Work Header

you, i kind of like you.

Chapter Text

Sayaka enjoyed working at Herbal Harmony. Some days she found herself craving her shift. The rustic, light wooden walls contrasted greatly with the rich greens of all the plants scattered about, giving the quaint building a rather warm feel. Even the accenting lights and various artworks that were hung up provided an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. Her apartment couldn't have provided an aroma so cozy.

She didn't even mind her strange coworker, Midari, who would purposely burn her hands while brewing tea sometimes.

"Ah, fuck!" Midari shouted with a hint of underlying bliss, "I wonder if this is what the depths of hell feel like!"

On second thought, maybe she did mind.

"Midari!" Sayaka rushes from her station in front of the register towards the masochist, "how many times must I tell you to at least wait until the end of your shift to indulge in your fantasies?"

"We never get customers at this time!" Midari whined, stomping her foot much like a child throwing a temper tantrum while her coworker yanked her hand under the nearest faucet. She frowned as the cold water hit her burn, soothing some of the pain.

"That isn't the issue here," Sayaka darted a glare towards the woman, "however since you've brought it up, maybe there could've been a customer at this time. What if they heard you being disgusting and we lost business? What then?"

Midari snorted, "relax, would ya? I doubt it. You're way too serious."

After applying a bandage to the injury, Sayaka flicks her coworker's forehead, "it is a valid concern! A reasonable one, in fact!"

Midari's eyes widen as Sayaka's complaints go in one ear and out the other. "Do that again!"

"No." Sayaka hisses.

A chime is heard, gaining their attention and alerting both of them that they have a customer.

"Be right with you!" Sayaka shouts as she inspects Midari's hand one last time, "will you be okay to keep brewing the tea tonight?"

Midari rolls her eyes, "yes, mother."

Right. A masochist like her would welcome the pain. Why did she even ask?

She sighs before making her way back to the register. The customer that's waiting for her instantly makes her heart pound.

A woman is standing before her, looking rather flawless. She's a few inches taller than Sayaka, has snowy white hair styled in two braided loops, dazzling aquamarine eyes with matching blue lipstick and nail polish, and an elegant posture that screams confidence.

Well, if Sayaka ever doubted her sexuality, she was sure of it now.

Sayaka's face reddens and she gapes at her for a moment before remembering she must serve her. "Ah! W-welcome to Herbal Harmony. May I take your order or would you like a moment to look over the menu?"

The stranger stares just as long at the barista as if she's trying to remember every detail of Sayaka, before grinning, "chai tea, please."

Sayaka thinks that voice must be what the gates of heaven opening sounds like.

"Of course," Sayaka responds, far too quickly for her liking. Fidgeting in place, she tacks on, "would you like anything to eat with that?"

"Just the tea is fine, thank you, Sayaka," her grin widens.

Sayaka jumps, startled by the mention of her name, "h-how did you know my name?"

Kirari leans over the counter, resting her elbows on the smooth surface while her amusement never fades, "you're wearing a nametag, no?"

Oh. Duh.

Sayaka feels her palms sweating and nervously wrings them together, trying to form a response that won't embarrass her further.

She doesn't have to. Thank god.

Midari sets a steaming cup down on the counter, unimpressed with Sayaka's behaviour, "three seventy-one, pay up."

Why did she phrase it like she's trying to mug her?!

Before Sayaka can rush to appease the customer, the woman laughs, but ultimately has her gaze locked on Sayaka. She places a hundred-dollar bill down, picking up her drink.

What? That must've been a mistake..

"Um-!" Sayaka flounders, caught off guard by the payment method.

"Oh, my apologies," the woman says, "do you not take those?"

"No-" Sayaka blinks, "I mean- we take them, but is that really your smallest bill? You'll be given a lot of change for this, and I'd hate to inconvenience you."

The woman raises a brow, "Is that so?" She picks up her money and sets it in Sayaka's hand, making sure to brush their fingertips together, "in that case, keep the change."

Sayaka balks. Surely, she's joking. She's seen enough distasteful TikToks from Midari to recognize a prank. She visibly searches for a camera, whether out in the open or hidden and feels stumped when she comes up empty.

Giving up, Sayaka meekly asks, "are you sure?"

"Very, buy yourself something nice. Consider it a tip." She's smirking now. Eyeing Sayaka like she's her favourite form of entertainment.

Sayaka blushes, this time from embarrassment, "would you like your receipt, uh-"

"Kirari," she supplied, "and no, not this time."

"This time?" Sayaka echoes, breathless.

Kirari laughs again, airy and free, "I'll be back soon. Don't be so chai next time."

So she was rich and witty. Wonderful.

She throws a wink at Sayaka's way before sauntering out the door, cup in hand.

"What the hell was that?" Midari cackles, holding her stomach and slapping the counter.

Sayaka can only take a deep breath in an attempt to drown out her humiliation.

She did end up purchasing a white hair tie with Kirari's tip. Her excuse? The full effects of summer were in progress, so it'd be best to wear her hair up.

True to Kirari's word, she did end up visiting again. It was during a busier hour. A few students were seated at tables, enjoying their refreshments while working, as the others were currently in line. Kirari was at the front now.

Sayaka was determined to not mess up this interaction.

She stood up straighter, "what can I get for you, Kirari?"

She smiled, delighted when Sayaka remembered her name and tapped her chin in faux thought, "I'm having trouble deciding. You wouldn't have any light, earthy blends by chance, would you?"

The barista almost missed her answer entirely, as her eyes had been wandering along the woman's figure. Almost.

Clearing her throat, Sayaka suggests, "Rooibos tea has a nutty taste and a natural sweetness. Is that alright with you?"

Her favourite customer flashes her a dazzling smile, "it is, Sa-ya-ka."

Sayaka damn near short circuits but manages to gulp and collect herself.

"Right away."

She was almost done making the tea when Kirari mused, "such skillful hands. I wonder what else they can do.."

Sayaka stiffened and bit the inside of her lip, choosing to complete her task instead of answering her.

When Sayaka had succeeded, she swiveled on her feet, cup in hand, and made her way back to the counter.

Of course, things would not go as smoothly as she'd wished.

"Apparently, they also style you a side ponytail," Kirari simpered, looking pleased with herself, "you're so very cute."

How Sayaka didn't drop her customer's order right then and there, she will never know.

Her face was on fire as she thrust the drink into the woman's hands, "th-thank you.. here's your tea. That'll be three sixty-two, please."

But, oh no, the woman's torment didn't end there. It should have!

Whether she didn't hear her or didn't care, Kirari continued with one final tease, "your face rivals the colour of this wonderful tea."

Sayaka made a strangled noise in the back of her throat as she struggled to form a coherent response.

"Are you done yet? You're holding up the line!" an older gentleman yelled.

Quick as a flash, Kirari had spun to face the man, leveling him with a harsh glare. She'd already faced Sayaka as the man spluttered a useless apology.

She offered a twenty this time, "keep the change. No receipt this time, either."

"O-okay," Sayaka stuttered, "have a good day!"

A soft chuckle, and then, "you too, my dear."

So she'd dropped the ball last time, but Sayaka had more confidence for their next meeting.

The gorgeous stranger's compliments had frazzled her, but she was prepared now. A few days of reciting pick-up lines to herself in the mirror had motivated her to not only keep a level head but to give her the courage to compliment her back.

She would do it.

Admittedly, she was worried after a few days when Kirari didn't show up.

That changed today.

While Sayaka had been styling her hair the same ever since she'd received a compliment from Kirari, it seemed the white-haired woman was wearing her business uniform.

It was a tailored black suit that hugged Kirari's curves snuggly.

Sayaka has never been envious of a suit before, but there's a first time for everything.

She deduced Kirari wouldn't be staying as long today and took a deep breath as Kirari approached her register; in through her nose, out through her mouth.

"Good to see you again, Sayaka," she held a strand of said girl's hair, admiring it.

Even as Sayaka's resolve weakened from such a display, she pressed on.

"K-Kirari, indeed," she swallowed, "you look.. rather d-dashing yourself!"

The effect of Sayaka's words was immediate. Kirari openly preened, "sweet girl. You've put me in the mood for a honey-like blend. I'm thinking Chamomile."

"Good choice, one moment."

On the outside, Sayaka was as she usually was. On the inside, she was over the moon with pride for herself. She'd pulled off a compliment! To a divine specimen, might she add!

She passed the prepared tea to Kirari, "three-fifty, please."

Kirari's smiled charmingly, laying another twenty down, "I might want a receipt tomorrow."

Then she was gone.

Tomorrow arrived rather suddenly.

Sayaka didn't have time to formulate a game plan since she'd been studying for the majority of the day. All she knew was that she wanted to establish the woman's intentions with her.

It was late afternoon when Kirari came strolling in the shop. Sayaka usually took a break during this hour, but she would gladly put it off if it meant she could serve Kirari.

"What tea would you like today, Kirari?" Sayaka asked sweetly.

"None today," Kirari replied, stunning the barista.

None? Then why was she here? She always orders tea when she's here!

"I'd like to share some strawberry cake with you, if that's alright," Kirari asked, almost sheepish.

It baffled Sayaka. Had the woman memorized her schedule in order to plan this?

"That's.. fine with me," Sayaka settled on.

Kirari's ego resurfaced, "excellent. Shall we?"

Sayaka snatched a piece of cake from the display case and hurried after the woman. Kirari had led them to a well-lit booth towards the back of the building and outstretched her hand, "after you, my dear."

Sayaka blushed and seated herself, Kirari following shortly after.

"One piece?" Kirari eyed the singular cake slice that was sat in the middle of the table with interest.

Flaring up even more, Sayaka rushed out, "I- I wasn't thinking! I can go get another if-"

"Relax," Kirari soothes, cupping one of Sayaka's hands on the table and caressing gentle circles on it, "one is just fine."

Sayaka releases a shuddering breath she'd been holding in.

Kirari gingerly holds a plastic knife and cuts the cake, stabbing the piece and offering it to Sayaka.

Why, oh why was this woman so precious?

Sayaka glimpses around the shop, making sure they're not being supervised before she accepts being hand-fed.

"Mm-!" Sayaka hums in appreciation as Kirari melts, much like the cake did in the girl's mouth.

"Adorable," she whispers.

Remembering herself, Sayaka slides the plate closer to Kirari, "you need to eat too."

And she does. They both take turns sharing the cake, and pretty soon the piece is completely gone.

Sayaka smiles softly, not having gotten over Kirari pampering her. It falters slightly when the woman across from her looks nervous.

Before she can ask, Kirari blurts out, "I ordered cake today because you are my cup of tea, Sayaka."

Both women are silent.

Kirari, silently dreading rejection while Sayaka is processing.

She's pretty sure that was a flirtatious advance, but she needs to be certain.

Sayaka gives a low laugh, "does that mean you also like me?"

Kirari relaxes in relief, instantly falling back into her typical playful smirk, "it means I'd like the receipt this time."

Huh?! Had she misread the signals?!

Sayaka is bewildered and flustered but ends up printing out a receipt for Kirari.

The woman takes it and pulls out a fountain pen from her shirt pocket. Sayaka watches as she scribbles something down and hands it back to the barista.

"I do hope you'll do something with that." Kirari grins smugly.

Curious, Sayaka looks at the receipt and gasps.

A phone number. Her number. Along with the message, 'I'd like to get to know you better.'

When Sayaka glances back up to respond to the woman, she's already left.

She snorts before registering the number on her phone and shooting it with a quick text.

'You might also be my cup of tea, Kirari.'