He knew he should've been focusing. That was the whole point of him being here anyways: to learn to make cinnamon rolls. It wasn't a task that would be useful in his everyday life– even if he had the time to bake, it wasn't like he could make anything with the rations the Guard was given– but still, he didn't want to fail.

Especially not when Senator Chu– Riyo had rearranged her schedule just to teach him.

The first lesson of the day had been that Fox was only to call her Riyo when they were both working in the kitchen. Given how difficult that was still proving to be, he really shouldn't have underestimated the rest of what she'd had planned.

Measuring ingredients had been fine. He was thankful that each tool had the amount labeled on its handle, and he recognized most of the ingredients by sight. Mixing them together had been easy, too. Riyo had provided a bit of a challenge though with her repeated attempts to dip her finger in to taste-test the batter.

"How else are we supposed to know we've added enough sugar?" She asked with a pout when Fox moved the bowl out of her reach.

"We followed the instructions exactly," Fox pointed out.

"Yes, but each batch is unique," she replied. "It can change depending on how well we mix it, or what order we add the ingredients in, or even what brand they are."

Fox had stopped stirring to glance down at her in confusion. "So by your logic, me and my brothers are humanoid cinnamon rolls," he deadpanned.

Riyo's eyes widened in surprise before she smiled and reached up to poke his cheek. "Not with that attitude, but otherwise, I suppose so!"

Fox rolled his eyes at her antics but pretended not to notice as she finally swiped a bit of batter away and licked it off her finger… which had led to his current state of distractedness.

Riyo was absent-mindedly nibbling on her lower lip as she rolled the batter out on the countertop with her hands, something Fox knew he should've been paying attention to. And yet, he couldn't get his gaze to leave her plush lips for more than a few moments. He wondered what it'd be like if he was the one nipping at her soft flesh instead, or if she'd taste sweet like the batter she'd sneaked earlier.

"...and make sure you get your hands a little bit wet before you try to knead it, otherwise it'll just get stuck to you! Fox?" Oh. She was staring up at him with such an open expression, golden eyes still glimmering excitedly at their task.

"Got it," he hurriedly responded. "Firm but not hard, not too thin, and wet my hands first." He was eternally grateful for his commander training at that moment.

In his relief, Fox forgot how sly politicians could be and that he was currently next to one of the more cunning members of the senate. "Are you sure, Fox? You don't seem as focused as before– I'm sorry if this is boring to you…"

"No, no! I was merely distracted for a second, but I heard your instructions. I can do this," he quickly reassured her, not wanting her to think that he wasn't enjoying his time with her.

Her innocent smile should've tipped him off that he'd played perfectly into her hand. "Oh? Is that why you were staring so intently at my lips just a minute ago?"

The alarms in Fox's head were blaring as he froze guiltily, averting his eyes to instead stare at his feet. "I'm sorry, ma'am," he snapped defensively back into formalities as he spoke. "It was inappropriate of me to do so, and I apologize if it made you uncomfortable in any way–"

"Fox." Her soft voice had him cautiously lifting his gaze to hers as she took a slow step forward, not wanting to spook him. "I wasn't uncomfortable at all, though I appreciate you taking my feelings into account. However," her lips quirked up at the corners, "I find myself very much wanting to kiss you right now. Is that alright?"

Fox was afraid that if he breathed, this perfect dream of his would come to an end. "Yes, please."

He bent his head down as she stood on her toes, their eyes both fluttering shut as their lips met hesitantly at first, but with growing intensity when Fox placed his hands on Riyo's waist to draw her closer to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she tilted her head, their noses brushing as he followed her lead when she deepened the kiss.

The batter lay forgotten on the counter, but Fox didn't mind. Riyo tasted sweeter than any cinnamon roll they could ever make.