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Normally, Nala didn't cook. Sometimes she would ask prettily and Cook would condescend to take instructions, and things would appear on the table - foreign things, that no one else could name, and she would eat them with a smile on her face. But she, herself, didn't cook.

So it was something of a shock to Rina, on a late-night trip to the galley to scare up a snack, to find Nala stirring a pot. She was in a long, thin, light-gold coloured gown, with beads at the hem and sleeves. Rina wondered if there would ever come a time when she'd seen all of Nala's wardrobe.

"Evening," she said, as she slid into the galley, allowing her eyes to rest on the generous curve of Nala's arse as the thin fabric moved against it.

"Good evening," Nala replied precisely, stirring the pot. "You're up late."

"Uh, so are you," Rina said. "Where's the bread?"

"There," Nala said, pointing. "Are you raiding?" Her lips were curved in a smile. Rina couldn't tell if she was being mocked or not.

"What are you making?" she said, deciding to ignore the possibility for once.

"Cambuulo," Nala said, the unfamiliar vowels rolling off her tongue. "Bean porridge," she added, more prosaically. "I miss it."

"Doesn't sound very fancy." Rina nibbled on some bread.

"It's not." Nala shrugged, loose and easy. Rina couldn't help noticing how the gesture made her breasts sway. "It's peasant food."

"Right," Rina said. "Sounds more like my kind of thing."

Nala glanced over at her, still smiling. This small-hours Nala was a different creature to the Nala of the daytime, tension leached out of her by the darkness. "Would you like some?"

Rina gave her own shrug, more awkward than Nala. "If you're offering."

Nala held the spoon out to her a moment later, and Rina looked at her blankly, because she hadn't expected to be fed. Nala only gestured impatiently, and Rina leaned forwards, opening her mouth for the porridge. It was disgusting, bland and tasteless and covered with sugar and oil. Rina leaned back with a wince.

"Sorry," Nala said, looking at her face and smile twisting a little. "Might be an acquired taste."

Rina looked at her face, looked again at the beans, and said, "No, it's not that bad. Honest."

That made Nala laugh, honest and amused, and she was so beautiful for a moment, gleaming in the lamplight, that Rina couldn't help reaching out, putting a hand on her wrist. It was warm and slender under her palm, skin smooth.

"Rina?" Nala murmured, eyes on her hand.

"Yes?" Rina said, tilting her chin up defiantly.

"Here, come here."

Their mouths met hesitantly, slick with the residue of oil, and Rina would never later admit how it made her heart flutter.