disclaimer: i don't own gw or i'd gift caro with heero and duo instead.

pairing: 1+2+1
warning: duo, pov, angst free! gad, what have i done!

notes: birthday gift for my darling caro.

Cooking Lessons
by 0083

Today is the day. Thatís right, no more putting it off for a distant future date. I am going to make sure it happens today. For sure, today is the first day in what I hope to be many in teaching Heero Yuy one of the many joys and blunders of ordinary life. Iím going to teach my lover how to cook. And yes, I know how to cook in case you were wondering.

Many people have that huge misconception about me. They are convinced that I canít cook worth crap just because I happened to have lived on the streets for a time when I was young. Not true, though. I, Duo Maxwell the ex-street wanderer, am a master culinary artisan. I am the fucking master of the kitchen, the stove and the wicked looking Ginsa knives.

But enough about me and my extreme talents in the kitchen. Today is Heeroís day of learning. Iím going to teach him that he can use the kitchen for other things than making nitro based explosives, that he can produce food, real, edible kind, from these surroundings. So I set up the kitchen with various ingredients and spices for the recipe I have in mind.

I look over at the stuff laid out on the kitchen counter and mentally go over the list to see if Iím missing anything. One green pepper, check. It is nice and plump, fresh and glistening with water beads. Thatís good since I do not approve of limp anything, even in something as trivial as a vegetable. The red, yellow and jalapeno peppers are also in excellent, non-droopy condition as are the Vidalia onion and the garlic. The ground beef is also healthy looking and has none of those nasty brown spots. And of course I have all the things that come in the cans laid out, too. Thatís right, the kidney beans, the corn, the crushed tomatoes.

Heero will be happy to know that weíll be making my world famous chili.

Okay, not that famous, but it certainly is good, so lay off.

So I sit impatiently and wait for Heero to get home from work. And donít you be wondering why Iím not at work! I am a freelance security consultant, so I can set my own hours unlike Mr. Nine-to-five-on-a-good-day-Preventer-Yuy. Eck, that one certainly is a hell of a long title for someone.

Eventually, which happens to be like fifteen minutes but Iím impatient so sue me, Heero does come home. He opens the door to our lovely apartment and steps in, his eyes automatically searching for me. He does love me, you know? When his eyes find me, they light up and he waves hello. Heís so cute when he does that.

I scamper to him and I pull him excitedly into the kitchen, not even letting him take off his work clothes in my haste to begin the lesson. He follows with this bemused expression on his face, his right hand in my eager ones and his left one still holding onto his briefcase. Iím not the most patient of people, I know.

In the kitchen, I babble out the plan about teaching him how to cook my chili and wave my arms over the ingredients to show him that Iím serious. Heero smiles at me and my excitement, drops his briefcase next to the kitchen counter and washes his hands. Heís not saying much, but he seems happy to be here with me.

Soon, weíre standing at the counter, staring at the veggies and other things. I hand him a chefís knife, you know, the big ass knife, and I tell him to chop the veggies. He looks at me with a vaguely puzzled look on his face at my instructions. When I wave him on, he shakes his head slightly and picks up the green pepper.

He studies it, like he was looking for a tactical advantage. Yeah, thatís my Heero. He has to see if the pepper has a weak spot before he starts massacring it with the chefís knife. I wait for him to finish analyzing the green veggie, knowing that rushing him would not do any good. Heíll chop when heís good and ready.

Finally, it seems that the pepper has passed his inspection because he puts it down on the chopping board. I watch him closely, ready to jump in with instructions. Then to my surprise, he takes the chefís knife in his right hand and just.. well, whacks at it. I donít really know how else to say it except that Heero whacked at it. He brought his arm down, from the shoulders to get the maximum strength and momentum and just killed the pepper.

The poor, dead veggie bounced from the impact, I swear to god, just like I did. When the deed was done, Heero looks at me with questioning eyes, asking me silently if I approved. I donít get it. I asked him to chop it, but that was not what I meant! I mean, there is a method to chopping a pepper and it certainly does not begin with a solid whack that leaves indentations in the cutting board.

I guess I have to teach him from the ground up.

I take the knife from him and show him the art behind chopping veggies. He stares at my hands and the work they are doing intently, most likely cataloguing all my moves in his brain for future reference. I show him that the white, seedy part of the pepper should be removed before the hacking begins and I proceed to chop in long strips. He nods and continues to watch me. Heís so adorable when he concentrates.

After I show him the art of chopping the pepper, I carefully instruct him to do the same to the red and the yellow one. He mimics my movements perfectly and the peppers are chopped no problem. I got to hand it to my man, he does know how to use a knife. All those years as a deadly terrorist does come in handy in the kitchen, you know?

Voila, the peppers are chopped and ready to go! And it took Heero no time at all. Iím very proud of my capable lover at this moment. So proud that I give him the honor of chopping the onions.

Okay, so Iím trying to avoid the teary mess onions make out of my eyes by passing it off to Heero. Iím a selfish bastard, so back off.

Anyway, he gets to chopping and I see that heís not too good at it either. Heís really laying into it, giving the words coarsely chopped a whole new meaning. He may have mastered the peppers, but onions are certainly out of his realm of experience. But being the selfish bastard that I am, I canít bring myself to show him how to do it. I really hate chopping onions. And since itís going into a big pot to become a part of something else, why should I be picky about how it looks?

I donít. Heero can kill the onion if he wants. Iím just a stickler for cutting peppers, not the evil tear jerking onions.

Watching him cut up the garlic is almost too comedic. I asked him to mince and boy, is he taking me seriously. Heís actually taking up the individual slivers he cut and carefully and tactically cutting them smaller. Damn, heís got patience. And concentration. Not to mention some steady hands!

When he finished cutting up the veggies, I realize that this whole process has taken forty five minutes longer than it should have. But I donít mind because I really enjoyed watching my lover cut up the veggies with dedication. And he really enjoys it when I enjoy him. Make sense? No? Well, figure it out. I am not explaining it to you.

Now then, letís move onto the actual cooking. I set the pot on the gas range and set the heat to medium, explaining to Heero that this is the best temperature for cooking meet without losing the flavor. He nods again and I know that he has already filed that piece of info into his neatly arranged brain. And then I instruct him to pour some olive oil and the minced to death garlic into the pot. He does it, ever so carefully, not leaving even a hint of garlic on the cutting board. He is precise, isnít he?

When the garlic toasts and simmers, I put in the ground beef and tell him to make sure the meat cooks thoroughly and evenly. He takes the wooden spoon and follows my instructions to the tee. He still has some of that soldier instinct left in him I guess. Well, itís working out for the best in this case, so Iím not going to complain.

Iím getting hungry and the chili is going to take yet another good hour to finish if Iím lucky.

I tell him to put in the spices, giving him a general idea of how much I wanted. A pinch, a dash, a swish. Whatever. But he looks at me with that adorable confusion again. He demands to know exactly how much a pinch, a dash, a swish is. Is it one half a teaspoon? One eighth? One tenth? What?

I try my best to hold back my laughter, but the little fucker gets out. Thatís right. I laugh and get the glare from Heero for the first time in the longest time. Heís so serious about this! When I donít stop laughing, Heero taps the wooden spoon against the side of the pot steadily, waiting for me to catch my breath and regain my sanity.

Heís very patient, you know that?

I do stop laughing soon enough and say to my miffed love that spices isnít about the exact measure, but about the feel. Itís about instinct, taste, a strange sixth sense kind of thing. He listens closely, ponders the words, then nods. I almost cringe. I know that nod, that look.

I hope my body is ready for the madness Iím going to inflict on it when I eat.

True to my predictions, my Heero douses the meat in spices. I can feel my eyes water watching him pour pounds of chili powder, cayenne pepper and other unimaginably spicy shit into the pot.

I asked for it, didnít I.

I just hope adding the crushed tomatoes and kidney beans will lessen the pain.

Soon enough, the chili is boiling happily and Heero dips the wooden spoon into the red and scooped out some chili. He tastes, nods once, and then shoves the spoon to my face. I look at it apprehensively, almost fearing the taste. But Heeroís looking at me with those eyes, telling me to taste what he has cooked up as per my instructions. I canít refuse.

I resign my taste buds to a cheerfully burning hell and taste.

It takes all my willpower and pain tolerance learned in the wars not to scream like a little girl and make a run for the water faucet. If I ever doubted Heeroís level of pain tolerance before, I can tell you itís long put to rest now.

I somehow manage to smile at him approvingly. There is no way in hell Iím going to hurt his feelings by telling him that his chili tastes like Danteís ninth circle of hell. No, not me.

Smiling broadly, Heero ladles himself and me each a bowl of the unearthly chili and carries them over to the table. He looks really happy and tells me that he was glad that I liked his first cooking endeavor. He sets down the bowls and beckons me over to come and eat his first culinary triumph with him. What can I say when my heartís desire is looking at me with that lovely light shining out of his eyes?

So I walk to the table, sit next to my lover and start spooning the chili into my mouth. I honestly donít know how Heero is eating this with such a calm face and steady hands. Iím nearly dead, sweating profusely to boot. Man, the shit I do for love..

Next time I teach Heero something from the ordinary life, it wonít be cooking.

Heís learning laundry.

With his own clothes.


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