Notes: You all blew me away with your kind comments for the last Beca x Chloe fic. Thank you so much; you all put a big grin on my face for about a week. You definitely inspired me to write more for the pairing... hence this odd, math metaphor filled, Kimmy Jin POV fic. I don't even know.
Let's try mathematical equations;
Let's turn x and y to black and white
[It's Only One Weekend by the Age of Rockets]
Kimmy Jin likes math.
Maybe it's stereotypical (insert lame Asian joke here) and banal, but Kimmy Jin likes math. She likes the way x has a value, real or imaginary, and how it's always clear which of those categories it falls into. She likes how there are set rules and formulas—likes how you almost always know when an answer is right (because it fits and you are able to check that it fits, and that's how it should be).
Most of all, she likes how 1 plus 2 always equals 3.
It probably has something to do with this—the reason she feels such frustration towards her white girl roommate.
Because the stupid girl keeps trying to convince herself that she can get 3 by adding 1 and some other number that clearly isn't 2. And that isn't how it works.
Her roommate is, basically, a moron.
There's a story behind it all, of course. Because there's always a story.
Kimmy Jin prefers to think of it as an equation; equations have beginnings and middles and ends too, after all. But equations are fixed and logical, and there is no opinion or uncertainty; there is right and wrong and—yes—you can go about it in different ways, but the end result should always be the same.
Her roommate simply has not realized that yet.
Watching the process is the worst kind of painful. It's as though the girl has been offered up a right triangle with all the sides but the hypotenuse given, and instead of using the Pythagorean Theorem like any sane person would, she decides to use differentials. And then Euclid's proof. And then the square proof. And the trapezoid proof. And then the rearrangement proof. And after all that, when she verifies a^2 + b^2 = c^2 over and over again, she ignores it and puts down 'elephant' as the answer.
Her roommate is a complete and utter imbecile.
But then, that had been evident from the beginning—before the girl had even opened her mouth.
As soon as that whiny white girl with the awful ear holes and tacky white-trash tattoos had walked (slouched, more like) into the room, Kimmy Jin had known she was going to regret checking the 'random' box on her housing application.
Because she could tell—she had just known—her roommate was one of those typical white girls who liked to pretend that they were dark and mysterious and so above and beyond things like friendship and laughter and expression—one of the girls who liked to pretend they didn't want or need all of that. Beca Mitchell was the kind of girl that tried so hard to act like she didn't care that 'not caring' came to involve much more work than simply caring. It was in the carefully mused hair, the selectively slouchy clothing, the abundance of piercings and tattoos (which were probably some act of trivial rebellion), and, of course, in the refusal to smile in any way that wasn't mocking or sarcastic, or—heaven forbid—act as though she actually enjoyed anything.
She had suspected it after one glance –after witnessing the way Beca had come into the room with an old laptop bag and big, ugly headphones around her neck—but she had known it for sure after witnessing the girl's interaction with her privacy-ignorant father.
Kimmy Jin had been impressively spot-on in her assessment of Beca's character.
The funny thing is; her roommate does not truly become deserving of the title of 'premier dimwit' until that first assessment becomes less accurate than Kimmy Jin is willing to admit.
It should be a simple thing, meeting one person.
It should be akin to adding a straightforward real number to an equation; it's rather inconsequential, because grouping it in with the others you already have at play is an effortless process (adding 31 to 12, as even the most incompetent student at Barden was able to do).
But it's not like that at all. Not when the person is the right person. Then it's the adding of a z^2 to a problem that just moments before only involved x and y, and a simple solution.
Chloe Beale, it turns out, is Beca Mitchell's z^2.
And it's not surprising the white girl doesn't know what to do with that from the very start.
Because Beca Mitchell is (predictably) abysmal at math.
"God, the people at this school are total freaks."
It's the first mention of Chloe Beale; Kimmy Jin simply does not know it (won't know it, until many weeks later).
"I mean, a cappella? Really? That's, like, super lame, right?"
Her roommate is mumbling, and Kimmy Jin is quite sure the brunette is not actually speaking with her. Not as though she would have responded even if the girl were daring to do such a thing.
"Like, seriously? 'It's all from our mouths'? That's like… super weird, right?"
It's the first hint of it—the first moment when Kimmy Jin realizes there might—just might—be something worthwhile in her roommate. Because even if the girl's words are masked by disdain, there's an underlying interest—a sense of intrigue that she can't quite conceal.
Kimmy Jin wonders who this white girl is trying to fool.
(Probably just herself).
Sarcasm is a lowest common denominator; it belongs to the category of humor, but only just.
Still, maybe Kimmy Jin feels a smirk threaten to slip onto her face on occasion when the white girl makes a particularly snarky comment. It's not enough to make up for the remaining 99% of the time, which she spends wishing she had gotten a normal roommate. But perhaps her lips twitch a fraction of a centimeter when Beca shows off a rare and surprising bit of wit.
"I'm posing an important philosophical question—if I don't actually go to that class, will it still suck?"
She quashes the surprising bit of regard with relish (with a sharp and satisfying 'nope'). Because she's not friends with Beca. Not in the slightest.
And she rather wishes Beca's father would stop barging into their room without any sort of warning. Even if it does result in the Beca leaving to take a shower—a small blessing.
(Kimmy Jin's pretty sure it's been a few days).
"Oh my god!" Beca bursts into their room soon after (far too soon, Kimmy Jin thinks, to have allowed time for a proper shower). "That a cappella girl just totally creeped on me in the shower."
"While I was nude… In the shower."
Kimmy Jin nearly responds to that one, despite herself.
Because depressed white girl or no—that particular declaration sounds as though it actually could make a decently interesting story.
"Nude," her roommate says again, clutching her robe to herself with an intensity that seems a bit overkill. "Naked."
Clearly, that's the sticking point. The self-declared badass DJ is hilariously shy about her body; Kimmy Jin has noticed her tendency to change under the covers or in the bathroom. She has considered, on several occasions, locking the girl out of their room after she leaves to shower, but Kimmy Jin figures the consequences of the action (her roommate pounding on the door or calling the RA or whatever stupid thing she might do) would result in more headache than the slight amusement would be worth.
"And then had me sing her 'lady jam', and hello, you can't just ask someone to sing with you when you're both naked in a shower!"
Kimmy Jin has to busy herself with her bonsai tree to hide the smirk that spreads; the white girl has turned a bright red—the flush coats her face, ears, and neck, and it's the most emotion Kimmy Jin has ever seen her display.
"And—and what the hell?"
It's then that Kimmy Jin decides she likes whoever this girl is—whoever made Beca lose her cool so completely.
It's the beginning of the end—that very thought.
If only she had known.
(She really should have known).
The bright blue and yellow scarf is so clearly not something that Beca would ever own that Kimmy Jin almost asks about it. Not to mention, it's coupled with Beca's late return to their room (the first Kimmy Jin has witnessed, because usually the girl just sits in their darkened room, alone, making 'music').
But she refrains, merely shooting a look at the scarf clutched in the girl's hand, which proves to be equally as effective.
"I joined that singing group," Beca mumbles. "Y'know. The one with that girl…from the showers; Chloe. Dude does not understand the concept of personal space. She was like… totally up in my business tonight."
Beca kicks off her shoes and throws herself onto her bed. Kimmy Jin thinks she might be a little intoxicated (unsurprising, the white girl's disregard for the law) because she's talking a bit more than she otherwise might.
"But I mean, whatever. Just gotta get through this year, and then I'm outta here. Gotta pay my dues." Beca sits up suddenly, and Kimmy Jin actually turns to look at her in surprise. "That's why I joined this dumb group. Obviously. Because of that deal I made with my dad."
Kimmy Jin does not care for psychology, but she can tell that there's another variable involved here.
(If x = Beca's desire to leave Barden, then:
x ≈ joining a low-key activity that doesn't involve much effort
x ≠ joining a competitive singing group
x + naked singing girl ≈ joining the competitive singing group that the naked girl belongs to
Beca brings over some boy a couple weeks later. Kimmy Jin is surprised, but tries not to show it.
The boy reminds her of a puppy; bounding up to greet her with large eyes and a dopey smile. He makes some stupid joke (something about glasses and ear spikes and trying to get to know the girl underneath) that Kimmy Jin ignores, shooting Beca a glare as she sits down at her desk and fixes her bonsai (one of the branches is at an angle that is 7 degrees less than what she prefers—she blames the puppy boy).
"D'you know anything about… nodes?" Beca asks, her voice low, but still carrying across the room.
Puppy boy, clearly, is not the most intellectual of creatures.
"Vocal nodules. Do you know anything about them?"
"Uh. Not really. Why?"
"It's… Chloe—the redhead from the Bellas. She has them and… I dunno. I was just wondering."
There's a pause, and Kimmy Jin has to keep herself from turning, because her roommate, for the first time, sounds concerned about another living being other than herself. It's something of a shock.
"We can look it up… if you want."
"No. I mean… whatever. It's cool. Let's just… go eat."
They leave shortly after, to Kimmy Jin's relief.
But later, when Beca returns—alone—Kimmy Jin happens to notice that she immediately opens her laptop and types 'vocal nodules' into Google. And then browses the results for a full hour.
(Not that Kimmy Jin cares. Or thinks it's sweet. At all).
Except that maybe she does care—a little—and Kimmy Jin begins to realize that the night she finally meets Chloe Beale.
Her roommate is doing her usual I-am-so-misunderstood routine, which basically involves looking like an absolute slob and hiding under the covers with a bag of M&Ms and those ridiculous oversized headphones. (Beca probably thinks she looks cool; Kimmy Jin just thinks she looks like an idiot). So, of course, when there's a knock at the door, Beca ignores it. And Kimmy Jin doesn't think twice before going to answer it, because her roommate doesn't have people in her life that she lets pop over unexpectedly, so it must be Zhao (who's not due for another half hour, but the boy is obsessively early most of the time anyways).
Zhao is a surly boy with black hair that flops about his face in a way that should be unattractive but isn't. He's tall and thin, with dark skin and eyes that are almost black in color.
He is, perhaps, the exact opposite of the person who Kimmy Jin finds standing outside of their dorm when she opens the door.
"Hi! I'm Chloe—Beca's friend! You must be Kimmy Jin!" The girl beams, displaying perfectly white teeth. "I love your hair! Like, seriously, I always wanted hair that is just silky flawlessness like that all the time—you don't even want to know how long it takes to straighten this mess."
Kimmy Jin is often silent, but rarely has she felt speechless.
"I hope you're liking your first year at Barden! I did a random match too; I got my friend Aubrey, and we're still pretty much BFFs! It's kind of weird at first for everyone, but I think all you have to do is find that one thing you like in the person you're stuck with…"
Chloe's eyes (an alarming blue in color) dart over to Beca, who still hasn't noticed the girl at the door (Kimmy Jin isn't exactly surprised, what with those stupid headphones). It's strange, really, how the action softens every part of the redhead, just for a moment.
"Beca can be a little… reserved, but you're lucky to have her as a roomie," Chloe says earnestly. "There's something… electric in her, y'know?"
Kimmy Jin doesn't know (not really), but Chloe seems to believe her words so fervently that she finds herself nodding in response, never the less.
Chloe beams at her, and even nudges her shoulder playfully as she walks into the dorm. And Kimmy Jin is left wondering what, exactly, had just happened. Because she's pretty sure she just became Chloe Beale's friend.
But as she watches the redhead—watches as she skips over to Beca and throws her arms around the grumpy brunette from behind, removing the girl's headphones and placing them around her own neck instead—Kimmy Jin realizes that's simply who Chloe Beale is. She is the constant function in a derivative—welcome in any situation and capable of making even the most ornery (math) student give an internal sigh of relief.
"C'mon, Becs! Let's go get lunch. My treat!"
"To celebrate your awesomeness at the Rift-Off last night, of course!"
"Chloe… we lost."
"Yeah, but you were, like, aca-awesome! I mean, really? No Diggity? Are you just going to serenade me with all my favorite sexy jams this year?"
The way Beca flushes makes Chloe laugh, the sound of which spurs Kimmy Jin back into action (because she'd just been staring at the two girls, and what is she even thinking right now?)
"Beca, I'm teasing. Now, come on, superstar. Let's get some food!"
Kimmy Jin, now at her seat, is expecting a rebuff, because Beca doesn't do spontaneity, and she certainly doesn't let anything interrupt her music.
But Beca just rolls her eyes and takes her headphones off of Chloe's neck, before standing and helping the older girl off of the bed.
"Alright, alright. Jeez. Let's go before I get you any more wound up with my awesomeness. Don't want Kimmy Jin to get uncomfortable with the way you're so clearly into me."
Chloe snickers and gives Beca's shoulder a playful shove. "Oh, stop, you. Kimmy Jin is only uncomfortable because you're so clearly denying your true feelings for all of this."
The redhead performs some sort of sexy jiggle as she gestures to her own body, but then gives Kimmy Jin (who is mortified to be caught watching) a quick wink.
Beca laughs— genuinely—in response, and Kimmy Jin nearly falls out of her chair.
"Yeah, okay. Let's go, nerd."
They're nearly out of the door by the time Chloe's calls back, her voice bright and sincere.
"Bye, Kimmy Jin! It was great meeting you! I'll see you again soon, 'kay?"
And Kimmy Jin is horrified to find that she wouldn't mind that.
(Not at all).
Worse, when Chloe Beale friends Kimmy Jin on Facebook later that same day (complete with a personal message that includes no less than five emoticons), Kimmy Jin clicks on accept without a moment of hesitation.
But she does not spend time browsing through Chloe's photo folder entitled, Bellas 2012-2013. And she most certainly does not notice that in nearly every picture, the redhead has her arm around one Beca Mitchell (who, in the rare candid picture that features the two of them, is smiling honestly and openly).
In fact, she doesn't even think about doing either of those things.
(In case anyone asks).
Beca is the x=0 to puppy's boy's f(x) = 1/x , Kimmy Jin decides one night, when she enters the dorm room to find them sitting awkwardly on her roommate's bed with the lights out.
Because no matter how hard it tries, f(x) = 1/x will never reach zero—will never make it a part of its line. Someone should probably let the boy know, before he reaches even more dire depths of pitiful and desperate.
"The white girl is back," she says instead.
She does give puppy boy a glare that has him scurrying out of the room impressively quickly. And after he's left, she shoots another, more vehement one in Beca's direction. It's unfortunately lost on her, as she's too busy moping about, looking confused and annoyed all in one (it's not a good look for her).
Kimmy Jin thinks she could clear quite a few things up for her roommate, but that would involve caring more than a little. (And she doesn't—absolutely doesn't—care… that much).
(So she doesn't bother).
It's true that sitting at her desk with her earbuds in (while not a note of music plays from her computer) allows her to surreptitiously listen to her roommate's conversation with the ginger whose head rests on Beca's shoulder. But that's not the reason behind Kimmy Jin's action. It's simply because she doesn't want anyone to attempt to speak to her while she works on a somewhat challenging math worksheet. (That other bit is just an unforeseen side effect).
"Thank you," Beca says, her voice soft.
"Mmm? For what?"
"For trying to say something to Aubrey. I know I… don't make things easy for you guys."
"It's fine, Beca. I mean… you are kinda right."
"Just 'kinda'?" Beca's voice shifts and Kimmy Jin knows she wants to be done with the small (and frankly, astounding) bit of sincerity she'd so recently displayed.
"Well, Bree is our captain."
"So are you, Chloe. You don't— you don't give yourself enough credit. You're like… really amazing. Just as amazing as Aubrey thinks she is."
A moment of silence follows and Kimmy Jin twists in her seat to crack her back (she's stuck on a problem and the frustration is making her feel stiff), catching a glimpse of the two women. Beca's hands have stilled over her keyboard, but her eyes remain resolutely fixed on the screen. Chloe, on the other hand, has lifted her head from Beca's shoulder and is staring at the young girl in a way that might be described as bewilderment mixed with affection.
"I… " Kimmy Jin hears the pause and the rustling of sheets that follows. "…Should probably get going. See you tomorrow though?"
Beca clears her throat before answering, but her voice still cracks. "Ye-ah. Yeah, I'll see ya."
Kimmy Jin, frowning at the problem before her, does not notice that Chloe's standing over her shoulder until she realizes she hadn't heard the door slam with the woman's supposed exit.
"Dr. Carlson, huh?" The older woman guesses, eyes focused on the worksheet (and the blob of ink that has resulted from Kimmy Jin leaving her pen in one place for so long). "He can be tough. But he's fair."
Kimmy Jin doesn't respond, because first of all, rude; there are unwritten laws that prevent this kind of intrusion, and two , what does this bubbly (and admittedly charming) girl know about calculus?
"Try checking your constraint," Chloe says, with an unassuming smile. "I think you accidently wrote w3 instead of w2 in your first derivative."
Her jaw doesn't drop, but it's a near thing, because Chloe Beale is 100% correct. It must be shock, then, that causes her to respond with a practically warm, 'thank you'.
"No problem! Bye, Kimmy Jin! See you later!"
And that's all fine. Kimmy Jin is allowed to think that one of Beca's friends is actually a decent human being. It's not anything of great significance.
But the way Beca smirks at her a little later, when Kimmy Jin is about to leave the dorm herself, makes her feel as though she might be a bigger deal that she had attempted to tell herself it was.
"You actually like Chloe, don't you?"
"You don't like Jesse, though."
Her answer comes without hesitation.
"But why? They're both sweet and charming and all talkative. What's the difference?"
Kimmy Jin rolls her eyes, because, really, could Beca be any more oblivious and obvious all at once? She's not about to waste her time on this nonsense. (The girl is a total lost cause). Still, she imparts one bit of wisdom, throwing it over her shoulder as she leaves the dorm.
"That boy tries too hard. The ginger doesn't have to."
(She thinks it's rather well put).