Authors Note: Haha, it's me again, with another AU Yullen. I know, I know, Sugar-Free's still in the works, but this one's just a lighthearted - more fluffy - piece that started out like a oneshot. It's written in a completely different style than Sugar-Free, so I hope you like it. It'll probably only be like 3 chapters long, FYI. I got the idea while watching the food channel show of the same name...which reminds me!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Except this plot.
Take a right turn off Fifth Avenue, onto East 59th and you'll stumble across a black brick building, with the name Black Order Cakes written in rolling script across the front window. Look inside on a good day and you'll see six of the best in the biz working diligently on their latest creations.
Welcome to the Black Order, New York City's hottest new bakery.
ACE OF CAKES
Kanda x Allen
"Good morning, my beautiful bakers!"
Enter Lavi, the charismatic and spunky owner of Black Order Cakes, known for his crazy designs that were only humanly possible because of these people:
"Good morning, Lavi!"
"Yo, Lavi. Got my coffee?"
"G-G-Good morning, Lavi."
"Stop being so loud, I've got a damn headache."
Lavi sighed. "Well, Yuu, if you hadn't chugged all those beers--"
"It wasn't my fault! Stupid beansprout came up with the bet, didn't he?"
"Oh yeah, where is our favorite little bean?" Lavi set down the tray of Starbucks on the front counter and surveyed the bakery.
There was Lenalee Lee, smiling as always as she pulled a set of cakes from the freezer; Fou yawned and stopped rolling out fondant to wait expectantly for her usual morning pick-me-up; Miranda Lotto was clearly sweating as she practiced her icing on a dummy cake, under the scrutinizing eyes of Yuu Kanda…
Ah, yes, Kanda.
Yuu Kanda was possibly the quickest cake maker Lavi had ever seen, though his speed was only one of the things that made him stand out from others in his profession. Kanda could bake anything, Lavi came to discover, no matter how funky or insane or impossible, if he gave Kanda an order, the guy would make it happen. Yup, he certainly was the pride of Black Order Cakes, bringing in most of their celebrity clients. Now if only he didn't have such a rude disposition, he'd be perfect. The absolute best--
The bell above the door chimed as a young man stumbled in, panting.
"Ah, good morning everyone, sorry I'm late!"
--the absolute best, tied with this guy. Allen Walker.
"Oh, Allen, 'morning," Lavi slapped him on the back while handing him his Starbucks (peppermint hot chocolate). "What took ya?"
Allen Walker was a prodigy in the culinary world. He was three years younger than Kanda and Lavi at nineteen, and the only one in their class at the French Culinary Institute to complete a bachelor's degree at that age. His specialty was in detail and the artistic parts of cakes- he was best when given a carte blanche, but he worked his magic even on extremely specific orders. He wasn't as fast as Kanda, but his finished work was just as breathtaking.
"I sort of killed my alarm clock when it went off," Allen admitted with a sheepish grin, "and then by the time I woke up again it was already 7:00…"
"No worries kiddo, today's not too busy anyway," Lavi said, making his way to the back, handing off coffee.
Allen shrugged off his coat and headed to his station where Lenalee had already laid out the cakes for him to work with…and where Kanda worked right next to him.
"Morning, jerk," Allen greeted fondly.
"Shut the hell up, beansprout," Kanda snapped (the fondness was in there somewhere, really).
"Hangover that bad, or is the sting of losing to a 'kid' worse?" Allen smirked.
"Fuck you. You shouldn't even be drinking, stupid bean!" Kanda growled, wincing when his voice got too loud for his aching head.
"Cut it out you two," Lenalee sighed, stepping in if only due to habit.
"Why? I think it's pretty damn amusing," Fou grinned as she chugged her coffee (a grande espresso that raised a few eyebrows the first time she ordered it), mood visibly improving.
"Now, now, we play after we work," Lavi called in a sing-song voice from the front desk, "So work, or I'll make sure you don't play!"
"Yeah, yeah," came the bored chorus, but everyone obediently resumed their respective job.
It was strange; to think a group of people so different could come together to make such beautiful things... though their lives were intertwined long before the Black Order Bakery came into existence.
You could say it started in culinary school.
Now, Kanda and Lavi had known each other long before then, so maybe it really started in Mr. Boric's cooking class in grade 10, when Kanda's genius had first been discovered…but that's a different story for a later time.
Cooking school was where they all came together, in any case; the Culinary Institute of New York City to be precise.
Lavi had always known he'd be a chef; his parents had owned a diner and though it had closed after their untimely death, Lavi was determined to reopen it, or better yet- start his own. Kanda was another case. Lavi had been the one to convince Kanda to apply (along with much needed help from Kanda's cousins, Lenalee and Komui) and after much arguing (and after one full scholarship arrived in the mail), Kanda relented. Only because there was absolutely nothing else he could get a full scholarship in, he insisted.
Dorm groupings were in threes, and that's where Allen Walker stumbled into the mix. After being forcefully paired with him during Chef Sokaro's desert classes, Lavi and Kanda (despite whatever he said), found themselves to be close friends with the younger teen. Lavi swears Kanda was crushing on the kid, but Lavi also swears his grandfather is a panda.
Fou entered their lives shortly after Allen; she and Allen worked together in the same restaurant in high school, and when it was decided that they were to open shop, Allen asked if he could bring her in too (it had always been her childhood dream, he said). Lavi thanks the gods for her presence every single day. Not because of herself, exactly (she's rather lacking the sweetness and gentility Lenalee has), but because it was solely thanks to Fou that they managed to find a relatively cheap location to set up shop. Let it be known that fresh graduates from culinary school do not have tons of cash to spend. Fou, it turned out, 'knew a guy' who owned a bar and an empty space right off 59th, which was too perfect to pass up. And it sure helped that 'this guy' was totally head-over-heels for Fou; badly enough that he gave them much less rent than they would've had to pay normally. Yup, Bak Chan was totally getting ripped off, but that kept more money in Lavi's bank account, and that meant more money for partying, and partying makes everyone happy.
The guy was also nice enough to rent out the extra apartment space above his bar next door to Fou and Allen. Allen was an orphan too, but unlike Lavi and Kanda he had not the support of other family members. However, Bak wasn't exactly a millionaire, so you could say that the apartment Allen stayed in was more aptly described as a grouping of three rooms that sort of resembled a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It certainly didn't help that Allen was a messy bachelor either.
The floors creaked, the faucets dripped, the view was less than stunning (dumpsters and pigeons not exactly being the most aesthetically pleasing things on earth) and Allen slept on the same mattress he'd had as a kid, since nothing bigger would fit through the apartment door. He could barely walk in the kitchen, because the fridge took up too much space, the oven door never shut, and one of the stoves sparked every now and then. As for the bathroom? Allen prefers to use the one in the bar downstairs, is all that shall be said.
No offense to Bak Chan or anything, but the guy totally gave the only decent, rentable, livable space to Fou. Lovesick jerk.
More than anything, Allen wanted to move out.
Lavi had not been kidding when he said the day wasn't going to be busy; by late afternoon everyone except Kanda and Allen had finished their daily assignments, and the aforementioned two weren't finished only because they had the biggest and most complicated order.
"Move over, jerk," Allen muttered (keeping his voice down for Kanda's sake?), nudging Kanda aside with his elbow and brandishing a paintbrush in his other hand, "I'm trying to beautify this thing."
"Don't push me, retard," Kanda grumbled back (though he did scoot over), "I'm working with a knife. How about I use it to beautify your shitty face first?"
"Kanda, my face is impossible to further beautify. You, on the other hand, we could give a shot at."
"Do you even look in the mirror, stupid bean? You look like an old man."
"And you look like a girl."
"Oi, feminine face and gray-haired geezer," Fou barked from the front, "We're going out to eat. You comin' or are you two kids content with bickering like an old married couple?"
A few more expletives on Kanda's part and about ten minutes later, the entire gang (sans Miranda, who had another part-time job to head off to) had filed out onto 5th avenue, now facing the choice of where to eat.
After loitering around for about an hour, they decided to head on over to Queens to catch a meal in their favorite pizza joint, Barry's, which was also coincidentally the only restaurant they got a discount on alcoholic beverages in since the owner, Daisya Barry, was something like Kanda's friend (they were in detention together every week, does that count?). But discount aside, Barry's did have pretty amazing pizza, and was totally worth the drive.
It had been this way for a long time, and with good reason. Allen, it turned out, had issues differing between left and right while 'under pressure', resulting in more than one almost-accident and at least three occasions where they spent two hours getting to a place that should've taken them ten minutes to get to.
Lavi was fucking insane. He didn't understand the difference between flooring the accelerator and gently tapping the accelerator. After one two-hundred-dollar ticket for speeding, it was unanimously decided that Lavi would never drive again.
Kanda… was actually not that bad, were it not for Fou's backseat driving. That coupled with Kanda's already low tolerance for idiots on the road made him quite volatile in the driver's seat. The worst incident to date was when he actually got out of the car and nearly sliced the side-view mirrors off an elderly couple's puttering excuse for a vehicle after the offending automobile made them miss three consecutive green lights. Kanda didn't drive again after that.
Fou was another matter entirely; she didn't even have a license to begin with, saying that getting one would take all the fun out of driving. Allen was the only one brave enough to drive with her in the car after she made that opinion known.
Anyway, with Lenalee driving they made it to the restaurant within the hour, and at 6:15, they had stuffed themselves into a booth and were waiting for their menus.
"Oi, stop touching me."
"That's kind of hard, Kanda, when you're sitting so close," Allen retorted from his place between Kanda and Lavi.
"Who asked you to sit next to me?" Kanda snapped, looking uncomfortable as Allen kept squirming to find a comfortable spot. "Stop squirming!" he hissed when Allen's hand brushed his leg.
"Sorry, Jesus," Allen muttered, finally settling for leaning against Kanda's shoulder. He looked up briefly to see if the other minded, but Kanda was glaring at the table.
"Didn't I just say to stop touching me?" Kanda grumbled after a moment.
"Hey, it's either this or I sit in your lap. Which one do you prefer?"
"Go for the lap, Allen," Lavi chimed in, "it's way sexier."
"Nobody's asking you, stupid rabbit!" Kanda half-yelled.
"See? Yuu'd like it better too. Look how red he's getting--"
"Really?" Allen tried craning his neck back to get a look. Kanda roughly pushed down on Allen's head and growled.
"Ouch! You made me bite my tongue, you bastard!"
"I see you two are getting along wonderfully, as usual," a new voice put in. "So? How's my favorite gang of delinquents doing?"
"Daisya!" Lavi grinned, "We're all doing pretty damn well… and the lovebirds here have made some progress too. Look! Kanda's actually letting someone touch him!" he said as though he were speaking on the discovery channel.
Daisya looked incredulous.
"Well fucking shit, ain't that the case," he shook his head, "I'm impressed. Congrats, Kanda!"
"Do you two have a death wish?"
Lenalee sighed and placed a placating hand on Kanda's shoulder, grip tightening painfully until he stopped twitching. Once satisfied Kanda wasn't going to disembowel someone, she smiled. "Hey Daisya. How's business been?"
"Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself."
"Good enough to give us an extra round of free beer?" Fou asked innocently. Daisya laughed.
"Hell, why not! Who won last time the lovebirds had a drink off?"
"We're not fucking lovebirds," Kanda gritted out. "I will kill the next person who says that."
"He's trying to avoid the fact that I won," Allen replied smugly, "He's still embarrassed that I totally and completely kicked his sorry ass. And I'm not even legal."
"That's what makes it even better!" Daisya (and the rest of the table) laughed heartily at Kanda's expense. "But apart from the free stuff, I take it you'll order the usual?"
"Yup, yup," Lavi glanced briefly at the menu, "a whole pizza for Al and two cheese for us."
"Gotcha. I'll bring the drinks over in a sec." Daisya wrote down their order with a flourish and headed back to the kitchens.
- - -
"Dude, my money's totally on Allen," Fou said seriously. She and Lavi leaned over the table on their elbows, intently watching the battle between Kanda and Allen. Lenalee sighed, but she was watching curiously anyway.
"I dunno," Lavi bit his lip, "Kanda's holding his own pretty well tonight."
"Would you stop talking about us like we're not in the fucking room?" Kanda snapped, slamming down another empty beer bottle. "Oi, Daisya! One more round."
"Shit, you two ain't knocked out yet?" Daisya grumbled as he set down another two bottles. "You're gonna run me outta stock."
Allen and Kanda went back to chugging, glaring at each other all the while, and Lavi and Fou set up their commentary again.
"Allen's like a bottomless pit," Fou reasoned, "it's like he's not even drinking all that shit, it's more like it's draining into a black hole."
"Yeah, I guess--"
"Kanda's going to win."
Lavi and Fou snapped to look at Lenalee, who sat arms crossed and eyes closed. She cracked one eye open and chuckled at her friend's bewildered looks.
"It's easy. See, last time when Allen won, he ate three pizzas, but today he's only eaten one and a half. There's less food in his stomach, so the alcohol concentration will be greater. And he lacks Kanda's experience."
"…I have new respect for you, Lenalee," Lavi bowed his head.
Three rounds later and Allen's bottle slipped from his hand and he lapsed into an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
"Kanda wins," Lavi, Fou, Lenalee and Daisya declared simultaneously. Kanda set down his bottle with a smug look.
"Take that, fucking beansprout," he taunted, slurring his words just a little. Allen's response was to start giggling again.
"Right. So who's taking Allen home?" Fou asked and all eyes turned to her.
"Um… you live next door. Aren't you going to…?" Lenalee asked.
"Yeah, see, I would, but I'm actually not going home yet. I'm takin' the subway to Lou Fa's place."
"Now? At eleven on a weekday?"
"Yeah, we're going clubbing, probably. So! I'll see you jerks later!" Fou grinned, slammed her share of the bill down and flounced out of the restaurant.
"I bet she just didn't want to drag a drunken Allen up two flights of stairs, lazy bitch," Lavi sighed, pouting. "Well I can't take him! I live like, a ways away, you know? Takes a while for me to get home, and all. 'Specially before the subway lines close…yeah."
"Fine, Kanda'll take him."
"Hey, if you two didn't insist on your drinking competitions (he's not even allowed, Kanda!), then we wouldn't be having this dilemma in the first place. So I'll drive you back to the shop and you take him up to his apartment. Okay?" But it wasn't really a question.
A/N: I love Daisya. And Fou, which is why she's in here. Seriously. I just wanted to try writing her. Hope I did her justice!
Allen and Kanda's conversations make me happy to write. :D I hope you liked them too!
Next chapter we'll see what unfolds at Allen's apartment and the plot will get rollin'. Woo! Next update...I honestly don't know when. Sugar-Free is my priority, heh; this one's just a fun side-piece that makes me happy to write. On that note...
Drop a review if it made you smile, cos reviews make me smile too. :)