sonoda's c87 story
This is one of the stories from the Comiket 87 book, Hot Hot Winter Heaven.
With a title like that, of course it's about Sonoda! :D
The winter sunlight streamed in through the windows of the Durak room. The students walking outside looked cold, with their noses buried in their mufflers. There were even teachers wearing masks and coughing violently.
I was humming, even in such a chilly season. That was because I was waiting for my wonderful lover, and the snack my wonderful lover prepared for me!
"You're in a good mood, Yuki-kun."
Joker-san paused in his work and rested his chin in his hands. I looked up at the clock with a beaming smile.
"Yes. Since Sonoda-san will be bringing snacks soon."
"It's a heavenly time when I can see Sonoda-san and eat a snack."
Sonoda-san was my older lover. He had first-rate skills as a cook, and had a complex and naive (annoying, according to himself) personality, and I enjoyed both of those. Remembering both his smile and the scent of sugar, I broke into a smile while holding my stomach.
"I'm looking forward to it. I wonder what kind of snack it will be today? The affogato I ate yesterday was delicious, and the macaron cake from the day before was awesome."
"I can't tell if you're waiting for Eiji or the snacks."
"Both, of course!"
"What if I were to ask you to pick just one?"
"I can't choose that. They're both important to me."
I wasn't really saying it out of gluttony. To Sonoda-san, cooking was his art. With his pride and his sense of professionalism, if I didn't choose his cooking, he might end up worrying, even though his rival would be himself. Maybe there wasn't enough sugar, maybe not enough lemon, and such.
"Then what would you do if you had to choose? For instance, if Eiji and a delicious cake made by Eiji were dangling off a cliff?"
"A cliff!? But that doesn't make any sense..."
"Then, what if I held them hostage, with my gun pointed at them, how about it, Yuki-kun? It's time to choose. Eiji's life, or the cake's life, which do you value?"
Shaping his fingers like a pistol, Joker-san thrust his hand at a tin toy. He laughingly pulled the trigger and I held up a mechanical pencil as a magic sword.
"I'll save them both."
Joker-san laughed in amusement at my make-believe duel.
"That's it, you're nothing if not the Ace who shouldered the fate of all the students."
That was more praise than I deserved. The truth was that I'd made a lot of friends in getting through the trouble that occurred at this school, and Joker-san and Chiba-san were among them. From those encounters, I had become lovers with Sonoda-san. But... Sonoda-san looked uneasy sometimes. I still didn't know what that really was.
Chiba-san, who had been silent until now, suddenly tilted his head.
"By the way, why is Sonoda making snacks for Asahina every day? He's not in Durak."
At that question, my cheeks reddened. Joker-san had found us out pretty quickly, but it seemed that Chiba-san didn't realize Sonoda-san and I were dating. That was very like Chiba-san, who paid no attention to anything other than Joker-san.
"W, well, I asked Sonoda-san to. And I am paying."
There was a proper reason for me paying. After going out for a little while, Sonoda-san had said, holding up an index finger, "Yuki-kun, let's establish some rules between us."
"When it comes to cooking, I don't mix business with personal affairs. Until now, it's been a give and take. You give me money, and I serve you food."
"Ah, I don't mind, but...."
"You think it's mean? Actually, I want to let you eat anything you desire. You're my cute lover, and you eat my cooking with so much enjoyment. I've been blessed as a boyfriend and a cook. But if I don't make a distinction, I could end up spoiling you endlessly."
"Ehehe, that makes me happy.... You don't really spoil me, but it sounds like you really love me."
"Not sounds like, I do really love you...."
...... I had suddenly remembered our sweet time together, and I grinned. Chiba-san watched me with astonishment.
"You're looking forward to snacks that much?"
"Oh, um, yes."
"Look. After all, you were waiting for the snacks, weren't you?"
"That's not true, I told you!"
A knock rang out.
"Sorry to keep you waiting."
There was my lover's voice from the other side of the door.
I ran to the door like a puppy and greeted him. Sonoda-san, who was carrying a tray with desserts that smelled heavenly, had a composed smile. "Rushing up like that all of a sudden, could you really not wait?"
Laughing as if I had been tickled, I whispered in a low voice. "Of course not. ... For the snack, or for you," I told him excitedly.
Sonoda-san flashed me a brilliant smile and he brought his face close, like when we kissed. "You say such cute things."
"Wah... you're close."
"They won't find out...."
I ended up spellbound by that short distance. My eyelids shut and I started. Since behind Sonoda-san were Joker-san and Chiba-san.
"What is it, what is it? A secret conversation? Will you let me in on it?"
"Myself will help you carry it."
Sonoda-san politely turned down the two's offers. Sonoda-san's snacks were extraordinary desserts today too.
"Wah! It's looks so delicious!"
"Here you go. For Yuki-kun, it's a cream cheese souffle with rhubarb. This is Kiyo's Paris-Brest with apple and chestnuts.
"Hayato gets fondant au chocolat."Note: Chocolate lava cake.
"I'll eat it."
With shining eyes, I readied my dessert fork. Imagining the magical flavor that would melt on my tongue, I brought the souffle, with warm steam rising, to my mouth.
"Let's eat! *munch* ..."
For a moment, my smile froze. This... wasn't delicious. Rather, it was really awful. Sonoda-san was smiling radiantly. It didn't seem like he was trying to play a prank on me. As usual, he was waiting for me to say it was delicious.
"How is it?"
"Huh? Ah... it's very...."
"Umm...." I gave an evasive answer. I timidly asked Sonoda-san, whose eyes were wide with surprise, "Um, could this souffle maybe be for Joker-san?"
"What do you mean?"
I really couldn't say it was catastrophically awful. Sonoda-san shook his head. "This is your dessert. Kiyo's is the Paris-Brest."
Then, Joker-san took a bite of the Paris-Brest and, looking disgruntled, handed me the plate without a word.
"Huh...? What's the matter?"
At Joker-san seeming to urge to me to try it, I reached out with my fork to the plate of Paris-Brest. The moment I took a bite, an impressive flavor spread in my mouth.
"......! It's delicious! The crispy choux has a refined texture, the taste of the understatedly sweet cream, and the appetizing flavor of the apples and chestnuts are awesome!" I spoke to Sonoda-san, smiling at the delicious flavor of the Paris-Brest. "Look, after all, you did mistake them."
"That's not possible!"
Sonoda-san snatched my fork and took a bite of the Paris-Brest. He chewed as if checking it and he immediately scowled. "Look, this tastes terrible. Of course it's for Kiyo!"
"Huh!? Um... Sonoda-san. Please taste this souffle."
He ate the souffle and smiled triumphantly. "Look, it's perfect. Just as you'd expect of me."
I was at a loss for words. Could this have meant that Sonoda-san's sense of taste had become like Joker-san's sense of taste?
I was shaken, and Chiba-san caught me by the elbow, thrusting his plate at me. "Asahina, will you taste this too?"
"Huh? Even Hayato is saying something?"
Sonoda-san's eyebrows were raised. As I was asked, I tried eating Chiba-san's fondant au chocolat. It tasted like microwaved clay. As I wondered what had happened, I spoke honestly to Sonoda-san. "This Paris-Brest is delicious, but these other two, how should I put it, taste like they've been over-personalized to make Joker-san happy."
"... You mean they're terrible?"
"You could say that."
Sonoda-san gave me a dubious look and passed the souffle plate to Joker-san. "Then, Kiyo, try this. This will make it clear which is the right one."
"Huh, I don't wanna. Being used like a litmus test." Even though Joker-san complained, he reluctantly took a bite of the souffle. And then he nodded in satisfaction. "Yeah, I can eat this one."
Sonoda-san sat down from the shock he received at Joker-san's comment. Having his sense of taste match Joker-san's meant that he had become taste-deaf. "Oh god.... I've become as taste-deaf as Kiyo..."
"H, have you eaten something too bitter or something too sweet?"
"I haven't.... Aside from the Paris-Brest, I thought they were clearly delicious and brought them here. And yet..." Sonoda-san turned pale and clutched his head. "... With this, I'm done for as a cook..."
"Please don't get so depressed. Everyone has failures."
"Failures? That would be better. To me this flavor is a success."
"B, but, look, Joker-san is happy...."
"There's no point making Kiyo happy! If you're not happy..."
I was startled at the seriousness in his eyes as he looked at me. Sonoda-san, who was never straightforward and always acted relaxed, was desperately thoughtful of me. I was happy that he was telling me the naked truth about his feelings for me without caring that Joker-san and Chiba-san were there. "As a cook and as your lover, I was happy that you savored my cooking so much. Honestly, there was even a sense of security in having caught you by the stomach. You like to eat, don't you?"
"I love it."
"But, if I don't have any cooking skill, I'm just an annoying regular person.... I'm worthless."
"You're not worthless. Please don't say tha..."
"Stop giving me bland consolations! Anyway, you'll throw me away soon enough...."
Today, for sure, Sonoda-san was being extremely difficult. "What are you saying? I'm not going to throw you away."
"Then, if a goddess appeared right here, and asked which did you lose, the me who can cook, or the me who can't cook, what would you answer?"Note: A reference to the fable of The Honest Woodcutter.
"Well of course, you who can cook...."
"See, I knew it!" he cried out hysterically and stood up. Passing right by Joker-san and Chiba-san, he stood at the window.
"What are you doing?"
"... I'm killing myself."
"Wha!?" I hurriedly clung to Sonoda-san's hips as he leaned forward with his hands on the window frame. "Wh, what ridiculous thing are you saying!?"
"I can't stand the thought of losing you, now that I'm taste-deaf and can't cook food. You might be fine since you're positive, but it's impossible for me. Oh, geez! There's no point to living like this!"
"Please don't say something so stupid!"
"Let go...!" Flinging open the window, Sonoda-san planted his foot. The cold air from outside blew into the Durak room and stirred the air. I forcibly grasped his shoulders and turned Sonoda-san, who was acting strange, around.
"Sonoda-san, listen to me!"
Huh? When I got near his face to try and persuade him, I felt something was off. Sonoda-san's cheeks were red. The sad eyes that looked back at me were watery like he was crying. And most importantly, the body heat that I could feel through the hand that I was holding was very high.
"Do you have a fever...?"
At that moment, Sonoda-san's body suddenly grew weak. He wobbled and collapsed into my arms. I pulled him close so that he wouldn't fall out of the window and he was shaking.
"... Sonoda-san!? Sonoda-san!? Hang in there, Sonoda-san!"
Sonoda-san's unconscious body was burning hot.
After that, Sonoda-san suffered a high fever for two days.
"Ngh.... Where am I...?"
"You're awake? This is your room." Touching his forehead, I smiled at him. Sonoda-san nodded sluggishly and coughed into the comforter.
"... What happened to me? I don't really remember."
"You aggravated a cold and collapsed. It seems like there's been a bad cold going around the school recently and you caught it."
"Ah..." he replied vaguely.
Putting a cold towel on his forehead, I smiled reassuringly. "Your sense of taste got weird because of the cold, Dr. Matsuoka said. He guarantees that when you recover, your tongue will be back to normal."
"So that was it...."
"So you don't have to worry, it'll be okay. Actually, you really gave me a scare before. Talking about dying all of a sudden...."
Sonoda-san's brows furrowed and he looked away in embarrassment. "I don't remember that...."
I thought he looked like he vaguely remembered.
"... But, I'm glad. Now you won't abandon me."
"I told you, I won't abandon you over something like that."
"... Kiyo asked me, if I and my cooking were in danger, which did I think you'd save?"
"So he asked you that too...."
Brushing back his bangs that had been mussed by sleep, Sonoda-san lowered his eyes. "Since you're liked by so many people.... By Kiyo, and other students. You like to eat and I'm a cook, so it's going well now, I think. But when I think, what if I were to lose my ability to cook, I get depressed sometimes."
"... Do you mean you're jealous?"
"It's not that simple."
"It is simple. It makes me happy that you're so thoughtful of me that you'd make it complicated like that." Telling him my honest feelings, I grasped Sonoda-san's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Even if you became taste-deaf, I wouldn't abandon you, or fall in love with someone else. I'd be sad I couldn't eat your delicious food, but I would still love you."
"If that were to really happen, I would be your taste-tester. Then you wouldn't lose your cooking or me, right?"
Sonoda-san hugged me tight, as if he had been deeply moved. "... I love you. I so love you."
Maybe it was an effect of the cold, but today, Sonoda-san was being very direct. Blushing, I wrapped my arms around his back too. "Me too. I really love you too, Sonoda-san."
At the moment we were about to kiss, Sonoda-san pulled away with a gasp. "I'm sorry. I'll give you my cold."
"Oh, that's fine. Afterwards, Joker-san and Chiba-san, who ate your cooking, caught the cold and ended up sick in bed, but it looks like I didn't catch it."
"As usual, you're really lucky."
"Ehehe. ... Shall we kiss?"
"You're testing your luck? That's appealing, but I'll be patient until I get better." Sonoda-san smiled at me, petting my hair gently.
When Sonoda-san completely recovered I would give him lots of kisses. I would eat lots of his meals and tell him lots that it was delicious.
So that even as the season got colder, we'd get through it in the warm glow of love.