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levels, levels, levels

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Taehyung hops out of his apartment in the most elegant of ways with a hotteok stuck between his teeth, his shoe hanging off one foot and his hair flat on one side of his head. He's not always this graceful and put together, believe it or not, he just so happens to be running twenty-four minutes late to his nine o'clock shift - which he'd promised to cover for Jaebum in turn for Jaebum covering for him last week when he'd skipped out ten minutes early to catch the season premiere of Gotham.

God, he was a terrible employee. Why his boss kept him around, he had no idea. He'd have fired himself long ago. No, he wouldn't have even given himself the job. That's how bad he was. 

"Hold the doors!" He calls, though it's muffled and he ends up spitting his extremely nutritional breakfast out onto the floor to call it out again. As the doors continue to close, he starts thinking about how much the world hates him, how he knew he shouldn't have stole Jimin's last pack of Chocolate Corns yesterday. Karma was coming back around, and he's about three seconds from dropping to his knees and asking god to smite him, until a hand sticks between the smallest crack in the metal doors and they part again. 

"You getting in?" A voice calls from inside when he just stands there, and Taehyung almost cries, he really does. 

"Thank you, Jesus," he whispers up to the ceiling as he rushes the last few steps until he's safely in the elevator. "Seriously, thank you so much. I am so late, I just wasted a perfectly good hotteok and I'm pretty sure my shirt is back to front, you--"

"It's fine," the guy cuts in, and stops Taehyung's rambling. 

He spares a look over to the guy, about to thank him again, maybe send him an apologetic smile, maybe both, but his brain apparently looses all function and he's left to just stare at this-- this-- tiny man. Okay, maybe not the best description, because he's so much more than that, but he really has lost a lot of function - it's the best he can come up with. Give him a second. 

This guy has the audacity to stand there in a sharp looking suit, briefcase in hand and annoyingly soft looking brown hair falling over his forehead. How is that fair on Taehyung when he's looking like the bottom of a sewer rat's foot. Paw? Not the point. The point was that he's hot trash and this guy is just hot. "May as well just smite me now," he mumbles under his breath, scowling to himself and returning to where he belongs in the dark corner where pieces of gum were stuck to the railing and it smelled mostly like mould. Perfect. This was his home.

"What was that?" The guy asks, casting a glance at a hunched over Taehyung in his domain, who instantly bolts upright and plasters on a genial grin. 

"I asked if you were new to the building. I haven't seen you around before." Nice, nice. Very smooth, Don Juan.

The guy fixes him with a long, steady look before he nods. "Yeah. Moved in a few days ago."

"Ah, that explains it." I'd have remembered that face anywhere, holy moly. "Well, welcome to the building! I'm Kim Taehyung."

"Min Yoongi."

Yoongi. Even his name was attractive, what the hell.

"So, do you--"

Yoongi holds his hand up when his phone starts to ring and Taehyung instantaneously shuts his mouth. "Min. No, I'm on my way now. I read the email, I didn't think the meeting was until eleven. Aish, okay. Yeah, I'll be there. Did he look over the memo I sent him?" 

Taehyung tries - tries being the key word - not to eavesdrop, but he's got big ears and this guy has a voice that practically mandates attention. He at least pretends he's not snooping, which has to count for something in his book. While Yoongi continues to talk to whoever the lucky punk on the phone is, Taehyung is spending his time going over conversational topics in his head. But it seems the world really is against him today, because the doors open to the lobby too soon for his liking and Yoongi doesn't even cast him a glance as he steps out, leaving him to stand there and stare after him until the elevator is crowded again and he's being taken back up. He ends up having to get out on the third floor and half run/half topple down the stairs back down to the lobby. 

By the time he arrives to work, he's thirty-seven minutes late and has an angry string of texts from Jaebum waiting for him by his first break. 

                                                                                                          -- -- --

Next time Taehyung sees Min Yoongi, it's back in the elevator, and this time he at least looks more presentable - minus the Oreo crumbs he has stained around the edges of his mouth, which Yoongi kindly points out to him. He's not completely fucking mortified or anything, no. Hah. 

"How you liking the place?" Taehyung finally pipes up after a minute of him just opening and closing his mouth as Yoongi scrolls through his phone.

It seems to take him off guard, eyebrows raising as he looks his way before redirecting his gaze to his phone. "It's alright."

Well. Seems like his height isn't the only thing that's short. Mental applause for that pun, but it's fine. Taehyung is persistent. "Yeah, it's good. The landlord is nice, have you met him? It gets cold during the winter, so if you let him know, he'll give you a portable heater."

"That's nice."

"Everyone I've met that lives here is really nice too, so I'm sure if you need something, you can let one of your neighbours know. I'm in 44b if I can ever help you out!"


Okay, Taehyung is persistent, he's unremitting, he knows, but come on. This dude has to give him more than just one or two words at a time. Even Taehyung isn't that talented. He's about to ask what Yoongi does for a living, which may be intrusive, but fuck it, he's hanging on to strings at this point, anything is worth trying - but before he gets the chance, of course, Yoongi's phone starts ringing again and Taehyung goes out of his way to thump his forehead against the mirror to the side of him and proceeds to keep it there until the double doors are opening and he's dragging his hopeless body out after his new neighbour.

Defeat has never tasted so bitter. 

                                                                                                          -- -- --

Determination has never tasted so sweet. 

That's what he is. He's determined. Three days later, as he steps onto the elevator, no food around his mouth, no bed head - he's prepared. As soon as he steps on, he hits Yoongi with it:

"Where do you work?"

Yoongi looks baffled, crease forming between his eyebrows, and still looking mega hot in an all black suit today, which really brings out the pasty white of his skin. "Excuse me?"

"I asked where you work," Taehyung repeats as he takes a sip of his Coke, and yes, it's only nine o'clock, but he can't start his day without sugar. Most people have their coffee, Taehyung has his refined sugar and E numbers. "Let me guess. Garbage man?"

"Excuse me?" Yoongi demands, twisting around to fully face him. "What are you trying to say, Taehyung?"

Taehyung takes a moment to mentally flail over the fact that this guy remembered his name, before the affronted look on his face reminds him that he's clearly in the line of fire and if he wants to step out of this elevator alive, he needs to explain. "No, no! I-- I'm joking. Obviously you're not a garbage man. Not in that suit. It was a joke, because obviously you couldn't--" He presses his lips together in a tight line and nods to himself. "If you'll excuse me. I'll be over here." Taehyung turns and faces the corner, shoulders sagging and trying desperately to squeeze himself into this tight corner and hopefully squeeze through time and space itself and into another dimension. He can feel eyes on his back and half hopes they burn a hole through him and in the process, burn all of his vital organs. He risks a glance after a minute when Yoongi's phone rings, and immediately faces the wall again when he sees that he's still looking at him, even as he talks on the phone. And when the doors open, he's still got his gaze. So Taehyung slowly, oh so slowly, inches out of the elevator, keeping his stomach pressed to the wall at all time until he can full on sprint out of the complex all together.

He's got a bruise the size of Jupiter on his head by the time he returns home, after spending all day thumping it against the counter at the checkout. 

                                                                                                          -- -- --

Taehyung takes the stairs for the next two days, but the ache in his legs is enough to have him reluctantly standing outside the metal doors at nine o'clock, as well as thinking about signing up for a gym, because fucking hell, when did he get so unfit? When the doors open, he keeps his eyes trained on the floor and bows his head a little before he takes his place in his dark, lurking corner made just for him, the only trace of Yoongi he sees being his leather brogues. 

It's like that for the next few days, Taehyung in his corner, being the creature he is, while Yoongi talks away on his phone until the cows come home, until one day, the cycle is broken.

"So are you just not gonna talk to me ever again, then?" 

Taehyung's head snaps up so fast that he can feel it in his spine, eyes wide and on the back of Yoongi's head, which is bowed towards his phone. "What?"

Yoongi snorts. "You heard me."

"I--I--" he tries, trying to think of something, anything, and then he... "--sore throat," he hacks in the most put on voice he can manage, enough that it makes him cringe and smack his hand against his head, muttering a what the fuck was that to himself. 

"Ah. I see. Sounds nasty. I've heard of a disease like that going around, actually. Some bacteria that grows off excessive amounts of sugar."

Taehyung's eyes go comically wide and he eyes the sucker in his hand before he's throwing it across from him on instinct, watching it shatter against the metal doors, Yoongi not even flinching as he brushes a fragment of the sucker off his pants. Taehyung doesn't miss the little laugh he hears. "That wasn't nice," he sulks, shoulders drooping as he stares longingly at his destroyed breakfast.

"Yeah, well. You deserved it."


"For lying," Yoongi replies cooly, glancing over at him with a perfectly idle expression and Taehyung gives a bashful look. "You done being sick?"

Taehyung coughs, rubs his throat before nodding. "All done."

"Good." And Taehyung may be imagining it, it may be wishful thinking, but did he just see a tiny, microscopic smile? "I work at a bank, by the way."


"The other day. You asked where I worked. I work at a bank. Accountant to be more specific."

Taehyung nods once everything clicks and he's not left trying to piece everything together. "Cool! Makes the briefcase more acceptable."

Yoongi laughs under his breath. "And what? If I wasn't an accountant, it wouldn't be?"

"Pretty much. If you were like a manager of McDonald's and had that briefcase, I'd be judging you a little bit. Everyone would know you don't need that briefcase." 

"And what about you, how--" Yoongi pauses when his phone rings, and for the first time, he looks mildly annoyed for half a second, before he answers it. 

Taehyung takes this ride as a small win.

                                                                                                          -- -- --

 "So, when are you gonna finally ask me out?"

Taehyung pauses mid chew and lowers his hashbrown away from his mouth, eyes wide as he looks over at Yoongi who's staring calmly at the silver doors. "What?"

Sharp eyes fix on him. "I like Thai food." Taehyung blinks. "I'm free Thursday. Six o'clock works for me." 

"Oh - oh, okay," he nods quickly as the bell chimes for Taehyung's floor. "It's a date?" He asks as he steps out into the hall and turns to face Yoongi still in the elevator.

He sees those pink lips twitch at one side as the doors start to close. "It's a date."

                                                                                                          -- -- --

Three weeks later, when Taehyung steps on the elevator, it's with his arm wrapped around Yoongi's shoulders and they're both getting on at the lobby. Yoongi had been adamant that he wouldn't need a scarf, even when his teeth were chattering and he ducked his head in the front of his jacket. So now he's got Taehyung's favourite green one wrapped around him, because he just so happened to get a little hot and asked if Yoongi would be so kind as to hold it for him. Taehyung likes the way the older guy looks in his clothes, and as he hits the floor number, he wonders how Yoongi would look in his grey sweater with the cut out shoulders. Pretty, he's sure of it. 

"What you thinking about?" Yoongi asks as he checks his phone, and Taehyung would whine that he promised he wouldn't look at if for the whole of their date, but it's hard to be annoyed when there's a hand under the back of his shirt, rubbing circles into his hip.


"Yeah? What about me?"

Taehyung hums, fingers playing with the back of his boyfriend's hair - and they haven't confirmed it, but he knows it's true, if not for seeing Yoongi fill in a form on his laptop the other night and ticked the 'in a relationship' box - looking over his face. "How good you look in my clothes," he tells him, voice dropping a little lower.

Yoongi gives a small nod, head lifting and eyes definitely focused on Taehyung's lips, hand warm on his hip. "That's, uh. Definitely a good thing to be thinking about. Keep thinking it." And if he's trying to go for nonchalant, it's not working very well, able to hear the edge of breathlessness to him. He's about to make a move, but Yoongi is one step ahead of him and presses him up against the side of the elevator and kisses him. He's about to open his mouth and say something extremely charming, but once again, Min Yoongi is one step ahead of him. "Don't say that I'd look even better out of your clothes," he mumbles into his mouth.

He's found his soul mate. 

Taehyung's just gotten his tongue in his boyfriend's mouth when his phone starts ringing, the shrill tone that's associated with work cutting through the pants and slow slide of lips. He does let out a whine this time when Yoongi pulls away and glances down at his phone, Taehyung's fingers scratching at the shaved hair on the back of his neck. He licks his lips and prepares himself to have his space vacated, but then Yoongi is declining the call, and his eyebrows are raising. "Did The Great Min Yoongi just decline a call from work?"

Yoongi looks back up at him once his phone is secured in his back pocket and fixes him with an easy look as the doors of the elevator shriek open. "It can wait," he tells him lowly, taking his hand and tugging him out into the hallway.

"Oh, I'm definitely getting you out of those clothes."