Nick made a mental note to himself- always use a hands-free function when speaking to the love of one's life. His ears were burning. So would the rest of this face, as he recalled the last time when Shiho punched his face in for "reminding [her] that [she] was still on the shelf."

She panted, wiping her wet forehead. The one bad thing about the simulator was that all that perspiration was real after all. All that trouble for a game… his hit points had been annihilated and he was coughing on his knees. The lights of Midgar faded away and in their place emerged the dimmed fluorescence of the ship's lights.

Her only hope now was that he would find somebody to shag and top being a pseudo-otaku. Then again, she should have gone easier on him. Even if they had gotten carried away and he had turned into a… slightly different person, even if he was turning into a sex-deprived idiot who most probably cried at girl-band concerts because the children were just so adorable.

"Friend… " She started, "I'm sorry… I … didn't mean to wipe you out… I just got so carried away… never mind…" she walked out slowly- tired, apologetic… and hungry.

"Shiho! Finally, I found you!"

It was Nick, looking obviously worn out after his little meeting. He had been asked to redo everything- meaning getting her to do it. It was the only work that ever met his standards anyway.

She waved back at him, "Let's go for lunch. I'm famished- oh, but let me get a shower first."

"Okay. And after we finish, could you do me a favour? Commander didn't like what he saw just now, and told me to rewrite it. And you know that he only questions us until you're involved-"

She swung a friendly arm around the boy's shoulder, "And so you want me to write with you so that you don't have to spend a week on it. Is that it?"

"Well, you seem to be the only one who can match his standards anyway, so…"

"Fine, I'll do it. Oh, and lunch is on you. Let's take the next shuttle out of base."

"But you earn so much more than me, why do I have to pay? And you eat at such high-end places when we go out." Nick protested.

Shiho paused to snap back, "I have a family to support, rich boy. You don't. Besides, the white horses pay for us when we eat."

"Okay… but eat less," he quipped, "I'm saving up for a weekend with Cass."

She stared at his blushing face, "Again? Spare some time for me and Dearka too!"

And so the day ended, giving way to the evening in laughter and continuous horizontal tangoes.

Yaan! It's over! Credits to Nick for his character and girlfriend. Horizontal tangoes are a kind of cocktail, and white horses are what one calls ministers' kids in the army here.