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Coffee Prince

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The royal family has finally visited the great city of Gwangju just in time for the Gwangju Biennale modern art festival. While the younger Prince Taehyung, a known benefactor of arts, has been meeting with the organizers and acting as an unexpected face of this year’s festival, the rest of the royal family, King Daehyun, Queen Jisoo and Crown Prince Seokjin have last been spotted walking around the city and meeting with their grateful subjects, tasting the cuis-

“Just turn that drivel off. Seriously, Hobi, if I have to listen one more time about what the princes had for breakfast, I’m going to choke you.”

Hoseok rolled his eyes, but turned the TV to mute. He did leave it running though, it would be a crime to turn off the heavenly picture that was Prince Seokjin’s face.

Behind him at the counter, Yoongi fumed and banged a latte cup far too hard and Namjoon snickered. Hoseok threw both of them a sour look.

“When are you two leaving again?”

Namjoon shrugged his shoulders from his strategic position at the far-left table of the café. Strategic, because it happened to be the only table out of direct reach and throwing distance from the counter, while still having the full view of the disaster currently happening by the coffee machine. “Yoongi decided he wanted a coffee before we leave. Who am I to rush him, when he’s doing so well.”

The man trying (and mostly failing) to operate the coffee machine threw him a dirty look. “I told you I hate this model. If we got the purple one, like I wanted to, we wouldn’t have had this problem now, would we.” The machine seemed to hear him, as it made a hissing sound and let out stream of hot water only centimetres from Yoongi’s hand. “Ok, fuck this. Somebody make me a coffee. I will just check on the muffins and we can go.”

As Yoongi angrily stomped away from the machine, Namjoon and Hoseok immediately collapsed into a fit of giggles.

“I can hear you!” echoed from the small kitchen, but none of them paid it any mind. Hoseok quickly mounted the counter and started on the task of Yoongi’s coffee. After a few minutes, Namjoon ambled his way and folded his long arms on the counter.

“You know, you could come with us. Yoongi has a date anyway, that way at least I wouldn’t feel like I’m third-wheeling so much. All the other coffee-shops on the street are closed too, everyone’s going to the festival.”

Hoseok shook his head. “Nah, I’m gonna stay here. I’m not really interested in art, especially the modern squiggles. If I’m going to be bored here or there, well… Might as well make some money, right?” He carefully put the lid on the to go cup and grinned at his friend. “Besides. You always enjoy these things best when you’re alone anyway. You always catch some innocent bystander, who doesn’t know when to run, and make a whole excursion out of it.”

Namjoon opened and closed his mouth a few times, but after a minute shrugged in agreement. “I mean… It did happen a few times, so. I can’t really deny that.”

At that point, Yoongi came out of the kitchen and exchanged a plate of fresh chocolate muffins for the cup. “Well, enjoy this, then. At least since nobody’s going to come over, you can have the TV on and dance on the tables. Or whatever you do here, when there’s no customers.”

Hoseok squawked after their retreating backs. “At least I don’t get into imaginary rap battles, like somebody!”

The only answer he got was a raised middle finger and another snort from Namjoon, before the doors closed behind them.

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The guys were right. He should have gone with them. Hoseok groaned and unsticked himself from the glass counter for the fifth time. The café was depressingly empty. The TV was his only saving grace at the beginning, but they played the exact same clip of the princes at least six times an hour. They were both very good-looking (prince Seokjin almost unbelievably so), but Hoseok wasn’t THAT much of a fan. The moment you start to remember the colour of his buttons without trying to(!), you’re officially doomed.

He brought a book with him, but the main character was insufferable and Hoseok had to set it down after only three chapters. He ended up flipping to the end to see if it was worth reading, found the main guy heroically killed his opponent by said opponent accidentally braining himself on a piece of pointy rock while chasing the main guy and decided he didn’t really absolutely need to read the rest of the book. Or the sequels. And, of course the music channel on tv had a ballad-afternoon sequence, so he couldn’t even do the table-dancing he has been accused of. And done exactly once. Well, twice, but the second time barely counted.

Just as he was seriously contemplating closing early and go home to watch some drama or maybe go to the gym, a hurricane came.

The door opened and closed with a bang and rattling of glass, the sign on the door has been flipped from OPEN to CLOSED and two figures dived into the only booth by the wall.

“Eeer… What?” Hoseok voiced his confusion and jumped over the counter to take a look at his too customers.

Just as he got halfway to the two huddled figures on the wall beneath the table, a pack of teenage girls ran screaming past the shop. One of them must have noticed him standing inside shop despite the (now flipped to) closed sign. She stopped by the door, shyly looked at Hoseok and then at the pack continuing their loud journey further down the street, swallowed heavily and knocked on the glass door. She slowly, as if afraid, opened the door and stuck her head between them and the frame, obviously unwilling to risk any other body-part.

“Ehm, sorry, mister, but… You wouldn’t have seen prince Seokjin run by, have you?” The hopeful look on her small young face was almost enough to go soft on her. Almost.

“No.” He answered her with an irritated look on his face. “Is that what you young people like to do now? Chase people who look like celebrities? Give me a break.” He must have looked really scary, because the girl went red, then white and then ran away to catch up to her group with a squeak. Hoseok rolled his eyes and finally went to investigate the two fugitives slowly peeking from the booth.

The one in the front looked barely older then the girls chasing them. He had big round eyes and an expression of a scared bunny. A single big eye and a broad shoulder were the only things visible of the other one, as he was hiding behind the seat of the booth.

“Alright guys. What the fuck. Explain.” Hoseok turned his unimpressed eyes on the pair of them and raised his eyebrows.

The two guys exchanged a glance and started to slow pick themselves up. Only then did Hoseok notice the younger guy was dressed in a black suit and had a black earpiece. The other guy was dressed more normally, but the obviously very expensive shoes, the shirt with the Gucci logo subtly sitting on the lapel and the big clear-stone ring on his hand spoke a very different story. While the suit guy stood back in a standard bodyguard position, the other one raised his head regally and smiled a professional television smile.

“Hello. I’m prince Kim Seokjin. I am forever grateful for your assistance.”

Hoseok looked him up and down and snorted. Yeah right.

“Right. Prince Seokjin. Sure. Pull the other one.”

The guy actually looked affronted. “You don’t believe me?” The bunny bodyguard seemed to be holding back a laugh.

“I mean… Don’t get me wrong. You’re hot. But prince Seokjin level of hot? No way.” He went over to the counter and jumped back behind it.

The guy curled his lips. “That couldn’t be very hygienic.”

Hoseok send him a grin. “Of course, it’s not. You want coffee?”

The “prince” made an affronted noise and turned to the bodyguard as if to seek compassion, but to Hoseok’s amusement was met only with quickly (and badly) hidden cheeky grin.

“Hey! I’m your hyung! Stop making fun of me!”

The bodyguard grinned outright and relaxed his shoulders, suddenly looking young again. “I didn’t say anything, your Majesty.”

The guy hmphed and sat in the highchair by the counter. “Can you please make me a cappuccino? With some really sweet syrup? I need some sugar in my life…”

Hoseok snickered, but started making the coffee. The bodyguard made his way towards them and curiously looked over the “prince’s” shoulder at Hoseok’s practised movements.

“So… What should I call you guys?” Hoseok smiled at them, while passing the cup with his famous coffee to the prince-guy.

The bodyguard smiled. “I’m Jungkook. Hi.” He waved a bit and then turned to the prince-guy. “I’m gonna go call Jimin to send the car over.”

The guy huffed, but Jungkook didn’t look too miffed, as he walked a bit away and started to talk into a futuristic looking phone.

Hoseok blinked a few times and then grinned cheekily. The guy was outright pouting and it actually looked really cute. No grown up guy has the right to look cute when pouting like a small bratty child. Yet this guy managed. Hoseok should maybe feel cheated, but instead he just found it funny. He snickered quietly and started to prepare another coffee for himself.

“Call me Jin.” Finally, the guy – Jin, ok – grunted and took a sip of his cappuccino. Hoseok smirked, as his eyes widened and then closed in pleasure.

“Cool. I’m Hoseok, by the way. Will Jungkook want a coffee too, you think? Since you’re here and all?”

Jin shrugs and turns to the youth still talking and now giggling into the cell phone. As Jungkook sends Jin a look and then collapses into a fit of giggles, Jin turns back to Hoseok with a sour look.

“I think he’s fine.”

Hoseok giggles too. “So, your accent isn’t exactly Gwangju native. What is a Seoul soul like you doing in our humble city?”

Jin sends him a disbelieving look, but then sighs. “The festival, really. My younger brother bothered us, until the whole family came over. At least he seems to really enjoy it…”

Hoseok nodded. “Yeah, my friends like the festival too. I’m not really an arts person, though…”

“Yeah, me neither. I at least wanted to walk around and buy one of those huge melons you’re supposed to have there, but we were spotted too soon. Unfair, this whole thing.”

And again with the cute pout. Hoseok raised his eyebrows. “You get confused for the prince a lot? Poor soul.” He snickers, while Jin sends him another disbelieving look.

“You really don’t believe me, that I’m the prince? That’s not fair, I’m pretty sure I’m older than you! You should respect your elders!” The words might have once again sounded affronted, but the wide smile on Jin’s face told a different story. “Just wait and see, when my limousine comes in, then you will eat your words!”

Hoseok snorted unprettily. “You know what? How about a bet. If you can prove to me, that you’re the prince, you can have this masterpiece of a coffee for free.”

Jin looked interested. Behind them Jungkook ended the call, but after a brief look at the pair by the counter stayed in the booth and continued to mess around on the phone to give them some privacy.

Jin raised his eyebrows. “And if I can’t prove it to you?”

Hoseok licked his lips. “You have to invite me for coffee later.”

Jin let out a loud laugh and started to pat his pockets, until he came up with another futuristic phone. “Better give me your number, then. I might want to invite you for more coffee regardless of the outcome. Or maybe dinner.”

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Hoseok raised his head from polishing some of the silverware, just as Namjoon started opening the door. The slightly dazed look on Namjoon’s face made Hoseok stop and chuckle.

“You okay there, buddy? Where’s Yoongi?”

His friend crossed the shop on unsteady legs and leaned on the freshly wiped still slightly dump counter. “He stayed with his date, I think they’re going to dinner or something…”

Hoseok raised his eyebrows. “Yoongi is actually willingly spending the whole day with them? Amazing…”

Namjoon shrugged, but the dazed look didn’t leave his eyes. Hoseok started to get worried.

“Ok, spill. What happened to you.”

The purple-haired man blinked a few times. “Do you remember, how you made fun of me about finding a guileless victim in the crowd, and making them listen to my rambling about art history the whole time while people, who actually know me, flee away?” Hoseok nodded.

“Well, I did that again.”

“No surprise there.”

“Shut up. This time, I managed to grab the prince.”

Hoseok stared at him for a few seconds in disbelief, before collapsing into giggles.

“Don’t laugh at me, this is serious! The television actually wanted me to make a statement into the camera and I just gaped at them! It was so embarrassing!”

Hoseok wheezed a few times from beneath the counter, before picking himself just enough to reach for the TV remote and turn the sound on. Right on time, Namjoon’s gaping face made an appearance on the screen, his eyes wide and terrified and his skin going from deathly pale to red as a tomato and back to pale again. Next to him, the real Namjoon squawked and tried to reach over the counter to get to the remote. Hoseok snickered and quickly danced away from the field of danger.

After the reporter seemed to lose patience with Namjoon’s gaping face, he played a short sequence of Namjoon walking around the exhibit and talking about the history and cultural significance of the pieces, while prince Taehyung and a small bodyguard with bright pink hair stood a little behind him with amused and fascinated expressions. The real Namjoon finally gave up on the remote, and slumped on the counter in defeat.

Just then, a very familiar face made an appearance on the screen and Hoseok stopped in the middle of a wheez to choke on nothing.

“Prince Seokjin, how has your visit in Gwangju been? You said you would like to see more of the city during this visit?”

A wide smile stretched the beautiful face of the man, who was definitely his guest just an hour prior and Hoseok groaned, which made Namjoon finally raise his head from his slumped position. “I loved the city. I managed to see some of the sights I didn’t expect to before coming here and I immensely enjoyed this visit. I can only hope to return very soon.”

“Oh? Are there still some sights you would like to see?”

“Definitely. I still have to try your famed watermelon, after all. Also, the coffee here is really nice.”

Just then, Hoseok’s phone lit up with an incoming text.

From: Unknow number
I’m going to come again in two weeks. Make time for that dinner you promised me. KSJ

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Outtake:

They met before the dadaistic painting of a flower vase. The tall man has been muttering to himself for some time now, and Taehyung really wanted to know what fascinated him so much. He slowly and carefully crept towards him as to not startle him, until he ended on the man’s right. Jimin behind him smothered a giggle and Taehyung send him a stern look. He will not let his best friend ruin this for him!

He was just about to open his mouth to ask a question smart enough to show he too was an expert but not specific enough to overwhelm to poor man (shut up, it was an artform in and of itself), when the man seemed to sense somebody standing next to him and continued his inner monologue in a slightly louder voice.

“… and see these lines here, the author captured the movement in the wind so well, and the orange colour of the petals is so bright, it’s a shame the lighting isn’t better in here, I’m pretty sure it would almost sparkle…”

As Taehyung listened in fascination to the man’s stream of consciousness about the nature of the paintings, the historical value of the colouring and the artistic value, he saw Jimin snicker out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t mind that terribly, in his opinion, it was an afternoon well spent. Especially the moment his older brother returned and the poor guy seemed to finally realize who he has been lecturing this whole time.

“Somebody is in looove.” Jimin teased him on the car ride back to the hotel. Taehyung just sniffed.

“You give me a structured presentation on possible natural sources of the colour blue and then you can talk.”