"I can't even begin to tell you how shitty that dish looks!"

Jim looked up from his masterpiece of chicken and lemon risotto, glaring at the bust boy.

"That sink is looking pretty filthy right now," he glanced at the spotless sink. "Maybe you should give it another rinse before Boyce has your balls on a platter."

Pavel yelped and quickly hopped off the counter and rand to the sink, flipping the tap on and grabbing the bottle of soap.

"That was mean, Kirk," Hikaru said, as he came out of the freezer with a crate of dough. "We all know Pike would have his balls on a silver platter!"

Jim snorted as he continued putting his dish together, "At least Pike would wait to dismember him for a week."

"Ah, I don't know," Hikaru shrugged, as he set the frozen pieces of dough onto the counter. "With Boyce breathing down his neck about the revised menu and the new vendors he ordered from, I think Pike is ready to physically harm anyone that walks into his kitchen.

"I'd pay big bucks to see him and Bones go at it," Jim moved to the stove. "Bones' is an expert with the cleaver, while Pike has his girly blade."

The door to the kitchen swung open and Nyota came in with a bag of flour in her arms, "I do hope I'm not interrupting your wonderful conversation," she grunted, swinging the bag of flour onto her workspace. "But some of us have things to do."

Hikaru rolled his eyes, "Like what? Bake another boring quiche?" he asked, making her glare.

"Says the man that uses frozen dough to make his rosemary and sea salt loaves of bread," she shot back. "Too bad it doesn't say that on the menu."

Jim sighed, "Enough!" he shouted. "The last thing we need is Boyce coming back here and threatening to dock our pay, because you two got into a bitch fight!" he snapped. "Nyota, bake your damn quiche! Sulu make your damn bread! The others should here soon and we need to have half of the menu ready before our lord and savior comes in!"

Hikaru and Nyota glared and grumbled, as they moved around to fetch their supplies from the pantry and refrigerator. Jim shook his head and he grabbed his portion of the menu that he was responsible for, and headed to the refrigerator. It was going to be a long afternoon.

"Who the fuck ordered this cheap ass steak? How the fuck am I supposed to cut this shit when it falls apart faster than a hooker droppin' her panties?"

Jim snickered as Bones ranted about the quality of the latest shipment of beef, which wasn't good. But Bones had no one to blame for this but himself, considering the fact that he threatened to stab the vendor the week before for bringing organic chicken instead of non-organic chicken.

"Just use a different knife!" Scotty shouted as he moved past the chaos, with a crate of various Vodkas and Whiskeys. "You went to school for this shit, lad. You know what ta do!"

"Here, here!" Hikaru shouted, raising a potholder in the air. "You're a pro Len," he moved to the oven. "If you couldn't turn that shitty steak into a masterpiece, no one could!"

Bones grumbled, "Keep suckin' up, kid," he warned. "I still find you annoying."

Hikaru winced, "Oh, how you have wounded me!" he cried, in mock outrage.

The group began to bicker as the door opened, "Hey!" they all turned their attention to the authoritative voice that boomed throughout the kitchen. "Why are we having fun here? We have food to cook and the doors open in two hours!"

"Pike!" Jim called out, grinning. "My man! We started to worry about you!"

Chris pulled off his coat and tossed it into the small office with the others, "I'm sure you all were, Kirk," he said, grabbing an apron off the hook. "How many dishes did you burn that I have to fix?" he asked.

Jim grinned sheepishly, "Only three," he offered, as the older man fixed him with a stare. "Oh alright, I fucked up on the pecan glaze for the chicken and I think I overcooked the chicken for the chicken francese."

Chris rolled his eyes, "Let me see this mess and then we'll work with what we've got," he said, moving to wash his hands. "And this sink isn't spotless! Where the hell is that kid?" he asked, washing his hands. "The last thing I need is Phil screaming about how unsanitary we are being in this kitchen!"

…..

It was a little after two when Leonard got home, dropping his coat and scarf in the entry way of the house.

w

"Len?" a voice called out. "Is that you?"

Leonard cursed as he toed off his boots, "What are you doing up, Mel?" he asked. "It's late and you have work tomorrow!"

A few seconds later, Melanie stepped into the hall with a cup in her hand. "I figured you'd want some hot coco," she shrugged. "I made it just a few minutes ago."

With a sigh, Leonard made his way down the hall and took the cup from her, kissing the side of her head. "I put a little brandy in there too."

"You know me too well," he said, taking a sip. "Goddamn this is good."

Melanie smiled and moved into the living room, picking up the various coloring books and toys off the floor. "How was work?" she asked, sitting down on the sofa.

Leonard followed her and sat next to her, setting his feet up onto the coffee table with a sigh. "What do you want to hear first? How shitty the meat was to deal with or how Kirk managed to fuck up half of his menu?" he asked, looking over at her. "Or, do you want to hear how Ny almost stabbed a waitress for dropping her plate of spinach and kale quiche?"

"That bad, huh?" she asked, as he nodded.

"I can't take another second of that place," he grunted, taking another sip from his drink. "I didn't leave Georgia to work with a bunch of goons."

Melanie sighed, "There's a lot of things you didn't leave Georgia for, Len," she pointed out. "It'll get better eventually. It's only been six months."

Leonard sighed, "Would you be mad if I accidently killed someone?" he asked.

"Yes," she nudged his shoulder. "And so would Joanna! I can't raise her alone and work at the same time."

"How was she tonight?" he asked, his tone changing from disgruntled to caring father in less than two seconds. "Did she give you a hard time?"

Melanie shook her head, "She ate her dinner, except for the brussel sprouts," Leonard groaned. "She demands to see you eat them before she does, since they look like, and I quote, "moldy gumdrops". Then we colored in a few of her books, watched her Disney show before bath-time and I read her a little Harry Potter."

Leonard reached over and patted her knee, "You're good," he stated. "How did I get so lucky with a good little sister?" he asked.

She snorted, "I'm your only little sister, Len," she nudged his thigh with her toe. "You should be lucky that I put up with your attitude and expensive tastes in food and booze."

"You've been eating a lot better than before I showed up!" he exclaimed. "All those frozen dinners and boxes of mac and cheese! And that pitiful wine stash you had."

"Excuse me for not getting the cooking gene," she laughed. "Some one had to get all the other necessary genes, like reading and writing and be able to conduct full research on something that isn't food related."

Leonard snorted, "Yes, because researching about shipwrecks and a bunch of dead high society people is so much better," he joked.

Melanie huffed, "You should be nice to me," she stated. "I do let you live here rent-free."

"At least I feed you and make sure you have a suitable breakfast ready when you decide to roll your ass out of bed."

"You're a jerk," she sighed.

Leonard shrugged, "But you love me anyway," he shot back.

"No," she shook her head, as she stood up. "I just keep you around for the cooking and seeing my goddaughter on a daily basis."

"Traitor!" Leonard cried, as she moved towards the hall. "No breakfast for you!"

She snickered, "Tomorrow's Saturday, Len," she started up the stairs. "I'm not rolling my ass out of bed until the sun is halfway up in the sky!"

Leonard grumbled as she continued up the staircase, "Goodnight!" she called out to him, as the door to her bedroom shut behind her with a click.