They won’t understand you. They won’t. I know this, because I used to be on their side, stuck in a dead end office, working a shitty job, making decent pay. My family and friends were convinced I’d lost my mind when I gleefully leaped into the unknown abyss of cooking. I suppose they thought it was a phase I’d soon grow out of. Could this be you? Maybe finishing high school and are contemplating a life in the kitchen, or are already in culinary school. Maybe its not you, but rather someone close to you. Whatever the circumstances, if you’ve gotten this far, I implore you to keep reading.
Regardless, keep reading.
Most will never know what it’s like to make a living as a professional cook or chef, and that makes me smile. It’s something of which I am arrogantly proud. No, not because I think we’re better than anyone, but because of the fact that to be a really good cook or chef it takes tremendous physical, mental and emotional fortitude. Most people don’t have, nor appreciate the gifts we’ve been given, and this often includes our front of the house counterparts.
Seven days a week, we show up willing to get our asses kicked. We sign up for this in exchange for an opportunity to express ourselves through food. There’s no such thing as weekends or holidays. We might get a random Tuesday off, and if we’ve put in the proper dues and happen to be in cahoots with the chef, we just might have the good fortune of being exonerated from working the dreaded Sunday morning brunch shift. No one wants to work Sunday morning. We work longer days than just about anyone. Days start early and end late, typically when the rest of the western world is changing into their PJs, brushing their teeth and hopping into bed. The length, isn’t the hard part though, its the depth. Fifteen hours on your feet is grueling enough to scare away some fence-straddlers, but on top of that, consider the kitchen atmosphere where everything is either excruciatingly hot or sharp as hell. Cooks scurry around cussing, the printer spewing out tickets as fast as it can, and for hours every inch of one’s body is physically tested. Emotions are tested, and sometimes you will fail that test. You’ll break into frustration mid-shift, relying on a teammate to help pull you through. Your mental strength will be tested — misreading tickets, overcooking steaks, undercooking pasta, or completely blanking the fuck out on any number of things, once again having to rely on a teammate to pull you through. You’ll do the same for him — it’s how we survive. Close call finger-nicks and tears shed while chopping onions don’t phase us, not even secondarily. Screaming hot 50 pound pots of salted water simmer away, not boiling fast enough most of the time. When the potatoes or pasta are ready to come out, chances are a dry towel is nowhere to be found, and lacking time to search, we somehow make do, most likely further searing the callouses up and down our already damaged hands. Pain is an after thought, it doesn’t phase us. It can’t, or the whole ship sinks. We owe it to the warriors next to us to keep going. There will also be a point mid-shift, when you’ll have to make a dash to the dry storage pantry, or the walk-in cooler. Darting across the obstacle course of the kitchen typically includes maintaining one’s sense of balance while leaping across oil-slicked tile, dodging pans flying in the vicinity of the dish pit, and having to weave in and out of fellow line cooks, then back into our place on the line. This is all to be done without dropping your supplies, or worse, disrupting the rhythm of the team. Disrupt the rhythm, and we all go down with you. This takes serious skills. To create the rhythm necessary for success on the kitchen line takes hours and sometimes years working together as a unit, in the trenches, slugging it out, together. Next to the military in full fledged combat, a group of guys and gals in the kitchen know teamwork better than anyone.
Let’s say you made it to the end of the service. By now several hours have elapsed since the first tickets came chirping through the printer, and the apron draped around your neck now resembles something your dog might have chewed to hell after having splashed through the mud. You are filthy, but pots are done flying across the kitchen, flames from the burners are dulled to mere pilot lights and for the first time all night, you have a minute to breathe. A Red Bull sounds pretty good right about now, or traditionally, a cigarette in the cool fresh air outside of the kitchen hits the spot for most chefs. The burns on your hand have probably blistered already, and now that you actually have a minute, the pain hits you. The slightest of breaks and its back to business identifying prep needs for the following day. It’s the easy part of the night, coasting home, after a dozen hours afoot. Now, the challenge is powering through when your mind is occupied with fantasies of beers, shots, the dive bar across the street and the pretty new waitress whose name you’ve already forgotten.
If there is one thing I’ve learned as a chef, it is that we are always learning to adapt —rolling with the punches. We put ourselves out there as artists and creators. Its a beautiful thing to have the opportunity to express ourselves through the creation of food, and the food we craft should be an expression of who we are. What we create is just as much of how the world has shaped us, as it is us shaping the way we see the world through our food. Unfortunately, most diners don’t connect with our perspective. They want their food, their way, and it pisses us the hell off. Chances are, if you aren’t a chef, this has been you, and we have undoubtedly bitched about you to our fellow cooks. If you’ve ever put your work out into the world, you know how much it stings to have your work not appreciated as you intended. This is what keeps us up at night asking ourselves how could I do it better, and what should I have done differently? It eats at us if we let it.
Don’t let it.
Chances are your family, friends and virtually anyone close to you will be unsuccessful in understanding the life you have chosen for yourself, but maybe this letter helps, just a bit. If so, they might understand why your mind is racing at 2AM after a 400 cover Friday night, and why you can’t celebrate Mother’s Day brunch with the fam. Perhaps now they might understand why every square inch of your body hurts most of the time, and how there really are no sick days in restaurants. They might understand why we settle for grossly underpaid wages, and hopefully they can read between the lines, and figure out why we bitch about customers upon getting off of work. They might understand how the stress from our jobs might lead us to have a few cocktails, which might be followed with a few bad decisions. Above all, if nothing else, maybe they will see that we can’t imagine our lives any other way.
I’ll take a hand full of burn blisters, some achy knees and the hankering for a cocktail at the end of the night, over ever having to sit at another desk miserably debating whether or not to shove needles through my eye balls. Living this life means we get to be creative. It means we get to showcase our skills in the heat of battle, feeling the adrenaline rush of sloshing through the trenches with guys to our left and right. These are guys we’re lucky to call teammates. It means we get to be creative and stand proud for something we believe in. We get to sleep with a certain piece of mind and awaken the following morning hungry for more. Even if it means suiting up for brunch every now again, we get to make a difference in the lives of people around us, in the best way we know how. We get to make them happy, and we get to through food.
Promise me this:
Show up every day looking to make the most of it. Learn from the best, seek to be the best, and once you are on your way, teach others to be the best. This life won’t be easy. It will be damn hard, but it will be worth it, and in the end you will have lived a life of which you are proud, one that’s yours, and in doing so, you get to make the world taste a bit better in the process.
Most of us have had roommates at some point, and some folks are heading into their thirties with neither a spouse nor a decent paycheck and still need roommates. I was looking over some of my old roommate posts and I have a few tips for doing it as a mature adult as opposed to the disaster of alcohol and shirked responsibility we were in our early 20s. This doesn’t really apply to people who live with friends, as your lines of communication should flow more smoothly in the first place. For the rest though…
Check the volume in their room and throughout the apartment. When you have the apartment to yourself, put on some music or your television and check how loud it is in different areas. Play with the volume to see what they can hear depending on where they are in the apartment. This planning will come in handy when you bring a thot home and wonder if they can hear you getting it in.
Buy earplugs. Every one of us has needed to get up early on a Saturday for something or another and you can’t expect people to turn down early on a Friday night just because you decided to take a 7am spin class the next day. I’ve suggested earplugs to so many whiners and gotten so many excuses.
They don’t fit. Buy a different brand. I won’t hear my phone alarm. Put it on vibrate and stick it in the pillow. It might overheat and catch on fire. Use an alarm clock instead. I don’t have one. Buy one!
Your schedule is your problem. You can either fix it or be miserable.
Ask if they want your leftovers. True, some roommates are trifling and will say “yes!” whenever you offer, but most are decent human beings. If you have extra that you probably won’t eat today or tomorrow, ask if they want some. Those goodwill coins stack up and you can cash in when you accidentally have one of those “I’m still young! I can hang!” nights and drink yourself into a oblivion. Your roommate will probably bring you a Gatorade and a bacon-egg-and-cheese if you ask nicely and you have your goodwill karma in place.
Let them know when you want to cook. There is nothing worse than coming home with an armful of groceries and your roommate is already in the kitchen with their latest culinary creation. If y'all don’t have a regular kitchen pattern, give a heads up and offer a piece. "Hey I was wanting to cook on Wednesday if you want some. Will you be using the kitchen?“ That’s planning *and* goodwill coins.
…and possibly most important of all…
Keep really good toilet paper in your room. So you and your roommate take turns buying toilet paper. You buy multi-ply with cushion but they buy struggle paper about as effective as gift bag stuffing. Eventually you get tired of buying the good stuff so you buy the struggle paper too. That’s fine, a little tit for tat, but always keep wet wipes or at the very least some 2-ply Charmin in your room. Your asshole will thank you the first time you eat the wrong thing and suffer through a few rounds of diarrhea. If you have to use struggle paper all day, you might as well be wiping with shrubbery.
That’s it. Feel free to share your own *or* get your life together so you don’t need a roommate in the first place.
Enjoy~ :) dedicated to a special friend of mine!!! Love you baeee
It was one of those nights where
Hunk was almost certain that the red on his hands wasn’t from what ever
culinary creation he’d made in the kitchen just hours before. The scent of
metallic blood. The coiling of guilt in his gut. The possibilities. One of his
teammates got hurt, there was a civilian hurt…
“You made this…for me?” Sherlock questioned, staring at the picture perfect cake on the plater in Molly’s kitchen.
“Well, I mean, you were muttering in your sleep last night when you stayed over about what seems to be an undying love for cherries, and I happened to have just found a recipe for this cherry vanilla layer cake so…just thought I’d surprise you!” she explained with a bright eyes grin.
“Th-that’s incredibly thoughtful of you, Molly,” Sherlock managed to say softly, his lips spreading in a little smile as she excitedly and proudly got out a couple plates and utensils for them to dig in.
He did actually think cherries were a perfectly tasty fruit, and he happily accepted the slice she gave him, appreciating the gesture and eager to dig in and enjoy her culinary creation. Though, as he happily ate, he also began to realize that there was something he needed to do after they finished their lovely treat.
It was probably time to tell her the real reason why he tended to talk about cherries in his sleep. ❤️🍒
Rotsky O’Craps, The Royal Cook. her job is to prepare the very finest delicacies, and then seal them up in airtight serving-crates and leave them in the Rotting Parlour for about a year until they are good and rotten, at which point they are slid under the flap in the Emperor’s bedchamber door, where it is assumed he eats them. she then prepares the very second-finest, third-finest, fourth-finest and so on delicacies, which are distributed to the rest of the court in order of how much the Emperor likes them. for any creature with a traditional digestive system, Rotsky’s culinary creations would be tear-inducing epiphanies of taste. but clowns only truly hunger for applause, and so Rotsky feels her talents are wasted and unappreciated, which they are.
I saw this post and literally couldn’t _not _write it. I kind of ran away with it a little, but it’s still pretty good I think. Anyway, I hope i did it justice, @rainybayards
Lance didn’t really mean for it to become a habit. His mum had always told him though that if his thoughts got to be too much, he should let them out. Speak them, clear his mind, and be peaceful. And his thoughts often were a lot.
Sometimes his thoughts rested heavy on his chest, compressing his lungs and forcing all the air out of him in a rush. He would inhale as deeply as possible, but it never seemed to be enough. The thoughts would press in and in and in– until he felt his ribs would crack. The only way to relieve the pressure was to speak. He’d speak like he was reading from a note card, pushing out each word robotically until he could breathe. Then he’d pause, gasp, and wait for the lightheaded feeling to pass. That would be it. All he had to do was speak his mind and the intensity of his intrusive thoughts would fade. It wasn’t all bad, though. Sometimes, his chest would only hurt badly if his thoughts were bad, and most of the time, they were just existential. Existentialism, while not Lance’s favourite thing, always sat lighter on his chest than his usual depressing thoughts. So he learned to appreciate them and didn’t really filter himself when the pressure built up. He just let it out.
That’s not to say he meant to make philosophical soliloquy a regular thing. It kind of just happened, and he didn’t stop it.
It started a couple weeks after the wormhole mishap when they’d been ejected all over the universe. The situation had been remedied fairly easily, but the aftercare of the horror they’d gone through was intense.
None of them liked being apart from the others for more than absolutely necessary, keeping their solitude to a minimal. That being said, they’d find themselves migrating towards each other, populating rooms for hours on end without feeling the need to leave them. It was reassuring. It also made finding the paladins easier, being centralised and generally rowdy. So that made it easy for Lance, ambling down the hallway from his room where he’d just finished his morning routine. He’d heard their voices from his door and followed the echoes over to the kitchen. They were all sitting comfortably around the island in front of the goo dispenser, laughing. The sound was nice to listen to, but Lance’s mind was racing.
Ever since he’d gotten back from the water planet, he’d found intrusive thoughts came more frequently to him. It was unnerving. Worst of all, much of them pertained to existence itself, and the state of conscious being. It was all fascinating and would probably qualify him as a genius back on Earth, but out in the voids of space with a more important pending destiny on his and four other’s shoulders, they became annoying. So, taking what his mum had always told him to do in these situations, he spoke his mind until it was clear and then relaxed.
He waltzed into the kitchen and up to the island but didn’t stop there. He grabbed a plate and headed straight for the dispensers, stomach rumbling. The Paladins behind him quieted down some, resuming the half-hearted chewing on Hunk’s newest culinary creation– the damn closest they’d get to muffins in Vordarian orbit, millions upon millions of lightyears from Earth. Lance took this opportunity, before he squeezed goo onto his plate, to talk.
"Isn’t it weird,“ he started, capturing the Paladin’s attention. All eyes were on him. "How each and every one of us is our own conscious being? Like, you’ll never know what someone else is thinking unless they vocalise their thoughts to you. Even animals have their own experiences that other people will never experience firsthand. We’re all trapped in our own heads.”
Satisfied with the lightness of his chest and the relative emptiness of his mind, he filled his plate with goo and took it to the dining table to dig in. He didn’t notice the bewildered silence of his team around the island. Both Keith and Pidge had stopped mid-bite to openly gawk at Lance. This was the first time any of them had witnessed such a thing from him. They had no idea what to think of it.
"Uhm,“ Pidge started, turning back around. "What just happened?”
"Lance being Lance,“ Keith offered. It seemed like an acceptable answer; Hunk even nodded.
So they moved on. Conversations picked back up and after a while they all migrated to the table where Lance sat, quietly munching on his food. The incident was somewhat forgotten.
Roughly a week after that, it happened again. They were all sitting on the floor in the training room sipping from juice pouches Coran had given them. They’d just finished a more rigorous training exercise and were each equally exhausted, but Lance’s mind was whirring. He had been distracted by the cycling of his mind during the exercise and Allura was lecturing him about it. Well, she was lecturing them all about the importance of training and the seriousness of their situation, but Lance could tell with every look she levelled on him that it was really aimed at him. He didn’t really mind; he knew he hadn’t been performing his best that day and even went as far as to promise the Princess that he’d try harder next time. She nodded in acceptance and let them continue their break, joining Coran by the wall panels to discuss possible future drills for them.
Keith finished his juice pouch and set it down beside him, leaning back against the wall and closing his eyes. He looked tired, but not from lack of sleep. Lance eyed him for a moment longer, then blinked and refocused on the pouch in his hands. There was light music playing over the stereo system overhead– one that Pidge and Hunk had whipped up just months into their space adventure. It was especially helpful for whenever one of the crew felt like the deafening silence of space was going to drive them insane. Pidge had tons of recordings of Earth sounds on their laptop, and with a few clicks, Lance could listen to rain pattering all around him. That’s what he preferred to listen to, anyway, but the soft rock music that was playing right then was nice. Certainly helped focus them when they’d been warming up. Something about the rhythm of the beat matching the drum of their heartbeats that pushed them harder.
The weight on his chest was getting heavier, even as he rested against Hunk’s back. His breaths came out shorter, fewer and farther between. That’s when he knew he needed to vent again. So, once everyone had fallen silent and the room was filled with the sounds of them drinking juice through their straws, Lance spoke.
"Isn’t music amazing?” he prompted. Shiro turned his head inquisitively, but the rest had stilled. They sensed what was coming. “It’s existed for millennia, and evolved so much– starting with just people hitting sticks on stones to create sounds and then turning into Mozarts’ symphonies and then the techno-mania that’s popular now– there are so many groups and subgroups of music but it’s still all the same. A bunch of instruments and voices that come together into something beautiful.”
It was silent; even the had music died out. Lance, not seeing the confused looks the other Paladins were throwing each other, jumped to his feet with his trash in hand. On his way out the door, he scooped up Keith’s empty pouch and called out an “I’ll be right back!” before he disappeared. And the moment was gone. The music resumed, a different tune this time, and Coran was calling for them all to get on their feet and head to bed. Lance came back just as they all stood up. They all took turns staring at him in confusion when they thought he wasn’t looking. Lance noticed, and after the rest of the team had retreated, he asked Coran what they were all freaked out about. Coran didn’t know, so he shrugged it off and left for his room. The next day, everything seemed back to normal.
The next time it happened, the Paladins were running a drill in their lions. Shiro had been the first to recommend that they practice tactical evasion strategy, something they’d all have to apply in real battle. Coran had been one to propose that they test the prototype of the ion canon that Hunk and Pidge whipped up in their makeshift lab. They’d been prodding at the one they’d managed to preserve after a past battle with the Galra, and though it was damaged, it was just enough to tell the two how it functioned and what they would need to recreate one.
They had been dodging hits from it for nearly an hour now. Allura was throwing them everything she had, having them split off and work together in altering teams to get through proposed scenarios. It helped them with their team bonding, but currently, Lance was distracted. Again. He was paired with Pidge; they had to work together under the heavy fire from both the castle and the remaining three lions and somehow shut off the castle’s defence systems and deactivate the ion canon. Since Pidge had worked to create the canon and was heavily involved in the update and improvement of the systems, Lance was in charge of shutting them both down. She took care of creating a distraction for Lance to slip in close and then cover him while he completed his part of the mission. It worked well; each of them got to work in the areas they weren’t exactly proficient in.
However, Lance again found the heaviness of his chest pulling his mind from the mission at hand. He cursed and tried to ignore it, but the waiver in his thought was reflected by his lion, and Keith noticed. He was the very one Lance had been evading and he took advantage of his distraction. Keith drove the red lion forward and the momentum of their collision pushed Lance completely off course. He recovered quickly, and with a few critically placed shots to the weaknesses of the red lion’s panelling, he was back on course. Within moments, Keith’s assault was replaced by that of Hunk, who was unbothered by their close friendship and used it as a way to divert Lance again. It didn’t work. Lance knew he had to get through this; he was so close to breaking the castle’s particle barrier, having already put the ion canon out of commission, taking care to not completely demolish it so that whatever was left could be easily rectified by either Hunk or Pidge. With a few last shots and multiple evasions of Hunk’s lion– and Keith’s, which was up and back in the game only minutes after Hunk had taken over– the particle barrier was down. All that was left was the laser fire still shooting out at both the green and blue lions. He could hear the chatter of the team and the added ones of Coran and Allura in Altean (they had decided mid-session to incorporate a little language practice for them all and switched to Altean. They’d all been practicing, so it was only a minor inconvenience, but it just fueled Lance’s distraction.) from the castle itself, but he tuned them out, only drawn out of his tunnel focus by the calls of Pidge, who informed him that they couldn’t hold them all off for long. That gave Lance five minutes and thirty-eight seconds to complete his mission, Slav helpfully supplied for Pidge over the comms.
Lance thanked the alien and was off. His lion wasn’t the fastest, built similarly to Hunk’s but lacking the extra layer of armour that allowed the yellow lion to take extensive hits in battle. That meant that he had to plan accordingly, and know exactly what he had to accomplish in the time Slav had given him. He’d have exactly one minute to spare dodging fire and finding a place to land so he could access the castle and find the control panel mapped on the projection from his suit. None of that factored in the three guard droids set up outside his entry point and any additional ones scattered between that and the actual panel. So, he’d have about another minute and a half to take care of them, find the panel and deactivate whatever defences it had for itself. After that, he’d have to upload a virus– one Pidge had assured Allura wouldn’t cause any permanent damage to the castle’s internal systems– to a specific portion of the panel and therefore disable the castle’s lasers, ending the drill and securing a success for Lance and Pidge.
Lance, when he was focused, didn’t fuck around. He knew what he had to do, had trained for it and was completely capable of executing it. However, he knew he’d be unable to if the weight remained on his chest, so in the midst of fending off the laser fire from the castle and landing the blue lion, he spoke.
"Language is so interesting!“ he half yelled as he jumped from the mouth of the blue lion, landing gracefully on both feet on the ground, already engaging one of the three guards before him. "Sounds and phrases people just made up to mean something, and it’s still developing and changing! Also, on a completely related note,” he cut off momentarily to shoot down the last two guards, using the distance between them as an advantage and then advancing towards his entry point, “Have you guys ever noticed that a person’s dialect and accent changes depending on who they’re talking to? Like, when Shiro is talking to us, it’s usually familiar and laid back, but when he’s talking to Princess Allura, he shifts to something that gives off the fact that he’s competent and ready, but not too eager– no offence, Shiro. I just think it’s all super cool!”
By the end of his little speech, he’d managed to take down five guard droids and locate the panel, currently working on disabling the blue forcefield like defence it had around it. The comm was eerily silent, and Lance was sure he couldn’t hear any fighting going on. Then, once the force field was down and Lance was uploading the virus, he heard Pidge start cackling. Soon, Hunk and Keith’s laughter was heard along with it, and the babbling of Slav about the success rate of the mission going down by point zero six percent every time they breathed. Lance quirked an eyebrow but continued on. The screen blinked before him and then it was over. They’d won. He whooped and made his way out to the blue lion, hopping up and letting her hum of approval and pride run through him happily. He could sense she was amused, but he couldn’t for the life of him place why. Must have been because he crushed this drill in such little time, it was that easy. He’d have to ask Allura to set Blue and him up with an actual challenge.
Once the Paladins had docked their lions in the hangar and had returned to their casual clothes, they all approached Lance in the control room, where Allura had summoned them to. Coran was standing off to his side, patting him on the shoulder with pride. Shiro, once he’d made eye contact with Allura, had looked away pink in the face, but nonetheless proceeded to Lance.
"Well done, Lance,“ he said with a clap to the back. He gave a matching one to Pidge and a small smile. "You both did excellent out there. We all did.”
"Okay, but what the heck was that, Lance?“ asked Keith, eyebrow quirked and hands resting easy in his pockets. His stance was welcoming, so Lance knew that the question wasn’t meant to goad him.
"What was what?” he asked.
"Uh,“ started Hunk, sharing a look with everyone in the room. "The weird tangent on language while you were fighting the droids. Like, you looked super focused but were rambling about how Shiro totally has-”
"Ahem,“ Shiro cut in, pink returning to his cheeks. Lance noticed Allura had a matching blush and wondered what he could possibly have said that caused it.
"Oh, I’m sorry, guys. I don’t really remember what I said.”
"You don’t remember?“ asked Pidge, and then gave Keith an amused smirk that when unnoticed.
"Just like the bonding moment,” muttered Keith, and Pidge laughed again.
"I don’t know, sometimes I just have a lot on my mind and it helps to just,“ he blinked, "say them. I don’t really pay attention to what exactly I’m saying, just as long as I get it off my chest. After that, I usually just carry on doing what I was doing before. I used to do it a ton back home.”
"Huh,“ was the response he garnered from each the Paladins. Allura, Coran, and Slav were somewhat unaffected by Lance’s ramblings, the former two sure it was just a human quirk, and the latter one already used to himself info-dumping.
Soon following the conversation, they all dispersed to clean up. When they met back up in the drawing room, sprawled out on the couch and watching some Altean movie on the projector screen before them, the team’s dynamic was back to normal. Lance’s head was pillowed in Keith’s lap, Shiro and Allura sat side by side, Pidge sitting on the floor leaning against Hunk’s shins as he sat beside Coran. It was comfortable, and soon after the movie ended, they’d all fallen asleep.
Lance thought he had a handle on it after that, though. He’d been made aware of it, but sometimes, it just happened. He’d gotten better at cutting the info-dumps short and sweet, but he couldn’t exactly control when they happened. And the fourth time it happened, they were in the middle of a fight with the Galra.
The Princess had received word from an informant they’d picked up not long ago that the Galra was hiding multiple ships with heavy artillery in the Hyperes star cluster, just beside the solar system containing the planet Minol V, which had sent a distress signal out to them a day before they received intel on the Galra. Keith figured that if they took out what they guessed was most of the Galra’s heavy missiles, then the final battle might be less of a burden. Shiro agreed, and they had planned to orbit Minol V’s sister planet, just over two hundred kilometres away. It was enough distance for the castle to avoid any unexpected attacks, but there would be a delay of two minutes before the castle could assist the Lions should the need arise.
That had been the plan, and they’d stuck to it– travelled to the planet, hailed the people there, set off in the Lions to assess the planet’s state, and even engaged the remaining Glaran troops– until the plan went sideways and one of the Paladins was hit and taken down. The red lion was surrounded completely, and one of the ships from the artillery base had been deployed, circling Keith. He took heavy barrage, but a final blow from the ion canon dealt serious structural damage to the Lion’s lithe build. Lance took down the remaining fleet that tried to pursue Keith as he returned to the orbit of Minol V and prepared to land. Hunk barrelled through the ion cannon, derailing any future use for near future, but it didn’t help that they couldn’t form Voltron until the Red Lion was repaired. Keith was okay, as he reassured over the comms– didn’t stop Lance’s heart from jumping out of his chest, or calm the urge to follow him to the planet’s surface and give him a thorough once over /just to be safe/– but there went their plan to get rid of their arsenal base.
"Oh, no,” breathed Shiro, assessing the three additional Galran ships arriving at the planet. “Keith, how’s Red looking?”
"Another five minutes, maybe,“ Keith grunted and cursed, and they heard a whir through their system. A moment later, and Kieth was filling them in on the structural damage red had undergone. "She’ll be okay, actually seems to be repairing herself, but their’s a breach. I can fix it with a patch job, but forming Voltron in this state could be risky.”
"We have three more ships equipped with ion cannons, just exiting warp,“ Hunk informs, anxiety clear in his voice but he doesn’t waver. "Pidge, where are you?”
"Slipped away to the castle to grab some sheeting for the Red Lion.“ Just as she said that the three saw her zoom past toward the surface of Minol V. "Keith, use this and it should hold long enough for us to form Voltron and kick their collective ass.”
While the three Lions waited for the other two to join them, they found themselves in a standoff with the remaining Galran ships. For ten minutes, they stayed like this, Lance growing antsy at the silence. They were being sized up, he could tell. These forces were ones they hadn’t faced before, but Lance was sure they’d been informed just how dangerous it was to underestimate Voltron. It meant this fight was going to be harder than the last, and they were already tired, one Lion damaged and the other’s banged up.
"We’re heading up, Shiro,” came the crackle of Keith’s voice over the comm, followed by the resurfacing of the red and green Lions.
"The Cattalians,“ Pidge started, hovering next to Lance. Lance, in the cockpit, swivelled in his chair to look at the outline of their Lion. "The people that occupy Minol V gave us some really important information and loaded Keith with a weapon.”
"Weapon?“ Shiro asked in interest.
"Yeah, it’s a small cube that once activated, creates a black hole. It has to be ejected and I plan to activate it at the heart of those ships. Thing is, we’d have about ten seconds to get the hell out of dodge so we don’t fall into the balck hole along with the Galra.”
"Did Keith just make a pop-culture reference?“ Lance asked incredulously.
"I did watch TV, you know, while in the desert. And before.”
"You mean to tell me that outside of setting up a crazy conspiracy board, you watched ‘Gunsmoke’?“ Lance couldn’t hold in the laughter, and Hunk even joined him, a little amused at the exchange.
"Lance,” Shiro warned. “Focus. The mission.”
"Right,“ Lance saluted. "Sorry, focusing.”
"Keith, we’d have to get the Galra ship out into open space before activating the cube. There’s no way we can create a black hole in the middle of a solar system. The Cattalians would be demolished.“
"I know. We need to lead them away,” Keith agreed.
"Uh, guys, not to panic or anything,“ Hunk said, clearly panicking, "but they’re deploying a shit ton of ships. Do we engage?”
"Paladins!“ Allura cried, her voice urgent. "The Galran commander has hailed me and said that either we hand over Voltron or be destroyed.”
"Right, but they have more fire power than it looks. Coran and I can assist with the castle, but you need to have a plan.”
"We do,“ assured Pidge and then explained it to her. Coran added in a few comments and noted that they could use a previously built enlarged portal structure and trick the Galra fleet through it, then bombard them with the cube before setting back off for the same wormhole.
"Coran, you’re a genius!” cried Lance and Hunk in unison. They could practically feel Coran preening on the other end.
"Good idea, Coran. Princess, can you open a wormhole on my word? We need to engage them before hopping to make it convincing,“ said Shiro. The gears in his brain were turning as he played out possible scenarios that their plan could pan out in. They all seemed to end with success, but anything could change at a moments notice. They had to be precise and efficient, no messing around. One delay could end with them all crushed by the black hole.
"Then,“ Shiro said, and with a swift crack of his neck, he shouted, "Engage!”
Thus ensued heavy battle. Shiro had soon after rattled off instructions to each Paladin, having Lance hang back and clear a path through the small fleet for Hunk to destroy any of the ion cannons. Pidge, after relaying the information shared by the Cattilians, was instructed to get on board and collect the data, then get back out to the battlefield. Keith was to accompany them to the ship and then drop back and take on the remaining fleet with Shiro. It worked out for the first ten minutes; Pidge made it with little trouble and was en route to the control panel; Keith, Shiro, and Lance had managed to wipe more than half the fleet, but the Galra kept deploying ships. Hunk, however, seemed to be having trouble destroying the cannons. He’d radioed in during the first minute of trying to take them out that they seemed to be reinforced and surrounded by their own particle barrier. It wasn’t dissimilar to the ones that surrounded the Lions when they were in stasis, but they were just as difficult to break through. It took Lance several shots with the unlocked Lion power to actually take the first one down, and then he’d been hit and had to fall back to recover.
"Lance?“ Kieth prompted, worry dripping from his voice.
"I’m fine, babe,” Lance grimaced, reading the damage report on the inside of the blue Lion’s screens. She’d be fine, he decided, and rejoined the fight, taking down a handful of the enemy along the way. “What about you? How’s red holding up?”
"Doing okay, /babe/,“ Keith jabbed, grinning. "But if we want to end this, we might as well form Voltron now and lead them through the wormhole.”
"Allura, now!“ Shiro called. "Pidge, where are you?”
Their response took a moment, and when it came, they sounded winded. “Ran into some trouble leaving the bridge. Getting in my Lion now, on my way out. ETA under fifteen seconds.”
"Hunk, join rank,“ Shiro ordered, and Hunk did as such. Pidge followed not soon after.
"Alright, here’s the plan: form Voltron, lead them through the wormhole, disband.”
"As soon as we do, everyone head back through the portal. Lance, can you cover me while I fly in and activate the cube? It won’t take long.“ Keith sounded hopeful, and how could Lance deny him?
"Of course. I’ve got your six.”
"Then it’s settled,“ Shiro stated. "Team, form Voltron!”
Allura created the portal, and with the Galra properly engaged and riled up, they followed Voltron blindly through it. Once on the other side, they disbanded, Hunk, Pidge, and Shiro heading back through the portal to wait for Lance and Keith. Lance hung back and blew every last ship to high heavens, watching while Keith left his cockpit to throw the activated cube to space. Within five seconds, Kieth and Lance were rushing back through the wormhole, demanding Allura close it immediately. She did, but not before several of the smaller drone ships made it through with them. They were neutralised easily by the teamwork of Hunk and Pidge, but what they hadn’t anticipated was the fourth ship that had been orbiting a distant planet in the solar system, which was making its way toward the Paladins.
"Paladins, the fight’s not over!“ Allura cried, and they fell back to the castle to regroup. The cube had worked, but that was only half their problem. The Red Lion was still damaged, and with another altercation, they would run the risk of tearing off the patchwork they’d done. The castle, too, had taken fire and the particle barrier, though self-replenishing, was weak. The Lions themselves were fine, but the Paladins could feel the exhaustion creep up on them, replacing the adrenaline rush from before and slowing their thoughts and movements. Lance’s chest grew heavier with each passing moment, his mind returning to the minefield it had been previous to Keith being shot down in the initial battle.
"This seems to be the last of the arsenal ships that were docked at the Galra base in Hyperes. That means after this, we should be done.” That was Coran.
"We can’t destroy it!“ Pidge called suddenly. "That ship contains prisoners and additional information to what I already collected. If I could sneak in and extract the info while someone checks the cells, we could find my family and-”
"Pidge, I’m sorry, but-“
"No!” she shouted. “I won’t lose my family because we couldn’t stop to check!”
"Pidge,“ Shiro tried, voice soft and accommodating. Then it hardened with determination. "It’s only one ship, and it has no reinforcements. Once we take out its deployable droid ships, we approach. Pidge, you can get your information while a few of us check the cell block. It’ll be in and out, alright Princess?”
"Just this once,“ was her response. She sounded tense and worried. Lance couldn’t blame her. He was half distracted by intrusive thoughts and worried like crazy about the possibility of Keith’s Lion suddenly giving out and him being ejected into space. The Blue Lion gave a resonating hum of similar concern.
"Babe, are you sure Red can handle it?”
"She can make it. The damage wasn’t so bad. Besides,“ Keith said. He paused to read over a damage report from Red. "It looks like she started fusing the existing metal to the piece Pidge gave me on Minol V. It’ll hold until we dock them for repairs.”
Lance breathed easily for the first time since Red went down. One worry was taken care of, only a million others to handle. The Galra ship was approaching slowly, assessing the threat Voltron posed them– Slav had assured everyone that their success rate had skyrocketed since the detonation of the cube. Lance translated that as meaning the possibility of whooping Galra ass was high and cheered.
The first couple dozen droid ships were deployed, and they engaged. With them all calling necessary shots and using previously built teamwork plans, they cleared the droid ships completely. All that remained could be taken care of by the rebooted castle defences. The team moved in toward the ship. Keith and Lance broke off, heading to the stern’s forestay, Hunk quickly breaching the side for them to enter and start searching for the Holt family. Pidge and Shiro busied themselves with checking the ship’s exterior perimeter, searching for surprises. This had felt like more and more of a trap as time went on, but it was too important to pass up. They could take whatever came next.
"Pidge, we need to occupy the bridge, keep our attacks sporadic so that if this is a trap, then we won’t be easily overcome.“ Both called an agreement and they all set off toward the deck. Shiro faced them head on while Pidge fell to the bow, punching a hole in the side with their Lion’s head. This allowed for them to leave the Lion without worrying about it floating out in space. Pidge, with a quick internal scan sent from Allura, located the main control panel to be two floors above them. They could do that. Stairs being just down the hall, they quickly avoided run-ins with Galran guards and made it to their destination. However easy getting there had been, actually getting inside to the panel room itself was going to be difficult. It was guarded by three Galra, and from the open door giving Pidge insight, there were several more within, leaning over the panel and conversing heatedly. Pidge fell back against the wall in a squat, sighing.
"Shiro, there are over ten guards. I’ll take them on, but I may need reinforcements.”
"Understood,“ he said. "I’ll meet you where you are ASAP.”
Pidge breathed in deeply, exhaling slowly and letting their anxieties flow with the air. They could do this. They had practised, and prepared, and drilled every last possible scenario until it was all clockwork inside their mind. They could do this, and they would. With a final breath of resolve, Pidge pulled from their belt a sphere and, after checking to see the guard wasn’t looking, threw it in the opposite direction of them. It skittered down the hall quietly and came to stop. After a moment, the centre lifted and released a spark-like explosion. The guard heard and rushed off to investigate, just as Pidge had hoped. When the coast was clear, they scrambled inside. They hadn’t really planned for every pair of eyes to land on them. They got to work quick, two rushing at Pidge from the side. With their Bayard draw, Pidge took them down. It was like a warm up in the training room with the combat droid set on low; Pidge could do this. Two down, four more to go. Unfortunately, as they had taken down three of the four, the three guards from the entrance returned and immediately joined in the fight. Pidge sighed and readied their Bayard, but they could feel a slight wobble in their open, defensive stance.
"Shiro?” they called, distantly aware of the crackling yells from Lance, Hunk, and Keith. They must be encased in a battle their own in the cell block. “ETA?”
"Now,“ he said and entered the room with a ridiculous amount of grandiose for someone who was supposed to be sneaking into a Galra ship to assist an intel raid, Pidge thought.
"Excellent timing,” they grumbled and met the rise of one Galra with several kicks in rapid succession to its sternum. They crumpled over, sword flying to the floor forgotten, and Pidge turned to the next one that approached. “Shiro?” they asked and nodded to the other two guards, already advancing on him. “I need to get to the panel.”
"Right. On it.“ And they were off.
Shiro was lifting up the bodies of the Galra and piling them in the corner of the room by the time Lance called in over the comm for assistance.
"Yeah, well, we didn’t find the Holts, but we did find a shit ton of guards, and they’ve been trailing us for the past five minutes. They just keep coming.” He sounded out of breath, and let out a screech before they all heard a crash and the tell-tale sign of a pistol being fired. Lance was back on within seconds, panting. “Okay, well I lost visual on Keith, who decided it’d be an excellent idea to just storm them all at once and hope something good came of it.
"Honestly, Shiro,” Lance cracked his back, using the glowing purple wall behind him to brace himself. He was sore and aching all over, and the flurry of nonstop action had really drained him. He hoped this would be over with soon. He could really use a shower, a mandatory cuddle session with the BF– on that was currently shouting and swinging his sword like a madman– and sleep. “And you chose him to be our leader in your stead. Gee, I can sure see why.”
"Holy shit, retreat!“ Keith shouted, punctuating Lance’s point. There was a long, drawn out, and very tired sigh from the other end of the com.
"Keith, Hunk, Lance: pinpoint our position and meet us here.” After a moment’s thought, he added, “And try not to bring the entire fleet’s army with you.”
"Harsh, Shiro,“ Hunk said, but he laughed and sounded a confirmation regardless.
"Okay, Keith, you better get you and your mulleted ass over here so we can-”
Keith sped by him, pulling both him and Hunk by their bayards. “Get the hell out of dodge?” Keith finished, a wicked smile playing on his lips. Lance had never wanted to kiss him more. He’d save it for after they won and had docked the Lions in the castle.
"God, I think I love you,“ Lance muttered. Then he remembered they had a com running still and everyone heard what he said. He turned bright red.
Pidge sighed. "Would you three just get here?”
"We’re talking about this later,“ Keith muttered as they slowed to a stop. He’d pushed Lance against the wall and held a hand to his shoulder, a meaningful look in his eyes telling Lance exactly what he’d do if they weren’t inside the depths of a Galra ship in the middle of a battle with the team.
"Oh boy,” Lance said cheekily, “I can’t wait.”
"Guys,“ said the team in exasperation. "Fight now, make out later.”
"Sorry,“ Keith said, sounding anything but.
Hunk grabbed them both by the elbows and they sprinted down the hall, up some stairs and through a door that led them to another hall, similar to the last, but full of Galra soldiers. They made it about halfway down the hall when Shiro popped his head out of a room and frowned.
"I told you not to bring the entire army,” he admonished, but a small quirk of his lips betrayed him.
"Quit being such an old fart,“ Keith grumbled as he stabbed one soldier and parried another’s attack, "And help us!”
"Alright, alright,“ Shiro laughed, charging his hand and taking down a soldier that had been trying to sneak up on Lance. He’d put some distance between himself and the fight to take as many shots as possible, but with every felled soldier another seemed to replace it. Pidge joined the melee and they were all fighting, pushing past the exhaustion to keep going. Allura and Coran had long since gone silent, useless within the castle walls. Slav, however, did pipe up about every seven seconds to give his input, which drove Shiro absolutely batshit. Lance doesn’t think he’s ever seen him so aggravated, every word Slav said sending Shiro’s fist flying in an enraged frenzy, taking down three soldiers at once.
It was in the midst of all the scuffle that Lance felt it all return. His chest was compressing. His breaths were laboured and he knew that his shots were getting wide. He switched his Bayard from a long range rifle to a sleek Beretta 92FS, something Lance had become particularly attached too shortly after unlocking the ability to change between guns. It was small, evenly balanced, and for some incredulous– miraculous– reason never ran out of rounds. Give a gunman a reload-free gun and he’ll be set for life. Or at least, more than eleven minutes of a battle. He tried to brush it off, hoping it’d recede like before so he could focus on protecting his team, but it wouldn’t shake.
"Guys,” he called. He should at least warn them. “I think it’s happening again.”
It took a moment for anyone to understand what he was trying to say, but by then, the pressure in his lung was too much and Lance let it out.
"One of my biggest fears,“ he said and slammed the butt of his gun down on a soldier, "is our brain’s inability to comprehend infinity.”
Pidge muttered, “Oh no, not again,” but Lance was on a roll.
"No, hear me out, hear me out– space, we know goes on forever, but we still can’t comprehend it going on forever. Same with numbers.“
"Lance, is this really the time?” Shiro asked.
"They literally never stop and yet we just can’t imagine it. It’s like the Infinite Hotel Paradox. Some German mathematician completely understood it, like, he got that the mind was unable to comprehend infinity, and created a whole situation just to demonstrate how absurd it all is.“
They had finished off the last of the Galran soldiers when Shiro had interrupted him before, and now they all stood, mouth agape at him and he stared imploringly down the barrel of his gun, aiming at nothing. Lance felt lighter already, mind blissfully empty and ready to make the next move. He turned to the team and shrugged.
"I tried to warn you,” he said simply. “Now let’s go. We have prisoners on board the yellow Lion waiting to leave and I have a date with my shower,” Lance paused momentarily to point at Keith before continuing, “and you.”
Keith positively glowed a ruby red, deep in his cheeks and the tips of his ears. Lance beamed.
"Not at the same time, I hope,“ Allura replied, unamused. "Alright, Paladins. Escort the liberated prisoners to Minol V. After that, I expect everyone to be docked in the castle. You have twenty dobashes.”
"Yes, princess,“ Shiro said. The others echoed his response and made way to their lions, separating with lasting looks over their shoulders at Lance, who was none the wiser. He took up a tune and whistled his way to the Blue Lion, wherein he immediately took off to assist Hunk with his extra cargo.
Twenty Altean minutes later found the Paladins congregated in the control room, exhausted and beaten.
"Well done, today, lad,” said Coran and patted Hunk on the shoulder.
"It was a combined effort,“ Hunk offered, and Shiro nodded.
"Yeah, yeah, we all kicked ass,” Lance drawled. “But I’m tired and need a little TLC. All this stress is not good for the skin.”
Keith snorted and crossed his arms. “Please, your skin is always perfect.”
"Wait, no– that wasn’t– I was insulting you!” Lance already had the boy in a tight hug around the waist and was nuzzling his face into the crook of Keith’s neck. Keith accepted defeat and hugged back.
"Oh, spare me and go make out somewhere else,“ Pidge groaned, looking away as they leant back on their hands, splaying their legs out in front of them on the ground.
"Okay,” Lance grinned. He grabbed Keith’s hand and pulled it to his chest, shooting him a conspiring grin. “Okay. Let’s go make out somewhere else, babe.”
Lance’s outbursts never did stop happening. Though, he did make better work of warning his team when he felt the rush come over him. That didn’t stop them from all being slightly taken-aback with each new speech topic. Sometimes, even, their interests would be so piqued that later on, they’d find Lance and start a discussion on the very same topic. It helped boost team morale sometimes, pulled them closer and helped them remember the little things about Earth. Lance was happy that his quirk that was often made fun of back home turned out to be the thing each team member looked forward to most each day.
Mr. and Mrs. Pepper- Owners and chefs of the “Pepper Paradiso” restaurant.
Specializing in the sweet and the spicy, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper run a one-of-a-kind eatery that the locals describe as being “heavenly hellish”, all while raising three rather energetic daughters.
One night, a young Lewis showed up on their doorstep, scruffed up and half conscious. Despite numerous attempts to discover where he came from and what brought him there, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper were never able to unravel his past. With nowhere to go, they decided to take him in as one of the family, which turned out to be quite the blessing for them.
He was quick to volunteer in whatever way he could, whether it be doing odd-jobs or babysitting their often rambunctious girls. Mr. and Mrs. Pepper would often let Lewis be the first one to try out their newest culinary creations, cultivating his tastes for the super sugary and blazing hot.
“Tennis superstar Serena Williams took the premier plunge on February 23, in the Hotel Victor’s new Evian Experience. At $5,000 a pop and available exclusively in the $6,000 per night penthouse suite of the hip, new Miami Beach hotspot, the Evian Experience is the world’s most expensive bath.
“I could feel the difference from the moment I stepped in - the water felt so pure,” said Williams, who was surrounded in the tub by fuchsia and orange Gerber Daisies. “Also - Evian is a sponsor of the US Open, which I’ve won the last few years, so I guess you can say the water has been lucky for me.”
Complete with two hours of customizable spa services and a luxurious food and beverage component, the experience includes:
– 350 gallon, infinity-edge tub with over 1000 liters of Evian Natural Spring Water, the world’s leading premium water brand, to revitalize the skin and purify the senses.
– Colorful Gerber Daisies drift in the water while illuminating candles bring a renewed sense of self.
– While your bath is being drawn to the ideal temperature, the Spa V team entices you with a blissful selection of spa treatments.
– Hotel Victor chef, James Wierzelewski, enhances the treatments with culinary creations such as Smoked Salmon Lollipops, Potted Cru of Foie Gras and a signature hotel sweet platter, the Seven Sins of Chocolate.
– To add some “bubbles” to the bath, a bottle of chilled Krug Grand Cuvee is served with fresh strawberries and sliced mango.”
Good!Ganny BOTW AU (Meaning that Demise is the villain, and not Ganon)
I feel like if he were in botw he’d be this mysterious incognito character that gives Link the most arbitrary side quests, but with the best rewards (especially lots of food, which Link always needs).
Link just keeps running into this guy and supposes it’s a thing now.
Riju is his daughter and he just wants to do right by her and show her how to be the best Gerudo chief she can be.
Initially he was the one that was supposed to accompany Link to Vah Naboris, but Riju is much better at sand seal riding than he is (especially given that he’s so big and prone to lose his balance while trying). He was really hesitant to let her do it until he learned that she would take the Thunderhelm with her.
Does this mean Urbosa is, like, his grandmother, or something?
He’s a really good chef when it comes to Gerudo cuisine. His culinary creations are also good for heals (5 hearts minimum).
Looks like he could kill you, but is actually a cinnamon roll.
Knows Link isn’t a vai from the start when he enters Gerudo Town, but he also knows he’s the hero, so he doesn’t say anything.
As their King/chief, he is the only male allowed in Gerudo town.
Could you please do a Keith scenario where it's is birthday and his s/o surprises him with a little party, nothing too big cause he wouldn't want something like that and he's touched? Thanks!
Two in one night! I’m on a role. But sadly that’s all for tonight, I’ve got a 9am Aerobics class tomorrow and I’m going to need all the strength I can get.
Btw, hope you enjoyed this, I think it turned out pretty cute, but it seems a bit rushed at the end, maybe one day I’ll have to re-do.
Keith popped his head into the dining room, glancing around to make sure nobody was going to jump out and surprise him before he’d had his breakfast, who at all.
He was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was already seated at the table, and Hunk was just setting out the plates filled with his latest culinary creation.
“Morning Keith!” You chirped upon seeing him enter. He gave you a small smile and took his seat next to you. “Happy birthday.”
He grimaced, wishing you had brought it up, “thanks,” he forced out, not wanting to hurt your feelings.
Around the table there was a sudden chorus of ‘happy birthdays’ and that was it. Keith was shocked that you hadn’t planned some elaborate surprise party or big celebration, since that was very much something you’d talked about when you had discovered his birthday.
Breakfast continued without any big surprises, as did the rest of the day. The only difference was that when he finally decided to call it a day after training long after the others had gone to bed, he found something interesting waiting in his room.
As soon as the door opened Keith was greeted with a banner that looked homemade that was pinned the wall, spelling out H-A-P-P-Y-B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y. Then when he turned his gaze to his bed he was even more surprised to see you fast asleep, the paper party hat that you had been wearing was bent and misshapen and a single nose maker rested in between your slightly parted lips.
Keith chuckled and sat on the edge of the bed, he grabbed the party hat and put it to the side, returning his hand to your head and running his fingers through you hair.
The motion made you stir and your eyes slowly fluttered open to reveal the Red Paladin gazing down at you with a bemused smirk. You sat up and rubbed your eyes and blew out a breath, the noise maker made a sad attempt at a happy surprising sound.
“Happy birthday,” you muttered quietly. You leaned against him and rested your head on his shoulder. “I hope you had a good day.”
“I did. And this was the icing on the cake.” With that he pressed his lips to your forehead and laid you back down on the bed before getting ready himself.
“Your attitude? Not that bad?” I barked out a laugh.
“Yeah, sorry hyung, but even I don’t get the nicest vibe from you, gotta be blunt.” Chan said, leaning onto the counter beside me and shooting Sehun a raised brow.
“Why’s that, hyung?"Sehun replied, sneering at Chanyeol with his face contorted.
"Well, that tone is certainly a start.” Ky said, frying veggies in a pan.
“The dark and brooding demeanour is another point on the list.” Baek added.
“The whole ‘lone dog’ thing is a lot to deal with as well.” I quipped, tucking my hair behind my ears and grinning.
“Oh, come on.” Sehun said, a aggravated grin playing at his lips.
“Well seriously man, do you have any friends?” Chan said, smirking.
“I’m not interested in making friends.”
“I think I’ve decided!” Back said triumphantly, throwing my door open with a wide grin.
Chan groaned from his nap on my bed. “Baekhyn-ah, it shouldn’t be this hard to pick a fucking outfit.”
“Come on Baekhyun, you made me lose my place!” Ky groaned, adjusting his glasses from his nose. Classes didn’t start until tomorrow, and yet he was already waist deep in revision for his culinary history class. Such a good student.
Even I huffed. “Baek, this is the fourth time you’ve-” I raised my hands into quotation marks “-decided on your first-day-of-class ensemble.”
Baek knitted his eyebrows at me. “Wha- what’s this?” he said, imitating my quotation marks and pulling a nasty face. “You canadians and your stupid hand gestures. No, I’m serious this time!”
“Oh yeah? Well go on then, model it off to us.” Chanyeol said, shooing Baek to the bathroom with a flick of his wrist. He rolled onto his side, sleepy eyes heavy lidded. “In the meantime, how long was I out?”
“Only since he had last 'decided’.” I said, repeating my 'stupid canadian hand gesture’ and glancing at the invisible watch on my wrist. “So, about ten minutes or so?”
“Ah, fuck this.” Chanyeol said, a lopsided grin forming as he pushed himself into a sit. He rubbed his eyes wearily. “There’s no point if this will keep happening all day.”
“Yeah, I’m surprised you’ve kept trying for this long.” Kyungsoo said, leaning back and stretching from the kitchen table. “I would have given up after he tried stealing your sweater to try on.”
“Yeah, that almost pushed me to the edge.” Chan chuckled. “He’s lucky I’m so patient.”
“Are you guys done bitching about me or should I leave?” Baekhyun yelled from behind the closed door of the bathroom, followed by a harsh thud. “Ah, fuck, almost slipped and broke my dick.”
I closed my laptop with a soft thud. “Baek, can you not talk about your dick for like five minutes, please?” I asked, rubbing my temples in disdain.
“You love it!” he laughed, swinging open the door softly. He strutted out, in impossibly tight black skinny jeans, swinging his hips animatedly. His white tee shirt was crisp and clean, and he tousled his tawny hair softly with a smirk.
“Wow.” Ky said dryly, leaving his head on his hands and giving Back an uninterested look. “You look amazing, hyung.”
“Truly a gift from God himself.” I said, with a sarcastic smirk playing on my lips.
“Holy, do you happen to be single? I’d like to take you out, hot stuff.” Chan said through the open door to my room, grinning.
“Can you guys fuck off, for like, two seconds please. Is this too understated?” Baek asked, rolling his eyes and pressing his shirt with his hands.
“Honestly Baekhyun, anything will look fine. The profs aren’t even going to notice -” I started.
“Well, this isn’t for the professors!” Back whines, shoving his hands in his back pockets.
“Then who’s it for?” Ky asked wearily, folding his glasses and setting them on the table.
“The ladies, obviously.” Baekhyun grinned, sauntering over to join Ky and I at the table. He plopped down beside me with a soft thud. “Come on, now I’m reconsidering this whole thing.”
“It looks fine!”
“Who cares you idiot!”
“Can you stop worrying about it already?” We all whined un unison.
Baekhyun shrugged. “If you tell me that its actually fine, then sure.”
“Thank you.” Baekhyun said with a smirk, folding his arms. “So, who wants lunch?”
“Ah, me!” Chanyeol said, rolling back to lay on my bed once again. “But not if you’re making it.”
“Don’t worry, I need practice anyway.” Kyungsoo said, signing and standing up. “Where’s your pot again?”
“There.” I said, pointing to the cupboards. The past few days, we had gotten into the habit of cooking for each other. Baek burnt ramen first time, and we haven’t trusted him since.
“What are you thinking today, Kyungsoo?” I asked, folding my legs up on the chair. “Something spicy, I assume?”
“Is there any other way?” Ky said, turning and shooting me a grin. He loved his spicy meals, which worked out well for me, who also has a rather adventurous palette.
Suddenly, these was a soft rapping at the door, so quiet I almost missed it. Ky heard it as well, turning to face me with wide eyes.
“Ah, you have a guest?” he said, gesturing a soup ladle at the door while gathering supplies from my fridge.
“I guess so.” I shrugged, rising from my creaky chair. “Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are.”
I grabbed the handle and opened the door softly, not wanting to scare off whoever was here to see me. I glanced out, but was surprised to have my view completely hidden by a broad chest.
“Eh? You?” Sehun said, his lips twisting into a frown. “I must have the wrong room.”
I shot him a smirk. “Aw, you missed me that much already?”
Sehun ignored me, looking at my room number and chewing his lip in concentration. “Huh, one-oh-eight… the fucker must have given me the wrong - ”
“Sehun?” Ky said, peering out from behind my shoulder. He looked just as confused as Sehun. “What are you doing here?”
“I was looking for you.”
“Well yeah, but why?”
“My keycard isn’t working.”
“What?!” Kyungsoo said, his eyes growing larger by the moment.
“Yeah, you told me you were coming here again… why on earth are you with her? Whose room is this?” Sehun asked, pointing to me. His brows knit together as though the fact that Ky and I being friends was the most difficult algorithm he had ever encountered.
“Hey, I’m standing right here you know. It is my room, after all.” I quipped, shuffling aside so Kyungsoo could face Sehun. It was clear he wasn’t here for me anyway.
“Whatever. Can I borrow your key?” Sehun huffed, holding out his hand and expecting Kyungsoo to hand it over promptly.
“Uh… my key’s in the room.” Ky said, his eyebrows raising.
“What?!” Sehun exclaimed, his voice growing louder by the moment. His hand raised to rub at his temples in annoyance. “Are you kidding me, DO?”
“Well, it’s not like you ever leave the room anyway, I figured you would stay holed up until I came back.”
“Well you thought wrong, you idiot.”
“Hey, at least my keycard works though.”
“Yeah, that would really be useful right now, wouldn’t it.”
“Well, maybe if you had left the room before you would have realized that your card was broken.”
“Well, maybe if you weren’t a stupid fucki-”
“Can you guys stop bickering for two seconds?” I said, rolling my eyes. I swear my ears were about to burst from listening to the two of them. “Are one of you going to call the supervisor and get this fixed, or will I have to take on the mother figure here?”
“I’ll call, since apparently I’m responsible for the fucking mess.” Ky sighed. “Chan, watch the rice. Don’t let it boil over.”
“Got it hyung!” Chan said, rolling off my bed and walking into the kitchen.
Ky slipped out into the hallway to make the call, leaving Chan, Baek, Sehun and I waiting in awkward silence. The tension was so thick, you could cut through it with a knife.
“So… you coming inside, or…?” Baekhyun asked, staring at Sehun with a raised eyebrow.
Sehun scoffed in response. “Polite pass on that offer.”
“Why?” Chan asked, stirring the rice and glancing at him past my shoulder. “We don’t bite, buddy. Come in, have lunch. I doubt you’ll be getting into your room for a while.”
“What makes you say that?” Sehun asked, now intrigued. Even though he was trying to hide it, I could tell he was glancing at Kyungsoo’s culinary creation, now intrigued. He shifted to lean on my doorframe.
“Well, if the key doesn’t work, they’ll need to go through the paperwork and prove that you’re you. Do you happen to have your wallet on you?”
“No.” Sehun said sheepishly, hands starting to fiddle in front of him.
“So, you don’t have any identification on you? They won’t just unlock your room for some random without his Student ID.” Chanyeol said, shooting Sehun a crooked grin. “Come on in, we’re having lunch.”
Sehun, seemingly torn, glanced between Chanyeol, the pot of rice, and me.
I shrugged. “Seems to me like you’re out of luck buddy. May as well get comfortable.”
Sehun tossed back his head and let out a groan, but his feet still carried him inside my doorway.
“Come sit here.” Baekhyun said, patting the chair next to him. Sehun grumbled, yet did as he was told. He flopped into the chair roughly, like a five year old going to time out.
“Come on man, smile a little bit! Classes don’t start until tomorrow, there’s no reason to be this pissed off.” Baek grinned at him. “What’s your program?”
“You won’t get it.” Sehun sighed, picking invisible lint off his dark blue jeans.
“What’s not to get?” Chan quipped. “Is it Astrophysics? Neurology? Biomedical toxicology?” He narrowed his gaze. “Mechanical engineering?”
“No, no.” Sehun grimaced at the thought. “I’m going through the Hattoke Jeunmyeon branch, for Dance and Preforming Arts.”
My eyebrows jumped up in surprise. “Wait, you’re a dancer?” I asked in disbelief, my tone certainly giving away my stunned demeanour.
“Yes, what’s it to you, jagi?” Sehun sneered at me, rolling his eyes at my response.
I shrugged. “Nothing, I guess. Just didn’t see you as the dancing type.”
Sehun glanced at me through his thick lashes. He ran a hand though his disheveled mop of a haircut. “Oh, yeah? And what did you see me as, then?”
I looked at the ceiling, pretending to be lost in thought. To add to the effect, I stroked my chin slowly. “Oh, I don’t know… Gatekeeper to Hell?”
Baekhyun grinned at my response. “That’s funny Chae, I was going to say the same thing!”
“I was thinking he’s more 'Portal to the Underworld’ kind of guy myself.” Chanyeol smirked, stirring the rice absentmindedly.
“Either that or Lucifer’s Apprentice, but those were off of our thrilling conversation on initiation night, so can you blame me?” I grinned at him, to which he rolled his eyes.
“I thought we agreed to forget that ever happened.” he sighed. his fingers rubbing his eyes in disdain.
“Oh, but it did.” I said, walking to the countertop beside Chanyeol and hopping up for a seat. “And after, I said I was going to force you to be my friend, and here are. Funny how the universe works out like this.”
“I said no.”
“You really don’t understand what force means, do you?” I said, making Chan snicker quietly.
“Can you fuck off with the attitude, jagi? Not sure if you can tell, but I’m not exactly in the mood.” Sehun said, rolling his head to face me. His dark eyes were burning holes into mine.
“Sure, sure, anything for a friend.” I grinned right back, ignoring my heart pounding at his intense gaze.
“And, we’re good.” Kyungsoo said, coming back into the room and closing the door softly behind him. “You can stop fucking with my meal now, thanks.” He shot a quick smirk at Chanyeol.
“I literally stirred the rice.”
“You’re not supposed to stir rice!”
“Well, I’m not the culinary major, am I?”
“Obviously not.” Ky said, rushing to save his meal from total disaster.
“Wait, can I go now? Did they fix it?” Sehun asked, his voice lilting up in hopefulness.
“What? Oh, no. They said it’ll take an hour or two to get all the paperwork in order and get a new key, but after that we should be good.” Kyungsoo said, grabbing a cutting board to dice some eggplant.
“Are you fucking with me right now?” Sehun asked, narrowing his gaze at Ky.
Kyungsoo sighed, falsifying a large, sickly sweet smile and turning to face Sehun. “Ha, yes! You got me! On that phone call, they actually managed to fix the door, tidied our room for us, and even gave me ten billion Won! Can you believe our luck?! ” The smile dropped from his face and he returned to dicing vegetables. “No, I’m not fucking with you, why would I do that?”
“Okay, okay, I get it.” Sehun said, leaning back in the chair with a loud squeak.
“He’s just giving you the attitude you always seem to give out, hyung.” Baekhyun said, leaning his head on the wall behind him and giving Sehun a soft smirk.
“Come on, I’m not that bad.” Sehun said, his cheeks flaring a bit.
My jaw simply dropped in response. “Your attitude? Not that bad?” I barked out a laugh.
“Yeah, sorry hyung, but even I don’t get the nicest vibe from you, gotta be blunt.” Chan said, leaning onto the counter beside me and shooting Sehun a raised brow.
“Why’s that, hyung?"Sehun replied, sneering at Chanyeol with his face contorted.
"Well, that tone is certainly a start.” Ky said, frying veggies in a pan.
“The dark and brooding demeanour is another point on the list.” Baek added.
“The whole 'lone dog’ thing is a lot to deal with as well.” I quipped, tucking my hair behind my ears and grinning.
“Oh, come on.” Sehun said, a aggravated grin playing at his lips.
“Well seriously man, do you have any friends?” Chan said, smirking.
“I’m not interested in making friends.”
“Who’s not interested in making friends?” Baek asked incredulously, his own heavily-social-oriented lifestyle obviously a stark contrast to Sehun’s.
“You really do belong in the Underworld.” I laughed, shaking my head in disbelief.
“Now I understand why you want to be his friend,” Chan said, slapping my thigh with his large hand. “You feel bad for the guy!”
“Is it really that weird that I’d rather spend my time at uni, oh, I don’t know, learning stuff?” Sehun asked, adjusting his seat in my chair. You could tell we were slowly working our way under his crusty shell, making him actually engage in the conversation. He tried to mask his discomfort with an extra layer of saucy attitude, but it was too obvious to bear.
“Well, obviously that’s a factor of going to school.” I said, smirking at him. “But do you want to remember all your classes, or hanging out with your new group of friends?”
“Classes.” Sehun said, his lips pursing into a tight line.
“Uh oh, I think someone’s in denial!” Chanyeol said, sing-singing to irritate him even more. It worked, Sehun rolling his eyes and crossing his arms with a huff.
“Aw, it’s okay Sehun-ah, we’ll take care of you.” Baekgrinned, and clapped shun on both shoulders, roughing him around a little bit.
“Can I opt out of this experience?” Shun whined, glancing around at all of us with wide eyes.
“Nope! No return engagements, no refunds.” I laughed, sliding off the countertop. “Sorry, hyung, there’s nothing we can do now.”
“And what’s your ultimate plan then?” Shun asked, his eyes narrowing at me. “Cause if you’re hanging with a bunch of boys to get laid, not exactly sure if you’re doing it right.”
“Hey, come on now.” Ky said, taking the pan off the heat and moving it to the table. “She’s like one of the guys.”
“Yeah, she’s like a brother, it’s not like that.” Chanyeol laughed, roughing up my hair playfully. “Could you imagine?”
I grimaced at the thought. While the trio were all attractive in their own way, I was certainly not interested in sleeping with them. “God, no!”
“Come on Chae, the option’s always open with me, oppa!” Back chirped, shooting me a playful wink.
“If you’re trying to put on the moves, I don’t suggest calling her 'sister’ while propositioning sex.” Ky laughed, grabbing some bowls and setting them on the table. “In the meantime, lunch’s ready.”
“Thank god, I think I’m starving!” I grinned, grabbing a bowl and the soup ladle eagerly. “What do you call this?”
“Spicy eggplant wok with rice.” Ky said, a smile playing on my lips as he watched my expression carefully. I heaped it into my bowl, making his smile grow wider. He was obviously thrilled at my excitement.
“Ah, spicy again, hyung?” Baek groaned, not having the fond love of spice that Ky and I shared.
“What’s wrong with spice?” Sehun quipped, shifting again in his seat and eyeing the wok eagerly. “You a little bitch or something?”
Baek rolled his eyes at Sehun’s cold observation. “Or something.” he sneered, imitating Sehun’s voice – badly.
Chan, Ky and I ignored their quarrelling, simply eating our food in soft silence. The food was amazing, as it normally was when Kyungsoo made it, which made us all scarf it down even quicker. Quickly, the pot got emptier and emptier, until finally the food was all gone and the bowls around the table were also empty.
“Thank you.” Ky said, cheeks growing rosy at the compliment.
“I’m stuffed!” I yawned, slowly working my way up from my seat. “Now, I need a nap.”
“Not before me!” Chan said with a grin, darting up and running into my room. Eyes widening, I broke into a wide grin and chased after him.
“Oppa, no!” I whined as he flung himself onto my bed. I jumped on as well, the bed frame creaking between the both of us. “Come on, you napped all morning!”
“Yes, and now it’s mid-afternoon, and I’m tired again. Come on, we can both squeeze.” Chan said, his eyes growing heavy through even touching a pillow and blanket. He pulled his hood up around his face and rolled over to face the wall with a soft grumble.
“Sleepy boy.” I tsked quietly, but laying down beside his huge looming frame anyway. I snuggled my head further into my pillow, stomach full and contented, listening to the soft conversation still going on in the kitchen flowing through my doorway.
- - - - -
I rough shake at my shoulder jerked me awake. I groaned sleepily, wiping the hair out of my eyes and blinking slowly. “What?” I grumbled.
“Mwo?” a deep voice said, confused.
Ah, shit. Stupid English kicking in.
“Sorry, what?” I said again, correcting my language.
“We’re leaving.” Sehun said, crouching beside me. His hot breath fanned over my face, smelling strongly of spearmint gum. I grimaced. “Our door got fixed.”
“Oh, okay. You didn’t have to wake me, you know.” I grumbled. Not exactly a morning person.
“Exactly, I figured it would piss you off.” Sehun gave a lopsided smirk, his tone brazen and confident. He raised for his squatting position and went to stride confidently out of the room, before I stopped him.
“Hey, what time is it? Where did everyone go?” I asked quickly, before he had the chance to dart away.
He glanced at his watch and sighed, as though it was the biggest annoyance that I had even asked. He pushed the sleeve of his black shirt further up his arm. “Sixteen - thirty.” he said, glancing back at he. His dark hair fell into his eyes, and he pushed it away and leaned on my doorframe. “Uh, Kyungsoo went to help the supervisor with the paperwork, and Baekhyun decided that he would rather nap in his own bed than on the floor I guess.”
“Ah, gotcha.” I groaned, head falling onto my pillow. “Sixteen-thirty already? Almost dinnertime then, I guess.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Sehun said, gaze falling to the floor. He adjusted his shoes awkwardly, and I could tell from his tense shoulders that he was uncomfortable.
I felt bad, this loner obviously not exactly feeling welcome in our little squad. Maybe we had teased him too much, or maybe he just wasn’t used to having conversations with actual people instead of some weird online chatroom. His shoulders tight and tense, squared off, he positively loomed in the doorway. Even with his stature, you could really tell he was quite delicate, with his long legs and narrow waist.
His body was made to be a dancer.
His eyes caught my stare grazing his body, making me jump slightly. He shot me a arrogant smirk in response.
Refusing to let my cheeks redden, I quipped, “Are you wanting to come out with us? We’ll probably go out tonight since Ky already cooked.” I rested my head on my hands softly, brushing the scraggly hair out of my face.
“You guys all go together?” Sehun said, glancing between me and Chanyeol, who’s still fast asleep.
“Yeah, at least we have the past couple days.” I shrugged, my heart slowly returning to it’s normal pace. “It’s up to you.”
“Eh, I’ll think about it. Don’t get your hopes up though, jagi.” Sehun huffed, rolling his shoulders back. And, with a flick of his stupid hair, he walked out of my doorway.
“Wouldn’t have in the first place!” I yelled after him, but only got my slamming door in response.
“'Don’t get your hopes up, jagi’ "Chanyeol grumbled, his voice gravelly with sleep.
"Eh, I thought you were asleep."I said, rolling over to face him.
His head fell to face me, one eye peeking open to look at me. "Nope, woke up somewhere around the time he got snippy again.”
“So, you were awake the whole time?” I smirked.
“Yep, just didn’t want to deal with his attitude. Have we officially signed on to try and tame that guy? Cause I don’t know if I can deal with his snarky demeanour much longer.” Chanyeol groaned, with a smile playing at his lips.
“Not sure. Hopefully if we did, we can reverse that decision before it’s too late.” I laughed, pushing myself to sit up.
“Well, you just invited him out for dinner with us, so good luck!” Chan grumbled, stretching his arms above his head with a groan. He opened his eyes wider, glancing out my window at the slowly sinking sun.
I stood, chuckling. “Yeah, and you really think he’d take up that offer? I don’t think so.”
“Let’s hope not.” Chanyeol said, moving to the edge of my bed. “In the meantime, I better go back to my room and shower before we leave.”
“Yeah, I’ll probably do the same.” I sighed, stretching my arms above my head, and trying to crack my back. Hiking my leggings up further on my hips, I turned to face him and leaned against my desk. “What time will we go, do you think?”
Chan shrugged and stood. “Dunno, text the group chat. I’m gunna go, brainstorm where we should try tonight!” He shot me a lopsided grin. “See you soon, I guess?”
“Yeah, see you later Chan.” I smiled back, to which he gave me a little wave and sauntered out off my room, pulling his hood over his head.
I, myself, headed into the bathroom, getting the shower running. Steam quickly filled the room
Why we had even invited Sehun into my room was rather beyond me. Yes, he was kind of screwed over with the door, but he was also very obviously a social pariah. Putting in the effort with him didn’t seem to be exactly worth the effort when he was so obviously bent on pushing us away. Even though he had a very harsh exterior, simply forcing Sehun for more than a few minutes, you could tell he was a smart guy.
Maybe it was just because he didn’t like anybody. Maybe it was because nobody took the time to like him.
Grabbing the shampoo and lathering up my sandy brown hair, my mind drifted beyond Sehun, to my class tomorrow. Obviously starting strong with a seven in the morning financial business intro class wasn’t the smartest idea, however when I had signed up for it I was thinking that early mornings would be the perfect time to bond with other students. Now, I’m confident that I have a solid group of friends that I can lean back on if nothing works out.
I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, scrubbing at my scalp harshly. The warm, silky water flowed down my body, leaving raised goosebumps in it’s wake. Soaked and silky, my hair hung down my back in a river of brown and copper hues.
Not sure if it’s obvious, but I love showering.
I twisted off the knob with a quick yawn, stepping out of the shower onto the fluffy towel I had laid down previous. Wiping down the mirror with my hand, I stared at my unclothed body with detachment.
From what I’ve been told, I get all my looks from my biological father; long, lean body, gangly limbs, pale skin. My face was sharp and angular, petite nose, large blue-green eyes. All I knew was that my biological parents gave me a weird assortment of genetic code, resulting in in a jarring contrast of sharp and soft features that never seems to look quite right. The adoption agency had given me photos of both of my 'real’ parents, but I was rather uninterested in them, seeing as my adoptive mother was the only mother I really needed.
God, I miss her.
Sighing, I grabbed another towel and dried myself off, done with picking myself apart and getting ready for the night ahead instead.
The Marvelous Miniature Culinary Creations of @shayaar
To see more of Shay’s teensy culinary creations, follow @shayaar on Instagram.
“People can’t get enough of seeing their favorite treat in the size of their finger,” explains accidental miniature food artist Shay Aaron (@shayaar). Shay studies stage and costume design in Tel Aviv, Israel, but has spent the past decade fielding miniature food requests from every corner of the globe.
Since his first commission — a tiny Seder plate for Passover — Shay has refined his micro-culinary skills, at one point enrolling in a six-month baking course to learn more about pastries. But there will be no sampling of these bite-size morsels. His works, done at a 1:12 scale, are primarily made of polymer clay, but can include resin, glass, wood, metal and paper.
The final step of production is the most difficult to capture, but also the most important. “Texturing is crucial and takes lots of time and energy,” Shay explains. “I’m using a sewing needle to create bread crumbs or the spongy texture for a layer cake. I can work on a tiny piece for an hour just to get the right texture.”
You’ve got Edge and Blue’s endless amounts of energy, combined with Edge’s explosive temper and Blue’s mischievousness. If his not bossing everyone around, his throwing a fit because he can’t boss everyone around.
His that asshole complaining about how he ordered his pie “with a golden brown crust” but what he got is clearly “ a light brown crust.”
-Puts the ‘ass’ in sass. This is the little shit that always has to have the last word in an argument. Even if its mumbled under his breath to where he is the only one who hears it.
-His incredibly sentimental. Within his room, hidden within the greatest of secret locations (i.e. under his bed), is his secret stash. A photo Papyrus took of his first culinary creation, a broken attack from his first sparring match with Alphys, the ticket stubs to the first Napstabot show he ever saw, all collected together in a small wooden box.
Whenever his feeling a bit low, he takes them out and spends some time alone, living in his memories.
-If you can stand his bullcrap long enough, you might just catch a glimpse of what’s really going on. Yeah he puts on the bravado, acting like he doesn’t care at all and will dust anybody who so much as looks at him wrong.
But he does. This isn’t right, and he knows it. His the Captain of the Royal Guard, reduced to acting as little more than a bully. His supposed to be protecting people, not threatening them at every turn.
-Bonus: His addicted to soap operas. “Young and the Restless” is his greatest guilty pleasure.