Yoongi wishes he’d taken his grandmother’s warnings more seriously about open windows and the nighttime, because when he wakes up that morning his room is an absolute disaster. Not to mention, so freezing cold that he feels like his feet are going to fall off as soon as they touch the floor.
A massive windstorm must’ve come through last night, Yoongi decides after he pulls on some socks. They’re common in the fall, and now that Chuseok is over and any lingering breath of summer has been exhaled, Yoongi has fully prepared himself for the inevitability of winter.
Except, he thinks crossly, remembering to close my goddamn window.
Every single paper on his desk is now somewhere on the floor, and the clothes that were hanging on his closet door have fallen. Books lie open, their pages ruffled, and the pictures on his wall have tilted.
His roommate takes that exact moment to burst into Yoongi’s room. There’s a toothbrush in his mouth, but he’s also apparantly trying to eat breakfast at the same time, if the bowl in his hand is any clue. Kim Namjoon is only one bizarre occupant in this incredibly bizarre city, Yoongi has found. His grandmother was the same way—a little odd, a little charming, and completely out of her fucking mind. Close to her death, she kept rambling on about spirits and guiding lights and whatnot; the doctors said it was probably her schizophrenia (which she’d developed after she’d given birth to Yoongi’s dad) finally getting the best of her as the rest of her body slowly shut down.
“You left your window open, hyung,” Namjoon states, and Yoongi turns to him with a flat look.
“Thank you for that observation, Joon-ah,” he deadpans, bending down to shuffle some papers back in order.
Namjoon spits into the bowl, and Yoongi makes a disgusted face. “What I mean,” Namjoon says patiently, “is that you always remember to close your window at night. Everybody remembers to close their windows at night.”
“Did you just fucking spit into your breakfast?” Yoongi asks, appalled.
“It’s empty,” Namjoon says, showing him the bowl. “The pipes are busted so we don’t have water.”
“Again?” Yoongi complains. “Are you saying there’s no coffee?”
Namjoon shrugs. “I drink tea.”
“Of course you do,” Yoongi sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. Standing in the middle of his messy room on a freezing cold Friday morning is not the way he wanted to start his day. If he’s gonna be honest, it’s stressing him the fuck out and he really wishes he’d never even woken up.
“--but that’s the funny thing,” Namjoon is saying, still talking about windows and how a whole population of nearly one-fucking-million always close them at night. “My window was open too, and I could’ve sworn I closed it—”
“You were also stoned last night,” Yoongi points out, straightening out his pictures and putting his clothes back on their hangers. Namjoon’s brow wrinkles for a moment, before he nods.
“I was,” he agrees, “but I was coherent. I remember talking to you about the difference between knowing something, and believing in it—”
“Right, right,” Yoongi says impatiently, “and how all the ahjummas seem to know very little about what they believe in and how you wanted to write your stupid thesis about how they still hang things in their doorway and sprinkle sugar by the stairs.”
“So I wasn’t that stoned,” Namjoon concedes thoughtfully. “And I know I closed my window.”
“Namjoon, this isn’t a mystery novel,” Yoongi says, exasperated. “It’s fine. You know better than I do about the windstorms that happen in the fall.”
Namjoon seems to pick up on the actual irritation in Yoongi’s voice because he doesn’t push it any further. Instead he asks if Yoongi can give him a ride to the school because Namjoon’s calculus class and Yoongi’s photography class start at the same time on Fridays.
Yoongi makes Namjoon help him clean up his room in exchange, but then feels bad and buys Namjoon a flowery-looking tea that tastes like dirt. Namjoon nearly spills it on himself fifteen minutes later when their friend Jackson jumps out from behind a tree as they walk onto the campus.
“Jesus Christ,” Namjoon says, holding the dripping cup away from his body. “That was almost a disaster.”
Jackson is doubled over with laughter, despite it not really being that funny. Yoongi waits for him to straighten up before giving him an annoyed look. “Were you just waiting behind that fucking tree? How’d you even know we’d come this way?”
Jackson shrugs, wiping his watering eyes. “I dunno. I just had a feeling. What’d you want me to say? That the birds whispered it or whatever?” He bursts into laughter again, and Namjoon glares.
“Okay, just because you think everyone that’s grown up here is crazy—”
“That’s ‘cause they are,” Jackson hoots, and Yoongi actually has to agree with him. There’s always been a different light in the locals’ eyes, like they see more of a bigger picture. Yoongi can’t quite put his finger on it. Not that he particularly cares—his grandmother looked at him like that sometimes, and look where she ended up.
He ignores the squeeze of grief and turns back to the conversation. Jackson’s talking about the windstorm last night—he’d been walking home when it’d hit and apparently, it was unlike anything he’d ever seen.
“Dude, it almost blew me over,” Jackson exclaims, and demonstrates with a lot of flailing limbs. “It took off a couple signs, too. It was crazy. Like the actual wind was pissed, or whatever. Do you ever get that feeling? That, like, the weather is extra moody here?”
“I have to get to class,” Yoongi cuts in as Namjoon opens his mouth. “You guys can keep talking about magic weather all you want, but I don’t want to be late.” He's tired of talking about magic; it’s always reminded him of his grandmother and her eclectic ways, but now it also dredges up painful memories.
“Hey,” Jackson calls dryly as Yoongi starts to speed-walk away from the both of them, “why are you in such a hurry? Don’t you just sleep through all your classes?”
“Fuck you,” Yoongi returns over his shoulder. Jackson’s cacophonous laugh starts up again and Namjoon says something about going out tonight.
Yoongi decisively ignores them both, forcing his mind away from them and focusing on how nice of a day it is. The wind last night had taken the last of the leaves off of the trees, so the sidewalk's carpeted in red, yellow, and orange. There’s a faint breeze that still carries the tang of the ocean, which, on a clear day, Yoongi can see from the top of the hill with the shrine on it. The sun warms his cheeks as he walks, filtering through sparse white clouds.
He’s almost late when he gets to class, the professor setting up her presentation just as Yoongi slides into his seat.
“I meant to return your project analyses today,” she admits, “but it seems I only closed my screen door last night, not the actual one. Everything got mixed up. But I promise I’ll have them back by Monday!”
Yoongi blinks. That’s three people, including himself, who have complained about messy rooms as a result of the windstorm. What kind of freaky coincidence was that?
The professor goes to turn down the lights, and the classroom is suddenly dim. “Huh,” the professor says, looking out the window. “Clouds are moving fast today. I hope everyone gets home dry.”
She’s right, Yoongi thinks, bending to look at the sky. What was a sunny, near-cloudless day five minutes ago is now dark and overcast, the clouds grey and heavy with rain.
Yoongi sighs, propping his head on his chin. Now he’s really got no chance of staying awake, so he doesn’t even bother fighting his heavy eyelids. The professor, despite being his favorite teacher of his favorite class, can’t keep his attention today.
Before she even finishes her introduction, he’s asleep.
When he wakes up, it’s raining.
Actually, correction. It’s fucking pouring. A torrential downpour. Dumping buckets. Whatever. Either way, he’s got a jacket on and no umbrella and what feels like ten miles to walk to get back to his car, still parked in the coffee shop lot.
He checks his bank account quickly and decides he can afford to take a cab just this once. He calls one, typing in his current address and destination. A few minutes later, a nondescript Hyundai pulls up to the curb and Yoongi makes a break for it, sprinting from the doorway of the Arts and Science building to the street.
He all but dives into the car, slamming the door behind him. His jeans are wet enough that they’re going to be uncomfortable, and he can feel his hair dripping down his neck. Great.
The driver turns around to peer at him. It’s a guy his age, hair dyed bright red and an expression that Yoongi can’t decide is amusement or curiosity pulling at the corners of his mouth.
“You’re going to the residential apartments, yeah?” The driver asks, tapping his phone.
“Right,” Yoongi mutters, trying to shake the water out of his eyes. “Of all days for it to rain, why today?”
The driver laughs. “He’s in a really bad mood right now,” he says, and Yoongi rubs at his ears, sure he heard him wrong.
“What’d you just say?” He asks, confused.
The driver gives him a mischievous smile. “I said that the weather’s putting everyone in a bad mood. I mean, you look pretty grumpy.”
“I’m soaking wet,” Yoongi points out. “Of course I’m grumpy.”
The driver just hums noncommittally, but the smile stays on his face. There’s silence for a moment as they make their way back towards the apartment. Yoongi suddenly notices how bizarre the interior of the car is—there’s an elephant statue hanging from the rearview mirror, and a bag of slightly damp mail in the passenger seat where an actual broom is wedged between the armrest and the window. The glove compartment is hanging open, and Yoongi can see a whole assortment of strange items—tea, silver rings, bags full of seeds, a spiky-looking plant, and, for whatever reason, a handful of toothbrushes.
The driver sees him eyeing the glove compartment, and the same knowing smile is back. “You interested in buying something?”
Yoongi stares. “You sell that?”
“Sure,” the driver says, shrugging. “It’s just seeds and stuff. I’m moving shop right now, but the rain came a bit unexpectedly so I had to cram it all in my car.”
Yoongi decides not to mention the mail—most of seems fake anyway, with weird wax seals and no stamps—or the broom.
“Here we are,” the driver says, pulling up in front of Yoongi’s apartment. “Hey, thanks for talking to me. Not many ever do.”
Yoongi doesn’t really know what to say to that, so he settles for gathering his things and preparing to open the door.
“The rain will let up in about fifteen minutes or so,” the driver tells him. Yoongi gives him a flat look.
“Are you a meteorologist on the side, too?” Yoongi asks dubiously, and the driver chuckles.
“Let’s just say I’m good friends with the cause of these clouds,” the driver says.
“Right,” Yoongi says sarcastically, opening the door. “Tell Mother Nature I say hi, then.”
The look in the driver’s eyes is so unnerving that it throws Yoongi off a little. He looks like he know just a little bit too much, like he sees something that Yoongi doesn’t and finds it hilarious.
Yoongi closes the door behind him and the car pulls away. People in this fucking place, Yoongi thinks, not for the first time today. Even though this city is tiny compared to Seoul, or even Busan, it’s got more weirdos in one place than anywhere Yoongi has visited. And he’s been to some pretty wacky places.
He shoves into his apartment, starting to shiver now. He’s glad he only has one class on Friday. Normally he’d take the afternoon to go take pictures, but today, with the rain pounding on the windows (which, this time, he’d remembered to close) all he feels like doing is taking another nap. Namjoon wouldn’t be done until three or so, and none of Yoongi’s friends have texted to ask if he wants to do anything, so…nap it is.
His bedroom is still a bit of a mess, so it takes him a little while to find his headphones. He could’ve sworn he put them in his desk drawer—which, thank god, he did. They’re tucked next to the little brown notebook that belonged to his grandmother, the only thing that she’d left him (besides money) in her will. It was filled with all her weird habits and the little things she said, and nursery rhymes in English.
Yoongi hadn’t opened it since the day he received it. Even looking at it hurt, pulling up things he desperately tries to keep buried. He remembers his grandma’s face, so wrinkled her eyes disappeared when she smiled, the way her mouth folded neatly over the accent in her words, the way she knew what Yoongi was worrying about with a simple look. She’d taken such good care of him, the grandson of a child that barely spoke to her. The custody battle following his parent’s divorce meant Yoongi finishing high school here and then deciding to stay when his grandmother’s health worsened.
Tears sting his eyes and he slams the drawer shut, the innocuous brown book disappearing from sight.
He goes back to the couch, tossing his phone down on the cushions and then settling down next to it. He takes a second to get comfortable—there’s something poking his ass and the ratty pillow by the armrest smells like instant noodles and Namjoon’s stupid flowery tea, both of which have been spilled at least twice on this exact couch. He reaches under him and discovers the source of the ass discomfort—it’s a USB mouse that Namjoon has been missing for the last month.
It’s a miracle, Yoongi thinks grumpily, finally getting comfortable, that Namjoon manages to keep track of things that aren’t taped to him.
He scrolls through his music and picks a playlist of American R&B, even though his English isn’t near good enough to understand what they’re saying. He enjoys the vocals and the familiar hitch of the instruments, at that’s really all that matters in Yoongi’s book.
He falls asleep just as the rain stops—fifteen minutes later, just as the driver had promised.
He wakes up to people saying his name.
“Fuck off,” he mutters, not even bothering to check who it is. It’s more than one person, for sure—he can pick out Namjoon’s voice, and that’s definitely Jackson’s donkey laugh, which means the third voice has to be—
“Yugyeom,” Jackson calls, “didn’t Yoongi say he’d fillet you if you ever stepped foot in this house again?”
They haven’t seen him yet, because the back of the couch is blocking their view. Yoongi is torn between wanting to sit up and chew Kim Yugyeom out—because he’s most definitely not allowed back here, not after the Rice Cooker Incident—and lying there and keeping quiet in hopes that they’ll just leave him alone.
Something in the kitchen shatters, and Yoongi sits up. He knows the expression on his face is cold enough to stop anyone dead in their tracks.
Yugyeom’s cheeks drain of color when he catches sight of Yoongi. “Hyung,” he squeaks. “Hi. I, um, didn’t know you were there.”
Behind him, Jackson snickers.
“Well, now you do,” Yoongi replies flatly. “And I swear to god, Kim Yugyeom, if you’ve broken another kitchen appliance—“
“Hyung, it’s okay,” Namjoon says hurriedly, stepping in before Yoongi does something like vault over the back of the couch and toss Yugyeom out of the window. “It was me. I knocked one of my plants off the windowsill.”
Yoongi narrows his eyes at Namjoon, but the plant in question is in pieces on the ground.
“Did we wake you up?” Jackson asks, still laughing. Yoongi shoots him an irritated glare that he really can’t help—he’s the worst when he wakes up. Luckily, Jackson and Namjoon both know this, and don’t take it personally.
He doesn’t deserve his friends. If he had to be friends with himself, he would’ve left a long time ago.
Yoongi stretches, a couple vertebrae in his back popping. “I wasn’t asleep for that long, was I?”
“Hyung, it’s nearly seven,” Namjoon informs him, smiling a little bit.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Yoongi says, swinging himself off the couch. He doesn’t miss the way Yugyeom flinches. Good. Kid’s got common sense. Yoongi is not above physical violence. Kitchenware is expensive, okay? And really fucking hard to replace when it's vomited in.
“I’m not laughing—“
“I think it’s hilarious,” Jackson cuts in. “I can’t believe you woke up, slept through class, came home, and slept for another seven hours.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, brushing past Jackson and coming to stand in the kitchen next to Yugyeom. He turns to the younger boy. “I won’t hurt you,” he starts, and Yugyeom starts to relax, “but if you fuck anything up and I have to pay for it, I will actually hunt you down.”
Yugyeom nods and bows, looking terrified. He scampers off to go use the bathroom, and Namjoon and Jackson have the tact to at least wait until the door closes before they burst into laughter.
“If only he knew,” Jackson says breathlessly, smile so wide Yoongi’s afraid his face’ll break in half, “that you’re really just a massive softie inside. It’s all just a show.”
“Keep talking, Wang, and I’ll kick you out too,” Yoongi grumbles, but something inside of him warms at the sight of his friends, grinning and laughing like there’s no care in the world. Even if it’s at his expense.
“Hyung, are you going to cook?” Namjoon asks curiously as Yoongi pokes through the cabinets.
“I’m looking to see if you ate the rest of the popcorn,” Yoongi replies, head in their small pantry. It’s depressingly bare, with a couple bags of chips in a flavor nobody likes and an unopened bottle of soy sauce the only thing on the shelves. “I want to finish the rest of Star Wars tonight.”
“Nuh-uh,” Jackson says, and Yoongi’s stomach sinks when he sees the smile on his face. It’s one that spells regret and too many shots and something that Yoongi really really does not want to do.
“Absolutely not,” Yoongi declares resolutely.
“You didn’t even know what we were gonna—“ Jackson complains, but Yoongi gives him a look that says cut the bullshit. Jackson amends his statement, looking a little guilty, “okay, so maybe we were going to bodily force you out of the house to come clubbing—“
“Hyung, come on,” Namjoon steps in, always the peacemaker. “I’m worried about you. It’s been six, seven months since you last really got out, hyung. You’ll go crazy.”
“This place already beat me to that,” Yoongi mutters, thinking back on the taxi driver earlier. Namjoon’s got a pleading look on his face that makes Yoongi feel a little bad—it’s not Namjoon’s fault that Yoongi’s grandmother died and left him in a mood has refused to lift for over half a year now. it’s not Namjoon’s fault that all Yoongi wants to do is sleep and feel bad for himself, and it’s certainly not Namjoon’s fault for Yoongi’s snappishness and his unwillingness to anything that requires emotional or physical effort of any kind.
“Please, Yoongi?” Namjoon asks softly, and Yoongi knows he really is worried—knows that Jackson’s worried too. Again, see: he doesn’t deserve his friends. Yoongi doesn’t even admonish Namjoon for dropping the honorific.
“Okay, fine,” Yoongi huffs, and as Jackson turns to high-five Namjoon, he adds, “but I’m only staying for one hour max, and I’m not drinking. And no, Jackson, you don’t get to pick out my clothes or do my makeup. I’m going in this.”
“Hyung, you’re wearing sweatpants—“
“I’m. Going. In. This,” Yoongi emphasizes, ignoring the way Jackson rolls his eyes. “And that’s that.”
That, it turns out, is not that. Two hours later they’re full of blackbean noodles and Jackson’s rifling through his closet for something that isn’t athletic wear or clothes Yoongi wore in high school. Yoongi’s got on a pair of jeans—the skinny kind, for fuck’s sake—with a bunch of useless rips in the knees. Yugyeom, much more comfortable now that he knows his life is safe, is curled up on Yoongi’s bed, swiping through dating apps and complaining.
“Yugyeom, you’re bi,” Jackson says, voice muffled by the clothes. “How is that you’re always complaining about getting laid?”
“Two times zero is still zero, hyung,” Yugyeom says sadly. Namjoon meets Yoongi’s eyes in the mirror where he’s putting in new contacts and they share a dry smile.
“Aha,” Jackson says, emerging victorious. He’s holding a dark grey t-shirt that’s more holes than cloth. “This is perfect.”
“I’m going to freeze to death,” Yoongi points out, “when I leave after ten minutes.”
Instead of getting irritated like Yoongi hoped, Jackson holds up a leather jacket that’s covered in a fine layer of dust. “That’s why you’ll wear this.”
Yoongi turns bright red. “Jackson, where’d you even find that—“
“Wow, leather,” Yugyeom says, impressed. “Damn, hyung, you used to have style.” He says the last word in English, like it somehow makes the comment better.
“I can’t wear that,” Yoongi despairs. “I’ll look like an idiot.”
“You will not,” Jackson states firmly, shoving the clothes into Yoongi’s arms. “You were hiding a real leather jacket in your closet that’s still got the tags attached. You’re wearing it.”
This has got to be some kind of sick karma, Yoongi thinks as he tugs off his shirt in the safety of the bathroom. He meets his reflection’s eyes in the mirror, too skinny and too pale.
“What,” he asks it, glaring a little. It doesn’t reply, obviously. It’s a reflection.
He turns away sharply, shrugging into the shirt and jacket Jackson had given him. He smooths his hands down his front self-consciously, fingers getting caught in the holes.
“I just have to stay for fifteen minutes,” Yoongi says to himself, and sticks himself with something when he puts his hands into the pockets of his jeans. They’re a pair of tiny silver hoops, a gift from his grandmother. He’d thought they were gone—and his ears have probably closed up.
He starts to set them down on the sink, but hesitates. He can remember his grandmother’s face when she’d pressed them into his hands. Silver, for pure thoughts and for guarding, she’d said. Wear them well.
Yoongi exits the bathroom and Jackson immediately applauds. “Hell yeah,” he shouts. “Nice earrings, too. You look great.”
“Don’t feel so great,” Yoongi mutters, but Jackson’s already moving on to Yugyeom, who’s wielding a stick of eyeliner like a weapon Yoongi intends to keep very far away from him. Namjoon, however, hears him, and claps him gently on the shoulder.
“Thanks for doing this,” he says quietly. “I know you don’t really want to.”
Yoongi watches Yugyeom carefully line the lower part of Jackson’s eye. “Not really, no. But…you’ve put up with this for so long that I think I owe you.”
“I’m your friend,” Namjoon says with a ferocity that surprises the both of them. “I’m not putting up with you. I want to have you around. But I appreciate it anyway.”
“Hey,” Jackson whines when Yugyeom gets a little too close to his eye. “Hey, Yugyeom, are you trying to blind me or what?”
“Sorry hyung,” Yugyeom chirps, not sounding sorry at all. “There, all done.”
Jackson looks like he’s stepped off a magazine cover. The idiot’s all smug about it too, because he knows it.
“Namjoon-hyung?” Yugyeom offers.
“No thanks,” Namjoon replies. “It’s nine now. Do we wanna go or do we wanna get drinks first?”
“Hmm,” Jackson debates, flopping backwards on Yoongi’s bed. Yugyeom scrambles away with a squawk. “I say we let Yoongi-hyung pick.”
They all turn to him, expectant.
“No bars,” Yoongi says immediately, and rolls his eyes at Jackson’s disappointment. What was he expecting Yoongi to say? Oh, sure, let’s go get buzzed before we get drunk so I can make a maximum fool of myself! “If you guys knew I was gonna say that, why’d you even bother asking?”
“It’s polite,” Namjoon offers.
“I don’t think Yoongi-hyung knows what that means,” Jackson muses sarcastically, dodging the dirty shirt Yoongi chucks in his direction.
Yugyeom slides off the bed, brushing himself off. “So, to the club we go?”
Jackson sighs dramatically. “Fine. To the club we go.”
They filter out of Yoongi’s room—after Yoongi, out of habit, checks the windows to make sure they’re closed. Namjoon turns off the lights, closing the door behind him and locking it. They take the elevator down as Jackson calls a cab.