Staring Contest

"Bridge, for the last time... I will not play that game with you!" Syd flipped her curls back and sent him the glare of death. "Quit bugging me!"

"But, Syd..." he appealed, displaying his puppy-eyed look. "I have to do something while I wait for my buttery--"

"No, no, and in case you didn't hear... no!"

Just then, Sky entered the room.

Bridge's face lit up. "Sky! Cadet Tate! SPD Red! I know you want me to practice my concentration skills and all that and then I said to myself, hey, I think Sky is right, being the Red Ranger and all, so I was thinking..."

Sky cocked a brow at him. "Is there a point to this?" he said with a sigh.

"I want you to stare at me," Bridge burst out.

Sky blinked at him, for once at a loss for words.

"I mean-- well, actually, you're not the only one who'll be staring. I'll--"

"In layman's terms, he wants to play 'the staring game' with you," Syd explained, looking up from her magazine. "Not that hard to say, Bridge."

"Thank you," Sky told her. He then turned to Bridge. "No."

Bridge began to despair. "But, Sky! SPD Red! Cadet Tate! I--"

"You won't win against me, anyway," Sky told him in clipped tones. He proudly lifted his chin and stared at him square in the eye. "I always win in whatever I do."

Z walked in just in time to hear Sky's heartfelt declaration. She grinned at Syd. "So that explains why he lost to me last night in a poker game. Oh, wait... no, no it doesn't."

Sky threw a dark look at her, cleared his throat, and said, "Last night was a fluke. Anyway, poker is a game of chance and deception." He raised his brows. "No wonder you won."

"Ooh. Harsh," Syd muttered, flipping another page.

Z mirrored his expression and raised a brow at him as well. "Spoken like a true loser," she countered, smiling brilliantly. "So, what're you guys up to?" she asked, turning to Bridge and Syd.

Bridge brightened up and said, "Well, I was asking Sky to--"

"I am not a loser," Sky spoke heatedly.

"Of course you're not," Z agreed amicably, and winked at Syd, who giggled.

"I'll prove it to you then," he insisted. Sky pulled two chairs and said, "Right here, right now."

"What, another shot at poker, Cadet Tate? Do remember that I'm a master at deception and all that--"

"Not poker," Sky cut her off impatiently. He glanced at Bridge. "Staring contest."

"What?" Bridge said, surprised.

"You're on," Z answered, taking the chair opposite Sky's. "I once made Jack cry at this," she bragged.

"Really?" Syd asked, impressed.

"How?" Bridge queried.

"Well, we--"

"I don't care," Sky barked. "Bridge, time us. Ready, set... go."

They both stared at each other, eyes wide and unblinking. Their expressions spoke of sheer determination and, in Sky's case, arrogance. He kept his mouth pursed. She, on the other hand, had to keep herself from laughing from seeing him so tensed. After a few seconds, Z started making funny faces on purpose and Sky's mouth twitched.

"You're cheating," he said.

"I'm not," Z answered.

"What you're doing is against the rules."

"You didn't say there were rules involved."

"Well... I'm making one. No funny faces."

Z raised her brow again. "That's it?"

"Yes. That's it."

She saluted. "All right, sir."

A minute elapsed. Then, another. Then, another. And finally...

"Aren't you feeling tired?" Sky asked, widening his eyes. "At all?"

Z chuckled. "Why? Am I too much for you to handle, Cadet?"

Despite feeling too uncomfortable for words, Sky said defiantly, "No."

Then the only sounds heard in the room were their breathing, and Syd's flipping of pages.

"Don't you think you're taking it too seriously, Sky?" Syd muttered, grabbing another magazine from a pile.

"Of course not," Sky snapped.

"Of course not," Z mimicked, earning a chuckle from Syd.

Another minute.

"Hey, Z, want some buttery toast?" Bridge asked.

Z smiled. "Sure, Bridge. Just--"

"Not now, she's busy," Sky told him.

Another minute.

"I'll win, you know," he said.

"I won't bet on that," she retorted.

"This is a test of determination and ability. I'm a master at both."

"All right then, master."

Sky pounded his fist against his open palm. "I assure you, there's nothing you can do to get me to bli--"

Without warning, Z closed the distance between them, and kissed him smack on the lips.

Syd and Bridge gaped.

Sky blinked.

And Z won.

"Told you I'd win," she said, cracking a wide smile.

Author's Notes: This is my first SPD drabble, set sometime after 'Endings'. Hopefully you liked it :D