I'm not saying we won't ever stumble

Some days we'll be rough and tumble

You and I know that life's a gamble

But I'll bet mine on you

We're not expecting this to go down easy

We're not expecting any sweet dreams, sure things

But with a little luck, could be, we'll be

Heading for a promised land

Holding one last good hand


Misty ran her free hand through her hair and smiled sweetly at the perspiring teenager who was sitting opposite. Ash scratched the curve of his eyebrow with his thumbnail and returned to meticulously studying his hand of cards once again. The room was silent save for the soft scraping sound made by Misty rubbing two of her cards against each other as she waited.

"Okay." Misty was almost startled as Ash spoke out after his long and drawn out deliberation. "Right." With a sudden move he slammed his hand of five cards down to the surface of the plastic camping table. "Eight high." Misty eyed the cards, the eight of diamonds and the eight of spades displayed prominently. Lazily, she placed her cards on the table.

"Three of a kind," she rebuked, airily, pushing her hand where three sixes were evident across the table towards him with her fingertips. Ash sweatdropped. "NOT a good start, Ketchum," she smirked. Ash fixed her with a sulky glare, lifted up his tanned arm and made a big deal out of pulling off one green glove - defiantly ripping apart the Velcro tightener around the wrist and pulling it off by the middle finger. Misty smiled sweetly again.

Ash glared irritably at time on the digital display of his Gear. Brock would be back in just under an hour! Damn women and their foreplay games… he couldn't understand why they couldn't just get down to it! In fact, another hour of this and he probably wouldn't be in the mood (and that was something that had never happened to Ash Ketchum).

Misty watched Ash looking moodily at the time as she swiftly dealt out the cards for the second time. She knew he hated losing - and she knew he must hate wasting time reserved for his new favourite pastime even more so. Still, she thought, as she considered her hand, Cosmo had said that strip-games brought a new spark into relationships… and of course, Cosmo must be right, it must be deferred to, its ideas must be tried out immediately and with great gusto.

Ash stared down at his hand. Two of clubs. Queen of diamonds. Four of diamonds. Seven of spades. He looked up to where Misty had relinquished three of her original cards and was confidently helping herself to three new ones. Her blue eyes scanned the additions and there was the hint of a triumphant smile. Ash sighed inwardly.

Eight rounds, one glove, one hat, one jacket, one teeshirt, two socks and three shoes later, Ash sat shivering slightly, holding his hand closer to his chest than before in some form of effort to gain warmth from the thin cardboard. Misty sat, now grinning broadly, her one shoeless foot serving more as a mockery than something to spur Ash on to victory.

"Two of a kind!" Ash almost yelled, while trying to curb his competitive streak. Misty's eyes flashed.

"Two of a kind!" she repeated, gloating as Ash's face fell when he realised she had two nines, which beat his two fours. Rising from his cross-legged position on the floor, he shook himself out of his jeans violently as if he were throwing a tantrum. Now slightly flushed, he dropped back to his sitting position.

Misty arched her eyebrow as she noticed that her boyfriend was starting to get a little gut on him. Ash noticed where she was looking, and hurriedly crossed his arms across his lap. Misty glanced over at the digital display to her right. Brock was due back in fifteen minutes. Ash followed the trajectory of her gaze and she could hear him groan as he realised the same thing.

Stubbornly she dealt the cards out, ignoring the meaningful gaze he was giving her and the lump that was a pile of their sleeping bags behind her. Ash felt like smashing his head off the edge of the table as she slowly and carefully considered each of her cards in turn, before slowly, slowly, so damn slowly replacing two of them.

Ash didn't even look at his cards.

"Two high!" he yelled, smashing them face-down on the table and rising to his knees. Misty looked at him, startled.

"Wh- you can't have two high," she began, her voice shrill and incredulous.

"It doesn't matter, you win, you win," Ash waved her statement aside, taking her cards from her grasp and backing her towards the sleeping bags. Misty grinned widely. It was true! He'd become so desperate he didn't mind admitting he lost!

"You'll have to be quick," she murmured, some points of the sentence muffled as Ash hurried to make her clothed state equal to his. He then shot her a sceptical look.

"Yeah right!" he scoffed, lowering her down to the softness below them. "I'm gonna make you pay for teasing me…"



Apologies! That was a Challenge-fic!

*waves hand vaguely* They're old enough to be doing that, let just me point out!