“One large dark roast, no room for cream or sugar, correct?”
Guren stared at his barista, a silver haired smiley guy who obviously had nothing better to do than smile and be cheerful all day, every day. Well, technically the guy only started yesterday, so... Regardless! No one should be allowed to be that bright and cheerful at four in the afternoon. And gods forbid he ever thought the blue eyed, silver haired man was akin to an angel... He must have been especially tired yesterday for those sorts of thoughts to even cross his mind.
No, he had this sneaking suspicion that this man was anything but good. After all, he was armed with a face that women would flock to (if he wasn’t holed up in this dingy coffee shop, obviously) as well as a charming smile, and-
Well, damn, he definitely needed to get his afternoon coffee and to stop staring. And to get back on the case that he was working on.
“I’ve only ordered once from you. How do you know that’s my regular?” Guren asked, his purple eyes challenging, even as he handed over his credit card and travel mug. “...And you don’t even need to leave room for sugar!”
The blue eyed barista gave him an easy smile, taking his payment and filling his mug. “You seemed to be a bitter person, that’s all,” The
bastard barista finally replied, his smile unchanging.
“...I should have you arrested for slander,” Guren muttered under his breath as he elbowed the man behind him who sniggered loudly at the barista’s comment. “I am not a bitter person.”
“But Guren, it’s only slander if it wasn’t true,” Goshi said innocently, earning himself a death glare from the dark haired man.
“Shut up Goshi, and hurry up or I’ll leave you here.”
Goshi merely grinned as he watched Guren make his way out, before turning back to the barista. “Well-“
“A large medium roast with room for cream?” The barista asked with a knowing smile, even though he already entered the order into the till.
The taller man nodded, handing over his mug and card. “Do you make it a habit to remember everyone’s orders, or just people who have a tendency of dropping in at this time of day?” Goshi asked with a grin as he took back his mug, and headed over to the counter with the cream jugs and sugar packets. “Should I be worried about my coffee being spiked one day?”
“It’s only my second day here, so obviously your ‘usuals’ were only assumptions. I do try to remember anyone who is interesting... there’s not much else to do at four in the afternoon,” The barista replied, gesturing to the empty shop around them.
“Interesting, you say?” Goshi asked raising a brow and looking out to Guren as he stirred a generous amount of cream and sugar into his coffee. “I’m surprised that Ferid let the new guy work here alone on his second day. I’m surprised that he let anyone work here alone after what happened last week. I heard the poor kid got sent to the hospital with a few broken bones. How’s he doing, do you know?”
The barista shrugged, looking downcast but didn’t drop his smile. “The owner said something like that hasn’t happened in years. But the kid was released from the hospital yesterday and should be coming back in about two weeks. I was told that the culprits were gone by the time the cops got here and that he – Yuuichirou, I think that was his name - got a few fractured ribs, a broken arm, and plenty of bruises and cuts. Sounds painful, doesn’t it?” The barista paused, looking past him and out the window. “I think Guren may really be leaving you.”
“Aha... Of course he would. Take care, and I’ll see you tomorrow!” Goshi called as he sprinted out, crossing in front of the car then getting into the passenger side.
“Don’t tell me it seriously took you that long to just order a coffee and pour in all that shit that you usually pour into it,” Guren growled, pulling the car out and taking the usual route back to their small office.
Goshi chose to ignore him, sipping his coffee and letting out an exaggerated, blissful sigh. He snuck a peek at his superior who merely rolled his eyes before he continued in a more serious manner. “He told me that Yuu’s out of the hospital and should be back to work in two weeks. Have you seen him yet?”
“Report said that he was stable, so I went to see him in the hospital the night after we were assigned to this case,” Guren replied almost smugly.
Cases were rarely assigned to anyone who had a personal investment, just to minimize the chance that the case, and the team working on the case, could be compromised. However, Guren just happened to turn in the final report for their previous case on the day that it occurred and coincidentally volunteered them on the basis that they were already operating in the area.
The director really should have known something was up the moment that it took Guren less than a day to turn in a report.
“As soon as I get my hands on those bastards...”
His superior was most definitely a professional, Goshi thought, wincing for the guys who they were after. “I don’t like how Ferid’s still running the place with one worker in the later parts of the day. Apparently he told the new guy that nothing like that happened in the past few years – Didn’t Ferid move to that location because his old place burned down last year or something?”
“He’s not breaking any laws, there isn’t anything we can do about it,” Guren pointed out. “If anything, we’re supposed to be catching the culprits. And yes, Yuu was out of work for the three weeks that it took Ferid to get things figured out.”
"There should be a law made,” Goshi mused, as his thoughts went back to the ever smiling new barista. “So, considering how that new barista sticks out like a sore thumb, how long do you think until someone beats that smile clear off his face?”
“Tomorrow by me, and everyone else best get in line,” Guren growled in reply.
Goshi swore he heard Guren mutter something along the lines of “how dare he call me bitter, who does he think he is”.
Yup, his superior was still obviously very bitter.
“Yuu, it’s me, let me in.”
The door opened, but rather than a mop of black hair coming to greet him, it was a blond teen around Yuu’s age who answered the door. The teen looked at him up and down, then frowned. “Are you Guren? You don’t look like a cop.”
“That’s because I’m not a cop. You’re Mika, the one Yuu keeps talking about, aren’t you?” Guren asked as the blonde boy stood aside to let him in. “How is he-“
Upon entering the small apartment, he was blindsided into the hallway wall by something-
“Ow! Ugh! Forget me ever worrying about you!” Guren snapped, prying the boy off of him. By boy, he really meant a young man who was almost seventeen. He watched as the boy groaned, and his blond friend dutifully came and supported him with an arm.
“You seem lively enough for someone who was beat to a pulp a week ago. Look, I even brought you food, be more thankful.”
“Yes, I’m Mika. And Yuu, you’re not going to heal any faster at this rate,” Mika said, rolling his eyes.
“It was five against one, it wasn’t fair,” Yuu whined, reaching to take the grocery bags from the older man with the hand that wasn’t in a cast and sling.
“I’ll just put them on the kitchen counter,” Guren wisely decided, upon getting a good look at the boy’s state. “You should be in bed.”
“That’s what Mika keeps saying!” Yuu attempted to throw his hands up in the air, then let out a groan as his body let him know how bad of an idea it was. “If I had a weapon or something...”
“You could have thrown cups of hot water at them,” Mika suggested thoughtfully. “Or shot them with the gun that Ferid keeps under the counter.”
“Ferid keeps a what under the counter?!” Guren turned to stare at the blonde haired boy, Yuu only half a second behind him.
“No, of course he doesn’t,” Mika replied, giving them both a no shit expression. “I’m not sure why he bothers to keep that shop around considering how much he complained about it all the time. It’s not like he doesn’t have five more around town, honestly.”
Guren shook his head, feeling a headache starting to develop. Why did this always happen every time he decided to be nice enough to visit... He let out a sigh, rubbing his temples. “Are you related to Ferid?”
Mika smiled thinly. “He saved me from a bad situation once, and I had nowhere to go... So I ended up moving in with him for a couple years. All I’m going to say is that I got a free place to stay, was well fed, and there’s really nothing more you need to know, officer. Well, other than that I’m now living with Yuu.”
Guren decided not to pry, despite his professional instincts screamed at him. He told himself that he was off and that someone else could open this can of worms. Maybe he could tip Goshi off, as soon as they were finished with this case. He was sure the other man would be more than happy to open a case on Ferid due to the rumors that had sprung up concerning the wily and flamboyant man.
“He’s undercover, you’re not supposed to call him, ‘Officer’,” Yuu scolded, correcting the other boy. “Just call him Stupid Guren, or something.”
“Have fun taking care of him,” Guren solemnly told Mika, deciding to ignore Yuu, who was now grumbling about being able to take care of himself. “We’re still working on catching those guys who attacked you – my team is assigned to it, and we’ve got a few leads. I don’t have time to hang out to-“
“You never have time to hang out,” Yuu muttered rebelliously. “When are you going to have time again?”
Guren paused, staring at the boy with a frown. It was true, since he was promoted a year ago, he was assigned to cases rather than patrol routes, and he knew he spent much more time on them than he had to. But the longer he worked on them, the sooner that the culprits could be caught and... His eyes focused back on Yuu who was pouting at him.
The boy had no blood relation to him – he was merely a victim who he had saved four years ago on one of his first calls fresh out of the academy. It was a domestic violence call when the neighbours heard shouting coming from the suite next door. Guren had thrown the door open to reveal a child screaming and fighting against his parents. The boy had been bleeding from various wounds and he was defending himself with one of the kitchen chairs but his eyes were wide with terror.
Between Mito, Shigure, Goshi, and himself they arrested his parents, and Sayuri tended to the boy’s wounds as the ambulance arrived.
The boy was moved from foster to foster home in the area with each previous foster home complaining about his rowdiness. Guren found himself visiting the boy from time to time for a reason that he couldn’t pin, much to his squad’s amusement.
“Maybe it’s because you know what it’s like to grow up without parents,” Sayuri had suggested kindly.
“I don’t want to be his dad!” Guren quickly snapped.
“Maybe he reminds you of yourself? I mean, he reminded me of you...” Goshi had commented.
“I’m not a brat!” Guren had thrown up his hands in exasperation. “I- Is it wrong for me to check up on the kid every now and then?”
However if there was one thing he knew, it was that there was no way that he could make a good father, not now, not back then.
“As soon as we catch these guys, I’ll take a day off and we can all hang out,” Guren promised as Yuu watched him skeptically.
“Fine, but only if you teach me something cool,” Yuu replied, arms crossed. "Sure thing." Guren nodded, tousling the boy’s dark hair as he left the two.
He took the stairs down from the fourth floor, pausing as he approached the second floor when the door swung open to let someone into the stairwell. He cursed inwardly at his luck when the stranger turned to look up at him, smiling. “You again.”
“Hello, Guren, fancy meeting you here.” It was the barista from earlier, out of his work clothes and dressed casually in faded slim jeans and a plain black jacket. He carried a rather large guitar case off of one shoulder with a combination lock dangling off of it, and a helmet in his other hand. “You live here too?” The man asked, following him as he walked past and continued down the stairs.
“I don’t, thank all the lords,” Guren replied, his headache threatening to returning.
“That’s unfortunate, I thought I’d have an interesting neighbour,” the man said with a sigh. “I suppose I’ll just have to wait for you to visit me in the shop every afternoon.”
“I go there for coffee, not to visit you. I should think about going to another coffee shop,” Guren growled. “Stop following me.”
“You shouldn’t get angry at innocent civilians, you know,” was the cheerful comment that he received for his troubles.
“Then maybe you should stop following me.”
“But I feel safer following you down the only flight of stairs in this building.” Guren winced at the sarcastic comment delivered in a cheerful tone, knowing that he had walked right into it. The other man was right; the building was small and only had this one flight of stairs. It didn’t even have an elevator, despite being a 5 floor building. “Especially since I feel that something terrible might occur tonight.”
“Then maybe you should stay home.”
“Unfortunately I cannot. My eldest brother asked me to play for him.”
"Tell him to hire a better guitar player.”
“How rude, this isn’t even a guitar. It’s a bass,” came the mock indignant reply.
“Don’t even,” the barista cut him off, shaking his head as he stood by the curb where a bike was parked while Guren continued to walk to his car. “Alas, this is where we must part. Farewell for now~”
Relieved that the barista was finally leaving him alone, Guren turned to visually confirm that the man was indeed no longer following him. However, he ended up staring at a pair of playful blue eyes that stared back at him. Properly putting on both straps of his case, the barista smirked and winked at him, then put on his helmet, got on his bike, and drove off.
And that left him standing there like an idiot.