Dawn Summers is starting to really wish Buffy and that cute barista at Starbucks would just get on with it already. There’s only so much red-faced denial she can take from either of them.
See, this whole thing started when Buffy got laid off from her job. It wasn’t a good job, but it paid the bills and it put food on the table, so what her big sister did was hit up the nearest Starbucks to drown her sorrows in coffee.
Dawn only knows this because Xander and Willow are always looking out for her and Buffy, and honestly, Buffy hyper on caffeine is a lot better than Buffy drunk on something alcoholic.
So Buffy was at the Starbucks, along with Willow, and it just so happened that she ordered the venti mocha cookie crumble and grande iced caramel macchiato instead of Willow, which was unusual, because Will was always the one to order.
But hey, lucky Buffy, because the cute guy was working the counter and Willow pretty much pronounced it as “love at first sight” right then and there.
Oh, sure, there’s the tall guy, who’s also cute, but in an adorable puppy kind of way that makes Dawn want to take him home and feed him cookies. The gooey sticky chocolate-chip kind.
However, anytime she tags along with Buffy to the Starbucks, Dawn always notices that she orders now, when before she was perfectly happy to let the little sister order instead. And get this, it’s gotten to be a regular thing. Like, so regular you could set your watch by it. There's only one reason why Buffy Summers, she of the ever-changing cafe persuasion, would go to this one Starbucks like clockwork.
“You like him, don’t you?” Dawn asks her, when she gets back to their table with the drinks. Oooh, chocolate. Oooh, frappucino.
And oooh, there’s the red face!
“Shut up,” Buffy mutters, but she’s smiling a little.
“You should go for it!” she encourages her, but Buffy shakes her head in reply.
“He probably has someone already,” she sighs. “And anyway, I have to look for a job.”
Honestly, Dawn can’t blame her. Buffy’s got frankly horrible luck when it comes to romance, since the last guys she dated turned out to be…well. Not very good, as it turns out. But the cute barista seems nice, if kind of a little prone to swearing and calling people “bitch”, but he made her a frappucino on the house the one time she visited without Buffy, so.
“He likes you, you like him,” she bluntly tells her, “it’s as simple as that.”
Buffy rolls her eyes and flicks a piece of donut at her.
Bucky Barnes is starting to wish Sam Winchester and Harry Dresden just got on with it already, jeez, he has better things to do with his time than hang out with them and find himself caught in a storm of sexual tension. Like, you know, Steve and his apple pies.
That’s kind of a euphemism and kind of not at the same time, holy crap.
But anyway. Sam and Harry.
Bucky likes them. They’re good people to hang out with, and Sam's brother Dean is a good drinking and sparring buddy, but these past few months he’s noticed something blooming between the barista and the manager of the bookstore he works at, and maybe he’s being an idiot, but they’re oblivious morons and obviously need help.
Except, well, he still needs to tread carefully, because Sam lost his girlfriend a long time ago, and the people he’s been sleeping with to deal with all the shit he and Dean have gone though weren’t exactly good for him. One even got him addicted to drugs, which isn’t very productive for someone trying to put himself through pre-law. And Harry lost his girlfriend over a year ago, which sucked, because Bucky kind of liked Susan.
But now everything’s somewhat better, at least. Of course, until Bucky noticed something.
For one thing, the way Sam looks at Harry when he’s on his break or off work and at the bookstore, asking for some obscure work or if he has Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman. It’s this combination of want, longing, appreciation, apprehension, fear, passion, all the stuff love is made of and more, so much more. God knows Tony ragged on Bucky a lot for giving Steve that look when he thought he wasn't looking.
For another, the way Harry drops everything to help Sam and Dean. Bucky remembers when Sam was still trying to kick the habit, and Harry always showed up with a bag of Karrin’s cookies in one hand and Steve’s signature steaming hot apple pie in the other when it was really bad and not even Dean knew what to do. He remembers that when Dean had gotten in jail and Sam didn’t have enough bail money, it was Harry (and okay, Tony and Marcone and maybe Sherlock, but it was mostly Harry) who bailed him out and gave him a whack upside the head for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For yet another, they touch. A lot. Lingering touches, of course, stuff like crumbs on Harry’s mouth and that untidy tie from the one time when Bucky set Sam and another girl up on a hot date and everything. It’s like they’re trying to sample each other without making it too obvious, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damned pathetic. And, okay, adorable.
And because Bucky likes to keep it simple, for the last reason, they keep checking each other out. He’s caught Harry glancing not-so-subtly at Sam’s ass, and Sam staring at Harry’s back, and god knows how many more appreciative glances he can take from those two before he explodes from the sheer tension.
“Dude,” Sam says, snapping Bucky back to the present and the bookstore, “you have Star Wars?”
Harry beams, then yanks Sam over to the sci-fi section to seriously discuss Han Solo and TIE fighters with him.
Bucky snorts. Geeks. Honestly, they just want to check each other out again.
Sherlock Holmes is not one for romance, but he likes the Starbucks and the bookstore despite some of the idiots staffing the place, and if he has to deal with Winchester and Summers yet again he is going to shoot something. Preferably the walls.
He’s waiting for John to come back with the coffee, silently counts one, two, three, four, five and watches as Summers comes in on the dot. Job-hunting failed again, recently had her nails and hair done in an attempt to impress the interviewers, new business clothes but she’s letting it get dirty, biting her lip as she wonders what to tell her little sister, shoes obtained at that clearance sale a day or so ago.
She smiles when she comes up to the counter, and despite his claims, sometimes Sherlock does guess, but in this case it’s an educated one: people have been gossiping about Winchester and Summers for a while, as well as the younger Winchester and Dresden. He’s sure her pupils are dilated and her pulse is speeding up, and what’s more, he’s sure the elder Winchester feels the same.
“Are you spying on them?” John asks, when he gets back with the coffee.
“They are spending an absurdly long amount of time talking to each other,” Sherlock mutters. “I can’t quite make out what they’re saying, but if we can just get close enough—”
“No,” John cuts him off, wearing the Disapproving Frown. Dammit. “This isn’t a case, Sherlock.”
“Well, they’re annoying,” he grumbles. The last time he ordered, Summers was right ahead of him, and he doesn’t like having to wait when there are cases to solve.
“They’re actually very nice, if you’d take the time to talk to them,” John mildly says, but that’s the good thing, really. John understands if he doesn’t want to talk to them, knows what he thinks of everyone around him, and doesn’t judge him for it. It’s a nice change from what he’s used to.
He takes a sip of his coffee.
Black, two sugars.
Just the way he likes it.
At least the Winchesters can do that.
Buffy is starting to think she won’t be able to find a job, when she stops by the bookstore on her way from Starbucks.
“NEED: HELP,” a sign reads, “INQUIRE INSIDE.”
Buffy stares at it. She’s not really Book Girl—that’s always been Willow's role—but she needs a job, and she can’t ignore the bills for long.
She opens the door and steps inside.
Harry looks up from the comic book he’s reading when the bell over the door rings, and sees a petite woman with blonde hair in a serious updo, wearing a business suit and “just been rejected” all over. He’s pretty sure this is the same girl who’s been passing by for the past few weeks, and the one Dean can’t stop talking about.
“Oh, hey,” he greets. “What can I do for you?”
“You need help,” she says. “I’m game.”
End Part I