Title: The Quiet Stop
Author's note: Just another one shot I wanted to get out of my head. Can I just say that I love coffee??
The Quiet Stop
He broke his coffee maker (again) after trying to get his sand to make him a cup of coffee while he was in the shower. He still had some kinks to work out of it, apparently. But he was now driven out of the safety of his home to find a decent cup of coffee. Wanting to avoid all the busy places, for the sake of the business and his feelings (for most stores still emptied when he walked in), he found Hinata's newly opened shop.
Hinata had taken a stand against the division between branch and main families in the Hyuuga clan over eight months ago. Gaining no ground, she moved into a tiny apartment over a tiny store in protest. She then had started mucking out the run-down store beneath her apartment and set about making a haven.
The Quiet Stop was Hinata's escape from the Hyuuga name. She dreamt of her customers calling her by her first name and of people coming from miles around, not because her coffee was great, but because they felt comfortable and welcome, something she had never felt at home.
Her plan, however, seemed to backfire.
Wanting to avoid angering the Hyuuga clan, most people had refused to acknowledge the store's grand opening, so there were only a few patrons inside when Gaara managed to stumble across it.
When they saw him enter, however, they threw some change on the tables and exited.
Hinata looked up, startled, only to find Gaara of the Sand on her doorstep.
He tensed, prepared to be asked to leave, when her warm smile had frozen him on the spot.
"Welcome to The Quiet Stop. What can I get for you this morning?" Hinata moved from behind the counter to grab a menu and lead him to a small table away from the main traffic area.
Stunned, he could only follow her and allow himself to be seated.
She stood in front of him in her neatly pressed blue apron, "Do you need a minute to look over the menu? I can come back, if you do."
He looked up at her, his eyes wide, "Are you not afraid of me, Hyuuga Hinata?"
She was in the middle of walking away and so turned her head, "Are you going to hurt me, Gaara of the Sand?"
He shook his head, "But I cleared out your restaurant and you won't have any more customers while I'm here."
She turned to face him fully, "Really? Well, it seems to me that we have some pretty stupid people in this town and if they don't want to come to my shop, I can live without that." She walked over to the door and flipped the "open" sign to "closed".
Taking off her apron, she sat down next to him, "Let's not give them the choice, ne?"
Leaning over, she opened the menu in front of him and began to point out her favorite items on the menu.
And Gaara of the Sand found his first true friend.
"Oh, and Gaara?" Hinata raised her head from the menu and met his gaze steadily, "I'm no longer a Hyuuga."
His brows drew together and he frowned, "Okay, shall we call you Hinata of the Coffee, then?"
And she laughed and he found himself joining her.
He never did get his coffee-maker replaced. He made it a habit to go to The Quiet Stop early in the morning and she would keep it closed until the two of them had their fill of coffee and muffins and then he would head off to see to his next mission and she would open for customers. If she felt a lack of business from keeping his company, she either didn't care or didn't mention it. He tried to approach the subject but she had gotten so mad that they'd had their first yelling match.
"I never see many customers here, you know. If it's because of my coming, Hinata, I can stop coming or-shit!" He ducked as she threw a coffee cup at him. He watched her, eyes wide as the normally placid woman glared at him, chest heaving from her angry breaths.
"Dammit, Gaara, who gives a flying rat's ass what these stupid people think! I only opened this shop because I've always wanted to own a coffee shop. I don't need the money and I certainly don't need the bullshit that customers give me because of who I let into my shop. I'm so tired of it! 'Poor Hinata doesn't know what she's doing, letting murderers and demons into her shop.'"
She started pacing, wiping down clean counters and smoothing out already straightened table clothes. He watched her move, never having seen his friend this upset before. She plopped down into a chair and sighed.
"I'm so tired of people telling me this isn't how a Hyuuga should behave or that I make bad choices. They're my choices, after all! I can make them whether they're bad or good and no one is giving my shop a chance," she sniffed at that, "and I make really good coffee, right?"
She glared at him when he didn't say anything and he hastily threw up his hands in defense, "Yes, you make the best coffee!" Truth be told, her coffee was a little too strong and just a tad gritty, but he swallowed it anyway, just to make her smile. They'd have to torture him before he admitted otherwise.
He breathed a sigh of relief to see that she was done throwing things and crossed the room to sit down across from her.
"I didn't realize you were getting so much flak for breaking away from the Hyuuga clan. If I had, I promise, I would have stuffed their mouths with sand and then forced them to admit you were right and the most wonderful friend to someone who's never had one." He met her gaze and graced her with one of his not-so-rare-anymore smiles, "And that you make the best coffee in Konoha." He was proud of himself, for he didn't even twitch when he lied.
She smiled back at him, feeling ridiculous for her outburst and apologized, "I can't believe I threw a cup at you, I'm so sorry."
He laughed and went to pick up the pieces of shattered china, "Who are you kidding? You loved every second of it. I know you, Hinata of the Coffee, you and your hidden cup-throwing, cursing inner-self."
She laughed and went to fetch a broom, barely catching his last words.
"Feel free to throw a cup at me whenever you need to."
The smile didn't leave her face the entire day, even when someone snubbed her at one of the temples for the little bit of sand that always seemed to follow her if she left her shop.