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Barbershop Romance

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“I can't believe you're ditching me again, Taetae.”

 

Taehyung heaves a dramatic sigh, not bothering to pause the process of pulling a hoodie over his head to even look at Jimin, who's hanging over the backrest of the couch, lips pursed into a pout. “You've been going out with Jeongguk three days in a row now,” Jimin complains. “I'm bored.”

 

“Of course you're bored, idiot,” Taehyung snorts, finally turning to aim a grin at him. “And I'm not ditching you. I'm dating. I know you might not remember what that word means, but I'm sure you can find a dictionary somewhere around here and look it up. It's spelled d-a-t…” Jimin chucks a pillow at him, which he nimbly dodges, a hand flying up to his hair. “Careful, Jiminie, I only just got my hair the way I want to!”

 

Jimin emits a sound that's half a snort, half a whine, and slides down the couch until he's sprawled out over the entirety of it and he sighs. He's wallowing and he knows it's not justified, but he can't help it; with most of his energy going to his work at the dance studio and to the hours spent alone at the studio after work, all he wants to do when he comes home is lounge at home and watch TV with Taehyung. His best friend is the best cuddler in existence and has always been the best form of stress-relief Jimin knows, but now, thanks to a certain someone named Jeon Jeongguk, he's been robbed of that luxury.

 

And I was the one who introduced them, Jimin thinks, frowning up at the ceiling. Jeongguk was a dancer at his studio, a young man who had joined his class a few weeks ago, a very good-looking young man whom Taehyung had instantly taken a liking to when stopping by to pick up Jimin for dinner. Taehyung had latched onto Jimin's arm and demanded to be introduced to, in his words, the cutest, sexiest man-child to ever have walked this earth. For some reason, Jimin had agreed.

 

And now he's paying the price.

 

“Taetaaaaae,” he whines and grabs the nearest cushion to press it against his face, muffling his pathetically squeaky voice. “I'm gonna die of loneliness.”

 

“I must've missed your transformation into a rabbit, Jiminie.” Jimin hears footsteps and the cushion is shoved off his face and onto the floor, and Taehyung grins down at him, his rectangular smile so adorable, it takes true effort for Jimin to keep his pout strong. “You need a boyfriend,” Taehyung states and nods sagely at his own words. “You've been single since the whole concept of being single was invented, and I can't have fun with Jeongukkie if I know you're drowning in loneliness while I'm out.”

 

That prompts an unwelcome sting of guilt in the back of Jimin's mind; it's not like he wants Taehyung to abandon his boyfriend and only spend time at home, but the past three days had been so boring, curled up on the couch alone with no one to laugh with him at the stupidity of the shows he watches. “I'm not saying you have to spend all your time with me,” he mutters, “but maybe once in a while…”

 

“Aww, don't make me choose between my cutest, sweetest, most gorgeous baby boy and my boyfriend,” Taehyung says in a disgustingly sweet voice, and it elicits an involuntary chuckle from Jimin. “Come on, me and Gukkie are in the honeymoon phase, we're all over each other, seriously, we can't not spend this much time together or I swear I'll--”

 

“Yeah, okay, I don't need details,” Jimin interrupts and pushes a hand over Taehyung's mouth to shut him up. “I just--”

 

“Alright, you know what?” Taehyung stands up straight and reaches for his phone on the coffee table. “You, my friend, need a boyfriend. Someone to be disgustingly clingy with. Someone who puts up with your neediness.”

 

“I'm not needy,” Jimin protests and pushes himself up on his elbows, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Who are you texting?”

 

“A friend of mine works at a barbershop,” Taehyung says and gestures at Jimin's hair. “You're never gonna attract a human body pillow looking like that, so I'm getting you an appointment.”

 

“Wow, thanks.”

 

“The truth hurts, Jiminie.” Jimin huffs and lets himself fall back onto the couch, frowning as he fiddles with a lock of his black hair. Okay, so it has been a while since he last cut it, and yeah, it's not in the best shape, but still. Does he really have to go to a barber and be made all pretty, like a schoolgirl getting ready for prom? Call him immodest, but Jimin is quite confident in his looks; he's been dancing for years, after all, and he's definitely got the body to show it.

 

But apparently it's not enough, because Taehyung doesn't look up from his phone until he gets a reply from whomever he was texting. “Alright, got you an appointment for tomorrow,” he says cheerily. “8:45AM at a salon called SUGA. Give your name to the guy at the counter and you'll be taken care of.”

 

“8:45 in the morning?” Jimin repeats with a grimace. “It's a Saturday, Taetae.”

 

“Beauty is pain, Jiminie,” Taehyung shoots back, grinning as he rocks to his feet and strides towards the hall. “I won't be back tonight, so don't wait up!”

 

Jimin considers throwing the last couch cushion at his best friend, but Taehyung’s already at the door, humming as he slips into his shoes and practically dances outside, his steps featherlight as he goes to meet his boyfriend. With a defeated huff, Jimin sits up, taking a moment to resign himself to his fate, and after a few seconds, he stands up and goes to fetch his laptop so he can google how to get to the salon.

 

It’s a twenty-five minute walk from his apartment, which means he won’t have to get up until after 8AM, which is good, because there will be a new episode of his favorite TV-series out on Netflix at midnight, which in turn means he won’t be falling asleep until 2AM at the earliest. “Six hours of sleep is more than enough,” he mumbles to himself and is about to put away the laptop when a bubble pops up on the screen, asking if he wants to read customer reviews about SUGA, and he figures why not, since he’s gonna be spending his Friday night being bored anyway.

 

From the reviews, he learns that SUGA is a pretty popular place, even though it’s a private business with only the one shop. And it’s not a barbershop either, it’s more of a salon, meant for both guys and girls. Jimin finds a few pictures of SUGA’s interior and hums in wonder at how clean it all looks; sleek, white counters and shelves stacked with products that look like they could belong in a laboratory, tall mirrors and pristine lighting, and beautiful, framed pictures decorating the walls, most likely models showcasing the hairdressers’ handiwork.

 

SUGA is run by a man named Min Yoongi, the son of the original founders. There’s a picture of him as well, and Jimin can’t help but stare at it for a bit longer than necessary, because damn, Min Yoongi is the definition of the word attractive, at least in Jimin’s dictionary. His eyes are hooded in a lazy way but they hold a sort of burning intelligence, his nose is straight and his lips look soft, and his skin is smooth and pale. His hair is the color of mint, and when paired with his pitch black uniform - a black barber’s apron hugging his body in a way that should be illegal - Jimin can’t help but wonder if people visit SUGA for the actual service or for the visual service.

 

There are five other employees at SUGA as well, but for some reason, they’re not nearly as interesting to Jimin as Min Yoongi, who looks like he could outshine any of the male models posing in the pictures on his walls without even trying.

 

He decides to shut his laptop when that thought passes through his mind, shaking his head as he pushes the computer to the other end of the couch. “Don’t be stupid,” he mutters to himself and reaches for the remote. “You’re only going to get your hair cut, and only because Taetae told you to.”

 

At least that’s what he tells himself over and over, every time he feels a slight twinge of excitement when tomorrow’s plans pop into his head during the evening.

 

-

 

The following morning finds Jimin standing outside SUGA at 8:39AM, fidgeting slightly as he trails his eyes over the entrance. The storefront is made almost entirely out of glass, very modern and intimidating to someone like Jimin, who’s never really put so much thought into his hair. At least not so much thought that he’d ever walk into a place like this; it might not be a huge chain or famous brand, but SUGA looks pretty damn high-class from where he’s standing.

 

Jimin hesitates, momentarily wondering if his wallet can actually handle a place like this, but then he remembers the picture of Min Yoongi and somehow, the thought of whether or not he can afford it becomes all the less important. So he takes a deep breath, tightens his grip on his Starbucks coffee cup, and pushes the door open.

 

A soft sound chimes through the salon to signal his arrival and the man behind the counter looks up, greeting Jimin with a soft smile, and Jimin can’t help but arch his brows, because hell, even the receptionist was stunningly pretty. “Welcome to SUGA,” he says and motions for Jimin to walk to the front of the counter. “Do you have a reservation?”

 

“Uh, yeah, I think so,” Jimin says, smiling sheepishly when the receptionist’s look turns curious. “A friend of mine booked a time for me. At 8:45? Park Jimin.”

 

“Park Jimin, Park Jimin, ah yes, there you are.” The receptionist - his name tag reads “Jin” - offers him a blinding smile and pushes away from the counter, coming around and raising a hand towards Jimin. “I’ll put your jacket in the closet. You can take a seat on the sofa over there.” He motions towards the back of the salon, past the barber chairs and mirrors. “Would you like anything to drink while you wait? Coffee, tea?”

 

“Uh,” Jimin says again, awestruck by the service. “I-I’m good, thanks, I’m still working on the day’s first cup of coffee.” He holds up his Starbucks cup and Jin chuckles, nodding in response before turning on the heel and striding off to hang up Jimin’s jacket.

 

Cautiously, like a small animal on dangerous territory, Jimin walks deeper into the salon, careful to not knock anything over or step on a wire or something. The shop is empty, which doesn’t really surprise him, since it’s not even 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning, and the silence is only broken by the soft sound of music, which is flowing through a pair of speakers on the wall in the corner. Jimin actually recognizes the song; it’s from the same artists who composed his favorite warm-up song.

 

He takes a seat on the edge of the couch, setting down his backpack. He looks around and catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, and is relieved to find he doesn’t look completely out of place; he may or may not have put a bit extra effort into his outfit today, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, he sternly tells himself for the umpteenth time. He’s wearing a form-fitting, white, open-collar shirt and his favorite skinny jeans, and he’s donned a few silver rings and a black choker necklace. He thought about wearing his best piercings, but figured he might have to take them out anyway, depending on what’s gonna be done to his hair.

 

No, he did not choose his outfit with the hope of impressing a certain hairdresser. Absolutely not.

 

Jin appears behind the counter again and sends Jimin a quick smile before picking up the receiver of an old-fashioned phone and saying, “Your 8:45 is waiting.” He puts the receiver down again without waiting for a response and turns to his computer screen, tapping something on his keyboard. Jimin watches him work for a moment, absentmindedly finishing his coffee, and roughly a minute later, a door opens somewhere to his left.

 

“Park Jimin?”

 

“Ah, yeah, that’s--” Jimin stands up and turns around, and all air promptly leaves his lungs in a sharp exhale as he finds himself standing before the man whose face had appeared in his thoughts quite frequently over the past twelve hours.

 

The first thing Jimin realizes is that Min Yoongi is even more attractive in person, even though it really shouldn't be possible. The second thing he realizes is that Min Yoongi’s hair is blonde now, and that it looks so much better than the mint color in the picture. The third thing is that Jimin wants Min Yoongi to say his name again in that sinful, sure-to-be illegal voice so that he can record it and listen to it forever.

 

The fourth thing Jimin realizes, though it’s a bit delayed, is that Min Yoongi is looking him up and down, a perfect brow quirked in what he can only interpret as surprise. “You’re Park Jimin?” he asks again, and Jimin presses his lips together to not give a voice to the shudder that rips down his spine at the sound of his name falling from the hairdresser’s lips. “Taehyung’s roommate?”

 

“Ye-yeah,” Jimin says, his cheeks flooding with warmth at how high-pitched his voice is. “Y-you’re the friend who works at a barbershop?” More like owns it, what the hell, Taetae?

 

Yoongi snorts at that, a frown marring his brow, and Jimin dimly wonders how he’s still breathing. “I keep telling that brat this is a salon, but he will apparently never learn the difference.” He sighs before turning around and saying something to one of his employees, who Jimin hadn’t even noticed before now. The woman nods and scurries off, and Yoongi turns his eyes on Jimin again, and Jimin feels like he's being x-rayed. “So,” he says, and Jimin really hopes he's not expecting him to speak, because his tongue is currently glued to the roof of his mouth, “what do you have in mind? For your hair.”

 

That does untangle Jimin's tongue, not to answer the question, but to fire one of his own. “You're gonna cut my hair?” he asks, his heart leaping to his throat at the mere idea, and he stutters when Yoongi furrows his brow in confusion. “I-I mean, you, uh, Min-ssi, aren't you, um, the boss here or something? Shouldn't… shouldn't you save your time for more important customers?” Oh my god, shut up now, why are you ruining this chance?! his brain practically screams at him.

 

“Okay, first of all, hyung’s fine,” Yoongi snorts, “and call me Yoongi. Min-ssi makes me feel like I'm a hundred years old.” Jimin nods timidly, mouthing Yoongi-hyung, not quite daring to say it out loud. “And second of all, this is important.” Jimin's heart does a somersault in his chest. “Taehyung said it was an emergency, so I woke my ass up at 7AM to get to work on a saturday--”

 

“I'm, I'm really sorry, he--”

 

“--only to realize it's definitely not an emergency and that he's given me a gorgeous canvas to work with instead.”

 

Jimin can feel himself blushing all the way to the tips of his ears. Holy shit, okay, he just said that. He's staring at the floor, eyes wide and heartbeat thundering in his ears, and he almost jumps right out of his skin when someone lightly taps him on the shoulder. He turns so quickly he almost loses his balance and finds Yoongi’s assistant standing there, holding a barber's gown and looking quite startled by his reaction. “So-sorry,” Jimin squeaks, jumping slightly where he stands when Yoongi walks past him and to the closest barber's chair, completely unaffected as he starts picking out combs and brushes. “Thank you.”

 

The woman slides the gown over his shoulders and hooks it around his throat, and she's about to say something when Yoongi appears next to her, his eyes on Jimin's throat. “Yeah, that'll have to go for now,” he says and nods at the choker, and Jimin curses under his breath for not realizing it’d be in the way. He begins to raise his hands to remove it, but freezes as if paralyzed halfway, because Yoongi's taken a step towards him, his hands circling his neck to reach the clasp. It brings his face incredibly close to Jimin's; he can feel Yoongi's breath soft against his chin, which is unfair, because Jimin himself is struggling to remember how to breathe.

 

Yoongi has to be doing it on purpose, really, he has to be. He deftly unhooks the choker and steps back, his expression completely neutral as he sets the necklace down on a little counter next to the barber chair, as if he doesn't even notice Jimin's by now beet red blush. “Have a seat, Jimin,” he says and spins the chair to make it more accessible, and Jimin swears, he swears Yoongi's lips are curled up into the faintest of smirks.

 

Not trusting himself to speak, Jimin just nods and takes his seat, using his feet to turn himself to face the mirror, and he takes a deep breath and attempts to calm down, shifting in his seat until he finds a comfortable position. He's almost relaxed, but then Yoongi's fingers slide into his hair and he was not prepared for it. Not in the slightest. He's in a salon, yes, and this is what is done in salons, yes, but holy flying fuck! Jimin watches his own eyes widen in the mirror, he can see how tense his shoulders are, and oh god his blush is a deeper red than Taehyung's hair two years ago, when he made the impulse decision to color his hair apple red.

 

“Right,” Yoongi says, his fingers playing with the hairs at Jimin's neck. “Did you have anything in particular in mind?”

 

“N-no,” Jimin manages, clasping his hands tightly in his lap under the gown. “I mean, this was all Taehyung's idea, I didn't really have any plans on going to a barber, or… or a salon, so…” He hesitates, he hesitates a lot, because what he wants to say can be misinterpreted in the wrong way, but screw it, two can play the flirting game. “S-so if you have any thoughts, Yoongi-hyung, I'm all yours.”

 

The hairdresser's hands come to a momentary pause. Oh god. Jimin stares down into his lap, mortified with himself, regret rising quicker than a tidal flood, and he's just about to stutter an apology when Yoongi continues his ministrations, with slightly more pressure than before. “I see,” he says absentmindedly, and then he falls silent for several minutes, his eyes going from Jimin's hair to Jimin's face in the mirror and back, over and over, apparently lost in thought. He either doesn't notice how tense Jimin is, or then he simply ignores the fact.

 

It's been almost seven minutes when Yoongi finally speaks, seven unbearable minutes of him fiddling with Jimin's hair and Jimin concentrating so goddamn hard to not let himself be swept away by how good it feels, the soft, massaging touches. “Okay,” the hairdresser says, and Jimin feels a shiver creeping up his spine, because Yoongi's voice is rough and thick from being silent for so long. “I have a few ideas about what we could do. The cut is pretty much the same for all of them, but the colors vary, so let me know which one you like. Or if you don't like any of them.”

 

His fingers slide to Jimin's forehead and he catches a lock of Jimin's fringe between his index and middle finger, and Jimin holds his breath, his eyes wide. “I'd cut your bangs this short,” he says, his gaze trained on the mirror. “They’d still reach your eyebrows, but you'd be able to wear them down without getting any hair in your eyes.” His hands shift and he parts Jimin's fringe just shy of the middle. “I'd leave a slight partition here, so you can get your bangs out of your face easier.” He shifts again, moving to slide his fingers up Jimin's neck and into the hairs there. Lord save me. “I can tell you've had an undercut before,” Yoongi goes on, his voice slow and smooth. “I wouldn't go for that again, but rather leave it a bit longer. I think that could really suit you.”

 

“Hokay,” Jimin whispers, letting out the breath he'd been holding throughout the hairdresser's monologue. “That, that sounds, it sounds good, yeah.”

 

His voice is so thin at this point, even Yoongi can't pretend to not notice it anymore; he pauses what he's doing and shifts his eyes to Jimin's face in the mirror. “Are you sure?” he asks, apparently under the belief that Jimin's nervousness is because he didn't like the hairdresser's ideas. “It's your hair, Jimin, you have to live with it, so don't agree with me unless you're sure.”

 

There's absolutely no trace of irritation or impatience in his voice, and Jimin takes a deep breath before raising his voice. “I'm sure, hyung,” he says, glad to find his voice is almost back to its natural pitch. “Your ideas sound really good, I'm just… just a bit…” He has no idea what he wants to say, what he wants to tell Yoongi, and so he ends up lowering his gaze to his lap, lips curling into a little smile as he mumbles, “I'm just a bit shy.”

 

There's a moment of silence, and then Yoongi hums, a soft sound that makes Jimin's chest buzz in response. He looks up and that buzz turns into butterflies when his eyes meet Yoongi's through the mirror, and those butterflies turn into dragons when the hairdresser smiles and says, “That's cute.” He turns around to grab something from the small counter immediately after, and thank fuck for that, because Jimin's expression had gone from shy to awestruck, dumbstruck, absolutely freaking out in a split second. Jesus flying fuck on a stick, he's actually trying to kill me in this chair!

 

“Right, now for the colors.” Again, the hairdresser seems completely unaware of the effect he and his words are having on Jimin, who's clenching his hands in his lap so hard he's sure his knuckles have gone white. “I have several thoughts,” Yoongi tells him and parts his hair with a comb, and Jimin isn't sure if he's relieved or sad that the hairdresser’s no longer using his fingers. “A few simple colors and a few unusual ones, and one mix of the two.”

 

Jimin nods to show he's listening. He will not part his lips now, not when he's pretty sure the next sound out of his mouth will be a whine.

 

“You have pretty dark pigments, so I think something light could be a refreshing change of pace,” Yoongi says. “For the simple colors we could go with blonde, either a sand blonde or something closer to a platinum blonde. A silvery color could also suit you really well, or then we could try a shade of red.” Jimin nods at every suggestion, not hating any of them. “For the more unusual colors,” Yoongi proceeds, “we could do orange, not like the fruit, but softer, more of a pastel orange. Then there's pink, and--”

 

Jimin actually giggles before he can stop himself, and the sound makes Yoongi go silent, looking at Jimin in surprise. “Sorry,” Jimin quickly says, feeling the blush intensify under the hairdresser's gaze, “but pink? Really?”

 

“Really,” Yoongi says and nods. “Not pink as in hot pink or the neon kind, but… like…” He's at a loss for words for a moment, wondering how to best put his idea to words, and Jimin can't help but stare at him through the mirror; Yoongi's brows are pulled into a slight frown and his lips are parted as if the words are right there but he can't quite reach them. It's absolutely endearing. Then it dawns on him and he smiles, and Jimin realizes that he is so goddamn whipped, it's almost comical. “Pink like cotton candy.”

 

The words, paired with how Yoongi says it is just too cute; Jimin emits a bubbly laughter, raising a hand from beneath the gown to dab at the corner of his eyes, and when he sobers up, Yoongi's looking at him with an expression that's half amusement, half something that Jimin can't quite place, but it's definitely not bad. “I like it,” Jimin finally manages to say, smiling widely at the hairdresser. “Let's go with pink.”

 

Yoongi blinks as if he'd momentarily forgotten what made Jimin laugh in the first place, and then he nods, lips curling into a smirk. “Pink it is then, Jimin,” he muses and flips the comb around in his hand. “We'll bleach your hair first, then color it, and finish with the cut.” He turns and motions at his assistant, who scurries over to one of the walls and, to Jimin's surprise, slides it open to reveal a row of roof-high shelves, stacked full with small rectangular boxes. “That's where we keep the dye,” Yoongi says, having observed Jimin through the mirror. “She's getting the bleach. Have you ever bleached your hair before?”

 

“Uh, once,” Jimin says with a sheepish grin. “Taehyung managed to convince me to have my hair colored green, and it did not sit well. I wore a beanie for three weeks straight after that, until I could afford to have it dyed back. I was 13,” he adds when Yoongi quirks a brow at that. “I had to save up my allowance while hiding my hair from my classmates and my parents. And my teachers, man, they would've suspended me the second they saw it. Almost shaved it all off.”

 

Yoongi laughs, he actually laughs, and Jimin swears his heart actually sings in response to the sound, and his breath is trembling when he exhales. Hooo boy. “How the hell did Taehyung talk you into that?” the hairdresser asks when he sobers up, but before Jimin has the time to answer, the assistant is back, carrying a little cup of bleach and a brush. “Thanks, put it down on the counter. And get me a pair of gloves.”

 

Jimin notices the way the assistant's brow arch in surprise, and she hesitates for a second or two before complying. He also notices she's already wearing a pair of black plastic gloves, and his chest does that annoying buzzing thing when it hits him that maybe, in salons of this class, it's standard for the assistants to do the dirty work, so to say, such as applying the bleach. If that's the case, Jimin thinks, cheeks tingling as he dares a glance at Yoongi, who's pulling the black gloves onto his hands, maybe… maybe he wants to stay. And talk. Or something. Oh god. He has to press his lips together to not smile too widely, half-heartedly cursing himself for feeling so goddamn giddy.

 

“Let me know if your scalp starts itching or if there's a burning sensation,” Yoongi says and grabs the cup, stirring the bleach with the brush a few times before reaching for his comb. “And in the meantime, please tell me what magic Taehyung used to make you color your hair green.”

 

They fall into easy conversation after that, talking about whatever while Yoongi works the bleach into his hair. Jimin learns that Yoongi's twenty-five years old, that he studies music production on the side of his work, which leaves him with roughly four hours of sleep every night, and that he's currently trying to quit smoking. It turns out Yoongi and Taehyung know each other through Jeongguk, who's apparently like a younger brother to the hairdresser; they were neighbors for almost ten years, and their parents are very close.

 

Suddenly, Jimin thinks introducing Taehyung to Jeongguk was the best decision he ever made.

 

“There we go,” Yoongi says once he's done with the bleach, tossing the brush and comb onto the counter and poking here and there along Jimin's scalp to work in any stray drops of the white substance. “Does it feel alright?” He waits for Jimin to nod. “Good. We'll leave it in for twenty minutes, then wash it out.”

 

For a moment, Jimin wonders if he'll spend those twenty minutes alone, but no, Yoongi takes a seat in the neighboring barber's chair and turns it to face Jimin, a soft smile on his lips as he studies Jimin's face. “So,” he starts, his smooth voice agonizingly addictive, “what did Taehyung mean when he said it was an emergency when getting you this appointment?”

 

Oh. That. Jimin fidgets nervously, once again clasping his hands in his lap and not quite daring to meet Yoongi's eyes. “Ah, um, well, as you probably know, Taehyung and Jeongguk are dating,” he says tentatively, “and I've barely seen Taehyung since they started going out.”

 

Yoongi snorts at that. “Yeah, Jeongguk is a clingy kid once he likes something or someone,” he says, though not unkindly.

 

“Yeahhh, and Taetae doesn't mind it at all,” Jimin huffs. “I'm pretty sure he's the worse one of the two. Anyway, Taehyung's been spending all his free time doing stuff with Jeongguk, which means I've lost my cuddling partner.” He says it before he realizes how it can be interpreted, and he wants to just die when Yoongi's eyes widen and his lips part in a silent question. “Oh god, no, I mean, that's not--” Jimin sputters, stumbling over his words in his hurry to remedy the situation. “It's 100% platonic cuddling! You know, just, just watching TV and getting comfortable together on the couch, and wow, that sounds weirder out loud than it did in my head, uh, what I mean is--”

 

“You're rambling, Jimin,” Yoongi interrupts, his expression now back to its relaxed self, only with way more amusement than Jimin likes. He chuckles when Jimin raises his hands to bury his face in the gown, too embarrassed to show the flaming blush that's burning his cheeks. “Nah, come on, Jiminie, don't do that, there's no need to hide from me.” The nickname and the affectionate way Yoongi speaks only makes Jimin want to hide even more, because I'm gonna die, I'm actually gonna die, but he makes himself raise his head, his eyes glued to the floor. “There you are,” Yoongi says softly, and Jimin fights off a shiver. “Continue. You lost your 100% platonic cuddler, and then..?”

 

Jimin takes a deep breath to steady himself; the actual worst - or most embarrassing, considering the situation at hand - part of the story is yet to be revealed. “Then,” he says, wondering how much heat his cheeks can take before they combust, “then Taehyung decided I need to get myself a b-boyfriend to, um, to replace him and, uh,” DON'T SAY IT, PARK JIMIN, DON'T YOU FUCKING SAY-- “satisfy my cuddling needs.”

 

Why.

 

Why am I allowed to speak.

 

Death by embarrassment. That's what Jimin's gravestone will read, he realizes as he closes his eyes, not even daring to look at the floor anymore. Self-inflicted embarrassment, too. Jesus fuck. The silence is crushing. The only thing he can hear is his own heartbeat banging like the drums of war in his ears. Ah, I should just glue my lips shut and never ever speak again, he thinks, resigning himself to life as a mute. Then I wouldn't be able to embarrass myself like this. My life would be so peaceful, so--

 

“So that means you're single.”

 

Jimin's head snaps up so fast it hurts his neck, his eyes wide as he stares at Yoongi, who returns his stunned stare with a smirk, amusement twinkling in his eyes, along with something else Jimin can't identify in his current state of mind. “Good to know,” the hairdresser says slowly, and if that wasn't enough to make Jimin feel like he'd been punched in the gut my Cupid, he certainly feels that way when Yoongi suddenly lowers his gaze and raises a hand to rub at his neck before shaking his head slightly, snorting at his own comment.

 

Holy shit, he's being shy, Min Yoongi's being shy, how the living hell am I supposed to handle this?!

 

They sit like that for a few seconds, Jimin staring at Yoongi with impossibly wide eyes while Yoongi studies the floor in between them. Then the hairdresser looks up again, his expression back to curious. “But I still don't get why that'd call for an emergency appointment to get your hair cut,” he says, brows pulled into a slight frown.

 

Jimin nods to buy himself some time to find his voice, and it's not as squeaky as he feared. “Apparently,” he starts before pausing, wondering how on earth to phrase it without it sounding weird. “Apparently, my hair's such a mess Taehyung thinks that, um, that catching someone's interest is impossible.” This time, he manages to filter himself, leaving out what Taehyung had said about a human body pillow.

 

Yoongi scoffs, his frown now set deep. “If that's what that brat thinks,” he says flatly, “he's got a shit eye for beauty.”

 

Oh.

 

Oh my holy fucking god, what?

 

“Then again,” the hairdresser continues casually, completely oblivious to Jimin's insides singing Hallelujah, “his shitty opinion landed you in my chair, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much.”

 

I could die now, and I would die happy. Jimin’s pretty sure he should visit a doctor as soon as he's out of the salon, for fear his heart has overworked itself and put him at risk for sudden heart failure. Or, more accurately, Yoongi's constant toying with his heartstrings is making him seriously worried for his own health. If there's an award for how much tension someone can withstand, Jimin thinks numbly, blushing all the way to his neck, I think I'm winning it this year. “Y-yeah,” he breathes out when he realizes Yoongi's looking at him in curiosity, expecting some sort of response. “Tha-thank you, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

He's too busy staring at the floor to notice the hairdresser's smile, which is bordering on adoring. “Just stating the facts, Jimin,” Yoongi hums, and then they sit in silence for a few minutes, which Jimin is infinitely grateful for, because it gives him the time to calm his ass down.

 

He's finally able to breathe when Yoongi stands up and comes around his chair to inspect his hair, shuffling the locks around. Jimin grimaces before he can stop himself; with the bleach having dried a bit, it's a harsher pull on his scalp than he expected. “Sorry,” Yoongi says, eyes flickering up to momentarily meet Jimin's in the mirror before going back to his hair, “I know it's uncomfortable. But it looks like it's settled well enough, so let's move to the basin so I can wash it out.”

 

He spins the chair so Jimin can stand up and leads him to the back of the salon, speaking a curt, “No need,” when his assistant scurries forward, prepared to take care of the washing, and again, Jimin's heart does that fluttery thing. “Have a seat and try to find a comfortable position,” Yoongi tells him and drapes a small towel around Jimin's shoulders before moving over to the shelves to grab a bottle of shampoo. Jimin complies, sinking against the backrest of the chair and positioning himself so his neck doesn't hurt when he leans into the basin. “You good?” Yoongi asks when he returns, nodding when Jimin hums in reply. “Good.” He turns on the small shower head and adjusts the temperature before tentatively letting the water run over the top of Jimin's head. “Is the temperature alright?”

 

“Perfect,” Jimin says, letting his eyes flutter close in his comfort.

 

“Perfect,” Yoongi repeats softly, his smile hearable from his voice. He starts cleaning the bleach out of Jimin's hair, his free hand shifting between gently rubbing Jimin's scalp and shielding the rest of Jimin's face from the stream of water. It's incredibly relaxing, and Jimin has to actually focus to not let himself drift off; he doesn't want to miss a single second of his time with the hairdresser. Yoongi cleans his hair in silence, concentrated on his work, breaking it only when he reaches for the shampoo. “This'll feel a bit cold,” he says quietly before his hands are back in Jimin's hair, both of them massaging the lather into his locks, and there's a comfortable warmth humming in Jimin's chest.

 

When he's done rinsing the shampoo from Jimin's hair, Yoongi grabs another towel from the shelf behind him and quickly runs it through Jimin's hair to dry it a little, his movements firm yet gentle. “Alright, we're done here,” the hairdresser says and straightens up, and Jimin follows his lead, humming as he stretches his back. “Back to the chair.”

 

Jimin stands up and takes a few steps forward, but then stops dead in his tracks when he spots himself in the mirror. “Oh my god,” he manages before he starts laughing, hands coming up to grab a lock of his hair, which is the color of a post-it note. “It's so yellow!”

 

Yoongi snorts, lips curled into a grin. “Yeah, the infamous middle stage of hair coloring,” he muses. “Also known as the chicken stage.”

 

Jimin feels a fresh wave of laughter in his chest, but it never quite reaches his lips, because Yoongi has placed a hand against the small of his back in a silent request for him to keep walking to the chair so they can resume their work. Jimin swallows thickly and, despite his heart hammering in his chest, manages a cheeky, “I ain't no spring chicken, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

“Riiight,” the hairdresser says and chuckles. “Whatever you say, Chicken Little.”

 

That makes Jimin cringe, an actual shudder running down his spine as he takes a seat in his chair. “Please don't remind me of that movie,” he huffs, grimacing at the mirror. “It's the biggest mistake my hero's ever made.”

 

“Ah.” Yoongi quirks a brow at him while using the towel around Jimin's shoulders to wipe away any stray droplets from his neck. “Disney fan?”

 

“Until the day I die,” Jimin muses, proudly straightening his back. “What about you?”

 

Yoongi's grin is actually playful, and it makes Jimin's stomach twist. “When I die,” the hairdresser says dramatically, “I'll be buried with my Studio Ghibli collection.”

 

That elicits a bright laughter from Jimin. “I love Studio Ghibli, but all of their movies make me cry,” he says when he sobers up, smiling. “And I mean seriously cry. Uncontrolled sobbing, snot, hiccups, all that.” Now why on earth would you say something like that, Park Jimin? You tryin’a gross the guy out, you idiot? He facepalms internally and chances a glance at Yoongi's face, and finds the hairdresser looking back with a teasing smirk playing on his lips, one eyebrow quirked. Uh oh.

 

“Is that why you're looking for a cuddling partner?” Yoongi asks slowly, and when he rubs the towel against the skin right behind Jimin's ears, Jimin knows he's doing it on purpose. “To hold you when the tears come?”

 

His grin is wide, teasing, and it has Jimin choking on his breath, a meek little sound making its way past his lips rather than whatever comeback he'd had in mind. Goddammit, you..! Jimin purses his lips, averts his gaze, and tries to look as nonchalant as he can as he says, “A-amongst other things, yes,” and pretends to not notice his inner voice of reason crying in despair.

 

Yoongi hums at that, still smirking, and Jimin really thinks it’s unfair that the hairdresser gets to be in a position of power right now, finding every single one of Jimin’s sensitive spots along his scalp as he dries his hair. If the tables were turned, he thinks, but doesn’t finish it, because on second thought, Jimin’s not too sure he’d be any less nervous if he was the one combing his fingers through Yoongi’s hair.

 

“Alright, I’m gonna blow dry your hair real quick,” the hairdresser says after a few seconds, finally dropping the towel and letting Jimin actually catch his breath, “and then I’m gonna start coloring.”

 

Yoongi only spends about a minute holding the blow dryer, blasting just enough warm air against Jimin’s hair to get it to stop dripping water. Once he’s done, he excuses himself to go mix the dye, and Jimin watches him through the mirror with high interest; the hairdresser stands in front of the tall shelves for a moment, moving his hands in front of himself as if he’s picking colors. It’s captivating, how concentrated he looks, as if he’s caught in a trance, and when he finally comes to a decision, he smiles to himself, and Jimin absentmindedly realizes that he’s already head over heels in like with the hairdresser.

 

Like, big time.

 

“Here we go,” Yoongi says when he’s done, setting down a bowl of dye on the counter next to Jimin’s chair. While the hairdresser pulls on a fresh pair of gloves, Jimin giggles quietly, his eyes on the startlingly pink dye. “What’s up?”

 

“I’m pretty sure that’s the color you’d get if you threw a fairy in a blender,” Jimin says, his insides singing when Yoongi emits a bark of laughter.

 

“Shit, I think you’re right,” the hairdresser chuckles and stirs the dye a few times before reaching for his comb. “Here we go. One shade of mutilated fairy mush coming right up.”

 

It’s so comfortable, the way they talk while Yoongi goes about his work. He asks Jimin about his part-time work as a dance instructor and seems genuinely interested in Jimin has to say. He says he’d like to see Jimin perform, and when Jimin tells him he could come by the studio anytime he wants, he nods and easily says, “It’s a date,” which has Jimin’s heart tap-dancing in his chest. Jimin’s also pretty sure he’s never seen anything as endearing as the way Yoongi smiles when Jimin points out that if Yoongi let him listen to some of his music, Jimin could probably choreograph a dance for it.

 

Another one of SUGA’s employees show up just as Yoongi’s about to finish applying the dye to Jimin’s hair. The man is tall and full of energy, singing a loud, “Good mooorning,” as he throws open the door and all but dances inside. He throws his bag up on the counter and exchanges a few words with Jin, who turns and nods in Yoongi and Jimin’s direction, and from the corner of his eyes, Jimin sees the man turn to look at them, eyebrows arched and lips slowly curling into a curious smirk.

 

Jimin is thoroughly distracted when Yoongi suddenly leans in close and mumbles, “Brace yourself,” his breath ghosting against Jimin’s ear.

 

Before Jimin can do more than part his lips, the tall man appears next to Yoongi, who ducks under his extended arms, narrowly escaping what would surely have been a bone-crushing hug. “Hellooo, boss!” the man says brightly. “Fancy seeing you here so early on a Saturday!”

 

“Stop screaming, Hoseok,” Yoongi snaps, his previously soft voice gone in the blink of an eye, so suddenly Jimin blinks in surprise. “What are you doing here? Doesn’t your shift start at 10:30?”

 

The man - Hoseok, was it - quirks a brow at that, throwing a quick glance at Jimin and pressing his lips into a smile before speaking. “You’re very correct,” he says, and there’s a definite trace of smugness in his voice. “But it’s also already twenty past ten, Yoongi, so here I am.”

 

The hairdresser’s eyes widen a fraction and he turns around to look at the big clock hanging on the wall, and even Jimin’s surprised to find that it’s indeed already past ten. He’s been here for an hour and a half and he hadn’t even realized. “Right,” Yoongi says and clears his throat, his brows pulled into a frown. “Right, well, I’m with a customer right now, so--”

 

“So I see!” Hoseok completely ignores Yoongi’s implication and turns to look at Jimin through the mirror. “Yeah, I figured you had to be pretty,” he says cheerily, his smile widening when Jimin’s eyes quickly move to Yoongi before he lowers them to the floor. “There’s no way Yoongi would otherwise be so hard at work, even taking care of the bleaching and washing himself, according to Jin--”

 

You,” Yoongi says loudly and grabs Hoseok by the arm, forcibly dragging him away from Jimin’s chair, “go prepare for your first customer, and pray I don’t hang you in the storage room by the end of your shift.” He all but throws Hoseok through the door at the back of the salon and slams the door shut, then stands there for a moment, probably to gather his thoughts. When he walks back to Jimin’s chair, his frown softens notably, and his voice is nowhere near as harsh as it had been when addressing his employee. “Sorry about that,” he says and braces his hands against the backrest of Jimin’s chair so he can lean against it, heaving a deep sigh. “He’s got enough energy to keep a power plant going for days, so he’s hard to deal with.”

 

“That’s okay,” Jimin says slowly, still surprised by the sudden shift in Yoongi’s behavior. Also, there was the comment Hoseok made about Yoongi doing all the work because Jimin was pretty, which the hairdresser hadn’t denied. But we’re not focusing on that one, Park Jimin, he thinks and tilts his head back, careful to not smear the dye against the backrest of the chair. “Are you okay, Yoongi-hyung?”

 

The hairdresser looks down at him, eyes locking upside down, and Jimin realizes their faces really aren’t that far apart now. Okay, didn’t expect this, wow. Yoongi just looks at him for a moment, a moment that feels like several hours, with this look in his eyes that’s painfully close to adoration, and then he smiles softly and murmurs, “I’m okay, Jimin,” and Jimin’s heart skips not one, not two, but three entire beats. I’m pretty sure I’m in love, he thinks dimly, his mouth dry.

 

Yoongi straightens up after a few seconds and throws another glance at the clock on the wall. “Another fifteen minutes until I wash out the paint,” he says and looks around, raising a hand to point at the empty bowl of dye when he spots his assistant. She hurries over and cleans it away, along with Yoongi’s gloves and the dye-covered comb. “I’m gonna grab a glass of water. You want anything, Jimin?”

 

“Water would be great, yeah,” Jimin says, only now realizing how severely dehydrated the morning’s tension has left him. Yoongi nods and walks towards the back of the salon, and Jimin takes the opportunity to lean forward, glare at himself in the mirror, and hold an internal peptalk. Now you listen to me, Park Jimin, he tells himself sternly, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re nervous or shy, you’re gonna get your shit together and ask him out by the end of this appointment. You’re not gonna let this chance slip away. You like him, a lot, so you’re gonna man up and tell him you wanna have dinner, and--

 

“You okay, Jimin?”

 

Jimin almost jumps out of his skin in shock, having completely missed the sound of Yoongi’s footsteps. He quickly sits up straight and looks at the hairdresser through the mirror, gaping like a fish out of water for a few seconds before the perfect excuse pops into his head. “Ya-yeah, I just, I think an eyelash got into my eye,” he says quickly, forcing a smile that he prays looks normal. “It’s fine now, it stopped itching.”

 

“It might also be the dye,” Yoongi hums, nodding, and Jimin exhales in relief. “The fumes can feel pretty strong if you’re not used to it. Here, by the way.”

 

His arm comes around Jimin’s shoulder to give him his glass of water, and Jimin once again notes how pale the hairdresser’s skin is. Like sugar. “Thanks,” he says quietly and takes the glass, instantly bringing it to his lips and taking a much-needed sip of the refreshingly cool liquid. A comfortable silence settles between them, and Jimin wonders if he should ask now, if he should ask Yoongi if he’s doing anything later today, but decides not to, because at the moment, Jimin looks like he’s wearing a pink pancake on his head, and that’s not how he wants to look when he asks the hairdresser out on a date.

 

Jimin glances up at Yoongi when he hears a soft chiming sound, and his lips pull into a wide smile; the hairdresser is leaning against the small counter next to the chair, and his free hand, which he’d rested on the counter, has found Jimin’s choker and is absentmindedly toying with the black necklace. Yoongi doesn’t even seem to be realizing it; his eyes are focused on something across the salon while he deftly curls and uncurls the choker around his fingers, moving the necklace as if it’s a choreographed game.

 

Jimin watches him for a minute or two before quietly asking, “Do you like it?” Yoongi blinks and looks at him in question, and not until Jimin nods at his hand does he seem to realize what he was doing.

 

“Oh,” Yoongi says and raises his hand to inspect the necklace, a dry smile gracing his lips. “Sorry. Force of habit, you know, from smoking.” He turns the choker in his hand, consciously continuing what he was absentmindedly doing. “My fingers are used to holding something.” He looks back down at Jimin, his smile taking on a curious tone. “But yeah, I like it,” he says and sets down the necklace, leaning forward just a bit as he does. “Shame I had to take it off; it looked really hot on you.”

 

Jimin almost chokes on his water, because holy shit, that was definitely not what he’d expected to hear. He falls into a fit of coughing and leans forward, raising a hand when he feels Yoongi’s hand on his back, patting lightly. “I’m, I’m fine,” he manages after a few seconds and sits back up straight, his cheeks on fire. “I’m fine, I… thank you. For, um,” he glances at the choker and then quickly looks away again, too embarrassed, “that.”

 

He can feel Yoongi’s gaze, he can hear his grin, and he needs to find a distraction quickly, because he’s been so close to spontaneous combustion so many times already today that it’s really gonna happen soon. He doesn’t want to burst into flames until he’s at least found out if Yoongi’s a good kisser or not. STOP THINKING, PARK JIMIN, he internally screams at himself before clearing his throat, his eyes still on the floor as he asks, “S-so what made you decide to quit smoking?”

 

“Ah, that,” Yoongi dawdles, a chuckle rolling past his lips and hitting Jimin full in the chest. “I realized I don’t look half as cool as I thought I did.” Jimin doubts that with every fibre of his being; Yoongi would probably look cool doing pretty much anything. “Nah, I guess you could say it just hit me that I’ve been doing it for too long,” the hairdresser sighs. “Would wake up in the mornings and feel like someone shoved a wet napkin down my throat in my sleep. Plus, it gets expensive, and people complain about the smell.”

 

Jimin nods and dares a glance at Yoongi, who’s gazing off into the distance, a little smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “Is it difficult?” he asks, his voice very quiet; he almost doesn’t want to disturb the hairdresser.

 

Yoongi snorts, much softer than so far. “Yeah, it sucks,” he says and turns his eyes on Jimin. “I mean, look at me, I’m reduced to playing with your necklace.” Jimin giggles and the hairdresser grins. “It’s not so bad. I’m tempted sometimes, but really, you just have to find something to distract you from it.”

 

“Like what?”

 

“I don’t know,” Yoongi muses, and from his smug expression, Jimin knows he’s gonna be smacked in the heart again, and true enough, the next words out of the hairdresser’s mouth are, “A cuddle partner, maybe?”

 

“Oh my god,” Jimin groans and leans forward, burying his face in his hands while Yoongi laughs, a sound that has him smiling painfully widely into the confinements of the barber’s gown. “Please forget I ever said that, hyung.”

 

“Oh, that’s not happening,” Yoongi says cheerily. “I’m gonna remember that one for a long time.” Jimin’s heart flips over at the prospect of there being a long time, but before he can properly process the thought, he’s startled by the sound of a door being thrown open, jerking upright in his seat, eyes wide as he finds Hoseok standing in the doorway to the back room, the man’s eyes glued to Yoongi, who huffs a silent, “Oh, for fuck’s sake…”

 

“Do my ears deceive me?” Hoseok asks loudly, voice dripping with feigned shock. “Is this a vocal illusion? Is this all a dream, or did I really just hear Min Yoongi laugh?”

 

“You did not,” Yoongi says snappishly and stands up straight, turning his back on his employee in favor of looking down at Jimin. “Come on, let’s get your hair washed.” Without waiting for Jimin to respond, he reaches out and closes his hand around Jimin’s wrist, and the contact is like electricity, triggering an intense rush of goosebumps up Jimin’s neck. Holy fnuck. He scrambles to stand up before the hairdresser pulls him towards the wash basins, and Jimin follows blindly, completely missing Hoseok’s shit-eating grin and his hushed whisper of do I hear wedding bells? as he dances past the two, heading to the counter.

 

Min Yoongi’s holding my hand. Well, he’s almost holding my hand, but holy shit, he’s holding my hand!

 

Yoongi lets him go when they reach the washing station, his fingers brushing over Jimin’s, and Jimin all but falls into his seat, struggling to breathe. “Seriously, sorry about him,” Yoongi says, frustration seeping from his voice as he buries his face in his hands and rubs at his cheeks, looking slightly disheveled when he looks up again. “He has no understanding for boundaries whatsoever, nor a shred of common sense.”

 

“I can hear you, boss!” Hoseok’s voice calls from the front of the shop, filled with mock hurt.

 

Good!” Yoongi barks, then closes his eyes and takes a deep, calming breath. “Sorry,” he says to Jimin, who’s only just now getting over their brief skinship. “He’s messing with me, and he unfortunately knows which buttons to push.”

 

“It’s, it’s okay,” Jimin says, managing a reassuring smile when Yoongi looks at him, his frown most likely a result of how thin Jimin’s voice is. “Don’t worry, Yoongi-hyung, I’ve had my fair share of near-rage situations with Taehyung. You can’t live in the same apartment as him and not lose your shit at least once a week.”

 

That makes Yoongi’s frown soften, and his relief is just so precious. “Good,” he mumbles before looking around, taking a moment to remember what he’s supposed to do. “Right, washing. You know the drill, get comfortable and lean back.”

 

“Yessir,” Jimin hums and scoots a bit further down in the chair, rolling his shoulders twice before leaning back and settling his neck comfortably against the basin. “So my hair’s gonna be cotton candy pink when you’re done washing it?”

 

“Hopefully,” Yoongi says, a playful smirk on his lips when Jimin cranes his neck to shoot a startled look at him. “I’m joking. Yes, it’ll be pink. The good kind of pink.” He picks out several more bottles from the shelves now, three more than can count for shampoo and conditioner. “Alright, let’s get this fairy mush out of your hair,” he says, and Jimin giggles.

 

This time, Jimin’s too giddy to be able to relax the same way he did when Yoongi washed off the bleach; he’s excited to see what his hair looks like and he can’t keep the smile off his lips. He manages to sit still while he waits for Yoongi to shampoo his hair and add conditioner, but when the hairdresser doesn’t stop fiddling even after that, he squirms, trying to crane his head so he can get a sneak peak through one of the nearby mirrors.

 

“You’re fidgeting,” Yoongi points out, pausing his ministrations. “Uncomfortable?”

 

“No no,” Jimin says and offers the hairdresser a sheepish smile. “I just wanna see what it looks like.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that and shakes his head slightly before resuming his work. “Impatient,” he states. “Just sit still for a moment longer, alright? Your scalp’s looking a bit red, so I’m gonna apply some soothing oil.” He disappears from Jimin’s line of sight for a moment, and when he returns, his gloves are gone and he’s rubbing his palms together, spreading out a glistening blue liquid. “Just close your eyes and relax, Jiminie.”

 

Jimin complies to the first, and he was dead set on not complying to the other, but then Yoongi’s hands slide into his hair and he starts massaging, like properly massaging Jimin’s scalp, and sweet baby Jesus, it feels good. The pressure is just right and Yoongi’s fingertips move in small circles that pretty much forces Jimin’s tension away from his body, leaving nothing behind to sustain his previous excitement.

 

Just like that, Jimin melts into his chair, a content sigh ghosting past his lips as Yoongi gives him what has got to be a little piece of heaven.

 

He has no idea for how long he’s been sitting there - could’ve easily been an hour - when Yoongi asks something, his voice a perfect addition to the literal paradise Jimin is currently experiencing. “I was gonna ask earlier,” the hairdresser dawdles smoothly, “I noticed you have a lot of holes in your ears, but no piercings.”

 

“Mmmmmh, yeah,” Jimin sighs, his voice the vocal version of putty as he tries to gather his thoughts for long enough to answer the question. “I figured… figured they’d only get in the way, so… so I took ‘em out before comin’ here.”

 

At first, the only response he gets is a hum. The sound is followed by a chuckle, and then Jimin feels Yoongi’s fingers trace the shell of his ear, the touch soft but firm. “I’m torn,” the hairdresser muses, his voice as languid as his movements, “between being impressed at your train of thought, and sad about the fact that I don’t get to see what you look like all decked out in your jewellery.”

 

Then he thumbs over Jimin’s earlobe with a bit of pressure, and Jimin, who was about to say something stupid, chokes on his words and instead lets out a very quiet, but very real, moan.

 

Oh.

 

Oh my god.

 

Never in all his life has Jimin wished the ground could swallow him this much. He’s not just embarrassed, he’s mortified, his cheeks flushing beet red with self-loathing, his eyes widening in terror. He wants to just die, right there, on the spot, so that he doesn’t have to face the horrible, terrible, unbearable consequences of what he just did. I’m sorry, he ventures, only to realize he didn’t say it out loud. Or maybe he did, but his voice is so high-pitched, only dogs can hear him.

 

Oh my god, is this what a heart attack feels like?

 

“Jimin.”

 

No, nope, no no no no no, don’t say it, don’t bring it up, please, I’m gonna die if you say something right now--

 

“Jiminie, can you please calm down and just breathe?”

 

Would YOU be able to?! his brain screams. He hadn’t even realized he’d held his breath, but it made perfect sense that he had, since he wants to die, anyway. Still, Yoongi’s there and Yoongi said something, so he has to reply somehow, unless Jimin wants to make this worse than it already is. So he parts his lips and lets out a shaky exhale, screwing his eyes shut. “I-I’m sorry,” he whispers, his voice like a whistle. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, to do that, oh god, please, I’m so sorry, I--”

 

“Park Jimin, calm down.” Yoongi’s hands shift so he’s cradling Jimin’s head and he leans forward so he can get a proper look of Jimin’s face. “Look at me,” he says, but Jimin shakes his head; he’s never opening his eyes again. “Really, you’re not gonna look at me?” Jimin shakes his head again and the hairdresser sighs, and it’s like a punch in the gut to Jimin, and not the good kind this time. Oh god, I ruined everything, I just fucked it all up, good job, good fucking job, Park Jim--

 

“Alright, but it feels weird to say that that was the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard when you’re in the middle of having a panic attack.”

 

He.

 

Did.

 

Not.

 

Just.

 

Say.

 

That.

 

Jimin jerks upright so quickly it makes his head spin, his wet hair smacking against his forehead from the momentum of it. “Whoa, what--” Jimin turns in his seat and stares at Yoongi, who promptly shuts up halfway through his startled question, and then they just stare at each other for several seconds, excruciatingly long seconds. Jimin has no idea what to do, what to say, what to think; his head is filled with a buzzing white noise, and his heart is stewing in his chest.

 

It’s Yoongi who breaks the silence, and he does it by crossing his arms over his chest, inclining his head in a curious manner, and saying, “That’s right, I said it. Now can you calm your ass down and let me finish washing your hair?”

 

He’s embarrassed, too, Jimin realizes. Of course he is, who wouldn’t be after saying that? Yoongi’s shoulders are tense and his jaw is clenched, as if he’s chewing on his words, and somehow, it helps Jimin calm down. “O-okay,” he manages to say, awkwardly looking away and turning back around in his seat, carefully returning to his previous position and leaning back.

 

Yoongi’s hands come up to cradle his head before he can lower it all the way back, his touch much gentler than before. He helps Jimin get comfortable, rubbing small circles into his scalp to get him to relax again. “Is this okay?” the hairdresser asks quietly, so quietly Jimin barely catches it over the sound of the running shower.

 

Slowly, Jimin takes a deep breath and raises his eyes to meet Yoongi’s, and the concern he finds there makes him smile, a small curl of the lips. “Yeah,” he says softly, leaning into Yoongi’s touch. “Yeah, it’s okay.” The hairdresser nods, the ghost of a smile trailing over his lips as he reaches for the shower and tells Jimin he can close his eyes again.

 

The rest of the washing passes in silence, though it’s not an awkward one. Yoongi rinses one his hair one more time before closing the shower and reaching for a towel, gently running it through Jimin’s locks, rubbing along the base of his hair at his neck and behind his ears. “There we go,” he says when he’s done, brushing a stray strand away from Jimin’s brow before motioning for Jimin to get up.

 

He’s about to say something else, but Jimin suddenly remembers his previous excitement, so he jumps out of the chair and runs over to the nearest mirror before the hairdresser can speak. He skids to a halt and stares at himself, and wow, his hair is actually pink, a soft, light kind of pink, the color of bubblegum ice cream and cotton candy.

 

Jimin giggles, a sound that escalates into a breathless laughter, and he turns around and beams at Yoongi, smiling so wide his cheeks ache. “I love it, Yoongi-hyung,” he says brightly and turns back to the mirror for another look, thus missing the hairdresser’s awestruck expression. “It looks amazing!”

 

Yoongi’s smiling when he steps up next to Jimin and observes his handiwork through the mirror, and Jimin feels that already familiar flutter in his chest; Yoongi’s smile is wide enough to show off his pink gums, and Jimin has never seen anything cuter in all his life. “I’m glad you like it, Jiminie,” the hairdresser says softly, placing a hand on Jimin’s shoulder. “Now it’s just the cutting left, and then you’ll be all set.”

 

Jimin nods and all but skips over to his barber’s chair, plopping down into it with an excited sound. Yoongi chuckles as he walks up behind the chair, reaching over for his comb and a sleek pair of scissors. “You ready?” he asks, mirroring Jimin’s grin and speaking as if they’re about to board a roller coaster.

 

“Ready,” Jimin says with a nod full of over-exaggerated determination.

 

This part passes in complete silence; Jimin’s so awestruck watching Yoongi work, he can’t think of anything to say, and even if he did, he wouldn’t want to disrupt the hairdresser’s concentration. He looks so focused, his full attention on Jimin’s hair as he separates the locks and cuts them at the edges, his movements deft and precise. Jimin makes it his job to be as good a customer as he can, moving his head along with Yoongi’s silent requests, complying every time he feels the slightest nudge from the hairdresser’s hands.

 

That task becomes increasingly difficult every time Yoongi moves up close to his side to reach around his head and cut the hairs there. Focus, Park Jimin, Jimin tells himself, tearing his attention away from how close the hairdresser’s chest is. He observes himself in the mirror instead and tries his best to use his willpower to get rid of the blush on his cheeks. He’s almost successful, too, but then Yoongi raises his voice and absentmindedly says, “You keep blushing like that and your cheeks are gonna permanently match your hair by the end of the day, Jiminie.”

 

How on earth the hairdresser was able to notice while being so concentrated on his work was beyond what Jimin could understand.

 

Another half hour passes before Yoongi finally sets down his scissors, running his hands through Jimin’s hair, checking the length on both sides and in the neck. “I’d say we’re just about done,” he says, smiling when he sees Jimin’s excited grin in the mirror. “Just a few finishing touches.” He reaches for his blow dryer and a bottle of a crystal clear liquid. “Diamond polish,” he says when he notices Jimin’s curious look. “It’s to protect your hair from the heat.” He sprays it a few times on various spots of Jimin’s head, and Jimin hums as he registers it smells like rain.

 

Yoongi takes his time blow drying Jimin’s hair, using a brush to meticulously dry one segment at the time, and Jimin closes his eyes and enjoys it, the soft warmth of the dryer and the way Yoongi so gently works his hair.

 

When the hairdresser turns off the blow dryer and sets it aside, Jimin suddenly feels nervous, because this means their time is almost up. Ask him! he yells internally. Open your mouth and ask him on a date! He tries, he really does, but the words stack in his throat and he’s left to just sit there while Yoongi plays with his hair, testing a few different styles, each one more distracting than the other, because damn, the hairdresser had done an insanely good job.

 

Finally, Yoongi nods, satisfied, and Jimin suppresses a shiver when his hands go to Jimin’s neck to loosen the gown, but he can’t quite stop his muscles from jumping when the hairdresser plucks a stray hair from the nape of his neck. Please don’t notice that, Jimin thinks, but one look at Yoongi’s face tells him he definitely noticed, lips curled into a smirk. “So,” Yoongi says, and Jimin holds his breath, “do you like it?”

 

Like it? Jimin lets out a giggle and turns around in his seat so he can look at the hairdresser directly. “I love it,” he says, feeling borderline giddy. “Seriously, I don’t think my hair’s ever looked this good, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

Yoongi smiles in that way that shows his gums, and it really is so cute it hurts. “That’s good, Jiminie,” he says, chuckling, and there’s a few seconds of silence between them, a few seconds that would be perfect to ask the question that’s burning in the back of Jimin’s head, but he takes too long in working up his courage; Yoongi clears his throat and takes a step back, glancing towards the counter. “I’ll put this away,” he says. “You can go get your jacket from Jin.”

 

He turns and walks away before Jimin has the chance to say anything at all. Get your shit together, Park Jimin, he tells himself sternly, curling his hands into fists against the backrest of the chair for a moment before he stands up, grabs his bag and walks over to the counter. It’s do or die!

 

Jin looks up from his computer and emits a delighted sound, hopping to his feet and leaning over the counter to get a better look. “Wahhh, look at you, you look amazing!” he chirps, reaching over to lightly touch a few strands. “Our Yoongi really has an eye for this stuff, pink really suits you!”

 

“Thanks,” Jimin says, unable to fight off the smile. “Um, where can I get my jacket?”

 

“Oh, of course.” Jin leans back and walks around the counter. “Just you wait here, I’ll go get it.”

 

He walks off before Jimin can protest, disappearing into a little side room, singing to himself as he moves. Again, Jimin finds himself amazed by the service; he could’ve gotten his own jacket. He should’ve gotten his own jacket, after how well he’d been treated here. It would’ve only been right.

 

He’s halfway through those thoughts when he catches movement from the corner of his eyes and turns to watch Yoongi walk towards him, his nerves instantly tensing. Okay, you can do it, you can, just ask him! He takes a deep breath and parts his lips, but all he gets to say is, “Yoongi-hyung,” before the hairdresser interrupts him.

 

“You forgot this,” he says and holds up the choker, and Jimin’s hand instinctively goes to his bare neck, eyes widening in realization. He holds out his hand, but Yoongi snorts and motions for him to turn around, and Jimin does, dying a little on the inside, in the best, sweetest way possible.

 

Yoongi’s fingers lightly brush against his collarbones as he lines up the choker, and Jimin can feel his breath against his neck. Mkay, okay, yeah, I think we’re dating already, he thinks numbly.

 

“It’s not too tight, is it?” Yoongi asks quietly when he’s fastened the clasp, his voice impossibly close to Jimin’s ear, and Jimin has to take a deep breath before trusting himself to speak.

 

“N-no, it’s perfect,” he says and cautiously turns around again, his breath hitching when Yoongi doesn’t back away. “Thank you.”

 

The hairdresser nods and holy fuck, take me now, his eyes drop to Jimin’s lips for two entire seconds, humming a soft “Mhm,” before his gaze meets Jimin’s again, and Jimin wants to, holy shit he wants to lean in and close those remaining ten centimeters, yup, he wants to do it and he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna go for it, really, he’s gonna--

 

“I found your jacket, Jimi-- oh.” Jimin jumps back with a startled yelp and turns to face Jin, and he can hear Yoongi curse under his breath. “I apologize,” Jin says slowly, gaze traveling in between the two. “Did I interrupt something?”

 

No,” Jimin says urgently, his voice high-pitched once more as he tries his best to ignore Yoongi’s muttered yes next to him. “Ah, tha-thank you, Jin-ssi, f-for the jacket.” He grabs the coat from Jin’s hands and hurriedly puts it on, feeling like he just wants to turn on the heel and escape from the salon as quickly as he can. “Uh, um, I, how much was this?” he asks, digging for his wallet. “The haircut and the coloring--”

 

“Put that away,” Yoongi snorts and lightly pats the back of Jimin’s hand, the one that’s clutching his wallet. “You’re not paying. I did this as a favor to Taehyung, and thank god for that, because otherwise I’d owe him big time now.”

 

From the corner of his eyes, Jimin can see Hoseok sneaking up next to Jin, but he can’t bring himself to point it out, too busy clinging to Yoongi’s words. “What do you mean?” he asks nervously.

 

“I mean he’d demand a lifetime of favors from me for introducing me to someone I really want to date.”

 

And wow, Jimin didn’t think his blush could get any more severe, but boy was he wrong. He can feel his blood burning in his cheeks and he has to fist the hem of his shirt just to have something, anything to hold on to, because he feels like he could pass out otherwise. “A-are you,” he stutters, his voice unbearably meek. “Are you asking me out?”

 

Praise the lord for Min Yoongi, for he’s the best thing to ever walk this earth.

 

Yoongi doesn’t miss a beat. “Yeah, I am,” he says almost casually, but he leans a bit closer, and even though Jimin’s busy staring holes into the floor, he knows Yoongi’s smiling. “I think we’ve flirted so much during these past two hours that it’d be criminal for me not to.” Jimin exhales shakily, and Yoongi chuckles, the sound deep and throaty. “And I would’ve done a better job of asking you to dinner, but there’s two idiots behind the counter that won’t stop staring at us, so…”

 

The statement elicits a nervous giggle from Jimin. “O-okay, um,” he says quietly, shyly biting his lower lip before raising his eyes to meet Yoongi’s. “Yeah, yes, yes, I’d more than love to have dinner with you, Yoongi-hyung.” He’s not even sure how he’s still alive. “Tonight?”

 

There’s that smile again, and Jimin doesn’t know what to do with himself. “Tonight,” Yoongi agrees, and then very casually adds, “And then we can watch TV and you can decide if I’m as good of a cuddler as Taehyung.”

 

“Oh my god.” Jimin brings his hands up to hide his face, positive his skin is about to erupt into flames. He listens to Yoongi’s bright chuckle and takes a deep breath, though he doesn’t quite dare to look the hairdresser in the eyes as he lowers his hands again and mumbles, “T-that sounds good, too.”

 

“Good. Oh, here…” Yoongi reaches around himself and pulls a card out of his back pocket, nonchalantly flipping it over in his hand before handing it to Jimin. “My number’s on that,” he says.

 

At this point, it’s apparently too much to bear for their spectators, because just as Jimin takes the card, there’s a loud groan from somewhere behind them. “Oh my god, that was so tacky, Yoongi!” Hoseok says loudly, completely ignoring Jin, who’s frantically shushing him.

 

Yoongi turns around before Jimin even has the time to sputter something incoherent. “I swear to god I’m gonna fire your ass if you don’t shut the fuck up, Hoseok!” the hairdresser almost yells, paying no heed to the other customer in the salon, Hoseok’s customer, who flinches in surprise in her seat at the back of the store.

 

Jimin should feel even more embarrassed, but he notices the slight tinge of red on the shell of Yoongi’s ears, and it’s just all too adorable. He reaches out and places a hand against Yoongi’s arm to get his attention. “Yoongi-hyung,” he says, smiling when the hairdresser turns back to him, the frown instantly melting off his face. For me. The thought makes him feel lightheaded. “I’ll call you later and we can decide when and where to meet.”

 

Yoongi nods, the soft smile back on his lips. “Cool,” he mumbles and raises a hand to brush a few stray strands away from Jimin’s brow, looking at Jimin with what he can now identify as affection, and lots of it. “Looking forward to it.”

 

There’s a lump in Jimin’s throat now, making it even harder to find his voice. “Ye-yeah,” he whispers, his hand still on Yoongi’s arm. He hesitates, taking only a second to make up his mind, and then he leans forward and presses his lips against Yoongi’s cheek. “Me too.”

 

With that, Jimin turns on the heel and all but runs out of the salon, taking off before Yoongi has the time to react, Hoseok and Jin’s cheers chasing him on his way out. He emits a giddy squeal once he’s safe outside and comes to a momentary halt to turn around and look at Yoongi through the glass storefront, a giggle bubbling past his lips at the sight of the hairdresser; Yoongi’s frozen to the spot, his lips parted and eyes wide as he stares at Jimin, his hand still raised from when he fixed Jimin’s hair.

 

“See you later,” Jimin mouths and waves at him before taking off again, running down the street, his steps featherlight and his heart soaring with joy.

 

-

 

Later that day, Jimin learns that Min Yoongi is definitely cuddle material, so easy to curl up and relax against, especially the way he keeps combing his fingers through Jimin’s hair as they watch Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä; Yoongi won the match of rock, paper, scissors and got to pick the movie.

 

He also learns that Yoongi’s lips are soft and perfect when he kisses Jimin over and over to stop his tears at the saddest part of the movie, first on his cheeks, both of them, and then on his lips, pushing all thoughts of sad movies out of his head and filling it with butterflies instead.


Somewhere in the back of his mind, as he’s drifting off to sleep on the couch, his back against Yoongi’s chest and Yoongi’s arms wrapped around his waist, Jimin realizes that he owes Taehyung a big plate of cookies and a thank you.