I decided to write this fic because I've been feeling really bad ever since I got an extremely nasty review on "In Our Nature" back on February 18th. It wasn't even constructive criticism, it was just vitriol. Every time I went to write after that, those awful words would whisper in my ear. I'm already very insecure about my so-called skill as a writer, and thanks to that anonymous jerk, I felt immobilized by my anxiety. So I decided I wanted to work on something else, to push myself through this block. Something sweet, something short, something straightforward. I wanted something to make me feel better to just write, no matter what anybody might say after. And so this fic was born.

Enjoy it, or don't. I'm just happier to have written it.

The moonlit sands whistled on the dunes far beyond the dusky borders of Gadgetzan. But the soft wail of the sands was inaudible under the usual evening chatter of the Road Warrior Inn. Various patrons from all across Azeroth, from all walks of life, were gathered around the main dining table. Voices spoke in a dozen tongues, one to match every race that spoke them. The most common languages were those of the most numerous patrons, the gnomes and goblins who called Gadgetzan their permanent home.

While most patrons tended to keep to themselves-eating, or feasting, or staggering half-drunk into one of the inn's many available beds-a few small groups lingered by themselves at the tables in the more shadowy corners of the room. Groups of friends, or couples, or families.

And among them sat one pair who were all three of those things, yet also none of them.

A pink-haired, rosy-cheeked gnome with her thick hair set into two bushy pigtails sat across from a green-skinned goblin with wild black hair atop his head and along his jaw. It was a rather odd sight to some, seeing a goblin and a gnome together. But if anyone were looking at them in judgement, then neither were any the wiser. They were too busy sitting with their gazes locked upon one another, as though they were having a tacit conversation through eye contact.

But then the gnome spoke, turning their conversation verbal.

"Let's play a game," She said quietly in the Common tongue, shuffling the Hearthstone deck in her calloused little hands.

"A game?" The goblin perked a black eyebrow, in the same Common language, "Right now? Uh, is this really the best time, Bitsy?"

"It's the best time," Bitsy nodded affirmatively.

"Uh huh?" The goblin looked at her skeptically.

"Look, Ozzy," Bitsy sighed, setting down her shuffled deck, "Let's just play a round. And I'll tell you after."

"What, you can't just tell me now?" Ozzy furrowed his brow, hands remaining still over his own tightly-clutched deck.

"I need to think it over," Bitsy shrugged, "I'll give you my answer when we're done playing. Now, are you going to shuffle your deck or what?"

"Bossy, aren't you, Miss Shortguard?" Ozzy grumbled, beginning to shuffle his deck.

When he was finished, he set down the deck and gestured to her impatiently.

"Hope you think it over quick, because this match won't last very long," Ozzy sniffed, leaning his arm forward onto the table, "Y'know I used to play Hearthstone with my brother all the time, right?"

"...and how often did you win, exactly?" Bitsy asked, perking a pink eyebrow.

Ozzy cleared his throat, glancing aside.

"I won… uh, enough," He shrugged, before glancing back at her, "But then, y'know, I didn't take it as seriously back then as I am now."

"Oh? You're taking it seriously?" Bitsy smiled, leaning forward in her seat a bit.

"Yeah, I am," He nodded briskly, "I'd say I got a pretty reason to."

Bitsy smiled again, a slight pink color rising to her cheeks as Ozzy continued his intense stare in her direction.

"Well," She cleared her throat, "Good luck, then. You'll need it, Fizzlefuse. I'm not going to go easy on you."

"I don't need luck," Ozzy grinned, "I know I'm gonna win."

"Well, then Mister Winner," Bitsy rolled her eyes, pulling a copper coin from her pocket, "Heads or tails?"

"Ladies' choice," Ozzy shrugged.

"Alright then," Bitsy nodded, flipping the coin into the air.

She caught it on the back of her hand and slapped the other atop it, thinking for a moment.

"Heads," She declared before removing her hand to peek down at the copper.

"Heads it is," Ozzy remarked, stealing a quick glance at the coin, "Ladies first then."

"Oh, gosh, what a gentleman!" Bitsy teased, pushing the coin over towards him and then drawing three cards from the top of her deck.

Ozzy just smirked in response, drawing three cards from his own.

And then the game began.