Author's Note: For those who like my so-called series, here's a bit of fluff to cuddle. Careful, it sheds. At best I can say that this is late period "As Is", translating to them being something more than friends. (The jury's still out on what…)

Taste Test

"Your'e going to be up all night."

"That," Seto replied, "is the idea." Pointedly he took another sip of coffee, watching Anzu's expression wrinkle in disapproval.

"I don't see how you can drink so much of that stuff; if you're that desperate to be sleepless why not just start chugging motor oil?" Elbow on the table, chin on fist, she looked at him.

"This is a gourmet Sumatra French Roast blend."

"…uh-huh." She smiled pleasantly, a sunny barracuda.



"I am most certainly not." He lifted the cup. "This is an aid and preference, not an addiction."

"Oh, sure; you probably have more brown cells than red and white combined. When was the last time you went twenty-four hours without a cup?" Anzu waved a finger in warning. "And I mean a consecutive twenty-four hours, brew-boy."

"Double-edged reasoning, Anzu; I can just as easily accuse you of being hooked on pop songs."

"I like music."

"And I like coffee." He saw a fresh wave of argument gather in the twist of her mouth. That damn mouth…"Have you ever even tried it?"

"Of course." There was a dangerous blue spark in her eyes, electric. "But us lowly peasants are fond of our sleep." Which translated into her being worried over his insomnia again. Mokuba must've told her about it. Damn.

Wordlessly, Seto held out the cup. Anzu raised both brows in response. "Giving up that quickly? Guess you're a smart one, after all."

"While you are dangerously close to being a hypocrite; if you're going to continue this anti-Java crusade, Joan of Arc, you might as well acquaint yourself with the enemy."

Anzu looked at him dubiously. Seto was about to snap out another comment, something to either prick her pride forward or push her into backing off, when cool fingers brushed his; her skin temperature was a strange contrast to the heat of the cup. She took a tentative sip, movements not quite shy.

When she grimaced, he grinned.

"Yuck, bleh, and ew."

"A charming diagnosis."

"It's bitter." It was almost an accusation.

"Black; the only useful way to drink it," he said, sternly. "Dumping cream in just makes it-what are you doing?" Ignoring the question, she continued digging through her purse. It seemed a doomed endeavor; the thing was more of an abyss, than an accessory. Finally, she gave a chirp of triumph and pulled out…something. Something small enough to fit into her palm.


"What? No, lip gloss." She wiggled the tiny, pink tube at him. "Strawberry."


Oblivious to his confusion, Anzu uncapped the tube and skated the gloss over her mouth. Seto watched her apply the balm with a puzzled fascination; Anzu rarely used cosmetics and aside from the time he had walked in to find her painting Mokuba's nails iridescent green (for reasons that remained utterly inane), she had never expressed much interest in the stuff. Before he could even consider asking her a question, she rolled her lower lip and licked the upper.

"There," she said with baffling satisfaction. "All better."

Oh, she had to be kidding him. "Did you just eat that?"

"Of course not; I licked it." Defensive, she scowled at him. "Well, it was better than having that nasty bitterness sit on my tongue. I don't see how you can stand it."

"Practice." Not all of the gloss had been licked away, remnants of the stuff shimmered at the corners of her mouth and lower lip. "You're just not used to it."

"Why would anyone want to be?" Her eyes followed the cup as he took another sip then set it down. "Have you ever even tried sweetening it?"

Hmm. "Are you suggesting lip gloss? Genius."

Anzu rolled her eyes, undaunted and dangerously close. Within arm's reach, actually. "Sure, whatever. Keep drinking gunk like that and you'll curdle what's left of your temper, Seto. Come on, no one is saying you have throw mountains of sugar into the stuff but you could at least consider trying something a bit sweeter-"

"Very well." Sometimes it was almost too easy. "I accept."

"Huh? Accept what-mph!"

Sweetness. It was very, very sweet. But what made it even better was that the warmth underneath the taste had nothing to do with hot coffee.

The look on her face when Seto pulled away, finished, was pretty damn sweet too.

"Nice," he said, watching Anzu's face flush a most amusing shade of pink.

"You sly-eyed shameless little sneak." But she was smiling and her next words were teasing, a challenge. "Don't think that trick will work twice, buddy."

"Of course not," Seto replied smoothly. "But like you said; I have all night to think up a new one."

::the sweetest thing::