Disclaimer: Tsukihime is Nasu Kinoko and Type Moon's blablabla you get the idea.
"Shiki-san, today is Thursday."
Kohaku's solemn words froze Shiki in his tracks.
"Thursday..." Shiki repeated in the voice of the dead. While still numb from the shock the revelation had brought, his mind was racing as he tried to figure out how he could have forgotten a fact so vital to the continuation of his existance. Motivated amnesia? Had last week's experience really been so traumatic that he had erased the fact from his memory?
"Yes, Shiki-san." Kohaku gave him her usual smile. "Do you have any plans tonight?"
"I see, then I shall inform Akiha-sama that you will be home for dinner." Kohaku bowed and made as if to leave.
"Wait!" Shiki shouted, grabbing the first excuse to enter his mind. "I promised to go to Ahnen Erbe with Ciel-sempai today!"
Kohaku gave him a puzzled look and Shiki knew that his gambit had been foiled.
"Oh? That's strange Shiki-san. Ciel-san called from Marseille last night didn't she? I believe she isn't due back for another three days."
When he had seen Ciel off at the airport he had never imagined that he would regret her temporary absence from his life as much as he did now.
"Uhm," desperate times called for desperate measures. Offering a silent apology in his mind he cast Kohaku the only other name that would not cause Akiha to lock him up in his room again.
"Hahaha, sorry wrong person. I meant to say Seo-chan." Covering up his guilt with a smile Shiki prayed to whatever gods were listening that they would forgive him for taking advantage of such an innocent girl.
To his considerable surprise Kohaku gave him an even wider smile in return.
"That's right Shiki-san. I forgot to tell you." Faced with Kohaku's innocent visage Shiki could have sworn then that a malicious chuckle was echoing through the room. "Seo-chan called this morning to say that she is sick and can't meet you today."
"..." Well, that was that. Seo's precognition must have warned her to avoid him today, not that he could blame her.
Kohaku's eyes were a study in the various faces of humanity as she silently waited for him to respond. Shiki couldn't decide if they were pitying him or gleeful that another victim had joined her for the night's tortures.
"If Seo-chan's sick I guess there's no helping it." Adorned by a sickly grin Shiki's face was pale as he sentenced himself to his doom, each word he spoke was a nail being driven into the coffin lid of his future.
"I'll be home for dinner."
Kohaku gave him her eternal smile, to Shiki at that moment it looked like nothing so much as the expression the executioner showed someone before he cut their heads off.
Satsujinki Cooking Diaries
Recipe 1 - Overcooked Love
Thursday night at the Tohno residence.
When Shiki had first come back to this house he had been disturbed by what seemed an anachronistic leftover from a bygone era. That was to say, having a personal maid wait on him for every little detail had been a little nerve-wracking. Over the past year however he had gotten used to it. He had even managed to persuade them to let him help them occasionally in the course of their duties. In so doing he had inadvertently set off a course of events that had culminated in the weekly experience of hell that was Thursday night.
It had all started four weeks ago...
The light thudding sound of the knife as it diced the onions stopped as Shiki turned his attention towards the person he was helping.
"Hisui wants to do what?" he asked.
Kohaku looked at him with slightly worried eyes. "Uhm... She was wondering if she could try cooking a meal for Shiki-san."
He thought about it, letting his old daydream of eating a quiet dinner alone with his onetime companion and present-day made play in the background of his head. Hisui was cute, anyone would admit that. Eating something made by such a pretty girl was an experience any of his male friends would jump at. That however only proved that they had never tasted her cooking. As always the daydream ground to a halt when it reached the part where Hisui reached over with a piece of an unidentifiable substance grasped in between her chopsticks. Shiki's mind refused to go any further, because to do so would mean recalling his the last time he had eaten something of hers.
A shudder wracked his body. Plum sandwiches... Those horrible purple plum sandwiches... The aftermath of it all had been heavenly but as with all good rewards had been hell to get to. To suffer through that again was something Shiki wanted to avoid, but at any cost? He didn't want to hurt Hisui's feelings. Come to think of it making Hisui sad was bad for his health. She never threatened him or anything of the kind, but the last time Hisui had gotten sulky he had caught her hypnotising him while he was sleeping.
"Ah, Kohaku, could you gently suggest to Hisui that it might not be such a good idea? I mean, it's not that I don't like her cooking or anything, but... Uh..." Shiki couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't be taken as a flat refusal. "Just tell her something, please?" he finished lamely.
Kohaku's everyday smile returned to its place beneath her bright eyes. "Oh I can't do that Shiki-san! If a man wants to say something to someone he should say it himself."
"You... What anime did you get that line from?"
"Universe's Strongest Apprentice Tamichi isn't an anime yet, Shiki-san." Kohaku gave him the kind of instant reply that only a true zealot would give.
"..." And now I'm being corrected by an otaku, thought Shiki. Could his day get any worse?
With the door to Hisui's room in front of him Shiki raised an unsteady hand before lowering it again. He was nervous, he knew it. Considering all that had happened to him during his short but interesting life he was surprised that he could still get so nervous about something as little as this. Right then he felt as if he could have faced Nero or even that damn Tatari again without being as unsure as he was now.
There was no reason to be so nervous. He had everything planned out in his head. He would knock on the door, say hello, talk about everyday things. Then, once things had been warmed up enough, he would innocently bring up the topic of food. Hisui would probably bring up the question of cooking for him, and he would... He would...
Turning away from the door Shiki headbutted the opposing wall to relieve some of his frustration. He still had no idea how he would tell Hisui! Anything he said on the topic was liable to depress her. Yet, for his own survival... Yes, for his survival he would even dare the wrath of a million fan-boys and tell her that she shouldn't cook!
"Ack! Hisui!" Lost in his thoughts he hadn't heard the door open behind him. Hisui was looking out at him from the room, probably wondering what the noise had been before.
There was a questioning light in her deep grey eyes as she stared at him. Now that he had come to the critical moment Shiki found that his mind had gone blank on him, all his carefully laid plans flying out his ears with his ability to speak.
A long, awkward moment passed in uncomfortable silence.
Shiki had been reduced to staring fixatedly down at the carpet when Hisui asked him a question.
"Did you need something, Shiki-sama?"
"Ah, no. I was just..." Shiki struggled to come up with a plausible explanation for his presence. "I was just walking past when I wondered what you were doing in here."
For some reason Hisui displayed a huge reaction to that random admission. Lowering her head she let her fringe of red hair veil her eyes, but that failed to hide the massive blush that bloomed upon her cheeks.
"Would you... Would you like to come into my room, Shiki-sama?" Hisui reinforced that hesitant invitation by moving her body to the side so that the door was now clear.
"You don't mind?" Shiki was a bit surprised. This was only the second time he had come here, the last time being more than half a year ago.
Looking down at the floor Hisui shook her head in denial. Due to the fringe of red-hair that covered the upper part of her face Shiki couldn't see what kind of look she had in her eyes, but there was no mistaking the massive blush that had bloomed upon her cheeks.
"You are welcome to come in here at any time, Shiki-sama," whispered Hisui. Not knowing how to respond to that Shiki simply nodded and entered the bedroom.
After Shiki had seen himself in he barely noticed Hisui quietly closing the door behind him. What had grabbed his attention were the dozens of books that had buried the small desk tucked into the far corner of the room. A closer look revealed that they were... Cookbooks...
"Were you... Studying, Hisui?" Shiki's voice was a little strained as he asked the question.
A nod. Hisui was still refusing to meet his eyes and the blush showed no signs of fading.
"Wouldn't it be easier to work in the kitchen if you are going to study cooking Hisui?" Shiki picked up a book and random and opened it. It was one of those housewive's recipe books that many a family had lived by over the years. Nothing spectacular, but nothing too simple either.
Shiki put the book down. "I'm sure Kohaku wouldn't mind if you practised a bit more, Hisui."
A lie, that was a flagrant lie. Hisui's weekly cooking lessons with Kohaku always left the bright and bubbly older sister tired and drained of life. Having Hisui in the kitchens every day would probably kill her.
"I usually practice on Mondays, Shiki-sama. Today I was looking for something that I could make by myself."
You needed all these books just for that? Shiki wanted to ask the question but didn't because he was afraid of the answer he would get.
"So did you decide on anything?" Shiki inquired of her, more for something to say than honest interest.
"Maybe... There were a few recipes that seemed simple enough for me to try," Hisui replied, she looked up and took a deep breath. With an uncommon determination she then announced, "Shiki-sama, I wish to try making a tonkatsu for tomorrow's dinner. Would you like to try some?"
Caught off-guard by the point he had been trying to avoid coming to, Shiki was unable to give her the answer he had come here to give.
"Tomorrow? Isn't that a little sudden, Hisui?" it wasn't elegant but the question served to buy him some time to think.
"Onee-san would not mind, Shiki-sama."
"Yes, but you, cooking..." He still couldn't say it, not outright anyway.
"... Would you rather that I did not, Shiki-sama?"
Hisui's eyes lost some of the vibrancy they had shown bare moments ago. Shiki couldn't say he completely understood women, but being around so many of them for a year had done wonders for his perception. Right now those keenly honed senses were telling him that Hisui was getting quite upset. Seeing the person who made his mornings so pleasant in this state made Shiki's heart ache. Even then his sensible inner self screamed at him to leave things as they were. This was the best way, any other way led onto the path of eternal pain and suffering. All he had to do was give her one, definite answer.
"No, I would be perfectly happy to try your cooking, Hisui," was what came out instead. His traitor mouth had taken its cues from his heart instead of his brain and now continued to nudge him into an inescapable corner. "Now that I think about it, why don't you try cooking every Thursday? I'm sure that Kohaku wouldn't mind taking a break once in a while."
What was he doing?! Horrified by what he had just said out loud Shiki opened his mouth to try and contain the situation but it was already to late.
"Really, Shiki-sama? Every week?" Shiki didn't know whether he should laugh or cry upon seeing a rare bright smile illuminate Hisui's normally composed face. "If you will excuse me, Shiki-sama, I will go tell onee-san."
Hisui glided out of the room, her footsteps even lighter than usual. In her absence Shiki was left alone to come to terms with the full consequences of his actions. They generally amounted to: "Think HAPPY HAPPY thoughts, because U R GONNA DIE!"
One month on Shiki was waiting for the latest penalty of his carelessness to enter the scene. While he waited he reflected over the experiences he had endured these past few weeks.
First up was the bittersweet thought that Hisui's cooking had indeed improved in certain areas under Kohaku's guidance. Her seafood carabone hadn't looked like something that had been dredged up from the dark depths of the oceans. It had only tasted that way.
His musings then drifted over to the subject sitting across the table from him with an impatient air about her regal form. Akiha. Following the first Thursday when she had been caught flatfooted by Hisui's culinary assault, she had ruthlessly enforced his attendance for this agonising ritual he had created. He sometimes wondered why she herself attended. A sense of noble duty? Shiki had no such uncertainties as to why she made him stay here every week. Considering her personality Akiha probably intended for him to repent his folly by making him go through this. She needn't have bothered in that case. Merely sitting through one of these meals was penitence enough to satisfy even Duke Alva. On the other hand it was also entirely possible that she was forcing herself to confront her fear in order to repair her damaged pride.
An involuntary snicker escaped Shiki when he remembered the horror that had stolen over Akiha when she had first bitten into Hisui's tonkatsu. Akiha guzzling water straight from the jug was a memory that he knew he would treasure forever, if only for its blackmail value.
Akiha noticed his amusement, "Nii-san, would you care to share the joke?"
Shiki shook his head. Bringing that incident up while Akiha was still twitchy over the thought of battling another Hisui creation was a recipe for disaster.
His sister however was not one to let go of something once she had grasped it and pursued the topic relentlessly.
"Nii-san, you were sniggering while you were looking at me. What exactly were you thinking about?" Akiha's dark blue eyes blazed cerulean as they focused on him. "Did I amuse you in some manner? If so, do tell."
"Akiha, I wasn't laughing at you."
"Then what was it Nii-san? Surely you have an explanation for me."
Crap, this wasn't good. If they kept going like this he would trigger off another of her rages. The scar he had from the time he had been caught kissing Arcueid still ached in winter, adding more was not something to think about. Time to distract her.
"In that case Akiha, has Arihiko sent another poem yet?" Shiki asked her with a mischievous smile. "You seem to actually be quite fond of them, keeping them in your desk and all."
"What? That's not... I only kept them because they are funny... I don't..." Akiha's face went scarlet as she blustered. Then her eyes narrowed again. "Nii-san... How did you know I have them in my desk?" Akiha started trembling and shades of red started appearing in her hair. "Did you look at anything else? My diary by any chance? Nii-san? Why are you hiding behind your chair?"
What diary? Why was she getting so angry about something so silly Arihiko's letters? Shiki had ducked behind his chair to keep himself out of Akiha's sight the instant he saw her inverting. He was wondering how he was going to get out of this one without mentioning that Ren had told him when there was an interruption. One he had very mixed feelings about.
"Shiki-sama, Akiha-sama, dinner is ready," Hisui calmly announced as she walked into the dining room. She didn't say anything about Shiki being crouched down behind his chair, or how Akiha's hair was red instead of its usual black. Whatever her master chose to get up to was none of her affair.
Slowly, the chill in the air faded and was replaced by a different kind of tension as Hisui and Kohaku started bringing out the dishes. Akiha gave Shiki one last glare to tell him that she wouldn't be forgetting before she too succumbed to her dread.
Faces pale Shiki and Akiha carefully examined the food that had been placed before them. Today's main dish was... Lasagne. It looked like how Lasagne should look. Mince with sauce, and layers of cheese. The smell was normal as well, rich with a hint of the herbs and the spices that brought out the taste.
Shiki looked up at Hisui. She was watching him with the mildly psychotic look he sometimes, very rarely, saw her wearing. On the other side Kohaku was looking at him as well, smiling as always. Last time he had asked how she could smile after eating what Hisui had made. She had then told him, while laughing, "Shiki-san, I don't eat at home on Thursdays. What do you think my afternoon break is for?"
Gritting his teeth Shiki took up his fork. He couldn't do what Kohaku did because Akiha made sure he couldn't get out on Thursdays. Oh well, at least he still had those biscuits he had bought last week in his room.
Taking a deep breath Shiki dug up a chunk of the lasagne and brought it up. Here goes nothing, with that thought Shiki put it into his mouth.
Instantly he froze. Across from him he saw Akiha take a bite and freeze as well. What the hell was this? How could something like this be done?
"Shiki-sama? How is it?" Hisui inquired politely.
Shiki forced himself to chew. It felt like he was chewing sand and cardboard but he somehow managed to make himself smile as he answered her question.
"It's good, Hisui." He was rewarded with a sigh of relief and a beautiful smile from his faithful maid, and a somewhat annoying knowing twinkle from Kohaku. She knew.
Not for the first time in his life Shiki wondered if there was some kind of God watching over Hisui. Making sure that whatever she touched in the kitchen went wrong somehow. There was no other way he could explain the existence of such a thing as this... This... Lasagne.
It looked perfectly normal, yet once one put it into their mouths the aberrations in it were perfectly exposed for the taste buds to experience and shrink in horror from.
The mince was so dry as to require grinding between his molars before they could be turned into a sandy paste that could be swallowed. The sauce was no help here, it was gummy beyond belief, making his jaws stick to each other, further complicating the procedure of mastication. Topping off this texture sensation was the cheese, the tasteless, metallic, plates of cheese. Baked into something that resembled armour plate Shiki could feel the hard, jagged, shards cutting his mouth as he hammered them down into something he could eat.
On a more pleasant note, Shiki realised that Hisui had gotten the taste nearly right this time. Of course the nearly inexistant herby flavour could have just been a side-effect of the overcooking but Shiki was going to take any luck that came his way.
It took an hour of agonising effort under the watchful eyes of Hisui and Kohaku for Shiki and Akiha to grind, hammer and pound the lasagne into submission. Shiki had just sat back in his chair with a huge sigh of relief when he saw Akiha staring at him with a worrisome look in her eyes.
"Hisui," Akiha said before he could stop her. "Nii-san seems to have gotten thinner lately hasn't he?" Hisui nodded and Akiha went on over Shiki's protestations that he was perfectly fine. "Why don't we feed him up a little. Get him another serving." She gave Shiki the perfectly guileless smile that only the truely demonic could have. "I'm sure he would love to have some more of your cooking.
He glanced over at Hisui who had already come back from the kitchen with another plate in her hands. He then glanced over at the evil duo who were watching him silently with a delighted glimmer in their eyes. Shiki looked back at Hisui, she seemed very happy as she took away the used plate and put the new serving in front of him. He had no choice. No choice at all.
"Thank you, Hisui." Shiki told the red-haired maid as he took up knife and fork again. He suppressed the mournful smile that was threatening to come out. Just one more hour of this Shiki, he told himself as he started 'eating' again. Just one more hour.
He was finally finished. Free from the horror, until next week at least. Ignoring the frown Akiha cast his way Shiki sank back into the welcome embrace of the sofa. He hadn't felt this tired since he had fought Nero. No, that was an exaggeration, he had been at the virge of death then. This was only about as tired as he had felt when Roa was draining him.
Shiki opened his eyes and saw Hisui hovering over him again. She was holding out a cup of tea on a plate. It was the usual after-dinner ritual at the Tohno mansion. After they had dinner they would all come into the lounge to talk or play some games while drinking the tasty teas that Kohaku brewed for them. On days like these Kohaku's tea was doubly welcome. Both as a relaxant and as a means to clear out the horrible sensations that Hisui's cooking left in one's mouth.
A loud gasp from Akiha woke Shiki out of his pleasant daze. What was this? Akiha was standing upright while staring down at her teacup with a look that Shiki could only describe as one of disbelief accented by a touch of alarm. Gradually a horrible suspicion wound its way into his mind.
"Who brewed the tea today?" Shiki was speaking in the voice of the dead again. Emotionless and perfectly tranquil, lest he betray any hint of the dread that had overcome him.
"I did Shiki-sama, Onee-san thought I should practice making tea as well." Hisui sounded quite cheerful.
"Ah," Shiki took a sip. "I thought so."
"Is something wrong with the tea, Shiki-sama? I tasted it beforehand and I thought it had turned out quite well for my first time."
"Nothing's wrong. Nothing's wrong." Shiki waved her away and took another slight sip in order to confirm what he suspected. Yep, no doubt about it.
He put the cup of tea down onto the table. Shiki wanted to cry, he really did. He wanted to stand up, grab Hisui by her shoulders and shout in her face. Knowing full well what kind of results that would have Shiki restrained himself to a little grimace and a scream in the safe confines of his own head.
Hisui... Just because something is white and powdery, it doesn't meant that it's sugar!
Sitting in front of him, brewed to visual perfection, the cup of red tea rested in its salty magnificence.