A/N- Oh gah, I'm sorry. I had no idea my updating schedule would be so…dead. And see, now ya'll have made me add Tomoe. This is…going to be different. For the author, at least. Yay for complete altering of outlines. Anyway, do please bare with me. Wombat, please don't eat my children. Not that I'm too likely to ever have any, all things considered. -grins- Oh, and just to give a shout-out of sorts, there's a story called Genesis Odyssey, by nytecat. Go read it. Before this, even. It's good. Plus, it's in a medieval setting, of sorts. What could be better?


Parking her motorcycle outside of Shizuru's house, Natsuki cursed traffic, people with cars, and roads in general. Really, it hadn't been her fault that she'd been so preoccupied with thinking about Shizuru's cough and how bad it had sounded that she'd forgotten that red lights meant 'stop'. Okay, so maybe it had. But there'd been no need to honk quite so loudly.

Ears still ringing, she walked up to the door and jammed her set of keys into the lock. After a few moments, the door swung open, allowing her to enter. Slipping her shoes off and placing them next to the door, she took a few steps and made her presence known by shouting "Oi, Shizuru! I'm here."

An answer floated back from upstairs, from what Natsuki assumed to be Shizuru's room. "I'm so glad you came. Could you come up?"

Hardly noticing the paintings on the wall and the elaborate designs next to them as she'd seen them so many times before, she moved to the stairs. Taking them two at a time, Natsuki reached the top in a matter of seconds and threw open the door. Taking in the image of Shizuru lying in her bed, she moved to the side of the sheet-covered girl and fumbled for something to say. Sitting up, Shizuru saved her from further embarrassment by smiling and giving her something to do.

"I'm feeling terribly hungry. If Natsuki doesn't mind, could she go to the kitchen and make something?"

Kitchen, food, right. Food that would involve cooking. As long as it was relatively simple, she should be fine.

"Sure, what would you like?"

"Anything Natsuki wants to make is fine."

With that vague request, Shizuru sunk back into her sheets. Taking that as her cue to start, Natsuki left the room and headed to the kitchen. When she got there, she opened cupboards and drawers, looking for something simple enough to make without burning the house down. Remembering Mai, she settled on ramen. That wasn't particularly greasy or caloric, so her bed-ridden friend ought to like it. So, first she had to boil water…

Brow creasing as she remembered her earlier luck with water, she wondered if Shizuru would mind some kind of sandwich. But no sandwich was complete without mayonnaise, and she doubted this house had any.

Ramen it was, then. Besides, it hadn't been her fault it had caught on fire earlier. That had been Shizuru's, for calling her. So maybe she'd be lucky again, and nothing would happen that she'd have to pay for later.

Deciding that, considering the circumstances, ramen might actually be safer then a lot of the other things she could make, she searched for a decent-sized pot. Ah, there was a nice one. Hoisting it up, she set it on the counter. She had just started filling it with water when she heard another hacking cough from upstairs.

Jumping, her arm brushed the pot and knocked it off the counter and onto her foot. Letting out a yelp, she bent down and grabbed it off the floor, setting it back down. She took a step forward to get some paper towels to wipe up the water, slipped, and fell on the hard tiles of the kitchen. Growling, she grabbed a wad of towels from underneath the sink and threw them on the floor. There, problem solved. She hadn't gotten that wet, so maybe she was in luck today.

"Natsuki? Is everything alright down there?"

Oh, of course, she would have to hear that.

"Fine, just fine!"

"But it sounded as though something fell, and-"

"I'm fine!"

She hadn't meant for it to come out sounding so harsh, but at least the questions had stopped. She'd just made her an extra-good bowl of ramen to make up for it. Pouring in the rest of the water without incident, she set it on the stove to boil.

Good, that was one part done. Now, how did one go about making ramen…? Mai usually had eggs, nori, pork, and…and… Gah. She really should have paid more attention to the few lessons the other girl had tried to give her. Well, she should probably start by seeing what Shizuru had, and go from there.

Having decided on a course of action, she went about opening the refrigerator and cupboards and seeing what it they that she could use. Eggs, check. Nori, check. It didn't look very appetizing, but she knew from experience that it could taste good. Onions, check. Salt, check. Chicken broth, check. Okay, good. That meant she could make a salt broth, and then add everything else.

Reaching for a knife and another, smaller pot, she set them on the counter beside her pile of ingredients. Let's see… It might help if she said it out loud.

"First we put the egg in the water and let it boil, then…um…"

Hurrah, water and boiling. And because we were having such wonderful luck with that earlier, let's add an egg to the mix. On top of that, she had no idea how to actually make the ramen. She'd seen Mai do it, but seeing and doing were two very different things. Just how different, Natsuki was about to find out.

Leaning down, she grabbed a kettle, filled it with water from the tap, and set in on a separate burner. Now all she had to do was wait until they both boiled, and then, um…

Frowning, she realised she had no idea what to do after that. Making tea was all very well and good, but the food… If only she'd let Mai teach her the basics.

Whistling a tuneless something she'd made up on the spot, she leaned against the counter and waited as patiently as possible for the water to boil. When it began to show signs of bubbling, she reached out a hand to pick it up when the doorbell rang.

Of all the- who would be calling at Shizuru right now? Stomping over to the door with a noise that would have rivaled a horde of oxen at their very best, she flung it open and stared down at an all too familiar face. At first, she was too startled to react, much less slam the door in the face of the giant box of chocolate wrapped in a pink ribbon, of all things. And…was that a purple 'get-well' card? She probably would have been staring for much longer if the younger girl hadn't leapt backwards as if shocked and yelled, "You aren't Shizuru-onee-sama!"

Natsuki blinked. "No, I'm really not." Then, after thinking some more, she burst out, "Wait, what the hell are you doing here!?"

Holding the box of chocolate close to her body as if Natsuki would snatch it away at any moment, lavender eyes narrowed as the card-bearer attempted to force her way through the door. Losing her balance, Natsuki's hands flailed before gripping the edge of the ribbon, of all things.

She took a moment to register the fact that Shizuru's

stalker

concerned classmate was falling on top of her before they crashed to the floor, the scarily gaudy ribbon still clutched between Natsuki's fingers. Leaping off of her, the other girl (Tomoe, was it?) glared spitefully before practically shrieking, as though she weren't right in front of her, "What are you doing in Shizuru-onee-sama's house?"

Returning the glare in full force, she replied, annoyed that she was the one defending herself, "She invited me here, that's why. Why are you skipping out on class? You don't have tryouts today…"

"A likely story! You came here because you wanted to take advantage of her while she was sick, didn't you?"

Well aware that she'd probably just invented a whole new shade of red, Natsuki did her best to splutter out a reply through her clenched teeth. "No! No, I just… How the hell would you draw that conclusion, I…" Deciding that explanations weren't her forte, she fell back of accusations. "Anyway, you're the one who showed up with a huge box of chocolate and…and a ribbon. If she's sick, what makes you think she'll want to eat something like that?"

Knowing Tomoe, Natsuki wouldn't have been surprised if the next words out of her mouth had been 'they were crafted with love'. Luckily for both her sanity and for Tomoe's reputation, their verbal exchange was interrupted by a voice from upstairs.

"Ara, Natsuki, do we have company?"

The spiteful look on Tomoe's face evaporated in a matter of seconds, being replaced by a bright and happy visage complete with sparkling eyes. Oh joy.

Her eyes widened as Tomoe began to race up the stairs towards Shizuru's room.

"I'm coming, Shizuru-onee-sama!"

Could this get any worse? Her question was answered for her by a burning smell she was becoming far too acquainted with coming from the kitchen. She should have known her luck, small as it was, couldn't last for too long.