The one where Jackson's seducing techniques include meddling friends and bad latte art.
”Shit!” Jackson hissed under his breath, staring forlornly at his finger. It was getting red at the spot that had accidentally touched the hot coffee pot.
He glanced back up at the boy who had just walked in the door, carefully.
Youngji didn't even look his way when she hissed back at him, ”I understand enough English to know that's a swear,” before smiling brightly at the newcomer, face transforming.
Jackson glared briefly, just to make a point. To himself mostly.
”Welcome, how can I help you?” Youngji asked warmly, all traces of the girl who stole Jackson's snacks and called him short gone.
The newcomer, Jackson noted bitterly, was not short. He was also good looking enough that Jackson had lost his concentration and burned his finger the moment he had noticed him.
The newcomer smiled back at Youngji, easy and charming and pretty and Jackson wanted to hit himself.
”Ah, yes, I'm here about the vacant position?” he trailed off questioningly, pointing at the sign on the door.
Youngji perked up even more, if that was possible, ”yes! We need another barista, preferably one who has some experience. Jackson here,” she nodded her head towards him, ”is completely useless.”
Jackson stood there, with his mouth open, clutching his burned finger, while Youngji and the newcomer stared at him. Youngji, with a gleeful and evil glint in her eye, and the newcomer, looking confused.
When he gathered his wits, he worked hard to act offended, ”excuse me! I'm wounded here and you're mocking my skills?”
His voice was absolutely not shrill.
Youngji rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the newcomer who was still looking at Jackson and his expression was even a bit worried. Like he cared whether or not Jackson was actually wounded or if his feelings were hurt by Youngji's comment.
He didn't really hear the rest of the conversation. He pretended he was busy with the coffee cups and thought about the way his cheeks had heated up and how his heart pounded in his chest.
”So,” Youngji smirked at him as she sat down in the chair on the other side of the table where he had been enjoying his break. Jackson looked from his phone to her. The blame was on her if he lost the game of Words With Friends he was playing with Mark.
”So,” he repeated after her. Youngji's smile widened, showing white teeth. Jackson had learned to not trust that smile and it made him uneasy now, like something was crawling up his spine. He narrowed his eyes.
”Kangjoon is going to start working here next week,” she told him like he was supposed to know who this Kangjoon person was.
”Okay?” he said, hesistant, and checked his phone. She kicked him in the shin under the table and flicked her red ponytail.
”You know, Kangjoon, the handsome guy who walked in here last Tuesday and made you burn your finger,” she explained and stole a mini-tomato off his lunch plate.
Jackson's thumbs froze on the screen of his phone. He took a moment to process what Youngji had just said.
”I'm... what?” it came out less eloquent than he had hoped, but it was better than the practical keysmash that was happening in his mind at the moment.
”Yes, and you can show him the ropes, teach him your ways, ask him out, the usual,” she drawled before standing up and leaving him to sit there, bewildered.
He snapped out of it when his phone vibrated in his hand, notifying him that it was his turn in the game.
The rest of the week, Jackson could admit, he was a bit out of it. Not that he was that brilliant at being a barista in the first place, but he truly took it to the next level.
It was like his head was stuck in the clouds, or alternatively, in the sand. He felt sorry for Youngji's parents who had hired him right off the bat, only knowing that he was Youngji's friend.
Bambam, who sometimes stopped by on his way home from school to flirt outrageously with Youngji just because he could and because Youngji indulged him, laughed his head off when Youngji remarked on Jackson's crush on the new guy who would start working at the coffee shop.
”Oh my god, really?” he wheezed, eyes watery from the lack of oxygen. Jackson was torn between defending himself and letting it go. He decided on glaring at the wiping cloth in his hands.
”Yes, really,” Youngji answered for him, the traitor, ”Jackson was practically drooling when he first saw him.”
That set Bambam off again. He was clutching his sides, practically howling and some of the other customers had begun to stare from their tables.
The bell above the door chimed and Jackson looked up. Immediate relief washed over him.
Yugyeom looked from Jackson and Youngji to Bambam and then to the rest of the coffee shop. He offered the patrons an apologetic smile as he walked over and grabbed Bambam by the arm and began to drag him out.
Bambam went willingly enough but laughed the whole way out and Jackson mouthed a thank you to Yugyeom before they both disappeared out of the door again.
It didn't get better. At all.
The day Kangjoon started working, Jackson felt off his game even before getting to work. He hadn't been able to find his favourite snapback, he had lost to Mark in Words With Friends (again) and to top it all off, it had started raining while he was walking to work, the clear blue sky transforming in seconds to cloudy and grey.
And that's how Jackson went to his first official meeting with Kangjoon, soaking wet and grumpy.
Kangjoon was waiting for him in the employee's lounge, if you could call the small room with a sofa, coffee table and a mini fridge that. He was polite and dry and just as good looking as Jackson remembered.
”I'm Seo Kangjoon, I'll be working here starting from today, please take care of me,” he bowed at Jackson, brown hair falling over his eyes.
Jackson felt so out of place in his dripping clothes and irritated expression, but he bowed back anyway.
”I'm Wang Jackson, pleased to meet you,” he said.
When he straightened back up he was startled by how close Kangjoon was now standing. The taller one reached out a hand and touched his shoulder, rooting Jackson in place. He wanted to fidget but barely dared to breathe.
”You're soaked through,” Kangjoon said, forehead creasing in a frown.
Thank you for stating the obvious, Jackson did not say, because he did have manners, no matter how much Youngji claimed otherwise.
”Here,” Kangjoon turned, pulling his hand away from Jackson and started going through his pack. He handed Jackson a t-shirt and loose pants.
Jackson raised his eyebrow at Kangjoon, ”what?”
”Well, I brought extra clothes with me to change into after gym, but you look like you might need them more,” he smiled, eyes curving, and Jackson felt something flip in the pit of his stomach.
”Thank you,” he got out, smiling back, fingers curling around the soft fabric of the clothes. Kangjoon's hand dropped onto his shoulder again.
”I look forward to working with you,” he said before walking out of the room.
Jackson was kind of proud that the embarrassing noise that tried to make its way out of his throat didn't succeed.
The clothes didn't really fit; Kangjoon was a bit taller than him, but it was better than working in wet clothes and catching the cold. Besides, no one really noticed since he had an apron on over them anyway. If someone asked him why his pants' legs were rolled up, he'd just tell them that it was the trend at the moment.
Jackson washed the clothes and wrote a thank you note that he put into the pocket of the pants before he gave them back. He resisted the urge to draw a heart on the note.
”See, that's how you're supposed to do it,” Youngji pointed out to Jackson, indicating towards Kangjoon who had drawn a delicate looking leaf on the surface of the coffee he was making.
”Well, I am so sorry I'm a bad employee,” Jackson huffed, leaning against the counter to get a better look at what Kangjoon was doing.
”You better be,” Youngji replied, ”have you even asked for his number yet?”
Kangjoon raised his head and glanced their way, obviously listening to the conversation. Jackson held back a splutter.
”Of course I have, what kind of co-workers don't have a way to contact each other?” he hissed back, eyes nervously flickering towards Kangjoon.
Youngji threw a bit off the muffin she was eating at him, and he caught it triumphantly in his mouth.
”Jackson,” Kangjoon said and made him almost choke on the bit of chocolate he was chewing on.
Coughing slightly, Jackson looked to Kangjoon, ”yes?”
”Do you want to learn how to do this?” he asked, nodding towards the finished leaf on the coffee. Youngji had the nerve to laugh.
”Good luck teaching him, I never managed,” she declared before flouncing off towards the tables to take orders. Jackson glared at her back as she went. He looked back to Kangjoon.
”Just so you know, I am excellent at customer service,” he informed and walked to Kangjoon's side, taking in his soft smile, ”I'm charming and I'm friendly and hilarious, if I do say so myself.”
”Of course,” Kangjoon nodded, obviously indulging Jackson, but he let it go and leaned in to look at the leaf again, arm brushing against Kangjoon's.
He'd let it go just this once.
”So have you asked him out yet?” Youngjae asked out of the blue. He was sitting at a table in the coffee shop, scribbling in his notebook while Jackson sat opposite him, sending ridiculous stickers to Mark over Line.
”Who?” Jackson asked suspiciously. Youngjae just looked at him like he thought he was an idiot, but that was nothing new but it also was not true at all, so Jackson scowled back.
”Kangjoon, of course,” Youngjae said, as if the topic of their conversation wasn't at the counter, not even ten feet away, working his magic on coffee orders.
”No,” Jackson answered shortly, not appreciating the fact that his friends had taken it upon themselves to pester him about this crush that was happening. Though as long as they kept their traps shut and didn't tell Mark, he'd be golden.
”And shouldn't you be, I don't know, somewhere else?” he continued. Youngjae pursed his lips.
”Jaebum-hyung and Jinyoung-hyung are in the apartment, studying for exams,” he said, ”and you know as well as I that they're not actually studying, so here I am, in exile.”
Jackson's scowl softened in sympathy. It came back in full force though when Youngjae went on, ”but anyway, how hard can asking someone out be?”
”What does a high school kid know?” Jackson threw at him and got up, deciding his break was over.
”Excuse you, I just graduated!” Youngjae called out after him and Jackson didn't answer.
He did give Youngjae a congratulatory muffin on the house before he left.
There were few things that cheered Jackson up as much as a video call from Mark since it wasn't often that they were both not busy at the same time for long enough to do it. Even if Jackson usually did all the talking, he didn't mind.
He was sitting on his bed, hugging a pillow and watching Mark's face on the screen of his laptop.
”What have you been up to?” Mark asked, leaning his chin on his palm, a knowing look on his face. Someone had told him, then. Jackson buried his face in the pillow with a groan.
”Absolutely nothing,” he mumbled, lifting his face for long enough that the microphone would pick up his voice.
”That's not what I heard,” Mark continued, looking delighted. Jackson reluctantly removed the pillow from his face.
”It's nothing,” Jackson said, frowning at the screen, ”besides, I already have you.”
Mark smiled, a small, happy thing, and it still made Jackson's heart flutter.
”Yes, you do,” Mark admitted, ”but that doesn't mean you can't have him too.”
Jackson opened his mouth to interrupt, but Mark carried on, cutting him off before he had even started, ”we've already talked about this. And I hear he's cute.”
Mark's smile was sly and Jackson groaned again, running his hands through his hair. What had he done to deserve such an evil boyfriend?
”It's just... he's...” Jackson paused, looking for a proper word to describe Kangjoon, but came up short, ”different.”
”Different how?” Mark prompted. Jackson smirked into the camera.
”I don't know, but you were easy,” he watched, pleased, as Mark's eyes widened before he burst out laughing.
”Nice, Jackson,” he chuckled, ”is that how you treat your boyfriend?” Jackson just stuck out his tongue at Mark.
Jackson had no peace after that. At work, Youngji made sneaky remarks and comments and was a general pest and a horrible friend. Bambam and Yugyeom stopped by once in a while and the former joined in on Youngji's crowing.
Yugyeom at least left him alone, but Jackson knew that was only because he didn't feel like taking part in this. It didn't make Jackson any less grateful.
Youngjae ripped off little parts of his notebook where he had written ”Jackson hearts Kangjoon” and tried to sneak them into Jackson's pockets.
Jaebum and Jinyoung sent him inappropriate texts.
Mark was the worst one. On breaks when Jackson checked his phone he'd open messages and read things like ”what do u think kissing him would b like?” and ”how do u think he'd hold ur hand?” and ”do u think he'd kiss me the same way he'd kiss u?” at which point Jackson was ready to throw his phone at the wall.
He hung his head and sighed deeply. How was he supposed to go and work with Kangjoon now that these thoughts had been planted in his head?
Jackson typed out, very emphatically, speaking aloud, ”I hate you,” and hit send.
”Who do you hate?” came a question behind him, and Jackson answered, without thinking much about it, ”my boyfriend.”
Then, realising what he had just said, he whipped his head around so fast he was amazed he didn't break his neck.
He stared at Kangjoon, alarmed, who looked as startled as Jackson felt.
”I mean...” it wasn't often that Jackson was left speechless. Kangjoon's face changed and he grinned at Jackson, flopping down to sit beside him on the sofa.
”What'd he do?” he asked, grin still in place, eyes warm. His thigh was pressing against Jackson's.
Jackson's heart sped up in his chest as his eyes wandered on Kangjoon's face, lingering on his lips.
What do you think kissing him would be like?
He tore his eyes away before he could do something stupid. He cleared his throat, trying to regain his senses.
”He's being a jackass,” he informed Kangjoon. Kangjoon tilted his head, obviously curious, and well, there were a few things Jackson was good at. Bullshitting was near the top of that list.
Something changed, after that. Jackson hadn't noticed before, but Kangjoon was quite tactile with his friends.
He had casually thrown an arm over Jackson's shoulders, or pressed against him when they were sitting next to each other, adjusted Jackson's clothes without hesitation, even going as far as touching his hair and fixing his accessories.
That had all stopped, like an invisible wall had been erected between them. It wasn't obvious, and Kangjoon wasn't avoiding him, they still chatted and laughed and Kangjoon still tried to teach him latte art, but the physical aspect of their friendship was gone.
Jackson found himself missing it.
So he hatched a plan. He even recruited Youngji (it would be more accurate to say that Youngji recruited herself) to help.
If that help was Youngji reminding him every few minutes that he was going through with this or she was kicking his ass, no one had to know. Even Mark had given her his approval.
He stood in front of the break room door, a coffee cup in his hands. Youngji was there next to him, hand resting on his back.
Jackson stared at the door handle and chewed on his lip.
”Okay, you're going now,” Youngji announced and kissed his cheek before she pried one of his hands off the cup, put it on the door handle and practically opened the door for him. She disappeared from view quickly when Kangjoon's head came up.
”Hi,” he smiled at Jackson, pulling out his headphones and putting them in his pocket.
Jackson cradled the cup in his hands, and walked over. He sat down next to Kangjoon, deliberately close, and placed the coffee on the table.
Kangjoon looked from the cup to Jackson, confused.
”Go out with me?” Jackson asked, feeling braver by the second. Kangjoon's face froze in shock and he opened his mouth slightly before closing it again.
Jackson waited patiently while Kangjoon mulled his question over in his head. He was frowning slightly when he asked, voice cautious and just a bit disapproving, ”what about your boyfriend?”
”He knows,” Jackson answered, hand already going towards his phone, ”I have proof that he knows and approves and has been a complete jackass about my crush on you since he found out.”
He put emphasis on the word jackass and felt his lips quirk at the look of realisation on Kangjoon's face.
Kangjoon looked back to the cup of coffee, before he smirked at Jackson, ”this is the best you could do?”
Jackson looked at the lopsided heart drawn on the foam, ”hey! That's a perfectly acceptable heart!”
The tail-end of the sentence was cut off by Kangjoon's lips landing on his, firm and demanding. Jackson's mouth opened immediately under Kangjoon's, his upper body turning and hands finding purchase on the fabric of Kangjoon's shirt.
Jackson moaned at the feel of Kangjoon's tongue against his, and he crowded closer. Kangjoon's hands came up to cradle his face.
Kangjoon bit at Jackson's lip before pulling away slightly. He stayed close, looking into Jackson's eyes.
”So, what about your boyfriend?” he licked his lips, thumbs stroking Jackson's cheeks.
”You can meet him when he comes back from LA,” Jackson mumbled against Kangjoon's lips and kissed him again.
+this is my valentine's day gift to miia because she said "id sell my left arm for a jackson/kangjoon coffee shop au feat jacksons bff youngji kicking his sorry ass into shape"
+and the world needs more jackson/kangjoon, do i need to say more?