Kon had been all smug and mysterious for a week now. It wasn't anywhere near their anniversary, her birthday, Valentine's Day or any other holiday, so Buffy was puzzled. She was letting him have his fun, however, saying nothing when he bought himself a new pair of shoes or traded jeans for black trousers. She'd find out soon enough.
And she did.
Kon txted her as she was leaving the library. 'up 4 coffee?'
Buffy was aware that she was smiling fondly as she texted back. It wasn't fair. Oz sent Willow txts that were actually funny so she had an excuse for smiling. Kon was just dorky and used an irritating amount of chatspeak, but she smiled anyway. Had to be love.
'kk. meet at chez?' she txted back, already starting down the path towards the arty-cafe that had pretty much become a second-home.
But Kon disagreed. 'starbks. C U.'
Starbucks? Buffy frowned. The campus Starbucks was always busy, crowded and so commercial. The only people who willilingly hung out there were ... first-years.
Of which Kon was one.
Buffy's phoned beeped again.
'<3?' said Kon.
'dork' Buffy txted back. Starbucks it was.
After all that, he wasn't even there. Buffy joined the queue digging out her phone. 'where r u?'
'order 4 me?'
Buffy rolled her eyes. This had better not be another attempt at disguising the fact that he was broke again. 'sponging much?'
“Would I do that?”
Buffy blinked, in the act of juggling her phone and her wallet. The prof in front of her had finished counting out exact change and had taken his short black to go and she was at the counter looking at --
“Hey,” Kon smirked. “I'll have a Caffé Mocha, you?”
“I'd like a caramel frappucino. And an explanation to go.”
“On me,” Kon said. “Staff discount.” He jotted down their order. “Our beverage-managers will make your drinks now, and you can collect them from the drinks counter.” He lowered his voice slightly. “My shift just finished but I figured I'd stay on to surprise you. I'm gonna change and meet you out front.”
“Uh-huh,” said Buffy.
She was sipping on her frappucino when Kon joined her.
“I was thinking we could sit under the trees?” he said, slipping an arm around her and claiming his Mocha in one fluid movement.
“Sure,” said Buffy. “Don't want to embarrass you in front of the beverage-managers.”
“I have to say that.”
Buffy took pity on him. “So – how long?”
“The interview was last week – I found out a day or two later, but I had training, you know? Today was my first actual day on the job.”
“Kind of surprised you aren't running at superspeed. How much caffeine have you drunk?”
“This is my third. And before you start, I didn't join just for the coffee.”
“Don't tell me it was the uniform,” Buffy said, messing up his hair.
“No, it was the coffee. Also I figured, I get a job, I can help out with rent and stuff.”
“You know Clark's paying for all that?”
“Yeah, I know. But this is me doing it.” Kon was doing the wrinkly forehead thing and since Buffy privately thought he was adorable when he was trying to be responsible she kissed him.
“So – from superhero to beverage manager.”
“I'm not a beverage manager yet. I have to master customer service first.”
“You know I love you even when you need to borrow ten bucks for food?”
“Yeah, I know.”
Buffy ruffled his hair. “Just don't be surprised when Willow starts bringing fair-trade into every conversation you guys have from now on.”
Despite all expectations to the contrary, Kon kept the job.
Buffy grumbled that super-powers was cheating, but if he hadn't had the advantage of super-speed, Kon wouldn't have made it on time to any of his shifts. There were perks too.
Coffee smelt good.
Kon smelt of coffee after his shifts. It almost made up for the fact that he was making her coffee in the mornings instead of the other way round.
It helped that Kon was getting better at it too.
While his own personal preference was strong enough to erode steel, he could do Buffy a decent flat-white or a cappuchino on demand.
Buffy had awkwardly compromised between hanging at Chez and at Starbucks (the others liked Kon, but they flatly refused to patronise such a blatant icon of consumerism) until the manager tactfully suggested that girlfriends were a distraction. And while watching his face when Kon realised that he'd been too busy thinking about Buffy to register the customer's order was fun, Buffy had to agree.
Kon was harder to convince.
It had taken pointing out that he could still make Buffy coffee at home to reconcile him to it – and even then Buffy had the feeling that Kon hadn't been entirely convinced.
This suspicion was borne out when a crate the size of a crate was delivered to their down one day.
“Kent-Summers?” the delivery guy asked. “I got to get a signature.”
Buffy eyed the crate suspiciously. Kon had been stalking e-bay pretty regularly – no one would have sold their used cloning equipment over the net, right?
“Where do I sign?”
“Here. You want a hand with the crate?”
Buffy lifted it easily. “I got it.”
She was smirking as she carried it inside. Not super-strength but still very satisfying.
Luckily she didn't have to long to find out what was in it. Kon was back even faster than usual.
“Did my package --”
“Arrive? Yeah. And what did we decide about you flying home?”
“Awesome. And how do you know I flew home? I could have been let out early.”
“Your lecture finished three minutes ago, and Wiseman never lets the class go till a minute past. I had him last year, remember?”
Buffy ruffled his hair. “So what's in the box?”
“You won't believe this. Some guy was selling his business and he put his old commercial coffee machine up for sale. It's a few years old and it needs repairs – can you believe I was the only bidder?”
“Uh-huh,” said Buffy who could. “How much did it set you back?”
“Three hundred bucks. Don't worry. I can get my textbooks from the library.”
“You are really, really lucky I love you, dork.”
Buffy scoffed, but Xander came over the next afternoon with a tool kit and he and Kon spend a very happy evening playing with the tools. Buffy tried to write her PSYCH paper, while Anya complained about how boring men were.
“It's like they don't even realise they could be doing more important things. Like paying attention to me.”
“Kon invited Xander over to work on the coffee machine,” Buffy pointed out. “Why are you even here?”
“There was talk of oil and lube.”
“ ... should have known.”
Buffy was pleasantly surprised when Kon got the machine working. Touched when he invented a frappucino just for her. Reconciled to a good third of their kitchen bench space being taken up with coffee beans. Willing to tolerate Kon's bizarre need to dissasemble and tweak the coffee machine at least once a month, twice if he had an essay due.
But coming home late from slaying and tripping over odd pieces of metal as she felt her way through the apartment got old fast.
It got worse when Kon quit his job.
“You quit?” Buffy raised an eyebrow. “But you were enjoying it. And it's not like it was effecting your marks any.” Kon's B+ average was no small source of pride.
“It was a personal thing,” Kon said, shuffling akwardly.
“Moral dilemmna?” Willow asked knowingly.
Kon looked gratefully at her. “Yeah. I couldn't ignore my conscience.”
Buffy ruffled his hair. “There's the superhero we know and love.”
“You don't think I'm being dumb?”
“Kon,” Willow pointed out. “The corporate jokes we've been making all these months did have a purpose.”
“So what made you wake up and smell the coffee?” Buffy knew it was an awful pun, but couldn't help it.
“Well, you know. We got a new bean of the month to promote ...”
“And you woke up to the exploitation? Commercialisation?”
“It was promotied as being smoother than the Brazilian blend beans. Smoother my ass! It was so patently inferior that I --”
“Quit your job over a disagreement about the merits of two basically identical coffee beans?”
Kon gave her a look. “There is a huge difference between the Brazilian blend and --”
“Honey, you may be slightly obssessed here.”
“I am married to him, Willow.”
And took the coffee machine to pieces three times over the following week.
The fourth time, Buffy came home after a really long night involving a demon and a sewer and cut her leg on it. A huge argument followed ending in an ultimatum – either the coffee machine went or Buffy did.
Fortunately the owner of the Chez was interested so Kon had the consolation of knowing that it was going to a good home.
“You can even come and visit it,” Buffy consoled Kon as they walked home hand in hand.
“And three hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at. You're lucky you got cost at all.”
Buffy kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Kon. I do appreciate it.”
Kon put his arm closer around Buffy's shoulders. “That's why I did it.”
Buffy stopped at Chez for a mid-morning lift the next day – thursdays were always a long day – and was sipping her chai latte peacefully when the cafe's owner slammed his hands down on the table.
“Your boy,” he demanded. “Where is he?”
Only slayer reflexes stopped her from dropping her cup. “Kon?”
“That's his name? Is he meeting you here?”
Buffy internally face-palmed. “What's he done?”
“What's who done?”
“Great timing,” Buffy said, raising an eyebrow at him, but Kon looked just as confused.
“We must talk,” the owner announced. “Come into the kitchen.”
“Guess I'll see you later,” Kon said just as bemused.
“Good luck,” Buffy said.
She finished her chai, the magazine she was flipping through and still no Kon. Concerned, Buffy stuck her head through the staff only door.
Kon and the manager were sitting on the floor of the kitchen, half disassembled between them.
Kon looked vaguely guilty. “Sorry, Buffy. This may take a while.”
“Knock yourself out.” At least it beat him disassembling stuff in their apartment.
Kon seemed to think so too, if the way he spent most of the next few days hanging out at Chez indicated. He was also unbearably smug, but Buffy decided that happy looked good on Kon and she wasn't going to protest.
Then exam time hit and they were both too busy to worry about more than juggling the undead with study.
Buffy had forgotten all of this by the time it resurfaced a few months later. She was waiting for Kon to come out of his ECON lecture to surprise him – and she wasn't the only one. There was a cluster of people with suits and cameras and sound equipment – reporters, Buffy realised – and they honed in on Kon.
Kon didn't seem surprised by this, and Buffy didn't think it was the years of media attention he'd received as Superboy coming through.
Kon waded through the reporters and their questions resolutely. “How do I feel? Kind of stressed – I have a Management paper due tomorrow. Uh – mostly I just want to get on with my life – which would be easier if certain reporters would leave me alone. I like expresso, though seriously I'm not going to say no to Mocha, no I don't want to talk about my parents.” He looked very relieved to spot Buffy.
“We can duck though the Psych building, go up a floor, double back and leave from History?” Buffy suggested.
Kon squeezed her hand, pulling her after him. “Sounds like a plan.”
They almost ran into her favourite professor quite literally running through the Pyschology department, but the ploy worked and they were able to lose the reporters.
“What happened?” Buffy asked. “Did you get caught on camera being super? Save someone in a noticeable way?”
“Nothing like that,” Kon hedged.
“You're gonna hate this.”
After much more hedging and Buffy reminding Kon that not only did she love him very much, that she had married him, which should give him a good idea that she wasn't going anywhere no matter what dumb thing he did, Kon admitted that the owner of Chez had been so impressed with the changes that Kon had made to his coffee machine, that he'd convinced Kon to patent them, and then had set about promoting them to the makers of coffee machines. The response had been overwhelming.
“So what – you're saying that we're financial now?”
“A bit too financial,” Kon said embarrassed. “Um. I may be a millionaire.”
Buffy resisted the urge to face palm. “You just don't do things by halves, huh.”
“It was an accident!” Kon insisted. “And now I don't know what to do. I can't give the money back and --”
“Kon,” Buffy said amused. “Most people find having money is a good thing.”
“Yeah, but most people aren't related to --”
“You seriously think Luthor ever freaked out because he was able to pay his rent on time?”
Buffy elbowed him. “You're still a dork and I still love you, whether or not you can afford new sneakers.”
Kon stopped looking worried and started looking happy. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Buffy said. “So long as you don't start dabbling in stocks, or start buying used nuclear warheads off of e-bay we're fine.”