Disclaimer: Does anything even need to be said here? I mean, duh, it is FANfiction.

Dedication: Thank you once again Nurita for keeping me inspired to write - we just need to convince more drippers to do the same.

Author's notes: I was halfway through another story when this idea struck me - and I decided (hopefully) that it could stand on its own as a story.


Damn it, he thought. Checkmate.

Monica sat in the dining chair opposite him with that smug yet cute look she always had when she won. And nine times out of ten, that is exactly what the result would be. On the rare occasion, luck would go his way, but he would only win the battle by pre-empting her next move.

They remained unmoved from their positions; she still looking at him with the contented smile of a person who had, yet again, claimed victory, while he held her gaze in an attempt to remain galant in defeat.

It wasn't really something they had consciously decided to do. They hadn't exactly sat around in the basement one day and realised that they could occasionally break the boredom that so often threatened to appear by playing. It was just one of those games that everyone had tried at some stage, but you could never really tell how worthy your opponent was going to be until you had immersed yourself in a game. Most of the time the game would start in the office and sometimes it seemed like it went on for ages before one of them eventually pulled out that stinging blow that would end another round.

John reminisced over the previous matches, trying to work out where he was going wrong. He only seemed to fail miserably when he was pitted against Monica; no one else seemed to be able to defeat him with such ease. He had to admit though, she was good. She was damn good. Maybe she had just had more practise at it than he had...

Or maybe I'm just a loser, his brain offered as another possibility.

There had been times that they had been half-way through a battle in the office when Dana would arrive for work. Sometimes she would add her two-cents-worth (and John wished he had taken more notice of some of her comments; they just may have come in handy for future reference) but most of the time she would leave them to it with a wave of her hand as she would sit at her desk and try to concentrate. The other two agents would endeavour to minimise the distraction they inevitably caused, but it was difficult to not get too involved once they had started.

Tonight they had gone another round at Monica's apartment. John seemed to enjoy these encounters more - maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere that made him feel more at ease, but it could just be that he knew it was only the two of them, so there was no chance of having an audience for his defeat.

"You put up a good fight, John," she said encouragingly, even if the tone in her voice ultimately revealed the humour behind the statement. "I thought you had me there at one stage."

He hung his head and sighed melodramatically. "Outwitted at the last moment." He gave her a look of exasperation. "How do you do it, Mon?" he asked. "How is it that every time I think I'm in an unbeatable position, you manage to wipe the floor with me?"

For several seconds she remained silent, as though deciding if she should let him in on the secret. John's anticipation increased, and for a moment he thought that she may keep the information guarded. But she soon rose from her seat and made her way from her side of the table towards him. He could see that devilish smile of hers slowly creeping into existence. "Because I'm so damn irresistible, John." He was mesmerised as she drew nearer to him, intrigued as to how this was supposedly related to his question, yet his mind was suddenly occupied with other thoughts. "You shouldn't take part in a battle-of-wits if your opponent knows which buttons to push to cloud your judgement."

He only had a few moments to convey a look of suspicion before he lost his train of thought when Monica sat in his lap and began loosening his tie.

He was speechless. Checkmate. Again.

"You lose your concentration too easily, John." She gave him a cheeky smile as she wrapped her arms behind his neck and pulled him closer; close enough that her breath tickled his cheek. He could no longer even remember what they had been arguing about, let alone how she had once again managed to beat him.

"And that is why I always win," she whispered in his ear, before pressing her lips softly against his. She had to wait a few seconds before his mind registered what was happening, and then she felt his hand slide behind her back to pull their bodies closer together.

John had one final coherent thought before he immersed himself in the moment: Damn...she is good.