Group & Pairing: Nine Muses, Sera/Sungah
Rating: PG - 13
Summary: Sera's workplace was never short of interesting. [Law firm AU]
A/N: Written originally for thenugu_seyoexchange. Prompt was "Sera/Sungah, rom-com tropes". (I forgot I hadn't cross-posted this! Also you guys deserve this after all your support!)
“Did she come in yet? Because I drafted the initial settlement proposal for Mr. Johnson and I swear I might be slowly turning into Hyemi, because I’m on the verge of being a danger to this office if I don’t get caffeine, or lunch,” Sera huffs and rubs her left eye, gasping in horror when her knuckle comes back black.
Sera pulls back the phone to check the tiny display and make sure that, yes, the final number she pressed was ‘3’ and should therefore lead to Hyuna’s office.
Or in most cases- the secretary commanding all communication going into and out of Hyuna’s office- Minha.
“Did Kyungri mess with my phone again?”
“I don’t know Ma’am,” Sera cringes a little at the title, “this is Miss Moon’s office.” girl-on-the-phone-who-is-not-Minha continues.
“Not Ma'am. And you’re not Minha.” She doesn’t add the “sassypants”, because that would be uncalled for and childish and maybe all she really needs is a nap.
Not-Minha has a nice voice. It’s warm and a bit husky, slightly accented in a way that Sera can’t really pinpoint.
Sera wants to ignore her brain filter and ask where it comes from.
“Minha only works part-time now that she got into Columbia. I’m Sungah and Hyuna isn’t due back for another two hours to settle the Johnston case.”
“The Johnson case.”
“Yeah, okay. That.”
Sera wished she possessed the social tact to keep up a casual phone conversation for just a little while longer. Maybe get Sungah to keep talking ‘Your voice is nice, I’d like to listen to it while I nap’ . Instead she says:
“No problem at all”
The line clicks, but not before Sera manages to mess up the make-up on her other eye.
Sera tells herself that it isn’t a spike of disappointment she feels when she nears the reception to Hyuna’s office and sees a familiar bratty face swiveling in her office chair.
Because Sera totally did not re-apply her make-up to make a good impression on a certain new part-time secretary in the ladies room on the way over.
She also did absolutely not check her reflection on the way out from the ladies room for wrinkles in her skirt.
Sera doesn’t need to impress Minha.
Because Minha isn’t impressed by anything.
“So,” Sera starts as she walks up, “Columbia law?”
“Business.” Minha doesn’t even look up from her desk.
Well that was a surprise.
“My boss is a lawyer,” Minha says as if she read Sera’s mind- Sera wouldn’t have put it past the demon child- “she’s thirty-two years old, lives alone and brings her cats to work.”
She has a point.
“And then there’s you,”
“So is Sungah studying law too?”
“...three months away from getting a pet lizard who will most likely try to eat you-”
“How did Hyuna find someone on such short notice?”
“Are you even listening?”
A long bony finger pokes Sera’s belly and then points down the hall.
“You’re already three minutes late.”
Sera glares at Minha and then jogs as best as her pencil skirt/pumps combo will allow her to.
The next day Sera calls for Hyuna to mail her the transcripts from last night.
A newly familiar voice tells her “No problem”.
And that’s that.
There’s a floor on their building that Sera would have loved to avoid.
That anyone fearing for their soul and limbs would rather avoid.
Everyone is pretty convinced it’s actually a portal to the underworld masquerading as a giant room tightly packed with rows of cubicles, the pained eyes of hell’s suffering workers crying out for help as Sera passes them, begging her to save them from their Supreme Evil Overlord.
Hyemi always did love to run a tight ship with her associates.
The less eye contact Sera manages to make with the poor souls stuck under Hyemi’s tutelage, the less guilty she’ll feel about having to spend at least ten minutes there every day.
The clacking of heeled ankle boots echo in the distance and Sera hears a girly whimper from somewhere behind her.
“You,” Hyemi directs in the general direction of the girly whimper and shoulders past Sera to Hakyeon’s desk, “your coffee thermos. I need it.”
Hakyeon nearly drops the thermos in his haste to present it in offering, like a bright yellow blood sacrifice with cartoon farm animals drawn on it.
Hakyeon’s face as she walks away with it is heart-wrenchingly pitiful.
Sera chooses to instead collect the files sitting by his computer in silence, throwing him one final glance of sympathy before making her way over to where Hyemi is shamelessly gulping down someone else’s hot beverage.
“Did you know that we have a new girl working here?”
Hyemi snorts and some coffee bubbles against her upper lip and the thermos lid.
“You mean Hyuna’s ex-girlfriend?”
The stack of papers almost slips to the floor or get thrown in Hyemi’s face or…..something.
“Hyuna hired her ex-girlfriend? Do people do that?”
Hyemi raises a very judgmental eyebrow at her and-
It’s not like having a very disastrous drunken hook-up with your college roommate, apologize to her for being mostly-straight and then fleeing the country to Canada, only to move in with said college roommate when she manages to land a job at one of her dream firms in New York.
But it’s not like Eunji ever held it against her, they wouldn’t have stayed roommates all this time if she had.
“You met her then?”
Sera snaps out of her thoughts “Huh?”
“Sungah,” Hyemi says slowly as if she’s talking to a child and Sera starts to feel like one of the associates. Embarrassed to be existing.
“No, I- No,” she clutches the stack of papers closer to her chest and gestures to the elevator “gotta...go. Yes, go” and makes her way away.
“Whoever it is that has enough terrible judgment to fuck you is a gift from barista paradise, because don’t think that I didn’t know it was you who broke the coffee machine in our breakroom.” Hyemi says as Sera walks to the elevators and gets in.
The elevator door closes as Hakyeon chokes on his own spit.
“Caution - stay away from the 23rd floor” Sera hisses into a receiver ten minutes later.
She knows who’s gonna answer, she’s learnt Sungah’s schedule by now.
In a totally non-weird, non-creepy way.
“Is that Hyemidusa’s floor? Yeah I managed to figure out pretty quickly the importance of protecting my soul by avoiding eye contact”
Sungah’s giggles are deep but turn high pitched at the end, like she can’t help herself.
Sera wants to make her laugh some more because it’s awfully, terribly cute.
This time she’s foiled, not by her own stupidity, but by the blinking light of another incoming call.
“There’s someone trying to call me. Sorry for the incredibly short and pointless phone call. Yeah” she finishes as merengue on her lame pie.
Sungah chuckles (so cute) and tells her to go.
She lets through the line and hears “Indian or Thai?”
“Oh, it’s just you.”
“Hey now, don’t sound so excited,” Eunji huffs, but not too put off by Sera’s shitty attitude.
It was one of the reasons why Sera was so terribly fond of her.
“Did you want me to order in food in advance for when you come home tonight? I won’t be there”
“Since when? I’m covering for Yoonji’s night classes”
Sera’s cell buzzes with a text from Kyungri. After Work boozing. Don’t be a loser for once Ryu.
“I’ll be fine,” Sera assures Eunji, “no need to get me anything.”
She types in a simple ‘k’ and hits ‘send’.
It’s only after she’s hung up that she realises that she still hasn't told Sungah her name.
“You weren’t wearing that at the office”
Kyungri’s cleavage stares back at her.
“I always bring a change of clothing to work with me, don’t you?”
Sera looks down at her knee-length dress and high neckline.
“Do you want me to get you something from the bar?” People from the firm have started to make their way in and begun to crowd around the counter.
“We are not going to get anything, Sera.” Kyungri clutches on to her elbow before Sera can attempt to take off, “We are gonna stand here. And boys are gonna be the ones to get us things”
Sera is sceptical, but as if on cue, a tall awkward thing appears before them and stammers out a series of letters that might- or might not be- Kyungri’s name.
“A vodka martini without olives. Sera likes the red wine, but don’t even think about being a cheapskate and getting her the house red.”
Kyungri doesn’t even offer a single glance in his general direction.
Less than a minute later, Sera’s sipping on what is probably the most expensive glass of red wine that she has ever had in this place.
Two more free glasses of red wine later, she makes her way out of the ladies room.
And manages to tangle herself in a pair of legs before the door even swings shut behind her.
A pair of tan arms steadies her before she manages to crack her head open, or get bar floor all over her clothes.
Tan arms and soft curves and long legs and a super pretty face, is that a tiny mole on her nose?
Pretty girl smells pretty nice.
Maybe she’s a little drunk.
“I’m not even drunk.”
When inebriated Sera has a habit of not only lying to others, but also lying to herself.
Pretty girl laughs and carefully lets go of her.
Sera tries not to feel disappointed and that’s really weird. Something else also feels really super weird, but she can’t quite put her finger on it.
She opens her mouth to try again,
“It’s no problem. Just be careful, ok?”
Sera sobers up instantly.
The ladies room door swings shut behind her a second time.
She brushes her hair four times.
And re-applies her lipstick twice.
She’s still unsure if she should go for the maroon skirt or the charcoal one,
“Is your underwear actually matching for once?
“Not all of us have the luxury of being able to wear yoga pants all day, Eunji.”
Sera scrunches her toes for extra measure before Eunji spots the nail polish in the same shade.
“Who are you dressing up for?”
Because Sera was totally not technically dressing up for a phone call.
“Whatever you say.” Eunji looks insufferably unconvinced, “The maroon skirt makes your legs look better.”
Sera watches Eunji leave her room, and doesn’t think about tan sweet-smelling shoulders or nose moles. Doesn’t think about long legs or a warm voice, a cute laugh.
Sera doesn’t do any of those things.
But she does hang the charcoal skirt back in her closet.
“My name’s Sera”
“My name. It’s Sera.”
“Yeah, I know”
And of course she knows. Sungah was the one who called her this time, Sungah is Hyuna’s secretary.
Sungah should have at least the basic knowledge of who the paralegal at their firm is.
“So...got any horror stories to vent at me yet?”
Sungah laughs and Sera tries not to happily sigh too loudly.
“Me? I just sit here, you’re the one who has to enter the associate’s dungeon every day.”
“If Hyemi ever comes after you I’ll be sure to send her into Hyuna’s office. She’ll be a red, sneezing snotty mess all day.”
“The cat hair, eh? You’d do that for me?”
Her fingers twitch against the receiver.
“It wouldn’t be the first time someone got killed by accident from walking into that health hazard,” She says, trying to keep her voice even.
“So that’s what the giant drawer of rollers is for!”
“We got her to stop taking them to work, but the hair...that’s just unavoidable,”
Sungah laughs again and Sera can imagine the way her nose would scrunch up and remembers the flash of teeth she caught a glimpse of in a dim bar corridor, imagines how a full on blinding smile would look if directed at her.
She opens her mouth to ask if just maybe, they could get coffee after she finishes or ice cream or brush eachother’s hair and have a sleepover .
“Oh crap! I gotta go, but good to know I have a champion in my corner. Talk to you later Sera”
Sera barely manages a quick Yeah before the line goes dead.
This is becoming a problem.
Paralegals don’t get assistants or associates to boss around.
Which gives Sera the great joy of always having to go to the copy room to make copies herself.
The copy room which is four floors down, inside the file room of old cases and never works properly.
There’s a far more superior copying machine on the 23rd floor but,
So she twists the ancient door knob to push the door open-
-and stops dead in her tracks.
Hyunjoo stares back at her,
Hyemin fixes her blouse.
an owl hoots from a distance.
She’s pretty sure that last part’s only a figment of her imagination.
She’s also pretty sure that the thing dangling from Hyemin’s elbow is her bra.
“I- I need seven copies?”
A red-faced Hyemin reaches forward and takes them from Sera’s slacking grip. Not before subtly tucking her bra back into her blouse.
“I’ll send them over to your desk when I’m- in a couple of minutes.”
Sera turns around and inhales a deep breath as she walks away, not exhaling until she’s safe again inside her office.
When the phone rings she nearly shrieks.
“Hey Sera, are you by any chance gonna go by the copy room today?”
She doesn’t even have the emotional capacity to be excited over hearing Sungah’s voice.
Sera frantically shakes her head before realizing she’s on the phone,
“No. Nonono no, no copies for me today. I’m not- I didn’t...see, anything”
“Are you okay?”
“Do owls nest inside buildings?”
“Okay so I might have seen a thing?”
“You saw an owl?”
Sera sighs and plonks down in her office chair, “Can I start over?” she desperately wishes phones still had cords that she could nervously twirl around her fingers.
“Do you want me to hang up and call again?”
It almost hurts how absolutely lovely Sungah is. “Would you?”
“Cut!” is all Sera hears before the line goes dead.
She collects herself and less than a minute later when the phone rings again, Sera actually smiles.
“So sorry about that, I kinda needed a moment to get the picture of somebody’s nipples out of my head”
“Whoa okay, didn’t realize it was gonna be that kind of call”
“Eunji!? Shit, I thought you were Sungah,”
Shit. She messed up.
“Is Sungah perhaps the reason your underwear matches your nail polish?”
So she had caught that.
Sera wants to erase this day already and it’s only 2PM,
“Do you maybe want to see Sungah’s nipples?”
Sera hooking a finger under a strap and pulling it down a shoul-
“I’m hanging up on you.”
Eunji’s laughter rings in her head even after she hangs up.
“And now you know why everyone uses the copy machine on this floor.” Is the first thing Hyemi tells her when the elevator doors open.
“Where you waiting here the whole time?”
“I have eyes and ears everywhere,”
“You seem more homicidal that usual. Do you want me to go on a coffee run for you?”
“No, no. You shouldn’t have to do that just because someone,” Hyemi raises her voice and Sera hears a stapler hit the floor, “conveniently forgot to bring me some today. Also, who’s the dimpled cutie?”
Hyemi points over Sera’s shoulder and a silver bob catches her eye.
“There you are! Hyemin told me I’d find you here. Here, I managed to squeeze the brother for some family discount!” Eunji’s all smiles and up to no good as she skips towards them with take-out coffee mugs in hand.
“Oh so that’s the roommate,” Sera doesn’t really care for Hyemi’s tone so she turns to Eunji and asks,
“Any of those at least a double espresso?”
Eunji sniffs around the cup holder and picks one up, “This one!” and Sera wastes no time in shoving it under Hyemi’s nose.
Hyemi obnoxiously moans after the first sip.
Before she finishes the second one, she freezes up and sniffs the cup. Eunji inches closer toward Sera and asks in a low voice “Is...is there anything wrong?”
Hyemi’s eyes just narrows dangerously before zeroing in on a cubicle near her office.
Sera just decides to grab Eunji’s wrist and make a break for it. There’s no stopping Hyemi once she’s on a warpath and Sera certainly doesn’t want to be there for the fallout.
“Is somebody gonna die?”
Sera jabs at her floor button, “What are you doing here?”
“Hey, I brought you a vanilla latte! And it gets lonely at home,”
“It’s true! I’m thinking of getting a pet, didn’t you say you always wanted an iguana or chameleon or something?”
“I heard those could try to eat you,”
“Really? where’d you hear that?”
“I...you know I can’t quite remember,”
Sera motions for them both to get out and guides Eunji to her office.
“Why are you really here, Eunji?” She asks again after closing her office door behind them both.
“Because, I haven’t seen you for days and I keep missing you because of my dance classes. I feel like there are things going on with you right now that I don’t even have any clue of.”
Sera feels a stab of guilt, Eunji’s her best friend and she usually tells her everything, but a situation like this has just never happened to Sera before so she’s just a little lost on how the protocol goes for telling your best friends.
“You’re guilt tripping me.”
“It’s working though, right?”
“She doesn’t even know what I look like,”
Eunji’s face perks up a little “Sungah?”
“I talk to her on the phone every day and she’s just so nice and her laugh is the cutest thing, but I’m a huge lame-o so I-”
“Are you serious right now?”
Eunji takes a big breath and leans her hip against Sera’s desk, “Well that’s...oh-kay,”
She’s about to ask for advice- because she’s admitted defeat in this matter- just when there’s a knock and Hyuna peeks her head in.
Sera shakes her head and gestures for Hyuna to go ahead,
“Oh goodie! So I guess you heard about the whole Park law-suit business development an-”
Hyuna looks confused, “Huh, could’ve sworn Sungah said ‘Park’,”
It’s then Hyuna seems to remember there’s someone else in the room, “Oh, hello there!”
Eunji turns to Hyuna fully and flashes her one of her 100 mega-watt super smiles, all teeth and dimples.
“Hi! I’m Sera’s roommate Eunji,”
Sera thinks she sees Hyuna’s jaw go a little slack before extending a hand, “I’m Hyuna”
“Sera’s told me so much about you!”
Hyuna straightens her shoulders a bit, “She has?”
No she hasn’t.
And Hyuna still hasn’t dropped Eunji’s hand either.
“Yeah. She told me you had cats, I’ve actually been thinking of getting one myself”
Now Hyuna really perks up, “Oh you really should! They’re amazing to have as pets! If you have any questions I could help you out and-”
“Oh do you have time right now? I’d really appreciate an expert’s opinion,”
She has a job! Sera tries to- although very unsuccessfully- to butt in.
“Yeah of course! I even have pictures in my office, would you-” is Hyuna blushing? “would you like to see them?”
Eunji turns to Sera and winks. And- oh, this is not good.
“I’d love to.”
Not good at all.
Ten minutes later a chubby cheeked demon stops by.
“Is there a special insurance liability clause or whatever for associates and workplace accidents?”
“Ehh, I think there’s like a form that you can fill out?”
Hyemi nods grimly and moves away.
“Okay, just checking.”
Twenty minutes later without an Eunji sighting, Sera gives up and dials a familiar number.
“Is she still there?”
“Hi, what? Oh the silver haired girl? Yeah she’s still in Hyuna’s office at the moment. Something about kittens?”
“It’s a lie!”
“Well I think they’re exchanging numbers, so if this is a pick-up technique it’s pretty damn effective.”
Sera actually whimpers,
“Do you know this girl?”
She wishes she never met that girl.
“It’s Eunji. My roommate. I’m thinking of moving out?”
“Do you...do you like her or-?”
“What? No! I- of course I love her, she’s my best friend but- but not like that”
“...yeah” Sera suddenly feels really awkward.
She hears Sungah break the tension by chuckling “It’s a shame though,”
“I get to see what your roommate looks like, but I still have no idea what you look like”
Sera’s stomach flips a little and she bites down on her lip, “You could always facebook stalk me?”
“Isn’t that a little too High School?”
“Maybe, yeah.” Sera laughs “It’ll happen. Eventually.”
The next day Hyemi comes over to drop by a form. Sera thinks she can spot blood stains in the left hand corner.
Two days later Hakyeon shows up to work with a cast.
Nobody thinks much of it.
Eunji spends the whole week texting someone.
Sera sneaks a peek one time and catches a photo attachment of a white cat.
It bothers Sera immensely.
She comes back from the gym one saturday to find Hyuna drying her hair with a towel in her living room.
“Oh Sera! Eunji let me borrow your shower after our bike ride at the park today”
“It’s okay if you’re sleeping together, you know”
Hyuna almost drops the towel, “What? No, we’re not!” then looks around and leans closer to Sera “Why? Has she said anything about me?”
Sera just stares at her for a moment.
She tries not to look back at Hyuna’s blushing face and sneaks into Eunji’s room.
Eunji’s rummaging through her closet in a compromising state of undress.
Eunji’s underwear is matching.
Sera almost gets a headache.
“A bike ride and letting her borrow the shower?”
“Hi Sera! Yeah we’re on our way to have brunch at that organic bakery and wanted to not be sweaty,” Eunji picks up a skirt and slips it on.
Eunji never wears skirts.
“Brunch at an organic bakery.” Sera nods slowly, “You’re living the lesbian domesticity dream!”
Eunji stills and fidgets with the blouse in her hand.
And, ok that’s a bit...wow.
“I just- I kinda ended up liking her? I know this was initially to play wingman and amuse myself with watching you suffer, but she’s pretty great. And hot.”
Sera’s usual BFF instincts kick in and she desperately wants to throw herself at Eunji and give her a good cuddle. She would have if Eunji’s top were on.
“She likes you too. You should, you know, go for it!”
Eunji’s face suddenly fixes her with a pointed stare and grabbing her shoulders,
“So should you. Hyuna told me that Sungah’s leaving for Fiji in two days and she’s at her house cat sitting right now while we’re out,”
Something buzzes in Sera’s ears. Leaving? Fiji?
“Sera!” Sera snaps out of it and locks eyes with Eunji, “Go for it.”.
Sera sits on Eunji’s bed for a long time.
She hears Eunji’s and Hyuna’s laughter as they both leave the apartment.
This would have been a lot easier if she had asked Hyuna for Sungah’s cell number before she left with Eunji, but she’s standing outside Hyuna’s door already and she could turn back but-
So she tries a safe route and dials Hyuna’s home number first.
“Hello Moon residence, owner’s not in at the mo-”
“Sera? Hyuna’s not here right now she’s-”
“Yeah I, I know. I was actually looking for you.”
Butterflies in your tummy, your fingertips tingling and every other stupid metaphor in the book.
“Oh really? Oh wait, hold on there’s someone at the door-”
“Hello! How can I help you?” Sungah’s smile is bright and polite. Sera almost forgets to speak.
“Hi it’s...it’s me,”
Sungah’s smile drops a little first in surprise, but then the smile turns absolutely delighted and yes. Yes it’s actually better than how she imagined it in her head.
“Why, why are you here?”
She’s come this far, no way she’s gonna lose her nerve.
“Do you maybe wanna do something? Right now? Like a coffee or a lunch or- something”
Sungah chuckles and moves to open the door wider, “Or maybe you wanna come in now? I have to stay here until Hyuna gets home.”
Sera grins and accepts the invitation.
“Who gets a cat-sitter for only a few hours?”
“Have you met Hyuna? These cats are either spoiled rotten or smothered painfully.”
Sera’s enjoying the view Sungah’s providing by the sink, it’s touching on all the domestic fantasies she told herself she didn’t have in her office.
Sungah finishes stirring both their cups and sets one in front of Sera on the counter,
“Huh? Oh yeah! I go for two weeks every year to visit my parents”
Sera’s going to kill Eunji.
Sungah takes a sip and looks amused, “You thought I was leaving forever?” Sera uses the tea mug to hide her rapidly reddening face.
“Well you saved me the cliché route of chasing you down at an airport,” she mumbles into her mug, but Sungah hears her and laughs.
“A little over dramatic, yeah” She feels Sungah inch closer and set down her mug again, “What would you even have done if you managed to catch me?” Sera almost chokes and her gaze slips to Sungah’s lips involuntarily.
So Sera just thinks the hell with it and angles her face up to kiss Sungah.
An hour later and a migration from the kitchen counter to the couch, Sera feels something huge and fluffy bite at her toes.
Then Sungah’s lips attach themselves to the base of her neck and she feels a hand creep under her shirt so she decides to ignore it.