hardly working (preorder) wrote,
hardly working

[advent 2013] fic: how to protect yourself online + fic: strictly speaking

Title: how to protect yourself online
Rating: PG
Pairing: Taemin/Key
Warnings: N/A
Notes: Advent day 4 (part 1) for herocountry. HEROCOUNTRY, THIS ONE'S FOR YOU. #1 is girl!Taekey blogger friends AU, 1780 words.

Key has been trying to collect Lee Taemin of the kpop girl group dance covers and perfect camera angles for a while now.

Key has been trying to properly collect Taemin for over a year now, ever since she found her dance cover channel on Youtube last April. Key had been a senior in high school then, and just found out she was NYU-bound, her first choice. After three and a half years of debate team, swim team, robotics, and the newspaper, it was time for a break. She quit everything with two months to spare, pooled all her saved birthday money, and bought her first DSLR. She spent all of Jonghyun's first spring break home making him figure out how to use it, and ended her first picture post with a picture of Jonghyun on his phone, sweaty and grumpy, solemnly captioned, Friendship is beautiful.

She has been running her blog since her freshman year of high school, and though she'd like to think it was her sharp wit and excellent taste that's amassed her a modest level of Internet fame, it was probably helped by a combination of strategic selcas, a keen sense of coolness, and just the right amount of obsequiousness when it came to making other people like her. Jonghyun called it calculating as hell, and spent his senior art elective gluing rhinestones onto a bust of Machiavelli.

"This is why everyone thinks we're dating," Key said with a sign when she found it in her locker, resting on a pile of books. But she'd been not-so-secretly pleased, and glitter Machiavelli eventually found his way to a place of honor on her bedside table, later her dorm room dresser.

She didn't remember exactly how she came across Taemin's channel anymore, not that it mattered. What did was Taemin in high tops and sweatpants, one leg rolled to mid-calf, performing SISTAR's "Give It To Me" in a dimly lit studio. The pixelated bend of Taemin's lithe waist accentuated by the tie of her mesh jersey just above her bellybutton as she shut off the camera left Key a little breathless. There was a link to a Blogspot underneath it, which Key finally clicked after - and she's not ashamed to admit it - four subsequent replays of the "Give It To Me" cover.

It was love at first slightly sweaty post-workout selca, at the two butterfly clips holding back Taemin's auburn bangs, at the tiny ponytail reflected in the mirror behind her, eyes wide and guileless as she looked up into the camera, mouth in a slight pout. kicked out of the studio TT~ was the caption.

Key actually had to set her laptop down for a second. When she picked it back up, it took everything she had not to be rash. She was a pro; she's made friends with every person she's wanted to since she was fourteen, if they didn't want to be friends with her first. She wasn't about to let some sixteen-year-old with perfect camera angles trip her up.


"Are you doing homework?" Jonghyun asked with a note of incredulity, stepping in through her open dorm door after a perfunctory knock.

Key snorted, not even bothering to look up from where she was reclining on her bed and typing furiously away. "Please. I'm talking to Taemin."

"Of course you are," Jonghyun sighed, making himself comfortable at the foot of her bed, letting her prop her legs over his. "Are you going to move into her room next year?"

Key had been running a relentless campaign to get Taemin to come to New York ever since her college acceptance letters started coming in and she was left deciding between flying cross-country to go to NYU, or stay in California to attend a UC. Something must've worked, because Taemin updated her blog on April 15 with a new dance cover - 2NE1 this time. More importantly was the NYU sweatshirt she had on.

"Who do you think I am?" Key demanded, kicking at the side of Jonghyun's thigh.

"Creepy," Jonghyun said, grabbing Key's ankle, "and obsessive, and a stalker. Hey, Taemin's pretty cute. You think you'll have time to introduce me before the restraining order?"

The look of horror Key gave him was enough to make him crack up, curling around her feet. Even Taemin has to know the level of the crush Key has on her. It's not like Key's ever been ashamed, or really bothered to hide it, though most people just assumed. Key has known she likes girls ever since junior year of high school when she got into a fight with her mom, who then refused to drive her into the city to attend an Internet karaoke meet-up. The pictures Minjung - whose blog she'd never liked much anyway, how much can one really write about the women's soccer team? - posted afterwards were enough to make her seethe with jealousy, but nothing caused her more devastation than the news that came two months after, when Minjung posted a photo of her and Yuri-unni's linked hands with nothing but a heart for the caption.

Jonghyun had found her sulking in an empty classroom during third-period calc. He played phone games while she fumed until Key finally burst out with an indignant, "I'm mad I ever liked anyone with such bad taste."

After five months of carefully orchestrating her developing friendship with Taemin to make it look wholly casual, Key was pretty confident it'd turned completely natural by now. Chatting almost every other day, and a like on every Instagram selca she posted has to mean something, right? Still, after Eunsook, her chemistry TA last semester, Key didn't believe in putting all her eggs in one basket anymore, especially not a basket as pretty as Taemin, despite the tomboy-ish haircuts and fondness for sweats and Jordans. But, still, it's nice to dream. And, if nothing else, Key was pretty sure Taemin is even cuter in real life. The selcas alone would be worth it.


Key bent over the water fountain for the third time in ten minutes, telling herself this would be the last time. She was on the second floor of the freshman dorm she'd lived in just a few months ago. Taemin's room was a floor above, her phone with Taemin's cheeky i'm in 388~ come help me unpack ^^ burning a hole in Key's pocket. She was just bending over the water fountain for drink number four when the door to the stairwell banged open behind her, scaring the shit out of her.

"Jesus," she said, wiping the water from the corner of her mouth. The perpetrator was some kid, first year by the looks of him, floppy brown hair peeking out underneath a backwards snapback.

"Sorry," he said, balancing a wad of paper towels and a stack of red plastic cups probably still sticky from beer in his hands. "I was just trying to get some ice. Er, you wouldn't happen to have any band-aids, would you?"

As a matter of fact, Key did, years of living with an overly cautious mom and having a best friend prone to collecting minor cuts and scrapes hammering the habit into her.

"I do," she said, following him to the ice machine as she pulled her wallet from her back pocket. He turned around after he'd filled two plastic cups, indicating she should put the band-aids between his teeth. She stared at him, then wearily took one of the cups. "Here, let me help you."

Jongin turned out to be a shy freshman from Arcadia, California, a little overwhelmed by the size and scope of New York. His luggage had gotten held up in Chicago and he'd been wearing the same clothes for the past two days, which made Key wrinkle her nose, but he had a great laugh that crinkled the sides of her eyes, and Key felt her heart thawing the longer they talked, comparing East Coast and West Coast Asians and horror stories of years of hagwon. She didn't even notice that she was in front of room 388 until Jongin was shouldering the door open, calling, "Yo Taemin! Hope you haven't died, I brought reinforcements!"

Key dropped the cup of ice she was holding just as Taemin rounded the corner, bangs pinned back and a nasty-looking bruise blooming around her bleeding thumbnail, which looked like someone had accidentally smashed a hammer into it. "Shit," Key said, dropping to her knees. "Shit, I mean, hi, Taemin."

Taemin dropped to the floor next to her as well, picking up an ice cube to press gingerly against her bruise, another to suck into her mouth. "Key-unni?" she said around the ice, sounding incredulous.

Jongin crouched too, ostensibly to join the party happening at knee-height. Looking at him now, Key could see in him the shadowy outlines of the best friend Taemin has alluded to in so many of her posts, his sloping shoulders and firm jaw recognizable from the handful of partner dance covers she's uploaded. "Wait, you two know each other?" he asked, brow furrowed.

"We, uh, we were at camp together once?" Key ventured, scrambling for a plausible-sounding story as she scooped the ice back into the cups. She hasn't felt this off-balance in years. She snuck a glance at Taemin, who was wearing nothing but a sports bra and a pair of gym shorts, hair pulled back from her face. Key was suddenly feeling a little faint, which, considering they were in Taemin's air-conditioned dorm room, probably didn't have anything to do with the heat.

Taemin elbowed Jongin with her good arm, sending him toppling right onto an ice cube, if his ensuing yelp was any indication. She rolled her eyes. "Duh, Jongin. I told you my Internet friend goes here."

Key snickered at how familiar the bickering was as she rose, holding the cup of ice. She made to hand it to Jongin, then to Taemin, Jongin still too preoccupied smarting from his fall. Taemin grinned at her, throwing an arm around her neck to haul her in for a hug. The sudden movement crushed the cup of ice between them, cold where it spilled onto exposed skin. Still, Taemin held on fast.

"It's great to finally meet in person," Taemin said, voice warm and sincere in her ear. Then she stepped back to look at her, voice turning sickly sweet: "You know, you're even prettier in person, unni."

Behind her, Jongin snorted. Key let out a bark of laughter, untangling herself. "Brat," she said affectionately, pleased by how naturally the endearment came, giddy by the way Taemin slipped her hand from around her wrist to link fingers with her. "There's no way I'm helping you unpack."

Title: strictly speaking
Rating: PG
Pairing: Xiumin/Taemin (kind of)
Warnings: N/A
Notes: Advent day 4 (part 2) for herocountry. Be careful what you wish for, herocountry. #2 is Xiumin/Taemin (kind of, you'll see what I mean) around the time when EXO on WGM, 781 words.

In retrospect, it's not like Taemin had many options.

They get the official call-up for We Got Married in late August, though Jongin and Sehun have, through Taemin of course, known about it for weeks.

"Why don't I hang out with Taemin more," Baekhyun sighs wistfully as he watches his fifth 'No No No' video of the day, the tinny sound of A-Pink's voices filtering out of the earbud against his chest. They are in the van, en route to MBC for a day of recording. Their manager had told them the news this morning, and even Yixing had lifted his face out of his rice bowl long enough to cheer.

"That would've involved you actually going to the dance studio," Sehun points out, already ducking behind Minseok's arm. Sure enough, Baekhyun twists over the seat, and the sound of his open palm meeting the flesh of Sehun's thigh follows soon after. Minseok sighs at Sehun's whine, pats absentmindedly at his knee. Next to Minseok, Lu Han is bent over the pull of his seatbelt and cackling, earning him a wounded pout from Sehun.

"Like you'd stand a chance anyway," Jongdae scoffs from the seat in front of Lu Han, tugging at Baekhyun's arm to bring the phone screen closer to him. They've met the A-Pink girls before, backstage and at different recordings, though never long enough for Minseok to form an opinion beyond 'nice', 'pretty', and 'smells good', which were the default qualities he ascribed to most women under the age of 30 - on bad days, most women, period - anyway.

"Hey," Baekhyun says indignantly, pulling his phone out of Jongdae's grasp and starting a minor scuffle.

"Kids," their manager says tiredly from the driver's seat, pulling into a parking spot with a screech that sends Jongdae and Baekhyun lurching forward, breaking up a potential wrestling match.

"Yeah, kids," Sehun says, pitching his voice low as he follows Minseok and Lu Han out of the car. Unfortunately for him, Jongdae hears, and roundhouse kicks him in the butt when they're on the ground again. Sehun yelps, running to catch up to Minseok. He pulls the beanie down, making sure not to mess up his hair, and bumps his shoulder into Minseok's. "I bet they're just jealous of us, hyung."

The two of them had been chosen to deliver the message to A-Pink's dressing room. Minseok had been a little surprised to hear the news - Sehun was around their age and Taemin's friend to boot, and made sense. As for him, well. Not that he was terribly old or anything, but Minseok was pretty sure he could count his meaningful interactions with both A-Pink and Taemin on two hands.

Jongin gets a video call from Taemin later, his face appearing bright and luminous in the screen of Jongin's laptop. His name is saved as "sexy and jongin knows it (ultimate dumbass lee taemin)", the sight of it blinking in Jongin's 'most contacted' list making Minseok smile when Jongin calls them over so Taemin can tell them all to be cool, aiming it mostly at Sehun, Baekhyun, and Chanyeol.

"Have you two, you know," Chanyeol shouts in response, making an obscene gesture over Minseok's head. Behind Taemin, they can hear the explosion of Kibum's breathless hyena-laughter, and then his voice, "Yah, Chanyeol, they're still kids!"

For a second all they get is a view down Taemin's sleeveless shirt as he leans to his right to sock Kibum. He takes an unconscious second to fluff out his bangs again when he gets back in the frame, then points a finger at the screen, ostensibly right at Minseok.

"Me?" He looks around himself, surprised, then hooks his chin over Lu Han's shoulder when Taemin nods.

"Minseok-hyung," he says, mock-sternly. "Keep an eye on Oh Sehun. I wouldn't trust that guy with my worst enemy."

"You're my worst enemy," Sehun shoots back. "Hey, don't worry, I'm on the phone with Naeun right now, I'll tell her you said hi -- "

Taemin looks torn between laughter and annoyance that he can't personally kick Sehun's ass. Minseok decides, what the hell, and flicks Sehun's forehead so hard he just looks at him for a second in shock, eyes and mouth in identical, perfect 'o's. "Manners," he scolds.

Joonmyeon shakes his hand, while Lu Han, Chanyeol, and Zitao start up a chorus of da ge da ge da ge. Taemin busts out in a fit of laughter so hard they lose video connection with him for a second. When Jongin gets him back, there are tears in his eyes. He flashes Minseok a double thumbs-up. I got you, Minseok mouths back.

+ Anon feedback meme.
Tags: advent 2013, fandom: exo, fandom: shinee, pairing: key/taemin
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