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26 October 2005 @ 09:55 pm
[RP log] Allez cuisine  
Characters: Atobe Keigo & Oshitari Yuushi
Rating: G
Timeline: Sometime after 1st training camp, afternoon following this im conversation
Summary: Charmed into the kitchen at last, the diva receives a lesson or two in the intricacies of preparing a home-made meal from his best friend



I shall count the seconds until you arrive.

So he had said over instant message, and Atobe almost found himself doing just that. Recalling their most entertaining online exchange from earlier that afternoon, he chuckled softly to himself. Their clever banter, which sometimes bordered on the edges of something immensely flirtatious, was more titillating than anything else he could imagine.

Are you happy now, Yuushi? You have managed to drag me into the kitchen, at last...

So much for his resistance. He had put up a valiant struggle against the culinary arts for much of his years as Oshitari's roommate, but it seemed his friend would have none of that. And at long last, he had succumbed, despite all protests. Why now, after all this time? This was not altogether clear, though it was quite possible that no one could resist such persistency for so long, particularly when delivered in such a charming manner. It wasn't often that Atobe could be charmed into doing anything by anybody.

He got up from his desk, snapping off his computer screen before heading toward the living room. Oshitari should be home soon, laden with groceries and brimming with mischief. No doubt he would enter through those doors any minute with the smug look of victory on his features. Atobe was ready.

And as promised, behind those doors, Oshitari was about to fish out a key from his jean pocket, balancing two big grocery bags in his arms, his school bag thrown over one shoulder. He stopped to calculate his possibilities, staring at the door and thinking the man behind it, a little sad smile dancing over his lips and disappearing as quickly as it had emerged.

Keigo.

Occasionally Oshitari was highly amused to find out how their home life truly resembled married couples' routines and status quo. But to be honest, it was annoyingly true to him. He almost pitied the girl Atobe would marry some day. He would be extremely jealous. Oh yes, but he had still time to learn how to live with the fact some day.

Resolutely turning his mind to the present moment, Oshitari weighted his options.

In the art of war surprise is one of your greatest assets. You cannot win only by it, but in desperate situations it gives you the possibility of victory and can double your manpower. Oshitari Yuushi had been the lonely strategist of this war for a long time now. What was the purpose of the battle, he wasn't completely sure but he planned to win nonetheless.

The first rule of successful battle planning was choosing your own battlefield. So, Oshitari didn't pull out the key from his pocket but instead, he reached out and rang the doorbell.

The ring reverberated through the apartment, announcing the arrival of what Atobe was certain to be his most self-satisfied roommate. Smirking to himself, he snatched one of the aprons hanging on the hook just inside the kitchen doorway, throwing it over his neck hastily as he made his way for the door. Now that he had agreed to this little project of Oshitari's, he was determined to give him exactly what he wanted, and then some. Nobody would ever accuse Atobe Keigo of going about anything with half a heart, nor of falling short of giving people what they wanted. Especially something that seemed to captivate his best friend's amusement as much as this.

Gripping the knob firmly in his hand, he pulled the door open and slid his hand up the side of the frame, leaning into it. Gazing into Oshitari's eyes with his best look of seduction, he drawled, "Welcome home, my clever wife. Why don't I help you with your bags?"

Without waiting for an answer, he pulled a grocery bag from out of the man's arms, tucking it against his hip before leaning in to light an affection kiss upon his roommate's cheek.

It seemed that in this battle the fighting spirit was already high. Oshitari chuckled airily and reached out to tug the belt of the apron hanging around Atobe's neck. "Hello there, Beautiful. Such a good husband you are, uniform and all," he drawled amusedly, midnight eyes glimmering with barely concealed mirth.

Stepping inside, Oshitari quickly placed the grocery bag on to the side table before plugging away his shoes and throwing his school bag in to the corner. Turning to face Atobe again, he picked up the groceries and leaned in to plant a sloppy kiss on the tip of the slender man's nose and whispered breathily, gazing down through his lashes at his roommate all the separating three centimeters. "How far did you count?"

"For an eternity and a day," he replied as he gazed back up with eyes reflecting wicked playfulness. "You should not keep me waiting thus, when you know I'd be twiddling my thumbs until you arrive." Atobe's lips twitched a little as he delivered his lines, teasing and yet genuine nonetheless. As reluctant as he may have been with this prospect before, the task had become a special challenge that seemed to rise above the cooking into something else altogether. Though he couldn't really figure out what that "something else" was at the moment.

Balancing the grocery bag carefully in his arms, Atobe turned and walked toward the kitchen, peeking into the contents curiously. Glancing back at Oshitari, he chuckled, "So what's on the menu tonight, tensai?"

"Gyoza," Oshitari answered simply as he followed his slender roommate to the kitchen. He couldn't help the softly amused smile from arching his lips upward ever so slightly. "Do you think you can handle that, buchou?"

Lowering the bag to the counter, Oshitari begun to take out the ingredients from the paper bag while his mind wondering idly why teaching his roommate how to cook seemed to be so important to him. This year had just started out differently, last year kitchen had been his kingdom while Atobe ruled in everywhere else, now he had invited…no, insisted that the other would enter his territory and learn the rules of this country. Why now, when earlier he had been fully content to keep this piece of the universe to himself? He didn't know, but it seemed still important.

Scoffing with amusement, Atobe set down the grocery bag on the counter and replied, "I am prepared for anything you come at me with, Yuushi. You do not scare me." His eyes flashed in a playful glimmer as he began to remove various packages from the bag. As long as he didn't have to slice up tofu, he was quite content with whatever challenge Oshitari would throw his way. So far as he was aware, preparing dumplings did not involve the kind of intricate knife work required when cutting slippery tofu...

He shuddered a little bit at the memory from training camp. Atobe was convinced that devious cook had it in for him. At least Oshitari didn't have a wicked ulterior motive. Or did he?

Swinging around toward his roommate with a bundle of spring onions in hand, Atobe leaned against the counter and smirked, "So now that you have finally proved yourself victorious... how are you going to put me to work...aaaahn?"

"I have? Proved myself victorious?" Oshitari chuckled and continued to pull out the groceries to the counter without even glancing at his roommate. He piled up the ingredients they needed in the other end of the table, putting rest of the purchases away quickly.

Turning to face Atobe with slow smirk of his own, he pulled his slender friend from the counter and quickly tied the apron around the other's narrow waist. "It doesn't do you much good only hanging around your neck like that," he murmured amusedly, a tender tone in his voice.

"No, I suppose it doesn’t," the would-be-chef chuckled in reply as he let his friend tie up his apron with deft fingers. He adjusted the strap around his neck and brushed off the top of the apron with the back of his fingers as he drawled, "And yes, you're quite victorious, at least in the first stage of getting me to enter these premises as a contender. Why do I feel like the valiant challenger who has just stepped into Kitchen Stadium? Though I think the Iron Chef has already been pre-chosen for me. Not that I have any objection to the choice of opponent. Or the secret ingredient." Arching his eyebrow, he ran his eyes up and down Oshitari's body with a devious smirk.

He pulled out the rest of the contents from his grocery bag, including cabbage, ginger root and ground meat. Sliding his hand carefully around the prepackaged gyoza wrappers, he tossed it into the air and caught it gracefully.

"Allez cuisine." He uttered with a smile.

"Bon voyage," Oshitari replied readily and snatched the wrappers from his friend's playful hands. "Être prudent, Keigo. They are délicat."

He placed the wrappers on the table, opening the package to give the dough some air and turned to pick up a chopping board and a knife from the stand on the side counter, placing them and the vegetable on the worktable. "Now first all the little cooks will wash their hands before starting to chop onions. Has Kei-chan been a good boy and washed his hands, hmm?

"Let's see them," he murmured teasingly and held out expectantly his hands for his best friend.

Bon voyage. It sounded like a most fitting phrase at the moment, for something in the back of Atobe's mind hinted that their little culinary pursuit was about to take them down an adventurous new path. He looked on in amusement as Oshitari pulled out their necessary tools and set them carefully on the countertop. The kitchen wasn't such a scary place. How could it be, when his best friend felt so much at ease here? Having stepped into Oshitari's domain, Atobe realized that there was more comfort here than he realized. Perhaps he had avoided getting too attached to this place before, because he was resisting change.

He chuckled softly as he stepped closer to Oshitari and offered him his hands, palm side facing up. "I'm afraid my hands are not washed, Yuushi," he said with a sly grin. "But I suppose that is why you are here, to teach me how to be master of this domain, starting with the very basics..." Cocking his head playfully to the side, he smiled, "Will you help this bad boy clean up?"

"Indeed." Taking the offered hands in his, Oshitari pulled the slender young man closer and towards the sink. A little devilish grin breaking over his lips, he nudged Atobe past him and stepped after the other, positioning himself behind the slender frame of his best friend. "With pleasure, Keigo," he purred into the other's ear as he leaned over Atobe's shoulder to the water-tap, placing his other hand on the narrow hip of his 'pupil'.

"The first rule in cooking is that you should do things that feel right," he murmured softly, leaning his chin on Atobe's shoulder while he reached under the other's arms, around the slender waist for the delicate hands he knew held surprisingly much force within them, and placed their joined hands under the spraying water. He begun to wash his friend's hands with gentle motions, brushing light fingers over Atobe's hands with unhurried sweeps. "Do not follow instructions too literally, just go with what feels right for you. Using intuition and trying out new flavors courageously. That way some old dish could find a new, refreshed taste and make the cooking interesting."

"I always figured there must be something intuitive about cooking..." Atobe replied, trying to come across as suave as possible under the circumstances...though probably sounding just a little distracted in spite of his best efforts. Somehow, whatever thoughts he tried to voice for a moment were lost as their soapy fingers entwined together underneath the running water. He gazed down at their hands as the suds slid off of them slowly, shimmering in pinkish blue hues before spiraling down into the sink along with the clear waters. He couldn't remember the last time he'd really paid attention to something as seemingly mundane as washing his hands.

He grinned softly as he turned his face toward Oshitari and said, "It is such a subtle art, afterall... something that a genius would understand instinctively? As my sensei then, you can show me the way...and I shall bravely make those baby steps toward finding new flavors to taste." As he reluctantly pulled away their now-cleansed hands from the sink, he reached for a towel and turned to face his friend, draping the cloth over Oshitari's hands. As he rubbed them dry gently with the towel, he eyed his friend with a meaningful smile.

"Quite an introductory lesson there, Yuushi. Why do I get the feeling these gyoza will turn out to be like nothing I've ever had before? And coming from me, you know that would be a remarkable occurrence, indeed."

"Of course," Oshitari purred softly, letting his friend dry his hands. Such a little gesture but somehow it struck deep within him some chord he had forgotten for so long. His interaction with Atobe always surprised him with new nuances and flavors, never staying stable for too long.

"They'll be your first self-made dish. Yes I'm not counting the training camp and helping a little in the kitchen. And it'll taste heavenly because you have worked for it, like accomplishments always do."

Why am I not feeling the contentment when I'm with you then? He thought almost darkly to himself. Maybe it's because I'm not accomplishing anything…

"And your sensei will say we shall start the baby steps from chopping onion," he let a little smile cling to his lips as he stepped away from Atobe to pick up the onions and placed them beside the chopping board. His mind was working over the last thoughts, as he quickly peeled off the first layer of a few onions. His surprising encounter with Gakuto had made him think how foolishly he was dealing with his life at the moment. Has my judgment been clouded with fear instead of trying to be sensitive and discreet?

Partaking in the fruits of one's labor was certainly something that Atobe understood perfectly. Like his tennis, which was something he had created from the seamless combination of natural talent, hard work, and love. Having been born with the so-called silver spoon in his mouth, there were few things that people unknown to him gave him credit for, for having attained with his own efforts. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why tennis was so dear to him...because this was one accomplishment he could call his very own, and no one could deny this. And so his flamboyant displays upon the tennis court before his game was one way in which he threw it back into the faces of his critics. Because his game, despite all the antics, was always the embodiment of his pure skill; a stunning brilliance that was shaped lovingly from perseverance.

"I know a thing or two about tasting from your own accomplishments," Atobe replied warmly, leaning against the counter to watch Oshitari prepare the onions on the cutting board. "And come to think of it, I have been the lucky recipient of your masterpieces almost everyday. I never tire of them, I assure you. Maybe that's why I was reluctant to step inside the kitchen..."

He took an onion from the counter top and peeled the top layer, eying Oshitari's own handiwork as a model. Peeling off the layers...like finding what is really at the core... "But I suppose it is only fair that I reciprocate your efforts, in turn. And set aside my hesitation, because that is no excuse at all," he said with a chuckle.

Splitting one of the onions and placing the halves on the chopping board, Oshitari started to slice it meticulously, making sure Atobe saw his movements clearly. "I'm sure you'll do just fine, Keigo," he murmured softly, the midnight of his hair slipping down to cover his eyes. "You excel in anything you do. Why cooking should be any exception, hmm?"

Stepping away from the counter after slicing the onion into little pieces, he rinsed his hands under the water tap and turned to his friend, gesturing towards the onions and chopping board. "Now it's your turn. It's no cooking lesson if you're only watching me do all the work," he laughed teasingly.

"Of course. I was counting on getting some hands on experience," Atobe chuckled as he took up the knife and stepped up to the cutting board. He carefully poised the knife over the onion-half that was left for him on the board, and made several vertical incisions. Not perfectly parallel cuts, but quite decent. He glanced up at Oshitari with a proud smirk before proceeding to make the horizontal cuts.

So intent on the cutting as he was, it took Atobe a few moments to feel the sting pressing against his eyes. He paused for a moment, blinking several times as tears welled up under his lids.

"Ow..." he stammered. Setting the knife down on the board, he reached up and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand.

Adoring the confused frown as much as the smug grin over his friend's features, Oshitari stepped quickly to Atobe and pulled the other's hands away from the reddening eyes.

"Don't touch, it'll only make it worse," he murmured tenderly. Nobody should be allowed to be this charming. The enthusiastic smirk that had flared over his friend's features just a moment ago had made him feel so warm inside, and oddly possessive even though Atobe wasn't by far his.

Efficiently, he wetted his fingers under the water-tap and then brought them to Atobe's cheeks, wiping gently away the tears and spreading cooling water over his lids. Suddenly he wanted to lean down and kiss away the tears that were rolling down the other's cheeks.

"Onion releases sulphurous oil when cut, it gets easily to your eyes and makes your tears spill," he murmured softly, midnight eyes gazing down at Atobe with fond tenderness.

"...."

For a moment Atobe didn't have anything to say. Or rather, no words came to him as he looked back into his friend's affectionate gaze with silent wonder. There was something in those dark and beautiful eyes that seemed to speak thoughts that were left unvoiced - and it was as though all he had to do was listen more closely to hear the words. Oshitari's damp fingers brushed over his lids, soothing the stinging pain under their deft touch.

"Thanks, I'll...keep that in mind," he replied, smiling softly as he tilted his cheek into the touch. The cool water that hung on his lashes mingled with his tears, blurring his vision for a moment. He blinked several times, and with each flutter of the lids, things seem to come more into focus. If it could only be this simple. Because no matter what he told himself when he was alone, his sentiments were none too clear when he found himself in Oshitari's presence. Like flickering twilight that changed colors depending on the angle of vision, it seemed as though something was slowly shifting. And what was once a clear black and white was wandering through a gray realm of uncertainty.

"So uh...I should finish these up, aaahn?" Atobe smirked as he nodded toward his unfinished work on the cutting board.

Blinking slowly as well, Oshitari stepped back, giving space to his friend as the slender man moved back to the cutting board. Was Keigo always like this? He couldn't remember, maybe he had been blind to all the, if he was honest, rather unnecessary tenderness between them.

"I'll chop these for you," he murmured and picked up the rest of the vegetable, absentmindedly whipped out another chopping board and started working. His hands were moving with automation, making clean slices with sharp accuracy as he hid in the shadows of his dark bangs.

As his roommate finished chopping up the rest of the onions, Atobe watched him for a moment. He remembered not being too surprised when he learned, years ago, that Yuushi wore prescription-less glasses. The idea suited him somehow. He wondered whether the tensai used his midnight hair for a similar purpose, when a pair of lenses wasn't enough concealment.

He leaned his back casually against the counter beside Oshitari and glanced over as he grinned. "I hope you didn't take over because you found me completely hopeless with the knife. What would you have me work on next, Yuushi? I'm a loss here."

"Oops.." Oshitari murmured amusedly as he turned to look at his friend. "I'm sorry. I was in my thoughts," he continued chuckling warmly, a hint of shy blush coloring up his cheeks. When was the last time he had been this distracted?

He shoved aside the onions and picked up the rest of the vegetable. "If you'll chop the garlic, I'll do the cabbage and ginger, hmm?" He offered grinning impishly.

"Garlic, it is." Atobe purred as he plucked a few cloves from the counter and placed them over his cutting board. He stared at them for a moment, unsure where to begin, but his friend patiently showed him how to peel off the outer layer by smashing each clover under the side of his knife.

"Do you always know all the tricks of your trade?" he said with a smile, leaning in to kiss Oshitari on the cheek. The faint blush that was still lingering there was too much of a temptation to pass over.

"Naturally," Oshitari murmured breathily, already getting the hang of his earlier embarrassment and smirked at Keigo as he tilted his head towards his friend and stole a bit of a nuzzle before the other managed to pull away. "Would I be the tensai, if I didn't, hmm?"

He made a childish, displeased face at Atobe as the other still stood beside him. "Now I feel divided…One for this side also!" he demanded and turned his other cheek towards the azure eyed roommate of his.

"Anything for you."

Atobe leaned in again, lighting a kiss on the offered cheek. Grinning, he slipped his face against the other cheek and kissed it again before stepping back to finish his work over the garlic. They still had to grind up the ginger, chop the rest of the vegetables and mix it all together with the meat, and season.

"It'd better be worth every effort," he said in mock complaint as they finally got down to stuffing the gyoza. It probably took them twice as long to get to that point (had Oshitari done all the work himself), but the tensai didn't complain.

And even Atobe found that cooking wasn't so scary once he got the hang of it. Although there were several times he had wished his best friend had chosen something less intricate than gyoza for his first foray into their kitchen. Pasta would have been much easier. Boil and mix with pasta sauce. After the seventh failed attempt at folding the stuffing into the gyoza wrapper, he was about to stalk out of the kitchen, but somehow he was cajoled back to try one more time.

Thankfully his roommate had come prepared, having bought extra packages of gyoza wrappers, just in case.

~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


"Do you have to line them up side by side like that? Or are you just trying to show off?"

It was several minutes later, and Atobe was eying their creations that his roommate carefully picked off out of the steamer and was teasing him about his arrangement on the platter. Because you could clearly tell who was lacking in gyoza-stuffing-skills at first glance. In actuality, he was still awed by how expertly the other could nip and tuck each little dumpling into perfect fan-shaped triangles.

"Show off? I'm hurt that you think I would do such a thing," Oshitari chided back, mockingly hurt edge in his voice. He snorted as Atobe shrugged his shoulders at him. "It's important how you place them on the plate, half of the pleasure in eating is the vision of it, after all…" he teased, knowing perfectly well Atobe's creations looked crappy beside his own, but they would taste just the same.

"Try one," he murmured tenderly, smiling over the plate at Keigo, his midnight eyes glimmering affectionately as he reached at the other's face, brushing one little piece of onion from his friend's cheek, his thumb rubbing over the high cheekbones.

"There was something… " he muttered, before clearing his throat again. "But anyway. I'm sure the labors of your own work will taste delicious."

"Then I guess you won't mind if you try one. If you're brave enough," Atobe teased, as he picked up a pair of chopsticks and expertly snagged one of the dumplings from the platter. He chose the best looking one out of the gyozas that he made, which still didn't compare to any of Oshitari's perfection. But the effort, at least, was evident.

He dipped it into the sauce before bringing it to Oshitari's lips.

"Aaahn?" he grinned.

Amused beyond any words, Oshitari just opened his mouth and took the offered dumpling to his mouth. He chewed slowly, keeping Atobe's gaze at the while, the corners of his mouth tugging upwards.

After swallowing it down, he licked his lips and purred contently, grinning at the other softly. "They look horrible, Keigo, but they taste like you and me, brilliant when mixed well."