Chapter Four

Kakeru and Yuki collapsed onto chairs an hour later. Both were dirty, exhausted, and a little singed.

"Okay," Kakeru said, gazing into the pot in front of them. "It's been two hours. The kitchen's a mess. I've got several pretty serious burns, one of which looks like a squirrel — we've named it Miriam. But none of that matters, because if this succeeds, then that means that Yuki can create something — sort of." He picked up the ladle, and looked around the room at Tohru, Haru, Kyo, and Shigure (who had returned once it was clear that the kitchen wasn't going to explode). "Bottoms up." With everyone's eyes focused eagerly on him, he took a large spoonful of the soup, his expression unreadable.

After a few tense moments, Yuki impatiently demanded, "Well?"

Kakeru nodded. Then a wide grin spread across his face, and he leapt to his feet. "Soup! The man made soup!" He grabbed Yuki's wrist and thrust it into the air, dancing around in circles. Yuki just sighed, hiding how relieved and pleased he actually was.

Tohru dipped one finger in the soup hesitantly and licked it. "This is good, Yuki-kun!" she said.

"Should be, it took him forever," Kyo muttered, unreasonably jealous. Tohru smiled tolerantly and took his hand, resting her head on his shoulder. Kyo's look softened.

"You need something to commemorate this moment!" Kakeru said, glancing around the kitchen for something. He picked up the burnt and bent piece of aluminum foil and held it out to Yuki. "Here!"

Yuki stared at it blankly. "What is this for?"

"Memories, my dear boy! Memories!" Kakeru put one arm around Yuki's shoulders. "Remember this little piece of metal?"

"No, after a full fifty minutes I forgot," Yuki said sarcastically.

Kakeru continued as though Yuki hadn't spoken. "You put it in the microwave and it caught on fire. And then you dropped it on the counter and a towel caught on fire. And then your apron caught on fire. And then —"

"I really hope this is going somewhere."

"It is! This little foil shows all your efforts today!"

"Couldn't we just look around at the kitchen, which — let's face it — will never be completely clean or unscathed after this?"

"No we can't. You must have this." Kakeru was struck by inspiration and put the foil on Yuki's head, where it balanced like a metal pancake. "There! It's a hat!"

"No." As he shook his head, the foil fluttered to the floor. Kakeru picked it up.

"Come on. It's for the memories!"

"Trust me, I'll never forget this."

"Just put it on!"


"Do it, Yun-Yun!"

"Go to hell!"

"I'll glue it onto your head!" To Kyo he said, "Get some glue."

Kyo reached over and pulled the glue away from Tohru, who was trying to glue together a pot that had been a casualty of Yuki and Kakeru's cooking adventure.

"But . . . !" Tohru began.

"We just need it for a minute," Kakeru explained, slathering the back with glue. "Oh, YUN-YUN!"

Yuki took one look at the gluey foil and backed up, so that the table was between them. "Get that away from me."

Kakeru sighed, putting the foil down.

Yuki relaxed.

Kakeru lunged across the table, trying to put the aluminum on Yuki's head. He missed, slapping it onto his cheek instead.

Yuki blinked, incredulous. He put one hand on the foil and tugged gently. It didn't come off.

"A-HA!" Kyo let out one loud, triumphant laugh and then started cracking up. Kakeru shook his head in mock sadness.

"It's your fault, Yun-Yun."

Yuki glared at Kakeru. He tugged harder on the foil, which didn't budge. "I'm supposed to go to school like this?"

"Well, that's . . . your problem." His voice trailed off as he realized that that wasn't really true.

Yuki yanked as hard as possible, and the foil came off. So did some skin. "Holy SHIT!" he shouted. There was a bright red circle on his face.

"Look on the bright side," Kakeru insisted. "At least you won't have to shave there for like a week."

"That's the bright side?"

"Sure." Kakeru looked thoughtful for a moment. "We still have to do something about that foil."

"Don't come anywhere near me with glue."

"No, I'm not that stupid."

"Could have fooled me," Yuki replied, crossing his arms.

Kakeru suddenly leapt up, using a fork to make a hole into the foil and weaving string through the hole. "Ta-DAA!"

Yuki squinted. "What the hell is that?"

"A memento."

"That's a necklace."

"Wrong!" Kakeru stuck his finger in Yuki's face. "It's a man-necklace."

"What makes it man?"

"It's a necklace. And you're a man — sort of."

Yuki's eye twitched with barely controlled anger.

"So it's a man-necklace." He walked over to Haru, who didn't flinch, even as Kakeru held up all the chains Haru wore. "See? Man-necklaces."

"I don't do necklaces."

"If you don't, I'll glue something else to you."

Yuki glared, but snatched the necklace, pulling it over his head.

"There! Now you're man-pretty!"

"I'm going to kill you."

Kakeru put one hand over his face. "No, Yun-Yun! You can't! We haven't even discussed erotic videos yet, remember?"

"We will never discuss erotic videos."

"Riiiight." Kakeru winked knowingly at Yuki.

Yuki's face was deadpan. "Don't wink at me."

"Riiiight." He winked again.

"Stop that."

"Make me."

"Maybe I will."

"Bring it."

Yuki suddenly remembered everyone else in the room. Damn! he thought, embarrassed. "Maybe later."

"You can't just do that! You can't give up! You're don't deserve this man-necklace!" He smacked the back of Yuki's head.

"Agh, my man-flesh!" Yuki said.

Kakeru raised one eyebrow. "Man-flesh?"

"I don't know!" Yuki cried, confused. "I thought we were adding man to things!"

"That's a good idea! Come, Yun-Yun! We will leave via the man-door!" Kakeru began pulling Yuki to the front door. "Bye, man-Sohmas! And . . . man-Tohru, I guess!"

"Eh??" Tohru asked, confused.

"WHY YOU LITTLE —" Kyo started to rise from his chair.

"See? This is someone who'll respond to a challenge!" Kakeru said. To Kyo, he added, "Bring it!"

"It's been brought!"

"I'm going to miss my house," Shigure said sorrowfully.

Yuki grabbed Kakeru by the ear and hauled him outside.

Aw, isn't it cute? You know it is! cookies for phil, who came up with the "bring it!" "it's been brought!" thing (or at least brought it to my attention). and to jacob, who was the first one to put man before random words.
and, fyi: dumb is kakeru, and dumber is yuki. kind of obvious, but whatever.