What: There’s an intruder on board who catches an inhabitant by surprise.
Where: Deck and kitchen of the Vongola ship
When: The morning after Killua picks up Fay.
A beam of sunlight had crept through the curtains landing squarely on Nanami’s face. She stirred a bit before opening her eyes and pushing herself up. Groggily, she reached over for her nightstand and picked up her glass and upon putting it to her lips, she found it was empty. Nanami sighed loudly and let her bare feet hit the floor with a soft thud. The clock moved up a minute marking 6:32 AM; it was way too damn early to have to refill a glass of water, but Nanami was thirsty and there were no maids here to call on.
The floorboards just barely creaked in complaint as Fay padded near-silently down the hall. He had always been a light sleeper, and that was without the bright, warm sunlight that seemed to be a trademark of this country. Not that he minded; he hadn't been getting the best sleep in the first place, and now was an excellent time to explore his new surroundings and give him time to think uninterrupted.
Somehow the girl had managed to stand up and make it out her door somehow. In her frilly purple night gown she made her way down the hallway while rubbing sleep from her eyes. She headed toward the galley, glass in hand.
Fay watched Nanami silently as Nanami passed him, seeming to not see him at all. Well, he couldn't have that! It looked like the idea of uninterrupted thought would soon be impossible, but maybe he would rather not have that anyway; ultimately he would be unable to act whatever he decided, so why bother? Forcing a wide grin onto his face was routine now, and he did so without a second thought, before calling loudly, "Good morning!"
A sharp scream cut through the morning air, the glass Nanami was holding went flying over her shoulder, most likely in Fay’s direction. "Don’t freak me out like—" she had turned to reprimand the culprit only to realize she had no idea who the hell this guy was. Another scream filled the air as she backed up glancing around quickly for a weapon since she still didn’t have her swords back from Silvers. "Who are you and what are you doing on this ship?!" She demanded hiding the fear in her voice relatively well.
The smile never left his face as Fay caught the glass in his left hand. He waved his right in a calming gesture. "Sorry, Miss, I didn't mean to scare you! Killua-kun picked me up last night; you can call me Fay."
"Killua did?" She scrunched up her nose, narrowed her eyes and gave him a once over. "You’re Mr. Flourite then?" She glanced down at her glass that was now in his hands.
"No, no," Fay protested with another graceful wave of his right hand as the left relaxed into a more natural position by his side. "That's far too formal for little old me! Just call me Fay. It's easier on the tongue and much less effort to remember!"
Nanami relaxed her body a bit and sighed loudly. "Very well then, Fay," she nodded her head, "I’m Nanami Kiryuu." There was no ‘nice to meet you’ or anything to follow the statement up, instead she held a hand out, "May I have my glass back now?"
"Of course, of course!" Without further ado, Fay reached out to hand the glass back to its owner. "What's a pretty girl like Nanami-san doing up so early anyway? Surely she needs her beauty sleep!"
She accepted the glass cautiously, keeping a close eye on this new person, but her ears perked up when he used her name and "pretty" in the same sentence. Her expression did a complete 180 and she beamed up at him brightly. "I do love my beauty sleep but I seem to have run out of water and am I ever parched. Staying hydrated is important for a good complexion." She threw a lock of hair back over her shoulder and smiled confidently.
So complimenting her looks was the key? Duly noted. Fay tilted his head slightly, easy grin still in place. "And it looks like it's working! I shouldn't keep Nanami-san from her routine, but now that we're talking about it, I'm pretty thirsty myself. Mind if I follow you?"
"Oh, of course, M—Fay," Nanami caught herself before she called him "mister" again, "it’s just a little further this way." She turned and began leading him to the kitchen area. "So, what brings you to the Grand Line?"
"My companions and I have been traveling worlds for a while now, but it looks like I arrived here a bit earlier than the rest," Fay explained, following just behind Nanami, "But usually we're the only newcomers, and that doesn't seem to be the case here. Has Nanami-san been here long, or is she a native?"
"Hmm," she mused while moving into the kitchen. Nanami had seen everything else on the Grand Line, why not world traveling people? "I’ve been here since the end of September," she replied filling her glass with water. "Would you like something to eat or drink?" She was, of course, subconsciously playing the part of hostess to the newcomer and it didn’t hurt that he had good taste.
"Well," Fay began, surveying the kitchen and noting how to get there so he needn’t ask again later, "I didn’t mean to cause Nanami-san any trouble, but the island I was on was a bit light on provisions." With that he threw her yet another of his many grins.
"It’s currently my duty to provide meals anyway," although she wasn’t sure how she managed to get into galley duty—hmm, she’d have to recruit another chef since Kuroyanagi was already taken by the Varia even though it was Nanami who got him in the first place. She returned his smile with a small tired one and put her hands on her hips. "There’s some fruit on the counter," she nodded to a bowl on the island, "how about some pancakes?" Those were easy.
Just like the cheesecake, more food that Fay had never heard of. Then again, just like the cheesecake, he assumed it wasn’t especially difficult to figure out what it was. "Pancakes sound delicious!" he replied warmly, stretching his arms above his head in a way that was vaguely reminiscent of a cat. "I’ve never made them before, so I might be a bit of a deadweight, but from what I hear I’m not too terrible in the kitchen myself and could help Nanami-san out if she likes."
"O..oh," the wheels in Nanami’s head were turning, "You’ll have to show me what you can do in the kitchen one day, soon hopefully," her smile almost a smirk. "Oh, they’re very simple, it’s just flour, baking soda, salt… sugar, milk, eggs and butter." Nanami had made these a few times and no longer needed the recipe.
Fay could tell Nanami was planning something, and it wasn’t too difficult to guess what; if he played his cards right, he might be able to land himself a job that didn’t involve battle. He clapped his hands gleefully. "That doesn’t sound too hard! If Nanami-san would let me know where things are, I can start getting together ingredients."
He seemed enthusiastic, that was certainly a good sign. With any luck at all, she’d never have to be in the kitchen again, what a refreshing thought! "Certainly!" She pointed out pointed out the refrigerator and the freezer, and the dry ingredient cupboard, spice drawer, baking items like flower and baking soda, the pans in the drawers. The kitchen was set up in a very orderly fashion, pans near the cooking range ingredients on one side near the fridge, plates, cups utensils on the other. "What kind of things do you usually make where you’re from?" She asked while getting out the pancake skillet.
"Oh, nothing too odd! No matter where you are, food is food," Fay answered, arranging everything they had gotten out on the counter. "I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, so my specialty would probably be baking." He opened the container holding the eggs and lifted one into the air, examining it. "I assume we start with the eggs?"
"Sure, let’s use three today, just beat them slightly in a bowl and add… three, tripling, so nine tablespoons of melted butter and I’ll get the dry ingredients ready," she said, her smile fading into a more serious expression, while measuring out the flour. She really didn’t enjoy cooking all that much.
"Nanami-san is so knowledgeable!" Fay remarked, cracking the eggs into a bowl with a well-practiced hand. Rifling through the cooking utensils, he emerged from the drawer with a whisk and began to beat the eggs expertly, humming a bit as he worked. He’d found that cooking came easily to him a while back, and the smiles his food caused kept him coming back. It was nice to know that he could bring some happiness to others, shallow though it might be.
"Well," she explained sifting the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda together, "everything I know about cooking I learned just last month. I spent a lot of time practicing and reading through books." She refrained from telling him about her disastrous first couple days in the kitchen where she spent a lot of time making messes and putting out fires. The blond made a well in her ingredients and pushed the bowl toward Fay. "Just pour yours into the hole and mix until it’s smooth."
"That makes Nanami-san’s skill even more impressive!" Fay tipped the eggs into the other bowl like Nanami had said, reaching back into the drawer to find a large spoon and starting to mix the batter with that. "But I’m guessing this skill came more from necessity than from a love for cooking?"
The blond leaned over and set an elbow on the island while propping her chin up on the back of her hand, watching him mix. "I suppose so, Master Reborn told me I had to do it for two weeks after we finished up with some training and somehow it turned into, Nanami is now the official Vongola cook. The alternative, of course, would be a very bad idea. Of course there <i>is</i> Mr. Yamamoto, but I think he only does sushi and he’s been very busy lately anyway."
For the first time that morning, Fay’s smile disappeared, replaced by a expression of abject horror as a shudder ran through his entire body. "S-sushi!?" he repeated, looking distinctly green in the face. "That’s the thing made of icky, slimy, smelly raw fish, isn’t it?"
Nanami had been watching his face and noticed the change immediately and for a moment she was a little worried about the Vongola’s newest guest. That changed when she realized the reason for the change. She moved the hand that was propping her chin up in front of her mouth and badly stifled a giggle. "It is. That’s a delicacy from my country, you know."
Fay forced a weak smile. "I hope I’m not offending Nanami-san! But just … ick," he pronounced firmly. So they had that disgusting stuff in this world, too? Yet another reason to take charge of the food: ensuring that that vile substance was never served, or at least that Fay was never forced to eat it. He returned to mixing the batter with a new determination and tried to recall the rest of what Nanami had said. "I’ve spoken to Reborn-san briefly, but I don’t think I’ve met anyone named Yamamoto. Is he nice?" Despite his terrible taste in food, he added silently.
Nanami stood up fully laughing. "Not at all and if it makes you feel better, I think this place has ruined my taste for nearly all types of sea food." She glanced at the bowl he was mixing noting it looked just about ready and she pulled the large measuring cup with a spout over with a spatula. "Hmm… Yes, I supposed so, rather dense though. He’ll be the guy who laughs all the time—how’s the batter look?"
"Yamamoto-kun sounds like someone who’s easy to get along with," Fay said, cocking his head to examine the batter, which looked smooth enough. "It looks good to me, but I’m just a novice. If Nanami-san says it’s done, it’s done." He scraped the extra batter off the spoon on the side of the bowl and held it up for her to see.
"Perfect, just pour it into the cup here and then we’ll be ready to pour and cook them," she held the spatula at the ready so she could help scoop out anything that was stuck to the sides. "Most of the people on this crew are pretty laid back, of course my view of them might be skewed after being with my last crew."
Gently, Fay tilted the bowl to spill the batter into the measuring cup. When most of it was gone, he shifted to hold the bowl in one large hand, using his spoon to scoop the more stubborn stuff with her. That done, he took the dirtied spoons and bowls to the sink. "What was Nanami-san’s last crew like?"
"Ung…" The girl shuddered just thinking about it. "It was filled with loud-mouthed assassins, a creepy girl and a food critic turned chef," she scrunched her nose, "oh, and a liger." Nanami checked the heat on the skillet and then poured a few circles of batter on it. She leaned against the counter holding a clean spatula while waiting for them to cook.
Now that he had nothing in particular to do with his hands, Fay slouched down to rest his elbows on the counter and his chin in his hands, looking up at Nanami like a little boy during storytime. "That sounds pretty scary!" The smile he offered this time was gentler than the rest, with a note of sympathy. The more Fay could get Nanami to talk, the less he would have to say about himself, with the added bonus of gathering information, always a good thing to do in a new and unfamiliar world. Not to mention that he could tentatively say that he liked Nanami so far, and the pancakes were looking delicious. Altogether, not a bad way to use the morning.
"Yes," she replied sliding the spatula under the first one to see if it was ready to flip yet, "it was definitely awful for the most part." She flipped the first one and moved to the second one. Nanami could say that she also liked Fay, he was very helpful and obedient, like an assistant of some sort, bonus to her if she could get him to take over kitchen duties. She flipped the second one and held the spatula out to Fay, "would you like to give it a try?"
"Sure!" Fay nodded, taking the spatula and eyeing the pancakes as if they were his prey. Delicately he slid it under one pancake and flipped it over neatly before turning back to her. "Like that?"
"Well aren’t you a natural in the kitchen!" She smirked, "Perfect, absolutely perfect. Why don’t you finish with those, and I’ll get the toppings and utensils out." She slid a plate over to him to put the finished pancakes and went to grab everything they’d need.
"No, no, not at all!" Fay said, waving the hand that wasn't busy with the spatula in a dismissive gesture, "I just have a bit of practice." He looked pleased nevertheless as he turned back to the pancakes, now a warm golden brown. "Think they're about ready, Nanami-san?"
Nanami glanced over at the skillet, "they look perfect," she replied with an approving nod. "Let’s make the rest for everyone else and we can keep them warm in the oven until everyone else is up." She turned the oven on it’s lowest setting. Nanami sat down on a stool and waited for Fay to finish up.
Fay finished the rest, quickly growing faster and more efficient as he went. The ever-present grin wasn't as wide as usual, but somehow it seemed much more genuine. When the rest of the pancakes were in the oven and the cooking tools in the sink, he slid into a stool next to Nanami. "And now to eat!"