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16 October 2013 @ 05:59 pm
counting stars [prologue]  
Title: Counting Stars
Pairing: Sehun/Luhan, Chanyeol/Baekhyun, Kai/D.O, mild Kris/Tao
Summary: In which Sehun is an investment banker with a mid-career crisis, Luhan is a professional pickpocket, and EXO tries to clean out a bank vault.
AN: Inspired by a bunch of things, namely Ocean's Eleven and Counting Stars by OneRepublic. Warnings for foul language, and any real-life objects or persons mentioned are in no way mine. Neither are the boys.

“Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars”

Sometimes, Sehun thinks, life must enjoy fucking with him.

He pushes away from his table and leans back on his chair, staring up at the glass ceiling far above him. Sunlight streams in through the tinted glass, pieces of a bright Seoul afternoon refracting into something cooler, plays with his mind as it trickles off into lines resembling the graphs that he was staring at a minute ago. His vision swims from having spent elev- no, fifteen hours staring at his computer screen, if you counted the time he spent simply trying to teach Jongdae how to log onto the company system. His colleague wasn’t just incompetent; Sehun could have sworn that he was dealing with a walking abomination from the medieval ages because it just isn’t possible for anyone from Seoul National University to have graduated with honors without having touched a computer in his life. Shit just does not happen that way.

Turning his head lazily, he frowns down at the tiny people navigating the streets of Hoehyeon-dong from his office on the 22nd floor. He contemplates, caught between coffee and his boss screaming at him about how each minute of his time is worth millions to the bank in currencies far higher than the won. In the end Sehun decides on a caramel macchiato, with skim milk and extra caramel.

He takes the lift down, greets the other staff along the way and pointedly ignores Jongdae’s enthused waving. A strong wave of heat hits him in the face as he stepped out from the cool interiors of Woori Bank headquarters, tousling his hair lightly as he made his way briskly. Dressed in the crisp white-and-black-and-tailor-made ensemble typical of investment bankers, Oh Sehun looked every bit like the Korean Dream personified. He had fought tooth and nail to get here, paid for his education through odd jobs, and lived on stale bread for weeks on end. He’d wanted it, had thought he wanted it, so bad that he almost gave everything to get a taste of high life and success. It’s been three years since, and now that billion-won-a-year dream is leaving a stale taste of nothingness on his tongue. Sure, it’d made him rich beyond imagination, as his unnecessarily expensive apartment and shiny Prada shoes going click-clack against the concrete would attest to. But lately, Sehun had been entertaining the thought that maybe, maybe this wasn’t for him. Wasn’t enough for him.

Sometimes, he thinks, maybe he just wants to watch the world burn.

Seoul in summer smells of something warm and sticky, a mixture of salt and asphalt and humidity that clings like a second skin, and gleams of white buildings so bright they appear luminous. Sehun dislikes this time of the year; summer means sweat and heat, and the clothes he has to wear for work do not help in the slightest. Weaving his way through the mass of people and fighting for breathing space with a typical business district lunchtime crowd, Sehun's patience is wearing dangerously thin. As much as he hates going back to his office, he found himself longing for the air-conditioning, a cool shelter from the evil clutches of humidity. Sehun could have sworn that he felt his hair start to frizzle in the damp heat.

Four shops down and past the florist with an obnoxiously pink signboard, Sehun rounds the corner, picks up his pace a little, and then something hit squarely in the chest.

Something red and fast and moving in the opposite direction.

The force of the collision knocks the wind out of Sehun and he stumbles back slightly, even though the thing that hit him was not very big. In fact, the thing in question turned out to be a red-haired boy who gave a small cry of "ow" and is currently rubbing his nose gingerly. There was a small sound like a thud at Sehun's feet, but he is too distracted to care.

He notices the eyes first - Sehun blinked in surprise - really pretty eyes, set on an equally attractive face with a small, pointed chin and a childish-looking mouth. Currently the face is scrunched into a look of confusion, which quickly turned into a look of fury when he glanced at the floor. A black leather wallet stared back smugly from the ground.

"Fuck, now you've done it!" the stranger curses, shoving Sehun aside roughly with a strength that his thin frame didn't seem capable of. Somewhere ahead there are shouts of "Stop! Thief!", presumably belonging to the owner who'd just realized his wallet had gone missing. The stranger only turned back briefly to glare threateningly at Sehun. "You'll be paying me back for this!" he hissed, harsh and with words that didn't quite fit in with his gentle features, before taking off in a flash.

The first time you meet people can be a strange thing; the feelings in that instant that shape your judgment, and faint hints from the back of your mind that whisper of things that were, things that are to come, things that will be. Watching the red hair disappear into the crowd as fast as it had appeared, Sehun thinks he might have felt all three.

He never did get to his coffee in the end.