Fuck Nakamoto Yuta. Fuck him and his 8 a.m Friday class and his deep sleeping habits and his multiple alarms and their thin walls and his rushed morning routine because he only gets up after his eighth time hitting the snooze button. Taeyong would especially like to say fuck you to the pizza pocket he forgot to take with him.
There was once a time when Taeyong thought it would be absolutely wonderful to live with Yuta. Back when he was a young, naive sophomore, the idea of one of his best friends also being his roommate seemed ideal. Now Taeyong is a much grumpier fourth year who wants to finish his goddamn bachelor’s without wringing anyone’s neck in the process. A murder charge might hinder acceptances to grad school, no matter how high his GPA is.
Sharing an apartment with Yuta was initially fine. Despite letting the sink pile up occasionally and leaving his socks on the living room floor, he was a good roommate. He was always a better friend, someone Taeyong could vent his grievances to and watch Netflix with on humdrum Friday nights. As it came to be, the conveniences of living with a friend were eclipsed by the downfalls of living with an incompatible roommate.
Taeyong could bemoan their mismatched sleeping schedules and definitions of what “clean” is for hours, but it’s fruitless. However, at the end of the day he still likes Yuta as a person more than he dislikes him as a co-tenant, so he supposes things could be worse.
However, Taeyong, like any rational person, has limits to his patience. These boundaries are tested on Friday mornings at 7 a.m, and subsequently every five minutes until Yuta finally rolls out of bed and onto their hardwood floor with an unceremonious thump. It’s such an impact that Taeyong can feel his own bed frame shake. Already being awake by this point, it’s more of an additional flick to the forehead, having to hear Yuta’s every movement in the room next door.
The fortune of having no class on Fridays is undercut by the fact that Yuta wakes Taeyong up at the same time anyway. It takes him so long to get back to bed that there’s often no point, and it may be a mere three hours until he would wake up himself, but sleep is both scarce and valuable. Taeyong knows Yuta knows that, because Yuta will sleep in as late as he can, sometimes still unconscious by the time Taeyong gets home from his last class of the day.
It’s petty, but when Taeyong walks back into their apartment knowing Yuta’s still asleep at 4 p.m, he slams the front door extra loudly. (It has minimum impact because Yuta could sleep through an earthquake with the magnitude of his IQ.) Meanwhile, Taeyong will wake at every single one of Yuta’s bathroom breaks, to the point of them having to negotiate how many drinks he’s allowed in the evening.
Sometimes the compromising gets so ridiculous that Taeyong has to consider whether it’s still beneficial. For what it’s worth, Taeyong can’t say his friendship with Yuta has worsened a bit since they started living together. It’s like their relationships are divided along the lines of their circumstance. They can be furious at each other over an apartment dispute but hang out just fine as friends. It’s not perfect, but it’s what’s necessary for them to live in some general sense of harmony.
Taeyong does his best to reconcile their living habits, but this morning was the last fucking straw. Of all things, it’s the pizza pocket that makes him snap. If Taeyong had begrudgingly gotten out of bed shortly after Yuta left, it may have been okay. However, Taeyong made the Idiot’s Choice™ and went back to sleep instead.
He dreamt of smoke, and wakes up to it too. It wafts through the gap underneath his door and drifts high enough to finally hit the smoke detector. Taeyong’s first thought, inanely enough, is that the smoke detector should have gone off in the living room first. Why didn’t it?
Perhaps it has to do with how Taeyong had asked Yuta to replace the batteries, and he did not. He said he didn’t do it to his face, but it had been long enough ago that Taeyong still held some hope about Yuta’s competence as a human being. His lack of it is demonstrating itself in the form of an apartment full of smoke and the sound of beeping that, in a cruel coincidence, sounds just like Yuta’s alarm tone but exponentially louder.
Taeyong brings the collar of his shirt up to his nose to cover the lower half of his face. It’s not much help, but his logic isn’t quite up to par in his still-sleepy state. His eyes water as he exits his room, one hand keeping his impromptu mask in place and his free arm wildly flailing against the smoke like he’s swimming.
The source of it is in the kitchen, as Taeyong expects, and he considers the fact that any emergency preparedness courses he’s taken have instructed him to leave and pull the fire alarm. It’s just that Taeyong would rather die than be the guy to make everyone in the apartment building march out of the building at 8:30 in the morning.
So he takes his chances and enters the kitchen, nearly nothing visible in the thick shroud of smoke. He smells something vaguely cheesy. After blindly retrieving the nearest dish towel, Taeyong pops open the cover of the toaster oven and pulls out its contents onto the floor. It bounces off his foot (scalding hot) before landing on the kitchen tile.
Taeyong stares at it with utter contempt. He contemplates chucking it out the window and then considers chucking himself out with it, but he wouldn’t want to inconvenience an innocent civilian who gets second-degree burns from a charred pizza pocket followed by a concussion from a university student who was just trying his best.
The smoke detector’s beeping has become part of the background now, a soundscape of misery perfectly suited to Taeyong’s current unfortunate circumstances. He’s almost content to stand there and stare at the burnt hunk on the ground until Yuta comes home and has to directly confront the damage he’s caused, but he needs to ventilate the apartment and switch off the smoke detector before neighbours begin to complain.
There’s a pounding on the door. “Is everything alright?” someone asks from the other side. From the sound of their voice it seems to be Seulgi from a few doors down. Nice girl, had come to Taeyong and Yuta’s door with an introduction and smile after they moved in for the first time. She has a roommate or two, Taeyong thinks, two other girls whose names also start with S. Sooyoung and Seung-something.
“He’s not responding, maybe he’s passed out?” Taeyong hears Sooyoung suggest as he gets closer to the door. And no, he’s not, and this isn’t a crisis of any sorts now that he’s taken the offending pizza pocket out and unplugged the oven. Everything is fine and he should go out and tell them that. He fumbles with the lock for a moment, being flustered not aiding his coordination by any means, and when he finally manages to open it, he sees Seulgi and Sooyoung’s surprised expressions.
“I’m okay, I’m okay!” he quickly assures them, but they look back at him with bared teeth and shifting eyes, the definitive facial cue for “yikes”.
“Seungwan went to pull the—“ Seulgi gets cut off by the fire alarm. Alarmed residents begin to file into the hallway. Sooyoung smiles awkwardly.
Taeyong is going to fucking throttle Yuta.
After sprinting down fourteen flights of stairs and dashing into the lobby, Taeyong explained to the receptionists with great difficulty and heaving breaths that there would be no need to call the fire department. The last thing he needed this morning was to be slapped with a fine for misusing taxpayers’ money.
Even though it’s entirely his roommate’s fault Yuta would definitely give Taeyong some lecture about how citizens get scammed enough by capitalistic enterprise and didn’t need their already stolen funds being funnelled into something as inane as a false alarm fire. That’s what he would say, that is, if Yuta could take two steps through the door before Taeyong lunges at him with a spoon sharpened into a shiv.
Taeyong feels his face burn with shame as he returns to his apartment, shoving his key into the lock and turning it with such a force that he would use later to snap his roommate’s neck.
The apartment smells awful. It’s worse than the time Yuta burned the bottom of Taeyong’s pot making ramen. He had put the water on the stove and forgotten about it. Their apartment smelt horrible for days because Yuta can’t even boil water without lowering Taeyong’s quality of life.
Now, though, it smells like a pizza pocket crawled into their oven, died, and now haunted the vicinity with its faint lingering scent of artificial cheese. Cheese, they’re out of actual cheese too. Taeyong likes putting mozzarella in his omelettes. They’re also out of milk because Yuta opts to make cereal in the mornings because Taeyong will give him cut eye if he even so much as approaches the stove. Taeyong approaches the kitchen, definitively the most horrid smelling room in the house, and sees that the burnt pizza pocket is still on the ground.
With a deep sigh, Taeyong bends over to pick it up. It’s gotten cold and feels like a brick in his hand. Maybe he could bludgeon Yuta with it.
Despite how tempting, Taeyong decides he’ll find better peace of mind if he begins to clean up instead. He opens all the windows in the apartment, vacuums the kitchen, and replaces the batteries in the living room’s smoke detector. Between all that he may have had opportunity to go into Yuta’s room and punch his pillow a bunch of times but it’s not like anyone could prove such an innocuous action had taken place anyway.
Once the apartment is restored to a more presentable state, one that seems unlike a human tornado lives in it, Taeyong still has a headache. Unsurprising, but annoying. Maybe he just needs to take some aspirin and go back to bed. That’s a good idea.
He grimaces as he steps into the kitchen again, the smell pervasive despite its original perpetrator having long been stuffed into a plastic bag and tossed into the hallway’s garbage disposal. There’s aspirin in the house for sure, he sees the tiny bottle in the cabinet whenever he reaches past it to get his melatonin. Sometimes sleeping with Yuta in that house could be that hard.
However, the bottle feels much lighter than it should. There’s no sound of pills tapping against plastic when Taeyong gently shakes it either. When he pops open the lid and pours its contents onto the countertop he almost cries. Out falls three joints that have been neatly rolled with Yuta’s careful nimble fingers. Taeyong wants to either light them all up at once or just light up Yuta instead. That’d be a fitting end.
He’s going to the grocery store, Taeyong decides as he tosses Yuta’s spliffs off the balcony. He needs fresh air and some fucking Tylenol.
Things start to look up once Taeyong leaves the house. The weather’s nice, for one, which means it’s a lovely day to walk and harbour homicidal thoughts about his roommate. Additionally, he picks up a coupon for his favourite yogurt on his way in. He could use more of that too. Probiotic blueberry yogurt always lifts his spirits.
Taeyong takes his time on his way to the dairy aisle, weaving in and out of other ones to pick up anything else he thinks the apartment may be missing. He grabs some aspirin and even another box of Yuta’s favourite cereal because despite hating him as a roommate, Taeyong still unfortunately loves him as a friend.
When he reaches the fridges at the back of the store, he hums a tune while dropping in a carton of milk into his basket, alongside a package of mozzarella. There’s something about buying groceries that relaxes Taeyong. It’s a necessity that can be easily accomplished, and makes many parts of his life convenient as a result. Despite the absolutely worst way the day could have started, maybe things are looking up.
Taeyong’s face falls upon seeing that most of the yogurt section has been cleared out. People must be taking advantage of the sale. He’s about to let out a frustrated groan when he sees that there’s one single tub of blueberry yogurt left. Maybe the universe didn’t hate him after all. He reaches for it with haste, but what his hand touches is warm. It’s another hand. Belonging to another person.
The polite thing to do in this situation would be to retract his hand, apologize, and let the other person have it. However, Taeyong doesn’t have the virtue to do that today. He’s suffered too much. He needs a win, even if the victory comes in the rather pathetic form of yogurt.
He makes eye contact with the other man, and they exchange sheepish laughter. Laughter that would suggest one of them will soon pull away and the expected social conduct of apology and abdication of dairy will ensue. Neither of them initiate such a thing. They both stand there, one hand over the other over a tub of yogurt and neither of them are letting go.
More awkward chuckles occur, but movement does not.
“Could you be so considerate as to let me have this tub of yogurt?” Taeyong asks with his sweetest smile, the one he uses to gently turn down (often female) suitors and graciously ask his TAs for extensions.
“I certainly could be,” the man says with an equally courteous upturn of his lips. “However I’m afraid I’m quite fond of this particular flavour. May I ask you to do me the simple kindness of allowing me to have it?”
“I’d greatly appreciate it if I could take this.” Taeyong can feels his cheeks start to hurt, digging the side of his thumb underneath the rim of the yogurt’s lid. He’s not giving it up. “You see, I’ve been having a fairly demanding day and nothing would alleviate my mood more than my favourite flavour of yogurt.”
The man’s grip around the container tightens, as do his cheeks in maintaining his artificial congeniality. Taeyong can recognize the strain because he’s feeling it himself. One of them has to give up, and it won’t be him.
“Coincidentally,” the man begins, sliding the yogurt less than an inch towards him. “I’ve been having a rather miserable day. I sympathize with your troubles, but I would really be grateful if you were to let me have this.”
“It’s just yogurt,” Taeyong deadpans, having no more patience for these niceties.
“So let me have it,” the man quips back.
“Frankly I wouldn’t do such a favour for a stranger to whom I owe nothing,” Taeyong says.
“I’m Kim Doyoung. We’re not strangers anymore.”
“You don’t know my name. So we are.”
“You’re Lee Taeyong.” Doyoung pauses. “It’s embroidered on your tote bag.”
Taeyong took up crocheting to have another creative outlet and it’s repaid him by biting him in his dairy-loving ass.
“Great eye, Doyoung. Must be one of many good qualities about you. But me? I’m just a nobody who wants his yogurt.” With what he believes to be a compelling point, he puts both his hands on the side of the tub and whisks it into his embrace, the swift movement almost making Doyoung slip forward.
“I don’t see why you’re more deserving of it than I am, especially when I had my hands on it first.” Doyoung’s eyes narrow into a more pointed gaze, first to the yogurt then to Taeyong’s face. It might intimidating if Taeyong doesn’t have his own glare, sharpened to piercing perfection after all the times he used it to tell Yuta to stop it.
“I’m not giving it up.” Taeyong’s not usually so assertive, nor would he be as impolite as he’s currently being to someone he doesn’t know, but he’s had enough of being pushed off the playground swing by life. Couldn’t Doyoung acknowledge and respect that instead of bending slightly at the knees as though he’s about to pounce?
Taeyong assumes a similar position, tucking the container under one arm and holding the other out like he’s about to dash past Doyoung in a game of football. Except Doyoung doesn’t give Taeyong the chance by lunging towards him. Doyoung manages to get a grip on the tub and drag it away, but Taeyong is quick to get a hold on it too.
“Let go.” Doyoung’s speaking through gritted teeth now, and Taeyong would be appalled at his aggression if what he says next didn’t come so automatic.
There’s definitely more than a few shoppers staring at them, these two men caught in a struggle over blueberry yogurt, stretched into mirrored postures in holding the container together while resisting the urge to give one strong tug. Such an action could make them both fall over. They’re locked in an involuntary ceasefire. Neither of them can strike without putting the desired object in detriment. One of them has to yield.
Taeyong would rather die than let it be him.
During their unmoving, hostile silence, another man who can only be characterized by the collection of piercings on his ears slips past them to get a tub of vanilla yogurt off the refrigerated shelf. He mutters something about how fruit makes people go insane as he walks away. Taeyong doesn’t think he deserves such judgement, but he is causing a scene in a grocery store at 3 p.m on a Friday, so maybe he isn’t in a position to be critical.
Doyoung’s wrists flinch, or something, but Taeyong’s compensating on his side with a twist of his grasp. Something about the traction or lack thereof makes the tub fall out of their clutches, but not without first jumping from both pairs of hands as though spring-loaded before landing on the linoleum floor with a spectacular splat.
Thankfully Taeyong’s hair and tote bag are left unmarred, although he can’t say the same for his clothing. Doyoung’s left in more or less the same state, his shirt left with more splotches of yogurt than his pants or his shoes, which are nonetheless stained. They look down at themselves before looking back up at each other, expressions devoid of any concrete emotion and, in Taeyong’s case, brain empty of any intelligent thought.
“Fuck you!” they spit at each other in unison.
“Um, excuse me,” someone says meekly. “I’m sorry for…interrupting this, but my manager has asked me to tell you two to leave.”
Taeyong and Doyoung turn to look at the owner of said voice, one pitiful teenaged part-time employee whose oversized uniform shirt dons a name tag saying “Jeno”. An amalgamation of distress, incredulity, and exasperation crosses his face as he stares them down with a “caution: wet floor” sign in his hands. He deserves more than minimum wage for having to deal with this.
Both men, broken and damp with dairy, begin to apologize but Jeno just shakes his head as another uniformed teenager, this one with a name tag saying “Jisung”, yanks a mop cart towards the scene of the crime.
“Please.” It nearly sounds like begging. “Please go.”
The temperature’s gone up since Taeyong was last outside, which would be nice for the walk of shame home, if not for how sticky he feels and strange he smells. He and Doyoung got escorted out by security personnel, too concerned about these two dairy freaks trying to rush back inside the grocery store to let them leave unaccompanied. It was a humiliating experience unlike any other, and Taeyong can’t help but feel like the world is laughing at him. All he wanted was some yogurt. Now he has no yogurt, no groceries, and no dignity.
He can’t even wallow in his misery alone, because of fucking course Doyoung has to take the same direction as him. Taeyong ever so briefly wonders whether Doyoung’s going to square up against him in the parking lot, but he just brushes past Taeyong wordlessly and puts a good amount of distance between them. Taeyong walks behind him like he’s trailing along, and the stillness of contemplation makes him realize how ridiculous this situation is.
Even from an internal perspective, it’s hilariously stupid. It’d be met with skepticism if he ever relayed the anecdote because of how dumb it sounds. The thought makes him laugh out loud.
Doyoung stops in his tracks ahead and turns around to glance at him. Taeyong shuts his mouth. Doyoung continues walking.
Now that the absurdity of what had taken place has set in, Taeyong feels as though he owes Doyoung an apology. Even if Doyoung did engage in the buffoonery, Taeyong was the instigator. He should have given it up—would have on any other day—since Doyoung had gotten to it first.
Apologies aren’t difficult for Taeyong, nor is admitting when he’s in the wrong, but he’s not great at confrontation. This feels an awful lot like it. Taeyong, however, is a man of virtue and therefore he cannot let his show of impropriety go unaddressed.
He takes long strides to approach Doyoung, careful not to make too much noise or have his movements be too sudden lest the other man believe Taeyong to be making another attempt against his life. Doyoung still seems to sense his presence, since he turns his head to the side as he walks, catching Taeyong in his peripheral vision, much closer in proximity than before.
“Doyoung,” Taeyong says, the call of his name doing nothing to stop him.
“What do you want?” Doyoung asks, sounding more tired than anything.
“To apologize.” Taeyong takes a breath. “That entire situation was so, so dumb and I want to say sorry for it.”
Doyoung halts, turns halfway to look Taeyong in the eye, and to his surprise, sighs calmly. “Thank you,” he says. “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have let my bad day make me get so out of hand.”
Taeyong gets a little closer when Doyoung continues walking, although he made sure to stay at least a step behind him so as not to invade his space. “It was the exact same thing for me. I just really wanted something to work out in my favour. Please believe me when I say that I’d never act that way normally.”
“Neither would I,” Doyoung says, his pace falling the slightest bit slower. “I don’t know what came over me.”
“I should have let it go. I probably just made your bad day worse.” Taeyong mulls over what he could say next, and decides on the largest rectification he could offer. “My apartment’s right here. I can throw your shirt into the wash and give you a new one.”
Doyoung hums, looks down to his stained clothing, and shrugs. “I wouldn’t want to put you out like that but you’d be saving me a trip to the laundromat so…”
“So?” Taeyong asks.
“Whatever. This might as well happen,” Doyoung says.
Taeyong agrees. “Adult life is already so goddamn weird.”
The smell, Taeyong forgot about how much the apartment smells. Even with every window left open, it still smells like something crawled into the kitchen and died a horrible death. Maybe it was Taeyong’s faith in Yuta. Doyoung’s trying to hide his reflexive aversion to it, but his nose is twitching the further he steps inside.
“I should explain. The reason why my day started out so shitty is because my roommate left a pizza pocket in the toaster oven and filled the place with smoke.” Even explained this calmly the situation sounds idiotic. At least the apartment is clean.
“Your roommate sounds dumb,” Doyoung comments.
Taeyong presses a clean shirt into Doyoung’s hands and gestures towards the bathroom. “He is.”
Once he hears the door click closed, he heads to his own room and changes clothes himself, folding his dirty clothing in his hands and walking back into the hallway just as Doyoung exits the bathroom.
The shirt he lent to Doyoung is a plain black one, bought in a pack of five because Taeyong goes through them often and needs new ones on hand. It looks good on Doyoung, he has to admit, a little tighter in his shoulders because of his broader chest. Maybe Taeyong should make more trips to the gym. He’s not in bad shape, but Yuta’s comments about how skinny he is have accumulated into somewhat of a complex.
“Thanks,” Doyoung says with a smile, handing Taeyong his shirt.
“It’s not a problem. Want to explain to me what made your day so bad while I run the washing machine?” Taeyong asks, hand on the doorknob that opened into the laundry room.
“I had a presentation to give in my marketing class. I had been stressed out about it for weeks,” Doyoung starts, and the circles under his eyes seem to grow darker just by beginning to recall it. Taeyong wonders as he tosses their clothing into the barrel of the washing machine, whether he shouldn’t have asked.
“It didn’t go well?” Taeyong has what he hopes is a sympathetic look on his face.
“My part went fine. I had practiced so much that I could have given that presentation in my sleep. It’s just…” Doyoung’s brows draw together, and he massages the bridge of his nose with a sigh. “It was a group project and my partner didn’t put the slideshow together. I did everything I had to do myself and my grade was still put in jeopardy because of someone else’s mistake.”
“I’m sorry,” Taeyong says with a frown, shutting the machine closed. “And then you had to go and meet some weirdo who wouldn’t give up your yogurt at the grocery store.”
“I said it’s okay, really,” Doyoung reassures him. “We were both in piss poor moods for good reason and wanted the same thing to make it better. It really wasn’t about the yogurt.”
“I know it wasn’t, but I still feel badly about it,” Taeyong says, before he has a sudden thought. “This is going to take a little while to run. We’re both still without yogurt, and there’s a froyo place across the street.”
“Are you asking me out?” Doyoung asks, looking amused.
Taeyong rolls his eyes. “I’m asking you to step out, casanova.” He pauses. “We’ll see. I don’t know if I’d go on a date with someone with such poor table manners that they get their food all over them.”
“You’re right. I guess I’ll have to prove myself worthy,” Doyoung says, a smile forming on his lips that adorably exposes his gums. Taeyong thinks that it’s a nice smile.
“I didn’t even get to the worst part of my story,” Doyoung says over a cup of low-fat blueberry vanilla frozen yogurt. Taeyong looks back to him, plastic spoon in his mouth, with anticipation. “My partner tried to put together a slideshow of sorts on his phone. It was screenshots of the graphics I had sent to him interspersed with explanations of the data. I think he made it all on Snapchat.”
“Oh my god,” Taeyong mutters into his own froyo, feeling the heat of the second hand embarrassment.
“No, it gets even worse.” Doyoung puts another spoonful of yogurt into his mouth before continuing on, and Taeyong braces himself for it. He’s really not good at withstanding such awkward anecdotes from other people, as many as he has himself. “He scrolled through this slideshow—if you can even call it that—on his phone on the overhead projector and there was a random photo that didn’t belong.”
Doyoung’s silence is sudden, apparently the cause of which is his inability to continue his story. It must have been really bad for him not to even say it, so Taeyong interjects with an elaboration of his own chaotic morning.
“Earlier, because my roommate left that pizza pocket in the oven, my smoke detector went off. It was about 8:30 in the morning and it was going off for at least twenty minutes,” Taeyong says, already grimacing at the mere thought. “A few of my neighbours were banging on my door because they thought the place was on fire and by the time I answered one of them already pulled the fire alarm.”
“Please tell me it was defective.” Watching Doyoung’s face morph into an expression of dismay is nearly cartoonish, and it’s a fitting response to the zany events that took place for Taeyong.
“No such luck. All the tenants had to evacuate the building because of one pizza pocket.” It still sounds unbelievable to admit out loud. “I should have been smarter about fanning the smoke detector and ventilating the apartment but I had just woken up and I had no idea what to do at all.”
“Understandable. I would have keeled over and died right then,” Doyoung says with a nod.
“I wish I did. I probably would have if the firetrucks actually made it to the apartment but by the time I got to the lobby they hadn’t been called yet,” Taeyong says. It’s still a relief now that he thinks back on it. That was probably the fastest he had ever run in his life. “But it was hard to ignore the dirty looks from all my neighbours. Really hard.”
“Okay, maybe you did have a worse day than me. I concede.” Doyoung throws his hands up in surrender, but Taeyong shakes his head in response, lips curving playfully.
“Not yet. You still have to tell me the rest of your slideshow debacle. I know there’s more.” Taeyong raises his eyebrows when Doyoung fidgets. “Didn’t think I’d remember, did you?”
“You’re a sharp one. Not just a nobody who wants his yogurt at all.” Doyoung looks up, closes his eyes, lets out a sigh. “Okay. The worst part happened during my portion of the presentation. I was explaining something when I noticed that everyone’s expression changed. I turned around just as the photo changed but I saw what everyone else did. It was,” Doyoung pauses to sigh again, “it was a hentai photo. A really obscene one. One that couldn’t even elicit a gasp.”
“Just blank stares?” Taeyong asks. The prospect is horrifying, from Doyoung’s perspective. Had he been in the lecture hall, Taeyong would have been too mortified to do anything more than that too.
“Yeah. I think it was obvious enough that I did all I could to prepare my side of the presentation, but that…thing just derailed it.” A wrinkle forms between Doyoung’s brows, stress evident in the discomfort on his face. “I couldn’t concentrate for shit after that, and I had another ten minutes to talk.”
“I’m so sorry,” Taeyong mumbles. “I’d fight someone in the dairy aisle after that too. I’d fight someone in any aisle. Probably the produce section, even.”
Doyoung snorts. “Good to know we’re on the same page. If what happened to you had happened to me, though, I would have fought the first person I saw.”
“I wish it had been my roommate. He’s my best friend too, which makes it worse,” Taeyong explains. “It’s like I get mad at him for being a shitty person to live with but then it’s not like I can complain to him about him either. I just want to complain!”
“You’re complaining right now, aren’t you?” Doyoung asks.
A smile forms on Taeyong’s face as the realization dawns on him. “I guess I am. Good to know I can make a friend even after getting yogurt all over them.”
“I can’t stay that mad at a face like yours.” Doyoung bursting into laughter when Taeyong feels his face go red at the remark makes him think that’s exactly the reaction Doyoung wanted.
“God, shut up,” Taeyong says, skin heating up.
Doyoung laughs again. “Make me.”
“You know,” Taeyong begins, retrieving the damp clothing from the washing machine. “If you want to wear this home you might want me to toss it into the dryer too. It’ll only take half an hour.”
“I’ve already killed two, so I might as well,” Doyoung says, leaning against the doorframe of the laundry room. “Wanna spill some almond milk this time?”
“Shut up,” Taeyong hisses. “Do you want to watch something? I’ve got Netflix.”
Doyoung raises an eyebrow, and Taeyong already knows what he’s about to say by the pure look on his face. So he interrupts Doyoung before he can even get his own words out.
“That’s not what I meant—“
“You kids are so forward lately. Netflix and chill? On the first date?”
Doyoung’s just doing this to mess with Taeyong, he’s well aware, but that doesn’t make his reactions any less bashful. It means being thrown off his usual stream of thought but in all honesty and admitted with reluctance, he doesn’t mind too much. He likes talking to Doyoung. It keeps him on edge, but in a way that Taeyong likes. He doesn’t get a chance to rest because he’s thinking ahead of what to say next. It’s fun.
“Kid? I’m definitely older than you, Doyoung,” Taeyong says with an amused tone.
“Perhaps. But you’re tiny, so I feel like the nickname’s justified,” Doyoung says in return.
“Call me kid again and I’ll kick you in the shins.”
“Very feisty. Guess I shouldn’t reject the Netflix offer, then?” Doyoung crosses his arms, cocking his head to the side in an almost challenging manner.
“You shouldn’t. My company’s pleasant and my apartment’s starting to air out.”
“Glad it is. Although the cologne on your shirt’s been plenty sufficient.”
Taeyong concedes. Doyoung can win this one, but he’ll get the next.
They started on opposite ends of the couch, backs resting against the armrests and idly watching the episode of whatever sitcom they quickly decided on. It was a strange situation to be in, no matter how Taeyong observed it, but he didn’t mind a bit. Occasionally one of them would shift, tap the other person’s shin with their foot by accident but the glancing up and shared gaze would alter the atmosphere in the room enough to be noticeable.
At some point Taeyong moves from sitting against the armrest to against the back of the couch properly, which makes Doyoung tuck his legs in and do the same. They’re still a cushion apart, before Taeyong tucks it behind him for comfort or leverage or whatever excuse he prepares in his head if Doyoung decides to question it. One corner of his lips rises, but he says nothing.
Much more time than necessary passes while they watch the show together, laughter at the same jokes and non-sequitur anecdotes shared if any plot line made either of them recall one. The beep of the dryer goes purposefully ignored by them both. They inch closer, even if neither of them will admit to doing such a thing. Even with the least space between them, they’re still just barely apart, sharp tongues making no way for assertive action. The incident earlier had burnt out that threshold for the day, it seems.
“Hey, Doyoung?” Taeyong whispers, noticing the amount of sunlight filtering into the room was beginning to dwindle. While the comfortable feeling in the other man’s presence seemed to be a mutual one, he had to cut it off at some point. Just for today, at least.
“Hm?” Doyoung responds, his voice sufficiently heavier than usual. His arms are crossed at ease, head lolled slightly to the side in a half-slumber. The cozy circumstances had tempted him into a more prolonged rest and while somewhat inappropriate in the home of a friend made under bizarre circumstances, what led to said circumstances had worn him out.
Taeyong can understand this because he feels the same, the seduction of sleep strong when the room is warm and there’s enough white noise over the whir of electronics and the occasional footsteps passing the front door. A little nap wouldn’t hurt. Doyoung’s shirt has nowhere to which it could disappear. Taeyong pulls a blanket over Doyoung and huddles under it, remaining a safe distance. He doesn’t pull away when Doyoung, conscious or not, slots himself in the space between Taeyong’s jaw and neck.
It’s lulling him farther into sleep, to be pressed so snug against each other, and for the first time all day, Taeyong feels at ease.
There’s a loud bang in the apartment, followed by the sound of an impact against wood, and a door slamming. Even in his state of drowsiness Taeyong knows that means Yuta is home. Beside him, Doyoung’s eyes are fluttering, his slumber also disturbed by the household’s live-in disturbance.
“Good evening!” Yuta calls as he marches into the living room with a raised hand. “Dude, why’s it smell awful in here?”
“Your pizza pocket, fuckhead,” Taeyong hisses. Doyoung laughs sleepily with his eyes closed, blanket falling down from his chin to his shoulder as he shuffles closer into Taeyong’s side.
“Doyoung?” Yuta conveniently ignores Taeyong’s complaints to question the apartment’s current visitor. “Is that you?”
Doyoung’s eyes open immediately, having recognized the voice. “Oh god, Yuta?” he groans, gaze rolling over to the man standing in the living room. Then adds, under his breath, “I don’t deserve this.”
Although he has an inkling of how the two might know each other, Taeyong almost doesn’t want to confirm it because to do so would be to suggest that Doyoung’s luck is even worse than his own. He does anyway.
“How do you two know each other?”
“We’re in the same marketing class,” Yuta answers, and Doyoung’s eyes then land on Taeyong, the exasperation in his stare communicating exactly what Taeyong feared most.
“Oh my god,” Taeyong says quietly. “You ruined both our days.”
Yuta blinks back at him in bewilderment. “How?”
That sets off both of the men on the couch. Taeyong tells him to fuck off. Doyoung throws a pillow at him. Taeyong throws another. They huddle into an offensive domain of hatred against Nakamoto Yutas from behind the blanket until Yuta retreats into his room, confused as shit as to what’s going on.
“Why is Doyoung even here?!” he yells from his room.
“None of your business!” Taeyong yells back. Doyoung slings a protective arm around his shoulder. Frustration at human disasters is better with company.
In retrospect, Taeyong should feel grateful to Yuta for many things. He’s been a dependable friend for years, someone to whom Taeyong trusted his deepest concerns and secrets, and while they had their disagreements as roommates, he ensured that Taeyong could live in a decent apartment in their high-rent city. What he should especially feel thankful for is the recent development of Doyoung.
It was because of Yuta’s fuck-ups that brought them together, after all. In the grand scheme of things those fuck-ups are hardly even mistakes if they helped to bond two souls. They were small sacrifices to pay to the gods of love in order to get two socially inept nerds together. And look where they are now, only a month later, cuddled up together under Taeyong’s covers on a dreamy Sunday morning, full of opportunity—
“Can you get the fuck out of my room?” Taeyong asks flatly.
Yuta pouts, clearly disappointed at his interrupted monologue. Taeyong doesn’t need to hear the rest of it. He heard its many drafts and iterations as Yuta rehearsed all morning. Doyoung, fortunately, is a heavier sleeper and wasn’t woken up until Yuta barged into Taeyong’s room without so much as knocking.
“I’m saying, you’ve never once thanked me for this holy matrimony,” Yuta says.
“We’ve been dating for six weeks,” Taeyong answers, turning to Doyoung to clarify, “a wonderful six weeks.”
Doyoung smiles back at him before responding to Yuta with a sarcastic drawl. “Thanks, dipstick.” He pauses. “Please get out.”
“Sure, but real quick—I came home piss drunk last night and I think I may have flushed my keys down the toilet so I need to borrow yours later and also I texted Jaehyun something obscene and need you to read the reply so I know whether I should be booking a flight back to Japan and I think when I was coming home yesterday I adopted a dog or something because I woke up with one in my bed.”
As if on cue, a small pomeranian scurries into Taeyong’s room. Yuta’s smiling at Taeyong with anticipation, hands held out in a show of presentation towards the puppy. She is really cute, Taeyong thinks, hanging his hand off of his bed so the dog can come over to sniff his fingers. Doyoung coos behind him, tries reaching his hand out to the same, but opts to wrap his arm around Taeyong’s frame when he can’t quite make it.
“So?” Yuta’s giddy, and Taeyong is once again reminded that he should just punt Yuta away like he always tells himself to when his best friend introduces yet another inconvenience of living together. The apartment is pet-friendly, but Taeyong has his hands full already with having to make sure one roommate doesn’t destroy the house. He’s not sure if he can handle another.
“Yuta…” Taeyong trails off. “We can’t keep her.”
“But she’s so sweet and cute and small!” Yuta pleads, just as the dog begins to take a piss on Taeyong’s floor. Better her than Yuta at least. “If you let me keep her you can name her.”
Taeyong looks to Doyoung for advice, but his boyfriend merely shrugs. “It’s your call. I’ll help you train her if you want.”
It’s a selfish choice to determine this dog’s future on the prospect of getting to watch Doyoung play with a puppy, but Taeyong does it anyway. Let him be the stupid one for once.
“Fine. We’ll keep her,” Taeyong says, to Yuta’s immense delight that manifests itself into picking up the puppy in his hands, her legs kicking midair, and hugging her close.
“What’s her name then?” Yuta asks.
Doyoung whispers something into Taeyong’s ear. Taeyong looks back at him disbelievingly before breaking into a smile. It’ll do.