[Setton] My friend wants to cook for her...male friend, but she has no sense of taste.
[Setton] What should she do?
[Kanra] Uwaaaaa~ Setton has friends who aren't us? How surprising!
[Tanaka Taro] Maybe she could try curry? It's pretty easy to make.
Celty has three hours before her next delivery and Shinra is at his job, but she can't find the person she's looking for.
Finally she sees a glimpse of blond hair and a flash of black and white, and she slows down.
Shizuo has his hands stuck in his pockets and appears quite relaxed, which means he's in a good mood, as his fists aren't stuck in a hole in the wall. She's glad, because it would take approximately thirty minutes to calm him down, which is time she doesn't have.
"Hey, Celty. Here on business?"
[No, I'm free for three hours. I need to ask you something very important.]
Shizuo tilts his head, a gesture for her to explain.
[Do you know how to cook curry?]
"Yeah, I think so - watched my mum make it sometimes."
[Could you help me? It's for someone.]
"Oh, when? I don't think I'm free tomorrow, gotta beat some people up, you know how it is."
[Right now, actually. Do you mind coming over? I need someone to make sure it's edible.]
"I don't mind, as long as Shinra doesn't try to strap me down and draw blood, you might not have a place to stay if that happened. Have the ingredients yet?"
[No. All the recipes on the internet disagree! I made a list of the things they had in common, but some say to add apples and others say to add chocolate - ]
Just as she's about to move the phone out of Shizuo's view and start typing frantically again, Shizuo holds it still, restraining his strength so he doesn't hurt her hand.
"Celty, it's okay, stop worrying. If it's for Shinra, I don't think he'd mind even if you confused salt with sugar."
"Oh. Uh. Bad memories, huh? Well...there's a supermarket over there. Let's go."
Shizuo, in a show of gentlemanliness, or perhaps masculinity, has insisted on holding the basket so that Celty has both hands free to communicate and choose ingredients. Celty doesn't mind, but she has to distract him with well-timed questions about the curry-making process when the handle of the basket starts to creak. She's quite sure he's leaving finger marks in it. She just hopes he doesn't throw it at that annoying kid in the cereal aisle.
They're currently staring at a shelf full of boxes of instant curry bricks, and Celty is consulting the internet on tips for choosing a brand of curry.
"Look, Celty, how long do you have?"
[Two hours thirty minutes now.]
"Pick a brand, they all look the fuckin' same anyway. Not like Shinra's gonna know how a brand he never ate tastes."
[But I want this to be a good meal!]
"Geez, I don't remember ever having this many brands when I was a kid. Okay, this brand, I think my mum used it."
He grabs a box, looks at the instructions, and tosses it into the basket with a dull thud. There's a cracking noise, and the bottom of the basket gives way, the box of curry thudding to the floor.
They look at it for a moment, then carefully set the basket down. Celty takes the abused box from the ground, shoves it to the back of the shelf, then gingerly retrieves another box of curry.
[...let's get the vegetables.]
"Just what I was thinking."
[Is this a good bag of potatoes? Could you smell them?]
"They look great. I have never seen such a fantastic bag of potatoes, Celty." Shizuo likes Celty, he really does, they are good friends, but if he spends ten more minutes listening to screaming babies he's going to start wrecking the place.
[Oh, that's good. I can pay up now.]
Shizuo sighs in relief.
One hour and thirty minutes left, and Celty is panicking, running around the kitchen to grab random ingredients and frantically checking the clock.
"Look, there's plenty of time, plus can't you use your Dullahan powers to peel these potatoes?"
[I have to use a knife! What if they taste strange if I use my powers? Then that'll be two meals that I ruined!]
"Okay, okay, Celty, it's fine. Do you have another knife? I'll peel, you chop."
"Hey, we're friends."
[Taste this, please.]
"Celty, that's raw pork."
Forty minutes left. Celty's phone has defaulted to a message saying "please taste this", that she flashes at Shizuo every few minutes. It actually tastes pretty good, but when he tells Celty that, she accuses him of lying to spare her feelings. He's getting mildly irritated - not the true irritation for other people, but it's upsetting to think that Celty doesn't trust his opinion. He has no idea what happened the last time she tried cooking - probably something bad.
[...yes?] She's hesitant to answer, as if she's afraid he'll reveal that it tasted terrible all along.
"Could I have some curry to bring back? Reminds me of my mum's cooking."
[It really does?]
She starts rummaging through the cupboards in search of a used takeout container - Shinra's apparently a big fan of takeaway, there's a whole stash of clear plastic microwaveable containers.
"Yeah, my mum used to cook it whenever I did well in something. So...it was a pretty rare occurence, to be honest. Hell, I'm lucky I even graduated with the school intact."
Celty ladles out curry into the container, and puts a large portion of rice into another container. She's very methodical about sealing the containers, perhaps because she's thinking of what to type.
[I hope you enjoy the curry.]
"Sure thing. Hey, when you're serving it to Shinra, put an apron on. Do you have any with frills?"
[But I'll already be done cooking by then. My clothes won't be dirty from reheating curry.]
"Look, just trust me. He'll love it."
It's ten at night, and Shinra is ready to collapse on his bed the moment he opens the door. He hasn't had the time to eat lunch or dinner, and he's had to do overtime due to a complication he wasn't expecting.
Celty's not in her room, which is strange. He ventures into the other rooms, then finally steps into the kitchen.
She's there, dressed in her catsuit with a pink apron and wearing house slippers, stirring a pot of curry on the stove, and Shinra is overcome by how adorable she looks, being domestic. Her laptop is on the counter, and there's a plate of rice spinning around merrily in the microwave.
[I thought I'd try again.]
She gives the pot one final stir and ladles it out into a bowl, then retrieves the rice from the microwave and sets both in front of him, handing him a fork and spoon. They're piping hot, and it smells delicious after fifteen hours of starvation. He nearly fainted on his last patient.
"Celty, this looks fantastic!"
[Eat it, please.] She seems tense, so he gulps the first mouthful down just to stop her worries. It's just how it's supposed to be, for box curry.
"It's great! It's fabulous! It's marvelous, Celty!"
"Yes! It's splendiferous! I could eat this for the rest of my life!" He wolfs half of it down, then slows down when his stomach is no longer feeling completely hollow, to enjoy the experience of Celty actually showing that she cares for him. He rations the curry, drop by drop, eating a few grains of rice at a time, spearing small chunks of carrots with his fork, dreading the time when the plate is completely empty and they both go into their separate rooms, the momentary intimacy lost.
[You don't have to do that. There are a lot of leftovers, I put another portion in the fridge and froze some.]
[Do you want more now?]
She walks quickly to the fridge, as if she can't bear the thought of him going to bed hungry.
"Thank you, Celty! No, that'll be fine, I'll save it for tomorrow." And the day after, and the day after that, but that remains unspoken.
She sits down again, and watches him eat, not moving until his plate is empty.
Their hands brush as she takes the plate from him to clean up, and Shinra turns bright red.
[I'm glad you liked it.]
[Kanra] Ahh, Setton! Long time no see~~ how was your friend's meal of LOVE?
[Kanra] Or did some other girl steal her potential boyfriend away?
[Setton] It was only yesterday, Kanra. He liked it, I think.
[Setton] She's going to cook for him again.