friendship!daehyun/youngjae that eventually leads to daehyun/youngjae; g; canon!au; ~2400
written for round 3 of thebrowniebunch for roebling! thank you to tlist that held me through this.
it’s a long day.
youngjae opens the door to the practice room – hoping to have no one in, so he could practice more. he can feel his muscles begging, legs trembling slightly – asking him to just stop. he wants to tell them just one more time, and you’ll all be going to bed – but he reminds himself that they can’t really be begging, and he needs rest. even though he basically didn’t do much progress today.
luck seems to be against him today, he sees.
there’s someone already there, looking back to youngjae with startled eyes. but then he’s smiling – the brightest smile that he has ever seen, something that’s an oddity in the sea of tired trainees in this company.
flustered, he stumbles outside.
he always seems to learn things in the weirdest ways.
the guy he met in the practice room is apparently named jung daehyun from busan. “he’s added to your group,” their current and most possibly temporary manager explains his appearance to them all – and daehyun has the most awkwardly timed grin.
junhong blinks at the news.
they five – minus daehyun – have been established since about a month ago, and they’re going on pretty swell, youngjae would like to think, together. but with an addition of daehyun, youngjae suddenly realizes why yongguk seems to be assessing him, eyes trained on the boy’s figure. he’s assessing if daehyun’s going to disrupt this or strengthen this, because he, as the leader – everybody voted for him, and youngjae’s happy of the fact, because he’s been dreaming about being in a group with bang yongguk – is responsible.
himchan, though, is smiling widely. typical of him – he’s outgoing, energetic, and youngjae is pretty sure that he’s going to be the first one daehyun’s comfortable with. it’s always himchan for all of them.
jongup, well – is just being jongup.
the words from their manager just fly over his head, because he’s just looking at daehyun too, like yongguk – how he bites his lips, how he’s looking nervously at them, how he’s hiding the tiniest sliver of smile.
it’s not before their manager says: “also, youngjae – he’s the main vocalist too. you’ll be sharing both parts and pressure, so there’s that.”
suddenly, the weight that he tries to ignore on his shoulders fly away – he’s been pushed down with this fact, with the pressure, since forever: that his high notes and whatnot has to be perfect every day, perfect for everything, his voice needs to be perfect, but now, this is not the case – and youngjae wants to say to daehyun, wants to cry out to daehyun, who’s looking with youngjae with a stunned expression (he doesn’t even know why) – thank you. thank you. thank you.
what comes out, though, is just an “uh, um, yes.”
“do you think youngjae’s – bitter?” is himchan’s voice asking that night, low, almost too quiet to be heard over junhong and jongup’s loud laughter from their room. youngjae’s out to help daehyun pack up his things in his old dorm, because he’s his new roommate. himchan’s a bit queasy, but he doesn’t know why. it’s probably how youngjae seems to be eyeing the boy in the conference room they were in – yongguk does that a lot, but the younger doesn’t. “i’m not against of that kid being added to our group, he’s honestly talented, but – what if this affects our group dynamics, yongguk? what if, youngjae’s – like – he wants the vocal parts for himself?”
a silence filled with something like soda fizzing out, junhong spluttering.
“believe me,” yongguk finally answers, but it takes him some time to resume his words again. “i would think that he’s – that he’s actually glad, himchan.”
“you’re the main vocalist too, right?” daehyun asks, smiling, when he opens the door to his room – things already packed in boxes except for the clump of blankets on his crudely made bed and his backpack. he’s still wearing the same thing youngjae had seen with him today – sweatpants and a t-shirt from a band he doesn’t know, with sneakers. his hair is still uncut, too.
youngjae almost forgets to reply. he’s just busy swimming in the fact that the pressure is lessened and daehyun’s going to share it with him – as morbid as it sounds.
“yeah,” he answers, a bit dazed. “i’m – yoo youngjae, by the way.”
“youngjae,” daehyun repeats, seemingly to test it on his tongue, and that stupid and happy grin he has suddenly amuses youngjae so much. “um, so – you’re here to help me bring my things, right?”
he barely nods before daehyun goes in and youngjae takes it as a cue to enter. he notices the boxes: medium sized ones, totaling four – he realizes that it’s because he came a long way from busan, and there’s no way that he would haul everything to here in the bustling city of seoul.
youngjae’s things are mostly here, since it’s his hometown – and it resonates deep in him, somehow, because daehyun probably sacrificed everything to get here.
friends, fun, everything. kind of like him in these past years.
he hears a laugh. “i probably need to stuff that in my bag,” daehyun gestures to the blankets, opening his bag and quickly folding the two into small pieces, then stuffed inside his backpack.
youngjae balances two boxes in his grip – a small on the top and a heavier one below it, waiting for daehyun. he seems to stare at his things a lot – the crudely made bed, the lone yellow light flickering on the ceiling – but the stare is longest to the desk. the desk that youngjae’s pretty sure was filled with things before, since there’s no dust settling on it yet.
a pang of melancholy hits him – and when daehyun takes too long standing inside before he turns the light off, youngjae understands.
he’s been through that, too.
“hard, isn’t it?” youngjae asks when daehyun snaps out of it, finishing locking the room – looking at youngjae in surprise, as if he forgot that he’s just standing behind him. he laughs, teeth catching his lips after that.
daehyun looks at youngjae. “yeah,” he admits softly, and that smile now is a bit sad. “spent months in that dinky room, and now i’m leaving it. i was just getting used to it, too.”
talk about years, youngjae wants to say, but he keeps his mouth shut.
they go to the floor where it’s just the trainees that have already debuted – youngjae finally got over the fact a few days ago, but he still blushes when his seniors get out from their own rooms and greet them – and daehyun seems nervous yet excited, since, well, it is his first time here. he’s squeaking is that secret’s room? untouchable-sunbaenim’s? every time.
he just lets him marvel in the fact himself.
youngjae opens the door to theirs with much difficulty, but they made it in.
junhong and jongup are probably watching some anime that he doesn’t know about in their room – the usual. they didn’t even greet them, the kids. yongguk’s probably in the recording room situated in the next building, and himchan’s probably sleeping.
“let’s go to your room,” youngjae says to a bewildered daehyun – who’s just transfixed to junhong’s yelling over the sounds of his laptop – and really, he’s been waiting for weeks to say these words. “i could say our room, though.”
daehyun’s looks at him, finally realizing youngjae’s words – and his grin is dazzling.
he slept almost immediately when his head hit the pillows, but youngjae seems to have had no such luck.
daehyun notices the tired eyes and yawns – even though himchan’s already prepared a big breakfast for them all (“celebrating you, of course,” he winks). his schedule for today is the same as youngjae’s – just vocal training and five hours straight of dancing after that, and daehyun’s glad.
he doesn’t know if he can manage to croak out a syllable after those five hours.
“we’re using the room – our seniors trained in,” youngjae tells him, interrupted by a loud yawn in the middle. “i probably need coffee. or tea.”
“caffeine’s bad for you!” himchan scolds from his room, though youngjae had shared to him that himchan practically runs on coffee and has a stash of coffee powder he keeps in his room. a hypocrite at his best, youngjae nodded, before they heard a door creaking and turned off the lights.
daehyun goes back to his room to retrieve his scarf, looping it around his neck to protect his throat. himchan’s already out to do his own schedule, and he makes an impressed sound.
“ingenious,” he says. “probably should buy my own scarf.”
they head to the recording room, the instructor surprised at them two tagging along – since she has never seen daehyun and youngjae being together in the same room. youngjae explains a little bit, more awake by the prospect of singing, daehyun guesses – and the instructor claps her hands, happy. “two of my favorite voices in a group!” she exclaims. “this is going to be fun.”
the warming up always makes daehyun agitated, since he just wants to sing, but it’s fun with company.
“okay, youngjae,” their instructor finally stops them, and daehyun just says a thank you to the ethereal being up there. “that song you worked on monday? can you sing it again and let me see your progress? daehyun, please step aside the recording booth, we’re going to work on you, soon.”
daehyun mouths a good luck, and youngjae nods.
and daehyun’s – well, daehyun’s impressed. he hasn’t heard a voice like youngjae’s – and he doesn’t know how to describe it, but he likes it. he likes it – very, very much. there’s a hint of emotion, something daehyun’s trying to work on to lessen a bit more – and he’s a bit jealous.
well. friendly jealousy is okay, right? so it pushes him harder to work on his goal.
she seems pleased. “good work, youngjae,” she says. “needs to work more on the high notes, but it’s definitely loads of better than monday.”
it’s daehyun’s turn, so he closes his eyes – lets himself be carried by the music.
their instructor’s comment is okay for him. he needs to work on lessening the emotions through his voice more, because if it continues his pronunciation’s going to go to hell – and he wants to grit his teeth, say i know, i know, i’m trying – but then he sees youngjae, sees youngjae staring at him, surprised, and heavy.
he doesn’t know what to do.
himchan slumps to the space beside him, sweat rolling and seeping through his tank top. they’re practicing the early stages of their debut song, and it’s exhausting. junhong had offered to buy water from the nearest convenience store and had dragged youngjae and jongup beside him. yongguk ran off to the toilet, so it just leaves them both.
“hey,” himchan’s voice appears, and daehyun looks at him. he’s blinking, chest heaving. “what do you think about youngjae?”
daehyun’s a bit taken aback by the question – there’s a few seconds of silence before he answers, because he’s still formulating an opinion. he wants to start of slowly, but then his mouth has an idea of its own.
“nice,” he blurts, but then he bites his lips when himchan’s just staring at him. “i mean – like – i would like to know him more, but he seems nice. and a bit gentle, though he gets a bit excited about things he’s excited about. and – and diligent, i guess. he’s really – really good at singing.”
the older seems content by the answer, and he ruffles daehyun’s hair.
“you bite your lips a lot,” a voice that slowly comes to be familiar with him suddenly says, and daehyun whirls back, almost sweeping the framed photo of him and his family in busan about a month ago in a park – he had been granted a three-day break. youngjae’s staring at him – he does that a lot.
“i notice you gnaw on your nails a lot,” he says back, even though it’s the first time daehyun has seen him do it – youngjae stops doing it, hiding his hand in his pockets, seemingly embarrassed.
that’s also the first time that daehyun saw youngjae smile – not a small one, a discreet one, but a full-blown smile.
youngjae realizes, in an early morning when they’re all about to bleach their hair blond, that he wants daehyun to be more of a friend than a stranger.
they fall into an easy routine.
it’s not that easy at it sounds, though, because nothing’s that easy. there’s always homesickness, always the urge to give up after consecutive days of failure, always the urge to punch someone in the face for not listening. nothing’s smooth – injuries, full-blown cough, petty arguments (jongup accusing daehyun of stealing his blanket was one) – everything.
there are also misunderstandings, but they somehow find themselves weaving back to each other, youngjae finally realizes why he finds himself pulled to daehyun – he’s been alone, been someone who keeps everything by himself. he craves for someone to share his worries, to comfort him. daehyun’s there. daehyun craves for someone, too.
daehyun’s just – well, glad.
they’re in their room after a long day, full of finishing the recording of their debut mini album and practicing. their muscles are begging – like youngjae’s (he told) when he first met him. yongguk had ordered everyone to just sleep in until filming begins at three p.m. tomorrow, but they still can’t sleep. that’s probably because of junhong and jongup’s trying-to-be-discreet giggles.
their newly cut and dyed hair seems to shine in the room. they look so – different.
“are we friends?” daehyun suddenly blurts out the question that he has been keeping in his mind for months – immediately cursing his mouth.
he always wanted a direct answer since the beginning, what youngjae thinks of him. he tries to convince himself that he shouldn’t be surprised if youngjae just says that they’re just group mates – but who is daehyun kidding? he would be hurt. he doesn’t want to be splintered into pieces like many times before.
youngjae finally looks at him, blinking and staring, seeming to churn the question inside, before his lips form a smile – a big one that’s reserved for festivities like the announcement of their debut and their debut album being ready.
“of course we are,” he grins, always so articulate with his words – and all daehyun wants is to yell in happiness, really, but all he can produce is a stutter. still, he can’t help that small speeding of his heartbeat, grinning back.
youngjae turns off the light then, urging them both to sleep, but daehyun’s head just producing the image of youngjae grinning and saying of course we are, of course we are, of course we are friends, until he’s a bit dizzy on that fact.
he sleeps easily that night, a miracle.