I really shouldn't be starting a new story, but a plotbunny hit me and it just warped into so much more. Also, the world needs more Coldcoffeeshipping, especially after Jun appeared in the anime and made the couple one-sided canon, hell yeah.

Oh that note, there's also going to be IronWillshipping and OppositesAttract as the other mains, and some EliteUnder, friendshippy(?)Ignition, one-sided Snazzy, platonic GirlPower, and whatever the hell CynthiaxReggie is on the side. Sounds like fun, amirite?

Remember, this is AU so I screwed with the characters' ages. I can only give rough estimates (Damion is 18, Riley is the oldest, everyone else is somewhere in between). Also, I messed with Cynthia's character a bit to make things more interesting. =P And Riley's Café is like a coffee shop mixed with a restaurant mixed with a mid café, because I can.

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon, and that sucks. D: Also, the idea of Damion working at a café was originally used by Astromelia, and she partially inspired me to write this, although she doesn't know.

Prologue: Meeting Them

Hands shoved deep within his fleece-lined pockets and chin buried in his lime-green scarf, Damion paced back and forth in front of the small building, orange eyes occasionally glancing up at the words emblazoned above the doorway in white paint.

'Riley's Café'. Next to it was a painting of a blue cup filled to the brim with steaming coffee.

'Well that's original,' Damion thought wryly as he continued to pace, wearing tracks in the freshly fallen snow. His eyes kept darting to and from the 'Help Wanted' sign posted in the window. He was sure he must look absolutely silly to anyone who noticed him. Taking one last look at the sign, Damion sighed and pushed open the door, a metallic bell chiming overhead.

He came face to face with a pale girl wearing a black and white Lolita-style dress. Her black hair was pushed up in the back, held there by a large white bow. She seemed entirely monochromatic, down to her dark, emotionless eyes.

"…Welcome to Riley's Café. Feel free to sit anywhere, and I can take your order whenever you are ready…" She bowed slightly, but got no response from Damion, who was too busy surveying the shop.

To his left, there was a fireplace, complete with a roaring fire. Stuffed blue armchairs were scattered around flanked by small tables littered with various book and magazines. To his right, there were small booths, like you would generally see at a restaurant.

"Um excuse me…sir?" the girl quietly interrupted.

"Oh right sorry! I was actually hoping to speak to the manager here… About the job opening!" Damion gestured to the sign in the window.

"Oh… Let me get him…" She vanished in a flash, disappearing behind the counter and into the back. Damion took this opportunity to take another look around. The place…was completely empty.

'Maybe they're having some hard times,' he thought. 'Not unlike myself…' He began to tap his foot impatiently, the clock on the wall slowly ticking away. She sure was taking long enough…

Just as the back door behind the counter opened and the girl emerged with a much taller man, the bell chimed as the front door flew open, sending in gusts of cold air and flurries of snow. Damion was nearly thrown across the room from the force of it all.

"Sorry I'm late!" a blonde woman exclaimed, standing in the doorway panting. She was wearing a similar dress as the other girl, only resembling more of a maid's outfit.

"It's unlike you to be late Cynthia," the man behind the counter said, but there was a smile playing on his lips. Damion hadn't really had the chance to take in his overall appearance before… He was very tall and slim, with dark blue hair that stuck out at odd angles. He was very well dressed, in what was almost like a suit. It looked more like a what a butler or a waiter at a high-end restaurant would wear, unfitting for the shabby little coffee shop, Damion thought. Still, the man was handsome to say the least, with very charming features.

"I know, I know!" the woman at the door said, taking a moment to warm up. "But I was reading some fascinating article online about a discovery made at the ruins in South America that I've been studying up on and –"

"All right, all right," Riley interrupted, holding up his hands. "I get it. Just get ready for work."

"Wait," she said, finally noticing the blond boy standing there awkwardly. "Who's this?" Damion blushed and opened his mouth to explain, but the tall man interjected.

"I was about to find that out," he said, stepping out from behind the counter. "I'm Riley, owner of this café. And you are…?"

"Damion!" he piped up, shaking Riley's hand enthusiastically. "I saw the 'Help Wanted' sign in the window and was hoping I could get an application."

Riley gazed at him for a moment, making Damion grow steadily uncomfortable.

"You're hired," he said finally.

"What, wait? You're hiring me?!" Damion exclaimed, staring at him in disbelief.

"Unless you've changed your mind about wanting the position…"

"No, no! It's just… No application, no interview, or any of that?"

Riley shook his head. "Nah. You have a good aura about you. I think you would make a great addition to the team!" He beamed down at the blond.

"Sweet! So when do I start?" Damion asked.

"Whenever you're ready, I suppose," Riley replied. "But there is the problem of a suitable uniform…"

"Well don't you have another outfit like yours? I think I would look rather sharp in it, if I do say so myself." Damion grinned and winked haughtily. Behind the counter, the dark haired girl rolled her eyes.

"Hey! That's not very nice…you…? What's your name now?" the blond boy asked, face pink.

"Oh pardon my poor manners!" Riley exclaimed. "I forgot to introduce you to everyone! That's Cynthia, assistant manager, who also helps me brew the coffee," he explained, gesturing to the blonde woman.

She waved, smiling brightly. "Nice to meet you!"

"And behind the counter is Marley. You'll help wait tables with her." She nodded in brief acknowledgment, but said nothing more. "Now about your uniform…" Riley trailed off before disappearing into the back room, Cynthia on his tail. He returned a moment later holding…

"A dress?!"

Riley chuckled nervously. "Well you see… We expected our new employee to be a female so we only bought a female uniform."

"…Actually, only Cynthia expected this…," Marley explained.

"Well it's not my fault the girl's uniforms are cuter!" Cynthia huffed. "Still, I think it would suit you Damion!" She winked playfully.

"I…cannot wear that," Damion said, never taking his eyes off the dress. All those ruffles and frills…

"Well it is required," Riley reasoned. "And it would only be for one day, I promise. I'll get you a proper uniform as soon as possible."

Cynthia gazed at Damion, grinning slyly, while Marley stared on, eyebrows raised in intrigue.

"And do you see how empty this place is?" Riley asked. He then paused, a slight frown creasing his face, although it disappeared only a moment later. "So chances are no one you know will see you wearing it."

Damion sighed in defeat. "Fine, I guess. If it let's me keep this job, I have to." He reluctantly grabbed the dress, subconsciously turning his nose up at it. Cynthia and Marley both giggled, and Riley had to bite his lip to suppress his laughter. Unfortunately for Damion, his first day on the job was not going to be an easy one…

Hooray, finished! It's short, I know, but the chapters are supposed to be this way - small, somewhat discordant snippets of the characters lives, all somehow intertwining in the end.

I'm actually really excited to continue writing this (although I'm doing it all out of order and taking it tiny scene at a time, and just working with it until it grows into something more). With that said, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing this, and will support me as I try to bring something a bit different into the Pokemon fandom.

So review, yes?