riots: (Default)
k ([personal profile] riots) wrote2013-12-10 01:25 am

fic advent 2013: day ten

for sasskinsoo ♥
pg, 900 words
"where kyungsoo is new rookie astronaut , and jongin is an engineer at the space station"
emetophobia warning!!

His first centrifuge run is...rough. When Kyungsoo stumbles out of the machine, he does his best to walk in a straight line. “Don’t worry,” the technician says, slapping him on the back harder than is probably necessary and sending him spinning towards the garbage can to lose his lunch. “Everyone pukes on their first run. It’s practically a rite of passage.” It’s not so comforting, especially when Kyungsoo catches the smirk the technician throws at his partner. Kyungsoo’s head is spinning and his stomach somewhere in his throat, and their expressions are humiliating.

It had taken years of study and training before he’d ever even gotten here, and Kyungsoo had still thrown up like a kid at the fair. It’s embarrassing. He needs to do better. “You’ll do better next time, cupcake,” the technician tells him, and Kyungsoo has a sudden, fleeting urge to punch the stupid, cat-like grin off his face. He abandons the idea almost as soon as it had come - it won’t help him get any better with high-g training, and he’s not sure he can aim properly right now anyway.

He ends up planted on a couch in the next room, waiting for the rotations in his head to slow down. It gives him plenty of time to dwell on his vomit-laced letdown, of course. He knows logically that it’s not really a failure, that it’s just a matter of getting his body acclimatized to the treatment, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling angry at himself. Kyungsoo is not fond of doing poorly at the things he wants to do.

“First test with the centrifuge?” The voice belongs to a young man, an engineer from the looks of what he’s wearing. He’s handsome, thick dark hair falling into his eyes, and he’s got a mug of something in one of his hands.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo snaps at him, and the man looks taken aback. It’s probably a bit unfair of him to take it out on a total stranger, but Kyungsoo’s suffering is not a show. These technicians, they must not have a lot of fun here if they find this kind of thing fun. “If you came to laugh, you missed the fun. I’m done throwing up.”

Kyungsoo fixes his eyes pointedly on a spot on the wall beside the man’s head, rather than his face, but that doesn’t mean he misses the hurt on his face, or the way he shifts on his feet. “Oh,” the engineer says. “Uh, okay?” He hesitates, and then sets the mug in his hands down on the table in front of Kyungsoo. “Peppermint tea. Good for an upset stomach.”

Ah. Whoops. The man slips out of the room, and Kyungsoo stares down at the steaming mug in front of him. He feels a bit guilty, but mostly he still just feels sick. He doesn’t think that he was adequately prepared for how much this job would make him want to throw up, and it’s not just the centrifuge.

By the time Kyungsoo has finished his tea, his stomach has settled enough for him to feel at least a little remorse at being so rude in the face of a stranger’s kindness. Only a little.


Training goes on. Kyungsoo resolutely straps himself into that centrifuge as often as his trainers will allow until the nausea (and the infuriating technician) become more tolerable. The first time he makes it out without stumbling, he can’t help but feel pretty smug and pleased. He pops a mint into his mouth and then flicks one at Jongdae’s head. “Not bad,” Jongdae says, begrudgingly. He narrows his eyes. “Unless you just threw up in your mouth.” He squints. “Did you throw up in your mouth?”

Kyungsoo levels his best dead-eyed stare at him. “Hysterical,” he says. Jongdae throws his head back and laughs.

He runs into someone on his way out the door - someone tall, with that same, familiar thick hair. “Sorry,” he says.

The man’s face shuts down when he sees who he’s collided with, and that rankles Kyungsoo a little. It also makes the man look very, very young. “Don’t worry about it,” he mumbles.

Kyungsoo has spent most of his formative years studying and training to get here. He’s never wanted anything but to be an astronaut, to reach for the stars, but it’s left him with an unfortunate lack of social skills. He’s never much cared for social interactions anyway, and he’s not very good with friends or any of that, but he knows that he was rude, and it was uncalled for. “No,” he offers, before the man can slip away again. “I’m sorry, too, about before.”

It’s funny, but just that is enough to have the engineer thawing, the wariness easing from his eyes. “Yeah?” he says.

“I don’t think anyone is in a good mood after they’ve just thrown up,” he says. “But the tea helped. So, thank you.”

The smile the man offers him is sunshine bright and genuine. “I’m glad,” he says. “You looked pretty green and I know that has to suck, so.” After a second, he bends in a quick bow. “Kim Jongin.”

“Do Kyungsoo,” he replies. It’s been a while, he thinks, since someone’s reached out to him like this. No motive or anything. “Nice to meet you.”

Jongin’s smile gets wider.

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