ear, “Goodnight.”

Chapter Text

A laugh, and she’s not really sure why she’s laughing but everything that everyone’s saying is really funny right now, and all she wants to do is to wrap herself in Seulgi’s arms. Not sure if Seulgi’s the one hefting her up from the couch, and she is not sure if they’re falling over each other because Joohyun’s in heels (because she did not want to be shorter than Seulgi), and not sure if she’s too drunk or if Seulgi’s the one who’s too drunk, but it didn’t really matter when Seulgi’s own giggle bubbles against the back of her head.

Cold glass, the clink and a hooting laugh from one of the girls as they down another round of blue shots. Bass music thrumming in her veins, she’s almost one hundred percent sure that she’s smiling when she presses a kiss against Seungwan’s temple.

“You’re so happy when you’re drunk, Joohyun-ah.”

She is. She is so, so happy to be here. This buoyance in her chest does not fade even when Yerim throws her into the backseat with Seulgi and hands Joohyun a wad of cash to pay her back for the night, and, “Joohyun, text me when you guys get back home, please? Seulgi is—”

“—Too drunk, I know. Don’t worryyy,” she slurs as she waves Yerim’s concerned hand off. “I’ll text. Don’t worryyyyy.”

The youngest is unimpressed but the cabbie’s eager to get his cab going. So Yerim only purses her lips slightly as she lurches back into the bar, wondering how much energy she still has in her to haul Sooyoung off some guy on the leather couches.

The cabbie adjusts his rear-view mirror. “You guys gonna be okay back there?”

Joohyun makes a cooing sound, and her fingers raise themselves into an okay sign.

“Your friend looks pretty hammered, y’know.” His cab speeds onto the expressway, the lights outside blurring more and more. “You got a plastic bag?”

“Right, right,” Joohyun mumbles, “I do.” Her hand’s never felt as heavy as she pulls the plastic out of her handbag. From Joohyun’s lap, Seulgi stirs a little at the sharp rustling noise. “Shhhh, is okay.”

“Loud,” Seulgi mumbles. “Where’re we goin’?”

“To my place. That’s okay with you, right?”

Seulgi groans, and for a moment Joohyun’s worried that Seulgi might actually puke on the cab and that makes her remember she might want to unfold the plastic bag. (Precautions matter).

Seulgi shifts, a little bit, snuggling against Joohyun’s body. And Joohyun reaches to stroke her hair carefully, hoping that god okay, please don’t throw up, Kang Seulgi.

“Drank too much, sowwie. Head’s heavy.”

Joohyun almost laughs. “Oh yeah?” She’s tempted to use the same tone right back at Seulgi. “Dummy. You drank lots. Do you even remember how much you drank?”

Another groan. “Do you really want me to count right now?”

Fair point.

Then Seulgi asks, “Can you tell me where we are, Hyun-ie?”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, wanna know how far we’ve got till we get back.”

Joohyun concedes. To the ticking of the meter, Joohyun gives an account of their present locale.

You know, that expressway that we need to take to get back to my place, we’ve gone off some of these turns before when you drove us previously. Think this might’ve been the bit that’s been messed up since it last rained – woah okay yes they’ve not gotten around to fixing these potholes, geez, you’d think that four months of pocketing money for the tar is long enough for someone to lodge a formal complaint about it. Honestly? Wonder how much that nets them. D’you think the contractor’s still got enough actual money lying around to fill in those holes?

If we get off the expressway now we’d be on route to your favourite museum, oh yeah, okay, okay, your favourite independently-run one, we’ve really got to make those distinctions, don’t we? Wonder if they’ll put out a new exhibit anytime soon… You’ll want to go right? Can I come with?

Hey, remember the time you drunkenly named the cat by the bridge? That was hilarious.

I kind of still have that ticket stub from the time we went to the theatre together, to watch the play Sooyoung was in. It was a pretty ticket! It’s sandwiched somewhere between my journal pages—yes I know what you think of bullet journaling, idiot.

Anyway, we’ve just driven past the turn that you last turned off wrongly the last time. Glad you did though. That noodle place by the corner of that street? Fabulous.

Mister, if you’d turn off right there, the next turn in the front, would be great, thanks.

Hey, there’s a star. Out there. Bit small though.  

You want to make a wish? Seulgi, that’s not a shooting star.

Oh, alright, I guess. We can make a wish together.

In response, Seulgi mumbles something against the fabric of Joohyun’s dress.

“What?”

Seulgi’s head shakes, small, controlled movements. Then her hand grips Joohyun’s and tightens into a squeeze. “Just want you by my side, forever.”

Joohyun snorts. “You sure?” Somewhere in her, there’s a pinprick of unease, and she’s not really sure why and she cannot really figure out this why question with all that alcohol swirling in her system. But she’s also warm – Seulgi’s hand is warm in hers.

“Yes,” Seulgi affirms. And before Joohyun can dwell on the proclamation any longer, Seulgi asks, “How long do we still have left?”

“We’re almost at my place. Two streets away.”

She can feel Seulgi’s lips rearrange themselves into a pout. “It’s nice. Like this. You smell nice.”

“I smell like booze, Seul.”

“Don’t care. Still smell like you.”

“Sure, whatever you say.”

For the remainder of the trip, Seulgi doesn’t really say anything else. Joohyun lets her free hand continue carding through the soft waves of Seulgi’s hair. Joohyun’s only moved into her apartment in the spring, but when the way the cab’s tyres squeal against the road as it makes that turn around an awkward bend makes it feel like she’s lived here for a far longer time than a year.

And living here reminds her of how she met Seulgi and her friends not that long ago either, who are somewhat younger than she is, but are also the people she’s come to trust. They helped make this unfamiliar city familiar, mapping it out with her. Seulgi, whose easy affableness pulled Joohyun out of her tendencies towards taciturn introspection, drew Joohyun to venture beyond the confines of Work, the area in and around the supermarket, and her house.

“Miss? We’re here.”

She shakes her head. She’s being overly sentimental. Joohyun pulls out some of the cash Yerim’s handed her earlier and hands it to the cabbie.

“Thanks mister,” she says, a lot more sober now, especially confronted with the prospect of hauling Seulgi into the house. “Keep the change. Goodnight. C’mon Seul, we got to get out…”

Seulgi groans, but complies, allowing Joohyun to pull her out of the cab. She doesn’t seem that inclined to follow Joohyun up to her doorstep, however, and as the cab drives away, she swats Joohyun away and curls up against the cold floor. Joohyun sighs. If she cared any less for Seulgi, she might have been tempted to leave her behind. Instead, she heads in to unlock her door, drink some water, and having dumped her bag, returns to pull Seulgi off the ground.

“Seulgi. Seulgi. Come on. We got to get you changed, yes? Let’s go in, get some water, and we can go to sleep.”

“Water?” Seulgi repeats, as she staggers in with Joohyun.

“Yes, water. Your throat’s dry. Don’t want to wake up with a hangover, do you?”

“Ugh, no, no. Don’t wanna.” Seulgi shakes her head. “Bad idea. Headshaking. No.”

“Yes, but we’ve got to get water. Water will make you feel better tomorrow.”

“Really? But wanna feel better nowww.”

“You’ll feel better when you get into bed, yes?”

Okayy.” Seulgi latches onto Joohyun. “Can I sleep like this? In this?”

No.” 

“Do I really have to change?” Now that they’re indoors, Seulgi throws herself onto the couch.

“Yes, come on, Seul.”

“Do I have to?” Seulgi looks up at her, pouting.

Joohyun sighs. “Yes, you have to. That’s final.”

Seulgi continues to pout but she recognises that Joohyun’s tone really brooked no further arguments. Reluctantly, she staggers into Joohyun’s room to find some clothes to change into. When Joohyun heads into her own bedroom with a glass of water in her hand, she finds Seulgi’s arms tangled in the mass of her own dress. She watches Seulgi struggle for a little while more in amusement before she pulls the dress off for her.

“Thanks.” Seulgi smiles, her eyes barely open.

It’s kind of stupid how Joohyun thinks that drunk Seulgi’s adorable – even when she’s a nuisance and even when Seulgi’s pretty much just squinting at her because the younger girl decided to remove her contacts before she got too drunk at the bar earlier. (In fairness, that was an excellent move on Seulgi’s part. Foresight!) For the umpteenth time, she notes that it’s a little unfair that Seulgi’s abs are still nicely defined against her tanned skin despite the volume of fried chicken and ramyun that she elects to consume.

“Joohyun-unnie,” Seulgi mumbles in between sips of her water, “Can I sleep here? Your bed is comfy.”

“Yeah, sure, of course. I’ll be outside—”

“No! Here. You sleep here too. It’s your bed.”

“Yes, but I’ve also got a stash of blankets, Seul.” 

“But it’s your bed, come on. It’s been cold lately. You don’t like the cold.”

Joohyun hums, taking the cup from Seulgi’s hands as she considers. Seulgi has made rather compelling arguments. And she supposes that the way Seulgi’s decided to tug on Joohyun’s hand rather insistently augments the strength of her argument.

“Sure. I’ll join you in a bit, okay?”

It takes fourteen minutes in the toilet for her to remove all her makeup, crawl out of her dress, shower, towel herself dry, and hop out of her own toilet to hunt for sleepwear only to belatedly notice that the pair of shorts Seulgi stole from her closet is one of Joohyun’s favourites. Though, she’s not sure if Seulgi even realises that the missing pair was her favourite out of the four other black ones.

When she gets back to her own bed, Seulgi’s already asleep. Or so she thought for pretty much all of twelve seconds before Seulgi registers Joohyun’s proximity and pulls Joohyun downwards. With a laugh, she falls beside Seulgi. An arm snakes around Joohyun’s body. Forehead pressed against Joohyun’s shoulder.

“Dream of good things, Seulgi-ah.”

Chapter Text

#6: i spy with my little eye

Tags: Humor, ??, POV Outsider 

Notes: Can be read as a canon-setting thing if you wish, but that's not strictly so.  


Yerim first realises that something’s different when she crashes straight into Joohyun and Seulgi only to realise that no, she didn’t fall because of how the arms of her unnies were practically glued into each other’s.

Hey, Kim Yerim!” Joohyun barks, annoyance clear in her voice. “Can’t you be more careful?”

Yerim blinks as she staggers back into an upright form, dusting herself. Seulgi and Joohyun are no longer intertwined as one. In fact, they were a whole foot away from each other.

“Sorry, can’t help it if you guys were in my way.” For this, she earns a smack on her shoulder from Joohyun and a sigh from Seulgi. “C’mon, the hallway’s so narrow… shit I’m going to be late, shit, shit, shit… But since you guys are both here anyway – Seungyeon-unnie’s asking if you guys wanna watch that last Harry Potter movie together tonight.”

“Oh?” Joohyun and Seulgi share a look. Something passes between them that Yerim can’t really decipher.

“Tonight?” Seulgi repeats at the same time as Joohyun reminds Yerim to watch her language, which Yerim elects to ignore.

“Yeah, at around eleven?”

Another glance between the two. “Hmm,” Seulgi begins, “I’d love to… but…”

“But? What would you rather do than go out with me, Seulgi-unnie?”

Without missing a beat, Seulgi responds, “Many other things.”

Joohyun chimes in, “Isn’t going for a movie at eleven going to make you miss your bedtime, Kim Yerim?”

Yerim shrugs. “It’s Harry Potter! Please. As if I wouldn’t want to watch it for the third time. Like, it’s so bad – I forget that neither of you read the books yet, gosh, but Voldemort’s totally not supposed to explode so dramatically like that… I can totally lend you the books if you guys buy me food. But you guys have to read the books! And Prisoner of Azkaban? Best thing ever. Hey, I’d lend you the books if you’d buy me a time-turner. Doesn’t even have to be one of those overpriced official merch, y’know. I accept knockoffs.”

“Driving a tough bargain, aren’t you?” Joohyun shakes her head. “I suppose we now know what you want for your birthday.”

We?

Seulgi glances down at her watch. “Speaking of time, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere right now?”

“Oh, oh, yes, shit, I’ll tell Seungyeon-unnie that you guys aren’t coming tonight then?” At their nods, Yerim starts to race away again. “Catch you guys later!”

*

If someone catches her in the darkened stairwell peeking through the dusty window where the corridor’s in plain view before her, she would swear up and down that she’s there because she wants to catch a breather. Even if the stairwell’s dark and dusty at its best and claustrophobic and its air so stale it almost felt as if your breath was slowly being snuffed out of you. Oh, cross her heart and hope to die – she’s not spying. Not at all.

The door to one of the rooms opens. She’s excited for about half a second before she realises that it’s only one of the trainers calling it a day. Huh.

Then, oh, hey, it’s Joohyun!

She makes herself as scarce as possible behind the glass, with only her eyes and hair visible from the outside.

But disappointment rushes over her again when she sees Suho appear from the other end of the corridor and call out to Joohyun. Joohyun turns, a grin on her face. Suho says something to Joohyun that Yerim can’t really decipher. Joohyun’s head tilts to the side, listening attentively.

Or so Suho probably thinks.

From where Yerim is, she can tell that Joohyun… wants to get out of the conversation, her body shifting and her feet turning away and tapping on the ground lightly for five seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Then stops. If the glass window’s any cleaner, she’d be able to see that Joohyun’s tensed her right leg in a personal reminder to stop her outward displays of agitation.

Damn it, Suho-oppa, can you just leave yet?

After an actual eternity, Suho pretends to pout and Joohyun laughs, shaking her head, and probably tells Suho that he really should stop being a baby as he walks away. Yerim ducks as Suho walks towards her position to take the turn towards the cafeteria, and hears him say something like, “Next time then?”

Once she’s satisfied that his steps don’t sound like they are right outside her door, she returns to tiptoeing again. Joohyun leans back against the wall, not moving from her spot. Yerim and Joohyun stay like that for a few minutes, and Yerim’s slowly beginning to wonder if she should just make her escape soon. Oxygen’s running low. And it’s so hot in here. Gosh, do they ever ventilate this stairwell? There aren’t even windows in here for any colder drafts to come in…

The door opens again and finally, Seulgi emerges, wiping the sweat on her forehead with a towel. She says something to Joohyun to which Joohyun shakes her head. From what Yerim can make out from her amateur attempts at being a proper spy, Joohyun’s probably saying that it’s okay, I don’t mind waiting.

Then oh! Seulgi wipes her hands on her shorts before reaching for Joohyun’s hand. It’s a little disgusting, the way Joohyun’s smile takes on a shy quality, her cheeks immediately a faint pink. But it’s also a little cute. Just a little.

When they’re finally away, she bursts out of the stairwell, sucks in a lungful of air, and lets out a squeal.

“I knew it!”

*

Yerim appears before Seulgi and Joohyun with a stack of books in her arms.

“Hello Seulgi-unnie, Joohyun-unnie. I have come to present my Harry Potter books to you.”

“Oh?” Joohyun’s brow arches upwards. “You’re lending them to us, just like that?”

Yerim nods. “Yes. But you’ve got to tell me something.”

Seulgi shrugs, says, “Sure," as she looks up from her pile of homework. (Not that Seulgi’s really conjugating the Japanese verbs. Yerim spies a series of elaborate doodles along the margins of the paper. She holds back a snort as she sees various iterations of Joohyun’s name in Seulgi’s cutely misshapen handwriting.)

Joohyun’s eyebrow remains fixed high on her forehead. Yerim knows she’s suspicious. Nothing really misses Joohyun’s notice, does it?

But well, that doesn’t matter. Yerim’s victory is secure. She’s sure of it.

Gently, she places the books down.

“So.” Wham, she smacks her fists onto the table with deliberate vehemence. “Seungyeon-unnie and I have a bit of a bet going on. I want to win. Did you start dating Seulgi-unnie before Chuseok?”

Joohyun’s eyes widen. Seulgi drops her pen.

What?”

“Yeah, you heard me, Joohyun-unnie. Seulgi’s agreed to tell me, didn’t she?”

Betrayal flits across Seulgi’s face for around a millisecond. Then, Seulgi sits upright and she shrugs again. “Well… if you really need your answer… no.”

What?” This time, it’s Yerim who nearly yells, only to be shushed by the both of them. “The fuck? But… but… all this time… I saw you guys holding hands in summer!

What? Oh, never mind. I don’t need to know if you’ve decided to stalk us or something. And language, Kim Yerim. I guess we could’ve told you after we actually put a name to it after the holidays, but… really, a bet?” Then, Joohyun cackles. “Does this mean you’ve lost to Seungyeon?”

Yerim groans, sinking to the ground as she thinks of the chicken that she could’ve bought with the two 10000-won notes that she’s going to have to surrender to Seungyeon tonight. Maybe she should’ve gone with a smaller bet.  

Chapter Text

#7: sandoitchi!

Tags: canon verse (...i guess that's what we have to call it), slice of life, established relationship

notes: tbh this has been sitting in my drafts since the inkigayo sandwich nonsense first popped up but since im really just zzz about school rn, here is a mindless splat of words for your fanfic consumption

disclaimer: usual personal ethics & rationalisation & mental gymnastics things made about RPF-fic applies despite "canon" setting!! (yes, i think they're cute, and i want them to return from the war for fanservice/genuine friendshippy interactions, but no i dont actually need to think that they're whatever variation of this irl.) // sadly i don't own red velvet - if i did i would march up to SBS's doors and also invest in marketing RV more.  


 

She steps out of the washroom, careful to not wipe her wet hands on her stage outfit.

Giggles are heard. A shy smile appears in front of her. Someone taller. Most of them are taller than she is anyway. Maybe she’s seen her somewhere on Naver before. She feels slightly bad that she can’t remember the girl’s name.

“Seulgi-ssi, right? Can I give you my number?”

“Sure,” Seulgi says easily. “Your Kakao ID, maybe?”

“That’ll be great!” Her smile widens, still shy, cheeks red. “Here, I wrote it down here…”

Seulgi receives a small piece of paper taped onto an album, whose group name Seulgi’s not sure she recognises. There’s a name to the girl at least.

“Thank you. It’s a very pretty album.”

They don’t really get albums from the juniors nowadays, not unlike what it used to be apparently. Sunmi told her that when the Wonder Girls came back to Korea, they received a sample from a huge number of the junior groups then. By then, she mused, the groups outside of SM and JYP weren’t as fanatic about handing out albums to senior groups anymore. Yoona didn’t so much as complain about it than she laughed about it (there’s not enough space to put them all anyway, there are so many of them nowadays.)

“It’s not as pretty as yours, of course, sunbaenim, but I hope you will like it anyway.” The girl’s shy voice pulls her out of her musings and Seulgi looks up to catch the poor girl biting her bottom lip, clearly unsure what else she should say to try to prolong the conversation.

Seulgi saves her from embarrassing herself (further?). “I need to go. All the best for your performance, I hope it goes well!”

With that, Seulgi leaves; she’s knows she’s being watched as she heads back to their waiting room.

Yeri is the first to see it.

“Another one? Unnie, really?”

“Are you keeping it?” From Sooyoung.

Yeri again, “If you don’t, I wanna put it up. Like, in the middle of the living room. It’s kind of pretty.”

Rolling her chair over, to the half-hearted protests of their stylist, Seungwan exclaims, “Oh, oh, that rookie group! They sing well. What’s her name again?” Seulgi knows that the stylist-unnie is curious too.

“Er.” Seulgi shoves the album towards Seungwan’s general direction.

“Her handwriting is pretty.”

“Yeah, it is, I guess.”

“Her face is pretty. Do you think she’s the prettiest? Did you tell her that?”

Seungwan.”

“Sorry.” Seungwan grins impishly, not sorry at all. Yeri’s been down lately so Seungwan seems to have found it in her to compensate for some of their maknae’s antics. “You should. You know. Tell the kid that she’s cute.”

Seulgi rolls her eyes, about to retort when she hears Joohyun’s annoyed “stop encouraging her" as she walks into the room, back from being paraded around to make nice with more Important People.

“No, no, I’m not going to text the kid,” Seulgi quickly clarifies. “She was just giving me an album anyway.”

“Oh?” Yeri’s face is suddenly interested. “Trouble in paradise?”

Joohyun’s jaw grits, but it’s, thankfully, not directed at Seulgi and more at Yeri. “There’s no harm in someone giving Seulgi an album, Kim Yerim.” Joohyun gingerly places herself on the bench by the door. Her gaze lowers from glowering at Yeri to level an even more baleful glare at her heels.

“Do they not fit well?” Seulgi asks, moving to sit next to Joohyun.

“Hmm?”

“Your shoes, I meant.”

Joohyun shakes her head. “Unnie, is there some way that we stop getting shoes from this brand? I hate wearing these things.”

Stylist-unnie laughs. “If I had the power to pick the exact sponsored items you guys get receive, I’d kick those out in a heartbeat too. Sorry, Joohyun.”

Joohyun pouts. “Oh well. Worth a try I guess.”

“What’s wrong with them?” Seulgi peers at her own feet, which feel fine despite the footwear.

“They cut into my feet.” Joohyun picks up a sandwich from the side table. “Whose is this?”

“Seulgi-unnie’s,” Sooyoung supplies. “Someone left it here for her when she went to the bathroom.”

“Huh?” Seulgi reaches to take the sandwich from Joohyun’s hands, the plastic wrap crinkling loudly beneath her fingers. “Who’s it from?”

“Dunno. Some guy? He didn’t stay long enough for me to recognise him.”

“You’re sure it’s for me?”

“Yeah.” Seungwan nods.

“Look, it even says, for Seulgi-noona!” Yeri chuckles, reaching forward to peer more closely even as their stylist attempts to pull her backwards so she could fix Yeri’s hair.

“It so doesn’t,” Seulgi grumbles, tearing the plastic wrap open. It’s one of those terrible constructions of Broadcast Company Food. “Do you think we might ever get better sandwiches when we come for Inkigayo?”

“Nope. They’re all terrible.”

“And the calories…” Seungwan sighs mournfully. “Why eat something that’s both fattening and disgusting?”

Seulgi shrugs, inclined to eat the sandwich anyway. She’s starving. “Can I? I’ll reapply the lipstick after.”

Their stylist sighs. Concedes that lipstick won’t take 10000 years to touch up anyway. Yeri’s hair, on the other hand, is refusing to be tamed. Their stylist is already preoccupied by another battle – fighting Seulgi’s hunger pangs is a fight she doesn’t want to attempt, especially not at the same time, so she just nods and waves the hand she frees from the depths of Yeri’s tangled hair, muttering something about how Yeri needed to visit the salon more often.

They’re kind of dubious, these sandwiches. Whoever decided to put egg and jam between two pieces of white bread needed to re-evaluate certain things about their life. Pronto.

She chomps into it anyway. It’s a bit indelicate but hey, it gets the job done.

Hang on.

It’s a soggy, gooey mess when she pulls it out of the wrapping. At least she didn’t bite into the main chunk of it. Trying to get paper out of her mouth would’ve been a hassle. Messier than the stylist would’ve preferred, no doubt.

Not another one.

She swallows what she managed to eat of the sandwich.  

She glances to her side. Joohyun’s eyes are shut, the back of her head leaning against the wall. Seulgi knows Joohyun would’ve opted to lean on her if she wasn’t worried her makeup might get smudged on Seulgi’s white top.

Before her, Yeri’s leaned forward with rapt attention. Sooyoung and Seungwan pretend they don’t care as much, but they can’t really hide their amusement from their faces either.

So, Seulgi clears her throat. With her best imitation of a low baritone and what is possibly the most valiant attempt made of all time at deciphering jam-&-egg-mayo-covered words, she begins to read.

“Dear Seulgi-noona,

“I remember meeting you last week. I am so happy I finally got to meet you in person, and we introduced ourselves to each other. Such luck, I thought! You’ve been my ideal type for a very long time. You’re very pretty, Seulgi-noona. Will you grant me the same luck again, by texting me on Kakao at—”

“Give me that.”

Before Seulgi can finish, Joohyun snatches the piece of paper from Seulgi’s hands, crushes it, and tosses it into the bin. Seulgi winces. There’s jam and egg mayo all over Joohyun’s hands now.

Sooyoung groans. “Unnie, you’re a spoilsport.”

Yeri leans back into her chair, huffing. (“Stop moving, Kim Yeri!”) “At least let her tell us who it was!”

“Too late,” Joohyun grouses. “Urgh. What kind of confession was that? Such luck, I thought!

Seulgi knows better than to laugh. Not now, when Joohyun’s this tired. Instead, her clean hand reaches over to rub the back of Joohyun’s hand.

“Definitely not the worst one out there though,” Seulgi reminds her, “Remember that kid? The one who told you your eyes were like diamonds? Not that you aren’t like, priceless, but…”

“Oh, ew.”

“They’re back at it again, Yerim-ah. Fun’s over I guess.” Sooyoung picks up her phone, tuning her members out. She’s not that interested in hearing them grouch or sap at each other, or whatever it is that the two of them did.

“They’re no fun,” Yeri agrees. She turns her attention to Seungwan, who gulps. “So…”

She doesn’t realise she’s watching her members with a grin until Joohyun’s pout-laden whine jerks her back to the present, demanding her attention. “Seulgi.”

“Oh, sorry. Should we go wash our hands?”

Joohyun makes a small whining noise. “Feet.”

“Not that I want to cut in on… you two, but just get cleaned up in the next fifteen minutes so I can fix your faces after I’m done with Yeri. Stay still, Kim Yeri! Why are you fidgeting so much today?”

“Yes ma’am,” Seulgi mock salutes. The stylist sighs, wondering why her Sunday’s being spent dealing with a bunch of toddlers. Seulgi knows that their stylist’s never quite sure whether she prefers their occasional childish antics or their grownup-esque professionalism.

“So… you’re tired?”

“Yeah,” Joohyun’s voice is a lot more childlike than usual. “I didn’t like one of the guys I had to go meet. He was… pushy. Almost creepy. Almost.”

“Almost?”

“Well. For men like him, it’s almost. I can deal.”

She’s not sure what really comes over her when she picks up Joohyun’s hand to lick the mayo/jam off it. A squeal sounds and Joohyun’s hand almost smacks Seulgi before Joohyun catches herself from smudging the mess onto her costume (a mortal sin, by stylist-unnie’s standards they are sure), and elbows her instead.

“Ouch.” She massages herself, her good-natured tone belying the attempt at a menacing frown. “That hurt.”

“Oh yeah? That was for the sandwich. And the album.”

“Hey, hey, I thought you said that there was nothing wrong with one of the hoobaes giving me an album!”

“Well. So I did. Hmph. It’s for the sandwich still.”

“It wasn’t me who accepted it…” Seulgi pouts too. “Sorry about the sandoitchi.”  

Sandoitchi? Saendeuwichi.

Seulgi shakes her head. “No, sandoitchi’s cuter.”

“Back at this again? We both know you’re always going to default to Korean, Seul.”

Sandoitchi.” She insists, smiling. She picks Joohyun’s hand up to plant a kiss against the back of it. “Here. Not a lick this time. Sandoitchi.”  

“You’re so silly. Fine. Sandoitchi, for today.”  

Seulgi hums. She can tell that Joohyun’s appeased anyway.

Her lipstick’s stained Joohyun’s hands. She presses another kiss, this time on Joohyun’s wrist bone. Then the hollow of her wrist. Joohyun almost laughs when Seulgi twists her hand somewhat so she can reach the other side of her wrist.

Beside Sooyoung, Seungwan groans. “I’m not sure if I can watch them anymore.”

“Then don’t. Stop ignoring me, oi,” Yeri calls out at her. “Seungwan-unnie—"


 

that sappy gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

END: A/N

https://bit.ly/2TsItR7 is the associated gif's link // this was an excuse to write a fic with this gif from the Sappy MV (join me, the lone #Cookie Jar stan, and listen to their japanese singles...) 

i too want to toss my essays away like that :/

Chapter Text

#8: Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Tags: Domestic Fluff, Modern AU

Inspired By: Seulgi & Irene / Red Velvet in the Level Up Projects!

 


 

You really don’t care about me, huh?

Of course, Seulgi had quickly denied this. All the same, her cheeks still burned as their friends burst out laughing at Joohyun’s remark. They were in the bar they frequented, with the five of them sitting in the corner booth barely meant for four, Yerim tucked on the aisle-side next to Seulgi and Joohyun.

Yah, Kang Seulgi, someone’s feeling neglected!

Seulgi had put her hands up in surrender. Sorry, sorry, I was away! 

Sooyoung, picking up on the situation, smirkingly noted aloud that maybe Joohyun is being a little too clingy? After all, Seulgi had spent the fortnight prior to their group meet-up away on a trip to Beijing, tagging alongside her senior colleagues. Most of it had been spent wining and dining the Chinese officials, with late nights pulled afterwards to put notes to paper and eke out the details of their deal. Seulgi had fallen into a dead sleep each time she finally returned to her own room at the hotel, only for the whole cycle to repeat again the next day.

Seulgi had groaned internally at that. Ostensibly, Sooyoung was mounting a defence for her. But Sooyoung also knew very well that Joohyun didn’t appreciate being called clingy because that suggested she was insecure.

Oh, God forbid that Bae Joohyun seem less than strictly perfect.

The five of them have been friends for what seemed like forever, but Joohyun still insisted on keeping up some appearances. That brings a slight smile to Seulgi’s face. Joohyun will be Joohyun.

That incident is a week behind them. Seulgi hasn’t had much time to breathe ever since work started for her. The job demands so much but she’s not sure she’ll have it any other way. Okay, maybe more humane hours would be nice, but in any case, she’s glad to finally have a weeknight free.

It’s a pity that Seungwan had to bail on her at the last minute.

 

Wannie: [Sorry, Seul, something came up at work. Please don’t burn the kitchen down?]

Seulgi: [it’s fine]

Wannie: […]

Wannie: [if you say so!]

Wannie: [just follow the instructions!! you’ll be fine!!!!!]

Seulgi: [I got it]

Wannie: [i know that u and joohyun have measuring cups and a weighing scale.]

Wannie: [PLEASE use them]

 

Now, those exclamation marks were completely unnecessary, Seungwan. It’s not like Seulgi has never cooked in her whole life before. Sure, she can probably only lay claim to frying eggs, making sujebi, and tossing various types of ramyun together as the few dishes she can consistently make with success in her culinary foray, but surely Seungwan shouldn’t doubt her like this?

Seulgi hums.

Perhaps eggs and ramyun don’t seem very impressive on any culinary portfolio. And what if her kimchijeons always wind up too-charred on one side? They are perfectly edible!

Her elbows are stained with flour and maybe there wouldn’t be batter on the table if Seungwan’s here to do it instead, but how could she have known that the batter would splash if she switched the mixer onto that setting?

All is going well. Now, she’s mixed the wet ingredients. Then there are the dry ingredients. She squints. Ah, all that’s left is to mix the sugar and cinnamon together.

But alas, she has dug through the cupboard, and there’s not a single speck of cinnamon to be found. Oh well. She has gotten this far already.

A quick internet search claims that yes, substitutes might work…

She throws all caution to the wind and picks up the bottle full of ground cardamom. They sound the same anyway. And they’re both spices. It… should be fine?

 

=========

 

There’s probably something to be said about famous last words.

Seulgi barely registers the door’s chime as Joohyun scans her keycard to the apartment. The sound barely distracts from Seulgi’s own coughing noises as she chokes down her product, nearly gagging at the taste.

Gah. This is terrible.

Then she hears Joohyun take her shoes off. She’s done coughing by now and hears a faint rustling as Joohyun slides into her indoor slippers.

Why is Joohyun home early? She’s not supposed to be home early!

“Seulgi?” Joohyun’s call is concerned as she walks towards the kitchen. “Are you okay? You’re home early – you’re not sick, are you?”

Seulgi squeaks as she scrambles to her feet. Those demonic cookies needed to go. Now.

But their apartment isn’t exactly a mansion and Joohyun appears at the doorway to the kitchen. Her brow knits in confusion at the scene before her.

Seulgi hasn’t managed to get any of the flour off her. Seulgi’s also still in her workwear, and though an apron has shielded her blouse from most of the damage, bits of splatter can be found on her sleeves. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect cinnamon cookie, but Kang Seulgi added an erroneous ingredient into the concoction.

The result?

She must be some sort of Frankenstein, her cookies are monstrous accidents that should never have existed.

Seulgi had also intended to cook – the ingredients have been laid out on the countertop. But that is an endeavour she has obviously not started on before Joohyun’s early arrival.

Seulgi is also frozen mid-step, the trayful of not-cinnamon cookies in her hands hovering over the bin.

“I can explain! I swear!”

Joohyun raises a brow, confused. “Explain? You did nothing wrong, as far as I can tell. Are you sure you’re okay, Seul?”

Seulgi’s about to wring her hands in frustration before she realises the cookies will fly in every possible direction if she does that. That’ll make a bigger mess. She’s already messed up, she doesn’t have to mess up any further.

Instead, she lowers her head and sighs. “Evidently, I baked. But… please don’t eat these. You might die. I don’t want my cooking to kill you.”

“Oh?” Joohyun steps gingerly over some misplaced flour on the ground. “They… don’t look too bad.”

Seulgi reasons it’s because she probably did everything else right. It’s just that one thing. Who knew details could be this annoying? She concedes that her cookies aren’t fit for human consumption. Utterly incompatible with consumption.

Joohyun steps closer to her. “May I?”

“Please, no!”

Joohyun, being Joohyun, doesn’t heed that warning and picks up a cookie before Seulgi could upend the contents into the bin. She takes a small, tentative bite into one. Seulgi waits in trepidation.

Predictably, she starts coughing. Violently.

By the time she’s done, she’s all red in the face, and Seulgi worries that Joohyun might’ve hacked her lungs out in the process or something. Will Joohyun now be irreparably damaged?

“Joohyun-ie, are you okay?”

Joohyun waves a hand, dismissing her concerns. “You’re right. What did you do with them?”

Seulgi doesn’t look her in the eye as she empties the cookies into the trash. “I asked Seungwan for a recipe of those cookies you liked. But… I may have forgotten to drop by the mart on the way back. Anyway, we’re out of cinnamon.”

“And…?”

“I used the cardamom,” Seulgi admits, dejectedly.

She sighs again. How can she mess up when she didn’t intend to? Dumbass. Now you’ve made a mess. She leans against the wall, shutting her eyes and trying to collect her feelings before she does anything else.

Joohyun’s lips press lightly against her forehead. Seulgi’s eyes pop open, questioningly. What’s that for?

“Thank you.” Joohyun’s smiling at her, and Seulgi’s not very sure why. It's the smile Seulgi likes best, the one that makes her eyes crinkle just a little.

“Sorry? Joohyun-ie, I made a mess.” She waves her hands around the kitchen to elucidate her point. “Why are you thanking me?”

The sides of Joohyun’s mouth twitch. “Unless you’re not going to clean it up, I’m not going to be mad with you.” Her voice softens. “I know you’ve been busy, so thank you for trying, alright?”

“Joohyun-ie, I made a mess,” Seulgi repeats this.

“Yes, I can see that perfectly well.” Joohyun’s voice is wry now. “But I’m not your boss, am I? This is hardly unfixable.” Then her eyes flick towards the trash and back at Seulgi. “Okay, maybe those cookies are truly unsalvageable.”

“They really are.”

Seulgi can still feel the spice of the cardamom lingering at the back of her throat. At this point she’s not sure if toothpaste would eradicate the taste.

Joohyun searches Seulgi’s face for something. She doesn’t seem to find what she’s looking for as her nose wrinkles.

“Point being – ugh, do I really have to say it…” Her voice trails off before she summons enough in her to utter, “I’m happy, okay? Thankful that you’ve gone out of your way to try to do something nice for me.”

Joohyun doesn’t quite look at Seulgi as she admits, “I’m proud that you’re doing so much for your work. But you know how I hate to feel petty and it’s irrational but sometimes I want more of your time for myself. Which,” Joohyun hurriedly scrambles to qualify, “this doesn’t mean that I would ever ask you to stop working as hard but—”

Seulgi raises her finger to stop her. “It’s okay, I get it now, Joohyun-ie. We talked about it remember?”

Seulgi remembers that when Joohyun first started working and they were still barely a thing, and Seulgi felt terrible to impose on her Important Adulthood Time. Only getting to see her on Friday nights, or on certain weekends, was completely alien to her then. She supposes that she sometimes forgets that her semi-recent transition to eternal slavehood must be weird to Joohyun too.

Joohyun relaxes, perfectly happy to not continue her elaboration. “So…” She surveys the damage done to their kitchen. “Maybe we could clean up? I don’t think you should be allowed in the kitchen for the rest of the day.” 

Seulgi’s perfectly happy to agree with that. “And maybe we can head out? I’ll grab a change of clothes – oh, oh, we can go to that new Thai restaurant that’s just opened down the street. Have you been?”

“No, but I think they offer takeout,” Joohyun recalls. “Tell you what, I’ll hop down to the restaurant and grab our favourites.”

Seulgi bounces on her feet, already starting to start shoving the groceries she’ll not use back into the fridge.

“I’m behind on every movie possible – so we can watch whatever you like, maybe?”

“If you think I’ll be conned into watching Peninsula with you, think again.”

“Aww, c’mon.” At Joohyun’s stern glare, Seulgi backs off. “Fine. I’m a little out of the loop but I hear it’s not great. Guess we’ll just doom-scroll Netflix later then.”

“Hey, no guilt tripping me into watching a zombie flick with you. How about that film with Lee Byunghun in it? Everyone seems to have watched it,” Joohyun suggests as she helps return the flour and sugar to their place on the shelf.

“Oh ew, no thanks. Work is depressing enough as is. I know Kim Sojin’s vibes in the film are to die for – she looks pretty good in vintage – but…”

“But?” Joohyun's tone is sharp, but it’s dulled a little by clear confusion.

But you’re way prettier, Joohyun-ie.” She flashes a dazzling smile at Joohyun who only swats her shoulder so Seulgi can get back to cleaning.

As Joohyun makes her way out of the apartment, she hears Seulgi call after her, “We should go shopping soon. Get you something Newtro!”

“If you keep this up our friends will think we’re Lee Byunghun’s fans, Seulgi-ah.”

Hey,” Seulgi sticks her head out of the kitchen. “Not every fashionista is out to copy Mr Sunshine. Besides, Joohyun-ie, you do know that there are decades of clothing to choose from—”

“Yes, yes, please clean the kitchen.” Joohyun’s hand is on the door now. “Oh, do you want a watermelon juice if the restaurant has some?”

Seulgi feigns offence at this question. “Have I ever said no to watermelon juice?”

“Yes.”

When?”

“Let’s see…” Joohyun pauses, pretending to consider the question. “I believe the most recent instance was when we were out celebrating Yerim’s birthday. I had to drink your share.”

“Oh, right, that.” Seulgi scratches the back of her head. Ah, shit. Her hair is now stained with flour. That’ll be harder to get out of her hair when they shower.

Joohyun only shakes her head fondly, giggling at the sight. “I’ll be back soon, Seulgi-ah. Be sure to thank Seungwan for the recipe.”

“Huh? Are we not telling her that I messed up?”

“It’s only right to thank her, Seulgi,” she scolds before the starts to beep from being opened for too long.

Joohyun steps out, cursing at the door. But before she closes the door, she adds, “Besides, I’ll tell her that you messed up in person. That’ll be funnier.”

The door clicks shut before her, the chime sounding as the lock mechanism activated.

It’s Seulgi who shakes her head now, smiling even as she returns to clean up the kitchen. Ah, there’s the woman she loves. It’ll be weird if Joohyun’s not trying to poke fun at her.

Her heart is lighter than it has been in days.