when jungkook hears his boss, seokjin, say: “we’re going to have a new promotion!” his body locks the fuck up. like, legitimately - he stiffens, eyes widening in horror. taehyung, beside him, also freezes for a millisecond before he lets out a loud ‘whoop’. meanwhile, jungkook lets the creamer of the iced coffee he’s finished off overspill. he swears and jumps back, shaking his hands off in the sink. it’s for him, anyway.
“what is it this time,” taehyung says, excited, practically jumping up and down in his spot. “pirates? host club? finding dory? can i wear a fish hat?”
seokjin gives taehyung an amused glance. “those are all...very unique premises, but no.”
“no fish hats?” taehyung looks so disappointed jungkook has to pat him on the shoulder.
seokjin’s cafe, one more day, is a cute themed cafe that’s in some unnamed corner of seoul. it’s tucked in between a travel agency and a toast shop, but the toast shop pretty much sucks and is overpriced so everyone comes to one more day instead. it’s near the women’s university - one of the most prestigious ones - and jungkook doesn’t know whether this is a blessing or a curse. on one hand, he gets to make a lot of money because seokjin gets a shitton of revenue; on the other hand, he has to talk to girls and take their order without stuttering or making a grade a idiot out of himself. it’s mostly the reason why he’s been left to making the drinks and packing up food.
seokjin makes most of the treats with the other baker, jimin. sometimes jungkook helps out, but for the last two years he’s mostly been relegated to drinks. taehyung is the cashier and that makes up their four-man cafe. it’s not really big, a small hole in the wall place, but it’s quick and easy enough to get good coffee and a tasty snack so they’re fairly popular. at first there wasn’t a place to sit and eat, but then seokjin left three tables on the side and a booth near the window, but that’s about it. the charm of the place, seokjin explained to him, was the fact that it was quick and easy to go - like fast food - but it was homely and cozy enough to not seem impersonal.
that, and...the promotions.
jungkook makes a face as he thinks about the one that they’re forced into right now. seokjin had won a sheep plushie at one of those crane machines at the amusement park when he was out with namjoon, and ever since that One Day (capitalized in jungkook’s mind for emphasis) he’s made them all wear soft, fluffy sweaters made of wool that melts to the touch. but that’s not the bad part - wearing sweaters is fine with jungkook, who has a collection in his closet, and the biting chill of autumn is bright outside so it’s not like he’s sweating?
it’s the sheep hat that he has to wear on his head.
taehyung loves it; he’s even worn it outside of work sometimes, proudly stalking around with it, deeming how cute it and actually getting a couple of compliments for it. that’s because taehyung’s confident enough and handsome enough to pull off something like that - jungkook just looks stupid, and he always stuffs the hat in his bag after his shift ends. it’s one of those cute sheeps, with dots for eyes and pink ears and a round, fluffy shape.
this isn’t even the worst of it. jungkook remembers the first year he was working here and seokjin started the maid month.
he shoves those thoughts to the back of his head and shudders.
each time they change a month, seokjin changes the theme. sometimes it’s something easy, like christmas - wear christmas colors and antlers and bells and lights - or valentines day, where they’re all asked to wear pink (seokjin’s honest to god favorite month) but then sometimes jungkook has to put on stockings and a frilly cap even though no one will see them and why the fuck did college girls like to see guys in maid outfits anyway?
taehyung had told him, “huh, it’s roomy,” before spinning around. he had barked out a delighted laugh and made a red faced jungkook spin with him. the few girls that were in the store at the time had laughed or clapped or took pictures.
thank god that month is over and has not returned. jungkook seriously counts his blessings. his favorite month was hipster month where he got to wear whatever the hell he wanted. taehyung showed up in galaxy shirts every day. his second favorite was flower crown month, where he only had to wear a plastic ring of flowers on his head and his sweats.
of course, after the themed months, seokjin also has a lot of cheap sales and deals; they all change from time to time, ranging from the expected two for one deals to some things more...erratic. jungkook doesn’t know if seokjin is a business genius or insane.
now, the taller brunette male puts his hand on taehyung’s shoulder and rubs it comfortingly. “we’re still keeping with the sheep thing, it’s only halfway through november,” he reminds them. “but we’re starting a new sale.”
“aw,” taehyung says. “can we have pirates as the next theme, though?”
“no, hyung,” jungkook cuts in, trying to prevent that idea from blooming in the bud. “can we have poor college student month?”
“that’s you every month, though,” taehyung says.
seokjin just pats him on the head like he’s a five year old. jungkook strangely likes it and at the same time, feels kind of condescended.
“this is something new i’ve been wanting to try,” seokjin hums. “basically, starting tomorrow, everything’s price is going to be up to the customer. within reason.”
there’s a moment of quiet between the three of them, and then jimin yells from the back, “don’t try to discourage him, i already failed!”
“hyung,” taehyung starts carefully, “you do know that might decrease...a lot of revenue, right?”
honestly, jungkook wouldn’t be doing half the things he’s doing for this goddamn job if it wasn’t for the money. and the free food. mostly the money.
“stop thinking about quitting,” seokjin thumps jungkook on the back of the head. it actually hurts, and jungkook winces; is he that transparent? “and i think you give our precious customers little faith. trust me on this. jungkook, mind writing this out on the board in front?”
so the next morning jungkook puts on taehyung’s soft gray sweater because all of his are in the wash and, with great hesitation, tugs on the sheep hand on top of his head. taehyung is already in his uniform, wiping down the front tables. at the mouth of the shop where the tiny door jingles with every new customer is a waiting blackboard that says, choose your own price; tell us how much you want to pay, and you pay it! with tinier writing that says, minimum limit is 100 won.
he can buy a pack of kimchi at the convenience store for 100 won, what the actual fuck. seokjin is insane.
by the time the first customers come in for their pre morning class coffee, jungkook has already slinked back toward the hot milk machines and his precious coffee makers. the shelves filled with ground coffee and tea, syrups placed on the side in neat rows, the whipped cream machine sitting innocently next to that. he has fantasies, sometimes, about just eating all the whipped cream by himself. taehyung purposefully makes his drinks 50 percent coffee, 50 percent cream.
he smacks the side of the espresso machine to get it to work - honestly one of his most hated contraptions, it’s so fucking testy - and then leans back against the counter, blinking sleep out of his eyes as taehyung starts writing down names and orders on the cups.
jungkook only reads the orders and sets about making them, pushing his sleeves up in irritation and wishing he could take the dumb hat off his head.
there’s a latte and a regular iced coffee (which...why iced?) that he sets about making, and absently, he can hear taehyung laughing about something with the customers and just being a pleasant person in general. taehyung has always been able to put himself out there and be friendly to people, even if he’s not in an extroverted mood.
at first, jungkook is sure that the new promotion will fail. the first couple of girls that come in all buy their coffee for 100 won, but then - then jungkook notices that when they buy treats, they buy twice the amount. he’s packing up more expensive bakery deals just because the customers think that because they have more money now, they can spend it more. which is. mind boggling. like what.
jungkook packages up a sandwich and changes his opinion of seokjin back to genius.
when it hits the lunch shift, jungkook sees taehyung visibly wilt. seokjin pats them both on the back and mellowly tells them to help themselves. if it weren’t for this cafe, jungkook is sure he would have gone hungry or survived off of ramen at this point.
“i’m going off for lunch, i won’t be back for a while,” seokjin tells them as taehyung and jungkook both lunge for the last tuna sandwich. jungkook ends up getting it, holding it close to his chest with pride. “jimin is in charge of the kitchen; taehyung, you’re not allowed in there. jungkook will tell me if you step a toe out of line, won’t you, jungkook?” the look he sends jungkook is simultaneously terrifying and pleasant. jungkook nods a bit too quickly.
“jungkookie,” taehyung whines, still on the sandwich. jungkook smirks at him and takes a big bite of his sandwich, though that backfires when he has to bite through completely and chew on a huge mouthful.
“bye, hyung!” he says, muffled, and seokjin raises a hand in goodbye. the jingle of the door follows him as he leaves.
taehyung immediately spins around to jungkook. “no,” the younger says, blank faced.
“i don’t want to die early, hyung.”
“then you can go in for me!” taehyung beams, pointing at the kitchen. “i want - “
“jimin-hyung hit me with a whisk last time i was in there,” jungkook mumbles.
that leaves the both of them standing there, jungkook munching away before their lunch break ends, taehyung holding a hand over his growling stomach. they’re put up their “closed for 30 minutes” sign but they’re both still behind the counter. it’s happened where people have come in and had to wait in line while taehyung and jungkook talked about stupid things, not even caring about faces and images in front of customers. where else would they even go? the place was so small jungkook had to get used to the feeling of someone in his personal space for every shift.
“okay then,” taehyung finally sniffs, reaching down to take one of the pastries instead of actual food, “then i’ll just eat this.”
“you’re allergic to walnuts, hyung,” jungkook snatches away the nut-brownies that taehyung’s taken out.
the elder of the two throws up his hands. “fine, i’ll starve.”
jungkook rolls his eyes. “just take something that won’t get you killed, that’s all i’m saying.”
so taehyung grabs something else and despite himself, jungkook breaks off half his sandwich and shares it with the other. taehyung, in turn, breaks half of whatever pastry he’s grabbed along with a cup of juice from one of the cold jugs they have in the fridge. taehyung starts telling him about his classwork and how the end of the semester is pretty much killing him, okay, but he’s only got one more until he can file for graduation and oh god, won’t it all be worth it?
jungkook stays quiet and shrugs, appropriately adding things when he needs to because he’s only in his second year and honestly, he’s not even sure what he’s doing in school anymore other than visual arts and graphic design.
after fifteen minutes of their conversation going on like that and a surprisingly, no customers, taehyung stands up abruptly and says, with a serious face, “that juice did not agree with me,” before running off to the direction of their small bathroom. jungkook is left staring, bewildered, as he hears the click of the bathroom door loudly echoing through the cafe.
he eyes the half finished cup of juice. it’s bright pink. what is that, anyway?
while he’s cleaning up whatever is left and sweeping up the floor of crumbs, the doors jingle open. it’s still a bit before 1pm, the real lunch rush, and he’s still on break so jungkook doesn’t bother looking up that much.
it’s only when a loud voice says, “wow, this place is cute!” that his eyes flicker to the strangers. that certainly wasn’t a woman’s voice.
standing there are two guys, around the same height, one of them with a baseball cap and an aviator jacket looking like the dead, and the other with sweats and a wristband and little else. in this autumn weather.
jungkook looks at the time and sighs; there’s only five minutes left of his break anyway, and taehyung’s not here to bother him. he can handle these guys for a while.
jungkook puts down the “sorry, we’re out!” sign and smiles perfunctorily. “hello, welcome to one more day cafe, what can i get you?”
“what’s up with this 100 won coffee?” sweatpants gets to him first, aviator jacket not having looked up once from his phone since he entered.
“it’s a new promotion, sir, where the customer chooses the price of whatever coffee they want to buy, 100 won being the lowest you can go.” jungkook recites all this from memory, having heard taehyung say it probably forty times in that one morning alone.
“oh, cool,” sweatpants muses, giving jungkook a cursory glance before looking up at the menu. “can i have a medium americano? yo, hyung, you heard what the barista said, right? cheap coffee! apparently this place has good reviews, too. what do you want?”
aviator jacket only grunts while jungkook writes down medium americano on a medium sized cup and sets it aside. waits patiently for aviator jacket to head up. sweatpants pushes him a little and then heads over to look at the pastries in the glass cases.
“excuse me,” jungkook prods for the guy’s attention. when is taehyung going to be back?
the guy raises a card in his hand and says, “yeah, uh - “ before blinking up toward the menu. well, he tries, before his gaze lands on jungkook’s face. and doesn’t leave.
feeling his ears heat up, jungkook offers, “have you heard of our new promotion?”
and then suddenly aviators is pushing his card toward jungkook’s chest, almost like he can’t help himself, before stating: “how much.”
jungkook stares down blankly at the hand that is pushing a credit card toward him. “um, what.”
but aviator only says, “how much,” again, like it’s supposed to mean something.
“sir, the promotion is for the things in the cafe - “
“you’re in the cafe, aren’t you.”
“ - what,” jungkook ends up blurting, and then sweatpants scurries back, laughing nervously, his hand pulling at his friend’s. suddenly the stranger is standing a bit ways away from him and jungkook is pretty sure more than his ears are red now.
“sorry, he hasn’t slept in like, two days,” sweatpants informs him. “he’s a little...well, his mind is not all there.”
“uh,” jungkook says.
then sweatpants gives a wicked smile and pushes his friend toward the direction of the table and chairs; when he turns back to jungkook he says, “just get him a large black coffee, thanks, i’ll pay for it. sorry about him trying to buy you, yoongi-hyung doesn’t know how to act around people he thinks is cute. by the way, are those cookies on sale too?”
jungkook, somehow in the midst of getting a large cup and writing black and then ringing up the total and somehow still managing to package four cookies for jung hoseok, by the name on his credit card, still manages to gape a little at the guy in the aviator jacket practically dead over the table he’s sitting at.
“have a nice day,” jungkook says faintly, when he’s handing over the finished drinks, and jung hoseok beams at him.
“you too, jungkook-ssi!” he replies, before going over to drag his friend by the collar and out of the store. it looks like he’s struggling a little, and at some point, jungkook hears aviator say, “touch me again and i’ll gut you,” but then in a minute they disappear.
this is the time taehyung decides to show himself. he bounds in with his sheep hat and sweater intact and makes the longest, most dramatic sigh, “jungkookie, i got locked in the bathroom!”
next day, the aviator guy comes in without the baseball cap but still with his jacket, showing off dark cropped hair. he looks much more alive and focuses on jungkook right away, even at the back of the line. jungkook is so glad taehyung is manning the register now. he thinks that he’ll get away with not talking to anyone for today, especially not aviator guy who looks really good with dark hair.
then, as he’s making some girl’s tall vanilla latte, he hears a low voice say, “can i get one large black coffee and a date?”
taehyung laughs. “a date?”
“yeah,” the voice continues, “with your friend over there who won’t look at me.”
jungkook accidentally tips over the milk container into the sink. he swears; this is the stuff namjoon does, not him.
taehyung, for his part, sounds like he’s been blessed with a vision of buddha. “you got it, bro,” he says, pleased as punch, before putting an arm around jungkook’s neck and ruffling his hair briefly, “wow, lucky kid!”
“hyung,” jungkook pushes him off easily, frowning when taehyung laughs.
“look at you, you’re turning pink.”
“one black coffee, large! and a date, jungkookie!”
jungkook still doesn’t look at the other when he snatches the empty cup and fills the order. when he gets back to the serving station, he notices that taehyung has written a name on the cup as well, which he usually doesn’t do: min yoongi.
“you know you don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to,” yoongi says, and jungkook takes in his shoulders and shrugging posture and how he won’t look at jungkook now, as if he’s - embarrassed. “and. sorry. about yesterday. i hadn’t slept in a long time.”
“it’s okay,” jungkook says quietly, going to hand him his coffee before he makes a split second decision and takes it back. yoongi gives him a bewildered look; jungkook heads over to taehyung’s register, steals his marker and flicks his hyung when the other gives him a suggestive grin, and writes down his name and number.
without saying anything, he hands over the cup. fiddles with the marker cap.
yoongi looks down and jungkook sees the corner of his mouth quirking. when he brings the cup to his mouth, he lifts up a hand in thanks. jungkook smiles and waves his own hand in goodbye, knowing that he might see this guy later, but then yoongi decides to add on at the end: “cute hat, by the way.”
as soon as he’s gone, jungkook takes the stupid sheep hat off his head. goddammit.