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jaehyung is drunk. plastered out of his fucking mind. one sip away from teetering off of the edge into severe alcohol poisoning, all because he’d been nursing a bottle of straight rum at a shitty frat party for half the night and had accepted one too many mixed drinks from hot strangers – 90 percent alcohol 10 percent coca cola in most cases, he’d thrown the weaker ones away into the bushes, or in one case, onto a poor girl who’d been sitting in the bushes. he hadn’t known.

so drunk out of his mind, jaehyung had walked back to his apartment, a good five-minute walk turned twenty when he’d ducked into mcdonalds and ordered himself a large strawberry shake and fries.

he scoops up the milkshake with his fries as he stumbles back, culture club playing tinnily through his earphones, his head spinning along with it and he stumbles into the gutter every now and then, righting himself just in time should he lose his fries and drink. the main roads are for the most part, abandoned, and so he walks down the centre of the road leading back up to the university, illuminated in the yellow glow of the street lamps as he tries, and fails to walk along the white dotted lines.

he’d thought he might have sobered up a little – until he can’t even make it one step in a straight line without veering off to the side.

and it’s going well, he feels good, he feels happy as fuck. the night air bites at his skin but he doesn’t feel it, blood warm from the alcohol. his phone buzzes incessantly in his back pocket but he ignores it.

pill: jae where th fuck did you go (1:38am)

pill: did u leave w out me >:( !!’! (1:38am)

missed call from pill (1:40am)

pill: rude (1:40am)

so he’s currently on top of the world, drunk and listening to his 80s playlist, chewing the last of his fries as he lets himself into his dorm room. wonpil is still out so the lights are off, only the street lamps outside pooling the faintest light like honey into the open windows. it’s still dark as he dumps almost everything he’s holding on the ground, toeing off his shoes at the entrance, slipping on fuzzy pink slippers with cartoon eggs embroidered onto them, and it’s still dark until he flicks on the main light of his bedroom.

and that’s when he sees it.

a massive heap of laundry.

it glares at him, and he glares back.

he caves. it’s about time he did the laundry. there’s no room left on his bed to sit, never mind sleep. he’d dug around his closet earlier searching for something to wear out, settling on a lose white t-shirt that maybe shows a little too much collar bone and jeans that he’d been wearing for a good three weeks now. there’s only a tiny stain on the hem of the t-shirt so it was practically clean out of the wash in his eyes.

but now, right now in this moment he’s motivated.

“’m gonna get this so fucking done.”

he doesn’t actually own a laundry basket, or any type of basket for that matter. the floor or his chair is his laundry basket, but there are too many clothes and he looks blearily at his own two small hands, and then to the massive piles spread across the room.

he steals wonpil’s laundry basket.

there’s a lot more clothes than he thought, he puts his milkshake down on a spare patch on his desk just to shove his clothes into the basket. it overflows, twice the size of the basket and every time he bends down his head spins some more, the room floating and disconnected from him as he finds more things to put in the laundry, a never-ending pile.

he carries this basket, overflowing with clothes and he thinks he drops a pair of underwear somewhere in the main hall but he can’t turn back now, he’d spent five minutes trying to pick up his milkshake while carrying the massive basket in one hand, it’s a feat he’s proud to of have accomplished as he tries to sip at the drink held precariously on top of the pile.

he finds himself in the laundry room, not entirely too sure how he’d gotten there, head hurting at the too bright fluorescent lights and squinting at the dials on the machine. he has no idea how to work this.

his headphones are hung around his neck – in the struggle it had taken to round up all his washing, he had needed full hearing and concentration – but he can hear the faint drum beat of tears for fears, echoing in the tiled room.

his lower lip wobbles; he doesn’t even know how to work a washing machine.

he’d shoved all his clothes in the first three machines, milkshake sitting on top of one of them, and then promptly sat down in front of them with no idea what to do next.

he can’t help but cry. he’d come so far only to give up as fat tears well up in the corners of his eyes. he goes to wipe them away and knocks his glasses down to the end of his nose, trying to rub away the tears.

through tiny sniffles, he doesn’t even hear the creak of the laundry room door being pushed open, a tired looking boy with messy hair and soft pyjamas is pushing his way through the door with a basket resting on his hip. he recognises him – younghyun, unfairly hot, someone jaehyung had classified as a look but don’t touch type of crush. younghyun is way out of his league, and completely undeserving of witnessing jaehyung’s breakdown. he’d feel embarrassed if alcohol wasn’t coursing through his blood and brain.

“what the fuck,” is the first thing younghyun says, upon seeing jaehyung crying on the floor. “mood.”

“you- do you know how to turn this on?” he hiccups. “i can’t fucking do it.”

-

younghyun, at 2am, is full of way too much energy. he’s wired up, it might just be the seven coffees he’d sculled throughout the day to get his thesis in on time, 11:59 on the dot, or the energy drinks he’d mixed in with a couple – bad idea, don’t fucking do it.

his hands shake a little as he lies in bed, staring at the ceiling, and then as he cleans his room, even going so far as to dust down the window sill, and even when he makes himself a pot of tea to calm his nerves. it’s not decaffeinated though, so he’s only piling on more caffeine and he doesn’t see the consequence of this until he’s staring at his laundry basket and figuring that now is as good a time as any.

this is how he finds jaehyung. he knew of the guy, watched him down three jaeger bombs in a row and then order a shot of absinthe on top of that at a club one evening, shares a lecture or two with him as well – had watched him pass out the morning after those shots, head just flopping straight down onto the desk.

there was jaehyung blaringly drunk and crying, the washing machines unmoving, and so younghyun decides in that split second when a tear drops onto the fabric of jaehyung’s jeans, that while he could just shove his own stuff in the machine and leave jaehyung to defend for himself, he instead sets his basket down and sits down next to jaehyung.

“you can’t mix lights and darks,” he tells jaehyung, pulling everything out of the three washing machines. a red sock comes out. “or reds and whites.”

jaehyung nods, wiping his nose.

“you’ll just go and turn everything pink.”

“i wouldn’t mind pink.”

“yes, but i think you would tomorrow morning.”

“pink could so- so be my colour.”

it’s younghyun’s turn to nod this time, smiling at the thought of jaehyung rocking up to class in pink jeans and a pink t-shirt, maybe a pink hat to match. “it could be.”

but it won’t be, younghyun plucks lightning mcqueen underwear out and throws it in the red pile, stifling a laugh.

“is this your entire wardrobe?” he asks, starting on the next washing machine. there are three steadily growing piles on the tiled floor, darks, lights and reds.

“apart from what i’m wearing, yes.”

jaehyung stands up for a moment, wobbling precariously on his feet to one of the machines, before grabbing a mcdonald’s cup and flopping right back down next to younghyun, much closer than he had been before, so close even that jaehyung rests against him when he shoves the cup in his face.

“milkshake?” jaehyung offers.

“i’m good, thanks.”

jaehyung shrugs. “more for me then.”

he sips at the drink as younghyun helps him sort the clothes.

there’s a moment where younghyun glances at jaehyung, who’s blinking at him, probably trying to see who’s next to him in his drunken haze, and his glasses are askew.

younghyun reaches out and fixes them for him, putting them back on his nose properly. there’s not even any glass in them, he comes to realise when he doesn’t see a reflection, not even a flash of light catching on the glass. they’re just an aesthetic statement. younghyun huffs.

“shove the lights into that one can you?” he says after a long moment, pushing the lighter pile into jaehyung’s arms. it’s enough to get jaehyung off of him, leaning into his bubble drunkenly, little to no awareness of his own space in relation to younghyun’s. jaehyung sets about clumsily shoving them into the machine, there’s more still coming though, so he ends up just tossing in single items that younghyun hands him, back to sitting side by side. he misses the door of the machine several times.

younghyun sighs, resigned to his fate of stupidly attractive jaehyung knocking his elbows into his ribs, or bumping his head into his shoulder when he gets bored.

“everything’s so dizzy,” jaehyung comments.

“if you throw up, at least do it on your dirty clothes, it’ll be an easier mess to clean up.”

“’m not gonna throw up, i feel good, it’s the world that’s spinning.”

“i’m sure it is.”

more silence, or well it’s silent for a moment until younghyun hears the next song start up through jaehyung’s earphones, still carelessly thrown around his neck for safekeeping, not even in his ears. the familiar finger snaps of the intro echoing.

“… is that wham! playing?”

“… yes it is.”

younghyun puts an earphone in and jaehyung does the same.

you put the boom-boom into my heart

“i mean, i can’t argue against george michael,” younghyun says, and jaehyung shoves his phone in his face.

“it’s my 80s playlist. see.”

classic bops’ is the title, entirely 80s, good and bad taste.

“it’s not even ironic, i fucking love it,” jaehyung says. and so they sit on the floor of the laundry room, wham! blasting through their tiny earphones while sorting through jaehyung’s never ending pile of laundry. the tear tracks on jaehyung’s face are dry now, a red flush on his cheeks as he grins at younghyun, babbling on about his night over the music.

“and then i get back right, and there’s this massive- and i mean massive fucking pile of laundry, like that shit wasn’t just on my chair it was taking over my desk, my bed, my life.”

younghyun nods along, separating out bright red boxers from white shirts. jaehyung still tries to throw every white item into the laundry; some are on top of the machine, others in a sad pile around the door. some make it in every now and then to jaehyung’s whooping and cheering.

eventually they’ve got four machines on the go, younghyun’s stuff sorted and thrown in as well. they sit on top of two of them, legs swinging off the edge, still sharing earphones. jaehyung yawns every now and then, sleepily blinking at younghyun.

“when will this be done?” jaehyung asks, feet kicking the edge of the machine.

“another half an hour.”

“i’m gonna need a new playlist for this.”

jaehyung dozes off with his ‘fresh bops’ playlist blasting, a strange mix of recent hip-hop and alternative that isn’t music you’d fall asleep to but jaehyung finds a way anyways, leaning heavily against younghyun, who can’t find it in him to complain.

jaehyung smells like a bar, rum and cigarette smoke clinging to his skin when jaehyung eventually falls across his lap, drooling onto his pyjama bottoms, one leg up on the washer, the other hanging off, one hand thrown across younghyun, and the other dangling off the edge, grazing at younghyun’s ankle. he just has to hope jaehyung doesn’t roll off of the machine.

all younghyun can do is sigh. he figures that letting jaehyung sleep would be enough to fulfil the slightest crush he’d been developing since jaehyung had walked into business management, one of the two classes he’d shared with him on the first day of term – then promptly unenrolled himself and left five minutes in.

he’s quick witted and younghyun finds him funny in the way he speaks – when he does speak in class, and that’s quite often – and it doesn’t help at all that he’s just his type, lean and thin and dorkier than he wants himself to seem. younghyun had been sitting on that tiny flame of attraction for months now, staring at the back of jaehyung’s head in class. jaehyung probably doesn’t even know younghyun exists. or at least he didn’t up until this moment in time, falling asleep on his lap in the laundry room, the faint rumble of the machines swirling away beneath them.

the first machine clicks off and younghyun hadn’t even realised so much time had passed, content to just sit sleepily, the caffeine rush slowly wearing off, leaving him slow and sluggish as he tries to wake up jaehyung.

“hey.” he pokes jaehyung’s cheek. there’s a growing patch of drool on younghyun’s pants that he hadn’t noticed until now. “wake up.”

jaehyung doesn’t budge, so he pokes him again.

“wake up.”

this time, jaehyung rolls over.

“shit, wait, fuck what the-” younghyun gasps, clutching at jaehyung’s t-shirt as he nearly rolls off of the edge. younghyun catches him in time just as jaehyung throws his sleepy arms out around younghyun’s waist; it stops him from rolling once more and collapsing onto the tiles and he doesn’t feel like a trip to the er at this time in the morning. younghyun lets out a relieved sigh.

but with a sleepy mumble, jaehyung’s certainly not waking up anytime soon, dead to the world as younghyun tries to slip out of his grasp. younghyun’s still got a headphone in, and he hears a faint pinging that drowns out the music on jaehyung’s phone. younghyun pulls jaehyung’s phone out of the back pocket of his jeans, careful not to touch anything but his phone – jaehyung’s ass looks delectable from this angle, despite not having much of one. younghyun subconsciously wets his lips.

pill: took cute boy home (2:49am)

pill: the ones whos pants i been tryna get nto all night (2:49am)

pill: if ur not dead pls stay @ jimins (2:49am)

pill: hope ur not dead :(( (2:50am)

he doesn’t know the password to jaehyung’s phone, and younghyun’s eyes linger on the lock screen of jaehyung grinning at the camera, alongside two other friends. he recognises wonpil, they practice music together, have complained about assignments and drama to each other a few times. he hadn’t known jaehyung was his roommate, but they’re not exactly close enough to know such personal details of each other’s lives, more of an on the surface connection than anything else.

younghyun wriggles out from jaehyung’s grasp, trying to wake him with as much movement as possible, but to no avail, jaehyung starts to snore.

can u come collect him? i don’t know where jimin’s is… younghyun texts him on his own phone, attaching a photo of jaehyung sprawled across the top of the washing machines, mouth open and now drooling on the metal.

he gets a blurry photo back of wonpil grimacing, the outline of someone in the dark background, middle fingers up.

wonpil: fuck i dont want to deal w that (2:50am)

wonpil: cock blocking me even when hes asleep (2:50am)

younghyun: tmi dude (2:50am)

wonpil: can he stay at urs?? (2:51am)

younghyun: he’s dead to the world and i’ve got his closets worth of laundry here (2:51am)

wonpil: … so he can stay a urs yeah ?? (2:51am)

younghyun: bro (2:51am)

wonpil: pls (2:51am)

wonpil: pretty pls (2:51am)

younghyun: you owe me (2:52am)

wonpil: bbq?? next sat, my treat (2:52am)

younghyun: fine (2:52am)

younghyun ends up huffily dragging two baskets of wet laundry behind him, one overflowing with jaehyung’s clothes that’s significantly more harder to carry than his own. he shoves them into his bedroom – deciding that he’ll deal with the wet laundry in the morning – before trudging back down the quiet halls to the laundry room, passing ping-pong tables in the barely illuminated main room, just outside the lifts. everything’s bathed in a green and yellow light from the emergency exit flashing on and off, and the shitty corridor lighting, until he pushed open the laundry room door and walks back into the bright fluorescent white.

he grabs jaehyung’s phone – still tinnily playing what sounds like shinee’s vocals– before hauling jaehyung upright so he’s now sitting on top of the machine.

“hm… ‘at issit,” he mumbles, eyes still closed and mouth slack, he leans heavily to one side, the side younghyun is holding him up from so younghyun pulls him off of the machine, he stands blearily at younghyun’s side, all of his weight pressing onto younghyun as he manages to manoeuvre jaehyung’s arm around his shoulder.

jaehyung is surprisingly light, but drunk he’s deadweight as younghyun drags him along.

“we gotta get you to bed.”

he notices now that jaehyung is wearing pink egg slippers, they slap noisily on the tiled floor as he stumbles forward with younghyun.

“don’t feel well,” jaehyung says quietly, pressing his cold nose into the crook of younghyun’s neck as he guides them both back to younghyun’s dorm.

“you gonna be sick?”

“not sick.” well that’s a relief. “just not well.”

“okay, we’ll get you to sleep soon yeah? a nice comfy bed.”

“sounds good young-younghyun,” jaehyung yawns, he can feel his hot breath across his skin and despite the nose-burning stench of alcohol – just how much had jaehyung had? – younghyun still feels goose bumps prickling across his skin. “thank you.”

he realises, as he’s finally chucking jaehyung on the couch, tugging off his egg slippers and propping his head to the side with the couch cushions – should he vomit, younghyun does not want him choking – that jaehyung had never given any indication that he knew who younghyun was, let alone his name, until just a few minutes ago, when he’d sleepily yawned out his name that sounded far too good coming from his drunken lips.

“your like… super cute yanno?”

younghyun pauses from where he’d been tucking a duvet around jaehyung’s form, to see jaehyung staring at him, eyes half lidded.

“like, you’re eyes are so attractive, a nice shape, hot.”

younghyun’s heart picks up in his chest, thumping against his ribcage as jaehyung mumbles sleepy compliments.

“you’re hot.”

“go to sleep, jaehyung.”

he throws a light blanket on top of the duvet, just in case jaehyung get’s cold. the heating is on its last legs and his dorm room tends to get icy in the early hours of the morning.

“you stare at me to.”

a flush rises to younghyun’s cheeks at the thought of jaehyung having known all this time.

“sleep.”

“wouldn’ mind tappin’ that.” jaehyung laughs a little, a soft puff of air. “so, so hot, man.” he trails off into soft snores and younghyun lets out a long, slow breath.

“fucking hell.” it’s been an eventful night. younghyun will refuse to admit it, but the blush doesn’t fade from his cheeks until he’s staring up at his ceiling once again, just this time he’s biting back a smile at the thought of the idiot on his couch. jaehyung probably won’t remember the sleepy conversation in the morning, but for now younghyun rolls over and buries his face in his pillow, trying to resist the urge to scream in delight. 

-

jaehyung wakes up to an empty room, a painful churning in his stomach and a headache that feels like someone’s hammering tiny nails into his skull. as he blinks away the sleep from his eyes, it’s only when he’s bent over the porcelain of the toilet bowl, heaving his guts up, that he realises he’s not in his own dorm room at all.

for one, the layout is entirely wrong; the toilet is on the opposite side of the room, the sink and shower on the other, a complete switch of his own bathroom. when he flushes the toilet, and the acrid smell of vomit dissipates, the room smells faintly of orange citrus air freshener, not lavender.

“where the fuck…”

it’s fucking him up; did he wake in an alternate universe? he’s tired and disorientated and when he looks up from washing his hands with grape foaming hand wash – not strawberry – he sees a flash of bright yellow on his forehead.

there’s a phone number and a small note written underneath on a sticky post-it note stuck to jaehyung’s forehead

left u some painkillers & water, drink it all, text me so i know you’re alive
+ your lightning mcqueen underwear is cute, as long as you don’t mix it with your whites ;)
- younghyun

he’s definitely in an alternate universe, a different plane of reality if younghyun – the younghyun he’s thinking of at least – is leaving him sticky notes with fucking winking faces drawn on them. he pinches the skin on his arm just to make sure he’s genuinely awake, and when it stings white hot, leaving a pinch shaped bruise, jaehyung allows himself to mentally scream.

anything louder than that, and he might just vomit again.

painkillers and water first, jaehyung decides, and then mental breakdown second.