Translation note: The drink from Sunny’s full course is called Charis Dragon Scale Shurui (a general word for an alcoholic beverage), which I chose to translate as “liquor” here. Because calling it “juice” is ridiculous. (As to why it’s being served in a sake decanter if it’s not technically sake? Because I thought that was the most beautiful option, of course.)
Title: Chef's Special 3/4
Warnings: Lots of fun with hair-fondling! Yays?
Summary: After inviting Komatsu out for a special night, Sunny finally makes a very important proposal.
“Even with the best ingredients, the perfect preparation and the most beautiful presentation, you still need the right company to bring a meal to its peak. Don’t you think, ‘Matsu?”
Komatsu paused in the act of cutting a bite from the generous portion of spice catfish in front of him. Sunny was smiling across the table with a sharp look in his eye that made Komatsu wonder if he was being teased.
“Are you saying my company is no good?”
“Exactly the opposite,” Sunny assured him.
Sunny’s hair was twisted up in an elegant knot at the base of his neck, but Komatsu was sure he saw a ripple go through it, like the faintest shimmer of a mirage. He didn’t feel anything, yet he suspected Sunny had touched him, or perhaps ‘tasted’ him.
“Your company makes this meal complete.”
Komatsu thought the food was probably amazing enough on its own, but he wasn’t about to say that and imply that he didn’t enjoy the company. Especially not when Sunny was so generous as to invite him to share a meal at the Glittering Palace, a special establishment where the beauty of the food was specifically designed to rival the exquisite flavor.
This rumored once-in-a-lifetime experience was a favorite for newlywed couples on the first night of their honeymoon. The dining suites were created with this in mind, each with the absolutely private atmosphere of a honeymoon suite. It was even possible to have the dishes delivered and cleared by a mechanical system that eliminated the need for a single waiter to enter. (Sunny had forgone this option and explained in detail why he deemed it tacky until Komatsu agreed with him.)
More than the expected beauty of the presentation, Komatsu had wanted to sample the meal prepared by an eight-star chef. For a low-level chef the spice catfish was a tricky ingredient that brought inedible failure more often than success. Each catfish would have a subtly different flavor depending on the herbs it had eaten over the course of its life.
From the first bite, this fillet of catfish was such an obvious success that it made Komatsu actually drop his utensils, unable to do anything but revel in the complex flavor.
“The way you push your cheeks together when you like something,” Sunny started in a low drawl, before trailing off.
Komatsu hadn’t even realized he had reacted with his usual glee until Sunny pointed it out. He had been too taken by the way the unpredictably flavorful fish had been brought to its full potential, mixed with the impulsive desire to try cooking a whole school of spice catfish himself.
After a moment of expecting an annoyed comment, he was surprised by Sunny murmuring to himself, “Is this what they call personal taste?”
Komatsu remembered Sunny commenting on his reaction to high quality ingredients before. He was fairly sure that he would know if Sunny was trying to insult him, but he didn’t know what to make of that comment. If it was a difference in the beauty of their actions, it didn’t seem fair that Sunny could look so elegant while leaning his elbows on the table and gazing with bored, half-lidded eyes over his glass of garnet wine.
Once he began thinking about it, Komatsu couldn’t help noticing how much the tasteful atmosphere suited Sunny. The warm light meant to compliment the food didn’t just make the delectable soups and sauces glisten. It made Sunny’s cheeks glow and his hair shine like silk. His beauty completely outshone that of anything on the table. No wonder Sunny had selected this restaurant. He was in his element here.
The sight of his companion couldn’t distract Komatsu from the exceptional flavors dancing across his tongue, but with every course they shared he could swear it added to the experience somehow. If hunger was the best spice, then perhaps good company was the best presentation, as Sunny had suggested. He had never thought of that before.
As Komatsu was still savoring the last sweet traces of the golden cream cakes Sunny had selected for their dessert, he noticed their waiter present Sunny with a sake decanter and cups that shone like pearl. To his surprise Sunny actually accepted the whole tray from their waiter as he stood.
“Come’n ‘Matsu.” Sunny tilted his head in a gesture that was probably calculated to make the light chase fleeting highlights in his hair. This time Komatsu was completely sure he felt Sunny’s touch on his face, even though it looked like his hair was tied back. It took Komatsu a second to realize he was actually indicating the inner room of their dining suite. “I wanna share this with you.”
It was hard to feel any trepidation with such a comfortably full stomach. Komatsu followed Sunny into the inner room and found this one really was set up for lovers on their honeymoon. Komatsu managed to ignore the bed that dominated the room when Sunny caught him by the hand and led him to the comfortable alcove set in front of the window.
While their private dining room had been designed to show off the food, this room seemed to be designed for comfort, without a single sharp angle or rough surface. Komatsu felt as if he would sink right down into the plush velvet of the couch beside Sunny. The lights were dimmed, almost like the flickering of candlelight, but moonlight streamed through the window to catch at shifting highlights in Sunny’s hair and make the sake decanter glow.
Sunny placed the tray between them and poured into the cup closer to Komatsu first.
“Charis dragon scale liquor,” Sunny introduced the drink as Komatsu accepted the tiny cup with both hands. “You hafta drink it slowly.”
“This is from your full course!” Komatsu exclaimed, excited to have Sunny share something that he personally rated so highly.
“Tha’s right,” Sunny murmured, “I’m touched you r‘membered.”
“How could I forget something that important?”
Sunny didn’t say anything, but his smile glowed with a warm approval that left Komatsu feeling embarrassed. He took a quick sip of the liquor in an attempt to calm his nerves.
The taste was smooth and subtly sweet, without the trace of bitterness that normally accompanied strong liquor. Even the tiny sip he had taken seemed to dance on his tongue like champagne, though he hadn’t seen any bubbles rising in the liquor.
“It feels like it’s caressing the inside of my mouth,” Komatsu cried. He felt he suddenly knew why Sunny had wanted him to savor the liquor. Its flavor was subtle, not complex in the same way the catfish had been, but with a depth that couldn’t be tasted with a greedy gulp.
He tried to express this to Sunny, to show his appreciation for being offered something so delicious, and he thought from the way Sunny’s smile deepened from the usual casual smugness to true contentment that his gratitude had gotten through.
“Have you ever seen a Charis dragon?”
“Um. . . not yet.” The mention of the Charis dragon had made him nervous. Komatsu knew that he had run into more dangerous things on his excursions with Toriko by now, but the fact that it had ‘dragon’ right there in the name still made him wary.
“I’ll catch one for you someday,” Sunny promised. “Their scales shine like moonstones. You have to see it to fully appreciate the liquor.”
Once he said that, Komatsu stopped to take a second look at his own sake cup. With the moonlight coming through the huge window in front of them the cup itself truly did shine like a flawless pearl, and when he tilted it the pale blue liquor inside reflected the light with a surprising depth of color that matched its taste. Had Sunny deliberately refined the presentation to match the beauty of the ingredient in its natural form?
“When you capture one, I would be honored to prepare it for you!”
For some reason his enthusiastic exclamation seemed to annoy Sunny. At least, it made Sunny turn sharply away from gazing at him, and even in the pale moonlight Komatsu could tell there was an extra hint of color in his cheeks.
Noticing that Sunny had drained his own sake cup, Komatsu reached forward with a instinctive offer. “Let me pour for you.”
The moment he moved, Komatsu suddenly felt lightheaded. His body seemed to respond with a shocking lightness that threw him off balance. Before he could fall off of the couch, Sunny shot forward to catch him. His hair whipped out of its knot, forming a cloud of twisted tendrils around him in an instant before curling forward to cushion Komatsu.
“I told you to drink slowly.”
“I did!” Komatsu protested. “What’s happening to me?”
He didn’t feel drunk, but even the slightest movement sent his head spinning. Being held against Sunny’s solid chest helped. When Sunny’s hair coiled firmly around the back of his head to keep him still that helped even more.
“I forgot to tell you how the Charis dragon got its name,” Sunny murmured. Komatsu didn’t see how that would explain anything, but he was too busy clinging to Sunny to complain. “It means ‘grace,’ from a goddess of beauty and poise. Liquor made from the scales of that dragon of grace is full of special vitamins that go right to your inner ear and make it several times more sensitive.”
“Oh,” Komatsu gasped.
Sunny was pressing him back into the couch, and now he understood what his odd lightheaded feeling was. He was far more aware of even the slightest movement, and the hypersensitivity had left him off balance.
“Once you adjust to it, you will be able to become even more graceful.”
“Tell me about effects like that before you give it to me!”
“I was trying to! I didn’t realize your tiny body would be affected before I could say it!”
Sunny had pushed himself up, bracing his hands on either side of Komatsu’s head while kneeling over him. His hair had coiled all around Komatsu’s body until he was captured in the cool, silky strands, and far too aware that a good amount of hair had slipped inside his clothes to stroke in cool tendrils over his skin.
There was something about Sunny’s behavior that had been teasing at the back of Komatsu’s mind since he had received the invitation. The way the request had been worded, and the way Sunny had been watching him all evening when Komatsu knew that Sunny’s tastes would be more in tune with the atmosphere in general than Komatsu himself.
“Why did you want to share part of your full course with me?”
A lock of hair stroked up his throat and across his cheek, and Komatsu suspected that the unintended fondling was a symptom of Sunny trying to calm his own nerves.
“I have a favor I wanted to ask.” Komatsu actually had a hard time hearing the words with the whisper of silken strands slithering over his ear. “Once you’re used to the sensitivity from the liquor.”
Komatsu was beginning to wonder if this was how animals that stumbled into the range of Sunny’s sensors felt. He certainly wasn’t afraid he was going to be cooked up and served for dinner, but he was completely immobilized in Sunny’s hair net.
“Then can I ask something as well? If you have to, er. . . hold me like this. Can’t you use your hands instead?”
As soon as he asked, he felt the coils around his body loosen. Sunny blinked at him, his usually cool gaze shifting to a look of innocent confusion, as if it had never occurred to him to approach Komatsu in any other way.
Sunny did move to put his hands on Komatsu, slipping one around his back (still touching under his shirt, Komatsu noticed) and the other to the back of his neck. Almost immediately Sunny’s brows drew together and his lips were pressed into an eloquent frown.
“My hands aren’t sensitive at all,” Sunny complained. “I can’t even taste you!”
Until just that moment, Komatsu hadn’t fully realized the difference between Sunny’s senses and his own. In the same way the world was full of different creatures relying on smells, or sounds, or heat to see their surroundings, or even ones like the catfish living in murky darkness and discovering the world through taste, Sunny’s primary sense was different from that of a normal person. For him, it wasn’t the fact of seeing something with his own eyes that made it real, but being allowed to explore it with his special sense of touch.
He hadn’t realized he was asking such an inconsiderate thing of Sunny.
When he tried to lift his head, Komatsu found that he had adjusted to his new sensitivity, at least well enough to lean forward until his mouth pressed against Sunny’s. Komatsu only wanted to return that all-important sense of ‘taste,’ to repay the sort of casual kindness Sunny had always shown him. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The sweet taste of the dessert and liquor they had just shared seemed to linger once more on his tongue when Sunny’s mouth opened against his. For a moment it seemed natural to share the intimacy of touch and taste between them.
When Komatsu realized what he was doing and pulled back, it was to find Sunny staring at him. The same Sunny who had always watched cooly through his eyelashes suddenly had eyes wide with surprise. They stared at each other in mutual shock for the span of a few heartbeats, Komatsu’s pulse suddenly loud in his ears, before Sunny’s eyes narrowed until they were almost closed and his face darkened with an intensity that Komatsu didn’t recognize.
“S-sorry!” Komatsu blurted out. “I’m sorry, Sunny-san. Suddenly doing something weird like that. . . Please forget-”
Sunny’s palm suddenly covering his eyes made Komatsu interrupt his stammered apology with a confused call of, “Sunny-san?”
“I’m far more sorry, ‘Matsu. I never wanted to show you such a vulgar face.”
Komatsu wasn’t sure how to respond, but Sunny quickly took that responsibility out of his hands by kissing him back. In a moment he was lost in the feeling of being thoroughly touched and tasted, and not just by Sunny’s hands and the tongue that slipped into his mouth to tease him. Sunny’s sensors were wrapping around him again until Komatsu felt he was becoming cocooned in them.
The cool touch was inside of his clothes, and stroking tenderly across his face and neck. When he wrapped his arms around Sunny’s neck he felt more strands tangling softly around his fingers and wrists, until he couldn’t have let go even if he wanted to. One tight coil twisted over his hip and around his waist, hugging him.
When Komatsu had to break free of the kiss with an inarticulate protest, he found Sunny’s half-lidded eyes focused on him with hungry desire. Sunny had captured him so thoroughly he could hardly move.
“What. . . was the favor you wanted to ask?” Komatsu managed. In this situation he didn’t know what else to say. The light, sensitive feeling in his body no longer felt alien, and he was quite sure the lightheadedness he felt had a source other than the liquor.
That made Sunny’s grip on him slowly loosen. Soft tendrils of hair slid away one by one, and Komatsu missed them, even though he was still left with more than the usual amount of sensors exploring his body. He could actually still feel them teasing over his skin, and see the tremors they made plucking at his clothes.
“You know, ‘Matsu, once I obtain the right dessert, my full course will be complete.” Sunny said it so calmly, as if he had not just completely covered Komatsu with his touch, or as if the touch he was still lavishing everywhere was perfectly normal.
“That’s right! That’s a big achievement, isn’t it? I’m really happy for you, Sunny-san!” Komatsu was also happy to be back on a subject he actually felt confident about.
That slight frown had returned to Sunny’s lips once again, and Komatsu didn’t understand what he could be upset by this time.
“I wanted to ask, when I can finally assemble all the ingredients for my full course. . . but then I went and showed you such an ugly face,” Sunny covered his face with his hand, muttering to himself more than to Komatsu.
Komatsu thought he had heard enough to guess the answer. “When you can bring together the right ingredients for your full course, Sunny-san, could I have the honor of cooking it for you?”
There was a moment of silence and even Sunny’s touch seemed to stop. In the next instant Komatsu thought he must have imagined it because all of Sunny’s usual intensity was suddenly back in full force.
“No, no, it’s unbeautiful to interrupt like that! You’re the only chef I know will bring the perfect harmony to all of the ingredients and make my full course complete! I’m supposed to be asking you!”
It was all Komatsu could do not to laugh. Sunny could switch so quickly from self-possessed grace to stubborn, almost childish, anger. Usually it was Toriko who got under his skin and had that effect, but now his full lips were pressed together in a sulky pout all because of Komatsu.
“Are you asking me to fix your full course for you?”
Komatsu couldn’t stop the smile taking over his face. He’d been worried Sunny would be angry enough to change his mind. “Then I’m honored to accept!”
He had expected Sunny to smile in return. Instead he got a piercing look that seemed to go all the way straight to his bones.
“Even though you already went an’ formed a combo with Toriko?”
“Of course! I still want to cook for you, Sunny-san! I still want to be able to cook for you, and Coco-san, and Zebra-san too! I’m sure Toriko-san would agree!”
Sunny’s eyes slid closed. He let out a long sigh that almost made it sound as if he had taken on a long, uphill battle, and had only just then found the peak. Before Komatsu could ask if everything was alright, he had a brief kiss pressed hard against his lips.
“Um. . . Sunny-san, I don’t think you need to seal the promise like that.”
“I did. Because I don’t only want to taste your cooking.” Sunny’s hand brushed down Komatsu’s chest as he spoke, moving with an uncharacteristic hesitancy. He was still getting used to using his hands for touch.
“What else do I have worth tasting?” Komatsu laughed. He’d been wrapped up and ‘tasted’ all over, but he doubted he was all that satisfying to Sunny’s gourmet sensibilities.
“There are parts of your body I haven’t tasted yet.”
Sunny looked down meaningfully, and Komatsu covered his lap with both hands. He suddenly remembered that the place Sunny had asked him to share this meal was basically a honeymoon suite. It had never even occurred to him to focus on that. Sunny always brought him to the most amazing places, so he had assumed it was just because of Sunny’s personal taste.
“Of course, I don’t think this setting is good enough to compliment that taste of that particular. . . ‘ingredient.’ Don’t you think? The harmony isn’t even close to complete.”
Komatsu didn’t know if Sunny was bowing to his shy reaction, or if he really was so picky that the sort of suite that some couples saved up years to spend their wedding night in wasn’t good enough.
“As long as I can experience the harmony of your cooking once in a while, I’ll let you choose the ingredients we use.”
That confirmed it. Sunny had read the air between them, with more than his extraordinary sense of touch. Even if his words were terribly generous in allowing Komatsu choose what to cook, it was also an offer to slow to Komatsu’s pace in this as well.
Komatsu was touched. Or rather, suddenly he wasn’t, as Sunny’s sensors finally withdrew.
“I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to. . . um. . . try a sample, while we’re here together. Right-”
Komatsu was cut off as Sunny agreed with an enthusiastic kiss. As his eyes slid closed, Komatsu let himself be lost for a little while in Sunny’s realm of taste and touch.