Scandalous ◇ The Trials of Coterie


Can one group cover it all?
Circle Media
The last straw on a long list of grievances. That's what Miyeon's elopement did for Circle Media. Once an up and coming mid tier company with popular girl group Riot and known for supposedly treating their trainees and staff as if they were human beings, scandal after scandal left them hanging on by the thread. Circle Media was once the bastion of hope for kpop fans that not all entertainment companies saw their artists as money machines: Circle was different. But they had Riot. Riot with their music show wins and winning variety personalities, the quartet seemed unstoppable. Then contracts came up and two did not re-sign. It was okay because Circle still had Miyeon, their y soloist now, and Minji, their former lead vocal now actress. Their trainees did so well in Produce even though they didn't make it into IZ*ONE or X1. Their new boy group, Omni, have had success with their songs and were even named rookies of the year. Circle was doing so good! Then came the Burning Sun scandal with their one male soloist and producers linked. Then came the Produce vote manipulation and the leakage that one of their VPs was trying to bribe their trainees into the final lineup. And finally, Miyeon was caught in an illicit moment with her now fiancee and Circle denied it, only to have Miyeon tell the truth and elope with her man to Canada. The public has lost faith in Circle Ent. 
welcome Coterie
Circle Media's Redemption
Coterie, a social gathering. A Social CIRCLE if you will. Circle' Media's solution to the scandals surrounding them. Deflect and deflect some more. If SM could do it every time they had a scandal, then what's good for them should be good for Circle Media. Throwing their few remaining trainees together after having to downsize or release those that wanted to leave, Coterie is their hail mary. Coterie won't have the once shining reputation of Circle Media to protect them and open doors. Coterie won't have Riot as sunbaes to promote them. Promotions with Omni will be so limited so as not to tarnish their reputation should they fail. They're starting from the ground up again. There's just one rule for them: don't mess it up...because if they do, there's no guarantee Circle will back them up.

Except it seems like someone or someones want Coterie, and thereby Circle, to fail.
Scandalous: Not a false update! I've added a section that goes into a little more detail on Riot and Omni. Just for fun!


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Chapter 24: just read this again because it's such a comfort chapter and ilwoo is my son. the coterieverse is everything to me.
Chapter 24: ILWOO MY BELOVED !!!!! i know i say this abt absolutely everything that happens in this fic but you did this FOR ME like how did you knoowww???? how did you know that bit abt ilwoo being too sentimental to rip a page out of his journal was going to mentally torment me forever?? he's just like me for real !!! i'm so invested in his crush on gayoung too like WHERE is this going i need to be there to see it happen

OHH and that part where ilwoo is just talking to woojin but he gets progressively more heated as he goes on bc idol life is nuts and he has to re-realize it as he speaks?? "they have to hide so much of everything" is genius. genius. i was DEVASTATED. the exhaustion, the powerlessness, the cynicism, the burnt out young people OF IT ALL. and here i go again but writing is a craft !! bc there's no inherent reason why that line hits the way it does, it's 100% tied to ilwoo and the story and the way that specific conversation (that specific paragraph actually. writing is a CRAFT) kept building. i know u didn't plan or mayb even think about a single thing i just said but one thing abt me is i'm gonna overanalyze the crap out of something i like. you have to understand i was reading from the comfort of my own home and yet that single string of words made me feel like a soldier shot down in battle.

*antoni from queer eye voice* omni fighting about food is something that can actually be so personal. i just rlly loved how realistic that whole bit was bc i'm sure lots of idol misunderstandings play out like this, over silly that is actually complex if only bc there's a whole lot of people in a group and there's no other way for things to be. also i ended up rlly loving sihoo here, i felt like laughing every time he switched off the arguing mode to call lim "limmie". then it was "hyung is sick?" "sick of our "... BRILLIANT lmaoooo i know someone that has that EXACT same sense of humor and sharp wit,, as soon as i read it i wanted to show it to her.

i'm gonna need a real explanation or at least a real peek of this weird relationship circle media and... the media have going on. just so i understand correctly, there's dispatch ppl inside omni's building????? i know for a FACT omni stan twitter would be a Mess over this (i forgot what omni's fandom name was.... do they have one? u can just call them aggies if they don't). but like... what IS going on?

I HAVE TO SAY.... i love the quiet powerful loving scenes in this fic. ilwoo and gayoung come to mind, but in this interlude it's ilwoo and gun. the second he opened the door to gun doing his music stuff i was iN IT. i was Visualizing the Visions. and honestly now that i think about it omni and food could be a sort of metaphor for omni's disjointed, still clumsy rookie group way of caring for each other when they're only getting used to each other. there's three people ordering different types of food and the subsequent mess, but you also have ilwoo bartering with gun so he'll eat. and that warmed my heart. and i want to overanalyze this but i truly can't put my finger on what about the quiet atmosphere of that moment connects with me so well, but i guess that's the magic of it all. and that's why i'm addicted to coterie updates.
Chapter 20: Hyeonyi only wanted a top bunk? What a chaos child I love her. Oh my god Jaein is absolutely adorable with all the mental gymnastic she's trying to do to make this group thing work, I really love how chaotic and clustered her train of thought seems as she jumps from one thought to another. You wrote her super well!! And aww ofc she ended up forgetting her shoe boxes, girl you need a break and promotions haven't even started!

Oh my god the platonic it's killing me I love them together. Aah but Micha to the rescue, intentionally or not she's already doing a better leader job than most of our fics xD

Awww speaking of leadership! Micha honey you're doing f i n e ! Also I love how apparently snack bribing is the one trait all the coterie girls have in common XD I can totally understand her exhaustion and anxiety, being a leader seems so stressful in the kpop industry with all the burden and expectations, and these girls are all menaces so Micha is not off to a good start. Hopefully with the power of ~character development~ things will get better. Or we'll get juicy drama C: oooh but wait, her title is all politics? With Gayoung it's pretty understandable why she's not leader, but Youngae? Hmm the plot thickens.

OKAY BUt what's up with Micha and Gun??? Do I sense... a ship? Also excuse you Micha but Gayoung IS an 180cm man. Gun does sound ridiculously impressive, and I wonder why they made him leader if he was so new? He sounds incredibly honest and real, and his advice might not be what Micha wants to hear, but I think it's still somehow comforting. Like things do work out, it's nice to hear it in real life too.

KAIDEN AND SIHOO I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I love everything about them. But wait, strange guy???? What is up with that???? And Gun's covering it up?? I am intrigued.

OH HONEY MICHA So it's not Gun it's Kaiden??? I also ship. Honestly I'd ship Micha with Micha she is perfect.

Oooh Minji! It's cool to see a pov from her, she's bringing in a cool perspective into all of this, especially how today skill has less weight than charisma and visuals and it kinda shows with Gayoung Hyeonyi and everyone else. Oooh hellp Sara! Gossiping about Coterie and giving us outside perspective.

And now I want to see Nanhee do a Sistar song.

Of course they have a hot manager tier list with Woojin and Hosung. BUT WAIT what's up with Sunho who is he and what happened to him???

Okay this was amazing, we got a little bit of everything and it was AWESOME I missed your writing so much man!! Now onto chapter 4.
Chapter 23: I am extremely fascinated by Dohyun now
Chapter 21: Oh.My.Lord. This chapter was PERFECTION. It was absolutely worth getting up in the middle of the night and annoying my fiancé with reading fanfictions when he was trying to sleep XD 10/10 would do it again.

I don't even know how to put all of the emotions going through me into words. Seriously, you had me trembling to my core with this update. I was so invested reading this chapter, the way how Gayoung's feelings and behavior were portrayed - no matter how wrong they might have been - was so very relatable and insanely well written. Your red thread was visible all the time and the build up to the + some relaxation afterwards just brilliant.

Gayoung and Nanhee have such an interesting relationship and I gotta say... I'm all here, ready to sign into their ship fanclub XD
That Naruto kiss had me burst out laughing, and in general I really enjoyed just reading what was going on inside of Gayoung, how she bottled up all her feelings until they got shaken too much and exploded. Also seeing how the others were acting, how they eventually joined Gayoung for her "bullying circle" to gang up on Nanhee.

I could write much much more but since the others already wrote very detailed comments and I'd pretty much just repeat everything, lemme say I agree with what everyone's said so far and I'm looking sooooo forward to reading more! Can't wait! I'm rooting for you and the next update <3
Chapter 21: my comment is so ing long i'll leave it in the replies to this. just know i'm obsessed with this chapter. i read through coterie updates like i watch my favorite tv shows. i love this so much.
Chapter 21: Silverfoil, I must say, you've totally outdone yourself. art. It's beautiful, and by far the most captivating chapter in my entire life. Long, beautifully constructed and I couldn't take my eyes off of it to continue my cleaning duties until I finished it. I must say, this Gayoung and Nanhee trope will be the bane of my existence and brings so much to the forefront. I feel that Gayoung is right in the sense of assumption and obversation with Nanhee's slack behavior but is totally out-of-line due to her not knowing Nanhee, well, well at all. It's not fair for her to place that kind of assumption on Nanhee despite Nanhee's lack-of-participation when it comes to the girls being a group where team-work and cooperation is necessary. All of it is so wrong and unfair on both sides but all this was artfully configurated in the way it need to be, to read further POVs after this will give this story the ammunition it needs to see other cracks in the girls' facades.

#Nanheehaw has some work to do, I daresay. So much to unpack there. I thought Nanhee would naturally be the most controversial character but now I see that Gayoung has easily taken her up on that and shoved her out the way to make room for judgment. Gayoung tries so hard to ignore that petty part of her that thinks the worst and she desperately tries to shove it in the back of her mind but still, it comes forth anyway when the emotions are so high within a vehement atmosphere. I wish that Hosung WOULD have stepped in despite trying to let the girls work it out, at least to mellow it out some but I digress, this needed to happen.

How will the lot of them recover after such a strong, disrespectful confrontation? *dun, dun, dun*

Ilwoo and Gayoung are such a lovable duo of friends. I love how Gayoung is trying to pry information out of him but because she's still dealing with the aftermath of every she's done, she feels like she's stepping on toes at the same time. Such a conflict. I wish things could easily go back to normal with a snap of finger for her but that's totally not going to be easy, huh. She was ready to beat ol' girl's (the one who broke Ilwoo's heart) but you've got your own demons to fight, lady!

Also, I'm going to have to look at the discography again to figure out what their comeback song is since it was mention to be less vocal-heavy and more so, a break for some of them and others to shine.

Poor Kyungwon and Jaein struggling is another trope I'd like to see play out for comedic relief. "Let's just hide them behind them", Seollim is a mood I will forever agree upon.

Gosh, I've got to read this entire chapter again.

Chapter 21: <span class='smalltext text--lighter'>Comment on <a href='/story/view/1465638/21'>Chapter 4</a></span>
OK COMMENT TIME gonna do this public this time for EVERYONE to see xD

GAYOUNG CHAPTER GAYOUNG CHAPTER GAYOUNG CHAPTER I am suuuuch a Gayoung fangirl she is 100% my bias and nobody can stop me. Destroy me Gaya. Honestly it's so interesting to get into the mindset of like a debuting idol with her cautious expectations and the dashing thereof. That kind of human aspect of the idol life is why I keep coming back to these fics, you look at these beautiful people with their perfectly crafted stages and songs and rehearsed smiles and can't help but wonder what goes on behind the mask of it all. Like that unspoken little hope Gayoung had that they might be an Itzy no matter how ridiculous it might sound but Itzy was was an Itzy, or IVE was an IVE, it /could/happen to you. I bet even the nugus have that hope somewhere that maybe they'll chart, maybe they'll go viral, it could happen. After all, it HAS happened. Just not to everyone.

I also love the cracks you can see in her thoughts, the rationales she plasters them with. She never outright states her jealousy for Nanhee but it peeks through the total rational thoughts of oh I just don't like her. Her tone is all about never quite saying the thing out loud and I absolutely love it. Hurt me, mommy.

Hmmm, I too know those lyrics <3

And then the cracks are getting wider and wider and it's harder and harder to pretend the stinky feelings aren't stinky. And omg the juxtaposition between the darker and darker thoughts and her perfectly polite outside words are just *chef's kiss*.



And then if course she doesn't realise that the joy she feels at seeing just a glimmer of the old Youngae is probably reflecting just a glimmer of the old Gayoung back. And then we're back to always comparing herself with others, putting her own worth in the framework of what others have already accomplished and trying so hard to come out on top.

Truly I think you absolutely nailed the complex dynamics of jealousy and internalised misogyny ruling Gayoung -and some of the others- in this moment and I think it's super realistically done. On the one hand Gayoung's feelings are so understandable, but on the other hand they're also so toxic and, I repeat, hurt me please. Everything from the shaming to the jealousy over male attention that has got to be so prevalent in an environment where there are so many women who sink or swim by the whims of the men who hold power over them in a society already rife with internalised misogyny. You really don't see this kind of portrayal of women's struggles and women's struggles with women on AFF and I think it really makes the story that much richer to of course hopefully see them rise to understand and overcome it. And that goes for Nanhee as well who, I imagine, just dances as she was taught to dance to get male approval.


If you wanted me to stop shipping them, hint, this is NOT what you do oh my god I will never ship anyone else in this fic except them. It's okay Nanhee the power of sarang will heal your trauma for sure

OMG the fight THE FIGHT IT FUELS ME. IT IS SO GOOD. COME TO ME CONFLICT, RAISE ME UP. Oh my god the dam breaking moments are just so so so good when finally everything comes pouring out in one ugly mess YES QUEENS. TALK TO EACH OTHER. BREAK THINGS. That is the only way to mend emotional constipation, doctor's orders. And then Gayoung says The Thing and even I did a GASP. She said the quiet part out loud!!!!!

And then we absolutely needed that little outro with Ilwoo and some peace and quiet. It's so nice to see her just be with someone she is absolutely comfortable with. Also Ilwoo would totally get along with Seunghoon xD Omni might not be any of our characters but I am absolutely just as invested in them as I am in the Coterie girls.

ALSO I need you to know that nothing you can do will get me to stop shipping Gayoung/Nanhee. I see what you're doing, this Ilwoo person is obviously in love with Gayoung but he'd better write some more breakup songs cause there is a new ship in town.

Chapter 20: i’ll be honest, i was hoping somebody else would comment about this chapter so you wouldn’t have to read two comments by me in a row but i ended up rushing over to give this chapter the praise it deserves. so i guess there’s no escaping me ;))) i apologize in advance

can i say i love jaein? she’s just So Much. she tries to keep track of Everything. i feel like every paragraph here was loaded with jaein trying to figure out what she could do for the other girls. we don’t often get a lot of insight into dorm life, i feel like, especially from groups that don’t have privileged dorm arrangements, so i def feel for coterie and how chaotic living together is gonna be for them. also, i’m figuring coterie is not a very creep-wary group. what do you mean you wonder why your male manager doesn’t live with you???? be thankful.

i had to laugh at jaein forgetting all the precious information about the girls she so wants to collect. also at “nanhee unnie. need more intel”.

i’m crying jaein actually gay-panicked because of lim ksdjfksdhfjkdsf this is awesome. and of course jaein is more concerned trying to memorize that gayoung likes marvel and not dc instead of her literal schedule !!! again, love her.

THE GIRLS ARE FIGHTING !!!! this is what i want. not that lim does (i love her too. also poor jaein, she was so excited about surprising lim with snacks T__T), she was Done. but this is what I want, so all this running into elbows isn’t gonna cut it. next time it better be a cat fight. also i’m afraid i’m team gayoung here (#ApologizeToYoungae), but micha made me proud being all responsible trying to break the argument up. also the little lim and maknae line interactions were So Cute.

AH the way jaein’s pov started out with her devoting her attention to the members/lim and it ended with the girls devoting their attention to sara and lim dropping the snacks she gave her :((((( something something writing is a craft something something i love u dear author

NOW THIS MICHA POV….. this needs addressing. first of all i wanna hug micha so bad. i love getting a peek into the minds of people like micha who so often compromise for the greater good. BUT but but also .. gun. he is now my best friend. i had no reason to expect he’d be such a compelling character but i actually really loved how realistic his backstory was and i’m obsessed with the idea of him being like a mentor to micha (gun pov When?????)

However i can’t be the only one that didn’t get strictly mentor-mentee vibes here….. let’s say i was picking up A Vibe. matter of fact i’m not the only one bc sihoo did too. so it was hilarious when kaiden came in and micha straight-panicked (i’m sorry i don’t wanna take this from the gays but there’s no other word i fear). reality check! i do see something something along the lines of jealousy/misunderstandings being set up here….. i’m Interested. you have my interest. i’m also picking up my sihoo and lim crumbs !! looking forward to these two.

more strange men !! or perhaps the same strange man. my theory is the press is trying to get more dirt on circle media, but surely there must be other ways than stalking the company building. i’m intrigued. also pls slap some creep-awareness into the girls, micha, maknae-ness be damned.

minji pov was Everything !!!!!!!!!!! i love her jaded baby hag energy (instantly reminded me of a charming lady whose name starts with a b and ends with yun jiwoo), read our girls to filth please! preach, minji, nobody cares about teaching idols technique anymore. oh and she gave seunghee her flowers !!!!! minji give me A Chance i can make u happy i promise. exhibit a: i listened to namjoo's bird for the first time for minji <3 sara is also great,, i’m nosy so i loved to see their assessments of the girls. now the nostalgia and idoldom of this pov just killed me. SO GOOD. give sara her flowers too !! the brains behind the silly bulleo bulleo hip trusts can only be those of a genius in my books. i’m now too emotionally invested in minji and sara both for them to be underpaid :(( but i can only imagine if minji’s not getting her due coin,, coterie girls you’re on your own here

what happened to sunho??????? and is this related to whatever happened to hosung???? the manager plot THICKENS.

in conclusion,, i couldn’t be any more thankful and supportive of you for sticking to this story. this truly feels like watching a favorite tv show to me and i love having a reason to log back into aff after so long <33
Chapter 18: oh my GOD are u kidding ???? thank you so much for this christmas gift new year’s party of an update!! you did it, you finally did it, you’ve brought this out for me. thank you AUTHOR NIM MWAH

ah i’m just so excited to see all my coteriè girls again. oh stiff-backed straight-faced gayoung…. what ever will we do with her. just kidding gayoung, never change. and hyeonyi !!! never change HER. also what’s with these debut showcase questions. “who’s the least smart member of the group?” ??????????????

and here we have the whole idolsphere public persona issues of it all !!!!!!!!! give. it. to. me. you better read those comments dear kyungwon. also [TANGENT] what is it with the need for every new group to be funny? (of course it’s definitely appreciated, but let’s be real) and how ever is that supposed to show through in a stiff debut showcase interview section? netizens pls let my coterists live. ahh kyungwon how i love your pretty girl struggles. i think she’s the only girl in this lineup who absolutely doesn’t like to be popular. of course twitter has to freak out about her! make her suffer.

OMNI MY SONS !! i might have missed them and their award winning billboard topping HIT inception too. also, in your face, netizens! jaein got drinks for ALL the unnies… except micha but she probably doesn’t mind right? (know your worth micha!! know your worth). back to omni!!! kaiden is a survival show Pro i would’ve voted for him.

youngae pov was PAIN. and i love that. also you can not possibly pitch a pairing to me with the phrase “the way he looks at nanhee and she glares at him back? he’s asking for trouble” and not expect me to make my whole life about them. like what WAS that???? suddenly i’m expressly requesting trouble. but honestly i can do without nanhee/jaeseok if you’re willing to give me nanhee/gayoung instead. the whole moment of them staring at each other and youngae essentially third wheeling?? yeah this also qualifies for a what WAS that??? also i LOVE conflict i wanted even more yelling.

OH the way the stage names came out when tallying up the fan gifts. GIVE ME that separation between idol personas and real people !!!! also yayyy lim got a gift that’s my daughter !! and awwww the middle schoolers all fell for youngae that’s so sweet. also dorm life seems like such a chaos incubator. i’m IN. i better see scratches and hair pulling.

just WHAT is this hosung storyline??? i’m intrigued. the whole drinking scene was everything i didn’t know i needed. drunk uncle moment? my lifeline. thank you sungwon. what IS the hosung arc oh my god??? suspense suspense