It was a special of the day shop, something not uncommon in the neighborhood Shirou had just walked through, but it might as well have just been a fast food restaurant with how fast people came and went. Every table was full, the line leading to the cash register growing longer by the second. Shirou scratched at the back of his head and began to second guess his decision to meet with his remaining family, but he knew he couldn't back out now. Rin and Saber would no doubt be coming back to Japan for him like promised after dealing with a few issues at the Clock Tower, namely an excuse for his sudden leave.

He entered the shop and quickly sat down when a seat by the end of the serving table became available.

"Hope you liked it." A voice cut through the crowd.

Shirou set his gaze in the direction of the voice and could do nothing but widen his eyes, the sight before him rendering him speechless.

Soma Yukihira, auburn hair, golden-brown eyes, the resemblance between he and Shirou was simply uncanny. If before Shirou had doubts of his origins, even with the supposed paternity test, those doubts suddenly became brittal in the face of such similarity. Even the way they smiled when they watched others eat their food was similar.

At the head of the entire commotion, at the Yukihira's front counter, was Yukihira Jōichirō. The man moved with such grace, skill, and swiftness that it wouldn't be uncommon if others believed he was working under his station. Fact is, he probably was, judging from the information subtly filtering into his mind through the knife Jōichirō wielded in his right hand.

Structural analysis, a skill that only Shirou Emiya possessed that allowed him to judge the full history and concept of any object his eyes laid view on. And right now, his eyes were telling him of the passion and sorrow imbued within Jōichirō's knife. His passion towards cooking which was fueled by the love of his life, and his subsequent sorrow when the great fire took her away. In much the same way, Shirou was the same as Jōichirō. Shirou was a blade forged through fire and tempered through battle, but similarly he was given a purpose when everything was lost. A purpose that he still strove for, yet was constantly met with much sorrow. Like how Jōichirō found purpose in his cooking and Soma, Shirou had found purpose through his ideals and Kiritsugu.

Jōichirō sauted the mix of fried vegetables and tender beef in the deep dish pan he held aloft with his right hand, and promptly poured an ounce of wine with his left into the dish.

Wine, different from water, fully enhances the flavour of any meat. Take for example the properties of water to its chemical composition. In much the same way as water will not mix with oil due to its chemical composition and higher density, wine, an alcoholic beverage, breaks that boundary. By mixing with the flavours of the fatty oils that seep from the chunks of beef within the pan and the flavours of the numerous spices mixed along with the oil, wine better captures the optimum taste of any meat.

The smell that came from the combination of the beef, vegetables, and seasonings such as thyme, salt and pepper, drove Shirou's senses to the edge. And yet, Shirou found himself thinking of possible solutions to enhance the flavour of the dish; his subconscious use of structural analysis pestering him to add a pinch of dried ginger. However, before Shirou could think further on the action, Jōichirō topped the dish over steaming rice and drizzled two table spoons of caramelized gravy over the dish. The light topping of caramelized gravy practically made the dish glow.

"Order's up." Jōichirō said casually, laying the dish before the anticipating gaze of the woman Shirou recalled had shoved him out of the way moments prior.

The woman had her dark brown hair tied-back in a pony tail that cascaded down her back, her narrow hazel eyes transfixed on the spoon of food she held in front of her mouth. She blew softly, and the steam permeating from the fresh dish, wafted into her nose. No sooner, a blush adorned her face that sent her body squirming in delight. Her thighs rubbed together, her breaths coming out in uneven pants, when finally she lowered the spoon into her mouth, she felt nothing but euphoria.

Unbidden, Shirou turned his attention away from the customer who received the dish Jōichirō presented and decided to wait until the shop thinned out before approaching Soma or Jōichirō, but luck would have none of it.

Soma Yukihira stood across from Shirou, staring him in the eyes.

"Hmmm." Soma muttered. "I feel like I should know you. Oi pops!" Soma called to Jōichirō. "Do you recognize him?"

Jōichirō straightened his back and smiled fondly at Soma and Shirou's direction. No sooner than he smiled, did he abandon his duties to his customers without a second thought, family mattered more to him anyway. Though disapointed, Jōichirō's customers could feel the tension in the air. As such, they chose not to broach a complaint.

"Hey pops, didn't you say customers first?" Soma asked curiously.

"This is a special case." Jōichirō said as he walked over to Shirou and Soma, placing a hand on Soma's head and ruffling his hair. "This Soma," Jōichirō motioned towards Shirou. "Is your older brother, Shirou Yukihira."

Emiya.

Shirou would have interrupted, but knew it would have been highly insensitive to his family in front of him.

Soma eyed him curiously, but like Jōichirō, did little more than openly stare at him.

If Shirou were any other person, he would have been hard pressed to stand firm under the scrutiny of the crowd and family around him, but Shirou was Shirou. However, this didn't mean that Shirou had any means to start off on a friendly conversation. Shirou could tell by the look that Jōichirō was giving him that he was quite curious to learn as much as possible about him, but Jōichirō too had noticed the gazes of the crowd around them and couldn't very well broach the subject. Finally, Soma asked the only thing he knew he could to break the silence.

"Can you cook?" Soma asked.

Somehow, Shirou couldn't help but smile at the audacious question. Inspite of the gazes of the people around them, Soma had asked a question that many in the crowd might consider inconsiderate, but Shirou could see it as nothing more than a means to better get to know his family.

"Yes." Shirou answered while scratching at the back of his head. "I've had some practice living on my own since young." Shirou knew what he said wasn't a lie. After Kiritsugu died, he was ultimately left alone despite the numerous times Taiga showed up to stay by him.

Jōichirō's eyes narrowed.

"You lived alone?" Jōichirō ventured.

"Y-Yes." Shirou fumbled with his answer, unsure if his reply would trigger a negative reaction from Jōichirō.

Jōichirō stared mutely at Shirou, his hands balling into tight fists.

"Want to give it a go then?" Soma asked as he sensed a change in Jōichirō's mood. "Cooking I mean. Pops and I were having our 486th cooking duel."

"I'd love to." Shirou replied, taking Soma's offer as a means of escape. "Can I use your kitchen."

"-Our kitchen." Soma corrected Shirou. "We're family aren't we?"

"I guess so." Shirou replied with a faint smile.

Shirou knew there was no going back now; all eyes were on him as he took to the kitchen. Briefly, his eyes scoured the contents of the pantry and assessed the available ingredients. Meats, vegetable, dairies, and grain, all were there and accounted for.

"You can cook anything you want." Soma said helpfully.

Shirou nodded his head and grabbed an apron from the wall, tying it around his waist.

Shirou didn't really know what to feel at this point. Part of him wanted to live up to the expectations evident in the eyes of the people around him, but another more insignificant part of him wanted to take the time to recollect himself. Well either way, it didn't really matter anymore, he was already standing in front of the chopping board, eyes skimming over the various knives in front of him. It hit him then like a tone of bricks, a vision of a fiery auburn haired woman smiling lovingly down at him, her arms wrapped around him in a warm embrace.

Mother.

Shirou shook his head and turned to face Jōichirō.

"May I use that knife." Shirou asked Jōichirō, pointing unbidden at the dullest and cheapest looking knife on the display shelf. Its handle was made of plastic, three wooden rivets holding the bolster and stainless steel blade in place.

Jōichirō hesitated, his features pulling taut, but he relented, a wistful smile adorning his face.

"Go ahead." Jōichirō said.

Shirou grabbed the knife, and no sooner than he had, he was assaulted by memories, the tender history of the knife's owner.

"I love you Jōichirō."

Shirou's hands moved subconsciously, his fingers digging and grinding into a kilogram of ground beef after seasoning it with a hint of cayenne, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Subsequently, steam hit Shirou's face, carrying the fragrance of sizzling garlic and onions from a deep dish pan.

"Eat your vegetables Soma."

Shirou brewed a pot of boiling water, depositing one-inch potato chunks inside the pot before moving on to create a shredded blend of cabbage, spinach, and lettuce in a mixing bowl. Ears perking up to the sound of a timer, Shirou removed the sizzling onions and garlic, and began cooking the ground beef in the same pot to let the ground beef soak up the flavour of the onions and garlic found in the oil. Satisfied when the ground beef shifted to a crisp brown, Shirou once again added the cooked onions and garlic, and placed in a cup of crushed tomatoes.

Turning his attention to the pot of boiling potatoes, Shirou used a strainer and emptied the hot water from the pot, having let it sit for a good half hour on high heat. Thus, he then began to mash the soft potatoes left within the pot as he added in a handful of peas, corn, and bite-sized carrots.

"Shirou, you will always be my greatest inspiration."

Shirou's eyes glistened, but he blinked the feeling away, focusing his attention towards the dish's final presentation.

Shirou evenly spread the seasoned ground beef onto the the bottom of a glass baking tray then did the same with the carefully mashed potatoes, laying it atop the ground beef.

Sprinkling a spoon of parmesan over top the mash potato, Shirou served the dish in front of Jōichirō and Soma along with the improvised salad he made. Sliced tomatoes, croutons, and an assortment of bell peppers were topped on the salad.

"Eat all the vegetables, they're good for you." Shirou said involuntarily, the words naturally escaping his mouth.

Jōichirō held back a pang of hurtful nostalgia and tentatively took a bite of the Shepard's pie in front of him. Soma followed right on after.

There was no visible reaction, Jōichirō and Soma just kept on silently eating. Neither stopped, their gazes blank and focused solely on the dish in front of them. The murmuring of the onlooking crowd didn't distract them, the passing of time was irrelevant. It wasn't until they reached down for another bite and realized there was nothing left to eat, did Shirou notice the subtle shivering of Jōichirō's shoulders and reminiscent look on Soma's face.

Noticing the change, the crowd got the message that this wasn't the time to be demanding food, and one by one they willingly left the premise.

Shirou grew pensive. For when he was cooking, he had immersed himself in the history of the knife he had wielded, and produced its most familiar dish. A dish he now knew from the knife's history was a dish Satsuki Yukihira often made. She was a chef that specialized in western food, but above all she was a chef that made her greatest dishes for her family. And Shirou had drawn upon that inspiration and placed it into his cooking.

"...It was delicious." Jōichirō said, tears glistening in his eyes.

"...Yeah." Soma agreed, turning his face away.

Left unsaid, but in the eyes of both Soma and Jōichirō, the winner of the 486th cooking duel had already been decided.

Shirou: 1

Jōichirō: 485

Soma: 0

"I'm glad you liked it, but." Shirou's eyes narrowed, overlapping with an image of Satsuki Yukihira. God the way their eyes narrowed were similar. "Neither of you ate your vegetables."


Well there you go. A short chapter, but I wanted to get this out to see if the way I write this story will be any good.