Duo leaned back on the kitchen chair, his hands rubbing a full stomach, his expression blissful. “Love ‘em,” he sighed. “Just my kind of cooking.”
He glanced over at Heero who was finishing his meal rather quickly and rather nervously. “What’s up? Don’t you like them?”
Heero flushed. His eyes shifted around as if worried he was being watched. “No, they’re good. The batter’s crisp – the flesh is cooked to perfection. They’re very good.”
Duo shrugged. “So why do you look like you swallowed your own testicles?”
Heero winced. Duo’s words had been decidedly ill-chosen. “I know the market had them on offer, but it’s just that… the dish might cause offence. It might be… distressing.”
“A dish?” Duo looked confused. “Who the hell is going to be disturbed by what I bought for supper?”
Heero shifted uncomfortably on his own chair. “People… things… pets…”
“ – it might make them - it - angry,” Heero finished in a rush. “I really think we should treat this with caution, Duo. I really think there could be…” He shuddered gently, as if remembering dark nights and forceful demands. “Repercussions.”
Duo picked up his plate, ready to rise. “Ok, so no more fried tentacles for you for a while, as it so obviously disagrees with you. Despite my expert culinary talents, too. And you can do the washi-“
He never finished the sentence. As he stood up, something curled tightly round his ankle and tugged with a force borne of insult and fury. With a yell he fell backwards on to the floor, his knees buckling under him and his arms flailing helplessly. He landed heavily, the breath crushed out of him, and before he could make any recovery something started to drag his body along the lino and back over towards the cooker. He’d caught his forehead on the edge of the table as he fell, and there was a small trickle of blood down the side of his startled face.
Heero had ducked as best he could, but Duo’s empty plate spun across the room like a china missile and hit his head with perfect precision. A bruise blossomed on his forehead almost immediately. He leapt to his feet, cursing loudly, caught between the pains in his head and trying to help Duo. He was off balance, of course, otherwise he would never have allowed himself to be tripped up. He fell to the floor just as heavily, tangled up in the chair legs and crashing to his knees over Duo’s prone figure.
Above their heads, a bowl that held the remains of the cooking batter spun slowly at the edge of the counter and its contents started to drip over the edge. The thick globs of liquid fell on to Heero’s upturned face and tan on down over his chin and throat.
Someone had turned the deep fat fryer back on. He could hear the oil bubbling inside. He swore he could hear someone – something - laughing.
He closed his eyes and tried to gather his strength for the struggle ahead. Dammit, if this wasn’t going to be one of those nights.