L'amour Doux

By Michalyn

Fandom: Antique Bakery

Pairing: Chikage x Ono

Rating: PG13

Warnings: Slight AU; Spoilers up the end of the series

Disclaimer: I don't own these lovely boys.

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Recipe One

Tarte à l'Orange: Orange tart prepared with fresh oranges, mascarpone cheese, lemon cream and glazed almonds on a delicate puff pastry. A perfect summer dessert: simple, refreshing and sweet.

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When Chikage walked in, Ono's hands were dusted with flour. He had been working all evening on the next day's items, and looking up from the pâte à choux , he smiled. "Oh, there you are, Chikage-san. I'm almost done."

Chikage was outlined in the doorway, looking cold and formidable in his garcon's outfit, but as soon as he stepped forward nodding timidly, the illusion was shattered. Ono was always amazed at the bundle of contradictions that was Chikage. One look was never enough (and Ono certainly liked looking). No one seeing Chikage's tall imposing figure would ever guess at the gentle heart within. Luckily, Ono knew it very well.

Since Kanda had gone to France, Ono often worked late. It was not because he needed to. Tachibana, who was frighteningly good at anything he attempted, was the perfect apprentice, never mind his professed aversion to sweets. Still, as the owner of Antique Tachibana frequently had other things to attend to and the kitchen was lonely without Kanda. Every day Ono wondered how the younger man was doing; whether he'd polished his French and if he was impressing all the chefs like Ono knew he would. In short, Ono was suffering from a case of "empty-nest" syndrome and he was determined to busy himself to keep his emotions from catching up to him.

Besides, there were other things that kept Ono in the shop on a Friday night. Things like Chikage's coffee. Ono could barely remember when it started, but one night as he was angsting over yet another failed relationship and despairing at ever finding love, Chikage had appeared quietly at his elbow with a cup of coffee. He didn't say anything. He was simply there with his kind eyes and the steaming cup right when Ono needed the kind of warmth Chikage was offering most.

Somewhere along the way, they developed a ritual. If the shop was closed and they were they only two left, Ono would make a few extra pastries, Chikage would prepare the coffee and they would sit at one of the tables, talking and laughing and often just eating in companionable silence. When Tachibana found out, he made them pay for the coffee and the extra treats, claiming that their coffee guzzling and Ono's extra ingredients were affecting his bottom line. After that, though, Ono couldn't help noticing that they had a few more nights to themselves.

Ono finished up his preparations and brought out the orange tarts he had made for their little snack. "I'll bring these right out," he told Chikage.

Chikage's expression brightened. "Oh! I'll go set the table, Ono-san."

"Great." Ono lingered for a moment to tidy up then went to the dining area. The table was set and Chikage sat hunched forward, his large hands resting in his lap. His big body was crowded in by the dainty chair and table but Chikage's movements were surprisingly graceful as he poured the coffee. He cradled the fine china delicately in his hands, never spilling a drop. He had come a long way since his first awkward days as a garcon in training.

Ono made a pleased sound as he took his seat. This was nice. He couldn't put a name to his and Chikage's relationship but something about being with the other man reassured him. Like this, with only the faint sounds of the traffic filtering from outside, and with Chikage so close, it almost made Ono want to believe in innocence again. He raised his head and for the first time noticed that Chikage was watching him, his cheeks stained with a hint of blush. Intrigued, Ono followed the older man's gaze which seemed to rest on his cup.

Ono peered around the saucer. When he moved to pick up his coffee, he found a single white daisy tucked next to it.

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Recipe Two

Comfort food: Plum Crisp with Cassis and Ground Almonds:Plums flavored with crème de cassis and topped with ground almonds and demerara sugar.

On the following Sunday, Chikage took Ono to see a movie. It was an animated short he had seen with Deko just the week before. In it, a lonely fox and a misfit rabbit became friends as they tried to find their way home. The film was the most exuberant, most hopeful, most heartbreakingly honest thing Ono had seen in his life and afterwards, he cried in big gasping sobs behind the movie theater like his own heart would shatter in two.

Chikage's large thumbs brushed awkwardly over his face. He had taken off his sunglasses and his strange pale colored eyes were earnest. "Ono-san ... Ono-san, what's wrong? Didn't you like it? Did the hot dogs give you indigestion?"

Ono spluttered, chuckling through his tears. He wrapped his arms around Chikage and let the other man hug him to his chest.

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Recipe Five

Reine de Saba: Luscious and decadent, a rich dense chocolate cake with a chocolate glaze.

The first night Chikage showed up at his apartment, Ono could barely contain himself. He stood staring at the other man until Chikage became nervous and he had to apologize and hurriedly let him in.

Since that time long ago when he'd taken Chikage to the bar, Ono had imagined getting Chikage into his bed. He'd envisioned an unparalleled seduction on his part, using all of his "demonic" charm to leave the other man weak in the knees. Yet now, with the moment finally upon him, all Ono could do was bring Chikage over to the couch and babble over things not even the larger man with his infinite patience could understand.

Or maybe he did understand. Their knees touched. Chikage cleared his throat. "Ono-san?"

"Yes?" Ono stammered.

"Can I hold your hand?"

Ono's heart sped up. "Yes," he breathed, closing his eyes as Chikage's large hand covered his.

"Ono-san?" Chikage prodded once more.

"Mmm?"

"Can we have sex?"

Ono's eyes widened. For a moment he was unable to believe what he'd heard. But sure enough, Chikage's hand had tightened about his and even though the older man looked a little worried, his face was completely serious.

A gust of air escaped from Ono's lips. There Chikage went, teaching him all over again what it meant to be honest. This was what he'd dreamed of. Now all he had to do was accept it. Ono smiled.

"Yes, Chikage," he said. "Yes."

End