Title: Dare
Summary: Jing was a master at truth or dare...until Cassis stepped up to the plate. Now it's come down to one dare...winner takes all, in a game where a loser doesn't exist.
Rating: G or K
Coupling: Young Jing/Cassis
Disclaimer: If I owned it, Cassis would be in more than one freakin' episode/manga.
Series Position: Part one of four.
A/N: Cassis is a real Jing Girl! She's in the OVA and the end of the fourth manga! So I decided that I wanted to write another cute JC, and this idea has been playing on my mind since the summer. This is going to be part one of a four or five part series I'm writing, showing Cassis and Jing's relationship from little kids to adults. The four fics are going to connect, but each can stand on its own. Special thanks to Chibi for beta-ing!

Though his confident, jovial demeanor said otherwise, Cassis could tell that the boy was scared for his life, and she did not blame him one bit. The decision he had to make in the next several seconds would determine the rest of life. Either he would be mentally scarred for years, or he would endure endless torment and teasing. No matter what, he was sunk, and judging by the pained look in his eyes, he knew it.

Clove finally sighed deeply and bowed his head in shame. "I give up."

The other two boys beside him offered what little comfort they could give, both having felt the sting of defeat themselves. Out of the group, he had been the one to endure the longest, but like his companions, he too had submitted. There was just no getting around it.

Leaning back in his chair, Jing folded his arms behind his head and looked smug. "I win."

Cassis couldn't help rolling her eyes as she grabbed the back of the chair and yanked it down. Jing fell backwards with a startled yelp as the blonde stood above him, shaking her head. On occasion, when the boys were feeling particularly brave, the three would challenge Jing to a game of Truth-or-Dare. It was more a game of Dare than Truth – it was considered far worse to ever choose Truth than to just admit defeat from a Dare. The Dares always began small, but they quickly escalated to the point of torture.

Jing glowered at her as he sat up, rubbing the back of his head. She returned the glower with a blank, unaffected stare of her own. Cassis considered it her unofficial duty in life to keep Jing from getting too big of an ego. She was the best one for the job, as she was pretty much the only person (besides Kir) who was un-intimidated by Jing. It was a rough task, as Jing had all the encouragement (and more) he could ever need from his brothers, but with help from her bat, she thought she did a pretty good job.

Until the boys got it in their heads to play this silly game. Jing was always the last one standing. He had never been brought down by a dare, not even when all three boys spent hours trying to think up one that he would turn down. It seemed to be an inevitable ending.

"Not yet, you haven't," Kir said loudly. His pride was obviously still smarting from being the first one out, judging by the look he was giving his partner.

"What are you talking about, Kir? We've all lost."

"Not all of us," the bird said with a touch of smugness. "Cassis hasn't lost."

"What? Me?" exclaimed the girl, stepping back. "I'm not playing this stupid game. No way."

"Cassis!" Kir looked up at the blonde, wounded. "You have to play. You're our last chance!"

Placing her hands on her hips, she stared down at the bird, ready to inform her that she never been a chance. Before she could even open her mouth, the sound of childish laughter caused her words to die in her throat.

"Cassis-nee-chan couldn't beat Aniki!" Plum squeaked, rocking back and forth with the absurdity of the notion. The other two boys were also trying unsuccessfully to hide their mirth.

Turquoise eyes narrowed and a hint of infuriated pink blushed into her cheeks. "I'm in."

The three stopped laughing immediately, as if a switch had been flipped, and gawked at her. Even Kir appeared to be startled by her sudden willingness. "Are you sure about that, Cassis-nee-chan?"

"I'm very sure," she said, her voice like ice.

Jing stood slowly and looked at her hard, obviously trying to figure out how serious she was. At length, when she met his eyes steadily without flinching, a smirk crossed his face. She had to clench her fists to keep from flinching, for she well recognized that devilish expression. It was the one Jing wore when he had come up with a particularly troublesome scheme.

Instead, she straightened her shoulders and flipped her hair back with a cold look. She knew him well enough to realize that he thought she would be easy to beat, and that he had already taken it for granted that he would win. This would be one battle that Jing would not win.

"Fine," he said lightly. "I dare you to climb the tall tree in the front yard, and stay up there for five minutes."

Kir protested. "Wait, Jing. Don't you think Cassis should get to go first, since – "

The rest of the bird's sentence drifted away as Cassis marched out the door, heading straight for the familiar tree. It was one she had climbed before, although not all the way to the top. Despite of her resolve, a faint wave of fear pinched her stomach. She had a slight fear of heights, but it was one of her most deep, dark secrets. Not even Jing knew about it.

For this reason, she did not hesitate when she got to the tree. Without blinking an eye, she reached up and seized the closest branch, using it as a foot hold as she swung the rest of her body upwards. Her naturally slight build was ideal for climbing, and within minutes she was somewhat comfortably perched on the top branch, leaning against (and where the boys could not see, holding onto) the trunk.

Gazing down with a triumphant smile, she expected to see the boys gathered below. They were, but Jing was speaking, his arms moving around animatedly. The three boys and Kir were completely involved in what he was saying, watching him with widened eyes.

Realization hit Cassis almost hard enough to knock her out of the tree. She dug her nails in angrily, then pulled one hand free and pounded it into the trunk. Jing was going easy on her because he didn't think she could hold up the way the boys had. Fury lit her from the inside, sending her oceanic eyes blazing. She would show him.

When the five minutes were up, and Cassis had taken her indignation out on the poor tree, she began to make her way back down. It was harder to go down than it was to go back up, and she was actually thankful that the boys weren't paying attention to her when her foot nearly slipped and she seized the trunk in fear.

Finally, she reached the ground, her feet hitting with a soft thud. The boys all turned to face her. At the sight of Jing's innocent expression, she felt her temper flare, but she pushed it back and stepped towards them.

"My turn," she said as sweetly as possible. "Jing, I've got the perfect dare for you." The boy looked at her a bit warily, most likely wondering why she wasn't wielding her bat over his head. "For the next twenty-four hours, you have to refer to him," She pointed at Kir, "As 'Master'."

"What?" Stem, Plum, and Clove cried out together.

"Cassis-nee-chan, you can't – "

"Make him do that – "

"That's too cruel!"

The girl shrugged nonchalantly. "A dare is a dare, right? Unless you want to give up, Jing."

Jing was glaring at her, but she noticed a bit of amusement in the dove gray eyes. "Not quite. I accept."

The rest of the day proved to be an interesting one. Jing's next dare was for Cassis to dress 'like a girl' for the next twenty-four hours. The game was then put on hold while a search for such things was issued. In the end, Jing stole them from a shop in the nearby town. Once Cassis had appeared in a white sundress with a turquoise belt and turquoise high heels, the game proceeded.

Cassis then choose to dare Jing to hand over his precious orange jacket for as long as she had to remain in her dress. She took great pleasure in hiding the coat in her closet, even though she knew Jing would be able to find it in no time should he want to. It was odd to see him without the familiar jacket, and Jing looked extremely displeased to be wearing only his shirt and pants.

Surprisingly, the next few dares were less extreme – Jing was dared to hold his breath for two minutes, and then Cassis was dared to not wield her bat for three hours. That was a tough one on her, and she bit at her lip as Jing carried it away, mentally vowing to give him a good, sound whack once the three hours were up.

Then Jing got clever and dared her to steal something from the town. This was irritating for Cassis – even though she was a surprisingly good bandit (she didn't live with the Bandit King for nothing), she had always tried to impose the stealing was bad. Still, she gritted her teeth and did it, and then, feeling badly, dared Jing to take the item back. This was a first for the boy, but he did it, no doubt gritting his teeth as much as she had when taking it.

But none of those compared to the dare that had been just issued, and Cassis stared at Jing with a shocked expression. Her turquoise eyes scanned the ash gray ones for any sign of a joke, but there were none, and the smirk on his face proved it. She had half a mind to walk away. It was just a stupid game, after all, and this wasn't really worth it.

"Cut your hair," Jing repeated slowly, as if she hadn't heard him the first time. His tone was slightly mocking, suggesting that he clearly did not believe she would follow through.

Cassis' jaw tightened and she went into the house for a moment to retrieve some scissors. Out of sight, she squeezed her eyes shut in panic and dismay. Her long, golden curls were her one vanity. She had always worn her hair long and unadorned, sleek and shiny, flowing down to her thighs. She washed it every second night and brushed it for fifty strokes every night and every morning.

"It's just a game," she whispered. But it wasn't. This was about proving something to Jing, and to herself.

Scissors in hand, Cassis exited the house and walked back over to the boys. She gathered her hair into one hand, feeling weak in the knees, and lifted the scissors. Jing had not specified how much she had to cut off, but she knew that if she cut off just a little, it would be seen as cheating.

Swallowing hard and shutting her eyes, she closed the scissors, feeling lightheaded as the metal pieces slipped together. It took about half a dozen cuts to get the whole thing down. She released her hair, which now reached midway between her belly button and her chest, and stared down at the blonde tresses littering the ground, feeling dizzy. Tossing the scissors down, she followed, sitting before she fell.

Jing, Kir and the boys were staring at her, and she thought she saw a flicker of concern in Jing's eyes. Her fingers itched for the smooth wood of her bat to take to his head for making her start this ridiculous game, but she fought her temper, realizing that revenge would have to be sought through another dare. All she could think about, however, was what kind of hairstyle could suit her new, shorter hair.

She needed something he would not be willing to do, which was rare for someone like the Bandit King, who was usually willing to do anything. Something unexpected, random, something that was terrifying and horrifying. A dare he would never, could never, follow through on.

And then she had it, and a slow smirk spread across her face. She knew the perfect thing to do, and raising her head, she looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Kiss me."

Cassis had never seen a set of more shocked boys in her life. Every single one gaped at her with wide eyes and dropped jaws. Mentally, she danced around cheering, for even Jing appeared startled at her unusual and sudden challenge. Stem was the first to snap out of it, quickly requesting that she repeat her dare. The others seemed to blink and come around, but still looked to the girl for confirmation.

Praying that she wasn't blushing, the blonde looked back firmly. "I said, kiss me," she said. "That is your dare."

"But... that's not fair," Clove protested, looking at Jing. "Just because you want Aniki to, doesn't... Aniki?" the boy trailed off as Jing stepped forward.

Eyes widening, Cassis tried to still her pounding heart. There was no way he was actually going to do. He couldn't. He wouldn't dare. It would mean endless teasing for both of them. But this argument seemed to work less and less the closer the bandit came, until he was standing over her.

"Jing, what are you – " Her voice died as he placed a finger against her lips.

His ash gray eyes met her sea-colored ones and he smiled, his expression softly warm. One of his hands brushed the remains of her golden locks out of her eyes, while the other moved to cup her cheeks. Vaguely, Cassis heard Plum murmuring behind Jing (or perhaps it was Stem or Clove, she couldn't be bothered to care at this point), but she couldn't really make out what he was saying.

"Cassis-nee-chan definitely lost," he snickered.

Until that.

Suddenly aware of how close Jing was, her eyes shot open and she shoved him backwards. Caught off balance, Jing stumbled and fell to the floor. For a second, she felt bad, and made a mental note to apologize later as she leapt up, her hands flying to her hips as she glared down at him.

"What do you think you're doing?" she snapped.

"You dared me to!"

"Yeah, Cassis-nee-chan," Clove said, looking at her.

"You can't dare him to kiss you – " Plum continued.

"And then stop him from doing it!" Stem finished.

"That's cheating!" All three chorused.

"Dares aren't supposed to be easy!" Cassis yelled, knowing that she was blushing and getting even more angry because of it.

"Technically," Kir practically purred, gracefully alighting on the blonde's shoulder. "If Cassis pushed Jing away before he could kiss her, that means she wins."

"No, it doesn't," Jing growled, leaping up from his sprawled position.

Cassis smirked triumphantly. "Yes, it does."

"All I have to do is kiss you, right?"

"Yes, but..." Her smile faded when that look reappeared on his face. "Don't you dare." He stepped towards her, causing her to take a step back. "Jing, I'm warning you. JING!" She spun on her heels and fled as he began to chase her.

The three boys and Kir watched in silence as the Bandit King chased after the girl, who kicked off her heels in an attempt to run faster, sprinting amongst the flowers and grass. Jing kept up with her easily. The albatross sighed. "Let's never play this game again," he muttered as Cassis raced back towards them.

"You lost already! You kicked your shoes off!"

"Because of you! Cheater!"

Making one last lunge, Jing caught her by the ankle. Cassis went down hard on her hands on knees, knocking the breath out of her. Before she could catch it, he pinned her down, kissing her once, hard, on the mouth. Gasping, she grabbed the nearest object and smacked him with it. He yelped and fell over beside her as she scrambled up, wielding the tree branch like a baseball hat.

Cassis looked at Jing.

Jing looked at Cassis.

"Truce?" she suggested.

"Fine," he nodded, and grabbed her ankle a second time, pulling her down again. This time when he kissed her, amidst groans from his brothers, she didn't protest.

Take me back when our world was one block wide
I dared you to kiss me and ran when you tried
Just two kids, you and I...

Mary's Song – Taylor Swift

A/N: This is part one of a four part series, all inspired by Taylor Swift's song. Each one will be able to stand alone, but are meant to connect. So keep an eye out for part two!