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Ice Cream

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It was sometime after midnight when Umi had slipped out of bed and out of Clef's, no, their rooms. (She stayed overnight with him often enough and had more than a week's worth of clothing stored alongside his, but still hadn't officially moved in with him.)

He hadn't even heard her get dressed, and the wards around the room didn't register her leaving, only her coming back. The shiver of the door being opened was what woke him. He'd come out to find her carrying a jug of uinka juice, a half-full jar of sweetener, and a bowl of diced puragu.

"What are you doing?" He asked, startling her so badly she almost dropped everything.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you." She said as she set everything down on the counter in the little kitchenette along the side of the main room and gave him an apologetic smile. "I couldn't sleep, and I really wanted ice cream."

He blinked at that. Perhaps he should have known what she meant. They had managed to get him to Earth a few times in the past few years. (Not that he liked it very much. Tokyo was so busy and noisy, and the stretch of his magic was actually painful. But he had wanted to know where she was from, so he was happy to go when she asked—which wasn't very often.)

"Ice cream?"

"It's that—" Umi paused, hand in the air and stopped. "I've never introduced you to ice cream, have I?"

He shook his head and smiled.

"It's a sort of frozen dessert."

That made him stare at her even harder. Umi didn't like sweet things. Her usual idea of a dessert was a few slices of fruit, and some of that bitter choco-stuff that she brought from home.

"Just— I'll show you, okay?" She turned and started opening the cupboard and pulled out the small saucepan he occasionally used to reheat soups or for slightly more involved hot drinks, so he didn't have to bother the kitchen staff. She placed it onto the little ring he used for heating the kettle and poured in the juice and sweetener before turning on the flame.

"If it's supposed to be cold, why are you cooking it?" Clef leaned against the bedroom doorframe.

"It's the best way to to blend everything together properly," Umi explained, whisking the mixture. "You can go back to sleep, Clef. I'm not going to burn the castle down."

It was late and he had a Council meeting in the morning, so by all accounts he should be trying to sleep. Only there was no possible way that was going to happen with Umi cooking.

She wasn't being all that loud. There was the steady sound of her whisking the mixture she was simmering.

He just had the vague feeling that what she was planning could go very, very wrong somehow, and he'd like to be there to do something about it, if it did. Most of the magic Umi did went right the first time, but she was very powerful and if things went wrong, they went very wrong.

A few minutes later, she turned off the flame and poured the mixture into the large metal bowl he used for some of his potion making. She started stirring slowly, cradling the bowl in one arm. He could feel the air cooling around her before the crystals started to form on the rim of the bowl. As the mixture cooled, she started scraping the edge and turning it over into the middle of the bowl. Once everything was looking far less like liquid, she stopped and dumped in the diced bits of puragu, folding the fruit in and making it colder.

When her creation seemed to be relatively firm, Umi set the bowl down again and looked through the cupboards for something else. "What happened to all of our bowls?"

"Oh, I took them back to the kitchens."

Umi harrumphed and picked two of the largest mugs. The scoop of ice cream stayed firm when she dropped it into the first mug and handed it to him with one of the longer handled tea spoons. She gave herself some and leaned back against the counter.

With her first mouthful, Umi closed her eyes and hummed in pleasure.

"Does it taste right, then?" he asked, eyeing the cold mound in the bottom of his mug. He wasn't sure his stomach was going to be up for eating something cold so late at night.

"Mm hmm." Umi had her spoon in her mouth again. She pulled it back out with a rather loud pop. "I think that's about as good as I can get without actual milk."

Clef rolled his eyes. He was not getting into that argument again.

He took a tentative taste. The temperature shockingly cold against his tongue. It melted smoothly in his mouth, the sweetened uinka juice a nice contrast to the flavour of the puragu.

Letting the next bite melt away on his tongue, Clef watched Umi smile into her mug and wondered how his life would be without her in it.

There certainly wouldn't be someone waking him up in the middle of the night by attempting to make a snacks from Earth because she was feeling a little homesick, but that didn't mean he'd be sleeping any more.

He'd slept better the past two years they'd been together than he had in the past decade. It wasn't just the sex—though that did definitely help—it was the comfort of sharing a bed with someone else. It quieted his mind enough he could sleep without the need for a potion or working himself to exhaustion. She also kept him from working too hard, dragging him away from his desk so he could wind down and relax before sleeping.

Clef chewed on the soft bit of puragu and set his still half-full mug on the counter and smiled.

Umi set hers down and stepped toward him and wrapped her arms around him. "Go back to sleep," she whispered before pressing a wet kiss against his cheek.

He almost argued that he had been asleep, but that didn't really matter. "Are you coming to bed soon?"

"Ten more minutes?"

She pulled back enough to properly kiss him, cold hands cupping his cheeks then curling up into his hair as she automatically shifted when he opened his mouth against hers. His hands on her waist wrapping around her back, tugging her closer until she was nearly trembling against him, panting for breath when they separated.

"That's not going to get you much sleep," she laughed, breathlessly.

"I've attended Council on less," he admitted, leaning back in.

"Yeah, but I still want ice cream." She pressed a hand against his chest and pushed him back, grinning. "And you should sleep."

Clef sighed wistfully. Just because he should didn't mean he wanted to, especially not alone.

"Tomorrow," she promised with a contented smile, picking up her cup and lifting the spoon to her lips.

"Tomorrow," he agreed, turning back to the bedroom. He paused just inside the door and glanced back. "Good night."

Umi waved her spoon at him. "Night."

He did sleep very well the rest of that night, even if he didn't actually fall asleep again until Umi crawled into bed, nearly a half-hour later.