A scrumptious aroma floats out of Jabeth's kitchen. I didn't even know he
a kitchen. He must hate contact with people-
Only moments ago after his little explination, Jabeth dressed into pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and a blue blazer.
I rest my elbow on the small island in the center of his kitchen. I pulled up a chair from a kitchen corner and now watches as he drizzles batter into a circle on a pan. "What're you doing?"
Jabeth glances at me over his shoulder before returning to his work. "Making breakfast."
My stomach grumbles the second he say's it. So loud you can hear it over the sizzling. He looks back at me and blinks. "Jeez."
No kidding. I haven't had a meal in thirty six hours.
"So what're you making?" I ask. It's nothing that I've heard of.
"Pancakes." He scoots a spatula under the batter and flips it in the air, making a perfect 360' before landing, liquid side down on the pan to reveal a golden brown, crispy cakey top.
I jerk up, stunned. "How.." I point to the pan. "How.. did you do that?!"
He smirks at me, and turns back to his work. "No spells included."
I scoff and shake my head, hiding a smile. "You're just so good at everything aren't you?"
He shrugs, his broad back to me. "Guilty as charged."
The sizzling sound fills the empty silence that wedges into the moment. I'm actually having a good time with Jabeth, but questions linger on my mind.
I came here to spend more time with him, but a part of me also wants to see the Hell's. But with my safety at risk, can I take that kind of chance?
I've seen stars, and it's more beautiful than I would have ever believed. I could've stared at them for decades, centuries.
All I need now is to see chalcedony and snow.
Soon, Jabeth flips the-what he calls-"pancakes" again. After a few minutes of miraculous skill he slides them onto the plate, spreads butter on the top side, and drizzles a bronze, golden liquid onto the top which flows like a mudslide down these 'pancakes'.
Jabeth pulls up a chair and takes a seat in front of me, handing me a set of silver ware before digging into his food.
I hesitate, my forks positioned to eat it. But uh, how do I do that?
Jabeth looks up from his plate and stares at me. "Is there a problem?"
I open my mouth to speak, but shut it again.
He scoots a little closer and sets down his silverware. "Is it under cooked, or-"
"How do you eat it?" I ask, a little sheepishly.
Zuko is sitting by the table, a bit more relaxed, but not half as much as I would've hoped.
Jabeth stares at me some more, unflinching and a blank sheet of paper. I feel a little embarrassed now. I've never had a 'pancake' before, but it must be a common-
"BWAHAHA!" Jabeth bursts out laughing, a smile broader than the horizon pulling at the corners of his lips. I jump in my seat, my cheeks blushing a deep pink.
After a few seconds, he puts a hand on his chest, calming himself as he sighs deeply. "Oh my stars..whew, I haven't laughed like that in a long time."
For a moment, all I can do is gaze at him. He looks much different compared to the Jabeth I'm used to. He's usually so serious, and when he talks it's almost like a general barking orders. His eyes are normally clouded with thought, it's never clear what he's thinking. And he's almost always tense.
But now, he looks so carefree. His wide smile brightens up his face and his eyes. Instead of a wounded solider he looks like a boyish prince. Much more boyish then I would have thought.
He has this teasing glint in his expression, and it feels as though one moment has been stretched out farther then the stars run here in the Hell's.
Is it weird that I notice these things? It's like I study him without even realizing it.
Finally he comes out of his state and our eyes meet. I glance down to my pancake. "Um, so what's so funny?"
His grin isn't so broad, but more relaxed. "Nothing. It was just your face." He scoots forward again and demonstrates to his plate. "First, you grab the knife and the fork.."
I jig my hands a bit to show I am ready, silverware in hand, which makes him smirk. "Then, you pin your fork onto the pancake."
I consider it for a moment before stabbing my fork down onto the plate, which results in a loud, ear biting screech. Jabeth jumps in his seat, "Shit, easy there. Now rock you knife into your pancake, basically cut it. Gently.."
I hesitate, glancing up at Jabeth who encourages me to continue. I lightly press the knife onto the top of the pancake. Rocking it back and forth, but it doesn't even break the surface.
Jabeth gives a slightly hysterical bark of a chuckle. "Harder than that."
I furrow my brow and grind my knife down onto the plate, where the ear splitting noise erupts again. Metal on glass.
Jabeth shivers and lunges across the table, fumbling for my hands. "Gently. GENTLY! What do you not understand about-stars, stop! Just stop!"
He scoots his chair back and comes around the island, where I slunk in my seat. Defeated by my inability to cut this here 'pancake'.
How difficult can it be?!
"Okay," Jabeth curls his hands around my own, still holding the silverware. "You GENTLY pin the fork onto the pancake, and rock the knife until it's a clean cut." He uses my hands, cutting GENTLY through the 'pancake' until it's a clean, bite-sized chunk.
I marvel at the result. "Oh!"
He looks down at me, and me up at him. That's when I notice our proximity. His arms are around my shoulders with his hands over mine, which are large compared to my small ones. His chin hovers by my temple.
How is it we always end up in the situations. Where we are closer to each other than we should be. Where I notice things about Jabeth that make me curiouser. Where my heart thumps so loud it could be heard in the Heaven's.
He takes his hands back and heads back to his seat. For the rest of breakfast we eat in silence, comfortable or awkward I cannot say.
While I focus on GENTLY slicing my 'pancake' I replay the whole event in my head. My confusion, and Jabeth's wild, fumbling desperation. And I cannot help but feel a smile creep past the fog of the silence and onto my lips.
Once we're done he takes my plate and washes it in the sink, before placing it on a mat to dry, I grab a dish towel and run it inside one of our cups.
Jabeth glances at me, still smiling to myself. "What's so funny?"
I shrug before setting down the cup. "Nothing."
He doesn't look convinced.
"It's just your face."