Author's Note: Squaresoft owns characters. Everything else belongs to me. Copyrighted. I think it’s rather unrealistic for someone like Squall to be welcomed without a thought into the sophomore’s little setting, so I did something to make the transition a little bit smoother. Or rougher. Either way here it is.
Two weeks went by like this.
Squall barely talked at all to anyone. He avoided Seifer. Quistis didn’t bother him, and Irvine sensed the hostility and kept away from the middle ground by not speaking much to him, either. He was irritated with Fujin, but she seemed oblivious to this and continued to hang around his side. Raijin apparently lived a floor above Fujin and played on the football team with Seifer. He didn’t see Raijin much, but every time Raijin saw him he asked about his motorcycle.
And he hadn’t see Keith since the first day, which was good. Although he’s skeptical about the various caveats from others, he wasn’t exactly that eager to see the gang again.
He contemplated this as he sat in the attic, staring at a blank canvas. This bites, he thought. He had been here for a fortnight and already everyone’s avoiding him. Granted, he gave them a fairly solid reason, and he’s not exactly itching to be the social butterfly, but . . .
It could get very lonely when the people sharing the same house with him were ignoring and refusing to speak to him. He went out of his way to make it this way, but now he had it and he realized he didn’t want it.
His sister was right. Ellone had told him to not act excessively aloof, for in college if one’s distant one tends to stay alone, unlike in high school where one’s forced into the social activities to some degree no matter what. He dismissed that as a nonessential thing back then.
Now he knew better.
Squall sighed. He tossed the brush aside and stood up from his position on the floor. He climbed down the small entrance and descended into the kitchen. He was being a complete asshole for the past two weeks and the realization was surprisingly none too pleasant.
Might as well start making some amends.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
Squall had to concentrate so his hands wouldn’t slip. “Cooking. What does it look like?”
Squall nearly laughed, but didn’t for the sake of his own skin. He was holding a pot with boiling oil in one hand and the cooking spatula in the other hand, turning over vegetables. But the tone in Seifer’s voice was making it hard not to smile.
“What are you hollering about, Seifer?” Irvine walked in from the living room and skidded to a halt. “Whoa.”
Squall did laugh this time. He picked the pan up and tilted the vegetables into a plate next to the stove.
“Okay, who are you and what have you done to Squall?” Irvine inquired.
“You don’t know me well enough to say that.” Squall replied darkly.
Something in that answer made Squall look up and stared at the indigo- eyed boy. After a few seconds, Irvine grinned. “So what’s that?”
“Authentic Chinese food.” Squall turned off the stove and picked up the plate. “I assume you all eat Chinese food.”
“Eat wha – ha, okay.” Quistis appeared from the hallway. She only looked shocked for a few seconds before a smirk took over her features. “Well, dinner time already? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m hungry.”
Squall brought the plate over to the already set table. Something clicked behind him on the counter. “Ah, there’s the rice.”
“Rice?” Seifer again.
“Yeah. You can’t eat Chinese food without rice.” Squall explained simply. He scooped the rice into a large bowl and carried it to the table along with the rest of the dishes already simmering on the top. He flopped down on a chair and began to fill his own bowl.
The other three exchanged a glance. Quistis threw her hands up in a shrug and sat down, opposite of Squall. She took a fair share of rice and filled it with his cooked vegetables. She took a bite.
“Mmm! You two, come on, stop standing and staring, this is *good!*” With that, she leaned over and dragged Irvine by his wrist so he would sit. “This matches your cooking, Irvine.”
“Nobody matches my cooking.” Irvine picked up his chopsticks. He then noticed Seifer was still standing. “Seifer, come on, it’s food.”
Squall saw the passing conflict in Seifer’s eyes. Then the fleeting moment departed and Seifer finally sat down. The next few minutes were filled with chewing, swallowing, utensils tinkering and other sounds associated with dinner. It was about half way through when Quistis said slyly: “Apology accepted.”
Squall met her eyes and grinned in appreciation. He didn’t reply, but relief shone through his blue eyes. The other two guys paused slightly: Irvine returned to shoveling rice in his mouth with the chopsticks a second later, but Seifer stopped and looked pensive.
“Oh don’t look so gruff, Seif,” Quistis tapped Seifer’s hand lightly. “Come on, we got two first-rate cooks here. Guess who’s going to make dinner from now on?”
“Hey, wait a minute, you can’t just –“ Irvine started.
“Sure we can, Kinneas,” Seifer answered. “So from now on you and goth boy here’ll be our chefs.”
“Goth boy?” Squall raised an eyebrow. “I do have a name, you know.”
“I can think of worse names than ‘goth boy’, *goth boy*. Be happy.”
“Can I ask you something?” Quistis addressed Squall, clearly changing the subject.
“Yeah.” Squall replied.
“Can I take photos of you?”
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