Title: Fresh Out of the Oven
Pairings: hints of Kaiba/Honda, Bakura/Honda, and Yugi/Honda
Length: 1840 words
Warnings: Fluff, implied yaoi
Summary: A little competition involving baked goods, chocolate, and Honda as a delicious prize.
“I don’t see why we have to take this stupid class,” Jounouchi complained. He had been complaining long enough that Honda wasn’t really listening anymore.
All of the boys had been roped into joining home economics class for a few days while the gym was repaired. This led to the room being more crowded than usual, so that everyone had to be paired up to share ovens and counter space. Their usual group of friends had bunched up in one corner, with Honda sharing an oven with Jounouchi and Yugi happily sharing Anzu’s usual spot. Somehow Kaiba had ended up with their group as well, stepping in to partner with Bakura.
Honda found himself having to keep an eye on the two of them, on top of having to fight Jounouchi for counter space. He was supposedly making muffins, because Anzu said they were easy, but his batter looked like lumpy glop and he was pretty well distracted. Overall, Honda didn’t think the class was going all that well for him.
At least Bakura and Kaiba were getting along. Sort of. They had both been working fervently from the start, and now were silently watching the oven timer. Kaiba looked impatient, arms crossed flat across his chest, while Bakura looked faintly nervous with his hands clasped in front of him.
Something was going on between those two, but Honda could not figure out what it was. They had been talking together in low voices at the start, obviously intent on something, and hadn’t said a word to each other since. Honda was worried Bakura was being bullied, but when he tried to be sure Bakura had only said they were agreeing on the oven temperature.
As Honda watched out of the corner of his eye, neglecting his own task, Kaiba suddenly stepped forward to check the oven. It was surreal to see him so intent on baked goods. It might as well have been some kind of business endeavor. He poked the tray of brownies with a toothpick in four different places before taking it out and putting it on a cooling rack on the counter.
“Mine’s done too,” Bakura said softly. He was holding out one hand to Kaiba, for the oven mitts Honda guessed.
To Honda’s surprise, Kaiba didn’t hand over the mitts, but took Bakura’s tray out for him, laying it carefully on cooling rack on the other side of the oven. It was a surprise to see him being so polite. If he’d dropped it on purpose, Honda would have had to wallop him for it.
Bakura wrapped his hand in a towel to transfer the hot cookie sheet to one of the stove burners, then picked up a spatula and started carefully transferring cookies to the cooling rack.
The sweet smell of baked goods, of cookies and melty chocolate, was making Honda’s mouth water. He was pretty well distracted by that, even if he hadn’t felt the need to keep an eye on those two.
Kaiba noticed him watching, and gave Honda a confident smirk. That look always made Honda want to bristle and go on the defensive in a way no common thug ever could. Knowing Kaiba, he probably had that smirk trademarked.
“Do you want a taste?” Kaiba indicated his finished tray of chocolate brownies with a confident tilt of his head.
That threw Honda for a loop. “What?”
“If you cut into it now, it’ll crumble,” Bakura warned.
“Did I ask for your help?” Kaiba was cutting into the brownies already, ignoring Bakura’s warning.
The look that passed between Bakura and Kaiba just then made everything clear. Honda would have to know that look, hanging around the resident king of games as much as he did. The two of them were in some sort of competition. He had never thought he would see Kaiba competing over cooking, and apparently it was important enough to make Bakura was stubbornly stand his ground.
“Will you taste mine too?” Bakura asked. “Please?”
The stubborn look melted away when he turned to Honda. If Honda hadn’t realized he was in competition with Kaiba just then, he probably would have assumed Bakura was being bullied somehow. He looked so vulnerable. As it was, his protective nature still flared up enough to make him want to save Bakura’s feelings.
“Ah-of course! I’m sure it’s delicious.”
Kaiba looked irritated, but didn’t comment. He handed Honda a plate with a slice of brownie on it, already falling apart along the edge as Bakura had warned, but warm and smelling like a slice of chocolate heaven.
Honda didn’t hesitate to taste it. Warm and chewy, with melted bits of chocolate chips studded throughout, the rich chocolate taste made him weak in the knees. He had to hold back a groan of pleasure, at the risk of sounding a little too in love with his dessert. The double dose of chocolate was almost too much to take.
“That’s really good,” Honda finally managed. “Did you make those for Mokuba?”
Kaiba looked over at the rest of the tray of brownies in surprise, then he smiled. As if the idea hadn’t occurred to him before, but he liked it now that it was suggested. It took Honda by surprise that Kaiba could be almost cute, smiling like that.
Bakura was waiting, probably for Honda to come down from his chocolate high.
“Do you still want. . . ?”
“Of course. I’d love to try it.”
With his eyes cast shyly down, Bakura held out one of the chocolate chip cookies he had made, just level with Honda’s mouth. Honda didn’t know if he was supposed to take it, or just take a bite out of it. He compromised by wrapping his hand loosely around Bakura’s and taking a bite of the cookie at the same time.
It was the perfect follow-up to the intense, rich chocolate of Kaiba’s brownies. Delicately crispy along the edge, and just thick enough for him to sink his teeth into satisfyingly. There were chopped walnuts studded throughout the cookie, a perfect compliment to the meltingly sweet chocolate chips. This time Honda couldn’t hold back a noise of satisfaction. It was going to be a long time before he was satisfied with store-bought cookies after tasting this.
Honda licked a stray smear of chocolate off of his lower lip, and accidentally licked Bakura’s finger as he brushed crumbs from Honda’s chin. He felt himself flush a little in embarrassment, but Bakura didn’t seem to mind.
“Where did you learn to cook like that?”
“It’s just something you should know, living alone, right?”
Honda doubted that having to cook for oneself necessarily meant this level of skill, seeing Jounouchi trying to bake. He was currently having words with the blender. Words which really weren’t suited for school grounds.
He didn’t have to ask Kaiba. Trust him to be stubbornly successful at anything he really put his mind to. Even if he had never cooked before in his life, he’d have figured something out. He was like Yugi in that way.
Speaking of Kaiba, he was suddenly right there, forcing his way in just as close as Bakura. Honda found himself trapped between the two of them, and it was definitely a competition now. What he couldn’t figure out was how he had gotten the job of being the judge.
“Which one do you think is better?” Kaiba asked, direct as always.
“They’re both good. You two are amazing, really.”
Honda held up his hands defensively. How could he decide? Especially with both of them looking at him like that. . . like the winner was going to devour him or something.
Out of the corner of his eye, Honda saw Yugi was taking his project out of the oven too. Everyone was ahead of him except Jounouchi, and now he was all tangled up with Bakura and Kaiba’s rivalry.
Yugi was trying to handle a full muffin tray one-handed. He got it up to the counter, then had to catch it with his other hand to keep from dropping it. Unfortunately, he only had one oven mitt on, so the minute his fingers touched the tray he let out a yelp of pain and dropped it on the counter anyway.
Honda was there in an instant, the competition completely forgotten. Yugi looked like he was going to cry, and for some reason it was instinct for Honda to take Yugi’s burnt fingers and put them in his mouth to cool them.
Anzu looked like she was about to scold Yugi or worry over him, but when Honda got there first, she just made a noise that sounded like she was trying not to laugh and looked away.
Honda was hardly aware of Anzu moving the muffin tray before it could scorch the counter. He was more distracted by the shocked look Yugi was giving him, and trying to fumble the cold water tap on so he could take Yugi’s hand out of his mouth and douse it.
He finally got Yugi’s fingers under the stream of cold water, feeling painfully embarrassed. Yugi was blushing brightly, and he was aware of Kaiba and Bakura staring at his back. Well, they might not want him as a judge now, seeing what he would willingly put in his mouth for a friend.
“Sorry,” Honda murmured in Yugi’s ear. “That was a weird thing to do.”
“It’s not that.”
Honda started to let go, but Yugi sort of leaned against him and he couldn’t quite move away. The situation was more comfortable that it should have been. Yugi shook his head, as if he wasn’t really embarrassed at Honda grabbing him suddenly.
“I’m just not very good at this.”
“You don’t know that.”
Honda reached over and broke off part of one of the muffin tops, being careful not to burn himself too. He broke that piece in half, one-handed, and popped one half in his own mouth before giving the other half to Yugi to try.
Banana chocolate chip was probably Honda’s favorite kind of muffin, and this certainly wasn’t a bad example. The sweet taste of fruit made a perfect counterpoint to more melted chocolate bits. Light texture, not too sweet or too fruity, and Honda didn’t have to be a gourmand to know Yugi had definitely done something right.
It only occurred to him after the treat already was in his mouth that maybe he had gotten a little too forward about tasting other people’s food.
“See? It’s delicious,” Honda encouraged. No use being embarrassed for taking charge of the situation. He’d already done it.
“Really?” Yugi grinned, his good spirits instantly restored.
Bakura was laughing softly. When Honda darted a look over his shoulder to see what was so funny, he just shook his head and said, “Yugi always wins.” As if that explained anything.
Kaiba just looked irritated.
Yugi sidled a little closer. Honda had no idea what Yugi had won, but he looked happy. That was enough for Honda.