Quick note to my readers,
Occurs in the DES timeline in Derris Kharlan before Lloyd's birth, yet another fluff fic… I can't seem to get these characters/timeline out of my head, there were so many more scenes I had written for DES that I never could have put in the story so I guess I can find a use for fic-lets!
A Batch of Brownies
Kratos stood, arms crossed, watching her cook. It was not so strange a thing, they both enjoyed cooking, but it was her choice of meal that was making him leery. He'd never seen a substance this brown before, well he'd seen a substance that brown but it was grossly improper to speak of it and compare it to food so he kept his piece. In one pan was a brown liquid gel hybrid that had chunks of black floating in it, in the other was a glossy brown substance that smelled so very strange. He sniffed, and then glared at the strange "food" as if it was an enemy.
"This is going to taste good?" Kratos snorted. "Anna it looks like…" he mentally kicked himself for almost saying it he temporized, "mud."
"Don't be such an old man, I love this and if you don't want it I'll happily eat it all myself."
He stared at the full pan and the slightly smaller bowl and snorted.
"There's a lot here, I doubt you could…" He blinked as Anna thrust a small spoon dripping glossy black. He stared at her, at the spoon, and wondered what needed stirring. Anna laughed at his expression and gave him instructions. His expression must have been even funnier after he received her instructions, because she laughed even more.
"Yes, you heard me, lick the spoon. It's custom."
Kratos wondered if his wife's tail end of her pregnancy had unhinged her wits a little. He'd heard of it happening before, that woman got strange a few weeks before the child was to be born. Well he'd humor her; he nibbled on the tip of the spoon. The strange food was sweet, very sweet, and was well pleasant. Warmth spread through him, it was sweet velvet that sent a shiver through him. While he had no nostalgic ties –being the son of a poor fisherwoman and soldier he had lived off of fish for the bulk of his childhood- to this strangest of foods he could certainly develop a few! He finished off the spoon in good time; his normally subdued appetite and sense of taste were quite gleefully informing him that today he was going to be more human then angel. He eyed the smaller bowl with a greater appreciation; certainly whatever the "brownie" food was didn't need all of that…
"What is this?" He waved the now completely cleaned off spoon.
"Fudge frosting." Anna smirked. "Keep away, I know that look and you won't be getting into it on my watch." Anna bent, slid the black brown batter into the small oven he'd brought down in the tunnels weeks ago. When she stood she knew her husband had slipped past her to try to attack the bowl. She closed the oven and glared daggers at him. Maybe mother was right about one thing, men turned into little boys the second they were exposed to chocolate. Well she had a weapon for that!
She picked up the mixing spoon and firmly smacked him between the eyes, right on the bridge of his nose, like she would have Noishe for chewing the furniture.
"No!" She snapped, ignoring how cute he looked when favoring her with that helpless pained expression that wasn't –quite- a pout.
"Just a nibble, please?"
"No!" She lifted the spoon and he stepped back. "You need to save up your appetite for the brownies. For all I know if you eat a spoonful of frosting you won't have any hunger in you when their done. And I've spent a good two hours on these so I'll have none of that! Now scoot, out of the room, play with Noishe or something!"
He sputtered, insulted at being ordered to go play no doubt.
She decided not to tell him how cute he was when flustered, he'd probably curl up and die if he knew that she went out of her way to do so because he looked so cute all red and shocked.
"Oh fine… Go read a book, but it's just another type of playing if you really consider it."
"It... is not!" He growled, crossing his arms in front of him and glaring daggers at her. "If the process of gathering more knowledge and striving for intellectual enlightenment is mere play then I'm… a demon of Nehfillin in disguise as an angel of Cruxis!"
Anna smiled, he got so wordy when put on the defensive. She smiled and gave his cheek a peck.
"Well you had me fooled your demon-i-ness, where do you keep the horns and tail?"
He walked off muttering to himself waving his arms as he walked. Poor man, he did not know just how overmatched he was. He might think himself the mightiest of warriors but he had wedded his better when it came to verbal fights. She looked at the closed door, there was a playful bark and some noises on Kratos' part to indicate he was playing with Noishe. He was distracted, it seemed safe enough. Anna dipped a small spoon she kept hidden in her apron into the creamy frosting and helped herself to a spoonful. It tasted so good she decided that another one was in order.
Kratos all but purred when he finished off his fudge covered brownie, Noishe licked his large jaws and looked pleadingly at Kratos. In response to the look the white clad seraph put a hand protectively over the second brownie on his plate. He'd never have expected the snacks to disappear so fast, a whole pan full should have lasted a few days at least. It had lasted one meal, a large meal, Kratos was going to be having as many as his poor shriveled stomach could hold. Anna had split the pan between them fifty-fifty, though looking at her pile he was certain that her share was a little larger. He watched in amusement as she dipped on broken off piece of the brown bread like substance into a large cup of milk. He did not follow that custom finding it too messy, but the milk was a very good compliment to the chocolaty sweetness that was slowly filling his stomach. She could be as messy as she liked he on the other hand would be scrubbing away the few traces of chocolate off of his business uniform before going back to report to Yggdrasil in a few hours time.
"You've eaten a lot today; I guess you're really hungry huh?"
Kratos considered what she had asked as he chewed on his second slice of brownie. He absently smacked the protozoan on the snout when the dog shaped being tried to lick the plate in Kratos' lap.
"It's never really about hunger, more of a tolerance." Kratos took a sip of milk. "I can only eat so much, half a meal is my maximum."
"Well you normally don't eat that much… it's not my cooking is it?" Anna looked at him with a kind of pathetic sadness that made his gut clench.
"Of course not, well unless there are…" He not-so-mock shuddered. "Tomatoes, spaghetti in particular, is my bane." Kratos set the half eaten sweet aside, not seeing how Noishe descended upon it and wolfed it down in two bites. "It is the limitation dictated by the A-" her eyes were glazing, and he mentally sighed. "Because of what happened to me, because I was the first and the process wasn't perfected, there are many differences between me and the other seraphim. I exist as a seraphim, as a human, simultaneously, and some days the human side is stronger then the angelic. When I have more of an appetite that normally means that the human side has won out, and I can eat, act, and experience the world in a more human way then the Yuan or Yggdrasil." Kratos frowned. "I am by far much more attached with my human contacts when I go on the Regeneration posing as a sell sword, I have an emotional nature despite my facade of indifference, and that might very well be the thing that keeps me closer to being as I was before my transformation."
"That's rather confusing…" Anna smiled, "how about another brownie?"
"I have one right here…" He gestured to the now clean plate with a hand even as the other closed around the closed around the base of his cup. He wondered why Anna giggled, shrugged it off… Strange the cup wasn't that heavy last time he lifted it... He reached for the brownie, gripped nothing but air and glared at the now clean plate. A soft splash made him look to the cup. Noishe looked up at him, snout shoved down the long glass of milk. The pink tongue stroked the inside of the glass and dipped into the white milk.
Noishe looked up at him as if to say. I'm not doing it! My tongue has a mind of its own!
"Noishe!" Kratos snarled, eyes burning. "That's my food!"
The tongue dipped into the milk one last time before a gust of wind mana threw the dog back. Snarling a few profanities, he was now covered in milk; the seraph stood and tried to wipe it off. No such luck. He sighed, looked at the time piece strapped to his arm and realized it was time to head back to Derris Kharlan. Seeing the look Anna set her food aside and stood.
"Have a good day dear." She enfolded him in a hug and he smiled, his anger forgotten for the moment.
"You do know I am going to be Yggdrasil's lap do- I mean second in command the second I return don't you?"
"Of course… Hmm how about don't let the shrimp tick you off?"
"Thinking about him does that."
The seraph stroked his wife's belly, from the amount of movement and accelerated second heartbeat Kratos had a good idea that the little one yet to be born was going through his first fit of sugar rush. Anna of course was somewhat aware of the movement, but strange as it was his heightened senses were so keep they surpassed hers when checking on the welfare and activity of their child. Strange, as she was the one who was baring the baby. That would change as soon as their child –Kratos still was thinking they were going to be having a girl Anna was adamant it was a boy it was an argument they dusted off when they could find nothing else to discuss- was born.
"How about… Try not to let the brat's insanity rub off?"
"Keep sane?" Kratos smiled, kissed her on the lips. "I'll accept that blessing as it fully fits the situation."
Anna sighed, leaned against him and the seraph fondly stroked his hair. They needed no other words, she knew he would come when he could; he knew she would wait for him and stay safe. Cracking an eye open Kratos glared at the protozoan, it was enough, Noishe slinked away from Anna's brownie stash and lay down eyeing it in longing.
"Here!" She offered him a brownie as he went out the door. He smiled, nibbled on it while he walked back through the steel sheathed halls, picked his path to the city of angels. It would probably bug the Hell out of Yggdasil if he imagined something as mortal as crumbs existed in his oh so perfect world, and just to spite him a little Kratos brushed his hands off in the center of a hall. He had lingered far too long he had all of a quarter hour to fly back to his home, change clothes –no time to scrub out the chocolate so he'd just take a shower and toss one of his mercenary uniforms- then fly to Mithos' castle. He managed to do so by pulling a few aerial stunts such as diving between two conversing angels, kicking off of a building to sharply change direction, and pulling the all time stupid trick of activating the teleport pad from a distance and timing his dive so that he went through with all the motion behind him so that he could flap through the massive halls of the castle at full speed. He landed, folded his wings behind him in the hall right outside the door, and using a polished shield fixed his hair. The task took all of a moment as the flight did most of the work for him. He ran his fingers through his soft tingling wings and smoothed back the feathers to farther hide the frantic flight and looked up from his work when a blast of wind and feathers nearly smashed into the floor besides him.
"You shouldn't stunt fly Yuan, you're so bad at it it's a wonder you haven't killed yourself yet."
"Shut up!" The half elf picked himself off after tripping on a non-existent rug upon landing. Kratos rolled his eyes and went back to the mirror then as an after thought slipped the flaps of his mercenary cape over his primary wings. Yuan took over the second Kratos stepped back, slicked down his aqua hued hair and sniffed at first to express his annoyance at the human for taking so long, then with a slight curious frown on his face.
"Kratos… do you smell cookies?"
"No." Kratos felt blood rushing to his face. "I don't smell a thing."
"Hmm it's not cookies… brownies that's it! I swear I am smelling brownies!" Yuan sniffed and turned staring at Kratos in shock. "You smell like brownies! Yggdrasil will kill you for cooking! He hates it when we act mortal… and why the hell didn't you bring me any! I haven't had a sweet snack in five decades!"
"Ahh…" Kratos stared at Yuan in shock, he wasn't aware the half elf still snacked from time to time. "Noishe ate them; I only had two for myself before he ate the whole pan."
"Damn lucky dog…" Yuan muttered. "Never thought I'd say that and mean it so literal. So you do good tastes in food after all. And here I thought all you ate was meat, potatoes, and ran screaming when anyone waves a tomato at you."
Kratos flapped his wings and decided to go to the door.
"Next meeting sneak me some or something… I don't have time to make any of my own."
Kratos stared at Yuan, not quite believing her heard that right.
"What, have I grown horns? I get busy in Tethe'alla and I don't have time to cook. Just remember to bring me a few next time, alright?"
"Fine…" Kratos stared at the half elf, wondering who this man was and what he had done to the real Yuan.
"With fudge frosting on top, you do know how to make that don't you?"
"I know." Kratos felt like his eyebrows were going to fly off of his head if he received one more surprise.
"I wonder… Martel used to grind those wonderful large pale seeds of that plant. Pelican, policon, pencan? No, that's not right. I think she might have called them pecans… yes that's what they were called! Do you have any of those?"
"I could look."
Yuan smiled his eyes were looking at distant times. "She used to cook those for me when we were children." Those sapphire eyes glittered. "You best linger by a window Brother of mine, the second Yggdrasil gets one whiff of you he's going to skin you alive."
Kratos shrugged, Yggdrasil was always looking for a reason to skin them alive, it was one of his pastimes.
"Was it worth it?"
Kratos looked up at Yuan in worry, if the half elf had even a hinting of Anna there would only be one seraph making it to that meeting.
"Making the brownies…" Yuan chuckled albeit nervously at the intensity of Kratos' stare. "He's going to kill you for that you know so before I have to sweep up your ashes I was just curious..."
Thinking of Anna, her pleasure, and the time spent in her company, Kratos smiled and nodded.
"Brownies always are worth it in my opinion." Yuan chuckled. "But only if they have pecans, they lose so much without…"
"I get the hint." Kratos mock growled.
"What hint?" Yuan's eyes were wide in false innocence. "I wasn't making a hint about anything. But if a pan of brownies were to materialize on my doorstep sometimes tomorrow I might even extend that little rental you have on my rheiard."
"Rental!" Kratos snarled. "It's my damn rheiard, you hated the red one anyways!"
"Or I could take it back early…" Yuan smirked.
Growling Kratos stormed down the hall.
"Pecan's Kratos, right in the center of each slice," Yuan whispered as they neared the door. "I like vanilla frosting pooled in the center of each nut, and I really like a lot of chocolate chips put in the batter before and after cooking."
"If you ask one more damned thing they'll materialize right over your pointy eared head you manipulative…."
"And frozen milk, with an umbrella straw like they give out in Alt…"
That was it. Kratos slowed down, let Yuan catch up and then firmly grabbed the half elf by the front of his tunic. He absently twisted the cloth; though it would do nothing to choke the seraph, for like him Yuan had no need to breath.
"You'll like what I give you and you'll take what I give you as payment and that will be the end of it!"
"No umbrella?" Yuan croaked a smirk curled his thin lips.
"Unless it's me ramming one up your…"
"Er hurm…" Yggdrasil in his child form was standing outside the meeting room door tapping his foot. "What are you trying to kill each other for now, do I need muzzles?"
"No Lord." Yuan coughed. "Nothing needed, we were…"
"We were having a political discussion about the newest law in Mal-tokio concerning the execution," Kratos tightened his grip and Yuan got the hint, "policy on half elves who annoy human nobles."
"I guess some people who are very annoying could deserve death." Yuan whispered and Kratos relaxed his grip.
"Hmm…" Yggdrasil frowned, sniffed the air, but went back into the room with no farther comment.
"Kratos… I'm going to run out of air to talk with…" The blue haired seraphim smiled, since their change their normal rough and tumble relationship had become even rougher since it was near impossible to kill each other. But there were still things that were inexcusable, and Kratos knew he was stepping close to crossing that line.
"Really Yuan, an umbrella bendy straw?"
It was as close to an apology as Yuan would ever get, in Kratos speak it was an equivalent to an apology.
"A man can dream, can't he?"
"It sounded good."
"I'll give you all of those things on one condition. You change your name to Yuna."
Kratos ducked the answering lighting orb that smashed into the wall behind him and ignited a tapestry. Mithos in adult form poked his head out, and his expression was dangerously cold. Images of leashes and muzzles were dancing in Yggdrasil's head if Kratos was any judge of reading those dark storm grey eyes.
"We are going to have this meeting sometime this millennia aren't we gentlemen?"
"Coming, my lord," Yuan bowed, and the second Yggdrasil turned made a face. Kratos cracked a smile.
All this from a batch of brownies… what was the world coming to?
Yuan met his eyes and mouthed the answer to that.
A reminder for him no doubt, but how very fitting for his thoughts.
Yes, you could say the whole world was going a little nuts. Kratos flashed his teeth in a genuine warm grin then banished the gesture with a thought. He was going to have to fight to keep his icy façade today as Yuan would be sitting across from him mouthing about pecans the whole meeting. With luck Yggdrasil would not catch the game between the two seraphim, if not, well it had been worth it.