Don't Be a Flake by Sereia

Don't Be a Flake

Author's musings: For SAFE 2021

Prompt: Coffee Shop AU


Don't Be a Flake

"Alright, so after you've selected the size they want, the flavour options will pop up, see here?" Kagome pointed to the left side of the ordering screen, slowly going over each one. "Once you've put in all of the flavours and toppings, you type in their name."

The dark-haired teen scrunched up her face, intensely concentrating on each step. Kagome smiled softly; it was Souten's first job and there was a lot for her to learn, but she was eager and determined regardless of her age and had been adapting well.

"What if I don't know how to spell their name?"

Kagome was unable to stifle her laughter, Souten bristling at the sound.

"Some people are weird about their names being spelled properly!" the teen argued.

"I know, I know. If you're not sure, just ask them to spell it for you. Better safe than sorry."

Nodding, Souten went through the process again, typing up a few mock orders, then checking them on the receipts.

"When do I get to start learning how to make the drinks?"

Kagome grinned, patting her on the shoulder. "I'm going to keep you on the till for now. I'll be here to make the drinks for the first few days so you can get used to the system. We'll look into you making the drinks next week."

"The whole point of me being here is so I can run the front while you focus on the cooking and baking part. Shouldn't I start doing all of it right away?"

She had a point.

Opening a café had been Kagome's dream for years and she'd finally saved enough for a down payment three years ago. That, and all of the necessary equipment needed to actually run the shop, had put a serious dent in her savings, but she was finally at the point where she could pay someone else to do the job for her.

Baked goods were her specialty but even she knew that if there weren't fancy coffees to go along with them, no money would be made. So, she'd taken the extra courses, paid for the extra supplies, and was on her way to actually making a profit this year.

Which meant she could start taking a step back and just enjoy making the food. Mixing ingredients together was always fun, but people tended to savour food longer than drinks.

The smiles from their first bite lasted longer too.

"Let's get through today and we'll see how things go. Prove you can handle taking the orders and then we'll move onto making them. Some people like to rattle off their order like they're late for life, so you have to pay attention."

Souten pouted but agreed. She practiced taking orders for almost an hour, Kagome providing basic and random variations to keep her on her toes. She did well for the most part but dealing with real customers was something else entirely.

Fifteen minutes before opening, she had Souten do a last-minute sweep of the floors and check the tables to make sure all the place settings were correct. Once she'd double-checked everything herself, she unlocked the front door. Souten straightened, on alert and ready for the first customer.

Kagome could tell she was nervous, but she met each person with a smile, taking her time to ensure each order was correct before sending it down the line to Kagome. Even with it being her first day, everything ran smoothly.

For an hour.

Kagome grabbed the next order, forcing herself not to roll her eyes at what was on it. What was it with pumpkin and this time of year? It was such an odd flavour and the only reason she carried it was because it seemed to be popular with everyone in their early twenties.

She'd flat out refused to put any of it into her baking though.

Grimacing as she mixed shots of not only pumpkin syrup but espresso, mocha, and chai as well, she heated it up hotter than usual. Refusing to look up, knowing she'd find some eccentric hipster with an ascot and possibly a man-bun, she added the flavoured whipped cream and crystalized pumpkin sugar before snapping the lid on and sliding it across the counter.

"Order for Sayuri."

Kagome grabbed the next order then cleaned off the milk steamer and grabbed a jug of milk out of the fridge behind her. Passing by the counter again, she paused, a frown tugging at her lips.

The previous order was untouched, sitting in the same place she'd left it.

She checked the label again. "Order for Sayuri!" No one moved towards the counter and Kagome glanced over at Souten with a confused expression.

The teen motioned to her right. "It's for him."

Turning around, Kagome found herself entranced by a set of hazel eyes. They caught the light of the morning sun filtering in through the large glass windows and turned the colour of molten gold.

Her breath caught. She'd never seen eyes that colour before. The male they belonged to raised an eyebrow at her and she remembered herself, offering him the beverage.


"That is not my name."

Kagome frowned and looked at Souten again, who was now sporting a dark blush. Stifling a sigh and forcing a smile, she turned back to the customer.

"I apologize. It's her first day and she's still learning the system, she must've misspelled it. What's your actual name?"


Not even close, Souten.

Stormy eyes turned to the teen and Souten gave her a panicked look.

"You were serious?! I thought you were joking!"


"That doesn't even sound like a real name!"


Souten's mouth snapped shut and she winced under the weight of Kagome's glare.

"That is inappropriate and no way to talk to customers. I told you to clarify if you were unsure."


"I'm not the one you need to apologize to."

Souten turned to the customer and bowed low, the proof of her embarrassment heating the back of her neck as her small hands clenched at her sides. The customer gave her a curt nod, then accepted his cup. The high temperature of his beverage seemed to pacify him enough to take a drink before leaving the counter.

Only for him to instantly spit it out, covering Kagome in the process.

They both coughed and sputtered, Kagome gasping in surprise as the man cursed under his breath. Reaching into her apron, she pulled out a clean rag, wiping her face as she shot daggers at the man.

"Was that necessary? She made a mistake and apologized—"

He slammed the cup down on the counter, his face full of disgust. "That is not what I ordered."

Souten whimpered next to them, both of them turning on her at the same time. Kagome grimaced, her skin already sticky from the sugary concoction. She supposed she should've been grateful that it hadn't actually burned her, but she was too busy trying to come up with a reason not to fire her new assistant.

"Everyone's been ordering the Pumpkin Spice Mocha-Chai Latte! No one's asked for a regular coffee today! I thought—"

"Do I look like someone who drinks pumpkin anything?"

For the love of everything holy, don't answer that.

The panicked teen eyed the customer nervously, then squeaked out, "Yes? It matches your eyeshadow."

Kagome fought the urge to bang her head against the counter. And the cash register. And the equipment next to her. Then, she was going to rip the equipment off the wall and beat her assistant with it for good measure.

However, her curiosity won over her rage, and she stole a glance at the customer. He was indeed wearing metallic orange eyeshadow, the edges darkening into a vibrant red that matched the tips of his professionally manicured nails.

She was actually quite impressed. He didn't look like the type of person who chose a humble coffee shop on his morning commute. He seemed too high-end to be here. Maybe his regular place was closed today.

"The intricacy of my makeup has nothing to do with my taste in coffee. That saccharine swill you just tried to feed me is grotesque."

"Well… I just thought… I mean—" She gestured wildly to his sleek ensemble of fitted, dark silk. "Well, you know…considering…"


The teen jumped a foot in the air, her previous flush completely draining from her face.

"Don't you ever insinuate something like that about anyone. I don't care that you're Shippou's girlfriend, I will fire you."

Souten had the decency to look completely ashamed and nodded fervently. Her eyes darted between her boss and the customer, seeming to wonder which one she was in more trouble with.

"Go get a mop and clean this mess up. Now." Her tone left no room for arguments and Souten immediately scampered away. Kagome sucked in a deep breath, wiping the remaining latte from her face, then turned back to the customer,

"I sincerely apologize. She shouldn't have done that. It was—"

"I want to speak to your manager."

Her mind went blank. But only for a moment. The apologetic smile became more of a baring of teeth, and she squared her shoulders, soft sapphire hardening to stormy indigo.

"I am the manager. And the owner for that matter."

His perfectly dusted eyelids blinked once. Twice.

"Look, she's apologized. I've apologized. I'm now going to comp your order and include one of my signature Apple Rose pastries, and you're welcome to never return. But do not make the situation worse by assuming that I am not capable of running my own establishment."

"All I require is the coffee. Black."

She poured him the largest size, then grabbed the flakey pastry out of the display case, the fragrant scent of apples and cinnamon wafting between them.

He wrinkled his nose, avoiding the food as he reached for the drink. "I am not a fan of desserts."

"It's not a dessert, it's a breakfast pastry."

"It is still filled with sugar." He pursed his lips as he eyed the pumpkin mixture on the counter.

Kagome pulled his coffee out of his reach, still holding the Apple Rose to him. "I guarantee you'll like it. It's my own recipe."

"I do not eat sweets."

Souten finally returned, the handle of the mop clutched tightly in her hands as she avoided both of their gazes. She quickly cleaned up the mess on the floor, then grabbed another rag and wiped down the counters.

"Now you're insulting my baking skills."

"That is not—"

"I'll make you a deal," she said, placing the pastry on a plate and sliding it towards him. "Try it. Take one bite and if you don't love it, I'll give you free coffee for a year."

A pale eyebrow rose, stretching out his fiery eyeshadow. He stared at her for a moment, clearly contemplating her offer. Kagome knew how good her pastries were—this one especially—and she was willing to take the risk even with his reaction to the pumpkin latte.

"Come on, Sesshoumaru, what have you got to lose? You're either getting a year's worth of coffee, or a delicious treat for free."

An interesting gleam swirled in his eyes at the sound of his name, and she raised her chin, daring him to say anything. He finally let out a sigh and lifted the Apple Rose to his lips, his nostrils flaring before taking a bite.

Kagome prided herself in being able to read people. It was one of the reasons she enjoyed baking so much. The way people's facial features twitched when they ate were very telling as to how much they were enjoying the food.

This man, Sesshoumaru, was no exception. She had to give him credit for trying though. The muscles in his jaw clenched as he tried not to react, but his eyes gave him away. They widened in shock as the sticky apple petals hit his taste buds, his tongue darting out to clear the glaze from his perfectly painted lips.

She watched as he chewed slowly, admiring the way it tightened his neck muscles. A loose, burgundy scarf was draped over his shoulders, but she still had a clear view of his pale collarbones. Forcing herself to meet his gaze, Kagome couldn't—and didn't—stop a smirk from breaking out onto her face.

"Well?" Shifting her weight, her hands resting on her hips.

He swallowed as slowly as he'd been chewing, and her eyes flickered to his throat again. "I will continue to pay for my coffee."

Her shoulders shook with laughter before she leaned over the counter, mirth dancing in her eyes. "Told you."


"Again, I apologize for Souten's behaviour. She's young but that's no excuse."

He gave her a curt nod before sinking his teeth into the pastry again. Flashing him a genuine smile, she continued to watch him eat, thankful that he'd been the last of the morning rush, everyone else in the café quietly enjoying their breakfasts and caffeinated drinks.

"You are staring."

"Sorry, I just find it fascinating how you can eat that and not smudge your lipstick at the same time."

A pale, sculpted eyebrow rose, giving her another glimpse of his meticulous eye makeup. "You must use toner and always have concealer with you. Knowing which brands to use is key as well."

"Good to know. Though I don't think I've bought regular makeup let alone good makeup in years." She ran a hand through hair, wincing when her fingers got stuck, the multiple syrups from Souten's mix-up congealing against her scalp. She pulled an elastic out of her apron and pulled her hair back as best she could into a loose ponytail on the top of her head.

"You would not need much. Contouring is unnecessary with your bone structure."

A faint blush dusted her cheeks but she managed to keep the smile on her face as she reached into the display case again. "Flattery will get you one more Apple Rose, but don't push your luck."

"I do not need luck." The tension in his shoulders had ebbed, one hand sliding into the pocket of his leather pants as he accepted the bagged pastry.

She laughed again. "Are you always this charming after being insulted?"

"I have not begun to be charming."

Kagome opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by Souten tugging on the back of her apron, her eyes on the floor.

"The broth is starting to boil."

"Thanks. Turn off the elements but leave the lids on. Then go check on the condiment station and stock up if needed."

Souten nodded, then slunk away again, her shoulders hunched in embarrassment. Kagome sighed softly; she still had a lot to learn when it came to dealing with customers.

She turned to bid Sesshoumaru goodbye only to find him licking the remnants of the second Apple Rose off his fingers. Feeling a little daring, she reached around the cash register, and plucked a business card out of the holder. Then, turning it over, she wrote something on the back before handing it to him.

"I run a baking class every Wednesday. Next week I'd planned on doing the Apple Rose pastries. If you come, you can learn to make them yourself."

He took the card from her, his thumb grazing her fingers in the process. She suppressed a shiver. Pocketing the card, he raised his cup to her in a silent toast, then exited the café.

"Men like that shouldn't be allowed out during daylight hours," she grumbled to herself as soon as the front door clicked shut. She smirked. His effect on people was probably worse at night, so maybe it was better that he'd shown up while the sun was still up.

Casting a quick glance at Souten, she ducked into the back, measuring out the next set of ingredients for the soups and doing her best to ignore the tingle of hope that lingered at the base of her spine for the rest of the day.


It was exactly thirteen days later when Sesshoumaru next set foot in the café.

Souten had made very few mistakes since that disastrous first day and Kagome was able to spend most of her time in the back now, focusing on coming up with new combinations for her pastry fillings. A large tray of croissants stuffed with strawberry custard was balanced on her hip as she transferred the freshly baked pastries into the display case.

"Have you been playing with the food colouring again? I thought you'd already decided on the donut toppings for Halloween."

"What do you mean?" Kagome asked.

Souten pointed to the corner of her mouth. "There's purple on your face."

A blush spilled onto Kagome's cheeks and she dragged her palm across her mouth, her skin coming back a deep plum. Cursing under her breath, she brushed the remaining crumbs off the tray.

"Something like that. How's the morning rush been?"

"Not too bad. Most were the regulars." Souten grabbed a handful of napkins. "Some lady left her kid alone at the condiment station while you were out, so now I have to restock everything."

Kagome chuckled. It hadn't been the first time and it certainly wouldn't be the last, but Souten didn't blow up about it anymore. She really only needed help during peak hours when everyone was scrambling to get to or from work, and was now able to defuse most situations that came her way.

The door opened as Souten was walking back towards the register and the teen turned to greet the customer, a practiced smile on her face.

"Welcome to—" She immediately stiffened, her hands gripping the counter as her voice took on a robotic tone. "Hello sir, how can I be of service to you today?"

Kagome bit her lip to keep herself from laughing, Souten's eyes wide with apprehension as Sesshoumaru strode up to the counter.

"A large black coffee and one of whatever just came out of the oven."

Souten gave a jerky nod, then jumped when Kagome patted her on the shoulder, sliding a cup and one of the strawberry croissants across the counter.

"I got this one, Souten."

"But I thought he lost the bet?" Souten blurted.

"He did. Now he has to try every new thing I come up with until he comes across something he doesn't actually like."

Sesshoumaru's painted lips curved into a smirk, the colour bearing a striking resemblance to the smears on Kagome's face from earlier.

Souten frowned, noticing how his hand seemed to caress Kagome's as she handed over his order. His nails were turquoise this time, the ends tipped in silver.

"Hope you like strawberries."

"If I did not already, I am sure this will change my mind."

"At least you're being honest with yourself now," she said, flashing him a smile.

"Until next time, Kagome." His pale hair swirled around him as he turned around, raising his coffee over his shoulder before walking out the door.

Kagome watched him go, then picked up her tray again, heading towards the large refrigerator. Souten's head swivelled side to side between the two adults.

"That was totally weird. He was so scary before. And I thought you didn't like him!."

Kagome shrugged, placing the tray in the rack to be washed, then opened the fridge. "People can change. Let me know when the next batch of muffins needs to go in."

"Alright. Wait—" Souten's eyes widened as Kagome's hand lingered on the door handle. "Why do you have the same nail polish as him?!"


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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