"Okay, here goes nothing. First wash the fish," Kaoru read from the instructions from the recipe which Tae had given to her. "Well, that's easy enough!" Kaoru beamed and proceeded to scrub the fish, in fact, she scrubbed it so hard that not only the scales and gills were torn off, most of the skin had came off too. "There, finally it's clean" beamed Kaoru.
"Next, season the fish by putting ½ shredded ginger, a teaspoon of rice wine and a teaspoon of salt in to the innards of the fish, then add 2 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 tomato and a some plum. and a dash of pepper and leave it to stand for approximately half an hour." Kaoru read the following instructions.
"Mou, it's too troublesome to shred the ginger, I'll just put the entire ginger in," and she proceeded to stuff 1 whole ginger (not even skinned) down the fish's mouth
Note: since she did not cut a slit at the fish's tummy, she had to jam everything down the poor fish's throat. (Author's note: btw, does fishes have throats?)
Mistakenly picking up a
tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, Kaoru frowned, a teaspoon seems too little,
she likes her food to be tasty, oh well, she will just have to double it, ne?
And she proceeded to add 2 tablespoon of wine rice, 2 tablespoon of salt,
"What's the matter? Are you guys hurt? Why are you on your knees? Kenshin?" concerned, Kaoru immediately rushed to Kenshin's side and checked him all over for injuries.
"Oro… ah… daijobu, Kaoru-dono, we are ,,,ahh… just enjoying the clouds, yes, that's what we are doing," Kenshin stammered with a forced grin while the rest of the group nodded their heads enthusiastically in agreement.
"On your knees?" Kaoru queried, eyes narrowed.
"Ahahaha…yes, on our knees, it's the best way to enjoy the clouds!" replied a very flustered Kenshin, with the rest echoing their agreement.
"I see, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I'm cooking tonight, has it?" Kaoru persisted, her voice lowering dangerously.
The gulps were thunderous, although everyone was shaking their heads weakly.
"Mou! You guys should have a little faith in me! I had to beg on my knees for this recipe from Tae you know, and I'm sure it will turn out perfect!" stormed Kaoru.
"Of course, we are sure it will be delicious," soothed Kenshin, not wanting to further upset Kaoru, and sending meaningful glances to the rest to tell them to do the same. An insulted Kaoru is worse than Shishio & Enishi combined. The rest of them crossed their fingers and started lying about how sure they are that the fish will be wonderful when it's done.
After a long and tedious falsehood, Kaoru was finally pacified. Pacified enough to not hit them anyway. "Oh well, I think that I have seasoned the fish long enough, I'd better go and cook it now. Wait till you taste my fish!" with that exciting thought, Kaoru beamed at them before making her way to the kitchen. The rest look at the clock and realized that indeed, she has seasoned the fish long enough, in fact, she has seasoned it for the last hour and half! Not sure whether the fish is still edible by now, they decided to follow her to the kitchen to spy on her efforts. What they saw there was even worse than their scariest nightmare.
Kaoru was reading from the 'recipe': "After seasoning, steam the fish for approximately 20 minutes, and then take it out. Do NOT leave it on for more than 20 minutes or it will be overcooked. Hmph, simple enough." And Kaoru then started to boil the water and place the fish above the not-boiling-yet water to steam it. And then she checked the time, counting every seconds of the 20 minutes that she had to steam (during which the rest of them resumed praying even more fervently, Sano even went so far as to promise to find a job and never freeload off his friends again).
After 20 minutes, Kaoru then happily removed the fish, placed it on a clean plate, displaying miraculous selective perception in that she did not notice the fish's skinless condition, the half-cooked meat and the overwhelming stench which indicates that it has started to decay, since Kaoru had 'seasoned' it for an hour and a half under in the hot summer heat.
Triumphantly placing the plate on the table before the rest of the Kenshin-gumi, she smiled at them expectantly, which soon became menacingly as no one moved to pick up their chopsticks.
It must be noted in their defense that it was not so much as their refusal to pick up their chopsticks, although to be honest they were reluctant to do so. But the main reason was due to their inability to pick up their chopsticks as their hands are otherwise occupied with pinching their noses in a futile attempt to keep the stench out of their nostrils, and covering their mouths to prevent bile from escaping.
5 minutes passed, then 10 minutes. Finally Kaoru's patience (which was never long in the first place, in fact it was a miracle that she could hold on to it for as long as 10 minutes) snapped. "What is the matter with you guys! Just eat it and let me know how it tastes!" she yelled. When still nobody made a move, preferring to brave her anger, she knew that anger would not accomplish her goal. She chose another approach.
Big tears started coursing their way from her suddenly huge eyes down her cheeks (note: she turned SD). "I'm sorry, I just wanted to give everyone a nice surprise… I will never enter the kitchen again since you guys hate my cooking so much…" she sobbed.
Arrows of guilt pierced through them, and it was useless trying to tell their conscience that Kaoru was just acting, even though they know it's the truth. The piteous image she presented was enough to overwhelm any amount of truths. They shared a long-suffering glance, sighed (in Sano's and Yahiko's case it was an oath) and picked up their chopsticks with the tragic air of a man going to the guillotine.
Taking a deep breath they each shoved a bite of the half cooked fish into their mouth, and then.. thud. Sano and Yahiko had fainted dead while Kenshin's face took a greenish cast as he started trembling in the aftermaths.
"How was it?" asked Kaoru eagerly, ignoring the unconscious Sano and Yahiko.
When Kenshin was finally able to speak, he took a shuddering breath and replied weakly, "Sessha don't think it's safe for Kaoru-dono to eat that fish. In fact, sessha was actually thinking of giving everyone a treat at the Akabeko, we can leave as soon as Sano and Yahiko wakes up."
"What do you mean it's not safe for me to eat the fish? Of course it's perfectly fine for me to eat it," frowned Kaoru and picked up her chopsticks to prove her point.
Kenshin immediately stopped her
by taking hold of her wrist with one hand while he the plate of fish away firmly
with the other hand. "Iie, sessha realizes how much this means to Kaoru-dono
and much as sessha hates to see Kaoru-dono upset, sessha is even more
"But.." Kaoru started to protest when Kenshin placed a finger against her lips, "No 'buts', sessha will NEVER negotiate when it comes to Kaoru-dono's well-being. We will go to the Akabeko." Kenshin stated firmly, staring deep into Kaoru's eyes.
Kaoru stared into his violet eyes for a long moment, measuring his stubbornness when she noticed the golden rim circling the violet orbits, and knew that he was deadly serious. She slumped her shoulders as she finally conceded defeat, "Alright."
Kenshin smiled gently, and drew Kaoru closer to him, as he bent his head to kiss Kaoru, whose arms went up around his neck.
"Next time, sessha will cook with you, and we will try the recipe together." promised Kenshin, still not releasing his hold on Kaoru. Kaoru smiled happily, and snuggled closer to Kenshin, laying her head on his shoulder as she answered, "Hai!"
They both sighed in contentment as they sat together and waited for Sano and Yahiko to come to.
Author's note: Well, this was supposed to be funny, but
pardon me if you yawned your way through it. I was just wondering why does
Kaoru's cooking sucks so badly and decided to come up with an answer myself