The Cookie Jar
Diana and the Cookie Jar
Diana skipped into the kitchen. Her Uncle Hope was babysitting her today, and he'd brought along a cool new video game for her to play. It was about a plumber who had to rescue a princess from evil turtles or something like that, but every time she reached the castle, the princess was never there and that meant she had to go all the way to the next castle.
Right now, they were taking a break, and she'd gone to get some juice from the fridge, but right as she was about to leave, she saw that one of the cupboards above her was open. It was way up high – even higher than her mommy's head – but she could just make out what looked like a jar of cookies.
Putting her glass of juice down on the kitchen counter, she strained to get a better look at the jar of cookies. Her mom must have put them up there, and if her mom had put them up there, then that meant the cookies had to be the kind that were super bad for her: double chocolate chip cookies with extra sprinkles. She licked her lips. It was like she could already taste them. Now, all she had to do was get them.
Face scrunched up with concentration, Diana bent her knees and then jumped as high as she could, her arms straining upward as high as they would go. She wasn't even close. Scowling, she jumped again, and then once more just to be sure, but try as she might, she couldn't get anywhere near the cookies. What now?
Carefully, she took a look around. There had to be something around that she could use. How about the kitchen counter? She could climb on top of it and then try jumping from there, but that didn't look very safe, and now that she thought about it, she probably wouldn't have been able to reach the cupboard even if she jumped from the counter. And a chair wouldn't help much either, since even the tallest chair wasn't as high as the kitchen counter, not to mention, that a lot of the chairs were really heavy and Averia wasn't there to move them for her.
She could try using a stick. Yes, she'd seen people at school use a long stick to knock a ball out of the branches of the big tree that grew near one of the fences. With a grin on her face, she ran up to her bedroom, ignoring the curious look her Uncle Hope sent her as she passed through the living room.
Up in her room, she pawed through all of her things. She had a fake sword, but that wasn't long enough. Even the walking stick she'd found at the park and brought home wasn't long enough. Then her eyes fell on the practice spear that her mommy had given Averia. It wasn't sharp or anything, and it was a bit heavy, but it looked like it was long enough. Smirking to herself, she grabbed the spear and ran back to the kitchen.
Eyes narrowed in concentration, she angled the spear up toward the jar of cookies. Yes, the spear was long enough to reach! But then she encountered another problem. The jar of cookies wasn't like a ball. If she just used the spear to shove the jar out of the cupboard, it would fall and break, and then she'd be in heaps of trouble. She could try and catch it, but the jar might be too heavy. She frowned. She really, really wanted the cookies, but not if it meant getting into lots of trouble.
Slowly, she put the spear down and started back toward the living room. If she stayed away any longer, her Uncle Hope might start getting suspicious, and there was still that video game to play. Wait… her Uncle Hope… he could get the cookies for her! All she had to do was convince him, and that wouldn't be too hard, not for her.
X X X
Hope looked away from the television as Diana tugged on his sleeve.
"Can I have some cookies, Uncle Hope?" The little girl gave him another one of her sunny smiles, and he felt something inside of him turn to mush. Had Lightning been this adorable as a child, or had Diana picked it up from Fang?
"Cookies?" Hope scratched the back of his head. "I'm not sure that we have any cookies."
"But we do." Diana pulled him over to the kitchen and pointed up at one of the cupboards. "See, there are some in there."
Hope looked at the jar of cookies and bit back a wince. Despite her occasionally sour nature, Lightning had something of a sweet tooth, but it was often forced to take a back seat in favour of teaching the girl good eating habits. Hiding cookies was one of the few ways that Lightning could sneak the occasional sweet while still lecturing the girls on eating healthy. Moreover, as Diana's babysitter for the evening, Hope had a duty to ration the sweets.
"Please, Uncle Hope, I only want a few." Diana clasped her hands together and scuffed one shoe against the other. "Maybe even just one." She perked up. "You could even hold the cookie jar to make sure I don't eat too many." She looked up at him with those big blue eyes. "Please, Uncle Hope?"
Hope wavered and then sighed. She was too adorable for her own good, and she was right – so long as he held the cookie jar, he could make sure she didn't eat too many. "Fine, I guess we could have on each. We can eat them while we play."
"Thanks, Uncle Hope." Diana hugged his leg. "You're the best!"
It was only halfway through showing Diana the best way to play the video game that Hope realised how thoroughly he'd been played. With the controller in his hands, he'd been forced to let go of the cookie jar, and with his attention on the game, he'd never even noticed what was happening until Diana was halfway through the cookie jar.
Lightning was going to kill him.
Averia and the Cookie Jar
Averia had just spent the past two hours working on her project, and finally it was done. All of that hard work deserved a reward, and she was in the kitchen to get some ice cream when she spotted the open cupboard. There was a jar of cookies up there – cookies that would go very well with the ice cream she was about to have. The only question now was how to get to them without getting into trouble. As quietly as she could, she crept back into the living room. Her mommy was still there polishing her spear, so she could probably sneak at least a few cookies without being caught so long as she stayed in the dining room and ate quickly.
Back in the kitchen, she took a quick look around. The cupboard was too high for her to reach on her own from the ground, and the counter didn't look like a good place to stand either. However, there was a stool there and if she placed it right and then jumped off it, she could probably grab the top of the cupboard. All of the cupboards were bolted to the wall and she didn't weigh that much, so she could probably grab on without breaking anything.
She took one last look at everything and then pulled the stool into position.
She took several steps forward and leapt onto the stool before jumping again. She sailed through the air, and for one horrible instant she wondered if she wasn't going to make it. Then her fingers latched onto the top of the cupboard. For a second, she dangled there, and then she took a deep breath before reaching into the cupboard and pulling out the jar of cookies. Her lips curled. Perfect, they were double chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles.
And then the worst possible thing happened. The cookie jar slipped out of her hand and tumbled toward the floor.
Only to be caught in mid air.
"You know," Fang drawled a smirk on her face as she took in the blush on her daughter's face. "If you wanted some cookies, you could have just asked."
"Oh." Averia pushed off from the cupboard and landed in a crouch. "Then why are they up there?"
Fang opened the jar of cookies and popped one into her mouth. "Your mom likes to hide them up there – she's got a bit of a sweet tooth and up there is one of the only places she can put them where you and your sister won't just find them and eat them." She swaggered back toward the living room, stopping just long enough to toss a grin over her shoulder at Averia. "Come on then, we can eat in the living room, and I can explain how you really steal food out of the kitchen without getting caught." She laughed. "Your mom still doesn't know who ate the last slice of chocolate cake."
Averia darted over to the fridge to grab the ice cream and two bowls, and then fell into step beside Fang. "That was you?"
Best. Mommy. Ever.
Claire and the Cookie jar
Claire's stomach rumbled as she looked up into the cupboard. There were some really nice looking cookies up there.
"Daddy," she shouted. "Can you get me these cookies?"
Less than a minute later, and Claire had her hands on the cookie jar.
"It must be nice being so tall," Claire said as she unscrewed the lid of the cookie jar. The smell of the cookies washed over her and her stomach gave another rumble. They smelled so, so good.
Snow laughed. "It comes in handy sometimes. Although I will say it drives your mommy nuts have to ask me to get things out of the top cupboards." He gave her a conspiratorial smile. "If you ask me, you won't have that problem. I'm sure you'll grow up to be taller than her."
"What was that?"
Claire froze. That was her mommy's 'Aunt Lightning voice'. "Uh… hi, mommy." She held up the cookie jar. "Daddy and I were just about to have some cookies, do you want some too?"
Serah looked from her daughter to her husband, both of whom wore identical sheepish looks. Her lips twitched. Well, if they wanted to make fun of her height…
"Mine now," Serah said as she plucked the cookie jar out of Claire's hands and traipsed back into the living room.
Claire and Snow watched her leave.
"Mommy can be scary sometimes," Claire whispered. "No wonder she and Aunt Lightning are sisters."
Snow nodded sagely. "Farron women are a scary breed." He grinned. "But that's why we love them." He patted Claire on the head. "Come on, let's head over to the living room and beg for some cookies."
"I thought heroes never beg."
Snow laughed. "Don't worry, you'll understand when you're older."
X X X
This story basically came about because some readers asked questions like: "What would Diana/Averia/Claire do in [insert random situation]?" This story is my way of trying to answer that question using one of the most common situations in every child's life, the jar of cookies.
As you can see, all three of the girls adopted very different approaches. Diana used her cuteness to con Hope into getting her the cookies, and then a bit of cunning to make sure she got to eat as many as she wanted. In contrast, Averia decided to go the more direct route, and she was lucky that it was Fang around and not Lightning. As for Claire… she got the cookies the quickest, but whether or not she actually got to eat any is another question. Being around a lot of people who are all taller than her by a considerable margin (with the exception of Vanille), I can easily see Serah being just a little bit touchy about it (and Snow is a giant, let's face it). Of course, she's not actually going to eat all the cookies on her own… she just wants to mess with them a little.
I'll probably add more to this now and then, with the girls coming up against other commonplace situations. If you've got any suggestions, then by all means, send them. This is something that we (i.e., you and me) can all have a bit of fun with. As for the chapter title, it's a tribute to one of my favourite mangas of all time, Yotsubato! (which translates roughly into Yotsuba and!). If you like slice-of-life stories, you should check it out. Diana and Yotsuba would definitely be best friends.
Finally, the game Diana was playing with Hope was based on Mario (the original one on the NES).
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.