A Picnic and Playful Banter
Chapter 2 - Adult Conversation
Once the picnic was over and done with and everyone (except for Nida and Xu who had gone in to finish up a bit of extra paperwork) was sitting around picking at the leftovers or sipping their lemonade, Selphie decided that things were a bit too quiet and, seeing as she was an excellent conversation starter, she decided to do just that.
Picking at a bit of her bread, she tried to think of something interesting to say as she tore her roll into little bite-sized pieces and tossed some out to the birds sitting in the courtyard, Quistis looking on and shaking her head in disapproval as she thought of the "Please do not feed the animals" sign that was posted at the entrance of the quad, though she managed to refrain herself from commenting.
One of the bread crumbs Selphie had thrown got blown off course by the wind so that, instead of landing near the birds as she'd intended it to along with the other pieces of bread she'd thrown, it landed on Squall, right on top of his black leather pants to be precise, which he was wearing, as usual, even in the pre-summer heat.
"Aren't you hot, Squall?" Selphie asked innocently, it was the first thing that came to mind and so she had said it, as there wasn't anything better that she could think of to say.
"What?" was Squall's eloquent reply, his brow creased a bit in confusion, not quite understanding what Selphie was asking him.
"Your pants," Selphie replied, pointing with her roll at the black, leather pants that Squall was wearing to make sure that she got her point across, "aren't they hot?"
Squall stared at her blankly for a moment before turning his gaze downward and to the item in question. He looked at his trademark pants contemplatively for a few seconds before finally coming up with an answer. "Yeah...I guess they kind of are," was the only thing he could think to say, as he shrugged his shoulders dismissively.
"Why don't you wear something else then?" Selphie had merely asked a completely innocent question out of sheer curiosity, a question which, naturally, she would expect to be answered with a just as innocent reply, which was why she certainly didn't expect to get the answer she received.
For it was Seifer who chose to respond to Selphie's inquiry and, as per usual, he just had to come out with a smart-aleck remark. "Didn't you know, Selphie? Squally here's got a leather fetish, probably something to do with that whole bondage thing he's into," Seifer commented nonchalantly, popping a remaining piece of fried chicken into his mouth, still managing to smirk as he chewed (quite a remarkable feat, though not entirely appreciated by the group, especially not by Squall.)
"And how would you know that, Seifer?" Irvine broke into Seifer's triumph with an innuendoes remark (quite characteristic of the cowboy) as he quirked an eyebrow in mocking question. The Galbadian was quite aware that Seifer's comment about bondage had probably spawned from Squall's habit of wearing multiple belts, and he knew just as well as any of them did that there was definitely not anything going on between Seifer and Squall (hell would freeze over before that would happen), but that didn't mean that he couldn't tease them about something going on, now did it?
Seifer and Squall chose to ignore the insidious question, both of them (for once) in agreement, this time a silent one that the question at hand was undeserving of a reply, as Squall chose instead to give Seifer an icy, cold glare, one which he had perfected over the years with Shiva's help.
Seifer's good humor once again returned as he found opportunity to once more poke fun at the commander, an all too common occurrence. "Is that an 'I hate you for always being able to make fun of me' glare or an 'I hate you for always being right' one?" Seifer asked cheekily, chuckling as Squall growled in annoyance.
"It's an 'I hate you for being a stupid prick' glare," Squall spat indignantly, though this seemed not to have the desired affect on Seifer, who merely clutched his chest dramatically as if he had been wounded by Squall's words.
"Ouch. And he gets me with secret option number three," Seifer cried out mockingly as the group (aside from Squall) laughed quietly at the typical antics. Seifer soaked up the attention, basking in the empowering feeling of being the center of attention once again. He had always been this way, at least as far back as he could remember, and now that some of the memories stolen from him by the use of the Guardian Forces had returned (thanks to Dr. Odine) that statement actually had some relevance.
Apparently Quistis was thinking along the same lines as Seifer. "Why do you always have to be so sarcastic, Seifer? I know you've always been that way, but give it a rest once in a while." Her words would have been hurtful had they had a harsh tone instead of the slightly playful one that Quistis had used (which was quite uncharacteristic of her.)
Seifer merely rolled his eyes at her and Selphie giggled like a five-year- old girl (as per usual.) Zell, however, had a puzzled look on his face, as if he couldn't quite fit all the pieces of a scenario together. Finally he voiced what it was he was confused about, hoping the others could help him with fill in all of the pieces of the puzzle. "Seifer hasn't always been like that..." he began, pausing as Seifer sent him a 'what the hell do you think you're talking about' look.
"He's been like that as far as I can remember," Squall commented sulkily, playing with the hem at the bottom of his leather pants that had caused such a commotion but a minute ago.
"Yeah, well, when he was really little, like four I think, he was actually kind of nice," Zell remarked absently, shocking most of his companions (Seifer most of all.) Zell, having realized what he had just said, hastily tried to retract his statement by adding that Seifer's non-offensive behavior hadn't lasted long (perhaps it was this change in behavior that had perplexed him a moment ago.)
Seifer merely snorted and threw his head back in mock arrogance, as he lay stretched out on the checkered cloth, leaning back on his elbows with his nose up in the air. "I don't know what you're talking about," he declared snobbishly, causing everyone to laugh at him once again.
"Yeah, Seifer's always been a pain in the ass, Zell. You of all people should know that," Squall quipped, happy that he could finally get back at Seifer for some of the things he had said. Eye rolling and mild laughter followed that statement, Zell even nodded his head in agreement as Seifer pretended to be offended. Irvine, however, had a devious gleam in his eyes, a warning for what was to come.
"Oh, and here I thought that we had asserted earlier that Seifer was a pain in your ass, Squall," Irvine remarked dryly, the small quirk of his lips belaying the fact that he was merely teasing.
It took a moment for everyone to figure out what exactly it was that Irvine had said, but once they did there was a varying degree of reactions by the other members of the group. Selphie promptly slapped Irvine on the arm as she wrinkled her nose in disgust. Rinoa merely blinked, as if what Irvine had said hadn't quite got through to her. Quistis looked scandalized. Zell looked as if he might just loose his lunch right there on the lawn. Seifer seemed amazed that Irvine would dare say such a thing. Squall (whose reaction was by far the worst) turned bright red and kept opening and shutting his mouth like a fish, making gagging noises in his throat as he tried to comprehend what Irvine had said and adamantly deny it at the same time.
Irvine merely rolled his eyes at all of them. "Come on guys, it wasn't that bad," he commented, snapping all of them out of their stupor. Squall spluttered indignantly, still not able to form an adequate response, as if in protest of Irvine's statement. "You should have seen your guys' faces," the cowboy added with a laugh, "Squall's was definitely the funniest, though. I don't know that he'll ever get over the shock and embarrassment; look, his face is still all red."
At that everyone turned to look at Squall, whose face was indeed still red and had turned even redder shade still at Irvine's mention of him 'looking funny' and the collective gaze that now rested on him. They all, apparently, thought Squall's embarrassed state amusing, for everyone (except for Squall, which in his mind was becoming an all too common occurrence) was smiling and laughing again and Irvine was soon forgiven for his inappropriate comment (by most of the group at least.)
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