See Chapter 1. Iron Chef, including Chairman Kaga, belongs to FujiTV. Not sure what they would think of my interpretation of their show.Spoilers:
See Chapter 1. None.Summary:
The day after the last one, Kim has another odd non-slayer dream. She thinks.Author's Note:
Didn't quite turn out as planned and there are only so many ways Kim can fall asleep and wake up.Word count:
2,213 (4 of 10)--- --- ---
Kim lay on her bed, her face covered with her pillow, trying to forget dinner and the evening that had followed it. She didn't know how Will Du had managed to get himself invited to dinner and how her mother had arranged for Ron to be absent, but she suspected Dr. Director had something to do with it. Maybe Wade would know, she thought. Groaning, she rolled over and grabbed her Kimmunicator from her bedside table. Pushing a button she waited for it to connect.
"Talk to me, Wade." Kim said, as soon as his face appeared.
"Hey Kim!" Wade greeted her cheerfully.
"Why didn't you warn me?" she asked, quickly debating the use of her secret weapon before deciding he didn't deserve that kind of treatment.
"Warn you? About what?" His fingers paused in mid stroke, Wade gave her a puzzled look.
"Will Du was here. For dinner and a walk." Kim said. "He gave me flowers. It was awkweird. Can you find out what he really wanted?"
Wade frowned at her for a moment. "Okay, give me a sec."
She could hear him typing quickly. Behind him she could see a very un-Wade-like room. "Where are you?"
"Where?" He stopped typing for a moment to give her a puzzled look before looking around. "Oh, yeah. We're wiring the Kim-lair this week."
"It's not the 'Kim-lair'" Kim protested weakly. No matter what she said, Ron's name for the Team's new digs in Go City had stuck.
"Right." He shook his head and continued typing. "I don't see anything in Dr. Director's files. I'll keep an eye out but it must be his own idea."
"Great." Kim sighed. "Let me know if you find anything." At his nod, she flipped the Kimmunicator off and tossed it onto her desk. Teenage boys she could deal with without breaking a sweat. Ron and the Tweebs had given her a lot of practice. Global Justice agents with delusions of Bond coolness practicing their moves on her? Not so much.
Tossing her clothes into the hamper, Kim grabbed her favorite pajamas from her dresser and pulled them on as she thought about her options. Hopefully she could stay out of his way until she moved to Go City. After that, there was always the Bonnie option. She was a slayer too. Wasn't it her duty to help Kim defeat the forces of darkness? Or at least the ones with ferociously wrong romantic ideas.
Whatever Will Du's plans were, they must be some evil Global Justice plot. She'd have to check with Wade to see what kind of leverage they had with Bonnie. She must have signed something to use the new training room.
Turning off her light, Kim set her alarm before pulling back her covers and slipping between the cool sheets. She didn't need the help waking up anymore but some habits were hard to break. Maybe she could get Shego to scare him off, was her last thought before falling asleep.--- --- ---
Trying to find a comfortable spot, Kim shifted nervously in her seat as she glanced at the other judges. They seemed to be such an odd group to help select the next Iron Chef. She wasn't sure why, other than her connection to Ron, she'd been picked as a judge. Traveling the globe in search of new thrills for her cable show "Possibilities" didn't leave her much time to sample much more than hotel or airport food.
At the end of the long table was the absent minded scientist, Doctor Drakken. She'd heard rumours that he insisted that any cook at any restaurant he visited use his mother's recipes. Seated next to him was Andrew Wells, a well known exotic foods critic and restauranteur. She'd never been to one of his restaurants, preferring more earth-bound food to his Romulan and Klingon specialties, but her cousin Larry was a big fan.
To her left, sandwiched between her and Wells, was the fashionista, Monique, who'd given her a horrified look earlier when they'd all been seated. She hoped it wasn't the seifuku that the producer had insisted Kim wear, the style making her feel like some anime school girl. She'd been looking forward to meeting her when she'd heard Monique would be one of the judges for the same episode that she and Ron would be appearing on.
Kim jumped in surprise, having somehow missed Chairman Kaga's presentation of the theme ingredient. Listening to her rapidly speaking translator, hoping he would mention the ingredient, she watched Ron and Shego racing back to their stations with baskets of a small, round purple fruit. Hearing her translator spout something about passion fruit, Kim frowned. That wasn't what she'd imagined it would look like. Purple, lemon sized objects didn't say 'passion' to her not matter how hard she stared at them.
She couldn't imagine what the two chefs would do with it. Ron wasn't really a fan of subtle flavors, preferring to use spicy peppers as the basis for many of his signature dishes. Shego, on the other hand, or at least according to Ron, had built her signature Tokyo restaurant around a fusion of classic vegetarian dishes, sushi, and Greek and Japanese cheeses.
Kim had seen Ron practicing only once for the show. Then, as now, she's barely been able to follow him as he took a single ingredient and turned it into five dishes. If it hadn't been for her translator she wouldn't have had any idea what he was making. Give her a bungee cord, a parachute, and a two thousand foot sinkhole and she could find some way to have fun. Turning edible objects into spankin new dishes? Her mind boggled at the idea.
Frequently, as the clock ticked down the minutes, Kim would glance over at Ron's competition. Something about the green clad chef fascinated her. It wasn't the way she seemed to be in constant motion. Or the way her eyes seemed to glisten with excitement as she guided her assistants in the creation of new dishes. It probably wasn't even the way her form-fitting chef's uniform perfectly framed her beautiful face, Kim thought, absorbed in the drama.
They were all expected to provide commentary as the cameras followed the chefs as their dishes progressed. Kim didn't need to say much, with three other judges but she hoped she didn't sound too clueless when she was signalled by the director to say something.
If the competition was based solely on camera presence, Kim suspected that Shego would have already won. Ron was his usual goofy self. Sure, he could whip up a dish that would make other chefs jealous at its simplicity and ingenuity, but at the end of the day he was still her clumsy, amusing best friend. She hoped the other judges would be fair and judge his dishes on their own merits.
Kim watched in bemusement as the dishes produced by each chef were placed on a nearby table to be presented to the audience. Listening to her translator as he echoed what the announcer was saying as he described each dish, she wondered if the food would still be edible when she and the other judges would be given the chance to sample them.--- --- ---
Her question was answered when the judging began. A camera crew set up to film them as they sampled the dishes, recording every comment and facial expression. A separate crew filmed the chefs as they nodded in response to the judges comments. To Kim's relief, her translator explained that the director would take the best moments from all of the judges to produce the finished show.
They were given Ron's dishes to taste first. With only five minutes to sample each dish, she didn't have time to see what the others were doing, only vaguely hearing their comments. She looked at each dish in wonder as it was put in front of her. Even rushed, Ron had produced four culinary masterpieces.
His first dish was a thin crepe smothered in a sauce she assumed was made with passion fruit. The flavor wasn't bad, though the bite of the habenero peppers in the crepes was a surprise. Smiling at the camera, Kim did her best to appear positive, pointing out in a cheerful voice her impression of the dish.
Ron's second dish was a cold soup. Suppressing a shudder at the cold dish as the faint tart flavor of the passion fruit blended with yet another spicy pepper, Kim once more smiled for the camera. She couldn't imagine what the other judges were thinking. She at least was familiar with Ron's tendency to use liberal quantities of peppers, no matter what the dish. But cold soup and peppers? Definitely not a favorite. If she never tasted it again she would be happy.
Ron's third dish was simplicity itself. He'd grilled a passion fruit and had drizzled a bright red sauce over the top. Kim barely avoided a coughing fit when her first bite revealed that the red sauce was Bueno Nacho Diablo sauce. She couldn't even guess how he'd managed to get his hands on such a dangerous substance but she had to admit that it went well with the grilled fruit.
Ron's final dish was a dessert. Kim approached it cautiously. Gingerly taking a small spoonful, Kim was surprised at the total absence of Ron's signature flavor. As far as she could tell, he'd produced an actually edible sorbet without a pepper anywhere. Kim eagerly consumed it.
Relieved to be finished, Kim quickly scribbled notes on each of Ron's dishes. Although the judging was very ordered, she didn't have to turn over her scores until she'd tasted all of the dishes from both chefs.
They were given a ten minute break from judging while their table was cleared and Shego's dishes were brought over to them. Kim noted with interest that there were five dishes to Ron's four. And hopefully Shego hadn't used a single pepper in any of them. As much as she enjoyed Ron's cooking, his favorite ingredient was not hers.
Shego's first dish just barely qualified as one, in Kim's opinion, looking like a frozen margarita. But she'd managed to combine the fruit with just the right amount of tequila, just the way Kim liked it.
Her second dish was made from some of the tenderest sea scallops she'd ever tasted, covered in a light passion fruit sauce. She wondered how Shego had been able to produce such a delicate dish under the rough studio conditions. She couldn't suppress a happy grin as the scallops seemed to melt in her mouth. Or the blush that covered her face when she looked up from the scallops to see Shego gazing intently at her from her position next to Chairman Kaga.
The third dish puzzled her. It seemed to be a salad of some sort, though she'd never seen anyone mixing pineapple and tomatoes together. The salad dressing was an interesting combination of passion fruit and what seemed to be carrot juice and something else. Kim found herself eating the entire salad while attempting to figure it out.
Kim paled at the sight of Shego's fourth dish. Grilled sea urchins and passion fruit was not a combination for the faint at heart. Feeling adventurous as she tasted it, Kim was surprised at the light ocean flavor mixed with a faint hint of hickory.
Shego's final dish was also a dessert, though where Ron's had been light and fruity, her's was a decadent concoction of chocolate, passion fruit, and apple brandy. From Shego's wink as she consumed it, Kim suspected that her moans of pleasure where not as silent as she'd hoped.--- --- ---
It wasn't really a fair contest, in Kim's opinion. Although all of Ron's dishes had been interesting and eminently edible, Shego had surpassed him with her efforts. Her dishes were the embodiment of passion, just like the fruit they contained. Looking down at her score card, Kim frowned. She didn't want to hurt Ron. She knew how hard he'd trained for this opportunity. How much he wanted to be the next Iron Chef. Even though he'd insisted she judge them equally, she knew he expected to win.
Taking a deep breath, Kim wrote down her scores, hoping this wouldn't end her friendship with him. As she handed over the score card to the page, the world faded to a white mist around her, leaving her standing alone.
"We do things because they are right, not to keep friends." a voice said. "If they are truly our friends they will honor our decisions."
Startled, Kim turned around in a circle, trying to find the owner of the voice. "Who are you?" she shouted. "Where am I?" she added in a softer voice as the cold mist seemed to soak into her seifuku.
"Do you really need to ask?" the same voice said, seeming to come from everywhere.
"Yes!" Kim said. "Yes!" she insisted. "yes, yes..." she mumbled into her pillow. Rolling over, she threw it onto the floor. After a quick glance at her alarm, Kim laid back on her bed, staring at the curtains in her window as they moved in the early morning breeze.--- --- ---Additional notes: I realize this doesn't really 'feel' like an episode of Iron Chef. Very little in an episode involves the judges and since this is Kim's dream and she's a judge, I decided to do it a little differently. Also, the transition between awake and dream is turning out harder to write than I'd planned.