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play your love songs all night long (only for me)

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It's not like Yoongi considers himself to be a particularly good neighbor. He keeps to himself and seldom greets any of the people living in the complex when he passes them in the hall, instead opting for awkwardly shuffling past as he keeps his eyes glued to the floor. Nor does he participate in any apartment complex meetings or summer barbecues in the shared backyard. When he’s by himself in the elevator and he can see someone’s running towards him, trying to catch the elevator before the doors close, he’s really pressing the close button while pretending to press the wait button and just shrugs awkwardly when they inevitably close before the other person can get in.

But he doesn't consider himself to be a particularly bad neighbor either. He has some manners - he bows his head in respect when greeting the elderly neighbors and helps the eighty-year-old woman on the second floor with carrying her groceries up the stairs when the elevator is out of order (which it has been for about three months).

He doesn't shout out of his window into the shared backyard about disrespect and damn kids when they get a little loud in the sandpit at nine on a Saturday morning. When he works on his music, he always plugs his headphones in, so none of the neighbors are disturbed by heavy bass, loud synthesizers or obscene lyrics. If people send out a notice in due time, he can even tolerate a loud party from time to time.

And most importantly, he doesn't put up anonymous passive aggressive sticky notes on the cork board in the main hall, such as:

 

Could the residents of 2B please refrain from having the 'bomb countdown' as their alarm,
especially at such a high volume and if they’re going to snooze it five times before finally turning it off? :)

 

or

 

Would the person stealing my newspaper every morning kindly stop
(and/or give the stolen papers back) before I call the police
.

 

In other words, Yoongi stays out of other people's business and tries his best not to be a bother to anyone.

But he draws the line at loud saxophone playing at two o’clock at night when he’s going into the studio with a rapper he despises first thing in the morning.

 

The first time it happens, he wakes abruptly to the sounds of what he thinks is supposed to be John Coltrane’s I’ll Wait and Pray. It's not like Yoongi minds Coltrane, he actually listens to a couple of his albums, but not only does his phone show 02:17 - the person playing this so called "rendition" of I’ll Wait and Pray is utterly tone deaf. It sounds like a pod of dying dolphins, letting out their final whines of agony (which reminds Yoongi of The Cove and man, that was fucked up and probably the reason why he can’t eat seafood anymore).

At first, he just lies there, staring at the ceiling and contemplates whether being woken up in the middle of the night by a screeching saxophone is reason enough to commit murder. Maybe he can plead self-defense, seeing as he's sure his eardrums are going to burst at any moment.  

The playing doesn't stop. He groans and shoves his head under his pillow, even going so far as to press his hands as hard as he can against his ears, like he did when he was a kid and his parents were fighting in the kitchen. He can’t hear the sound of his own breathing anymore, but he can still hear the screeching saxophone, his hands and pillow only dimming the sound slightly.

 

When Yoongi walks into the studio the next morning, twenty five minutes late, Hoseok laughs, "Damn, looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed." The rapper Yoongi can’t recall the name of in the recording booth turns his nose up at him and Namjoon gives him a look from where he’s sitting by the mixing table while tapping his wrist watch with his pointer finger.

Yoongi is going to fucking murder the Saxophone Asshole.

 

***

 

Yoongi has yet to invest in a car. He doesn’t really miss it and actually finds having a car in the city kind of silly. Why spend so much money on a car when he has a metro card and the public transit system is pretty decent? Hoseok drives to and from work every day and is always complaining about traffic. Yeah, Yoongi’s eco-friendly as shit and doesn’t have to deal with traffic. It’s a win-win situation.

The only times he curses his not-owning-a-car existence is during his bi-weekly trips to the grocery store. When he has hauled two full bags of groceries from the supermarket to the cramped metro and all the way from the station to the apartment complex.

Today is one of those days. Today is especially bad because the elevator is still out of order and Yoongi has four heavy grocery bags so full they’re almost bursting at the seams. He’s standing at the bottom of the stairs, the bags sitting by his feet as he looks up at his inevitable doom.  

Although he’d never say it out loud, Yoongi isn’t what you’d call a strong guy. He’s actually pretty weak. Leg day is a foreign concept to him and he has probably never done a goddamn crunch in his life. He has turned down Hoseok and Namjoon’s invitations to work out with them so many times that they’ve stopped asking. His arms are actual noodles and he’s pretty sure noodles can’t carry four bags up five flights of stairs.

Sure, he can carry an old lady’s groceries up to the second floor, no problem. Mrs. Park’s bags are generally light, consisting of… Well, Yoongi doesn’t really know what old people eat, but carrying a few light bags up two flights of stairs is nothing compared to carrying his bags, full of canned goods, meat by the kilogram and beer up to the fifth floor.

"Looks like you could use some help."

Yoongi turns his head and sees none other than Kim Fucking Taehyung. Fucking is not actually part of his name, but it sure as hell could be considering it seems like he’s been constantly fucking up Yoongi’s ability to form sentences since he moved in about a month ago. He lives with his boyfriend, who's this tiny guy with even tinier hands (okay, so maybe Yoongi is tinier than Tiny, but he has hands that are in proportion to his body, at least).

Yoongi always scowls at Tiny when they pass each other in the hall.

"Or?" he says, snapping Yoongi out of his trance. He mumbles out a small "y-yeah", letting the little pride he had left wash away.

Taehyung saunters over to him like he’s walking a damn catwalk. He’s wearing a button up that looks like it came straight out of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and these glasses that are bordering on being serial killer glasses, but it somehow works for him. He looks like one of those ironically dorky models on the front page of a street fashion magazine Yoongi isn’t cool enough to read.

"I don’t think we’ve been introduced?" he reaches his hand out to Yoongi, "I’m Kim Taehyung. Pleased to meet you!" Everyone in the apartment complex knows who Kim Fucking Taehyung is. Mrs. Park had talked his ear off about their new neighbor the last time Yoongi helped her with her groceries. "I think he’s a model!" she had whispered.

Yoongi stares dumbly at his hand for a few seconds before shaking his head and taking his hand. "Min Yoongi," he says. Because he’s an idiot and because his father always told him that a strong man should have a strong handshake, he squeezes Taehyung’s hand, hard. Taehyung winces, lets go of his hand and Yoongi wants to disappear off the face of the earth.

Taehyung picks up two of the bags and Yoongi can see the muscles in his neck flex slightly. When he stands up straight, Yoongi has to look up and he feels very, very small. In reality, there’s probably only a five centimeter difference between the two of them, but Yoongi feels like he’s a fourteen-year-old boy, standing next to a marble statue of Achilles in an art museum.

He has yet to look Taehyung in the eyes and thinks it’s for the best if it stays that way, so he keeps his eyes glued to the floor as he picks up the two remaining bags and starts climbing the stairs one step behind him.

"You live in 5D, right?" Yoongi looks at him with wide eyes, slightly alarmed, "Chill, dude. I’ve seen you out on your balcony a few times."

Ah, yes. Yoongi has also had the pleasure of seeing Taehyung out on his balcony. Their apartment is one story below and two apartments to the right of Yoongi’s, meaning he can look down at their balcony from his own. Not that he looks. He just happens to glance down at their balcony from time to time. Whatever.

"Yeah, sorry you have to carry the bags up five flights of stairs."

"Ah, you have an accent too, right? I can tell! Where are you from?"

"Daegu."

"Really? Me too!"

"Wow, really? What are the odds?" Yoongi cringes at his own words. His flat, matter-of-fact tone makes it sound like he’s being sarcastic and to be honest, he probably would be if it was anyone but Taehyung. Daegu is a big city. Small compared to Seoul, but not so small that meeting someone else from there is rare.

He looks at Taehyung’s back, trying to decipher if he’s offended, but all he can see is broad shoulders and loud fabric.

They climb the rest of the stairs in silence and Yoongi finds himself wondering if death by sheer awkwardness or death by falling backwards down the stairs is worse. Busting his head open on the concrete floor at the bottom of the stairs seems like the better choice.

"Well, this is me," Yoongi says, grinding to a halt outside his apartment, "Thanks for helping out."

"No problem," Taehyung smiles, mouth turning into a rectangle that would look ridiculous on anyone else, but again, it’s Taehyung. Everything seems to work on him.

Taehyung puts the bags down right next to Yoongi’s door, so they won’t block it when he opens it, "Give me your phone." Yoongi does. He’d probably give Taehyung his phone with a smile on his face even if he crowded Yoongi in a dark alley, put a knife against his neck and yelled it in his ear.

He taps around on the phone for a few seconds, before handing it back, "Text me next time you need help carrying your groceries." Then he fucking winks and walks off.

When he disappears down the stairs, Yoongi takes a look at his phone.

Taehyung had saved himself in his phone and sent himself a text.

 

[Wednesday 17:41] To: taehyung ;)
dis yoongi, ur awkward upstairs
neighbor

 

Kim Fucking Taehyung is going to give Min Yoongi a heart attack one day.

 

***

 

Yoongi could forgive and forget – he really could, if it wasn't for the fact that the saxophone playing continues.

After the first time, he had attributed The Saxophone From Hell to being a one time thing. A fluke. But Min Yoongi is not that lucky.

He’s woken up in the middle of the night at least once a week by Sax Asshole. Usually during the weekends, thank God, but sometimes he finds himself listening to his own ragged breathing, accompanied by a screeching saxophone at two o’clock on a work night. It’s not ideal.

The final straw is one fateful Saturday morning, when he’s pulled out of his REM sleep by a saxophone that can’t have been tuned in years. This time, the playing is so bad that he can’t make out what song or even what genre it’s supposed to be. All he knows is that it sounds like a pair of cats mating and that it’s making his ears, his head and his very being hurt.

After fumbling around in the dark, his hand finally grabs his phone. He winces at the blue light illuminating his face and has to squeeze his eyes shut for a few seconds. When he opens them, his phone shines a bright 3:42 at him.

He sits up, hell-bent on finding out where the noise is coming from. As his eyes adjust to the dark, he slides his legs off the bed, his feet hitting the linoleum below. The cold floor sends a shiver up his calves, making his leg hair stand up. He tip-toes across the room, not wanting to wake up his neighbors like a decent fucking person.  

The moon is shining through the windows, illuminating his tiny apartment in a pale glow. It’d be a serene scene if it wasn’t for the saxophone. It’s the only noisy thing in a world of silence.

He shuffles around the small space, listening intently, but to no avail. He can’t tell exactly where it’s coming from, only that it’s not in any of the apartments adjacent to his. It kind of sounds like one of those What Redbone would sound like while you’re in the bathroom at a house party memes, just that it’s not a masterpiece by Childish Gambino playing, but what Yoongi thinks Satan plays as he greets you at the gates of Hell.

He has maneuvered his way into the living room when the "music" stops. He sighs and relaxes his shoulders, feeling the tension wash away. There is a God.

A particularly high and shrill note tears him away from his thoughts and he jerks, stubbing his little toe on the bookshelf and toppling over a picture frame. He can hear glass breaking when it hits the floor – it’s one of his favorites, a self-portrait of him sitting by his keyboard, his back to the camera taken with a self timer. "Motherfucker!" he yells out, hunching over and wrapping his hands around his foot.

As he lies down on the cold floor in the fetal position, surrounded by broken pieces of glass, all he can hear is the sounds of his nextdoor neighbor banging on their shared wall, yelling at him to be quiet and the screeching from one very out of tune saxophone.

 

The next morning, Yoongi marches down to the main hall with a slight limp, green sticky note in hand. For once, his eyes are not fixed to the floor, they’re looking straight ahead because he’s a man on a mission.

He approaches the corkboard and takes a deep breath, bracing himself. He can do this.

He looks from side to side, making sure he’s by himself. With a swift movement, he sticks the note on the corkboard and puts a thumbtack in it, just to be safe.

 

TO: The asshole resident who plays the saxophone in the middle of the night,
just stop it. You are disturbing the other residents. There is this thing called sleep that most people do at night.
You should try it, seeing as the saxophone is not working for you (your playing sounds like a dying dolphin)
FROM: Resident who goes to work early in the mornings (Ever heard of it?) and needs their sleep.

 

When he’s picking up his mail the following day, he glances at the board to see if there are any announcements or notices. Instead, he sees that there’s a yellow sticky note, right under his green one. He narrows his eyes and reads the note, feeling his blood boil.

 

TO: resident who goes to work early in the mornings (ever heard of it?) and needs their sleep,
please say it to my face if you have a problem with me. This is childish and unnecessary.
FROM: the asshole resident who plays the saxophone in the middle of the night

 

And so, Yoongi starts an anonymous correspondence with the Saxophone Asshole, trading notes through the community corkboard every other day.

 

I do not actually know who you are or where your apartment is,
so I can’t even though I would love to yell at you to your face.

 

You could've at least signed with your name or apartment number,
so I could contact you and have an adult conversation instead of this passive aggressive bullshit :)

 

REGARDING ALL RESIDENTS:
Please do not use profanity when writing on the board.
Thank you.
Best regards, management

 

***

 

"Can you believe that?" Yoongi finishes, having just retold the Tale of the Saxophone Asshole to Namjoon and Hoseok.

They’re sitting in their booth at their go-to bar, a hole in the wall place just a few blocks from the office. At least once a week, probably more than is healthy, the three of them sit in the very same booth for after work drinks. It’s pretty dark and dingy and Yoongi is pretty sure there’s some shady business going on in the back, but the drinks are reasonable and most importantly, no one they know knows about it.

Hoseok empties the remaining liquid at the bottom of his glass and makes a face because of the flat beer, "I can’t believe you actually put up a note."

"What else was I supposed to do?"

"I don’t know, maybe talk to them like an adult? Not be a passive aggressive asshole?"

"I told you I don’t know where it’s coming from."

"Like they said, you could’ve signed with your name or something," Namjoon adds.

"Yeah, remember in college, when Namjoon would leave sticky notes about not stealing his food or for one of us to do the dishes, instead of talking to us about it?" Hoseok says, "It was annoying as shit."

"That’s different," Yoongi says, "we already knew each other."

Namjoon refills Hoseok’s glass with the mug sitting in the middle of the table, emptying it in the process, "I don’t know, man. It kind of seems like you’re overreacting."

"Overreacting!"

"Yeah, chill out. It’s only someone practicing the saxophone."

"In the middle of the night."

Namjoon shrugs, "Sometimes you get a burst of inspiration at three o’clock and you just gotta bust out a few tunes, you know?"

"Totally," Hoseok chimes in.

Yoongi does know. He’d often sit up at night, until the early hours of the morning, to scribble lyrics in his notebook until his hand cramped up or make beats in FL Studio on his desktop – the difference between him and the Saxophone Asshole is that Yoongi has the decency to plug his goddamn headphones in. Not that one can do that with a sax, but the point is that Yoongi doesn’t inconvenience others when he’s making music.

And maybe, just maybe, Yoongi hates the Saxophone Asshole even more because even though they have zero talent, they still play, work, maybe even try to make music, while Yoongi hasn’t been able to produce something for himself in years. That he put out his last mixtape in university, even though he has sworn to himself too many times that this year , he’s going to drop a new one. But this year turned into next year and so on, and now it’s been five years since his last one.

The two others are making light conversation, but Yoongi isn’t paying attention, mind elsewhere.

He snaps back to reality when they fall silent, eyes skirting around, trying to find out what silenced them. His eyes find Kim Seokjin, the bartender and owner, approaching their booth. Yoongi smirks at Namjoon, who visibly straightens in his seat and Yoongi rolls his eyes at him.

"Would you like some more drinks?" Seokjin asks, stopping by their table and taking the empty mug off the table, "Something to eat, perhaps?"

Namjoon stares dumbly at him, mouth hanging open. A fly could find its way in there and he wouldn’t have noticed. Hoseok elbows Namjoon in the side, making him let out a yelp, "This round’s on you, man. Last one was mine."

Namjoon rubs at his side while glaring at Hoseok, "Another r-round of beer, please."

"Coming right up!" Seokjin smiles and leaves them to go get their beer. His hips sway gently from side to side as he walks and Yoongi can see the sheen of sweat on Namjoon’s forehead.

Yoongi snickers, "Well, that was fucking embarrassing."

"Shut the fuck up, Yoongi." Namjoon slaps his shoulder, "Like you’re any better with that neighbor of yours."

"You goddamn snake –"

"So, back to this saxophonist," Hoseok interrupts, changing the subject.

"Don’t call them that."

"Why not?"

"They don’t deserve that title. The saxophone is a difficult instrument to master. This asshole’s playing is amateur hour."

Seokjin comes back with their beer, putting their conversation on pause. He puts the pitcher on the table and gives all of them a warm smile, his gaze lingering on Namjoon, "Enjoy!"

Namjoon follows him with his eyes as he walks back to the counter.

Hoseok has this look on his face. His eyes are crinkled at the corners, lips pursed in a thin line, like he’s trying to hold back a smile and Yoongi just knows he’s about to say something dumb.

"Wow, Joon, you’re a real homosaxual!" The two of them burst out laughing while Yoongi lets his head fall down on the table with a groan.  

He’s the actual worst at picking friends.

 

***

 

He doesn't hear the saxophone for a while and he figures that’s the end of it.

Yoongi keeps on living his life without incident. Not texting Taehyung when he could use some help with his groceries, trying to work on his mixtape, having after-work-drinks with Hoseok and Namjoon  and scowling at Tiny whenever he sees him.

It's not like Tiny has done anything for Yoongi to hate him, apart from being Taehyung's boyfriend, so Yoongi feels bad at first. Then he decides that it's entirely possible that Tiny is the Saxophone Asshole. He sure looks like a Saxophone Asshole and like someone who ends a message with a passive aggressive smiley face. Maybe he’s so bad because his fingers are too short to reach the keys.

He doesn't feel bad, he really doesn't. Until one morning, when Yoongi is on way downstairs to pick up the mail.

He’s slumping his way down the stairs, rubbing sleep from his eyes. As the story below comes into view, he can see there’s someone standing outside Taehyung and Tiny’s apartment. A boy. And Tiny is kissing said boy goodbye in the doorway.

Yoongi scrunches his nose and narrows his eyes at them when he passes. Turns out scowling at Tiny was justified after all. What deprived fucking person cheats on the actual sun? He grumbles to himself, looking down at his feet as he shuffles down the remaining flights of stairs.

"Hey there!"

Yoongi looks up, eyes big and mouth hanging open. Taehyung is standing at the bottom of the stairs, mail in hand. Tiny had his side hoe sleep over while his boyfriend was home? Bold.

"Hey," Yoongi mumbles, making his way down the final steps.

Taehyung laughs, "Not having a good morning, I presume?"

"Uh, no it's..." Yoongi hears Tiny's boytoy coming down the stairs, "fine." The back of his neck is growing warm and his palms are slightly damp.

The sound of boytoy’s footsteps slows down, before stopping completely. Taehyung looks over Yoongi’s head, right at boytoy. "You leaving so soon?" he says, his voice teasing.

Oh God. He knows ? Do they have an open relationship? Yoongi could fuck with that (literally). Or maybe they're all together? Polyamory is a thing that exists. Yoongi can't fuck with that. Like, he respects their choices or whatever, but it’s not for him.

Yoongi looks at the boytoy with wide eyes as he rushes past them. "Uh, y-yeah," boytoy slash boyfriend says.

"Good bye, Jeongguk!" Taehyung waves at him, Jeongguk mumbling back a response before the door closes behind him.

"My roommate Jimin's boyfriend," Taehyung explains.

"Ah," Yoongi hums in a voice that’s most definitely exuding nonchalance and I don't care about this whatsoever and not like his heart is about to fall out of his ass. Not at all.

 

The next time Yoongi passes Tiny, no, Jimin, in the hall, he beams at him.

 

***

 

The Jimin Revelation had made Yoongi’s day. Hell, it seemed to have made his entire week, until Friday rears its ugly head.

It’s Friday evening and Yoongi is snuggled up under a blanket in the corner of his sofa, laptop perched on his lap. Work was busy this week, so he hadn’t had the time to catch up on his dramas until now. He’s about to dig into his bowl of mocha ice cream, when the first few notes of All the Things You Are tunes out Han Hyo-joo’s next line.

Yoongi thought he was free. Weeks had passed since the last Saxophone Incident.

To him, when someone makes noise in the middle of the night, it’s like they’re saying that them being noisy, having fun, is more important than the sleep and well-being of other people. Especially in an apartment complex with paper thin walls, where there are lots of kids and people who go to work. It’s selfish and it makes his blood boil.

He puts the laptop and bowl to the side, grabbing a pack of sticky notes and a pen from the coffee table in front of him. He scribbles furiously, before rushing downstairs in his PJs and slippers to put the note on the corkboard.

The playing has ceased when he comes back, but his mocha ice cream has melted to soft serve consistency. Yoongi hates soft serve.

The next morning, Yoongi is going into work to finish up a few tasks he didn’t have the time to do during the week. He stops by the corkboard on his way out and to his surprise, there’s already a yellow sticky note attached to his green one.

 

TO: Saxophone asshole resident
I thought I had told you to stop playing?

 

I stopped playing before 22.00

 

Sax Asshole’s answer confuses him slightly, so he just scribbles a simple:

 

???

 

at the bottom of the sticky note.

 

The answer is hanging there, waiting for him when he gets back from the office a few hours later. Attached to the bottom of the sticky note, is a piece ripped out from the resident handbook (really just two papers stapled together, listing the rules everyone living in the complex has to follow) which says:

 

Everyone should be quiet after 21.00 on weekdays and 22.00 on weekends.

 

It takes a few hours of scrambling around his apartment, opening various drawers and shuffling through miscellaneous papers, but Yoongi finally manages to find the resident handbook, which was handed to him when he moved in two years ago.

 

Any noise outside these times or any unreasonable noise (e.g. renovating, parties etc.) should be kept to a minimum.

 

Yoongi underlined his favorite parts himself, using red pen. The last word is underlined five times.

 

I don't think me practicing the sax counts as ‘unreasonable noise’.

 

It is unreasonable noise - it's that bad.

 

Later, the same night after Yoongi put up his last response, the saxophone playing is even louder and even more horrible than ever before.

It stops at 22.00 exactly.

 

***

 

It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. On the news, they’re saying it’s the hottest summer in Seoul in years and Yoongi believes them because he feels like he's actually dying.

There's no wind and not a single cloud in the sky. The sun is shining rays of death into Yoongi's apartment. It's an old building and there's no AC. He invested in a few fans a couple of years ago, but it's too hot for them to have any effect whatsoever. In spite of the balcony door and all the windows being open, Yoongi still feels like an insect some sick kid is frying under a magnifying glass in the baking sun.

He decides it may be slightly cooler outside, so he slathers on some SPF 50, puts on a straw hat and some big ass sunglasses, grabs his notebook and a tall glass of iced water before stepping out on his balcony. The scalding heat engulfs him and he almost rushes back inside, but he puffs out his chest and sticks it out.

Thankfully, he had left his awning down, so the balcony is covered in shade. He sits down in one of the white plastic chairs, perched up against the wall and puts his glass and notebook down on the table. He takes a big sip of water and flips open to a blank page in his notebook, determined to get some work done.

Half an hour passes and he still hasn’t been able to put a single word down on the page. It’s like the heat is cooking his brain, turning it into useless mush that’s not equipped to think of lyrics or beats. The blank page of his notebook is staring back at him, empty lines mocking him.

He’s about to take off his shirt in a feeble attempt to cool down, his hands grabbing the hem at the bottom when a door opens below him and he freezes. His eyes travel down along the building’s facade, gaze stopping at the balcony one story below and two apartments to the right of his.

Taehyung has just stepped out on the balcony, water bottle in hand, sporting a loose tank top that Yoongi would think looked douchey on anyone else. The sides of his ribs are showing, the flimsy material not doing a good job at covering up any skin whatsoever. He’s all lean muscle and honeyed skin, contrasting Yoongi’s petite frame and pale complexion. Yoongi drops the hem of his shirt and smooths it down, leaving the shirt on.

He sits down in a white plastic chair, covered in shade courtesy of a parasol standing in the corner of the balcony. Even though Yoongi knows there are only a few years between them, he still feels like a greasy old man, eyeing the neighbor boy. The only thing missing from his ensemble is a pair of binoculars.

Taehyung unscrews the cap on the water, raising the bottle to his lips before taking a sip of water. He tips his head back and Yoongi can see the water making its way down his throat in big gulps, his adam’s apple bobbing in the process. Yoongi's mouth goes dry. What the fuck. That has to be illegal. He can’t just sit there without a care in the world, looking like Korean Achilles or some shit while he’s making Yoongi’s heart flutter at the speed of light.

As soon as a bit of water escapes the bottle, liquid dribbling down his neck, Yoongi gathers his things and nopes the fuck out of there. Before he shuts the balcony door behind him, he thinks he can hear someone call his name.

He takes a cold shower because it's too fucking hot outside, okay?

 

***

 

Yoongi is tired. He’d been in the studio for eight hours straight with Namjoon, Hoseok and the rapper Yoongi still can’t remember the name of. Or, he calls himself a rapper at least, because Yoongi would sure as hell never call him that.

"His flow is a fucking joke," Namjoon hissed into his ear, "I can’t work with this." And Yoongi agreed. Any out of the three of them could do it way better than him, but they’re not dropping an album in six months – he is. The three of them are "only" co-producing and mixing it for him.

In spite of endless coaching from Namjoon, the guy just doesn’t get any better. Yoongi doesn’t really understand why the guy wants to rap of all things, when he has zero talent. He’s just wasting time and money – they’ve been in the studio with him way longer than intended and Yoongi is fucking glad he’s not paying that bill.  

So after he has hauled his grocery bags into the main hall, he doesn’t even hesitate in texting Taehyung, because they still haven’t fixed the elevator and there’s no way in hell he can carry three  full bags up the stairs on his own.

 

[Wednesday 18:31] To: taehyung ;)
hey, sorry to bother you, but i could
use some help carrying groceries

if youre free

please

 

[Wednesday 18:32] From: taehyung ;)
you’re not bothering me! i’ll be there
in a jiffy

 

Yoongi narrows his eyes at the screen. Who the fuck even says in a jiffy ?

 

In a jiffy seems to be right though, because not even thirty seconds later, the sound of Taehyung climbing down the stairs echoes throughout the apartment complex.

"Hey!" he says when he reaches the last set of stairs. Yoongi just nods in response.

When he reaches the bottom, he takes one bag in his right hand and two in the left one.

"No, you don’t have to take all of them," Yoongi protests, "I can take a couple."

Taehyung shakes his head. "It’s chill, don’t worry."

He’s about to protest some more, but Taehyung is already ascending the stairs, so he opts for mumbling a small "thank you" instead and follows him.

He stares at Taehyung’s back, can see his shoulder blades moving under his shirt. Shifting around like gears, his body a newly oiled clockwork. He’s all long limbs that flail around, gesticulating wildly when he speaks, but he still somehow manages to be graceful. Yoongi’s legs feel like logs.

They’ve reached the fifth floor and are approaching Yoongi’s apartment, Taehyung striding against his door on long legs. He reminds Yoongi of a daddy long legs, the thought making his mouth twitch. A graceful daddy long legs.

Taehyung places the bags down next to the door, same spot as last time. Yoongi tells him thanks and thinks that’s the end of it, but he’s just standing there. The silence lies over them, thick like a blanket and Yoongi feels the familiar tightness in his throat. He avoids Taehyung’s gaze, looking down at the floor instead.

Taehyung lets out a small sigh, "Uh, I should –"

"Uh, so what do you do?" Yoongi interrupts him.

Yoongi looks up at him, only to find Taehyung already staring at him, eyes a little wide, "Just a boring student, majoring in photography."

"Really?" Yoongi raises his eyebrows at him, "I dabble in photography a bit too. Only as a hobby, though."

Taehyung smirks at him, "You any good?"

"Dunno," he shrugs. "You could, uh," he hesitates for a second, "come in and look at some of my photos, if you want."

It's no better than Do you want to come in and look at my Pokémon card collection?, but Taehyung agrees and comes inside anyway.

 

"Sorry for the mess," Yoongi says, looking around the cluttered living room while scratching at the nape of his neck, "I wasn't expecting anyone."

Taehyung takes a quick look around before shrugging, "It's cleaner than my place."

Yoongi clears his throat, gesturing towards the bookshelf, "So, yeah. Here they are." He looks away, pouting slightly.

In his peripheral vision, he can see Taehyung leaning forward, studying the photos meticulously. There are mostly nature shots, landscapes and a few candids of people he knows.

Yoongi rubs the back of his neck. "I know they’re kinda bland," he mumbles.

"No, not at all! You’re very good," Taehyung looks away from the photos for a second, giving him a warm smile that makes Yoongi’s heart pound like a kick drum in his chest.

"You’re just saying that."

"I’m not! I do a lot of landscapes too." Taehyung sends him a quick look again, his eyes sincere. "I’ve always found it kind of elitist when people say landscapes or candids are banal, you know?" His eyes wander back to the photos. "Why is it that landscape paintings from the Romantic Period are deemed as high art, while landscape photography is shallow? I think it takes great skill to capture the atmosphere of a landscape in a photo, or to photograph seemingly uninteresting things and turn them into art."

A warm feeling spreads throughout Yoongi’s body. The same feeling he gets when he has been out in the cold and finally gets to cozy up with a cup of tea under the blankets.

"Sorry, I’m rambling," Taehyung says, and Yoongi thinks he can see a faint blush on the apples of his cheeks.

"No, not at all." He frowns at the fact that Taehyung feels like he has to apologize for talking about something he loves. He wants to punch whoever made him feel like that.

Taehyung picks up one of the photos, the self-portrait with the shattered glass, "I like the color composition in this one a lot!" He frowns at the broken glass, "What happened?"

"It was an accident."

"You should get a new frame for it, so you can see it properly."

Their eyes meet and Yoongi smiles at him, teeth and gums on display, "I will."

Taehyung lets out a small cough, looking away before putting the frame back down on the shelf gingerly. "What do you do, then?" he asks, "Seeing as photography is only a hobby."

"Uh, I work as a producer and mixing engineer for a small independent record label," he says, fidgeting.

"That’s so neat! I actually pla –" The shrill sound of a phone ringing echoes through the apartment, bouncing off the walls in the sparingly furnished living room.

Taehyung fishes his phone out from his back pocket and frowns at the screen, "I’m sorry I have to take this." He gives Yoongi an apologetic look.

"It’s fine."

He puts the phone to his ear, "Hey, what’s up?"

Yoongi can hear the slightly tinny voice on the other end. The person calling is clearly distressed, talking fast and stumbling over their own words.

“Right now? You can’t manage that on your own?”

The person on the other end of the line yells.

Taehyung sighs, "Yeah, I’ll be right there." He hangs up, slipping the phone back in his pocket. "I have to go," he says, "Jimin needs help with dinner."

Yoongi just nods in response, his shoulders slumped, smile replaced by a slight frown.

He walks Taehyung back to the hallway and watches as he slips his shoes on.

"Thank you so much for helping me with the groceries," he says, looking down to where his fingers are fiddling with the hem of his shirt.

"Thank you for showing me your photos." Yoongi can hear the smile in his voice.

They mumble their goodbyes and Taehyung slips out the door, leaving Yoongi standing in the middle of his hallway, all fluttery heart and sweaty palms.

His phone pings with the sound of a notification. He takes it out of his pocket and unlocks it. After reading the new message, he clutches his phone to his chest, grinning dumbly at nothing in particular. The groceries sit by the door, forgotten.

 

[Wednesday 19:15] From: taehyung ;)
i guess i have to invite you over to
look at my photos some time, huh?

 

***

 

Yoongi’s tendency to overwork finally catches up to him a few days later when he develops a nasty cold. He wakes up with a stuffy nose, a cough and a fever, so he calls into work, snuffling out an explanation for his absence to the secretary. She hums, slightly disgusted and says she’ll pass on the information.

About twenty minutes later, his phone goes into a vibrating frenzy, buzzing against his nightstand.

 

[Monday 09:13] From: hoseok
WHERE THE FUCK ARE U MIN
YOONGI

if u dont get ur ass in here in
5 mins, istg………

[Monday 09:18] From: hoseok
IMMA MURDER U IN UR SLEEP
U LAZY FUCK U CANT
OVERLSEEP WHEN WE’RE THIS
CLOSE TO THE DEADLINE

[Monday 09:27] From: hoseok
oh nvm, just heard ur sick,
feel better soon <3

((BUT IMMA STILL MURDER U
FOR GETTING SICK!!! NOW!!!
WHAT TEH FUCKCJJ!!))

[Monday 09:30] From: namjoon
You better get better fast

Love you

 

He groans, tosses his phone back on his nightstand and lets his head fall back onto his pillow.

He doesn’t have access to all the equipment and software he has at the office, but he can get a bit of work done from his desktop. However, his head is killing him and just the thought of looking at a screen makes him recoil.

As soon as he starts to drift off, his phone buzzes again and he groans. Thinking it may be Hobi or Namjoon again, he unlocks his phone with a scowl. His face softens when he sees who’s messaging him.

 

[Monday 09:49] From: taehyung ;)
wanna come over and take a look
at those photos later?

 

[Monday 09:50] To: taehyung ;)
i cant

 

[Monday 09:50] From: taehyung ;)
))’:

y not?

 

[Monday 09:50] To: taehyung ;)
im sick

 

[Monday 09:50] From: taehyung ;)
oh!! I’m sorry )): feel better soon <3

do u have someone to take care of u

 

[Monday 09:51] To: taehyung ;)
??? i live alone

but i can take care of myself,
dont worry

 

[Monday 09:51] From: taehyung ;)
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i’m coming up there

gimme like 30 mins

 

[Monday 09:51] To: taehyung ;)
thank you, but thats really not
necessary

[Monday 09:58] To: taehyung ;)
please dont

seriously

just stay there

[Monday 10:04] To: taehyung ;)
i dont want you to get sick too

 

The bottom of their chat reads received 10:04 and Yoongi falls back on the mattress with a groan. He’s not dressed and he looks gross. The fever snuck up on him during the night, and has left him sticky with sweat. He can feel his bangs sticking to his forehead.

He manages to clamber his way out of bed and finds a pair of presentable joggers and a hoodie that he slips on. His body aches with every move and he just wants to go back to bed, but instead, he has to stagger his way into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

 

Some time later, the doorbell rings and he walks over to the hallway, dragging his feet along the floor.

"Hey!" Taehyung beams when he opens the door. He’s holding a tupperware container in one hand and a plastic bag in the other. He looks like the sun and Yoongi can’t breathe for a second.

"Hey."

He lifts the container a little, "Chicken noodle soup." Yoongi blinks at him. "I had some left over and thought you’d like some, since you’re sick," Taehyung hesitates for a moment, "You do like it, right?"

Yoongi nods.

"Great!" he smiles at him, "I’ll heat it up in the kitchen, so just get back to bed."

"Uh, ok, thanks," he says, rubbing the nape of his neck, "Uh, the kitchen is –"

"I know! Our apartments are basically the same."

Yoongi hums, "I guess I’ll just…" he says, pointing his thumb back at his bedroom.

"Yeah, I’ll be right there."

Yoongi nods and shuffles back to his bedroom, getting under the covers. He can hear the cabinets opening and closing and the familiar clank of pots and pans coming from the kitchen. It reminds him of home, listening to the tell-tale sounds of his mother moving around in the kitchen while he’d wait for dinner to be ready. The thought makes him smile and he shoves his face into the pillows.

"Knock, knock," Taehyung says. Yoongi rolls over to look at him. He’s carrying a tray with a steaming bowl and a tall glass of water.

"Come in."

He walks into the room and puts the tray down on the nightstand. Yoongi gets a whiff of the soup and his mouth waters.  

Taehyung sits down on the edge of the bed and puts his palm on Yoongi’s forehead. "Oh, you’re burning up," he frowns. "I know soup isn’t that tempting when you’re feverish, but it’s good for you."

Yoongi lets out a small whine as Taehyung removes his hand, standing up.

"I’ll be right back. Eat your soup," Taehyung says, pushing Yoongi’s hair away from his forehead before leaving the room.

Yoongi sits up, leaning back against the pillows propped up to the headboard. He takes the bowl of soup and places it in his lap.

"Careful," Taehyung says, walking into the room again with a wet rag in hand. "Wouldn’t wanna spill it."

Yoongi rolls his eyes at him and puts a spoonful of soup in his mouth. It’s slightly sour and sweet on his tastebuds, just how he likes it. He ravishes the bowl in an embarrassing amount of time while Taehyung looks at him, eyes twinkling.

"Thank you for the meal."

"You’re welcome." He smiles at him, "Okay, take this," he says, exchanging the bowl with the glass of water and an Ibuprofen.

Yoongi does, downing the whole glass in one go. He slides under the covers again and sighs.

"Tired?" he asks, putting the rag on Yoongi’s forehead. It’s cold and wet and feels nice against his burning skin.

Yoongi hums in response, his eyelids growing heavy, "Can you please stay until I fall asleep?"

"Of course." Taehyung sits down on the edge of the bed and looks around the room, taking it in now that he’s not flying in and out to get things for Yoongi.

"Is that for work?" Taehyung asks, nodding to the keyboard standing against the wall, under the window.

"I guess."

Taehyung raises a questioning eyebrow at him.

"I don’t know, I play it for myself too, but I haven’t…" he trails off, "You know." He makes a vague gesture with his hand.

"What?"

"I haven’t composed anything in a while."

"You write your own music?"

"Yeah," Yoongi answers, "or I used to, at least."

"Why don’t you do it anymore?"

"I don’t know," he pauses, considers, "I don’t have the time, I guess. Or the inspiration."

Taehyung smiles gently at him, "I get that."

"You have it that way with your photography?"

"Yeah, that too, I guess. Sometimes," he looks Yoongi in the eyes, "I hope you find some inspiration again."

"Me too." They smile at each other.

 

Taehyung stays, keeping him company. He’s quiet, except when answering the occasional question from Yoongi. The silences between the questions grow longer and longer as Yoongi attempts to fight off sleep. Ultimately, he loses the battle. Right before he dozes off, he thinks he can feel something soft press against his forehead, but he pays it no mind as he drifts off into dreamland.

 

He’s gently stirred from his sleep by the soft, sweet notes of There Will Never be Another You. He lets out a small yawn, stretching his hands over his head, back arching slightly off the bed with a groan. Taehyung is nowhere to be seen and the nightstand is empty, so he assumes he went home.  

The croon of the tenor saxophone is smooth like honey in his ears and he finds himself smiling slightly at the ceiling. The saxophonist is clearly skilled, adding their own flair to the song. The quality of the sound is too good for it to be coming from a speaker, so there has to be a saxophonist living in the apartment complex.

Then, he realizes. He sits up so fast that his head starts spinning and he groans, squeezing his eyes shut. There’s no doubt in his mind. The sound is coming from the same vicinity as the Saxophone Asshole’s playing usually comes from. It’s them. It has to be. There aren’t that many people who play the saxophone – there can’t be two living right next to each other.

It’s the damn Saxophone Assshole.

It's also three. In the afternoon. On a weekday. A perfectly reasonable time to practice the saxophone.

What the fuck.

 

***

 

"I swear to god, they're doing it to get back at me!" Yoongi almost yells to Namjoon and Hoseok during their lunch break, a few days later when he has recovered from his cold.

They had their lunch delivered directly to the studio because they don’t have time for anything else. The intern who brought them their takeout had narrowed her eyes at them when she put the food down on the only surface in the room that’s not close to any equipment.

Thankfully, they’re done with recording, so they’re not working with the shitty rapper as frequently anymore. They’re in post-production now, mixing the album together. The shitty rapper comes in every once in a while and listens to what they’ve done, but it doesn’t seem like he has much interest in it, just nodding and never voicing his opinion beyond, "Yeah, cool, whatever," only pissing Yoongi off even more.

"What are you even talking about?" Hoseok asks around a mouthful of ramen, smacking his lips and chewing loudly.

"Close your damn mouth." Namjoon shoves at Hoseok's shoulder, "You're disgusting."

"I'm talking about the Saxophone Asshole!"

Hoseok hums as picks up another mouthful of noodles with his chopsticks and slurps them up, "What did they do now?" He chews even louder this time and Namjoon rolls his eyes.

"They played the sax at three in the afternoon."

"Wow! What an asshole! I can’t believe they had the audacity to practice at a normal time for once!" Namjoon gasps, "You know, this is some elitist fucking bullshit, Yoongi. Everyone should be allowed to practice, no matter how bad they may be."

"No, they were actually really good this time."

Hoseok and Namjoon stare at him, "What," they say in unison.

"They played," he takes a pause, not really wanting to compliment the bane of his existence, "spotlessly."

Hoseok points his chopsticks at him, "How do you know it's the same person?"

"I don't know for sure, but it seemed like it came from the same place."

"Okay, so let me get this straight," Namjoon starts, "this Saxophone Asshole," he does quotation marks with his hands and Yoongi scoffs at him, "played the saxophone spotlessly."

"Yes," Yoongi nods.

"At a perfectly reasonable time."

"Yes."

"And you're mad."

"Exactly."

Namjoon sighs, "You're a real piece of work, Min Yoongi,"

"Me?" Yoongi throws his arms up in exasperation, "The real piece of work is the Saxophone Asshole!" He picks up a piece of pork with his chopsticks. "Don’t you see?" he says, pointing the chopsticks at his friends, "They can play the saxophone, meaning that they play it like a sick dolphin in the middle of the night to taunt me." He pops the pork into his mouth, chewing in triumph over having cracked the code.

They just stare at him. Hoseok grabs the tin foil Namjoon’s sandwich was wrapped in and starts folding it carefully, tongue sticking out of his mouth.  

"What are you doing?" Yoongi asks, Hoseok stretching over the table from his seat, placing the tin foil creation on Yoongi’s head.

"Thought you'd need a tinfoil hat, now that you’re a conspiracy theorist."

Namjoon doubles over in his chair, wheezing while slapping his thigh. Hoseok smiles, back straight, chest puffed out slightly. Yoongi takes the tin foil hat off his head, crumples it in his hand and throws it as Hoseok’s face.

 

***

 

TO: Saxophone asshole resident
So you actually DO know how to play the saxophone?
(I heard you playing the other day)

 

HAH! surprise ~

 

Under the writing, there’s a tiny stick figure with sunglasses playing the sax. Yoongi catches himself smiling at it.

 

***

 

Once again, he’s up late to catch up on his dramas. The moon is shining gently through his living room windows, the only light source apart from the blue light coming from his laptop screen.

Fall is creeping up on Seoul, turning the air slightly cool, so Yoongi is snuggled up under the blankets in his usual corner of the sofa. He’s been sitting in this exact position so much over the years that there are indentations of his back and butt on the soft sofa cushions. He has a sheet mask that Hoseok recommended to him on – it’s wet and cold against his face and it’s making his skin prick gently, but it’s nice. Soothing.

There’s a slight knock coming from somewhere to his right. He straightens a bit, looking around the dark room, but he can’t see anything. His heart speeds up.

Thwack. The second time, he figures out that the noise is caused by something hitting his window, so he stares intently at it.

A small pebble comes flying over the railing of his balcony, hitting the window with a soft sound. He sets his laptop on the coffee table and stands up, slowly making his way over to the door. He stands by the door for a second, peering out, but he doesn’t see anything.

He puts his hand on the handle and lets it rest there for a few seconds, before pressing it down and pushing the door open. "Hello?" he calls out into the dark backyard, not stepping outside his apartment.

From down below, he can hear a deep voice stage whispering, "Get down here!"

Yoongi exhales, letting out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He steps out on the balcony, a yelp coming from below. He rests his hand on the railing, looking down at Taehyung, who’s bending over in the backyard, propping himself up with his hands on his knees.

"I totally thought you were a ghost, man," Taehyung huffs.

Yoongi feels his face grow hot under the sheet mask, "What are you doing?"

Taehyung stands up straight, looks Yoongi right in the eyes and clears his throat, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?" His voice is loud and clear, piercing through the silence of the night.

Yoongi raises his index finger to his lips, making a "shhh" sound. Taehyung stops in the middle of the next line, his eyes widening. He imitates Yoongi’s gesture.

"Sorry," he stage whispers, "I just wanted to recite Shakespeare at you because you kind of make me feel like I’m living in England in the 1500s, you know? Like I’m wearing pantaloons or some shit. Wait. Did they even wear pantaloons back then? Man, I should’ve paid more attention in history class," he rambles on.

Yoongi is covering his mouth with his hand, feeling warm puffs of laughter hitting his palm. "Taehyung," he starts, grabbing his attention, "are you high?"

"Slander!" he says. "Okay, maybe just a teeny tiny bit," he illustrates his point by raising his hand towards Yoongi, making a small space between his thumb and index finger, "just that much."

Yoongi raises his eyebrows at him, resting his chin on the palm of his hand.

"I don’t know, man. I was already pretty drunk and then Jeongguk's roomie gave us brownies and I didn’t know there was," he pauses and looks around the yard before whispering, "weed in them."

"You do that a lot?"

"Oh, man, let me tell you! I’ve smoked so many… weeds. All the weeds!"

Yoongi shakes his head, "I’m coming down. Don’t move."

Taehyung lets out a loud "woo", pumping his fist in the air. Yoongi gives him a look and he puts his hands out in front of his chest, palms out, as if surrendering.

 

Three minutes later, Yoongi is standing in the backyard, sheet mask off, Vans on.

It’s slightly darker down here, the tall walls of the apartment building blocking out the city lights, but the moon is casting its pale glow over the yard. He has goosebumps, thanks to his bare ankles.

Taehyung is sitting at one of the two swings at the swing set. He’s pushing himself back and forth gently with the help of the tip of his foot, that’s placed firmly in the sand, rocking slightly. He hasn’t noticed Yoongi yet, eyes fixed on the sand.

Yoongi takes a deep breath and approaches him, "Hey," he whispers.

Taehyung looks up at him, "Hey," he smiles softly as Yoongi sits down on the other swing.

Now that they’re closer, Yoongi can see that his eyelids are droopy. He’s still beautiful, the moonlight making his skin glow. He looks ethereal.

"So," Yoongi starts, "what did you want?" He scuffs his shoe against the sand, pushing the swing into moving.

"Just some company," Taehyung’s still looking down at the sand, but Yoongi can see his mouth quirking up into a smile, "your company."

Yoongi’s breath hitches, but he remains silent, trying to keep the frenzied beating of his heart at bay. He has experienced butterflies before, but Taehyung makes him feel like he has a beehive in the pit of his stomach, hundreds of bees buzzing around.

Taehyung leaps off the swing and lands in the sand, about two metres away from the swing set. Just like Yoongi used to do when he was a kid, swinging back and forth until he felt invincible and then, he’d jump.

He wobbles slightly, but sticks the landing, reaching his arms out to the side to steady himself, "Ta-dah!"

"You get a 4.3 for that one."

Taehyung looks back at him in mock horror, "Excuse me? That was at least a 6!"

Yoongi snorts, shaking his head, "Overruled."

Scoffing at him, Taehyung walks over to the sandpit. "Hey," he says, looking back at Yoongi.

He gets off the swing and starts walking towards Taehyung, "Yeah?"

"Wanna build a castle?"

"You’ll get dirty," Yoongi says, crossing his arms over his chest. The other ignores him and sits down in the middle of the sandpit.

Taehyung smirks at him, "Nothing bad about getting a little dirty."

"Taehyung!"

He just laughs, throwing his head back, the long expanse of his neck tantalizing in the moonlight. Yoongi feels weak in the knees.

"Please don't call me Taehyung," he says, looking up at him, "it's too formal and you're too pretty."

The tips of his ears are on fire, warmth spreading down his face and neck. "How is your given name too formal?" he muses.

"My friends call me Taetae," he says, trying to shovel sand into a pile with his hands, "but you can call me Taehung." He tries to wink at Yoongi, but just ends up blinking, "Man, winking is so weird. It’s like… Blinking with one eye? But we don’t do it to… Moisturize our eyes or whatever, we do it to flirt. How weird is that?"

Yoongi ignores his rambling and scrunches his nose, blush spreading even further down his chest, "I'll go with Tae."

"Tae!" Taehyung exclaims, "I like that. No one calls me that."

Yoongi sits down on none of the planks surrounding the sandpit, not wanting to dirty his joggers. Taehyung abandons the sad excuse for a sandcastle he had started to build and makes his way over to Yoongi, walking on his knees in the sand. He wobbles a bit and Yoongi laughs.

"Rude," Taehyung tuts, kneeling right in front of him.

They’re close. Yoongi can see he has a freckle on his nose that he hasn’t noticed before. He reaches out and pokes at it. "Boop," he says.

Taehyung giggles, "Don’t make fun of my freckle."

"I’m not." Yoongi looks down, lashes fanning over his cheeks, "It’s cute."

Taehyung shuffles closer to him, positioning himself in between his thighs, which are spread slightly. Yoongi glances up at him. He has one monolid and one double eyelid. It’s such a small detail, so far from important, but it makes his chest tighten and he somehow feels like he knows Taehyung better, now that they’re sitting so close.

"Hey," Taehyung giggles. Yoongi can feel the hot puffs of his breath on his face. It should warm him up, the cool air making his skin warm, but his blush is still present, burning hot under his skin. His breath smells like mint, but there’s an underlying scent of liquor and chocolate as well. And holy shit, Taehyung had taken a mint.

Yoongi had kept his eyes down, staring at his hands, folded in his lap, with the occasional glance up at the other’s face, but now he looks at him, gaze not wavering. Big brown eyes, surrounded by thick eyelashes, eyelids slightly hooded with the haze of weed look back at him. Taehyung’s gaze flicker down to Yoongi’s lips and someone’s breath hitches. He doesn’t know whether it’s his or Taehyung’s because all he can focus on is the boy in front of him. This beautiful, soft, kind-hearted boy who has made Yoongi’s heart grow three sizes bigger with fondness. There’s some lyrics in there, he thinks. Maybe. Looking at Tae, writing doesn’t seem that impossible.

They’re so close, so goddamn close, their warm breaths mingling in the cool night air and Yoongi can feel himself leaning forward, giving in.

A loud voice tears through the silence, "Can the two of you shut the hell up? People are trying to sleep!" and they jump apart. Yoongi looks up and sees a neighbor he recognizes, but hasn’t been introduced to, leaning out of a window on the second floor. It’s difficult to see in the dark, but from his voice, Yoongi can tell he’s pissed.

"Yeah," Yoongi stage whispers, "sorry!" The man grumbles something and as soon as he shuts his window, they break out into a fit of hushed laughter, covering their mouths with their hands. Taehyung laughs so hard he falls on his ass in the sand, making them both laugh even more. His stomach hurts and he can’t remember the last time he laughed that hard.

Their bubbling laughter eventually dies down, replaced by labored breathing instead.

"We should get inside," Yoongi says, rubbing at his aching stomach before standing up.

Taehyung follows his example and brushes off the sand on his jeans, "Yeah."

Yoongi walks him to his apartment. It’s on the way to his own, but he’d do it even if Taehyung lived on the other side of town, or on the fucking moon. Walking side by side, their hands brush with every step, sending small bolts of lightning up Yoongi’s arm.

They linger a bit outside Taehyung’s door, but they’re all stolen glances and nervous laughs, the confidence from before worn off. After they’ve said their goodbyes, Yoongi climbs the last flight of stairs up to his apartment with a big grin on his face.

 

***

 

TO: Saxophone asshole resident
Why did you go back to playing like a sick dolphin?

 

What’s with your obsession with dolphins?

 

You didn’t answer my question.
(Check out The Cove on Netflix)

 

Maybe I just lost all my skills again.
(I did. Now I can’t have whale beef ever again, so fuck you)

 

SERIOUSLY. WHY.
(You’re welcome. Consider it as my revenge for having to suffer through your horrendous playing)

 

Because I love torturing you.

 

There are other people living in this apartment complex too, you know?

 

Really? I haven’t noticed.

 

***

 

Yoongi is in the kitchen, making dinner. It's been a long time since he has had the time or energy to make himself a proper, home cooked meal and he misses it. Although the deadline for the album is approaching fast and he’s busier than ever, he thought he’d treat himself to this. If he has to eat one more cup ramen or even look at another microwavable meal, he’s probably going to die from malnutrition.

He had just put the beef in the fridge to marinate while he makes the broth. He unlocks his phone and scrolls down to find the next step in the recipe: mince the garlic. Right. Garlic. He opens the refrigerator and looks around, but alas, no garlic.

He looks everywhere, even going so far as to opening the fridge again, like three cloves of garlic would’ve just miraculously appeared since he’d opened it last. There’s not any garlic in any of the cabinets, in the goddamn fruit bowl or in any of the drawers either.

It’s an ingredient that he always seems to have, that he doesn’t even think about buying when he sees it listed in a recipe, because he always has fucking garlic.

Omitting garlic is not an option. What kind of sad excuse for a beef stew doesn’t have any garlic in it?

He groans, turning off the stove. Going to the store to buy one single head of garlic was not how he had planned to spend his evening. If he was a normal fucking person, not some awkward recluse, but someone who knew his neighbors, someone who was on good terms with his neighbors, he could just knock on his nextdoor neighbor’s door and be like, "Hey, my man, could you lend me a few cloves of garlic?", but he’s not. He’s Min Yoongi and Min Yoongi is not on good terms with his neighbors.

Well, apart from with one.

 

In the hallway, he slips on his sneakers and bomber, just in case Taehyung doesn’t have garlic and he has to go to the store anyway.

Before stepping out, he checks himself out in the hallway mirror, running a hand through his hair and adjusting his bangs.

He finds himself walking faster than usual, his blood buzzing in anticipation as he practically skips down the stairs. He jumps past the three last steps and lands on the floor below with a loud thump that reverberates through the apartment complex.

He knocks on the door three times and waits. He can hear movement coming from inside and he takes a deep breath.

The door opens, only to reveal a wide-eyed Jimin. Yoongi’s stomach drops.

"Oh, hey. It’s you," Jimin says.

Yoongi just nods because of course, he’s standing right fucking there. Who else would it be? He fights down the urge to frown and quirks his lips into what he thinks is a decent smile.

"Taetae! It’s for you!" Jimin yells into the apartment, before leaving Yoongi standing alone outside the apartment, a little bewildered.

Taehyung comes from around the corner and Yoongi forgets how to breathe for a second. His hair is damp and there’s a towel hanging around his neck, catching the droplets of water escaping from his hair. He’s wearing a white t-shirt that sticks to where his skin is still wet, making the soft cotton transparent. Yoongi’s eyes travel down his chest and abdomen to where a pair of sweats hang low on his hips.

He swallows thickly, looking back up to Taehyung’s face again, only to find him smirking at him, "Like what you see?" Taehyung asks, voice teasing.

Yoongi coughs, tearing his gaze away, looking at anything but Taehyung, "Uhm, do you happen to have any extra garlic?" he asks. "Because I was making dinner and then the recipe said I had to mince the garlic and I thought I had garlic, right? Because, like, who doesn’t have garlic? It’s a cooking staple, but I didn’t have it, garlic, I mean, so I was really frustrated because I thought I had to go to the store, but then I remembered that you live down here and I thought maybe you’d have some garlic lying around."

Taehyung is leaning his shoulder against the doorframe, raising his eyebrows at him and Yoongi closes his mouth shut, teeth clattering slightly with the sheer force of it.

Yoongi shakes his head, "Sorry, I’m rambling."

"It’s fine," Taehyung smiles at him, "we have garlic."

"Great, thanks."

"But, uhm," Taehyung starts, rubbing the back of his head with his hand, "Do you maybe want to take a look at some of my photos, now that you’re here?"

It’s not like he has to get back to cooking right away. Marinating for even longer would only do the beef good, so Yoongi nods, "Yeah, I’d like that."

"Sweet." Taehyung steps to the side, holding the door open even wider so Yoongi can walk past him, into the hallway.

He slips off his sneakers and hangs his jacket on a hook protruding from the wall. Taehyung gestures for Yoongi to follow him, and he does.

It’s a typical university boy’s apartment. Dust bunnies everywhere, unframed cult film posters hanging on the walls and stacks of empty pizza boxes sitting on the kitchen counter.

"Sorry for the mess," Taehyung says.

"It’s chill."

Taehyung opens the door to his bedroom for him and Yoongi quirks an eyebrow up at him, but goes inside regardless. He hears the door click shut behind him and he lets out a shuddering breath.

Being in Taehyung’s space feels intimate – he’s opening up a part of himself that Yoongi has yet to have seen.

The room is just as soft and inviting as its owner.

His eyes sweep across the room. The walls are covered in photographs, hung on long pieces of twine by wooden clothespins. There are polaroids, vibrant photographs which look like they were taken with a disposable camera, as well as crisp photos seemingly taken by a DSLR. He can make out some portraits, numerous landscapes and what seems to be some more experimental stuff from where he’s standing.

The space above his bed is dedicated purely to photos of himself and his friends. Yoongi can see quite a few pictures including Jimin and Jeongguk.

"I have to get a picture of us to hang up there," Taehyung says.

"Yeah," Yoongi breathes, smile playing across his lips as he’s approaching one of the walls to have a closer look at the photographs.

There’s a sheet music stand with a stool perched in front and a black, nondescript instrument case in the right hand corner by the window.

"What do you play?" he asks, gesturing towards the set-up.

"The saxophone."

Yoongi freezes.

"What," he bites out. It’s a statement, not a question. His brain is working in overdrive, scrambling to make sense of it all.

"Yeah, I’ve been playing since I was a little kid," Taehyung explains, "I stopped for a while, but I picked it up again a few years ago."

Yoongi turns to look at him, "You’re the saxophone asshole."

Taehyung’s eyes widen, "Wait, you’re the one who’s been leaving those notes?"

He nods slowly, but his movements feel jerky and stiff.

"I didn’t peg you as the type who leaves passive aggressive notes on the community corkboard," Taehyung smirks at him, clearly finding the situation amusing. It pisses Yoongi the fuck off.

"Well, I didn’t peg you as the type who keeps the whole fucking complex up at night," Yoongi spits.

Taehyung’s mouth falls open. He tries stuttering out a few words, but it just ends up as gibberish.

Yoongi brushes past him, "Whatever."

He throws the bedroom door open, not bothering with closing it and stomps down the hallway.

He grabs his jacket from the hanger, but doesn’t bother with shrugging it on. He barely gets on his shoes, heels hanging out when he steps out the door, Taehyung calls his name from inside right before the door slams shut behind him.

Because honestly, fuck garlic. Who needs it.

 

***

 

The following weeks, Yoongi throws himself into work. The deadline for the shitty rapper’s album is approaching fast and he, Namjoon and Hoseok often find themselves staying behind at the office when everyone else has gone home.

 

[Monday 17:21] From: taehyung ;)
can we please talk?

 

Usually, they’d already be finished with the album with time to spare, but this one is a challenge. There are a lot of things they can fix in post-production – technology is awesome like that. Yoongi has turned the most tone-deaf singers into Whitney Houston with the press of a few buttons, but this particular rapper’s problem isn’t his voice. He doesn’t even really need a great voice to be a rapper, but what he does need, is flow, and he doesn’t have any. His rapping is stilted and awkward, rhymes sounding stiff and forced instead of, well, flowing.

Yoongi doesn’t even understand how this talentless excuse of a musician has a contract (and Yoongi doesn’t), but he has heard whispers about how his dad basically bought it for him. That doesn’t make Yoongi any less bitter about the situation.

He often catches himself thinking that it’s all the shitty rapper’s fault – that he’s the reason why Yoongi hasn’t been able to write a damn word for months. That work is so draining that he has no inspiration left to work on his own stuff.

What makes it worse, is that he knows it’s not true. The only thing standing in the way of him finally releasing a mixtape, is himself.

 

[Tuesday 21:37] From: taehyung ;)
seriously, are you just going to
ignore me?

 

In spite of the frustrating circumstances, they all work their fucking asses off to make it as good as possible. None of them are willing to put their name on something they’re not proud of, meaning that since the lyrics and rapping are sup-bar, the mixing has to be that much better.

Yoongi spends most of his days leaning over the mixing board, trying to make everything, well, mix – to sound good together, for the beats, vocals and instruments to complement each other. Make sure that the volume of each individual component is just right.

 

[Thursday 10:06] From: taehyung ;)
i’m sorry, okay? i would’ve stopped
if i knew it was you

seriously, i never intended it to get
this far

 

At one point, it doesn’t seem like it’s coming together. Everything sounds off, and they can’t put their finger on what it is exactly. Maybe they’re all just sick of listening to the same tracks, the same beats and instruments and mediocre rapping non-stop, or maybe it’s just bad. Yoongi doesn’t know. It just doesn’t sound right and the atmosphere in the office and studio is tense all day, Namjoon, Hoseok and himself eerily silent as they try to figure out what’s not working so they can fix it.

 

[Saturday 01:52] From: taehyung ;)
u fuckngn ashsole

*ASSHOLE

 

[Saturday 02:17] From: taehyung ;)
i miss u

 

It does come together in the end, it always does.

 

***

 

The album is finally finished. Well, their part of the job is done at least. They finished within an hour of the deadline, sending it off to mastering. Yoongi doesn’t even want to think about that album again for the rest of his life, but he knows he has to when it ultimately comes back from mastering and it’s going to be released.

They’re at the bar to celebrate being done with mixing what they’ve collectively decided to call the Hell Album.

"Cheers!" Hoseok yells as they clink their glasses together, beer sloshing over the rim, dribbling down the sides. They proceed to down their beer, gulping it down.

Yoongi finishes first, setting his glass down on the table, hard. The other two follow suit, banging their glasses against the wood.

Hoseok bumps his chest with his fist, burp escaping his mouth.

"Dude! Gross," Namjoon says, shoving at his shoulder.

Hoseok sticks his tongue out at him and Yoongi rolls his eyes at them, "You two are too damn loud."

"Nah, man, you’re just too quiet," Namjoon says.

"Shut the fuck up and pour us another round, kid."

He looks at Yoongi with mock horror, "Rude!", but fills up their glasses nonetheless.

"Is it bad that I lowkey want the album to flop so he doesn’t get a new contract?" Namjoon says when he has poured them all beer, slumped back in his seat, hand stroking his stomach through his sweater, belly full of beer.

Hoseok groans, "Dude, don’t even talk about that thing. I wanna have fun."

Yoongi hums in agreement.

"Alright, new topic," Namjoon raises his hands up in front of him in defense, pondering what to talk about next, "Any of you working on anything?"

"I don’t know, man. There hasn’t been a lot of spare time these past few months," Hoseok shrugs.

Namjoon nods, knowing not to push it – their own music is a sensitive subject for all them. He turns to Yoongi, "Any progress on the mixtape?"

Yoongi shakes his head and how Namjoon’s face falls makes him want the floor to swallow him whole.

"Speaking of music," Hoseok starts, looking over at Yoongi while steering the conversation elsewhere, "You haven’t mentioned that saxophonist in a while."

Namjoon turns to look at him as well, "Yeah, what’s up with that?"

Yoongi twitches in his seat, trying to find a comfortable position.

He takes a small sip of his beer, nursing it while his friends stare at him expectantly. Putting the drink down, he mutters, "Taehyung is the Saxophone Asshole."

Namjoon’s eyes widen, "Wait, what?"

"Stop right there – Hot Neighbor Guy and the Saxophone Asshole are the same person?"

"Yep," Yoongi says, exaggerating the p.

"Please elaborate, for fuck’s sake."

Yoongi hesitates, not really wanting to think about it, but ends up muttering out a brief explanation.

"Oh, man," Hoseok says as soon as Yoongi has uttered the final words of his demise, "that’s fucking hilarious!"

"Did you fuck it out? Passionate hate-sex?"

"God, no, what the fuck is wrong with you?" Yoongi huffs out, "I’m pissed off."

The two of them just look at him, confusion in their eyes.

"I’m not going to date someone who turned out to be an inconsiderate asshole."

Hoseok blinks at him, "So, you’re not interested in him anymore?"

Yoongi shakes his head.

"Oh, fuck off !" Namjoon yells. Yoongi and Hoseok just stare at him, "It’s so obvious that you’re just using this as an excuse."

"Excuse you?"

"You’re just pushing him away because you’re scared."

"Yes, Namjoon, do tell me how I feel, because obviously, you know me better than I do."

"Yoongi, I’m sorry, you know I love you, but you’re not exactly the epitome of self-awareness."

"He has a point," Hoseok chimes in and Yoongi sends him a death glare.

"Thank you!" Namjoon says, giving Hoseok a fond slap on the shoulder, "You’re too stubborn, Yoongi. You have to get over yourself."

"Me? Get over myself?" Yoongi points at his own chest, "Oh, that’s rich coming from you."

"What are you talking about?"

"How long have we been going to this bar?" Yoongi can see Hoseok’s eyes darting between the two of them in his peripheral vision. "And how long have you been pining after a certain bartender?"

"I’m not pining. "

"Sure you’re not," Yoongi says, his voice dripping with venom.

"Yoongi, don’t" – Hoseok starts, but Namjoon interrupts him, "Fine."

Both of them stare at him, "What?"

"I’ll go ask him out. Right now."

Yoongi shuts his mouth, pressing his lips into a thin line while furrowing his brows. Hoseok shifts around in his seat, clearly uncomfortable with the tension between the other two, "You don’t have to."

"I know, but I’m doing this." Namjoon takes a large swig of beer, wiping at his mouth before slamming the glass down on the table. He pushes his chair out, chair legs screeching against the old wooden floor. "Whooh, I’m really doing this," he rests his hands on the table, arms stretched out, supporting himself. He straightens his posture, gives them a curt nod and walks over to the bar counter.

"Are you seeing this?" Hoseok asks.

Yoongi doesn’t answer, he just narrows his eyes at Namjoon who’s now standing by the bar, resting his elbows on the counter.

Seokjin has just finished up with another customer and turns to Namjoon with a bright smile. Countless of times, after a few too many drinks, Namjoon has gone on and on about how Seokjin looks like a prince – Yoongi thinks he gets it now.

Yoongi narrows his eyes at the pair by the counter. Seokjin drops his head in a shy smile, looking at Namjoon through his eyelashes, and yeah – rest in fucking peace , Kim Namjoon, it was nice knowing you. There’s no way in hell he’s going to be able to do it. Every goddamn time Seokjin even looked at him in the past, Namjoon turned into a sputtering puddle of jelly.

However, it seems like it’s going well. They’re too far away for Yoongi to make out what they’re saying from their table, but Seokjin’s still smiling and Namjoon’s shoulders are shaking with laughter.

Hoseok leans towards Yoongi and whispers in his ear, "Is this really happening? Am I hallucinating?" Then, he starts singing the first two lines of Bohemian Rhapsody. Yoongi elbows him in his side, making him stop before getting to "Caught in a landslide", heaving for air.

Namjoon has finished up by the counter and saunters back to their table, posture straight and nose turned up, ever so slightly, his chest puffed out with pride. The sight makes Yoongi want to gag.

"Hah, take that!" Namjoon slaps a napkin down on their table, "Phone number." And lo and behold, on the napkin, Seokjin’s name is written with his phone number underneath. There’s even a little heart. Of fucking course Namjoon didn’t just have Seokjin put his number into his phone, because he’s a middle aged man living in a twenty-five-year-old’s body.

Hoseok takes the napkin and studies it in disbelief, "I can’t believe I just witnessed that with my very own eyes."

Namjoon sits down again, grinning, "Easy." In spite of his words, Yoongi can see the pearls of sweat near his hairline and that his hands are shaking, "Sometimes you just gotta take the leap, man."

"So now it’s your turn," Namjoon says, slinging his arm over Yoongi’s shoulder, pulling him in a bit.

"My turn to what?"

"Take the leap!" Namjoon says before smacking a kiss on the top of Yoongi’s head – the fucking disrespect. "Get your head out of your ass and do something about your feelings."

 

***

 

Yoongi has been hauling his groceries up the stairs for weeks. Instead of texting a certain someone, he carries the bags up the stairs in turn, letting the remaining bags wait in the entrance hall at the bottom of the stairs. Sometimes he takes two trips, sometimes three, depending on how tired he is and how stuffed the bags are. This past week before the deadline had been especially bad. A few days ago he had to take four trips up and down the stairs to carry four bags. He felt absolutely pathetic.

He’d rush up and down the stairs as fast as his legs would carry him, praying to something, anything that none of his neighbors decided to sneak a few items from the unattended bag, or steal all his damn groceries. He wouldn’t put it past some of them – they do have a newspaper thief among them, after all. Fucking vultures.

 

Understandably, he almost gets down on his knees and kisses the very ground he walks upon when he comes home from the grocery store, five bags in hand, only to find that the Out of order, sorry for the inconvenience sign that has been hanging on the elevator for almost a goddamn year, is gone.

Exhausted, he puts the bags down in front of the elevator, letting his arms breathe for a second as his gaze flickers around the floor surrounding the elevator, scavenging to see whether the sign has fallen down. With the shitty luck he’s been having these past few months, he doesn’t quite believe that he has been blessed with a working elevator.

There’s no sign and the display flashes a bright 7 at him when he presses the ground floor button, changing into a 6 and then a 5 as it’s coming down. Honestly, bless technology and bless whoever invented the ingenious steel contraption that is the modern elevator.

As he waits for the elevator, he hears the main door open and click shut behind him, signalling someone entering the entrance hall. He lets out a small sigh, not ready to make awkward chit-chat with some neighbor while they wait to reach their respective stories. If he’s lucky, the elevator is faster than the neighbor and he can do the old pretending to press the wait button trick, so the neighbor has to wait their turn.

"Yoongi!"

Well, fuck. The universe had blessed him with a working elevator, only to curse him with Kim Fucking Taehyung mere minutes later. Honestly, he would rather carry the bags up the damn stairs, but it’s too late to turn back now.

He scrambles to pick up all the bags, not wanting to waste any time. The elevator display is showing a red 2, and though he knows it’s not going to make the elevator come down any faster, he desperately clicks the down button with his elbow while muttering, "Come on, you fucking piece of shit."

The 2 turns into a 1 and Yoongi decides that 1 is now his favorite number, the best goddamn number in the world as the elevator doors open and he slips inside, letting the bags fall to the floor a bit too forcefully and he hopes the tomatoes weren’t crushed in the fall.

After pressing the button for the fifth floor, he presses the Close button repeatedly, smashing it like he would smash the buttons on a PS4 controller during a sick combo in Tekken. His button mashing skills seem to be up to speed, because the doors start to close and he lets out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.

But of course, Kim Fucking Taehyung’s legs are so long that he strides across the floor, closing the remaining distance to the elevator in a matter of seconds. There’s only a small opening between the doors, but Taehyung somehow manages to get his hand in between them, forcing the door open so he can step inside.

All his hope in humanity is lost when the doors close and the elevator ascends, leaving him trapped with the bane of his existence. Yoongi walks backwards until his back hits the wall. It’s not far enough. He wishes the wall would swallow him whole.

Taehyung positions himself right in front of him, arms crossed over his chest, legs a bit spread like he’s a soldier or some shit. Yoongi doesn’t even offer him a glance, he just turns his back to him, facing the wall of the elevator instead, so close that the tip of his nose almost hits the wall.

"Are you seriously just going to ignore me?" Taehyung huffs out, "that’s real mature."

Yoongi’s eye twitches, because what the shit – Taehyung is calling him immature? If anyone’s immature, it’s the asshole who continuously kept the whole apartment complex with dozens of residents up at night, just to piss one single person off.

"I’m not talking to you," he says, trying to keep his voice calm, trying to keep all the venom out of it to show that he doesn’t care – he doesn’t care one bit.

"Can we please talk?"

"There’s nothing to talk about."

"I get that you’re pissed, okay? I’m not expecting you to forgive me or anything, but I figured we should at least try to make up, since we’re probably going to see each other a lot," he explains, "you know, neighbors and all."

Yoongi glances at the display out of the corner of his eye. It shows him that they’re on the third floor. Taehyung’s floor is coming up and Yoongi relaxes his shoulders slightly.

When they reach the fourth floor, the elevator just keeps on going. That fucker hadn’t pressed the button. His eye twitches. It literally couldn’t get any worse than this.

It doesn’t really matter – they’ll be at Yoongi’s floor in a matter of seconds.

"Are you claustrophobic?" Taehyung asks behind him, cutting through the silence.

The question confuses him, making him forget the whole not talking to you deal, "No?"

Just as the bright, red 4 is about to turn into a 5, the elevator stops with a loud screech. He spins around, finding Taehyung with his hand resting on the big, red STOP button. His hand falls down to his side.

"What the fuck is your problem?" Yoongi snaps, looking him in the eyes for the first time since that day in Taehyung’s bedroom.

His brows are furrowed, "No, what the fuck is your problem?"

"Excuse you?"

"I’ve tried to apologize to you dozens of times, but you’re just ignoring me! I get that you’re pissed off, but are you seriously this mad over something so stupid?"

"This sure as hell ain’t making me any less mad, kid."

"You’re being an asshole."

"I’m not the one who pressed the emergency button during what is definitely not an emergency."

"It’s the STOP button, relax. It’s not like the fire department is going to come rescue us."

"Still – being stuck in here with you is literally the last thing I want to be doing right now."

Hurt flashes over Taehyung’s eyes and Yoongi feels a sting in his chest, "Well, at least you’re talking to me now."

Yoongi snaps his mouth shut and turns his head to the side, breaking eye contact. Taehyung sighs heavily and slumps against the wall, leaning against it.

Yoongi turns to the control panel, eyes scanning across all the buttons. Even though he’s never been stuck in an elevator before, he figures it’ll start again if he pushes one of the floor buttons. He presses the 5 and waits.

Nothing happens. The elevator is quiet as ever – all he can hear is his own breathing. "Good job! You broke it," he says, adding a muttered, "inconsiderate as ever."

"I didn’t break it – stop being so damn dramatic. Someone has to start it again from the main control panel."

"Yeah, well, it’s six o’goddamn clock on a Friday – no one’s in the office, you dumb fuck."

Taehyung flinches, looking bewildered for a second, before collecting himself, "Then we finally get to talk, at least."

"Over my dead body." He presses the call button, yellow with the outline of a bell on it. A loud ring echoes throughout the heavy metal of the elevator, but no one answers. The ringing dies out.

Taehyung has slid down, sitting on the dirty metal floor with his arms around his knees. His backpack is sitting next to him, some sort of vintage leather thing, "Didn’t you just say that the office is closed?"

"Yeah, well, no harm in trying."

He presses it again and again and again, to no avail.

He digs his phone out of his jacket, unlocking it and scrolls through his contacts.

"What are you doing?" Taehyung asks.

"Calling the super." He puts his phone to his ear, listening to the ringing while waiting. Restless, he paces back and forth between the left and right wall, staying as far away from Taehyung as possible in the small space.

He reaches her voicemail, making him let out a small shit as he hangs up. He sends her a text instead, trying to phrase it as politely as possible in spite of his blood boiling.  

 

[Wednesday 18:21] To: super (idk her name)
Hello, another resident and I are stuck in the
elevator because he accidentally pressed the
stop button. We would really appreciate it if
you helped us out of here ASAP.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience.
Best, regards
Min Yoongi, apt. 5B

 

Taehyung looks up at him expectantly. "I sent her a text – she lives on the ground floor, so we won’t have to wait for too long if she’s at home," he explains, Taehyung nodding in response.

He eyes the floor, finds the space that looks the least dirty and sits down, leaning his back against the wall. "If she doesn’t come to our rescue, I won’t hesitate to eat you," he says.

"You have five bags full of groceries and you’d rather resort to cannibalism?"

"Well, the groceries aren’t annoying the fuck outta me." Taehyung snorts at that.

He pulls out his earbuds from his jacket pocket, sticking the plug into the headphone socket on his phone. Spotify opens automatically and he scrolls through his playlists, trying to find one fitting the current situation. The second he opens FUUUUCKKK!!!!!, a notification fills the screen.

 

Low battery

20% battery remaining

 

Because of fucking course. Not wanting his phone to die in case the super tries to get in touch with him, he closes Spotify, and puts his phone on low power mode before pocketing it.

Meanwhile, Taehyung has taken a textbook out of his backpack, currently resting in his lap. There are a lot of sticky notes sticking out from it and Yoongi spots some notes in a very familiar yellow color. His eye twitches.

Taehyung catches him staring, his gaze flickering down to the notes. He gives Yoongi a sheepish smile.

Yoongi tilts his head back, looks up at the ceiling and closes his eyes.

"Can I please explain myself, at least?"

"I can’t stop you," Yoongi sighs, eyes still closed.

Taehyung takes a deep breath and Yoongi crosses his arms over his chest.

"Okay, so like, the first few times before you put up that note, I was super drunk," he explains, "I mean, I was drunk off my ass and Jimin and Jeongguk were like Hey, you know what’s a great idea? If you played the sax for us! and I was like Fuck, yeah, so I did, but I was so out of it that it ended up sounding like," he stops, considering, "in your words – a dying dolphin."

Yoongi snorts, but keeps his head tilted back, eyes closed.

"And then Jeongguk didn’t believe I could actually play the sax, so I tried to prove him wrong whenever he’d come over, but the thing is, when the three of us hang out, we always get wasted, you know? So I just kept playing horribly."

His explanation makes sense at least, but it isn’t exactly very moving.

"And then you put up that fucking note and I was so pissed off, you know? Because like, why couldn’t you just talk to me instead of pulling some passive aggressive shit? So then I decided to like, I don’t know, piss you off or prove a point or whatever. I thought you’d cave and write down who you were, but you never did."

"You know," Yoongi interrupts, eyes still closed, "this isn’t really helping your case."

"After you hung up the first note, I always stopped before the quiet hours, you know?"

Yoongi only grunts in response, because what difference does it make? He still did it to make Yoongi mad, not caring about the other residents. He stands by what he wrote, that Taehyung’s playing was unreasonable noise.

"I know I fucked up, okay? But I’ve apologized – what else am I supposed to do?"

Yoongi doesn’t answer, mind wandering elsewhere.

Taehyung had stopped the elevator somewhere between the fourth and fifth floor. If he had waited about five seconds, the doors would have opened and none of this would’ve happened.

Yoongi stands up, brushing the dust off his slacks before stepping over to the control panel once again. If he can just get the goddamn doors open, maybe he can climb out onto the fifth floor. He thinks he read a news article about someone who did that once and when they climbed out, the elevator started working again and – well. Yoongi shivers at the thought, but he’d rather die trying to escape than deal with the situation at hand.

He presses the open button numerous times, but nothing happens – the doors stay closed. Yoongi groans and rests his forehead against the control panel. He closes his eyes, the sound of his own labored breathing filling his ears.

"Seriously, I don’t fucking get it!" Taehyung says, breaking the silence, "I thought we had something, you know, going on or whatever." The last part is mumbled.

Yoongi decides to ignore how his heart skips a beat at the last part of his comment, "You don’t get it?" He spins around, meeting Taehyung’s eyes with his own.

"No! Please enlighten me!" His gaze doesn’t waver.

Yoongi feels as though he’s in a staring contest – that he’s losing. Taehyung’s gaze is drilling into him,  like he’s going to be able to see how scared Yoongi is, how he has no idea what he’s doing. That he’s a stubborn piece of shit.

He breaks eye contact, looking to the side, "You’re – you’re selfish and –" he tries to find the right words, but can’t seem to find them, "and rude and annoying." The final words come out fast and feel foreign in his mouth – they don’t fit. He almost finds himself stumbling on his own tongue, not in his element. He can spit out a verse so fast that people don’t even know what hit them, but he can’t actually talk about his feelings like this.

In his peripheral vision, he can see Taehyung slumped against the wall and he looks so small. Not like this living marble statue Yoongi had built him up to be when he first met him. Not like the perfect boyfriend Yoongi had dreamt about him being, nor like the inconsiderate asshole he’d decided Taehyung was after finding out he was the Saxophone Asshole.

There are tears in his eyes and he’s just a boy. A boy sitting in front of him, asking him for forgiveness.

The crease between Yoongi’s brows disappears as his face relaxes, "Are you crying ?" It comes out harsher than intended and he cringes at his own tone, how cruel he sounds. He never wanted any of this and he hates how childish he’s being.

"Yes, I’m fucking frustrated, okay?" Taehyung wipes at his eyes with the back of his hand, "I like you so much, so, so much and then I fuck it all up, like I always do, because I’m a fucking mess and I don’t think before I act or open my big, dumb mouth."

"Tae –"

Taehyung interrupts him with a sob. He’s crying for real now, hiccupping on sobs as tears stream down his face.

Yoongi feels like his heart is about to break. He has made this wonderful, soft, kind-hearted boy cry. Tae who helped him with his groceries, asking nothing in return. Tae who complimented him on his shitty photography skills. Tae who took care of him when he was sick, even when he told him not to. Tae who flirted with Yoongi, but didn’t push it when Yoongi got shy. He made the softest boy in the world cry.

Tae who’s been nothing but kind and considerate towards Yoongi, personally. Because he didn’t know that it was Yoongi who had complained about him – to him, the person who complained just seemed like some asshole who was too much of a coward to face him in person.

And that’s what Yoongi is. A goddamn coward. For not signing the initial note with his name or apartment number, for staying anonymous, for pushing Tae away as soon as he found an excuse to do so.

Yoongi falls to his knees in front of him, the hard metal floor making him ache, "I’m so sorry, I’m so fucking sorry, Tae." Taehyung is covering his hands with his face, eyes red with tears peeking at him through his fingers. "I’ve been such an asshole, Jesus fucking Christ, You’re not dumb – I’m dumb. I’m the dumbest person alive for making you cry."

His sobs have died down, breath hitching instead, "Fuck, I’m sorry, I’m just – really overwhelmed," Taehyung mumbles into his hands.

Yoongi stretches his arm out, hand reaching for Tae’s face, but he stops, hesitating for a bit, fingers twitching in mid-air. Taehyung looks at him, removing his hands from his face. An invitation. Yoongi closes the distance, cupping his soft, wet cheek. "You don’t have to apologize," he says, wiping away the tears staining his cheek with his thumb.

"I’m sorry for how I’ve acted," Yoongi says, "it wasn’t fair. I should’ve talked to you like an actual adult instead of –" he huffs, "acting like a twelve year old."

Taehyung laughs, a bit breathless from crying, and puts his hand over Yoongi’s, over his cheek. His hand is a bit larger than his, and Yoongi just knows that they’re going to fit perfectly together when holding each other, fingers fitting together like puzzle pieces.

Yoongi bites his bottom lip, trying to will the words out of him, but his throat feels tight – like it’s not allowing him to speak.

Taehyung is noise. He’s Shakespearean monologues, confrontation and spilling his feelings in an elevator. He’s a tenor saxophone, loud laughter and flailing limbs. Yoongi is silence. He’s never playing music without having his headphones in, tip-toeing around his apartment and not talking about his feelings.

But he wants to change that.

He takes a deep breath, "I got scared."

"Why?"

Yoongi shakes his head, "I’m not –" he waves his hand around loosely in the air, trying to find the right words, "the best with feelings."

"I can tell," Taehyung smiles, but it’s not condescending – it’s a warm smile, full of understanding and Yoongi thinks he’s a bit in love.

"Can you forgive me?" Yoongi asks.

"Yeah, of course," Taehyung nods, "although this isn’t exactly how I pictured this conversation going – you apologizing to me, I mean."

Yoongi laughs, shaking his head, "Me neither."

Taehyung is shifting around a bit, clearly uncomfortable. He breaks his gaze away from Yoongi’s looking down. His eyelashes fan over his cheeks, making these small, barely there shadows. A map of shadows. A map Yoongi wants to learn how to read.

"So…" Taehyung says.

Yoongi runs his thumb over his jaw and Taehyung leans into the touch, "Yeah?"

He mumbles something into Yoongi’s palm that he can’t make out. "What was that?"

"I mean, I –" Taehyung starts, "I already confessed. It was kind of an accident, like a heat of the moment thing, but it’s still true. It just wasn’t how I was planning on doing it."

Yoongi smirks, "Were you going to send me an anonymous letter and tell me to meet you on the rooftop after school?"

Taehyung pushes at his chest lightly, huffing out a laugh, "Stop teasing."

"I like you too, Tae."

"Really?" he asks, meeting Yoongi’s eyes again, "Even after all that?"

Yoongi nods, "Yeah, I like you a lot."

"I don’t believe you," he says, voice teasing, "You have to prove it."

Yoongi smirks at that, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Taehyung tips his head back with a groan, "Not like that!" After a few seconds, he adds, "Not yet, at least." Yoongi’s heart skips a beat. "Come on, just ask. Use your words, Yoongi."

"Let’s go out."

"Hmmm," Taehyung says like he’s thinking about it, "I don’t know – that wasn’t very polite."

Yoongi rolls his eyes, but smiles anyway, "Please go out with me, Tae."

"That’s better!" Taehyung smiles at him, big boxy grin making his eyes turn into crescents.

He has missed that smile so much. He nuzzles his face into Yoongi’s palm, still covering his cheek, and kisses it. It’s just the gentlest touch of lips against his skin, but it still makes Yoongi shiver, "And yes, I’ll go out with you."

"Good." He can’t seem to stop smiling and his cheeks are starting to hurt.

Taehyung is sitting down and Yoongi is on his knees, so he has a slight height advantage that he usually wouldn’t have. He decides to use it in his favor. He leans in, sliding his hand from Taehyung’s cheek, down to his chin, angling his face up. Taehyung looks up at him with hooded eyes and mouth slightly parted. If Yoongi’s heart beats any faster, it’s going to burst free from his chest and escape.

Yoongi licks his lips and Taehyung’s eyes flicker down, before looking him in the eyes again, "Hi," he whispers.

"Hi," Yoongi whispers back, brushing the tip of his nose against Taehyung’s, who scrunches his nose and giggles.

Yoongi leans in further as his phone pings with a notification. "Aren’t you going to – " Taehyung begins to whisper, the rest of the sentence dying when their lips meet. It’s just the briefest of touches, smiles on their faces not allowing them to kiss properly, but Yoongi can taste the trace of salty tears on his skin and he promises himself that he’ll do his best to never make this boy cry ever again.

Taehyung laughs against his mouth, so Yoongi cradles Taehyung’s face in his hands and kisses the laughter away. It feels like swallowing the sun. Taehyung opens his mouth with a silent gasp and Yoongi uses the opportunity to slide his tongue along the other’s bottom lip. His tongue darts out in response, giving Yoongi’s a shy lick. He tastes like mint and something Yoongi can’t put his finger on, something that’s strictly Taehyung.

His hand has found its way to the nape of Yoongi’s neck, fingers carding through the tiny hairs there, making a pleasant shiver run up his spine. Taehyung pulls him in by the back of his neck, willing him closer, closer, so Yoongi shuffles closer, settling in between Taehyung’s knees while nipping at his bottom lip.

They’re so close. So close he can feel Taehyung’s lashes tickling his cheek. And this – this is what he lives for. The closeness. This – feeling Taehyung exhale through his nose, his breath against his cheek, noses bumping and lips sliding. This – his hand at the nape of Yoongi’s neck, fingers gently massaging his scalp, feeling those fingers twitch when Yoongi licks into his mouth. This and this and this.

And yeah, there’s definitely a melody on Taehyung’s lips. Definitely lyrics in his tiny, barely there moans. Yoongi thinks he could write a thousand raps to the beat of Taehyung’s heart.

Taehyung’s other hand is on his hip, pulling him in again, because they’re not close enough. Yoongi wants. He wants so much. Wants to be near. To press himself against Taehyung until he can’t differentiate which heartbeat, which breath or which warmth belongs to who.

Yoongi stands up on his knees, breaking the kiss. Taehyung stretches his neck, chasing his lips and Yoongi smiles, meeting his lips again when he throws one leg over Taehyung’s lap, about to straddle him.

Then, the tinny sound of a speaker screeching echoes throughout the elevator, "Uh, I’m sorry to interrupt, but you do realize there are security cameras in there, right?" the super’s voice says over the intercom.

Yoongi scrambles backwards, away from Taehyung’s lap and lands on his ass on the cool metal floor. They look at each other. Taehyung’s eyes are blown wide and his lips are red and swollen. Yoongi imagines that he looks about the same.

He shakes his head, gathering his thoughts and stands up in record speed, straightening his clothes out.

"Do you still want me to start the elevator or…" she drifts off.

Taehyung tips his head back and laughs, the bubbling sound echoing in the small space.

Yoongi presses the call button down, holding it in, "Hello, uh…" Taehyung mouths the super’s name at him, but Yoongi can’t make it out, "you," he finishes, cringing at his own impoliteness. Taehyung keeps laughing and Yoongi sends him a death glare. "Yeah, that’d be great, thank you," he says into the microphone, resting his forehead against the wall in shame.

There’s no response, but the elevator’s silent hum is soon replaced by a loud squeak as it stutters to a start, sending them up to the fifth floor.

Ten seconds later, it stops, lets out a loud "Ping!" and the doors slide open.

They look at each other and burst out in laughter.

"Fuck," Yoongi says, wiping at the corner of his eye, pretty sure he teared up from laughing, "that was anticlimactic." He digs his phone out of his pocket to check the time. When he unlocks his phone, there’s a text waiting for him.

 

[Wednesday 19:08] From: super (idk her name)
Hello, I’ll go and start the elevator right now.
Please be more careful in the future.

 


He pockets his phone again and stretches his arms above his head, cracking his spine, "Should we get out of here?"

"Yeah."

He reaches his hand to Taehyung, who takes it, and pulls him up. Taehyung thanks him, picks up his backpack from the floor and shrugs it on.

Yoongi starts picking up the bags. "Let me help you with those," Taehyung says, taking three of the bags.

Yoongi is already holding two, but takes one from Taehyung anyway. "Thanks, but I can handle it," Yoongi smiles at him before exiting the elevator.

 

***

 

Yoongi is sitting by his keyboard, headphones on, working on a melody for the piano. He doesn’t know how long he’s been sitting there, fingers skirting over the keys, plunking out small tunes. Occasionally, he finds something that works and jots down the notes in his notebook, which is filled to the brim with lyrics, melodies and ideas – yellow and green sticky notes poking out of it.

The empty guestroom in his apartment has been turned into a makeshift studio, panels covering the walls, microphone in the corner and his set-up against the wall. Namjoon is letting him borrow a lot of his equipment, which is nice because Yoongi really only had his computer and keyboard to work with from beforehand.

He has been working on his mixtape diligently for a few months and it’s starting to come together. Most of the tracks are already recorded, there are just a few components missing. Lately, he’s been sampling sounds he can use on tracks. Like the racket of a nearly empty metro car going through a tunnel, the hum of an elevator and part of one of Namjoon’s many philosophical rants, recorded late at Seokjin’s place after a night of heavy drinking.

He’s releasing the mixtape independently, doing it all by himself. Recording, producing, mixing and mastering – just like he did back in university. Even using one of his own photos as the base for the cover – the one where he’s sitting by his keyboard, back turned to the camera. Balancing working on his mixtape and well, his actual job, is draining. It has led to a lot of sleepless nights, and some days he’s practically running on coffee, but he hasn’t felt this good in ages.

Namjoon and Hoseok keep telling him that it’s good. Sometimes he believes them, other times he doesn’t, but what he does know is that it’s honest. Raw. It’s his sound, his aesthetic – not some other artist's, and it feels amazing.

 

He looks over his notes and plays out what’s written there, long, bony fingers pressing the keys gently. Deeply immersed in the music, he thinks he can hear a sound forcing its way through his headphones, interrupting his flow. As he slides his headphones down from his ears to his neck, he hears the tell-tale croon of a tenor saxophone cover of My Funny Valentine.

Yoongi shakes his head, huffing out a small laugh before placing his his headphones on the desk and leaving the guestroom. In the hallway, he slides into his sneakers and exits his home, making sure the door closes shut and locks behind him. The smooth notes of My Funny Valentine accompanies him while he makes his way downstairs to apartment 4F. He punches in the key code and enters the apartment, slipping off his shoes before making his way down the hall to Taehyung’s room.  

The door is ajar, so he gives it a light push. It slides open, revealing Taehyung who’s standing in the middle of the room, lips around the mouthpiece of the saxophone, eyes closed. He’s gently swaying the saxophone around, leaning back and forth to add his own personal flair to the song.

When he has blown out the final notes of the song, he opens his eyes, mouth popping off the mouthpiece and turning into a soft smile. A smile that still makes Yoongi’s blood buzz in his veins.

"There you are!" Taehyung says, letting go of the saxophone so it hangs loosely by the strap around his neck, "Took you long enough."

"Why can’t you just text me like a normal person?"

"Not as fun."

"I’m pretty sure all the neighbors hate us."

"They probably do."

In spite of himself, Yoongi grins at him, crossing the room. He grabs a hold of the saxophone by its neck, being careful with the keys and pulls the strap off Taehyung’s neck. Taehyung eyes him and Yoongi rolls his eyes, "I’m being careful." He places it gingerly on the bed. Then he takes Tae by the back of the neck, bringing him in to close the distance between them because yeah, there’s definitely too much of it.  

"Let me put it in its case first, at least," Taehyung whines, right before their lips are about to meet.

Yoongi stops, "You really wanna do that right now?" their mouths are so close that his lips brush against Taehyung’s when he talks.

Taehyung’s eyes flicker down to where Yoongi is wetting his lips with his tongue, "Guess not."

Yoongi hums and closes the distance between them.

Their lips slot together – familiar. Taehyung’s lips are pliant against his, still a bit spit-slick from playing. Both of Yoongi’s hand slide into Taehyung’s hair, gently pulling at the strands. Taehyung places his hands on his hips, rubbing circles into his hip bones, which he knows Yoongi loves. It makes him feel safe.

Taehyung nibbles at his bottom lip, making Yoongi part his lips so he can slide his tongue in. If there’s one thing he has learned from dating Taehyung, it’s that saxophonists have skilled tongues.

Breaking the kiss, Yoongi gently pushes Taehyung backwards until the back of his knees hit the bed, making him sit down. He looks up at Yoongi, eyes hooded as Yoongi puts his knees on either side of his thighs on the bed, straddling him.

Yoongi is standing on his knees on the bed, having a height advantage for once. Taehyung stretches his neck, chasing his lips, but Yoongi just smirks and tips his head back, so he can’t reach him. "Yoongi," he whines, pouting.

"That’s what you get for disturbing the neighbors again," he smirks, voice teasing as he looks down at Taehyung.

"Fuck you," Taehyung says, but the corner of his mouth is twitching, fighting back a smile.

Yoongi bites his bottom lip, "You wish."

Something in Taehyung’s eyes flicker. He surges up and Yoongi tilts his head back further, now looking up at the ceiling, to make his lips unavailable, but Taehyung’s mouth finds his neck instead. And holy shit, he has to place his palm on Taehyung’s chest, bracing himself as Tongue Fucking McGee sucks at his neck.  

Yoongi sits down on his lap properly and lets out a small whine he’s definitely not embarrassed of. And he’s definitely not not holding it back because Taehyung told him he liked his whines once. Not at all. Taehyung nips at his collar bone, making Yoongi fist the fabric of his soft hoodie in his hand, pulling him in even closer. He can feel Taehyung smile against his neck and Yoongi is so fucking weak for him.

There’s so much love in his heart for Taehyung. He loves the way he rambles on about the stuff he’s passionate about, which is a lot. The way he views the world is so full of wonder and Yoongi loves it. Loves how his perspective translates into his photography, how everything he captures is so vibrant and exciting, like he’s seeing it for the very first time, even if it’s something as mundane as a tree. He loves waking up next to Taehyung in the morning and meeting his tired eyes, puffy with sleep. Loves it when Taehyung shuffles closer, kissing him with his morning breath that makes Yoongi think, "Yeah, this is what I’ve been looking for."

Yoongi pushes gently at his chest and pulls back, Taehyung’s mouth leaving his neck with a pop. "Hey," he says, looking down at where his fingers are curled into the fabric of Taehyung’s hoodie,  "I’ve been thinking."

"Oh, no – that can’t be good," Taehyung jokes.

"Fuck off." Yoongi slaps his chest, "No, it’s about the mixtape."

Taehyung’s expression softens, "Yeah?" He takes one of Yoongi’s hands in his, interlacing their fingers. It reminds Yoongi of a night a few weeks prior, when they’d been walking home from Hoseok’s place, hand in hand through the empty streets, and Taehyung had leaned in and whispered that he thought their hands were made for holding each other. The memory makes him smile – Yoongi thinks so too.

Yoongi’s gaze travels down to where Taehyung is rubbing comforting circles on the back of Yoongi’s hand with his thumb. "Why don’t you record something for it? On the sax, I mean," he says, looking at his face again.

"Oh my God, really?" He looks genuinely excited and it makes Yoongi’s heart burst. He’s so fucking fond of this boy, it’s ridiculous.

Yoongi kisses the freckle at the bottom of Taehyung’s nose, making him scrunch it. Cute. "Yeah, one of the songs is about you, after all."

"Oh, yeah? What’s it called?"

Yoongi starts leaning in again, smile playing at his lips, "The Saxophone Asshole."

"You’re an idiot," Taehyung mumbles against his mouth, but it sounds like I love you.

The saxophone lays next to them on the bed, forgotten for the time being.