Title: Coffee Shop.
Author: SYNdicate 930.
Summary: AU. CoffeeShop!AoKise. He'll wait for as long as it takes for the person he loves to come back, sitting there in the place they always went together, the modest little coffee shop where they first met.
Note: I based this off of the song Coffee Shop by B.A.P. The story doesn't follow the lyrics closely, but it isn't too far from it—moderately would be the proper way to describe it, I guess. SLIGHTLY UNBETA'D. Tell me what you think?
My alarm rings boisterously through the rising sun seeping through my white blinds to create lines of yellow and white against my bedroom windows. It's like a painting, one I've seen far too many times as I get up for another day of the same routine, same people, and same feelings, feelings so moderate and mild, I've forgotten what it was like to have my heart skip beats, thump irregularly with nervousness, excitement, blood course through with an adrenaline and fire; the warmth I had only felt once, and for the very first time in my dull life.
It's Saturday—I've completely forgotten the days of the week. When you live life just going with the flow, things like days, weeks, months—even years—begin to pass without you noticing; time is scarce, yet you still spend it all on nothing, on things you know are not, and should not be, worth it. But I've never been smart—Satsuki can always hold you, me, everybody to that—so, continuously, I waste my time, thinking it'll reverse time's way of making things last, for better or for worse.
The university isn't open today and I groan. There is no point in waking up early today or tomorrow, the day after, or ever, not when my life has fallen into this monochrome world. I crave for some sort of color. I cannot look at this dark world knowing the only source of color has left with only faded marks in its place, remnant of the original, brilliant shine I reach for, but cannot touch.
Lying down, I try to close my eyes, but I cannot fall asleep. Maybe I will spend my time wisely for once, maybe do something to pass my time on the weekend, especially when I do not have anything important to tend to. I look at my time on the screen of my phone and put on the clothes I laid out last night before hurrying out the door.
It's chilly out, but I like it, the way the wind sweeps past my face, touching me, caressing me almost lovingly in its gentle movement. By myself, I hum along to the song I like to listen to everyday, the one we would always listen to together, the one we would always sing along to together, the one that played when we first met over a cup of coffee, the one we later called our song.
By myself, I walk in between these familiar buildings. I look up at the way the sun sneaks peaks at my when I walk out of these long shadows, almost begging for me to bask in its light.
It is not quite winter, but it no longer feels like fall. When I breathe in, I breathe in ice, and when I breathe out, I watch the vapor that passes through my lips disappear. I love watching my breath do that when it is cold outside. Sometimes, it's a teaching, a silent lesson that things come as easily as they go. I exhale once more, and there it is.
I turn the corner with my hands in my jacket pockets, burying my face into your scarf, the one you left at my house during high school seven years ago. It still smells like you, like caramel, no matter how many times I wash it, or at least I'd like to think it does. It gives me one more reminder of you. I've always liked the way you smelled. It was why I would always hold you harder, tighter, and longer, inhaling your scent to assure myself that you were real. But your loving aroma is starting to vanish, have you? The streets are silent this morning.
There is something floating in this icy air and sitting atop the frost covered grass. Is this what they call nostalgia? I look down the street and, as I walk further, I see our high school. My heart tightens, but it's nothing to grab much of my attention. Not much has changed, well, on its outside at least. Exteriors will remain and I'll always think things haven't succumb to the way time will morph everything it touches, but there will never be a way to know for sure if what goes on inside is any different, if the fire that burned within has gone unfed and reduce to a mere ember, fighting for some sort of life, for something to hold onto.
I continue walking down this familiar neighborhood, and, call me crazy, but, it feels like you are here too. Your silky hair, your white t-shirt (that was once mine, but gave to you in our second year with the bluish panther on it, that, truthfully, I've always thought looked better on you) and sneakers, your coy walk—I thought I left you in my bed. I always see you in my dreams, but it doesn't make my heart rush anymore, I need—crave—the real thing, not this poor imitation, and, as days past, your light and color has begun to dim into another memory lost to the ticking of life's clock. We walk beside each other silently; a hopeless young man and a figment of my imagination and longing. When I reach for your hand, there is nothing there.
I cannot begin to count the amount of times we've taken this route together. Go straight for two blocks. Turn right and walk down to the small corner store owned by the sweet old couple who would give us free snacks every now and then when we would stop by for some ice cream. Take a left and cross the bridge, you know, the one we would sometimes bike over on our way to play basketball with each other at the park? Now walk through the park and, there it is, just cross the street.
The same little chimes sing their lovely song as I push the wooden door open. I'm here. "Oi, welcome back, Aomine-kun," greets the middle-aged woman wiping down our table across the room. She smiles at me warmly. I don't return it. After five years of coming here, I've yet to really do so on mornings like this. But she doesn't mind it. She never did. She says it's what makes me who I am.
"Mornin', Tanaka-san," I greet her in return. She walks over and hugs me.
"Haven't seen you in over a week! How have you been?" She's kind-hearted and welcoming, even to someone as stoic as me. She's like a second mother.
"I'm good. Just kinda tired." Is my honest answer.
"I've almost forgotten, I have a surprise for you," Tanaka-san says with a smile. I grin a little at her; she's always given me little gifts since I was young. "It's been here for a few days now, but I haven't been able to give it to you. Where have you been?"
It's a good question. A question even I don't know the answer to. I shrug. "I've been busy with some things." I say. It's more or less true. There is the sound of something gurgling and I recognize it immediately as my stomach growling.
"Did you have breakfast yet? Oh! Would you like to try our new breakfast sandwich while you're here? It's on the house for my favorite customer. We just started selling it a few days ago while you were away."
I nod my head and walk over to our usual table, the far corner by the window. "I'll some coffee with it too." I say as I watch her disappear into the kitchen. To the left by the kitchen door sits a flatscreen television. When there aren't many customers, I know she likes to keep it on her favorite pop-culture and media channel. She maybe in her fifties, but she has the interests of a fifteen year old. For a little while I watch but cannot find myself getting into it and fold my arms on the table.
Sitting in my usual seat, I look to yours with a frown. You always liked sitting so you could look to everyone in the little coffee shop, and I've always liked sitting with my back to everyone. I didn't need to look at anyone else. I'm so lost in my thoughts, I don't even notice when my coffee arrives, but the steam that floats out of it says it hasn't been long. The smell is strong, just the way I like it, but it slowly goes as my senses become used to its strength. Just like how its strong aroma disappears, I've come to realize you've faded as well. The TV becomes white noise that slowly loses its clarity as I lose myself in my own world.
Pulling out my phone, I see that it's half past six in the morning. I play around with some of its features a little as I sip away at my coffee, the taste bitter and familiar against my tongue. It warms me up as I bury my face into your scarf. I begin scrolling down my inbox, unread texts from both Tetsu and Satsuki at the top of my screen, and there, right at the very bottom, is one of the last texts you sent me years ago. I've saved it, for memory's sake. Everything nowadays is for memory's sake. I try to avoid rereading it, though; it makes me feel things I haven't in a long time I know I've forgotten how to handle.
Wait for me, and I'll wait for you. I promise I will.
I shake my head and remember we the reason stopped texting and calling each other because I couldn't afford all the long distance fees or the time difference until, one day, we stop talking all together. I sigh through my nose, blowing away my coffee's steam carelessly. Easy come, easy go, it's life playing its twisted little mind games.
I'm unsure if this is still your phone number now that I think about it, but that odd, creeping feeling tells me it is. You never did like change. Sometimes, I want to ask you how your day was to see if it is, if you're doing well, if you'll reply, if we still talk together the way we used to; if you still remember who I am, but I don't because I'm scared you won't. Initially, it felt odd not being able to talk with you every day, but slowly, I grew used to life without you.
It's been pretty decent, I guess, but dull and lifeless. When I hear about you, I start to realize how much I hate what I've become without you and all the things I've done to erase you. I swirl my coffee around in its white mug and turn my attention back to the TV as I place my phone face-down on the table.
"Today," Starts the perky television host, her pretty black hair tied up in a tight bun and her bangs falling over her forehead, the pastel-colored dress modesty and flattering for her thin figure, "we have footage of an exclusive interview with the top model, who is currently back from his long stay in America, Kise Ryouta."
"Kise Ryouta." I mutter under my breath. Your name rolls off the tip of my tongue comfortably, like the way we would kiss, sweetly, slowly, lovingly—naturally and fated, the way it's supposed to feel and always has felt.
"But, before we get to your favorite hot blonde, we have a never before seen preview of an upcoming movies starring—" I lose my interest in the TV, but do not look away, hoping something can grab my attention and steer it away from these dangerous thoughts. Over-indulging in your memory like this is corrosive, and who knows how much longer it'll be until it burns through me completely? "—and later on in the show, you'll get to see the behind the scenes making of B.A.P's Japanese debut!"
I wonder how you would react if you saw me now. It's been ten years since we first met, here, in this quaint coffee shop, when all seats were taken and fate brought you to the empty one in front of me, and five years since your departure.
You image is sitting across from me, smiling and chatting in a faraway voice I can no longer recall, mouthing words I can't quite hear or make out anymore. It's happy, but not distinct. He says my name and laughs, but it's all so empty. At twenty-four years old, you, at nineteen, sitting there, the last image before you got on that plane and left, I wonder what you look like now, and what it would be like to talk with you now.
"How have you been?" You would ask. You asked me that even when we would come here together after school when we were fourteen, fifteen, sixteen—up until you turned nineteen and left. I sip at my coffee. I wouldn't know how to answer.
Monday, Tuesday—everyday—I get by and I am well. I sleep well at night and I watch sad movies without crying. I haven't changed much, but have you? Summer, winter, spring and fall everything is changing, yet I find myself here, the same person I've always ever been with a sprinkle of maturity, responsibility and all the things times will bring, waiting for you to come back.
"My agency is making me leave Japan for a while to promote me in America. I don't know how long they'll make me stay, but I'll be back. To be honest, they aren't forcing me to go or anything. I decided on my own. I love you, but my career and fans are very important to me too…" You told me from across the table, sipping your coffee. You kept your eyes low and held my hand tightly, nails digging into my flesh miserably. I could see the tears welling up in the corner of your eyes, but I didn't point them out the same way you pretended not to see mine. "I'll be back one day, so wait, okay?"
I didn't know how to handle it, so I let you go. What was important to you was important to me, the way lovers should feel about each other's passions and ambitions. From the moment our friendship shifted into romance, I understood that there would always be conflict regarding me and your career and I've always noticed your efforts to keep us tied for first, but I never thought that there would be the day it would win over me and that decision still haunts me. I have to wonder every now and then if you regret it as much as it breaks me.
You said one day, but never specified when, how, or, more importantly, where. You could be looking for me at my house right now, and leave before I return and I would be oblivious to it. Even if you were to return to our coffee shop, what are the chances of being in the same place at the same time? There are too many variables; this problem is starting to look unsolvable.
Five years and I still can't forget you. It's obvious that I haven't. No matter the amount of walks I will go on to clear my head, the amount of bottles I will go through, the girls and boys I go through, the years I go through, your memory still remains. Our memory still remains. Even after moving away from my old neighborhood, I've come all the way here without knowing, like a habit.
Honestly, I come by here often, figuring every now and then, when the time is right and everything is in place, hoping the day I step through that that wooden door and hear that familiar chime would be the day you walk back into my life and I'd hear your voice. That it would finally be the day we'd be together again. But, as of lately, I've begun to wonder what I'll do when that day never comes.
I look out the window and stare at the scenery and the way the street moves downward. Perched atop a hill, our coffee shop stares down at the neighborhood below, overlooking every house, tree and light post before it dissolves into the horizon the sun sits at. It's peaceful and quiet here, and it gives my head a little break when it should be fast asleep at home. But the walk here is worth it, it always is, even when I realize how foolish it is to visit every day in hopes of seeing you here. They say the first cut is always the deepest the same way the first fall is hardest, and I'm convinced you're the only one I'll ever truly love.
I feel a hand on my shoulder, and my shoulders tense in excitement, but it's Tanaka-san with my breakfast sandwich. She smiles as she places the plate on my table, and I thank her with a small bow in my seat. I always get my hopes up like this. It's happened so much in the past; it can't possibly be healthy for the heart.
I eat it quickly, but taste nothing. Despite the free meal, I leave a tip on the table as a sign of appreciation and for dealing with me every morning before school and on weekends. From her spot behind the counter, she waves goodbye to me and I do the same, nodding my head in a casual bow in gratitude for her warm service on my way out the door.
The street outside is dead, and I look to my left and right. It's virtually empty. Tiredly, I drag myself to the bus stop shelter on the sidewalk in front of the shop and drop to the metal bench. So much for being productive, all I want to do now is sleep forever. I frown down at the pavement under my sneakers. As days past with the same results, it seems to me that 'one day' is synonymous to 'never', for, as my life passes me, you never come back. Waiting for you is like waiting for my bus home, I'll never know when it'll come, if I'm too late or early, if I'm on time or if I've missed it. But yet I wait, because I know when it arrives, I'll end up where I want to be, and that's always been with you.
Through the early morning's silence, I can hear faint footsteps echoing from the street to my right, and then onto the sidewalk behind me. I don't turn; it's too awkward making eye contact with strangers. I hear the light harmony of Tanaka-san's chimes, creaking of the rusty door hinge's and faint conversation in the doorway a few feet behind me. It is casual. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"How are you this morning, darling? It's been a week now, are you still jetlagged?" She asks in that parental way of hers.
There is a chuckle, it's low, and it belongs to a man. "A little, but I'm okay now. It'll take a while to adjust since the time difference is so big, butI'll be fine."
"Are you sure? Come in, sit down, rest."
"Stop worrying so much, really," A light hearted chuckle. "I'm fine."
"Why are you here right now? You should be resting up, young man." Aomine snickers a little to himself. She really is like a mother. Not just to him, but to all her customers.
"I was just wondering if he'd be here today."
I hear Tanaka-san sigh. "You just missed him, I'm sorry. If it helps, knowing him, he's probably on his way home. He moved to a new house while you were away. He's probably planning on going back to sleep."
"Going back to sleep? That sound just like him. Thanks, Tanaka-san," I hear footsteps making the way down the steps of the coffee shop and I look over my shoulder.
Standing there, gold eyes locked on my yellow scarf, hands buried in the pockets of an opened leather jacket, I find myself staring at the old, familiar white t-shirt with the navy blue panther on it. This colorless world of mine is filled with color, burning in my deep blues, in your youthful yellows, and, suddenly, in the fiery red of the man beside you holding your hand.
Note (July. 10th/2013): Just because some reviews surprised me with off assumptions about who Kise is holding hands with, here's an equation! Which character in canon has red hair and, at some point, was in America? Go read back and see if it makes a little sense?~ c;