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vanilla hot chocolate and smoke

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there are things that one park jimin is used to; such as, for example, professors suddenly falling ill and classes being cancelled or moved around, other students needing to be persuaded or coerced into doing their part of a project, having to fight and put up an argument on how this petri dish is most definite his own and not the other student’s who casually forgot to name their petri dish and wants to claim someone else’s work rather than start all over again. he’s also used to long nights in the lab, locking into autopilot as soon as he gets to work in the late afternoon, and whining to anybody who’ll listen to him.

and because these things are things that he’s used to, he doesn’t really need to worry much about how to deal with them. not really. there’s something in his brain that just switches into place and suddenly he can deal without too much hassle. taehyung keeps moaning about how much of a gift he’s got, dealing with dumb people and holding back on drop kicking them over a bridge. jimin likes to call it a dislike for ending up in jail.

jimin shoulders the door open to his local, eyes drawn to his phone screen and the nagging text taehyung had sent him two hours ago about how he shouldn’t work himself down to the bone. he shoots back an answer, talking about how he’s officially finished for the night and is getting a drink. pocketing his phone, he shuffles up to the counter, squinting up at the menu even though he knows what his body is calling for.

a gentle smile with dimples meets his gaze when he focuses on the barista at hand, mouth open to start his order but voice dying in his throat.

and as with everything, there are things that one park jimin is not used to and, therefore, does not have a back-up switch that’ll flicker into place and deal with whatever situation he can’t consciously put the effort into, for whatever reason. and lately, the biggest thing that seems to be causing him trouble, is the workers of the night shift of his favourite coffee shop.

the smaller man who’s there sometimes, with pink hair and sharp eyes, always waiting with some semblance of patience whenever jimin flounders because he hasn’t slept well the past week, isn’t too bad. he never fails to offer a sarcastic jab if jimin takes a long time, and will even give the med student’s usual order with a quirk of his lips. he’s nice, he makes sure jimin’s awake enough to drink and get home with maybe another jab at his life choices, but it’s all in good spirits.

he doesn't bother him too much, and honestly it's a lot of fun, sometimes, to say maybe three words and get more of a reply than he was expecting. he always seems to leave half-laughing when he's spoken to the smaller man. the weird thing is, he's never really looked at his nametag to actually give himself a name. he just calls him pinkie.

but it's not pinkie that gives him trouble, though, it's the second barista who seems to be behind the counter when pinkie's in the back, and vice versa.

he's taller, than both pinkie and jimin himself. and his skin is really dark, but with such a healthy glow that jimin finds himself looking a lot and can't really stop himself from browsing. it's not his fault, not really. the man's got such an open face, with dimples embedded into his cheeks when he grins wide. jimin's had to stop himself on more than one occasion from poking at those dimples and making a fool of himself. even in his half-asleep state, he seems to be able to hold back on doing things that are too embarrassed.

but this guy's voice is so deep and nice to listen to that jimin even had the misfortune of accidentally falling asleep once just listening to the man ramble on about... something. he hadn't been able to look him in the eye for a few weeks after that. but the guy didn't seem to mind much. which is good, he thinks.

"jimin?"

jimin starts at his name, almost gaping in a very unattractive manner. purple knows his name. of course purple knows his name. how many times as he come here? how many times have the two of them gotten into conversations?

a deep red seeps through jimin's cheeks and he snaps his mouth closed audibly and with enough force to actually cause an ache to flare up. he swallows and refuses to wince, instead looking down at the counter to avoid the barista's face but that was a mistake because, oh my god , his hands—

"u-um, one vanilla hot chocolate to go," he rushes out as quickly as he can, stubbornly keeping his eyes away from long fingers he wouldn't mind filling with rings— wow, that's embarrassing.

the barista just smiles, and even though it's close-lipped and nothing like the grins jimin's seen on his face when pinkie comes out and makes a comment at either of their expense, it still shows his dimples and jimin might be melting where he stands.

he dares another look up and he watches the barista's back. he hasn't got the widest shoulders he's ever seen — seokjin takes the cake on that one. but he can't really complain; the man's hug game with those things is no joke — but they still manage to look nice under the ugly colouring of the polo shirts the employees are forced to wear. the man's hair is currently purple. and it's a really nice purple, kind of deep and cold and jimin really likes it. especially the few times he's seen it pushed back from the man's forehead by a bandana.

the drink's quick to make, and the silence that hangs between them isn't completely unusual. sometimes jimin's too tired to talk, so pinkie and purple don't try and engage him in conversations. and that's fine, but there's something about it this time that jimin's mind is fixating on and he can't really control his mouth before he's suddenly blurting with no filter.

"you know smoking is bad for you, right?"

purple looks over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow. the smile's not there any more, but he doesn't look angry very much, so at least that's something. there's still silence, and jimin's getting the impression that he might have fucked up, that he's annoyed purple and he's not going to want to serve him again—

"I do know smoking is bad for you, yeah."

jimin blinks. purple's dropping a shot of vanilla essence into his hot chocolate and starts stirring it with a disposable, wooden spoon-stick thing. jimin can't really think of the name right then, but then again, it isn't super important, so he lets it slide.

"are you part of a group or something?" purple continues, tapping the wooden spoon on the side of his to-go cup and reaching for a plastic lid.

"no, I just— you, um, you smell of smoke," jimin mutters, quickly flicking his eyes down to the counter and his own ringed hands when purple looks at him again, plastic lid now in hand.

his hot chocolate is pushed over the counter and jimin quickly digs out his money from his pocket, not needing to ask for the price. purple accepts it easy enough, sliding the little change along the counter right back.

"I can't really help that," purple says, and there's an amused smile on his face. jimin thinks his own must be crimson by this point. "is it really that noticeable?"

jimin's eyes widen and he shakes his head vigorously, clutching his hot chocolate with both hands. "no! no, not at all. I was just... you know, I'm really tired. I'm not thinking straight. so I'm just— I'm gonna go? that shouldn't be a question."

purple's smile is growing slowly, teeth peeking out again and again as he tries very hard to keep it close-lipped but, oh man , he looks so goddamn handsome like this that jimin fears he's not holding his hot chocolate tight enough and he's going to spill it all down himself, the counter and leak it onto the floor.

"bye!" he yells and turns around, smacking his shoulder into the door in an effort to get the hell out of there.

 

 

 

 

lucky for jimin, he doesn't have to do late night lab duty for another week or so. he takes this as an advantage to sleep as much as he can, concentrate on feeding himself properly, getting hoseok to help teach him how to bounce, going to the gym with jungkook and people watching with taehyung. honestly, between the school work and his social life, he doesn't allow himself to dwell too much on his last encounter with purple at the local, and continues to ignore the fact that every time he's sat waiting for something, he's absently looking up smoking facts online.

the next time he goes in to do lab work, he gets out relatively early at a lovely half one in the morning, and doesn't feel necessarily tired enough to sleep, if he's being honest with himself. so he texts taehyung — who is always up whenever jimin needs him, which is frankly one of the scariest things about his best friend — and waits for him around the corner from his local.

taehyung grins when he seems him, slinging an arm around jimin's shoulders and not smelling of any questionable substances, so jimin chooses to relax a little. "chimchim! we haven't hung out in so long!"

he eyes taehyung’s wings a little, though, looking at the shimmering texture in the bad lighting. even with the ugly yellow of the streetlights, they still manage to sparkle with all colours of the rainbow. "I literally saw you tuesday. you are the biggest drama queen I have ever met."

taehyung’s eyes twinkle with something and he twitches his dragonfly-like wings briefly under jimin’s gaze. the older of the two huffs and swats at the air when fae dust sprays his face, ignoring the quiet giggling beside him.

the two of them start walking along the empty street. not surprising considering it's a thursday and most people aren't dumb enough to try and have fun when it's the middle of the term and work is slowly piling up.

"yeah, but you love me," taehyung announces with a grin, squeezing jimin's shoulders. "and you wouldn't change me for the world, I know you wouldn't."

the laugh jimin lets out starts off reluctant, but upon looking at his best friend's face, becomes 100% genuine. the two of them continue the short walk until they're pushing the doors open and stepping into a warm inside, that actually houses three other people beside themselves, for once.

taehyung drops his arm from around jimin and bounds up to the counter, startling pinkie as he pops up from behind the counter, hair a little askew. he sends a brief look to taehyung’s wings but doesn’t comment, which is a sigh of relief. jimin offers a smile and a wave when he catches his eye and stops just behind his friend, eyes raking the menu as is habit at this point.

"I didn't know you had friends, jimin," pinkie say, placing both hands spaced out on the counter and shifting all his weight to one foot.

jimin pulls a face, ignoring the curious gaze of one kim taehyung. this probably won't end too well. "just because I only ever come in here alone doesn't mean I don't know people."

the smile on pinkie's face doesn't drop, instead turns a little sharper, when he looks at taehyung. he tilts his head and says, "so, how long have you known the night owl?"

"ever since I moved from daegu." taehyung squints comically, pushing himself up onto his tiptoes and leaning over the counter in a bigger effort to read whatever it is that's got him fixated. he’s this close to twitching his wings and lifting himself completely off the ground. jimin smacks him up the head and drags him back down onto his heels, sending him a look.

pinkie crosses his arms over his chest. "from daegu?” he contemplates for a second, but then grabs a to-go cup and uses it to point at taehyung. “how about I make you my favourite drink and you can think of it as a taste of home?"

taehyung's eyes are wide and then narrow in suspicion. "taste of home?"

"I'm from daegu, too," pinkie says with a shrug.

the pout that forms on jimin's mouth can't be stopped and he whines before he's even thinking. "what about me?"

"you'll want your usual." pinkie snorts when jimin's pout worsens and he reaches forward to ruffle his hair. "you act as if you aren't going to spend five minutes trying to convince yourself to have something different before you ultimately just choose the same damn thing."

taehyung snakes his arms around his best friend's waist and drags him close, smooshing their cheeks together. "our jiminie doesn't like change much."

pinkie gives them one last smile before disappearing to make the drinks.

and, for those who don't know taehyung, they probably suspect that once their only audience stopped paying attention to them, he'd let go of jimin and the two of them would merely stand side-by-side while they wait. but no. jimin has to practically wrestle himself out of his friend's grip which leads to an accidental finger in the eye and suddenly jimin's cradling taehyung's face in his hands and cooing at the fae who's — very realistically, damn this boy can act — sobbing uncontrollably.

it proves to be too much for the three other customers who have decided to get up and leave between the time of jimin and taehyung entering and pinkie coming back with their drinks. to give the man credit, pinkie simply stares at them, face rather impassive, when he places their drinks on the counter.

jimin lets go of taehyung and grabs his wallet from his inside jacket pocket, ignoring the sniffling next to him. pinkie takes the money from him and charges him for both drinks, which very quickly snaps taehyung out of his solo melodrama to grin wide in jimin's direction.

"have you two scared off my customers?" pinkie makes sure his scan of the coffee shop is as dramatic as he can possibly make it, forcing a snort from taehyung who tries very hard not to giggle and a wide smile from jimin. "that's it, you two aren't allowed back under any circumstances."

and now it's the two of them pouting and pulling sad faces, clasping their hands together in a pleading gesture under their chins in unison that proves to be possibly too scary for pinkie, who takes a step back. after a little negotiating, the three of them come to the agreement that the two of them can come back as long as they never act together like that in front of pinkie again.

taehyung immediately grabs onto jimin's sleeve jacket, close to his elbow, once the two of them are out of the coffee shop with their drinks, making their way down the street to their student housing.

and it's no surprise that taehyung makes jimin choke on his hot chocolate not five minutes after they've left.

"is that the guy you always come back rambling about?"

jimin's throat hurts when he speaks but he pushes through anyway, rubbing at the skin even though he knows — everyone knows — it doesn't do jack shit to soothe the ache. "does his hair look purple to you?"

taehyung hums. "good."

jimin watches him take a sip of his drink with confusion stamped all over his face. taehyung must take pity on him for once and decides to elaborate, "jin-hyung would be all over him."

 

 

 

the next night, jimin isn't as lucky. he doesn't get out until around twenty to four in the morning after having to start an experiment from scratch all over again when some idiot knocked several petri dishes to the floor and then refused to take responsibility of the matter and e-mail the professor herself until jimin and several other students threatened to break her ribs one by one. so it's safe to say that jimin isn't in the best of moods when he trudges into his local.

purple's behind the counter, talking to pinkie who looks like he's chugging something down as if it holds the answer to all his life's wonders at the bottom. the two of them look over when he enters, conversation dying as concern registers on both of them in different ways; purple's brow furrows and his lips purse, whereas pinkie stops drinking and widens his eyes ever so slightly.

jimin trudges up to the counter and just stares the two of them down, not really trusting himself to speak. he mentally gives the both of them golden stars for not reacting to the foul smell of chemicals that cling to his clothes and hair.

"the usual?" purple asks.

jimin nods and sets down the right amount of money on the counter he'd been holding in his palm for at least half of the commute over, and then stomps over to the nearest booth and all but falls inside.

there's murmuring happening by the counter but jimin chooses to pay it no mind and instead lets his forehead rest on the table in front of him. it's not sticky, and for that he's grateful, because that would just make his day that much worse. someone else's shit stuck all over his forehead and nose. wonderful.

it's purple who brings over his hot chocolate and sets it down in front of him. reluctantly, jimin slowly straightens his back and sits properly in the booth. his hand pauses in reaching for his drink when he spots an open packet of store bought biscuits and purple slipping into the booth in front of him. and there's probably etiquette to sitting with a barista or someone who willingly keeps you company when you look like you'd take the devil on and win. but you have to remember it's four in the morning and jimin's brain doesn't work very well.

because even though purple's there, and his face is still really nice to look at, and his skin looks like it's glowing in this light, the smell of smoke is still all around him and the only thing jimin can think to do is to start spouting all the little facts he's learned over the course of the week that he didn't know had actually sunk in.

“you know that smoking kills,” he blurts out, a mumble of words that he has no control over.

purple blinks at him, tilting his head ever so slightly, but says nothing.

jimin fiddles with his mug, tracing the handle of it before picking it up and letting the warmth and sweetness flow over his tongue and down his throat. “did you know there’s sugar in cigarettes?”

he chances a look up and purple’s eyes are still watching him. he reaches forward and grabs a biscuit, trapping it between his teeth and snapping it in half. “it’s the other addiction you get that people don’t know about. sure, you get addicted to the nicotine, but sugar’s suddenly not there either.”

the biscuit tastes nice and crunches under the pressure of his teeth. he doesn’t think purple would offer him stale or old biscuits, but there’s that satisfaction that he gets when he feels crumbs tumble over his tongue.

“second-hand smoke is just as lethal as direct smoking, too,” he says, and his brain has departed long enough that he’s not even worrying about it much anymore. he’s just thinking about the facts he found, not caring whether they’re completely true or tweaked. his exhaustion isn’t letting him function fantastically. “over 7000 chemicals, of which 70 have been proven to lead to cancer. so you fuck yourself and everyone around you over, too.”

“I didn’t know that,” purple says, making jimin slow his chewing for a second.

finishing two more biscuits and downing a third of his drink, jimin rests his cheek in his hand, eyelids feeling heavy and slowly closing. unfortunately, doesn’t mean his brain is sleeping. “did you know they use urea to flavour cigarettes?” he waits a moment. “urea’s a chemical that is found in urine. they also put it in creams to rehydrate the skin.”

there’s a small noise in front of him and jimin hears the distinct sound of the biscuit wrapper rustling and then the crunch as he, assumes, purple munches on a biscuit. he skims his free hand over the tabletop until he finds his mug and curls his fingers around the handle, bringing it up to his lips and drinking it slowly.

“this is really good,” he says, opening his eyes minimally. purple’s face is a little blurry but he can thinks he can see a small smile. “always make it so good. s’not fair, you know.”

there’s definitely the sound of a smile in his voice when he says, “thank you.”

smacking his lips together, jimin holds his mug aloft, still squinting at namjoon’s face. “d’you know nicotine reaches your brain 10 seconds after you inhale?” when he spies a shake of the head, he continues. “yeah. and it’s found everywhere. breast milk.”

another mouthful and then his empty mug’s on the tabletop. “you got babies drinking nicotine in their mother’s breast milk. talk about starting young.”

purple lets out a laugh and it shakes jimin enough that he sits up a little straighter, eyes opening properly. he looks over purple face, takes in the small smile on his lips and lack of offence in his expression. a small part of him, that’s been screaming over the whole thing, sags in relief.

a large hand gently pats the tabletop before grasping jimin’s mug. "here, how about you eat a few more biscuits, I’ll get you another hot chocolate to go, and you can make your way home to bed, yeah?”

jimin watches purple stand with a smile and move back to the counter and even though there's nobody else there, jimin still wants to keel over and let the ground swallow him up. just a little. because that voice is still screaming in his ear and it’s annoying as shit.

 

 

 

over the course of the next few weeks there isn’t much change in the relationship jimin holds with purple. sometimes he’s more lucid than others and refrains on mentioning the smoke, even though purple seems to find his embarrassment amusing and will ask after facts if jimin fails to mention it first. the red that blossoms on jimin’s face and apologies that tumble from his mouth always put a smile on purple’s face and he waves them off. by the second week, jimin stops apologising and just ducks his head.

taehyung insists on tagging along, claiming he wants to at least see this barista jimin keeps getting flustered over and is more or less obsessed with. but every time the far wanders in with jimin — whether organised or as a surprise to the med student himself — always ends up with pinkie behind the counter.

and pinkie insists every time that taehyung must be stalking him or checking up on him or something, because otherwise why would he keep coming back to see him? jimin has the bestest best friend ever, because instead of revealing the true reason taehyung pops up every now and then, he just floats over the counter, leaning into pinkie’s face, grins and bats his eyelashes with some form of combat that has pinkie threatening to swat him from the air with a broom.

it’s a break between jimin being exhausted and sprouting more smoking facts in purple’s face and being awake enough to feel embarrassed and quickly hoping that purple would just drop it one day because it makes his heart ache weirdly in his chest.

overall, jimin can’t really complain about how he spends his nights, though. he’s certainly not bored.

 

 

 

 

"it's been, what, two months ?" jungkook nudges jimin's side, sending him a look when he just gets a glare in his vague direction. "you've been nagging this guy about smoking for two months ."

"no," jimin mumbles, running his fingers through his hair and wincing when he finds a knot he previously didn't know existed. "one month and a bit."

“that’s practically two months, hyung.”

the look jungkook sends him is enough for him to get a kick to the thigh. the little shit doesn't even hiss or show any kind of pain and it just makes jimin want to tear his arm off. you know, in a non-worrying way that wouldn't lead to a psychological evaluation.

"you've been nagging a guy that you don't even know smokes about how shit smoking is for his body and nothing else," jungkook summarises with a raised eyebrow, as if to ask if he's missed a detail.

the fingers that were running through jimin's hair end up pressing into the skin of his face when he groans loudly and lets the ground come up to caress his side. he can still feel jungkook staring at him, no sounds from the tv showing his game's still paused, and really, why should he expect anything different? it's jungkook. the guy's going to enjoy his pain to the last second.

"did you even think to ask him if he smokes?"

"yah, jeon jungkook!" he snaps and pulls his hands away from his face. the glare may be a little ruined by the squished cheek and bunched shoulders. "what part of I'm half awake and coming back from working at the lab do you not understand?"

the little shit has the audacity to smile at him and jimin is this close to breaking his nose.

turning back to his game, jungkook grins wide and presses play. the sound of the front door unlocking and opening almost cuts him off. "wow. you've really fucked up, huh?"

"who's fucked up?"

jimin pushes himself up onto his elbow and then back into a sitting position at the announcement of a new arrival. he sends hoseok a look as the man comes in a few minutes later in slippers. there are shopping bags hanging from one hand but he still enters the living room to demand a kiss from jungkook.

"hey, jiminie," he greets as he wanders to the kitchen, shifting shopping bags from hand to hand.

"hi, hyung," he calls loud enough for hoseok to maybe hear him.

"but really, who's fucked up?"

"jimin-hyung!"

"why?"

"he's nagging a guy about smoking who might not smoke!"

"what?"

at this point jimin decides he doesn't want to listen anymore and grabs his laptop, dragging it heavily onto his lap and plugging his earphones in. music blares just a little too loud to be healthy maybe, but he doesn't adjust the volume because he can see jungkook's lips still moving. so instead he clicks around, mind elsewhere, thinking about food and how he could really kill for something sweet, which then leads him to think of his hot chocolate, and then the very thing he's trying not to think about.

when hoseok brings him back to reality by shaking his shoulder and sitting next to him, he's staring at a very crudely made powerpoint about smoking. the two of them slowly survey his work for the last five minutes in silence, the comic sans almost as bad as a physical burn.

"I'm amazed you managed to spell everything right," hoseok says.

jimin moans and lets his head fall back with a thud.

 

 

 

 

jimin's not an idiot, he knows that making a powerpoint will not be a good idea, and he doesn't plan on giving it to purple. he even deleted it then and there at jungkook and hoseok's place before jungkook could come over and see what they were doing and giving him hell for months. and that seemed like a really smart idea; just delete it and forget it ever even existed.

except two weeks later, one friday night with taehyung and seokjin that started with trying a new cider and ended up with a lot of complaints over glasses of wine, suddenly jimin is making another powerpoint that actually gets finished with input from seokjin and taehyung on things he should add and suddenly it's on a usb, full of comic sans, questionable spelling and one picture crudely drawn in ms paint by seokjin himself.

the very usb jimin has in his pocket because he had an actual project he needed to show off that day and he had completely forgotten that it was even still on there.

and because it's cold, he's got his hands shoved into his pockets and he's fingering the usb, twirling it around and around between his fingers, trying to narrowly miss his rings every time. the scrape of metal and plastic is not overly pleasant, he has found out. and it's dumb, but it's past two in the morning and he's so proud of himself that he's twirled the usb five times now and it hasn't scraped once on his rings.

there are people in the coffee shop this time. quite a few more than he's used to but he doesn't think about it too much. his mind registers the smoke smell that he's long since associated with this place except it's stronger today somehow and maybe, just maybe, the crowds at the tables are smokers too. maybe it's a smoking convention. or maybe jimin is feeling some kind of after effects of his lack of sufficient sleep for the past week and a half, maybe ever since he started university — he's never gonna get those hours back — he's sure because it seems to be more in his face than ever.

and when he's standing in front of the counter, purple smiling at him and asking him if he'll have the usual today too, he slams down the usb on the counter before he can think and legs it out there the quickest he has ever run in his 21 years of life.

taehyung doesn't say much when he crawls into the young man's bed later that night.

 

 

 

 

"I have to ask because I'm curious."

seokjin is currently in the kitchen, with jimin sitting at the dining table and taehyung actually on the damn thing that's so old it sometimes can't even manage it's own weight. jimin turns where he's lounging, keeping his cheek resting in his hand because he's lazy and tired and it's sunday, he finally has a day where nothing is pressing down on him. it's weird and he doesn't like it.

"go for it. at this point, he has no shame," taehyung announces, shifting about on the creaking table to shift his ankle under his thigh. his wings twitch, ready to keep him afloat should the whole thing collapse in on itself. since it’s sunday, taehyung’s relaxed a bit, not putting in as much effort to look human. that just means he’s even more mischievous than usual.

jimin can't even be bothered to swat at him after his remark.

"what makes you think the smoke came from cigarettes?"

both jimin and taehyung freeze for a second. taehyung's leg is still at a weird angle because he hasn't quite found a place where the pressure doesn't cut off circulation to his foot and jimin's pretty sure his chest isn’t rising and falling any more. but the spell breaks when jimin ventures out, cautiously, curiously.

"where else would it come from?"

seokjin sends him a look while chopping that sends jimin's heart through a loop because watch your fucking fingers man , oh my god. "have you ever considered that he might not be human?"

and it's a testament to how out of it jimin has been lately that the first words out of his mouth are, "what, he has fire instead of blood running through his veins?"

this time, when seokjin looks at him, he stops chopping. even taehyung is staring at him in disbelief and he drops his head onto the tabletop. "forget I said that, that was really fucking stupid."

"no shit," seokjin snorts, turning back to the food at hand.

"I told you he wasn't doing his best. now he thinks the elements can be people." taehyung grunts a little with the strain to reach over and smack the back of jimin's neck.

"okay, okay, so I'm being a dickhead about this, I get it. but what do you mean, hyung? what could he be?"

"I've heard dragons have been getting around more often in the last couple of decades or so."

jimin feels like his whole being freezes for a second time that day. "oh. oh god. oh god no."

taehyung snorts. "I didn't think you'd be phobic to dragons, chim."

this time, jimin does swat at him. "no. what if. oh god, what if he is some dragon breed and I've been going on and on about smoking and how shit it is for your body and insulting him because I insinuated he was willing fucking himself over instead of something that he can't help and comes naturally to him. oh god. "

seokjin scrapes whatever he was chopping into the frying pan he’s currently cooking their lunch in. "you don't actually know if he is some kind of dragon breed. he could just be someone who smokes."

and that would be nice and reassuring to jimin, it really would, if it was even possible he could pretend that was the case. "he said once that he couldn't really help but smell like smoke."

"you're a dickhead," taehyung says without missing a beat.

jimin groans and thunks his forehead down on the table. "I know."

 

 

 

 

jimin's been lucky that the next few times he's popped into the coffee shop it's been during the day because, you know, even though he was an arse, he still needs his usb back for future projects. it's got several essays on it, too, one of which isn't quite yet finished and the due date is coming up real soon.

so he goes in and asks the workers behind the counter if they've been given a usb at some point, that has a rather crudely drawn remus lupin on it — curtesy of a drunk jungkook who insisted that he could draw at the same quality drunk as sober. he can't, but the four marauders that then became stickers for the group looking fucking awesome anyway — and if so if he could pick it up as it's his. each time they'd told him no, to come back another day, that they'd ask the guy with the purple hair and dimples if he can leave it in the store.

finally, on the fourth day he asks, when he's starting to get a bit desperate and wonders if he should just sprint to the coffee shop at some point during the night to confront purple and ask him for it back while apologising very loudly and probably not making a lot of sense, one of the baristas actually calls out to him as soon as he steps in and tells him that yes, they've got his memory stick but they've been told to tell him that there's a new powerpoint on it just for him that he definitely needs to look at when he gets a chance.

jimin feels very confused but also like his heart might stop beating. but he thanks the barista and tries to keep as calm and collected as possible on his way back to his student housing. once he arrives, he takes time in taking off all his winter clothes, making himself a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows that isn't nearly as good as the coffee shop's but he can manage. really, he can.

when he spies the powerpoint, named with a single word, it takes him ten minutes to actually open it.

 

 

 

 

it's been a month.

okay, look, before you start judging, jimin is really bad, okay? he's a very awkward and very shy young man who hates fucking up, even on the smallest of things. so when he finds out that he has, even when it's just because he made an assumption of something, it makes him feel uncomfortable in his own skin for a long time and he doesn't know how to deal with it. really, he doesn't.

and, if he's being honest with himself, and he feels like he is, waiting a month is probably very quick for him. by his standards. and taehyung's, apparently.

it's a little bit disappointing when he enters his local and finds pinkie to be stood behind the counter, rather than purple, but he tries not to let it get to him. though pinkie takes one look at him and jimin feels like he just somehow knows everything. the smile he offers the barista is nothing short of sheepish. pinkie doesn't say anything, just waits for him to approach the counter.

when jimin's still quiet, pinkie decides to break the silence. "was beginning to wonder if you'd been kidnapped or something."

and it's not the greeting that jimin was expecting, but he prides himself on not reacting too much. "you didn't think I'd died?"

pinkie shrugs. "you don't seem like the kind to die young."

and jimin doesn't really know what to make of that so he just flounders for a moment and then weakly asks for his usual.

pinkie takes one last look at jimin before turning his back on him and beginning to prepare his drink. but instead of the usual silence that follows with pinkie and purple working, pinkie thinks that speaking is in both of their best interests for some reason.

"he's been off the past week because of a project he's got to do or something."

jimin blinks. "what?"

pinkie sends him a look over his shoulder. "you know, the guy you come here to see?" pinkie's stirring his vanilla into his hot chocolate, placing it on the counter between them. "giving him your usb was a bold move. did you trust him that much to not be a dick and delete everything on it?"

jimin hadn't thought of that. it must show on his face because pinkie grins at him. crimson makes its home on jimin's face yet again and he wishes for the hundredth time that the floor would come up and drag him into it.

"I wasn't looking for him," he mumbles eventually.

pinkie pauses where he's pressing the plastic lid onto the to-go cup and looks up at jimin through his lashes. "I'm sorry, what?" he then proceeds to ignore the order by placing one hand on the counter, the other on his hip, and pushing all his weight onto one foot. "you are literally sprouting the most bullshit I have ever heard in my life."

jimin's jaw drops and he's hopeless to stop it.

"you've been nagging him about smoking for so long now and I have no idea what agenda it is that you have, whether you would have done it to anyone who smells like smoke or if he had some kind of hold on you, but you made a powerpoint that he kept livetexting to me. I don't actually know what you put in it, all I know is that he was laughing too much for half five in the morning and next thing you know the last text I get is that he's going to return the favour and make one for you."

this is weird, he feels weird, his heart is doing a weird twisty thing that he can't quite put a finger on and he doesn't know how to respond. he thinks pinkie's giving him a chance to respond. why would he pause otherwise?

"look, because for some reason over the past few months you've come in often enough for me to care about your being even though I'm pretty sure I've never seen you glance at my nametag." he slaps a hand over his chest milliseconds before jimin can catch the name scrawled on his left breast. fuck, the man's smart. "I'm going to tell you to come back next week at some point, maybe towards the end of the week to be sure, and you'll bump into him. alright?"

jimin nods and finally closes his mouth, swallowing with a suddenly dry throat. pinkie gives a nod of his own and presses down on the plastic lid to finally pop it into place. he takes jimin's money without complaint and passes him his change, sending him a wink when he grabs his hot chocolate.

 

 

 

 

pinkie's word ends up ringing true.

jimin enters his local and spies purple up at the counter. it's a bit different this time though, because he has his laptop under his arm and he can't really chat much because boy, if he doesn't finish his work soon he's not only going to get a bollocking from his professor, but his fellow students who are part of the project might just skin him alive.

purple looks down at his laptop and then up at jimin's face with an interested expression. jimin gives him a smile and quietly orders his usual. he doesn't try to engage in conversation and purple doesn't try to instigate it, but he doesn't seem too annoyed at jimin's little fuck up. so that's good. jimin's hoping he'll be around when he finishes this, and that he'll be able to talk to him when his mind isn't in work mode anymore. he's given strength when purple smiles at him and offers to bring his drink and choice of cake over for him so he can start working as soon as possible.

it's very easy for jimin to get into the working headspace, so he doesn't fully notice that purple has placed a tray down on his table with his drink and cake until he spies movement out of the corner of his eye and purple is returning to the counter. he lets out a little shaky thank you and takes a big mouthful of his drink before zoning in on his screen.

it turns out that he devours several more drinks and only remembers his cake halfway through before he's finished and feels like he can at least take a small break. he saves his file that at least has some form of an ending in sight and rubs at his face, pausing for some glorious seconds as he rests his eyes and concentrates on the sound of silence around him.

he's a little surprised to see purple sitting on the booth opposite him again but he's also not, so he just offers a very tired, very small smile, and says, "I owe you for those drinks."

purple shakes his head. "you looked like you needed them. you still do."

jimin stares at him silently long enough to invoke some kind of concern in purple but he speaks before purple can voice anything. "I'm really sorry about all the smoking stuff. I just... I'm a med student? so, kinda passionate."

purple laughs, and it sounds really nice to jimin's ears. he feels sad when it stops. "it's no problem. you were the most amusing person to comment on it."

"other people have commented on it?"

"mainly elderly people who don't remember that just because they've lived for a long time doesn't mean they can't have a filter," purple says with a quirk to his lips.

jimin nods in understanding. he's definitely been on the receiving end of comments like those. but, of course, you just don't say anything about them and continue on. the two sit in silence.

jimin closes his laptop and pushes it a little to one side, placing his arms on the table and leaning too hard too quickly, rearranging his elbows so nothing gets uncomfortably trapped. "I really... I don't know why I didn't consider the possibility that you could be some form of dragon species and I want to apologise for that."

and because he's not looking at purple's face, he doesn't know what purple's expression looks like, but he thinks he hears something light in the man's tone. "it's okay. dragons have tended to be really quiet for a long time, so I'm sure the sudden pump in their population is still something a lot of people need to get used to."

he must look like he's still not completely comfortable because purple continues on to say, "your powerpoint made me laugh the most i have this year, maybe. I saved it to my laptop."

jimin snaps his head up and he gapes. "you did not."

purple grins. "I did."

with a groan, jimin hides his face from purple's gaze and makes a sound close to a form of protest. on some planet. probably. "I was drunk and influenced by my two friends, who were also drunk. on wine. it wasn't ever supposed to be a thing."

purple doesn't say anything until jimin peeks at him from between his fingers. "you're cute."

"I'm not," he mumbles.

"you are."

"please stop. my face is already red enough, if it gets any hotter it might just melt."

"we wouldn't want that. I'm supposed to be the hottest thing here."

jimin drops his hands and stares at purple. purple seems to realise what it is he just says and he starts to panic and backtrack. "I-I meant in heat! my-my body temperature is really high compared to humans, so I only meant it like that, I promise."

jimin’s still gaping a little, and purple might be hiding his face behind his hands now. oh, how the tables have turned. "now who's cute."

"the both of you are and it's making me sick," pinkie calls from the counter. he looks like he's trying to be annoyed but not pulling it off very well. "can you two just agree to go on a date or get a room or something? I can't survive much more."

purple looks a bit pink in the cheeks now and jimin himself doesn't feel very calm. "hyung, you're the most annoying person I've ever met."

pinkie just grins at him, then at jimin, and draws a massive heart around the two of them in the air with his index fingers, making a clack noise when he finishes.

purple's looking down at his lap in thought, and it seems that something makes sense, or that something pulls through because he opens his mouth twice before managing to form words. "I'm not— I don't know about a relationship, but I wouldn't mind going on a date? if you want to, of course."

jimin feels his cheeks heat up even more and he starts playing with his rings. "I wouldn't mind going on a date with you."

"cool," purple whispers, the sound of relief heavy on his tongue. jimin thinks the soft smile on purple’s face might be his favourite one, even if it doesn’t have his dimples on display.

"he can keep you warm, jimin! you'll never get cold around him!"

"shut up, hyung!"