Latte Heart by Stacey Lehane

A m/m short

Latte Heart

Leon hears August before he sees him, mostly because August hasn’t yet learned how to enter the cafe without half falling through the door. Leon doesn’t let himself look up, instead, surreptitiously takes down a mug and adds a few pumps of hazelnut syrup. It’s absolutely because it’s the closest thing to hand and not because August always moans a little bit into his first sip if Leon puts hazelnut in it.

“Dude!” Leon looks up to find August practically vibrating at the counter in front of him. “You gotta tell me about werewolf mating rituals!”

Leon fumbles hooking the portafilter, because Jesus. “What?”

August uses his old, beaten laptop as an armrest as he leans across the counter. Leon would feel sorry for the thing, but he knows it’s been through worse. August has probably dumped more energy drinks on the thing cramming for exams than is altogether healthy. “Mating rituals,” August says giddily, like he didn’t fry Leon’s brain with it the first time. “I need it for my next assignment on werewolf sociology.”

Leon leans over to grab a fresh bottle of milk from the fridge, and when he straightens up, August’s cheeks are a distracting pink. It’s mildly satisfying to know that talking about fucking mating rituals seems to affect August like a normal human being.

August clears his throat. “But yeah – this assignment is worth like a third of my grade and I-“

“Mating rituals?” Leon says before he can stop himself, twisting the cap off the jug. “Really?”

August grins. “Yes, really – they said I had to focus on an aspect of werewolf culture,” he says, and Leon has to roll his eyes because of course August would choose something likely to have him dragged before the Dean. “Speaking of,” August says. “Is knotting a thing?”

Leon sloshes the milk everywhere.


August started coming to the cafe two years ago, back when he was a plucky freshman with a brand-new laptop and Leon’s family were mostly known for being the only established pack in Northern California. These days, they’re also known as the makers of the best espresso in town, which Leon feels rightly proud of considering he snarls at anyone who comes near the espresso machine without a thorough knowledge of the benefits of a conical burr over blade grinders.

But anyway, August. August had tripped through the door at speed only to stare up at the menu for a solid ten minutes like it was written in goddamn Latin or something. Leon, while known for his fucking excellent coffee, was not known for his patience. Still isn’t. And so he thinks he deserves a medal for waiting as long as he had to snarl at August to get on with it.

What he hadn’t expected was for August to flail so hard he’d actually fallen over, right there in front of the counter. Leon had leaned over to make sure he wasn’t dead only to be met with one of the biggest grins he’d ever seen in his life.

“Holy shit, you’re Leon Readus,” August had said, like Leon was the second coming or something. “Dude, I have like, a million questions for you!”

Which is how Leon had found himself the unofficial go-to for August’s werewolf research.

Leon turns the mug gently as he pours, slowing towards the lip so he can start the design. He’ll never tell anyone, but this is probably his favourite part of the job – pouring little pictures into each cup, making sure each one’s unique to the customer.

Leon smirks to himself as he finishes up the cup before calling over his shoulder, “I’m on break!”

“Roger!” Linda calls back and Leon rolls his eyes. The girl’s lucky she can make a macchiato with her eyes closed.

Snagging his own, less decorative cup, Leon makes his way over to August’s seat. It’s in the back, near the kitchen, and is probably the loudest part of the cafe. August says the noise helps him focus and Leon doesn’t argue because with him there, Leon has excuses to brush by and watch him type whenever he needs anything from the store room. Like syrup. Can never have too much syrup out front. Even if Linda does huff at him about overstocking.

Leon slides the mug over to August before falling into the seat across from him. Eight hour shifts are a bitch.

August doesn’t look up, obviously on a roll, and Leon takes the opportunity to just watch. August’s forgotten to style his hair today, leaving it a fluffy, half-fucked auburn mess. It shouldn’t be as endearing as it is but that’s Leon’s fucking life these days. His lip is also shiny and red, like he’s just got through gnawing at it, which would be bad enough but he’s also typing at speed and… yeah.

Leon came to terms with the fact August’s fingers are his fucking kryptonite a long time ago, but it doesn’t make watching him work any less affecting. Leon is painfully aware that grown men aren’t supposed to fantasize about being keyboards as much as he fucking does.

August hums slightly, tipping his head at his screen before hitting control-S and shutting the laptop. Leon shifts and hopes he’s not as red as he feels.

“Ah!” August says, dragging his cup towards him. “You are the wind beneath my fucking wings, man.”

Leon tries and fails not to appreciate the delighted noise August makes upon sighting the foam.
“You always make me feel like an ass for drinking these things,” August says, grabbing at his phone to take a snap of Leon’s latest creation. Leon is fully aware of how pathetic it makes him that August taking a photo of a latte art dragon is the highlight of his day.

“So.” Leon clears his throat. “Mating rituals?”

August fucking lights up, and it’s ridiculous how badly Leon wishes this conversation could be a tactile learning experience. “Yes!” August sips at his latte and groans like Leon’s killed him, eyes fluttering shut. “Fuck yes,” he breathes and Leon has to look away, because Jesus Christ…

“What’s this one?” August asks. Leon’s been making August random concoctions for years. Ever since August admitted to ordering things at random off the menu and hating fifty percent of them. He’s never hated anything Leon’s made.

Leon shrugs. “I made it up,” he says. “It’s got hazelnut in it.”

“It tastes like an orgasm,” August says, licking foam off his top lip and Leon thanks the fucking universe that there’s a table between them.

“Mating rituals?” he says, hoping he doesn’t sound as desperate as he feels.

“Oh!” August says, putting his cup down to reopen his laptop. “Yeah, I’ve been researching and I wanted to run some stuff by you.”

Leon slouches in his chair and sips his own latte as he watches August pull up his notes. “So! Okay,” August says. “I’ve been reading up on all these, like, ritual things, only it seems like there are about ten million of them or something.”

Leon snorts. As far as the world has come since the big supernatural creature-feature reveal, mainstream media still has a long way to go when it comes to accurate, freely available information. August’s face when Leon had first told him that Google is not, in fact, his friend when it comes to werewolves had been priceless. “There are about ten million because there are ten million,” Leon says. “Mating rituals are less rituals and more…instinct.”

August taps his fingers against his coffee cup. It’s almost more distracting than his typing. “Soooo, every pair is different,” he says, and Leon can practically see him turning the information over in his head. “Because every werewolf is different?”

Leon nods. “It’s about proving to a potential mate that you can provide for them,” Leon says. “You demonstrate any skills that you have.”

“You show off like a kid at the third grade science fair, is what you’re saying,” August says, and Leon kicks him under the table. He realises a second too late that it’s something a third-grader would actually do and August must too because he’s laughing so hard he has to put his coffee down.

Leon can’t even pretend he’s not staring, because August laughs with his whole body and it’s not fucking fair at all. When he’d first staggered through the door of the cafe August was already distractingly attractive, even if Leon had stamped hard on the realisation. Since then he’s grown into his looks in a way that makes Leon want to bite something.

These days August is all broad shoulders, pale skin, and lythe muscle which would be a dangerous combination for Leon at the best of times, but it’s also attached to a whip smart, funny, semi-asshole. Leon’s honestly done for.

“So, like,” August says a few moments later, bringing Leon back to the subject at hand. “A mechanic might fix up someone’s car or something?”

Leon hums around his coffee.

“Huh,” August says, and Leon really should have learned to recognise that tone by now. “What would a barista do?”

The coffee cup in Leon’s hand freezes halfway to his mouth as he snaps his eyes up to August’s. Because, oh fuck. Oh fucking FUCK. How had he not… He didn’t… Jesus Christ-

He’s glanced down at the cup in front of August before he can think to stop himself and he knows the second he flicks his eyes back up and August’s mouth just drops right the fuck open that he’s totally fucking screwed.

“Holy crap,” August breathes.

Leon scrapes his chair back so violently he’s probably scoured grooves in the floor. “I’ve gotta-“

“Leon-“

“I’m off break,” Leon says, even though he’s got another fifteen goddamn minutes and August knows it but fucking hell.

Leon slams into the back room and thanks the fucking heavens there’s no one to snarl at for privacy because if he’s going to have a fucking mental breakdown, he’d rather it go unwitnessed.

Leon leans against the stock shelving and tries to breathe because oh my god, this isn’t happening. People do not engage in fucking mating rituals without realising what they’re doing. That’s stupid. He’s stupid. Fucking hell, he’s been courting August! With coffee! Who does that? Failing that, who expects that to work?

Leon bangs his head once against the shelves, making the syrup bottles clatter loud enough he almost misses the sound of the door opening. “Fuck off,” he snarls.

“Yeah, nope,” August says, and fuck-

Leon sighs, because there’s only one person who would have let August back here. “I’m going to kill Linda,” he says.

August snorts and Leon hears him shift closer. “Have you seriously been been peacocking me with your leet coffee making skillz?” August says, and Leon wants to bury himself in the bags of coffee beans in the corner. “Because I gotta say, dude, you had me at latte Batman.”

Leon blinks. When he turns it’s to find August just- okay, yeah, that’s really close. Close enough that it seems like nothing to reach out and- no. No. Only August doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about this being a bad idea because his hands are scorching where they’ve landed on Leon’s hips.

“I’m just gonna- yeah,” August says, eyes dipping down to Leon’s mouth and then he’s leaning in like it’s the easiest thing in the world. Leon has just enough time to suck in a startled breath before there are warm lips on his.

It starts chaste, a soft press of skin and then August’s hand on Leon’s hip spasms and Leon can’t help his slight gasp – the way it parts his lips and that’s all it takes.

August groans and Leon’s brain switches gear. He turns them, pressing August back into the shelves, which really can’t be at all comfortable, but fuck it, August doesn’t seem to be minding. August is doing the opposite of minding, actually, which is to say August is hooking one leg around Leon’s hip and making painfully hot noises as Leon licks hard into his mouth.

“Oh holy fuck,” August breathes when Leon breaks the kiss to get at his neck because he’s been wanting his mouth on August’s throat for years. “You fucking asshole,” August groans. “I’ve wanted you forever and you never said- ah!”

Leon sucks harder, feeling a growl rumble out of him when August bucks and swears, clawing at his shoulders before threading his fingers — oh fuck, his fingers — through Leon’s hair. “Oh god,” August shudders. “Don’t you dare stop.”

Only they should. They should because they’re in the goddamn store room of Leon’s family business – Linda could walk in at any moment but-

But August is hot and real and fucking all but writhing in Leon’s arms and fuck it. Fuck it. Leon drops to his knees because as much as he’s wanted his mouth on August’s throat, there’s another place he’s thought of putting it more.

“Oh fuck,” August says, voice reedy. “You’re-”

“You’re gonna have to shut the fuck up if you don’t want me fired,” Leon says and then makes the mistake of looking up.

Leon has thought about August from just about every angle, usually with a hand hot and desperate around his dick. But it doesn’t compare to the reality of August looking down at him, eyes wide and lips kiss-bitten. There’s a flush high on his pale cheeks, freckles standing out against the blush. He’s fucking beautiful and Leon’s in so much trouble.

“You own the place,” August says breathlessly but it doesn’t stop him clapping a hand over his mouth when Leon leans forward and mouths at the inseam of his jeans.

And fuck. This close, Leon can smell the arousal on him. A syrupy heat that sinks into Leon’s senses and makes his wolf want to howl in triumph. It’s everything Leon’s wanted since August had stumbled quite literally into his life. It makes something in Leon’s gut swoop as he works the fastenings of August’s jeans, finally gets them down around August’s thighs. His underwear—his fucking batman underwear, of course—is next and well – Leon’s spent a lot of time wondering about this particular dick. How it would feel in his hand, against his abs, down his throat… The reality is long, hard, and just the right shade of thick that Leon can’t help but imagine how it would feel in a more biblical sense.

But no. Later. Because there would be a later, goddammit. He’ll make fucking sure of it.

For now Leon satisfies himself with finally getting his hands on August, relishing in the buck of August’s hips; the low whine that escapes around his hand. From there it’s a simple thing to lean in and swallow him down.

August buckles, hands landing hard and grasping against Leon’s broad shoulders and it’s nothing for Leon to shift his stance and take the weight. Werewolf strength has its perks. Werewolf senses too because fuck. Fuck. August tastes good. Hot and real on Leon’s tongue – so fucking wet with precome that Leon has to swallow around him and oh, if that doesn’t elicit the best noise in the world.

“You’re gonna fucking kill me,” August groans above him and it lights something warm in Leon’s chest to hear it.

It’s nothing to the growing urgency in his own gut though, dick pressed hard and throbbing against his zipper. Leon shifts, gets one hand down and it’ll be fine – just one quick rub and he’ll be able to –

“Fuck yes,” August says. “Touch yourself.”

And really, how the fuck is Leon going to say no to that? His own zipper comes apart despite the shaking of his hands and getting his hand around his dick is like a rush of cold water in the desert. He groans around August’s dick and August swears, bucks like he can’t help it and it’s sheer dumb instinct that lets Leon take it, open his throat and just –

“Fuck, fuck… sorry!” August hisses.

Leon pulls back just long enough to cut him off. “Do it,” he says.

And August—bless his soul—doesn’t need telling twice. When Leon swallows him down again it’s to meet a sure, steady thrust and Leon can’t help the way he groans, hand tightening around his own dick. He’s not going to last. Not with August’s scent in his nose, his taste on his tongue. Not with August’s desperate panting and sure, deep thrusting.

At least he’s not alone. August’s hands have gone tight on Leon’s shoulders, fingers spasming in time with his thrusting and it’s no time at all before he’s swearing.

“Fuck, I’m gonna-”

Leon’s own orgasm hits him like a bat to the side of the head. It’s sudden, harsh, and debilitating – it’s pure instinct that keeps him upright, August’s hands still hot and trusting on his shoulders – but he can’t hold in the deep, guttural groan as he spends over his own hand.

August swears like Leon’s gutted him and goes to pull back but Leon’s having none of it. It’s nothing at all to swallow around him until August is coming down his throat, clutching at his shoulders like a lifeline as he swears loud enough someone in the cafe definitely heard.

Not that Leon can give a fuck right now. Not when his knees are weak and his head’s full of cotton wool. Not when August is collapsing in front of him – against him, burying his face in Leon’s neck.

“Jesus fucking christ, dude,” August says. “I think I’m dead.”

Leon cards his fingers through August’s hair and chuckles. “You’re a very chatty corpse.”

August leans back and wow, yeah. Leon’s never getting over post-coital August. His hair has somehow become more fucked, lips kiss-bitten and rivaling the bloom of red high on his cheeks. Leon’s never wanted a picture of something more in his life. Instead he gets the next best thing, leaning in for a warm kiss, groaning half-heartedly when August licks into his mouth, probably tasting himself and fuck…

The loud rapping at the door behind him is like a bucket of water down his back.

“Congratulations and I hate you!” Linda calls through the door. “Take the rest of the day off before you scare even more customers away.”

Leon groans, tipping his head against August’s shoulder which would be more comfortable if August weren’t absolutely cackling. When he finally sits back August is beaming at him.

“So, your place or mine?”

They end up at Leon’s. For three days.