Character(s): Sugawara Koshi, Azumane Asahi, Nishinoya Yuu (briefly Sawamura Daichi)
Pairing(s): brief mentions/implied AsaNoya and DaiSuga
Prompt: none but written for Nishinoya’s birthday~
The cafe had a nice calm to it today; no loud customers or screaming kids. Just a quiet murmur of conversation while couples talked and students studied. This was when Asahi liked the cafe best. Sure, he was able to keep up with the pace when it got a little busy but he always found moments like these were when the true aesthetic of the cafe emerged.
Smiling softly as he gazed out across the tables, he noted each customer quietly. He smiled at a nervous couple who looked a little too stiff to have been going out long. Maybe it was a first date. The thought was fairly cute. There was a student who was taking up two tables, frantically looking between her textbook, her laptop and her notebook as she furiously wrote down notes. She couldn’t have been in college quite yet; must be a third year, studying for entrance exams.
’Dodged that bullet.’ He thinks absently with a fond smile as he takes a sip of his cappuccino.
Perking, Asahi turns to look over at the familiar voice. Sugawara grins over at him, apron free for once but still managing to be coated in all manner of ingredients. He looks tired, despite the smile.
“Done for the day?”
Sugawara nods, placing a hand to his back and stretching a little, letting his back crack. “Yeah, just finished cleaning up. Not that busy out here, huh?”
Asahi shakes his head. “Nah, been a pretty quiet day. Might pick up later.”
“Well, it’s nice like this.” He smiles.
“Yeah, I think so too.” Asahi sets his mug down and gestures to the espresso machine. “One for the road?”
“Sure, why not?” Sugawara shrugs a shoulder. “I’ve got to go grocery shopping after this.” He makes a bit of a face. “Daichi was supposed to pick up milk last night.”
Asahi chuckles at the, grabbing a steaming pitcher and retrieving milk from the mini fridge under the counter. “He does that a lot, doesn’t he?”
Sugawara huffs, hands on his hips. “Whenever he’s busy with work, he always forgets about errands. I should start writing them on his wrist right next to that watch he’s always staring at.” Suddenly, he looks startled, a thought coming to mind and he taps his fist into an open palm. “Oh! That reminds me!”
“Hmm?” Asahi glances back to him as he starts to prepare the espresso shots.
“Your boyfriend!” Sugawara starts and Asahi tenses out of surprise. “Didn’t you say he was in culinary school?”
“What?” Asahi questions, starting to steam the milk. “Oh, uh, yeah. He’s training to become a pastry chef.”
“Really? What year is he in?” Sugawara asks, looking increasingly excited.
“He’s in his last year; why?” Asahi questions, setting the pitcher under the steaming wand and adding some syrup to the cup – hazelnut; Sugawara’s favourite.
Sugawara clenches his fists before himself with a wide smile. “What do you mean, ‘why’? That’s perfect!! I bet he’s looking for practicum hours, right?!”
“Yes…?” Asahi questions… and then suddenly looks nervous. “Wait, you don’t mean-?!”
“I’ve been looking through tons of applications, trying to find an assistant to help out in the kitchen but nobody is quite what I’m looking for. You should bring him in so I can see what he can do!!” Sugawara grins.
Asahi glances between Sugawara and the half finished latte, looking unsure. “Uh, well…”
“What?” Sugawara blinks, looking curious. He stares a moment as Asahi finishes up the latte, making a quick but elegant rosetta leaf design. “…. Ohh, I get it. You’re probably worried he’ll get intimidated being in a real kitchen, huh? Well, he’s gonna have to learn some time!”
“That’s… not exactly it.” Asahi laughs, light humour in his voice and a nervous smile on his face.
Sugawara shrugs a shoulder. “So how can it hurt to have him come in so I can see his skill level?” He smiles. “I’ve never met him before and I’ve known you for a little over two years now.”
“Well…” He trails off, sliding the finished latter over to Sugawara, who happily claims it, breathing in the scent. “I guess I could bring him down.” He has a hidden sort of smile.
“Great!!” Sugawara grinned widely before taking a sip of the latte. “Ahh, just as delicious as ever. Well, I gotta run but make sure you bring him, okay? Whenever! See you tomorrow, Asahi-san!”
Asahi raises one hand as Sugawara rounds the counter and heads toward the door. “See ya.”
“What do you think Asahi-san’s boyfriend is like?” Sugawara questions, tilting his head back against the edge of the bathtub.
“Mmm.” Daichi hums, not bothering to open his eyes as he sinks further into the water.
Sugawara nudges him with his foot, chuckles quietly. “Hey, that was a serious question, Daichi.”
Peeking an eye open slowly, Daichi glances across the bathtub at him before he sighs, leaning his head back. “What brought this up, Koshi?”
“Well, apparently his boyfriend is studying to be a pastry chef.”
“So you’re hoping for an interview?”
“Yeah.” Sugawara hums, tilting his head. “But no matter how much I think about it, I can’t figure out why Asahi-san was so hesitant.”
“Maybe he doesn’t want to work with him.” Daichi offered.
“Nah, that’s not it.” Sugawara shakes his head. “You should have seen him when he said he would bring him in. He looked happy.”
There is a long moment of silence before Daichi speaks. “Honestly, before I knew he had a boyfriend, I always pictured him with a cute girlfriend. You know, someone quiet, really feminine – dainty, I guess.”
“He does seem the type, doesn’t he?” Sugawara smiles.
Daichi shrugs a shoulder, sitting up a little and splashing some of the bathwater on his face. “I guess this is harder than I thought.”
“Right?” Sugawara hums, pressing two fingers to his forehead. “Maybe… they’re sort of average? Somebody who could fit in anywhere?”
“I could see that. Asahi doesn’t exactly scream center of attention.” Daichi nods, running a hand through his hair.
Sugawara chuckles, leaning up and brushing at some of his hair that is sticking straight up. “Well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
It’s a couple more days before Sugawara receives a phone call that Asahi is on his way. It’s his day off, Yamaguchi manning the barista role today but Sugawara is prepared for it anyway. He has already ensured the kitchen was well stocked, wanting to make sure that there were plenty of options to test out his potential new employee.
Honestly, he was excited. He liked the idea of having the cafe be tight knit and it wasn’t like Takeda-san held any issues with couples working together; otherwise, him and Daichi working in the same place would have held issue.
Wanting to make a good impression, however, he gives a quick tidy to his kitchen, hangs up his apron and wanders out into the cafe. It’s a fairly busy day, the tables full and there is life to be found in every corner of the building. Kiyoko is helping out Yamaguchi behind the bar, ringing through customers while he is busy making drinks. Sugawara passes her a smile as he moves out from behind the bar. There is a kid with his face pressed up against the pastry glass, looking particularly happy about everything he sees. It makes Sugawara swell with pride when he sees evidence of people who enjoy his creations that much.
“Sugawara-san.” He hears, turning his head to see Asahi entering the cafe. He looks a little disheveled and his chest is heaving slightly. Once he’s inside, he leans against the counter a little.
Blinking, Sugawara walks over to him with concern. “Asahi-san, are you okay? Do you need some water?”
“Nah, it’s okay. I tried to keep up but he’s too fast for me. Maybe I should start working out again…” Asahi stands upright, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly.
“Eh? Whose too fast?”
“Yuu. The second we got off the train, he ran here.”
Sugawara chuckles at that, although he looks a little surprised. “He ran here? Is he that excited?”
“He’s been excited since I told him. I’ve brought home cakes for him before and he’s always raved about them.” Asahi plucks at his collar, fanning himself with it a little. “He wanted to come in sooner but…”
“That’s fine!” Sugawara grins, hands falling to his hips. “He’s here now! Uh, I assume. Where is he?”
Asahi points behind him. “He’s right there.”
Sugawara blinks, turning around to follow Asahi’s gesture. He stares, scanning the area but he can’t seem to identify who he’s pointing to. “Who?” He repeats.
“Right there. By the pastry case.”
Sugawara blinks, eyes snapping to the kid whose face was previously pressed to the glass but who was now talking very excitedly to Kiyoko. His smile was wide, standing on his tippy toes as he talks with her and there is a visible pink to Kiyoko’s face. Huh, she must be embarrassed by whatever he’s saying. The kid is a smooth–
“Pedo!!” Sugawara startles in surprise.
“No!!” Asahi responds immediately, hands waving in front of himself frantically. “29!! I swear!! He’s 29!!”
“He’s 29?!” Sugawara repeats, looking back at Asahi who looks shaken at the accusation. Sugawara glances between him and the kid multiple times before the kid finally turns his head to look over at them.
“Asahi!!” He waves a hand high above his head, hurrying over to stand in front of him. There was an air of pure confidence about him and it was one that didn’t waver. He thrusts a thumb into his own chest and grins widely. “I’ve decided! I’m going to work here!!”
Asahi looks a little nervous, holding up a hand. “Ahh, Yuu, you can’t just–”
“Where’s the chef? I need to introduce him to his newest employee!!” He responds, looking around eagerly.
“Umm.” Sugawara starts, pointing to himself. “That would be me. Sugawara Koshi; it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nishinoya Yuu!” He responds immediately, taking a step forward and slapping a hand down so hard against his chest, it makes a solid sound. “It’s nice to meet you, Sugawara-san!! I’m going to be your new assistant! No need for an interview; I’m definitely going to work here!”
Blinking down at him, Sugawara can’t help cracking a smile and he laughs. “I like your confidence, Nishinoya-san!”
Grinning widely, Nishinoya bundles his fists. “So? Where do I find an apron? When do I start? Can I start now? Let’s just start now!”
Sugawara gestures down with his hands. “Easy, Nishinoya-san. I have to make sure that you know what you’re doing first. I want to have you make a couple dishes as your test.”
“No problem!!” He grins, pumping his fist in the air. “I’ll make anything you ask, so long as I get to give it to Shimizu-senpai!”
“Kiyo– senpai?!” Sugawara startles. “Didn’t you just meet her?!”
Nishinoya grins, a mischievous edge to his smile as he raises a finger. “She just radiates senpai, doesn’t she?!”
Sugawara is silence, trying to find his footing in the conversation and quietly looks back to Asahi for help. Asahi only chuckles quietly, giving him a look that clearly says I warned you before looking back down to Nishinoya. “Yuu has a weakness for beautiful women. It’s his entire reason for becoming a pastry chef.”
“His-? Wait, I thought you were dating?” Sugawara questions, confused.
“We are!!” Nishinoya answers immediately, looking immensely proud of that fact before he clenches a fist. “But there is nothing better in the world than having your food eaten by a cute girl! When she takes that first bite and her whole face lights up? That’s the moment I live for!”
“I…” Sugawara starts… but honestly, he’s at a loss for words. He’d come out of the kitchen expecting to have a quiet conversation with a potentially nervous future employee and instead he seemed to be the one playing second fiddle in this conversation.
“Where’s the kitchen?!” Nishinoya questions, looking around eagerly before he points. “Ah! Is it there?”
“Uh, yes–” Sugawara nods but before he can get another word out, Nishinoya has taken it upon himself to bolt straight for the doors and promptly disappears into them. However, his voice and words of praise to follow are loud enough to be heard out in the cafe.
Sugawara stands there for a long moment, blinking in surprise before he seems to deflate. Asahi chuckles, reaching over and patting him on his shoulder. “Sorry, Sugawara-san. He’s always like this.”
“Always?” Sugawara repeats, putting a hand to his chest. A laugh bubbles up, despite himself. “Well, that’ll make the morning prep work a lot less boring.”
Asahi nods…. but then an air of gloom passes over him. “Daichi-san is going to hate him.”
“He is rowdy.” Sugawara chuckles but reaches over and pats him on the shoulder. He gives him a wink before he moves to take a step forward. “But we’ll worry about if I hire him. Now I better go check on him before he messes with my kitchen. Gotta teach him who exactly runs this kitchen.”
Asahi nods slowly. “Right.”
“Don’t look so worried, Asahi-san. If his cooking is as big as his talk, you won’t have anything to worry about. Have some faith.” Sugawara teases, giving him a wave before he too soon disappears into the kitchen doors.
Lingering in the hall, Asahi lets out a long sigh.
Well, that had actually gone better than he had expected.
Looking up to the doors, Asahi has a fond smile cross his lips.
’Good luck, Yuu.’
FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always encouraged! You are welcome to leave a review below; no account required. I am eager to hear from each and every one of you!