Author's note: This is unapologetically silly. And relatively pointless. And mostly written for my own amusement. You've been warned. But on the up side, I did have stupid amounts of fun writing it. So enjoy!
(Oh and just a pre-emptive note to anyone tempted to review this one-shot for the sole purpose of telling me to update Spectrum: I haven't forgotten that story. The update is on the way as soon as I shake loose a little inspiration. This fic is an attempt to put me back in the writing mood. So can we all just get along? Thanks!)
Disclaimer: All I own right now is my sugar high. And you can't have it!
It's a Girl Thing
There were times in life when Téa had to step back from whatever absurd situation she happened to be involved in and ask herself if it was all worth it.
It was a reasonable question, she thought. Too many times something that she held fond memories of as a cool childhood game blew so far out of proportion silly things like human life and the fate of the free world hinged on it.
She was of course referring to Duel Monsters and all the completely insane events that had an alarming tendency to come of it. Well at least where her little group of friends was concerned anyway. Which in itself answered her question; of course it was worth it. Saving the world and being there for her friends? Who could argue the worthiness of such endeavors? Regrets? What were those?
… Kind of what she was experiencing at this exact second, actually.
Oh sure, on some ridiculous cosmic level which simply delighted in irony, her current predicament was undoubtedly hilarious. She got the joke. A girl who'd basically spent her High School career front and center for every show on the never-ending 'Impending Apocalypse' world tour. Who'd had her life more than once threatened by some creepy, batshit crazy, cross-dressing freak-show. Who'd fancied herself once in love with a spirit existing inside her best friend's body.
And after all that, here this very girl stood quivering scared on the front lawn of her school, finding herself trapped inside what was working up to be The Most Traumatic Experience of Her Entire Life.
The punch line? The very thing she found most terrifying was as mundane and comparatively trivial as your most basic teenage drama.
All she was required to do, after all, was kiss a boy.
"Choose…" Tristan picked a handful of grass and let it fall through his fingers.
His posture was epitomizing lazy, but his hazel eyes were darting about in an almost… crafty manner. He spread his hands out and drew them together until his two index fingers met.
Then he grinned, "A liter of a cow's saliva or a Dixie cup of its urine."
And it suddenly occurred to Téa that there were very valid reasons why she so often refrained from participating in this game when Joey and Tristan brought it up. It would be disgusting enough played in more refined company – placing two repulsive options together and being forced to choose one – but the guys she associated with daily were a rather special caliber of sick and twisted. She'd been alone with Tristan for a mere ten minutes and she was already on the verge of losing her lunch.
Of course, had Yugi been with them as usual in their daily vigil waiting for Joey to get out of detention, she could have been spared such vomit-inducement. Her diminutive friend would bear the brunt of the gross game, analyzing every vile hypothetical situation closely to make the most logical choice. She would naturally miss most of his impressive performance to tune out with her homework.
But unfortunately for her, game shop duty called today for Yugi and Joey was too much of a baby to let the rest of them go home without him. Of course he would never consider not getting detention as a suitable solution for that problem.
Which placed Téa in her present position; leaning against the trunk of a Cherry tree in their school's courtyard contemplating the bodily fluids of farm animals. She almost hated to ask, but…
"Oh God, how do I get myself into these situations?"
Téa swayed slightly as she approached her target, resolve diminishing at a rapid pace the closer a certain famous jerk came into view. She had to be certifiable for agreeing to this just to prove a point.
She caught him on the steps of Domino High, headed rather briskly for his waiting limo. Tugging at the collar of his school uniform, he appeared impatient, obviously in a hurry. He also looked hot, but that was the last thing she needed to be thinking about considering she was about to kiss him.
She needed to be systematic about the whole thing – a quick meeting of mouths, a rushed apology, a hasty retreat, a lifetime of never meeting those icy blue eyes ever again. Then she could get on with her life, and try valiantly to put the whole cursed incident behind her.
… Well, until she received the restraining order anyway.
"What is it?" he demanded, looking down his perfect nose at her with an expression that communicated just how annoying he found her presence to be.
She couldn't really pay attention to that though, not if she was actually going to go through with this. Which she kind of sort of had to.
Steeling herself, she met his gaze steadily… and drew a complete blank. His bangs were falling into his eyes in a manner that was so inexplicably provocative, Téa's thought processes simply shut down.
Or at least, that was the only explanation she could later provide for her embarrassingly foolish response to his terse question.
"So, um…" she smiled weakly, "Nice weather we're having."
Partly moronic with a chance of stupidity.
"I can't make an informed decision on this one unless I know what exactly I'd be required to do with whichever "prize" I chose."
Tristan grinned lazily from his spot on the ground, "Drink it."
Oh of course, why hadn't she thought of that?
Probably because such considerations were clearly the result of a distinctly male brand of insanity. (Her lunacy was mainly centered on the fact that she didn't have the judgment to protect her feminine sensibilities from foul adolescent boys.)
"Ewww!" she flinched backwards to regard him with horror, "That's sick!"
It was also precisely why she didn't think it would hurt to start hanging out with more people of the female variety. Girls would never think of asking somebody which cow's orifice they'd rather drink from or anything else so positively uncouth.
"Your girliness is duly noted," her friend was unimpressed by her aghast reaction, "Now choose."
"Okay, okay." Téa made herself seriously consider it, stomach lurching at the mere possibility.
A definite con for the saliva was the quantity and the fact that the creatures were always "chewing cud" which… ick. But in the pro column... it wasn't urine and oh to be doing calculus homework right now!
"Urine it is," she finally concluded, wrinkling her nose with distaste. "It's antiseptic."
She needed to be medicated, Téa decided witnessing Kaiba's features shift from a look of irritation to definite disdain. A tranquilizer to calm her nerves and significantly slow her hyped up thought processes.
… Because everybody knows drugs are the way to a clearer mind, she sarcastically lectured herself.
Of course, on that topic the fact that she'd actually let Tristan get her into this particular situation spoke volumes about the clarity (or rather, lack thereof) of her normally sharp mind. He must have slipped something into her juice box.
"Get out of my way," Kaiba sneered, brushing past her to hurry down the steps.
"Wait," she grabbed his elbow before he could make it very far and tugged him back around to face her.
Kaiba looked very pointedly at her hand on his arm – he didn't tell her to remove it, but his expression suggested that she had better. Which really didn't bode well for what she was about to do… She let go.
"I'm not finished."
"Oh?" he glared, at eye level with her for notably the first time ever. "You have more trite observations to waste my time with?
With him standing two stairs down from Téa's perch, she was for once able to look him in the face without having to crane her neck. He was a lot less intimidating from the angle, but a lot more beautiful. She didn't know his face was that symmetrical.
"I… uh…" she swallowed hard, faltering at his heavy blue stare. "No, it's… important."
His countenance quickly became skeptical; he obviously found the likeliness of her having something relevant to discuss miniscule.
"This should be amusing," he finally responded smugly and the arrogant smirk playing over his lips drew Téa's notice.
She decided kissing such a nice mouth couldn't be all bad. Actually, the experience in itself would undoubtedly be pretty decent. It was the aftermath that was liable to suck. Greatly.
"Promise you'll still think so when I'm through?"
Maybe if I get it in writing, she thought insanely, he won't be able to file a lawsuit later.
"Get to the point Gardner," he advised, "Or we'll never know."
His tone was even, expression composed (if a little peevish), and she realized that this whole thing just wasn't as simple as a kiss between two teenagers.
Tristan caught a cherry blossom between his fingers and nodded thoughtfully, "A very Yugi-like observation. Good choice."
What an honor! Measured according to the strict guidelines of Manly Logic and found to be acceptable! Téa rolled her eyes.
But she wasn't free from scrutiny yet, not until she came up with something worse to offer as a choice for him. It was her turn now, and the goal was to top him in terms of offensiveness. Of course, she would no doubt fall short since her mind simply didn't work in such depraved ways. And even if it did, it was really hard to gross Tristan out.
She smiled evilly, "Okay, choose. Sex with Bakura or sex with Duke Devlin."
"What?" his head shot up from its place on the grass and he stared at her as though she'd lost her mind, "Ugh! Neither! I choose your mom!"
Typical male reaction. When calling your basic teenage guy's sexuality into question, it could almost be guaranteed that he'd respond in an overly-dramatic, indignant manner. Tristan was no exception.
This was an exception to the rules.
Kaiba was just too… impossible. There was no way she could actually go through with kissing him. The very notion was severely, alarmingly psychotic the more she considered it. And she was perfectly, functionally sane, thank you very much – a tad neurotic perhaps, but… this was completely out of the realm of rationality.
In the interest of mental health, it was of utmost importance that she back down now and cut her losses.
Then she looked over Kaiba's shoulder at Tristan and was vexed to find she could see his smirk even from a significant distance.
"Leave my mother out of this you degenerate," she smacked his shoulder half-heartedly – mom jokes always required physical retribution as Joey had taught her – and scowled at him. "Nice try, but you're not getting out of choosing the one time I've actually managed to induce nausea. This is a milestone for me."
Tristan shuddered, "I'm not choosing between two dudes."
"This coming from the guy who forced me to decide between Mai and Ishizu when we played last month."
"And I still can't believe you picked Ishtar."
"It's the eyes," Téa explained, "But back to the topic at hand – what is it with boys and their inherent homophobia? I mean, I'm not into girls but I had no trouble choosing between the two of them because I understand it's all purely hypothetical."
"What's your point?"
"My point is guys," she replied. "Why are you all such babies about your sexuality?"
"That's a very good question," Tristan noted, then paid her the consideration of actually taking a few moments to give it some thought. "It must be because you ladies have other things. You know like fashion, and catty competing and gossip and all that stupid girly stuff. Sex, and by extension our sexuality is all we men think about. Well, at least when we're not being distracted by food and sports."
"That's a terribly sexist thing to say."
"Huh?" he furrowed his brows, attempting to follow her logic. "Oh I see. Sorry, I didn't mean all girly stuff is stupid."
"No, that's not what I meant," she shook her head. "Pigeonholing your entire gender that way. I mean, you might not be one of them, but I'm sure there are some guys out there who are a little more than hungry hormones with football on the brain."
"And yet you accuse us all of homophobia?" he pointedly asked, his smile sly.
Oh. Well in her defense, it was really hard to tell the difference between a serious Tristan and a Tristan who was trying to make a statement through cheerfully executed sarcasm. Particularly when the latter appeared so infrequently.
"That's right," Tristan seemed pleased with himself. "Oh and for the record, I do know plenty of dudes who aren't the least bit homophobic."
"Yeah," he cracked a grin, "They're all gay."
"Ba-dum-dum," she tapped the top of his head with each beat. "So you ready to cast off your own phobia, Taylor?"
"No," he affirmed, beginning to squirm once more.
"Tough," Téa smiled at his discomfort, pleased to be on the other end of things for once. "The game's called choose not pass. Anyway it's not as if I would actually drink cow urine or bathe in vomit, but you still forced me to answer so no sympathy."
"Not even a little?"
Téa didn't really have much of a choice, it seemed. Two options, equally unappealing stood before her and she had to pick one of them. There was no third door, no 'none-of-the-above' clause. It was one or the other.
Either way her pride was going to suffer.
If she introduced herself to Kaiba's infamously sharp tongue on a more… uh, personal level, her ego would take a definite blow. His resulting snide put-down and probable expressions of disdain and condescension would see to it. Plus there was a very good chance that he would be irreversibly offended by her audacity and she wouldn't be able to hold it against him. She hated to see the teenage CEO in the right under any circumstances. Particularly if she had to be the one in the wrong.
Then there was the second option – not kissing Kaiba and conceding defeat to Tristan. Which wouldn't be too awful normally, but considering she was acting on behalf of her entire gender in this instance... Could she really live with herself if she showed her own mental fortitude (as a girl) to be so inferior she couldn't even lock lips with a freakishly sexy guy whose flawless mouth was practically begging to be kissed? Tristan would never let her live it down either way, but at least if she went through with it she'd prove him wrong.
… This was officially the worst game of Choose, ever.
Meanwhile, Kaiba was growing increasingly irritated. She had been very lucky so far in detaining him for so long; on a good day, he gave every appearance of possessing not even a modicum of patience. The fact that he was still waiting for her to make a point suggested that this, for him, was an excellent day. Téa took it as a good omen.
"Okay, well here's the thing," she began nervously, resolved to go through with it. "I… uh, could you move just a little bit closer?"
Eyes narrowing suspiciously, the CEO pointedly took a step back. Téa took a step forward. And Seto's posture suddenly became poised for retreat. Turning, he got as far as a 30 degree angle from his previous position before she stopped him.
"Damnit Kaiba, could you just wait two seconds?" her voice rose with frustration, "I have a proposition for you!"
He said nothing, but he was facing her again, lips twitching with something akin to scorn but a little more amused.
"Fine," Tristan sighed, wringing his hands as though what he was about to divulge pained him terribly, "Duke."
Téa blinked. "But you hate him. He's like, your nemesis."
He shrugged, "He seems like he'd have some good moves."
She laughed, "Moves?"
"Well if I had to do it with a guy, I'd at least like to have a good time."
He said this as though it were the most obvious thing in the world, which of course made Téa laugh harder.
"Oh of course!"
"It's just… Bakura doesn't exactly strike me as the, you know, uninhibited type."
"No… and Duke does have that virile masculinity thing going for him," she fanned herself.
"Eh whatever," Tristan crossed his arms behind his head, with a good natured chuckle. "Congrats Téa, you've officially ruined Choose for me."
Okay, this was good. She had given him pause. Now all that was left to do was seize the moment and completely debase and humiliate herself by sexually assaulting the snidest, wittiest, most intimidating guy she'd ever known. No biggie.
Well fine, Téa steeled herself, but you'd better make this count girl.
Because if she had to actually go through with the whole thing, something good should come of it Any other outcome would be just plain appalling.
She couldn't just plant one on Seto Kaiba out of nowhere and have him find it repulsive. Being a crazed stalker who couldn't control her libido was one thing, but to be considered a bad kisser? Unacceptable!
"Here we go," she muttered, stepping closer to her target.
His lips were parted ever so slightly, which would make her job a lot easier. They were also twisted downwards, but she could work with that. She glanced around her, scanning the courtyard for the best escape route for when her task was completed and said a quick goodbye to her dignity.
She started to reach for his arm and…
"Free at last!"
… was shoved unceremoniously into Kaiba by a uncoordinated clod who was too busy tweaking on his own insane energy levels to watch where he was freakin' going!
Téa's last thoughts, before gravity sent her crashing to the ground, incoherently revolved around the concept of killing Joey Wheeler.
The brunt of the fall was borne by the CEO who landed on the grass, whereas she was "fortunate" enough to land face first in soft, warm material. She remained in the position while she tried to get her bearings, roused only faintly by the distant sound of Tristan's hysterical laughter.
Okay it couldn't have been that funny.
"Are you conscious, Gardener?" Seto's cold, aggravated voice penetrated her shocked haze.
"Uh… I think so," she replied, stupidly.
"Good. Then you'll have no trouble removing your face from my lap."
Téa's blood ran cold.
"My work here is done," she mimicked his movements and propped her own arms under her head, pleased with herself.
She let herself relax into the cool grass, kicking her sandals off to the side, "So, what now?"
Tristan's expression became thoughtful as he considered it. "We play Dare."
Téa raised an eyebrow, "What, no truth?"
"Why, so we can sit around and talk like a couple of girls?" He made a face, "No way."
"Okay can we talk about that for a second?" She sent a scowl in her friend's general direction, "I mean, think about what we've just been doing the past twenty minutes or so."
"Lying around shooting the breeze?"
"And talking," she said pointedly, "Girls don't have the market cornered in that area so stop sounding so disdainful."
"Did I say guys don't talk?" He shook his head, "I own that we do – just not like girls."
"Gladly," he agreed. "Guys don't sit around discussing moods, and feelings, and confessing all their lame secrets the way chicks do."
"No, they'd rather discuss the merits of licking the inside of a sheep's anus versus diving headfirst into a pool full of scorpions," she tossed back derisively.
"Now that is riveting conversation."
"If by riveting you mean nauseating and wrong."
He shrugged, "So you don't have the stomach for it – most chicks don't. Call it a girl thing. You all lack the mental fortitude to stare grossness in the face and come out on top."
How was it again that this charming, enlightened caveman didn't have a girlfriend?
Téa sighed, "Any other crude lines you'd like to draw between our genders or is you narrow little mind quite spent?"
"I could go on."
"Don't," she urged, "I can't stomach another minute of your obnoxiousness."
He tapped his head knowingly.
"Shut up," she snapped, "My mental fortitude could surpass that of any guy, any day of the week. Girls definitely win in that category. We put up with you boys, don't we?"
"You could have a little more patience," now he was just trying to annoy her (or was that his intent all along?), "But if you really want to settle this debate…"
"We're having a debate?" she asked, "And here I thought I was just being irritated."
"We're still in the early stages," he told her. "The issue is mental fortitude - Which sex is better equipped?"
Kaiba's… equipment was in very close proximity to her face.
Oh God, she jerked away, beyond mortified, why couldn't I have landed on the pavement?
Having been formally introduced to Kaiba junior, kissing him was now going to look very bad on her part. Well okay, it was going to look bad anyway, but now it would appear that landing in his crotch precipitated it. She would henceforth be known as Téa the perverted fangirl.
She refused to spare a glance at the idiot friend who'd initially gotten her into this mess – his laughter was still going strong – but turned to briefly glare at her other idiotic chum. Joey smiled sheepishly, and she would have strongly reprimanded him were more pressing matters not about to escape her attention.
Seto was standing up, face reflecting intense annoyance, body language stiff and intimidating. He had been detained long enough, and she could tell that he wouldn't stick around a minute longer to be exposed to their buffoonery. She had to act now.
He was bending over to retrieve his suitcase as his eyes turned to regard Joey with disgust. He opened his mouth to say something nasty, and she lunged forward to shut him up.
His fledgling words died on her lips as she kissed him, and he was knocked back into the grass by his shock and her momentum. Téa's body temperature spiked suddenly, although whether from the friction of Seto's mouth against hers or humiliation, she couldn't be sure. She briefly swept her tongue across his – he tasted like coffee – and pulled away before he could push her off of him.
She remained on the ground, dizzy, shell-shocked, and frankly a little nauseous. Not because Kaiba's mouth was so disgusting – on the contrary, it was actually quite nice. But… well, she'd just done something very stupid. Fun, but stupid.
A dull thud behind her drew Téa's notice before she could even begin to process her own scattered thoughts, and she turned to see Joey sprawled clumsily on the ground. She could guess what had happened; the shock of seeing her attack Kaiba in such a manner was so strong it tipped him right over. He stared back at her with an expression that was a cross between surprise and abject terror.
This was typical of Joey who always had been a bit of a drama queen.
She glanced over to find Tristan, who'd finally stopped laughing, watching her with an agape mouth. From the looks of things, she hadn't only shut Kaiba up. Of course Tristan hadn't expected her to actually go through with it; he'd been stupid enough to put his faith in her sanity.
Speaking of which, resolved as she was to never meet the wealthy teenager's eyes again, she couldn't stop herself from looking to gauge his reaction. It was reflex, really.
He'd apparently had time to compose himself while she'd been observing the reactions of her friends, and was now fully standing. His briefcase had been collected, clothing readjusted, and the lips she could still almost feel were twisted in a stronger version of his typical sneer.
"Have you," he wanted to know, "lost your mind?"
"You say boys," Téa caught on, "I say girls."
"And a game of Dare should shed some light on it all."
"A game of dare?" Téa raised an eyebrow.
"Well sure," Tristan nodded. "The true test of mental fortitude lies in one's performance in the face of embarrassment. And that's one area where I'm positive guys win out – nobody can accuse us of being afraid to make complete asses of ourselves."
"Well Joey does do it all the time," she mused.
"You've got that right," he grinned, "Which brings me to my next point. If we play dare, Joey will want to play too when he finally gets out of prison and we can spend the rest of the afternoon making an idiot of him. So, you in or what?"
"I'm in," she foolishly agreed, certain that the infamous sick and twisted mind which had offered up such impressive gross-out gems in the past would make her regret this.
But hey, she was nothing if not a risk-taker, and there was no way she could back out now. Not after her bold assertions in favor of the admittedly juvenile 'Girls rule, boys drool' mentality. And besides that, who passed up an opportunity to torment Joey?
And she really did not trust the grin spreading across his face; the guy was about two seconds away from finger tenting and maniacal laughter.
"I'm not doing anything illegal," she suddenly felt the need to clarify.
If she was arrested, Téa decided with sudden inspiration, she would plead temporary insanity.
"Yes," she nodded several times, "I have lost my mind."
Joey was suddenly on his feet, looking down at her with a mixture of reproach and concern. He extended his hand to help her up, and she stood up shakily.
"If you don't mind, jerk," Joey turned to address Kaiba, "my friend here has had a psychotic break and needs to be taken to the hospital right away. Run along now."
"When you get to the mental health wing, be sure to check yourself in too, Wheeler," Kaiba suggested with a scowl. Then he sneered at Téa, "You have just wasted two minutes of my time with your pathetic display. Have a little self control, you freak."
Suddenly, the ground felt very firm beneath her and Téa pushed away from her friend to invade the CEO's space once more. Maybe her actions warranted reprisal, and she'd been expecting as much, but being addressed in such a matter made her blood boil anyway.
"I'll have you know," she said angrily, "that I didn't even want to kiss you. I only did it because Tristan and I were playing a stupid game and then he dared me to slip somebody the tongue and by sheer chance it had to be you and if I'd backed down I'd have been betraying my gender. I'm sorry I did it, but man, lighten up. It wasn't that terrible, was it?"
Kaiba smirked, moving a tad closer to her as he considered it, and Téa's pulse sped up as if she were about to kiss him again. This was stupid. Here she was all annoyed with him and his icy, arrogant confidence, and the warmth of his body was suddenly turning her annoyance into… something else. It was kind of hard to hold her position when he was so tall and sexy and possibly about to rate the kiss she was starting to realize she wanted a follow-up to.
"I've had better," he finally told her, and Téa blinked with surprise.
It wasn't like she expected him to say it was the best kiss he'd ever had… but… well, okay. He just didn't strike her as the type of guy who did a whole lot of kissing. Not because he was ugly - his ridiculous hotness had already been established – but his attitude was so… sterile. He had a certain sexuality, of course, that came with the aura of power and good looks. But… sex just didn't seem to interest him. She'd never seen him so much as spare more than a cursory glance at a pretty girl… or guy for that matter.
She narrowed her eyes, "Yeah right."
Kaiba laughed at that. Scornfully. "And you call me arrogant."
"You are arrogant," she snapped, "and a liar. I bet that was your first kiss."
Joey snickered behind her and Téa was sure his thoughts echoed hers. They exchanged amused looks.
"Not only are you pathetic, you're deluded." Kaiba turned to walk away, "You're a second rate kisser Gardener – live with it."
Second rate? He'd said the same thing many times about Joey's dueling. Which actually gave her an idea…
"Relax Tay," his smile lost some of its deviousness, "It's just a harmless game between friends. But if you're too chicken I'll understand. In fact, it would only prove my point."
She narrowed her eyes, "You're on."
"Glad to hear it," Tristan was sitting up fully now, the wheels turning in that odd little brain of his. "Okay, I've got it. I dare you to kiss the next person who leaves the school."
She raised an eyebrow, "That's rather tame."
"You might not think so when I add my stipulation."
"Open mouth," he explained, "With tongue."
"Well look at it this way," he grinned, "There's a fifty-fifty chance I might be doing you a favor. I mean, we don't attend school with an unreasonable amount of mutants."
"What a relief," she dryly replied, glancing at her watch.
Joey's time was almost up; there was a very good chance that he would be the next person to leave the school building. That could prove to work in her favor, considering what Tristan expected her to do. Because really, why kiss a random classmate when your best buddy was around to suffer with you?
"I accept your dare," Téa put on a very official tone and sat up straight.
Kissing Joey was not a problem – it wasn't like she hadn't done it before. Maybe not on the mouth, or… with tongue, but still no big deal. She'd just explain the dare immediately afterwards before it could get too awkward.
"Good, because somebody's coming out right now."
"Finally we can get… out of here." Téa swallowed hard. "Oh no."
Feeling a little dangerous, Téa jogged to catch up with the retreating Kaiba.
"Okay, let's say for a second that you're right," she began, falling into step beside him. "I think we should have a rematch."
He tossed her a skeptical sideways glance, "A rematch."
"Yeah," she sped up and stepped in front of him, blocking his path to the limo, "I mean, I was a little panicked for that first performance, my head wasn't really in the game. I think that, under the right circumstances, I'm good enough to be your best kiss. The question is, are you good enough to be mine?"
"Forget it," he shot her down immediately. "Get out of my way."
"Come on Kaiba, it's a challenge," she smirked, "I thought you didn't turn down challenges… unless you think you'll lose."
He narrowed his eyes, "I know this is a change from the company you usually keep, Gardener, but I am not dumb enough to fall for such obvious tricks. Go make out with the dog if you're so desperate - he'll probably slobber all over you, but at least you'll get your leg humped."
"Don't sell Joey short," Téa advised, "I'm sure he's a far superior kisser than you; he's actually had some practice. But fine, if you're so determined to forfeit, I won't stop you."
She stepped aside to let him pass, but he stayed put, glaring at her.
"There's a difference between forfeiting," he told her evenly, "and not accepting a challenge that is so obviously beneath me."
"Uh-huh," she folded her arms across her chest, "You protest, but all I hear is clucking."
Kaiba's expression grew especially stormy, his posture slightly menacing, while his icy eyes turned downward to consider her lips. Téa felt them part involuntarily, while a reckless, excited shiver ran up her spine. His intimidating intensity was kind of… okay very, sexy.
She smiled and his eyes flicked up to land on hers, revealing an expression she was not prepared to see. Téa had never seen him give a pretty girl so much as a cursory glance, but the look he was giving her right now was pretty significant. If she didn't know any better, she'd think he was, uh, interested.
"Well don't just stand there like an idiot," he said finally, dropping his briefcase. "You've got thirty seconds."
To say this was an unwelcome variable was a severe understatement. It was nothing short of catastrophic.
Because it was not, in fact, her good friend Joey Wheeler who emerged from the school, but rather his archenemy. Seto Kaiba. As in, the ruthless boy billionaire who made no qualms about his disgust for their little group. The cold, aloof, no-nonsense-but-his-own-decidedly-weird-issues CEO of Kaiba Corp. Walking towards them in all his impeccable hair and perfect posture having, briefcase carrying, trench-coated glory.
He was really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking. His own version of 'Blue Steel' could probably blind a person foolish enough to look directly at it.
She couldn't kiss him! Not without immediately dying afterwards anyway. The extreme inevitable pleasure (Kissing Seto "Scorching Hotness" Kaiba!) would clash with vivid disgusted horror (Kissing Seto "Repugnant Asshole" Kaiba!) causing her brain to explode.
"Uh…" she sheepishly met Tristan's eyes.
He raised his eyebrow, "You're not thinking of backing down are you Téa?"
"Well, I mean… that is… I," she sighed. "Of course not."
Téa couldn't back down now when their argument was still so fresh – she'd have to suck it up and have her revenge later.
She stood slowly, trying to pretend for Tristan's benefit that she was unfazed. Even though she knew what was about to unfold would not be pretty.
He had never looked more gorgeous. Eyes lit up with the prospect of a challenge, jaw firm and defiant, breeze ruffling his hair in just the right way, and his lips were just demanding to be met. Which was really all the invitation Téa needed, never mind that he was a willing participant this time.
She didn't lunge at him like before; she didn't need to attack him to try this again. Instead, she grabbed the lapels of his jacket and pulled him towards her, meeting him halfway. Her lips seemed to find his first, but he took control of the kiss before she had a chance to gain the upper hand. She fought him for dominance, challenging his skills as though they really were locked in a duel, teasing him to bring his "A game." He gave as good as he got, and Téa lost all track of time. The only things she knew belonged to him; his lips, and tongue, his hands on her waist, his body pressing into hers.
Then suddenly, it was over.
Kaiba retreated, his mouth leaving hers, hands slowly falling away from her hips, and he stepped back to stare down at her. She met his eyes and it was déjà vu; she was just as dizzy and disoriented as she'd been in the aftermath of their first kiss minutes ago, but this time without the nausea.
Instead she felt… like she wanted to go somewhere with the unapologetic jerk and play a very naughty game of choose. Minus the theoretical elements, of course. Which was a very disturbing thought, the more she entertained it, and she clearly wasn't lying earlier when she claimed to have lost her mind. But honestly, who cared about trivial things like sanity when she'd just experienced the best, most mind-blowing kiss of her life?
"You win," she said breathlessly.
He placed his hand on her waist as he leaned by her to pickup his briefcase and a rush of adrenaline coursed through her. Then he let go and passed by her muttering something under his breath.
And Téa broke into a positively giddy smile.
She knew her friends would reject it later, say she had too much wax in her ears, dismiss the whole thing as purely imaginary.
But she had heard him, perfectly clearly. His eyes meeting hers knowingly for the briefest of moments as he walked by, the gruffness of his voice softening as it trailed behind him.
"Call it a draw."
She'd dare him to deny it.
"Téa" Tristan ran up, Joey close behind, and stared at her incredulously, "You're crazy, you know that?"
"Oh absolutely," she nodded eagerly, "Positively loony."
"I only said you had to kiss him once," Tristan continued.
"You kissed him twice."
"So… I mean, you were so… and then you looked like you might vomit… and… and… well, twice?"
Joey's eyes darted to Kaiba's limo pulling away, then to the spot where she had kissed him, and then back to her, "What's wrong with you?"
"I'll let you know when I find out," she assured him. "But until then, just call it a girl thing. Oh, and by the way Tristan, my mental fortitude survived kissing Kaiba and you, a boy, are stuttering like a moron from merely having watched me do it. I think you can guess what that means?"
"I eat my words," Tristan said, "Girls rule, boys drool. Just… never do that again."
"Kiss Kaiba?" Téa laughed, "Was it really that traumatizing for you?"
"I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a spork, toss them in a blender and drink them through a straw," he assured her.
Joey nodded, "I'd rather bite the head off a living mouse with Hanta virus and chew it like gum."
"Good one," Tristan said gleefully and so it went.
Another game of choose had started, and Téa was once again forced to endure the demented, slightly psychotic minds of her dear friends as they concocted one gruesome scenario after another.
It was ludicrous; the sight of her kissing a certain wealthy CEO found to be the most disgusting thing on earth, but… well, she did often find herself in absurd situations, didn't she? Téa stepped back, giving the circumstances a few seconds consideration, and she smiled secretly, touching her lips.
It was definitely worth it.
Author's note: … I'm sorry.