Sam had found Nadine’s Coffee by chance on one of his bad days shortly after coming to New York with Steve when Tony insisted that “Steve would not being staying at just any hospital in D.C., especially with HYDRA still out on the loose. No, Steve would be staying at the Tower. On the common floor. With state-of-the-art tech. Where the team and JARVIS could keep an eye on him.” So Sam had packed up, and followed Steve and Natasha to New York, and to Stark tower. Following the fall of SHIELD. D.C.’s traffic was hell anyways what with all of the cleanup due to the fallen helicarriers over not only the remnants of the Triskellion but also the Potomac River.
So here Sam was, staying at
Stark Avenger’s Tower with this band of misfits, trying to track the Winter Soldier Bucky for Steve while he was still benched, and working on getting integrated in at the local VA.
As it was, it had been a particularly rough day, so Sam had been taking a long walk around the city when he’d seen one of the Barristas put out a fresh tray of muffins in the window’s display case as he passed by, so he decided that a fresh muffin and cup of hot coffee was exactly what he needed.
Nadine’s was a small café, tucked in between a small book shop and a hair salon. It had a small bar, and display case with a few baked goods, and bottled drinks, and about 10 small round tables, and 3 or 4 tables with benches for small groups or 4 or 5 people.
Sam went in, and was served by young blonde wearing jeans and a purple t-shirt in a very familiar shade of bright purple, with a name tag that said ‘Kathryn.’
“Hello good sir,” Kathryn asked, smiling widely. “What can I get for you this lovely afternoon?”
Despite his bad mood, Sam smiled back. “What have you got to cheer up a bad afternoon?” Sam asked.
Kathryn smiled broadly. “Well other than my cheerful disposition, I have the heavenly ambrosia known as coffee, and I just finished baking muffins!”
Same took a look at the muffins. “Those have icing,” he said taking in the colourful and familiar images on them. “I thought muffins were supposed to be healthy or something.”
“I had to be able to make them Avengers themed!” Kathryn said with a wink. “I've even got Falcon and Spiderman… I’m wondering if I should include the X-Men. What do you think?” she asked holding up a muffin with Captain America’s Shield on it.
Sam laughed. This kid was too good to be good true; a Falcon muffin; Incredible. “Whatever you want to make kid! I’ll take whatever you recommend, with your favourite hero on it, and something with coffee. Surprise me.”
“One Hawkeye muffin and a surprise coffee coming right up!” she said with a grin.
While she made up a coffee, Sam snapped a couple of pictures of the decorated muffins and sent it to Steve. ‘Check it out man, you’re on muffins now.’
Steve responded a few moments later. ‘That’s my shield, not me. But look! You've even got one. You’re moving up in the world sidekick.’
Sam laughed. ‘Yeah, yeah, laugh it up grandpa.’
‘You should respect your elders more. Maybe you wouldn't get your ass handed to you in races so often.’
‘Yeah, well some of us are just human and not aliens, geniuses, billionaires, spies or super soldiers with a thing for being beaten up.’
‘He had a metal arm.’
‘And Thor has a magical alien hammer.’
Sam sent a message that he’d talk to Steve later, and then asked Kathryn for a Cap muffin to take with him for a friend.
“Your friend a big fan of Captain America?” She asked handing him a large mug of… coffee something.
Sam laughed. “Yeah, something like that.”
She grinned and slid him a plate with his muffin on it, and a small box with the other. “Well you enjoy it, and let me know what you think of that,” she said pointing to his drink. “Take a seat, relax. Gimme a holler if you need anything.”
“Will do,” Sam said picking up his snack and sitting at one of the small tables near the window and the displays. “Thanks!”
And that was how Sam’s routine started. Every day he was at the VA, Sam would stop at Nadine’s for a coffee on his way back to the tower. Almost never did he see cranky coffee addicts, or hipster teenagers, but Nadine’s did attract a strange group of customers that Sam was pretty sure didn't normally frequent coffee shops. He swore some of the kids who he saw on Thursdays were Mutants, not that he was judging. He lived with crazy super soldiers, spies, geniuses and aliens. A few coffee-loving mutants served by a girl dressed entirely in too much purple barely even registered on the radar for strange and unusual.
Katie, as Sam had been told to call her by his fourth time visiting the shop, always had a new sugary concoction for him to try and a joke to brighten his day.
One Friday afternoon, tired after a long week of chasing Hydra goons through back alleys and abandoned warehouses Sam stopped by Nadine’s to grab something sweet and sugary to cheer himself up when he saw not only his regular barrista Katie clad in her usual purple, but someone else who looked entirely too familiar, especially in the bright purple uniform talking to Kate with animated hand gestures.
“Barton?” Sam questioned, looking at the back of the familiar blonde head and muscled shoulders.
Katie grinned at him over the person’s shoulder, waving her hand beside her head, and then moving the fingers on her right fist quickly as she greeted him “Hey Sam!”
Barton (and it was Barton), turned after Kate’s greeting and grinned, “Long time no see Wingman!”
Sam snorted, recalling having to drop Hawkeye off on a roof just the day before. “Since when did you work in a coffee shop... Francis?” Sam said looking questioningly at the name tag on Clint’s chest.
Clint shrugged. “We've all got day jobs on the side.”
Sam laughed. “Do we? I wasn't sure we were allowed to have them in all honesty.”
“What, Doom Bots getting you down Sammy?” Katie laughed passing him a large mug of something steaming and topped in whipped cream.
“Are you supposed to be in on the secret?” Sam asked, not at all surprised she knew, even before he knew Barton was her co-worker.
Katie just winked cheekily. “It was a secret? You guys run around in spandex and Stark’s substitute for Kevlar and get half of your costumes blown or ripped off frequently. If you want it to be a secret you've got to try harder, and not wear bright colours.”
Sam just raised his eyebrow at her as Clint shrugged. She did have a point, so he changed the subject. “So, your favourite superhero is Hawkeye, huh?”
Katie grinned, raising her right hand in a fist and rotated it up and down it with her nodding head. “But of course!”
“Aw shucks Kate,” Clint said. “You’re making me blush.”
Katie winked passing Sam a plate with a Hawkeye muffin on it.
“Thanks Katie, it was nice seeing you… Francis.”
Clint didn't answer beyond holding one hand out flat, and making a round claw-like motion with his other hand, and then gesturing towards himself.
Sam assumed that was an insult and laughed, heading over to a table along the wall to enjoy his muffin and coffee.