Title: Mystery Meat
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: Mild PG. Probably not something to be read while eating.
Characters: Soul, Blair, and the other main DWMA students.
Summary: When Maka forgets the grocery shopping again, Blair has a solution.
Disclaimer: They belong to Atsushi Okubo. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: My first "Soul Eater" ficlet. Just a silly little thing, inspired in part by Blair's fish-cooking scene. I am not a fan of hers, so this is hardly what I would have expected to write… but plot bunnies are fickle beasts.
No matter how bizarre life got for the students of the DWMA, at least there was always Saturday night.
Soul Evans stretched his arms out along the back of the couch and sighed comfortably, listening to the latest minor war across the coffee table from him. This one was about the new obstacle course Sid Barrett was building on the Academy grounds. It seemed that the two climbing walls were mismatched in height by a shocking inch and a half… and of course, when Death the Kid launched into a fit of hand-wringing about this abomination, it was all the excuse Black Star needed to mock the young Reaper's mania for symmetry. Kid was now countering with a rant that such boorishness was only to be expected from someone who could stand having a star tattoo on just one shoulder.
For the most part, the feminine peanut gallery in the room shared Soul's entertainment. Liz and Patty were trying not to laugh at Kid's righteous indignation. Even Maka was hiding giggles behind her hand. Of course, sweet-natured Tsubaki was trying to play peacemaker for her meister—but even her lips twitched now and then.
It's the one time out of the whole week when we might almost be ordinary teenagers, Soul thought wryly. No crazy surprise tests, no weapon transformations, no hunting down evil souls. Today we're just friends getting together for dinner. Nothing could be more normal…
Except, that is, for the black cat perched on the kitchen counter, waving one paw back and forth like an orchestra conductor as she guided the skillet that levitated over the stove—all while singing a wordless song, loudly and off-key.
Soul grimaced, hanging his head upside-down over the back of the couch to stare apprehensively into the kitchen. He was pretty sure this was not going to end well. At least, not any better than the piles of charred-to-the-bone fish Blair had tried to feed them before. Why couldn't the little monster go flirt with Death Scythe or something?
On the other hand, this was really all Maka's fault for neglecting the grocery shopping, again. When his meister sheepishly admitted to having forgotten an hour before the get-together, Soul thought he was going to explode—but before he could get a word out, a furry black cannonball suddenly knocked him back onto the couch. The next thing he knew, Blair was on top of him, gazing down brightly into his eyes and telling him not to get upset. She knew exactly where to get something to cook for dinner. Just sit tight, and she'd be back with a feast in two twitches of a cat's whiskers.
And that was that… because somewhere between the floor and Soul's lap, in the very act of colliding with him, Blair had assumed human form.
Which naturally meant Soul was much too busy trying to staunch his nosebleed to argue.
So it was that moments later—and more suitably attired—Blair traipsed off enthusiastically to fetch the main course for their meal. She returned a short time afterward, carrying a hefty paper-wrapped package of meat. With a touch of prideful possessiveness, she insisted on cooking it by herself… and to be perfectly fair, Soul had to admit that the aromas now wafting from the skillet smelled good. Really good.
Somehow, that only made him a little more nervous.
Even so, perhaps there wasn't such a reason for concern. Everyone knew the flirtatious feline had been using the charms of both of her forms on the local butchers and fish sellers for years, stringing them along until she had them wrapped around her little claw. She probably just had to wink at any one of them to be showered with the best they had to offer.
"Dinner's ready!" Blair sang out cheerily… and there she went again. In one moment a cat was leaping down from the counter, and in the next, a buxom purple-haired girl was reaching for the plates—but at least this time she wasn't all skin, having taken the whim to clothe her fabricated endowments with the little black dress she favored.
Soul breathed out a windy sigh of relief. Abandoning his instinctive reach for the box of tissues Maka grudgingly kept on the coffee table, he rose and followed the others into the dining room.
With a proud flourish, Blair set the serving tray at the center of the table. A far cry from her blackened previous efforts, the unidentified cuts of meat she had obtained were tender and succulent-looking, sizzling on a bed of roasted vegetables.
"Smells so yummy!" Patty squealed, plopping herself into a chair beside Liz.
"It does at that," Kid agreed, although he eyed Blair somewhat suspiciously. "I can only assume you've been practicing."
Black Star didn't bother taking the time to express appreciation to the cook. He merely began shoveling food into his mouth with a fork in each hand, barely chewing before he swallowed.
Tsubaki sighed. "Black Star, slow down before you make it come out your nose again."
A sudden shove between Soul's shoulders nearly pushed his face into his plate. He scowled and looked up, to see Blair beaming down at him. "Come on, you try it, Soul! Your opinion is the one that means the most to me."
Across the table, Maka fondled her knife and muttered something her father would not have approved of.
In spite of the savory look and smell of the food, Soul's hesitation lingered. He made a face and tried to straighten up, although Blair's hand—paw?—was still planted firmly on his back, ensuring that he couldn't go far. "Yeah, look, I don't—"
…And that was as far as he got. His objection was abruptly silenced by a forkful of meat, thrust into his open mouth by Blair's other hand.
The rich flavor that melted across Soul's tongue was unfamiliar—but delicious. His eyes widened as he reached up to claim the fork from Blair, and he began to chew the mouthful, finding the texture equally appealing.
"…Wow," he opined without eloquence, after swallowing the bite. (He had learned early on that, unlike Tsubaki, Maka was not one to stand for a partner who talked with his mouth full.) His reservations banished, he stabbed his fork into another morsel, and began to eat in earnest.
Blair squealed and pumped her fists, all but hopping up and down in delight. "Oh, Soul, I'm so glad you like it!"
Maka shot a glare at the cat-girl, but at last she too sampled the food. Judging by her expression, she was as pleasantly surprised as they all were.
"Very interesting," Kid mused, contemplating the slice of meat on the end of his fork. "It has a flavor I can't quite put my finger on. Judging by the color and texture, I don't think it's poultry, but it certainly isn't beef or pork either. Venison, maybe…?"
"Ah, who cares?" Black Star retorted through a stuffed mouth. "I think it's great—and whatever it is, if it's good enough for a star like me, it's more than good enough for the rest of you!"
"Well, I care." Maka set down her fork and looked firmly at the provider of the meal. "It's time you spilled the big secret, Blair. What exactly are we eating?"
All eyes turned to Blair. She pinkened and grinned, rubbing the back of her neck.
"Actually, I don't know just what it is. There wasn't a label on it." She shrugged cheerfully. "I got it from the freezer in Professor Stein's office. He keeps lots of meat in there!"
The beat of silence held for a full three seconds before the diners stampeded from the table.
"I can't believe this," Liz moaned, flopping around on the couch with her hands on her stomach. "After all the battles we've been through, I'm gonna die of food poisoning… and now some horrible icky monster will probably take over the world, because once I'm dead, Kid won't fight with just one weapon."
"As if," Black Star muttered from the windowsill he had just been hanging sickly over. "I'll be there to stop it, because nothing can beat me. Not even this…!"
However, the assertion ended in a thick groan as he leaned out the window again.
Sitting hunched over on the carpet, with his back braced against the couch and his arms wrapped around his ribs, Soul regarded Kid with the best attempt at wryness he could muster. "You know, I get the whole spewing-blood-over-asymmetry thing… but I didn't know it was possible for something to actually make a Grim Reaper puke."
"Shut up," Kid grated between his teeth, looking even paler than usual.
"And he would be the first one to reach the bathroom," Tsubaki wailed. Even her normally unflappable temper seemed to be wearing thin… not that Soul could blame her. Once the door had slammed behind Kid, it was a given that the rest of them had to find alternatives to waiting around while he made sure the end of the toilet paper was folded into a perfect triangle.
Maka squirmed in the armchair where she sat curled into a tight ball. "Guys… you don't think we just ate the last specimens from an extinct species, do you?"
Disgusted noises ringed the room. When no one else offered a more intelligent answer, Soul grimaced and shrugged, trying to dig up a shred of optimism for his meister's sake.
"Nah. It had to have been something more normal. Maybe it was just a deer, like Kid said." Soul twitched uncomfortably, the tone of his voice dropping as his imagination began to wander. "Or a horse… Or a raccoon… Maybe a dog…"
This time it was Patty who beat Tsubaki in the race for the bathroom, leaving the gentle girl to uncharacteristically vent her rage with a kick to the door—before she rushed to join Black Star at the windowsill.
After a few moments, the nauseated silence that gripped the room was broken by a perky, uneven humming. The students watched with dread as Blair flounced out of the kitchen, proudly holding out the well-loaded serving tray.
"Alright, who wants seconds?"
© 2013 Jordanna Morgan