"Hey, I heard there's going to be a new guy joining the company soon," Baekhyun tells Sehun as he slips into the elevator. Sehun pulls his hand away from the close doors button guiltily. He was hoping for a few extra minutes of silence, but it seems like he's going to get a rundown of all the current office gossip instead.
Sehun purses his lips. A new guy, huh? He doesn't take well to new people on the best days, and today he's in his potentially murderous zone. The last time his mood had been this bad, he'd thrown a stapler at Kris' head and almost gotten a red slip from Human Resources. "Soon? How soon is soon?"
"Junmyeon's supposed to be bringing him by this morning." Baekhyun chirps, reaching past Sehun to press the button for the floor below Sehun's. (Yet another reason why Sehun was hoping that Baekhyun wouldn't make the elevator.)
Sehun can feel a migraine coming on, and he groans. If he's mean to the new guy then Junmyeon will probably give him a yellow slip ("Doesn't having a discipline system based on soccer make it more fun?" Junmyeon had said, to which Kyungsoo had muttered that discipline isn't supposed to be fun) and if Sehun gets another yellow slip he's going to be banned from the 14th floor vending machine for a month.
Baekhyun begins listing all the cute things his cat did yesterday, so Sehun tunes him out. He leans into the steel wall of the elevator, already planning his blog entry for today.
(Which would better describe his depth of despair: a line from Bright Eyes or Dashboard Confessional?)
Finally the elevator arrives at the 14th floor.
The time before the new employee's supposed to arrive ticks by slowly. The air of the office is filled with the quiet excitement of someone new coming, and Sehun can tell that the other employees are only doing their work half heartedly (or not at all, as in the case of Jongdae who doesn't even bother trying to hide the open minesweeper window.)
It's around quarter to eleven when the elevator stops at their floor and Junmyeon leads a tall man into their department. At once everyone begins to gather, excited to finally see the newcomer.
Junmyeon looks tiny next to the new recruit. The new guy is taller than Sehun by at least a few centimeters and Sehun is the tallest on their floor, so Junmyeon only comes up to his shoulder.
"Hello everyone!" Junmyeon calls out. Noticing the stares, he tries to close the height difference by standing on his tip toes. He doesn't even come close. "This is Park Chanyeol. He's the newest addition to our programming division. I hope everyone will try hard to welcome him to the family." Junmyeon looks over at Sehun as he says the last part and Sehun grimaces.
"Hello, nice to meet you!" Everyone stares when they hear his surprisingly low voice and Chanyeol chuckles, like he was expecting that reaction.
Park Chanyeol is lanky, with a long torso and even longer legs. His smile is bright and unguarded; it's the kind of smile that you usually only find on generally nice people or salesmen. His face looks young, but the suit and the hair gel make him look a bit older.
New guy isn't bad looking. That is, if you're into guys with big eyes and the attention span of a 3-week old puppy.
"So where will my desk be?" He asks, looking around the office eagerly.
"We thou-" Junmyeon begins.
Chanyeol turns away from the rows of cubicles and looks over the line of people. "So is this everyone from the floor or are there more coming?"
Junmyeon is thrown off balance by the interruption, but he quickly recovers. He smiles warmly. "Everyone exce-"
"Is there a cafeteria nearby? Or is there only one for the whole building?"
Junmyeon's brows furrow slightly, but his smile is still in place. "Well, there-"
"Is that a real plant?"
Junmyeon gives up attempting to answer the flurry of questions and watches as Chanyeol bounds around the office. He continues to ask questions and seems completely nonplussed that he never gets any answers.
Sehun doesn't really meet Chanyeol until later in the day.
Since he had just finished fixing all the bugs in his assignment, Sehun felt that he deserved a short break to write on his blog. And right as he was scrolling through Bright Eyes lyrics, trying to find something poetic that was not only relevant, but suitably depressing, a shadow fell across his screen.
Sehun has never ctrl+tabbed so quickly before.
"Do you need something?" He whirls around and Chanyeol is there, in all his 6ft of awkward glory.
At least Chanyeol has the decency to look a bit ashamed for sneaking up on Sehun.
"Uh, I just didn't really get a chance to talk to you? I thought I should introduce myself because we're going to be doing a project together."
Oh yeah, there was a security system update coming up next week.
Jongdae looks over from the other side of their shared cubicle, acknowledging Chanyeol with a short nod before turning back to his computer.
And, bracing himself for the worst, Sehun meets Chanyeol's gaze as he reaches out to shake his hand.
For a while now, Sehun has been able to read the thoughts of anyone who's attracted to him.
During puberty, people often have to deal with various changes happening in their bodies. For Sehun it was the time that his gift first appeared. He was seventeen and awkward, hair slicked beneath the cap of his McDonald’s uniform when he first felt the traces of someone else's thoughts. Even more strangely the thoughts were about him.
He had been handing over a combo number 5 when his fingers brushed against the outstretched hands of the waiting female customer. She started at the feel of Sehun's hand against hers, and when she glanced up in surprise their eyes met.
One moment he was Oh Sehun, with all his bad acne and teenage self-awareness, and the next moment he was a young female office worker staring into the surprised face of Oh Sehun and thinking about how the shape of his eyebrows was really nice, and the pink sheen of his lips looked very kissable-
Sehun gasped. He shoved the tray at the woman before disappearing into the backroom for an early break.
The next time it happened was nearly a week after the first time; just long enough that Sehun was starting to believe that he had just imagined it.
He was standing on the bus, flicking through his iPod when he felt pressure against his butt, then a light squeeze. Sehun paused in his search for Usher, looking up in shock because did he seriously just get felt up on his way to school?
When he turned around, ready to knee whatever pervy man that dared to touch his butt, he met the eyes of his assaulter.
And suddenly he was no longer in the mind of Oh Sehun, but in the mind of a lonely old businessman.
It was weird, to say the least, to realize that a man could find the plush flesh of his bottom so satisfying. From the sensation of sinking his fingertips lightly into the jeans, he felt a deep sense of fulfillment and Sehun almost felt bad for kicking him in the shins and turning that moment of happiness into a moment of pain.
(But then he remembered that the man was a pervert that just felt up an underaged boy on the bus at 7:00 am and all his regret disappeared.)
It didn't take him long to figure out the similarities connecting these instances, and realize that he had gained the ability to read minds.
But with all powers, it had limits. First, he could only read someone's mind after they'd made eye contact. And second, he could only read the minds of anyone who was attracted to him. (But because nearly everyone seemed to be attracted to him, the second one was barely a restriction at all.)
Gift. It was a strange word to use to describe something that you didn't even get to decide to keep. And of all the gifts there were, Sehun's was less like your Dad's second-hand convertible and more like the scratchy ill-fitting handmade sweater from a grand aunt twice removed.
"It's not fair," he complained to Jongin one day after he had to sit through a class of the girls behind him undressing him with their eyes. Apparently his ass was "delectable" and-
Sehun's ears reddened as he thought about some of the other things people had been thinking.
"Well, you know what they say. With great power, comes great responsibility." Jongin punctuated his statement with a thrust and the wiggle of his eyebrows.
Sehun watched Jongin's movements with disinterest. "You realize this means that I know about that fantasy you had about me and the-"
"NO MORE." Flinging himself forward, Jongin clamped his hand over Sehun's mouth, knocking both of them into the lockers. Jongin kept his hand firmly clamped over Sehun’s mouth until he felt a tongue against his fingers and he pulled his hand away screeching. Sehun laughed as Jongin glared at him, wiping his hand on Sehun's jeans.
It was weird at first, to realize that Jongin had thought of him like that. But then Sehun had to admit that it was like he hadn't wondered how his best friend would be in bed. After all, Jongin wasn't too hard on the eyes and they were both healthy teenage boys.
But Jongin had been nursing a crush on Jung Soojung for years and he didn't even need to be able to read Jongin's mind to see that.
(And to be honest Sehun always felt like he knew Jongin a little too well for things between them to turn romantic. Maybe if they hadn't known each other since the time they were in diapers and gone through every year of school together. Because after you've seen someone wetting his pants and eating his own boogers it's kind of hard to see them as a potential love interest.)
So Sehun dated other guys. It wasn't hard for him to start relationships. He always picked easy targets, ones whose thoughts were fairly normal and their faces above average.
Still none of his relationships lasted very long. Either he would forget that he was reading their minds and say something strange (like when he told Jonghyun that it was all right with him if Jonghyun wanted to try blindfolds) or he ended up reading things in people that he didn't want to know (finding out that Kwanghee had been stealing his underwear was not how he'd wanted their relationship to end).
Not to mention that being able to read his boyfriend's mind took all the surprise out of the relationship. He still regretted the time that he forgot to act surprised when Jonghyun showed up with flowers on their one-month anniversary.
At first Sehun was clumsy with hiding his gift, but over the years he's gotten better at pretending he can't hear anything. It used to be overwhelming to hear so many thoughts clamoring around in his brain, but as time went by he was able to turn the volume down. Thoughts that used to feel like a million screaming fans at a concert have been dialed back to the background buzz of a kitchen radio.
But as he stares into Chanyeol's eyes, even the familiar buzz is gone.
"Hi, I'm Chanyeol."
Sehun knows that Jongdae is nudging him in an attempt to get him to let go of Chanyeol's hand.
But the feeling of just not hearing anything is so calming that he can feel his face just relaxing into blissful smile.
"So, the new guy, huh?"
Sehun kicks Jongdae's chair back to his side of the cubicle.
"But you smiled. I think the last time I saw you this happy was when Kris got his tie caught in the shredder."
"It was a really ugly tie, okay!" Sehun's hands are feeling uncharacteristically sweaty and he wipes them on his slacks.
"Not as ugly as the face you had on today." Jongdae imitates Sehun's dazed expression and Sehun throws scrunched post it notes at Jongdae's face until Jongdae turns back to his computer screen, cackling.
Even more surprising than not being able to read Chanyeol's thoughts, is the fact that Chanyeol is really good at his job.
Sehun watches Chanyeol's fingers fly across the keyboard as they pound out a particularly long string of code and somehow, even with the huge monster hands that Chanyeol has, there isn't a single mistake in his lines.
"He's not human," Sehun complains to Kyungsoo after one of their project meetings.
Chanyeol can't even remember that he put his glasses on top of his head and yet he can remember commands in the system that Sehun has to look up in the handbook, and Sehun has been at the company for three years.
"Yeah," Kyungsoo groans. "I saw him eating a sandwich with one hand and coding with the other, like who even does that? I didn't even know Kris let us eat when we used company issued laptops."
Sehun sighs. "And he didn't even check out my butt when I dropped my pen accidentally-on-purpose. I'm pretty sure that means he's a robot. Or I don't know, a cyborg at least."
Sehun misses Kyungsoo's judging look because he's too busy wondering if robots are capable of falling in love.
Or in lust, at the very least.
The next day Kyungsoo's running a bit late so it's just Sehun and Chanyeol in the meeting room. Their laptops are open, but Kyungsoo is supposed to bring a list of the new specifications they need to add, so there's no point in starting before he gets there.
Chanyeol raps his pen against the table, presumably to the beat of whatever song he has stuck in his head, while Sehun tries to stare at him discreetly. Sehun has an unfinished game of hearts open on his screen, but he can’t concentrate on the cards and he’s losing pretty spectacularly.
When he finally loses the game he snaps his laptop shut and turns to Chanyeol.
"So, how'd you end up working here? Were you at a different branch?" Chanyeol doesn't answer right away and Sehun starts to feel a bit self-conscious. "I mean, you're really good so I’d have thought they would have moved you to the main branch sooner..."
"Oh! Sorry!" Chanyeol drops the pen onto the table, coming out of whatever daze he was in. He swivels in his chair until he's facing Sehun fully. Sehun hadn't realized how large Chanyeol's eyes were before. Large with thick eyelashes. "Nah, I was doing some freelance work."
"Oh, what made you decide to stop? Was business bad?"
"No, my sister was getting engaged and she thought it would look better on the wedding invitations if I was part of a company so... here I am." Chanyeol shrugs, a wide smile still on his face.
"You applied here because your sister thought it look better on wedding card invitations."
Out of all the reasons to apply to a competitive position at a large company.
"Noona is very persuasive," Chanyeol insists, but his mouth tilts teasingly.
And Sehun finds himself smiling too.
When it's finally time to go on break Sehun slips into the last stall in the bathroom. The toilet in that stall has been out of commission for years, so there are two reasons Sehun goes there. Either he's avoiding another one of Junmyeon's "team building" meetings or he's giving out love advice.
Even though Sehun has had very little actual experience with relationships, he has a lot of experience with feelings and even more with with unrequited love. After hearing the thoughts of people day in and day out, he's got a pretty good idea how people feel about others.
So when Luhan knocks on the stall door and shoves two KitKats under the door, Sehun decides to take pity on him.
"What seems to be your problem?" He spritzes the stall with Glade to kill any traveling smells from nearby stalls.
Luhan blushes and looks down at the shiny tips of his Derbys. His hands fidget at the seams of his pockets.
"Is this about Minseok again?"
Luhan nods slightly, ruffling his head of honey blonde hair.
Ah, Kim Minseok. The quality manager and Luhan's long-standing crush.
Sehun had been there when Minseok had first gotten transferred to their branch. He'd smiled sweetly at all of them and told them that he was looking forward to working with them, and just like that Luhan was infatuated.
After that, it had been almost painful to watch Luhan's shy attempts at getting Minseok's attention. First, were the days when Luhan left cups of coffee on Minseok's desk. Then -when it was clear that Minseok still didn't get the message- there were the post it notes of cheesy movie quotes.
It's been three months of longing looks in cross-departmental meetings and Sehun isn't sure he can take much more of this awkward teen romance.
(Because if Luhan would just sign some of the notes then they'd already be going out.)
"Have you tried just asking him out?" Sehun knows he's pointing out the obvious, but COME ON.
"But what if he says no?" Luhan looks up, panic in his eyes.
Sehun sighs. He's sure that Minseok likes Luhan back as well. He got a glimpse of Minseok's mind on a day when he was wearing a low cut sweater that exposed his perfectly sculpted collarbones, and there were definitely some flattering thoughts about Luhan in there too.
(Sehun can't decide if he's flattered or insulted that the times he can read Minseok's mind are the times when he's thinking about how similar Sehun and Luhan look.)
But he can't tell Luhan I know he likes you because I can read minds of the people that are attracted to me and by the way he thinks I'm pretty hot stuff too.
It's really inconvenient that saying you can read minds gets you put in the crazy house.
"But what if he says yes?" Sehun shoots back and he watches an array of panicked and pleased emotions flicker across Luhan's face. "Look, we're doing that big project to update the security system, right? Maybe you can convince Kris to let us have a party afterwards. Minseok is involved too so he'll definitely be there."
Luhan bites his lip tentatively, "I guess I could do that."
Sehun definitely didn't suggest it because he wanted to spend more time with Chanyeol or anything.
(When Sehun leaves the bathroom Junmyeon stops to ask if he and Luhan were sharing a stall because they were getting "jiggy with it" and Sehun almost chokes from disgust.)
While being able to read people's thoughts is pretty irritating, it’s much less irritating than not being able to read them.
"I don't get it," whines Sehun as he de-stresses with a quick round of Tetris friends. When Sehun had just started working at the company Kris used to harass him over the Tetris breaks he took while he was still "on the clock," but after Sehun (quite calmly) mentioned a few embarrassing secrets he had read in Kris' thoughts, the manager had fallen silent with a frown.
"Why can't I read his mind?" The screen chirps various words of encouragement as he furiously maneuvers his way through level twenty-five.
It really shouldn't bother him that the newest member of the office doesn't want to have sex with him. I mean Chanyeol's not even that good looking. Sure, his face is kind of pretty. But ears like that should pull him back to an eight tops.
"What I don't get is when being a secretary became so demeaning." Jongdae grumbles. "Sehun, we work at the main office of the biggest electronics company in South Korea and here I am, testing my supervisor's pens."
Sehun lets out a shriek of frustration as he hard drops a Z piece over the spot he was saving for the T piece. Sehun's fingers become more and more frantic as the screen fills. But his efforts turn out to be futile, and the computer chirps "KO!" cheerfully. Sehun frowns. With a huff, he closes the window, looking to Jongdae despondently.
"Why, Jongdae, WHY?"
"Maybe he's not attracted to you."
Sehun stares, and then gestures down at his body. Even Kris wasn't immune to the body of Oh Sehun. He supposed it was possible, but it just wasn't likely.
"Or maybe there's nothing to read." Jongdae offers, shrugging.
They peer over at Chanyeol, who appears to be seeing how many paper clips he can clip onto his lip at once. Completely engrossed in finding a way to attach the striped one he just found to the metal one near the corner of his mouth, he seems to be oblivious to the glares that Kyungsoo is shooting at him.
"That's definitely a possibility."
Jongdae sighs and tests another pen.
Sehun tells himself that it isn't because he wants to catch the new guy's attention that he wears his new pair of slacks the next day. It's because he likes these pants. It's got nothing to do with the way the fabric clings to legs quite nicely, accentuating the subtle curves of his hips and calves.
He feels pretty good about himself on the drive to the office, but as soon as he enters the building he realizes what a mistake it is.
Suddenly there are hundreds of thoughts swarming around his head. The receptionist is apparently not only thinking about the calls she's answering, but also wondering how large Sehun's dick is and the Chinese janitor with large eyebags that normally cleans the 3rd floor bathroom has quite a lot of opinions about how nice Sehun's butt looks.
He makes his way to the 5th floor, but not after hearing the contents of everyone's mind on the elevator ride up.
But the worst part –the absolute worst part- is that Chanyeol doesn't even seem to notice that anything is different.
He greets Sehun with the same dopey grin that he's been wearing ever since he arrived at the company; gabbing cheerfully as he hands over the documents Sehun asked for yesterday, and his mind is still blank.
Baekhyun finds him later in the bathroom, hiding in the one stall that still has a working lock (apparently Minseok puts a bit too much force into the doors when he opens them).
"I'm not in the mood to give love advice today, Baekhyun."
Baekhyun frowns. "Do I look like I need any help? We have a meeting in five minutes."
"Well, I'm not going," Sehun shoots back sulkily.
"Suit yourself. I guess you don't care if Kris assigns all the shitty jobs to you."
Sehun thinks about the time that he got stuck debugging everyone else's codes.
Overall, the project goes surprisingly well. Chanyeol gets a lot of the base work done and Sehun and Kyungsoo fill in the parts that he's shaky on. They end up working well together, and the deadlines pass by with much less stress because of it. Sehun doesn't even terrorize Kris for 24-hour access to the cafe in the lobby like he usually does during longer projects.
For the most part they work in silence, the only noise in the small room is the frantic tapping of computer keys and the occasional groan of frustration.
But every once in a while Chanyeol will break the silence with a lame pun or joke he just remembered.
"Hey, how many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?" He's already chuckling to himself.
Sehun stops typing, and even though Kyungsoo frowns he stops coding as well. "I don't know, how many?" Sehun asks.
Chanyeol snorts. "None! Because It’s a hardware problem!" He breaks down into laughter, slapping at his leg.
Kyungsoo rolls his eyes and goes back to programming, but Sehun finds himself chuckling along. He's not sure if he's laughing at the joke or at Chanyeol's wild explosions of laughter, but either way it feels good to laugh.
The next day Sehun tells Chanyeol a joke he found on the internet, (A cop pulls over Werner Heisenberg and says, “Sir, do you know how fast you were going?” Heisenberg responds, “NO, but I know EXACTLY where I am.”) And he smirks in satisfaction when Chanyeol doubles over on the floor and can't get up because he's laughing too hard to stand.
They finish submitting everything for the project on Thursday, so on Friday Sehun has little to do at the office. He spends most of the day pretending to write e-mails when Baekhyun walks by and playing Tetris when he isn't. Slowly the hours tick by, and the clock finally hits five. Usually at 5pm on a Friday Sehun would be running to get home, but today Sehun is lingering at his desk, packing his bag as slowly as possible as he peeks over the cubicle walls at Chanyeol. Luhan managed to convince Kris that the only way for a project to end was with lots of alcohol and questionable decisions, and Kyungsoo had come by earlier with a post-it note full of details about the time and place.
But Sehun still can't figure out if Chanyeol is going to come or not. He watches the programmer lazily slip a few documents through the shredder and tries to remember if he'd ever heard Chanyeol mention if he drank or not before.
"Waiting for someone?"
Jongdae's voice surprises him and Sehun stubs his toe on the corner of his desk.
He whimpers in pain as Jongdae gestures to the neon post-it stuck to the side of his computer monitor. "So, are you coming out?"
"I was thinking about it but I only wanted to go if..." He trails off as he glances over at Chanyeol. Maybe the programmer ran out of things to shred because now he's feeding post-its through the shredder and one of them looks exactly the same as the one neon one Kyungsoo stuck to his monitor.
Jongdae follows his gaze. "Oh." The edges of his mouth curl into a devious smile and whatever is going to happen does not seem good.
The programmer jerks up. "Yeah?"
"Are you coming for drinks tonight?"
Chanyeol's nose wrinkles. "I was planning on coming?"
"Good." Jongdae turns back to Sehun. "You're coming then?"
Jongdae smirks. "I'll see you there."
The first bar they go to is a dingy back-alley place. Sehun gets wedged between Jongdae and the wall and he watches mournfully as Kyungsoo and Chanyeol sit together. He dressed up today: in acid washed jeans and a wide necked t-shirt that's droopy enough to fall past his collarbones. It had been difficult to sit through his trip on the subway, especially when he kept hearing that his hair looked like absolute sex and they would give anything for a chance to touch that butt.
But at least he knows he looks good.
And yet Chanyeol barely spoke to him and promptly took a seat at the other end of the table. Still the distance doesn't keep Sehun from hearing Chanyeol's overly loud laughter as he talks with Kyungsoo. Sehun glances over when Chanyeol is doubled with laughter, slapping at his thigh. Chanyeol looks so fucking adorable tonight in his black-rimmed glasses and denim button-up. He wishes that Chanyeol was slapping his thigh by mistake.
But instead Sehun is staring across the table while Jongdae tells him why they should form a Worker's Union. Why is life so unfair?
Picking a tequila shot from the array of drinks on the table, he knocks it back quickly and slams the empty glass on the table. Then, he glances over at the adjacent table and gives a girl that's eyeing him up the finger.
"You're in a fine mood tonight." Jongdae comments, raising his glass in a mock salute.
"Fuck off," Sehun bites back, and Jongdae laughs, pushing another glass into Sehun's hands.
One shot turns to two and mixed drinks are replaced with hard alcohol. Jongdae's starting to do that thing where he says all of his thoughts aloud, but Sehun kind of likes hearing his snarky commentary about Baekhyun and Luhan's outfits.
("I swear to god Baekhyun is wearing body glitter. No normal person has collarbones that look like they belong in a dragon's hoard.")
Somewhere between the first bar and the third club, Kris decides it's a good idea to treat everyone to Bacardi 151 and Sehun starts gripping onto Jongdae's shoulder a little more often. He's starting to list into Jongdae now, looking forward to falling asleep on Jongdae's incredibly uncomfortable shoulders, when a hand steadies him. Chanyeol slips between them, smiling as brightly as usual.
"We never got a chance to talk earlier." Chanyeol starts, and Sehun's having a little bit of trouble concentrating because Chanyeol's thigh is flush with his, all the wrinkles of his skinny jeans pressing into Sehun's leg.
"Yeah, well you seemed a bit busy."
Chanyeol looks confused for a moment, but shakes it off. "You don't seem to like to talk to other people. Except Jongdae, that is."
"I talk to Luhan and Baekhyun." Sehun huffs.
Luhan had slipped by earlier to say thanks, his fingers entwined with that of a very cute quality manager, and Sehun had laughed a bit when Minseok tugged Luhan impatiently towards the dance floor. Sehun is very capable of social interaction.
"Really? Then maybe it's just me." Chanyeol's shoulder is much higher than Jongdae's and looks much less boney. Sehun can feel his head drooping against it, and Sehun marvels for a moment at how soft the denim is on his cheek. Maybe it's actually a blend, Sehun thinks to himself as he shifts, trying to find the most comfortable dip to press his head into.
Letting his eyes flicker closed, he murmurs, "It's definitely just you."
"Really?" The hum of Chanyeol's voice is really loud from this close. Sehun can feel the vibrations in his cheek and he smiles.
"I guess. Well. I don't know I just-" When he moves his nose bumps into Chanyeol's neck and Chanyeol flinches away from the contact, giggling. Chanyeol must use some kind of grapefruit shampoo because for a moment that's all Sehun can smell. Everything is so overwhelming, the scents of alcohol and grapefruit are mixing and Chanyeol smells so fucking good. "I guess I just don't know how to talk to you."
"Then let’s not talk.” Chanyeol says. He gestures out into the club. “Want to dance?"
Sehun nods and Chanyeol tugs at Sehun's wrist, leading him slowly to the mass of dancing bodies.
It turns out that Chanyeol is a really bad dancer. It's not that he has two left feet; it's more that his feet are just too big and his movements are always a beat too slow. But at least he lets Sehun guide his hips to the beat, and when Sehun hooks his arms around Chanyeol's neck, the other responds by gripping Sehun's waist.
"Now you're getting it." Sehun whispers as he rolls his hips down into Chanyeol's.
"Yeah?" There's a repressed chuckle in Chanyeol's voice.
The music of the club is deafening. It's the kind of wub-wub pounding against his eardrums that will make him deaf later in the night, but he doesn't care about that right now. All he cares about is the tall body that’s pinning him to the wall, the lips that are sucking kisses into his jaw and the leg that is slotted between his thighs.
"It looks like you had a wild night," Jongin smirks when Sehun stumbles through their front door around noon. The grin widens when he notices a huge hickey dark against Sehun's pale skin. "A very wild night."
A hungover and sleep deprived Sehun is not a very happy Sehun. "Shut up, Jongin and get me some advil."
And he waits until Sehun is nestled on the couch under his fluffiest blanket, painkillers swallowed and a glass of water in hand before he speaks again.
"You have to tell him." Jongin says. The opening of So You Think You Can Dance plays in the background. Jongin fishes for the remote and turns off the TV.
Sehun grunts. He doesn't want to listen to another of his best friend's surges of moral consciousness. It was bad enough when Jongin yelled at him for not recycling his cup at the bubble tea parlor. He still can't bring himself to go back there, and that store was his favorite.
"Sehun." But Jongin's got that tone of voice again. The tone that means I'm not going to shut up unless you do what I say.
Sehun hates that tone.
"But I can't even read his mind!" He shoves the glass of water onto the coffee table so he can nestle into the fluffy comforter. Maybe if Jongin can't see Sehun he'll forget about it.
No such luck.
"Yeah, but it's the right thing to do." Jongin tosses one of his legs over Sehun's balled up form, and Sehun hisses in pain when Jongin digs his heel into Sehun's ribs. Stupid sock-hating asshole. "If you really like him, that is."
Sehun presses his fingers to the hickey blooming on his neck. He flushes as he remembers the feeling of Chanyeol's hands on his back, his hot breath on Sehun's neck, his lips trailing down Sehun's chest.
He does really like him.
Jongin grabs Sehun's glass of water from the coffee table and takes a few sips. "Besides don't you think it's weird how you can't read him?"
It's over lunch that Sehun finally gets enough courage to bring it up with Chanyeol.
He was almost too shy to even invite Chanyeol to lunch at all. Looking at Chanyeol's face kept reminding him about Friday night and whenever Chanyeol made eye contact Sehun could feel himself flushing all the way down to his toes. But somehow Chanyeol understood his mumbled invitation enough to respond with "Sure, how about McDonald's?" and Sehun nodded quickly.
They're at the McDonald's across the street from the office. A Big Mac is sitting in front of Sehun, still wrapped in wax paper and smelling like a heart attack. He is about to reach for it, but at the last minute he curls his fingers against the edge of the table instead.
"I need to tell you something," he says, pressing his hand into the table until his palms are white.
"Huh?" Chanyeol pauses in stuffing the massive burger into his mouth and ketchup drips down his chin.
Sehun takes a deep breath.
"Well, I have this... gift, you see?”
Chanyeol eyes widen. “Did you want to exchange Christmas presents? Because I wasn’t planning on it, but if you want to...”
“No!” Chanyeol looks disappointed and Sehun groans. “I mean, sure I’d love to but that’s not what I wanted to talk about.”
“So then gifts are okay, because I-”
“Just let me finish. Please.” He needs to get this off his chest before he loses his nerve. After all, he’s never told a boyfriend about his ability before. The only two who know are Jongin and Jongdae. But Jongin has been there for years and years, and Jongdae is just... Jongdae.
What if Chanyeol thinks he’s crazy after this? What if he thinks Sehun is a freak? His hands tremble and he grips the table more tightly.
Chanyeol falls silent, gesturing with a fry for Sehun to continue.
Sehun can still hear the whispers of thoughts around him. Clamoring fragments of daily life and break-ups and thoughts of cheating and thoughts of Sehun. But then he looks at Chanyeol and all the thoughts disappear.
Even after all of this, Chanyeol's mind is still frustratingly blank.
“I have this ability to read the minds of people that are attracted to me but-" Sehun hesitates. "I can't with you?"
Sehun really hopes that this isn't going to be the time when Chanyeol decides that he's insane and calls him a freak in front of everyone in McDonalds.
Chanyeol's eyes widen and he drops his hamburger back onto the plate. But instead of looking concerned, he looks almost... excited?
"Whoa, that's so weird! I mean, I can read minds too, but only of the people I'm attracted to!" Like always, his voice is a little bit too loud and a few people sitting nearby turn to stare.
Normally Sehun would be turning to the people sitting nearby, gesturing to them not to worry, he's crazy, or at least reminding Chanyeol to use his indoor voice. But Sehun's too shocked to move.
If Chanyeol can read minds too then he won’t think that Sehun’s weird for being able to read minds. Sehun breathes out a sigh of relief.
“That’s great, if we can both read minds then you must understand-”
But then Sehun processes the rest of Chanyeol’s words and his stomach sinks.
He can read the minds of people he's attracted to.
Sehun flushes and wonders if Chanyeol overheard some of the things he was thinking on Friday. He feels really vulnerable with all his thoughts on display, and it's weird to find out how the other side feels. Is this how Jongin felt when Sehun looked into his thoughts?
He’d never thought about how other people would feel with someone listening in on their thoughts, and now that he’s in their place he doesn’t like it all.
“Wait, so does that mean you can…” He can’t bring himself to finish the sentence, leaving the last word trailing as he blushes.
"That’s the weird thing,” Leaning forward excitedly, Chanyeol laughs. “For some reason I can't read your mind at all!"
At first Sehun feels relieved, but then he’s a little bit disappointed. He wrinkles his nose. "Maybe the two abilities cancel out?"
That could make sense, right? He tries to remember the things he's learned about special abilities from Jongin's comic books. In Pokemon, grass pokemon weren't effective against other grass types. Maybe that's what this was?
Maybe telepathy couldn’t be used on other people that had telepathy?
“That could be it.” Chanyeol agrees. He rips open a second packet of ketchup and empties it onto his tray.
“Can you think of any other reason?” Sehun finally starts to unwrap his burger, licking a bit of excess mayonnaise from his fingers.
Chanyeol laughs as he reaches for a fry, and when he leans forward his tie falls into the ketchup. "Well, either that or maybe I don't actually like you!"
Sehun doesn't think that's very funny.
The rest of the lunch passes somewhat awkwardly. He asks Chanyeol questions and times his bites so that he doesn't have to talk much, and once they return to the company he promptly shuts himself up in the bathroom.
He's been in the bathroom for about two hours, sending sad knock knock jokes to Jongin (knock knock// who's there? // my broken heart hahah i hate u :c // wth sehun???) and reading through online issues of Elle, when he hears a knock on the door.
"I'm not going to the meeting, Luhan."
A Snickers bar is shoved underneath the door.
"This is just the advance payment. If you go to the meeting I'll give you two more."
"Three," Sehun says at once, because Oh Sehun isn't easy.
"Two Snickers and a box of Milk Duds."
The meeting is extremely boring but at least he gets to see Yixing spill coffee in Kris' lap, so it isn't entirely without purpose.
But the worst part is seeing Chanyeol across the table talking with Kyungsoo and laughing over one of Baekhyun's dumb jokes, and wondering why Chanyeol isn’t sitting next to him, laughing with him.
Sehun feels sick.
Being heartbroken and mopey gives Sehun plenty of time to think over things. Too much time really.
After he gets over the initial stage of denial (during which he consumed three bags of Reisens and watched nearly four seasons of The Big Bang Theory), there's a panic of is it because I'm not good enough? Sehun racks his brains trying to think of ways he falls short (lazy, yes; unfriendly, yes; grumpy, YES; murderous, well to some people). Maybe Chanyeol doesn't like him because he heard about the tie shredding incident. Maybe it's because he knows about the time that Sehun accidentally killed the hallway plant trying to get rid of Jongdae's coffee.
But wait, why is he thinking about changing himself?! Isn't Oh Sehun perfect? Aren't there loads of people that want to get into his pants? Just because one guy isn't interested it doesn't mean the world has to end.
The pounding on the door startles him into dropping his chopsticks into the pot of ramen.
"Fuck fuck fuck," Sehun mutters to himself as he turns off the stove, stomping over to the front door so he could yell at whoever was keeping him from lunch.
When Sehun opens the door, Chanyeol is standing there.
So he does what any sane heartbroken person would do when they are face to face with their heartbreaker and closes the door in Chanyeol's face.
He should've seen his coming. Ever since he saw Baekhyun and Jongdae hanging around Chanyeol during lunch break he should have expected that they'd send Chanyeol to ambush him.
He considers leaving Chanyeol on his front step, but Chanyeol begins pounding on Sehun’s door. If he doesn’t do something he’s going to get a noise complaint from the nuclear family living next door that complains about noise coming from all the other apartments even though their dog is always barking in the middle of the night.
So he cracks open the door.
"What do you want?" He's tired and grumpy and he's missing the beginning of the Friends marathon on the Family Network.
"Can I talk to you?"’
“Did I do something wrong? You were avoiding me during the meeting today and you weren’t at your desk after lunch…” Chanyeol steps closer to the door, until his face is level with Sehun’s.
"Why do you care?" Sehun spits out. “It’s not like you like me or anything!”
The confusion on Chanyeol’s face melts into realization. “Sehun-”
Sehun doesn’t want to hear anything Chanyeol has to say. He begins to close the door, but before he can shut it fully Chanyeol pushes through, backing Sehun up against the wall of his tiny entryway. Chanyeol leans in closer, and Sehun is trying not to trip on the pile of sneakers next to the wall, trying not to think about how handsome Chanyeol looks close up, trying not to think about the way his heart lurches when he can feel Chanyeol's breath soft against his mouth.
And then Chanyeol's lips are soft against him, pulling his mouth apart. His hands are framing Sehun's hips, forcing them back into the wall until he's trapped between the slow grind of Chanyeol's hips and the plaster wall behind him. His fingers tease the hem of Sehun's shirt upwards, and Sehun shivers when the soft skin of his hips is exposed to the cool air.
There's a moment when Sehun forgets that he hates Chanyeol, and starts to feel the familiar flutter tugging at his insides. His hands are heating up, and his fingers clutch at Chanyeol's collar, dragging him closer, trying to fill all the gaps with teeth and tongue.
But then he remembers that Chanyeol was one that didn't want this. Chanyeol was one that pushed him away.
He pushes Chanyeol off of him, and the taller man stumbles back a few steps. His shoulders bump harshly against the opposite wall.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Sehun hisses.
"I'm just saying you don't need to be worried that I don't like you!"
"How can I not be worried? You're the one that said it! Because that's the easy solution isn't it? Obviously you just don't like me and I'm just this idiot that's not good enough for you even though you're an even bigger idiot who can't even remember how to change the ink in the copier and-"
"It was a joke! Okay. Just," Chanyeol grabs his hand.
For a second, Sehun thinks that Chanyeol is going to press Sehun's palm against his chest to show him how fast his heart is beating, and the words so cheesy are on the tip of his tongue.
But instead of pressing his hand against his heart, he tugs Sehun's hand lower.
"Oh." Sehun whispers, pulling his hand away from Chanyeol’s jeans.
"Now do you believe me?"
Sehun flushes, the feeling lingering on his hand.
"You wanna fuck me, so what?" It's not what he means to say, not really, but he's still bitter that Chanyeol has been leaving him hanging for so long. Besides he already has his share of admirers.
With Chanyeol's hands still on Sehun’s hips he pushes the younger boy roughly into the wall. “Goddamnit Sehun, why do you keep taking everything I do the wrong way?” His brows knit and there’s frustration in his voice.
“Well, maybe if you were a bit more clear then I wouldn’t take things the wrong way,” Sehun retorts sulkily. He pointedly avoids eye contact with Chanyeol, instead staring somewhere over Chanyeol’s shoulder.
Pulling back slightly, Chanyeol runs a hand through his hair. He sighs heavily.
"Look Sehun, I-" Chanyeol stops, staring at Sehun's face, and Sehun blushes at the way Chanyeol's eyes trace each of his features. "I really really like you. You’re hot, but you’re smart and-"
He grabs Sehun's hands, lacing their fingers together and leaning forward until their noses bump together. His breath is hot on Sehun’s cheeks, and it smells a bit like pizza. Sehun is torn between pulling back and pushing forward. It would be so simple to close the last inch of distance between them, to forget everything in the tomato sauce staining the corners of Chanyeol’s mouth.
"Go out with me?"
Chanyeol's eyes are wide, nervously searching Sehun's, and maybe he actually does care about Sehun. Maybe he actually wants this to work out, and the thought of that makes the butterflies in Sehun's stomach return. His heart is flip flopping, a mixture of anxious and excited.
Sehun smiles behind his hand.
"I'll think about it."
"You're so lucky that you can read the minds of the people you like, instead of the other way around. It must be so much quieter only having one mind you can read." Sehun says later when they're curled up on Sehun's couch watching old tv shows together. He places his hand flush with Chanyeol's, looking at the difference in size and rubbing his thumb over the back of Chanyeol's hand. He likes that Chanyeol's limbs are wiry and awkward. He likes the little quirks like Chanyeol's big eyes and his ears.
He really just likes Chanyeol a whole fucking lot.
"Lucky?" Chanyeol repeats Sehun's words incredulously. "Thoughts I want to hear?"
Dropping Sehun's hand, Chanyeol tugs the smaller boy closer until his mouth is flush with Sehun's ear. "You don't know how many relationships were ruined early on because I heard something I didn't want to know."
"So?" Sehun's a bit breathless.
"So it's a good thing I can't hear your thoughts. If I knew about your fetish with smells beforehand I don't know if I would've made the effort."
Sehun pouts. Smells are good and should be appreciated by all. So what if his nose is really sensitive? "Shut up, it's a good thing I didn't know about your ferret obsession."
"Don't dis the ferrets. YOU DON'T DIS THE FERRETS."
Sehun squeals when Chanyeol starts to tickle him. He thrashes in an attempt to escape the wriggling fingers, but Chanyeol is persistent and soon Sehun is curled in a ball shrieking with laughter as Chanyeol attacks him relentlessly.
And he wonders what he's going to call his next blog entry because he doesn't think that any song lyrics can capture how happy he feels in this moment.