Themes: Rain in the desert (10) Sweet tooth (14) Loyalty (56) Small talk (85) Quiet time (90)
Setting: Pre-game (Crimson Squad days)
Summary: Bonding over laughs and pastries
Paine’s muscles finally relaxed as she warmed the morning chill off of herself next to the small fire. The sun hadn’t even completely risen yet, but this was Paine’s favorite time of the day. It was becoming increasingly rare for her now to have these times, and it was nice to have only her surroundings to concentrate on.
Startled, she looked up to see Gippal, who was, of course, talking with his mouth full. He held toward her a box of assorted pastries that he had picked up when they had stopped in a town the day before.
Paine shook her head, silent. She knew that any words that came out of her mouth would only encourage him to ramble on…
“Aw… What’s the matter, Dr. P? Watchin’ your figure?” He teased.
“No,” Paine nearly snapped at him. “I’m just not hungry, that’s all.” It was too early to make any real comeback and she could not understand how Gippal could be so energetic at this time of the morning. She looked over at the Al Bhed, whose lone green eye seemed to show concern for his friend.
“What’s up?” He asked.
Paine wondered at Gippal’s sudden concern, but didn’t think that much of it. It was still strange, though to feel so close to these people. She, Nooj, Gippal, and Baralai were four very different people, but Paine had begun to feel a kind of affinity, a bond with them. It was refreshing, like a rain after a scorching day in the desert, a rare thing and therefore something to cherish.
“You sure you don’t want one? Maybe something sweet will make you less of a grouch!”
Paine only smiled and playfully pushed him. As much of an annoyance as he was, she was beginning to enjoy his company, as well as that of Nooj and Baralai. Maybe being “just a recorder” for the team wasn’t so bad, and they were no longer just loyal teammates, they had become loyal friends.
“Why don’t you go bother Baralai for awhile?” She asked with the slightest bit of amusement in her voice.
“Nah… As much fun as it is to pick on ‘Lai, I don’t want you to get lonely…” He grinned. “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of Gippal to go around.”
Paine actually laughed out loud. Even in her darkest moods, one of them would always say or do something that would make her laugh.
She looked over at Gippal, still smiling and reached for the box that he held.
“Give me one of those.”