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Payment First (I'd Fail Calculus For You)

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Min Yoongi isn't stupid. No, no matter what his asshat friends tell you, Min Yoongi is not stupid.

It's just that Math is -- well, Math is a pain in the ass. Numbers are fine, and so are graphs, but who the fuck decides that slipping alphabets into math equations is a good idea? Someone with too much time on their hands, Yoongi thinks.

He hadn't meant to fail his last paper. Really, he'd tried. He's tired, okay? He can't seem to bring himself to sleep at night and even if he does, he still wakes up exhausted and feeling like the last of his sanity is slowly seeping out of him. He doesn't mean to fall asleep in every class (and miss whole chapters of the syllabus as he catches up on his sleep).

"What the fuck," he whines, pressing his face into his palms and exhaling loudly through his nose. Someone shushes him from behind, but he only ignores it and peers at his friends through his fingers, trying his best to convey all forms of desperateness through his eyes. "Why is this wrong?"

Hoseok, lifting his gaze from his biology textbook with (only slightly) sympathetic eyes, sighs a little. "You know I can't do Maths for shit, hyung." (Well -- that isn't a lie, really, but at least he's passing, right?)

Namjoon, tall back hunched over as he scribbles furiously in his playbook, fingers tapping subconsciously to the song blasting at full volume in his earpieces, ignores him. (Yoongi is sure he'd avoided his gaze, the little shit.)

It's the fourth time he's tried this question. He has the answer sheet slid between the layers of homework on the library desk, but he just doesn't get it, just can't make the numbers on the paper cooperate right.

God, this is terrible.

Yoongi isn't the most studious student out there -- that is obvious, judging from his mediocre grades and his tendency to slip up on assignment deadlines. But he isn't completely uncaring either, y'know? He tries when he wants to. But this -- this, is pure torture.

He can't fail this term. He can't, because his professor's already given him warnings time and again, and he's sure that it's only soon that the school makes him drop his music production elective. (Music, Music is one of the only good things in his life right now -- it's quite possibly the last thing keeping him sane and he'd be damned if he lost that.)

They're trudging out of the library an hour later, Yoongi tossing his emptied coffee cup in the trashcan outside the library. It soars in a perfect arch, and he imagines it a basketball, falling neatly into the rings of its hoop.

He sighs.

"Maybe you should just ask someone, Yoon," Namjoon speaks up, earpieces now ripped out and hanging from his palm as they walk. "You know. A tutor, or something."

"I don't have that kind of money," the mint-haired elder mumbles.

"Ask a friend, then," Hoseok chips in, red-soaked hair bouncing as he walks ahead of them, turning around to walk backwards and subsequently almost bumping into someone. "Surely not everyone in your class sucks at calculus."

Yoongi shoots him a glare at that, but Hoseok, the bastard, barely flinches.

Namjoon, however, hums by his side, arms clutching a stack of books to his chest.

"What about Jimin? Park Jimin. You guys are friends, right? You could ask him for help."

God.

Park fucking Jimin. A junior by two years but smarter by at least five, valedictorian-in-the-making and the prettiest person to walk the halls.

Okay, perhaps the last one is just Yoongi's biased opinion. But aside from that fact, Yoongi realizes that yeah, Namjoon is right.

They used to be close, Yoongi muses now. Closer, at least. They'd met on Jimin's first day of highschool, when he'd found Jimin wandering the school with what seemed like a permanent frown etched on his pretty, pretty face. He'd helped him get to class just minutes before the first bell rang -- he'd been late for his own, but he'd decided, sitting in his first English class of the year, head in his hands, that it had been worth it.

Jimin was -- well, Yoongi doesn't really know. His hair had been black back then, too long and falling over his eyes. His cheeks rose when he smiled and it tasted of cream cheese, sweetened, when he threw his head back and laughed. The younger would drop by his table during lunch, pestering him with questions about music and his writing, and Yoongi let him, because he was a fool for beauty and perhaps, he'd just so happened to find it in Park Jimin.

It's been a year and a half. Yoongi has those warm, saturated feelings pushed down to the bottom of his stomach, tied down with flimsy rope that he tries to ignore.

Back to the point. (God, Namjoon's right. Yoongi has been becoming soft.) Yoongi is going to fail calculus. Except he can't. And he has a social circle with a radius of three centimetres -- maximum. This, this might be his only choice left.

"God," he mumbles, rubbing a hand over his face. "I don't get enough fucking sleep for this."

-

He manages to catch Jimin two days later. In a cafe down the street from their school is where he finds him, perched on a barstool, vermilion hair falling into his eyes as he fills in a linguistics assignment.

"Hyung," he greets him, eyebrows raising in surprise. (Yoongi thinks about pressing them down with his fingers, wonders if the apples of his cheeks are as soft as they look.)

"Hey," he huffs, sliding himself into the seat next to him. Jimin lets him, shifting a little to offer him more space. Their shoulders bump, and Yoongi wonders how he's been.

"I'm guessing you want something, now that you're here."

Yoongi frowns. "Can't I sit down and talk to my favourite dongsaeng? I can't believe you see me like this."

The red-haired boy gives him a (pretty, pretty) look.

"Okay," he sighs, slumping a little in defeat. "I need a favor."

The corners of Jimin's lips curl in a smile, as he pushes the thin-rimmed glasses up his nose and blinks, signalling for him to continue.

"I'm kind of -- failing Math."

Jimin snorts, and Yoongi shoots him a glare with no real fire.

"Look, it's really important, okay? If I don't pass this term again, they'll make me give up music production. Mr Kim hates me, I know he will. Please, just help me out this once, Jiminie."

The younger sighs. (Yoongi doesn't know if it's because of his near-begging or the nickname he hasn't used in too long a time.)

"And what makes you think I can do Math your grade?"

"You've been doing calculus since you were fourteen," Yoongi argues, wanting to reach out and flick Jimin on the forehead but deciding against it.

It's silent for a moment, as the doorbell of the cafe rings with every customer stepping in, and Jimin sips quietly on his frappuccino.

"Okay," the red-haired boy agrees, finally, something sweet twisting the edge of his lips. "But -- I charge for my services, you know."

Yoongi doesn't flush at the suggestion of his words. No, he's not blushing. It's just the lighting, shut up.

"I don't have mone-"

"I'm not asking for money, dummy," Jimin says with a snort, reaching up to brush his crayon hair back. There's a twinkle in his eyes when they meet Yoongi's, and the elder feels pink creep up his neck.

"One compliment per half hour," Jimin says finally, resting his cheek in one palm, propped up on the table. Yoongi looks at him, a little incredulously, breath falling from his lips in a scoff.

"You're joking."

"I'm not," Jimin says plainly, the little shit. The corners of his eyes crinkle with his grin, that of a warrior who's got victory in the bag. "I'm a simple man, Yoongi."

Yoongi doesn't bother to correct him on his use of hyung.

Fuck, he's really fucking desperate.

"Okay," he grumbles. Jimin's face lights up, and he wishes it hadn't.

"2 pm tomorrow, in the library," he grins. (It's beautiful.) "Don't be late."

Yoongi sighs.

-

Yoongi had dressed up for this.

He's sitting in a corner, hunched over his phone as he scrolls back and forth and stares at a spot on the screen. He's ten minutes early -- perhaps, he's a little grateful for that, because he now gets the chance to freak out a little in peace while waiting for Jimin to show up.

He hasn't worn these jeans out in forever. (He doesn't leave his house a lot, as you can tell.) His hoodie drapes itself over his head of mint-tinted hair and he scratches at his ear a little, huffing as he glares down at the goddamned calculus textbook set out in front of him.

They haven't hung out in a while.

Jimin comes rushing in ten minutes past two. His hair lies tangled, red against his forehead, face flushed a similar crimson. It comes seeping back, flimsy ropes unwinding themselves from his gut.

"You told me not to be late," Yoongi says plainly, as he collapses into the chair next to him, setting his books down on the table with a thump.

"I'm sorry," Jimin says, eyebrows knitted as he fumbles in his bag for stationery. "The bus got held up by traffic."

It's silent for a while after, as Jimin pulls his notes out of his bag and Yoongi watches him dumbly, hood of his sweater falling off his head.

"So," Jimin finally speaks up again, the corner of his lip twitching. "Payment first."

Yoongi sighs. He'd hoped he had been joking. But it seems like Min Yoongi's run out of luck, this time.

"You're really smart," he starts, counting them off his fingers, hoping the flush against his skin isn't visible under the warm lights. "Your red hair looks good on you, and --" he glances at him, feeling like an absolute idiot. "I like your shirt."

Jimin's eyes form a pair of crescents, as he laughs softly and opens his textbook.

"Birthday present," he says with a smile, tugging at the hem of said shirt. "Thank you. Now -- what don't you understand?"

God, Min Yoongi is fucked.

-

This -- whatever this is, continues for a week or two.

Jimin has stopped asking for compliments but Yoongi gives them anyway, every time they meet for study sessions. (He doesn't think he'll ever run out of things to say about Park Jimin.) It's twice a week, 2pm at the library for an hour and a half, until Jimin texts him one afternoon if he wants to come over to his house instead.

Jimin
i have a flu, hyung

Jimin
you know where my house is

(He does, oh, he does.)

He'd only been over a couple of times, when they'd used to hang out more often and Yoongi was falling into a sinkhole of mushy feelings. It looks the same, wooden-floored and warm. He lets himself crack a smile at the baby photos lining the walls, before he patters into Jimin's room.

Really, the younger is a great teacher. He explains things in ways that he's never thought of and yeah, calculus is still shit, but he's got to start somewhere, right?

"You were cute as a baby," he starts, as he throws his bag down somewhere and gets his homework out. "Your bed is really soft, better than mine, and your smile is pretty."

Fuck. He really hadn't thought the last one out.

"Only as a baby?" Jimin asks, plush lips curving upwards as he adjusts the glasses on his nose, and Yoongi wonders if he'd decided to pretend he hadn't heard anything.

"Yah, don't test your luck," he grumbles, as Jimin giggles (quiet, like sunshine) and he feels a settling beneath his ribcage.

They get through practice questions without getting distracted. (It's hard, Jimin is generally a very distracting person.) The younger cheers when he gets them right and the settling turns into a warm, flushed swelling against his lungs.

("You what," Hoseok had said dumbly, staring at him from across the lunch table like he'd grown two heads, or something.)

("He asked for payment," Yoongi argues, shrinking back into his jacket and rubbing his hands over his face, as if to smear the pink from his cheeks away.)

("Do you still--" Namjoon had tried, but with one sharp glance from Yoongi, had faltered off.)

(He didn't want to talk about it, he'd insisted.)

(Now, he thinks, that perhaps he'd but feared that letting the words drip from his tongue would only fuel the embers warming his stomach.)

Jimin is so -- goddamn distracting.

His hair burns a bright red, vermilion under the sunlight flooding the room from the windows. He's so -- gorgeous, so beautiful in that stupid, ratty T-shirt he'd owned since he was fifteen, glasses balanced on his nose, mumbling something about polynominals beneath his breath.

It's stupid. Yoongi thinks he can't breathe, sometimes.

-

They get a test two weeks later, and Yoongi passes.

He passes, and he's texting Jimin under the table with the biggest, dumbest fucking grin on his face. He almost gets caught but he can barely bring himself to care.

"Your mom is nice."

"You make good jokes -- sometimes."

"You're good at teaching."

"You -- you have a nice laugh."

"I like your shoes."

"Half of those don't even count as compliments, hyung," Jimin had whined the other afternoon, a faux frown wrinkling his eyebrows. (Yoongi had wanted to kiss it away.)

"You don't need more to fuel your ego," the mint-haired elder had shot back with a huff, bent over his math homework, halfway through a set of equations. "Anyway, it's true. Your shoes are nice."

"Got them at Walmart," Jimin replies sullenly.

He can't help it. It bursts out of him with a snort, dissolving into something more like laughter as he takes in Jimin's pout and laced shoes.

The younger cracks a smile, soft at the edges. (Yoongi's too busy doubling over in his chair to see it.)

-

"I missed you," Jimin says one afternoon. Yoongi's legs are thrown over his lap, back pressed against the wall. (He'd started managing to finish his homework on his own, some time back.)

He looks up. Pushes mint strands out of his face and blinks at Jimin's soft, brown eyes, feeling warmth creep up his neck. "Oh," he says dumbly, because Min Yoongi is a fucking idiot when it comes to Park Jimin.

"Yeah," the vermilion-haired boy agrees, mumbling as he shifts in his spot on the bed. "I know you were -- busy, or whatever. I don't know," he shrugs, staring at a wrinkle in the bedsheets with an embarrassed lift of his lips. "Sorry. I don't know why I brought that up."

"No, no," Yoongi's tongue darts out to wet his lips. "I -- I missed you too." A bout of silence whispers in through the curtains. Jimin lifts his head, something tender in the flickering of his eyes. "Sorry I was -- distant. You have a lot of friends, y'know. Tough competition."

Jimin scoffs. There's a small grin on his lips, ducking away a little as Yoongi elbows him indignantly. "You would too, if you weren't such a recluse, hyung."

"Yah," Yoongi grumbles. "Don't make me take it back."

"You wouldn't," Jimin sighs. The smile on his face is playful, soft. He's right, Yoongi knows.

The strings tangle around his lungs.

-

Yoongi doesn't know how it happens. Again, his mind supplies helpfully, because Min Yoongi is stupid. (Forget what he'd said before. He admits it now.)

He's staring at Jimin again, eyes tracing the gentle slope of his nose and the sharper outline of his jaw, wondering if his hair is as soft as it looks. Their arms bump as they work in silence and then, then Jimin glances up to see him staring.

His lips lift into a smile, crescent-eyed and warm. It hits Yoongi like cold water, a wave he'd seen coming but had tried to ignore.

God, he thinks, as he stares up at the ceiling and watches the shadows move in the dark. His hair plasters itself to his forehead, sheets thrown over himself haphazardly. God, I like him so much.

Min Yoongi really has the worst fucking luck.

They go out for lunch now. Usually, it's Jimin dragging him out, complaining about having been hungry for the past hour and insisting to take a break from studying for McDonalds'.

"You're doing better than I'd thought," Jimin admits, as they slide into a booth in the corner and Yoongi unwraps his burger with a sigh. "I told you Math wasn't that bad, hyung."

"It still sucks," the mint-haired elder mumbles. Jimin cracks a smile.

"You're okay," he hums. "You're doing really well, y'know. You won't even need me anymore, soon."

(It's ridiculous. Jimin bites into his burger, cheeks rising as he chews, and Yoongi thinks he might.)

Midterms are coming up in mere weeks. He still can't help but be nervous. (Perhaps, he worries more about what comes after, if he proves to do well.)

"Don't let me down, hyung," Jimin says, head half-buried in his pillow as he fiddles with his phone. He raises his head a little to look at him, smile wide and sweet. "I believe in you."

(Yoongi wants to kiss him silly.)

Really, he doesn't know what he'd expected from this. (He'd known from the start, halfway out the library, throwing a paper cup into the trash.)

It still hurts a little, twinges something behind his chest as Jimin yawns and flops his cheek down to rest against his shoulder. He pushes it down, and considers failing Math again.

-

He doesn't fail the exam, whether fortunately or unfortunately. It's a solid seventy-eight, scrawled in red on his script. He exhales and fiddles with his hair.

("Just tell him already, hyung," Hoseok had sighed over a mouthful of noodles. "I don't want to see my best friend pining like a tree anymore, okay? For god's sake, you two are ridiculous.")

(Yoongi had huffed, and buried his face in his hands again.)

It's two-twelve in the afternoon and Yoongi's sat in a cafe this time. The one he'd texted Jimin to meet him, playing with the strings of his hoodie and worrying at his bottom lip.

Jimin rushes in again. Red hair falling over his face, face flushed from running. (Yoongi thinks he looks beautiful.)

"I'm sorry," he repeats, as he settles into the seat opposite him and glances questioningly at the coffee that Yoongi pushes towards him.

He drinks, taking a sip quietly under the chatter of the cafe. Yoongi watches his lips and his hands and a very interesting spot on the table.

"Why'd you call me here, hyung?" Jimin asks finally, as he sets the paper cup down and shifts in his seat, brushing hair back from his face.

"I --" Yoongi falters. His paper lies folded in his bag, set down on the seat next to him. "Payment first."

Jimin's eyebrows knit in slight confusion. He exhales, raising a hand to count off his fingers.

"You're beautiful," comes first. It gets stuck in his throat like saturated honey but he forces them out with a breath anyway. "I passed calculus," he says next, the words knotting in his throat. "I think I'm in love with you, or something," he says.

It comes out all in the wrong order, but Jimin's looking at him now and Yoongi finds that he can't bring himself to care.

"Oh," Jimin breathes.

Yoongi often finds himself forgetting about everything else when Jimin looks at him, soft eyes and softer cheeks, eyelashes flitting against raised cheekbones. The sound of coffee cups clinking fades away, as Jimin blinks and parts plush lips.

"Hyung," he starts. Yoongi can't breathe. (He reaches in his bag and pulls out the paper, a little crumpled from where he's rested his arm on his bag.)

"Look," he says, sliding the paper over the table, keeping the waver out of his throat. "That's a B."

"Hyung," Jimin tries again, something in his voice that makes Yoongi's eyes snap up. He swallows, rushing a hand through his mint hair.

"You don't need to teach this idiot anymore," he continues, lips cracking his face as they lift in what Yoongi isn't sure is a smile or the twisting of his chest. "I --"

"Hyung," Jimin says for the third time. Grabs the hands curled around the paper and tugs at the sleeves of his hoodie. His eyes are soft, features rounded at the edges. "You're right," he exhales shakily, skin warm against Yoongi's palms. "You're the biggest fucking idiot I know."

Yoongi wants to protest. He doesn't, can't, because then tender lips are on his and his lungs are rushing, pooling with air. He doesn't, because then Jimin is kissing him, soft and sweet and god, god.

He can't breathe, but Yoongi hasn't really cared for it in the first place.

"I'm proud of you," Jimin whispers, breath warm against his cheek as he pulls away with reddened cheeks and a soft tug at the corner of his lips.

Yoongi, Yoongi finally gets to kiss him silly.

-

("I'm not an idiot," he'll frown some time later, as Jimin shifts in his lap and presses his nose to his neck.)

("You kind of are," Jimin will mumble against his skin, his vermilion hair as soft as Yoongi had imagined it to be, parting beneath his fingertips. Yoongi will scoff, and Jimin will kiss it away with a laugh.)

(Yoongi will learn, that loving Jimin is less like calculus, and more like breathing.)