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12 Cups

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           The sun was just starting to rise above Beacon Hills, and only a handful of residents were awake and driving the streets. Those few who were mercilessly awake were making their way to the newest coffee shop in town, Café Luna. The daughter of the Martin family, the richest family in town, had recently graduated from Harvard, and during her boredom from graduating early whilst the rest of her friends were still in school, she decided to open a coffee shop.

            The desire stemmed more from a stint of boredom than contempt towards Starbucks, the only other coffee shop in town, but it was still a necessary change in Lydia’s eyes. Sure, there was always diner coffee, but Lydia Martin shot her friends a contemptuous look when they suggested she regularly drink the closest relative to dishwater. Thus, Café Luna was born.

            Lydia wanted to present only the best, so the coffee served was only the best, and a friend of hers prepared the food, though the recipes were kept top-secret. Many of her closest friends had attended Beacon Community College, so she had suckered them all into playing a part in the shop. Her boyfriend, Jackson, was the main cashier to attract the female college populous, while Allison made all of the drinks. Allison was gifted with the skills to consistently make amazing drinks at a relatively fast pace, leaving her the best barista Lydia could ask for. The girl’s boyfriend, Scott, was a bit of a klutz, but his skills in the kitchen were second to few. All it had taken was a few hopeful looks from Allison while Lydia asked him to bake for the shop for the boy to join the team.

            Lydia considered hiring others in the town, but with the booming success of Café Luna, she didn’t want to mess up the pattern. The only exception came when a bumbling bundle of flailing limbs and chatter wandered into the shop. Stiles was back from Berkeley for the summer, and Lydia eagerly swept her old high school competitor into the fold of her café.

            Despite only being open for half a year, Café Luna was a town favorite. Locals always chose Café Luna over Starbucks, though college students often found themselves camped out in the chain coffee store for the peace and quiet, effectively keeping the store in business.  Most, however, preferred the cozy, spacious café, with decent prices and a tightly knit staff, despite the constant flow of people in and out every day. The Beacon Hills County Police Department was also partial to having Café Luna for their morning coffee instead of canned break room coffee.

            That’s how Deputy Hale found himself eyeing the hyperactive man from across the counter on his way to work. As one of the newest members of the Department, he had to get the morning coffee. Usually Erica would pick it up, since she was a morning person, but she was sick that morning. Her boyfriend and fellow newbie, Boyd, wasn’t scheduled to come into work until later that day, so Derek was stuck picking up the coffee for the rest of the squad.

            “I’m sorry, you want how many?” Stiles asked the uniformed man. He was beginning to think the two shots of espresso he had downed 20 minutes ago were starting to mess with his brain.

            “Twelve large dark roasts.” Derek repeated, eyebrows conveying his discontent.

            Stiles nodded slowly and counted out cups to fill. As he filled the cups, capped them and stuck them into holders, he hummed a bit. He wanted to make conversation with the slice of handsome standing on the other side of the counter but in true Stiles fashion, none of the planned openers actually came out. Instead, “So… having a rough morning?”

            Derek looked up at the barista, startled and confused. Stiles nodded towards the accumulating cups of coffee, “Rough morning?”

            With a sigh, Derek gave the barista a look, “They’re not all for me.”

            Stiles nodded, realizing the officer did not want to talk, but simply charged him the $15 for the drinks before watching the man expertly balance the drink caddies atop one another on his way out. Not that he would admit to watching the muscles stretch along the man’s arms as he balanced, but the arms on him were… illegal, they had to be.

            Lydia walked in minutes later to find Stiles zoned out, staring at the door.

            “Stiles.” She looked at him expectantly when his head snapped up.

            He fumbled for words before sighing and just saying, “Muscles.” Lydia rolled her eyes and walked to the back office to work on the financial report for June. It wasn’t until later when he was placing the breakfast sandwiches that Scott had made into the display case that he registered that Mr. Bad Day was dressed in uniform and was probably picking up coffee for his coworkers. Stiles had to use great restraint to keep from banging his head against the counter when he made that connection. It wasn’t not like his dad was the Sheriff or anything. It wasn’t like Stiles had been frequenting the police station since his father was a deputy there, and he knew most of the people working there. It wasn’t like word travelled quickly in the department, especially when Stiles did something stupid (read: went out in public). Mr. Bad Day must have been a new recruit, since he had only been away for a few years. Stiles groaned again at his startlingly slow deductions, ignoring the fact that it had been before sunrise, his usual excuse in the morning.

            When Jackson strolled into the café around 8, he rolled his eyes at the boy pacing behind the counter and pushed him over towards Allison, who was making some weird concoction of fruit and coffee. She gave Stiles a kind smile and asked him to make espresso shots for the drinks. Stiles was kept busy doing prep work for Allison, since not even Stiles trusted himself to make drinks up to Allison’s standards. He tried to help Scott, but the two just got ridiculously distracted trying to put brownies in scones and cupcakes, so Lydia had to ban Stiles from the kitchen during the lunch rush.

            Stiles promised Lydia to work the morning shifts, so long as he only had to do it Thursday through Sunday. The rest of the days he wanted to sleep in and see if he could get some research done for the professor he was working with next semester. On second thought, Stiles figured he should probably do some work on the Honors Thesis paper that he was supposed to have done next year, but he figured he had a year, so he could procrastinate at least half of that, right?

            Either way, Stiles adjusted to working at the absurdly early morning hours for half the week, but he didn’t see the handsome Mr. Bad Day again that week. A gorgeous blonde woman in uniform came in the following day picking up the large order, and a tall, quiet man, also in uniform (how many of them were there?! Stiles wondered) accompanied the gorgeous woman on Saturday and Sunday. With a sigh, he realized that he wouldn’t get to see the handsome man as often as he had hoped.

 


 

            Stiles woke up Monday morning with a contented sigh when he read the 10:20 flickering on his alarm clock. He rolled back over and was about to fall back asleep to try to finish the very nice dream he was having (that may or may not have involved a certain law enforcement officer), when his phone started ringing. Stiles groaned into his pillow and flopped his arm around near his nightstand under he made contact with his phone.

            “Hullo?” Stiles mumbled into the phone, not willing to put in the effort to lift his head from the fluffy pillow.

            “Stiles, are you just now waking up? Wait, don’t answer that, of course you are.” His dad sighed fondly into the phone. “Look, I need you to do me a favor and go pick up food for the Department. We’re working on a serial killer case, and I think one of the officers is going to turn into a murderer if there’s not food around soon. Would you mind picking up pizzas or something, son?”

            Stiles could hear the weary lilt in his voice, and swallowed a groan from having to get out of bed. He mumbled out some affirmative noise, “But I’m only picking up food that’s healthy. I’ll go pick up some sandwiches from Café Luna and I’ll be over in 30, ok?”

            The Sheriff just agreed with a small sigh towards his son’s efforts of being health-conscious. With a small grin, Stiles hung up on his dad and dialed the number for Café Luna. Placing the phone on speaker, he trudged over to his closet and plucked clothes out at random.

            “Hello?” Lydia’s pleasant business voice rang out through the tiny phone speaker.

            “Why don’t I ever get a greeting as pleasant as that? Am I not loved, oh Lydia, my love?” Stiles whined through a smile. He could practically hear Lydia rolling her eyes over the phone, but he pressed on.

            “I swear I’m not calling to annoy you, though that’s quite tempting. Could you have Scott put together 12 sandwiches for the station? Only one has to be healthy, and then he can do whatever he wants.” Lydia gave him the price and told him to drive by in 15 minutes to pick them.

            10 minutes later Stiles is trudging downstairs and out to his Jeep, barely functioning. He hardly remembers the 5-minute drive to Café Luna, and Alison seems to recognize that as he wanders into the shop. Stiles hands over his debit card to Jackson, who gives him a strange look as he yawns.

            “How are you so tired, Stilinski?” Jackson asked with a slight sneer

            Stiles merely glared, until Alison slid a tall coffee across the counter at him. He inhaled the steam with a relieved smile and sipped on the drink until Scott emerged from the back room, carrying a large paper bag.

            “Here you go, man. Your dad’s sandwich is all healthy with sprouts and everything,” Scott made a slight face, “and it’s labeled ‘Sheriff,’ so there should be no confusion.”

            Stiles flashed him a thankful smile, before sliding the bag into his arms, and nodding at the staff before exiting the shop, coffee already drained before he reached his car.

            The 5-minute drive to the police station took Stiles 10 minutes, because he was entirely too distracted from remembering his dreams and his Jeep stalled at a red light. He also may or may not have had to stop at the gas station on his way to save his Jeep from running on empty. When he finally pulled into the police station parking lot, the caffeine had hit him, and he was finally awake and ready to start his day.

            Larry was sitting at the front desk of the station, and once he saw Stiles, he smiled and nodded him towards the back, where the interrogation rooms and the Sheriff’s office were. Stiles grinned and strolled towards one of the meeting rooms. He quickly found the right room, as it was filled with exhausted looking officers and deputies. With a quick devious grin, Stiles bumped the door open with his hip and slid into the room.

            “I come bearing love!” He exclaimed loudly with a proud grin, “Or you know, sandwiches, however you want to see it.”

            Most of the members of the room rolled their eyes fondly at Stiles, except for the few in the back corner. Stiles tried not to drop the sandwiches he was extracting from the bag and passing around the main table when he noticed Mr. Bad Day was standing in the back corner with his arms crossed. He was actually standing next to the blonde woman and taller man who had picked up coffee that weekend, and Stiles looked closer at their uniforms, determining that they were deputies. Internally, Stiles was screaming and wondering is the Hot Deputy could just tell he was dreaming about him the previous night, until his dad pulled him out of his brain.

            Stiles slid out of the room with his dad, slipping the blatantly labeled sandwich into the Sheriff’s hands as they moved. The Sheriff smiled appreciatively, but rubbed his hand over his face.

            “Thanks for doing this, kiddo. We can’t figure this damn case out. Some of these guys have been here for almost 48 hours now and I just… I feel like we’re missing something.”

            Stiles nodded quietly, hoping if he didn’t speak, his father would give him some more information, something so Stiles could try to help figure out this serial killer. But his dad just looked at him.

            “Ah, thanks again, Stiles. Go home, though. You’re not getting involved in this one.” Stiles sighed overdramatically as his dad made his way across the hallway, back to the room.

            “Oh, when are you going to be home tonight, Dad?” Stiles asked, ever the worried son.

            The older man sighed and answered with a vague answer, meaning he may be camping out at the station. Stiles nodded softly and made his way back outside, but not before stealing one last glance at the Hot Deputy in the corner… who was staring back at him. Stiles did not squeak, thank you very much, and dashed out of the station, waving to Front Desk Larry on his way out.

            All that caffeine from his coffee earlier needed to go somewhere, so Stiles drove himself home and spent at least an hour in his backyard bouncing the lacrosse ball against the wall, laying in the grass, and just generally messing around outside. When he got bored with that, he spent some time playing World of Warcraft, but after two hours of that, he needed to move around. He called Scott to see when he finished with work, but got impatient and just jogged the entire way to Café Luna. He sat at a table close to the counter so he could chat with people as they walked in. Around 3, no one was waiting for a drink, so Allison sat with Stiles.

            “How are you doing Stiles?” She asked amicably.

            “Who is the new Hot Deputy?” Stiles blurted out, ignoring the slightly crazed look in his eye.

            Allison blinked and smothered a giggle, “Was it bugging you that much, Stiles?”

            Stiles rubbed his head and pushed his forehead against the wood table with a frustrated noise. “Yes!” He mumbled into the table.

            Allison laughed a bit, “His name is Derek Hale, Stiles. He used to live around here, apparently?”

            Stiles’ head popped back up at the new information, “Derek Hale? The one whose house burned down?”

            Allison shrugged, and excused herself quickly, so she could make a complex drink for Mrs. Baker. Stiles chewed his lip, trying to remember what he remembered of Derek Hale. He remembered he had a kick-butt sister, and his family always showed up to the town festivals… He hadn’t paid much attention to the eldest son, though.

            “Ahh!” Stiles screeched and flailed from shock, when Danny slapped his hand down on the boy’s shoulder.

            “Hi to you too, Stiles.” Danny said with a small smirk. Stiles mock-glared at him for a while, before chattering with him. Danny caught him up with some basic gossip he had missed while away (like how Mrs Perkins had managed to chuck her walker through almost all of her windows, so they had to hire a caregiver just to keep her from knocking out more windows. Somehow Stiles thought the windows weren’t the biggest problem there…), including the hiring of three new deputies. Danny gushed about Boyd, the tall, quiet man, who was unfortunately straight and dating the blonde deputy, Erica. When he talked about Derek and his muscles (his muscles!), Stiles smothered everything he wanted to say. He squirmed a bit when Danny started talking about the benefits of the Deputy uniform, but managed not to blurt out his newfound obsession with his dad’s coworker.

            When Stiles finally arrived home for the night, his dad was still not back from the station. He sighed at having to go to bed knowing his dad was still stressing at work, but decided sleep was necessary.


           

            The Sheriff came home late Monday night, and slept in Tuesday night, before heading back to the station to work over the case with the younger deputies who were more accustomed to working on minimal sleep. Derek greeted him with a cup of Café Luna coffee, and the older man raised an eyebrow at him. The man was pouting as much as the stoic man could, and Erica was smirking to herself while she looked at the county map that was covered in red X marks where the bodies were found.

            Boyd wore an amused look, and jotted a note on the napkin he used to hand a bagel to the Sheriff. The Sheriff subtly read the note as he opened his bagel.

 

 

            He didn’t get to see his new favorite barista at Café Luna.

            The Sheriff chuckled softly, glad the stoic man had something else in his life to distract from all the bad that seemed to befall him. While he ate his bagel gloriously smothered in butter and cream cheese, two illegal things in the Stilinski household, according to Stiles, he tried to figure out with whom Derek was infatuated. He normally wouldn’t pry, but Derek had unconsciously become his favorite within the department. The kid worked hard, occasionally cracked the best jokes, and always, always indulged the Sheriff in foods on Stiles’ official department-wide List of Foods the Sheriff is Banned From. So when he realized that, since Lydia was big on keeping a small but dedicated staff, the only new person who could be working at Café Luna could be none other than Stiles, he nearly choked on his bagel. The three deputies glanced over at him, but he waved his hand assuredly at them, so they went back to their map analysis. He tried really hard not to, but well, Stiles’ impulses did not come solely from his mother. The Sheriff couldn’t keep from staring at Derek, trying to picture his favorite deputy with his only son. It wasn’t as hard to imagine as he would have thought, the strange mix almost reminded the Sheriff of his relationship with his wife. Though the poor deputy would probably run far and fast when he really got to know Stiles, the older man decided with a sigh that he was too old for the matchmaking scene. The two men would have to figure this out for themselves. With a fond sigh, he eased himself out of the chair, and went back to studying the various victims, trying to make a connection.