Synopsis: Will walks into the kitchen to find Henry baking a cake. He's understandably curious.
Word Count: 1285
Spoilers: There's one quick reference to Warriors, but if you haven't seen the episode you'll just be a bit confused.
A/N: I was going to fit this into Aftermath, but it really didn't go with the mood of that. It's pretty much pure fluff, this. But I guess it's still set sometime during it. (Part one of Revelations broke my brain a bit, I needed something light to get me through the week!)
Caught In The Act
There was music playing in the kitchen. Rock music, a little heavier than Will's taste, a little louder too, but its presence there interested him. He opened the door and peered inside. It was Henry. Cooking. Will paused at the door, stuck between saying something and ducking out unnoticed. He waited a moment too long. Henry's eyes met his briefly, before looking away in embarrassment and concentrating on what he was doing. He appeared to be rapidly stirring a bowl full of brown goo with a wooden spoon in a room that had recently been dusted for fingerprints using flour.
Will stepped inside and closed the door again behind him, “Hey, what's going on?”
Henry stopped stirring the mixture and turned around, he folded his arms across his chest defensively, wiping brown whatever-it-was on his t-shirt as he did, “I'm cooking,” he said.
“Really? Because I've seen cooking and it doesn't usually look like this.”
“Ah, sarcasm. I'm bowled over by your comedic prowess,” Henry told him, with just a hint of a smile managing to creep into his voice.
“Sorry,” Will smiled back at him. The room smelled of chocolate. “What are you making?”
“Smells very chocolaty, this nothing,” Will dipped a finger in the bowl bringing out a small sample of mixture. It smelled delicious, but something had gone wrong somewhere along the way and it looked lumpy and strange. He thought better of tasting it and wiped the finger instead on his pants. Henry watched him, and Will looked suitably embarrassed.
“It's a cake, okay?”
Will's eyebrows raised, “A cake?”
“Yeah, what's wrong with that?”
Will shrugged. Nothing, he supposed. It was just unexpected.
Henry sighed and slouched against the edge of the kitchen worktop with the mixing bowl behind him, “Look, the Big Guy and me, we have this kind of tradition.” He folded his arms again and looked around the kitchen as he spoke. “Okay, it's a bit like a birthday. It's not his real birthday, he doesn't even know when that it, so we celebrate the anniversary of the day he arrived at the Sanctuary. Nothing big, we just order pizza and watch a few movies.”
“And have cake,”
“Well, no.” Henry's cheeks reddened slightly, “I owe him one, I thought I'd make an extra effort this year. Go ahead, laugh if you want.”
Will frowned, “Why would I laugh? I think it's a great tradition. I'll leave you to it.”
He turned to leave and began to open the door, but before he could get out of the room, Henry called him back, “Wait a minute.”
“Look, I know this is probably a shot in the dark, but do you know anything about this stuff?”
“Yeah. I mean, does this look right to you?” He spun the wooden spoon around the cake mixture.
Will peered into the bowl, the lumpy substance was starting to separate and curdle, the consistency was more rice pudding than chocolate cake. “I'm no expert,” he admitted, “but not really, no.” Without asking permission, he took the spoon from Henry's hand and started to beat the contents of the bowl in the way he remembered seeing his mother do it. Miraculously, it began to look better. “Don't you have a recipe book or anything?”
Henry's eyes drifted over to the other side of the room, where a laptop computer sat on the work surface. Despite it's distance from the baking, it had managed to secure a liberal coating of flour. The rest of that side of the kitchen seemed to have escaped unscathed. Henry had obviously trailed it over there as he read his recipe. The computer was also the source of the noise Henry called music.
“Never heard of printing things out? Paper is so much cheaper than a new computer.”
Henry shrugged, “Needed it for the music anyway, there's nothing good on the radio. Anyway, a bit of flour shouldn't hurt it. And even if it does get all gunked up I'll still be able to fix it easier than this cake.” Pressing a key, he leaned forward to study the recipe in the internet window, “Any idea what 'dropping consistency' means?”
Will prodded the mixture experimentally, “Maybe we drop it down the sink and start again. I'll just keep stirring it until it's not so lumpy,” he said. “Isn't there anyone else you could ask about this?”
“Nope,” Henry shook his head, “I can't ask the Big Guy, it's a surprise. Dr Magnus is out, and can you imagine what would happen if I tried to talk to Ashley about baking?”
Will considered the question as he continued to stir the mixture, “No,” he concluded, “but up until five minutes ago I would never have thought I'd be having this conversation with you either.”
“Funny, that. Because you're completely the type I'd take for knowing about this.”
Henry ducked as a spot of cake goo flew across the room. It narrowly missed his head and landed next to the computer.
“Hey, watch the hardware! Don't forget, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Oh, wait. That's you, isn't it?” Henry grinned.
Will smiled back at him, though it was a little forced, “Again? You need new material,”
Henry shrugged, “I bet you never thought there'd be a day when someone compared you to the Incredible Hulk and you've heard it all before.”
Will ignored him, “I think it might be ready,”
Henry peered into the bowl, “All right! Now it says we've just got to put it in a tin and leave it in the oven for an hour.”
“I think we can manage that part at least,” Will poured the mixture into a round tin.
Henry opened the oven and placed it inside. As he closed the door, he breathed a sigh of relief. “Hey, go teamwork.”
Will smiled and brushed himself down. As the cake heated up, the smell of chocolate began to diffuse through the room.
“So,” Henry added hopefully, “want to help me clear up this mess before the Big Guy sees it?”
“Sorry, you're on your own there,” Will told him, but placed the mixing bowl in the sink and scraped some of the flour and stray mixture into the trash.
“Fine,” Henry carefully brushed the mess off of his laptop and closed it. “Hey, Will?”
“Yeah?” Will paused when he realized that he had begun running the water for the washing up.
“If you're not busy tonight, you're welcome to have pizza and watch a few movies with us. It's not exactly a wild party, but it's kinda fun. There'll be a few of us there.”
Will dried his hands and nodded, “Sure, I'd like that. Thanks.”
Henry grinned, “Least I can do for the guy who's going to help me ice a birthday cake is invite him to the party.”
Will rolled his eyes and considered, “Fine, give me a call when it's done, and I'll give it a go.” With that he left before he was roped into putting up decorations too.
Henry turned up the volume on his speakers as he started piling everything that would fit into the dishwasher. This was going to be fun.