Pairings: Baekhyun/Kris, Suho/Sehun, minor!Kai/D.O(tiny), bff!Baekhyun/Chanyeol
Word Count: 23,000~
Rating: R (some sex, language)
Summary: Everyone works at the cinema, except for Baekhyun - who's always there anyways. Baekhyun takes a liking to the new supervisor and Joonmyun is haunted by an old crush he'd rather forget. Jongin and Kyungsoo are just weird and Chanyeol is hopeless... most of the time.
Notes: For the sake of fic, both Joonmyun and Kris are older (around 24/25), everyone else is the same. So if you don't like fics with considerable age difference, then I guess this is a warning for that. Also this was originally two fics (a KrisBaek and a SeHo) that I decided to combine into one.
you gotta work
Joonmyun thinks he has a rather hard life. Maybe not in perspective with some less fortunate people, and it’s probably not anything he would ever want to say out loud, but he definitely thinks luck could have at least tried to be on his side a few times, here or there.
Five years he’s been working here. Five years of bagging popcorn and up-selling drinks and sweets, five years of the power struggle with the seemingly always broken slushie machine. Five years and not once has he been considered for the promotion to supervisor. Infact, they’d even been without a supervisor for nearly two weeks; the last one was an outside hire, of course, that went running shortly after his induction period.
So it’s only slightly infuriating to walk into work today to see someone entirely new stood with the silver engraved supervisor badge pinned proudly to their chest. This one at least knows how to bleach his shirts - it’s so white Joonmyun almost needs to squint. But he figures the peroxide-fried blond hair must add to his overall shiny white goodness. Kris, his name is apparently. Joonmyun tries not to scoff, because respect is key in this business. But it’s hard watching the one thing you want constantly going to someone else.
There must be some sort of pact Yunho has going to hire all the blond people for summer. There’s a new kid at concessions with them who has damn near white hair, with dark unmatching roots, that Joonmyun thinks must be barely old enough to work here. And it only takes about ten minutes worth of paying attention to realize who it actually is and why Joonmyun thinks he looks so familiar.
Oh Sehun, Jongin’s best friend and the kid that Joonmyun had probably the creepiest crush on in his 2nd year of college. This was back when Jongin was still considered a ‘family friend’ and Joonmyun was forced to pick him up from his dance classes after school to take him home. Sehun was always there with him, and that was right around the time Joonmyun was a) old enough to drink and b) drank enough to figure out he was more sexually attracted to men than females.
Except in this case Sehun was nothing but a boy, he was barely in his second year of high school, and Joonmyun had made the mistake of joking about this - out loud, in front of Jongin. Something along the lines of ”If only he was eighteen...” - and that was how Jongin learned that Joonmyun preferred the harsh lines of boys than the soft ones of girls.
And Joonmyun thinks this day couldn’t possibly get any worse, except of course Sehun is assigned to be his shadow for the day. He has to make an active effort not to look and see how much Sehun has grown up in such a short span of time, and instead focuses angrily on how fate seems to hate him.
The upside is that at least Yunho has recognized him as someone who is experienced enough to train a new employee, someone who is meant to be just as important as the rest of them. Except Sehun quickly tells him he’s only a seasonal hire for summer, and Joonmyun suddenly feels like he’s babysitting a bored high schooler.
“I just graduated,” Sehun corrects him when he asks.
“Why don’t you stay on permanent then? We can use the extra help,” Joonmyun asks.
“Because I don’t know my schedule yet.”
“You can do what Jongin does, he takes the minimum amount of classes required to keep his student card and not be considered a lazy-ass. Gives him plenty of time to work here,” Joonmyun adds, surprisingly more genuine than sarcastic because he kind of wishes he’d done it that way himself.
“At least Jongin is closer to graduation than you were at his age,” Kyungsoo decides to chime in, and Joonmyun stares despondently up at the ceiling.
There have been times, on darker days, where Joonmyun sits and thinks that maybe Kyungsoo had given birth to Jongin in another life. They have this strange mother-son connection that Joonmyun can’t quite wrap his head around. The fact that Joonmyun is of the male appreciative variety only seems to add a bitter sort of spice to that relationship from a third person perspective. Too many mental images of Kyungsoo and Jongin have flown in and right back out of his brain, things he knows aren’t anything more than his own imagination running wild, but it’s more than enough to make him want to forget.
But it’s annoying considering the only other person you work with on a daily basis ignores you by proxy. Which, in essence, explains Joonmyun’s reluctance to want to spend the entire day with Jongin’s best friend, that same best friend that Joonmyun had nearly submitted himself to jail for even thinking about.
It doesn’t help that Sehun has this habit of leaning in a little too close, of pressing the weight of his chin down on Joonmyun’s shoulder as he watches him work the register from behind, and Joonmyun actually knows that smell - knows the exact Paco Rabanne cologne it is he’s wearing, and it happens to be Joonmyun’s favorite. And even though its written there in the employee handbook to not wear any sort of fragrance when you work on concessions, Joonmyun really likes the smell so, he can’t ever imagine himself telling him to stop wearing it.
“Hyung,” Sehun says, almost right into his ear, and his voice is deeper than Joonmyun’s but it cracks around the edges. Almost like his balls have only just barely dropped- but Joonmyun should not be thinking about that. “When is lunch break?”
Joonmyun looks at the clock on the register, “It’s barely 10:30, did you not eat before you got here?”
“No, I did,” Sehun says, and he grins like thats some sort of wild and crazy secret, but really it only makes him seem adorably enthused, and Joonmyun really shouldn’t allow this to blossom into any sort of attraction.
But he smells nice and the way he says ‘hyung’ like Joonmyun is someone that matters is kinda nice too. But then Sehun incorrectly inputs a number 2 combo as a number 4 and Joonmyun has work to do.
Baekhyun used to actually like the movie theater. Coming here to pick up Chanyeol was less of a chore when he worked the day shift, and honestly sometimes he would end up picking up more than just his gangly best friend. It was all too easy to sit cozy on the counter during Chanyeol’s last few hours of work and watch the guys - in line to buy movie tickets with their girlfriends - ogle the curve of his ass where it sat propped and pretty on display. Baekhyun would send them nothing more than a sympathetic smile, a soft upturned curve of his lips that said nothing more than ‘sorry you’re stuck with a v and not a d my friend’.
And sometimes, it would be enough to watch that same poor captured soul come skipping out of the theater bay mid-movie, stride a combination of stealth and skittered, only to eventually find Baekhyun and look at him like he’s the answer to all their prayers. Only Baekhyun knows the ones where that statement rings true - it’s hard not to notice when a man screams your name like you’re the second coming of Christ himself.
But ever since Chanyeol switched to the night shift it’s been nothing but a bore. In fact, Baekhyun rarely comes early to hang out anymore because all he ends up doing is sitting around waiting for Chanyeol to finish cashing out the register (even without witnessing this firsthand, Baekhyun took enough math classes with Chanyeol to know this is not a pretty sight).
So 3AM it is, or just about, Baekhyun sits on that same counter, kicking his heels obnoxiously against the front side panel of the ticketing booth, while Chanyeol sits with his head dipped low over some sort of paperwork - paperwork Baekhyun could probably finish for him in a heartbeat, but nobody’s paying him to be here so screw that.
“How much longer?” Baekhyun whines, sending a particularly harsh kick to the shoddy plywood of the booth, hard enough to get Chanyeol to look up.
“Not that long, chill. You shouldn’t have come so early if you hate waiting so much.”
“Coming early is now relative. Your shift ends at 3 but actually leaving all depends on your mathematical ability, which we all know is slightly lacking.”
Chanyeol sends a well aimed punch at Baekhyun’s hip. Trust Chanyeol to finally find some ounce of coordination when violence is involved.
“Go talk to Kyungsoo or something, leave me alone,” Chanyeol mumbles, head back down frustratingly close to his paperwork. As if looking at it closer, literally, will make the task easier.
“Kyungsoo doesn’t like me,” Baekhyun sighs, and it’s true. Except he thinks Kyungsoo doesn’t really like anyone. Except Jongin, for whatever reason. But Baekhyun’s seen Jongin with his top off before and he would happily put up with him too-
“Baek,” Chanyeol interrupts, “Stop kicking the damn booth.”
Baekhyun’s posture has even gone to shit and he would blame Chanyeol’s night shift for that as well. He spends more time slumping over lack of social interaction than holding himself like he’s something to be appraised, and somehow that all boils down to it being Chanyeol’s fault. It’s Chanyeol’s fault he can’t drive and has to get Baekhyun to pick him up all the time. It’s Chanyeol’s fault that Baekhyun’s sexual escapades are usually short lived because Chanyeol snores like a stuttering boat motor - and that tends to be fairly off putting, surprisingly.
But then this tall, blond thing with broad shoulders and a killer set of eyebrows waltzes over, and is this still Chanyeol’s fault, too? Because now said blond thing is actually leaning over the counter at the side of Baekhyun to talk to Chanyeol, but Baekhyun can’t really hear because he’s busy staring at the muscular line of his shoulders beneath that thin white shirt and-
“Baekhyun, this is Kris,” Chanyeol also has a habit of interrupting Baekhyun’s thought processes. It’s like he knows Baekhyun’s mind will run wild if he lets it. “Kris is my new supervisor and the worst baller you’ll ever meet.”
The blond th- Kris takes a moment to thoroughly destroy any sense of order left on Chanyeol’s desk before turning to Baekhyun with a small smile that Baekhyun wouldn’t really ever place on that face. His eyebrows don’t seem to suit joy or friendliness, but then Baekhyun figures it must suit him in other ways because he’s staring now. He only knows he’s staring because Chanyeol lifts his head and starts laughing at him.
“Go on, shake his hand. Or whatever it is gay people do to greet someone,” Chanyeol says, while looking at Baekhyun specifically, but it’s Kris who whips his head around with wide, terrified eyes and well- that was easy.
“You guys seriously put the popcorn in trash bags?” Sehun asks, leaning heavily on one leg as he watches from the doorway of the storeroom.
“We don’t call them trash bags,” Joonmyun says, tossing Sehun a roll of the red plastic bags. “We call them food storage bags.”
“Kyungsoo calls them trash bags,” Sehun says, and Joonmyun isn’t quite sure why hearing him say that name makes him a little bit jealous - but he didn’t add ‘hyung’ on the end, so...
“Kyungsoo is a realist,” Joonmyun adds, tying the knot on his first yellow bag for the day. “The red bags are for popcorn popped the day before. Everything popped today goes in red for tomorrow. The yellow bags are for anything popped from the last three days - for example the red bags you fill today will need to be transferred to yellow tomorrow. Lastly, blue bags are for anything older than three days.”
“How old is anything older than three days?” Sehun asks slowly.
“We like to keep an air of mystery about certain things here. That is one of them. You use up the blue bags first, when they start to smell, you toss them.”
Sehun shudders and looks a little pale, but he bags up today’s batch into a red bag without much question. That is, except for- “What other things do you tend to keep mysterious?”
The fact that most of the boxes of candy are out of date by now, the fact that the slushie machine never works and nobody knows why, the fact that I like romantic comedies and bike riding and men.
“You’ll find out, eventually.”
It’s not long until Jongin is teaching Sehun the bad habits though. Habits like not mixing the blue bags with yellow when you’re trying to disguise the use of stale popcorn, or messing with the numbers on Kyungsoo’s stock sheet to be able to steal some soda, or maybe a slushie if you’re feeling brave.
That’s the only reason Jongin hasn’t been fired where many others have: Kyungsoo and his stock sheet. That’s Kyungsoo’s main duty at the end of the night, counting the unused cups and bags and comparing them with the numbers from the night previous and taking into account all the sales for the day. And he takes his job very seriously. But Jongin knows the lock code for the drawer he hides his clipboard in, and Joonmyun figures he’s probably even caught him a few times and turned a blind eye to it.
This time, though, he’s showing Sehun the art of taking the ice cream tubs out to the bin at the back of the building. The trick is to wait until you hit bottom, just enough to scrape against the paper base of the tub, with enough ice cream still clinging to the edges. You take it out for trash, but sneak a spoon out with you and eat whatever’s left before you toss it. Well, Joonmyun never gets the chance to, since Jongin is always the first one to declare a tub done and dusted, but he knows how it all works.
It’s the cotton candy bits one that’s hit bottom this time, too, which is Joonmyun’s favorite, so he tries not to look on forlornly as he watches Jongin and Sehun sneak a few taster spoons into their pockets. In fact he turns around completely - Kyungsoo isn’t the only one who can play stupid. Sometimes it’s best to ignore and say nothing, it makes working with these people a lot less tense and awkward.
It takes Joonmyun a while to realize that not only was that not Jongin’s voice, but that it was directed at him. The small tug on the back of his polo shirt helps, too, and when he turns he’s met with a small smile and bright eyes and- Joonmyun really shouldn’t be this excited.
“Hm?” he hums in question, not quite trusting his voice.
“Come out with us,” Sehun says, and he takes Joonmyun’s hand in his and presses one of the small pink plastic spoons into his palm - and the action alone is so tender and affectionate, so unlike anything Joonmyun is used to from his coworkers here. The spoon weighs not even a fraction of a pound, but it feels so heavy in his hand for some reason.
“Wh-who’ll watch the stand?” Joonmyun asks, a weak attempt at sounding like the responsible employee he is and has been for years.
“Kyungsoo will, it’s dead anyway hyung, come on.”
And just like that he’s being tugged out the back with the two youngest employees and a tub of not quite empty ice cream. Joonmyun isn’t sure if the sudden increase in speed of his pulse is because he knows he’s breaking a few rules here, or if it’s because of Sehun’s fingers wrapped around his wrist. Jongin doesn’t acknowledge his presence(as usual), he walks with purpose and doesn’t look back. But Sehun turns and smiles at him as he tugs him along and it’s nice - it feels good to know someone at least knows you’re there.
Joonmyun laughs with Sehun as they shovel too large scoops on too small spoons of quickly melting ice cream into their mouths out in the cold by the bins. Jongin even chuckles too, a few times. Their hands and arms get sticky with being shoved down in the what is essentially a small vat of sugar, but for once Joonmyun isn’t worried about being dirty. It should smell like garbage out here too, but all Joonmyun can smell is the sickly sweet cotton candy flavor and Sehun’s cologne.
Okay, so maybe Chanyeol switching to the night shift isn’t the worst thing in the world. Picking him up usually coincides nicely with the end of his own shift at the bar, and Baekhyun actually has something to look forward to now.
Baekhyun is usually pretty good at reading people, but he’s still not 100% sure about Kris. For example, he knows the only truly gay person working at the cinema is Joonmyun. He’s even tried to take him out a few times, in a mild attempt to stop hanging out with straight people only, but Joonmyun doesn’t do nights out.
So he also knows both Jongin and Kyungsoo are straight, despite their almost creepy attachment to each other(and that he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of ‘things’ having happened between them). The new kid, Sehun, doesn’t really seem have a preference and sort of just clings to whatever seems to be the flavor of the month - which currently happens to be Joonmyun, if Baekhyun’s vision still serves him well.
That’s the thing, Baekhyun is a skilled people watcher, an outside observer with a sharp wit and an ever sharper sense of judgment, but something about Kris still eludes him. Even despite Kris’ almost blatant facial admittance from the other night, Baekhyun doesn’t want to jump the gun here. For all he knows Kris could have just been outraged at the mere mention of homosexuals and one being in his presence, but then he still smiles at Baekhyun whenever he sees him, so that can’t be it.
“Baek, you honestly couldn’t be more obvious if you tried,” Chanyeol says, poking him in the hip with his pen. “Stop staring, it’s almost creepy.”
Baekhyun huffs, crossing his arms across his chest and slouching, “It would be nice if he stared back.”
“Maybe he does and you just don’t notice,” Chanyeol says vaguely, and Baekhyun side-eyes him with his arms still crossed, but Chanyeol doesn’t look up from his paperwork.
Baekhyun is about to ask him what the hell that’s supposed to mean, but then Kris is striding over to them, so Baekhyun focuses on uncrossing his arms and fixing his posture instead.
“Hey,” Kris says. Baekhyun does this little finger wave at him and then immediately feels like an idiot because he notices Kris was saying hey at Chanyeol, not him. But then Kris waves back with this sort of wild, uncontrolled grin and Baekhyun has to bite down on his lower lip to keep from grinning back..
“You comin’ out to the court after this?” Kris asks, turning back to Chanyeol. “Or are you going straight home?”
“Eh, I don’t know,” Chanyeol says. He does this weird, uncoordinated hand gesture towards Baekhyun.
“I’ll go with you guys,” Baekhyun chimes in, and Chanyeol snorts obnoxiously.
“Cool,” Kris says, his eyebrows high enough up his forehead to express surprise and also some admiration.
“Wait, where are we going?” Baekhyun asks, quickly realizing he has no idea what he just signed himself up for.
“Basketball, idiot. You know, that sport you hate?” Chanyeol says, before smacking the table and laughing like a rabid uncaged zoo animal. The prick.
“I don’t hate it, you just never invite me,” Baekhyun says with an exaggerated pout, and Chanyeol rolls his eyes.
“No, that works out perfect,” Kris says. “Only Mr. Jung is coming tonight so that’ll even us out for two versus two.”
They make their way to this small hidden basketball court that Baekhyun didn’t even know existed, right around the corner from the retail park where the theater sits. It must be nearby some dorms or something, because there’s a tennis court right next to it also.
Baekhyun feels a bit stupid standing there in skinny jeans and a t-shirt when both Kris and Yunho (Chanyeol’s boss) stand there fully kitted out - shiny shorts, loose fitted tanks and massive shoes that Baekhyun thinks remind him of small boats. Chanyeol’s only changed into some sweats he apparently hid in the backseat of Baekhyun’s car and opts to stick with his red work polo.
“I guess it’ll be you and Baekhyun against me and Mr. Jung, since you guys are best friends and all,” Kris says, occasionally spinning the ball in his hand on two fingers, and Baekhyun shouldn’t find that arousing at all but jesus christ he does.
But then Baekhyun turns to look at Chanyeol and he honest to goodness looks like he’s about to cry, so Baekhyun just rolls his eyes.
“I think he doesn’t want the worst player on his team,” Baekhyun says, in his least pitiful voice.
Yunho just laughs and tugs Chanyeol over to his side. “Come on, new blood versus old blood, you’re with me, kid,” he says, and Chanyeol looks a bit less emotionally distraught now.
Baekhyun’s too busy watching the misery melt from Chanyeol’s face to realize that he’s on a team with Kris. Kris - with his muscular legs and strong hands and gorgeous face, and Baekhyun has literally no knowledge of how to play basketball so this could potentially be a disaster.
And before Baekhyun can even try to recall what to do, Chanyeol’s shoving past him with the ball before swooping it fluidly up and into the net. Baekhyun just stands and gapes and sort of vaguely lifts his arm up and finally sees a more concrete advantage to being tall. Baekhyun’s fingers barely graze the net.
“Baekhyun!” Kris shouts, and Baekhyun startlingly has the reflexes to catch the ball when it’s tossed to him. He bounces it timidly a few times in the direction of the other net before stopping to assess the situation. He can’t just gracefully place it in like the other three of them apparently can, so he makes the split decision to go for another tactic.
Instead, he chucks the ball as hard as he can at the net and hopes for the best. The thing ricochets loudly off the backboard and Kris, seemingly out of nowhere, floats down into his vision like a falling angel and catches it before dunking the ball with one hand.
Most of the game ends up like this, Kris fixing Baekhyun’s mistakes, and Baekhyun thinks he spends more time just watching Kris than doing what he’s probably supposed to do. But where Chanyeol would be furiously annoyed at him, Kris seems nothing but amused.
“The most unfortunately terrible team to ever grace the planet,” Chanyeol says with a smirk, tossing the ball at Kris’ head once they’ve finished for the night.
“Considering you only beat us by a few points, I’d say that’s not something you want to shout about,” Baekhyun adds, hip cocked like a loaded gun.
“Shut up, Baek, Kris just carried your ass to a slightly less embarrassing loss, okay? You don’t even play basketball.”
“Alright, I’m out for the night,” Yunho says, sliding on a pair of shades despite the fact that it’s pitch fucking black outside and nearly 4am. “See you kids tomorrow.”
The three of them say their goodbyes, and Chanyeol’s quick to slump off to Baekhyun’s car after sending a weak bro-smack to Kris’ back, complaining about being tired and stupid friends and bad games.
“Hey,” Kris says, to Baekhyun this time, and Baekhyun tries his best not to look surprised. “If you wanted to learn how to play or something, I could teach you.”
Baekhyun just looks at him for a minute. There’s an eagerness to his tone, and his cheeks are flushed pink from exertion in the cold weather, and this kind of uncertainty doesn’t seem to suit Kris all that much, but Baekhyun likes it - he likes it because it gives him hope.
“Chanyeol was right, actually. I do hate basketball,” Baekhyun says, and Kris’ face looks so blatantly disappointed that Baekhyun can’t help but grin. Now Kris just looks confused, so Baekhyun laughs. “But we can do other things, if you want?”
“Other things?” Kris asks slowly, and Baekhyun nods with a small smirk.
He actually has no idea what ‘other things’ even means, all he really knows is he wants to kiss Kris and see if he’ll kiss back without getting punched or potentially getting Chanyeol fired somehow. Kris is still ridiculously hard to read for some reason, but he thinks he’s seen enough.
“Yeah,” Baekhyun says, ignoring Chanyeol shouting at him from the car to “hurry the fuck up”, “Tomorrow, I’ll find you and we can do... other things.”
Kris grins and nods, and Baekhyun bites his lip as he walks backwards for a few steps with a wave. When he turns he sees Chanyeol just scowling at him from the passenger seat of the car, and Baekhyun takes the extra time to stop and press both erect middle fingers right up against the glass of his window, before taking an obnoxiously long time to walk around the front of the car.
“I’m going to tell him you’re a whore and that you’re riddled with diseases and you only fuck people for money,” Chanyeol adds helpfully once the car has finally been started.
“You think he would pay?” Baekhyun asks, obnoxiously hopeful and peppy, and Chanyeol groans like he has the hardest life in the world.
Working with Sehun literally attached to his side every minute is only slightly distracting for Joonmyun. And by only slightly, he really means extremely. It must be an age thing, because Sehun is just as lazy and half-awake as Jongin is, despite the fact they’re both still in the same dance class.
Sehun is very... touchy, too. He’s quick to rest his head on Joonmyun’s shoulder, or to lean all his weight on Joonmyun when he’s moping about being bored or tired or something similar. He even goes so far as to sometimes slide his hands into the pockets of Joonmyun’s slacks when he’s stood behind him. The first few times Joonmyun nearly jolted right out of his skin, but now he’s almost used to it. The warmth of Sehun’s palms through the fabric of his pants is almost comfortable, the pressure of his pants being tugged from his waist where Sehun has his thumbs hooked in the belt loops is actually something Joonmyun looks forward to.
It’s a new sensation, having something at work to look forward to that's an everyday thing, as opposed to quarterly performance reviews - reviews that always leave him with a hollow “good job(and thanks for not quitting since we underpay you)” and a pat on the back. Looking forward to Sehun’s small sleepy smiles in the morning, and the way he says ‘hyung’, and the way he always asks Joonmyun first when he’s unsure of something - it’s enough for Joonmyun to at least be able to admit to himself there’s a small amount of attraction there. And small might be an understatement, but it's inappropriate to lust over a coworker. Especially one who is also nearly six years your junior.
“Hey Kris,” Jongin calls out, unpacking the boxes of frozen food from the shipment this morning. “Your relatives sent you a package.”
Jongin looks at Sehun and they both start laughing like it’s some hilariously witty inside joke. Joonmyun doesn’t get it, but he laughs as well because Sehun looks at him like he’s expecting him to and honestly, Joonmyun isn’t going to pass up the chance to make fun of Kris along with everyone else. It’s happened to him enough times, and hell, the guy practically stole his job out from under him.
Kris walks over and takes a closer look at the box, so Joonmyun does too and the first thing he’s sure anyone sees when they look at it is the massive stamped “MADE IN CHINA” on the front and oh- it’s a racist joke. Joonmyun just laughed at Jongin’s racist joke, good lord.
“Ah yes, because all the many Chinese people in the world know each other, don’t they Jongin?” Kris asks with a sly smile, and he doesn’t look hurt or offended or upset but Joonmyun takes a step backwards just in case.
“They do,” Jongin says, no hint of remorse in his tone, “I bet you’d know the Chinese kid in me and Sehun’s dance class.”
“What’s his name?” Kris asks.
“Zhang Yixing,” Sehun supplies, struggling to pronounce the name correctly.
“Yeah I know him,” Kris says without missing a beat, and Joonmyun’s eyes shoot right to Kris’ in surprise. Kris just smirks and shrugs his shoulders, a silent way of saying “of course I don’t fucking know him”, but only to Joonmyun.
“You know,” Kris starts, tapping on the box of breaded chicken tenders and leaning over the counter, seemingly honing in on Sehun this time, “The chicken exported from China isn’t actually chicken.”
Sehun gapes at Kris ,and his jaw drops open enough to make his mouth slack, and he looks completely dumbfounded by this obviously false factoid, but he still manages to look cute somehow and this is stupid, stupid, stupid.
“What is it then?” Sehun asks cautiously, and Joonmyun just chooses to continue watching this unfold from a few steps back.
Kris leans in even closer and Sehun looks almost afraid. Joonmyun has to keep himself from laughing.
“Cat meat,” Kris says, and Sehun looks thoroughly disgusted, “The smaller strips were kittens.” Now Sehun just looks like he wants to cry or whimper and Joonmyun gets this strangely overwhelming urge to hold the boy in his arms. “That’s what they do with all the strays roaming the streets now, it all goes into our cheap snack food.”
Kris then tears open the side of the box and takes out one of the plastic wrapped packages, appraises it for a moment, before tossing it into Sehun’s arms. Sehun yelps and nearly fumbles the thing, before getting a grip on it and placing it slowly, almost sadly, down on the counter.
“And it’s also your lunch, on me,” Kris grins as he walks away, and Joonmyun maybe underestimated Kris a little.
But then Sehun turns to Joonmyun with his chin crinkled and his eyes wide and Joonmyun’s urge to protect him is back once more.
“Hyung, I don’t want to eat cats,” he half whispers, half whimpers.
Joonmyun tries so hard not to laugh that is almost hurts the back of his throat.
“You don’t have to eat cats, leave it for the customers,” he says, trying to keep the tremble in his voice unnoticeable lest he crack, and instead sounding as reassuring as possible.
Sehun just stares down at the package on the counter, looking almost as if he’s willing it to come back to life, before once again turning to Joonmyun.
Jongin snatches the package off the counter and tosses it from one hand to the other with a smirk, “I’ll still eat it, I’ve always been more of a dog person anyways.”
Joonmyun thinks he hears Sehun whimper again before he turns to him and- “Hyung can I eat lunch with you today?”
They’re not supposed to eat lunch together, none of them are. Their breaks are supposed to stagger so only one person is ever gone at a time, but Kris doesn’t really seem to care and Joonmyun doesn’t think he could ever deny Sehun of anything he asks for, especially not with that face.
“Okay,” he says. “Just this once.”
“You know it’s not really cat meat, right?” Joonmyun asks, twirling the noodles in his bowl with one hand while he watches Sehun.
They’d opted for the small noodle bar at the other end of the retail park, and Sehun’s sitting across from him in one of the two-seater booths so it almost feels like a date. But it’s not a date because Sehun is distraught and young and Joonmyun just wants to protect him. For some reason an image of Kyungsoo pops up in his head, but he quickly wills it away.
“I figured it wasn’t, but Kris is Chinese and serious and I wasn’t sure,” Sehun says, after slurping at his own food noisily.
“He’s not as serious as he seems, I think,” Joonmyun says. “But I guess that suits the job description well,” he adds bitterly.
“What about you, hyung?” Sehun asks suddenly.
Joonmyun looks up and tries to keep his eyes from looking confused but he thinks he’s been unsuccessful considering the look of amusement on Sehun’s face. It’s hard for Joonmyun though, because he’s still not used to people showing interest in him. Well, people other than Baekhyun that one night, but let’s not go there.
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve worked at the theater for so long, how come?” Sehun asks.
Joonmyun stops for a moment to try and think of the best way to word things without coming off as complacent or lazy. But then it’s Sehun he’s talking to, not his parents, and he thinks maybe he should try being honest and open with someone for once.
“Because it’s easy,” he says with a small shrug and an even smaller nervous smile, “And it pays my bills. I guess I thought I would have been promoted to supervisor by now but apparently hiring someone like Kris was a better option.” He laughs and tries to keep it from sounding bitter.
“So you want Kris-hyung’s job?” Sehun asks innocently.
“Before he got it, yeah. But oh well, what’s another couple years behind the concession stand, right?”
Sehun shrugs, as if Joonmyun was actually asking him that question and not just saying it, and says, “I think you’d be a good supervisor, hyung.”
Sehun looks up from his bowl of noodles, and his eyelashes are so thick and dark for someone with such overly processed light hair, but it only somehow adds to his innocence. Like those eyelashes shield him from ever having to see the bad things in the world, things like animal slaughter and hurtful words and all of life’s failures.
And Joonmyun knows he shouldn’t even allow himself the thought - shouldn’t let himself think of how pretty the shadows those eyelashes cast look on the boy’s cheeks, or how endearing it is when he chews with his mouth open because of his retainer. In fact, what he should be letting himself think about is how much he’s going to hell in a handbasket for even indulging such thoughts about someone so much younger than him - but all he can really bring himself to think now is that he likes the fact that Sehun is a cat person.
It takes Baekhyun a few days, but he eventually comes to realize that Kris is never going to come to him for that promise of ‘other things’. Kris just isn’t that type of person, he isn’t ever going to be the guy that asks for what he wants, Baekhyun figures. Or well, he figures with the help of a certain tall obnoxious best friend.
“Did you tell him you wanted to do something together, or did he tell you?” Chanyeol says, thumbing through the usual end of day paperwork. His eyebrows are pulled so tightly together, the wrinkles in his forehead set so deep in concentration, that Baekhyun half worries he might give himself a hernia just from thinking too hard.
“I guess I kind of told him,” Baekhyun says.
“Then he’s obviously just waiting for you.”
“Waiting for me to do what though? I don’t know what he likes,” Baekhyun huffs.
“Well, he likes basketball and rapping and stuff,” Chanyeol supplies helpfully.
“Wonderful, thank you for those juicy morsels of information, I’ll be sure to thank you whenever I figure out how to translate that into something to fucking do with him,” Baekhyun snaps, and Chanyeol just shrugs.
“That’s the thing, you don’t really have anything in common.”
“That’s never stopped me before,” Baekhyun says under his breath.
“I know it hasn’t,” Chanyeol says, finally looking up from his papers and studying Baekhyun like he’s some sort of puzzle, “Which is why this is kind of weird.”
And Baekhyun must have been staring back at Chanyeol because he doesn’t realize Kris is stood just to the side of them until he hears his voice. He’s talking to Chanyeol, of course, and Baekhyun gets the usual friendly wave from him. That’s all he ever gets though, and it’s only ever because he’s always with Chanyeol, and Kris only ever comes to talk to Chanyeol and- it’s difficult to not get discouraged by this, basically.
But Baekhyun almost has a reputation to upkeep, one of never backing down, of getting what he wants - and then Chanyeol mouths the word ‘go’ at Baekhyun when Kris starts walking away and he figures now is as good a time as any.
“Kris wait,” he calls out, hopping off the counter to catch up with him over by the entrance to the main theater bay. And Kris actually stops and turns, and he’s smiling like he knows Baekhyun has been struggling over this and Baekhyun isn’t sure if he wants to smack him or if he kinda likes the almost subconscious control Kris seems to have over him.
“What’s up?” Kris says, nonchalant as Baekhyun thinks possible, but he’s still sort of smiling and it’s enough.
“Do you want to like... catch a movie together or something?” Baekhyun asks.
Kris looks at him for a moment, a mixture of amusement and confusion, something like ”are you really asking me this in a movie theater?”. And Baekhyun is well aware that it’s ironic, that the only place they ever meet is the theater, and that Kris is probably always here, but then maybe it’s actually perfect. Maybe it can be like a ritualistic consummation of Baekhyun getting what he wants.
“Um,” Kris says intelligently, scratching the back of his neck, and Baekhyun would be worried about rejection but he’s still smiling like he’s nervous too. “Sure, yeah. Yeah, we can even screen some of the new reels.”
“What does that mean?” Baekhyun blanks.
“The new reels, we need to screen them before we can show them. I was going to just wait until after closing time and load them up and watch them myself. Basically we’d get to see the movie before anyone else, kinda thing,” Kris says, and he does these random hand gestures that show he actually is nervous.
Except all Baekhyun just heard was “come watch a movie in a dark room alone with me” so he finds himself nodding unconsciously.
“Great,” Kris says, and he looks so different when he smiles like this - like nobody else is watching and he can’t really control his face. Baekhyun likes it. “I need to finish up a few things upstairs but then I’ll have Minseok load up a reel for us tonight, if you want?”
It probably means Baekhyun would have to make Chanyeol wait for him to finish, but shit he’s been driving Chanyeol around for years so- “Yeah, that sounds good,” he replies with a grin.
“Awesome, it’s one of those Japanese horror remakes that Hollywood loves to butcher. Creepy girls in hallways and cell phones and urban legends, the usual. I’ll come find you back down here when I’m finished, alright?” Kris asks.
Baekhyun just nods slowly, but he’s completely frozen to his spot because fuck he hates horror. Like actually despises it, cannot deal with scary makeup and jumpy scenes and tension building string music and- Baekhyun tries to rationalize that this is probably the best case scenario. If anything he should think of it as the perfect way to watch horror, considering he’ll have a nice strong body to cling to if he bricks it.
But no, not really, because Baekhyun knows he’ll probably just end up with his eyes closed the whole time, thankfully missing most of the movie but unfortunately also missing the view.
Suck it up, he tells himself, first basketball, now horror. It’s called making sacrifices. And it’s true, it’s just Baekhyun can’t ever remember doing so many things he hates just to get something he wants.
But then he looks up and sees Kris walk past the windowed offices upstairs and watches the muscles in his back tense when he walks, watches the way his hand casually slips into his pocket. And Baekhyun has the strangest urge to feel that same hand casually work it’s way around his own shoulders and he thinks he needs to ride this out.
“I’m hungry,” Sehun says, to absolutely no one in particular, but he always seems to be just within arms reach of Joonmyun, so Joonmyun pats him on the back apologetically.
“Your shift’s almost over, you can eat then,” he says.
“You know,” Sehun starts, leaning back against the counter as Joonmyun cashes out the last of the registers for the night, “Kyungsoo-hyung always invites Jongin over to cook for him.”
“Seriously?” Joonmyun asks, stopping in his tracks with his eyes wide in shock.
Sehun nods slowly.
Joonmyun’s never been once for workplace gossip, but then maybe that’s because no one has ever bothered to share gossip with him. And it’s official now, Jongin and Kyungsoo have the strangest relationship that Joonmyun has ever seen. It wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t be weird if it were anyone else, it’s just friends having dinner together, but this is Jongin and Kyungsoo and- Joonmyun decides to just file that under ‘reasons he still thinks Jongin and Kyungsoo are secretly dating’.
Joonmyun looks up at Sehun then and the boy is still leaning against the counter just looking at him. Except he looks almost anxious, he’s tapping his foot rapidly against the linoleum floor and his fingers are rapping erratically against the side of the counter and oh- oh.
“Wait, do you want me to invite you over for dinner?” Joonmyun blurts, and immediately wishes he didn’t. It came out sounding more shocked than he intended it to, and Sehun is flushed bright pink, and he doesn’t want to embarrass the boy.
Sehun just shrugs and mumbles, “I thought it might be nice.”
“Yes,” Joonmyun blurts again, this time intentional, “Yes, it would. I’d love to have you over.”
Sehun looks down as he smiles, face contorting awkwardly like he’s trying to keep from doing so. “Can you even cook?” he asks, staring down at his fingers and playing with them, seemingly playing off the fact that he had essentially just asked Joonmyun to ask him out.
“I only ever cook for myself,” Joonmyun says, and tries to bite down the sense of loneliness at the realization that he’s never had anyone over to his apartment since moving in, “So I guess you’ll have to be the judge of that.”
Sehun looks up this time when he smiles and Joonmyun’s chest flutters with excitement, but it’s interrupted because Chanyeol suddenly comes bounding down from the stairwell to the offices, and nearly trips and falls on his face when running past the central concession stand they all sit in. He’s carrying something red in his hands and he’s got this maniacal grin plastered on his face that Joonmyun isn’t sure he likes the look of.
“Chanyeol, what are you doing?” he calls out, stopping the gangly boy in his tracks. He lifts up the thing in his hand and Joonmyun sees it’s a megaphone - the same megaphone he himself had to use last winter in attempts to organize the wrap-around line out in the snow for the new Batman reboot.
“Baekhyun and Kris are screening the new horror in theater twelve,” he says, grin still wide and chest heaving for breath.
Joonmyun narrows his eyes. “Baekhyun is screening a horror movie?” he asks slowly.
Chanyeol says nothing, but his grin somehow gets impossibly wider.
“And you’re going in there with a megaphone?” Sehun asks from off to the side of Joonmyun, and Chanyeol nods enthusiastically.
“Oh no...” Joonmyun says, but before he can stop him, Chanyeol is running full speed back down the main theater bay - like a giraffe chasing down it’s prey, assuming giraffes were actually predators. “Have fun getting your face clawed off!” Joonmyun shouts after him, just before he’s out of view, and Sehun sends him a confused look.
Joonmyun just shrugs, “Baekhyun doesn’t like horror.”
“So, dinner?” Sehun says, tugging on Joonmyun’s shirt and leaning in so close that Joonmyun can feel the warmth of his breath against his cheek when he says the words.
“Sure,” Joonmyun says, sounding more breathless than he intended to, “How about tomorrow since it’s Wednesday?”
Sehun just nods and smiles, “I’ll come by after my dance class.”
Sehun bites his lips as he turns to cart off the first of the filled red bags to the storage room and Joonmyun is doomed. He turns with his stomach doing flips and his heart light, and nearly jumps out of his skin because Kyungsoo is crouched down near the cabinets and- “Jesus, how long have you been there?”
Kyungsoo turns to stare at him, for just a moment longer than comfortable, before turning back to his clipboard.