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rather be dead than cool

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"This is it." Yoongi says to the toy poodle in the carrier under his arm, jamming the key into the doorknob.

 

This apartment complex is a bit more.. old fashioned than Yoongi would have liked, but it's not falling apart and really, that's more than he could ask for. He was sick of going through roommate after roommate, each messier or louder than the last, none of them really caring to ask a thing about him. So, that being said, as soon as he became a senior and was allowed to move off campus, Yoongi was more than happy to. Winter break had just rolled around and everything was orchestrated. The down payment was finished, his friends had helped him move in a few pieces of furniture a while ago, and now all that was left was to move himself in.

 

Holly, on the other hand, is uneasy the second they arrive.

 

"What is it? You don't like the wallpaper?" 

 

Holly sniffles as if to dismiss the quip. Yoongi sets his carrier on the floor and as soon as Holly is set free he immediately goes to work sniffing the place from corner to corner. Yoongi puts down his backpack and a small suitcase that contains groceries he needs for the next few nights, his laptop, and other things deemed too important to carry in big boxes.

 

-- 

 

“You’re not scared?"

 

“No, Hobi. Seriously, I’m thrilled by how dead quiet it is.”

 

Okay, that’s not entirely true; Yoongi has Netflix playing in the background at a very low volume, but not because he’s lonely or anything; he’s just used to noise. Even when his roommates were gone, Hoseok and Namjoon had invited themselves into his dorm, sat in his chair and watched Instagram videos at full volume.

 

“Alright. Well, if you say so! I’m gonna go-”

 

“W-wait, just a second.”

 

Yoongi blushes in embarrasment, he can practically see Hobi smiling smugly on the other end. “Awww, hyung, you want me to wait while you brush your teeth?”

 

“I should have called Namjoon instead.” Yoongi grumbles.

 

Hobi is quiet as Yoongi goes through his nighttime routine- okay, once again, quiet for Hobi , which means he’s still humming and occasionally voicing a thought that pops into his head. As he walks down the hallway to the bedroom, he opens his mouth to say something, but then his eyes catch on the long, dark shadows the moonlight is casting on the walls and changes his mind. Maybe it’s because the apartment is old, or cold, or just much bigger than he’s used to, something just seems… eerie.

 

Hobi is still off in his own little world, so Yoongi puts his phone down on one pillow and his head down on the other.

 

--

 

Bang!

 

Yoongi’s eyes snap open. “Hoseok?”

 

Once he registers that there isn’t any immediate danger, Yoongi sits up groggily and looks around. His phone is dead and he’s laying on top of the covers. (not surprising, Yoongi is a night owl but once he’s actually in bed he passes out cold.)

 

Everything he’s dumped on the dresser earlier is on the floor. Not just one thing. His headphones, his backpack, his clothes, everything. That sense of eeriness from earlier creeps back in.. he almost feels as if he's being watched.

 

The only explanation Yoongi can think of is Holly, but he can’t reach the dresser. Where is Holly anyway? Oh god, had someone come to kidnap him? Were there any windows open? Maybe he had knocked the shit over and forgotten?

 

Yoongi spots a ball of brown fluff laying by the door and breathes a sigh of relief. Whatever, it’s the middle of the night. He gets in his sheets and pulls them up to his chin. No sooner does he close his eyes, it happens.

 

“Get out.”

 

“W-what?” Yoongi blurts out, dumbly as his blood runs cold. He had definitely heard something just now.

 

Holly wakes up, sensing his owner in distress and leaps onto the bed.

 

"Get out." The voice hisses. “Get out.” It seems to bounce off the walls and vibrate Yoongi's very being. It is definitely not human, it’s low and guttural and Yoongi is terrified. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he never expected to be confronted by one.

 

What is one supposed to do in this sort of situation? Yoongi really wants to cry, but he doesn’t. He can't. He lays there for a long time, curled into fetal position, thoughts cycling from, oh my god, I’m going to die to well, it’s not the worst way to go. Eventually, the sound becomes repetitive, and while Yoongi is still scared, he has the confidence to at least insult the ghost in his thoughts.

 

Get out? Is that all? Psh, fuck you, evil spirit. Min Yoongi is weathered by the horrors of college and capitalism already, so you’ll have to try harder than that. Come back when I have at least 6 hours of sleep under my belt.

 

When Yoongi stops shaking, the hissing dies down. Finally breathing again, he tosses and turns for another hour and goes back to sleep.

 

-- 

 

Yoongi is sitting at the barstool he had seen in the kitchen earlier, but his surroundings look quite different. The wallpaper is a warm yellow, the carpet is different, too, and there are trinkets and photos lining the mantle. There's music coming from somewhere, and soft voices. 

 

"Do you need any help, hyung?" His voice is muffled and it doesn't sound like his at all. The chair swivels around. There are two or three other people in the kitchen but among them he can only clearly make out the tall, broad shouldered man bustling around at the stove.

 

What is this? Is he in someone else's dream? 

 

"No, Jungkook-ah, this is your housewarming party. Let me do it." The man singsongs.

 

"Don't break anything." He says. He looks down at his hands.... ‘Jungkook-ah’ s hands, he supposes. They’re bigger than his but softer, less bony. He fidgets with his thumb ring, twisting it left and then right twice. Yoongi softens at this small habit they have in common. Someone so delicate can’t possibly be a bad person... he feels a little more at peace in this stranger’s body. There are a few tattoos but he can't process what they say or mean in his unconscious mind.

 

"Anything interesting on TV?"

 

Yoongi feels anxiety bubble up within him before he can even process what his vessel sees. "That serial killer is still on the loose." 

 

"Come on, don't look so nervous. You're not dying on my watch." 

 

"Unless you forget to flip those. Which seems plausible." Jungkook gestures toward the food on the stove, hamburgers maybe, and his hyung curses under his breath.

 

The apartment starts to disappear and the laughter fades into oblivion. 

 

--



Yoongi blinks groggily as the sun shines in through his window. "What the fuck?" 

 

The ghost situation and dream he just had were such stark contrasts to each other, and there was so much to unpack in both. He checks his phone and groans, its already noon. Although he has a break from school he still has to work, but fortunately it’s Sunday.

 

The apartment is quiet except for the white noise of the AC. All of Yoongi's things are still on the floor.. maybe it wasn't an insomnia-induced hallucination after all. Holly jumps up to lick Yoongi's face. 

 

"Sleep well? Just kidding. Awh, don't give me that look, we've been through worse." 

 

After a few hours of pacing around the apartment setting things up; the TV, some wall decor, rugs, et cetera, Yoongi decides he needs some coffee.

 

On his way to the elevator, a door swings open and nearly smacks into him. 

 

"Oh my god! Are you okay?" A man about his age, maybe younger, peeks around the doorframe. He's tall and lanky with curly brown hair, and his clothing is loose fitting. He looks like an art student. 

 

"Yeah. You didn't quite hit me." 

 

He studies him for a moment. "Do you live on this floor? I've never seen you before." 

 

"I just moved in last night. I'm Yoongi." He says. 

 

"Nice! I'm Taehyung." 

 

Yoongi glances down the hallway. "I'm two doors down from you." 

 

"Wait." Taehyung tenses up suddenly. "You mean.. 93?" 

 

"Yes..?" 

 

"I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this, but you’re cuter than the landlord so I’m going to anyway." He lowers his voice, leaning in. "About a year ago, someone was murdered in there." 

 

Yoongi makes a noise that sounds like realization, which makes Taehyung even more distraught. 

 

"I don't really mess with spirit stuff, but my roommate seriously thinks it's haunted." He nearly whispers. “Both neighbors we’ve had since then have moved out within a week. And when I tried to talk to them, they just stared at me like they’d seen a ghost. At least you’re treating me like a human so far.”

 

“Huh.. well, your roommate is probably right. I heard voices last night and all my stuff ended up on the floor." Yoongi informs him.

 

Taehyung looks like he's about to cry. He turns around, and for a second Yoongi thinks he's just going to leave him there, but then he returns with the roommate in tow. 

 

"This is our new neighbor, Yoongi." Taehyung introduces him. 

 

"Nice to meet you, I'm Jimin." The shorter man gives him a sultry smile. "Where were you headed?" 

 

"Ah, I was just on my way to get some coffee." 

 

Jimin extends his perfectly manicured hand presumably for Yoongi to shake, but when he takes it he leads him forward through their doorway. 

 

"I make better coffee than any cafe around here. Come sit." 

 

-- 

 

"Taehyung wasn't my roommate yet, but I lived here when it happened." Jimin tells Yoongi, bracelets tinkling as he reaches for a cookie. 

 

At this point Yoongi must have been sitting in his neighbors' living room for an hour, but he felt surprisingly at ease. Though Taehyung and Jimin are chatty the two approach him with questions gently, and listen easily. No offense to Joon and Hobi, but it's refreshing. 

 

"Weren't you scared?" Yoongi asks, raising his eyebrows. 

 

"Of course." Jimin says. "I lived with my parents for months afterward. But then I decided to move back in because they kind of suck, and murder aside, this place is charming." 

 

"Do you... know who did it?" 

 

"Nope. The case is still open. Poor guy, he had just moved in that weekend. It was loud until around midnight and the next morning... police tape." 

 

"And you think he's haunting the apartment?" 

 

"Definitely." Jimin says. "So hey, if you see him, tell me if he's hot. He had a nice voice, I could hear him singing through the walls once." 

 

"Something hissed at me to get out.. that didn't sound very pretty." 

 

"Ooh, feisty.” Jimin wolf whistles.

 

"Jimin, please." Taehyung says firmly, and then addresses Yoongi. "He's not a psychopath, I promise." 

 

"It’s okay. You should see my friends." 

 

"Drinks are ready," Jimin disappears into the kitchen, choosing to completely gloss over that exchange. Yoongi can hear barking in the kitchen and makes a mental note of a potential dog playdate.

 

Taehyung sighs. "That death really got to him, he just doesn't wanna be a downer in front of you. After you leave, he'll be all, 'do you think yoongi's okay? Did he bring enough blankets? let's just go knock.'" 

 

Yoongi smiles and Taehyung smiles back, bright and boxy. 

 

"It sounds like you know him well." 

 

"Of course." Taehyung muses. 

 

"How long have you two been together?" 

 

Taehyung chokes on his food. 

 

--

 

Yoongi tends to avoid making new friends, but he accidentally ended up liking his neighbors a lot and hanging out with them for the next few hours. Apparently, they aren’t dating and never have, but Jimin and Taehyung have a reservation at this ‘really cool but hella fancy restaurant Jimin’s been meaning to try’ tonight. Yoongi is hesitant to go back to his apartment, and if not for Holly, he might not have at all. He scoops him up in his arms upon arrival, eyes darting around nervously, looking for anything odd, but still nothing.

 

“Maybe I was dreaming?” Holly blinks at him. “Yeah, the thing with the neighbors doesn’t add up. Maybe they’re crazy? That would be a shame, though.”

 

As soon as Yoongi is relaxed, with no prompting whatsoever the TV turns on.

 

Fuck! ” He jumps, nearly dropping Holly. The two stand frozen in the doorway for a minute, and when nothing else happens, he slowly makes his way over to the remote and turns it off.

 

“Coincidence.” He tells his poodle. “C’mon, baby, let’s go work on Agust.”

 

Yoongi’s first mixtape, affectionately nicknamed “Agust”, has been in the works for a few months so far. He’s put a few beats out on soundcloud in his free time and he has a pretty decent following, but he’s really upped the production on these tracks and he thinks with help from Namjoon and Hobi, they really could have some potential.

 

He sighs, and his head hits the desk. If he can work out all these kinks, that is. He presses the spacebar for the hundredth time, replaying the loop. The kick just sounds off.. Or maybe it’s the lyrics. His phone dings.

 

(1:01) Joon:

Hey hyung how's it going in your new apartment?

 

(1:01) Me :

hi

its good. neighbors are chill

 

(1:01) Joon:

What? Who am I talking to rn?

 

(1:02) Me:

cmon joon have more faith in my people skills. i hung out w them today

 

(1:02) Joon:

Whatt?? TT

Are we being replaced already???

 

(1:02) Me:

ofc not dude. what a dumb fucking thought

 

(1:04) Joon:

^^

Did u eat?

 

Yoongi’s head snaps up from his phone and his eyes follow his door as it slowly, but quite purposefully, closes.

 

“Oh god. Not again.” He squeaks.

 

Almost as if responding to the statement, a chill runs through Yoongi’s body. Maybe if he ignores it, it’ll go away? He turns back to his screen, determined. Ghosts can’t kill you, can they? Even if they can, it would be okay, as long as he finishes this loop, he decides.

 

Five seconds later, a painting he had just hung up drops to the floor. Yoongi turns up his volume.

 

Fifty seconds later, a cup falls off his desk, almost hitting Holly.

 

“Cut it out.” He growls.

 

His closet door handle starts to jiggle. This ghost reacts quickly, almost like they’re having a conversation.

The handle shakes more violently as seconds pass, and then the hissing starts up again. Just like last night, only seeming to come directly from inside the closet now. Feeling brave since today he knows a bit more about this ghost (unless it’s not just the man who was murdered. maybe its something different entirely.. but now is not the time for that), Yoongi slips his headphones off and pads over to the door. He gets ready to run, or maybe to fight, and he seizes control of the handle and flings the door open.

 

Nothing. All talk and no scarring Yoongi for life.

 

There's a knock at the outside door, Yoongi only responds when he hears Taehyung calling him outside the apartment.

 

“Ha, fuck you. Again."   He sneers into the closet.

 

“Hey, we just got back and I just thought I should…” Taehyung trails off, looking him up and down in concern. He’s wearing an expensive looking coat, his hair is pushed back and he smells like outside and something sweet. “Is everything okay?”

 

“I’m fine.” Yoongi smiles softly. It's funny, earlier Taehyung had said Jimin was the fretter. “I was just up working on stuff. Thanks for checking.”

 

"No noises tonight?"

 

Yoongi ponders whether he should tell him, and decides against it. He doesn’t want him to worry.

 

“Nope."

 

"I'm so glad. Oh, hello, Yoongi told me all about you." Taehyung coos lovingly as Holly emerges from the hallway and tries to climb his leg.

 

"How was your date?”

 

“It wasn’t a date…” Taehyung sighs. He looks embarrassed, but also slightly pleased. “But it was really nice.”

 

“Good. I work tomorrow so don’t panic if I’m not here in the morning. Night, Taehyung.”

 

--

 

Yoongi walks back into his room, and puts his headphones back on. The air feels heavy, but it’s quiet.

 

“You see? I covered for you. I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me.” Yoongi says. “Deal?”

 

The room is still silent, and Yoongi thinks he might have just solved everything. He smiles, leaning back in his chair and closing his eyes.

 

The closet door handle falls clean off and the hissing gets even louder in its return. No deal. Figures.