"Lunch Break"

By Kpmh2001

Ever since the Dominion had gotten lost and arrived at Remnant, it seemed like the ship and her crew had been working overtime to put out a multitude of fires across the foreign planet. As such, Fairfire had learned to relish every moment of calm that she could get.

Today that came in the form of a trip to Monarch Park in Kuo Kuana, named after the butterflies that tended to congregate in the area. Seeing a couple of off-duty Helljumpers on a picnic might have been an unusual sight to an outsider, but considering that their current Barracks and Mess Hall were made out of hastily-converted warehouses, full of mold and poor ventilation, it wasn't as peculiar an idea as it might have seemed. Besides, it was hardly like they were dressed for battle.

All around them, the citizens of Menagerie carried about their daily life. She noticed that it was uncommon for them to get weird looks or be stared at anymore, it seemed like they were finally getting used to seeing UNSC Marines. But she had other things on her mind as she finally spotted Meadows coming back to their table with a pair of big plastic bags. It was his turn to pay for lunch, and thankfully, Kuo Kuana had plenty of good places to grab some grub.

"Alright Meadows, quit being coy, what'd you grab us?" Yu impatiently asked. "I'm starving!"

Meadows smiled widely as he put the bags on the table. "A little bit of everything. Dumplings, Mac and Cheese, Sandwiches…"

"Hot damn." Fairfire whistled as he revealed the small feast he'd gone out and bought for them. "I only asked you to grab food for the squad man, not the Company!"

"Leftovers never hurt anyone." Meadows argued as he slid into his seat, before noticing that two of their squad were missing. "Hey, where's Peggy, and Nathan?"

Fairfire gestured toward Peggy, who was passed out on a beach towel beside the table, quietly snoring. "I don't know how you missed him, to be honest."

Meadows shook his head. "Me neither, he's lucky I didn't step on him. Should we wake him up or-"

"Nah, let him sleep." Yu answered, even as she shoveled a heap of macaroni into her mouth. "He had sentry duty all night, he needs it."

"I'll save him some." Meadows said. "What about Nathan?"

"He's over there." Fairfire pointed.

Out in the grassy field beside them, Nathan was engaged in a game of five-way frisbee with some local kids, whom Fairfire couldn't help but notice were all dog Faunus. Quite how he'd gotten involved was a mystery, but if she had to guess, it probably had something to do with the fact that he had a much better throwing arm than any of the kids did.

Yu noticed where she was looking, and commented. "Something feels racist about that, don't you think?"

Fairfire shook her head. "Nah, look at how happy those kids are. They're clearly not bothered, so why should we be?"

"Fair enough." Yu replied. "Should we call him over?"

"Yeah, probably." Fairfire answered, before radically raising her voice. "Hey, Nathan, food's here!"

She watched as Nathan turned to say something to the kids, who all vocalized their disappointment with his leaving, before he made their way back over to them.

"Making friends I see." Fairfire jokingly commented.

Nathan shrugged and smiled. "Oh come on, they just wanted somebody who could throw worth a damn."

Yu, as usual, took the easy opportunity to tease Nathan. "Yeah, we know, so why the hell did they pick you?"

Nathan, quick as ever, replied in kind. "I'm not sure, you must have repelled them with your stunning personality."

"Hmph." Yu half-replied, but she was too busy eating to properly retort.

"Can you two just leave each other alone and eat?" Fairfire asked. She was hoping to go at least one day without a headache, and they weren't helping. "It ain't every day that we get to eat out like this, so let's try not to be miserable while we're here."

"Fine." Yu replied, her mouth still half-full of food. "But only if Nathan admits that I've got a better throwing arm than he does."

"Done." Nathan immediately replied. "Say, on the note of throwing, I gotta show you this."

Nathan pulled out his datapad and opened up a video of one of the Vytal Festival tournaments. Fairfire wasn't surprised, the tournaments were the number one place on Remnant to show off all of the utterly crazy nonsense that people could do. She also wasn't surprised when one Huntsman who looked a bit like an old-timey strongman physically picked up his opponent and hurled them into the hardlight ceiling of the colosseum.

"Holy shit." Yu commented. "Do you think one of us could do something like that?"

"No way, it's his Semblance." Nathan answered. "The casters called him 'One Throw Joe'."

Fairfire let out a low whistle as Joe's opponent hit the ground with a painful thud, their Aura shattering on impact. "Well, remind me not to volunteer for that particular bloodsport, I think that would kill me."

"Nah, you've got way too much Aura for that. Besides, with your Semblance, I bet you'd just vaporize him in a single shot if you were mad enough." Yu argued. "Although maybe that's a reason not to compete…"

"Yeah, killing your opponent is against the rules, and well, the law." Nathan said. "I doubt they'd even let us compete, we ain't Huntsmen, remember? We don't really tend to go for 'less-lethal' like they do."

Yu nodded as she wolfed down even more dumplings. "I still say that Liz could do it, as long as she kept her cool."

Fairfire couldn't help but flinch at the reminder of her actions, but thankfully, Nathan came to her defense. "Hey, low blow. You know she didn't have control of what she was doing."

"Yeah, so why should she feel guilty about it? Nobody died." Yu argued.

"You got shot." Meadows pointed out.

"Yeah well, we get shot at a lot, forgive me if I'm not really fazed by it anymore." Yu pointed out. "Look, it was just a suggestion. If you don't wanna try to sign up for the tournaments, that's fine. You're only missing out on the fame, money, fans, brand deals-"

Fairfire shook her head. "Yeah, no, I'm perfectly comfortable with being a Helljumper, not a gladiator."

Nathan's eyes peaked up again at her words. "Hey, speaking of gladiators, check this out."

He brought up another video, and this time, Fairfire actually recognized the contestant. It was one of the kids from Beacon that they'd instructed, her emerald-eyed doppelganger, Pyrrha Nikos. The video didn't show amity colosseum like the other one, but rather a training arena, where Pyrrha was handily kicking the asses off of four boys who'd made the dreadful mistake of challenging her. After a moment of focus, Fairfire realized that she recognized the boys as well.

"Oh goddamnit, that's team CRDL! What the hell are they doing?!" Fairfire wondered. "I guess all of those hand-to-hand lessons that Ben and I gave them were in vain."

"Of course they were in vain, they're going up against 'The Invincible Girl'." Nathan said, doing a terrible impression of one of the colosseum casters as he said her nickname. "Just look at her go, why the hell can't you do that Liz?"

"Push my buttons enough and you might be surprised." Fairfire grumbled. "And why the hell is she called The Invincible Girl? Nobody's invincible, except for Meadows, maybe."

"Thanks?" Meadows replied. "I guess there is some talent involved in surviving everything that I have."

Yu chuckled. "Wait, I changed my mind, Meadows needs to compete. Think about it, it doesn't matter how badly he gets his ass kicked, he can't die."

Meadows groaned. "You're gonna jinx it."

"You lost the right to say that after you took a shot from a wraith and walked away like it was nothing!" Nathan protested. "You've got some angel on your shoulder looking out for you ya know, you oughta be grateful."

"For what, the radiation dose?" Meadows grumbled. "And being a punching bag for a bunch of supermen doesn't sound like a lot of fun."

"For you maybe." Yu cheekily added. "The crowd would love it."

Fairfire couldn't help but sigh in annoyance, as much as she appreciated Yu as a friend, she could really be a handful sometimes. "Alright Yu, since you seem so excited about being a stage fighter, why don't you sign up?"

"I've got no Semblance, wouldn't be fair." Yu argued. "How am I meant to compete with dudes who can summon spectral copies of dudes they've killed, or throw me into the ceiling like a baseball?"

"With a gun?" Nathan jokingly suggested. "Just bring along a Stanchion and aim for the leg, you'll win every fight."

"Nathan, a Stanchion would take off the man's leg, Aura or not." Meadows pointed out. "Look, what I'm getting here is that none of us are gladiators, or even want to be gladiators."

"What about Ben, or Jorge?" Fairfire suggested. "How the hell would any of those Huntsmen take on a Spartan?"

"Why are you asking? We've seen them go up against dudes with Aura." Yu pointed out.

Meadows slowly nodded, but his expression betrayed his doubt. "-And then those dudes with Aura become stains on the floor, which isn't very good sportsmanship."

"...Point taken." Fairfire said, before noticing that she still hadn't dug into any of the food that Meadows had bought. "God damn you all, you distracted me for so long my food got cold!"

Yu shook her head and shoveled another dumpling into her mouth. "Don't blame that on me, that's your fault."

"Anybody got a strip of C-12? I know a trick-" Nathan started to make a suggestion, but Fairfire quickly shot him down.

"No! You are not using plastic explosives to heat food! And why the hell do you think I'd bring them to lunch?!"

"You're a Marine Liz, don't act like they ain't tasty." Yu argued. "And before you say anything, I ain't ashamed of it."

Meadows made a noise of disgust at the way the discussion had turned. "How the hell can you even joke about that? C-12 tastes like salty cow shit."

"Why do you know what C-12 tastes like?" Fairfire asked.

Meadows immediately realized his mistake, and quickly realized there was no going back. "...I lost a bet."

Nathan and Yu both began to howl with laughter as Fairfire shook her head. "Meadows, you are one dumb son of a bitch, you know that?"

"I didn't eat it!" He protested. "I only had to lick it, that's all!"

The laughter only intensified, and Fairfire couldn't help but smile at the flustered look on his face. "Well, I'm glad to see your eating habits have improved since then."

Meadows grumbled in response. "Look, I was a stupid boot, we all were, now can we please get back to eating?"

"Fine by me." Fairfire said, unable to keep the grin off of her face as Meadows was immediately bombarded with further teasing from Nathan and Yu.

They might be idiots, but they're my idiots. She thought with a smile as she finally dug into her food.

Author's note: I don't usually write things based on outright requests (hell, I rarely get them) but the idea for this chapter came from Alloy101. I generally find writing the ODSTs to be pretty easy, so I figured that it couldn't hurt. My main focus is still on the main plot of course, but I've found little side-stories like this are good for keeping the creativity flowing.