This story, although it's listed under "general", has very, very vague references to Doumeki/Watanuki... but if I had to name a pairing for this ficcie, it would be Doumeki/bento. XD
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Many, many thanks to my wonderful beta readers Beboots and Product Of A Sick Society. I don't know what I would do without you girls. :3
An Octopus-shaped Revenge
Most of the things Watanuki Kimihiro did ended up not having the results he had originally intended them to have. To be more specific, most of the things he did ended up backfiring completely and having a totally opposite end result from what was originally planned.
Doumeki vaguely pondered this as he inspected the bento in his hands.
Next to him, two of his archery classmates stared too, and it was a couple of seconds before one of them had managed to get over their silent admiration of today's bento before they could speak, in a strange, awed sort of voice.
"Doumeki, you dog."
He said nothing in response, only took out his chopsticks. The second of his classmates seemed to take this as his cue to add his own input, in the same awed sort of voice.
"Doumeki, you sly dog."
Doumeki ignored them, in favour of muttering a quick "Itadakimasu".
Before he could reach the first of the items in the bento, however, a hand shot out and grabbed him by the wrist.
He scowled a bit at this and turned to face the boy at his right, who wasn't looking at him, only kept staring at his bento with the look a treasure hunter would have if he chanced upon the entire collection of king Solomon's underpants.
"Don't start eating just yet. Let us admire your bento a few moments longer."
Doumeki's scowl deepened and he looked as though he would protest for a second there, but then changed his mind. He couldn't blame the guys, really. It wasn't everyday anybody had the chance to ogle a bento such as that one.
The boy on his left let out a wistful sigh, so deep and so melancholic one would think he was a mourner in a funeral, and added, mirroring his thoughts, "Yeah, it's not as if we are ever going to get one of those."
Doumeki went back to staring at his bento, and thought back to his previous musings. Really, Watanuki's plan couldn't have backfired more if he had tried.
It had all started a few weeks ago, with what was now labelled in his mind as the Plain Sausages Incident.
Those few weeks ago, he had requested octopus-shaped sausages in his bento, and it was sausages what he got. However, there was something very wrong with them. They were boring, plain an unimaginative, straight from the package, no shaping whatsoever. This noticed, he had made a simple remark. Perfectly natural, right? He had noticed a certain lack in his bento and had innocently pointed it out, that's all. Goodness knew the weird boy had too many things on his mind, he had probably forgotten. Doumeki had only been kind enough to remind him that really, sausages in bento were supposed to be shaped like cute little octopi. It was obvious, right? Whoever heard of plain sausages in a bento? He had even been considerate enough to say all this in less than ten words. How nice was he?
However, despite all the care he put into pointing this very logic fact to the boy with the mismatched eyes, boringly plain sausages made a repeated appearance in his bento the following day... and the day after that one.
When the plain sausages had made a fourth time-running appearance in his bento, he began to suspect Watanuki was doing it on purpose. When interrogated about it, the guy had blabbed something about him not being cute enough to deserve a cute lunch.
Since when did one have to be cute to deserve a cute lunch? Even the ugliest guy in school could probably get a cute bento if he asked his mother or his girlfriend nicely enough. And he had made sure not to be rude. He hadn't even called Watanuki an idiot before making his request. He had waited until after his request to call him that.
Despite his best efforts, however, the plain sausages were not replaced by cute octopi. Instead, his onigiri had mysteriously, and with no prior warning, lost their enchanting, perfectly triangular shape, to be replaced by amorphous lumps of rice on nori. And when he had pointed it out, it was followed by the abduction of his perfectly symmetrical pickle cuts to be replaced by uneven chunks of pickled vegetable.
The aesthetical monstrosities that were committed to his bento following the logical pointing out of these changes were too gruesome to be described. And they went on for weeks, getting worse every day.
To be fair to Watanuki Kimihiro's cooking, the food was as good-tasting as ever, if not better, but the presentation had gradually been leaving the realms of cute bento-making in favour of taking a whole new dimension of food-presentation bashing. Doumeki wasn't interested in why this had happened, what motivation the flailing boy could have had for doing that to the poor food. He just wanted this situation to end.
Finally, he had lost his patience and cornered Watanuki the day before. Food was not to be toyed with; after all, one ate with the eyes almost as much as with the mouth. He had demanded a rectification of this dreadful situation. He had stated, on no uncertain terms, that the following day's bento had to be cute, on account of his having to take it to the inter-scholar championship of archery. Truth be told, he might have been a bit rude, having used more words than usual (seven or eight, even!) to get his point across, but he felt the matter was serious enough to deserve it.
He had been selected to attend in representation of their school after all, together with two of his club classmates, and felt he deserved a little praise in the form of a cutely-presented bento, right?
Watanuki's face had taken on a dark expression at his words. He hadn't screamed, or flailed, or whined, or even raised imaginary hackles like an enraged cat. He had simply narrowed mismatched blue and gold eyes and declared in a sombre voice that if it was a cute bento what he wanted, it was a cute bento what he would get.
Reassured, Doumeki hadn't given the matter a second thought, busy as he was preparing physically and mentally for the oncoming competition.
So when the other guy had appeared at the door of his temple and handed him his bento, cackling evilly all the while, he had disregarded it as one of Watanuki's perfectly normal oddities and had gone on to the competition, mind full of bows, arrows and targets.
When lunch break came by and he had settled down, unwrapping the cloth and preparing to enjoy his well-deserved cute bento, it had taken him considerable effort to not avert his eyes, unconsciously trying to avoid being blinded by it. It had been that cute.
Doumeki looked down once more to this, the cutest, most beautifully prepared bento he had ever laid eyes on.
Delicately distributed with impeccable taste on the compartments of the finest lacquered bento box he had seen -probably borrowed at considerable cost from Yuuko- were what could only be described as edible art pieces.
Grinning up at him, salmon-rice sushi piggies grouped around perfectly symmetrical shrimp croquettes that emulated a food bowl. Hard-boiled eggs in the shape of hatching chicks peeked out of a colourful salad. Delicately sculpted flowers of pickled radish, carrot, and green and red pepper bloomed over a field of leaf-shaped green beans. A bird-shaped piece of tofu was lying on top of small, yellow and orange eggs of sweet corn in a little nest made of finely intertwined beansprouts. To the right side, an eye-catching onigiri penguin, complete with carrot feet and smiling beak on a background of white rice carefully shaped to look like an iceberg and artistically spread with blue furikake for full effect. Bunny-shaped white and pink marshmallows were poised, resting over a mattress of strawberry and apple slices, apparently just waiting for a signal to jump into his mouth for dessert. And most prominent of the entire ensemble, the most beautifully presented, most cutely shaped, octopus-shaped sausages.
Watanuki's new strategy had apparently been to make him a bento so sickeningly cute that it would inevitably embarrass him in front of his classmates as soon as he unwrapped it.
Like we have said, his brilliant strategy had backfired completely, in more ways than one.
For one, his classmates, instead of being disgusted by the bento and been driven to tease him mercilessly -as it had obviously been Watanuki's intended result- had promptly jumped to his side and proceeded to ogle the sparklingly cute bento, whispered comments of ill-disguised envy the only things to escape their mouths.
For another, neither of his classmates had supposed this bento was made by his mother, as Watanuki had hoped they would. Instead, they had gone straight to speculating on the only possible -in their minds- source for such state-of-the-art culinary artistry.
"Doumeki, you got yourself a girl!"
Ignoring the awed and envious exclamation, Doumeki shook his classmate's hand off his wrist and proceeded to grab the first piece of the cute bento with his chopsticks.
"You dog! How did you manage to get a girl to make you such a cute bento?"
The guys were looking expectantly up at him now, the expressions on their faces clearly saying that they had upgraded him to the category of personal hero.
Doumeki paused, about to take the cutest of the octopus-shaped sausages to his mouth, and answered.
"I just asked."
Honestly, it was amazing the things you could achieve, if you only asked nicely enough.
Gah, it's so hard to write a pure Doumeki POW... the guy keeps dropping the details from my descriptions, unless it's time to describe food. I can sort of understand why Watanuki thinks the guy is a lazy glutton...
Ok, I know, this was completely and absolutely pointless, but I had to write it. It had been nagging me since I wrote the lunch scene in "Dreams and Realities". :P
By the way, if you were wondering, every bit of food described in this chapter is taken from real life. If you are interested in seeing the originals, I'd advise you to google "cute bento". It's truly amazing, the amount of cute shapes Japanese people can give to their food...
Itadakimasu: "I receive (this)": the polite thing to say before eating, typically while clapping your hands together, like praying. When you finish eating, it's "Gochisousama" (It was a feast.) What annoys Watanuki the most is that, while he seems to have no qualms to saying the end phrase, Doumeki is rarely heard saying the first one (since it's a way to thank the one who made the food). Of course he would say it when Watanuki is not within earshot. XD
Onigiri: rice balls. One of the most common and popular snacks in Japan, they are typically hand-made, can be many shapes (triangular being the norm) and have an almost infinite variety of fillings, a pickled green plum or a bit of fish being the favourites.
Nori: A type of dried seaweed used to wrap onigiri (and sushi) so that it's easier to eat without getting your fingers messy. It's edible, too, and quite tasty, but many people don't like to eat it unless it's fresh because it tends to get soggy if left alone for a while.
Furikake: dried fish flakes and seaweed with flavouring, typically used to spread on top of rice. It is available in practically every colour, and it's one of the most commonly used ways of decorating bento, since according to Japanese cuisine, there has to be rice in every meal.