Fitz Fortune and The Space Cafe by PumpkinPatch



Summary: Fitz had a system. No customer had ever been immune to his apathy until the Doctor walked into his life. ~A Fitz/Eighth Doctor coffee shop AU~
Rating: Teen
Categories: Eighth Doctor
Characters: Anji Kapoor, Charley Pollard, CRizz, Fitz Kreiner, Lucie Miller, Samantha Jones, The Doctor (8th)
Genres: Alternate Universe, Fluff, General, Romance, Slash
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2021.11.16
Updated: 2021.12.07


Index

Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Chapter 5: Chapter 5


Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Author's Notes: I've had this fic brewing for a while now and it's time I release it into the world since Fitz/Eighth Doctor content can be kind of sparse. I was originally inspired by some tumblr art of a Doctor Who coffee shop au, but I can't find it. If I figure it out, I'll add a link later.

Oh! And if it wasn't already apparent, I'm American and I've never worked as a barista sooooo...please suspend your disbelief if I fumble anything up.

Thank you for reading and I'll update weekly.


Fitz had a system.

He showed up to work fifteen minutes late on principle. Drank coffee and lazed behind the counter instead of “looking busy” as his manager always harped on about. Now Fitz did water the plants on schedule only because it wasn’t their fault he had to deal with stupid people. And when no customers were around to rat him out, Fitz would sneak a smoke in the back under the busted detector or call his mother to check in if he was up to it. He played the part of a good retail worker when he had to, got his paycheck, bought a pack, and headed home to strum at his guitar. It was the system. The Fitz system.

No customer had been immune to his apathy until he walked into his life. It happened one morning while Fitz sipped on the last of his coffee. As he wondered if he could sneak away to get a fourth cup before 11 am, a man approached. The first thing Fitz noticed was the wilted, red begonia cradled in the man’s pale hands. The second thing was his eyes.

Not that Fitz was interested or anything, it’s just everything about the customer seemed ethereal. If the man had been taller with those elfish features, Fitz could easily imagine he’d stepped right out of Mirkwood and the pages of Tolkien. The only thing that seemed real about him was his blue-eyed stare.

“You want this begonia?” Fitz asked breaking eye contact to turn and place his large styrofoam cup with the rest on the back counter. One of the begonia’s petals answered with a crunch as it fell next to the register. “But it’s nearly dead.”

“I know,” said the man with a surprisingly deep voice. He gave a small smile and looked up from the begonia and directly into Fitz’s eyes. “And I intend to rescue it.”

Of course, the man proceeded to use that rich, velvety voice to try haggling the price down to a pound. And of course, Fitz didn’t care enough to fight for long. It’s not as if the begonia wouldn’t have ended up in the compost. Still, it was annoying. As the man turned toward the door, Fitz was ready to say good riddance under his breath, but then the velvet coat tails spun and that blue, unnerving stare was back.

“Do you like coffee?” questioned the elfish man.

Was he...asking him out? What could possibly make him think he wanted coffee? With him? Panic. He had pretty eyes, but no it wasn’t like that. A dash of more panic. Did Fitz look like he was into blokes? Panic! The hurricane of questions and statements and denials continued as Fitz tried to find an answer. Luckily, the man was nice enough to interrupt his incomprehensible stuttering.

“It looks like you do,” the man gestured with the plant at the three large coffee cups on the back counter, another leaf falling from the begonia as he did. “What I should be asking is—are you any good at making it?”

Fitz struggled to find his voice, which came out squeakier than he’d have liked. “Uh, yeah. Maybe. Worked at a caff before, yeah."

It must have been a good enough answer because Fitz had never seen another human being become so animated. It was like someone winded up an invisible gear and everything about him screamed ‘I'm alive’. Especially those eyes. The man reached into his pocket which in hindsight seemed impossible as half his forearm disappeared inside. After a moment of wrestling around, he whipped out a card and slapped it onto the counter. Fitz stared at the scrawling gold script, bursts of stars, and creative coffee rings across it.

“I own a coffee shop called The Space. I know not the most original. I’m still disappointed in myself about it, but I promise it’s wonderful.”

“And you’d like to have me stop by and have a cup with you, is that it?” questioned Fitz finally getting some control over his tongue.

It was the man’s turn to look taken aback and Fitz felt a little smugness rise in his chest. “We can if you’d like, but...I’m offering you a job.”

“Me? A job? I already have one,” he sweeped a hand in a mocking grand gesture. Though he hadn’t even touched it, now another wilted begonia petal hung for dear life on it’s stem.

"It's lovely, really it is,” said the man with a hum that meant it was anything but. His gaze took in everything around him once more before pointedly landing on Fitz. They stood in silence for a moment, the question hanging between them before the man smiled and continued. “Come see it. Can’t hurt. And when you do make sure to ask for me. I’m the Doctor, by the way."

Before Fitz could even process any of this, or the woman waiting with a glare, ‘the Doctor’ was already walking away. In the vacated spot, the newest customer from hell plunked down her basket of flowers, but Fitz ignored her. He couldn’t take his eyes off the green velvet getting closer and closer to the door.

“I’m Fitz!”

The shout of his own name came rushing out without a second thought. it was unneeded, and Fitz was as surprised by it as the bewildered customer in front of him.

‘The Doctor’ paused at the door. “I know. Your name tag is quite large. See you soon, Fitz!” The Doctor’s laugh was soft, yet travelled across the store as if he was standing right beside him. The door chimed and then the glimpse of green velvet was gone.

Fitz's shoulders slumped with a sigh as he dragged the waiting customer’s basket over. Weirdly enough, she was making strange noises in her throat as he rang up the petunias.

“Bless you and that’ll be 8 pounds and 20 pence,” said Fitz and then he finally looked at her.

He couldn’t recall ever seeing someone so red in the face in his entire life. He should have expected it, but her voice was nails on a chalkboard as she spoke through gritted teeth. “I’d like to speak to your manager.”

As his manager wrote him up for the second time that week, Fitz was so indifferent it went beyond his usual system to true apathy. He could beg, make amends. Promise to take on more shifts and stop sneaking off for a smoke on the hour, every hour...but he couldn’t be bothered.

✶✶✶


Another week went by and as Fitz prepared for a gig, tuning his guitar again for what was probably an inadvisable amount of times, he could practically feel the Doctor’s card burning a hole in the pocket of his leather jacket.

Back to index


Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Author's Notes: So I updated a lot sooner than expected. Maybe I'll update more than once a week? I'm not sure yet, but definitely every Tuesday.

Also, I'm a big fan of both the books and Big Finish so there will be a bit of mixing and matching happening with references. If you catch any, leave a comment! I'd love to squeal over it.


Fitz spent his Sunday morning pacing in his small studio apartment. With his long legs, he didn’t get very far before spinning back toward the other wall covered in band posters. At this point, Fitz had already smoked half a pack and he created tracks in his stained carpet. He had to weigh his options.

At worst, the man from the shop was a total nutter. No harm, no foul. He’d met plenty of them, even lived with one after his mom was released from the ward. And really, Fitz showing up and losing a bit of pride was nothing new. At best, he would arrive at some dirty coffeeshop, buy something akin to lukewarm sludge and head home. What did he have to lose by checking the place out? It didn’t mean he’d take the job or that he was interested if it had turned out to be a pick-up line. So what if he couldn’t stop thinking about the owner. It didn’t mean.... Fitz shoved the rest of his cigarettes and a pair of shades into his leather pockets and headed for the door.

✶✶✶


After a thirty minute bus ride across the city, shoved in like a sardine, Fitz stepped off at the closest stop. Slipping out the card to check the address once more, he took a wild guess on the direction. A few glances at the number plaques and a bad turn later, he finally arrived at 40 Type Lane and stood across from the ‘The Space’.

It was in an older part of town, the historical buildings flipped and maintained in all the ways necessary to keep it’s old-timey charm. The coffee shop itself was tucked between two much larger buildings with faded and worn bricks, which only made The Space stand out more. Instead of red, rusty brick, the coffee shop was painted a dark blue with large lattice windows staring out onto the street. Pleasant enough from the exterior, but the inside was probably one step above being a hole in the wall. Fitz waited until he saw a few people leaving with their coffee cups in hand to get up the nerve to go in.

The doors were heavy and he wasn’t expecting it to swing back, thumping hard against his shoulder. Holding back a grimace, Fitz took a deep breath and forced himself to stay cool, thankful for the sunglasses he threw on. It also helped hide the fact his eyes must be popping out of his head.

Because somehow, The Space was bigger on the inside.

It must have stretched down the street lengthwise and created an illusion of space. Sumptuous velvet chairs in deep burgundy were scattered around the room along with rustic chairs that orbited wooden coffee tables of varying sizes. By the window there was a thin bar height table with stools tucked beneath it. It should have been overwhelming and cluttered, but instead it was almost comforting knowing you could always find yourself a plush place to sit no matter how busy it got.

The walls were lined with thick, leather bound books. Rays of sunlight bounced off the golden script running down their bindings. Four small chandeliers hung from the tall ceilings which drew the eye right to the counter. Nothing like the other coffee shops with butcher block or marble tops. No, it was made of a rich, deep chestnut with a shiny glaze. The Space was too eclectic to be a coincidence, but not so overdone and over the top that he was out of place in his worn leather jacket. It was homey and comforting and gothic and—.

And then a hurried violin solo began to play on the speakers. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t the calm, atmospheric music he expected. As he walked toward the counter, he spotted shelf upon shelf of round glass jars full of tea leaves. A white woman with short, blonde hair must have spotted him and took her seat by the register. She gave him a quick smile and then continued to click away at her phone.

Fitz leaned against the counter and squinted at the chalkboard menu above. Some items were standard like an iced coffee. Pleasantly they had a few types of roasts or a customer could select whatever was on rotation that month. There were only a few lattes listed which surprised Fitz that there weren’t any other options. Then there was one menu which in small script beneath it was a massive list of teas and a slightly larger note which read, “Ask the Doctor for a custom tea blend.”

After a few minutes, Fitz realized he’d been spending far too much time engrossed in the menu. The blonde hadn’t looked back up from her phone and Fitz racked his head to find something to say beyond an ‘excuse me’. Tried to play it cool and immediately botched it up.

“So this is the kind of job you can just click away on Facebook, huh? Good to know.” Fuck. Now why’d he go and say that?

"Actually," started the woman with a terse edge. Her pale blue eyes shot him a look that could kill as she continued to type away rapidly. "I'm sending an email to organize a protest against human rights violations, but sure. Facebook.” He snuck a quick look at her name tag while Sam’s eyes scathingly roved over him once more before placing the phone into her jean pocket. “Would you like to order something or just lurk?”

Now he realized his mistake. Not only did she turn out to be a feisty, self-righteous sort, but she was also very cute too. Chances of her being interested were slim to none now. Worse, what if he had to work with her?

Switching tactics, Fitz gave an embarrassed cough and took another look over the board. His fingers ran over the coins in his pocket, mentally calculating what he could afford. "I'll take the medium-roast coffee. Black. And um...I’ll have..."

Sam tapped two times on the thin monitor and then stared at him expectantly. As Fitz did quick maths, the silence stretched and so did Sam's innocent smile. "It’s dim in here, might help if you took off the shades."

Not caring a bit now, Fitz sneered and rattled off the first thing he could read on the food menu, "Yellow jelly...cupcake. I'll take that too."

His face grew hot as he took out the coins. Nice going. Ordering a cupcake. Yeah, sure showed her who's a cupcake alright.

✶✶✶


This was picturesque. Insta-worthy if he gave a toss about social media. He'd taken a seat by one of the windows looking out on the bustling street and autumn leaves cascading down. The coffee was steaming from a white mug that had lines of gold running throughout it.

Now the cupcake was a beast. A delicious looking one that made his back molars ache. It took up part of the plate and towered up in a swirl of icing with lemon jelly babies peeking out of the slopes.

Before he completely ruined his palate and any good sense from a sugar rush, he took a sip of the coffee.

It was just the right temperature, perfect really. Rich and earthy with notes of chocolate and cinnamon laced throughout. It was without a doubt the best cup of coffee he'd ever had.

One bite out of the cupcake and he knew an appointment with a dentist was needed. Make that multiple appointments because Fitz would be without a doubt eating one of these every single day if he could. Morning, noon, and night. Probably should see a physician too. Speaking of which….

The look on Sam's face as Fitz approached the counter was openly judgy, but he saw a spark of amusement when he placed down his empty plate and mug, and then whipped off his sunglasses.

"Looks like you enjoyed that. Want one to go?"

"Yes," Fitz said automatically but shook his head. This woman kept catching him off guard. "Well, no, not leaving yet. Actually could speak to the Doctor. Name's Fitz." Adding hastily, "He knows me."

"Does he now?" Sam asked, her arms folding over her white t-shirt, blocking the ‘Free the Kinsey 3’ logo across it. Whatever that was.

"He does." Fitz smirked and leaned against the counter, trying to radiate cool with every fiber of his being. "Offered me a job and I'd like to know when I can start."

The practiced customer service smile fell from her face so fast it would have hurt his feelings if there weren't already the strings of triumph playing in his chest at finally throwing her off.

And if Sam had questioned Fitz’s truthfulness, the way the Doctor bounded up to him, shouting his name and shocking every customer in the place left no doubt even in Fitz’s mind that he was wanted.

Back to index


Chapter 3: Chapter 3

Author's Notes: Happy 58th anniversary, Whovians! I am so happy we have Doctor Who in our lives. Also, I hope RTD brings back Paul for the 60th anniversary episode or I will, quite simply, flip my shit.

Haha I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Let me know if you did in a review. :D


The Doctor was weird. The polite word to use was eccentric, or even quirky. But Fitz was rarely polite. No, the man was weird. For fuck’s sake, the man was only known as ‘The Doctor’. At first, Fitz was tempted to do some amatuer sleuthing to find his real name, but even after almost a month working at ‘The Space’, calling him anything else was an uncomfortable thought.

Though the Doctor couldn’t be older than 35, he also just had one of those youthful (and handsome) faces, so Fitz wasn’t entirely sure. And the way he told story after story of his travels across the globe were outlandish tales that were borderline possible. But others sounded impossible as if the Doctor caught them on the telly the night before and his memory soaked it up like a sponge.

Then some mornings he’d come barreling behind the counter with some dream he’d had for a new menu item and pull them all into chaos. If this had been any other place, any other owner, it would be a disaster. Instead at The Space, time was meaningless. Sense was too. And everyone from customer to employee seemed to revel in it. Because with the Doctor it was somehow...admirable. Yeah. That's the word for it.

Still some of the Doctor’s habit of bouncing from one thing to the next had created an infinitesimal problem. One that Fitz had noticed when he had first arrived at The Space. The speciality drink menu was tiny. Hot coffee, iced coffee, even cold brew were straight forward and popular items, but anything espresso related seemed to be ignored.

During his training, he’d asked Sam, pointing at the menu.“But what about the Gallifre-whatever latte?”

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” said Sam with a shrug. “All your shifts this week are with me, and I’ll handle it if anyone orders it.”

“And if you’re on break?”

Sam clapped him on the back, “The recipe is in that drawer, but trust me. No one would dare. Who can even pronounce that?”

Fitz was tempted to protest, but if she wanted to take on more work, he’d let her. He had a system to maintain.

Of course, this meant the one time Sam was on her 15 minute break, someone would decide to order it. The start of his troubles began with an unfamiliar face and long legs striding toward him. Fitz dragged his eyes back up to the pinched look on her face. At first, he assumed it was because he’d checked her out, but no, she was just trying to read the menu.

“Uh hi, how are you?” said the woman with an American accent, which made Fitz fall in love with her a bit more.

“Great now that you’re here,” Fitz said, deepening his voice. Some lines didn’t work, but there was usually a 50% chance with American birds. It was all in the accent, and his chances were looking very good because she actually giggled.

“I know, I was dying for a coffee.” Her face scrunched up again at the menu and then smiled. “I’ll have the uh, Galli latte. Sorry, can't say that first part.”

Fitz leaned back to glance down the hall looking for one of the tell-tale signs of Sam. Not a flash of blonde hair or a white t-shirt in sight. Nothing.

Clearing his throat and smiling, Fitz decided a small lie couldn’t hurt. “Might be a bit of a wait. Espresso machine is acting up. How about—?”

“Waiting is totally fine.” She said cutting him off and then leaned forward softly adding, “especially if you’ll still be here.”

Fitz Fortune strikes again.

✶✶✶


Fortune is a liar and Fitz can only strike out like some cursed baseball team. After ten minutes of waiting, struggling to keep his voice sultry smooth, and a bad joke too many, Cindy the customer really needed to go.

With no Sam in sight, Fitz started digging through the drawer Sam had pointed out during training. Finding the recipe was easy enough, but deciphering whatever the hell a Gallifreyan latte was in the Doctor’s cursive and trying to replicate it was the real problem. Fitz’s nerves skyrocketed realizing Cindy was watching him.

The latte was a strange reddish hue after using some spice from the list that was tucked away on some shelf. It might be an unnecessary amount of additives for a latte and as Fitz looked at the cup dubiously, he had to have faith. Everything that the Doctor had come up with so far was delicious. The man had the Midas touch when it came to selecting quality products.

So when Cindy took a single sip and her entire face scrunched up in what might be pain, Fitz knew something had gone horribly wrong. She slammed the cup down, ignoring Fitz’s number scrawled across it and strode right out of the shop with those long legs. Such pretty, pretty legs.

“She didn’t fall for the Fitz charm, huh?” came Sam’s voice beside him, her fingers reaching out to turn the cup and snickered at his number.

“Shut it. I was doing fine till she tasted that latte from hell,” said Fitz pointing an accusing finger at the recipe as if it had somehow personally harmed and owed him damages.

“Why didn’t you get me?” Sam’s face paled as she saw the paper laying on the back counter. “Or just make a plain latte?”

“I could handle making a latte.” Fitz crossed his arms, miffed at the whole situation. “What could be so bad about this anyways?”

He should have known. Just the way Sam casually handed him the cup with a blank expression and a mumbled, “see for yourself.” It was like a dare he couldn’t refuse. That Cindy chick must have been exaggerating there was no way….

His body seized up as the first sip reached his tongue. As he ran for a faucet to stick his mouth under, Sam’s hysterical laughter echoed behind him.


It took an hour and a cup of milk before Fitz was ready to talk to the Doctor about the latte incident. He was eccentric and weird that much was obvious, but not totally out of touch to have created something so horrendous.

The Doctor had an open door policy unless he was out or playing the violin. He didn't know much about the Phantom of the Opera but there was some kind of synergy when the Doctor would shut the door and saw away at the strings like a man possessed. Usually they'd shut off the music and let the muffled notes spill from the hallway and across the room. It was eerie, but strangely comforting.

Then there were the rare occasions the Doctor would get frustrated with a piece and the sudden screech would make everyone cringe. He’d even dropped a mug once when it happened. It was just another one of the Doctor's many quirks.

Since Fitz didn’t hear the violin and knew the Doctor was in, he continued down the hallway and found the door open as expected. What was unexpected was the beautiful woman with smooth brown skin dropping a pile of papers in front of the Doctor. The Doctor raised a timid hand, mindlessly shuffling through them as his frazzled expression grew.

"And another thing—," said the woman, as she reached for a folder brimming with receipts sticking this way and that on the Doctor’s cluttered desk. Fitz took one look at the situation, spun on his heel and was ready to leave right when the Doctor spotted him with a desperate look. Fitz knew he was a scapegoat immediately.

"Fitz! Come in, come in. Fitz Kreiner meet Anji Kapoor." He looked between them. "Wait, have you met before? I'm having an awful case of deja vu."

"Lovely to meet you," said Anji with barely a glance at Fitz before looking back at the Doctor. "Can we get back to discussing your horrendous bookkeeping, please?"

"It's not! I'm wonderful with numbers."

“Maybe,” said Anji as if she doubted it very much. "But your record keeping is shoddy."

The Doctor looked at the papers then at Anji then at him. His blue eyes were wide. Pleading. "Fitz, what did you need? Should I step out front and help?"

There was no way he was getting in the middle of whatever this was. "No, nothing like that. Sorry to interrupt, just wanted to talk about changing up the lattes and such."

"Wonderful idea!” The Doctor shot to his feet as if a starter pistol had gone off. “We were just discussing diversifying my portfolio. Best way to start is with the menu"

"Stocks. We were discussing your stocks. Which is part of my actual job." Anji took a deep breath, and Fitz could tell she was counting down from five. "As I've told you before, you need a proper bookkeeper.”

Anji reached for her purse on the counter and started for the door. And then the Doctor did something Fitz couldn’t believe; he gave this woman the saddest puppy dog eyes imaginable. “Anji, please, your help is so valuable.”

“This was a one time favor. And speaking of lattes, I’ll go get one on the house...one of many." Her cold gaze swept back to the Doctor. "And when I’m back, I'm not leaving until the financials are in order for the last six months."

The door slammed behind her and the Doctor pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know a threat when I hear one,” the Doctor said, letting out a pitiful sigh. "Unfortunately, she's right. Are you good at record keeping, Fitz?"

"No," he scoffed. "I make music and coffee. Sifting around all that would make me sick."

The Doctor gave a knowing smile, "I can't help but agree, but I suppose it's all part of the job...." He trailed off and looked at something on his bookshelf before continuing, his tone brighter. "What are your thoughts on the specialty drinks?"

Fitz took a seat in one of the plush chairs across from the Doctor. It still surprised him how big this office was too. It reminded him of a proper lord's study in one of those drab period dramas his mum, when she was on an upswing, still got teary over. Yet, with the Doctor looking snug in his chair, he made the office seem more homey than foreboding.

“Well, I’d like to suggest some other options. The ones up there aren’t...great.”

"I suppose. Charley had dared me to put something up and I meant to go back and tweak them.” The Doctor blew at a pile of receipts that cascaded to the floor. “But things came up. And really, I don't like overly complicated espresso drinks. Not often anyways."

"This is a coffee house," Fitz said slowly, trying to wrap his head around the fact that the Doctor didn’t like coffee and not this ‘Charley’. Or for that matter, who he was to the Doctor.

"Yes, I very well know. But we serve more than that. You did see the wall of teas, didn't you? Of course you did, and the tea blend I created this week is outstanding."

"Yeah, I get that but people are coming in for coffee? More than half the people out there are ordering something heavily caffeinated and sugary."

"And?"

"And that means having a selection. The regular coffee and espresso itself is excellent. Brewed to perfection."

"Thank you."

"But the latte? The Galli-thing? Hideous. I don't know how espresso disguised in milk and a few add-ins could be so bad. But your recipe called for 6 tablespoons of that red powder."

“Oh, yes, the paprika,” said The Doctor with a sage nod and then he laughed as he finally processed the rest of what Fitz said. “You didn’t really put 6 tablespoons in though, did you?”

“Right. Definitely on me for following what you wrote down. It’s not like this is your coffee shop or anything.”

The Doctor was staring at him. Not in disappointment or anger. Just studying him and Fitz wanted to squirm.

"Sorry—,” Fitz started speaking right as the Doctor had begun as well.

"Nothing to be sorry about.” The Doctor smiled. “This is one of the reasons why I hired you. Now I prefer the natural taste of the espresso to still shine through, so keep that in mind."

"Wait, what?"

"Go ahead and change the specialty drinks! Perfect the recipes! Then we'll go from there."

"Really? I mean, I just got here. Shouldn't Sam or someone else work on it?”

“No, Fitz.” The Doctor waved a hand brushing the question away. "You're the one who found my mistake and I’d like your help to fix it. I want you to."

✶✶✶


Fitz spent the next few weeks staying later after his shift, much to Sam’s surprise. Eventually, she stopped teasing him about it since she benefitted by becoming his caffeine guinea pig or as she put it: the official specialty drink taste tester. The next time Anji stopped in and he provided her with a raspberry mocha latte (on the house of course), he wasn’t entirely sure if she was more happy with the drink or the fact that the Doctor finally allowed her to buy more stocks or whatever.

It was strange. Fitz had never experienced pride in his work. Getting up on stage and playing his heart out to a crowd, sure. But never for a job to scrape by. And when the Doctor gave a tiny sigh of pleasure as he sipped on the lavender latte that Fitz had made especially to appeal to the man’s sweet tooth...why did it make him feel content?

"Hey, Doctor?"

"Yes, Fitz?"

"Since my last suggestion was pretty good..."

The Doctor glanced at Fitz before taking another sip of the latte with a delighted hum. "Go on, I'm listening."

"Well, what if we changed the music up once in a while? How about some classics like the Beatles?"

The Doctor gently placed down the mug with a forlorn expression as if saying goodbye to a lover. "I think the suggestion box is closed for now."

Fitz couldn't stop himself from laughing as he walked back to the front. It was worth a shot.

Back to index


Chapter 4: Chapter 4

Author's Notes: I hope you're enjoying this so far and if you are drop me a comment. Thanks for reading!


I'm never switching shifts with Sam again. Never, thought Fitz as another chill ran through him. Even his leather jacket was no match for this frigid nonsense.

November began with unusual snowfall and it refused to let up. Heavy and frequent, London was a mess of slush and ice the very first week. Now, Fitz knew he could be late and the regulars at 7 am could stuff it, but he actually wanted to avoid it. First time in his life a job actually meant making an effort.

And Fitz would rather stay in the Doctor's good graces when the man eventually caught him outside sneaking a cig. See, it wasn't all selfless.

So, he'd even started planning his schedule around his job. And to be honest, Fitz was more organized than he’d ever been in his life and had landed more gigs as a result. Working with the Doctor had its perks.

After last night's gig and the following smatter of applause, Fitz polished off his drink and headed out at a respectable hour. To get enough sleep. For work.

He groaned and leaned his head against the frosty bus window. Once his music took off the whole concept of this capitalist hell would be a thing of the past. Or at least in his favor, he wasn't sure which. He should probably listen more during Sam's rants.

The bus rounded the corner and he glanced up at the scrolling marquee for the time. Another half-hour till he gets there for opening and with all the ice maybe an hour. With the time in mind, Fitz closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on a new song as the bus jostled this way and that through the dark.


His toes were going to freeze right off. A new winter wardrobe was needed, at least some damn wool socks. Fitz pulled his jacket around him tighter as he stepped off the curb and began his careful walk to The Space, the bus tail lights tiny beams in the distance.

Fitz had been anticipating traffic and snowfall and just barely making it on time. After all that careful planning, he'd gotten a bus driver who was on a race to speed through her route. On these streets? With this ice? Absolutely mad.

So thanks to Miss Mad Max, he was early for his shift. Really early. Maybe by a whole hour.

He stomped his feet a few times for more circulation and adjusted his guitar on his back. The shop was closed though some of the chandelier light bulbs glowed from the back hallway. The rest of it was the street lamp, the gentle edge of dawn still too far away.

It might not have snowed, but it was still cold enough that Fitz couldn't stop shivering. After a few moments of mental back and forth, Fitz figured the Doc wouldn’t mind. Taking out his key, it was warm in his palm as he adjusted the strap of his guitar. God help him if he fumbled opening the door and woke the whole street up by breaking the glass or some other nonsense.

He’d just sit quietly and wait for a bit. Maybe go over some of the lyrics for the new song he’d written for the open mic night that was happening at the pub down the street. After his shift, he’d go hang around some bar and finish this because the line about ‘catching girls staring , waiting for all that loving’ was not working at all.

The bell above the door gave a half gasp of a chime before Fitz could reach up and clutch it. Of course, his guitar fell from his shoulder and smacked right in a chair and toppled it over. Fitz stood stock still. Bad enough if the neighbors called the cops at this hellish hour, but he also knew the Doctor lived upstairs. He figured he must be asleep, tucked in and cozy.

The stray thought about the Doctor and his bed floated through his mind. Maybe everything was covered in velvet. Even had a dressing gown in that same soft green. Maybe he didn’t wear anything at all to bed...Fitz let out a deep breath and closed the door. Righted the chair.

Stupid thought, he just didn’t want to wake him up is all. That’s it.

His fear was proven completely unnecessary because a moment later the kitchen door swung open and out came the Doctor with a large smile on his face. His usual velvet jacket was missing, and his shirt sleeves were rolled up to the elbow. And instead of a dressing gown as Fitz had momentarily imagined—-there was the frilliest apron that had frilled into existence cinched around the Doctor’s waist.

Fitz had been working at The Space for over two months now, and he still hadn’t known who baked the daily specialty items. He knew they received a delivery each morning from a bakery they partnered with across the city for some of the standard items like buttery croissants and apple tarts. They were good, but nothing could compete with the daily item. A few like the old-fashioned donuts had appeared one Friday and almost rivaled his love for the Lemon Jelly Baby cupcakes. Almost.

Fitz sort of assumed it was some mysterious coworker who came in late at night to work because it couldn’t have been the Doctor. Not that Fitz kept a close eye on him or anything, but the Doctor never had a bit of flour on him. No smudges of frosting along the sleeves of his velvet jacket. It wasn’t possible for the Doctor to single handedly bake all of it unless he never slept.

And apparently, the man didn’t.

No, the Doctor was just as energetic at 5 am as he was at closing. His hair was piled on top of his head in a bun though a few disobedient curls sprang out through the holes of his hair net. If Fitz was ever caught in a get up like that he’d have dropped dead or at least have the decency to blush. But not the Doctor.

“What are you doing here so early?” He bounded over to Fitz with a huge smile on his face, but before he got an answer he continued in the same breath. ”You have perfect timing! I’d love an extra pair of hands to help me with this new recipe. What do you think of a five layer cronut cake with chocolate buttercream for today?”

Even in the light of the few chandeliers, the Doctor was close enough now that Fitz could see a red mark on the other man’s forehead from the hair net. This wasn’t unusual really, the Doctor had issues with personal space and at first it bothered Fitz, but now he was used to it. Maybe a bit too used to it because as the Doctor’s blue eyes stared up at him, all Fitz wanted to do was reach out and pluck the hair net off his head. Run his fingers through the man’s hair and...and...

Fitz buried the thoughts with a blush. He gave a small cough and looked at the clock.

“A cronut cake? I think this must be a bit tight on you if you can somehow get a cake done.” Fitz gestured at the fishnet which only made the Doctor’s smile wider. The nutter. “The shop opens in—”

“Yes, yes in 64 minutes. I can keep track of time, thank you, Fitz.” The Doctor turned back and walked through the kitchen door as he spoke and Fitz simply followed. One of the workstations was full of flour and a random assortment of pantry items. “Not to worry, the regular menu items are ready and awaiting the masses. Now help me with the buttercream since that can be made ahead…” The Doctor trailed off and then glanced back up at Fitz expectantly. “You do know how to bake, don't you?”

Never had he wanted the world to open up and swallow him whole until that moment. His face burned. “Not unless it comes in a tube and says ready in 10 minutes, sorry no.”

“Well…we all have our strengths,” the Doctor gave a dramatic sigh then pointed at Fitz’s guitar resting beside the kitchen door, before he continued to drag items over for Fitz on the steel table. “Do you have a late gig tonight?”

“Er—an open mic tonight, but nothing late.”

“A date?”

“What? No.” he replied in surprise. A strange weight of guilt sat in the back of his throat. It was bad enough to have random thoughts about his boss. It was worse to openly admit that he also hadn’t been getting laid at all. “I mean, there is this fit redhead, but I don’t think that’ll happen tonight.” Or ever, he should have added.

Fitz’s heart felt like it would hammer out of his chest. Why would the Doctor ask him something like that unless…? And would Fitz say yes, just to see. I mean it didn’t make him less straight to go on one date—.

His thoughts slammed to a halt as the Doctor smiled up at him and handed him a piece of paper. Fitz glanced down at it and across the top was the Doctor’s messy scrawl: Buttercream Dream Frosting.

“Excellent, be back tomorrow at the same time and I’ll teach you the fundamentals.” The Doctor walked over to a drawer and threw a hair net in Fitz’s direction. “Now just scrub up and I’ll walk you through making the buttercream.”

✶✶✶


As the kitchen mixer creamed the butter, Fitz added in the powdered sugar slowly, a puff of white occasionally bursting into the air in front of him. The Doctor was talking about some piece of music that had been giving him trouble recently and Fitz spent it half paying attention to their conversation because he’d noticed something. Something important. While the man was lean, he had muscle hidden beneath all those velvet jackets.

Fitz tried to concentrate and give better answers, but his eyes would gravitate to the way the Doctor’s forearms would flex as he kneaded the dough on the floured surface of the workstation was distracting. This was the most skin he’d seen from the Doctor and here he was ogling like some pubescent teen.

What the hell was wrong with him? He dragged his eyes back to the mixer and began to count the rotations. He was tired. And lonely. That’s it. That’s all. Just count the rotations.

“That looks good,” came a voice beside Fitz and he jumped. God, the man was like a cat. The Doctor was peering into the bowl and then reached across to shut off the mixer. “I’ll finish this up while the dough rises. Why don’t you start getting ready for the first round of customers?”

“Sure thing,” said Fitz with a nod and tried to give his best I-was-not-thinking-about-you-naked smile. As he headed toward the door, Fitz let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and took his hair net off.

Flipping the on switch, he listened to the espresso machine come to life, a bit of steam filling the air. The morning sun filtered through the large, lattice windows bathing the room in soft golden light. Fitz wanted to capture the warmth. Wanted to keep it close and release it back out into a song. A melody full of dawn began to construct itself in his mind and his fingers itched to try strumming it out.

“The sunrise was one of the reasons I kept this place. Beautiful, isn’t it?”

Fitz turned to see the Doctor bathed in that same golden light filtered through the frosted window panes. Smiling at him. Fitz bit the inside of his cheek and nodded. “Y-yeah, it is. I was just thinking I want to write a song about it.”

A sad look seemed to pass over the Doctor, but just as quickly vanished with a small hum of agreement before he spoke again. “Well, I hope to hear a Kreiner original someday. Please tell me when you’ve finished it.”

“Yeah, I’ll let you know.” Fitz said softly. His heart was skipping rope in his chest. Even his mind was getting off the straight path, already coming up with lyrics about how bright the Doctor’s eyes were as he stared back at him. The way the light struck the strands of his long brown curls and made them glow. It hurt to admit it, but the Doctor was beautiful. A weird, eccentric, maddening, and...beautiful man.

“Oh, by the way?” said the Doctor, stepping closer to Fitz. “You have a bit of sugar on your face.”

Fitz tried to wipe it away while the Doctor chuckled. “No, no, no. You haven’t got it. Allow me.”

And that was when the Doctor’s cool fingers brushed against his cheek, an electric shock ran through him. Something he’d never felt before in his life and now Fitz did and truly wanted the world to swallow him whole. Take him into darkness and end it. Because as ridiculous and over exaggerated as it was, he knew that he would be unable to continue on knowing those fingers may never touch him again.

✶✶✶


This was an enlightened world, a good world. Just this past week, Sam walked in with her girlfriend to show her around the place. Fitz could be gay and no one would bat an eye. Though he was sure he wasn’t and made a point to check out every woman who walked by the windows. No. But he was somewhere on the Kinsey scale (which he finally knew about also thanks to Sam). So as much as he wanted to deny it, the scale tipped far and hard in the direction of wherever it meant he wanted the Doctor.

And yet, knowing all that, Fitz couldn't stop thinking of what his father would say. Dear old dad was 6 feet under, but he knew him well enough. He’d probably say something heinous, venomous and hurtful. It pricked at him. As he poured a refill for one of the regulars at the counter, his thoughts revolved round and round like the kitchen mixer attachment from that morning.

“Not smelling like the usual fire hazard. I’m shocked, what’s got you so distracted from your hourly cancer stick?” Sam asked and Fitz blinked down at her. She was tying her apron on, her blonde hair catching the afternoon light. He glanced at the time.

Everything had passed in a haze of making orders and handing out coffees and the mounting panic of his thoughts. Sheer panic.

“Nothing just….” Fitz let his words trail off with a shrug. He couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer before the real one strode out from the back hallway.

The Doctor’s velvet coat tails flew behind him as he approached to greet Sam. His blue eyes flickered to Fitz and he smiled bright.

And right then, Fitz was determined to get a few drinks after playing at the Open Mic, roll a joint, smoke a pack so he could stop feeling whatever this was. Maybe even text that bird who slipped her number to him last week. Maybe getting it out of his system would help.

Yeah. That was it.

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Chapter 5: Chapter 5

Author's Notes: Since this chapter is kind of short and I'm in the Christmas spirit, I'm going to post Chapter 6 on Thursday. Be on the look out for it!


Fitz was hungover. Hungover and waiting for a bus. Hungover and very cold as the snow tried to crawl into his boots. Hungover and badly needing a smoke. 

He wanted to beg off, he did. Truly. But then he thought of the Doctor's face. The sullen look that would cross those blue eyes made his stomach twist into knots. 

So he'd sucked it up, caught the bus and ended up with the same speed racer for a bus driver as yesterday. She smiled at him as he popped in his fare and before he could even get to a seat, she'd hit the gas and he had to grab onto the railing for dear life. Smile of the devil apparently. 

Unlike the day before, a few more lights inside The Space were on. The only place on the street lit up at this hour, shining like a beacon as flurries fell on the icy street. 

And unlike the day before, The Doctor was standing on one of the plush chairs, trying desperately to hang up a string of paper snowflakes. The Doctor wobbled a bit on the chair as his eyes caught Fitz’s through the glass and waved. And Fitz couldn’t hold back his grin. He walked into The Space and locked the door behind him as the Doctor bounced up and down on the chair with sheer excitement. 

“Fitz, you really have a knack for perfect timing. Help me put these up.”

“Yeah, sure. Just please get off that chair. You’ll crack your skull and I don’t know how I’d explain it without becoming a murder suspect.”

“You’ve got a point,” said the Doctor who leaned closer to Fitz with a contemplative look. This was the first time they were at eye level and close. Fitz forgot how cold he’d been on the walk over from the bus stop. Because now he felt warm, too warm before the Doctor’s gaze swept down to his scuffed Doc Martens and then slowly locked eyes with him again. 

Then the Doctor broke the spell he’d unknowingly cast as he said with a teasing lilt, “Especially with all that leather, they’ll pin it on you for sure.” 

“Yeah, yeah.” Fitz rolled his eyes. “So save me from the gallows and get off. I’ll finish putting these up.” 

The Doctor landed on both feet beside Fitz and smiled up at him. Fitz lifted the side of the chain dangling between them. His fingers ran over one of the paper snowflakes. Each of them had an intricate design. Careful and steady hands had made these.  

“When did you have time to make this?” asked Fitz as he took a piece of tape from the Doctor’s outstretched hand and easily taped up the other side of the chain. 

“Oh I couldn’t sleep. I was so looking forward to today and then it started to snow. Just as well, I finally got this done.” 

“What’s so exciting about today?”

“Well, you of course!” Exclaimed the Doctor, looking at him with wonder. Fitz’s heart hammered in his chest. “It’s not everyday I get to teach someone the fundamentals of baking.”

Fitz swallowed and kept his voice steady “You’ll be lucky if anything can get through my thick skull.”

“Oh, be quiet. You’ll be marvelous.”

✶✶✶


“You might not be cut out for this,” said the Doctor as they stared at Fitz's sunken soufflé, it’s edges burnt on the pan. “I only walked away for a moment to get things prepped.” 

“See, I told you I’d be bad!” Fitz stared down at his poor soufflé, steam flowing from it’s center. “Also, isn’t this a hard recipe? Shouldn’t we have started with biscuits or something?”

“Hush. I wanted to see where we should start,” said the Doctor before he grabbed a spoonful of  soufflé and popped it into his mouth.  Fitz winced with horror as he watched the Doctor chew.  The man had no fear. 

The Doctor’s nose scrunched up as if in distaste and then with a tilt of his head, his expression turned contemplative. “This isn’t half bad other than the soggy, burny parts.”

“That’s most of it!” Fitz poked the pan and the soufflé inverted further into itself. 

“It’s actually kind of a wonder really. Well, come help me with frosting the cupcakes and we can try again tomorrow.”

They spent the rest of the hour before opening decorating the cupcakes. While his was a bit lopsided, the Doctor made him stand back and they looked over their work proudly before placing a yellow jelly baby on each one. 





For the tenth time, Fitz yawned so wide his jaw clicked. He leaned over the counter and took a sip of his fourth coffee. 

“Am I boring you?” Sam  side-eyed him as she wiped down the counter. 

“What? Boring who?” asked Fitz through another yawn. 

“I was talking about the refugee crisis and you’re completely ignoring me. It’s important to stay involved, even at your ripe old age.”

“Hey! I am four years older than you, I am not old.”

“Then stop acting like it!”

“I’ll have you know I am fighting a hangover and possible sleep deprivation.”

“You’re probably dehydrated too,” said Sam with a roll of her eyes. She stalked over to where they stored water bottles and threw one to Fitz. His reflexes were especially slow and he fumbled to catch it. 

“Aw! Thanks, Sam. I’m glad to see you care.”

“Just drink your water and shut it.”

Fitz chuckled and opened the bottle. As he took a swig from it, and Sam started to clean the espresso machine, she continued to talk about the crisis. He caught a few words and it sounded dire. It really did. He’d have to search online later and maybe (and a big maybe) if he had anything to donate he would. But he couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. 

Because Fitz knew he had to talk to the Doctor about his new schedule. He couldn’t balance his calendar as it was, nevermind getting here before dawn and then working his regular shift and still having time for gigs. 

Fitz leaned against the counter and focused so he could hear the Doctor play on his violin. The notes filled the back hallway and poured out into The Space. He didn’t recognize what it was, but it was nice. Real nice. 

On the bus ride home, he kept falling asleep. His head drooped against the bus window. And his mind, even in sleep, could only think of those notes. And the Doctor. 

His mind was simply full of him.

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