Canon has always been a good cook, in the rational sense that 100% of the things she makes are edible. In her previous specifications of the world, this would have meant she was a good cook; it no longer does. Her mother is apt to teasing her about it sometimes, and on weekends, the two of them can often be found in the kitchen, making food that Canon didn't know existed before, because Japan hasn't existed for over 30 years, so there weren't a lot of people to make Japanese food.

(Chocolate gets to stay inside and watch them, and sometimes, Canon gives her scraps when her mother isn't watching.)

It is very good, but it is also very different, and not in the ways that she would expect. In fact, it's the similarities that are striking.

After her mama died, food was just something she needed. Taste had nothing to do with it. When she was young, taste mattered - she has some foggy memories of her mama being in the kitchen all day, chopping up vegetables, using the oven to heat the whole house- but after her mama died, it just didn't. Taste didn't matter. It mattered to some people, but not to her. On Tatsumiya, taste matters. Taste matters a lot. The concept that her cooking is somehow 'bad' because it doesn't taste a certain way, is an entirely new idea to her. Comrades might have complained in the past, but they complained about all of the food. Here, she is a 'bad cook' despite the edibility of everything she makes. She remembers how her mother balked when she saw Canon eat a baked potato with nothing else, and when she just ripped off a piece of bread to eat without anything on it.

(She thinks that Tatsumiya doesn't have nearly as many potatoes in their diet as they should, but it's something she leaves unvoiced. She also misses beef -they have some, but not much- and bread that isn't sweet, but she doesn't say anything about that either.)

Her mother is what people on Tatsumiya call a 'good cook' which is to say that 100% of her food is edible, and it is also delicious, and since Canon's last name is now Hazama, it has suddenly become her job to inherit that title. So, they spend a large part of their weekend in the kitchen, working through recipes, so her mother can show her the ins and outs of delicious Japanese quinine. They take frequent breaks, to go out on walks with Chocolate, but once they return, it's always back to the kitchen. It's nice. It's really nice, and it's domestic, a strange little word that she has never really considered herself capable of being. But here, she is domestic, and it is nice. More than nice, but nice is the word she uses.

So she learns to make a lot of different Japanese things, but when she's in the kitchen, her mama's face and her mothers face seem more similar than they really are, and that troubles her. She remembers how excited she would be when her mama pulled something warm and fresh out of the oven, she remembers her little fingers reaching out to feel the warmth in winter as her mama stirred a big pot of stew on the burner, she remembers shepherd's pie, and colcannon, and honey corn beef on special occasions, and it's almost like the wounds are fresh again, after all the years.

In that kitchen, with her mother, she remembers why food stopped tasting. Worse still, her mother notices.

-\/-

They eat at Rakuen frequently. More frequently at the end of the work week, because Canon still expects that there should be a time table for everything, and impulsiveness is something she is still not very good at. Since they cook a lot over the weekend, they have leftovers for about half of the week. This is something that her mother has grown to accept. Canon is still not good at making small portions of anything, even if her mother prefers to just make enough for the two of them. Her mother works long hours, and Canon finds school life is far more difficult than she had anticipated. (She notices early on that no one else struggles with it, that no one else cares what grades they get, that no one else does all of the homework, and extra work that is assigned, but she has never been one to slouch on her responsibilities, so she does everything that she should.) She wouldn't mind having dinner prepared for when her mother got home, and when they first started this, she did. But, as she has been so cleverly informed, she is not a 'good cook' so she isn't allowed to just cook by herself. So Canon insists that they cook a lot over the weekends, so that they have leftovers to eat during the week. But when Thursday rolls around, and they are out of leftovers, the go to Rakuen. Sometimes, they just go there anyway, but almost always, they go on Thursdays and Fridays after her mother gets out of work.

Mizoguchi is what her mother would call an 'okay cook', if her mother wasn't so nice. He cooks most of the time, and he seems to be getting better from what Canon can tell. Maya, is not. Not really, so Mizoguchi, on the whole, keeps her out of the cooking area. (Once or twice, Canon has tried Maya's cooking, and she finds that it isn't as bad as everyone says, but when she tells Maya that, the other girl doesn't seem to believe her.) Instead, Maya learns how to make special coffee, and floats, and she is very good at that. She is also a wonderful waitress, despite all of the grief Mizoguchi seems to give her. (She thinks about how her mother teases her when she watches Mizoguchi poke at Maya. It's playful and sweet, in a strange, third person sort of way.)

And that is life for a long time, and it passes in a heartbeat. School, and when that slows down, (She has the top marks, and she is very pleased about that.) work with her mother, cooking on the weekends, eating at Rakuen twice a week, chatting regularly with Maya at school, at Rakuen, visiting the medical room once a week, being teased and loved daily. It's nice, very nice.

Things don't stop being nice when Kazuki wakes up, but they are a different sort of nice.

-\/-

It's Maya who comes barreling through the door in the hanger, her face bright and warm. Canon looks at her and for half a second, she wonders why- until abruptly, she knows why Maya is there. She's out of her chair in a heartbeat, her monitor and work forgotten, as the two of them race out of the hanger and to the medical bay, with Chocolate hot on her trail.

And he's there, and he's awake, and there are so many things all of them could say, that all of them SHOULD say, but they don't. Maya takes one of Kazuki's hands, and Canon stands behind her, and all Maya says is "Welcome home."

Kazuki smiles, and Canon notices how his eyes focus on Maya only after she has said it, how his eyes zeroed in on their joined hands when Maya took his, and how now, they are angled at Maya, but not really. She can see that they are just moving parts now, and she knows that things will not be the same.

"I'm home."

-\/-

The first week is very busy for Kazuki. He stays in the medical room for the first four days, and goes home on the fifth. Canon tries to visit him several times on the first day, but there are always other people there, and she really shouldn't intrude, and she really could just go back to working, or even go back to school, so she does. But on the second day, Maya gives her that smile. The smile that says she knows everything that ever was or ever will be, and mentions that no went to visit Kazuki in the evening. So Canon does that, because it is a good idea. She gets out of school early, does any work her mother wants, and then she goes home, cooks on her own, and she brings him dinner in the evenings for those three days.

(She learns that Maya is breaking the rules during the day while she visits, and that she's helping Kazuki to get to Soushi's old room. He's suppose to be in bed, resting, not ambling around Alvis, but when Canon runs into them one day, she doesn't say anything. The pain on Maya's face is enough. She doesn't know what she'll do if she finds him on his own, trying to get to Soushi's room.)

He says it's good, and she tries to explain that she's been learning how to cook Japanese food, and that she's gotten better. She doesn't say it well, but he seems to get it. Kazuki has always seemed to get her, and it always makes her feel vulnerable. She's starting to accept that vulnerable isn't such a bad thing.

He asks her if she's only cooking Japanese food. It comes up at some point, and she admits that mostly, she is just cooking Japanese food. He frowns bit at that, but he doesn't say anything else about it.

(She does catch him on the third day, ambling of towards Soushi's room, and despite the rules, despite that he should be in bed, she helps him. He probably knows where he's going better than she does, but she helps him anyway.)

They talk a lot more than they did before, but it isn't all that easy either. Neither of them are very good at casual conversation, though she'd like to think she's gotten better. He asks her how she's doing, what she's doing. Things like that, and she tells him, and she does it honestly. He talks about wanting to go home to sleep in his own bed, and she can't blame him. The idea of what a 'home' means, is very important to her now, but these nightly visits will end when he goes home. On the last evening, he asks something more forward than before. She reaches over to grab something, and her hair brushes his shoulder. She sees his eyes shift just a tad on impulse, and something like curiosity splashes over his face.

"Canon," he interrupts her movements, and as she looks over at him, she settles down into her chair again. "has your hair grown?" And from the way he looks, the scrunching of his eyebrows, the tilt of his lips, he already knows the answer. "Can I.." But Kazuki stops there. He can't see it, there's no way he'd know, and that's normal. She knows that. She also has a good idea of what he wants to ask. She also knows that these Japanese are weird about touching. They get really weird about touching.

So without a word, she takes his hand in hers and brings it up to her hair. He seems hesitant at first, as if he's breaking some social norm, (she knows he is) but he hesitates for only a minute, then his hands roam freely. They filter through her hair, feeling at individual strands, running up to her skull and the base of her neck, then down to where her hair tickles her shoulders, falls down her back, then to her bangs, that hang messily in front of her face. He stops there, but only for a moment, as if he's reading a warning sign somewhere, before moving on. He gently shifts his fingers, so that they are ghosting over her face. She's blushing, just a little, but he can probably feel it.

His hand lingers, pressing lightly against the flesh of her cheek, then he smiles. "You're warm."

-\/-

There seems to be some debate while she isn't there -she heard about it after the fact- about the merits of letting Kazuki go home. His father is not often home, and without his eyes, Dr. Toomi thinks he'll need more supervision than normal. Kenji and Maya argue that he will have to figure things out on his own anyway. The end result, is that they all end up deciding to take shifts of just popping in when Kazuki goes home. Maya signs her up without asking, and Canon is grateful. Maya also signs her up for the evening dinner slot, because it's Maya, and she knows everything; especially everything about Kazuki. Canon blushes, and thanks her while Maya just smiles, and waves off the thanks.

-\/-

The first few times, Kazuki's father is there, and that is awkward for Canon. She arrives, sees his father there, and then tries to excuse herself just as quickly. She isn't good at this whole thing when it's only her and Kazuki, let alone if there is someone else there, but Makabe doesn't let her, not really. He insists she come in, and say hi. He even insists that Chocolate come in as well, and while Canon stutters and blushes and tries to act naturally, Makabe just gravitates to the dog all on his own.

(She wonders if the Makabe house is quiet without visitors, because Kazuki and his father don't seem to talk very much. Certainly not as much as she talks with her mother.)

So she comes in, and it is strange being in the Makabe house, and it IS quiet, and there's a picture of Kazuki's mother, and the lighting is dim, and the house is so Japanese, and she focuses on everything that isn't Kazuki or his father, because it's only the three of them occupying the same space, and Chocolate of course, who is getting a good belly rub from Makabe.

She finds out that their kitchen is small, because Kazuki intends to repay the favor, and cook her something. He's already pretty good at figuring things out in the kitchen, but she helps him anyway. She doesn't think he will need the supervision that Dr. Toomi insisted on. As always, Kazuki is far more adaptable than anyone else.

The food he makes is really good. Really, really good, and she realizes that if her mother is a 'good cook' then Kazuki is a 'great cook'. She mentions it, but Kazuki waves off the statement, and mentions that he'd like to try cooking something from where she's from. Says that he doesn't know a lot about food that isn't Japanese. He'd like to learn.

(She realizes that it wasn't what was coming out of mama's oven that excited her, it was the person who was pulling it out.)