“Takeshi, I need you to teach me how to cook!”
Takeshi blinked at Daisuke, chopsticks sticking out of his mouth while he looked back and forth between Daisuke’s determined face and his well-made and well-filled lunch box. “MmmMm?” he said, finally.
Daisuke wilted a little. “You don’t have time, right? You’re so busy cooking for you and your dad, I shouldn’t ask…”
Takeshi swallowed quickly. “No, no! I just meant… well, your mom’s a great cook! Can’t she teach you?”
Daisuke opened his mouth and closed it, trying to figure out some way of explaining that his mother would, invariably, want to know who he wanted to cook for, and she’d raise the roof when she found out. “I’d kind of like to surprise her, too,” he managed at last.
“Oh.” Takeshi shrugged. “Well, sure. Nobody’s using the home ec room after school this term, I think. We can take it over.” He gave Daisuke a toothy grin. “Of course, this means you’ll take over cleaning duty for me for the rest of the year.”
“Ah. Oh. Well, yeah, I guess so,” Daisuke agreed slowly, not seeing any way out.
Sucker, Dark remarked, tolerantly.
Daisuke sighed with rueful agreement.
Satoshi-kun took the small lunch box and opened it. He glanced back up at Daisuke, arching a brow. The gesture conveyed a certain polite disbelief.
“It isn’t from my mom,” Daisuke muttered, answering the unspoken question. “I, um… ” He cleared his throat, cheeks heating. “I made it.”
Satoshi-kun was silent for a moment, and Daisuke tried not to squirm under his level gaze. At last Satoshi-kun looked back down at the food and extracted a piece of tamagoyaki to chew, carefully and without any change of expression Daisuke could see. He watched hopefully anyway.
“It’s good,” Satoshi-kun said.
Daisuke stifled his disappointment and nodded, turning back to his own food.
The next day he brought croquettes.
Tempura, onigiri filled with pickled plums, inarizushi, curry bread (and hadn’t that been a chore to hide from his mother!), ohitashi, Daisuke tried one dish after another on Satoshi-kun. Every one was recieved with that moment of blankness and a calm “It’s good”.
He hadn’t expected enthusiasm, not from Satoshi-kun, but he had been hoping for just a little bit of pleasure.
Was it possible that Satoshi-kun really didn’t care about food at all? Or was Daisuke just not a good enough cook to find something he would like?
The second thought only made it more depressing the morning Daisuke woke to the sounds of his mother moving around downstairs and realized he’d slept too late to sneak down to the kitchen and make anything for that day. When lunch came, he could only offer Satoshi-kun a slightly embarrassed smile and a bag of apples he’d picked up at the morning market on his way to school. “Sorry, Satoshi-kun, I was up kind of late last night… which… you already know, of course…” he trailed off, abashed. He waited for Dark to comment on feeding people who strung them up by the ankle in whip-snares, of all antiquated things, but his companion-self only rolled his eyes and turned over to go back to sleep.
Satoshi-kun tipped his head to the side, as if he wanted to view Daisuke from a different angle. “Niwa. Why are you doing this?”
Daisuke hemmed and hawwed for a moment, but Satoshi-kun didn’t look away and finally he admitted, “Because I wanted to find something you’d enjoy eating.”
Satoshi-kun blinked. “… I have.”
“Well, you like all of it, sure,” Daisuke agreed, earnestly, “but there doesn’t seem to be anything you…” he fished for the right word. “That you savor, at all,” he finished.
Satoshi-kun looked faintly amused, and Daisuke flushed. “I mean, you should eat, sometimes, because you like it,” he said, a bit defensively. “Not because you have to, but just to taste the tastes and enjoy them.”
Satoshi-kun considered this for a long moment. “And that’s why you’ve been bringing me food?”
“Well, yes.” Daisuke sighed. “When I can get past my mother to use the kitchen.”
“Hm.” Satoshi-kun looked thoughtful, and reached down to take an apple. He examined it as if it were a painting by some unknown artist before biting into it, slowly. The apple was consumed in thoughtful silence, and Daisuke waited as Satoshi-kun meticulously licked his fingers clean of dripped juice.
Finally a tiny smile curved Satoshi-kun’s lips. “It’s good,” he said, softly.
Poor schmuck, Dark muttered, sleepily, in the back of his head.
Daisuke smiled, too, just a little triumphant. “Tomorrow I’ll bring manju.”