EDIT: Now all five chapters are consolidated in one entry. Yay!
I do still like this, though given infinite time I'd probably go back and expand the whole thing, especially the last scene. Well, maybe not Zebra's chapter. I'm especially happy with how that one turned out!
4 Times Komatsu Didn't Notice (and Once he Did)
Warnings: some UST, eventually resolved
Pairing: 4 Kings/Komatsu
Summary: No matter how his four favorite gourmet hunters treat him, Komatsu is sure they're only in love with his cooking!
Toriko’s idea of breakfast was consistent with any meal: As much as he could get, and Komatsu’s cooking if he could get it. To that end he had gone all out fetching ingredients for the omelette Komatsu was making him.
This was just as enjoyable for Komatsu as cooking in the Hotel Gourmet’s kitchen, to bring together their meal out of the ingredients found close at hand instead of picking and choosing from among the selection the market could bring in. If he could have told them; Coco would have given him that slight, enigmatic smile and agreed, and Sunny would have said something about the importance of harmony in his cooking, and Zebra would have complained that it didn’t matter but he would have eaten it and he could never hide that face-splitting smile of his. Toriko must understand as well, with the way he was staring. He was already drooling.
Komatsu was utterly content. He wasn’t expecting anything to change his world, at least not before they had finished breakfast and had time to go out looking for something with a higher capture level.
The last thing he had expected was for Toriko to suddenly lunge at him, catching him with hands large enough to encircle his waist and pulling him back into a waiting lap. Komatsu yelped and flailed, but he was more startled than anything. Being scooped up by his partner was nothing new, but it was usually a case of necessity. When he tried to push at overeager partner Komatsu found his wrist seized in an unbreakable grip.
“I can’t wait any more,” Toriko groaned into Komatsu’s captive palm. His tongue traced a long, slow track down Komatsu’s arm to the crook of his elbow and jabbed under his rolled-up sleeve.
Komatsu laughed at the ticklish feeling of it. “Stop that! Don’t pester me when I’m cooking, Toriko-san! I’ll have breakfast for you in a minute.”
Toriko mumbled something about wanting to eat now, the words muffled as he sucked salt from the inside of Komatsu’s elbow.
“Well, the sooner you let me go, the sooner I can finish your breakfast,” Komatsu scolded.
Toriko released him, watching with a dejected hound-dog expression as Komatsu finished. Komatsu could only smile to himself, putting all of his fondness for his impatient partner into his cooking, sure that Toriko would soon be satisfied with that.
Coco’s poison was naturally enough to keep any beast from bothering him, so that neither he nor Komatsu gave a second thought to staying at their outside table at the café even during monster hour. Komatsu felt completely safe in Coco’s company, but he did look up when he noticed Coco tense.
The poisonous Bishokuya quickly lifted one hand away from the table, leaving the wrought metal corroded from the thick poison oozing through his skin. Everything in the vicinity–except for Komatsu–fled in all directions.
Komatsu couldn’t help smiling at the calm warning look on Coco’s face as he looked around, though there was nothing left to warn away. He was used to Coco being a private person, so it hadn’t been a surprise if he wanted to grab lunch right at the time when everyone else would have to retreat inside. He seemed to find dangerous beasts easier to fend off than people.
So long as Coco wasn’t trying to fend him off. Komatsu moved to kneel in his seat so that he could reach across the table, thinking that his companion wouldn’t be able to eat until he had reabsorbed his poison. He snagged a piece of the soft, crusty bread from the basket in the middle of the table and broke off a bite-sized piece with his fingers.
“Here you are, Coco-san,” Komatsu offered helpfully, holding out a bite of bread so that Coco could keep eating without getting poison in his food.
Coco hesitated, but accepted the morsel. No one was watching except for Komatsu, after all.
Komatsu noticed the black sheen of poison fading very quickly. What was left in its place was a slight flush, which he had never seen before. Coco’s poison didn’t normally effect him this way.
“Are you all right?” Komatsu asked in concern, moving to touch Coco’s face to check for fever now that it was safe. He hadn’t known any of the four kings to ever get sick.
“Fine.” Coco put one hand over his face to cover it and looked away.
Komatsu blinked at him a few times in curiosity, but let it go with a smile. He wasn’t sure what was happening, but if Coco said it was okay he wouldn’t pry. He was just happy they had the chance to enjoy lunch together.
Sunny’s tastes ran to the elegant, the refined polish of perfection, and whatever he deemed beautiful. Komatsu wasn’t sure he fully appreciated Sunny’s selections when he was content with the ordinary neatness of starched white tablecloths and silver platters found at the Hotel Gourmet. Not that he would ever try to complain when Sunny extended an invitation to eat together. Sunny’s refined tastes were tuned to the best dishes as well as the atmosphere and presentation, after all.
The theme for tonight was an appearance of starlight. Their table was on a gardened terrace so high that the city seemed to be spread out like a blanket of stars below. Tiny canals winding among the tables carried floating candles and served as a draw for fireflies that filled the air with winking lights.
Having illumination only from the myriad of tiny lights might have seemed strange in any other restaurant, but here the food glowed as well, sending flickering light over their faces. Each dish had been selected with at least one ingredient that cast light in the darkness. Putting together a meal with that sort of specific theme caught Komatsu’s interest almost as much as the food itself.
Komatsu remained distracted by this right up until his companion decided it was time to snag his attention. He saw a thick lock of Sunny’s hair slip across the table to brush his wrist. Sunny had gone out of his way to be sure nothing would outshine him. There were even points of light glinting from his hair, almost as if fireflies had landed there.
Before Komatsu could ask what Sunny wanted, he had thick coils of hair winding around his wrists and fingers, tying his hands and stopping him from eating. He looked down at the smooth strands slipping between his fingers in an intricate knot, and then up at his companion in confusion.
Sunny was resting his chin on his interlaced fingers, favoring Komatsu with a satisfied smile across the table as his hair caressed Komatsu’s hands.
Komatsu could only think of one reason why Sunny would be catching hold of his hands like this. He smiled back, feeling sheepish. “Sorry, Sunny-san. I’ll go more slowly,” he promised, thinking his table manners had been lacking.
“I can’t go any slower.” Sunny complained, and Komatsu had no idea what to think of the full-lipped pout that accompanied those words.
Zebra’s temper shifted in response to so many little things, Komatsu still couldn’t anticipate it. Of course part of the problem was that Komatsu couldn’t hear what was said behind their backs, but he thought he could guess from some of the gossip he had heard between his own chefs. He’d had to make it clear to Zebra that whatever they had said about his appetite, it certainly must be a compliment.
Even with those reassurances, Zebra’s intimidation was so powerful that Komatsu could almost see it. Usually Zebra would want to blow off steam by fighting, hunting, or destroying something. That he didn’t find something to vent himself on only reenforced Komatsu’s feeling that he was, in his own difficult way, a kind person.
Komatsu wanted to pamper Zebra with food, but now that he thought about it he should have known better than to prepare a souffle for dessert. He knew what Zebra’s voice was like. It was perhaps something of a miracle he had gotten the dessert to rise at all during their argument before Zebra’s voice sent it to an early grave.
“If you’ll calm down and have a drink, I’ll make something else,” Komatsu offered, moving to put the deflated dessert aside. For all he knew Zebra wouldn’t care. Zebra never seemed to have much of a sweet tooth, but Komatsu had hoped that the tartness and texture of lemon souffle would at least catch his interest.
Komatsu was concentrating on what he might offer as a replacement, and the last thing he expected was to be snatched up, souffle and all, with a low growl rumbling in his ear, “No. You made that and I’m eating it.”
It was probably just that Zebra wasn’t a very picky person, but Komatsu couldn’t help smiling in pleasure. Even when Zebra’s face was much closer to his own than the food.
“I want every last morsel from you,” Zebra demanded. His voice had dropped to a low tone that Komatsu felt pressing against his skin with every word, more rough and sure than Zebra’s hands.
“Thank you. You’ve made me very happy as a chef, Zebra-san.”
Komatsu didn’t know what to make of Zebra snatching the souffle and turning away with a growl, his ears flushing bright pink. He supposed it was just Zebra’s way of reminding him not to get cocky.
“. . . Know you want Komtsu, but when you’re rough with him-” Toriko was complaining.
Zebra snorted. “He can take it. But you,” his powerful voice made a physical blow out of the word, “Stop getting cocky and feeling him up.”
“Beauty should be appreciated with every sense,” came Sunny’s cool retort, before he turned on Coco, “Don’t look smug. Your shyness is sickeningly unbeautiful.”
It seemed Coco wasn’t going to join their quarrel, but he finally answered, “It doesn’t matter, since Toriko formed a combo with him before any of us had a chance.”
Komatsu was shocked. It actually sounded like they were fighting over him. . . Before he could think he had burst in to interrupt.
“All of you stop that! I didn’t ask you here to fight with each other!” Especially not over him. Never over him.
They hadn’t come to blows, yet. Komatsu could feel all eyes on him, and stood his ground.
Toriko was the first to move, kneeling close as if to scoop him up. “Then you should make the decision. Which one of us would you choose?”
“I. . .” Komatsu looked from one to the next. The truth was he loved all of them, and they were too different to rank one above the rest. He had let his love go unspoken for all rather than choose. “I can’t! I couldn’t pick just one of you.”
Zebra crouched to put his face right up close. “Don’t you get cocky and say you want all four.”
“It’s not cocky to care for all of you!” Komatsu shot back. He grabbed Zebra’s messy hair with both hands and kissed him hard on the mouth to make his point. “That. . . was cocky. Sorry.”
Instead of raging, Zebra purred.
Komatsu turned on Coco next. He could swear Sunny had pushed the reserved man closer with his feelers.
“I love you as you are,” he scolded, because it was something that needed to be said aloud from time to time, before pressing a soft kiss to Coco’s lips.
Coco smiled and smoothed Komatsu’s hair back to kiss his forehead.
Sunny couldn’t wait for his turn, but Komatsu didn’t mind being wrapped up and pulled forward into a needy kiss. He laughed in delight and caught at Sunny’s hands to keep him from hiding his wide smile.
“And what about me?” Toriko wanted to know.
“Of course you,” Komatsu promised, throwing his arms around Toriko’s neck and demanding Toriko’s hungry kiss as well.