This one-shot was brought to you as a result of sugar-induced insomnia and a need for a more lighthearted 1x7 fic than the other one I'm still working on. (Iffen you can't stand the cracktastic-ness of this pairing, shoo.)

Disclaimer: Nice and bold for all of you - Kimsa Ki-Lurria does not own 9 or any of its marvelous characters. Be thankful.

Rated T for suggestive material and mild language.

Summary: 1 wasn't sure what irritated him more: she hogged the covers, kicked in her sleep, and always wanted to have the window side of the bed. And sometimes, she could be downright pushy... He wouldn't have given their games up for the world. 1x7, one-shot.


Childish

1 wasn't sure what irritated him more: 7's childishness, or his. Every night, it was a race to see who would get to bed first. When and why it had started, he didn't quite know, and neither did she, apparently. One night, she had just looked at him with this challenging glint in her optics, and took off running. He had stared after her in bewilderment. Then, he'd caught on, and the next time he had been prepared.

7 wasn't getting away that easily. Not if he had anything to say about it.

It wasn't like sleeping was something he wanted to race her for. She hogged the covers, kicked in her sleep (she'd had a nightmare one time and woke him up with her foot lodged firmly in his stomach), and she always wanted to have the window side of their bed, which overlooked an impressive amount of the Sanctuary's courtyard (it probably had something to do with her insatiable need for freedom and open spaces, but he'd never been brave enough to try and understand what went on in her head).

Several nightmares later and one time actually being pushed out of the bed, 1 finally complained. 7 retaliated just as he'd known she would; apparently, he hogged the bed, either talked in his sleep or snored, and suddenly he was the one who had started their petty routine of racing each other to bed. So if he was pushed or kicked off the bed every now and then, it was his own fault.

1, as usual, had growled and grumbled a bit and then stalked off with his stinging pride clutched possessively to his chest.

Sometimes he won the race. Most of the time, though, she was the victor and waited for him in the shallow basket-bed with her hands folded, back straight, and a hateful, smug little grin on her beautiful face. No matter how many times he saw that smirk, the thrill that went through him was never diminished.

Damn her. Damn her and her quick, young legs and her defiance and her beauty.

Then, of course, there was the trouble of actually getting into bed. On bad days, 7 would make him fight for it even after he'd lost the race. On good days, he would still have to fight. Not that it bothered him. It wasn't what happened after the race that annoyed him — suffice to say it was the type of situation he wouldn't want anyone walking in on. He would just get so aggravated; there she was, in his bed, staring him down with insolence and amusement in her optics, so he had no choice but to put her in her place. He would not be outdone by 7. Not more than a year ago, when they had still hated each other, and not now, when her defiance ended with them both sprawled in bed in a tangle of limbs and whirring gears.

And yes, 1 knew, it was all incredibly childish. Racing was something children did when they were bored. 7 was certainly not bored — if it was difficult to restrain her before their "relationship," then it was downright impossible when all he had against her was his well-hidden concern and the promise of a lonely night. 1 wasn't particularly bored, either; 7 kept him at his wits' end, only one of the things he loved about her, though he would die before admitting it.

When he considered it, he decided that the racing was merely a way for them to preserve their enmity. Together or not, 7 and 1 would always be at each other's throats. It was just in their natures. Opposites attract (or something like that), the twins had termed it. Most often, when opposites attracted, they butted heads. A lot. So perhaps 1 accepted 7's childish challenges because he needed the competition between them as much as she did.

And…maybe, just maybe, he enjoyed it. Though, of course, he would never admit it aloud.

What she saw in him, he wasn't quite sure. She said it had to do with him being "kind and caring" beneath his "grumpy-old-man layers," whatever that meant, and something about respect. Respect, he could understand. He respected rules and laws and cunning. He respected danger and he respected safety. Most of all, he was finding, he respected the wild, free spirit that shared his bed each night. After she had fallen asleep, he would sometimes lie in bed and simply marvel at her. She trusted him unlike anyone ever had before. She trusted him not to hurt her, in body or spirit, and reportedly believed he was more than competent to watch over her while the Beast prowled about.

1 couldn't understand it. He simply couldn't understand why someone would trust him to the point of sleeping by his side every night. Thinking about it was just as exhausting and aggravating as that infuriatingly childish racing.

Yet, in the morning, he never questioned her presence. He always woke before her and sat up to watch her come up with the sun. Dawn was the best time to see the last bright light in the world, when the humans' pollution couldn't stand up to its renewed rays. Sunlight shone in 7's closed optics, making her blink and attempt to cover her face with one softly-colored arm. She would look up at him and watch the raw sun-beams flash across his face.

"Good morning," she smiled, and reached up a hand to caress the side of his face.

Then, of course, he would have to forgive her for her games. 7 was a schemer, just like him, and a sneaky cheater. She would crawl out from under the covers (she'd hogged them again) and press a kiss to his cheek, just on the corner of his mouth, because she knew how insane it drove him. He'd loop an arm around her waist and draw her tight against him, cupping the back of her head to guide her mouth to his. She shifted to sit in his lap of her own accord — as always — and deepened the kiss, making each circuit in his entire body light up with electricity.

And then, predictably, she broke the kiss and darted off to be the first one to wake the others.

Leaving him, as usual, the grumbling loser in this childish game of theirs. His pride shuffling dejectedly behind him, he made himself get up and sulked after her. With, as always, a content smile that would fade as the day went on.


A/N: Like or dislike? Please review!

(And happy 9-DVD-Release Day - shameless promoting with bright 9 foam-fingers -)

-Kimsa