Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam 00 other than the various GunPla I have… (all Graham Aker units!)
Author's Notes: (feel free to skip) this was created when Darkangelsonic had a sleepover in my place. We were supposed to do our school project but we just ended up watching Gundam 00 and fangirling over Graham (our conversation even stops whenever Graham appears) and Darkangelsonic going on and on about how sexy Tieria is. We started developing plots that spanned more than three bond papers about oneshots that mainly focus on Graham and Setsuna (most of which is crack because we were high on caffeine).
Warning: This is AU and only contains hints of GrahamxSetsuna. And the characterizations of the characters are based on season 1 since my partner-in-crime STILL hasn't finished watching season 1. So if they're a bit OOC… well… this is a fanfic…
Note: Shonen – 'young man' or 'young lad' (how Graham calls Setsuna in the Japanese version)
Exia Coffee Art
To some, coffee may be the greatest beverage invented for the human race. A coffee in the morning can make a difference… most of the time. That's why cafes which serve coffees were sacred grounds for a lot of people who do not have the skill to create coffee or simply want to drink a coffee better than what they can make using instant coffee powders.
One of the cafés who certainly have a lot of patrons is a small café called Union-Flag. Located between Schenberg University and Union Military Academy (U.M.A), it was a café frequented by students of both institutions.
A study conducted by students of the Social Studies department of Schenberg University concluded that 70% of the female student body of Schenberg University (taking into account the grade school division, the middle school division and the high school division as well) and 95% of the female student body of Union Military Academy frequented the said café. It was a normal sight to see the café full of female students by the time classes ended.
According to the same study, the root cause was because of an employee of Union-Flag. Although the study did not specify the name of the said employee, anyone who enters the café at that period would only have to look at where the female students were looking at to know who it was.
Their eyes were filled with infatuation as they stared at the confident form of the Barista. Wearing a black apron over his white shirt and black slacks, his blond hair and emerald green eyes stood out. His every move was meticulous and his eyes were focused on his work.
The sudden spike of the café's patrons can be attributed to this young man who only started to work in the said café four months ago. This young man went by the name Graham Aker and he was a student of Union Military Academy, aspiring to be a pilot.
At the moment, he had finished the sixth Irish coffee that was ordered by the same woman. He motioned the waitress with his hand, silently telling her that he would be the one to bring it to the customer. He placed the cup on a tray and walked towards the woman sitting by the window, the entire table full of different sets of paper and folders. Graham smiled as he asked, "Miss Sumeragi, isn't it about time you left?"
The woman he had called Sumeragi turned to face him and smiled coyly, "Ara? Am I bothering you, Graham?"
Graham sighed and took the empty cup on her table. He placed the empty cup on his tray and placed the hot cup from his tray on the empty space where the empty cup had been, smiling bitterly as he replied, "I simply don't want Katagiri to come barging in my room to scold me for letting you drink these much."
Sumeragi laughed and waved her hand in a dismissing manner and replied, "Oh, forget it, forget it. Drinking this much won't make me intoxicated… well…"
Sumeragi smiled sheepishly as she corrected, "… not that much."
"Is it alright for a teacher of U.M.A to be doing her work here?" Graham asked, eyeing the stacks of paper and folders on the table.
Sumeragi made no motion to hide the pieces of paper and simply waved it off, smiling as she replied, "I can't help it. I may be a teacher of Union but I'm still studying my masters in Schenberg. Their workload is so awful!"
Graham laughed as he countered, "Shouldn't you be complaining to Katagiri?"
Sumeragi scoffed and waved her hand as if to fan herself as she replied, "He's not here, right? You're his best friend so I can complain to you, right?"
Graham closed his eyes and asked in a playful manner, "Being his best friend means you can complain to me as well?"
Sumeragi smiled once more and waved her finger, "It is part of your responsibility as Billy's best friend."
Before they could continue their conversation, a boy who was wearing a Schenberg high school uniform walked towards Sumeragi's table and said in a monotone voice, "Sumeragi Lee Noriega."
Sumeragi sighed and smiled at the boy, "Why, hello, Setsuna. How can I help you?"
Graham turned his attention towards the boy named Setsuna and noticed the boy's tanned complexion and black hair. What caught Graham's attention the most was the boy's ruby-like eyes. It reminded Graham of the color of the roses he took care of when he was in the orphanage. Setsuna's eyes narrowed as he glared at Sumeragi, "Sumeragi Lee Noriega. Tieria Erde is looking for you."
"Geh." Sumeragi rolled her eyes and waved the air in front of her, "He's probably planning on annoying me about my report. Forget it. I'm not going~."
"But-" Setsuna's eyes widen as Sumeragi grabbed his wrist.
"Sit." Sumeragi ordered, dragging the poor boy down to sit on the chair on her right. Sumeragi stared at Setsuna seriously as she said, "Listen. You're not going to go and meet with Tieria, okay? Not today."
"Today, you'll be accompanying big sis, okay?" Sumeragi turned her attention back to Graham, who had been staring at Setsuna the entire time, and waved her hands in front of Graham's face, "Hey~, Graham? You still there?"
Graham blinked and turned his attention back at Sumeragi. Graham coughed and regained his confident façade as he smiled, "That's not good, Miss Sumeragi. You shouldn't teach such things to those younger than you."
"You should be on my side." Sumeragi complained playfully before she pointed at Setsuna, "Give him coffee."
"Eh? But-" Graham blinked and was about to speak when Sumeragi cut him off.
"What did you like? Was it Macross or something like Gurren- Oh. Gundam! You like Gundams, right?" Sumeragi asked Setsuna. Setsuna opened his mouth to reply but Sumeragi already turned her attention back towards Graham, "Make him one of those, what do you guys call it? Coffee art or something…"
"You want me to make a coffee art of a Gundam?" Graham asked Sumeragi with a blank expression.
"Yeah. Just the head though~." Sumeragi nodded. A few of the customers who were listening to their conversation wanted to shout at Sumeragi. Does she not know how hard it is to make coffee art? And she wants to make something as detailed as a Gundam?
Graham smiled and replied, "Understood. I'll be right back."
"Eh?" More than half of the other customers weren't able to hold their tongue as they heard Graham's reply. Their chorus went unnoticed by Graham and Sumeragi. Graham walked towards the counter, holding the tray with the empty cup. He handed the tray to a waitress before going to his station. The entire café was silent, staring at Graham as he began making Sumeragi's request. The smile on Graham's face was quite different from his usual confident smile. It seemed… more playful…
Graham turned his attention back to Sumeragi's table and shouted, "Shonen!"
Setsuna turned to face him and Graham asked, "What's your favorite Gundam?"
"Exia." Setsuna replied immediately with a stoic face.
Graham's face instantly brightened and he gave Setsuna a child-like grin that caused some customers and a waitress to almost faint. Setsuna blinked at Graham's grin as he heard the older man's reply, "We have the same favorite."
With that said, Graham turned his attention back at what he's doing. Setsuna stared at Graham, wondering what he was doing. Soon enough, Graham smiled brightly as he said, "Done."
The entire café wanted to see Graham's work. Although his coffee art was cute, considering they only ask for simple things like flowers, hearts and animals, they wanted see the Gundam. Graham placed the cup on a tray and personally delivered it to Sumeragi's table, stopping behind Setsuna. Graham continued to grin as he placed the cup in front of Setsuna, not bothering to clear the pieces of paper. Setsuna stared at the art on the cup and murmured, "Gundam…"
Graham grinned and leaned behind Setsuna, his chin a few inches above Setsuna's shoulder as he asked energetically, "Well, Shonen? What do you think?"
Setsuna continued to stare at the art and placed his hands around the cup as he mumbled, "… same…"
"Hm?" Graham blinked and said, "What did you say, Shonen? I didn't hear you."
"It looks the same. It looks like Exia." Setsuna replied, smiling as he continued to stare at the art.
"Um… Mr. Aker…" A meek call from a waitress made Graham turn around. He noticed the waitress holding a few receipts which cued him that he needed to get back to work. Graham sighed and turned to face Setsuna once more.
Graham smiled once more as he noticed Setsuna was still staring at his work and said in a carefree tone, "Feel free to come by anytime, Shonen. I'll draw you another one."
With that said, Graham walked back to the counter and began working once more. Sumeragi smiled at the exchange between the two. Placing the cup of Irish coffee by her lips, she casted her eyes towards the smile Setsuna was giving and commented, "You know, this is the first time I've seen you smile like that, Setsuna."
Setsuna turned his attention towards Sumeragi and his smile disappeared. Sumeragi giggled and suggested, "How about tasting it? Graham makes coffee as delicious as he is handsome."
Setsuna raised an eyebrow at Sumeragi's words. Noticing the older woman's eyes urging her to drink, Setsuna turned his attention back at cup he was holding. Slowly, he placed the cup by his lips, hesitating to ruin the coffee art. Setsuna sipped and mumbled, "Delicious…"
Sumeragi sipped her coffee for a moment before placing the cup down, leaning towards Setsuna. With a mischievous smile, Sumeragi offered, "How about becoming my coffee buddy, Setsuna?"
Setsuna nodded and mumbled, "Okay…"
True to his word, Setsuna began accompanying Sumeragi in her visits to the café. Every time, Graham gave him a different Gundam coffee art which Setsuna would recognize and tell him, causing Graham to grin at him. It wasn't long before Setsuna began going to the café without Sumeragi and still Graham greeted him with the same energy as the last.
One day, after classes…
Setsuna had been walking out of his classroom to go to the café when…
"Setsuna F. Seiei." Setsuna stopped as he heard the emotionless voice calling him from behind. He turned around and his eyes narrowed as he recognized an effeminate-looking young man with purple hair glaring at him from behind his glasses.
"Tieria Erde." Setsuna said in full name, staring at Tieria with a motionless expression.
"Where do you think you're going?" Tieria asked, crossing his arms as he glared at Setsuna.
"Union-Flag." Setsuna replied curtly.
"That café again? You have been frequenting that café for weeks." Tieria's glare turned murderous as he reminded Setsuna, "Setsuna F. Seiei… you haven't forgotten that we're suppose to finish a project, right?"
"I'll be back in an hour." Setsuna replied and almost smiled when he noticed the vein appearing on Tieria's forehead.
"An hour? An hour…" Tieria gritted his teeth and was about to shout at Setsuna when they heard a cheerful laugh. Tieria turned around and glared at the older man walking towards them. Tieria glared as he hissed the man's name, "Lockon Stratos…"
"Let Setsuna go, Tieria. I'll help you while he goes have his coffee break." Lockon suggested in a carefree manner which only made Tieria glare at him harder.
"Lockon Stratos. It's because you keep letting Setsuna get away with everything that-"
Lockon placed his hands above his head as if surrendering as he replied, "Yes, yes, yes. I'm a bad group leader but we can let Setsuna have his coffee break, right? I mean, this is the only time our Setsuna actually voluntary go to a social place."
"To drink coffee…" Tieria retorted.
"According to Miss Sumeragi, he talks to the Batista-"
Setsuna blinked as he felt another member of their group, Allelujah Haptism, grabbed his arm and whispered on his ear, "This is your chance. Go while Lockon keeps Tieria occupied."
Setsuna nodded and turned around, running away while Tieria was still busy bickering with Lockon. Almost everyone that saw Setsuna running got out of his way and he noticed some of the girls were giggling as they stared at him. As soon as he took his step out of the gates of their university, Setsuna finally stopped and turned to face the window where Tieria had been bickering with Lockon. Although Setsuna should be part of the high school division of their university, he was transferred to the special class called Celestial Being. They were a special class that catered to developing students who would, supposedly, lead humanity after graduation. Setsuna was still unsure why he became part of the special class but-
"SETSUNA F. SEIEI!" Setsuna winced as the window he was staring at suddenly opened with a loud bang and Tieria leaned forward.
"AH! TIERIA! Be careful! You might fall!" Setsuna could hear Allelujah and Lockon's frantic shouting as Tieria continued to lean on the window.
"YOU GET BACK HERE OR I'LL- AH!" Tieria yelped as arms suddenly wrapped around his waist, "LOCKON STRATOS! LET GO!"
"You might fall!" Lockon shouted and dragged Tieria away from the window. Setsuna took this as his cue and walked away from the university. He'll face Tieria's wrath later.
His walk towards the café was uneventful and he reached his destination safely. He entered the café and blinked when he noticed that there were no customers. By the counter was a female employee Setsuna had assumed to be Graham's assistant. She noticed him and gave a shy smile as she asked, "The usual?"
Setsuna frowned and walked towards her. He noticed a waitress by the end of the counter, looking as if she was already dead. Setsuna turned to face the assistant and asked, "Where is he?"
"Hm? 'He'? Oh. Mr. Aker?" Setsuna nodded and she informed him, "I heard that he has a flight test today. He didn't say anything but I guess he's taking a day off. I'll be filling in for him today."
Setsuna could hear the dead-like waitress whimpering. Setsuna finally remembered her. She was one of those girls that would ogle at Graham. Setsuna grimaced and said, "I'm going."
"Eh? I-I can make Gundam coffee art too!" The assistant shouted but Setsuna continued walking, "I can also make-"
"It's no use…" Setsuna heard a female voice sounding similar to the whimpering waitress, "He's like the rest. He'll only stay if Mr. Aker was here. Maybe I should leave too…"
Setsuna was about to turn around and shout at the waitress when the door opened. Setsuna's eyes widened as he was suddenly face to face with Graham who was currently breathing heavily and sweating furiously. Graham's face brightened as he said, "Good. I managed to catch up with you before you left, Shonen."
"Y-You…" Setsuna blinked for a moment before frowning as he said, "You're sweating…"
Graham laughed it off and grinned, "Oh. This is nothing. I just ran out of our school once my test was finished."
Graham grabbed Setsuna's hand and dragged him towards the table where he usually sits. Setsuna sat on the chair and Graham grinned as he said, "Don't move. I'll make you one right now."
Graham walked towards the counter and asked the two employees, "Slow afternoon?"
"That's because Mr. Aker wasn't here!"
Graham laughed at the comment and began to work. Setsuna turned to stare at Graham as he continued to work, his face showing his concentration. It wasn't long before Graham began to grin. Setsuna knew that this means he was doing the coffee art now. Setsuna continued to stare at Graham, noticing the subtle changes in Graham's expressions. Once Graham's grin was more child-like than the earlier grin, Setsuna knew that he was done. The waitress gave Graham a tray silently and Graham placed the cup on the tray. Without a word, Graham walked towards Setsuna's table, tray at hand. It was almost as if the two other employees knew that Graham wanted to deliver the cup himself which he always did whenever it was Setsuna. Graham stopped in front of Setsuna's table and placed the cup on the table.
Before Setsuna could look at the cup, Graham asked, "Mind if I sit with you for a while?"
Setsuna stared at Graham, "Why?"
"Well… since it's a slow afternoon anyway, I thought maybe I could talk to my favorite customer for a while." Graham replied casually.
Had Setsuna been a girl or might actually be a non-socially awkward person, he would have blushed at Graham's comment which was completed by a charismatic smile. But since Setsuna was a socially awkward person, he simply turned his attention to the cup and replied, "Fine."
Setsuna blinked as he recognized the coffee art.
"Qan[T]…" Setsuna murmured as he placed his hands on the cup. Graham grinned and sat on the chair in front of Setsuna.
"I take it you like it?"
Setsuna turned to face Graham and frowned, "What makes you think that?"
"Your expression." Graham replied as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Graham placed the tray on the table next to them and said, "You make this cute face when you like the Gundam I drew."
Setsuna looked away and mumbled, "I do not."
Graham chuckled and replied, "If you say so, Shonen."
Setsuna slowly faced Graham once more and said, "Setsuna … My name is Setsuna F. Seiei."
"Oh, that's right. We haven't been introduced properly, huh?" Graham smiled at Setsuna as he introduced himself, "Graham Aker."
"Graham…" Setsuna mumbled, as if trying the sound of Graham's name on his lips.
Without missing a beat, Graham continued to smile as he asked casually, "So, Setsuna… how was your day?"
Without understanding why, Setsuna found himself actually answering Graham and the hour he had told Tieria became almost three, the two of them so engrossed in their conversation that the two employees of the café simply placed a closed sign on the door, realizing that even if a customer was to appear, Graham would no longer entertain them, too preoccupied talking to the boy named Setsuna F. Seiei.
-Exia Coffee Art-
Author's End Rant: This ends our first oneshot for Coffee Talk. But because I am an easily bored person and sempai gave me this idea, down below is a bonus story!
-BONUS STORY- (what happened the following day):
"That was really irresponsible of you, Graham." A man with long brown hair tied to a ponytail scolded Graham with his hands on his hips. Graham simply stared at him with a grin on his face as he continued, "You left your bags in the testing site! Had Daryl and Howard not been there, who knows what could have happened to your things. Do you understand your posi-"
Noticing that Graham was simply grinning at him, the ponytailed man stopped and grimaced as he asked, "Okay. I give up. Why are you grinning like a mad-man? Although… I do believe you are already mad…"
"His name is Setsuna." Graham replied in a dream-like state.
"Setsuna? Oh. The boy Kujo usually brings with her to the café?"
"I'm sorry for the trouble, Katagiri." Graham apologized in a dignified manner and took the bag the man named Katagiri had been holding, "But I am definitely not sorry for leaving this bag."
"Then what are you sorry for?"
"Sacrificing this bag…" Graham closed his eyes and proclaimed, "Sacrificing this bag has let me become closer to Shonen! No! To Setsuna!"
Katagiri sighed in resignation and shook his head, "Fine. Fine. You're no longer listening to reason… I understand."
Katagiri placed his hand on Graham's shoulder and begged, "But please Graham. Next time you plan on leaving anything or doing anything, at least inform us, okay? Can you do that? For me?"
Graham opened his eyes and looked at Katagiri before nodding, "Understood."
Behind them, Daryl and Howard could only think about how Katagiri handled the situation like he was the mother of Graham.
Schenberg Academy – Celestial Being Special Class
"Setsuna F. Seiei." Tieria said Setsuna's name with so much repressed anger that Setsuna wondered if Tieria would burst any time. Setsuna couldn't help but take a step back as Tieria glared at him with such intensity he was sure Tieria was trying to kill him with his stare, "You… not only did you go to that café… You… returned an hour and forty-nine minutes later than the time you stated!"
"You actually timed him, Tieria?" Allelujah meekly asked.
"Not only that! You returned without as much as an apology!" Tieria continued, not paying attention to Allelujah's question. Allelujah merely sighed and let Tieria continue, "Do you have anything to say in your defense?"
"Now, now, Tieria. Let's not get too upset. Everything ended safely, right?" Lockon reminded Tieria with a smile, "We finished the project we were supposed to do and the teacher seemed pleased by it anyway. So everything ended well, right?"
"How can you say that?" Tieria shouted at Lockon, his anger and frustration now channeled to the older man, "I am not talking about the project! What I am talking about is how irresponsible Setsuna F. Seiei is! And you, Lockon Stratos, are part of the problem!"
"What? What did you do?" Lockon shouted, raising his hands in a surrendering motion.
"You simply let Setsuna F. Seiei get away with everything! You let him do what he wants to do and-"
"OKAY!" Tieria was cut off by Sumeragi clapping her hands. Sumeragi smiled at them as she said, "Papa Lockon, Mama Tieria, I know both of you just want what is best for your child-"
"What are you saying, Miss Sumeragi?" Lockon shouted at Sumeragi.
"But~, you two need to understand that Setsuna is a grown boy. Well… he's growing up, anyway." Sumeragi corrected herself as she placed her hands on Setsuna's shoulders, "You can't stop Setsuna from falling in love with Graham-"
"WHAT?" Lockon and Tieria shouted at the same time. Sumeragi took this as her cue to back away from Setsuna as both Lockon and Tieria rushed towards Setsuna, grabbing his shoulders.
"You were late because of something as ridiculous as love? Setsuna F. Seiei! As a member of Celestial Beings, you should be aware of your responsibilities-"
"Setsuna. I know I can't stop you from falling in love with him but reconsider! Please! You are too young to be dating a man such as that Barista! Can he even support you?"
As Tieria and Lockon continue to criticize Setsuna's choice, Allelujah leaned towards Sumeragi and asked, "Miss Sumeragi. You do realize that you just made things worse, right?"
"Of course." Sumeragi grinned mischievously as she said, "It's more interesting this way."