"Sorry Nao," Akiyama smirked triumphantly, throwing his hand straight down on the floor. Nao's face immediately turned crimson when she saw that he had easily beaten her measly pair of sevens. "I win. Again."

Nao grimaced as she looked down at the cards, then up at her sadistic boyfriend. The two had been together for nearly a year now, and Nao really thought she had seen the sweeter, gentler side of Akiyama. But there times every now and then that he showed his true colors: an evil, manipulative, untrustworthy…

Pervert.

"Fine!" Nao sighed, reaching over and taking off her other sock. Akiyama had to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. He'd won the last few rounds of their Strip Poker game for two, and Nao was being horribly coy about the whole thing. Not only had she put on two sweaters before they started playing, she had decided to wear shoes and socks. As if those even counted as articles of clothing.

Akiyama had to admit – he had a bit of a devilish side to him. Especially when it involved him and his girlfriend getting intimate. He and Nao had a wonderfully healthy sex life – but every now and then he liked to jazz it up a little bit with what he did best: dirty little games.

"Next hand," Akiyama sighed, shuffling the cards and passing them back out. Nao looked at the face-down cards as if determined to win. Really, Nao claimed she was good at poker, but her luck had been rather dismal as of late. Akiyama hadn't even lost one round, and Nao was down to just her skirt, blouse, and, well…everything underneath.

Nao looked confident, and Akiyama couldn't help but get a little excited. Would she actually win? He considered throwing the hand for her, but his integrity got the better of him. He wanted to win (or really win) fair and square. So he played the round like normal.

"You ready?" he smirked, and she nodded, obviously confident in her hand. She put it down, and Akiyama blinked, actually impressed. She'd managed an ace-high flush.

He smiled and put down his two-pair, shrugging a bit at his defeat. "Oh well, it was bound to happen."

Nao picked up her hand and used it to cover her mouth. He looked over at her and saw she was blushing furiously. Her voice barely squeaked out from behind the cards: "I'm allowed to request what you take off, right?"

Akiyama could only smirk. Damn. So Nao had a devious, perverted little side to her as well. "Sorry," he smiled. "But you took off socks and shoes. After that, no requests." His fingers reached for the hem of his shirt, and Nao's face flushed even more. At that, he could only reply sarcastically, "Or is this what you wanted all along?"

With that, he stripped the long-sleeved tee off and threw it on top of their bed, causing her entire face to grow so red he thought she might start bleeding out of her nose. He didn't get what the big deal was. He was wearing a tight white-tank top underneath. However, her eyes were glued to the contours of his chest (he had to admit to working out just a bit before this whole scheme). One of the things he loved about Nao: no matter how many times they had sex, with her, it was always like the first time.

"N-New hand!" she said, stumbling to turn her cards back in. Akiyama didn't keep his eyes off her anxious (and beautiful) face as he continued to shuffle the cards. "St-Stop staring at me!" she insisted.

"I'm putting you in a state of mental paranoia," he said simply. "You should know Nao – it's what I do against all my opponents."

"Well you can't do it with your clothes off!" Nao said, bringing her knees to her chest in embarrassment. Akiyama laughed internally at that, but dealt her a new hand anyway. This really was a win-win game for him. If he lost, Nao only got more cutely flustered as he got more naked. And if he won…well…

Akiyama laid down his hand – another straight. And Nao's face turned crimson when she put down a complete bust. Akiyama smirked at Nao. She didn't have many options.

Nao's hands trembled as she fiddled with the zipper on her skirt. She couldn't look him in the eye when she finally zipped it down and took it off, throwing it towards her bed along with his shirt. She tried not to feel completely embarrassed in only her blouse and panties, but her entire body was burning up. Akiyama, however, looked horribly pleased. It almost made her hate him.

Almost.

"Don't be embarrassed," he whispered, leaning over and kissing her ear before collecting her cards. "After all, you wanted to do this too, didn't you?"

"Y-Yeah," she said, trembling a bit. "I-I'm just really, really embarrassed! I didn't know it would be this embarrassing…"

"So do you want to quit?" he asked, shuffling the cards and staring at her challengingly. She blinked. "We can stop now if you want."

"R-Really?" she asked.

He smiled at her. "But…if you forfeit," he pointed at her. "You have to stay like that for all of tomorrow."

"WH-WHAT?!" shouted Nao, unable to believe it. "Th-That-That's not fair! I-I—"

"Tomorrow's Sunday," he shrugged. "You don't have to go to school. You'll just be around the apartment with me," he smirked, and added, "in your panties."

Nao blushed bright red. "Y-You're horrible!"

"So does that mean you want to keep going?" he asked. Slowly, she nodded, and he dealt out the next hand, knowing the day was his.

Nao trembled as her hand was dealt to her. It was life or death at this point. The next thing to come off would be…she didn't even want to think about it!

Akiyama picked up his own hand and frowned when he saw he literally had nothing. Chances are, Nao would get something better than this. He was a little disappointed, considering he had her on the psychological rocks only the moment before. To lose now would mess up his streak.

"Four," he shrugged, taking the strongest card in his hand and hoping for the best. When he drew his replacements, he ended up with a pair of Aces. Not much, but better than nothing. Nao, however, simply fumbled with her cards.

"Umm…two," she said, forfeiting over the offending cards. Akiyama tried to look as confident as he could as he replaced the two. When Nao received them, she stared at her hand, biting her lip.

"Show 'em," he said, putting his down on the floor. "Pair of aces."

Nao grimaced and put down her own hand. A pair of Kings. She'd lost by a minimal margin. But Akiyama couldn't help but grin. He was still the winner. And that meant…

"Nao…" he whispered as seductively as he could, and Nao refused to look at him. "You know the rules."

She frowned and turned around, unbuttoning her blouse as she did so. She finally took it off, the lithe movement of her arms and the smooth skin on her back making Akiyama sweat. God – he didn't think he could take it much longer. Nao…she was too much for him. Didn't she get how she was killing him with this game just as much as he was killing her? That's why it turned him on so much.

Sweet torture.

She tossed the blouse aside and turned around, now in only her underwear, her arms crossed across her bra. Akiyama collected her cards and dealt the next hand.

"We can stop," he said. "If you want to stay like that all tomorrow."

Nao stared at him, an angry glare in her eye, and Akiyama really wondered if she was legitimately mad at him. However, instead of an angry, tearful cry of how much she hated him, he was met with something far bolder:

"Shin'ichi Akiyama!" she cried out, eyes ablaze with passion. "I swear to you right now that I will win this game and make you eat your words!"

Akiyama blinked, unable to believe it as Nao collected her cards and stared at them with a glare of an old poker pro. Had Nao just challenged him dead-on? Had Nao just…tried to intimidate him?

Had it worked?

Akiyama definitely felt different. He wasn't in control anymore. Nao had screwed her head on straight and was facing him straight on. She had made her challenge known, and broadcasted the fact that she wasn't about to just lie down and give up. Nao wasn't going down without a fight.

So was he intimidated?

Or just insanely horny for her right at the moment?

He looked down at his cards, and realized that his intense desire for Nao was clouding his judgment. All he wanted to do was finish the game as quickly as possible so he could jump her and make love to her harder than he ever had. His pants were bulging, his palms were sweating. He was in a state of severe sexual panic.

"Two," she said confidently, and Akiyama fumbled with the cards as his sweaty fingers tried to deal them correctly. He grabbed four cards and realized he had absolutely nothing. Screw it. He needed her right now.

"I lost," he said immediately, throwing his hand down on the carpet and grabbing the hem of his tank-top. He stripped it off, leaving him now completely shirtless and only wearing a pair of loose jeans. He grabbed the cards, not even paying attention to the little smile that was appearing on Nao's face.

He dealt the cards again and gazed up at his hand. Nothing he could see. Nor did he care. He didn't even bother to change cards. "Three," Nao requested, and he literally tossed them at her.

"There," he said, putting them down on the carpet. "I lost again." He stood up and began to unbutton his jeans, cursing them for their tightness around the groin. As he undid the fly, the jeans fell around his feet and he had trouble as he tried kicking them off, nearly tripping in the process. Left only in a pair of tight navy boxer-briefs, Akiyama was sure that Nao could have seen his exponentially growing boner from six miles away. He was a bit embarrassed, but he couldn't help it. And all the while, Nao was smirking at him with that sexy little look that was only making him crazier. He was sweating profusely now. It was like he was going into withdrawal.

"Next hand," he said.

"Wait," she said suddenly, putting her hand on his own. He stopped, trying to calm himself down as he looked up into her face. "Shin'ichi," she said softly. "Do you know what I had the last two hands?"

Akiyama thought back and realized, with a bit of shock, that he hadn't even bothered to check. He had just assumed he had lost and stripped. "No…"

She smirked. "Nothing."

Akiyama blinked as she giggled profusely at him, her sweet little smile broadening across her gentle face. Had he…

Had he just been had?

Nao Kanzaki…the foolishly honest Nao Kanzaki…had just played him for a fool.

"I knew you'd get aroused if I challenged you head on," she said, inching closer to his face, breathing on his cheek. "It completely clouded your judgment. I guess I put you in a state of mental paranoia, or something like that, right?"

"God dammit, Nao," Akiyama cursed as she pulled away from him. "You're crafty."

"I learned from the best," she shrugged. "But I was serious. I don't want to lose."

"Well now I don't want to either," he said defiantly. "This isn't just some sexy-party game anymore. This is war, Kanzaki."

"I'm up for the challenge, Akiyama-san," she said confidently. "Now deal the cards!"

Akiyama took careful time to deal out the hands, being slow and deliberate in order to focus his mind on the game ahead. When he picked up his cards, he was left with the best hand he'd had in a while: three kings on the first hand. "Two," he said, grabbing the top two cards, not really knowing what to expect.

He maintained his poker face even when he realized that one of the cards he had drawn had been the last remaining King. "Three," Nao said, and Akiyama gave her the corresponding cards, already sure of his victory. She sighed.

"Lay 'em out," he said, and Nao put her two-pair hand on the floor. When Akiyama showed off his hand full of Kings, Nao's face went back to cherry status.

"You lost," he said definitively. "But…if you want, I could help you take it off."

"I-I wouldn't give you the pleasure," she snapped, grabbing the hook of her bra and unsnapping it defiantly, her body spilling out as she did so. She threw the bra aside, and Akiyama's eyes were glued to her supple, beautiful chest. God, she looked so gorgeous like that. He just want to say "fuck the game", grab her and do her right then. But like he had said before…this was a war. And even though Nao looked like she was about to die from embarrassment as she covered her breasts with one of her arms, he knew that she too wanted to continue.

He shuffled the cards thoroughly. "This is it," he said. "Whoever wins this round wins the whole thing."

"I know," she said. "A-A-And I'm…I'm going to win!"

He looked up at her, the cards ceasing to move through his hands. Her eyes were flaming with passion, with determination, the likes of which hadn't existed when he had first met her. Over the past year and a half he had known her, Nao had changed. Her timidity, while still present, had dulled. She knew how to take care of herself, how to confront people. How to confront him even… She was the strongest person he knew. Far stronger than himself. After all, she had been the one to save him from his own demons. She'd taught him to love and trust again. To believe in the goodness of people. That was all her.

"What's wrong?" she asked. "Deal the cards."

"I love you," he said suddenly, and she blinked, taken aback. "You look so beautiful and I love you."

She wasn't used to words like this from Akiyama. Sure, he told her that he loved her…but not often. He was a wounded person, and love was something he hadn't given away in a long time. So for him to say that right now…in the middle of this game…

"Don't try to throw me," Nao said defiantly. "Deal the last hand."

Akiyama smiled at her. He couldn't blame her. Hadn't he been the one to tell her "doubt everyone"?

So the final hands were dealt. The cards were analyzed, picked over. Strategies were accumulated, designed, destroyed, rebuilt, all in the matter of minutes. When their cards were exchanged, they stared at each other, both confident.

"Play 'em."

Akiyama put down his hand, two pairs.

Nao put down her hand, two pairs.

Akiyama had a pair of twos and a pair of jacks.

Nao had a pair of queens and a pair of aces.

Nao smiled up at him. "I win."

"So you do," he said, sighing and standing up to remove his boxers. "I guess I'm—"

"Stop right there," she said, standing up and, much to his surprise, removing her arm from her chest, leaving herself bare to his gaze. She walked over to him until her body was caressing his own, her breasts soft against his chest, her eyes half-lidded in complete lust and want of him. "I'm the winner. I get to take these off."

And as her fingers slid under the elastic of his waistband, he felt the sweet intoxication of her breath against his neck. He could barely breathe, it was all too much. He barely felt Nao slipping his underwear down his legs, but he could feel the soft kisses she was leaving on his neck that trailed down his chest and finally to his pelvis.

God.

There were definitely no losers here.

Stepping out of his underwear, he grabbed Nao around the waist and lifted her up, throwing her on their bed and kissing her hotly, grabbing her hair and rubbing his free hand up and down her body, his fingertips paying special attention to the concaves beneath her breasts. She entangled her legs with his own, kissing him sweetly in return, back arched towards him, silently begging for more.

His core was on fire. His fingers moved to her back, where they massaged her tenderly as he began to kiss her neck hungrily. "Sh-Shin'ichi…" she gasped, and he listened intently. "I want…I want my prize…" she whispered, a sweet smile breaking across her face. He was more than happy to oblige.

Grabbing the edge of her panties, he stripped them away as easily as raw egg slipping from its shell. They grabbed each other, their passionate love-making only growing towards climax with every moment. They both knew it – their foreplay had already started hours before. They were ridiculously in need of the other.

And when he slid inside her and began his rhythm (so natural to them both by now), he put every ounce of his love for Nao into every muscle of his body. He wanted to do everything and anything to make her happy, to make her scream with delight, to make her realize that she was everything to him, and the very thought of being with her like this sent shivers down his spine.

They both climaxed, and Nao screamed out his name while he whispered hers into her ear hotly. The sweat on his forehead grew colder as he lay on top of her, both of them locked into a tight embrace. After what seemed like only sweet moments, he slid out of her and held her head against his chest, embracing her softly and allowing them both to cool down. Nao wrapped her arm around his chest, face a bit pink with pleasure. "I knew you meant it," she whispered. "What you said…before the last round? I knew you weren't just trying to throw me." She nuzzled farther into him. "And I love you too. So much."

With that, he pulled the blankets over them, allowing them both to snuggle softly with one another, their breath breaking the silence of their apartment. Akiyama stroked his lover's hair, and he reaffirmed his faith in the love he had for the woman in his arms. No matter how much he teased her, strung her along, or even made her angry with him, he did it all because he wanted to see that little determined look on her face that he knew he had a part in creating.

Maybe that's why he liked seeing Nao so riled up and angry. Because it gave him a sense of importance in her life. After all, Nao had saved Akiyama. If it hadn't been for her, he would have continued to drown in self-pity, in resentment and anger. He'd never have found someone to love him and for him to love back. Nao was special…the exact kind of person he needed. And what had he done for her? Practically nothing, he realized. Except perhaps make her stronger, more assertive, more determined in her ways. And if that helped her, even a little bit, then that made him the happiest man in the world.

"Let's play another game sometime," Nao said softly, cheeks still abuzz with the soft crimson blush reminding him of their night. "You can challenge me again."

"I will," he assured her, kissing her lips again before settling his head down on a pillow for sleep. "But next time, no shoes."