Author's Note: Hello! Welcome to my very first uploaded fanfiction. I don't want to take up too much of your time, and I don't expect to have many author's notes in the beginning of future chapters, (if needed they'll probably stay at the end), but as this is my first, I thought I'd make an exception.
Just so all of you know, this story takes place around two months, after the most recent manga chapters, so the 180's. I'll try and adjust if necessary and if possible to future manga details, but ultimately it will divert from the main series, as all fanfiction does. There will be many ships in this series so be prepared. By the way, there's a chance this could be bumped up to an M rating in the future if things progress in that direction.
Also, keep in mind that certain things have happened between the manga and my story so that's why certain characters may seem slightly different at first, but don't worry, the gaps will be filled in time in the beginning chapters as you'll see. Anyway, no need to keep you any further. More major details can be found on my profile. Happy reading and see you at the bottom!
I don't own Shokugeki no Soma (sadly)
Soma's eyes opened. "The same dream again." Soma said aloud. He'd been having this dream almost daily for a few weeks now. It was really a memory more than anything. A recent memory of a night he'd never forget. The dream usually varied in how it played out the scenes of that night, but one scene always remained exactly the same. The final scene, with a few short words directed at him that, to anyone else would have seemed like nothing, but to him they held such intense feelings and emotions, awakening something within him that he still didn't understand.
He'll never forget the face of the speaker of those words that night. Her deep pink eyes had paralyzed Soma in a way they never had before, with a gaze that felt like it burned through his entire being. Her honey blonde hair, swaying from the nighttime breeze, seemed to glow as it absorbed the surrounding moonlight. She had a smile on her face that evoked the feeling that she was truly smiling for the first time in her whole life. That face…her expression…those words…that moment is the sole reason Soma had been continuously waking up at times that rivaled even Isshiki-senpai's internal biological alarm clock.
A mind that was once primarily filled with notions of surpassing his father and an encyclopedia of uniquely delicious and terrifyingly disgusting recipes now had to make room for the vivid image of that night. New feelings and emotions would burn within Soma whenever the scene played out in his mind. They were so intense that they would often distract him to the point where he was having a variety of mishaps, whether it was trivial mistakes while cooking, completely driving past his classes and showing up late or even being unable to fall asleep at night.
Despite all of that however, and despite how odd it felt to him, Soma could honestly say that he didn't mind these feelings. In fact, in a way, he sometimes felt like he enjoyed them. It was like a fire was lit within him that he hadn't felt before and it gave him energy he never knew he had. Even the idea of beating his father didn't have the same type of impact as this. The closest thing he could think of, albeit before it was to a lesser degree, was his more recent goal of making that same girl say, with wholehearted honesty, that his food was in fact delicious. Since that night however, thinking of that goal has also given him similar intense feelings. Actually, ever since that night most thoughts and encounters involving the subject of his dream, Nakiri Erina, were starting to elicit similar reactions in Soma, but the memory of that night still had the most impact. Although he doesn't understand why and he doesn't understand what is happening, he couldn't help but admit, it was rather exciting.
Finally deciding to stand up, as he was now fully awake, Soma glanced at his clock. "5:00 A.M. huh? Well, guess I should start getting used to this." He said to his empty room.
"Don't worry, you'll get used to it." A voice whispered from above.
"OWAAAA!" Soma yelled while jumping back and falling back onto his bed. "Isshiki-senpai!"
"Good morning Soma-kun." Isshiki said cheerfully while jumping down from the ceiling, clad in nothing but his pink apron as usual.
"What are you doing so early in the morning? Trying to scare a person to death? Stop doing that!" Soma breathed while trying to calm down.
"Now, now Soma-kun. I didn't even wake you up this time. In fact, I'm rather shocked you're awake. I only awoke some minutes ago myself. Are you having trouble sleeping or are you transitioning to the early bird routine like myself? I assure you, you won't regret it if you do. The feeling of the sun's impact on one's naked body as it rises over the horizon. The sweat formed from tilling the soil at the wee hours of the day, the scent of nature, the birds chirping, the water flowing, the glory of youth Soma-kun, glorious youth, do you understand? The freshness of the morning breeze between your-"
"Oh boy, he's getting out of hand again." Soma thought. "Ahh I understand, I understand." Soma interrupted. "And no that's not what I was doing. I just have had a lot on my mind recently and so I've been waking up earlier than usual, that's all. Thought I'd work on some recipes or something to take my mind off things."
"Hmmmm." Isshiki inspected Soma with a raised brow. "I see. Well it makes sense after all. A lot certainly has happened. What with Central's primary goal being the removal of the people and ideals revolving around our dormitory here, it certainly is a trying time. But, we can't let that get to us. They've also seemed to be rather quiet recently since their overall defeat at Hokkaido anyway. Granted, we can't let our guards down, now can we?" Isshiki smirked.
"Well, if we did that, we wouldn't be worthy enough to be Polar Star residents now would we?" Soma smirked back.
Soma remembered. During the trials at Hokkaido, while the majority of students, those who have given in to Azami's dictatorial reign over Totsuki, had simple challenges, the "rebels" as Soma and his friends were dubbed, were forced to face off in shokugekis against the Elite Ten.
Generally speaking, this would have been a disaster for him and probably all of his friends if they had faced some of the higher up members. However, a combination of circumstances or rather miracles ended up saving his group. First, the rigorous teachings from Erina proved wondrous for all of them. Then, the unexpected aid of the three displaced former Elite Ten members, Isshiki, Kuga, and Megishima, who secretly showed up at the last minute to our various Shokugekis, proved to be lifesaving with their assistance and guidance.
Also, not all of his friends had to face a member, only some did, those they considered the strongest of the rebels, namely those of us who made it to the Autumn Elections, so himself, Ryo, Alice, Takumi, Megumi, and Hisako. Mimasaka was not faced as they considered his observational methods to be less threatening than the full blown creativity of the rest of us since if we were gone, he would only have the Azami teachings to copy. The idea was that if the seven of us were expelled, the rest would either fall in line or leave the school.
Another factor was that some of the top seats, including the first seat, Tsukasa Eishi, and the second, Kobayashi Rindo, did not take part in the shokugekis, probably because they just didn't feel it was necessary or care to. Rindo seemed like she was having more fun watching anyway. Those original members who did, didn't take the challenge too seriously, just like Eizan hadn't when he faced him, thankfully.
The final factor was that the three people who were chosen to replace the vacated seats who did most of the battling, like Hayama, were not quite at Elite Ten quality compared to the original members they replaced and so his friends were able to pull through. They made it past the final hurdle of their first year. They were now in an interim period. Their first year was ending and the last few classes were really filler and the third years were about to graduate.
That's right. He had beaten Hayama in a rematch, this time with expulsion on the line. Of course there was no way he could turn him down, but at the same time the victory fell flat for Soma. Hayama was, in short, not himself. Although he cooked as if he was in rare form, it's almost as if his motivation or drive changed. The usual fire in his eyes was long gone and instead was replaced with a rather hollow, dark, and brutal feeling. He still hadn't figured out what happened, as he hadn't seen Hayama since the Moon Festival, before Azami took over, but he had the feeling it had to do with the Shiomi Seminar.
"Hahaha, exactly Soma-kun. Exactly. Well, if you haven't got much to do right now, how about helping me in the fields? I was actually on my way to wake Megumi-chan, but since you're awake, maybe I'll let her sleep, eh?" Isshiki smiled.
"EH?! You're actually going to let Tadokoro sleep? Are you alright Senpai?" Soma questioned.
"Quite alright. I'm simply looking out for my kohai."
"Eh?! Looking out for your kohai? That's new. What about me? You're always waking me up. And what about Shun, Yuki, Marui and the others?" Soma retorted.
"Fufufu. Well, I can't always bother Megumi. Besides she is…" Isshiki paused, seeming to be deep in thought. "Well anyway, it doesn't matter. She's an early riser, so I'm sure she'll be up soon enough. See you outside in a few minutes Soma-kuuuunn!" Isshiki said sang from inside the ceiling, which he somehow transported himself to without Soma realizing.
"Hey wait a minute Senpai, I didn't agree to help yet!" Soma yelled to no avail as Isshiki had already crawled away. Soma sighed, but couldn't help but smile. This was typical of Isshiki to do.
Still, he couldn't help but notice the slight change in his actions towards Megumi, and not just right now either. Well, she definitely had it tough in Hokkaido, so that's probably why. If it wasn't for Isshiki, the former seventh seat's help and guidance on how to prepare a dish on par with her competition, she would probably have lost to the mysterious Central member that replaced Isshiki. As it is she had a panel of three judges to deal with, as opposed to just one of Dojima Gin like himself, and it came down to a tiebreaker vote from the third judge who just could not decide, so they left it as a tie and let her stay on as a technicality of sorts. It was an indirect victory as she wasn't expelled, so it worked out, but it still wasn't a straight win.
Soma figured he had no choice but to help Isshiki and that working in the fields would take his mind off of other, enchanting distractions, so he got ready and made his way outside. When he reached the first floor, he caught the scent of a delicious smell coming from the kitchen, assuming it was another early riser, perhaps Tadokoro or Fumio, but when he saw that it was in fact Erina, well to say it caught him by surprise is a bit of an understatement.
"Ah, Eri-…Nak…Nakiri?!" He stuttered.
"Ehh?! Som-…Yukihira-kun?!" She replied awkwardly.
There it is. That slight glaze of awkwardness that's been casted over them since that night a few weeks ago. Neither of them ever addressed this awkwardness and usually it faded after a few minutes if they were alone or didn't arise if they were in a group. Still, it's definitely something that wasn't present before the memory in his dreams occurred. He didn't really understand the reason why however. Only that seeing the honey blonde ojou-sama, while igniting some intense and fiery emotions within him, had an almost opposite effect outwardly, resulting in this initial awkward nervousness.
Soma noticed she was still in her sleepwear, a long flowing turquoise nightgown that seemed like it wouldn't look good on anyone but her. It fit just right, clinging to her in the best ways possible. He continued to study her, his eyes tracing over her body. She had rather slim arms and a slim waist, slender hips and legs, but at the same time very striking curves due to her voluptuous bust and backside. Her blonde hair flowed down, looking as elegant as ever, despite her having clearly just woken up. Her sideburns had their signature curl to them that always had him wondering, granted he wasn't one to talk with his spiky hair style.
Finally reaching her eyes, those wondrously pink eyes that woke him up less than an hour ago, he caught her intense gaze staring right back at him as their eyes connected. At this point, a wave of realization hit Soma as his body began to heat up, causing his face to redden exponentially. He had just been dissecting Erina with his eyes as if she were one of his intricate recipes, or as if he was about to enjoy a delicious meal. It also didn't help that at some point, without realizing it, the gap between them lessened, going from a room's length apart to merely a few feet apart.
"WHAT THE HELL WAS I JUST DOING?!" He screamed mentally.
Unbeknownst to Soma, Erina was having the same internal meltdown as her face turned crimson as well. She too was guilty of analyzing the boy before her, like a hawk about to devour its prey. She noticed all too well how toned his body was and how it had become even more so since she met him. He was wearing loose jeans to cover the toned legs she knew he had and a t-shirt that stuck just enough to his body for her to get a glimpse of the outline of his toned chest and abs. His hands were larger and coarser than hers. Various memories of those hands deftly preparing many of Soma's creations flashed before her, only to be interrupted by the thought of what they would feel like on her own body. She noticed his spiky red hair that she had a strong desire to run her fingers through. Finally, his eyes that were like pools of molten gold that gave her, quite recently at least, the feeling she'd drown in them if she stared too long.
"AHHHHHHHH! WHAT WAS THAT JUST NOW?!" She screamed mentally. "It was like my body and mind acted on their own…"
Both of them, now a deep scarlet after realizing what they were doing, sprang back a bit, yet still remained quiet.
Finally, Soma broke the silence, choosing to ignore what just transpired. and change the subject completely. "Ah, so you're cooking, eh Nakiri? As expected that the God's Tongue would only be satiated from her own cooking." Soma teased lightly to break the tension, the redness slowly fading from his face.
Grateful for the ease in tension, but also slightly irked at his comment regardless, Erina pouted. "Hmpf. But of course Yukihira-kun. It's true that I have been subjected to quite a few rather unique dishes during my stay here at the Polar Star Dorm, and although initially they were unacceptable, many I now consider acceptable. However, when it comes to certain tastes and desires, my own skill in the kitchen is necessary to satisfy what I'm looking for."
"Ohhh, and what is milady looking for so early this morning?" Soma teased back while inspecting the ingredients around her and the pot on the stove, the source of the delectable smell.
"Why something delicious of course." Erina smirked back. Getting into the banter now.
"Delicious eh? Then shouldn't I be the one cooking the food? I'm sure my food meets the definition of delicious, don't you agree? Many a shokugeki judge have said so after all." Soma smiled back with mischievousness in his eyes, baiting her.
"HAH! Delicious? Don't make me laugh. That plebian food of yours can never reach up to my level and can never satisfy my God's Tongue." She snapped back, but with a sense of amusement and mirth in her own eyes.
Erina knew, she had changed, ever since her father returned and maybe even before that. Where once she used to become annoyed or frustrated by just being around Soma, thinking he was looking down on her or toying with her, now there was a comfortable feeling. She could sit in a room with just him and never feel a single ounce of displeasure, in fact his presence seemed to be having the opposite effect as of late. She could even laugh at his silly antics of comparing salmon eggs to stars. Perhaps it was because her father had brought her back to a fearful and vulnerable state where she no longer could hold her head high behind the walls of pride she had built up. Perhaps it was the revelation about who Soma's father really was and just how wrong she was about him or perhaps the change was simply gradual since she first met Soma. She didn't know, but it didn't matter. The fact was, she rather preferred him being around her now and their banters had a lighthearted feeling to them now. Whether she says his food is delicious is another story, as she still has some pride left. She won't let him win that easily.
"Hmmm, well someday I hope you're prepared to eat those words because the day will definitely come when you eat my food and have no other words left to use, but 'It's delicious.' You'll see." He replied slyly.
"Doubtful Yukihira-kun. Extremely doubtful." She retorted haughtily. "So, what caused you to wake up so early? Isshiki-senpai watching you sleep again?" Erina giggled.
"Yeesh." Soma shivered. "He probably was now that I think about it. He scared the hell out of me a few minutes after I got out of bed. But no, he wasn't the reason I woke up early. Just a lot on my mind I guess." He said, dodging the question. Telling her that she was the reason he woke up early probably wouldn't go over well. "What about you? Did your craving for that miso soup you're making rattle you awake?" He teased.
"Har har har, very funny." She replied sarcastically. "And no, that's not why. I just…also had a lot on my mind." She said quietly, seeming to be deep in thought. Soma wasn't the only one having recurring dreams of that night. Except her dreams didn't always end well. At times a darkness with the face of her father would invade her dreams and pull her back into the dark room from her childhood. Still there were times when two bright golden eyes would pierce the dark shroud and a hand would reach through for the little five-year old Erina to take. This morning's dream was the first time the little girl actually took the hand, and at that moment a blindingly bright light surrounded her, but also woke her up in the process.
"Anyway, since I couldn't sleep, I thought I'd try out some new breakfast recipes. I assume you're also doing the same?" She questioned with a slight eagerness in her voice, hoping he might stay and cook as well.
"Oh…I…well, Isshiki-senpai asked me if I could help him in the fields. He has a new strain of potatoes he's growing if I recall." He replied. "Although in truth I actually wanted to try some recipes as well, but you can't really say no to Isshiki-senpai." He grinned sheepishly.
"Ohh, I see." Erina said, her expression faltering. Another idea came to her mind however and she perked up. "Are you hungry?" She asked excitedly, maybe a little too excited.
"Well, I haven't eaten yet, but I thought about making something after helping Isshiki-senpai."
"After? Hmm, okay. Uhm…if-if you'd li-like…" She fidgeted looking away from Soma. "I-I can make something for you when y-you're do-done?" She finished blushing again.
"For me? Really?" Soma said, taken aback.
Now realizing why he's surprised and what she just said and how those words can be taken, Erina began to have a panic attack in her mind. "WHAT DID I JUST SAY? This isn't some shoujo manga. I just offered to make him a personal meal like I'm his girlfriend…girlfriend…Soma's girlf-KYAAAA!" She internally screamed. "What's wrong with me?! Why am I, the Nakiri Erina, holder of the God's Tongue thinking that?! Somebody kill me now." Before she could take back what she said Soma interrupted her.
"Well, if you're okay with doing that for me then…I wouldn't mind." He said, while holding a hand on the back of his neck and also looking away now with a slightly red tinge on his cheeks.
It was as if the panic mode switch in Erina's mind was turned off by Soma's words. Not really able to speak, she could only whisper a soft "Okay" and immediately turned away from him, feigning that she was cooking, but in reality just hiding her increasingly reddening face.
Soma decided to take the opportunity to leave before something else embarrassing happened, but made sure to give an audible "I'm looking forward to it!" on his way out the door. He could've sworn he heard some pans clatter on the floor soon after, but decided to just keep going outside.
Little did these two know, a certain second year in the ceiling above, clad in only an apron, was observing this entire exchange from the moment Soma walked in. His eyes were brimming with curiosity and amusement. "How interesting Soma-kun, Erinacchi, it seems like food might not be the only thing on your minds anymore. Ahhh sweet youth." Isshiki mused. He can't say he's surprised though. There has definitely been a change in the dynamic between them, especially over the last few weeks. Not to mention, he always suspected that there was more than one underlying reason that Erina would always get flustered by Soma. In fact, he was rather glad if his hypothesis turned true...very glad for reasons he didn't want to ponder on now.
After Erina flustered at Soma's departing comment, resulting in a mishap with a few pans, Isshiki decided to silently jump down from the ceiling behind Erina, who was now picking up said pans.
"Good morning Erinacchiiii!" Isshiki sang.
"KYAAAAAA!" Erina screamed while dropping the pans once again. "Iss-Isshiki-senpai!?" She panted, in shock.
"Yo!" He said smiling brightly, as if it was perfectly okay to scare a person to death.
"Grrrr, Senpai, stop doing that!" She snapped frustratingly.
"Fufufufu, Erinacchi is kawaii. Fufufu, you're just like Soma-kun. He had the same reaction." Isshiki giggled. When it comes to teasing his kohai, there was no senpai better at it than Isshiki. Whether it was someone carefree and oblivious like Soma, timid and cute like Megumi, or prideful and dishonest with her feelings like Erina. He didn't care, he'd get a rise out of all of them, while watching over them and looking out for them at the same time.
As expected, mentioning Soma and relating him to Erina caused the blonde to revert back to her flustered state from a few moments ago. He had to admit, this newer Erina without her old walls up was rather adorable when made fun of. She fit right in with Megumi and Yuki and the other girls now in terms of how they reacted, usually at least, sometimes if you pushed her too far, things could get ugly
"Jeez go away Isshiki-Senpai!" Erina snapped while trying to return to her cooking.
"Aww, and here I was just wanting to know what you were going to make dear Soma-kun after his long morning in the fields. Based on your exchange a few moments ago, I take it the dish will be extra lovey dovey just for Soma-kun right?" Isshiki sang gleefully.
"Gahh…" Erina, now beet red, choked on the audacity of his comment and was at a loss for words. Suddenly her eyes darkened and her face contorted into that of someone about to commit murder. "Sen-pai!" Erina sang.
"Uh oh, I pushed her too far. Ooops." Isshiki chuckled internally. Whenever he teased Erina too much, she gave off a killing intent. It reminded him of their days on the Elite Ten together. Usually, it was either her or Kuga who gave off this murderous feeling if you pushed them too far. The only difference was, now that she was at Polar Star and without her older inhibiting walls, she didn't hold back too much anymore.
"YOU'RE DEAD!" Erina yelled waving a steaming hot ladle at him since she couldn't find a knife.
"Well, gotta go Erinacchi, Soma-kun must be waiting for me. We'll talk about the dish later. Bye, Bye!" He cheered with a wink as he dodged the ladle and other objects she was throwing at him and made his way out the door. He chuckled as he heard Erina yell threats involving lighting his fundoshi on fire or trapping him in the ceiling. "Ahh glorious youth, sweet glorious youth." Isshiki said to the outside world as he made his way to the fields where Soma should be waiting.
"Finally Isshiki-senpai. I thought you'd be out here by now. I wouldn't have been out here this early if I knew you were going to take this long." Soma said, with a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"Ahh, sorry Soma-kun. I got a little held up in the kitchen fufufu." He snickered, still thinking about what just happened a few moments ago.
"What's this about the kitchen?" Soma perked up at hearing about the kitchen knowing all too well who else was inside. "You didn't scare Nakiri again, did you?"
"I'd never scare any of my precious kohai." Isshiki replied with the straightest face possible.
"Eh! Liar! You scared me an hour ago and who knows who else will have to suffer today." Soma retorted.
"Fufu, anyway Soma-kun…" Isshiki approached Soma with a sincere expression and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Good luck! I'm rooting for you!" Isshiki continued while using his other hand to give a thumbs up.
"Huh?! Good luck with what?!" Soma questioned.
"How…frustrating…" Isshiki thought, his grip on Soma tightening slightly, barely noticeable, a flash of annoyance and anger flickering over his face, before his mood changed again a second later. "The challenges of youth Soma-kun. Youth. So let's get started, shall we?" Isshiki said brightly, turning to grab a nearby bag.
"What? Wait a minute Senpai…" Soma questioned, wondering if he just imagined Isshiki's face changing. But before Soma could press on, Isshiki had cheerfully shoved a huge bag of seeds in his hands and instructed him to begin planting them in one of the vacant nearby fields. With that Soma had no choice, but to resolve himself to the intense morning ahead, his only fuel being thoughts of the mysterious dish made just for him, that will be waiting when he returns.
I hope Isshiki-senpai is okay. Soma and Erina are cute aren't they? Ahhh, youth. Hopefully the manga hurries up and brings those two together.
Anyway, what'd you guys think for my first time? Let me know.
Oh and I've noticed in many translations of manga chapters as well as certain stories, Soma is spelled either Soma or Souma, I know the reason is because when you spell it like this: "Soma," it's actually supposed to be like this "Sōma," in order to double the ohhh sound, but making that ō is rather annoying without copy and past or alt functions. Spelling Souma with o and u doubles the sound and that's also how you write it in Japanese using romanji. The same goes for Rindou's name. So you might see me switch off in the spelling depending on if I think it looks better as Soma or Souma. I might change it to Souma permanently after the next chapter though, as chapter 2 is already basically done, so maybe in 3.