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24 hours

Chapter Text

Maka lazily dragged the cloth across the counter of the dingy diner her dad owned, the neon sign near the front door proudly announcing they were open 24 hours a day. When she was a kid, she had thought it was kind of cool, especially since she always saw odd and interesting people enter the dingy restaurant after the sun set. Now, the endearment was over and Maka felt like the customers were mostly always vile men that she despised completely. It was unfortunate as she was in charge of the place while her dad took care of some affairs. She shook her head, refusing to let her father's behavior ruin her mood.

She always took the night shift, while her dad came back by dawn to take over her place. They had considered hiring someone to help them, but had decided against, firstly because as her father proudly announced to anyone willing to hear, "it's a family business!" And secondly, because their profits weren't that big, and they couldn't really afford someone else staying there. Especially since most of the times, the diner was empty. That was the state Maka found it in, save for an old lady, covered in a dark cloak, who Maka suspected was sleeping. She decided to let the women rest, and the place was quiet enough that even she felt like her eyes would close any second now. It had been a pretty uneventful night, like most were, and she wished something would happen.

And then the bell above the door rang and Maka's eyes turned to it and were met by burning red, red eyes and she couldn't help but smile. The boy that was slowly dragging himself to the counter, half asleep, was her favorite customer. Not only did his appearance intrigue her, but the way he always seemed to forget they had ever talked made her imagination run wild when it came to the stories the boy had to tell and why he always seemed so tired, showing up at the weirdest times of the day.

She stopped cleaning and moved to stand in front of him, the cloth thrown in the sink and she placed one hand at her hip. "What will it be today?"

He looked up at her, smiling softly, without showing his teeth, "I'd say it's better to start with a coffee, Blondie."

She felt her cheeks heat up and casually turned around to make the said coffee. Shouldn't she, a barmaid, be accustomed to being called pet names by strangers? Very handsome strangers, she thought, before shushing herself and turning her face into the friendly and heatless expression she usually worn.

"Here," and she placed the cup in front of him, only half turning away from him so she could still see him from the corner of her eye. He quickly emptied the cup's contents and Maka intently watched the way his eyes closed and the way his throat moved before she caught herself and fully turned around, admonishing herself. He was just a boy that usually came to her diner at hours when anyone else would be asleep and always looked like he should be sleeping already. No need to get all worked up over him, no matter how good-looking he was.

She was so absorbed in her thoughts that it was only the gentle tap on her elbow that snapped her to reality. "Hey, don't mean to bother," he drawled, voice husky and eyes drooping, "but could you get me another coffee, maybe?" He asked, smiling again, before laying his head on the counter.

She was going to turn and take his order, because you never denied an order to a client, but the words left her lips before she could stop herself. "All that coffee can't be good for your health." She almost regretted saying it, but he snorted and she decided that it was okay.

"Can't sleep." He said, smile sardonic, "Besides, it's freezing outside. Coffee warms you up." He continues, managing to shrug even while half laying on the counter.

"Well, there are other warm things besides coffee." She insisted, hands on her hips because the bags below his eyes looked really bad and coffee wasn't going to help him.

"Alright." He said, and Maka would swear that she could see amusement in his eyes. "What do you have for me?"

"There's cake." She offered, sheepish, thinking about the chocolate cake that was still in the oven, made for her and her father, and not the customers, but she figured it'd be okay. "Chocolate cake."

He stood straighter, grinning, and she got a glimpse of the sharp teeth he tried so hard to hide. "That's my favorite." He announced, and he seemed alive, for once, and Maka couldn't help but grin back at him.

"It's in the back, I'll go see if it's ready to take out of the oven." She said, and she was almost at the kitchen when she turned back, and found him staring at her. "Don't go anywhere, alright?"

"There's no where else I'd like to go."