Scrooge thinks he's got his ice-cream recipe just about perfect! He tries out his 'special batch' on two handy Hollow Bastion residents.
A Little Too Salty
dedicated to food inspectors everywhere
"Sea salt!" said Scrooge McDuck. "Mostly."
He gave a paternal smack to the side of the enormous freezer, which made a mellow thump in response. He grinned. Leon gave him a narrow look, and held up the pale blue ice cream bar to study it more carefully.
"Been working on a new recipe, laddie! Daresay I've got it just about perfect by now. Have a taste, you'll see."
Leon shrugged his shoulders. "Fine," he said. "I'll be your lab rat just this once."
Leon looked away, idly watching the Hollow Bastion security system de-rez a little black Heartless in the courtyard as he raised the bar to his mouth, so Scrooge felt no shame whatsoever in staring. Leon's lips parted with agonizing slowness, a millimeter at a time, and when his tongue poked between those lips, just the coy little tip of a tongue glistening pink as a spring sunrise, Scrooge felt his own beak part in response. His mouth went dry.
Leon licked the ice cream bar.
Scrooge shivered, once, a delicious little thrill running up his spine from his tail to the back of his brain where he kept all his favorite thoughts. "Well?" he asked, leaning forward eagerly. "What d'ye think?"
"Huh," said Leon. He glanced past Scrooge, toward the stairs leading into the bailey. "Hey, Cloud."
Cloud trudged wearily closer, his gaze distant and his hands jammed into his pockets. He stopped a few yards from the pair, and stood in silence for a few seconds. Finally he managed a soft, monotone "hey".
Leon folded one arm into the other, and licked briefly at the ice cream bar again. "Looking for something?"
"I guess I am," Cloud answered, leaning back against the side of Scrooge's freezer and furrowing his brow up at the sky as though expecting something to come drifting down out of it. "You know. The usual."
"There there, lad, there's no call to look so gloomy!" Scrooge's feet flapped softly on the cobbles as he made for the door of the freezer again, and fetched out another of his special batch. "On the house. Just this once, you understand." He held out the ice cream bar, and without looking at it Cloud took it from him.
"Thanks," he murmured, and Scrooge barely even had time to savor the moment as Cloud lifted it and poked the end of it into his mouth. The tingle just under Scrooge's tail started up again in earnest as he watched Cloud's lips work absently at the slowly softening bar. The tiniest white dribble leaked out the side of Cloud's mouth before his tongue swiped it away-Scrooge couldn't even pretend not to watch.
He had never been so glad for his feathers, for underneath them he was surely blushing like a wee duckling.
"Do ye...like it?" he asked Cloud, willing his voice not to crack.
"Eh," said Cloud, still studying the sky.
"One of ye, tell me if ye like it!" Scrooge rounded on Leon. "I need t'hear it!"
Leon licked the bar yet again, and Scrooge /ached/. "It's...a little salty," he said.
"Is it?" Scrooge asked, his head light and hot and full of lips smeared milky-white. "Are ye...sure about that, laddie? Maybe try it just once more?"
The sound Scrooge made was enough to make Leon take a step back-even Cloud tore his attention from the heavens and looked Scrooge's way. His eyes widened.
"Right, we're going." Leon stalked off toward the bailey, gaining speed with each long stride. Cloud looked at Leon's retreating back, at his ice cream bar, and at Scrooge's face contorted with rapture. He followed.
"Thank ye," Scrooge murmured to the empty air fervently, "thank ye," and retreated at once into his freezer. His special batch had come out nearly perfect. Just a few seconds' work-ahhh, just like that, /yes/-and he could make the next batch even better.