"Subject One is approaching subject two. Subject Two is by the frozen dairy aisle, looking at ice creams. Note: Subject Two seems to be fond of strawberry ice cream. Note: Subject One seems to be fond of subject two. Note: Subject One and Two are dumb. Note–"
"Are you talking to yourself?" a voice interrupts, and Jongin spins around from his observation area by the dairy aisle, hiding behind a stack of mini donuts, to see Kyungsoo staring at him wide eyes.
"No, I'm talking into this voice recorder," Jongin says, holding up the device for Kyungsoo to see. He is not impressed.
"Why are you talking to a voice recorder?" he asks slowly. "And who are subject one and two?"
"Sehun and Luhan," Jongin replies, gesturing over at the two not-so-subtly flirting. Kyungsoo makes a face of disgust, and Jongin quickly continues explaining so he doesn't seem like a stalker. "I'm doing an experiment!"
"What kind of experiment?" Kyungsoo asks warily, eying Jongin and the voice recorder. Who uses a voice recorder these days anyway? Talk about suspicious.
"I'm testing out a theory of mine," Jongin starts, ignoring the are-you-serious look Kyungsoo gives him. He waits for Kyungsoo's response, staring back at him expectantly until Kyungsoo finally cracks.
"What? What is the theory?" Kyungsoo snaps impatiently.
"Whether or not Sehun will get laid by the end of this month," Jongin answers, almost proudly, and Kyungsoo is so used to Jongin and Sehun's crazy tactics that he doesn't even bother reacting. He just rolls his eyes and begins to walk away when Jongin grabs his arm. "Wait, don't you want to hear more about it?"
"No," Kyungsoo deadpans.
Jongin frowns. "But-but I put a lot of thought into this." He lets go of Kyungsoo's arm, eyes falling to the ground dejectedly. Kyungsoo lets out a huff, hating it when Jongin would pull the guilt card on him, especially when he knows Kyungsoo can never deny him.
"Fine," Kyungsoo says through gritted teeth. "Tell me more."
Jongin looks up, beaming, and Kyungsoo wonders if he was tricked into this. "You see, after years of observations– wait, no, that sounds creepy, but I'm Sehun's roommate so I mean– wait, it's not like I stalk him or something, I just– I don't even the last time he brought someone back? I don't think it was even a someone?" Jongin stammers. Kyungsoo's unamused look always made him nervous; he always felt as if he was saying the wrong thing around him.
"That doesn't make sense. How could someone not be a someone?" Kyungsoo asks, rubbing his temples. He's already getting a headache. Sometimes Kyungsoo thinks he prefers just looking at Jongin's face, instead of hearing anything come from it.
"I think the last thing he brought back was a stray cat," Jongin says, scratching his head, trying to remember. He does remember waking up to scratched up curtains.
"Wow," Kyungsoo deadpans.
"I know," Jongin sighs.
"Well, still, how would you know if he gets laid or not?" Kyungsoo asks, eyebrow raised. Jongin flushes red, hoping Kyungsoo doesn't misunderstand him or think of him as a pervert.
"I–I–I don't know," he stutters. "I don't want to know," he adds as an afterthought, turning even redder when he hears Kyungsoo's chuckle.
"Well, you might want to take that into consideration if you want your experiment to work," Kyungsoo sighs. He doesn't even know what he's doing, offering Jongin advice on his dumb experiment, but maybe, deep down – like deep, deep, deep down... really deep –, Kyungsoo does wonder when Sehun is going to stop flirting with Luhan, their regular customer, and actually make a move.
"Right," Jongin says with an affirmative nod. "Maybe there are other ways to test my theory though," he says in thought.
Kyungsoo shrugs. "Knowing Luhan, you'll probably hear about it once it happens anyway."
Jongin shudders, remembering the time Luhan accidentally turned on the intercom while Jongin was helping him at the counter, blurting out, "Are you gonna show me where the two-ply toilet papers are, or are you just gonna keep checking out Kyungsoo's ass from over here?" Jongin couldn't face Kyungsoo for a week after that, much less their other regular customers.
"Oh, hey, Sehun's coming this way," Kyungsoo says, nodding over at their friend walking over to them. "What did Luhan want?"
Sehun shrugs, trying to act cool, but Jongin knows him better than that. The boy is actually freaking out on the inside, just as he does on the outside when they are alone back at their dorm, where Jongin has no escape. "He was just asking where the popcorn was."
Kyungsoo and Jongin share a look before Kyungsoo rolls his eyes and Jongin says, "You know, he's been going here for half a year now. I think he knows where the popcorn section is."
Sehun frowns. "And if he doesn't? Maybe he was just really lost and wanted my help. Is that so weird?"
Jongin mentally groans and Kyungsoo looks as if he's about to throw a jar of pickles at Sehun's head. "I don't know when you two are going to stop going in circles around each oth–"
"Sehun?" a voice interrupts. It's no surprise – well, except maybe to Sehun, who's always (pleasantly) surprised by Luhan's appearances – to see said handsome man standing in front of them, looking oh-so-innocent. Jongin, again, knows better; after all, he's actually met Luhan through dance performances, and Luhan has never once been innocent at any of them (he actually won the insider award for 'Most Sexual Jokes' from the other dancers).
"Luhannie!" Sehun jumps, immediately smiling at Luhan, who returns the gesture.
"Sorry to interrupt, but I was also wondering if you could show me where the soda section was."
"It's in aisle si–" Kyungsoo starts explaining, just trying to be a good worker, when Sehun hastily cuts him off. Kyungsoo looks miffed, but Jongin just rubs his arm in an attempt to comfort him, knowing nothing can be done about Sehun.
"It's in aisle six," Sehun repeats kindly. "But I can show you it, if you'd like."
Luhan grins. "I would like that very much. Thank you, Sehun." The two walk away, a little too close to each other.
Kyungsoo and Jongin stand there, watching them leave.
"Tell me how that experiment works out," Kyungsoo finally says before leaving to work.
Jongin nods, going back to his 'work' which was just not-so-subtly stalking Sehun and Luhan from afar.
"Day two. The real experimentation begins today. My first test will be to see how Subject One and Two work under pressure. More specifically, sexual pressure." Jongin starts cackling to himself, only to catch himself when he hears someone clear his throat behind him.
Said boy stiffens. "Yes?"
"Get back to work."
Jongin's shoulder slumps. "Yes, Kris." He puts down his voice recorder and starts re-shelving the cans. Kris walks away, shaking his head, muttering something about either beard porkers or weird workers under his breath.
Jongin continues shelving the cans, wondering what a beard porker could even be, when he hears someone behind him again and jumps. "I'm working, I swear, please don't fire me, Kr– oh. Jongdae. You scared me," he sighs, placing a hand on his chest.
"Yeah, I get that a lot," Jongdae says, a little too proudly. "So a little birdie told me you were doing an experiment on my favorite cashier," Jongdae sings.
"I'm not doing an experiment on Junmyeon," Jongin says, confused.
"I said cashier, not greeter," Jongdae snaps. "You know Sehun's the only cashier I like."
Jongin frowns. "I never knew that."
"Well, you should have. Only Sehun can act so bored and uninterested in his job and get away with it, especially with customers around." It isn't exactly a secret that the only reason Sehun landed this job was because his best friend from middle school – he didn't mean Jongin until sophomore year in high school – ran into him one day, jobless, and hooked him up with his successful boyfriend. If running a supermarket can be considered successful, that is.
So thanks to Zitao and his rich boyfriend, Kris, both Sehun and Jongin have a secured job at the supermarket. Sehun works the cashier, only because his pretty face brings in customers, so Kris says, while Jongin works on restocking and inventory.
"Also, Sehun's little crush on Luhan is the only source of my amusement throughout the day. How can he not be my favorite?" Jongdae asks, grinning.
"But I thought Kyungsoo was your favorite cashier," Jongin says, frowning. Then again, it's not a problem if Jongdae's favorite isn't Kyungsoo, because Kyungsoo should only be Jongin's favorite to be honest.
Jongdae purses his lips. "I like Kyungsoo as a friend and all, but he's not an interesting cashier. He's too vanilla for my taste."
"I like vanilla," Jongin mumbles, playing with the label of the can in his hand.
"Yeah. I know," Jongdae deadpans. If Jongin's experiment with Sehun and Luhan works, Jongdae plans to start a similar one with Jongin and Kyungsoo afterwards, because those two are almost just as hopeless.
"Anyway," Jongdae starts. "I want in on Project HunHan."
"Project HunHan? What?" Jongin asks, eyes wide. Jongdae rolls his eyes, thinking Jongin should hang out with Kyungsoo less often before he picks up on all of his habits.
"You know, HunHan? Sehun and Luhan. HunHan," Jongdae tries explaining as simply as possible, but the name itself is pretty self-explanatory if you ask Jongdae. Then again, Jongdae did (and still does) spend a lot of time in the DBSK fandom, so couple names were a breeze to him.
"What?" Jongin asks, still confused. "Why not just call them SeLu or something then?"
Jongdae's eyes narrow at his co-worker. "Because SeLu sounds like some foreign vegetable, and HunHan is catchy, and I already made the banners so shut up, we're going with HunHan," Jongdae hisses as he stalks off, fuming over Jongin's 'blatant disrespect for the beauty of couple names'.
Jongin frowns. "I like SeLu."
Minseok, who's walking by at that moment, stops to ask. "Oh, is that some sort of food? I think they're selling it at the market down the road if you want some. Just don't tell Kris you're buying from competition," Minseok says with a cheeky grin before leaving for the break room.
Then again, maybe Jongdae has a point. HunHan it is.
Jongin goes back to re-shelving the cans while secretly wondering what his and Kyungsoo's couple name would be.
"Still day two. Phase one of Project HunHan is being implemented. With the help of my new colleague, Jongdae and I will work together to push HunHan together. Literally." Jongin puts down his recorder as he sees Jongdae approaching.
"Is the recorder thing really necessary?" Jongdae sighs.
Jongin frowns. "Yes. How am I supposed to remember all of this if I don't record?"
"You could always just video tape it. That'd be even easier and better for evidence," Jongdae says, and he sounds like he knows a little too much about this whole stalking-people-from-afar-to-get-them-together thing. "And a lot more subtle than talking to yourself."
Jongin juts his chin out in defiance. "Well, it's my project, so I'm going to do whatever I want, and what I want is the voice recorder."
"I thought you wanted Kyungsoo."
"W-What?!" Jongin sputters, caught off-guard by Jongdae's random (but true) statement. He almost runs into a woman and her child with their groceries while choking on his spit. When he's finally recollected himself and done apologizing to the indignant woman, he turns to Jongdae, face red with either embarrassment or anger or both (probably both). "Don't say that!" he hisses, glaring at Jongdae, who's too busy laughing to even care.
"Oh, man, see! This is why we need a camera. I should've filmed that. Kyungsoo would've gotten a hoot out of that," Jongdae sighs, wiping a tear from his eye.
"Shut up and leave Kyungsoo out of this," Jongin snaps, voice lowered just in case Kyungsoo is nearby (although he shouldn't be, considering his break is over and he should be back in the front at the cash register). "I thought this was about Sehun and Luhan."
"It is," Jongdae says with a nod. "I just like to mess with you. You make it too easy." Jongdae pats Jongin's shoulder sympathetically before walking off. Jongin watches him with narrowed eyes, snorting when Jongdae turns around to throw him a wink before 'accidentally' tripping over air and pushing Luhan straight into Sehun.
"Oh, clumsy me!" Jongdae feigns innocence. "Sorry, it still hurts to walk. Junmyeon was pretty rough last night."
Luhan's eyes grow wide and Sehun's ears go red. Jongin, hiding by the baked goods section, stifles a laugh. Too busy gaping at Jongdae, they don't seem to notice their rather intimate position. Jongdae, however, does, and manages to subtly snap a picture of it on his phone.
"Wow, you two seem cozy," Jongdae finally speaks up, grinning as Luhan and Sehun turn to look at each other and realize their positions. Luhan, after being pushed by Jongdae, fell into Sehun. Sehun, in a quick move to make sure Luhan didn't hit the floor, grabbed him by the waist and pulled him close. Even though Luhan is perfectly fine, he didn't seem to let go – until now, that is.
Jongin wonders if it's just the cookies he had for lunch speaking, but Luhan looks awfully disappointed when Sehun quickly unwraps himself from Luhan and takes a step back, neck red.
"Oh, uh, sorry," he mumbles, averting his gaze.
"Don't be," Luhan replies quickly, frowning when Sehun refuses to look at him. "Thank you for, um, saving me, actually."
Sehun looks up at him, a flustered look on his face. "It was n-no problem! I mean, that's what friends do, right? Save each other from dirty supermarket stores and all..." Jongin can tell Sehun is mentally face-palming and kicking himself; Jongin is about ready to do that as well.
Luhan frowns, and Jongin is definitely not just seeing things now. Jongdae obviously notices too, the way he's blatantly filming with his phone now. Not that Luhan or Sehun notice, too wrapped up with each other to remember Jongdae.
"Well, I hope you don't do this with all your friends," Luhan finally says, smiling a little. Sehun chuckles awkwardly.
"Yeahhhhh," Jongdae interrupts, finally bringing the attention back to him. "I hope I didn't make this awkward or anything," he offers, but from the glare he's receiving from both Sehun and Luhan, he knows already (not like he didn't know before though, since he has it all on film).
"Maybe you and Junmyeon should be a little more... careful next time," Luhan says stiffly, sending another glance at Sehun, who is busy examining the milks' expiration dates.
"I'll keep that in mind," Jongdae replies chirpily. "See you guys around!"
"Bye," Luhan mutters. Sehun says something too, but he's mumbling and Jongdae doesn't care because he's got his observations and he's ready to go. He casually strolls back to Jongin, who meets him with applause.
"Nice," Jongin says, surprisingly impressed with Jongdae's performance. "Sehun is definitely embarrassed."
"And even more importantly, Luhan is mad," Jongdae points out, grinning. "And you know what they say about anger – it's a step towards sex."
"No one says that," Jongin deadpans.
"Really?" Jongdae asks. "Well, they should. Imagine a world with less war because everyone fucked instead of fought."
"Hmm so this is why everyone warned me not to talk politics with you," Jongin thinks to himself under his breath.
"What was that?"
"Nothing!" Jongin says quickly, ready to change the subject. "Also, I didn't know you and Junmyeon were like that already though?" Now that Jongin thinks about it, he didn't need to know that either.
"Oh, we're not," Jongdae says coolly. "Yet."
Jongin reminds himself to pray for Junmyeon (after his nightly prayers for Kyungsoo, of course).
"Day three. Subject One is acting avoidant, and Subject Two has yet to show– oh, I take that back. There's Subject Two, with his reusable shopping bag. Man, Subject Two is here too often." Jongin shakes his head in disapproval. "Subject Two is approaching Subject One from the back– haha, from the back, oh man – and Subject One does not notice.
"Oh, Subject One has noticed, and is slowly and not very subtly stepping back. Subject Two looks hurt as he tries to walk up to Subject One. Subject One trips over a chocolate bar pyramid. Wait, Subject One tripped over the chocolate bar pyramid?!" Jongin hisses. "Shit, I spent two hours putting that together! Kris is going to kill me, and I'm going to kill Se– I mean, Subject One." Jongin puts his recorder down to stop himself from documenting his plans to kill Oh Sehun.
Meanwhile, said boy is red in the face, flustered from his fall. Luhan lends a hand in pulling him up, but Sehun stands up by himself. Jongin snorts, shaking his head. Sehun is a lot worse than he originally thought, and what he originally thought wasn't very nice to begin with.
"Are you okay?" Luhan asks once Sehun's up again.
"I–yeah," Sehun sighs, looking down awkwardly. "I should, uh, get back to work." He awkwardly gestures to his cash register, and Luhan nods a little sadly.
"See you tomorrow?" Luhan asks hopefully, but Sehun doesn't reply as he's already gone. Luhan lets out a groan as he kicks a candy bar and leaves.
"Hey, he should've paid for that," Jongin mumbles as he walks up to the destroyed chocolate bar pyramid. He can feel Kris' eyes boring into the back of his head, so he starts working immediately. As he does, he subtly pulls out his recorder.
"Subject Two has left, and Subject One is currently banging his head on the cash register. I should probably be a good friend and talk to him about that before he ruins more brain cells, because that is the last thing he needs." Jongin stuffs the recorder in his pocket and calls Junmyeon over to fix the mess.
"Wait, why do I have to clean this up?" Junmyeon asks, frowning. "I didn't do this."
"I know you didn't, but the boy who did is currently having love problems, and if I don't help, he may never get laid," Jongin answers somberly. "Now, Junmyeon, you don't want to be the reason Sehun stays forever alone? And you definitely don't want to be the reason I have to put up with his cries for the next ten years if this doesn't work out with Luhan?"
Junmyeon gulps. "But–" he starts weakly, but Jongin already knows he has this in the bag.
"Besides, Jongdae would be awfully disappointed if that happens," Jongin sighs, and Junmyeon's eyes widen.
With an indignant sigh, Junmyeon falls to his knees and starts picking up chocolate bars. Jongin snickers, "That was too easy," under his breath and walks towards the cash register.
Sehun continues punching numbers with his forehead.
The customers at the adjacent line are staring.
Kyungsoo, the cashier at the adjacent register, is also staring.
"Dammit, Sehun!" Jongin hisses, grabbing Sehun and pulling him away. Sehun jerks forward, and Jongin has to push him to make sure he doesn't fall on top of him.
"What?" Sehun snaps. "Can't you see I'm trying to forget the fact that I embarrassed myself in front of Luhan. Again."
"Obviously I can see that," Jongin bites back. "And so can everyone else in this store. Now stop being a baby and just man up and tell Luhan how you feel."
Sehun laughs bitterly. "You make it sound so easy."
"It kind of is," Jongin snorts. "Luhan's practically begging for you to ask him out."
"As if you have the right to talk," Sehun mutters, crossing his arms. "You and Kyungsoo are always having little dates at the cafe or the park, yet you haven't once asked him out on an 'official' date."
Jongin's eyes widen and he quickly looks back to make sure Kyungsoo didn't hear that. Luckily, Kyungsoo looks too busy trying to find the scanner on one of the cereal boxes to pay attention.
"That is a completely different thing," Jongin hisses, pulling Sehun away from the cash registers. "Kyungsoo and I are just friends right now. Meanwhile, you and Luhan have been flirting for months."
"We have not!" Sehun protests, ears red. Jongin rolls his eyes.
"Oh, really?" Jongin asks in disbelief. "Just last week, he was practically fawning over your arms after you helped him grab those crackers from the top shelf."
"He-he was just being thankful," Sehun stammers. "It was nothing!"
Jongin's eyes narrow at Sehun. "You're hopeless. Luhan could be bent over in front of you, and you'd think it's just because he's 'being a good friend'." Jongin shakes his head.
Sehun is too busy thinking about that scenerio to even answer.
"Subject One is hopeless," Jongin mutters into his recorder as he walks off, leaving Sehun behind with a bloody nose. Guess he'll have to get Junmyeon to clean that up too.
"Day four. Subject One is not at work today, most likely because he does not have work today. Subject Two will probably not show up because Subject One is not here. Long story short, day five is useless.
"However, I do have inside information that Subject One is going out to the dance studio today. And from other resources I have learned that Subject Two has practice from three to five. If I'm lucky, I will get details from my insider, or from Subject One himself when he goes back to the dorm."
Jongin puts away his recorder and sees a certain someone trying to grab something from the top shelf. Thinking of Sehun and Luhan's incident, he wonders if it'll work on him too. He walks over confidently and grabs the bottle for Kyungsoo when suddenly he's tripping backwards.
Next thing he knows, Kyungsoo is hovering over him, eyes wide with concern.
Instead of the "are you okay?" or "do you need a kiss to make it better?" that Jongin expects and hopes for, Kyungsoo asks, "What were you thinking?"
"That I could help you?" Jongin offers with a groan as Kyungsoo helps pull him back up, an exasperated look on his face.
"Well, thanks," Kyungsoo says, although he doesn't sound like he means it. "But I wasn't reaching for anything. I was just signaling to Junmyeon where the spill was." Kyungsoo gestures to the liquid Jongin tripped on.
"What is that?" Jongin asks, eying the yellow liquid.
"A five-year-old's accident."
Jongin lets out a long groan. The things he does for Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo helps him wash up afterwards, not without laughing at him and teasing him of course. Before he leaves to continue working, though, Kyungsoo tells him, "Thanks for trying to help. If I ever need someone to grab something off the top shelf for me, you'll be the first I call." With a smile, Kyungsoo walks off, Jongin watching him with a goofy smile
Later that day, when Jongin is back in his dorm, watching re-runs and eating leftovers, Sehun comes in. Jongin greets him from the couch, but Sehun doesn't reply. He just smiles and walks to his room, locking himself in there.
Jongin raises an eyebrow and pulls out his recorder – he keeps it around, just in case he needs to remember something – and speaks.
"Day four again. Subject One has come back, and he is visibly happier. When asked about his mood, he gave a dreamy sigh and smiled at absolutely nothing – unless he really was smiling at the dirty dishes stacking up – before retreating to his room. If my suspicions are confirmed, he saw Subject Two today."
Jongin takes out his phone and texts his 'insider', Taemin, who works at the dance studio Sehun and Jongin go to. He gets a reply a couple of minutes later and grins.
"Subject One and Subject Two have reconciled. Project HunHan is back on track," Jongin says as he reads Taemin's text:
no i didn't see sehun or luhan today at the studio
"Day five. Subject One and Two are talking again, definitely confirming Subject One's behavior last night. I will be approaching for closer examination." Jongin tucks his recorder into his back pocket as he 'coolly' and 'subtly' sneaks his way over to where Sehun and Luhan are standing.
"Hey, Sehun," Luhan says as they approach the fruits section. They're standing by the honeydews and canteloupes. "Why didn't the melons get married?"
"I don't know, why?" Sehun asks, smiling as he played along. Jongin is somewhat offended; he's tried playing jokes on Sehun, but Sehun would always shoot him down.
"Because they canteloupe," Luhan yells, and Sehun starts cracking up. Jongin wonders if Luhan gives him drugged bubble tea, because there is no way Luhan could've found that terrible joke funny.
"Good one," Sehun sighs, leaning into Luhan, who grins back at him.
"Thanks. I have more if you want to hear," Luhan offers eagerly.
Jongin is shaking his head in horror, but Sehun nods, smiling.
And that's how Jongin ends up spending the rest of his working hours listening to really bad jokes from Luhan and really obnoxious laughter from Sehun. The things he does in the name of science.
He's now waiting in the break room for Kyungsoo to get off his shift so they can grab dinner together – as friends, Jongin thinks a little bitterly – and trying to erase any memory of the last two hours.
"How's Project HunHan going?" Jongdae asks as he slips into the break room for a cup of coffee.
"Good, no thanks to you," Jongin says, rolling his eyes. "I had to endure two hours of their love sickness by myself. I thought you said you wanted to help."
"I do," Jongdae replies with a nod. "But I'm more of a behind-the-scenes type of guy. Besides, I've been having my own project going on with Junmyeon."
Jongdae's wink gives Jongin nightmares that night.
"Day six. Subject One was sent out to make an order with Zitao today. Subject Two has entered the supermarket, and is probably looking for Subject One." Jongin puts the recorder away and walks up to Luhan.
"Hey," Luhan says, still distracted as he looks around.
"He's out making an order," Jongin answers Luhan's unspoken question. Luhan looks at Jongin, lips in a 'O' shape.
"Will he be back by today?" Luhan asks.
"Maybe," Jongin replies with a shrug. "Orders don't usually take that long."
Luhan nods, humming as he starts walking around. "I guess I'll stick around then."
Jongin snorts. "You're persistent."
Luhan turns around to flash him a grin. "You can't get rid of me that easily."
"I don't plan to," Jongin laughs, shaking his head as Luhan walks off to find someone else to bother in his mean time. Jongin knows that if he ever got rid of Luhan, Sehun would be getting rid of his body.
Forty-five minutes later, Sehun gets back early. Zitao disappears when they arrive, heading straight to Kris' office, and Sehun makes his way to the back to put on his cashier vest when–
"I swear, if you don't share your buns, I'll bite your cheeks off instead," Luhan threatens Minseok in the break room, where Minseok was trying to have a relaxing lunch, which was ruined the moment Luhan walked in and attacked him.
It's not that weird that Luhan is around the supermarket actually. He's friends with a lot of the workers, including Kris. Of course, he was never around this often, until Sehun was hired. Then they couldn't get rid of him.
Minseok yelps as he runs around the small kitchen, trying to escape Luhan, who chases him hungrily. It only stops when Sehun steps into the kitchen, confused.
"Luhan?" he asks, eyebrows creased.
"Sehun!" Luhan exclaims, immediately halting in his chase to walk over to Sehun, beaming. "How was the order?"
"Good," Sehun replies slowly. "What are you doing to Minseok?"
"Oh, we were just messing around," Luhan replies innocently, throwing Minseok a smile. Minseok immediately grabs his buns while he can and high-tails it out of there, not wanting to be around to see what happens next (or to suffer Luhan's wrath).
Jongin wonders if he should follow after Minseok's footsteps, but he eventually decides to listen to everything from outside the break room.
"You threatened to bite his cheeks," Sehun says, and Jongin can hear the frown in his best friend's voice. He's always so pouty, especially when it comes to Luhan.
"It was just a joke," Luhan defends. "Minseok and I are good buds, he knows I'm playing around."
"Well, I never see you threatening to bite my cheeks," Sehun huffs, and Jongin wonders if he can hear how stupid he sounds. Jongin doesn't even have to look to know Luhan is probably smirking now.
"I could if you want," Luhan offers huskily, and the sound of metal clattering can be heard. Jongin can only assume Sehun ran into something. When Sehun comes stumbling out of the break room, heading straight for the front, not looking at anything as he attempts to hide his red face, Jongin now wishes he carried a video recorder around.
"What's with Sehun?" Kyungsoo asks, having passed Sehun and greeted him only to receive a grunt in response.
"He's jealous because Luhan threatened to bite Minseok's cheeks and not his, and embarrassed because Luhan offered to bite his," Jongin replies, snickering.
Kyungsoo just stares. "So I assume your experiment is going well then?" Kyungsoo finally asks.
Jongin nods proudly.
"Good," Kyungsoo replies. "The sooner this is over, the less I'll have to hear of Sehun's stupidity." And just like that, Kyungsoo is walking into the break room, Jongin laughing as he follows after him.
"Day seven. Subject One is moping and ignoring customers as he mans the cash register. Subject Two hasn't come in yet, explaining Subject One's distress." Jongin looks up and spots Luhan walking through the door, drinks in hand. He doesn't even need to be around to know what's going to happen next.
"Surprise!" Luhan exclaims, causing Sehun to jump in surprise. Even from behind the cereal box stand, Jongin can see the relief in Sehun's eyes when he sees Luhan.
"What's this?" Sehun asks, warily eying the drinks before settling on staring at Luhan.
"I brought bubble tea as a peace offering?" Luhan offers, holding up the cup. Sehun stares at it, then Luhan, then the cup again. "It's your favorite, too," Luhan sings, and Sehun can no longer help it – he breaks out in a big smile.
"Thanks," Sehun says as he grabs the cup. "And I'm sorry," he finally sighs, looking down awkwardly. "I don't even know what I was saying yesterday."
"Yeah, neither do I," Luhan laughs. "But for what it's worth, I think you're cute when you're jealous."
Sehun almost chokes on his bubble tea. Luhan laughs more, leaning over to pat Sehun's back. "Be careful," he teases. "Wouldn't want you dying on me."
Sehun smiles weakly as he continues to drink. "Y-Yeah." Jongin thinks a new shade of red should be added to the color wheel: Sehun's-face-when-Luhan-is-around-red. It has a ring to it.
As Sehun and Luhan just stand there, smiling at each other, Jongin begins to feel uncomfortable. He turns around to look at anything else, when his eyes fall on a certain someone moving boxes around.
"Meanwhile, Kyungsoo looks great as he bends over to pick up a box," Jongin murmurs to himself before realizing the recorder is still on. Cursing himself for thinking out loud, Jongin turns it off and walks over to Kyungsoo to help him move boxes.
"Day eight. Subject One and Two are happily flirting again, and I'm getting really tired of reporting the same thing over and over. Oh. Wait. What's this?" Jongin peeks over the stack of cereals he's supposed to be putting on the shelves, raising an eyebrow when he sees a female customer standing a little too closely to Sehun.
And just beside them is a not-so-happy Luhan.
"Someone's in trouble," Jongin hums into the recorder. "Subject Two looks as if he's about to knock someone out, that someone being a touchy girl standing close to Subject One."
To Jongin's surprise and Luhan's dismay though, Sehun doesn't do anything to move the girl. He tries stepping away, but the girl follows. He doesn't even look at Luhan as he tries to work as if everything is normal.
Jongin can already foresee the next twenty-four hours of pain for Sehun as Luhan walks away without another word. Sehun watches him desperatedly, wanting to say something but knowing he can't with the customer with him. He just finishes helping her as fast as he can before running towards the break room, where Luhan went.
"What's up with HunHan?" Jongdae asks, passing by the frantic Sehun on his way to Jongin.
"A girl was flirting with Sehun, and Sehun totally let her," Jongin explains.
"Mhm," Jongin hums in agreement. "Want to go watch them argue?"
"I'll grab the popcorn and meet you there," Jongdae says as they split their separate ways.
Jongin arrives outside the break room to hear Sehun attempting to apologize. It's awkward enough, knowing that Sehun already has problems apologizing, but it's even worse when he's stammering because of the way Luhan looks at him.
"I–I couldn't do anything about it," Sehun tries defending, and Jongin shakes his head. Wrong move, buddy. Just apologize and offer him dinner and move on, Jongin thinks.
"You could've just excused yourself," Luhan scoffs, crossing his arms. "Or pushed her away."
"Kris said the customer is always right, though," Sehun argues, and Jongin face-palms. Really? Putting Kris' dumb rules ahead of Luhan? Another mistake.
Luhan lets out a laugh in disbelief. "Really? Kris said that you should let girls touch your arms and fawn over you?"
"Well, no," Sehun admits quietly. "But, I mean, it's really no big deal. I don't get why you're so mad."
You're never going to get laid, Jongin thinks to himself, already bracing himself for the explosion. Jongdae comes up that moment, a bag of popcorn in hand.
"What did I miss?" he whispers.
"More dumb Sehun," Jongin scoffs, grabbing a handful of popcorn and stuffing it into his mouth. "Did you pay for this?"
Jongdae just laughs.
"It was just a customer," Sehun continues, and Jongin thinks it'd be for the better of everyone here, including Sehun himself, if a block of cement just landed on top of Sehun's head and shut him up. Because either way, he's going to go through some intense pain if he keeps talking. "No reason to get upset."
"Holy shit, did he really just say that?" Jongdae whispers, and Jongin nods his head sadly. His friend was beyond any hope.
"I'm sorry, but what?" Luhan snaps. The sound causes even Jongin to flinch. "Are you kidding me?" Sehun doesn't reply, probably too afraid to add to the fire he now realizes he's started. "You mean you're allowed to get jealous over me and Minseok – Minseok, the guy I've known since freshman year and have been strictly platonic with for five years – but I can't get mad when a girl who's very obviously interested in you starts touching you and you let her because it's your job?"
"Oh, this is getting intense," Jongdae whispers, eagerly eating the popcorn as he leans forward.
"Right, how silly of me," Luhan laughs a little too loudly. "Go ahead and flirt with every customer in this store then. See if I care next time." Now it's Luhan's turn to storm out of the break room, leaving the store completely.
Jongin peeks his head in to see Sehun standing there, staring at the spot Luhan was blankly. Jongin almost feels bad for the idiot.
But not Jongdae, who walks in right afterwards, still eating his popcorn obnoxiously, and pats Sehun on the back. "Good job, dumbass," he says with a nod before walking to the fridge and grabbing a drink.
Sehun doesn't even argue, because he knows.
"Day ten. It's almost the end of Subject One's shift, and Subject Two has yet to be seen. Subject One has been looking at the door anxiously the entire day. Not only is Subject One concerned, but I'm a little confused myself." Jongin scratches the back of his head, looking at the door now.
Ever since Sehun began working at the supermarket, Luhan's been around to visit him every day. When he couldn't come, he'd always tell Sehun ahead of time, and Jongin would know because he'd have to hear Sehun complain about it before and after work.
Now that Luhan hasn't shown up, Jongin knows he won't be getting any sleep tonight. He'll be too busy taking care of Sehun – and by 'taking care of', he means beating up his best friend for being an idiot.
Jongin ends his shift a little earlier than Sehun today, so he starts home first, already making sure to hide all of his important things, in case Sehun is in a tantrum mood. He's about to leave when he catches Jongdae.
"Hey, are you heading out?" Jongdae asks.
Jongin looks down to his bag then back up at Jongdae. "Yeah..."
"Cool. I'll come with."
"Why...?" Jongin asks warily.
"Because we need to exchange notes," Jongdae says as he throws his vest into the locker and slams it shut.
"Project HunHan, what else?" Jongdae asks, rolling his eyes.
"Oh, right," Jongin sighs. Great, now he has to handle Jongdae and Sehun. "Well, okay. But let's hurry, because Sehun is going to get back and we won't have time to do anything but listen to him whine when that happens."
Jongin is, of course, correct, because just an hour later, Sehun comes crashing through the front door and dumps his body on the couch. "I screwed up," he mumbles into the pillow pathetically.
"I know," Jongdae says, throwing a pillow at his head.
Sehun's head rises a little. "What are you doing here?" he asks, eying Jongdae.
"I have a project with Jongin," Jongdae says with a grin.
If Sehun is suspicious, he doesn't say anything. He just drops his head again and groans. "Luhan is never going to speak to me again. He hates my guts now."
"On the bright side, he still likes your balls," Jongin offers, trying to lighten the mood.
Sehun turns his head to glare at his supposed best friend. "This isn't a joke! This is Luhan we're talking about, and I totally ruined my chance."
"I would argue that," Jongdae speaks up. "Because Luhan kind of is a joke, and besides, there are many times I thought you ruined your chances with Luhan, but he's still around."
"Hey–" Sehun starts, disgruntled.
"Like that one time you spilled grape juice on his white shirt."
"That was an–"
"Or that time when you accidentally stepped on the vomit in aisle four when you were trying to show Luhan your new shoes."
"I didn't kn–"
"And let's not forget the time you gave a customer fifty dollars extra in change because you were too busy flirting with Luhan, and Kris totally blew up at you and brought up you embarrasing cross-dressing times."
"Hey, I– wait, that wasn't me," Sehun argues. "That was Chanyeol."
"Oh. Yeah," Jongdae says in thought. "But you were there too, and he yelled at you about your ridiculous hair dye obsession in front of Luhan, I remember that."
Sehun frowns. "Luhan likes my hair dyes though."
"Yes, you two would make the best rainbow-haired babies," Jongdae deadpans. "But first, we got to get to the first part – sex."
Sehun pales. "I-I thought friendship was the first step."
Jongdae chuckles. "You have a long way to go, my friend."
Realizing even he doesn't get what Jongdae's saying anymore, Jongin finally steps in. "Right... well, Jongdae, we can talk about our project tomorrow. I think Sehun is having a crisis right now, and you're making it worse." He nods over at Sehun who's staring at the wall, a horrified expression on his face. Jongdae shrugs, thinking at least he has an expression right now.
"Fine, but e-mail me the deets," Jongdae says as he walks towards the door. "I'll start putting the information together." He leaves with a wink that sends shivers down Jongin's back – and not the good ones, like the ones Kyungsoo gives him when their hand brushes, but the scary ones, like when you hear something from another room when you're home alone.
"What do I do, Jongin?" Sehun asks, falling back on his face once Jongdae's gone. Jongin knows Sehun is desperate if he's asking for his advice, because the last time that happened, Sehun was failing math class and his parents were threatening to ship him off to live with his grouchy grandparents.
"Well, you could start with apologizing to Luhan," Jongin says, rolling his eyes as he walks over to sit beside Sehun's legs.
"I tried, but he won't reply to my texts," Sehun wails, pulling a pillow over his head.
"Maybe you could try looking for him to tell him," Jongin offers. "Haven't you been to his place before?"
"Then what are you doing sitting around here, crying like a baby?" Jongin asks, pushing his friend's legs off the couch.
"I'm not crying like a baby," Sehun argues.
Jongin rolls his eyes. "Right, your eyes are just red because you have allergies."
"I do have allergies!" Sehun yells.
"Oh. Right," Jongin says, suddenly remembering. "But anyway! Just go and see Luhan and tell him how you feel!"
"Wait, what?!" Sehun exclaims. "I thought I just needed to apologize. I never said anything about a confession!"
"Yes, but if you don't do it now, then you never will," Jongin deadpans, pulling his best friend up. Sehun reluctantly sits up, glaring at Jongin.
"It's too soon–"
"You've been flirting for months now. If you don't tell him, I'll get someone else to."
Sehun narrows his eyes. "Who could you possibly get?"
"Chanyeol may or may not owe me a favor."
Sehun pales and immediately stands up. He rushes out the door without another word, not even bothering to grab his coat. Jongin crosses his arms proudly and sits back down, turning on the TV, when he realizes it's Friday night.
It's a Friday night and Jongin just spent it comforting his best friend and e-mailing Jongdae all of his notes on Project HunHan.
Man, Jongin needs a life.
"Day twelve. Subject One and Two seem very happy. Almost too happy. Oh, look, there they are. I wonder where they came from. Subject One seems happy. Subject Two, too. Hah, two too. Homophones for the homosexuals." Jongin is laughing at himself, too busy to notice his two subjects sneaking into a custodian closet, a mischievious look on Subject Two's face.
"Hey, where'd they go?" Jongin asks when he's finally paying attention again.
"You don't want to know," Yixing whispers as he walks past Jongin, mop in his clenched fist.
Jongin stares, confused. He obviously doesn't take Yixing's warning very seriously as he tries retracing Sehun and Luhan's footsteps only to find a locket closet and hear a lot of moaning, among other scandalous sounds.
Jongin is torn between being proud of his friend for finally admitting his feelings to Luhan and already getting to the 'making out in a closet' stage, and being horrified because Sehun's moans are something he definitely does not need to hear.
But on the bright side, Project HunHan is officially over, and he can finally spend his time doing more important things, such as raiding the employee fridge or watching Kyungsoo scan items cutely from afar.
"I finished the experiment!" Jongin exclaims as he jogs towards Kyungsoo, who just arrived and is putting on his work vest.
"Oh, wow," Kyungsoo says as Jongin hands him a clean binder. Having studied with Jongin before, Kyungsoo knows usually isn't this organized. "This looks good actually. Very, uh, professional?" he offers, smiling when Jongin beams at the compliment.
"Thanks! Jongdae helped, too," Jongin admits. "I gave him the research, and he typed it up, since he's better with that."
Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow. "That was oddly nice of him." In all the years Kyungsoo has known Jongdae – which are a lot, considering how they are high school buddies – Kyungsoo has rarely seen Jongdae do anything for anyone but himself. Even if he volunteers to help, he doesn't go as far as to do all of this. Jongdae always has a hidden agenda.
"Yeah, but he was pretty dedicated to Project HunHan." Jongin shrugs, not finding anything suspicious about it anymore. He figures Jongdae proved himself
"It's their couple name! You know, Sehun and Luhan. HunHan?" Jongin explains. He's not as good of an explainer as Jongdae, but Kyungsoo manages to understand anyway.
Kyungsoo blinks. "Right."
"Well, read it," Jongin urges impatiently, eager to show Kyungsoo his work as he pushes the binder closer to Kyungsoo, who rolls his eyes but proceeds to open it up and begin reading.
by Kim Jongin
Question: When will Sehun get laid by the end of this month? (Or, put less vulgarly, will Sehun ever get the balls to ask Luhan out?)
Hypothesis: Never, because Sehun's dick has shriveled up from lack of use. Poor Luhan.
Research: Studies have shown that Viagra can only do so much if there is nothing there to begin with. Studies have also shown that Sehun turns into a puppy whenever Luhan enters the supermarket, rendering him useless and incoherent.
Experiment: Follow Sehun and Luhan around and record their interactions. Set up scenarios for the two to interact in. For example, making one or the other jealous is a classic.
Sehun was dumb in all scenarios, and Luhan has more patience than I ever thought imaginable.
Conclusion: Sehun got the balls to ask Luhan out. In fact, he may have gotten much more than just balls, if you catch my drift. My hypothesis was incorrect, but I am pleased with my findings. However, I am going to need to start looking for a new roommate, because the walls are thin and I have heard more than I ever wanted to about Sehun's sex life.
Besides, I heard Kyungsoo is looking for a roommate. Please see my next research paper, "Is it possible to look cute while cooking, cleaning, and even sleeping?" for further details on this. (Spoiler alert: the answer is yes if the subject tested is named Do Kyungsoo.)
"Uh, Jongin?" Kyungsoo asks, debating whether or not to bring this up (because it doesn't really help that his face is red, although not as red as he expects Jongin will turn). "D-Did you read this over yet?"
"No, I wanted to show you first," Jongin admits, flustered. "Why?" He takes it from Kyungsoo, who is trying his hardest not to meet Jongin's eyes. Kyungsoo can tell how far Jongin is by the way his anger starts rising and his face turns redder and redder.
"I should've known there'd be a reason why he didn't write his name under the credits," Jongin hisses, clenching the binder tightly.
"Don't worry," Kyungsoo quickly tries to comfort him awkwardly. "I know Jongdae always jokes around and all, so it's fine." Kyungsoo stands there as Jongin just stares at him. Starting to feel even more nervous, Kyungsoo says, "Well, I should get to work now. Uh, see you around, Jo–" He's cut off when Jongin grabs his arm, preventing him from leaving.
"Are you still looking for that roommate?"
(Meanwhile, a cackling Jongdae can be heard from outside the break room. He takes out his camera and presses the record button. "Project KaiSoo, start!")