The Bangtan Cafe, affectionately shortened to TBC by loyal frequenters and newcomers of the shop alike, was extraordinarily... strange today.
Which was saying something, because there was always an interesting crowd of people here to begin with. It was as if this little shop on the corner of the street was a slice of society in itself, a tiny microcosm of the world, bringing together students of all ages and tired nine-to-five employees and bored housewives and retired folks with too much time on their hands.
From the moment the cafe opened to the second it closed, it was bustling and busy and full of life. It was too easy to get lost in the hustle of it all.
On the rare days when business was slow, Yoongi liked to people-watch, quietly eavesdropping on their conversations in the downtime. What did these people normally do outside the walls of this cafe? How could they come here so often and stay for so long? Was it a coffee addiction that brought them here, or did they just really like what he made (hello, ego)? Or both? What were all the rest of their days like?
Sometimes, the chatter was interesting. Sometimes, he wondered how people could lead such dull lives - though he wasn’t exactly in a position to say anything. His own life was hardly all that thrilling.
Barista Min Yoongi by day, DJ Suga by night. Working at a cafe, or in the service industry in general, was a pretty standard way of supporting oneself when passion didn’t pay too well. Not that he minded. The tips were pretty decent at the cafe and he got to do a job he liked to do a job he loved.
And he was damned good at what he did either way.
He had ample curiosity on top of his innate ability to read people. It didn’t really matter if it was coffee or music - he knew what people liked and he gave it to them. Did that person really want a macchiato or were they looking for an upside-down latte that they were so used to thinking was a macchiato because Starbucks went and fucked up the definition? Would the regular customer go for their usual or something new today? Same with music. Was the crowd feeling an upbeat club vibe or a slow jam? Did the person really just request Skrillex or did they just want that one song Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites for one nostalgic moment?
Most of the time he was spot on. He had a talent for understanding facial expressions, the subtleties that would give their true feelings away. A quick quirk of the lips up or down, the rise of an eyebrow, or a flare of the nostrils. Instantaneous revelations of approval or the lack thereof. The few times he was off, he was quick to adjust to cater to their true preference. It was a constant game of analysis and recognizing patterns in human behavior.
Today, though, he had no time to think about things like that, about the flow of life or what the customers were saying or overly introspective reflections. In fact, he’d been making drinks nonstop for the past couple of hours, even well past the usual morning rush. He barely had any time to breathe.
If anything, it seemed more like the reverse today, as if he could feel the critical gaze of others branding his skin, as if he could hear the faint sound of giggles directed at him.
As if people were studying him and not the other way around.
Concentrate, Min Yoongi.
His brows furrowed as he gently poured the steamed milk into the espresso pooling at the bottom of the paper cup, holding the stirring spoon to keep away the foam, slowly moving his hand from side to side, accelerating his pace as he finished off the leaf design with a quick flick of his wrist. He patted away a tiny bead of sweat he felt at his temple with the back of his hand and sighed.
“One medium latte, no foam,” he called out, pushing the takeaway cup to the counter for pickup. He looked around for the person who had ordered for only a moment before locking eyes with a boyish male, who had a big smile on his face.
A newcomer. Most likely new to coffee but not that new, considering the no foam request. Probably liked the taste of coffee but wouldn’t enjoy a straight shot of espresso or a pour-over. Maybe he might like a cold brew with cream. Kind of cute, kind of too young, maybe a freshman or sophomore in college.
“Lids and other things are over there.” Eyes narrowed, Yoongi gestured to the side of the counter that he couldn’t reach. “Enjoy.”
“Thanks! And good luck! Brew got this!” Bunny Teeth said cheerily before grabbing his coffee. Yoongi scowled at the pun, staring at the customer pick up a lid before walking over to a table where there was another man sitting.
“What the hell is going on,” Yoongi muttered under his breath. Said man got up and both of them headed towards the door together. Model Face - this was definitely his first time here, too - turned and waved his fingers at Yoongi suggestively with an obvious wink, thick lips pursed into a cheeky smile.
“See you later, percolator!” Model Face said loudly, voice carrying throughout the shop. His hand moved, forming a y-shape, as he mouthed call me on his way out.
Yoongi stared at him in horror, trying to ignore the laughter he was hearing.
Without a doubt, he’d been that guy who’d slipped Yoongi his number earlier while picking up his order.
“You mocha me crazy! Latte me take you out sometime,” was what that guy had said.
Yoongi cringed. Even Model Face’s unfairly good looks and impressively wide shoulders couldn’t excuse how awful those pickup lines were.
Ugh. Bunny Teeth and Model Face were a match made in heaven. They should just get together, make bad coffee puns all day, and leave him the hell out of it.
“Hey, Yoongi hyung! Next order!” Hoseok handed him a mug on a saucer. “Large cappuccino with one small pump of vanilla for here!”
Yoongi glanced over at the clock. 10AM right on the dot.
Hello, Park Jimin.
Yoongi didn’t even have to see that it was him to know. He nodded, taking the cup absentmindedly and lightly pressing down on the vanilla syrup dispenser when he realized it was a piece of paper, not a napkin, that was fitted snugly below the mug. It peeked out at him onto the little plate below, like it was taunting him. He glared at his dumb best friend.
“Hoseok, what the fuck.”
“Don’t look at me,” Hoseok shrugged innocently. “I’m just passing it on.”
With that, Hoseok turned to the next customer with a brilliantly bright, “Hi! Welcome to TBC! What can I get started for you?”
With a sigh, Yoongi set everything down and pulled the paper out from the ceramic wedge. He blinked, confused. Another phone number. Really. He glanced over at his frequent, creature-of-habit customer, the petite man with a cute, shy smile.
If Yoongi remembered correctly, which he was sure he did, Jimin was a dance instructor at the college nearby. Nine days out of ten, Jimin got an iced Americano to go. Presumably, he had to be careful with what he consumed to maintain his physique. Every other Friday, though, Jimin treated himself to an hour or two of rest at the cafe with his usual barely-vanilla cappuccino. In any case!
What was Jimin doing, giving Yoongi his number?
What was Hoseok doing, passing Jimin’s number to Yoongi?
Forcing himself to move his lips, Yoongi tried to return the smile, hoping that it didn’t come off as a total grimace. He shoved the slip of paper into the pocket of his apron and replaced the paper with a proper napkin. With a note to self that he had to give the paper back to Hoseok at some point, he turned his focus to the cappuccino he had to make and refused to make eye contact with Jimin again, flustered.
Counting Jimin, that was the eighth one today.
Taking a deep breath, Yoongi foamed up the milk with the frother, staring hard at the bubbling white liquid as if it held the key to understanding the situation he was in.
Min Yoongi was simply not the type to get hit on. He knew this for a fact.
It wasn’t like he was un attractive per se, but it was obvious to everyone - should have been obvious, anyway - that the true looker in this cafe was Jung Hoseok.
Hoseok had wavy black hair that framed his face just so, eyes that curved with delight at pretty much everything, high cheekbones, full lips always set in a smile. He was a ray of sunshine in everyone’s morning, full of energy and so effortlessly capable of spreading hope and enthusiasm. Quick-witted, even quicker with his hands, he made a perfect first impression for anyone hoping to buy a cup of coffee, no matter what mood they were in to begin with. Both men and women fell in love with him easily, and Hoseok didn’t discriminate in his flirting either, being the bisexual that he was. He racked up tips like it was nothing, got dates handed to him on a silver platter, and even when things didn’t work out, no one ever had any hard feelings towards him.
And Yoongi? Well, Yoongi was just…
Yoongi was Yoongi.
He made all the drinks perfectly, sure, wouldn’t serve it otherwise, but he rarely had any interaction longer than a second with any of the customers when they came to take their drinks from him. They were always so dazzled by Hoseok that it was like they didn’t even notice him. Which was totally fine, really, because it wasn’t like Yoongi wanted to be the center of that kind of attention anyway. He was a Plain Jane, a wallflower, a very typical Korean man - slender and pale and just average enough to be considered not ugly. Those were the facts, and he was okay with that. It was just the way things were, so much so that he never even felt jealous anymore.
But eight different people had given him their numbers today.
Not only that, it was eight different men .
...Which wasn’t exactly a problem because Yoongi was gay, but he wasn’t like Hoseok, who was totally comfortable with his sexuality. While Yoongi had come out of the closet long ago, it wasn’t as if he had a rainbow sign on his head for the world to see. He was the exact opposite of flaming. People probably assumed he was just another lonely, single, straight man from the way he looked and acted. (He didn’t know what made someone seem straight , but he was definitely a little bit lonely and very single.)
“One large cappuccino with a pump of vanilla,” Yoongi said softly, catching Jimin’s attention. “Happy Friday.”
“Thanks,” Jimin said, blushing. His fingers drummed against the counter nervously. “Also…”
“That...was for you,” Jimin mumbled. “The paper, I mean. So there’s no confusion. It’s for you. But no pressure or anything.”
“Oh. Right. Uh, thanks.” Yoongi wiped his hands on a towel to give himself something, anything , to do. Unable to lift his gaze, he stared down at the cup of coffee he’d just made. There was a moment of awkward silence before he saw Jimin nod as a way of acknowledgment out of his peripherals. He watched Jimin take the mug into his hands, walking away to a table in the corner of the shop until he was completely out of Yoongi’s line of sight.
Is this what Hoseok felt like all the time? Yoongi had never really been hit on, so he wouldn’t know.
But one thing was for sure. He would never have guessed Park Jimin would be into him. This whole time, Yoongi could have sworn the dancer had a thing for Hoseok. Was this all some sort of joke?
Throat suddenly feeling dry, Yoongi grabbed a glass and poured some water for himself, chugging it when-
“Well, hello there! Hi! Welcome back to TBC, Namjoon! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
Yoongi gasped and nearly dropped the cup, choking as the water went down the wrong way. He tried to cough calmly like he wasn’t dying and spun around, facing his back to the customer who had just walked in, slamming his palms down flat against the counter. Luckily the glass didn’t break, only clattering loudly enough to draw even more unwanted attention.
Freaking Kim Namjoon and his perfect dimples and his perfect hair and-
Yoongi’s hands clenched into fists, face feeling hot. He could hear Hoseok’s stupid laughter ringing in the air. He’d kill him later for that.
“Oh, thanks. Yeah, I just finished presenting my dissertation, so...we’ll just have to see if it went okay. Tae said I should treat myself, and I guess I came here.”
And there was that deep voice that Yoongi liked so goddamn much.
He tried not to squirm in discomfort. It seemed like he was never going to get used to the way Namjoon made him feel, stomach churning, heart leaping to his throat, pounding in his ears. Yoongi was too old to be this juvenile about his feelings for someone, but his body wouldn’t listen to him, going completely haywire in Namjoon’s presence.
Hoseok was still chuckling as he asked the-crush-of-Yoongi’s-life, “Well, Taehyung’s totally right and I’m glad you chose to treat yourself here at TBC! What can I get you today?”
“Uh...I’ll take you up on the recommendation...? Also, is he okay?”
“I’m fine,” Yoongi rasped, turning back around and glaring at Hoseok. The brat had definitely done it on purpose, announcing Namjoon’s entrance like that just to fuck with him. Hoseok blinked blithely, fluttering his eyelashes, and Yoongi fought to keep a straight face. “Just dying, that’s all. Thanks for asking.”
Oh god. Namjoon’s smile was blinding. Nothing could have prepared Yoongi for that.
“Hmm...How about a dirty chai latte?” Hoseok suggested, chiming in and shattering the silence that had settled briefly between them, Yoongi having gone totally dumb.
“What makes it dirty?” Namjoon asked innocently.
Hoseok chuckled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“What the fuck, Hoseok, don’t be weird,” Yoongi mumbled, running a hand through his hair. He looked directly at Namjoon and shrugged like he was totally cool, as if he wasn’t having a complete mental breakdown. “It’s a shot of espresso in a normal chai latte.”
“Sounds good. I’ll take one of those then,” Namjoon said serenely, completely unperturbed.
“Of course.” Hoseok snickered and Yoongi fought the urge to smack him on the head. “That’ll be $5.25.”
Hoseok took Namjoon’s ten dollar bill and gave him the change, face lighting up when Namjoon dropped the rest of it into the tip jar.
“Let me grab you a croissant!”
“No, it’s okay-”
“It’s on the house, don’t worry. Good tippers get good service, you know.”
“Yes, of course…”
With an almost imperceptible nod at Hoseok’s return to professionalism (more or less), Yoongi returned to his station that was thankfully away from the cash register and started steaming more milk.
The first time Namjoon had ever come into the cafe, he had asked for a coffee. Yoongi hadn’t been paying much attention to him at the time, merely wondering to himself, Who the fuck orders “just a coffee” at a cafe? What did that even mean? But when he’d glanced up and actually taken a proper look at the man, he’d nearly dumped hot water onto his feet instead of pouring it into the coffee maker.
Kim Namjoon was his type through and through.
Yoongi hadn’t even known he’d had a type until then. Tall, dark, and handsome was a cliche but the description fit like a glove. Namjoon’s dark blondish brown hair was swept up, parted just where it needed to be. His eyes were sharp, hawk-like, but when he smiled he looked so sweet and pure, suddenly years younger. Nose was pert, lips were thick, voice was literal honey. He was perpetually slouching but his body was no joke, all legs and well built. Not to mention, what should have looked like the outfit of a homeless person made him look like a model in haute couture.
The world was truly an unfair place.
From that moment on, Yoongi had slowly learned things about this man as he started becoming an irregular regular, unpredictable in his visits as well as his tastes.
Since Namjoon was fine with literally anything, it seemed, he opted for the recommendation of the day almost every time. His face gave nothing away, always with its small smile as if he was truly fine with every drink Yoongi made, even if he didn’t know what went in it. It threw Yoongi off guard that he couldn’t gauge anything that Namjoon was thinking at all.
What Yoongi did know was that Namjoon was a grad student in psychology, close to finishing his dissertation (which was now complete, apparently), and almost always came in with an over-the-shoulder bag that looked on the verge of tearing, unable to be closed from all the books he shoved in there. He looked unfairly good in glasses that he wore when he was studying, round frames giving him a boyish charm that offset the sharp pair of eyes he had. From the practice presentations Yoongi overheard him run through, Namjoon was hyper-intelligent, eloquent, and unexpectedly spastic in his enthusiasm.
In short, Namjoon was good looking and smart and had a nice body.
Who wouldn’t fall for someone like that?!
“Oh yeah, Yoongi hyung-”
Yoongi fumbled with the pot of milk. Holy shit , Namjoon was close, leaning forward against the counter and watching him work. He tried not to think about the way his name sounded coming out of Namjoon’s lips, tried not to stare at the adorable little dimples-
Damn it, they were cute .
“What’s up?” Yoongi righted the pot of milk and set the espresso in place, watching it drip before turning to grab the pre-brewed chai. He instinctively tried to hide behind his bangs, concentrating unnecessarily hard on pouring the tea.
Don’t look up, don’t look up-
“Here. My number.”
Don’t look up- What?!
“Fuck.” Yoongi dropped the paper cup, spilling the hot tea all over his hand and apron. He stared at the brown liquid pooling on the tiles for what felt like a good minute before lifting his gaze. Namjoon looked sheepish, holding out a napkin.
“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks.” Without thinking, Yoongi took the napkin and wiped his hand off, only to realize that ink was starting to smear on his fingers. He looked up at Namjoon, startled.
“You actually gave me your number…?” Yoongi felt a flush creep up the back of his neck.
“Yeah,” Namjoon’s smile was gentle. “For what it’s worth, I’m gay too. Thank goodness for that sign out there. I wouldn’t have had the courage otherwise.”
“What are you talking about?” Yoongi’s jaw dropped. Gay, too ? How did Namjoon know he was gay?
Wait, Namjoon was gay?
Sign? What sign?
What in fuck’s sake was going on?!
“The sign…?” Namjoon looked confused, starting to nibble on his lower lip. “Like, the sign outside-”
Yoongi stormed out of the cafe, ignoring Namjoon’s bewildered expression out of the corner of his eye, equally ignoring Hoseok’s iterations of “where are you going?” and “wait, I can explain!” to take a look at what it was that Namjoon was supposedly talking about...
Holy fuck. Yoongi’s eyes widened as he felt the heat of mortification spread through his cheeks, all the way up to the tips of his ears.
There was the sign, propped up on the sidewalk, written in what was distinctively Hoseok’s handwriting:
TODAY YOUR BARISTA IS
- Hella fucking gay
- Desperately single
FOR YOUR DRINK TODAY I’D RECOMMEND:
You give me your number ;)
He was going to murder Jung Hoseok.
Yoongi’s whole body bristled, quivering with humiliation. No wonder he’d gotten so many people’s - men’s - numbers today. No wonder Bunny Teeth had wished him good luck. No wonder someone as good looking as Model Face even bothered - he probably thought this was so funny. Park Jimin must have been in this too, pretending like the number was for Yoongi when it was so obviously for Hoseok.
And Kim Namjoon.
This was all a cruel prank. On top of being lonely and single, he was now pathetic as well.
Yoongi opened the door of the cafe quietly, as if his hand wasn’t curled around the door handle so fiercely that his knuckles were turning white, his other hand just as tightly wrapped around the handle of the sign. The other customers continued on with their conversations like nothing had happened, even as Yoongi felt his world tilt on its axis. His whole day today needed to be reevaluated, reexamined. Absolutely nothing had been as it’d seemed.
On autopilot, he hid the sign in the storage room and dragged his feet back to the counter where Hoseok smiled brightly upon seeing him, despite the worry stamped all over his face clear as day.
“Hyung, I can explain-”
“Shut up,” Yoongi hissed, returning to his station to finish making the drink he’d abandoned. He could feel Namjoon looking at him, but he didn’t want to see what was in those eyes. Pity? Humor?
“Yeah, so that was all a big, fat joke,” Yoongi muttered, interrupting Namjoon before he could say anything. Yoongi’s thoughts were all tangled up and he was starting to short circuit. Why the hell were his hands shaking? He didn’t know if he wanted to cry or scream. How was he supposed to face Namjoon now?
He poured out a second cup of chai and mixed milk and espresso in mindlessly, sliding the paper cup on the counter over to Namjoon with his heart in his throat. He coughed, as if he could clear the anxiety balled into a stubborn lump there. “Real funny, huh. Downright hilarious. Hoseok’s a riot.”
“I wasn’t joking, though…”
Yoongi’s fingers stilled against the cup and he stared at Namjoon’s large hand now covering his, warm skin resting gently against Yoongi’s cold and clammy one.
“I wasn’t joking.” Yoongi looked up. Namjoon’s expression was carefully blank. “The sign actually did give me courage. I’ve been meaning to ask you out for months, but...”
“...?” Yoongi stared at him openly now, head tilted, brows furrowed. What?
No. Namjoon hadn’t shown any interest in him, he’d barely talked to Yoongi.
Unless those little smiles Yoongi had seen were actually because of him . Unless Namjoon just liked that he made his drinks, no matter what the drink was.
Unless Namjoon really felt the same way Yoongi felt.
“Months?” Yoongi asked dumbly, finally, unable to school his face. He frowned. Months?
Then, he saw pink starting to dust across Namjoons cheeks and nose before Namjoon started closing the distance between them.
Yoongi closed his eyes for what felt like an eternity before he felt Namjoon’s soft lips press against his. He heard a vague “fucking finally” coming from Hoseok before he leaned into the kiss, pulling Namjoon closer by the collar of his shirt. Namjoon’s lips were so soft, full, tasting faintly of blueberry croissant. Yoongi couldn’t get enough.
What a bizarre day.
He’d thank Hoseok for it later.
So????? How did it go?
Yoongi hyung was soooo mad when he first saw it
Omg I thought he was gonna kill me
But it worked
I think theyre officially dating now??
Theyre still making out haha gross
Thanks for getting Namjoon over here
TaeTae: it was such a good idea lolol