“Coffee,” he spoke stiffly, never meeting the eyes of the boy taking his order. His stare moved from the menu gripped tightly in his hands to the large brown eyes of his date starring back at him. He couldn’t see it, but he knew the waiter was nodding his head, he knew the waiter’s almond shaped eyes bore into his back, he knew the waiter’s plump lips were pulled tightly in an awkward smile. He didn’t need to see because he knew. He didn’t know anything else, but he knew his waiter. He knew his waiter better than he knew himself.
“And what would you like?” he could hear the shuffling of feet as his waiter physically turned himself away from him, facing his date and probably shooting him that blinding smile that turned his eyes into little crescents.
“Iced water, please,” the brunette across from him answered, smiling back before turning his attention back towards the menu.
“Got it!” his waiter said cheerfully, and he managed to make the mistake of glancing at the man standing much too close to him, of looking straight into the chocolate depths of his waiter’s eyes.
“Do you know—”
“—what you want?”
Hoseok’s toes dug deeper into the sand, taking a moment to answer. It wasn’t that he needed to think of what he wanted, but he needed to think of how exactly to phrase it. Of course, he had never been the best with his words, always stammering and stumbling and screaming more so than anything else.
“You.” Simple, straight to the point.
“That’s not what I meant,” the raven haired boy beside him laughed, small hand wrapped comfortably within Hoseok’s. “Do you know what you want in the future? Have you thought about it?”
“Of course I have,” he shrugged. “I mean, I’m starting med school in a week. I hope I have.”
“Yeah,” the boy beside him spoke softly. “Med school, big deal. I’m so proud of you for getting accepted.”
“What about you? What do you want?”
“—sure,” his date spoke for him, them. Good thing, too, because all he could think was how the new honey blonde colour fit him. It fit him too well.
“Alright, well my name’s Jimin. Just call me over when you’re ready,” Jimin said softly, although his eyes never left his.
“Thanks, Jimin,” his date nodded, and Jimin was off to tend to the other customers. “Any idea, Hoseok?”
“No, I have no clue,” Hoseok shrugged, trying to shake the blonde out of his head as he focused back on the menu in front of him.
“Oh, they have—”
“—tiramisu, please,” Jimin smiled brightly at the young waiter, handing him the menu.
“You love dessert,” Hoseok teased the smaller boy, who only stuck out his tongue at him childishly. Hoseok could only smile, studying every bit of Jimin’s face—his button nose that Hoseok couldn’t keep himself from kissing most of the time, his plump cheeks that always seemed to hold a natural rosy hue (possibly because Hoseok pinched them so often), his plump lips that were so soft and warm and welcoming, his everything.
“And you love coffee,” he prompted, raising his eyebrows.
“Black coffee,” Hoseok specified.
“Exactly. It’s nasty.” Jimin’s nose wrinkled at the thought of the dark liquid that always seemed to burn his tongue.
“It’s not,” Hoseok defended himself, pouting slightly as Jimin just shook his head.
“No, it most definitely is. How can you stand it?”
“I just do.”
“I don’t under—”
“—stand why Seokjin thought it was a good idea to throw a damn Christmas party at the hospital,” Hoseok’s date complained.
“Because, unlike you, Yoongi, Seokjin could give a shit less whether we had alcohol or not,” Hoseok rolled his eyes.
“You make it sound like I’m an alcoholic,” Yoongi frowned, sending a glare towards the generally bubbly doctor.
“You make it sound like you’re not,” Hoseok laughed. “Because let’s face it, when was the last time you went a day without at least three cups of beer?”
“Christmas!” Yoongi threw out.
“You had five glasses of wine, Yoongi,” Hoseok’s eyebrows shot up. “I’m not sure how you balance your schedule at the hospital with your drinking.”
“Oh, shut up,” Yoongi grunted out, defeated. “Do you know—”
“—what you want, yet?”
Yet again, Hoseok’s toes were dug deep into the sand. The air stuck to him like a second layer of skin, hot and wet. His fingers ran through his sweat-and-sea-soaked hair, shaking it slightly. Water droplets flung from the strands, a few hitting Jimin’s cheek (which earned Hoseok a playful slap on the arm).
“Nothing reasonable,” was what he murmured in response, cheeks heating up. They were already red from exposure to the sun as he laid there, eyes closed and hand resting lazily on his stomach, not an umbrella anywhere near him to cast the least bit of shade. “Nothing that would make my parents proud to brag about me at family meals. Not like they will anyways.”
“Well, what does that matter? All that matters is that you’re proud of what you do. What do you want?” Hoseok repeated again, hand moving to gently rest atop Jimin’s. He was sitting, looking down at the boy beside him. “For what it counts, I’ll be proud no matter what you do.”
“I want to write,” he mumbled. “I want to write, stories not essays. I want to help people get lost in a world not completely real, even if only for a moment. I want to give people an escape from whatever shitty thing they’re facing.”
“That’s amazing.” Even though the latter couldn’t see, Hoseok’s heart-shaped lips pulled into a large smile. “I wish I could say that I want to do something like that. I’m just doing what my parents want me to.”
“Don’t say that,” Jimin frowned, eyes fluttering open to meet Hoseok’s. Although he was squinting slightly, the determination to make Hoseok see what he saw. “I’ve heard you speak about the future. I’ve heard how excited neuroscience makes you because of the wonders the brain can do. You’ll be saving lives, almost daily. Hasn’t your dream always been to make a difference? You can do that. You are doing that.”
Hoseok was frozen. How passionately Jimin spoke surprised him, although it really shouldn’t have.
“You know, I lo—”
“—ve this place,” Yoongi spoke, muffled by a mouth full of food. Hoseok couldn’t help but laugh, taking a napkin and leaning over to wipe the corner of his mouth. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, Yoongs,” Hoseok smiled before standing, placing the napkin preciously on his lap on the table by his now empty plate. “I’m going to go to the bathroom.” That was all he said to dismiss himself before he walked towards the back. But of course with his luck, he ran straight into Jimin.
“Sorry,” Hoseok mumbled, looking away from Jimin, turning and moving to step away.
“Hey—wait,” Jimin frowned, grasping the elder’s wrist. “Hoseok.”
“Jimin, can we not do this?” Hoseok spoke softly, easily slipping out of Jimin’s grasp.
“Fine,” the blonde murmured, watching as Hoseok walked—
—away. He just walked away . Like it was that easy, and maybe it was.
“We want different things. It’s not working out, Hoseok,” was the last thing Jimin had said before walking away . It was an image burned into Hoseok’s retinas, one that he would never forget. The only explanation was we want different things.
How he spoke with no emotion dug into Hoseok, cutting him deeper than he would ever imagine. There was no physical scar, no red seeping from his veins, not one thing that he could go to the doctor and fix. Just a shattered heart, and a mind that couldn’t sort anything out. Because what had just—
By the time Hoseok had paid and left, by the time Jimin had locked up the cafe eight hours later and fallen into bed, nothing made sense. Ten years. Ten years of avoiding him, and he showed up in the one place Jimin couldn’t run from. He showed up with a man’s hand in his, a man’s eyes staring adoringly at him. A man who wasn’t Jimin.
All he could do was lay in bed, studying the ceiling he knew all too well, and wish that he had picked up the phone all those years ago. Wish that Hoseok would call him again. Wish that maybe one more time he could fix him dark coffee.
But for all he wished, it would never come true. Because compared to Hoseok’s dreams, compared to Hoseok’s future, he was small, minuscule even. Because beside all of the things Hoseok wanted, a writer who couldn’t get a publishing company to even look at the words printed on a single draft was nothing. Because all Jimin could give was his love, and Hoseok deserved more. Much more.