"No, no, and no." Niki insisted while refusing to look at Tetora's broken hearted puppy dog eyes. It was harder to deny him when he was really playing up the part of being a devoted mentee. Niki was really kicking his past self for thinking it was a good idea to teach Tetora how to cook before consulting with his unitmates. "According to Morisawa-kun the last time you tried to bake anything you blew up an oven."
"That was only once!" Tetora protested while holding the box of cake mix close to his chest. "Please, please, please. Just one Halloween cake. I wanna share it with Ara-chan, Hinata-kun, Midori-kun, and Shinobu-kun."
"Just buy one." Even as he said the words he felt himself groan internally. Buying premade food wasn't the same as making it yourself and it seemed Tetora already knew that cause he was quick to shoot back.
"Food tastes better when you make it yourself with love." He expressed with a confident huff.
"Urgh, fine, fine." Niki sighed before snatching the cake mix and pushing it to the side. "I'll get everything together. You're allowed to mix it and then I'll put it in the oven. Got it?"
"Yes! Ossu! Baking with Aniki!" Tetora cheered while he got down the mixing bowls and measuring supplies for him.
Thankfully cooking was Niki's happy place. Baking was closer enough. It was certainly something he was good at but baking was more of an exact science whereas cooking was more like art. He got a lot more free reign to add and take away things when he cooked. Thankfully having a strict recipe to follow was good for Tetora who still didn't understand that a 'pinch' of salt didn't mean throwing the whole container on it. Niki patiently pointed out what they needed to be measured and would let Tetora try first before correcting him if needed. The boy certainly needed to be taught the proper way to crack open an egg. Eventually they got everything together and Tetora was allowed to mix the batter together under the careful eye of the head chef. When he went too fast and some batter began to slatter Niki told him that it was better to be slow and precise instead of quick and messy.
"Quick and precise. That kinda makes it sound like doing martial arts. You gotta be really focused and careful. If you go in head first you can easily get unbalanced. Taishou tells me all the time to be more mindful."
"Hmm, the same is true here. It's always better to be more thoughtful."
Niki poured the batter into the pans before setting it into the oven.
"Hey, Aniki. Wouldn't the cake be done faster if we cooked it at twice the degrees and half the wait time?" he mused.
"No!" Niki yelled louder than he had meant. He could picture Tetora in his stupid nativity doing that too. No wonder he had blown up an oven! Tetora had mentioned watching his show as a kid, had Tetora learned nothing about cooking during all that time! He knew all the catchphrases and the opening and closing jingle but didn't even know the basics of cooking. How bad could one person truly be at cooking? "Doing that will just burn the cake and destroy the oven." he explained and set the time to thirty minutes. "You just have to be patience. Why not try meditating or something while we wait?"
"I guess cooking and baking is a lot about waiting." Tetora sighed and plopped himself in a chair and placed his chin in his hands.
"You said you wanted to make this a Halloween cake right? We can make some decorations and frosting for the cake while we wait?" Niki offered to which Tetora's eyes lit up. Niki went on to explain that the cake would have to cook first so they could make the decorations today and tonight when the cake had cooled off from baking they could decorate it. Decorating seemed like something Tetora could do without issues.
"It's...." Shinobu was at a loss of words.
"Colorful?" Arashi offered with a gentle smile.
Hinata laughed lightly, even he wasn't sure how describe Tetora's strange food. "It's unique?"
"Is it poisoned?" Midori wondered while looking at the strange mix of colors that was Tetora's 'cake'.
"Of course not! Aniki helped me make it!" He chimed with a large grin as he started to cut up pieces for his closest friends.
"If Shiina-senpai made it than it at least has to be edible." Hinata offered before taking a hesitant bite. "Hm, it looks kinda strange but it actually tastes really good."
"I guess you can't judge by appearances. Ritsu-chan makes some very strange looking cakes too but they always taste amazing." Arashi explained as she took her own bite.
"What's it supposed to be anyway?" Midori asked while still poking at it.
"Well I wanted to includes things that everyone likes so I got some little pumpkins, ninja stars, teal and pink stars, black cats, and a bunch of other stuff and then I wanted to make it Halloween like so I covered it in black frosting." Tetora explained looking proud of himself.
"Well, it tastes good and you went out of your way to make this for us right? It's wonderful." Arashi of course was always willing to encourage and support Tetora in his attempts to be a better cook.
"Hehe, next time I'll see if Aniki let's me do it all by myself. "
Midori and Shinobu who had been there during the blown up oven incident turned to him with a panicked, "No!"