DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
A Simple Breakfast
by Shadow's Mirror
Isis checked the thermometer and frowned as she shook her head slightly. "As I feared. Odion, you have a slight fever." She ignored the two overly dramatic gasps coming from the doorway and kept talking. "It is not bad enough for a trip to hospital." She again ignored the two 'awwws' of disappointment from the same direction. "However, you should stay in bed today." She smiled gently at the man who was currently looking as if she'd just taken away his favourite card.
"But Isis, I was supposed to make cupcakes for Malik this afternoon." That earned more gasps from the doorway.
"Sister Isis! We have to have cupcakes for tonight! Remember? We're sleeping over at Ryou's house. It's not a proper sleepover without cupcakes!" Marik clearly didn't know whether to be disappointed, outraged or horrified, so was trying a mix of all three, along with a dash of pleading.
Steeling herself against the huge eyes that normally only the Lights could pull off, Isis considered the situation. "There is a bakery between here and Ryou's home. I will give them a call and order some cupcakes. You can pick them up on the way."
Marik's eyes lit up. "Ooh! I like the ones there. Can we get the ones with raspberry and cream frosting? Please!"
The consideration didn't take as long this time. "Only if you promise me that you will share them with the others." She fixed Marik with a very stern look and he gave her a sheepish smile. He'd been lectured for a whole ten minutes the last time he'd gotten raspberry cupcakes from there as a special treat, because he'd eaten all six of them himself. Isis had needed to get some more for Malik and Odion to stop their pouting over it.
"I promise, Sister Isis! I won't be greedy this time. Can we get a whole dozen? Not even I can eat that many."
"Very well." Isis nodded. Every now and then, Marik did come up with reasonable ideas. Especially if cupcakes were involved.
"So, that's the cupcakes sorted out..." Malik paused for dramatic effect and Isis again steeled herself. Whatever he was about to say, she suspected she would not be happy about it. "What about breakfast, lunch and dinner? Odion's sick so he needs to eat good food. Can we order in?" He looked way too happy at the possibility. Isis's mind immediately ran through the past few days' conversations until she found the most likely reason for it.
"No, Malik. We are not going to order meals from the new cheesecake shop that you mentioned yesterday." It had been the main topic of conversation throughout that day, with no less than fifteen separate mentions that the shop had just opened. From Malik's disappointed look, Isis knew she had been right about his ulterior motives.
"Aw... So what are we going to do, then?"
Isis had to admit, it was a good question. They normally relied on Odion for their meals and with him out of action today, they needed a backup plan and fast. "We can have last night's leftovers for dinner and sandwiches for lunch. As for breakfast... I am sure I can come up with something simple."
She ignored the three horrified looks that her statement received.
Siblings. You set fire to a kitchen a time or two... or four... and they never let you forget it!
Odion cleared his throat. "Er... I am sure I could manage to..." He trailed off as Isis fixed him with the look she normally reserved for Marik whenever he had just suggested something dangerous, weird or both. Usually both.
Since she gave her younger brothers that same look as she stalked out of the room, they quickly stepped aside without making a single remark about her cooking. She was just mentally congratulating herself on that success when her highly trained (from living with Malik and Marik) hearing picked up Malik talking with Odion.
"So... should we call the fire department now or wait until the fire has actually started?"
Isis sighed so loudly, she missed Odion's reply. Since Malik and Marik didn't immediately run to the phone, however, she guessed that he had said to wait. She hoped it was because her brother had at least a little faith in her... but she suspected it was more that the fire department frowned on people calling them when there wasn't a fire in sight.
As she stepped into the kitchen, Isis paused and looked around, considering the situation. What should she make? Malik had been right when he'd said Odion needed good food to eat while he was ill. It needed to be nourishing but not too heavy. Something that wouldn't upset his stomach if he went to sleep right after eating it. To Isis, that ruled out all of the possibilities except for one.
Surely rice porridge would be simple to make?
Odion had made it for Marik the morning after the cupcake incident, when Marik had been seriously regretting eating so many of the rich mini cake puffs of cream-filled deliciousness. Since the porridge had been a success, with both Marik and Malik singing its praises for days afterwards... Isis smiled as she headed for Odion's main recipe book, where he kept only recipes that he had tried and approved off for future use.
If finding the recipe was any indication, then making the rice porridge for Odion would be quick and easy indeed.
The ingredients were few and simple, although Isis did have a moment of worry over the ground ginger before she spotted Odion's well stocked spice rack. After that, all she had to was follow the recipe!
The first step was definitely easy. Isis put a cup of the cooked brown rice left over from their previous night's dinner into a pot and covered it with water, then waited for it to come to the boil. When it did that, she needed to turn it down to simmer for 10 minutes.
The rice was almost at boiling point when Malik poked his head around the door and asked if they needed to call the fire brigade yet.
Isis was still telling Malik off for doubting her when he pointed out that her pot was boiling over.
After managing not to burn herself while saving the boiling rice, Isis lowered the heat so it could simmer. Breathing a sigh of relief that she had finally finished that step, she set the timer on the oven for the ten minutes needed, then started getting the bowl and spoon ready. She also needed a tray... which was not where it should have been.
Five minutes, three cupboards and one frustrated search later, Isis admitted defeat and went to ask Odion where the breakfast tray was.
One minute and a very confused Odion later, Isis went to find her brothers.
If Odion hadn't moved it, then the tray was missing. In the Ishtar household, anything missing had usually been made missing by Malik or Marik. Often both. So they were the most obvious place to look next.
Sure enough, Marik soon produced the tray from his backpack, where he'd put it to take to the sleepover that evening.
Isis was still in the middle of scolding him for not asking before taking things when Malik started sniffing the air.
"Um... Isis... What's that weird smell?"
Pausing in her scolding, Isis frowned slightly as she sniffed. Something was burning. It smelled rather like...
"Marik, this is not the end of this matter. I will speak with you again later." She said it all very quickly over her shoulder as she hurried out of the room.
Isis made it back to the kitchen in time to save the rice for the second time that day. She frowned as she studied it. The timer had gone off while she had been out of the room so it had simmered for longer than it should have, but it had not caught on fire. It would surely be fine to keep going with it. So... on to the next step! Which was...
Isis carefully measured a teaspoon of ground ginger and then stirred it through the rice. Very thoroughly. She frowned slightly as she looked at the recipe again while she stirred.
The recipe said to cook it for another ten minutes but... how long had it already been cooked for? More than ten, she knew that. But that had been without the ginger. What if it needed to be cooked that long with the ginger? Or perhaps it was the ginger that needed cooking for that long.
Isis decided to cook it for another ten minutes, just in case. Surely a little overcooking wouldn't be too bad?
While it cooked this time, Isis was determined to watch it carefully. If it looked like it was going to burn, she would take it off the heat. Yes. That would work. So Isis settled in to watch her rice cook.
It would have worked better if Marik hadn't popped his head into the kitchen a couple of minutes later.
"Um... Sister Isis... What you said about not taking things without asking..."
"Yes, Marik?" She eyed him warily. He was leading up to something, she could tell.
"Does that include Odion's video camera?" He looked hopeful. She almost hated to dash that hope.
"It does, Marik. Put it back where you got it from."
Marik pouted at her. "But we can't record the kittens sledding without it!"
Isis blinked at that. "What kittens?" Suddenly worried, she listened intently in case something was mewing somewhere in the apartment.
"Bakura and Ryou's kittens." Marik looked at her as if she was weird.
Relieved, Isis nodded slightly. "I see. So you were taking the breakfast tray to Ryou's tonight so the kittens there could use it as a sled." Well, that solved that little mystery. Really, she should have guessed it.
Marik nodded. "It's a good idea, right? There's a show on TV where they have funny pet videos that people send in. I thought sledding kittens would be great for it." He grinned happily.
Isis had to consider that for a few moments. She knew the show. It had some good prizes, including a rather nice set of knives that Odion eyed longingly every time he saw them. The idea was not entirely without merit, however there were a couple of problems.
"I believe that show is intended for videos sent in by the animals' owners." Marik pouted a little at that point but Isis knew she had to keep going. "Also, Bakura has bespelled those kittens so they cannot be seen by anyone without the Shadow Magic, has he not? I am unsure how that would affect videos taken of them."
"Oh." Marik blinked. "I'd forgotten about that." He frowned. "So the first thing we need to do is get Bakura to take the spell off them!" He smiled happily. "Thank you, Sister Isis! I will go and call Bakura about that right now!"
Isis arched an eyebrow. "You seem to be forgetting something." It was obvious that Marik had forgotten he still had to receive the rest of his scolding from earlier.
Marik paused and looked a bit worried. "Oh yeah! Sorry, Sister Isis. Do you need me to call the fire brigade, first?"
Isis sighed very heavily. "No, Marik. I do not. Go and call Bakura." The scolding could wait until after breakfast.
She sighed again at the 'you are so weird' look Marik gave her before he went off to call his fellow Yami. "He truly has no faith in my cooking abilities." She pouted a little as she muttered to herself, then went very still as she remembered what she had been doing when he had come into the kitchen in the first place. "Ah."
Very slowly, Isis turned around to look at the pot on the stove.
The good news was, it wasn't on fire.
The bad news was, it had again been simmering for longer than the required ten minutes.
Isis turned the stove off and gave it a bit of a stir, studying it carefully. It wasn't black, at least. It might be a shade or two... or five... darker than when she'd started, but it had been cooking so surely that was normal. She stirred it a bit more. Some of it seemed to be sticking to the bottom of the pan, but there was still plenty that wasn't. Easily enough for Odion's breakfast. It didn't look bad at all, really. Just a bit... bland. Like it needed something.
Frowning, Isis checked the recipe again. "Ah. I forgot to salt it." She added a bit of salt, her frown deepening when barely any came out. She tapped it on the table a couple of times and tried again. Still hardly any. She gave it another couple of taps on the table, then shook it harder. That did it. A bit too well, perhaps. She eyed the porridge warily. Had she put in too much salt? She checked the recipe but it was no help.
"Salt to taste? How would I know what it is supposed to taste like?"
She gave the porridge another hard look. She had followed the recipe... more or less... So it would be all right to give Odion, yes? Of course it would. She started dishing it up, only wincing a little at how it was sticking together.
When she took it in to Odion, she was at least happy with the presentation. As well as the bowl of porridge, she'd added a glass of ice water and a couple of napkins. It looked just like the tray he'd made up for Marik after the cupcake incident. Well... the tray did, at least. She wasn't so sure about the porridge. It would be fine, though.
"Here you are, Odion. Breakfast. I made you some rice porridge." Isis ignored the alarmed look on the man's face as she put the tray in place.
"Ah. My thanks, Isis. It looks..." Odion trailed off as he caught his first glimpse of his breakfast. He seemed to be searching for just the right word. "Hot."
Isis smiled at him. "It should have cooled a little by now but you should probably blow on it anyway, just in case."
He nodded and smiled at her. "My thanks." He tried a spoonful.
Isis found herself watching for his reaction, but was disappointed when his expression barely changed. One eyebrow moved up just a little and that was it. She winced when he followed the spoonful of porridge with a hasty swallow of his ice water, though. That, to her, was an obvious clue. "It does not taste good, does it? I am sorry. I must have done something wrong." She bowed her head, completely disheartened.
"It is delicious." Odion's soft voice made her look up again. She blinked at him in surprise. "It was just a little too hot still. I should have listened to you and blown on it first. Thank you for making it for me." He smiled at her, then started to have another spoonful. Isis quickly caught his hand to stop him.
"Thank you, Odion. But you never were any good at lying to me." She sighed. "I overcooked it and put too much salt in it. I think. I know I overcooked it, at least." She caught the flash of expression in his eyes and sighed again. "Ah. So it was too salty as well. You do not need to eat it. I will make you something else."
Odion winced. "You do not need to. Truly. I can make it."
"Just stay there and rest. Do not worry. I will not attempt this again. I can at least manage toast and jam with no problems." Isis smiled wryly at him and took the tray back to the kitchen.
When the fire alarm went off ten minutes later, Odion sighed and resigned himself to having to wait even longer for breakfast.
At least as long as it would take for Isis to order something in.
That was, if Malik and Marik didn't think to remind her that there was plenty of cereal in the pantry.