acousticscenery: (Default)
acousticscenery ([personal profile] acousticscenery) wrote in [community profile] acousticworks2013-03-10 09:36 pm

SHINee: Formalehyde and Friends

Formaldehyde and Friends
(that's taking alliteration too far, isn't it?)
ontae, high school au (also shifted their ages a tiny bit), pg

He's the only first year in the biology class, but he'd started biology first semester and when he transferred during the summer the school administrators had decided to send him to biology now, have him take chemistry with his class next year, and take physics senior year. He gets assigned to a block class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with class 3-4. The only empty seat is the second desk of five in the front row. He slides into it and tries not to imagine all of the seniors staring at him.

"A girl used to have that seat," the boy behind him stage whispers while the teacher is speaking to the vice principal. "She's dead now."

"What?" Taemin asks, horrified.

"She's not dead," a girl says. She reaches over and slaps the back of the boy's head. "She just moved. Just like this guy. You're a first year, right?" she asks, turning back to Taemin with a coquettish smile. "Call me noona."

"O-okay," Taemin nods. He turns back to the front and sinks down a little in his seat.

The first unit of the new semester is leading up to a frog dissection. They start with a terribly bland video about the ecosystem of the marshland and then move on to notes about the life cycle of the common tree frog. Taemin misspells a word and opens his pencil case, looking for an eraser. He can't find it.

"What do you need?" the boy to his right asks, leaning over.

"Eraser," Taemin whispers.

The boy nods and digs into his own pencil case. He finds an eraser and scribbles something on it before dropping it into Taemin's outstretched hand. On one side it says, "Lee Jinki." On the other side, it says, "Hi."

The teacher has them write down who they'd like to have as their lab partner for the semester. Jinki's is the only name Taemin knows, so he writes his name and forgets about it until Wednesday, when the teacher announces the partners. Taemin feels a little guilty when his name is called after Jinki's, because surely Jinki would have preferred to work with a friend, but he looks over and Jinki smiles warmly at him. Maybe it'll be alright.

"This is disgusting," Taemin says on Friday, staring at the dissection tray and tray of tools.

"We haven't started yet," Jinki replies.

"It smells in here."

"Formaldehyde?" Jinki says. "I think that's what you smell."


The teacher calls for their attention, asks for one of each of the pairs to go up and collect their frogs. They carry the empty dissection trays with them, but when Jinki comes back, his tray is still empty.

Taemin starts to ask, "Why didn't you-" but then he sees the frog. Jinki's got it balanced on his shoulder, its dead eyes staring. "Oh my god, you're so weird."

Jinki laughs and tips the thing off his shoulder, catching it neatly in the tray. "You want to pin it down? You can make the first incision."


Jinki laughs again, a little ruefully this time. "Me neither. Poor formaldehyded frog. What did you do to deserve this?"

"It probably caught an important fly's son or something," Taemin says.

"The fly mob went after him, told him he'd sleep with the fishes," Jinki says.

"Don't frogs already sleep with fishes?"

Taemin is proud of how hard he makes Jinki laugh.

Taemin doesn't mean to follow Jinki out of school, but Taemin's locker is on the way to Jinki's from the biology room, and they keep talking. They get out into the street by the school, and Jinki gestures to the 7/11 across the road. Jinki bows to the lady behind the counter and buys Taemin banana milk. They lean on the counter by the window and watch people walk past, guessing at names and occupations. A man in a suit goes by, he's young and his tie hangs around his neck untied.

"Bank teller," Jinki guesses. "You next."

Taemin waits, letting three high school girls go by before he picks a woman in a purple skirt and black jacket. She's got nylons and sneakers on, and is carrying her heels in her hand. "Admin."

A scruffy looking guy shuffles past. He's got an oversized army green jacket on, a hole in his jeans, and he squints like he's protecting his eyes even though he's walking in the shade. "Superhero," Jinki announces.

Taemin snorts.

"He's in disguise," Jinki says defensively, and nudges Taemin with his elbow. "Okay, her."

"English teacher," Taemin says. "Foreigner. They're all English teachers."

Jinki laughs. "She could be a tourist, or an embassy worker."

Taemin nods, conceding the point. "Okay."

Jinki drains the last of his coffee-flavoured milk. "Are you done? I've got to get to my math academy."

"Yeah," Taemin says, hurriedly finishing and tossing the container. "Thanks, Jinki-hyung."

They step outside and say goodbye, and then Jinki turns to the right, and Taemin turns to the right. He laughs, a little embarrassed. "I've got to go this way to get home," he says. They walk together for a few blocks. Jinki seems to know a lot of the people they pass, most of them students, a couple people who may have been teachers at the school. Taemin doesn't know all of them, yet. At first he just looks away, but then he realizes that might be rude. It seems so awkward to greet people who greet Jinki so warmly and who don't know him at all, so he starts settling for a hesitant bow and no eye contact.

"Taemin? Taemin," Jinki says. "This is my stop." He gestures up at the building they're standing in front of.

"Oh. Okay. See you tomorrow, Jinki-hyung," Taemin says hurriedly.

Jinki shakes his head. "Monday," he says. "Unless you need help with biology? We should probably write our report together, since you haven't written one for Mr. Nam before. Here, give me your phone."

Taemin hands his phone over and Jinki calls himself. "There. Send me a message, okay? I have an English class in the morning, but I'm free after that."

"Okay," Taemin nods, saving Jinki's name in his contact list.

Jinki waves and rushes upstairs to his class. Taemin turns to head home, wrinkles his nose.

"I can still smell the formaldehyde. Ugh."

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