frameofmind6: (Akame: You&I)
Author’s Note: A random, cracky idea that came to me in the process of writing Shuuji to Chikara. Best not to read it before reading the actual story, as it probably won’t make sense and might give away some stuff. (Also, um, please don’t expect too much from it…it will most likely disappoint you. ;) This piece is dedicated to my Ryo gurus, [livejournal.com profile] dori_liv and [livejournal.com profile] karilly… ;)


Shuuji to Chikara: Ryo-troll Omake

“I managed the dishwasher today.”

The murmur of encouraging applause and quiet support from the others in the circle echoes off the walls of the gymnasium. Uesugi acknowledges it with a slightly self-conscious little nod, shifting on his folding chair and clutching at the wooden spoon he carries in place of a sword.

“Good,” Takahashi-san says with her ever-encouraging smile. She somehow manages to note something on her clipboard without actually breaking eye contact with Uesugi. (Chikara has no idea how she does that. Her notes must be a mess at the end of the day.) “And how did that make you feel?”

Uesugi clears his throat and bobs his head up and down, considering. “Really good. It was…it was really good. I only broke three glasses, and I put the soap in the right container this time. And the duct tape over the sword punctures—”

(Everyone hums in sympathy at that—they’ve all been there. Except Nobunaga, who just tuts derisively, but they’re used to that.)

“—held up without leaking, so…it was good.” There’s a little breath of relief as he gets it out, like he’s only just starting to believe it. “It was all good.”

“Very good!” Takahashi-san says, leading another little smattering of applause. “We’re all very proud of you.”

Nobunaga gives a derisive cough.

Chikara rolls his eyes. Really, it’s such a sad thing when your childhood heroes turn out to be assholes.

But then Ranmaru reaches over and pats Nobnaga on the knee where he’s stubbornly sitting seiza on top of his folding chair, bokken resting against his shoulder, and Nobunaga softens almost immediately. And really, who can blame him, looking back at that?

(It actually sort of freaks Chikara out how much Ranmaru looks like Shuuji. Except he’s, like…sexier, or something. He never seems to be able to keep his silk kimono pulled up over both shoulders, and he has this giant paper fan…)

“Nobunaga-sama?” Takahashi-san says, her bright smile never faltering as she meets his irritable glare. “Do you have something you’d like to share with the group?”

Nobunaga is just preparing to answer her with another dismissive sniff when the sound of the latch echoes through the mostly empty room, and everyone turns toward the door with interest. (Except Nobunaga, of course. Until Ranmaru hits him with the fan.)

The guy doesn’t really look like a samurai at first glance—he’s pretty short, and he’s dressed as some kind of cook or something, complete with hat and apron—but the way he holds himself as he enters the room, and that careful hand resting on the handle of the metal spatula in his belt are dead giveaways to this group. They’re all well-acquainted with the common coping mechanisms.

“Excuse me,” the man says, bowing cordially. “Please forgive my lateness. Is this Time-Traveling Samurai Anonymous?”

Takahashi-san grins ever so brightly. “Yes, of course it is! And please, no need to apologize—this is a safe and welcoming space.”

(Ranmaru stuffs his kimono sleeve in Nobunaga’s mouth before he can prove her wrong. Nobunaga glares at him, but Ranmaru just ignores him and gives the newcomer a cheeky little wave.)

“Please, have a seat,” Takahashi-san offers. “Why don’t you introduce yourself to the group.”

There are two seats left open in the circle, but as one of them is next to Nobunaga (who has spit out Ranmaru’s kimono sleeve now, and is now trying without success to take away his paper fan), the newcomer very wisely chooses the one next to Chikara. He sits on the chair properly too, Chikara notices with surprise. Most of the new guys start out kneeling on top of it like Nobunaga. (Most of them give it up after about fifteen minutes too, because it hurts like a bitch to kneel on a chair shaped specifically for sitting. Nobunaga is just a stubborn bastard.)

“My name is Yasube Kijima,” he says, bowing again with hands on spread knees. “I am a samurai from the 19th century—”

“Ha! Child.”

(Ranmaru hits Nobunaga with the fan again.)

Chikara leans toward the perplexed Yasube and murmurs, “Don’t mind him—he’s just cranky. He thinks anybody born after 1582 is pretty much useless.”

Yasube stares at him for a moment—then gives a faltering little smile, shoulders relaxing slightly as he turns back to the group. “And I currently work as a pastry chef. Puddings are my specialty.”

Chikara’s eyes widen a bit. Pudding? Food?? God, he can’t remember the last time he had something that was actually cooked—much less a baked dessert. Sometimes he catches the delicious scent of something home-cooked drifting down the hall from Shuuji’s apartment, and he’s half-tempted to just knock on the door and beg a meal off him, even if Shuuji doesn’t know who he is yet and would probably think he’s a crazy stalker. He tried to build a cooking fire in his bathtub once, but all he managed was to set off the fire alarm. He has a vague sense that the stove is really where he’s meant to cook things, but the one time he dared to turn it on the flame jumped so high he nearly singed his eyebrows off. He hasn’t bucked up the courage since.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Yasube-sama,” Takahashi-san simpers, nudging the group into applause again. “And what brings you to the 21st Century?”

“I’m…not completely sure, actually,” Yasube says self-consciously, though he seems heartened when a few of the others murmur in sympathy. He smells like strawberry shortcake. Chikara wants to grab him by the elbow and lick the powdered sugar off the shoulder of his chef’s jacket (he didn’t even have time for coffee this morning, after the whole fiasco with the tin can lid that got stuck in the garbage disposal. Who knew there was a spinning blade hidden underneath the sink? Shuuji never warned him about that…), but he also sort of wants to make friends with this guy, so he figures maybe that wouldn’t be the best opening move.

The meeting carries on for a while with Yasube as the focus, interrupted only by Nobunaga’s condescending remarks about upstart pipsqueaks who are three-hundred years too early to challenge him. (Things get a lot more pleasant after Ranmaru finally gets fed up and drags him bodily from the room.) Finally, after a few words of encouragement to try new things, not be intimidated by the world around them, and always read instructions carefully—twice—especially for any appliances involving electricity or an open flame, Takahashi-san adjourns the meeting for the week.

“Say,” Chikara says to Yasube as they’re both getting up to leave, “you’re…a pastry chef, right? What’s that like?”

Yasube blinks at him for a moment, but he doesn’t object as Chikara falls in step beside him on the way towards the door. “It’s…very nice,” Yasube says. “Fulfilling.”

I’ll bet, Chikara thinks, trying to suppress the grumble low in his stomach.

“I’m Chikara, by the way,” he says, offering a handshake. “Oishi Chikara.”

Yasube pauses mid-awkward-handshake and stares at him again. “You’re…Oishi Chikara?”

“Oh, um,” Chikara ruffles the back of his messy hair with his free hand. “Yeah. Sorry, I forgot you would…most of these guys are before my time, see.”

Yasube releases his hand immediately and dips into a more formal bow instead. “It’s an honor to meet you, Oishi-sama.”

Chikara waves him off, feeling his face get hot. At least Shuuji didn’t bow to him when he found out. “No, don’t—it’s no big deal. And please, call me Chikara.”

“I could hardly presume…”

“No, come on—you’re in the 21st Century now. You know what they say, ‘When in Rome…’”

Yasube blinks at him. “What’s Rome?”

Chikara shrugs. “I don’t know. People say it on TV sometimes…”

“Well,” Yasube hedges, “if you insist. But then you must call me Kijima.”

“Deal,” Chikara grins, and they continue toward the door. “Hey, listen, about the pastry thing—do you think maybe I could try something you’ve made sometime? Just…I’m not really much of a cook, and I’d love to sample your work.”

“Of course, Oishi-sa…Chikara-san,” Yasube corrects sheepishly. “I can take you to my shop right now, if you wish.”

“Really? That would be awesome, actually, because I sort of skipped breakfast. Hey, you don’t make anything with tunafish in it, do you?”

Yasube looks dismayed. “No…no, I don’t think so. But I might be able to modify one of the bun recipes to use tuna instead of bean paste. I’m sure it would taste lovely with a bit of mayo and a cup of coffee.”

Coffee???

Chikara’s heart soars.

“Kijima,” Chikara says, slinging an arm around the shorter man’s bony shoulders, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…”

*      *      *

A/N: *facepalms*

(I did warn you not to expect too much… ;)
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