Blame it on the Chocolate

A/N: I don't own Batman Beyond, even though this past January 10th I've been watching/writing it for exactly 10 years. That should let me own, at least a piece, right? Ah, well. Enjoy.

"One…two…three…damn, I'm out." Max Gibson muttered to herself as she counted the small, pink boxes that had once been full of chocolate. She lay propped up on the pillows in her bedroom in just a loose t-shirt and boy shorts with the cartons scattered around her like plundered treasure chests. Didn't matter much anyway. They were all her sister's candy and the girl had plenty to spare since she was so popular with that boy, Derek.

She nearly jumped as a little golden bag flew through the air and fell on her lap. After a second, she let out a delighted "Ooh!"

"Lindt chocolate? Where did you even find this?"

"On the back shelf at Wal-Mart. You're lucky I found them." The shadow to the left of her bed spoke, closing the window. Max shook her head and stretched out on her back, popping a milk chocolate truffle into her mouth.

"You know just how to spoil me."

Terry McGinnis chuckled and peeled back the cowl of the Batsuit, tossing it on her nightstand. This was their Valentine's Day tradition: spending the last couple of hours of it together. Normally, Terry went out with Dana for dinner and Max stayed home, flipping channels and eating candy. Then he would find a box for them to share and they'd watch the same movie they'd been watching since the beginning of high school: 10 Things I Hate About You. It was retro as hell, but somehow one of the channels decided to play it and the two of them made it part of their yearly tradition.

After changing into his regular clothes, Terry crawled on the bed and laid his head in his best friend's lap, grabbing a truffle as well. Right on schedule, Max tuned into AMC and the movie began, filling the warm silence of her room with music and comedy.

"How'd your date go?" Max asked automatically, her brown eyes fixed on the screen. Terry snorted softly.

"Halfway through dinner, Spellbinder starts robbing jewelry stores using senior citizens under his mind control."

Max gaped. "Seniors? That's low, even for him."

"I know. Took me the better part of two hours to round them up."

"What about Dana?"

"She…didn't take my leaving very well."

Max winced, sparing him a sympathetic look. "And that means in English that she…?"

"Broke up with me."

"Oh. Sorry, Ter."

He shrugged. "Don't be."

"You know, this is just more incentive for you to tell her…" Terry sighed.

"Max, we've already had this conversation before."

"I know that, but it's not fair that you decide that for her. Look at how we get along now that I know." Max insisted. Terry closed his eyes.

"It's not the same."

"Well, why not?" Her voice started to get a bit heated. His sounded very tired when he answered her.

"Just drop it, Max."

"And you call me the stubborn one," She grumbled, lifting another piece of chocolate to her mouth. Terry finally smirked a bit.

"If the laptop fits…"

She glared at him. "That doesn't make any sense, Terry."

"So does your face."

The pink-haired girl groaned and tried her best not to grin but failed anyway.

"Shut up and watch the movie."

***

"I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I love you to love me

I'm begging you to beg me…"

"Y'know, I keep waiting to get sick of this movie but it never seems to happen," Max mused, watching the credits roll up the screen at the foot of the bed. She was met with no response. She glanced down only to discover Terry had fallen asleep in her lap. For a second, she considered waking him up but he just looked so young and oddly cute while he slept. Something warm spread through her chest when she looked down at him, something maybe a little deeper than fondness. For the first time, she actually slowed down and thought about their little 'tradition'. Even though he had work and Dana, he still came to see her each year, making her forget about the fact that she'd been alone for nearly all of them. He cared, more than any guy she knew. Despite all that went on in their relationship, Max felt like she owed him for that.

Before she could stop herself, Max leaned down enough to press a soft, chaste kiss on his lips. She then realized two things: one, she'd just kissed her best friend on the mouth and two, he was no longer asleep. Uh oh. Cursing herself, Max sat up under his heavy gaze and felt her cheeks flooding with heat. Terry just stared up at her with a calm yet slightly curious expression.

"You, uh, had some chocolate on your face," she attempted weakly, knowing how pathetic the excuse sounded aloud. A slow smile touched Terry's lips.

"Sure, blame it on the chocolate."

She sighed. "I'm sorry, I didn't think about what I was doing…"

"Max?"

"Yeah?"

"Shut up." Terry reached up and tugged her by the front of her shirt down to his mouth. Max's rational mind took a vacation as those soft, full lips closed over hers. The first kiss was gentle, experimental, and then grew deeper as he slipped his tongue into her mouth. Max nearly groaned, having forgotten how wonderful it felt to kiss someone so passionately. She vaguely wondered how Dana could stand to break up with a guy who could kiss this damn good before regaining her common sense and breaking away. She had originally planned to have something to say when she broke the kiss, but nothing came out because Terry had apparently swallowed her voice as well. He spoke for her.

"I was lying before. Dana didn't break up with me. I ended it."

Max bit her bottom lip, trying to absorb this information in her somewhat fuzzy mind. "Why?"

Terry shrugged, finally sitting up. "I realized that the best part of Valentine's Day for me is coming here to see you."

Max blushed again, tugging her pillow into her lap and hugging it. "Oh."

"Yeah." He laughed softly, rubbing the back of his neck. "So congrats, you stole my thunder. You've saved me the trouble of putting the moves on you."

Max groaned. "Oh, shut up, McGinnis. Your so-called 'moves' don't work on anyone."

He flashed her a wolfish grin. "They seemed to work pretty good on you."

She swatted him with the pillow, her voice indignant. "I told you, you had some chocolate on your face!"

"Whatever you say, Max."

She slumped back against the headboard, annoyed. "Why do I even put up with you?"

His grin widened. She pointed a finger at him. "Don't answer that."

"Alright, alright. Just one more thing."

"What?"

He leaned forward and kissed her shortly, wiping the irritated expression from her pretty face.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Max."

FIN

A/N: I felt pressured by a colleague, Silver Scribes, for a Valentine's Day fic so I came up with this. It was just something light and easy to write. Hope you liked it and have a happy, as Harley would put it. Don't forget to review.

Kyoko