the laundromat sits quietly around yoongi. it’s way past three in the morning, and the song that is stuck in repeat for the past twenty years resonates around him, familiar and faint from the old speakers (it’s an old 90s tune, and it goes something like the wounds you cut in his heart are only recently healing — yoongi hums it along, absentmindedly, even). it smells faintly of old socks and cheap detergent inside, a combination that doesn’t necessarily pleases him, but for less than 500w an hour, it’s what his wage can afford if he wants clean clothes every week. yoongi huffs, unceremoniously shoving his clothes in the washing machine, mostly uniforms and aged black t-shirts that are already just faded gray, holes where the seams connect. the bell above the door rings, a completely foreign sound at that time of the night, so foreign yoongi raises his head, glancing at its direction from behind his selected machine, crouched legs already burning.
a young man walks in, black mask covering half his face, or maybe it’s a boy , there’s a youthful way he holds himself, backpack hanging from his shoulder, long hair mussed back, away from his forehead, and his eyes are big, big, big. they meet yoongi’s, briefly, before moving on. the door closes with a dull sound, the bell sound mingling with the music. he drags a black plastic bag after him. it makes a strange noise against the flooring. for a moment that drags over a minute, yoongi can’t hear anything else. than the trash bag is raised, tossed ungently over a machine. yoongi breathes out, going back into his own task at hand, the lament of the song as it starts over on repeat filling up the spaces between them. then, comes the voice (boyish, brashy in its ends, too intimate in its unpolished way, use your formal speech ): “— can i borrow some detergent?” the question somewhat startles yoongi. it’s unexpected, at that time at night. he’s always alone. the boy stares, waiting. his clothes are still inside the plastic bag. “i just noticed i forgot mine.”
“you can buy some.” yoongi tells him, voice soft, nodding towards the blue, old vending machine against the back wall. “over there.”
the boy looks about him, then pulls his mask down, revealing what was hidden— high cupid bow over small, fleshy red lips, a sharp kind of jaw. yoongi has the sense to feel his skin flush, body filling up with something akin to attraction, the sort that hurts downwards. that face is pretty, the boy is, his design is pretty, his shape. “i only brought enough money for the wash,” and he seems to sigh and to mumble, touching his hair, eyes finding his clothes. yoongi watches his expression, how animated his eyebrows seem to be.
“— alright,” he says, then, shrugging. laundry detergent is expensive, so yoongi stands, breathing out from effort. the lid is filled only partially with blue liquid. yoongi puts it on the machine besides his own, pushing it towards the boy when he steps closer. “it’s a cheap one.” it doesn’t smell like the lavender that says on the bottle. it doesn’t smell like anything but the washing machine he always uses— like remains of other people’s scents.
thank you , the muttered sentence is said as clothes are removed from the plastic bag, the noise loud. yoongi watches for only a moment. he needs to wash his own clothes, too. coins fall with lyrical dims , the machine starts to fill up with water a moment later. yoongi sits with his back against it, the slight vibration running against his spine like a massage chair. he grabs his bag, searching for his phone. “i have some soju,” the offer is quiet. it’s a suggestion, maybe, more than an offer. yoongi looks up at the boy still standing. the shirt he’s holding is heavily stained. “if you want.”
drinking with a complete stranger doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do at that time at night. there’s some sweetness to the boy, though, some— charm , yoongi thinks. “what’s your name?” he asks, without replying. he asks because he wants to know, and because he wants to know if it is as charming. his eyes follow the lines of a body under the boy’s clothes when he leans to grab a pair of jeans. they’re also stained, dark blotches over everything. when he looks up again, the boy’s staring. yoongi looks away and down to his phone.
in the society they live in, the way you look at someone is the only way to tell — yes, no, should i, can we . yoongi’s too aware of the kind of stare jeon jungkook offers. it’s the open kind, the kind that tells him to try. “yeah, i’d like some soju,” yoongi says, then, shrugging. he isn’t very good at those things. he isn’t charming. “i’m min yoongi.”
there’s some silence as jungkook finishes putting his clothes into the machine, searching his pockets for coins. two of them are stained red. lyrical dims follow once again. jungkook sighs, watching his machine filling up with water for a moment. yoongi waits. it’s a struggle not to stare at him, so when he glances sideways at the boy roaming through his backpack, bottles clinking somewhere inside, he only looks at the hand holding onto fabric, knuckles slightly bruised, one black nail. he has bony fingers, long. “here,” jungkook unscrews the cap, holding the bottle towards yoongi. their fingers don’t touch when he takes it. it’s a small blessing.
“do you carry soju around?”
“on fridays,” jungkook answers, lips curling up. “can i sit next to you?”
their machines make similar noises. jungkook never steps on the lines of the ugly flooring pattern. yoongi doesn’t know why he notices it. “yeah,” he nods. there’s a machine between them, but yoongi feels jungkook presence too close nonetheless. the soju burns the back of his throat, taste lingering on his tongue. he takes another swing of it, lips tingling. it’s been a while since he last had a drink. “thank you,” he says, offering the bottle back. their eyes meet. “— i’ve never seen you here before.” i would have remembered , he thinks.
“i just moved to this area,” jungkook replies before drinking, and yoongi’s eyes drop to the contour of his neck, watching it all go down. it makes him blush, how jungkook’s throat moves. he doesn’t do this, this noticing . the vibration at his back starts to bother him. jungkook wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “it’s near the campus.”
“i see,” a college student, of course. yoongi feels guilty. he’s too old for such things— for college students and late drinking in empty laundromats. his eyes avert to the camera at the corner where the walls meet, red dot blinking. jungkook takes another sip. “how old are you?” the question is asked nonetheless. it has to be. they need to know how to— talk, how to act. jungkook’s been speaking informally, and it’s like an itch under yoongi’s skin.
“twenty-two,” the bottle is offered. yoongi doesn’t touch jungkook’s fingers when he takes it.
“then i’m older than you by four years,” yoongi tells him after swallowing. the soft blistering sensation spreads down his chest, warming him up from inside out.
“does it matter?” it’s a strange kind of question. yoongi turns his head, glancing at jungkook’s passive expression. his eyebrows are raised, waiting for yoongi’s reply. yoongi nods, then, swirling alcohol over his tongue before letting it go down his throat. “alright then,” and the formal speech rounds his vowels nicely. he bows. “— i’m sorry.”
they don’t talk for a while. one bottle is finished, another opened. yoongi feels his eyelids heavier when he blinks. he isn’t a lightweight, but he’s tired. jungkook keeps nodding off. yoongi slides closer, avoiding the rattling of the machine as it aggressively washes his clothes. jungkook looks at him, then away. he smells of— cleaning products, yoongi thinks. it isn’t bad, just odd. he smells like the very clean halls of a morgue. yoongi would know. “what happened?” he asks then, touching the blackened nail on jungkook’s right hand. his fingertips linger, pressing on warm skin.
“ah,” jungkook huffs, allowing the touch. “drawer.” his fingers move a little, and yoongi takes his own away. “pressed too hard.” yoongi offers a hum, breathing in refurbished air. he’s feeling hot from the alcohol. the song starts once again on repeat. the wounds you cut in his heart— “yoongi-ssi,” jungkook’s voice has some sort of glamour to it— like a chant, or a prayer said too many times. yoongi is bound to look his way, finding dilated pupils and gold rims. yeah? “can i take a picture of you?”
it isn’t a question yoongi is expecting. he blinks, confused, surprised. “a picture of me?”
“i like how you look,” the straightforward compliment leaves yoongi all red. i like how you look , and there’s little room for misunderstandings in those posed words. jungkook leans in when he says it, like he’s sharing a secret. yoongi’s eyes find the mole under his bottom lip, and the faint scar on his cheek, and dilated pupils and gold rims. “you’re pretty.” he exhales, swallowing, looking away. yoongi realises he’s clutching the fabric of his jeans.
“if you want to,” he tries not to sound nervous. it doesn’t work very well. “if you think so.” it’s all it takes for jungkook to go after his backpack again, bringing out a camera from a smaller bag, one that he mounts expensive looking lens to it. he’s smiling when he does so. yoongi waits as jungkook hides his face behind it, looking at him through the viewfinder. the shutter goes off. “ah, i wasn’t ready.” it’s okay, it’s just a test . “what do you usually photograph?” the shutter goes off again.
jungkook ponders for a moment, face appearing slightly from behind it again. yoongi likes the way his hair falls over his eyes just a second before jungkook shakes his head briskly, pushing strands behind his ears as it’d suffice to keep the unruliness out. “inanimate objects,” he answers finally, offering the camera for yoongi to see. “here.”
it’s a decent picture, despite the crude whitewashed lightning of the laundromat. yoongi stares at his own face. he looks— soft. his traces are soft, his nose, his lips. there’s purple under his eyes from nights away from sleep and purple neon staining his cheek from the noraebang sign outside. it isn’t a bad picture. “this is good,” he touches the screen, changing pictures, and jungkook moves to hold onto the camera, but the picture is there, a close up shot of yoongi’s mouth, slightly agap, tongue and teeth visible. yoongi lets the camera be taken away, flustered.
“that’s—,” jungkook sits back, his sides touching yoongi’s. he looks flustered too. “i thought,” he swallows. “nothing, i’ll delete it.” yoongi nods, grabbing the bottle that’s almost empty, taking a long sip, soju running down his chin. he wipes it off, coughing. the song starts over again. the wounds you cut in his heart— , and jungkook slowly packages his camera away, cheeks red. yoongi stares at his fingers, with the bruised knuckles. they’re so long. his mouth feels dry. the back of his throat is numb.
“i live down the street,” yoongi finds the guts to say, then. jungkook stills completely, and his eyes grow wider in possible surprise. shame tastes much like that soju— blistering and numbing. “it’s just— the clothes will take a while.”
no replies come, not even an acknowledgement that an offer has been made. jungkook takes the empty bottle, instead, standing up, walking away. the bottles break loudly when he tosses them into the bin. yoongi watches him only for a moment, then looks away. he feels weirdly nauseated. he misread everything . jungkook clears his throat, then, and the sound forces yoongi to look back at him, up, as he’s standing, and the angle is odd but somewhat appealing. “yeah, we can go.”
his blood feels hot down his neck. yoongi nods before forcing himself up, cleaning his jeans from the mild dust of the floor. jungkook follows him quietly, out into a frigid night, breathing out in the dampness of the air. yoongi walks always a step ahead, and sometimes he looks behind his shoulder to see jungkook, hair pushed away from his face, nose red. sometimes his eyes will lift, meeting yoongi’s, and yoongi is fast to look away. he doesn’t know why he’s doing such a thing. there isn’t a mood. there’s just— attraction. the sheer kind, the kind that might fade in daylight.
the lights were left on in the living room. jungkook takes off his shoes, climbing the few steps that lead into it. it’s a strangely constructed flat. small, like a shoebox. the fridge makes a noise, the white kind of noise that at some point you don’t notice anymore. yoongi notices right away once the door is closed. jungkook takes off his jacket, leaving it on the chair. there’s not much in that apartment— a bed, tucked to the corner, sheets slightly wrinkled. it doubles as a couch. the table with two old looking chairs splits the room in two, with the kitchen on the other side. a door leads to a bathroom. yoongi regrets bringing jungkook in right away. it’s too small. too— poor, maybe. “it’s small,” he apologises faintly, as jungkook looks around.
“it’s not any smaller than my house,” jungkook shrugs. “i like your plants.” he points towards the window, to the plants yoongi tends to. they’re growing, despite it all. yoongi tries his best to keep living things living . he’s about to say something, offer the names he’s given to the plants, a half-smile curling his lips, but then jungkook starts undressing, shamelessly so, hoodie, then t-shirt, all dropped on the floor, revealing contours that are sharp like his face. yoongi stares as jungkook stands a feet away, staring back. “— can i kiss you?”
kissing isn’t something yoongi had expected. his heart leaps too cheerfully, his stomach flutters, he likes the idea of being kissed. the way jungkook says it is sweet, too. “yeah,” he replies, then, nodding. there’s some height between him and jungkook, some good centimeters that have him looking up. they share the same breath when jungkook leans forward, and yoongi inhales, stuttery. their noses touch, softly. yoongi waits, nervous, until jungkook finally kisses him. they share the same taste of soju, then, the same desperation under tongues that haven’t kissed in a while, maybe. it’s a good kiss, slow and deep and it spreads heat down his body. take that off , jungkook mutters, kissing alongside his jawline, fingers fumbling with yoongi’s jumper. he complies, hair getting messy once his clothes come out. jungkook touches skin, then, and yoongi does, too. jungkook’s skin is warm, warm like a bath, like he’s been dipped in boiling water for too long. he flinches when yoongi presses over a bruise on his side, one that is purple against the pretty colouring of the rest of him. yoongi doesn’t ask. he doesn’t want to know. it’s a one night stand, they don’t need to be thorough with their questions. “— sit down,” he says gently, pushing jungkook towards the bed.
then it’s jungkook looking up, both hands to the sides of yoongi’s hips, pressing onto bones. yoongi’s hand hovers, wanting to touch his hair, unsure if he can. it might be too intimate, too— caring. he doesn’t know jungkook. they’re just supposed to fuck. jungkook looks down at his navel, leaning in, kissing the flat skin of his stomach. yoongi finds his eyes closing. his mouth is watering. but then he touches jungkook’s hair, he touches it lovingly, even, mindlessly, and jungkook— jungkook’s entire body stills, much like he did back at the laundromat, and yoongi finds himself suddenly losing the heat of his hands and the heat of his mouth. jungkook looks away, cheeks red. “i’m sorry,” he says, after a moment. yoongi steps away, blinking, heavily embarrassed. “i never done this before.”
“yeah, i—,” and yoongi picks up his shirt and sweater, and they both smell of sweat. he breathes out. “i shouldn’t have—“
“gently, i mean,” jungkook carries on. yoongi glances his way. “you were gentle just now,” he seems to swallow. “i don’t know how to do it that way.”
you were gentle just now . yoongi looks down at the bruise over one of jungkook’s ribs. jungkook knows he’s looking. “i don’t want to hurt you.” then he bends, picking up jungkook’s clothes, offering them back. “you’re going to get cold.”
instead of taking his clothes, jungkook holds onto yoongi's wrist, bringing him closer and onto the bed, clothes falling on the floor again. i’m not cold if you touch me , jungkook mutters against yoongi’s neck, kissing a spot that has yoongi pressing his eyes shut, biting on lips. it’s cold nonetheless, in that small apartment, so yoongi brings the blankets over their bodies, trapping the heat between them. yoongi gasps the slightest when jungkook leaves stinging marks on the skin of his shoulder. it’s a good kind of pain. jungkook pushes him more firmly against the bed, turning him around too easily, leaving a trail of wetness down yoongi’s back. it’s a quick fuck from then on— they both pant, and it’s been a while since yoongi let someone fuck him, and it’s painful, and it’s good . he allows his mind to stop thinking, taking in the blissful ignorance of a mind that’s hazed with alcohol and sweat and sex. jungkook moans, and it’s muffled against skin. they haven’t said anything else. yoongi wants to tell him it feels good, but somehow he holds the words back. he comes when the friction of the sheets against him becomes unbearable, and with jungkook’s hand stroking him slowly, when he brushes against spaces inside him that feel like a jump scare, making him yelp out loud, clutching fabric. jungkook takes longer, takes yoongi starts mumbling half-broken sentences, it’s too much, please . he keeps going, nonetheless, and yoongi feels his eyes water, feels them turning, seeing white. it ends, at some point, jungkook’s body heavy against him, heaving. he pulls out, and yoongi exhales, feeling robbed of air. it’s been a while since he last slept with someone. the air smells briny and unclean. jungkook’s breath feels hot over him. “you cried,” jungkook touches yoongi’s cheeks carefully, where a few tears fell. “— did it hurt?”
“no,” yoongi sighs. “just— been some time.” the weight of jungkook’s body disappears after a moment, the bed creaking. yoongi pushes himself onto his elbows, looking over to where jungkook pulls his jeans over naked legs. “are you leaving?”
the pretty lines of jungkook’s body all disappear under a too large hoodie. “i need to,” he blinks, looking mildly confused at himself. “i left my clothes at the laundromat.”
yoongi doesn’t point out he left his, too. “alright,” there’s no point in feeling sad about it. it’s what these things are. quick fucks, no strings, no ribbons. just the soreness of the after. he sits up, finally, and jungkook’s eyes travel down his body before yoongi pulls his pants up, too. they didn’t even take them off completely. “i need to get cleaned up.” and the sheets , he thinks, stained and smelly. another 500w.
none of them say anything else. it’s strange, these things. the lack of attachment. jungkook picks up his backpack, and he pushes his hair back. it’s damp enough that stays that way. “see you around, yoongi-ssi,” jungkook approaches him in wary steps, the small distance easy to travel. yoongi stares at him, stares until he gets kissed again, and his stomach fills up with the wings of a thousand— moths, not butterflies. he kisses back, but it only lasts a few seconds. then jungkook is leaving.
by the time yoongi gets to the laundromat again, it’s almost five in the morning, and it is deserted. yoongi puts his sheets to wash, and his clothes to dry. he sits with his back against the nice vibration of the machine, closing his eyes.
there’s an open space behind the morgue, where yoongi often smokes. the ground is ashy there, and the bin is filled with too many cigarette butts from months, maybe years. he ought to get it cleaned. “ah, you’re there,” namjoon says, coming out. he doesn’t smoke. “we got a body.” yoongi only nods. working the night shifts at a morgue isn’t particularly fun. then again, working at a morgue, in general, isn’t. yoongi doesn’t know how to do anything else, at this point. “— found yourself a boyfriend, hyung?”
and he points to the marks on yoongi’s neck, which he tried to conceal with make up once he ran out of turtleneck shirts, to no avail. the bruises left behind were too obvious, even a week after. “no,” he shrugs, putting out his cigarette against the wall. it leaves a round black circle, next to many others. he ought to clean that wall, too. there’s some sort of blush staining his cheeks. he’s known namjoon for years now, since they started out at the morgue, yoongi a med school drop out, namjoon the son of a taxidermist from ilsan. still— namjoon knowing what he is and what that implies between the sheets, it still makes him blush. “let’s go.”
it’s a girl, the body, maybe a college student, from the way she’s dressed. she isn’t wearing any make up, but her hair is bleached, black roots showing like a dark crown. it’s— odd, seeing her. yoongi feels odd. he touches his own hair absentmindedly, his own darker roots showing. a strange coincidence. namjoon goes on to wash his hands. “she isn’t a car crash,” yoongi comments, taking the file that came with her.
most dead people are, at that time at night. most people are mangled limbs from driving too fast. not this girl, no. this girl is clean. someone cleaned her. “no,” namjoon agrees, looking behind his shoulder. “she isn’t.”
it’s a murder, they soon find out, as yoongi reads from her files out loud. female, twenty-six, blunt force trauma to the head . the coroner arrives not long after. they work rather quietly, the words out loud only said for means of recording. namjoon cuts her clothes, folding them gently. yoongi cuts her skin, from neck down, and blood is too coagulated to stain. it’s a seamless work— one cuts, the other sews, the coroner telling them what to do, making annotations into a blood stained sheet he’ll later leave on yoongi’s desk for a report. they just never gotten a murder before, not in their jurisdiction. car crashes, yes, suicides, odd accidents. murder, no. seoul is safe.
“do you think she felt any pain?” namjoon asks, later on, much later, when the girl is tucked in their shelves alongside other bodies, clean and sewn like a ragdoll. yoongi breathes out, sipping his coffee.
“maybe fear,” he says. pain is subjective. when she got hit, it probably knocked her out at once. but fear— fear is human, and fleshy, and harsher than pain. “it was fast.” it’s small consolation. when the police goes up to her family, that’s what they are going to say: she died fast. namjoon is pale. “are you okay?”
“i just never seen a murder victim before,” he shrugs. his coffee has grown cold. namjoon doesn’t like it that much, anyway. “it makes me want to change jobs.”
“i don’t know how to do anything else besides cutting people open,” and yoongi knows he sounds rather cruel, but it’s reality. namjoon makes a face. “they’ll catch him quickly,” that’s small consolation, too. “seoul is safe.” even smaller.
“yeah,” they stare at the walls, then. yoongi thinks his coffee tastes like formaldehyde.
their shift ends at three in the morning. namjoon waves a hand at him, looking tired. yoongi leaves a small daisy for the dead girl before leaving, too. the wait for the bus is long. by the time he gets to his stop, it’s almost five. he walks past the laundromat, and his heart makes some sort of jump inside his chest. for a moment, he thinks he’ll see jungkook inside. it’s empty, though. yoongi looks away from it. it was just a one night stand. there’s no reason to think there will be a second time, or a third. he isn’t even sure if that’s what he wants. but on a night like this, it’d be good to have someone make him forget .
the knock on his door comes when he’s stepping out of the shower. yoongi stops, towel over his head, shivering in the cold living room. the faint daylight of winter mornings is still gray, barely colouring the small of his apartment. there’s knocking again. yoongi startles. it’s too early for the landlord to visit, or his— friends, he likes to think, albeit he can barely think of anyone besides namjoon. then his stomach drops the slightest. “yeah?” he asks, voice faint.
“yoongi-ssi,” jungkook’s voice sounds a bit hazed, his syllables are long and slurred. he’s drunk, yoongi realises once he opens the door rather hastily, seeing the heavy eyelids and the way jungkook is leaning against the threshold. it’s been a week, and he’s still pretty. of course. “i’m sorry,” he says softly. “i didn’t want to go home.” yoongi stares at him, smelling alcohol on his clothes, and cleaning products, and the sad cheap laundry detergent yoongi let him borrow. “can i come in?”
“— yeah,” yoongi finally says, and jungkook stumbles on the steps, and yoongi holds his waist to keep him up. the door closes behind them, jungkook sits down on a chair, head against the wooden surface of the table. yoongi starts brewing him coffee after a moment. “rough night?”
“yes,” jungkook sounds sleepy. it’s different than that other night. he sounds young. younger. less confident. “i’m sorry, i—“ he sniffs. “i didn’t want to go home.” the coffee machine makes a sound. yoongi breathes in the fumes. they don’t know each other. jungkook not wanting to go home shouldn’t lead him to yoongi’s apartment. “i know it’s late.”
“here,” and yoongi puts the mug in front of him on the table. “i’m going to sleep.” he means it, too. he needs to sleep. his bones are tired, his mind is tired. “it’s okay if you want to stay,” he adds, carefully. “and sleep.”
“i smell bad,” jungkook complains, words slurred.
“take a shower.” a clean towel is picked up from his small wardrobe, left hanging on the chair jungkook’s sitting down, alongside old clothes that will fit. “drink that coffee, first.” yoongi moves away then, moves onto his bed and into it, and the sheets are cold and the blankets heavy. he stares at the wall while jungkook moves about. yoongi can hear him swallowing coffee, his breath sharp and loud in the silence. it’s an uncanny type of feeling. intrusive, maybe. like listening to the monster under one’s bed as it moves. yoongi thinks he wished for it, so he shouldn’t feel weird about it. he had wanted someone to be there somehow. the face of the dead girl comes to mind. yoongi closes his eyes.
when the water stops running, he opens them again. he’s fallen asleep for a moment. steam from the bathroom makes his window foggy. jungkook climbs into the bed without a word. yoongi inhales sharply at the way he wraps himself around his body, bringing yoongi in, nose against his neck, so warm, so warm . jungkook’s hair is wet, and it damps the pillows. “you’re still bruised,” he comments, languidly, drunk. lips come to find the soft reddish skin of yoongi’s shoulders. yoongi sighs, heart picking up speed. “i’m sorry.”
“it doesn’t hurt,” yoongi tells him weakly. he adjusts himself on the bed, putting some space between his body and jungkook’s. “—good-night.” jungkook mumbles something, obviously amidst falling asleep, and yoongi listens as his breathing resonates steady. he wants to turn and see how jungkook looks when sleeping but that might be too personal, too intimate, more intimate than sleeping on the same bed, so he doesn’t. daylight drifts in, all white. yoongi falls asleep, too.
(jungkook isn’t there any longer when yoongi wakes up, some time after noon. he’s taken the clothes yoongi lent him, and washed his mug on the sink. yoongi stands in the middle of the apartment, uncomfortable, strange taste on his tongue.)
the wounds you cut in his heart are only recently healing—
yoongi’s laying on the old couch by the side of the window, coming in and out of slumber when the laundromat door opens. it’s a bit after three, and it’s so cold the breeze that comes in makes yoongi shudder. he waits, staring at the ceiling, listening to slow footsteps. it’s like waiting on a horror movie cut scene, those where the song fades out and it’s only silence. he hears a machine being opened, and the rustle of clothes. the ceiling has small cracks in them, probably from old age. the lyrical dims of coins follow. yoongi finally turns his head, finding jungkook staring at him from down the aisle. he swallows dry. “i thought you wouldn’t say hello,” yoongi says, and the hair that falls over his eyes bothers him.
“i thought you were sleeping,” jungkook shrugs. then he looks at the machine now filling up with water. “i’m washing the clothes you lent me.” a pause. “i bought good fabric softener.”
“fabric softener,” yoongi repeats, huffing. “thank you.”
he’s dressed the same way as those other nights— large hoodies and dark jeans, boots that look battered. his gloves only hide half his fingers, and his hair looks slightly greasy under the cap. yoongi somehow looks past the layers covering his body, remembering how jungkook looked without them. his cheeks flush immediately, and he looks away. “can i sit with you?” it takes a moment for yoongi to nod, not wanting to look or sound nervous. it’s a small couch. jungkook fits at the end of it. “that other night,” yoongi glances at him. he seems to be struggling, too. “i’m— i was bothersome.”
“— you were drunk,” yoongi points out. jungkook huffs, pulling on the strands of his hair. “why did you leave?”
their eyes meet for a moment, but jungkook looks away again. he looks blander than the days before. tamer. younger. there’s a lack of darkness in his pupils, and his eyes are only youthful browns. “i wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place,” one of his hands come to touch the hem of yoongi’s pants. “you snore.”
“ yah ,” and yoongi blinks, embarrassed. jungkook chuckles. it’s a nice sound. it’s a nice, nice sound. yoongi wants to hear it again. he watches, enthralled somehow, as the curl of his lips unfold. “— are you supposed to be here now?” jungkook glances back at him. some of the confidence is returning to his eyes. it’s a public laundromat , his reply is small, though. the way he smiles makes yoongi feel strangely fond. “yeah, i guess.”
the ceiling is still linear cracks and slight damp mold, but yoongi looks at it as if it’s something beautiful. it’s better than looking at something beautiful, someone , and be reminded of the way they feel against a mattress. you’re not supposed to keep seeing your one night stands. the one night aspect of it becomes meaningless. “yoongi-ssi,” jungkook calls. his fingers have moved onto skin, now, the skin under yoongi’s pants, massaging. it’s the kind of prying touch that yoongi is wary of. the kind that feels like splinters digging in. “why do you come here so late?”
“i work until three,” yoongi replies casually. “you?”
“i don’t sleep,” jungkook sighs. yoongi decides it’s safe to look at him again. he’s taken off his cap, hair wild and greasy and curling at the ends. his nose is pretty, from that side. the way he nibbles on his bottom lip is pretty, too. the sharp sting of attraction comes finding yoongi’s lungs again. “so i do my laundry.” jungkook turns to look at him. “what do you do?”
“i’m,” i cut people open doesn’t seem like a good thing to say. i cut people open so a coroner can look their insides is even worse. “i don’t think you want to know.” he only gets a nod in return, and inquisitive eyes. i want to know . “i rather not talk about it.”
“sound suspicious,” jungkook comments. he takes his hands away, stretching as if to remind yoongi of what’s under his clothes. he doesn’t need reminding. then jungkook’s standing, walking towards his backpack. “can i call you hyung?” such intimacy isn’t often given out so freely, but yoongi doesn’t ponder too much, though. yes, you can . he wonders if they’ll do it again, and, if they do, if jungkook will call out to him like that. it’s a thought that belongs to a locked closet in his mind. “hyung,” he tries. yoongi waits, watching him stare into his machine, to the revolving water.
“jungkook,” yoongi offers it back. then, after a moment, when he can’t help it anymore: “— your clothes will take a while.”
that makes jungkook smile, and he looks timid, abashed. his ears turn red. “yes.”
this time there isn’t a lot of expectation in the way they get in yoongi’s shoebox apartment. there’s not a lot of space, physically and metaphorically. jungkook pushes him against the flight of stairs as they try and scramble up, tongues hot against each other, fingers lacing with the fabric of shirts. yoongi barely registers where they’re stepping, stumbling with one shoe still on his foot, and for a second he expects jungkook to turn him around and fuck him like before, nothing else, no caring gesture, just quick movements and dying breaths. so it’s slightly surprising when jungkook drops to his knees in front of the bed yoongi’s pushed on, pants hanging from his ankles already. he looks up at yoongi as if asking if it’s okay. yoongi barely shakes his head in agreement.
it’s a different person between his legs, yoongi thinks, watching as jungkook moves. it’s a much tender person, maybe, one wanting things. yoongi breathes slowly, the feeling of jungkook’s tongue against him too good, the noises crude to his ears. he touches jungkook’s hair after some time, pushing it behind his ears, and jungkook exhales against him, air hot. yoongi can’t help it, then, leaning down, raising jungkook’s chin so they can kiss, the bitter taste just slightly stinging. jungkook wraps his arms around yoongi’s body too easily. he wraps himself about him with some desperation, even, some reckless despair, as if they’ve been long lost lovers coming back from some gruesome war. it’s a different jeon jungkook— different even in the way he lays down next to yoongi when it’s all over, different in the way he rubs the small of yoongi’s back tenderly, different in the way he lingers. “i did something bad,” he says, then, to the open space of the living room. yoongi tries to steady his breathing, feeling it against the pillow. he stares at the wall, waiting. “i hurt someone.”
the image of the dead girl comes to yoongi’s mind right away. he shakes it off, pressing his eyes closed. “we all hurt people,” yoongi offers, then. it seems too much of a personal conversation to have after sex with an almost stranger. jungkook would have left by then, he ought to. “it’s what we do.”
“— i don’t want to hurt you.” the sentence fills the inner parts of yoongi’s body with heat. not the lusty kind that flickers his senses, but the warmth kind that makes him feel . don’t feel , he tells himself. this isn’t going to last, it never does . either yoongi won’t let it, or people will get tired of waiting on an empty bed for a man whose cold hands touch corpses all night. yoongi can’t find it in himself to reply. jungkook’s hand runs up and down his back, now, pressing onto his spine. yoongi shivers, body overwhelmed. “hyung— can i stay for breakfast?”
staying for breakfast implies staying , implies showers to be taken, their clothes being picked up, and they’ll all smell like jungkook’s fabric softener. staying implies such domestic things that yoongi is scared of but wants so badly. staying implies maybe having to share the ill looking parts of his life. yoongi turns his body, then, feeling ashamed of how naked he is, of the bruises on his body. there are bruises on jungkook now, too, on his collarbones, on the side of ribs. their eyes meet. brown and gold rims, no darkness to see. yoongi exhales, reaching to push jungkook’s hair away from his face. “you can stay for breakfast,” he answers, finally. jungkook looks pleased.
breakfast is two portions of instant noodles, poorly seasoned. jungkook doesn’t complain. he eats it as if a course meal of an expensive restaurant, humming gleefully. the smell of the food tangles with the smell of shampoo on his hair and the smell of fabric softener of the clothes folded on yoongi’s still messy bed. he ought to have washed those sheets, but— and his eyes glance up towards jungkook, thinking of the way his smell is also tangled within the fabric. yoongi feels his mouth drying, nervous. it’s proper daylight by the time they’re all finished. little has been said. they don’t know enough about each other to hold longer conversations. “are you a doctor?” jungkook asks, then, watching yoongi fold one of his white coats.
“no,” strangled shame curls inside his throat. “i work,” he breathes out. it’s just a job. it isn’t shameful or bad. “i work at a morgue.”
some kind of silence follows. yoongi knows jungkook is watching him. “— how is it like?” it’s an honest question. he looks behind his shoulder, finding jungkook’s eyes. “that bad?” maybe his expression revealed something, yoongi reckons, and he finishes folding his clothes, shaking his head negatively.
“no,” he replies halfheartedly. “just quiet.” the ugly joke makes jungkook giggle, and yoongi smiles, too. he can’t help it. “don’t laugh.”
“i’m not,” and yoongi huffs, joining him at the table again, sitting down. it’s past the time he goes to bed, past time jungkook leaves and they walk their different paths. it’s past time for a lot of things. jungkook ignores them all. “how is it like?” and although it’s too raw and too unclean, yoongi tells him. the words are posed side by side, in sentences that make sense but aren’t pretty. we have a jurisdiction, all morgues do. i’m just an assistant, i didn’t graduate. yesterday, yesterday we got our first murder victim . yoongi sees the way jungkook’s pupils dilate the slightest, and it looks like fear. seoul is safe, after all. “a murder victim?”
“i can’t talk about it,” yoongi adds quietly. “it was fast.” small consolation, the same one given to namjoon. “they’ll catch whoever done it.” smaller. they hear the distinguished sounds of birds, which are fair warning they’ve been together for too long, longer than they should have. yoongi yawns, but tries to hide it. jungkook picks on the remaining dehydrated vegetables of his ramen bowl. they’re both stalling. why, why, why, yoongi wants to know. why are you stalling?, he thinks. he knows why, from his part— the intrinsic human need for warmth. jungkook’s skin is warm, and his mouth is warm, and his tongue. yoongi can’t help but want those things, even though his lower body is still slightly sore, even if he isn’t used to being so pliant. it’s a scary thought, wanting someone. physically, metaphorically. yoongi thinks the more they meet, the more those lines will get blurry. jungkook’s young. he won’t last, not now that he knows .
“can i give you my phone number?”
they look at each other again. yoongi’s taken aback. “your—,” he swallows, standing to find the forgotten phone with its almost dead battery by the bed. he puts it on the table, unlocked. “i guess, yes.” jungkook types it quickly. he adds a bunny emoji to his name. they’re not just one night stands, now. they moved past that too quickly. now they’re too individuals wanting to meet— for sex, for breakfast, to do their laundry, yoongi doesn’t know. “i’ll text you.”
“yeah,” and jungkook stands, too, starting to collect his things, backpack straps sliding over his shoulders. then he’s close, close enough his fingers pull on yoongi’s, almost holding. “i’ll go,” he mumbles. yoongi nods, feeling a strange sense of loss in his belly. jungkook inches forward tentatively, nose against the side of yoongi’s jaw before lips do, and yoongi moves, tentatively, to meet him halfway. yoongi hears jungkook sigh into the kiss, feels his body less tense— but then he’s pulling back, muttering words of departure, and disappearing into the morning outside. yoongi only realises he’s smiling after the door is long shut.
hey, this is yoongi
you forgot your shirt
i’ll wash it for you
(and while jungkook doesn’t reply, he’s at the laundromat two days later, no clothes to wash, and yoongi doesn’t have any either, he’s left jungkook’s shirt home. he doesn’t even have 500w.)
the body on the table has the same bleached yellow hair with dark roots showing from her dead sister. they’re not sisters, just— eerily similar, like twins that have grown apart from each other. the bruise on the side of her head is more violent. yoongi stares, getting acquainted with the sight of his next nightmares, drawing her at free hand in his mind, her delicate, small frame, the clothes she picked out to wear on her last day on earth. did she know , he wonders, did she feel it . she’s a kim, the other was a sunwoo. different surnames, same obituary. namjoon has his back against the wall nearest to the door, as if wanting out. yoongi can’t blame him. the coroner sighs, the forceps on his hand shaking the slightest. “i can do it, if you don’t feel well,” yoongi offers quietly. the coroner is an old man. the third figure on their nighttime triangle. he barely uses his voice anymore.
“female, twenty-six,” he starts, glaring at yoongi, who huffs, shaking his head, grabbing her file. namjoon stirs into motion, joining them a moment later. “blunt force trauma to the head appears to be the first indication of death, more investigation will follow. cut.” and so namjoon holds the thin scissors, undressing her gently, and yoongi holds the thin blade, slicing skin where lines are drawn. the bland voice of the coroner follows their movements. her body is heavy, as if she’s entirely made of marble now. hard on the joints, purple in places that shouldn’t be. there’s tissue under her black nails. she’s more of a fighter than her sister, perhaps.
she died like this, and the scene plays out in shades of ultraviole(n)t— against a cold surface that offered no heat, hands clawing at someone’s face, head bashed against the floor, once, twice, three times, she bites her tongue so hard it cuts a piece off, it’s stuck in her throat, even hours later, alongside screams she planned to let out. she only dies when something heavy hits her sideways, a rock, a brick, a wooden bat, they can’t tell for sure. her head caves in, and her brain is washed in blood, and she comes to obit drowning in her own self and in fear. it’s cruel, cruel imagery. yoongi feels sickly. “i’m stepping out,” he announces, as namjoon covers her face with the linen before bagging her up. another ragdoll for their collection. no one came to pick up her sister, yet. it’s been two weeks.
“— you don’t look well,” namjoon comments almost softly when joining him in the smoke pit. yoongi takes a long drag, eyes still closed. “you’re not usually like this.”
“isn’t the police supposed to come?” he says, and it’s an incomplete question. the police always comes, they just don’t come with proper answers. “investigate.”
“they are,” namjoon reaches out for the cigarette, taking a quick drag himself before handing it back. yoongi eyes him. he’s not a smoker, but he is stressed. two victims is a a lot of victims for a lifetime. yoongi almost wishes for car crashes. “they have the same hair colour,” he comments, swallowing. “they look alike.” then, after a moment: “they look a bit like you.”
“fuck you,” yoongi snaps, cheeks getting paler. namjoon pulls up his hands as a sign of retreat, i’m sorry, hyung, i didn’t mean to — yoongi knows he’s being honest, that he didn’t mean to make it sound someone is killing girls that resemble min yoongi. that’d be a stupid remark. yoongi isn’t interesting enough to be the center of such attention. “leave the detective work to the police, namjoon.”
and so when he goes home, he steps out of his way, entering a side alley to find a convenience store at the corner. the box of hair dye is pink, but the dye is black, oily, dark, dark black. it stains his fingers as he applies to his hair, the mirror splattered in it like a canvas. he waits for thirty minutes, sipping coffee that has grown cold and stale, a stew hitting up on a pan. it’s odd to look at himself in the mirror, later, through the fog, and see such a different person. his skin looks paler like that. the purple under his eyes more pronounced. he stained his forehead, and the back of his neck. it’s a quarter past five, and the knock is irregular and soft. yoongi looks away from the mirror.
it’s like deja vu, perhaps. the way jungkook leans against the threshold, the way he looks from under heavy eyelids, drunk. the difference it’s in his colours— there’s a nasty bruise on his face, blood staining cheek, small cuts all around it. “can i come in?”
“ jungkook ,” yoongi startles, grabbing jungkook as he stumbles in, feeling his arms around is body, holding. the door closes, but they don’t move, stuck at the bottom of the stairs, jungkook’s body pressing yoongi’s against the wall.
“got into a fight,” jungkook sighs, breathing in heavily. he smells strongly of cleaning products, and a layer of sweet perfume. yoongi hearts beats inconsistent. come on, let’s get you clean , he mumbles, helping him upstairs, directing jungkook to the chair where he crumbles. he looks tired, wasted by more than just alcohol. yoongi looks in his kitchen for a box with first aid items. the antiseptic expired two years before. he sprays it on jungkook’s cheeks nonetheless, feeling him coil. don’t move . “i’m sorry, i—“
“i don’t want to know.” and it’s true. yoongi doesn’t want to know. he has had enough of violence in one night. “it’s disinfected,” jungkook nods, pale and ugly purples. yoongi wants to kiss him anyway. it’s a harrowing kind of feeling. “go take a shower, you’ll feel better.”
they’re still not— nothing, or a thing. it’s been a month since they met for the first time, a month of quick fucks and breakfast. there’s not a lot he knows about jungkook, and there’s not a lot about yoongi that jungkook knows. their arrangement is on the physical side. sometimes jungkook will text him, start conversations that always end in the same place: with someone between someone’s legs, on yoongi’s bed. so yoongi finds himself unable to deal with a hurt jungkook, with a jungkook that leads a life outside of his bed, that gets in trouble or goes to class or fucks other people on other beds. he doesn’t say anything, then, not even after jungkook comes out of the bathroom, not even after brewing him bitter coffee, not even then. jungkook puts his mug down. yoongi knows he’s staring. “your hair.” the sentence is soft spoken.
“yeah,” it’s all yoongi offers.
“it’s pretty,” jungkook reaches out, touching the skin on yoongi’s forehead where the dye has stained. the tips of his fingers are warm as he traces down the side of yoongi’s face. yoongi looks up at him. “it looks good.”
“i’m going to bed,” yoongi informs him, then, heart beating confused. he wants badly to take care of jungkook, but he doesn’t know if that’s allowed. “— are you staying?” jungkook nods. “come to bed, then.”
they only slept together once. real sleep, the kind you forget who’s on your bed with you. when they fuck, they stay awake, or force themselves to do so, as if afraid of the intimacy that comes with sharing a bed but not having sex on it. yoongi slides under the covers first, jungkook follows, still wobbly. “let me hold you,” jungkook asks, albeit he doesn’t wait for an answer, settling around yoongi’s body as if they’re tetris pieces. yoongi stares at the wall, feeling jungkook’s breath against him. it smells like coffee, he thinks. “hyung,” the word makes yoongi sigh. “are you mad at me?”
“— no,” yoongi replies earnestly. he isn’t mad. that isn’t the proper name for that feeling.
“i won’t drink and come here anymore,” jungkook moves a bit, closer, if it’s any possible. he rubs his foot against yoongi’s ankle. “i’m sorry.”
“do you always do this?” and yoongi is unsure of what he wants to ask. “drink, i mean.”
“no,” jungkook sounds apologetic. “i don’t know why i do it,” yoongi waits. “sometimes when i realise i’m drunk already.” you’re too young for that , yoongi mutters. “i don’t think bad things if i’m here. that’s why— “ a sigh follows. “that’s why i come.”
“— jungkook,” there’s a lot that yoongi wants to say, but it’s difficult somehow, he doesn’t know how . there’s some sort of desperate need to hold instead of being held. he untangles himself from jungkook’s firm grip, then, turning to see his confused look, his flushed cheeks under the purple soreness of the bruises. “i— need to go outside for a smoke.”
he doesn’t really smoke at home, not often. the smell sticks to things and he doesn’t like it. but yoongi is nervous and his hands are shaking, and so he steps away from the bed, grabbing his windbreaker, not bothering to change his slippers for shoes. the cold outside is painful, his trousers too thin. he ought to buy warmer clothes. jungkook doesn’t follow him, which is a small blessing. yoongi’s mind is messy, and his scalp itches from the dye. he sighs. sleeping with jungkook won’t work for too long. it won’t work because yoongi’s lonely, and he likes the way jungkook looks at him, and he likes the lines of his body, and he likes the way his laughter sounds. he takes another drag, staring at the darkened nothingness of the street, faint sounds of cars on the motorway not too far.
when he returns, jungkook’s asleep. he probably didn’t want to be, from the way he’s laying down, half perked up as if waiting. yoongi’s heart leaps. move a bit , he mutters, shaking jungkook slightly, watching him blink in confusion. jungkook likes to hold and to cling and to pin him down, but he allows yoongi to push him before bringing him in into a weak hold, he allows the hand that touch his hair, fingers through strands, massaging scalp, and he closes his eyes when yoongi kisses his neck softly. i’ll take care of you . “this is good, too,” jungkook mutters, small between yoongi’s arms, smaller . “i—,” a sniff follows. yoongi panics, but jungkook doesn’t say anything else, falling asleep, chest rising and falling. yoongi watches him for a moment, watches him until his own eyes start getting heavier. he feels warm.
it’s — new, to wake up next to jungkook. it isn’t, but it is. it is because jungkook’s still being held, and it isn’t because it feels like their bodies are used to being so close already. yoongi sighs, jungkook mumbles incoherent words. their mouths meet not too long after, a kiss that tastes of sleep and morning light, even at three in the afternoon. yoongi slides his hand down jungkook’s back, down and under the hem of his pants, down and in between the curves of his body, and jungkook flinches, their teeths clashing. “let me,” yoongi asks, softly, but jungkook doesn’t seem to want to, mumbling apologies, so he doesn’t, taking his hand away. i’m not good at this , he says, face hiding in the crook of yoongi’s neck. they’re both wanting, yoongi can feel it in the way jungkook presses against him. “jungkook,” he sighs. “i need to get ready for work.”
“then—,” and the next kiss is a bit needier, a bit less yoongi and more jungkook. hands roam over bodies, making yoongi stir. “tell me about your work.” it’s a strange kind of thing to be asked, when someone’s got their hands down your body all things considered, especially the things that belong to the walls of a morgue. yoongi stops moving, uncomfortable. jungkook notices it right away. "i— i mean,” he stammers, and they stare at each other. “i’m sorry.”
they aren’t supposed to be doing this. not the waking up thing, not the waking up sex, not the talking about morgues thing. it’s unnatural, they don’t know each other. yoongi sighs. and yet, and yet — he wants those things. all of them . he leans in, kissing the corner of jungkook’s lips. “i need to leave soon.” then, carefully: “if you want, you can stay.”
how odd would it be, to get home after eight hours and find jungkook there, on his bed, waiting. yoongi stirs at the thought, at the silly wishful thinkness of it all. “i have things to do,” jungkook informs him as they finally let go of each other. things to do . “but i like your plants.” yoongi smiles as he walks away from the bed, walking lazily towards the coffee machine, you told me that before . the change of subject is obvious. he hears jungkook groans as he stretches. it itches. yoongi focus on his utensils. “i’ll bring you some next time.”
next time . yoongi glances over his shoulder, just barely. jungkook’s changing into his own clothes again. “— when?” he asks, pressing a button. “i’ll make some space.” for you, for the plants. i’ll make space . “just let me know.”
“soon.” it startles him when jungkook approaches him, sliding hands under yoongi’s arm to wrap around his middle. it startles him bad enough he knocks his mug about, steaming coffee running down his fingers, blistering heat spreading. he curses out loud, moving to let cold water over his hand, jungkook still attached to him. “i’m sorry,” jungkook mutters, holding onto yoongi’s hand under the running frigid water. it’s okay . “i always end up hurting people.” those are words that don’t belong, eerie words, said in a low, mildly apologetic voice. jungkook sighs. yoongi doesn’t understand what he’s feeling.
“you didn’t hurt me,” yoongi says, shutting off the water. coffee has dripped down the counter, pooling in a small puddle at his feet. “i hurt myself.” then adds: “you apologise too much, jungkook.” he gives jungkook’s hand a loving pat, pushing him away to clean the mess, and jungkook hovers, hovers before he goes back to picking up the remains of his visit (of his staying). yoongi offers him a mug before he goes, but jungkook turns it down, saying his head will hurt if he drinks too much coffee. they stand awkwardly then, in the living room that is also a kitchen and a bedroom, the too small of a space suddenly tight around them. how to say goodbye , yoongi thinks, when you don’t want to?
“— text me?” jungkook asks, then, pulling the straps of his backpack as if he’s still a young boy.
“yeah,” yoongi nods. “i— yeah.”
they move closer, the both of them, the kiss much easier now, because yoongi fully knows what jungkook likes, and jungkook understands what tilting his head the slightest makes to yoongi’s senses. then, like many times before, he’s turning his back and leaving, quick steps taking him away.
— yoongi gets to work two hours later, two hours, two hours . the body on the table is still warm. she’s got black hair, and a bruise that is still dripping red on the metal table, contrasting. twenty-three, not six, her sheet says. multiples, anyway. namjoon is crouched by the farthest wall, hands on his neck. two policemen talk to the coroner. yoongi swallows, walking over, leaving her file behind. “maybe you should change jobs,” he says, calmly, even though he’s shaking. black hair, her hair is black. it’s falling off the table, silky. namjoon makes a noise. “take the night off, namjoon-ah.”
“no, i’m okay,” namjoon replies, raising his head. “i didn’t expect to get another one so soon.” then he blinks, looking at yoongi. “you changed your hair.” his eyes dart back to the dead girl. yoongi feels sick, and so he stands, walking away. “ hyung— ”
it isn’t real. it means nothing. it’s just some macabre coincidence, nothing else. third’s a charm , the police officer is saying, sounding grim. he’s wearing a suit and tie, so maybe a detective. “what’s going on?” yoongi asks, and the officers halt their conversation. the coroner gives him a look, eyes fleeting to his hair.
“we’re just assembling statements,” one of the men replies. he sounds dry and unwelcoming. “we’ll get to you later.”
“when did this happen?” yoongi tries again, motioning to the body. it smells fresh, the decay just settling in, the soul probably around, clinging to the life it lost. there’s perfume, though, there’s cleaning products and flowers. “the others—“
“we can’t talk about the case,” there’s a case. yoongi’s heart beats heavily. “but if you can wait a moment, we’d like to speak to you.”
namjoon follows him outside, as quietly as he can. yoongi almost fails to light his cigarette, hands shaking. namjoon closes the door leading out. “i didn’t mean to imply anything,” he says right away. “you know that, right?”
“when did they bring her?” yoongi asks, not really wanting the conversation on himself.
“just some time before you got here,” a cigarette is offered. namjoon sighs before taking it, waiting for the lighter. yoongi lights both of them, standing close. namjoon’s tall like jungkook, taller, maybe. he needs to stop thinking. they both exhale. “the officer said her body was found near the river.”
“it was daylight not so long ago,” yoongi points out, looking up to the black rip of a sky above them, between the buildings. “no one saw— “ smoke curls about them. they’re not the only ones . yoongi coughs, looking down and back at him. “what did you say?”
“they’re not the only ones, hyung.” the repetition doesn’t make namjoon’s sentence easier to listen to. he holds the cigarette between his lips as his hands roam about his pockets for a phone. “i heard them talking— went to check,” he exhales smoke and steam then. “— here.”
two more bodies found north of han river . the faces of two girls are blurred underneath, probably images taken from their ids. their names are also redacted. two more bodies. which means they were others before. “fuck,” yoongi hisses. “fuck.”
in the city of seoul, someone is murdering girls. the thought seems unlikely, unwelcomed, unnatural. seoul is safe (small comfort), criminality is almost non-existent (even smaller). for some reason, some reason unknown to him, yoongi thinks of jungkook. “i know,” namjoon nods. “ fuck .”
statements are taken. just to officialise the autopsies ran by the three of them. their impressions written on paper. the things that twisted their guts. there weren’t many, not to yoongi, at least. they were all clean , yoongi says. their clothes washed, their bodies. not the last girl, no. that was a more violent encounter. there was blood under her nails , the police officer says. we’re going to identify him soon . small, small comfort. “the coroner said the other girls had hair like yours,” pictures are shown. namjoon took them. bleached hair. yoongi’s mouth feels dry, his heart beats too fast. he blinks, confused. “you changed it.” why is it important , he mumbles, trembling. the officer shrugs, standing up, picking up the files. “it isn’t. just a comment.” his partner huffs. yoongi looks from one to another. “thank you for your time, yoongi-ssi.”
the coroner sends them both home for the night. yoongi gets home not too long after, not wanting to walk in the shadows of alleyways, startled by people coming too close. he locks the door. his bed is unmade, the mug he drank coffee from not too long ago still on the table, a round coffee stain against the wood. it smells like jungkook, all of it, like his fabric softener, his hair.
are you safe?
jungkook never replies.
it’s usually how it happens, at least for min yoongi. sleep with someone you don’t know, sleep with them again, weave strings that attach limbs to limbs, share, share too much, and then severe those strings when they never come back. yoongi’s scissors are blunt already, and they stain everything copper. so he’s falling back into routine after two weeks, two weeks of carefully reading over the murder of innocent girls, of following naver articles, of not having jeon jungkook on his bed, but thinking about him into the bleak nights. for two weeks, though, no one dies. there’s always a period of rest , someone writes on a blog, it can last years, or hours . yoongi sighs, looking at his phone. his clock is ticking. everyone’s is. the women’s more urgently so. it’s a bit over four. he’s almost home.
i’m at the laundromat
the message pops in onto the screen he’s staring at. he stares so hard at it, it makes his eyes water. do lovers also have a period of rest? are they, anyway— lovers? yoongi swallows. his heart beats in an uncanny way, and it stays like that, rattling, all the way to the laundromat. he stops outside, watching jungkook from the street. watching him carefully put clothes inside a machine, taking them out from a black trash bag. some are stained. red. yoongi holds his breath when jungkook looks up, finding him staring. he sees when the words form at the tip of his tongue, hyung . yoongi missed him, he realises.
“you came,” jungkook says, once the door is closed behind yoongi.
“yeah.” and yoongi’s eyes drop to the clothes jungkook’s holding, only for an instant, seeing the flower patterns, the gracefulness of a girl’s shirt. but maybe that’s just yoongi and his weak stomach. jungkook’s fingers presses harder against the fabric. it doesn’t look like a girl’s shirt any longer. “i’m here.” the shirt is shoved inside the machine. jungkook’s face isn’t purple and bruised anymore. there’s barely reminders of it, there’s only pretty skin and sharp traces. yoongi can’t stand still any longer. he crosses the distance between them, and jungkook has the air knocked out of his lungs when yoongi pushes him against the nearest wall of drying machines, kissing. jungkook lets him— lets himself gets pushed, lets yoongi press a leg between his, lets, lets, lets. it’s a first. he tastes like coca-cola. yoongi tastes like ashes. it’s a strange combination. “jungkook,” he mutters against jungkook’s neck. “i—“ i missed you , he wants to say, i need you , he thinks, and yet his mouth produces no sounds. they stop moving, breathing heavily. jungkook’s fists are curled on the fabric of yoongi’s collar as if he’s about to strangle him. “why didn’t you—“ call, text, reply. why didn’t you, why didn’t you—
“i did something bad,” jungkook’s voice is breathy. “i don’t— i keep—“ they are talking in fractures. yoongi puts just enough space between them they can think straight. “i think i missed you.”
yoongi wants to smile, he almost does. he almost, almost does. it’d mean things if he did. “i think i missed you, too.” is it real, missing someone you barely know? probably not. yoongi’s eyes search around jungkook’s face, his eyes so round, his fleshy red lips, the scar on his cheeks, the hair mussed and left unwashed, framing his forehead. then, he repeats, admits , real or unreal, he doesn’t know, but: “ i missed you. ”
“— i don’t know if i know how that feels,” jungkook stares about yoongi’s face, too.
“like a knife to the ribs,” yoongi offers. “it bothers.”
a knife to the ribs is the perfect allusion to missing someone (or loving someone) (or losing someone). it stings and hurts and bothers, and kills you slowly— blood staining lung tissue little by little, and it might take months for you to go. unless you give up, pull it out and bleed yourself to death. that’s missing someone. “i missed you, then,” and jungkook presses his lips together, the fine like a slash of red. his hands roam, and his fingers dig into yoongi’s sides, bringing him closer again. yoongi knows there’s a camera, and that there’s a window, that there are people in the world besides the both of them— but he can’t help but run his hand down, pressing between jungkook’s legs, just to hear him hold his breath, eyes fluttering. “i want to take you home.” jungkook mutters. “my home.”
they stare at each other. yoongi blinks, heart beating harshly. “— okay.”
the clothes are left behind to wash, and darkness engulf them in heavy colours once they step out of the laundromat. jungkook lives not too far, just opposite directions. a hanok style run down corner house, graffitied on the high walls. the door of the gate moans loudly. there’s a small patio, and the old style doors slide to a small thing of a room. there’s nothing much aside from a mattress, a laptop still turned on, things forgotten in boxes, a carry on luggage, the kitchen old and not very functional on the other side of the dividers. the constant sound of water dripping fills up yoongi’s ears. it’s frigid inside. jungkook turns on the portable heater. “it was my mum’s,” jungkook explains. “i don’t have to pay rent.”
“it’s nice,” yoongi offers. it truly isn’t. it’s old and cold and there’s mold on a wall. “it’s close to my apartment,” he doesn’t know what he means by that. “aren’t you cold here?”
“yeah,” jungkook huffs. he’s crouched in front of the heater. it does a poor job on heating the room. yoongi closes the door, shutting them in. he glances to the mattress, to the messy blankets and duvets. they’re all very white and very clean. “i can make you coffee.”
“— i’d like that.” coffee is brewed, and it tastes a bit burned, but yoongi doesn’t say so. they sit by the heater, backs against wall. jungkook pulls up the blankets, wrapping them about. yoongi’s mug is cracked, the porcelain pointy. “— when did you move?”
“a few months ago, i used to live up north the river,” jungkook takes a sip of his coffee. he glances at yoongi. “i don’t have much.”
“i don’t have much either.” he sighs. jungkook gets closer, and he hesitates before leaning in, his smell all over yoongi, cleaning products, cheap lavender, lips a bit dry against the skin of yoongi’s neck. the wooden floor underneath them is cold and hard and uncomfortable, but yoongi quickly forgets. “you’re a good person.” he doesn’t know why he says it. jungkook stops moving, breathing against his neck. “you are.”
mugs are left on the floor as jungkook touches the collar of yoongi’s shirt, tugging, kissing skin he can find. “i’m not,” jungkook mutters, teeth nibbling on skin. yoongi closes his eyes, head tilting. he barely registers jungkook’s words. “hyung,” yoongi nods, because he understands what the word means. they kiss sloppily, hands searching each other’s body rather briskly, and it’s warm, jungkook’s body, warm and living and good. he jolts when yoongi touches him, hands grabbing more forcefully on the sides of yoongi’s ribs, under the layer of his clothed. jungkook’s cheeks turn red. “i’m scared.”
“— of me?”
“no, of,” jungkook swallows, and yoongi likes the way he looks nervous and unsure. “of not being able to do it that way.” gently , he said it once. that’s the jeon jungkook that sounds and feels younger, not the one that makes yoongi come until he cries. yoongi shakes his head, we don’t have to if you don’t want to . “i—,” redness is so deep under his cheeks it’s like he is dry of blood everywhere else. “i like to,” yoongi waits, and jungkook looks away. “if it hurts, i—“
“you like it when it hurts,” he comments, voice low. jungkook sucks in his breath, keeping his eyes steady somewhere else. “i’ve learned it by now, jungkook.” he looks ashamed. yoongi leans in, kissing his jaw. they’re sitting in an awkward position, legs folded to provide closeness, and they’re going numb. jungkook shakes his head, as if to contradict him, as if to say, no, that’s not me . “it’s okay.”
“i don’t want to hurt you,” he breathes out. “if you’re here, i don’t want to hurt anyone.” yoongi stares at him, pretending not to understand the deeper meanings behind those words. “— can’t we just sleep together?”
yoongi blinks, and he can’t help but smile this time. he doesn’t hide it. “yeah.” together, they walk around the small house, collecting their mugs, leaving out clothes. jungkook messes around his boxes to find yoongi some extra pair of sleeping pants. the objects he removes from it are an assortment range of oddities. yoongi picks up a bunny mask. the plastic smells heavily of bleach, as if it’s been scrutinised by a bath of it. it’s all white, the paint gone. he recalls the bunny emoji next to jungkook’s name on his phone. jungkook’s eyes widen the slightest when he sees him with the mask, and yoongi places it in front of his face, staring back. “how do i look?” he asks, watching jungkook grin weakly through the holes.
“cute,” it’s the answer. it makes yoongi blush, so he puts the mask down. they tangle on the mattress rather easily, folding themselves against each other, the steady sound of breaths and the heater expelling hot hot air the only things yoongi hears. jungkook inhales against his neck. “i never met anyone like you.”
“a mortuary assistant?” yoongi tries for dry humour, for once.
“no,” and jungkook chuckles. “someone that makes me want to stop hurting people.” there again, the strange sort of sentences. yoongi doesn’t say anything back. he doesn’t know what to say. “how’s— how’s your work?”
“— messy,” yoongi swallows. he moves a bit, chin against the top of jungkook’s head, hands moving up and down his back, lovingly so. jungkook hasn’t complained about it, or shudder away from it, and yoongi carouses in the feeling of being allowed to touch with tenderness. “i don’t know how to do anything else.” then, after a thought: “do you work?”
he wants to get to know jungkook. if they’re doing this— the sleeping, not only the fucking, it’s important to yoongi that he knows trivial things, so when jungkook’s a certain way, he can appease him. also, yoongi thinks falling in love for someone you don’t know is rather painful. and he is, in pain, falling in love. they’re often the same thing when he’s around jungkook. “odd jobs,” and jungkook yawns, cuddling closer. “i don’t know how to do— anything, i suppose.”
“you’re young,” yoongi sighs. “you’ll find something.”
the room is feeling a bit warmer, but it might be the way they’re entwined. yoongi feels it spread under his clothes, onto his limbs. “we forgot to pick up your clothes,” he comments, too comfortable to move. later , jungkook mutters, sounding sleepy. “if the owner finds them, they’ll toss them away.”
“they’re not mine anyway.” yoongi thinks of the floral patterns on the shirt jungkook was holding, how it looked small, like a girl’s blouse. then he thinks of the girls on the mortuary table. it makes him stir, bothered. “they were my mother’s.” ah. yoongi breathes easier.
“what happened to her?”
“she left.” it’s a very finite thought. one that doesn’t really leaves any room for more questions. it’s too early into their— relationship for such conversations. jungkook moves, starting to untangle himself from yoongi’s body with a sigh. “i’ll go pick them up.” yoongi starts moving, too, maybe to leave, maybe to go with him, but jungkook pushes him back onto the mattress softly. “you can stay, hyung, it’s too cold outside.” and the way he kisses yoongi’s cheek makes him smile. alright, i’ll wait here . it’s too cold inside, too , he wants to add, but doesn’t.
it is too cold, without jungkook. his side of the bed turns frigid in minutes. yoongi doesn’t think he can fall asleep, not with the lack of warmth and the constant dripping of a sink. he stands, then, stretching his legs, hearing the floorboard creak underneath his weight. the bunny mask is against the wall. yoongi keeps looking back at it. there’s a bathtub in the bathroom, when yoongi walks in, the old door moaning. it’s its sink that drips constantly. differently from most of the house, it’s pristine clean, the porcelain white, white, white, white, like jungkook’s bedsheets. yoongi presses the faucet closed. there’s silence, afterwards.
when jungkook returns, some fourty minutes later, clothes in a plastic bag, yoongi is making some more coffee. it’s daylight already, but the house isn’t that alight. there are few windows and the doors to the patio are all closed. “i made some more coffee,” yoongi tells him. “i hope you don’t mind.”
“i don’t,” jungkook huffs, approaching him to drink from his mug. it doesn’t taste burnt, yoongi knows. “it’s good.”
“— you have a bathtub.”
“does it have hot water?” they stare at each other, yoongi over his mug. then jungkook huffs again, smiling this time, and nods. thirty minutes later and they’re soaked in it, legs over legs, the water swirling with soap. jungkook’s hair is damp, pushed behind his ears, even though a few wet strands keep escaping, falling over his eyes. yoongi feels comfortable, and warm, and tired. he could fall asleep there, fall into and under the water, breathing in until it fills his lungs. he wouldn’t even notice. he keeps his eyes open, though. “we can do this more often,” he says, voice low. jungkook’s fingers touch his knees. “if you want.”
“taking baths together?”
“that, too,” yoongi feels his lips curling up. “— spending time together.” time, proper time, not time between sheets, but time with each other’s presence, and just that. jungkook flushes as he understands. i want more of you than just sex , those words say. i want you, as an individual, not just as a body . jungkook inhales, and his fingers slide down yoongi’s leg down his ankles. “it’s okay if—“
“i’d like that.”
yoongi’s smile gets slightly bigger. he finds himself leaning in, then, wrapping fingers around jungkook’s wrists to pull him closer, the water dripping down onto the old flooring, splashing. kissing takes them out of the tub and onto the mattress, bodies still wet, and they’re both shivering from the cold. the portable heater barely makes a difference. jungkook’s body does, though, against his own, and yoongi thinks they won’t be able to fall asleep on a bed so wet. the friction of wet sheets is unbearable. “let me,” he asks again, tugging jungkook closer, wanting to be allowed, needing it. jungkook nods, breathing heavily, trembling fingers digging into skin. yoongi’s heart speeds. “really?” he needs it to be said out loud.
“yes,” jungkook gives in, then, eyes pressed closed, eyelash long over the purple skin of sleepless nights. “yes.” fucking jungkook is different than being fucked by him. it’s much slower, much more careful, much steadier. jungkook’s always been loud, but he’s louder as yoongi holds the small of his back down, two fingers keeping him heaving against the damp pillow, broken chords of broken moans leaving his mouth. yoongi thinks he could get off like that, watching jungkook writhe under the pressure of his hand, angling himself involuntarily so it feels better, so yoongi hits the spot that feels good. “— hyung,” the breathy thing of a plea has yoongi’s mouth drying. “ close.” he doesn’t even last the end of the word, staining white on white, gasp stuck in his throat. yoongi pulls his fingers out, leaning in to lick at sensitive skin, and jungkook jolts, moaning loudly, curling fingers around the sheets. yoongi huffs, letting him breathe. “— fuck me,” he begs, and his ears are red.
“but,” and yoongi massages shoulder blades and downwards, over ribs and over flat stomach, until he touches jungkook where it’s sensitive and sticky. jungkook’s hips buckle, involuntarily trying to get rid of the touch, a desperate whimper stumbling out of his mouth as yoongi strokes him slowly. ”it might be too much.”
“i— ahhyung— ,” and yoongi wishes he could see his face, or the way he’s probably biting his lip so harshly it draws blood. “please—“
so yoongi complies, and jungkook groans painfully as soon as he pushes in, slow and careful, allowing time to adjust, allowing jungkook room to breathe before starting to properly move, revelling on the sensation and the heat and the tightness. they’re both burning, as if taken by fever. jungkook cries, the grind against the bed a torture to most sensitive parts of his body, his mouth producing only short sentences, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop . yoongi does stop, because he needs to, body shivering with the high of an orgasm, heaving as if he’s ran a thousand miles. jungkook’s still mumbling incoherencies. the bed sheets are wet and disgusting and they smell of sweat and sex. there’s a trail of reddish saliva on a pillow, from where jungkook bit himself too harshly. yoongi pulls out, legs weak. “are you okay?”
“—yeah,” the reply is small and full of air, almost a mutter. “yes.”
“did it hurt?”
jungkook sighs, turning his body the slightest, finding yoongi’s eyes. he’s all red, and there’s purple bruises on the crook of his neck. stunning. “yes,” he replies, and he touches himself, frown getting deeper as his body jolts, sensitivity heightened. yoongi tries to push his hands away, don’t . “i want a bit more pain.” his eyes are dark and gold rimmed. yoongi stares at the split lips and the hazed eyes, the frown of pain drawing lines on his forehead. “it’s good pain.”
“i don’t want to hurt you,” but jungkook urges him to, urges him to wrap a hand around him, the slight torture making jungkook whimper and his legs try and close, but he’s smiling blissfully all along, bottom teeth bloody from the bite on his lip. it’s strange, to watch it, to feel how it affects yoongi’s own body, how to inflict that kind of pain feels good . then yoongi feels ashamed, and embarrassed, and he lets go, sitting back and away. jungkook’s chest rise and falls rapidly, his legs spread, fingers fisting sheets. he opens his eyes, then.
“— thank you.”
he says it informally. yoongi huffs. he helps jungkook to sit up, kissing him when he does so. it tastes like blood and coffee and the tears that ran down and over his mouth. it’s a good kiss. “i’m sorry.”
it’s a strange kind of dynamic. yoongi doesn’t know how he feels about it, the thank you/i’m sorry contrast too brash, too violent, even. jungkook seems to like it. yoongi’s eyes fleet to the bunny mask, and then he’s standing up. he’s absurdly tired. “are you leaving?”
“we are,” he offers his hand. jungkook takes it, and his weak legs barely hold him up. “your bed is wet.” they don’t let go of each other’s hands. “my bed isn’t.” they’re naked and shivering and jungkook only nods, fingers pressing on yoongi’s. “i need sleep.”
they have never seen proper daylight together, never walked alongside a street full of people, never passed by ahjummas who offer them food. their fingers keep brushing, but yoongi’s too scared of daylight to hold. it’s near nine in the morning when they finally get into bed, bodies comfortable beside each other, snuggling close. jungkook falls asleep almost immediately. yoongi listens to his breathing patterns, how normal they sound like, and he thinks about the way he couldn’t look up as they walked outside, at the bunny mask, at the frigid rooms of his empty house. his mind unfolds the articles read over the weeks apart. the only thing we know , one of the detectives says in a lengthy one, from the cctv cameras around the park, is that our killer was wearing a mask— white, like a rabbit’s face . yoongi swallows, bringing jungkook closer to him.
she’s got black hair, again. she, another . not a kim, neither a sunwoo, nor a park. she’s a han.
black hair, shorter than before, milky white eyes wide open. the clothes she’s wearing are clean, her body is. the coroner sighs on the other side of the table. namjoon sighs somewhere behind yoongi. yoongi feels like his lungs don’t work so he can’t sigh. her face is bloodied, dried deep red blotches stained under her nose, on her cheeks. she’s prettier than the others, but more violently murdered. he’s escalating , one of the detective comments from afar. yoongi turns his head to look at them. the air inside the morgue smells of guts. “— do you have leads?” he asks, despite knowing they won’t answer fully.
“we have cctv footage, a few brief descriptions from eye witnesses,” one of them says, after a moment. he eyes yoongi, one eyebrow cocking up. “— why you ask?”
it makes yoongi huff. “because they keep washing up here,” he retorts, vaguely gesturing towards the body. “it doesn’t seem like you do.” the coroner mutters a warning boy under his breath, starting to apologise with a few bows. yoongi pushes his hands into his pockets. “you should do better.”
another warning follows, this time with just leave, now . yoongi complies easily, stepping out, already searching for cigarettes and his phone. it’s only a quarter past midnight. the sky is a staryless sea as it always is in seoul. safe, safe seoul.
are you okay?
he takes a drag, waiting. no answer comes. yoongi sighs finally, smoke coming out of his nostrils, swirling up. there’s an ugly kind of ache inside his chest, bothering, it’s been bothering him for a few days now, since he has last seen jungkook, since he left after another kiss in the open cramped space of yoongi’s apartment. namjoon comes out, as he lights up his second cigarette. “i don’t want to be alone in here,” namjoon says right away. “so don’t get yourself fired.”
“he won’t fire me,” a shrug. “i’m the only one out of the three of us that handles the cutting.” the coroner has shaky hands, namjoon soft insides. yoongi holds the knife, then. you don’t have to say it like that, hyung. “namjoon,” he finds namjoon’s eyes, then looks away. “do you think they’ll catch him?”
it’s a conversation they have already had. “i don’t know,” namjoon lets his back against the door, looking tired. “they have a description so it shouldn’t—“
“they do?” some sort of alarm starts inside yoongi’s mind.
“yeah, here,” and namjoon pulls out his phone, quickly going through things, offering the device after a few minutes of research. the face behind the bunny mask , says the article, is probably a charming one . he feels the earth beneath his feet shift the slightly. “it’s not a description, is it,” he tries, voice weak. “half of the population is black haired and tall.” small consolation. “it doesn’t mean anything.” even smaller.
“it’s better than nothing, i suppose,” namjoon looks clueless to yoongi’s inner turmoil. then he sighs deeply. “we need to go back,” yoongi barely registers it. “there’s going to be a forensics team to assist with the autopsy.”
“they know how to cut, then,” yoongi stammers. “i’m going home.”
“message me if they find out anything.”
leaving namjoon and his job behind isn’t a smart move. it might get him fired. yoongi doesn’t know how to do anything else. his feet are adamant though, his heart set on a destination he shouldn't go to. one hour later and jungkook’s old house is lonely and dark and quiet. yoongi knocks on the front gate. there’s no doorbells installed. please , he asks no god in particular. there might be no gods anyway. jungkook never comes. the laundromat is empty, as well, left to the obscurities of the night. it isn’t that late, barely past one. please . no gods reply, either.
jungkook’s asleep by the time yoongi gets home, and he knows that jungkook’s there almost immediately, the smell of cleaning products and sweetness greeting him at the door. he’s asleep, gap between his lips, the key yoongi recklessly gave him clutched in the palm of his hand. his backpack rests against the bed. yoongi swallows, and his heart, his heart aches greatly, aches and yearns and aches in blunt confusion. it’s quietly that he walks over, then, taking off his jacket and letting it fall on the floor, and jungkook’s all warm when yoongi joins him, and he stirs, waking up. his breath smells of alcohol. yoongi kisses the corner of his lips anyway. “hyung, i’m—“ and he blinks, sleepy, embarrassed. “i should have let you know that i was here.”
“no,” yoongi sighs, forehead against jungkook’s. “i liked seeing you here.” they share the warm air between them. “are you okay?” jungkook nods. i am now . “stay for a while,” yoongi asks. “here, with me. don’t go home. it’s too cold there.” brown eyes with gold rims find yoongi’s tired ones. they’re pretty and round and big, youthful. they’re not dark. not dark. “ please .”
“okay,” jungkook moves closer, kissing yoongi, softly, even. his tongue tastes of soju and wine and vodka, a perilous, hazardous mixture. it burns fast. “— i’m sorry.” the words are a offering made between the shared taste of their mouths. yoongi swallows them, pulling back the slightest, staring. “i think— i think i did something bad again.”
“it doesn’t matter,” but it does . “if you stay nothing bad will happen again.” but it will . it’s impossible to stop an avalanche by building a wall. yoongi wants to try nonetheless. he doesn’t know for sure, he doesn’t know if what he thinks is what happens, he doesn’t know if jungkook’s blood is under the nails of the sunwoo girl. jungkook sniffs. “you can tell me,” he offers, softly. “you can tell me everything.”
“i just want to sleep.” the dismiss is also soft. yoongi nods. then sleep . but then: “— does love also hurt like a knife to the ribs?”
yoongi sucks air in, throat dry. “yes,” jungkook stares at him, expectant. “don’t pull it out or you’ll bleed to death.” in the language of deranged loving, that means: don’t go, don’t go, don’t go . jungkook leans against him, their noses touch. he closes his eyes, fingers clinging to the fabric of the clothes yoongi still ought to change out of. “— sleep, jungkook.” and just like that, he’s falling, and yoongi is too, he’s been for a while.
there are two mugs between them, sitting along a house of cards. yoongi sees it, even if it’s not there. it’s hours later. not a lot, they’re still exhausted. their coffee is growing cold by the minute. sometimes i think i hurt people , jungkook had sat there and said, every syllable and every word half-stammered, lisp giving brisk ends to them. i can’t remember anything afterwards . “— how long,” yoongi swallows, seeing the cards tremble inside his mind. “how long has this been going on?” jungkook’s eyes lift to meet yoongi’s. they’re brown. brown and plain and innocent.
“i don’t know,” and he sniffs, fingers wrapping around the cold mug. “i’ve tried moving, because i thought it’d stop.” a pause. “it didn’t.” yoongi reaches across the table, touching jungkook’s fingers. they’re cold, too. it’s past noon, they shouldn’t be so cold. the sunlight that drips in is bleak, though. “but i — i liked it ,” there’s bleakness enthralled into jungkook’s voice, too. “i liked doing it.”
it hits yoongi that the strange ache inside his stomach is fear. he’s suddenly afraid of the person sitting in front of him, and it battles viciously against the wish to hold jungkook’s hand, fingers pushing between fingers, never letting go. the person and jungkook aren’t the same being. yoongi can’t see straight, and he blinks, the corners of his vision red and blue with blur. he retrieves his hand away. “they looked like me.” his heart skips a dying beat. “the last few girls.”
“i couldn’t stop thinking about you,” there’s something happening to jungkook’s ways. his eyes are getting darker. “i couldn’t hurt you, so i—“
“hurt them .” yoongi completes. he takes the mug against his lips, feeling the icy liquid, how stale it tastes, how awful it blends with the sickness in his throat. the imaginary house of cards sways. maybe it’ll burn instead of fall. “how do we,” and he thinks for a moment. “how do we stop it, jungkook?” you, how do we stop you?
for a moment, jungkook doesn’t reply. his teeth nibble on his bottom lip, eyes down at his own hands, at his own stale coffee. “turning me in,” he replies, sighing. yoongi’s phone vibrates at the edge of the table. both of them look at the screen that lights up, namjoon’s message easy to read: they have a lead . yoongi lets the air out from inside his lungs. it comes out stuttery. “or,” and there’s hope in such small word. “pull the knife out and let me bleed to death.” which means, in deranged loving, let me go, let me go, let me go .
“— no.” there aren’t many alternatives. there’s only an extensive valley of shadow and death in front of jungkook, in one way or another. he’s either the one to inflict it, or the one pained by it. yoongi feels like maggots are starting to eat up his guts. it hurts and it’s sickening. he doesn’t want to let jungkook go, but he smells of cleaning products and his nails are dirty with the skin of girls, their hair strands clogging up the drain of his bathtub. jungkook looks red on his cheeks. looks red and pretty and scary. maybe whatever god made him gave him a face like that to appease the hollowness of a soulless body. “ no .”
“ hyung ,” and jungkook leans in, as if wanting to reach out, too. he doesn’t.
“stay with me,” yoongi asks, or pleads, or prays. “you said it— you don’t want to hurt people when you’re here.” it’s impossible to stop an avalanche by building a wall. yoongi’s pockets are filled with bricks, though, and he tries nonetheless. “ i’m in love with you. ” that wasn’t what he meant to say, but it comes out like that, words stumbling, almost like a whisper. jungkook’s eyes widen, staring. hyung . “i— am.” being in love seems generic. seems too easy. he doesn’t know jungkook entirely, but he’s in love with him nonetheless, with the folds of his clothes, with the way his eyes are round and inquisitive, with his soft giggling and soft-spoken ways, with the hair that he pushes behind his ear, with his voice and his smell that stains the sheets. yoongi isn’t blind to the monster underneath, no— and he swallows, heart beating fast.
“— what if they find me?”
“they won’t.” but they will . “they don’t have leads.” but they do .
“aren’t you scared of me?” it’s like a flicker, a flicker of oily, dark light. it’s there, all over jungkook’s face, and then it’s gone. then it’s soft browns, like melted chocolate.
“— yes,” the word is breathed out. “but not enough.” jungkook doesn’t look certain of his answer. “when you feel like hurting people, i’ll—,” there’s no completement for that sentence. yoongi struggles. “i don’t want you to hurt anyone else.”
jungkook looks at him, strange blandness in his eyes. “i can’t help it.” yoongi’s phone starts buzzing again. namjoon’s name on the screen. when it stops, the silence is all-consuming. it doesn’t last long. there’s a noise, like a whip, and yoongi flinches involuntarily, and he thinks, heart viciously beating, that jungkook is lunging at him, blunt force trauma to the head . it isn’t jungkook. yoongi feels his arm being twisted, confusion and smoke blinding him momentarily, but then— then it’s the police, forcing him down on the table violently, and it’s jungkook, eyes wide and panicked, being dragged away, but not away, free, he’s free , and yoongi stops moving altogether when he feels the cold metal against his wrists. the click isn’t lyrical like the coins at the laundromat. “what is happening—“ he tries to ask, mouth dry. you have the right to remain silent , someone is saying, the voice familiar. a police officer offers jungkook a warm blanket. he’s staring, eyes big, big, big, mouth open, as if wanting to say words, as if wanting to slash out the knife between his ribs. he doesn’t. yoongi stares back, neck straining. no, no, no, no . their house is of card is quick to crumble.
there’s a circus outside of his apartment building and daylight is harsh on his eyes. yoongi feels like he’s having a panic attack. i didn’t hurt anyone , he wants to say, head turning, trying to find jungkook in the crowd, i didn’t do anything . “jungkook,” he mumbles, not fighting against the people who hold his arms firmly, but trying to turn nonetheless, wanting to see. “ jungkook. ”
it hurts badly when he hits his head against the door of the car, and yoongi sways, blinking, pain grabbing at his ends. the police car smells of a nothingness that is scary. yoongi inhales, exhales. the door is closed, the shouts getting muffled.
he is given his phone back, his wallet, the clothes he was wearing the day of . yoongi doesn’t recall the stains on the sleeves. it’s been over two months. namjoon is waiting outside of the precinct he’s been taken to after the trial was over earlier in the afternoon. inconclusive , they have said. nothing adds up, no true forensic evidence . to be fair, he doesn’t expect the hug, the heavy pats against his back. “shit, hyung,” namjoon says, letting air out. “shit.” yeah , yoongi agrees to the general feeling, flatly. the hug lingers for a moment too long, then namjoon pulls back, lifting a bag of takeaways. “i brought you some food.”
“i’m not entirely free yet, am i?” he takes the plastic bag, starting to walk away only to realise he doesn’t know where they are. namjoon tugs on his sleeve, turning his steps the other way around, until yoongi starts recognising the patterns of buildings in the far horizon. “there’s another trial in a few months.”
“i know you didn’t murder those girls,” namjoon’s voice doesn’t waver. yoongi feels a strange sense of fondness. he has one friend, at least. “two more girls died when you were locked up,” and yoongi’s stomach turn, and he doesn’t want to hear it, but also hearing it means hearing about jungkook . jungkook, whom he misses while still bleeding out from his own slow death. “more violent, different— ways,” he thinks for a moment. yoongi tries not to picture it. “they both look like you, but the police— because they were so different—”
they dismissed it, of course. odd murders, with no strings to the ones before. “namjoon,” and he swallows, sickly. “i just want to go home right now.”
“ah, about that.”
about that is all of yoongi’s things in boxes and plastic bags and a suitcase he still had, all kept at the morgue, alongside his eviction notification. he stares at his things, a nasty sense of loss making its way into his stomach. “where are my plants?” he asks quietly. “i left them by the window, they—“
“jungkook took them,” and it’s alarming how casually namjoon says jungkook’s name. as if he knows him. yoongi turns, staring. namjoon notices the possible hurt look on his face. he mistakes it for worry. “he said—i haven’t seen him since but he said he’d look after them.”
“— alright,” and he turns his attention to the myriad of things. the smell of the morgue has probably imprinted on them all. he lets out the breath from inside his tired lungs. “can i stay at your place?”
namjoon huffs. “you can sleep on taehyung’s room, he’s,” yoongi only recalls a bit of namjoon’s roommate, not paying enough attention. namjoon pushes his hands inside his pockets. “he’s— we’re sharing— mine.” ah . yoongi feels himself smiling a bit. he has one friend. “anyway, let’s move all of this before it gets too late.”
“yeah.” and then he adds, rather blandly, a lump down his throat: “i probably need to do some laundry.”
i’m at the laundromat
the song is the same. the wounds you cut in his heart are only recently healing — and yoongi’s crouched next to his machine, knees painful. all of his clothes are washing, with good fabric softener, to get rid of the smell of death. he’s wearing namjoon’s clothes and they’re big on his him. it’s been over an hour since he arrived, two machines working, a third one being set up. his eyes keep glancing up at the door, keep hearing the bell when the bell isn’t ringing. jungkook never replied. he might not. he never looked for yoongi after he got arrested. yoongi understands— albeit it doesn’t make it less painful. he misses the door opening, then, the noises of the washing too loud, head too distracted with thoughts of possibilities, but he notices the figure approaching down the aisle of washing machines, and turns his head just in time to see jungkook, just in time to stand up, heart scattering in convoluted beats, just in time to feel arms pulling him into a hug. yoongi only breathes again when he feels jungkook’s own heart beating harshly inside of him. his hands carefully touch jungkook’s back, then, not knowing if his limits to tenderness have changed. they haven’t. jungkook sighs. “— are you alright?” yoongi asks, voice low. jungkook only hums a reply, chin against yoongi’s shoulder. he smells of cleaning products still, and flowers, funeral ones. i missed you, he wants to say. “i’m glad,” he says instead.
the wounds you cut in his heart— “i missed you,” jungkook’s the one to say it, then, and he says it rather quietly, too, and he pulls back to look down at yoongi’s face, eyes wandering about, probably noticing the sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks. yoongi stares back, but jungkook hasn’t changed much. he’s still sharp edges and pretty cupid bows an eyes with gold rims. cut, cut, cut, the song gets stuck for a moment, the speakers failing. “i kept your plants.”
“namjoon told me,” yoongi nods, sniffing. “are they alive?”
“yeah.” it’s something already. it’s jungkook keeping living things living . “come see them.”
he shouldn’t go. he shouldn’t let jungkook take him by the hand and onwards, walking the distance yoongi had walked in his mind several nights. the weather is milder now, though. jungkook looks milder. yoongi can’t help it. by the time they reach the small hanok, their fingers are entwined, palms a bit sweaty. the plants are in the patio, on makeshift shelves. they look healthy. “thank you,” yoongi offers jungkook a smile. jungkook smiles back, going to sit at the steps, watching him. the patio is quiet and dark. it feels like another world entirely. it feels like inside, they’re safe .
it’s wordlessly that yoongi approaches jungkook, then, wordlessly that he takes him by the wrist, pulling him up until he can press him against the stone wall, kissing. jungkook feel entirely too pliant, tongue warm and tasting just faintly of soju. they kick the empty bottle by the time they reach the mattress, clothes falling as fast as yoongi did for the boy underneath them. jungkook’s sheets still smell the same, they’re still white, stainless. jungkook’s body still have bruises to his sides, new ones, yellow and purple. yoongi presses against them, and jungkook squirms, moaning against him. i missed you, too , yoongi finally says against jungkook’s neck, fingers inside him, hearing him breathe harshly. he fucks jungkook, jungkook fucks him, the whiteness against their skin getting damp with sweat, sticky. yoongi thinks, briefly, watching jungkook’s chest rise and fall too fast, laying beside him, that what they do isn’t love. it has teeth, what they do, it hurts and it’s good . yoongi’s body feels sore. he’s lost track of the hours. jungkook has a wasted sort of smile on his face, eyes closed. yoongi touches his ribs, then, grazing knuckles over their keys as if they’ll make sounds. “did you pull the knife out?” he asks, because he wants to know. do you still love me, in any way?
“no,” jungkook turns to look at him, dark eyes pretty. hair sticks to the sweat on his forehead. i still love you, in some ways . “i pushed it in.” yoongi huffs, and he’s enamoured and he’s warm. “hyung,” jungkook looks away, onto the ceiling. “when you were away, i—“ he sniffs. “i hurt people.”
“i know.” more violent, different ways . yoongi tries not to imagine. “i’m here now.”
he doesn’t know what he means by that, so yoongi forces himself up, the house not as frigid as before. he walks, naked, into the kitchen, i’m going to make us some coffee . jungkook kisses his shoulder blades when he approaches him. it’s too domestic for the horrors under his skin, their skin. yoongi likes it. “i’ll run a bath,” jungkook mutters against his ear. they drink from chipped porcelain mugs in a bleach smelling bathtub swirling with soap. yoongi feels entirely warm, inside and out, literally, hypothetically. “your cheeks are red,” jungkook comments, after a moment. yoongi nods. yours, too . “hyung,” and for a moment, jungkook seems to struggle. yoongi waits. “what are we going to do if i want to hurt someone again?”
that’s given some thought. yoongi sees the hurt in jungkook’s pupils, the hurt and the fear but also the arousal and the excitement. they clash like a storm, blacks and browns and gold rims. there’s some sort of evil inside of jungkook and it won’t rest, yoongi knows it. he thinks of the officers and the interrogation process, of the pictures of the girls scattered across the table. you left bodies behin d, they had told him. the girls who looked like him, a strange sort of narcissistic aspect of the murders not entirely characteristic of serial murderers , the prosecution had offered. yoongi sighs, putting down his mug on the floor next to bathtub, water overlapping and dripping. “i know how to cut.” he says, then, ribs shaking with the rattling of his heart. “that’s all i know how to do.” it takes a moment for jungkook to understand. he blinks, eyes widening. hyung. “it’s going to be fine.”
“— is it?”
“yes,” small consolation. “i’m here.” even smaller. jungkook observes him for a moment, lips pressed into a thin line. yoongi wonders, out of all things, if jungkook had ever planned on murdering him, too. probably. i can’t hurt you so i hurt them . “jungkook,” he calls, reaching for jungkook’s free hand. the other holds his mug almost weakly, and it drips sometimes into the water, black blotches dissipating fast. “i’ll keep you safe.” yoongi has always tried to keep living things living , anyway. dead things— those he learned how to cut.
there’s a pause, a pause in which yoongi thinks jungkook will push him away, but then— then he smiles, and the monster under his skin smiles, too. yoongi sees it between his teeth. “— okay, then.”
( sometimes serial killers rest , the interviewee is saying, a psychiatrist of sorts, and it’s two years later, and the documentary runs late hours, at a foreign channel. sometimes they find their gruesome satisfaction in something else, and it could be something as normal as marriage. it isn’t uncommon. the trigger is still there, but there’s nothing strong enough to pull on it. that could last months, years, sometimes forever. )
(yoongi sighs, looking down at sleeping figure of jungkook next to him. they recently bought a bed, but the house is still cold. the portable heater does little to appease it. he kisses the top of his head. there’s no skin under his nails. he doesn’t smell of cleaning products, but of the shampoo yoongi buys. then he untangles himself, standing up, the documentary still rolling. yoongi walks slowly to the kitchen, grabbing his cold coffee, finding his gloves underneath the sink.
the girl on the bathtub has been dead for a few hours. yoongi swallows a gulp of his coffee, then goes to work. outside, on the patio, their garden is thriving.)