Pairing: Yunho/Changmin (TVXQ)
Warnings: Nothing that isn't perfectly work-safe. Well, save the boy-kissing.
Summary: Yunho and Changmin find themselves in an awkward living situation.
Word Count: 4599
When Changmin opened the door to his new apartment, he was surprised to see there were still boxes strewn across the floor - a couple not fully packed, though apparently formerly taped. He had been told the previous occupant would be out by that day, but he supposed it was possible they were behind schedule. He certainly was, having been scheduled to arrive earlier that morning, but had instead chosen to sleep in.
After shutting the door behind him, he became aware of the sound of water running from the shower. Yup. Clearly behind schedule.
Thinking it more polite to allow whoever it was to finish up rather than disturb them in the middle of a shower, he made himself comfortable on the couch and waited.
He had forgotten that he hadn't exactly been expected, so when the whoever it was made his way into the living room still clad in just a towel, he let out a shout of surprise and nearly fell over from it. Naturally, this was followed by Changmin's own shocked exclamation (he refused to admit it was a scream) and he immediately covered his eyes in mortification.
"Who are you?!" the towel-clad man demanded to know.
"Uh, I'm sorry! I didn't - I mean that is, I should have -" Changmin was stuttering, his tongue stumbling over at least ten different apologies. But none of them successfully made it past his lips because, once he'd started peeking between fingers, he became tongue-tied at the sight of just how tall and lean and... well, wet, this man was.
The man looked confused, when Changmin finally fell silent. "Who are you?" he asked again, his tone a bit strained, but quieter.
"I'm Changmin," Changmin blurted out. Then realized that didn't actually explain anything. "I mean, I'm the new occupant. I'm sorry, I thought you'd be out by now."
This explanation seemed to confuse the other man further. "No you aren't."
Changmin blinked at him, then nearly scowled. "I'm sorry my apology isn't enough for you, but I meant it." His tone was sharp. The nerve of this man, to presume on his feelings.
Straightening his towel, the other man shook his head, lips breaking into a smile.
Changmin tried to ignore the way his eyes twinkled. It was probably just the water dripping off his wet hair and into his eyes creating that effect.
"No, I mean - no, you aren't the new occupant. I am. Do you have the wrong place?" His eyes widened a bit. "Do I have the wrong place?"
And now Changmin was just as thoroughly confused as the other man seemed to be.
As it turned out, neither of them had the wrong place. They discovered this when Changmin tried to turn Yunho in at the police station for fraud, but the police had looked over their leases and declared both legal.
"So let me get this straight. You were both leased the same apartment, the landlord ran off with all the money you put down including the first month's rent and the security deposit, and the police can't do anything about it until they find him?"
Changmin nodded, watching as his best friend and former roommate of the past two years drop down beside him on what used to be half his couch, a bowl of popcorn in his hand.
"That blows, man." Kyuhyun munched thoughtfully on a handful of popcorn, holding the bowl out to offer some of it to Changmin. Changmin shook his head in refusal. "What are you going to do?"
"He could stay with us!"
Mi, Kyuhyun's boyfriend and new roommate, was giving the response Changmin expected. But Changmin had knew even before he came over that he couldn't accept the offer. If he knew Kyuhyun - and he most certainly did, even better than Mi - it would never fly. The place was certainly comfortable for two, but not three people.
"It's okay. He and I decided to talk about it tomorrow, try to work it out on our respective ends before we figure it all out. Maybe he'll let me keep the apartment while we hunt down the landlord, if I explain I've got nowhere else to go."
"Well, you don't have nowhere - ow!"
Changmin glared at Kyuhyun, who was rubbing his arm with an exaggerated pout on his face. "The whole point of moving out was to show I could do it on my own. My dad will just say 'I told you so,' if I move back in now."
Changmin's hopes were shattered the next day, when he finally met with Jung Yunho (that was towel-clad man's name, apparently) the next day to discuss their options.
"Sorry. I just moved here from Gwangju and I don't really know a lot of other people. I don't have anywhere else to stay."
Changmin's face fell. Yunho looked genuinely sorry, but that didn't really fix their problem. "So what do we do?"
Yunho reached back to scratch at his neck, looking a little embarrassed. "Well... We could just stay in the officetel together."
Changmin blanched a little at that. "Together?" he repeated, sounding absolutely horrified at the idea. "The place is big, but it isn't that big!"
"It's not so bad!" Yunho protested. "It's bigger than any other apartment I've ever lived in," he mumbled.
Changmin wasn't really listening. He liked space. He needed it. And he had been saving up for this little space to call his own. It made him bitter, thinking of how all that hard-earned money he'd put down for the security deposit was gone, making it impossiblef or him to search for a new place because he had nothing to offer for security.
He'd thought he'd found the perfect place. After months of apartment hunting, he had finally found a place that met all his basic requirements and was clean to boot. And to have to share it with someone else, for God knew how long...
"I don't like it," he snapped. "I don't even know you. What if you try to kill me while I'm asleep?"
Yunho actually looked offended at that. It was a little scary, how his embarrassed, smiling face suddenly transformed to express his evident anger. "What if you try to kill me? You're not the only one taking a risk here."
Changmin saw the point, but he still couldn't trust him. Or rather, he wouldn't. "There's got to be someone else here who will put you up. What about your co-workers?"
Yunho shook his head. "The other dancers are just as broke as I am, their apartments just as small. I can't ask them."
"Or you won't."
"What about you? You live here, what about your family?"
Changmin actually flushed a little at that. "It's... complicated." It was a lame excuse, but he wasn't talking about his family and independence issues with a total stranger. "Okay. Okay. I guess we don't have any other choice."
They left with the proper good-byes, both polite, but stiff. Suffice it to say, this was not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The officetel really wasn't built to accomodate more than two people. It was intended for one tenant, maybe two if they were a couple. Couples at least brought with them shared items and threw out most of the duplicates. Or so it had been when Mi moved in with Kyuhyun.
When Changmin had filled up most of his half of the apartment with his things - unpacked - he started to worry about how they would fit all their things together.
But Yunho didn't seem to have brought that much luggage with him. In fact, all the things he'd brought that first day were basically it.
"I didn't want to lug too much stuff all the way across the provinces," he explained, when Changmin brought it up. He seemed eager to alleviate Changmin's obvious embarrassment.
Changmin nodded. "I guess it's just as well. But to be fair, we should divide this as evenly as possible." He gestured a line across the room. "You can have that side of the room, and I'll take this one. Kitchen and bathroom are open to both of us, of course, but I want the bottom shelf in the fridge. We can share the space on the door."
Yunho agreed readily enough to Changmin's request (he tried to quiet the nagging voice in the back of his head that said it was more of a demand). Overall, he seemed back to what Changmin would learn was his usual cheerful mood. He was a lot more agreeable than Changmin had expected, as a roommate.
"You sure it doesn't bother you?" he asked. "I don't want us to fight about this a week from now."
Yunho actually laughed at that. "I don't think I'll even fill up this much space, with what I have."
"Right. I suppose not." Changmin frowned. "I guess I should call to cancel the bed that I ordered. What about you?"
"Ah... yeah, me, too." Yunho answered, a bit hurriedly. "I mean, I already called and cancelled it."
"Well that's good. You thought ahead. You're not a late riser, are you? I usually have classes in the morning, so I get up pretty early."
Yunho seemed a bit more concerned about that. "Well... Actually, I was going to ask about when you go to bed. I'm a heavy sleeper, so you won't bother me if you wake up before I do, but I don't get in till late because of dance practice. If it gets too late, though, I can spend the night at the studio."
Changmin rolled his eyes. "I'm a student. Trust me, I'll probably still be up when you get back. Even if I'm not, I'm a pretty heavy sleeper, too."
"Okay. Then I guess that's all we need to worry about, right?"
Changmin nodded. It seemed that they were suited as roommates in all the ways that mattered, anyway.
He had been too optimistic. After only the first week together, Changmin was beginning to see all the ways in which Yunho was actually the worst possible roommate you could have.
Or at least the worst possible roommate a control-freak, neat-freak hypochondriac could have, as Kyuhyun had so kindly put it when Changmin brought his complaints to him on one of their nights out.
"He drinks directly out of the bottle!" Changmin protested, trying to defend his remarks. "How disgusting is that!"
"If he's the only one drinking out of it, what's the problem? It's not like you guys share that stuff, right?"
"Well..." Changmin frowned. "No. But what if he has a guest over? That's just disgusting, if he lets them drink out of that."
"Have you seen him bring a guest over all week?" Kyuhyun asked, rolling his eyes. He had been getting text messages from Changmin all week about this, so it was understandable he was already fed up with it.
Changmin shook his head. "But that doesn't mean it couldn't happen! And I stepped into the shower the other day and do you know what I saw?"
"His toothbrush by the drain? Yeah, you told me." Kyuhyun showed him the text message to prove it.
"And he used it the next day! He leaves the lights on when he goes out, he leaves the window open. What if we get mosquitos!"
This was only the tip of the iceberg. Over the next week, Changmin would witness more of these acts of "carelessness," as Mi had called them. He needed to sit Yunho down and have a talk with him about basic hygiene. This couldn't go on.
But finding a time when they could both sit down and talk was difficult. As he had warned Changmin, Yunho was often up late and out late. Changmin wasn't rude enough to disturb a man when he was sleeping, but he only ever caught glimpses of Yunho awake when they were passing each other in the hallway.
"Where are you going?" he would ask, instead of "Are you busy?"
Yunho always grinned at him, apologetic, and mentioned something about meeting someone, having rehearsal, or some other excuse. And then he was gone, the elevator door closing before him.
Changmin sighed, after the latest encounter of a similar sort, and resigned himself to waiting around for the weekend, when he would have the time to sit around and wait.
That Saturday, when Changmin woke up to find that Yunho had apparently not returned home the night before, he set out on a mission to clean the place up. He had set up the line that divided the parts of the apartment they were each responsible for, but he couldn't bear to look at Yunho's side of the room anymore.
"Disgusting," he muttered, as he picked up Yunho's dirty socks with a gloved hand and tossed it into the laundry bag he was carrying in the other hand.
In addition to cleaning up their shared living area, he scrubbed down the bathroom, threw out Yunho's old toothbrush, and installed a trinket from Daiso that was intended to make it easier to squeeze out your toothpaste. From the bottom, said the post-it note he attached to it.
By the time Yunho returned that afternoon, Changmin was in the small kitchen area, at the pull-out table, enjoying an early dinner (or rather, his first dinner) while reading the newspaper.
"Thanks." Yunho grinned at him, but made no mention of how clean the place was now. Instead, he ducked his head into the fridge and grabbed his usual liter of water and drank from it in his usual manner - straight from bottle.
Changmin tried not to grimace. But he was put out by the fact that Yunho didn't even seem to have noticed there was a difference to their quarters.
"Ahem." He cleared his throat, when Yunho started to come into the house, shoes still on his feet. At least Yunho got the hint and took off his shoes before coming the rest of the way in.
As he made his way to his mattress on the ground, Changmin steeled himself for the confrontation. But by the time he had mentally prepared himself and turned around, Yunho was facedown on the floor, sleeping.
"So you didn't talk to him at all?"
Changmin bit his tongue. "No, we talked. Just not about... any of that."
Kyuhyun rolled his eyes and Changmin couldn't blame him. He had been a coward, backed off because Yunho looked so tired and weak all weekend. Apparently Friday night hadn't gone well, because he had caught a cold, and was bedridden the two days he had off of rehearsal.
"You should have seen him!" Changmin protested, just because he had too much pride not to.
"I didn't realize dancing was so hard," Kyuhyun mused. "But I suppose it is physical work."
It also happened to not be the only work that Yunho did.
"So you slept at the studio last night?" Changmin asked over porridge for dinner that night. They were eating together for the first time since they'd moved in together, which was probably odd, but they led lives on completely different schedules, so it had been impossible before.
Yunho apparently wasn't a very good liar, because as soon as he had affirmed it, Changmin immediately doubted him.
"If you don't want to tell me, you don't have to." Changmin hadn't meant for his voice to come out a snap, but he was annoyed. He didn't know why Yunho was lying.
Yunho, apparently feeling immediate remorse, shook his head quickly. "It isn't that. It's just... I mean, when I go out, I'm not always meeting friends or having rehearsals."
Changmin blinked, the very idea a surprise to him. He had figured that dancing was Yunho's sole profession. What else was he up to during that time? Drug dealing? Prostitution?
"I wait tables at a few place - on-call staff. They need me during the busy lunch and dinner hours-" which explained why he was never around when Changmin was just arriving home "-and there was a big party last night at one of the places that opens up later. I stayed to help clean up and slept at a DVD room because the trains weren't running anymore."
Now it was Changmin's turn to blush.
"At least he was really grateful for the toothbrush thing..." he muttered now.
"He sounds nice," Mi chimed in. Changmin wasn't sure that was helpful, but it got Kyuhyun to stop rolling his eyes at him. "You should really invite him to hang out with us sometime. I'd like to meet him."
It sounded vaguely like a "meet the parents" scenario, and made Changmin entirely too uncomfortable. When he expressed this thought, Kyuhyun laughed at him.
"It's not as if you're really dating. I mean, unless he's really hot. ... Is he really hot?"
Changmin blushed, which only brought on a bout of hooting and laughter from Kyuhyun, and more questions from Mi.
He couldn't really say he hadn't noticed how good-looking Yunho was, though. After all, it was one of the first things he had noticed about him. When he stepped into the room in just that towel, legs long, body lean, face and hair absolutely drenched...
This train of thought was only going to get him into trouble. "Shut up. It's getting late, I should go home."
"Yeah, yeah. Snap me a picture of him sometime, will you? Ow!"
Changmin at least had the satisfaction of watching Mi punch Kyuhyun painfully in the arm with his bony little fist.
Changmin didn't know what he was expecting when he came home that night, but it certainly wasn't Yunho curled up on on his futon with a tiny waif of a girl, watching a movie.
Well, okay, they weren't curled up together. But she was definitely on his futon, within touching-without-reaching distance, and they looked so cozy and comfortable together that it made Changmin suddenly embarrassed about all the thoughts he'd had earlier about Yunho on his way home.
"SOrry, I didn't mean to interrupt," he muttered, about to back out and leave.
But the girl was already up, smiling, and telling him he didn't need to go. "You must be Changmin. Yunho's told me about you," she said, as she shook his head. Suddenly, she whipped her head around. "But you didn't tell me he was this attractive."
If it wasn't so dark, Changmin would have sworn that Yunho was blushing. It looked like he had friends bent on embarrassing him, too.
"I'm BoA," she introduced herself. "We work for the same dance company."
Were they partners? Were they more? Changmin couldn't tell. Before he could figure out a way to... well, figure it out, she was already making her excuses.
"It's about time I left anyway. Take care of him for me, will you? He's a little careless sometimes. But he wouldn't stay with me, so..." She shrugged, and with that was gone.
That left Changmin still standing somewhere near the doorway, staring at Yunho and trying to process BoA's unintended confession.
"I thought you said you had nowhere else to go," he said, just as Yunho was saying, "I can explain."
But Changmin didn't give him a chance to explain, turning around and storming out. It was the first time he'd ever slammed their door behind him.
Changmin had left too early. When he made it downstairs, BoA was still in the lobby, apparently caught up in an argument on her phone. It couldnt' have been that important, though, because she snapped it closed as soon as she caught sight of him - something he had tried to avoid, but "you can't see me if I don't see you" doesn't work quite as well past the age of three.
"You're leaving already?" she asked, when she'd caught up to him outside.
He nodded, clenching his fist but trying not to look too angry. Not that it helped, because his fist was exactly where she kept glancing.
"So... Yunho tells me you're a Kyunghee student."
Changmin nodded again.
"What do you study?"
It wasn't a yes/no question, and Changmin had no way of escaping. He could be rude, but if he thought about it, she wasn't the source of his anger. "Engineering."
"That's neat," she replied, in that automatic way that let him know she didn't care at all. "So you're into math and stuff?"
"And stuff." He caught her wry smile and couldn't help returning with one of his own. It was contagious. "So... Yunho turned down the chance to stay with you?" Changmin asked, tring to sound casual. "What, is he gay?"
There was an awkward pause. "Well... he didn't want to ruin my reputation," BoA finally slowly answered. "We work at the same place. He didn't want there to be rumors. I'm the only girl, so..."
Changmin suddenly felt like a dick. Of course that was how it was. Yunho wasn't the kind of guy who lied for no reason. What would he even get out of staying with Changmin instead of somebody who actually wanted him around.
"This is where I turn."
Changmin was shaken out of his reverie. "Oh. You're leaving?"
"Yeah, I have to eventually," BoA said with a laugh. Then, surprisingly, she reached to squeeze his arm. "Don't let Yunho get you down. He's been trying really hard to be a neater person. I've never seen him so quick to do the dishes after a meal in all the time we've known each other. Oh, and he really appreciates the toothpaste pusher upper thing, by the way."
With a wave, she was gone.
Over the next week, it seemed Yunho's schedule had calmed down. There was plenty more time for them to talk, and a few times Changmin had talked to Yunho briefly about his habit of leaving his shoes on when he came in and leaving the lights on when he left.
But while there were still mistakes, he did notice that when Yunho came in with his shoes, he would always go back to the doorway a few seconds later and take them off.
Hiding his smiles behind his book, Changmin pretended not to notice.
There was one downside to Yunho's sudden efforts to be just as neat as Changmin in order not to offend him. Trying to avoid dripping water on the floor, he never came out of the shower in just his towel, anymore. He always dried off inside and came out fully dressed.
A couple of weekends later, when Changmin returned home with fresh groceries, he realized that there was a huge imbalance in the fridge. While his shelf was always full (and his food always clearly marked), Yunho had only a large bottle of water in his. It suddenly occurred to Changmin that Yunho also hadn't been using any of the space on the door.
Feeling guilty, Changmin suddenly removed all the labels he'd placed on his sandwiches, drinks, and etc.
"It's a lot of effort, writing my name on everything. And I needed more room," he explained, when Yunho came in later that night and expressed his surprise at all the extra food suddenly overtaking his own shelf.
Changmin was rewarded with a ruffle of his hair when Yunho passed by on his way to his part of the room to set things down. He scowled, but behind his glasses and disheveled hair, it wasn't very intimidating.
He supposed it was payback, but just as Changmin had taken over the fridge, Yunho began to take over more of the floorspace. Soon, it was hard to tell where the line was, between one part of the room and the other.
But Changmin found he didn't care so much. As long as Yunho kept his dirty socks in his hamper, that was all that mattered.
"You complain less these days," Kyuhyun pointed out, during one of their study sessions. "He must be hot."
Unfortunately, Mi wasn't around to hit him for that, not having the same finals schedule as them and knowing that neither of them would be of any help to each other. While Changmin and Kyuhyun both studied math, Mi was a music major and found it more productive to spend this time with Ryeowook and Jongwoon.
"He's been getting better."
But the librarian came over to shush them and they both ducked back behind their study materials. Kyuhyun winked at Changmin now and again from over his textbook, but Changmin studiously ignored him.
That night, Changmin arrived home late and found Yunho sitting outside their door, half-asleep.
"Left my keys," Yunho mumbled sleepily, before Changmin could ask him.
Changmin rolled his eyes, but produced his own keys and helped Yunho stumble inside. He even helped him get his shoes off. "Brush your teeth before you go to sleep or you'll feel disgusting in the morning," he warned, once he had shut the door again.
Yunho nodded and obediently went into the bathroom. He kept the door open, apparently not awake enough to remember to close it after Changmin mentioned that he really shouldn't leave the door open in case he was doing #2. Changmin's stomach felt a little strange, as he watched him carefully apply toothpaste to his toothbrush, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like, "From the bottom~"
After Yunho brushed his teeth, Changmin watched him stumble into bed, just to make sure he got there safely. Then, after watching him doze off for a few moments, he finally shut off the lights and went to bed himself.
Eleven days had passed since the night Changmin found Yunho asleep outside their door. He hadn't mentioned it to Kyuhyun, but Mi was becoming more insistent on their having a night out.
"We're your best friends! How is it that we haven't met your roommate?"
Changmin had rolled his eyes, trying to explain that they weren't technically roommates, just sharing the space until the landlord was found.
"Whatever. Next Tuesday, end of finals for all of us. Ryeowook and Jongwoon want to go out, too. Just invite him along."
Because Kyuhyun wouldn't stop pestering him about it via text message, probably after being pestered himself by Mi somewhere on the other end, Changmin finally brought it up to Yunho. He was surprised when Yunho agreed right away.
"Is it a formal event? Why do I have to wear a tie?" Yunho asked, as Changmin presented him with a new "gift".
Changmin flushed a little, ears turning pink. "Well, no. But Mi is always well-dressed and the rest of us have to live up to his standards."
"Mi's the really tall one? Taller than you?"
Changmin nodded. "And Ryeowook's the really short one. He's nice, though. They're all nice. Well, except for Kyuhyun, but you'll get used to him fast."
"He's a lot like you, right? How do you...?"
Changmin sighed, exasperated at watching Yunho's attempts to tie the tie on his own. Walking over, he smacked his hands away and did the job himself.
When he was done, he looked up. Yunho was grinning at him. And suddenly his legs felt like melted jello.
Before he was really aware of what was happening, he was pressed flush against Yunho's body. Yunho seemed to hesitate, so Changmin decided it was probably his move. He reached up, tangling his fingers in Yunho's newly combed hair, and pulled him in for a hard kiss.
They were late to the gathering. Everyone was already there and the appetizers had already been ordered and laid out for them.
"You can still order food, but we'll have to ask for the menus again," Ryeowook said, politely ignoring the large red spot at Changmin's neck.
Kyuhyun, however, wasn't so kind. With a wolf-whistle, he proclaimed that Yunho was, indeed, "much hotter than Changmin had described."
Mi couldn't actually find it in him to hit him, but he smiled and changed the topic to Yunho's dancing. Which actually led to discussion of his dancer's legs. Then Jongwoon, who was not as tactful as Ryeowook, made a teasing reference to the bite mark nearer up to Yunho's ear.
Yunho grinned, as he tended to do when he was embarrassed. Changmin scowled, as he tended to do when he wanted to murder all of his friends. And overall, dinner was a delightful affair. Well, mostly.
"Maybe next time I'll invite BoA," Yunho whispered, with a squeeze to Changmin's thigh.
"Maybe next time we have dinner alone."