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A Taste like Ashes

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"Hey, Touya."

Shindou entered the salon and greeted Akira with a smile. Akira returned his greeting, then glanced at the clock and felt a tiny, yet undeniable, burst of pleasure. Shindou's timeliness was definitely improving. Akira couldn't say that this was something that Shindou was picking up from him, and yet... well, it was a very pleasant thought that maybe he was rubbing off on Shindou in some way.

Oh. Rubbing off. Perhaps he should find another way to phrase that.

"I brought cookies," Shindou said. He pulled a paper sack from his bag. It was blue and polka-dotted with little white daisies.

"I'm surprised that your mother still wraps things like that for you."


"My mother stopped trying to make my lunches cute after grade school."

"Oh, the bag? My mother didn't do that. These are from Akari-chan. You should take some, she's gotten way better at them. There was this one time, I don't know what she put in 'em, but they tasted like liver. Like dog biscuits! So nasty!"

"Oh. From Fujisaki-san?"

"Yeah. But don't worry, they totally taste like cookies this time."

"Um... No, thank you." Akira looked at the little bag and then pushed it back over to Shindou. It was irrational to feel resentment towards a batch of cookies, but there was no way he could eat them. "I just ate."