Competitive Pride

Written by OtakuChild

DISCLAIMER: JatD is not mine. It is owned by Martin Baynton, resident genius and overall swell guy. XD

This odd little nugget happened as the result of an RP I did with The Lightning Flash a few days ago. It was just screaming "WRITE ME!" so I did. Many thanks to The Lightning Flash, who beta-read this fic to make sure it made sense. :P Enjoy.

Hooray for Gunther/Jane!

"Are both participants ready?"

Jane and Gunther gave a curt nod to Jester before resuming their prior activity, which was glaring at each other.

It was a warm summer day in Kippernia Castle, and Jane and Gunther were getting into one of countless contests they had with each other about who was the better, stronger squire. Today the challenge was arm-wrestling. Rake, Pig, Pepper, Dragon, and Smithy were crowded around the table, with the exception of Dragon, who preferred to watch from a castle wall due to his great size.

"Take your arms!" Jester said.

Jane and Gunther put their right arms on the table and clasped hands. Jane ignored how warm his hand felt. Unbeknownst to her, Gunther was fighting the urge to run his thumb along the top of her hand, which he found to be surprisingly soft.

"Get him, Jane!" Dragon yelled.

"Go Petal!" Pepper cheered.

"You have cornered yourself, Jane," Gunther said. "I can lift more than you, so my arms are much stronger."

"Unlike you, I actually train," Jane said. They continued to glare at each other.

"All right!" Jester said. "On your marks...get set...go!"

Jane pushed as hard as she could against Gunther's arm. Gunther was a bit taken aback at the force Jane had. She really had been training. His quick reflexes came to his aid, and for awhile neither squire could gain any advantage over the other. The others watched as Jane and Gunther pushed against each other with clenched teeth.

Jane could feel her arm getting tired, and pushed back with renewed force. Unfortunately for Jane, Gunther had two years of age on her, and two years of stamina. Though she pushed back with all her strength, he eventually pushed her arm over onto the table. He held it there with a wicked grin.

"Maggots!" Jane snapped.

"No!" yelled Dragon. "The merchant's son is a cheater!"

"Victory goes to Gunther..." Jester said, trying not to sound too disappointed.

Jane glared at Gunther. "You just got lucky," she said.

"Then I must be the luckiest man alive," Gunther said smoothly. "What is that, three wins this week? Maybe you should quit while you are behind."

"Funny how though I lose our arm-wrestling contests, I win nearly every training challenge," Jane shot back. She got up from the table and headed towards the training yard, intent on taking out her anger and disappointment on the training dummy. She heard Gunther's footsteps follow her through the royal garden and sighed irritably. Did the boy know when to be quiet?

"Face it, Jane," Gunther said. "I am quicker than you, I have more stamina than you, I am stronger than you, and, most important for a knight in training, I am manlier than you."

Jane stopped, looked at Gunther.

"Oh, here we go with the manly thing again," she said. "It's old, Gunther."

"Only because you cannot hope to compete," Gunther said with a sneer.

"Is that some sort of challenge?" Jane asked.

"Me? Challenge your manliness?" Gunther let out a snort. "I would not waste the time."

Jane let all her discipline and control of her temper go down the privy. She let out an angry yell and launched herself at Gunther, knocking him to the ground. She expected anger as his reaction, but he merely looked bored.

"Jane, this is being animalistic, not manly."

"Oh, like you are not animalistic when you are trying to be manly," Jane said.

"I never try, I simply am," Gunther said, sounding impressed with himself.

"You try much too hard, Gunther," Jane said, getting off of him and dusting herself off. "You cannot fool me."

"No indeed. Fooling you would require a lie," Gunther said in a nasty tone.

"I see right through you, you louse!" Jane said hotly.

"Yet another new talent of yours?" Gunther said sarcastically. "I am so impressed."

"Oh, this is an old talent. It is old, like your trying to out-man me."

Gunther looked at her critically. "I hate to break it to you, Jane, but you are not a man."

"I know I am not anatomically male, you beef brain!" Jane said. "Still, I am more of a man than you are at the moment. Real men do not feel the need to continually prove their masculinity."

"I do not need to prove my masculinity, Jane. It is just impossible not to notice," Gunther said, dusting himself off and strutting over to Jane.

Jane looked at him before breaking into hysterical snorting laughter.

"You really are insecure, listen to yourself!" she said between fits of laughter. "You are so full of yourself!"

"Clearly your concern for my self-esteem knows no bounds," Gunther said sarcastically. "What is wrong with a man being sure of himself? Would you prefer to go into battle with a mouse by your side?"

Jane shot him a snarky grin. "You are not merely acting sure of yourself, you are boasting about it! Boasting to a point that clearly shows you are still unsure of your manliness, which is why I am used to going into a battle with a mouse at my side."

Gunther glared at her, obviously hurt by her stinging remark. "Show me another man who would choose to go to battle with a woman by his side? Only one with confidence in himself. Call it bragging if you will, it does not matter to me."

"You care not the gender of your comrade, your only aim it to try and prove how much better you are than the rest of the world!" Jane said.

"Well, someone has to think it. It may as well be me. The rest of the world will catch on one day." Gunther straightened his doublet and slicked his hair back to its proper place. Jane let out an irritated sigh.

"You are such an egotist you have no idea what an egotist you are!" she exclaimed.

Gunther crossed his arms. "You take such issue with my 'ego' that I can only assume it is because you have no self-confidence of you own. This is who I am, Jane. I do wish you would take a break from your hectic schedule of trying to change every facet of my personality."

"I am plenty self assured!" Jane retorted. "I just do not feel the need to go around bragging about it. It is called being humble, Gunther...and I am not trying to change every facet of your personality!"

"A man should never humble himself when there are so many men willing to do it for him. And if you are not trying to change me, then what, pray tell, are you trying to do?"

"Curb your ego, you louse! It's irritating and unbecoming!"

"It is me. Like it or loathe it as you will, but I am not changing to suit the opinion of everyone who whines about me."

"It is sickening," Jane spat. She saw a slight hurt look in his eyes, and instantly felt guilty.

"As you say. Well, no doubt my sickening presence is making you feel ill, so I am sure you will excuse me." He turned around and headed back towards the castle, shoving away his hurt feelings, as he always did when he and Jane traded insults and angry words. Why did it always have to be like this?

Jane felt awful. Why must I be so harsh? she thought to herself. Though she tried to be nice to him, her temper always seemed to get in the way. She really wanted to be better friends with Gunther, but his inflated ego and attitude made it difficult while also brining out the worst in Jane. She hated it. To make matters worse, she had started to develop a bit of a crush on him during the last year or so. She had no idea where it had come from, as they had a strained camaraderie to begin with. She decided not to act upon the crush itself, but to send subtle hints to Gunther that she wanted to be a better friend to him. Such hints and clues often went completely unnoticed, or were more often dissolved when a new argument broke out.

A crazy idea struck her. She figured she had nothing to lose, and in headstrong manner, gave no thought to consequence. She walked briskly after him to catch up to him.

"You are so dense," she said, grabbing his arm. She spun him around and kissed him before he had any time to react. She broke it abruptly when the full realization of what she was doing finally dawned on her. She looked at him with wide, shocked eyes.

Did I just...kiss...Gunther? she thought. Gunther stared back at her with equally shocked eyes.


Jane swallowed. She felt her stomach lurch. "S-sorry," she said quickly, before turning on one heel and walking back to the training yard as fast as she could.

"Sorry...what?" Gunther asked behind her.

"What do you think?" Jane asked, still walking.


Jane stopped walking and turned around. "I...never mind. Just forget it."


"Are you just going to stand there and say 'what' all day?" she asked, now angry at herself for acting so irrationally.

"What? No! Well, actually, Yes! What was that?!" Confusion reeled in Gunther's mind.

"Look, I..." Jane could not think of a viable, believable explanation, and judging by Gunther's reaction, she did not feel like spilling her feelings to him. "Just forget this happened, okay?" She started walking again.

"No!" Gunther said hotly, walking to catch up to her. "First you tell me I make you sick, and then you kiss me, and I am supposed to forget about it?" Part of him started questioning her sanity.

"I said it was your ego that made me ill, not you as a person!" Jane yelled. "You are so dense! And yes, just forget it, okay? I should not have..."

"Oh no! You do not get to yell at me, kiss me, and then insist I forget it!" Gunther yelled back. "You should not have kissed me? Then why did you?"

"I do not know, okay? I just...I thought...I don't know what I thought. I'm sorry. It was stupid of me!"

"You kissed me, Jane! This is not something that just happens randomly for no good reason!"

Jane wished she could take it all back. She wished she could run away and hide and never have to see Gunther's face again. The thought of having to train with him every day after all this was a little hard to bear at the moment. She mentally kicked herself for being so foolish.

Jane stopped walking again, and let out a sigh. "What do you want me to say, Gunther?"

"Why you kissed me would be nice."

"I just told you about ten times, I do not know! I am sorry! I should not have done it, okay?"

Gunther felt another painful stab in his chest, and stared at the ground. "You are sorry you kissed me? I see," he said softly. "Fine then. I shall just go on my sickening way." he turned around and headed back to the castle.

Jane felt another pang of guilt wash over her. Dammit, I did it again! she thought. Why must I be so careless with my words? She took a deep breath, knowing she would have to come clean now, no matter how badly he would shoot her down. She turned around to look at his retreating figure.

"Wait!" she yelled.

Gunther turned back around, and looked at Jane with a hard expression on his face. She cringed a little when she saw the hurt in his eyes.

"What?" he asked angrily.

"I...did you...I mean..." Jane looked away, too guilty and uncomfortable to make eye contact. "Was it okay that I kissed you?"

Gunther stared at his feet. "Well, it was not . . . It was not horrible, or anything." There was no point in lying now. Gunther figured that things could not possibly get any worse than they already were.

"Oh...okay...well...that is good..." she let out a sigh and forced herself to look at Gunther. " sorry I got so cross with you," she said quietly.

Gunther softened his gaze and looked back up at Jane, ignoring the bit of hope that flared up in him. He had learned to ignore such optimism years ago, as his father loved to crush it, every time.

"I am sorry I sicken you. You have an interesting way of expressing your disgust, though," he said, voice devoid of emotion.

Jane frowned, and walked over to Gunther. "You do not sicken me, Gunther. Honestly you do not. I just...I get irritated with you when you get all full of yourself."

Gunther gave her a tiny smile. "Well, to be honest, half the time I only talk like that because I know it annoys you." He did find delight in annoying Jane, teasing her in subtle and childish ways. He found that she looked kind of cute when she got mad, but that was a secret he would take to the grave.

"So why annoy me so much?" she asked.

"Why kiss me?" he deflected.

"Hey, I asked first!"

"Then maybe neither of us will ever know."

They both stared at the ground. Jane found herself feeling sad at the prospect of it all going unanswered. Here goes nothing...she braced herself.

"Okay, fine. I kissed you because I like you, okay?" she said, feeling stubborn.

Gunther smiled, and felt his face grow hot. "I tease you because I like you, too. And for the record, I like your method much better."

" sure have an odd way of showing it," Jane said, feeling a blush creep up into her cheeks.

"Well, then…let me try a better way."

He leaned in and kissed her. It was a bit awkward at first, but Jane leaned into the kiss. She felt his arms tighten around her and she kissed him back. They parted for air but Gunther quickly kissed her again, not wanting to break contact. Jane hugged him tightly as they kissed, not ever wanting the moment to end.

The wonderful silence was broken by a squeal of delight.

Gunther broke the kiss and let out a groan, resting forehead against Jane's. "Verbena..." he growled.


The two squires ceased all affection and turned to glare angrily at Dragon.

"Oh, yuck! What is wrong with you shortlives?" Dragon asked. "First you say you hate each other, and now you are swapping smoke! Agh!"

"Oh, Rake, come look!" Pepper said, jumping up and down happily. "They were kissing, Rake! It is so wonderful!" She sighed dreamily.

Rake went rigid, eyes wide, and he blushed furiously. He quickly trotted off to the royal garden, mumbling something about cabbages.

Pepper looked at Jane and Gunther, then to Rake, then back to Jane and Gunther, and finally took off after Rake.