Summary: Haruhi battles her arch-nemesis: the chocolate chip cookie.
Fandom: Ouran High School Host Club
Title, Author and URL of original story: Sweet Burning by Dawnsama
Sweet Burning (The Chip on Her Shoulder Remix)
All of Tamaki's overblown melodramatics aside, Haruhi had indeed had to take over most of the household chores when her mother died, not the least of which was cooking.
She wasn't a cooking genius or anything, but over the years Haruhi and cooking had struck up a sort of truce: she followed the directions very carefully, and in return the food turned out palatable, or sometimes even rather good. Hot pot in particular pleased Haruhi, because you were supposed to just throw things into it and let them figure it out for themselves. She liked that sort of self-reliance in food.
What did not please Haruhi, on the other hand, were chocolate chip cookies.
They looked so simple! Like all you had to do was mix the stuff in the box together, add an egg or some oil or milk, drop little globs of it on a slightly greased baking sheet, and in 10-12 minutes, voila, cookies!
It just never worked out for Haruhi. Sometimes their edges were crisped dark brown, other times the dough ran all together into one giant, smooshy, square cookie. And then burned.
After repeated incidents of chocolate chip failure (Haruhi could be just as stubborn as anybody), finally Haruhi had admitted eternal defeat to the chocolate chip cookie, and simply bought the kind that came in tubes or squares when the situation demanded it.
Never one to dwell on the sting of defeat, Haruhi put the whole situation to the back of her mind, until the assignment for the home economics project was passed around. It was a gorgeous early summer day, birds chirping and sunlight shining through the windows of the home ec lab, but Haruhi's heart was cold as she stared down at the paper with her assignment and drummed her fingers on the tabletop.
Her arch-nemesis: the chocolate chip cookie.
"Oi, Haruhi!" was all the warning she got before something heavy landed on her shoulders, but she didn't even flinch as Kaoru's bright hair blocked her view of the paper. She kept glaring anyway. "Lucky, chocolate chip cookies! We got meringues. Want to trade? Kaoru, we're trading!"
Hikaru had neither the chance to agree nor to confirm his false identity before the teacher hollered that nobody was trading. The twins made faces, and Haruhi sighed. Looks like she'd just have to find some help.
"Can't we at least work together?" Kaoru was whining, and when the teacher snapped at him again, murmured in Haruhi's ear, "Don't worry, we'll slip you secret tips!"
"Secret chips!" Hikaru added, clapping his hands, "Right, Hikaru?"
She'd have to find some less maniacal help.
"Mori-senpai," Haruhi pitched her voice low, shooting a glance over her shoulder to where Huni-senpai was settled on a couch surrounded by clients, chattering away merrily. She hoped the squeals of the girls would drown out the words 'chocolate chip cookies' when she uttered them, or else she'd never pry Huni-senpai off her leg long enough to get anything done. "Mori-senpai, you cook for Huni-senpai sometimes, right?"
"Mn." Mori-senpai nodded, raising one eyebrow.
"Can you make…" Haruhi reached into her pocket and pulled out the assignment sheet, unfolding it from its neat square. She snuck another look over her shoulder at Huni-senpai. "These?"
"Ah." Haruhi heard the scratch of a pen behind her and cursed because she had been so concerned with Huni that she'd forgotten to keep tabs on Kyouya-senpai. "Cooking problems, Haruhi?"
"Nothing you need to worry about, senpai," Haruhi said quickly, folding the paper back up. Kyouya gave a noncommittal "Hmm" and scratched a few more things down before sidling off.
Haruhi wasted no time eliciting a hissed promise from Mori-senpai that he would meet her in the home ec lab the next day during lunch.
"Hmm," said Mori-senpai.
"I know," said Haruhi forlornly.
And then the sprinklers went off.
"Twenty thousand yen for the extra service," Kyouya said. Haruhi examined the pink ruffled apron that was dangling off one of his fingers, and when she was just about to balk, he added, "Of course it's up to you whether I'm subtracting it from your total or adding it."
Heaving a long-suffering sigh, Haruhi stripped her school jacket and draped it over Tamaki-senpai's outstretched hand as he pirouetted by (the mere suggestion of Haruhi in the apron probably meant that he was done in for the whole afternoon). Then she rolled up her shirtsleeves and tied on the apron.
"Haruhi-kun will be making us a special treat today," Kyouya-senpai informed the girls loitering nearby, exchanging elbows and interested glances.
"Reeeeeeally, Haru-chan?" Huni-senpai wanted to know, appearing out of nowhere to adhere himself to Haruhi's leg.
"Yes, yes," Kyouya-senpai reached down and peeled Huni off, giving him a push towards the girls. "Why don't you offer our guests some tea, and I'm sure Haruhi will have something interesting for us all very soon…"
"Ha ha," Haruhi grumbled, then blinked as a piece of paper was placed in her hands.
"Here," Mori-senpai said, "try this."
"Mori-senpai?" Haruhi asked, blinking, but Mori-senpai just gave a little shrug, the corner of his mouth quirked, and then went off to help fetch the tea things with Huni-senpai.
No-Bake Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, the paper read. Haruhi glanced around again, trying to figure out whether or not the joke was on her.
"I had a word with your home economics teacher," Kyouya-senpai commented, pausing in his writing just long enough to eye Haruhi over top of his notebook. "I pointed out that at no point in your assignment did it specify that temperatures over 300° be utilized. She seemed…understanding."
"I bet," Haruhi snorted, but she couldn't quite hide her smile completely.
"Haruhi!" crowed Hikaru, throwing himself across Haruhi's shoulders, making her give a little "Oof!" and nearly drop the paper. "Hikaru and I are here to help!"
"Good." Haruhi planted a hand in the middle of Hikaru's chest to push him back half a step and gave him her sweetest smile. "Then you can find me a saucepan and wash it out."
"Aww," Hikaru groaned, but he gave Haruhi a little punch in the shoulder and bounded off.
"Lord, look at this!" Kaoru crowed behind them. "Commoner instant oats!"
Step One: melt chocolate in saucepan, read the directions, and Haruhi figured that this wouldn't be hard at all, even with the help.