A Picnic and Playful Banter

Chapter 1 - Childish Antics

By Darkest Desire

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the summer sunshine warm and relaxing while the slight breeze kept it from becoming too hot. Seeing as it was their day off Quistis, Selphie, Irvine, Zell, Rinoa, Nida, Xu, Squall, and Seifer had decided that they would gather outside to eat a picnic lunch together. Selphie and Rinoa, who had come up with the idea in the first place and gotten all of the food for the picnic (making sure to have plenty of hot dogs for Zell), were busy setting it up on the grassy lawn of the Quad underneath a large oak tree.

It was nearing noon, the time agreed upon to have their little get together. Everyone had, surprisingly, agreed to come with very little complaint (excluding Seifer). Rinoa was excited. Although she knew it was silly, she sometimes felt a bit like an outsider to the group having not been a part of the 'orphanage gang' and all and was hoping to get to know everyone (she really didn't know Nida or Xu that well) a little better. Selphie, of course, was her usual enthusiastic self. She loved planning parties and although this wasn't, strictly speaking, a party she still had been eager to plan it. A lunch for the whole group, it was going to be so much fun!

The checkered cloth Rinoa had bought for the occasion was spread out under the tree, covering the grass. The two picnic baskets full of food that the lunch ladies had been more than happy to provide were set upon the middle of the cloth and a pitcher full of lemonade was sitting atop a nearby table. Selphie was practically bouncing as she looked up to see that the clock in the middle of the quad read two minutes 'til twelve. Everyone should be here soon and then they could get started!

Quistis and Xu were the first to show up. Ever on time they showed up precisely at noon, the specified time. Selphie greeted them happily, a broad grin lighting up her face. Quistis and Xu couldn't help but smile back and waved to Rinoa who was over by the table setting cups up next to the lemonade.

Squall arrived a minute later and even said hi to them all, quite a feat for him. Nida arrived shortly after that, also saying hello to everyone already gathered there.

Zell came next, jogging up to them all and hastily checking with Selphie to make sure she had lots of hotdogs before turning to everyone else with a "Yo, what's up?" Squall, as usual, didn't respond, but Nida went over to Zell and the two began to talk, Zell a lot more loudly than Nida.

Irvine came in next; striding in nonchalantly, seemingly unaware that he was five minutes late. No one seemed to mind too much, except for Selphie who went over to berate him for being late before giggling as Irvine flashed her a sexy smile.

Everyone sat or stood around talking, waiting for the last member of the group to show up. Seifer was late, not that anyone was surprised by this fact, and finally decided to grace them with his presence at 12:15. He strode up to the group, paying no attention to Selphie as she chastised him. Quistis merely rolled her eyes, Squall let out a small snort of disapproval, and Zell's stomach growled.

"Aww man, why'd you have to show up so late?" he complained to Seifer. Then he turned to Selphie a pleading look on his tattooed face. "I'm hungry; can we eat now that Mr. Fashionably Late is here?"

"You're always hungry, Zell," Squall commented from where he was leaning against the tree with his arms crossed across his chest. Seifer let out a derisive snort as others from the group voiced their agreement with Squall.

Selphie giggled a bit before replying. "Of course we can eat now, Zelly! Rinoa and I will set out the food. It'll just take us a minute. Can you wait that long?"

Zell looked as if he was going to whine that he couldn't before he nodded reluctantly to Selphie. "Just hurry up, okay?" he yelled out to her as she carried the baskets over to the table where she and Rinoa took all the food out of them, arranging it upon the tabletop, which also happened to have a checkered cloth on top of it.

Once the food was set out, everyone grabbed a paper plate which they began to pile food upon. Zell was the first to get food, heading straight for the hotdogs and lining five of them in a row on his plate before piling condiments upon them.

Squall grabbed a small piece of barbequed chicken along with some macaroni salad and a glass of lemonade. Seifer snorted at the small amount of food Squall had grabbed. "Trying to watch your girlish figure, Leonhart?" he teased, smirking as Squall sent him a death glare and stormed off to sit down.

Quistis laughed at their antics, hastily covering her mouth with her hand lest Squall should see her. Rinoa and Selphie didn't bother being discrete as they laughed loudly at Squalls expense, even as they shook there head at Seifer for once again getting on Squall's nerves. Irvine smirked at Seifer from across the table, letting out a slight chuckle. Nida and Xu looked at each other before rolling their eyes at Seifer's typical behavior, though they both had large smiles stretching across their faces.

Squall glared at them all from where he sat on the picnic cloth under the tree. "It's not funny," he growled, before muttering under his breath that he did not have a girlish figure. He thought he had said it quietly enough that no one else would hear him, but was proven wrong as everyone but him and Zell (who had been busy fixing up his hotdogs) burst into peals of laughter.

Zell seemed to notice then that something was going on, glancing up from his supreme hotdogs and giving everyone a quizzical glance. "Is there something I missed?" he asked the group in general. This caused everyone to laugh even harder and Zell scratched the back of his head wondering what the hell was so funny about what he had said.

Selphie and Rinoa were, by this time, clutching their stomachs as they doubled over with laughter. Finally everyone settled down again, Seifer rubbing tears of mirth from his eyes and Selphie massaging her poor stomach. "My tummy hurts from laughing so hard," she complained. Everyone smiled at this and Rinoa commented that she felt Selphie's pain, literally.

Finally everybody finished getting their food and went to join Squall. Zell glanced incredulously at the small portion of food on Squall's plate, not understanding how anyone could want anything but a heaping plateful of food. "Did the Doc order you to lose some weight or something, Squall?" he asked, not realizing that Squall's meal size had already been discussed. Squall gave him an exasperated look as everyone else started laughing again.

Squall pouted (a very unusual occurrence) before frustratedly replying, "No, I had a late breakfast, so I'm just not very hungry. Is that all right with all of you?"

"No need to pout now, Squally," Selphie replied good naturedly, patting Squall on top of his head as if he was a little kid or, perhaps, a dog. Seifer snorted with laughter at that and Irvine almost spat out the lemonade he was drinking as Zell choked a bit on his hotdog. Everyone else merely smiled at the display, though Rinoa did comment on how cute Squall looks when he pouts.

"I wasn't pouting!" Squall cried emphatically, glaring at Selphie and Rinoa in turn for making everyone laugh at him once again.

"No, of course you weren't...Squally," Quistis said in a falsely complacent tone, a tone that a mother might use when assuring a small child that cleaning a cut wouldn't hurt even if she knew that it would, before bursting out laughing. "I'm sorry, Squall," she gasped out between her laughter, thinking that her apology would placate Squall.

"What did I ever do to any of you?" Squall muttered quietly as he viciously cut his chicken into bite sized pieces, a pout once again gracing his features, though he would never have admitted it, even on pain of death.

"I know you're mad at all of us for teasin' ya, Squall, but there's really no need to take it out on your chicken, now is there?" Irvine asked teasingly, raising an auburn eyebrow at Squall. Squall raised his knife up, perhaps to look more threatening as he gave a retort to Irvine, though a plastic knife didn't exactly give him the look he was going for.

But before Squall could say a word, Rinoa cut in, trying to calm Squall down a bit. "Aww, poor Squall. We were only teasing you," she said in her sweetest, most sincere voice.

"Yeah, whatever," was Squall's only reply as he once more used his knife to assault his poor chicken. He wasn't really all that mad, just somewhat annoyed. Why did they have to pick on him? Maybe, if it had been someone else, it would have been funny. But things seemed to calm down as everyone began to eat their food, enjoying it along with the nice weather as they all sat around in a small circle quietly munching.

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