For oathk33p3r's challenge.

I've been in the mood for writing some really weird fics lately. Like, I really wanted this to be an Axel x Tifa, because the pairing amuses me and is almost as good as Reno x Tifa. But, instead, this kept bugging me. So I decided to write it. And I dunno how it came out, so sorry if it sucks.

I hope this meets the criteria.

Disclaimer: Nah.

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Theirs was a confusing game.

He never gave in. Never. He was stubborn, short-tempered, and upheld the highest dignity, not hesitant when it came to defending that dignity. And she laughed at that, because what was image to a guy like him, a guy who could be anything he wanted to be? He was tough yet suave, cruel yet fair, and gave respect to those deserving of such respect, and yet he guarded himself from others, acting as if only few deserved his attention and all else were just pathetic excuses for human beings that he had to deal with day in and day out.

He was unique. He was challenging. And he was entertaining when he became angered (which happened quite frequently). Thus, she'd started their game for her own amusement, because she liked irritating him, so much so that it was probably unhealthy, and she wanted some way to associate with him so that she could figure him out.

In the end, it all came down to an incessant game of tag and hide-and-seek.

"Tag! You're it!"

Shifting feet, she grinned and jumped backwards, his fist, swung irrationally because of his irritation, missing her cheek by a hair's breadth. Letting his arm fall when she was out of his reach, he sighed in exasperation, eyes closed as he fought not to acknowledge her, because then he would be joining in the game and that would be a sign of weakness.

Laughing, she leaned forward at the waist, fingers spread against her hips as she stuck out her tongue in a childish manner, hoping he'd actually snap for once.

But, unfortunately, he was too prideful to lose control, and he cast her one sneering glance before he walked away, Fuu and Rai immediately falling to each side of him for protection's sake. As if he needed attention, though.

Of course, she was too spirited to be deterred. Seifer Almasy may have been a guy who never lost to anyone, but she was far from anyone. She was Yuffie Kisaragi, the world's greatest ninja, and confident in her skills of successfully annoying others as well as getting her way in the end.

So she knew it wouldn't be long until he cracked.

Thus, she remained persistent. Whenever Rai or Fuu weren't attached to his hip, Yuffie attempted to catch him by surprise, leaping before him in perfect fighting stance and waiting for him to take the challenge. Getting to know a person was getting to know their strength, and she was up for a good fight.

At first he just stared at her as if she was clinically insane and was missing from asylum, though, preferring to walk away in an agitated stride instead of dealing with her foolish antics and strange attempts to get to know him. And she would jeer at him playfully as he left, inwardly disappointed that he could just walk on by so casually.

Little by little, though, he began to slow his path for her.

She marked it with a surge of pride, one small battle won by her. Now, whenever she jumped before him, firm in her decision to fight him with all of her strength, he grunted softly, offered her the smallest of smirks, and took a stance, bad-mouthing her as much as she did him, the two walking in a circle and never breaking eye content. She enjoyed the friction between them, enjoyed the pleasure she felt when she ran at him and he narrowly dodged, and enjoyed seeing the spark of excitement in his eyes when their fights got carried away, and so often got lost in the thrill of the game, color rushing to her cheeks and laughter resounding from her lips.

She never did hear him laugh, but from the way his smirk widened she felt that he was having just as much fun.

They were found out by Fuu and Rai at the middle of January, though, and Seifer grudgingly shrugged in her direction and walked away, remarking coldly that games were only fun for so long and she might as well grow up. Yuffie knew that he was just lying, making up excuses, because he walked several strides ahead from his solemn group of friends and refused to answer their voiced confusion, but the anger and depression and, worse off, grave insult that spiraled within her, caused by his comments, made her avoid even the sight of him for days upon days, her stubborn nature taking hold.

As Seifer was just as obstinate as she was, he made no attempts to apologize for callous comments, and so that added enough fuel to the fire that she went out of her way to shamelessly pick him out, slander him, and throw things in his direction when she got the chance. She wondered if that would be enough to see his temper visibly snap; it sure seemed like it.

The chaos went on between them, her rage inconsolable and his mindset unrepentant. Where before it had been a carefree game, Yuffie just wanting to know him because she loved friends and rather thought him interesting, now it was war, she fighting for her wounded ego and hoping to make him suffer, and he just attempting to cover up whatever feelings had possessed him to socialize with her in the first place. And their war was at a deadlock, it seemed.

But then things shifted in a bizarre sort of way.

The beginning of February was when she was first asked if she loved Seifer Almasy.

It had been lunch, she had been sitting with her sophomore friend Kairi, and she had been casting furiously glares at the blond-haired boy's back when Selphie Tilmitt had approached the two of them. Kairi, no matter how close she was with the girl, had known that her sudden appearance meant bad news for one of them, because she was the school gossip and one of their darkest secrets was about to be pried out of them, she could feel it. And Yuffie had glanced at her darkly, stiffly asking her what it was she wanted and if she could just ask it and get lost, that would be great.

The girl had blinked, tilted her head, and in one bold question startled the ninja speechless. "Do you like Seifer, Yuffie? Because you keep staring at him."

As Yuffie choked on air and nearly fell off of her seat, Kairi rushed the girl a safe distance away, hushing her nonsense, as the redhead later put.

The news spread like an epidemic the next day, because Seifer was popular and Yuffie was mildly so herself and obviously their lives were the most interesting out of anyone else's in the school. She crossed paths with Seifer and the murmurs resounded off of the walls. She glowered at his form from across the cafeteria and people exchanged knowing glances. It was the most infuriating display of human stupidity Yuffie had ever witnessed.

And, had she been asked to count, the black-haired knew she would have replied that she'd given five airheads black eyes in one day alone for suggesting such irritating crap as that. But it was necessary, she felt inclined to argue, because the rumors froze over after that.

They had to regard each other stiffly whenever they crossed paths, and she had to be careful not to glare at him too blatantly when she got the chance, but, nonetheless, the rumors did stop.

Kairi remarked at the end of Friday's first week that it was somewhat of a shame, too, hurrying along to comment that a lot of the excitement in school had disappeared when Yuffie seemed ready to kill her.

Leaning against the school wall, tilting her head curiously, she finally had to nod, opting to agree. The rumors had made things interesting.

The embers of the previous events completely died down when Valentine's Day crept closer, hopeless romantics speaking optimistically about secret admirers and love at first sight while those more practical just made after school or party plans. Scoffing at such notions and wrinkling her nose as Selphie took up her regular spot on some cafeteria table while speaking to her crowd of after-school friends, Yuffie rolled her eyes and shouldered her backpack, feeling too bored to keep Kairi company until four and thus deciding to take a walk to her favorite childhood park before she went home.

Bidding good-bye to the redhead, Yuffie walked down the halls and out the door, sneakers scuffing along the pavement lazily as she strolled in front of cars that jerked to a stop and blared their impatience at her, she noncommittally flicking her wrist in a wave to signify half-hearted apology. She was tired of stupidity, of rumors, and of putting all of her energy into hating Seifer Almasy, and she really didn't want a headache on top of all of that. She just wanted to revert back to childhood for maybe an hour, controlling swings and slides and monkey bars, and then collapse on her bed and waste the rest of February thirteenth away and then the fourteenth right along with it the next day.

It sounded like a good plan.

So when she traveled across various sidewalks, jay-walked two streets, and hopped over the chain-link fence into the playground, she felt pretty satisfied, dropping her bag onto the grass and listening to the grass rustle beneath her feet as she closed the distance between herself and the monkey bars, childish grin playing on her lips. No matter what people said, looking for stories in her, she wasn't hiding emotional trauma by reverting back to childhood; she really, truly loved this, living life like it was a game and having the most fun she possibly could.

Laughing, she jumped up and grasped at the bars, quickly flipping herself upside down so that she was dangling and the blood was rushing to her head and her knuckles were brushing against the dirt as she swung back and forth. And this was bliss, not some hallmark-card holiday with heart-shaped candies and superficial declarations of love.

Love didn't affect her whatsoever.

"Well, well. What do we have here?"

Crying out, she jerked and fell onto the ground, landing in a heap and rolling onto her stomach as she rubbed at her head. The derisive laughter had her glancing up, annoyed, and then she blinked as she saw the blond move from his previous spot behind her, peripheral vision following the path of her sneakers until she realized he was standing right in front of her, facing her direction.

Rising to her knees with as much dignity as she could muster, she tossed her head, clapped her hands free of dirt, and stood, jumping to grasp the monkey bars and again flipping herself upside down.

"You look like a fool."

"As long as I'm having fun doing it," she said with a grin, arms crossed over her chest and body swinging side to side, her short, black hair gently tousled by the sudden breeze.

He took a step closer, arms crossed as well in a form of challenge and brow arched elegantly. "So you look like an idiot…and don't care. That's what you're telling me?"

"Yup!" she chirped brightly, forgetting her anger towards the older boy as she grinned widely and wrinkled her nose, finding it amusing that he didn't get such a concept.

"Fool," he grumbled, without other words to spare her, and then he lapsed into silence, eyes roaming the area as he upheld his strict posture and leaned back on his heels, intimidating stance seeming to reign in nothing but silence.

Eyebrow quirked, she swung lazily, feeling slightly dizzy but also rather enjoying the world flipped upside down. Everything was wilder, lacking strict balance, order, and sense. And she liked that. She liked what she was seeing.

Seifer's gaze fell back onto her face, calculating expression unreadable. And, on sheer whim, she leaned closer and swiftly placed her palms on his face, grinning at his look of surprise before she pulled his hat over his eyes. He jerked backwards and the both of them lost their balance, he tripping over his feet and she landing again unceremoniously, catching her hand on something sharp as the breath left her and she shook her head twice, waiting for the world to stop spinning.

"Ow…" she whined softly as she tilted her head and stared at the blood pooling on her palm, Seifer soon after sputtering and righting his cap, glowering menacingly at her.

"Like hell I'm helping you," he growled.

"I didn't ask you to," she snapped back, matching his glare with her narrowed almond eyes.

Silence weighed heavily between them, both unwilling to break the staring contest. But as he palm continued to throb, Yuffie sighed and looked down, wiping her palm on her shirt and then cringing at the pain that followed.

"I don't know why I bother with you," he grumbled, coming to kneel in front of her, brusquely grasping her wrist and glaring at the wound, his other hand searching his pocket for something to stop the bleeding.

Lips quirking upwards, she stared as the boy furrowed his brow in frustration, obviously not finding anything to help her. So stubborn.

Pulling her hand back, she waited for him to look up and then leaned forward, lips brushing his playfully before she jumped to her feet, clenching her hand against her shirt as he blinked rapidly, the remnants of surprise fading back into his usual cold demeanor. But as she tilted her head and gave him a wave, she knew she caught the beginnings of a smirk on his lips, and then she jogged back to her bag, deciding she was interested at what would happen tomorrow.

Certainly Cupid hadn't come a day early, but she'd been struck by something nonetheless.

And this game was going to be far more interesting than the last.

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If you want to know what possessed me to write a Seifer x Yuffie fic, I honestly don't know. But Yuffie's cool and Seifer kicks ass, so I don't really mind the pairing, I guess. (And it's the first one! O-M-G!) Hope it wasn't too horrid for any of you readers!

Please review.