In his clan, trusted servants cooked for the family. While Kuzuryuu’s hands were spotless, others worked themselves to the bone to ensure his family had meals of the finest quality. He remembered sneaking into the kitchen with Natsumi while the chefs baked desserts during testy meetings their parents had with other heads of warring clans. They snacked on karinto and fried dough cookies, the rich taste keeping them calm while their parents declared war on others at the slightest hint of disrespect.
Finding himself in a killing game and with their magical teacher reduced to a little sister role, he found himself in a dilemma. He didn’t have the culinary skills compared to the Super High School Level Cook or even his dear childhood friend. His options were limited considering he didn’t want to be around others while they ate. Pekoyama had offered to make him meals in private, but it embarrassed him enough to storm out for a walk on the beach, his already pink cheeks darker than usual.
He decided that he could make something simple by himself. Making pancakes weren’t hard. All he had to do was follow the instructions on the box and mix a few ingredients together. If Pekoyama could make desserts with the girls, then he knew he could make a small batch of pancakes for himself.
Breathing in deeply, his nose twitched at the sharp stench. He clenched and unclenched his fists at his side, the sticky batter now bubbling and spreading on the countertop. As sweat dampened his brow and red hot flames scorched the kitchen of the hotel, he realized he couldn’t make pancakes.
“Shit, fuck, shit, fuck!” He swore again and again, his head jerking from left to right. Hotel Mirai’s kitchen had quickly begun filling with smoke, the flames licking at his suit before he could rush over to the sink. He danced in the flames, waving his arms to bat the smog out of his face as he desperately searched for anything to put the flames out. “All I had to do was boil the fuckin’ water and mix the stuff! How the fuck did this happen?”
A hand clamped down on his shoulder. Through the smoke, he made out a shadow crossing over him. Gasping, Kuzuryuu raised his fist and glared over his shoulder only to purse his lips. He told himself that the reason why his face started to flush was because of the heat. He scratched his neck and said, “Uh, hey, Hinata. I tried making pancakes.”
“You set the kitchen on fire,” Hinata deadpanned, somehow appearing more tired than usual.
Kuzuryuu shrugged, a complete reversal from his previously panicked self. “Eh, it happens. Not like a yakuza like me knows how to cook.”
Taking one look at the fire spreading across the counter, he asked, “Did you make sure that there weren’t any frying pans with grease on the stove?”
The question made him raise his eyebrows. He stared at Hinata, who started to drag him out of the kitchen when Monokuma’s shrill voice echoed for everyone to evacuate the hotel. He guided Kuzuryuu away from the smoke and fire, the kitchen a completely charred, blackened mess after Monokuma and Monomi hosed it down.
“Grease fires start when someone leaves a frying pan on the stove and you probably didn’t know, but if that’s the case, the grease in the other pan might have caught fire when you were making your pancakes,” Hinata explained as they hurried outside, Kuzuryuu’s gawking making him stifle a snicker.
“The hell? I didn’t know that could happen!” He streaked his fingers through his hair. “There was another pan on the stove, but I didn’t know it had leftover grease in it.”
“Uh, yeah, that’s probably why the fire started.”
He narrowed his glare as Hinata chuckled. “How the fuck was I supposed to know that?”
“How old are you?”
Hinata nodded. “Yeah, you probably should’ve known that by now.”
“Wha-? Fuck you!” Kuzuryuu raised his fists and gnashed down on his molars, but Hinata laughed, a merry sound filled with genuine amusement. He growled to himself and stuffed his hands into his pockets, adding, “I was never taught how to cook. I mean, I wanted to learn, but...” He shrugged, unsure of why he was admitting everything so freely to him, but one quick glance at his face confirmed the understanding glowing in Hinata’s eyes.
“So, you wanted to try it for yourself. I get it.” He hitched his thumb over his shoulder. “Well, while Monokuma and Monomi repair the kitchen, wanna grab a burger at the diner? Mioda insisted they were the best burgers she ever had.”
Kuzuryuu managed a smirk and shifted his gaze at the shoreline in the distance. “Heh, I’ve already had ‘em, but I guess I’ll go. Not like I can eat in the hotel.” He chuckled and ducked his head. “Maybe, heh, some company would be nice to have after what I did.”
Hinata wrapped his arm around his shoulder, the shorter yakuza tensing for a moment only to relax. He avoided looking at Hinata, feeling his warm stare on the side of his head, and it was enough to get his heart pumping. Although his grin seemed awkward as it twitched into his round cheeks, it was genuine especially when he caught eyes with Pekoyama from the side of the hotel, who offered her support with a thumbs-up.
During the nighttime announcement, Monokuma formally banned Kuzuryuu from Hotel Mirai’s kitchen and refused to lift it when he came to complain to him in the morning. All the while, Hinata laughed and laughed.