it’s midnight, drunken with a tired voice
Yoongi hates his new apartment. He hates the blue shag carpets, the slightly-moldy ceilings, the balcony with the door that won’t open. He hates how his bedroom walls have brown stains on them—seriously, what are they supposed to be—and hates how the dining table that was thrown in by his landlord for free has a wobbly leg.
He will admit, though, that his shower is pretty nice, especially when it’s late at night and he can turn the heat up and lounge under the spray to his heart’s content.
And he’d rather die before anyone finds out that yes, Min Yoongi likes to sing in the shower.
Not sing sing, because he can’t really do that, but a burgeoning rapper needs to practice somewhere and since it’ll be a long time before he can save up to afford his own studio, the blessedly-nice shower in his shitty little apartment will have to do.
Normally, he practices his original compositions. They’re songs written when he was younger, full of teenaged torment, then edited and refined by his wiser adult self so that it sounds less like angst-filled love poetry and more like the harder-hitting, socially-aware raps that are popular these days. Or so he hopes.
Tonight, though, he doesn’t really feel like hashing out his own music anymore, not after already spending a long session this afternoon with Namjoon working on their latest collaboration. Namjoon always insists that with enough hard work they’ll be famous in the underground, but sometimes Yoongi finds it hard to believe that Suga&Rap Monster can really beat out all the other hiphop hopefuls he knows are out there.
But still, nothing ever comes from a bad attitude, so Yoongi takes the bundle of negativity on his shoulders and shoves it down his throat as he strips down and turns the water scalding hot before stepping into the shower.
He feels like Bye U tonight, since he needs something fast and upbeat to get him out of this funk he’s been feeling lately. Plus, even though he’ll just have to hum G.O’s parts or something, Outsider’s songs are always good pronunciation practice.
Somehow his terrible apartment happens to have a shower with great water pressure, so Yoongi raps a little louder than usual to hear himself above the pounding of the water in his ears. He finishes the first verse before it’s time for the singing part of the song, and Yoongi’s the kind of perfectionist that can’t just skip that even if it’s just in his head, so he turns the water down a little so he can hum and fight his shampoo bottle for the last drops before he hears something that makes him nearly drop it.
Next door, through the wall, someone is singing G.O’s part for him.
like in the movies, falling at first sigh
Jimin is ecstatic to finally have his own place this year. Yeah, so maybe his new apartment is a little low-budget, but it comes with a fully (if cheaply) furnished kitchen which means he doesn’t have to suffer through inedible dorm food for the second year in a row.
He gets home late at night nearly every day because of his dance practices, and sometimes he wishes Hoseok would hold them a little earlier in the day, but he understands that the older student has his own lessons and classes in the evening and really, Jimin should be thankful that Hoseok has any time left to teach Jimin at all. And he is.
That doesn’t mean that Jimin necessarily enjoys coming home with aching muscles to the silence of an entire apartment block that’s already fallen asleep. Honestly, sometimes it feels like he lives in a retirement home where everyone is out like a light by sunset. Jimin had expected that cheap apartments would have attracted more broke college students, but apparently everyone at SeoulArts is rich and can afford better.
Jimin only has one source of company at night, and that’s his elusive neighbor who never picks up his newspaper in the morning and always raps in the shower at night.
“Oh shit,” he mutters as he looks at the clock, dropping his backpack unceremoniously onto the sofa as he hurries into the bathroom, shedding clothes down the length of the hallway. Rap-nim only showers after midnight but usually before one, which means that Jimin may miss him if he doesn’t hurry.
He’s never actually met his neighbor, and while that might be a bit strange, it’s not like Jimin doesn’t know anything about him. He knows that his neighbor is a boy that’s probably around his age, knows that his neighbor is usually only home at night, knows that he has a penchant for listening to Epik High and particularly favors Love, Love, Love for some reason, since Jimin’s come home to that song playing through the walls more than a few times.
And it’s not weird, it’s really not, that Jimin likes to shower at the same time as his male neighbor because it doesn’t mean anything. Jimin just likes the music. Sometimes he likes imagining dance moves to the rhythms, likes miming them carefully so he doesn’t slip on soap suds and bust an ankle. Sometimes, if he recognizes the song (which he usually doesn’t, which means Rap-nim writes his own songs, and isn’t that the coolest thing?) he’ll try to softly follow along, keeping his voice quiet in the fear that he might be heard through the paper-thin walls.
He’s a little late tonight, and he can hear his neighbor’s shower already running as he steps into his bathroom. There isn’t any rapping yet, and Jimin wonders if he’s missed it or if his neighbor is just in a bad mood today. There are some days where Rap-nim doesn’t sing anything, and Jimin leans against the wall and wonders if something has happened, wonders if it’s time to go next door and introduce himself and ask if anything’s the matter.
Today is not one of those days, though, as his neighbors low voice starts up a few moments after Jimin gets his own shower going, and Jimin sighs in the relief of being able to remain a silent admirer for just one day longer.
And, as if things weren’t already nice enough tonight, Jimin recognizes the first lines of Outsider’s Bye U, and mentally gears himself up by running through the song in his head. Oh, there’s a singing part.
Well, Jimin does have a few years of vocal training under his belt.
He goes about with his shower, enjoying the nice background track that his neighbor’s voice makes, and then it’s time for the first chorus, and Jimin won’t even let the stinging shampoo in his eyes keep him from singing G.O’s lines as best as he can remember then. He enjoys it a little too much, high off of feeling the knots in his muscles relax under the hot steam and hearing his own voice hit all the right notes, and maybe he sings a little louder than usual but he can’t really find it in himself to care.
Until his neighbor doesn’t start rapping the second verse and Jimin realizes with a sinking stomach that damn, he’s been caught.
bragged to the entire world
After that first night, Yoongi doesn’t hear his neighbor sing again for nearly a week. He’s debated going next door and maybe asking him about it, but even Yoongi has to admit that “hey, I’ve realized that we sang a duet when I was in the shower, wanna do it again sometime?” sounds pretty dumb just in his head alone.
And even though it scares him a little to realize that he has an audience now—maybe even always had one—he figures that his neighbor must appreciate his rapping if he hasn’t told Yoongi to knock it off by now. He must be a musician too, Yoongi figures, maybe even a fellow student at SeoulArts. A music major, Yoongi decides from the way his voice had been pleasant and sweet and followed the high-pitched melody in a way that makes Yoongi want to listen to it over and over again.
Yoongi’s down in the landlord’s office to complain about the clogged sink basin when he catches a glimpse of the floor plans for his apartment, and so he tunes out the landlord’s promises of “a plumber soon” and scans over the yellow paper quickly to find that yup, there’s his bathroom, and there’s the bathroom of his neighbor, separated by only a few thin pieces of wood and insulation.
Which means when Yoongi sings in the shower, his neighbor listens from the shower.
And maybe someone else would have found that to be really strange, but Yoongi’s just a bit awed at the thought that someone likes his rapping enough to time his showers around Yoongi’s. And maybe Yoongi’s a little more intrigued at the thought that there’s someone, someone with a sweet boyish voice and a tendency to sing just a little too fast sometimes, who showers just a few inches away.
So one night when he gets home just past two in the morning and wearily trudges into his bathroom to take a shower so he can pass out, he’s more than just a little excited to hear that his neighbor is singing first.
He recognizes the song almost immediately as Habit by Epik High feat. Ha DongKyun, and even though his neighbor’s voice doesn’t really have the husky quality of DongKyun’s, he can appreciate the effort it takes to attempt that R&B style and manage to sort of pull it off. And Yoongi’s a gentleman, which means he can’t just let his poor neighbor sing all by himself at this time of night, so he launches into the rap lines with the assuredness of someone who’s listened to Epik High more times than they should.
He can hear his neighbor’s voice squeak and go off key for a second when he hears Yoongi joining in, and Yoongi takes a second to think that it’s a little endearing before he focuses back on the song, shutting his eyes and furrowing his brows as he tries to get all the inflections just right, keep the rhythm and the feel even though his voice sounds a little different from the original.
Yoongi’s glad to hear the sound of his neighbor’s voice again when he resumes singing, and thinks to himself that this is their first proper duet, their first real time singing together intentionally and huh, they actually sound pretty good.
you’ve got me going crazy
Jimin’s not really sure when their occasional duet becomes a nightly ritual. What used to be Jimin silently appreciating Rap-nim turns into Jimin singing along to all sorts of Epik High songs. His neighbor’s taste in music isn’t too different from Jimin’s own, and sometimes even when Jimin doesn’t know the lyrics, his neighbor doesn’t seem to mind too much if he just hums the melody instead. One time Jimin tests out his vocal abilities in Primary’s Question Mark, and is rewarded by a few cursory claps from the other side of the wall.
Jimin thinks he’s starstruck.
There are nights when Rap-nim doesn’t sing a duet, doesn’t sing a song that Jimin has ever heard of before, and those are the nights that Jimin knows are him testing out his original compositions. He’s flattered, really, that his neighbor continues to perform his personal work even though he now knows he has an audience, and after a few more weeks they adopt a system where his neighbor will stop singing abruptly, voice ending in a question mark of sorts, and Jimin will tap once to let his neighbor know that yes, it was good and yes, he should keep going. There are other nights where Jimin will tap twice against the tiled wall when he thinks something doesn’t sound right, and his neighbor will re-do a line or two to see if they sound better with a different inflection or rhythm.
Jimin likes to think that one day, when his neighbor is famous and accepting his award at the MAMAs or something, he’ll thank the boy in the shower next door for helping him to work out his most famous songs. Of course, there are nights where Jimin doesn’t help much at all, nights when Jimin is so overwhelmed by his neighbor’s deep rasp and soulful lyrics that he just bangs his head against the wall a few times, wishing he had a better way to express how much he loves the music.
Their duets become such an integral part of his nightly routine that Jimin feels incredibly sorry to miss it one day when his dance rehearsal runs late. He always, always makes it home before one o’ clock usually, but with the upcoming dance recital only a week away, he knows that his priorities lay with Hoseok and Jungkook and not his mysterious neighbor.
So when it’s well past three a.m. and Jimin is just returning home, he’s not expecting a musical welcome. He’s got Paloalto’s Good Times stuck in his head—he’s been practicing it lately, hoping to introduce it as a potential duet to his shower friend later—so he plays Love, Love, Love on his phone to try to drive Paloalto out of his head as he makes his way to the shower, absolutely exhausted by hours of dancing.
And it turns out that maybe Paloalto was trying to tell him something, because as soon as Jimin steps into the shower and lets the water run over his aching muscles, he finally hears his neighbor in the shower next door. And he’s not rapping, he’s moaning.
Oh. Oh. Jimin freezes up, unsure as to what to do next. Clearly his neighbor has no idea that Jimin’s just a few inches away, or he surely would had stopped. Right?
Jimin’s suddenly plagued by uncertainty, wondering whether or not he should maybe leave, since that would obviously be the polite thing to do, but he’s caked in sweat and really does need this shower, and he doesn’t want to have to wake up earlier than he has to since he’s already so tired right now, and okay, now his neighbor just gasped, he’s pretty sure, and fuck if Jimin wasn’t turned on by it.
It’s not fair, Jimin thinks as he leans his back against the cold tiles, shutting his eyes as his hand sneaks downward, that he has to have a neighbor that is apparently so attractive that just his voice alone is enough to get Jimin excited.
had your lips freeze up
Yoongi’s not stressed. He’s not.
But maybe he is just a little worried about the fact that he has his first exhibition coming up in a few days, and even though Namjoon insists his song is good, Yoongi can’t find it in himself to believe him that easily. A lot of people are good. Yoongi needs to be better.
He had planned to fine tune it more, of course, had thought that after coming back from Namjoon’s, he’d be able to practice the song a few more times for himself. He had maybe even hoped to run the song by his neighbor, see if it sounded good to another musician that wasn’t Namjoon just trying to be nice. Someone with a soft, high voice and a breathless laugh and a tendency to knock over the soap dish at least twice a week.
And of course, the one night that Yoongi seeks out his neighbor’s company more than ever, he isn’t there. Yoongi holds off on his shower for as long as possible—it’s customary for his neighbor to start them first, anyway—before it’s suddenly three in the morning and Yoongi really needs to take a shower and get some sleep before his first class.
It somehow feels wrong to take a shower by himself, and for a second Yoongi has the absurd thought that he’s betraying his neighbor by showering alone before he shakes his head and brushes it off and thinks that for once, it may be healthy for him to take a shower for himself.
And if his thoughts wander to a soft, sweet voice and the type of mouth and lips that could possess that voice, he really can’t blame himself.
Until he suddenly hears Love, Love, Love playing through the thin walls and a small part of his brain is still coherent enough to think in alarm that oh fuck, his neighbor’s here, and it’s not like Yoongi is particularly quiet when he gets himself off which means his neighbor totally knows what’s happening, and for some reason the thought of the boy, fully knowing what Yoongi’s doing, standing less than a foot away on the other side of the wall turns Yoongi on even more.
And if he had thought his neighbor’s voice was sweet when he was singing, it’s downright sinful when Yoongi suddenly hears his loud moan echoing through the walls. Yoongi’s eyes widen in realization, and he practically tastes his pulse in his mouth as he moves closer to the wall, pressing his forehead against the chilled tiles as he wishes for just a moment that the wall would disappear, that he’d be able to see and hear and feel his neighbor—his neighbor with the sweet, high moans and the loud, desperate panting—in the flesh.
In Yoongi’s compromised state he only manages to hear one last keening moan from the other side of the wall before he’s gone, sinking down to his knees when they fail to keep him upright, forehead still pressed closely to the wall. Through the dim haze of steam in his eyes and the feeling of the now-cool water still beating down on his shoulders, he manages to make out the sound of Love, Love, Love still faintly playing.
thought every song
Jimin’s so embarrassed after the shower incident that he only washes up at Taehyung’s place for the four days that follow it. It’s only when Taehyung finally kicks him out (“I don’t know why you’re avoiding your apartment, but just suck it up because I’m having Jungkook over later!”) that he returns to his own apartment.
Thankfully, his neighbor seems to be similarly mortified, and for a while things are silent and Jimin wonders if he perhaps ruined everything, and then his neighbor suddenly starts rapping an original composition that Jimin’s never heard before and while he can’t exactly make out the lyrics over the noise of the shower running at full blast, he can hear his neighbor’s soul being poured out into the song, raw and unhidden, and Jimin has to sit down on the tub floor to properly take it all in.
When Rap-nim is finally done, Jimin claps a little to show how much he enjoyed it. He’d like to think that it makes his neighbor smile.
turn off your thoughts
It’s Hoseok that drags Yoongi to the dance showcase.
With the song exhibition only two days away, it takes a minor miracle for anything to get Yoongi and Namjoon out of the stuffy little practice room they’ve claimed in the music wing, but Hoseok is good at performing miracles. He’s also good at reminding the other two at how much they relied on him during their last collaboration.
And so Yoongi goes to support his friend, figuring that he’s only got a few and he might as well appreciate them a little more. Hoseok’s adopted two new kids into his little troupe this year, a prodigal freshman named Jungkook and a no-name little sophomore named Jimin that looks like he should be in middle school rather than college. He’s cute, Yoongi decides, and has that that whole baby-face-but-ridiculously-talented thing to him that’s popular these days, and when Yoongi hears his laugh for the first time even from all the way across the stage, he thinks that maybe if he wasn’t stressed as hell right now preparing for his exhibition, he might’ve found a way to ask Park Jimin on a date.
Their dancing is, as Yoongi had expected, phenomenal, and for a moment Yoongi thinks that Hoseok’s finally found himself some competition among the other dancers at SeoulArts.
It’s after the show when Yoongi finally gets to meet Jungkook and Jimin (and another kid names Taehyung who seemingly pops up out of nowhere and then refuses to leave).
“This is Namjoon, and Seokjin hyung, and that’s Yoongi hyung,” Hoseok explains, as always conducting the introductions as their designated group diplomat. “Yoongi hyung looks mean, but I promise that he really isn’t.”
Jimin gives Yoongi a confused look when he protests and then laughs at that, and the sound triggers some sort of response in the depths of Yoongi’s mind that makes him wonder if he’s met him before somewhere, but then he brushes it off because he really doesn’t have much interaction with any dance majors other than Hoseok.
Hoseok’s explaining that Yoongi and Namjoon and Seokjin are set to perform at the exhibition, and Namjoon’s holding out his phone to play a quick clip of their song that Yoongi remembers recording hastily, when Jimin goes pale and takes a few steps back, looking at Yoongi like Yoongi’s just insulted his mother or something before running away, bumping into a few people in his hurry.
“Well, that’s completely unlike him,” Hoseok mumbles in confusion, watching as Jimin in the distance as he heads toward the nearest bus stop. “Normally he doesn’t, uh, do that.”
Seokjin wonders out loud if maybe their song reminded him of something he had to do, but Yoongi thinks that it has to be something else that makes Jimin want to avoid them.
I can’t stop love love love
Jimin nearly cries in relief when he finally reaches his apartment, slamming the door behind him as he rushes inside and drops onto the ground, still clad in his sweaty dance gear.
Min Yoongi. That’s the name of his neighbor, his neighbor with the rasp to his voice and the deep lyrics he writes himself. His neighbor with slightly sleepy eyes (Jimin knows it’s because he’s practically nocturnal) and a confident set to his smile and a nose that wrinkles up when he laughs, and goddamn, he’s attractive. And Jimin’s heard him moaning—
Okay, stop. As far as Jimin can tell, there isn’t a reason to panic yet because Yoongi clearly has no idea that Jimin’s the one that takes showers next door and sings with him and occasionally does more, otherwise he surely would have shown some indication of it.
So now what? Jimin doesn’t have enough money to buy out of his lease and get another apartment, and he definitely can’t shower at Taehyung’s place for the rest of his life. But now that Yoongi’s met Jimin and knows what his voice sounds like, it’s far too risky to hope that things could ever go back to the blessed simplicity of their anonymous duets.
He wonders if he’ll ever be able to take a shower again.
nobody knows my heart
actually, only you don’t know
Their exhibition is a success. Yoongi knows he’s supposed to be more happy about it, but he can’t shake the niggling feeling that something’s wrong because for the past few days, his neighbor has been ignoring him.
And no, he’s not just imagining it, he knows he’s being ignored because every time Yoongi starts up the shower and hears his neighbor hurriedly turn the water in his own shower off and slam the door closed. And if he’s trying to send some sort of message that he doesn’t want to sing duets anymore, then Yoongi is receiving it crystal clear.
Yoongi couldn’t be more upset. He’s not sure what exactly changed in their dynamic—they had seemed to have gotten past that one incident perfectly fine—and all he does know for sure now is that singing alone in the shower feels horribly off, and he doesn’t know how long he can stand to hear only his own voice when he knows there’s another one just a few inches away.
It takes a week of being ignored for Yoongi to finally snap. One week of hearing hushed showers and hasty exits before Yoongi decides to just go next door and demand to know what’s wrong. As he stands in front of his neighbor’s door, his hand already tired from knocking so much, he thinks belatedly that this will be the first time Yoongi actually gets to see his neighbor’s face.
And then he realizes he was wrong, it’s actually his second time seeing his neighbor’s face because standing in front of him is none other than Park Jimin, Park fucking Jimin, who’s wearing only a towel wrapped around his hips and a dumbfounded expression on his face.
(And whoa, who knew that a body like that could hide behind such a baby face, but that wasn’t the point right now.)
“You-” Yoongi starts off, jabbing a finger into Jimin’s chest, “You’re the one that sings with me, right?”
“Yeah,” Jimin’s voice is shaky, and he looks up at Yoongi with wide, slightly-frightened eyes, and yeah, that’s the boyishly charming voice that Yoongi’s fucking dreamed about before and really, it’s just common sense that drives Yoongi forward to kiss Jimin until his head feels light and his toes curl up.
“You should really considering dueting with me again,” Yoongi finally says, pushing Jimin backwards into his apartment.
Jimin flashes him a brilliant smile, “I really should.”