Most wouldn’t consider the bustle of a cafe to be the best place to study, but…well, Sasuke’s never really been typical. The background ambience is just enough to serve as white noise without distracting him, pouring over books and paper with his laptop atop the table.
Besides, they have bottomless coffee here. And he sure as hell can’t turn that down.
Mechanical pencil between his lips, teeth nibbling the stub that remains of its tab, he skims an article while waiting for yet another cup of coffee. It’s a quiet day for once.
Or, at least…it was.
The familiar voice instantly earns a sigh and bow of his head. Removing the utensil, Sasuke mutters, “Naruto…”
“So is this where you keep disappearing to, huh?” Without so much as an invitation, the blond settles into the booth across from him, ever-present grin wide across his face. “Isn’t this library kinda stuff?”
“I don’t like the library.”
“Eh? How come?”
“…too stuffy.” And by ‘stuffy’ he means people staring. It annoys him.
“Oh, well…uh, okay.” Blues blink, looking a little confused. “…you gonna be here long?”
“Probably.” A pause, knowing Naruto has more to say, contemplating not asking and leaving him hanging. “…why?”
“Well, a few guys and I were gonna go to the game, and -”
“Aw, c’mon! When was the last time you did something other than study or mope in your room?”
An incredulous stare. “…I don’t mope -”
“Yes you do! Y’gotta get out and do something, Sasuke.”
Before he can retort, there’s a slight, ‘Oh!” to his left, drawing his gaze. The waitress from earlier apparently wasn’t expecting him to have company. “Do, ah…do you n-need something?” Nonetheless, she puts Sasuke’s coffee down, which he wordlessly accepts.
“Who, me? Nah,” Naruto replies, a hand rubbing at his neck. “Just trying to drag a friend out for a few.” After a pause, Naruto blinks. “Hey…aren’t you in my Lit class?”
“Yeah! You sit a few rows ahead of me! You’re, like…the only person who takes notes!”
Sipping his drink, Sasuke glances over. It’s true, she looks about their age, but her babyface is a bit betraying. Pale eyes - blue, no…lilac? Interesting - look out from under nervous brows.
“I…y-yes, I have a Literature class.”
“Nice! Too bad you’re working, or I’d drag you along instead of Mr. Stick-in-the-mud over here.”
As Sasuke sighs, the young woman goes pink, stuttering a mix of an apology and a thank-you.
“Maybe next time, eh? Anyway…I better go if I don’t wanna miss the festivities!” Winking an eye, he gives Sasuke a companionable punch in the arm, jostling him and earning a death glare. “See ya ‘round!”
“Good riddance,” Sasuke mutters, looking at the flecks of coffee on his hand that escaped over the rim at his friend’s shove.
“Oh, here -” From one of her apron pockets, the server fetches a napkin and dabs it away. “…s-sorry about that.”
“Not your fault,” Sasuke replies blithely. “…but thanks.” He gives her another glance. “…didn’t peg you for a uni student.”
“Yeah, I…work part time after classes.” A hand tucks hair behind her ear.
“I honestly thought you were high school age.”
That earns a surprised blink, and then a soft laugh. “Yeah…I g-get that a lot. Between the stutter and my face, people tend to think I’m p-pretty young. But I’m a sophomore.”
“Me too. Prepping for law - criminal justice.”
“I see! I’m humanities. I’d l-like to be a social worker.”
“S-so is being a lawyer!”
The corner of Sasuke’s lips lift. “…honestly it’s a little petty.”
“My father is a police chief.”
There’s a pause, and then a laugh she catches in a palm. “I-I see!”
“Hence all the studying. I…hope it’s not a problem.” He’s never thought to ask, but…well, no one’s ever asked him to leave. And he buys the odd snack on top of the coffee, just to keep something on his table as an excuse.
“Not at all. I’m just s-surprised you can study through all the noise.”
“I work better in a bit of it than in silence. And music is too distracting.”
A nod, and then a small start. “I just realized, I h-haven’t offered my name!”
“No need - it’s on your apron.”
Blinking, she looks down to the embroidered “Hinata” along the top hem. “…o-oh. I forgot…that was there.” Her cheeks tinge pink. “S-sorry.”
“No problem. And you probably heard Naruto, but…I’m Sasuke.”
“Well, it’s nice to officially meet you, Sasuke,” is Hinata’s reply, given alongside a smile. “Enjoy your coffee, and…good luck with your studies! L-let me know if you need anything else.”
“Will do.” Watching her go, he nurses his mug again. He has to admit…she’s a little charming. Maybe even a little cute.
…better not tell Naruto that. Something else for him to pester him about…