Title: alone these days
Summary: They've taken off without telling a single soul where they're going or when they'll be back.
The strawberries are an excuse, really; what they're after this time is peace and quiet, though they like having a goal ingredient for no other reason than finding something delicious to fill Toriko's stomach with at the end of the day. It was an offhand comment by Toriko – which came as a surprise – that sent them off on this little trip. Just Toriko frowning in concentration as he lit a branch, saying, "Seems like no one will leave us alone these days."
And so they've taken off without telling a single soul where they're going or when they'll be back.
No Kings. None of the bishokuya or yakuza or knights or reporters they keep accidentally making friends with, none of the attention they usually draw as Heavenly King Toriko and Chef Komatsu, recreator of the Century Soup. There are only partners here. Toriko and Komatsu. Terry and Yun, Komatsu's penguin.
The animals in question are curled up in the basket slung across Toriko's back, Terry leaving just enough room for Komatsu and Yun and the strawberries, which are huge, the smallest easily the size of Komatsu's hand, and a deep, vibrant red.
The basket sways gently with each step Toriko takes, lulling Komatsu into a dreamy state of relaxation. Eyes closed, he sips at a bottle of Mellow Cola and leans into soft, warm fur that tickles his forehead. It's been a long time since they've gone after an ingredient simply because they wanted to, with nobody influencing their decision and no pressing time constraints or training to complete. Not since the Puffer Whale, and even then Coco had come with them, though Komatsu would never have been able to remove the poison sack without his precise directions – he wonders if he's capable of it on his own now, makes a mental note to try if given the chance – and that was before their visit to Vegetable Sky and the shift in their relationship to something a little more personal.
Komatsu only opens his eyes when Terry suddenly licks his cheek, rough tongue rasping over his skin and leaving behind a trail of saliva that cools in the few seconds it takes Komatsu to wipe the wet away. It's getting chilly despite the sun still hanging high in the sky, but not uncomfortably so. Surrounded by wolf and penguin and fruit, Komatsu is just warm enough.
He scratches Terry's ears for a while. Yun climbs into Komatsu's lap to ask for a little of his attention as well, so he hugs the penguin to his chest. Eventually he scritches under Terry's chin instead, which she seems to enjoy, barking quietly, tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth. She looks so much like Toriko waiting impatiently for a meal Komatsu can't help but laugh. The bishokuya glances over his shoulder, eyebrow raised in curiosity and lips quirked upwards. Komatsu can't resist leaning over to pluck the long piece of grass Toriko has been chewing on for the last hour from his mouth.
"Oi!" Toriko protests, but Komatsu replaces the grass with something better just as quickly, playfully dangling one of the strawberries in front of his nose. Toriko parts his lips so Komatsu can feed him, hands otherwise occupied with steadying the basket. He hums in appreciation as he chews and swallows, and - as seems to be today's theme – sticks out his tongue to taste the juice dripping down Komatsu's fingers. The chef doesn't say anything, keeping quiet even when, after the last bite disappears, Toriko sucks three of those sticky fingers into his mouth and holds them there.
Komatsu had been planning to make dessert with the fruit. At this rate, he's not sure Toriko will let him; the whole trip back will likely be spent feeding the bishokuya by hand. Still, there are worse ways to pass a lazy afternoon.
"I'm glad we came," Komatsu murmurs.
Hint of sharp incisors digging into his finger, looking to leave a mark. Then Toriko lets him go long enough to say, "Yeah, me too."
A/N - Written for a Tumblr friend's birthday, based off fanart she drew. If you're interested, look up Komatsuu on DevArt.