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if you're awake then i am too

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Yoongi stares at the laptop screen over Taehyung's shoulder with a skeptical sort of interest.

Taehyung is blowing this whole thing out of proportion, and yet Yoongi is curious, despite himself. He's heard the bumps and creaks and thuds late at night since they moved in, too. He always chalks them up to the decrepit old house settling. The warped, aged studs swaying in the wind. The very real possibility of a family of squirrels living in the attic above the kitchen, or something. There's a logical explanation in there somewhere, he's sure of it.

Taehyung, though, is not.

"Look at this, hyung," he says softly, reaching blindly behind himself. He hooks two fingers into the neck of Yoongi's shirt, tugs until Yoongi's chin is resting snug on his shoulder.

Heat crawls up Yoongi's neck, spreads all the way to his cheeks. He's glad for Taehyung's obliviousness. Tries very hard to focus on where Taehyung is pointing, and not the way the thin, wire-framed glasses are sitting a little crooked on Taehyung's nose.

10 Signs Your House Is Haunted, the screen displays in bold, cheesy font. Just below that is a badly edited photo of an old two story house. A poorly placed, transparent face with hollowed out eyes and a gaping mouth peeks out from one of the grimy windows, half hidden behind a tattered curtain.

Yoongi bites back a snort.

"Whoa," Taehyung breathes, flicking through the website's totally real ghost sightings gallery. The same tacky, grainy filter has been slapped over each and every blurry, too-dark picture.

Yoongi knows without a doubt that Taehyung is hooked.

He tries shimmying back to the other side of the couch where he can breathe. Where he won't overheat, won't burn up from the inside out, won't be tempted to give in and huddle in closer and never move again. But Taehyung winds his long, warm fingers gently around the back of Yoongi's neck, keeping him there.

If he feels the heat of Yoongi's flushed skin, he doesn't let on.

"We should start taking pictures," Taehyung murmurs. He's applying careful, absent-minded pressure where his fingers are resting, and Yoongi lets him because he's had a crick in his neck for two fucking days and it feels good. "Around the house. See that little light right there? That's an orb. They're in like, every picture. I bet we find some here, too."

Yoongi hums. He's abandoned all thought of peeling away now, eyes drifting lazily over the laptop screen. Taehyung reaches the end of the gallery before quietly clicking out of it, scrolling past the half a dozen obnoxious ads to get to the list.

"Number ten," he reads aloud. Yoongi feels the rumble of his voice where his cheek is pressed to his neck, where his chest is pressed to Taehyung's back. "Your pets start acting strange." He huffs a sarcastic laugh, pulling back to level Yoongi with a mild glare. "Guess we wouldn't know about that one, would we? Moving on."

As if it's Yoongi's fault their landlady has a strict no pets policy. She doesn't have to know, Taehyung had said after begging Yoongi to accompany him to the shelter, a week after signing the lease. And sure, maybe a small dog or a kitten would be easy enough to hide, but he knows Taehyung. There's no way they'd have left that place with just one animal.

"Nine," Taehyung says as Yoongi hooks his chin back over Taehyung's shoulder. "You hear inexplicable noises."

They both scoff at that one. Taehyung clicks to the next slide.

"Eight, the feeling of being watched. Oh, I definitely get this one. What about you, hyung?"

Yoongi holds as still as he can and prays Taehyung can't feel his thudding heart where they're pressed together, chest to back. Does he ever feel watched? Not often enough to think anything of it.

The thing is, he might know why Taehyung gets that feeling, and it might be a little bit his fault. Unless the ghost or demon or whatever the fuck Taehyung thinks is haunting them has taken more of a liking to Taehyung, rather than him.

He guesses that really wouldn't come as too much of a shock. It's not like he could blame some otherworldly creature for hanging around Taehyung when even Yoongi sometimes has a hard time taking his eyes off him.

"I don't know," Yoongi grumbles. He slips his chin off Taehyung's shoulder, but again, Taehyung's hand holds him close. Yoongi's back is starting to hurt from the angle. It'll likely be sore by the end of the night, a nice match for his aching neck.

Still, he doesn't try to move again.

Taehyung makes a disappointed clicking sound with his tongue, and moves on to seven.

"Waking up at 3 AM," he laughs. "Don't even bother answering that one."

Yoongi jabs Taehyung lightly in the side, gets jostled a bit when Taehyung squirms. So he keeps the same hours as a fucking bat, so what.

"These are dumb," he complains. Taehyung's fingers slip up into his hair. Yoongi closes his eyes, tilts his head down to muffle his words into Taehyung's shoulder. "Shouldn't we be looking into the history of the house, or something? This whole list is bullshit."

Written by a wannabe ghost hunter for a few extra clicks to their shitty blog, Yoongi would be willing to bet. And Taehyung is just naive enough to buy into it.

"Ah," Taehyung hums. He's kneading at the tense muscle just under Yoongi's skull. Yoongi bites his tongue, exhales carefully through his nose. "That's actually a really good idea, hyung. I should call the landlady tomorrow and ask if anyone's ever, I dunno, died here, or something."

"Right," Yoongi mutters. He doesn't bother mentioning how the grouchy old woman probably won't even bother taking Taehyung's call. She didn't when their refrigerator stopped working last week, or when the pipes under the kitchen sink started to leak the week before that.

Her phone seems to work just fine when the rent check is due every month, though. Go figure.

Yoongi stifles a yawn, blinks blearily at the screen Taehyung is still reading from, silently now. Today had been busy, and tomorrow is supposed to be busier, and if he wants even a chance at surviving work, he should act like the responsible adult he's supposed to be and get some fucking sleep for once.

"Alright," he sighs, but he doesn't move. Not yet. "As fun as this was, I should get to bed."

"'Kay, hyung," Taehyung murmurs. He doesn't move, either. Except for those fingers, still doing mind numbing, wonderful things to the back of Yoongi's neck.

"I'm going to bed now, Tae," Yoongi gently reminds him, and reaches back to pat those fingers, stilling them. "Kinda need you to let me go for that."

Taehyung squeaks very quietly, hastily yanks away like Yoongi's skin has burned him. He hunches forward over his laptop, Yoongi's head dropping off his shoulder.

"Yeah, of course. Sorry, hyung, I didn't—"

Yoongi slinks off the couch and waves him off. His back cracks in three different places as he straightens up. He'd been right; he's sore as fuck. His neck feels a hell of a lot better, though, and after witnessing what those fingers are capable of firsthand, he briefly considers asking Taehyung for a back massage.

Bad idea, he decides, and settles for stretching out, rolling his shoulders.

"Don't sweat it," he mumbles. Taehyung shoots him a quick, sheepish smile. "And don't stay up all night on these dumb fucking websites, got it?"

"Mhm," Taehyung hums, turning back to his laptop, distracted already. "Got it."

 

———

 

Yoongi finds him the next morning, sprawled half across the couch, half on the floor. The laptop, dead now, lies opened on his stomach. His lips are parted as he breathes steadily, his eyes slitted, just barely.

Even though he's running nearly fifteen minutes late, Yoongi pauses, then snorts softly. Creeps over to slip the skewed glasses off Taehyung's face, moves the laptop to the coffee table, pulls the throw blanket off the back of the couch and lays it across as much of Taehyung's lanky body as he can.

"I told you not to stay up all night," Yoongi grumbles. He brushes his fingers through Taehyung's dark hair, sweeping it from his face. Taehyung doesn't stir.

Yoongi grabs his things and slips out the front door.

 

———

 

"What the hell is all this?" Yoongi deadpans. He feels a migraine coming just looking at all the things laid out in front of him. Taehyung hovers over the coffee table on the opposite side, hands waving frantically, eyes opened wide. Like he wants to explain, but doesn't know where to begin.

"I—well," he finally says, then picks up the tiny glass container from their kitchen, waves it around with his eyes still glued to the table. "This is salt."

Yoongi would glare, but Taehyung isn't even looking at him, so there's really no point. He slumps back against the foot of the couch and frowns.

"No shit. I was mostly talking about that thing."

He nods to the weathered cardboard box, torn at the edges. It looks like it may have said something, once upon a time, but the lid is too faded and discolored to really tell.

Taehyung beams.

"You mean this?" He gingerly picks the box up, holds it at eye level to inspect it before setting it back down. "I got this online. It's supposed to be the real deal. None of that cheap toy store crap."

Yoongi frowns some more, watches Taehyung slowly pull the top off the box, and feels his stomach plummet.

"No," he says. Taehyung pays him no mind as he sets the lid aside and peers at the contents. "No fucking way, Taehyung. Get that shit out of our house."

It isn't the flimsy board game material Yoongi had been expecting. Taehyung pulls out a solid plank of wood, uneven at the edges, each letter painstakingly engraved into the front. There's no smiling suns or goofy looking crescent moons or twinkling little stars like the ones Yoongi's seen in the TV shows and movies. This one is pretty plain for the most part, bold, old English style font, tiny intricate designs in the corners that Yoongi doesn't stare too hard at. He doesn't stare too hard at the board at all. He feels sick just looking at it.

Not that he believes in all that spirit world shit, but playing around with it just seems wrong.

"So I was doing some research," Taehyung mumbles, ignoring Yoongi's protests and growing irritation, "on the house, right? Because the landlady wouldn't answer when I called the other morning." He sets the board on the table next to the lid, and pulls out an almost heart shaped planchette, weighing it in his hand. Yoongi keeps his gaze strictly on Taehyung's face. "Wanna know what I found?"

"No," Yoongi snaps. He's under no illusion that Taehyung will actually listen. All of his research and excitement and curiosity had been cute for a while, but this is just too much. The house is old. Maybe they need to call an exterminator. Tighten the hinges on the cabinets and doors that keep swinging open on their own, or something. But a goddamn ouija board?

"Okay. So." Taehyung sets the planchette on top of the board, and his elbows on the table. He leans in close, eyes on Yoongi's face. Like they're two kids around a campfire, spooking each other with cheesy ghost stories. "Back in the late 70s, there was this old guy who lived here. Choi or Cho or...? Anyway, he was like, ninety and he lived all alone and then one day—"

He stops short, drags his thumb slowly across his throat, lets his head fall limply to the side with his tongue lolling out. Yoongi squirms, horrified.

"He was murdered?"

Taehyung perks right back up, eyes wide, jaw slack.

"What? No! God, hyung, he was ninety. And he had, like, a thousand health problems. He died in his sleep. Christ, you're morbid."

"I'm morbid?" Yoongi scoffs, waving a hand over the table and everything on it—the board, the salt, a dozen tealight candles, a grocery bag full of god knows what else—and shoots Taehyung a glare. "You're the one who bought a fucking ouija board."

"Look, you're missing the point. Cho-whatever died in this house."

"And?"

Taehyung tosses both hands in the air, exasperated.

"What do you mean, and? He died here, hyung. Just like we thought."

Yoongi definitely never once thought some old guy died here forty-something years ago, but he doesn't bother saying so. There's no use arguing with Taehyung. He's just as stubborn as Yoongi, and it never ends well.

"Taehyung," Yoongi sighs. He reaches for his hands that are still hanging, suspended, in the air, and brings them back down to the table. Taehyung turns a bright red, even in the mostly dark room. Yoongi wonders if it's from frustration, or if he's embarrassed him. "I doubt an old man who died peacefully in his sleep before we were born is haunting us."

Despite the color in his cheeks, Taehyung leans in over the coffee table, tugging Yoongi forward, too. "Hyung," he whispers, which is all he really has to do in the quiet room, face half a dozen inches from Yoongi's. "It took six days before anyone found him."

And okay, that's actually pretty gross, but it's not like it's hard evidence or anything. Yoongi looks down at their clasped hands, then at the coffee table, then back up at Taehyung. He doesn't respond.

"He died in your room, you know," Taehyung adds. Yoongi feels his nose scrunch.

"You can't possibly know that."

"You have the bigger room. He lived alone. It's not that hard to figure."

He shakes his hands free and goes back to rummaging. Yoongi rolls his eyes.

"You aren't gonna let this go, are you."

"Nope."

Taehyung pulls a little plastic package full of rocks out of his grocery bag, and then another. There's a handwritten label on each that reads seance stones. Yoongi isn't even sure he wants to know what they're for.

"The lady at the shop said they're for channeling and protection,” Taehyung tells him when he finally gives in and asks.

"Channeling and protection," Yoongi echoes flatly. Whatever that means. He slides one of the little pouches across the table and holds it up. There are six rocks in this one, and only five in the other, all varying in shapes and sizes and colors. Yoongi frowns. "How many ghosts are you trying to talk to tonight? Why'd you get two bags?"

Taehyung's gaze flickers to Yoongi, then back down. He pulls a box of matches out of the bag and shrugs.

"One's for me and one's for you."

Yoongi's gut twists. He wants nothing to do with all this, but Taehyung... He went to a shop, for god's sake. He bought a "real deal" ouija board online. He thought to get Yoongi his own bag of rocks. How can Yoongi say no?

"Look at you," he says, teasing. If he's feeling a bit softer than usual, that's nobody's business. "Thinking of me while we're being haunted. How sweet."

“Hyung,” Taehyung snorts. He's busy lighting one of the tiny candles with a match, nearly burns his fingers, quietly mumbles, "I'm always thinking of you."

Yoongi thinks he's teasing back, almost reaches over the table to swat at his shoulder, until Taehyung freezes right up. His eyes dart to Yoongi, mouth opened like he's going to correct himself, and then—

"Hyung," Taehyung whispers frantically instead, eyes wide, but Yoongi is already standing slowly, peering around into the kitchen. "Hyung, you heard that too, right?"

Yeah, he heard it. Hard not to hear a glass shattering from hardly fifteen feet away. He mumbles for Taehyung to stay put, tiptoes around the coffee table, gets a whole three steps toward the kitchen before Taehyung latches onto him from his spot.

"Stay," he pleads, fingers tight around Yoongi's wrist. Yoongi looks down at him, then back to the entrance of the kitchen. From here, he sees a few shards of yellow ceramic on the linoleum floor. Taehyung's mug, left on the counter last night after hot chocolate. "Yoongi hyung, please. You know no one will be in there."

He does know. He wishes, now more than ever, that they did have an animal. A cat, maybe, to blame the broken mug on. Cats like to get up on counters, right?

Yoongi moves to sit back down.

"Let's just—let's just summon Satan, or whatever the fuck we're doing," he says, gently tugging out of Taehyung's grasp.

"The first rule is to be respectful, hyung," Taehyung tells him patiently. Yoongi watches him light more candles with trembling fingers, set them around the table, meticulously straighten out the ouija board. He slides the salt shaker closer, taps one of the packages of rocks thoughtfully before tearing into it.

Yoongi doesn't ask what he's doing. After he arranges everything just so, he glances up, their eyes meeting.

"We both have to be touching this." He taps the planchette with two fingers. "This part isn't all that different from the movies, I guess."

"You guess," Yoongi echoes. He tries very hard not to look toward the kitchen again. This is all so very ridiculous. "Great."

Taehyung puts the planchette on the board. Yoongi reaches over three candles and a pile of smooth, tiny stones to put his fingers on it, mimicking Taehyung, and prays he knows what he's doing.

"Now what?" he asks flatly. His fingers tremble slightly. He blames it on adrenaline, and hopes like hell Taehyung doesn't notice.

"Now we... talk, I guess."

"You're guessing a whole hell of a lot, Tae. You do know how this works, right?"

"Of course I do," Taehyung grumbles. His eyes flicker to Yoongi, then away just as quickly. "Mostly. It isn't that complicated, hyung," he finishes loudly, when Yoongi starts to pull his hand back. "We just ask if someone is here, and go from there. And we gotta say goodbye at the end. Simple as that."

"Simple as that," Yoongi huffs around a chuckle of disbelief. So very, very ridiculous.

"Yes," Taehyung responds. There's a determined little lilt to his voice. Yoongi sighs, glances down at the board, watches his own shadow flicker in the candlelight and waits for Taehyung to get this show on the road. Even though he knows they'll both regret it. "Um. Yes or no questions will probably be best."

And that's something Yoongi can agree with, looking at the letters engraved into the board. His grasp on the English language is decent at best. Demons might use big, complicated words. Who the hell knows? Certainly not Yoongi. Taehyung barely knows how to use this damn thing, so certainly not him, either.

"Ready?" Taehyung breathes, meeting his eyes again.

Fuck no, Yoongi wants to say, but he only shrugs. Taehyung probably knows what he really means anyway. Still, Taehyung clears his throat, rolls his shoulders, readjusts his hold on the planchette. His fingers brush Yoongi's before skittering back a little.

"Okay," he says, nodding once. Before he can start thinking about how soft Taehyung looks in the candlelight or how goddamn pretty his is or any of the dozens of other ill-timed thoughts, Yoongi glances away. "Okay, uh. So. Is there… um, is there anyone here?"

Yoongi grits his teeth. This is so dumb. He feels so dumb. Nothing is happening and they're both just sitting there on the floor, on opposites sides of a low-sitting coffee table, in a room lit by tiny candles, surrounded by salt and rocks. It's worse than dumb. Yoongi just wants to go to bed.

The planchette jerks. A fraction of a inch, but it's enough. His gaze darts up to find Taehyung already looking at him, slack jawed and wide eyed.

"Hyung?"

"I—"

It jerks again. Bigger this time. Goes toward Yoongi, then back again. Yoongi's mouth is so, so dry.

"What the fuck," he says.

"Is there someone here?" Taehyung asks again. His voice shakes terribly. Yoongi wishes they'd left the goddamn lights on.

He can't believe he's getting spooked. Taehyung's gotta be pulling his leg. He's never done anything like this before, not back in their old college dorm, or the two apartments they'd shared before here, but there's a first time for everything.

The planchette lurches, makes a spasmodic little circle before sliding unevenly toward yes.

"What the fuck," Yoongi says. He wants to look at Taehyung's face, check for a smug little grin, a held back laugh, but he's hesitant to look away from the board. "Taehyung, what the fuck."

"Um," Taehyung stammers. He's trying to focus, that much is obvious. Yoongi is probably distracting him. He doesn't give a shit. He needs Taehyung to admit this is one big hoax so they can put everything away and never speak of it again. "Are you—did you die here?"

Taehyung cringes. Even he finds this ridiculous. The planchette makes another twitchy circle, then moves slowly to no.

"I hate this," Yoongi whines. He doesn't even care that he's whining. His heart is pumping so hard and so fast, he's afraid the blood will shoot right out of the ends of his veins and right through his skin and he'll just explode. It's a disturbing, disgusting thought. Maybe he shouldn't be thinking things like that while conversing with demons. What if they like it too much, decide to stay? Demons like gross things, right?

Oh, what the fuck. There are no demons. Yoongi really needs to get a grip.

"Then," Taehyung says, frowning, "who—no, wait—are you a ghost? Did you used to be human?"

It circles no again. The movement is smoother this time. Less jerky. Yoongi has never wanted to not be home so badly before in his life.

"You're fucking moving it," he accuses. He still doesn't look away from the board, a lifeless hunk of wood that feels like it could up and bite Yoongi's hand clean off. "You're moving it, aren't you, Taehyung?"

He doesn't like his own pleading tone. Like he's begging for Taehyung to fess up. Taehyung, who shakes his head, who says, "I'm not moving it, hyung, I swear, I—"

"This is bullshit. I'm going to bed. Why do I always let you talk me into this crazy shit?" He sounds hysterical, even to his own ears. Irrational. Just like this whole fucking situation. "Why did I let you talk me into moving, our apartment was fine—"

"Our apartment was infested with at least three different kind of bugs."

How does Taehyung sound so fucking calm? Even with a quivering voice, he's light years more level-headed than Yoongi. Isn't it usually the other way around? Doesn't Yoongi usually scoff at all of Taehyung's ghost and demon and paranormal talk? Doesn't he usually find this all so incredibly ridiculous?

"Well, Taehyung, bugs are better than a fucking poltergeist."

The planchette feels warm. Feels like it's humming and vibrating beneath Yoongi's fingers. He can hardly believe what he's saying. What he's thinking. What is this, a goddamn b-rated horror movie?

"So you do believe," Taehyung whispers across the table, awed. His fingers brush Yoongi's again.

Something inside Yoongi snaps.

"This is really so fucking stupid," he croaks, pushing up off the ground. Taehyung's eyes widen as Yoongi's fingers leave the planchette. "You got me. Congratulations. Real fucking funny."

"Hyung, hang on—"

He knows, maybe, deep down, that none of this is Taehyung's fault. He doesn't have an explanation, and that's really the whole problem. Yoongi likes logic. He likes things that make sense. Taehyung is the only exception to that—strange, eccentric, paranormal loving Taehyung. Yoongi loves the hell out of him.

Yoongi doesn't love stupid ghost blogs and protection rocks and talking to demons.

"Hyung," Taehyung calls again, desperately, as Yoongi stomps off down the hall. "But hyung, we didn't say goodbye!"

"Goodbye," Yoongi snaps back over his shoulder. He doesn't stop. He's going to bed. To sleep and forget and maybe call the landlady when he wakes up tomorrow. Take the damn bus to her house if he has to. Demand she do something about the family of whatever-the-fuck animals living in the walls, all the doors and cabinets that don't sit right on their hinges. The faulty wiring that flickers the lights, and their kitchen full of stupid, half-broken appliances.

And as for the ouija board, well, Taehyung is gonna burn that thing, Yoongi can be sure of that.

He doesn't bother turning the light on in his room. It probably wouldn't work anyway. What, is he paying the electric bill for nothing? Piece of shit house. No one should have to live like this. He should sue the landlady. She never disclosed any of the problems they're having when they signed the lease.

Maybe he'll call a lawyer tomorrow, too.

Yoongi is in his bed—wide awake, has been for a while—when the door creaks opened. He nearly coughs up both his lungs and his heart all in one go, until he recognizes Taehyung's footsteps coming closer. Because apparently that's a thing you learn about someone, after living together for years and years. He relaxes into his pillow, eyes still closed.

"You're mad at me," Taehyung murmurs, climbing under Yoongi's blanket like it's his bed, too. Most nights, Yoongi wishes it was. Tonight, he just wishes for quiet. No creaking, no scratching, no mugs shattering. No Taehyung.

He must be making that clear enough. Taehyung is careful to keep to his own side of the mattress. To not touch Yoongi. Which is kind of how it always is—just two people who hate sleeping alone keeping each other company—only not so quiet. Not so tense.

Not so cold. Fuck, is it cold. Taehyung usually brings warmth, usually leaves Yoongi sweating, tempted to kick out of the blankets he's currently huddling into, while fighting the ridiculous urge to roll into him, absorb as much of the comforting heat as he can.

As appealing as that sounds now, Yoongi keeps his back to Taehyung and doesn't respond.

Taehyung sighs. It comes out shaky. He's probably cold, too. Yoongi tells himself that's the only reason he isn't kicking him out. That it has nothing to do with the soft thuds coming from somewhere down the hall. That he's gone and let himself get freaked out, and it's all in his head.

"Hyung, are you—are you mad because you can't get rid of me?"

Yoongi jerks around so quick, he almost catches Taehyung's shoulder with his jaw.

"Please explain to me," he deadpans, "which part of that crazy fucking brain of yours got you to that conclusion."

Taehyung shrugs miserably. He's got the blanket pulled all the way up to his chin. Yoongi is almost positive he sees the breath coming out of Taehyung's mouth as he thinks, tiny little puffs of white. Maybe he left his window opened? But he's not about to turn back around and check. Ignorance is bliss, and all that.

"I dunno," Taehyung mumbles. "Because we've been roommates since college and you're always putting up with me and now I'm in your bed?"

"Tae," Yoongi whispers, heart lurching. He thinks about spilling his guts. Thinks about telling Taehyung, you dumbass, I've been in love with you since your freshman year, how can you not see that?

But the thudding is getting louder. For the first time, Yoongi finds himself praying for an intruder. A human intruder. Now is not the time for confessions of any kind.

"I'm not mad because I can't get rid of you. I don't want to get rid of you," he says instead. It's close enough. "Idiot. I'm mad because you just invited a fucking demon into our home."

Taehyung stares, tired, gnawing at the inside of his cheek. There's a loud bang—a cabinet or door somewhere out there, flying opened and hitting a wall, maybe—and Yoongi watches him jerk, startled.

"To be fair," he whispers, eyes wide, both hands shooting out for Yoongi, "I think it was already here?"

Yoongi scowls into the dark, but he opens his arms for Taehyung anyway. Taehyung sticks himself to Yoongi like glue, face pressed against Yoongi's collarbones. He's trembling.

"Well I doubt what we did tonight was of any help." Yoongi sighs, sliding a hand up into Taehyung's hair, holding him close. Taehyung is scared, and that's why he does it. Because Taehyung is scared.

"We made it worse," Taehyung whimpers, breath warm against Yoongi's skin. Yoongi holds him tighter, is tempted to cover his ears, block out the noises, make everything better somehow. "I made it worse. I'm sorry, hyung."

"It's not your fault, Tae," Yoongi tells him, because it isn't. Taehyung burrows deeper in Yoongi's arms, fits his head under Yoongi's chin. Yoongi presses his lips to the top of his head and hardly feels embarrassed at all.

When Taehyung whimpers again, Yoongi can't tell whether it's because of that, or because of another loud crash from somewhere outside the room, like another mug breaking, some sort of glass shattering.

"Fuck this," Yoongi swears. He doesn't know what he thinks is happening anymore, but he knows he doesn't want to deal with it. He's had enough. Thinks Taehyung has too, even after all the fun he's had with his research and planning and contacting whatever the hell they contacted earlier.

Taehyung squirms and looks up at him. His nose is red from the cold, eyes big and watery. "Hyung?" he asks.

Yoongi reels him back in, like he can shield him from whatever is out there, from whatever might come in here. He couldn't, most probably, but hell if he wouldn't try.

"I'm looking for an apartment tomorrow,” he says into Taehyung's hair. Taehyung tenses right up in his arms, and Yoongi rolls his eyes, knowing exactly what he's thinking. "Don't be stupid, Tae. You're coming with me."

“How, though?” Taehyung mumbles, wiggling around until his arms and legs are wound around Yoongi, all tangled up, like he's trying to get as close as physically possible. Even wrapped in his body heat, Yoongi can't manage to stop shivering. “We signed a twelve month lease.”

"We'll break it," Yoongi says easily. The thuds have moved into the hallway. Yoongi squeezes his eyes closed, resisting the urge to wriggle down and hide his face in the crook of Taehyung's neck.

"Hyung,” Taehyung murmurs, his nose icy cold where it's pressed against Yoongi's throat, “we can't afford—"

"We'll make it work." He pulls back a bit, taps under Taehyung's chin until Taehyung flinches away from his cold fingers and looks at him. "Tomorrow, we're getting out of here. Both of us. Together, okay?"

“Together,” Taehyung echoes pitifully. And it's sort of ridiculous, Yoongi thinks, that even in this situation, even scared and shaking and abnormally pale, Taehyung is still the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. That even after everything, the sincerity of Taehyung's voice tugs at the strings of Yoongi's rapidly thudding heart.

That, under any other circumstances, right now would be the prime time to lean in and kiss Taehyung the way Yoongi has always wanted to.

Of course the mood would be ruined by some goddamn demonic entity. Yoongi did fall in love with Kim Taehyung, the boy who had been a loyal member of their campuses ghost club all four years of college. Yoongi should never have expected anything less.

Another door slams just as Yoongi considers kissing Taehyung anyway, supernatural spectators and disembodied footsteps be damned. The door right across the hall. Taehyung's door.

Taehyung blinks, eyes flicking up from somewhere around Yoongi's chin. Yoongi tries to swallow and fails, repeatedly, until he feels as though he might gag. There's really no use denying it anymore, but his brain tries to anyway, making ludicrous excuses for what's happening even as the rest of him begs desperately to just give in to instinct and flee already.

"Hyung," Taehyung whispers hoarsely, fingers clawing at Yoongi's back, twisting frantically into the fabric of his t-shirt, “hyung, maybe we should get out of here now?"

Yoongi pulls back to look at him properly, but all that gets him is Taehyung burrowing back in again, making no real effort to go anywhere at all. Instead of waiting, wasting time they might not have, Yoongi asks, "Should we go stay with Namjoon tonight?"

That gets Taehyung's attention. Or maybe it's the constant thumping around outside the room. Either way, Taehyung is nodding eagerly, prying himself out of Yoongi's arms.

"You read my mind."

Yoongi finds a jacket big enough to fit Taehyung on the floor of his closet. It isn't much, barely enough to keep him warm on the way to the bus stop, but it'll have to do. They'll come back for their stuff some other time. Or just send for it. Yoongi isn't too terribly concerned about any of that right now.

For now, all he can think about is how to get the hell out of here. How to sneak past Taehyung's room, down the hall, and into the fucking lion's den.

What if they don't make it? It's probably irrational—Yoongi's never actually heard of death by haunting before—but he's scared, and it's loud out there, and if the thing can slam doors and break mugs, what's to keep it from doing the same to them?

Yoongi shudders. This could very well be his last night alive. These could be his last thoughts. Fuck, he's spiraling, panicking, doesn't really know if he can do this, if his heart won't explode before the thing out there can even touch him. He starts thinking horrible, traumatizing things like is this because I didn't say goodbye and what if Taehyung went to his room instead of mine and holy fuck, what if we die tonight without Taehyung ever knowing how I feel.

He hears the zipper of the jacket, feels Taehyung sidle up next to him, turns around and he can't see him all that well in the dark—just a flickering streetlight outside the window, maybe a bit of the moon that isn't blocked by clouds—but it's enough. Enough to see the way Taehyung is looking at him. Enough to see the trust in his eyes, and the fear, and the hesitance, like he's waiting for Yoongi to tell him what to do now.

Enough to make Yoongi cave, grab him by the front of the jacket, tug him down. Taehyung makes a small noise of surprise when Yoongi kisses him, soft and quick.

Too quick. There's a hurried thump thump sound that vibrates the floorboards under their feet, and Yoongi realizes he's kissing Taehyung without knowing whether or not Taehyung wants to be kissed, and he lets him go and steps back so fast, Taehyung stumbles forward, eyes still closed, lips slack.

“Just in case,” Yoongi mumbles lamely when Taehyung's eyes pop open, and his body has the audacity to flush all the way to the tips of his ears, to feel embarrassed even with all the chaos, all the pure, bone deep terror.

Taehyung's gaze flickers to Yoongi's still closed (but probably won't be for long) bedroom door, then back again. He's blinking, rapidly, reminding Yoongi of his old computer every time it had to stop, to process, to load new information agonizingly slowly.

Light tapping comes from across the hall, from behind Taehyung's door. Taehyung surges forward then, sprung into action by the sound, cups Yoongi's face in both hands and kisses him again. Properly. Desperately.

It's nothing how Yoongi always imagined kissing him for the first time would be like. Still, Taehyung's lips are soft, and they're warm despite the chill in the room, and everything settles into a strange sense of serenity. Of calmness. Like it'll all be okay, so long as Taehyung is with him.

Yoongi doesn't even get the chance to cringe at himself for that thought. Taehyung pulls away, not as quick as Yoongi had, but quick enough. He presses their foreheads together, runs both thumbs over Yoongi's heated cheeks. Yoongi thinks he might be looking at him, a little cross-eyed, but it's too dark and they're too close to really be sure.

“Okay,” Taehyung says, quietly, like he's talking to himself rather than Yoongi. He reaches cautiously for the doorknob, and Yoongi clings to him for a few seconds more before letting go and holding out his hand.

Taehyung takes it. With his other hand, he slowly turns the doorknob, carefully pulls the door open, quietly asks, “ready?”

“Not really,” Yoongi admits, and stares down the dark, empty hallway. It's gone very still out there. Very quiet. He wonders if it's a trick. “If we make it out if this,” he adds hastily, holding Taehyung firmly at his side, “I wanna take you out. On a date.”

Now isn't the time for a comment like that, but that doesn't seem to matter to Taehyung, who laces their fingers and squeezes tight.

“I'm holding you to that,” he whispers. He sounds like he means it. Yoongi tugs him over the threshold and down the hall before he gives in and kisses him a third time.

Taehyung doesn't let him go. Not when they make it through the front door, not while they wait at the bus stop, not as they sit, huddled on Namjoon's ancient couch, urgently trying to explain why they've shown up at two in the morning with no warning whatsoever.

Not even as Namjoon leads them, still half asleep, into his spare bedroom, or when they climb into the tiny bed together, still shaking with fear and adrenaline. As they doze off, curled up under the blanket with the door opened and the hallway light on, Taehyung is still clutching tightly to his hand.

“I've always wanted to try that taco place by our old school,” he slurs. Yoongi isn't sure he's even still awake, but he can't help a small smile, can't help stretching up and pressing a kiss to Taehyung's hair.

Tacos are greasy. Messy. Possibly the worst first date food of all time. But Yoongi has seen Taehyung drop a frosted cupcake on the ground and still eat it, so maybe it's okay to make an exception, just this once.

“Tacos it is, then,” Yoongi whispers. “As long as you promise no ouija boards at our new place.”

Without opening his eyes, Taehyung grins, and somehow manages to make it look sheepish, despite everything.

“Deal.”