He woke up to the sound of the vacuum running in the living room. Pulling his pillow over him to muffle the noise, the whirring sound of the vacuum still ground at his ears. For the bookworm to go on a spring cleaning rampage on their day off so early in the morning was a low blow. Groaning, Soul rolled over to check the time on his alarm clock. 12:30 pm. Well not so early. But he did have better plans than cleaning the apartment to a dust-free existence.

Sitting up, he eyed an unopened box on his desk, one that had arrived just in time yesterday while Maka was out. He sighed. It would be easier defeating the Kishin all over again than convincing Maka to abandon a plan. Quickly dressing, he grabbed the box on his way out to face his meister girlfriend.

The vacumm was off to the side in the living room. Maka was donned in old sweats, hair up in her no-nonsense-tolerated buns than her usual pigtails. She wiped at a window with the same ferocity when facing an opponent, beads of sweat running down the side of her face. She turned in Soul's direction at the sound of his approaching footsteps, placing a hand on her hip. "About time you got up, sleepyhead. Put whatever's in that box on the coffee table and grab a duster. You can start dusting in the bookshelves."

Bracing himself, Soul positioned himself an arm's length in front of her, fidgeting nervously. He looked at a point just past Maka's shoulder-it made it easier to talk that way. "Um, about that, I was think-,"

Maka caught him off with a glare that could cut through steel. "Don't you dare tell me you're going to goof off with Black*Star and Kid. Not today."

Soul backed up a few feet from the force of her glare. "No, nothing like that! I just thought that…well since it's such a nice day outside, we could not do this and maybe go have a picnic instead." He finished the sentence in a half-mumble, raising his eyes to meet hers.

Her eyes had lost their dangerous look and now looked half exasperated-half amused. "Soul, this is our one day off for a while. That means we have to catch up on undone housework and other stuff."

Deciding it was time for the puppy eyes, Soul raised the box and scrunched up his face. "But I had a surprise for us."

Raising an eyebrow at his face, Maka eyed the box. "What's in there anyways?" She reached out to take it from him.

Pulling it away from her and raising it above her reach, he shook his head. "Not so fast. Only if we can have our picnic." He put on the puppy face again. "Please?"

For a moment, Maka stared at him with impassively. Then she broke out in rampant laughter, dropping the wipe in her hand. "Your face is so silly." Wiping tear from her eye, she gave in. "Fine, give me a few minutes to change out of these clothes."

As she went to her room, Soul sat down on the couch, muttering, "My face isn't always that silly to you."

Half an hour later, Maka and Soul walked out of their apartment and down the street to Death Park, which was across the basketball courts Spartoi played their weekly basketball games. Maka carried a picnic basket filled with sandwiches and drinks, a red blanket neatly folded on top of it while Soul carried the box which he still refused to elaborate on.

He drank in the feeling of strolling in leisure in the sunlight, Maka at his side. Reaching Death Park in a matter of minutes, he examined the park for a perfect spot. A few families with young children played on the jungle gym set in the middle of the park, picnic benches and trees sprawled out beyond them. Shifting the box to one arm, he grabbed Maka's elbow as she headed for the benches.

She gave him a quizzical look. "Aren't we going to eat at the benches?"

He nodded to the box. "That's where the surprise comes in." Guiding her to an open spot between two sturdy looking trees, he gave her a playful look. "Would you like to know what I've been hiding in here?"

Maka spread out the blanket and laid the basket on top of it. She plopped down besides the basket. "Do tell, the suspense is killing me."

Taking a seat next to her, he placed the box on his lap and opened it. A brand-new beige hammock lay carefully folded in the box. Pulling out the hammock, he proudly said, "Ta-da!"

Giving a surprised laugh, Maka took part of the hammock in her hands. "Where did you get this?"

"I ordered it online and it came in yesterday. I always wanted one of these as a kid." He gave her a hopeful look. "And I thought we could relax in it during our picnic."

Maka gave an amused laugh, shaking her head. "You can be so childish sometimes."

Soul's hopeful look grew. "So I take it that's a yes?"

Yanking a patchful of grass and throwing it in his hair, Maka snatched the hammock. "That's a yes."

Grabbing a handful of grass himself, he tossed it without aim at her. "And you say I'm the childish one."

It took a while for them to figure out how to assemble the hammock properly and even longer to balance themselves in it with the sandwiches but they both gave a contented sigh when they finally managed it.

Soul gave a sideways long look at Maka, her emerald eyes shining and a pigtail draped over his shoulder. "A much better plan than cleaning the apartment, wouldn't you say?"

Maka leaned into his shoulder, closing her eyes. "Much better."