What: 4500w, PG
Summary: The internet never told Yoo Youngjae that getting too close to Daehyun would result in shared dreams. He can't say he regrets finding out though.
For kalopsia at thebrowniebunch exchange! ♥ This was supposed to hit the "Super Power!au" prompt but didn't... quite. I'm sorry. u__u;
The first time Youngjae remembers it happening, he doesn't realise it has until much later—and he's pretty sure neither does Daehyun.
It's in the back of the van after a long schedule and he closes his eyes instantly, fully intent on sleeping the maximum fifteen precious minutes back to the dorms (where he'll have to wait for three people to shower before he can feel human enough again to pass out properly).
He lists a little to the side having lost a vicious game of rock-paper-scissors to Junhong—there's no window for the middle seat to lean on—but Daehyun doesn't seem to mind. The last thing Youngjae is aware of is being tucked under Daehyun's chin, Daehyun's arm around his shoulders holding him steady.
He dreams they're at the beach. The sun is brilliantly bright and Youngjae squints his dream-eyes. He can see Daehyun walking a few paces ahead of him on the wet sand. Daehyun turns around laughing—saying something? Sounds are muffled, echoing strangely, but the happiness in Daehyun's face is unmistakable and contagious. Youngjae smiles and jogs to catch up. He catches wisps of dialect from the children and families around them as his ears adjust, words and rhythms familiar from Daehyun's own tongue, and realises they must be in Busan.
Up ahead lies a long picnic table surrounded by people Youngjae doesn't know, but they wave and Daehyun waves back—friends? Family? Daehyun grabs Youngjae by the wrist and drags him over, pressing a plate piled high with food into his hands. Really, Youngjae thinks, with such a ridiculous amount to eat, is this his dream or Daehyun's? But the barbecue smells incredibly nice and Youngjae realises he's hungry.
The crowd around the table laughs like a close-knit group as they talk and Youngjae, strangely, understands everything they say right down to the in-jokes as if he's an old friend who's been there before, and he'll be there again, his presence expected by Daehyun's side. Youngjae relishes the feeling, warmed by more than the food and the sun and Daehyun's brilliant smile.
He jolts awake when the van bumps up the curb while parking, then back down, and Himchan grouchily demands to know who the hell gave Kang his drivers' license (not that it's his fault, Youngjae knows—their regular driver hyung had an emergency and Kang usually drives much smaller, sleeker things). "Just get out of the car, Princess," Yongguk sighs, tired, and Himchan must be exhausted too because he does as told and doesn't argue.
Waiting for his turn to climb out, Youngjae rubs his eyes and sees Daehyun licking his lips in a wistful way, and suddenly Youngjae's stomach growls so loud that even Yongguk pauses on the footpath to give him a look over his shoulder. "Seriously?" Yongguk says. They ate in the dressing room before leaving. Fifteen minutes ago.
"It's just, I had a food dream—" Youngjae tries to explain.
"So did I," Daehyun snickers, and Youngjae's ears burn at Himchan's derisive laugh.
"Your stupidity is clearly contagious."
Youngjae figures Himchan must be right because, really, food and Busan? There is no other explanation. "This is all your fault," he tells Daehyun as he climbs out of the van. Daehyun just laughs and slaps Youngjae's ass.
Little do they know.
"Put that down or take it to a chair," Daehyun orders, some minutes before the second time it happens.
"This is a couch," Youngjae says, lifting the iPad from his face just long enough to raise a brow Daehyun's way. "It's built for two."
"Take it to a chair," Daehyun repeats and waves a hand at Youngjae's comfortable sprawl.
"Even if they say I'm fat, I'm still just one person," Youngjae says, feeling contrary. "You're welcome to claim your share of the estate if you want it."
"So put that down," Daehyun says again, and climbs bodily onto Youngjae when nothing happens fast enough for his liking. Youngjae is in the middle of a good round of Bejewelled, he's not going to just—
Daehyun wrests the iPad out of his hands and shoves Youngjae back down onto the couch when he makes to grab it back. The iPad goes onto the coffee table and Daehyun flops gracelessly onto Youngjae's chest. Youngjae wheezes, a little winded. "What the hell, Dae—"
"Tired as fuck," Daehyun mutters and, okay, maybe Youngjae can sympathise because more than any of them Daehyun has to practice hollering stupid vocal exercises through their choreography. But then Daehyun adds: "It's your fault so take responsibility."
"My fault?" Youngjae snorts, incredulous. "How about no?" Because while it could technically be argued that Daehyun's only with B.A.P because Youngjae's high notes suck, causation doesn't work that way. At all. "Loser."
Daehyun's only response is a low grunt as he buries his face in the crook of Youngjae's neck and Youngjae sighs in defeat, staring up at the ceiling before deciding he might as well nap too since he's stuck on the couch anyway.
Youngjae arrives in the dream to find Daehyun already there, his tanned hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans, eyes wide and looking around as if surprised and… curious? Youngjae wonders what it takes to escape from idiots these days and walks a little closer. There's nothing else around, just an empty whiteness.
He wonders if dream-Daehyun can see him—they haven't made eye contact—and he's about to call out when Daehyun spins around in a circle, arms spread, and smiles broad. "Wow, Jae."
This is pretty ordinary for a dream, Youngjae thinks. "Wow, huh?" he says.
"Yeah, nice… uh. Place. You got here." Daehyun waves vaguely at their surroundings. Youngjae wonders if he's deadpan bullshitting like Daehyun does sometimes, or if dream-Daehyun can see things dream-Youngjae can't.
He takes a look around himself, just in case, and isn't too surprised when details start to materialise in front of his eyes as he thinks about what Daehyun might be referring to—walls, furniture. A place? It's similar to the dorm they all share except more like an actual, lived-in apartment. Youngjae's stuff is strewn about (neatly) and he thinks he spots a few of Daehyun's things as well.
"Yeah, I guess it's not bad," Youngjae says. He seems to be dressed in a shirt and plain slacks, and shoves his hands into his pockets. Shrugs. "Rent's a little steep though." Maybe if he wasn't a singer he'd have gone to college and gotten a salary job and a place like this. Maybe he would have met Daehyun some other way—in class, or at a café. Maybe at work? Though would Daehyun have even relocated to Seoul if not for B.A.P? The thought gives Youngjae pause.
But the gaudy as hell iPod dock on the coffee table is definitely not something he would have bought for himself, and Youngjae supposes he can make whatever the hell he wants of his own subconscious fantasies. Dream-Daehyun plops comfortably down on the couch that looks like their dorm couch and fiddles with the dock settings. He looks up, meeting Youngjae's eye with a grin that definitely hasn't changed. "Looking for a roommate? We could save on the heating bill at night…"
Youngjae groans awake and finds himself still stuck, a combination of sore muscles and Daehyun keeping him pinned. Maybe their resident human vacuum finally gained a few kilos or something. Youngjae feels like Daehyun's deadweight is restricting the amount of oxygen getting to Youngjae's precious brain.
Daehyun is heavy and, worse, he's sleep-smiling. There's this daft little grin on his face that Youngjae would maybe find cuter if it wasn't so close-quarters and therefore intrinsically gross. Because really, if Daehyun's having happy dreams, Youngjae's pretty sure he doesn't want to know.
He closes his eyes and rubs at his face and swears never to practice, stuff himself with food and be coerced into falling asleep ever again. In that order. It's clearly a nasty combination.
They seem to be able to take it a little more leisurely, the third time it happens.
Youngjae finds himself walking into a dark place, dimly lit and noisy. It smells musty and a little rank, half full of people drinking. Youngjae wrinkles his nose. It's not really his scene but Daehyun's seated by the bar, recognisable from the back even though his hair is a plain, dark brown and his leather jacket doesn't sport any of the studs or obnoxious detailing that Youngjae's grown used to seeing.
"Hey," Daehyun grins, turning when Youngjae shows up by his side. "I was waiting for you."
"How did you know I'd come?" Youngjae asks, taking the next barstool over. He's curious because there's no realistic way he'd be caught dead in a place like this even if his current attire suggests otherwise.
Daehyun just shrugs. Smiles. "Wanted you to?"
"You're an idiot," Youngjae informs him. "What if I'd stood you up?"
"Nah," Daehyun says, motioning to the bartender. "Pretty sure you weren't gonna…"
They talk over drinks like casual acquaintances or something, a scenario that makes no sense but Youngjae reminds himself that dreams rarely have to. "So what do you do these days?" Youngjae asks. "Since, you know." A gesture. "The army." Ah, so maybe that's how they know each other now…
"I still sing," Daehyun says, smile as confident as ever. "What about you?"
"I don't know," Youngjae says honestly. It's a dream. Do dreams even need backstories? "I think I'm at an IT firm."
Daehyun's whole face still crinkles up when he laughs, the way it always does, and Youngjae figures it's probably just his cue to stop drinking if he suddenly finds it inexplicably cute. "An IT firm? You think? You're funny, Jae."
'Well, how am I supposed to know what I do?' Youngjae's about to say except Daehyun saves him from his own nonsense by sitting up straight, face suddenly bright. Youngjae knows the topic has changed.
"Our song," Daehyun whispers and slips from his seat before Youngjae can even ask what he means by that.
A familiar melody starts to play over the speakers.
Had the place always been a karaoke bar? Youngjae can't really dwell on the sudden development when Daehyun takes the mic on the small stage and sends a loaded look right Youngjae's way. "This one's for you, babe."
Oh god… Youngjae wants to bury his face in the bar's varnish but it looks like it's only been wiped with the same filthy rag five years running so he valiantly resists, ears burning at the curious gazes he can feel turn in his direction. But Daehyun's eyes don't leave his own and Youngjae tries his best to ignore everything else when Daehyun starts to sing.
"Hey, I'm in love with you, this ain't our honeymoon.
Past the infatuation phase, right in the thick of love…"
The words are a little different from what Youngjae remembers in places, but close enough that he can still sing along—and he does, matching Daehyun in harmony. The bar falls silent, a spell of Daehyun's voice or maybe Youngjae's own mental filter working its magic.
It's a beautiful night.
"…'cause we're ordinary people…
This time we'll take it slow… This time we'll take it slow."
Daehyun trades his mic for another drink when he's done and toasts the small crowd, making it back to his stool amid raucous applause.
"I didn't know you liked me," Youngjae says softly.
There's something strange curling his stomach at the tension in the air between them, final notes still ringing. It's familiar but different and Daehyun shrugs with that shy air he only rarely still has. "I dunno how to make it more obvious sometimes," he confesses. "You never think I'm serious. I'm glad you got it this time though, even if none of this is real."
Right, Youngjae thinks, gut twisting a little more. None of this is real. But if that's the case, then what manner of Himchannish, self-flattering delusion has his own mind conjured up, and why? He's really not that deprived of attention even if he is the least popular member of their group. There's really… no reason…
His head starts to swim but Daehyun's steady hand on his back stems the oncoming nausea and Youngjae closes his eyes. Maybe he really did just drink too much imaginary alcohol.
"Just go with it, Jae," Daehyun says. "Don't think too much about this one."
"Okay," Youngjae says, focusing on Daehyun's voice and calming touch and the last thing he feels before waking up, which is Daehyun's chapped lips pressed to the side of his neck…
It's not dawn yet, that much Youngjae knows without opening his eyes since Daehyun isn't awake (and thus neither is Youngjae, officially). He lies still for a while, thinking about going back to sleep as he listens to Daehyun's steady breath by his ear. He can't remember why Daehyun's in his bed—something about him being too lazy-tired-sore to bother climbing up to his top bunk. Youngjae had been entirely too exhausted to pick a fight when he'd returned from the shower to find Daehyun already passed out, and too stubborn to just go sleep in Daehyun's bed instead. He wonders briefly if Daehyun's missing his usual three blankets but dismisses the idea since it's more than warm enough with the two of them so close.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Youngjae turns his head in the dark. Trace amounts of Seoul nightlights filter through the curtains and it's enough to see by with his adjusted eyes. He looks at Daehyun's lips, slightly parted and just as chapped as Youngjae remembers from… some minutes ago, really, and fights down a stupid awkward blush nobody will see anyway.
"You're being dumb," he tells himself just as Junhong sleep-mutters something about not eating frogs, and Youngjae settles his mind, closing his eyes once again.
Daehyun's grip on his face is firm, demanding in a very familiar way. His mouth is way too close but there are no cameras around this time, no cookies between them, and Youngjae is far from terrified.
He's pulling at the front of Daehyun's shirt and kisses back fervently as Daehyun presses him up against the wall, a leg between Youngjae's and hips grinding. Youngjae is vaguely certain none of his past dreams like this have involved anyone he's known in real life but isn't going to complain about the sudden change. Daehyun's hands are wilful, the touch of his skin almost as hot as his mouth as he moves down Youngjae's neck, sucking and biting and making Youngjae groan aloud.
The nice thing about dreams, Youngjae thinks, is that they don't generally leave marks though he's almost afraid this one will it feels so real. His fingers twist in Daehyun's hair, jerking hard when Daehyun finds a sensitive spot under his jaw but Daehyun seems to like a little pain if the sound he makes is any indication.
"Do that again, Jae," Daehyun breathes and the plain desire in his voice makes Youngjae's toes curl. Youngjae tugs again sharply and is rewarded with Daehyun shuddering under his hands—a novel experience, and addictive. "…want you so bad, Jae…" Daehyun whispers, voice deeper and huskier than Youngjae's ever heard it.
"Ha… Hadn't noticed," Youngjae tries to joke, because Daehyun's been straining against the front of his jeans ever since this whole thing started—which was, when exactly? Youngjae isn't sure—but then Daehyun looks up at him, right at him and says with strange sobriety, "But you haven't noticed, Yoo Youngjae. I'll make you see though… I'll make you see."
Youngjae's about to ask what that even means when Daehyun's eyes narrow and he seems to shift gear, sliding his hands down the front of Youngjae's slacks with focused intent, and Youngjae loses his tenuous grip on independent thought.
—dawn comes a little too soon and Youngjae mewls something embarrassing when Daehyun shakes him awake. As soon as he's properly conscious he slaps a hand over his own mouth, mortified.
Daehyun looks entirely too amused. "Sweet dreams?" he says, a suggestive brow raised, and if Youngjae weren't currently so compromised he would definitely try punch Daehyun in the face. (He gets that urge sometimes, though their confrontations usually degenerate into girly slap-fights that make Jongup leave the room and Junhong stare judgingly at them both.)
As it is though, Youngjae has a pretty painful case of morning wood and bunches his blanket in his lap, defensively trying to bring up all the unsexiest thoughts he can at short notice. Himchan in grandma panties, Yongguk practicing aegyo with five-day stubble…
"Hey, it's cool," Daehyun says though, smiling all casual as if Youngjae hadn't just slept in the same bed as him and woken up completely hard. "I had a pretty good dream, too." He licks his dry lips and Youngjae kind of can't help staring at their full shape, or remembering how they'd looked sliding down his—
Shit. "Bathroom," Youngjae manages, voice cracking like he's fifteen again, and ignores Daehyun's knowing little chuckle as he eases out of bed and shuffles awkwardly toward the door.
"Need a hand?" Daehyun offers.
Youngjae, politeness be damned, flips him the bird.
At length Youngjae thinks he's figured out what it is. He doesn't really want to admit that Himchan may have been right all along about them spending too much time together, but proximity to Daehyun seems to result in Daehyun-related dreams. Lucid dreams. The logical side of Youngjae's brain assumes it must have some sort of scientific explanation—chemical reaction, mutation, telepathy, brain cancer leading to the infiltration of Youngjae's subconscious while his guard is down—though internet research has yet to yield anything reasonable.
The less logical side of Youngjae's brain is just a little bit superstitiously terrified.
He mulls it over for a while, considering ad nauseam the probabilities, impossibilities and implications before deciding to broach the subject with Daehyun himself as a practical matter between best friends. His throat is almost stage-fright dry by the time he opens his mouth but Youngjae pushes on: "Hey…" Cough. "Do you ever… dream about the other members?"
"All the time," Daehyun says over his iPad so easily that Youngjae momentarily forgets which line of thought he'd originally decided to pursue.
He finds himself a little puzzled. A little… dismayed?
They're probably just dreams about Jongup's abs though, he figures, or maybe Yongguk laying a smackdown in one of his more domineering moments because Daehyun would probably be into that kind of—wait, no. Youngjae violently shakes his inner mind. That little 'fact' had come from a dream. He has no actual idea if Daehyun really likes having his hair pulled and all that… other stuff.
Youngjae stares down at his hands with a frown. Having the lines of reality actually blur on him is not cool and he's going to need to sort himself out before things get out of control or, worse, said aloud on air. He can't hope to become a decent MC if he can't even handle basic fact-versus-fiction.
"Actually, I used to have nightmares about you guys," Daehyun grins. "You know, when I just joined and everyone else was already perfect at Warrior and all that—"
Perfect schmerfect, Youngjae thinks. He hadn't been able to hit those ridiculous high notes back then and still can't. If not for Daehyun…
"You pulled me out of it though."
Youngjae looks up. "What?"
Daehyun smiles with that shy air he only rarely still has and Youngjae feels his heart turn in his chest. "You pulled me out of it. Made it easier for me to fit in, you know? When I still had trouble with the accent and all that… and Himchan wouldn't stop mimicking me, and I was missing my parents and the guys back home like crazy, you just…" Daehyun glances up from his iPad just long enough to meet Youngjae's gaze. His eyes are soft. "You just treated me like I was supposed to be here more than anything and I dunno, it helped a lot. I don't think I ever said it properly, so… thanks, I guess."
Youngjae glances surreptitiously around but everything looks like their normal dorm this time, Youngjae's things strewn (neatly) about with Daehyun's and Junhong's and Jongup's, Himchan's and Yongguk's. There is no gaudy iPod dock on the coffee table.
It seems like a dream though, and Youngjae still doesn't know how to respond. He tries to pinch himself on the sly but Daehyun just laughs. "Pretty sure you're awake this time, idiot."
"This time…?" Youngjae feels the phrase unhinge a little panic like that time with the ghost in the elevator and that possessed deck of cards in Taiwan that kept picking him. Daehyun seems to sense this, turning off his iPad and setting it down, reaching out a placating hand to Youngjae's thigh. His legs jitter.
"Okay, y'know… there's something I gotta tell you," Daehyun says and Youngjae forces his mind to ready a riposte because such solemn announcements from Daehyun are usually followed by 'I'm hungry, let's go eat.' But then Daehyun says: "I kinda lied, I don't dream about other members—not in the plural sense anyway. Just you. And—" He holds up a finger to forestall anything Youngjae's got to say about that. "…and. Only when we're together." He slides his palms up Youngjae's thighs until Youngjae nervously catches his hands. "When you're actually beside me… those dreams feel crazy real like we're actually together in there too."
"Oh," Youngjae says hollowly, shallowly. He wants to call Daehyun insane and, really, he probably could and laugh this all off and Daehyun would probably concede the point. But that's hardly best friend behaviour now, is it? "I dream about you too," he admits, faint. "I mean, when we're together… like, I wake up dreaming and you're already there? It's weird as hell because you laugh at me and stuff, and I don't think I've ever…" been laughed at by my own subconscious before.
"Wait, did you just—okay, no. Stop. Back up the truck," Daehyun says, eyes wide. "You dream about me when I dream about you? That's some weird shit. You're not fucking with me right now, are you? Not messin' with my head just 'coz?"
"Why would I!" Youngjae says, too freaked out to be properly indignant until logic wins out: "I—wait. No, it's just coincidence unless we're actually dreaming the same dreams, right? When's the first time it happened to you?" he demands.
Daehyun doesn't hesitate. "Back of the van," he says. "It was a food dream. Barbecue—"
"Are you sure?" Youngjae presses. "I mean, food probably features in your every other fantasy—"
"Oy oy oy…"
"I'm just saying," Youngjae persists. "How do you know?"
Daehyun scrunches up his nose, averting his eyes. "I don't, okay, Jae? It's just—it was just the first time you showed up, and it was really… vivid, and I loved it 'cause it was where I've always wanted to take you, so…"
"Busan?" Youngjae blurts. "Did… you know everyone else around that long picnic table too, or—?"
Daehyun's eyes snap back wide almost comically. "They—my academy friends have this beach party every year and—" The colour drains from his tanned face and both his hands take a slightly manic grip on Youngjae's own. "Whoa… whoa, Jae! You don't think I'm crazy?"
"You're talking about lucid actual dream sharing, you giant freaking idiot, of course I think you're crazy!" Youngjae tries not to shout but it's hard to keep calm when the back of his mind has just certified the pair of them clinically insane. "The proper conclusion should be that we're both crazy."
"Wanna, um. Try it again tonight?" Daehyun asks then, just as Youngjae remembers being propositioned at a karaoke bar—
"Oh my god… uh, sure," Youngjae says, feeling a little faint all over again. "For science…"
Inexplicably, Daehyun just laughs at him. "Yeah, yeah. For science."
It's a different couch that Youngjae realises he's on, a different couch in a different room. He wonders if he's dreaming again but Daehyun catches his wrists before he can rub at his eyes. They're both in complete stage makeup. Oops. "Careful there, Princess~" Daehyun says.
"Don't call me that, it's Himchan's title," Youngjae huffs, though he's grateful for the save. They've all been skinned alive at least once for smudging their eyeliner just before a performance.
"Pretty sure it's both your titles," Daehyun grins as Youngjae squints into the closest mirror and tries to clear his vision as best he can without eyedrops. "Wow, that's a dumb face. Wanna pull yourself together?"
"I am together!" Youngjae says defensively, because somehow it does feel like he is. He can't pinpoint the reason but something in him feels righter than it has in a long time. It's an odd sensation, though pleasant. "I'm... fine."
"If Her Highness insists," Daehyun chuckles, hauling Youngjae up by the hand. "C'mon then, everyone's already backstage. We're on standby in five."
Daehyun drags Youngjae through the mostly-deserted halls with their fingers twined and doesn't let go, not even when they nearly bowl over a tiny senior in heels rounding a corner and both of them hurriedly bow at the waist. Youngjae is mortified.
"Close call~ close call~" Daehyun laughs when she's gone.
Youngjae shakes his head. "Too close, you idiot. Slow down! You shouldn't rush when you're late."
The rookie dressing rooms are always furthest away from the stage but they make it in time, Youngjae spotting Zelo's chalked up mop of hair first and directing Daehyun over to it; and maybe it's the adrenaline from the run, or the anticipation, but Youngjae feels his hands start to shake like they sometimes do when he's high under pressure.
Get a grip, he tries to tell himself before Daehyun notices. Come on, it's just a regular performance with the guys. It's not like it's even a duet or anything, it's just…
"Nervous?" Daehyun whispers.
"I'm fine," Youngjae says shortly, because ugh. Daehyun's totally going to tease him now and be completely insufferable—
Except no, apparently not. Daehyun pulls him down into the minimal cover between the stage curtains and Junhong's broad back and catches Youngjae's face in his hands, kissing him fiercely. Youngjae curbs his surprise, his mic is trapped against his chin. Closing his eyes, he holds onto Daehyun's wrists until the butterflies racing in his chest turn to streaks of exhilaration.
"Nervous?" Daehyun whispers again, and it feels like the question's changed.
"…no," Youngjae says and manages a smile with his answer. "I'm not. Not anymore." He glances at Daehyun's lips and licks his own, hoping the tint hasn't smudged off of them too badly—not that by this point he really cares as much as he could. Not when Daehyun's grinning at him like they're going to put on the best show in the world.
"We're gonna own this stage, you and me," Daehyun tells him.
"Yeah," Youngjae breathes and finds himself giddy, hands in Daehyun's hands and feeling like he could fly. We got this, he thinks. We got this.