It was such a beautiful day, she thought, looking around from her position in the shade, sipping lemonade like the rest of them. Well,t he rest of the spectators, anyway - many of the people at the large picnic were playing some complicated game of Capture the Flag out in the field. She looked around at the people she had traveled so far with and a smile formed on her face. CHris was plotting, long black hair tied back, as always, with the red headband she'd used to wear all the time, and Thomas, Bunder, and Kyle listened meekly to her demands, although it was obvious that both Thomas and Kyle were hiding smiles. Brad was resetting the cones for the next round, and the other team - Connor, Jake, Ash, and Link - were furiously preparing their own strategies. The kids, those that there were, were playing off to the side, too young to join in with the adults, but happily amusing each other under the watchful eyes of Miri and Akira. The latter giggled as Lloyd, now four and a half, lectured his much-younger half-sister about something. Senna just giggled and pulled his hair again, being two.
"Now, now, Senna, that's not nice," warned Akira, strange green eyes lighting up in the laughter that wasn't present in her tone.
The observer smiled and shook her head, taking another sip of the lemonade.
A car pulled up, and she knew by the sound of it's engine that it was expensive and fast - Ben, Silvia, and Yuki were here. The Planeswalker had made quite a name for himself in SeeD, but also ran a brisk business in computer repair and reprogramming that raised money for what he'd jokingly referred to in the letters he occasionally sent Mikaela as "The Car Fund." It had paid off. The three of them got out of the sleek, streamlined car, smiling at everyone. Riku greeted them warmly, guitar case slung over his back - he'd offered music for them later on. The wo engaged in conversation, and Yuki walked over to where Link was playing and waved at him. He waved baack, breaking into a smile, then casually blocked Kyle's sneak towards the flag, sending him grumbling off to the 'prison' area. Everyone was so happy, she could hear it in their voices and see it in their smiles, and that was as much as she could have hoped for. A delicious smell wafted on the breeze, coming from Sheila's grill. Sam sat at a table next to it, reading a book.
"Burgers are ready, hot dogs coming up!" Sheila shouted happily.
"Burgers?!" Lloyd's eyes lit up, and Akira could no longer hide her smile and laughter as Senna echoed her big brother's shout of glee. Chris called break time on the game, and the rest of them went to get food. Ash picked up a little black-haired girl who was playing with Lloyd and sighed, pulling a wipe out of her pocket to wash the child's hands of dirt and grime from where she'd been digging.
"Sorry I'm late, I lost track of time!" said a familiar voice, and Ash turned, before an orange-haired man hugged her and the child. Letting her go, he smiled down at the little girl. "Man, she's growin' up so fast," he complained with a smile, tickling her. "She's so cute, just like her mother."
Ash grinned. "Hopefully she's not as flighty as her father," she said, giving him a glare that lost all power when she laughed. "And I know you were just waiting for the food to be done so Sheila didn't make you help."
The rest of them laughed, and the watcher smiled as a plate with a juicy burger was handed to her, and ketchup and mustard were passed her way. Thanking the person who handed them to her, she added the condiments to the meal, then bit deep, savoring the taste.
"I take it you like them, then."
She looked up and smiled at Sheila, nodding, then, swallowing, she spoke. "Uh-huh. Always have, always will... literally." She flashed a grin, then took another bite. Sheila grinned back.
"You betcha. Thanks for showing up today... we were afraid you wouldn't."
She looked up at the blonde, confused. "Why?"
Sheila looked embarrassed. "Well, you know..."
She sighed. "Sheila, you guys have to learn - just because of what happened back then, doesn't mean I've suddenly started hating you, you know... of course I came. It's great to be back with everyone again... that is, everyone who showed up."
Sheila nodded understandingly, then looked around. "It's strange... we thought for sure he'd be coming."
She shook her head. "Not that I blame him for not being here, after I decided to come."
"Oh, shut up. It's not your fault and if he's off sulking somewhere, that's his right! You just have fun... and you know, you really should be playing, not just watching everyone."
She shrugged. "Maybe. I might give 'em an unfair advantage, though."
"Nah. I mean, Red Team has Chris and Bunder - don;t you think you owe it to the guys to even it up a bit?"
She smirked. "I guess. Once everyone's done eating, we'll see."
Sheila grinned. "That's the spirit I remember." She rubbed the girl's hair affectionately, then went back to her grill.
A little while later, everyone was done eating - for now - and they returned to the field, a scoreboard with the wins and losses tallied up showing Red Team's ovewhelming number of victories. When they returned, the watcher went with them.
They were just getting ready to play when another car pulled up, this one a black 1967 Chevrolet Impala. It stopped, and the door opened, revealing a tall man with short brown hair and a sardonic smile. He opened the other car door, and helped a young child get out. Sending the child over to where the other kids are playing, he turned to the game. Then, walking up to her, he shook his head.
"Hey there... you mind if I play, Kel?" When he looked up from the ground, and teir eyes met, there was no hatred there, no anger. Some sorrow and pity, but she couldn't smell his rage anymore like she used to be able to.
She smiled back, genuinely, and nodded. "Red team is down a man," she said, and that unspoken forgiveness snapped into place, just like that. He nodded.
"Then let's do it."