A/N: Written for thirtyspells' (AO3/tumblr) birthday, and because it's a crying shame I don't have any Samifer in my works at the moment. So, here we are, have a coffee shop AU, because all good pairings should have one. :3 First chapter of two.
Sam's expectations for what working at Trickster's Treats coffee shop would be like had been fairly simple – he'd take orders, make coffee, hand out sandwiches and pieces of cake, hopefully get some tips. The shop's only small, but it's popular and expensive. Being in the middle of the theatrical district apparently means that prices are at least double what they are anywhere else, and a wealthy clientele means decent tips. And, at the end of the day, it was only a coffee shop. How hard could the work really be?
Well. Those had been his expectations before he'd realised what his job would entail. Making coffee, serving sandwiches and cakes, taking orders... but between 5pm and 12am. Mr. Novak, the owner of the shop (also known as Gabby when Sam and his sometimes-co-worker Jess were annoyed with him) had announced gleefully that the only position they had open was the twilight shift – complete with dramatic hand gestures more appropriate to a teenage actor in a B-rated horror movie than the thirty-something owner of the most successful coffee shop chain in the state.
Sam had just thanked god that all his lectures are in the late morning and afternoon, so he could lie in. He'd be practically comatose from lack of sleep otherwise, and law isn't the kind of course one can get through by half-assing one's work.
Still, it isn't all bad. At first, Sam questioned why a coffee shop could possibly need to be open so late in the night, and had expected to be serving rowdy adolescents wearing hoodies with illegal beer on their breath, and old ladies muttering to themselves.
His fears were quickly assuaged, however, when the evening performances for the theaters had emptied out, and the shop had suddenly been flooded full of theater-goers, dressed up to the nines and demanding something to drink on their way home. He gets told to, "just keep the change," with astonishing regularity when people had to run out to catch buses and trains.
That didn't mean his job is easy, by any means. Serving so many people is exhausting, difficult work, especially late at night when tempers are fraying and customers tended to be rather ruder than is called for. And then, even after they close at twelve, there's still an hour of sweeping and mopping and table-wiping and stock-taking before he can lock up, hop on a fifteen minute bus ride and collapse into his bed...
Far too early to be thinking about bed, Sam tells himself firmly, wiping down the table in front of him. He's only just started his shift, and he's not even behind the counter yet. His and Jess's shifts overlap by two hours, and she stays on the till whilst he does a bit of cleaning up so there'd be less to do later. It's something of a routine the two have set up, and it works, so neither of them see any reason to change it.
"Sam?" calls Jess, as he pushes the chairs back under the table and moves onto the next one. Only six more to go. He puts his spray bottle and cloth down, and looks up at her. "Yeah?"
She grins sheepishly at him. "...Would it be okay if I left, like, half an hour early today? I'm really sorry, I know it means you've gotta go behind the till, but Ellen's got these tickets for that new Paradise Lost production that's premiering tonight, and it starts at half seven, and if I leave at six I'm not gonna have enough time to get back, get changed, and come over again, and-"
Sam cuts her off with a wave of his hand. "Yeah, sure! No problem, seriously." He starts on the next table, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn lump of chocolate frosting which seems to have welded itself to the tabletop - he'll have to ask Gabe exactly what he's putting in those Fudgetaculars of his. "But you gotta tell me whether it's any good when you get back, because the posters look awesome-"
"-but the tickets cost your soul and life savings, I know." Jess wrinkles her nose. Unlike Sam, she's a regular theater-goer, not just a once-or-twice-a-year-if-something-interesting-comes-up, and she complains regularly about ticket prices. "I'd say get them anyway, though, I mean, look at the lineup – they've got Lucien Morningstar, Meg Masters, Lili- Lili... what's-her-face, the one that looks like a creepy china doll, you know who I mean. And Chuck Shurley's in it."
"Shurley? Seriously?" Sam raises an eyebrow. He'd been shown Shurley's movies and plays at an early age – his dad had been a big fan – and anything with the man in it is an almost automatic must-see. "Directing or acting?"
"Both." Jess looks vaguely smug at the jealously on Sam's face, sticking her tongue out at him. "And I'm going to see it and you're not!"
Laughing, Sam squirts his spray bottle in her direction, grateful for the temporary absence of customers who would probably complain about unprofessionalism. "Okay, okay, fine, I get it! Lucky you for going to see the wonderful Chuck." He shakes his head. "Don't worry, I'll cover you, no problem."
"Oh my god, thank you, Sam, thank you so much-" Jess babbles, delighted. For a second, Sam thinks she's going to run out from behind the counter and hug him, but then the bell above the door rings and the screams of a young child demanding attention fill the whole shop.
Sam winces, ducking his head down to focus on the table again, and thinks sympathetic thoughts in Jess's direction.
The shift gets considerably better after the screaming baby and it's haggard-looking parents leave. Jess runs out shortly after, stopping only to drag him into a hug, kiss his cheek, and inform him that he's the, "best friend in the entire world and I'll make it up to you somehow, I promise, seriously," and so he takes the till, handing out coffees and the various ridiculously sweet treats that Gabe whips up, and chatting to some of the more regular customers that turn up.
Business is slow – Mondays always are, though – and it only gets slower when the performances begin to start at around seven. Sam spends a lot of time drumming his fingers on the counter and catching up with the reading in his law book. Between eight and nine is the slowest; there's a whole half hour where no one so much as glances at the door, and Sam fights the urge to just kick back and have a little nap. The customers will be coming in soon.
As it turns out, he probably should have taken the nap when he had the chance.
When the loud, complaining, impatient, exhausted crowd of theatergoers that regularly floods the shop between half nine and eleven finally tails out and vanishes, Sam's near to collapse. The shop is a mess (again, and he only cleaned it a few hours ago) and he had a blazing row with a customer that Gabe's going to be mad about in the morning (not that it was his fault, the woman had tried to throw coffee in his face because she thought it was too cold), and it takes him over a minute to realise that there's someone waiting patiently in front of the counter.
When he realises, he jumps, because the man's just standing there – he hasn't rung the bell sat by the tips jar, hasn't cleared his throat or said, "excuse me." He's just stood there, almost completely still, a small smile on his face as if he's in on some cosmic joke the rest of the world hasn't been allowed to know about.
"Oh, sorry, didn't see you there!" Sam's blushing, scratching at the back of his neck in apologetic embarrassment. "Sorry, we don't get many customers in here at this time of the night. Can I help you?"
"Ah, yes. I would like a coffee." The man sounds amused as well, if tired, and there's something slightly odd about his speech that Sam can't quite pin down.
He dismisses his thoughts, focusing on the situation at hand. "Any particular type?" It's not terribly unusual for people to come in simply demanding coffee, but it's usually the younger ones, or if it's during a busy time. Not a man in his late twenties, maybe even early thirties, who seems to have all the time in the world to just stand there. Sam waves a hand behind him at the board displaying coffee types and prices, and waits whilst the man's eyes track across the board.
"...Surprise me," he says eventually, lips curling up slightly further, and Sam fights down the urge to either laugh or back away. There's something about the man that's– not dangerous, exactly, nor powerful, but... disconcerting. As if he knows your life story and understands it completely, and is sympathising with you even as he laughs at you. Sam's fairly sure that shouldn't be as fascinating that is, the even intensity to his eyes and the half-curl at the corner of his mouth.
"Um, okay." Sam raises an eyebrow, mildly confused. It's not an unheard-of request, but again, usually from younger people during the middle of the day. Not a man who must be nearly thirty, wearing two layers of shirts, jeans with paint-spattered ends, and trainers that look like they've been chewed repeatedly by an enthusiastic puppy. He thinks quickly, considering the options. "You're not allergic to anything?"
"Not that I'm aware of, no." It's not the most reassuring of answers, but Sam can work with it, and comes to a decision with a nod.
"Eat in or take away?"
The man considers for a moment. "...Drink in," he decides finally, tapping a finger thoughtfully against his lips, and Sam doesn't miss the wording change, wonders why he bothered with it.
"That'll be $7.40 please," he says, ringing it up on the till – caramel macchiato, with an extra shot of vanilla syrup and two shots of hazelnut, the top criss-crossed with caramel syrup, chocolate curls and tiny caramel crunch pieces. Technically, the chocolate curls are supposed to be used for the hot chocolate, but it's not like Gabriel's going to complain at him for making a drink sweeter. It's one of Sam's personal recipes, that he makes when he's had a long day at work and needs a pick-me-up just before closing, and he's been dying to get someone else to try it for ages.
"Keep the change." Sam's eyebrows shoot up when the man hands him a $10 bill, but he doesn't say anything – because as if he's going to complain about free money – and hands over the receipt. "What's your name?" he asks, and when the man throws a pointed glance over his shoulder at the completely empty coffee shop, Sam's cheeks heat up. "Sorry, I didn't think- it's just kind of automatic, by now..."
The man watches him fumble with the cup, same steady amusement on his face, for a few minutes before saying softly, "Luke."
"Pardon?" Sam frowns, mid-way through measuring out syrup so he can crosshatch it across the top of the frothy milk.
"My name's Luke. Considering you asked for it." The stranger – apparently called Luke – raises an eyebrow. "Though, if you don't want it any more..."
"You'll make me forget it?" asks Sam with a snort, shaking his head. "Right. Here's your coffee." He hands over the cup, smiling. "Enjoy your drink."
Luke holds the cup for a moment, peering at the top of it and raising it to his lips to lick a chocolate curl off the top of it. Sam's not looking at his lips – nope, totally not, because no matter how silver-fox attractive the guy is, in a scruffy kind of way, he's probably nearly ten years older than Sam – but he can't help but notice a glint of silver on his tongue. Yet another anomaly; guys aged thirty-ish who look as serious as this one does do not, in Sam's experiences, wear tongue piercings.
After wrinkling his nose at the chocolate, Luke takes a sip, and his eyes widen. "What exactly did you put in here?" he asks evenly, and Sam winces. He knew he should have stuck to something off the menu.
"Um. Caramel macchiato with extra vanilla, added some hazelnut syrup, and then on the top there's, uh, chocolate and caramel syrup and caramel crunchy things." Sam rubs a thumb over the top of the counter, smudging at a stain of ink that's been there for as long as he can remember. "It's kinda sweet, I know, but-"
"It's very nice." Luke takes another thoughtful sip, and nods decisively. "Gabriel certainly knows how to choose his employees."
Sam frowns at that, because something in Luke's tone makes it seem as if he knows Gabe – but if that were the case, why wouldn't he come in during the morning, when he's on shift, and talk to him? Whatever the reason though, it's not his place to ask, so he just smiles and says, "Enjoy your coffee. You're welcome to sit wherever, but I've gotta tell you that we're closing in twenty minutes, so..."
Luke nods. "Twenty minutes is more than enough time to finish a coffee. Thank you, ah..." He peers at Sam's name badge, where it's clipped onto the dark green apron he has to wear over his normal clothes. "...Samuel," he finishes, pronouncing the word carefully, almost delicately.
"It's Sam," blurts Sam, without really knowing why. "Just... Sam's fine."
"Very well then... Sam. Thank you." And Luke just smiles that tired, amused half-smile and takes his coffee to settle in the corner of the coffee shop.
Sam wonders later, when he's sat on the bus, leaning his forehead against the cool window and watching the bright lights flash by, why. Why that particular guy. Why he'd turned up then, after the rest of the theatergoers had left. Why he'd been so compelling, so strangely fascinating.
Why Sam so hopes he'll come back again.
And then he thinks of how Jess's gonna react when he tells her about it, laughing and curious and treating it like a murder mystery, and he smiles. It'll be something to talk about, at least – she's going to have wonderful tales about the theater. Only fair Sam has some of his own adventures to talk about.
"...And so then he just sat in the corner of the shop for the next fifteen minutes, reading some kind of newspaper thing, and when I told him we were closing he just smiled at me and left!" finished Sam, dragging a hand through his hair, eyes wide with agitation. "I mean, what the hell! What kind of a guy comes into a coffee shop at half eleven, just asks for any old coffee, and then drinks it in the shop and leaves, huh?"
Jess looks at him, eyes sparkling with amusement. "He left quite an impression on you, I see."
"And he had a tongue piercing!" Sam's not entirely sure why that's relevant but feels the need to add it anyway, and knows he's made a mistake when Jess's eyes narrow. "...What?"
She just smirks at him and shakes her head, and while Sam's trying to work out how to stop his cheeks from going red, she asks, "Want to hear about Paradise Lost?"
"Oh god yes," says Sam enthusiastically, partly because it's a topic change, and partly because he really wants to know how good it was. "Was it awesome? Who was Chuck playing? Did you get any signatures?"
Laughing, Jess shakes her head, and then there's a terribly frustrating pause where she has to serve a customer, and Sam doesn't think he's ever whipped up a chai latte as quickly as he did then, desperate to hear what happened. "No, I didn't get Shurley's signature for you," says Jess finally, when the man and his daughter are seated. "You want that, you've gotta go see it yourself. But yes, it was completely awesome. Shurley was wonderful, as always – he played God, actually, kinda funny considering he directed the whole play – and that Meg Masters did an awesome job with Eve. Really unique take on the character." She pauses. "And I gotta tell you, Satan was hot."
It takes Sam a moment to process that, and when he does, he chokes slightly. "What." Jess giggles, and he knows she said that entirely on purpose, just to see his reaction. "...I beg your pardon," he manages, swallowing hard and hoping none of the other customers were listening to their conversation and now think they're satanists. That would not be good for business.
"You've read the books, you know what I mean. Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, serpent of Eden, all that jazz? He was really attractive." Jess smiles. "There was just... something about him, y'know? Like there was this– intensity to him, this kind of... it was like he really was an angel, you know, he was just kind of elegant and graceful, but kind of inhuman, and– I dunno, you've got to go see it."
"Yeah, yeah, I know completely. Saw him in A Thousand Deaths Before I Die, when he was playing... Nick, I think? That was a couple of years ago. Same sort of... detachedness." He'd looked borderline crazy in that one, fairly apt considering the way his character lost his mind, but it had still been a chillingly brilliant performance. "How close to the stage were you?" asks Sam, as he makes a hot chocolate and a shortbread coffee special for a couple who're clinging to each other and totally lost in their own world, despite the fact Jess is offering them their change. "If you could see his face, you must've been–"
"Oh, no, we were right up in the gods. Couldn't have afforded anything else. Couldn't see anyone's faces." Jess sighs and shakes her head. "When I said he was hot, it was... just about the way he moved, y'know?" And oh yes, does Sam know completely. He's met people like that, who can hypnotise with a walk, and now he's really got to go see this if it has both Shurley and this Lucien guy in it.
He groans softly. The ticket's going to cost a fortune, and he's going to be eating baked beans for weeks, but he's hooked and Jess knows it. "Oh man, I have got to get tickets to this."
"Yeah. You so have." There's a smug sort of victory in Jess's voice, as well as a hint of I-know-something-you-don't. "Although you'd better hurry up, they'll be sold out pretty quickly after how successful the premier was..."
"Crap, they're probably sold out already," mutters Sam, irritated. "It's gonna be, like, February before I can go see it. I can't wait over four months!"
Jess just hums quietly in agreement, and waits for the rush of customers that suddenly appear in front of the counter to die down before clearing her throat lightly and tapping his shoulder.
Putting down the piece of coffee machine he'd been fiddling with and trying to reattach – he really doesn't want to call Gabe, who'll just be annoyed at him for breaking things again, as if he does it deliberately – Sam turns around, and his jaw drops when he sees what Jess it holding in her hand. "...Is that...?"
"Tickets," she says, holding them out to him. "Well, one ticket. I thought about getting two, but I know Dean's not big on theater, and I don't know any of your college friends well enough to get a ticket for them, so..."
"Jess," he says firmly, in a slightly shell-shocked voice, "stop babbling. You're amazing." He hugs her, wrapping his arms around her and leaning down to kiss the top of her head, wondering what he did to deserve such a wonderful friend. "Why?"
She shrugs carelessly, as if it's no big deal, but Sam can tell from the blush on her face that she's delighted he's happy with them. "Early Christmas present?" she suggests. "I mean, I know mid-October is kind of really early, but I don't have any idea what else to get you, and..."
"They're the best present ever," declares Sam with a grin, kissing the top of her head again before pulling away. "When–"
He's cut off by an irritated customer, a middle-aged man leaning on cane, clearing his throat and glaring pointedly at them. A small queue has formed behind him, and both Sam and Jess look mildly embarrassed as they serve everyone at top speed. When they've finally finished, Sam opens his mouth again, and Jess cuts him off. "Two weeks from now, on the Friday. I've already worked it all out with Gabriel, I'm covering for you, so don't worry about that."
"Jess," says Sam fervently, as the next group of customers arrive. "You may actually be the most wonderful friend ever."
She grins, raising her eyebrows. "I know," she agrees cheekily, "...although, there is one condition."
"...Yes?" asks Sam slowly, bracing himself.
"You tell me more about this mysterious silver fox you've caught yourself."
Even Jess agrees afterwards that she deserved the kick to the ankle she got for that.
That night, Luke's back again. Again, he doesn't use the bell, just waits patiently until Sam comes out of the back room carrying a top-up box of coffee beans, and doesn't react when Sam yelps out a, "Jesus!" and nearly drops the box.
"I don't suppose I could get a coffee again, could I?" asks Luke softly, and with anyone else, that tone would be sarcastic, but on him it just sounds curious and hesitant.
Sam nods, taking a few deep breaths to calm his nerves. "Yeah, sure," he says, hoisting a smile onto his face and tries not to focus on the way the customer's mouth is slightly open and he's worrying at his canine with the tip of his tongue. There's that flash of silver again, and Sam swallows. "What do you want?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe another surprise?" Luke's mouth curls up again, teeth and tongue visible in the space between his lips as his eyes laugh, and Sam tries very hard not to flush as he fixes up a creamy latte with a shot of chocolate syrup and just a hint of brandy, chocolate flakes across the top as before.
"Second play in as many nights?" he asks lightly as he works. "You must be quite the theater fan."
For a second, there's something tight and guarded on Luke's face, a wary sort of defensiveness, and then it's gone as soon as it's come with a small, vaguely surprised shake of his head. "Ah, I'm not usually an attendee to plays. I... work in the area, and only recently became aware of this place's existence."
He accepts the coffee Sam hands him with a nod of his head and payment – no keep the change this time, but Sam's cool with that. "It's quite a nice little place really," Luke muses, looking around the shop as if he's only just noticed it. "And the coffees are... something of a treat, after my shift ends. I think you'll be seeing a lot more of me, Samuel."
"Sam," Sam corrects him automatically, busying himself with the coffee machine so Luke doesn't see the look on his face.
Sam blames the late hour and his tiredness for the fact that, as soon as Luke leaves, he pulls out his phone and texts Jess, The silver fox has returned to his hunting grounds. Rawr.
For the rest of the week, the pattern stays the same – Luke appears at about half eleven, when the shop is empty, asks for some new, invented drink of Sam's, sits silently in the corner drinking it and reading those pages of his, and then disappears. And the next day, Sam tells a grinning Jess all about it and tries not to sound too interested in the mystery man, and keep any descriptions of the fixation he has on the man's mouth out of his descriptions.
Then, abruptly, on Sunday he isn't there. There's the usual crowd of theatergoers, diminished somewhat because of the fewer performances on the day of rest, and then... no one. Sam waits – although he tells himself he's just being attentive in case any customers come in – for the familiar old-jeans-and-plaid and that tired smirk to walk through the door. It doesn't, and Sam closes up at midnight feeling somehow cheated, without really knowing why.
"You weren't here on Sunday," Sam points out suddenly, the next day, as he hands over an espresso con panna with hazelnut syrup and liberal amounts of chopped hazelnuts on the top. He's been getting more and more inventive with his coffees ever since Luke turned up – he asks for a 'surprise' every time, nothing ever from the menu, so Sam's started experimenting on his own time, whipping up increasingly strange and wonderful drinks in an attempt to preempt Luke.
It's gotten to the point where Gabe's started to get curious about his sudden flare of inventive talent, and even talked about adding the Caramel-plus everything Macchiato to the menu. Jess had grinned, and nudged him in the ribs, and Sam had hoped to god that Gabe wouldn't ask any more questions.
"I don't work on Sundays. Did you miss me?" asks Luke, tone entirely innocent, and he looks almost surprised as he licks a curl of whipped cream and nuts off the top of the espresso, apparently entirely unaware of exactly what that tongue of his does to Sam.
"Um," manages Sam, not exactly coherent, but thankfully not completely gormless either. "Uh, it was just... I'd kind of got used to you, I guess." He smiles hopefully at Luke, shrugging. "I'm having fun inventing different coffees for you, I gotta admit."
Luke tilts his head, and the motion reminds Sam oddly of Dean's best friend, Cas, who has the same kind of awkward not-quite-there-ness that Luke has too. It's a strange jolt of familiarity, strangely jarring, and it makes Sam bite his lip. "I suppose I've got used to you too," Luke replies slowly, blinking at Sam like he's a puzzle to be worked out. "And your wonderful coffees, as well."
Sam dips his head in acknowledgement of the compliment, flushing slightly and mumbling something like, "S'nothing," and when he looks up, Luke's sat in his corner, reading his papers as if the conversation never happened.
If, for the rest of the week, Sam tries to think up as many drinks involving whipped cream toppings as possible, just to see Luke lick the point off of the cream swirl, then what of it? He's not hurting the man, and no one else is going to know that his guilty pleasure is watching a guy way older than him curl his tongue around the cream and look at Sam with those eyes like he's unravelling Sam's soul as he smiles that half-smile of pleasure.
Still. He feels weirdly guilty about it all the same.
On Thursday, Luke's the one that starts the conversation. "You do realise that I'm most likely ten years older than you, don't you?" he asks absently, sipping at Sam's latest creation, an iced Caffè Mocha with chocolate chips and mint syrup.
"What?" asks Sam, confused, eyes drifting up to meet Luke's as his hand keeps slowly working on drying the cup in front of him.
For once, Luke doesn't go and sit down at his usual table in the corner. Instead, he leans one hip against the counter and curls his fingers around his coffee cup, eyeing Sam curiously. "You've been staring at my mouth for the past five minutes – well, the past week, really. I'm not entirely stupid, Samuel."
"Sam," he corrects, an automatic reaction now, and only just remembers to add, "I wasn't!"
Raising an eyebrow, Luke takes another sip of his mocha, and then licks at the cream on the top. Sure enough, Sam's eyes zero in on the motion, before guiltily flicking up to Luke's again. He doesn't see any irritation in them, or even amusement, though – the action looked more like a test, a question, than any serious attempt at seduction, and there's a quietly curious look on his face.
And also a small fleck of cream still caught on his upper lip, so of course the only sensible reaction Sam can have to that is to lean forward and kiss it off.
It's not a long kiss, not passionate or exploratory or even particularly on the lips – Sam's mouth catches to top of Luke's lip, tongue swiping over it, before he pulls away slowly. There's a moment of silence, where Sam's eyes get steadily wider and more panicked at the lack of reaction from the other man. "Oh, oh god, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have, that was totally out of order-"
Luke cuts him off with a single shake of the head. "Don't apologise."
"Oh." Sam's not entirely sure what to say to that, rubbing at the back of his neck awkwardly and staring at the counter, fingers tracing patterns on it.
A hand catches his fingers, stilling them, and Sam shivers – Luke's cold from being outside, the heat blasting in the shop having not quite warmed him up. "How old are you?" he asks, voice soft and understanding, and when Sam looks up to meet his gaze his eyes aren't amused, but warm.
"Twenty one and a half." He feels mildly stupid adding the half onto it, but even half a year counts.
"I'm nearly thirty. Eight and a half years..." Luke shakes his head slowly, and Sam expects him to pull away, but he doesn't, just holds Sam's gaze evenly before leaning forward and kissing him. It's slow, curious, as if he's trying to learn everything about Sam from the way the younger man kisses, trying to memorise every inch of him from the feel of his lips.
The kiss seems to last forever, just the blackness behind Sam's eyelids and the warmth against his lips to measure time with, and when Luke pulls back Sam feels oddly lost. As if the man's taken a piece of Sam with him when he pulled away.
"I'm going to Hell for this, you do realise," murmurs Luke quietly, lips inches from Sam's, eyes half-lidded and inquisitive. Hungry. Sam feels as if he should say something profound, some kind of quote – if this were a movie, this is where he would make his declaration of undying love. But it's not, this is real life, Sam's life, and so that doesn't happen.
"I'll follow you down," he whispers back instead, and this time when he leans in to kiss Luke again, he's met halfway by gentle, curious lips.