A/N: Warnings: Bit of suggestiveness in this one, but nothing really all that bad. No lemon, nothing graphic, so don't worry. The second half is just a bit sensual, that's all. It's sexy without being necessarily sexual. It's meant to be hilarious more than anything else. You'll see what I mean come the second half of the story. -wink-

edit 2/7/11: I fixed the mysteriously missing page breaks as well as fixed a few small things that had been bugging me. You're welcome.


(Battle of the Sexes)

"I'll get the peroxide."

Sora smiles weakly at Kairi as she frowns at him from her doorway. He rather likes having a girlfriend who has known him long enough that she doesn't even bother to ask questions when he shows up at her door with a black eye and a busted lip.

He follows her as she turns around and heads towards the kitchen to pull a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer. It is unlikely that this produce would ever have been consumed, because Kairi doesn't like peas, and even though she sometimes makes them for Sora when he comes over, she prefers fresh vegetables and chickens that died that morning, not frozen cuisine. Still, she keeps a bag or two of frozen peas in her freezer exclusively for use as icepacks, and almost exclusively because of him.

"So who was it this time?" She asks, tossing him the impromptu icepack and reaching into the cabinet above the microwave to get the first aid kit.

"Riku," he admits, scowling. He gingerly touches the cold plastic to his face and hisses as it burns the skin. He sits down at the table and wraps a napkin around the bag of peas before he leans back in the chair and rests the bag on his left eye. "Granted, I deserved it, but still, I don't see why he had to hit me that hard."

Kairi sighs and pulls another chair over so she can face him and sits the first aid kit on the table. "I don't see why he had to hit you at all. What did you do?"

Sora remains silent for a moment, then hesitantly replies, "I said something rather, um, rude, about his new girlfriend." He looks pensively off to the side for a moment. "I mean, it was true, but I still probably shouldn't have said it."

Kairi pulls the bag of peas off of his face and scrutinizes her boyfriend. "What did you say?"

Sora sucks in air through his lips, stalling as he hesitantly bites his tongue. Kairi raises her eyebrows in warning. "Actually, I don't want you to hit me too, so I'm not going to say."

Kairi rolls her eyes. "Please, Sora, girls have less Neanderthalic methods of conflict resolution."

Sora puts on a spectacular pout. "Neanderthalic?" Kairi ignores him and leans in to examine the skin just below his eye and her neatly manicured eyebrows knit together.

"Goodness, it broke skin! What was Riku wearing, brass knuckles?"

"Class ring."

"Same thing." Sora's pout has not abandoned his lips as he watches Kairi pull ointment from the first aid kit and dab a little on his busted lip.

"What?" She asks, frowning at him.

"You've kicked butt across the universe, how can you be calling us Neanderthals just because Riku hit me?"

Kairi just rolls her eyes. "It's such a guy thing to beat each other up when trouble arises. How many black eyes and bloody noses have you and Riku and Tidus and Wakka given each other over the years?" Sora wrinkles his nose as the cold medicinal cream makes contact with his skin, but Kairi doesn't stop dabbing it beneath his eye. "And then how many times have you ever seen me slug another girl just because she ticked me off?" Sora opens his mouth. "And Maleficent doesn't count." Sora closes his mouth. Kairi smirks. "See, girls have evolved more advanced and more lethal ways of dealing with each other. Haven't you ever seen 'Mean Girls'? We fight dirty, we fight deviously, we fight nicely." She looks up.

"Passive aggression." She says, flicking her eyebrows upward for emphasis. "Much more damaging. And," she adds brightly, "Much less messy." She smiles mischievously. "We make strategic moves. We spread rumors, we tell lies. Sometimes we just tell truths." She flicks her eyebrows up dangerously again. Then suddenly her keyblade appears in a flash of pink light. "Just like you could have very easily done this," a glowing cluster of green flora appears before Sora's face and the swelling and bruising begins to disappear, "as soon as you got injured, I could very well just slug a girl that made me mad and be done with it."

She dismisses her keyblade and begins packing up the first aid kit. "But," she continues, "You chose to come and let me nurse you back to health first. And I would instead choose to ruin the reputation of the girl who tried to steal my boyfriend. Much more satisfying." She looks back at him and winks. "Only if she really deserved it, of course. I'm not that mean." She then picks herself up out of her seat to return the first aid kit to the cabinet.

"I still think it would be more effective to just slug 'em and be done with it."

He smiles as Kairi rolls her eyes and tiredly plops down in her seat again. She props her head up on her elbow and smiles at him.

"So, are you just feeling neglected lately or did you have an ulterior motive for stopping by?"

Sora takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I kind of have nowhere to stay tonight."

Kairi takes her hand from under her chin and shifts her head to rest her temple against her fist. "Why can't you go home?"

Sora simply blinks at her. "Because my roommate gave me a black eye."

"You could just apologize."

"His girlfriend will be there."

"And?"

"…She's staying the night…and the walls are thin."

Kairi frowns. "I thought you said he'd just met her."

"He did."

Kairi nods and hums pensively, still frowning. "I can see why you had something rude to say about her, then." Sora just gives her a cheeky grin. "So why can't you just go back home-home."

Sora's grin slides off his face and he gives a short semi-amused laugh. "Because this is my parent's twenty-fourth anniversary and Dad's got a new prescription for Viagra." Sora's face suddenly takes on the expression of a child faced with a plate full of spinach. "I'm not going anywhere near that house."

Kairi laughs. "I'm noticing a theme, here."

"Yeah, everyone but me is getting laid tonight." He grins as Kairi throws back her head and laughs. It is a quirk of their relationship that Kairi allows him to make such jokes. But it's all good, because he knows that she knows that he's willing to wait forever for her.

Her laughter dies down and she lets her gaze rest on him. Suddenly she frowns. "Married for twenty-four years?" Her frown twists into a bemused smile. "You just turned twenty-two, how's that work?"

Sora holds up his hands defensively. "I was born ten months after they got married." His gaze drifts towards the ceiling and he whispers conspiratorially, "Or so they tell me."

It brings another smile to his face as his eardrums are serenaded with more peals of Kairi's laughter. Once her giggles have subsided she glances up at the clock and yawns. "Well, you're welcome to stay here," she smirks and winks at him. "Still won't be getting lucky, but you're welcome to pretend that you're falling asleep in my arms after some chaotic love-making instead of just a goodnight kiss."

"Sounds good to me," Sora replies through his laughter. Eight years dating this woman, nineteen years being her friend, and he still never can tell if the next thing out of her mouth is going to be demure and innocent or hilariously inappropriate. And he loves every minute of it.

x

"I still maintain," Sora calls from Kairi's bed as she changes in her walk-in closet, "That it solves a conflict a lot more effectively to just knock the other guy out."

Kairi glares at him as she emerges from her closet in fluffy, cupcake-patterned pajamas. Well, certainly no fantasizing about her in those clothes. What, no tank-top and tight-fitting yoga pants tonight? "So what, if we ever have a big argument your solution would be to hit me?"

"No!" Sora exclaims seriously, having missed Kairi's mocking tone. "Of course not!"

Kairi slides into bed next to him and props her head up on her elbow again. "See, the whole 'give him a good knuckle-sandwich and then be best friends the next morning' may work for you and Riku, but I doubt it's how your parents stayed married for so long."

Sora rolls his eyes and pulls her closer to him. "What, and your devious, manipulative, bitchy high-school catfight tactics are streamlined for use against the opposite sex?"

Kairi frowns at him. "Yes."

Sora just rolls his eyes again. "Sure they are."

Kairi's frown deepens and she pouts at him. "They are too. They don't work quite the same as they do for girls, but the basic principles of passive aggression and manipulation still apply."

"I still don't believe you."

His girlfriend simply looks at him for a moment more, her expression unreadable, before reaching over him and turning off the bedside lamp. She 'hmmph's once and turns over, her back facing him.

Oh, not even a goodnight kiss, then. Sora sighs and lies down next to her, pulling her close to him and burying his face in her red tresses.

And sure enough, a few minutes later, she rolls over and kisses him goodnight.

x

Sora hates mornings. Not as a general rule, but Sora hates mornings at Kairi's house.

He doesn't have class until eleven, but Kairi has to be at work promptly at nine, meaning that he has to be up at seven o'clock with her.

He also hates mornings at Kairi's because they always seem to precede having to explain to someone who found out that he'd stayed the night at her place that he and Kairi weren't sleeping together.

Not that he minds-the celibacy, not the advertising of said celibacy. He knows that Kairi had never really decided if she just wanted to wait until they got married or not. He also knows that with her romantic view of marriage that her preference would be to wait.

They also both know how unlikely it is that they'll be getting married anytime soon.

It boils down to the simple fact that they're too poor to get married. Kairi isn't exactly raking in the cash student-teaching art to elementary schoolers, and Sora is still several thousand dollars in debt and nowhere near his physical therapy degree. ("That's what you get for changing your major twice," Kairi had lectured.) And while Sora would be completely content to say 'I do' within the next five minutes, he knows nothing short of the worlds collapsing would convince Kairi to elope. She'd had to sacrifice so many normal things because of fighting heartless that the one thing she's determined is going to be perfect is her wedding day.

He also knows Kairi well enough to know that she might not let lack of funds for matrimony stand between her and her right to her wedding bed.

"AAAH!"

Sora jumps and milk and Cheerios go flying all over the table. He immediately leaps up from his chair and hurtles towards Kairi's room and the sound of the scream, completely ignoring the soggy circles splattered all over the tablecloth and the puddle of milk pooling on Kairi's nice clean floor.

He throws himself through the portal into her bedroom, desperate enough to have kicked in the door were it not already unlocked.

He immediately freezes, not just because Kairi is perfectly fine, but also because she is currently wearing very little. He finds her sprawled in a heap on the floor, her legs half in a pair of opaque navy tights, the rest of her body sporting nothing more than underwear and a bra, both in a deep shade of purple and decorated with a rather sexy arrangement of black lace.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," she says, pulling off the tights and standing up. "I was just putting on these tights and I lost my balance." She smiled at him. "That's what I get for trying to put them on standing up."

Sora doesn't reply. Because Kairi's wearing lingerie. Or at least he assumes it's lingerie. He's not sure at what point ladies' underwear becomes lingerie. Hers have got lace on them. Lace is sexy. Why everyday undergarments would need lace he doesn't know. Doesn't that qualify as lingerie? Unnecessarily decorated undergarments?

At this point some part of Sora's brain decides that it is pitiful that he is twenty-two years old and knows nothing about the subtle nuances of ladies' underwear.

Kairi has noticed his staring. "Sora, please," she tells him casually, laughing a little, "You've seen me in a bikini before. It's not like this is anything new." He still says nothing as she goes to sit on her bed and put on the tights. Because while, yes, he's seen her body in bikinis for years, triangle string bikini tops are not structured to do for her cleavage what that lacy little purple thing does.

And right about now it occurs to him that Kairi is sitting here in her underwear and she hasn't asked him to leave yet.

"Oh no!" She exclaims, pouting as she surveys the large tear running up one leg of her tights. "Must have happened when I fell! Look at that." Sora swallows with extreme difficulty, because there is something spectacularly alluring about the way Kairi leans back on her elbows and lifts her leg into the air to show him the rip running from her knee to her heel.

Sora manages nothing better than a strained grunt that was supposed to be sympathetic.

Kairi removes the tights, and Sora gulps again. She sighs. "Well," she begins, tossing the tights into the trashcan in the corner and standing up. "I guess I'll just have to wear the other ones." She says this last bit mostly to herself, as Sora is not familiar with her collection of legwear. Sora watches as she walks to her dresser and opens the second drawer from the bottom, his eyes unconsciously fixated on her bottom.

And then she leans over to look through it, and Sora catches himself enough to at least try not to look. He fails miserably, but defends it to himself by remarking on how long it takes her to dig out the pair of stockings and a narrow piece of fabric from the drawer and carry them back over to her bed.

Sora isn't even sure what the other garment is. He watches, fascinated, as Kairi hooks the half-skirt, half-belt around her hips. He's never seen an article of clothing like it before. Actually, he thinks, yes he has; that time when they were teenagers and Riku got a hold of an issue of Playboy. They're used to hold stockings up. Sora thinks they're called garters, but he's not really sure. He didn't know women actually wore them with real clothes. Like lacy bras, he thought that was just a lingerie-type thing.

Once again, he thinks. Twenty-two years old. Really ought to know these things by now.

Kairi picks up one of the stockings that she'd laid on her bed and pauses, looking at her fingernails. "Oh no," she puts down the stocking and frowns at her nails. "I've got a couple rough nails. I'm gonna get a snag if I try to put my stockings on with these." She looks up at Sora, who still hasn't moved. "Think you can help me?" She asks, just as casually as if she was requesting nothing more than help opening a pickle jar.

Sora's brain kicks back into gear. "With what?" He asks stupidly.

Kairi rolls her eyes and smiles at him. "With my stockings. Can you put them on for me?" And only Kairi, only Kairi, could ask of him something like that and still sound completely innocent and pure doing it.

"Um-" But Kairi doesn't give him a chance to answer. She waltzes over to him and slings her stockings over his shoulder before gliding back to her bed. Sora opens his mouth to protest, but then Kairi sits down and leans back on her elbows, lifting a long porcelain ballerina's leg into the air and staring expectantly at him.

Sora momentarily forgets how to breathe. He swallows hard, takes a shaky deep breath and picks up one of the stockings. "Be careful," Kairi tells him, and for moment he thinks she's reading his mind. "They're delicate." He manages a nod, rolling the stocking up to the toes and walking over to her. He stops in front of her leg and forgets how to breathe again. The view is almost more than he can handle.

It would be a gross abuse of hyperbole to call Kairi well-endowed, but even though she is not voluptuous by any stretch of the imagination, neither is she lacking in the curves department. She still has an hourglass figure and a rather pleasingly three-dimensional chest, and everything about her position and attire at this moment only serves to showcase how captivating of a woman she is. His gaze is drawn first to her face, as always, and he notices that she has already put on makeup; black mascara on her long eyelashes, and something deep red and glossy staining her lips. He loves it when she wears red lipstick. There's just something so sexy and beautiful about the combination of her vibrant blue eyes and deep red lips set against her pale skin.

And her hair. Crimson rivers spill over her arching shoulders and onto her chest. His eyes follow the line of one strand of hair along to her necklace, whose pendant is conveniently nestled in her cleavage. He forces himself not to tarry there too long and his eyes rove downward along her narrow torso to her stomach, toned flat by years of fighting. He follows the curve of her waist down to her bony hips, and further still; up along her outstretched leg, all the way to the elegantly pointed foot wiggling its impatient toes in front of his face.

Sora gulps and slides the stocking over Kairi's toes, along her foot, over her ankle. He tries not to blush as he pushes the sheer material along her smooth leg. The stocking is patterned with thick vertical stripes and they only emphasize the elegant line of her leg and Sora isn't sure if the material is black or a very deep purple, but something about the way the dark sheer material looks on Kairi's skin makes the blood rush to his face (he's fairly certain it's rushing somewhere else too, but he's trying not to think about that.)

Kairi bends her knee as soon as he slides the stocking over it so that he can lean forward to access her thigh. Sora slows his progress along her leg, wondering how high these stockings are supposed to go. He leans in, hovering over her as he pulls the material over her lean thighs and blushes deeper as she rests her lower leg against his chest. His eyes flit back and forth between what he's doing and Kairi's face, unsure of which is more embarrassing to look at. He's also desperately trying not to focus on how it feels to run his knuckles along the inside of her thigh.

He finally reaches the three inches of lace at the top of the stocking, and wonders again at the point of all the lacy sexy decoration on articles of clothing that are going to go underneath all her other articles of clothing. He runs out of stocking a little past mid thigh and looks up to find himself staring at Kairi from an angle that gives him a fantastic view of her breasts. He forces himself to look at her face and finds her wearing a small smile. She lowers her leg and Sora feels a pressure against his chest as she raises the other one to rest it there.

"Other leg, please," she says in what Sora perceives to be a sultry tone, although at this point he figures it might just be his imagination.

"You're killing me, woman," he chokes out, and immediately regrets it, once his brain is able to process how stupid it sounded.

To his surprise, Kairi bursts into laughter. "Goodness, Sora, you're just helping me get dressed, it's not that big of a deal. Come on, you can be an adult about this." And he lets her leg push him back out again, even though every fiber of his body wants to tackle her right then and there and relieve her of all of these confusing and overly complicated undergarments.

Sora forces his mind not to go there. But then Kairi slowly lifts her pale, bare leg into the air in front of him and those thoughts get harder to push away. He swallows hard and pulls the remaining stocking off of his shoulder where it had still been hanging and rolls it up. He starts to push it onto Kairi's foot as she shifts position, sitting up a little and picking up one of the suspender-like things hanging from her belt. Sora is momentarily distracted by watching her fiddle with attaching the clasp to the top of the stocking.

"Oh, I have got to get a manicure," she whines, giving up on the clasp to examine her nails. "My fingernails are just too long. I can't get these attached. Guess you'll have to do that too." Sora pauses to watch her return to reclining on her elbows, her head leaned sideways resting on her shoulder, eyes gazing towards the ceiling. She looks back at him as he shakily brings the lacy top of the second stocking to rest against her upper thigh, his heart pounding. He hesitantly picks up one of the garters and stops; the best he can figure it's the same concept as suspenders, but his hand is trembling, because it's just occured to him that Kairi could possibly be trying to seduce him.

Kairi sounds half-impatient, half-amused when she tells him, "It's not that difficult; it just slides right in there."

And Sora knows he's been hanging around Riku too much when his first reaction is the desire to add, 'That's what she said', but decides that this would be the worst possible situation in which to make that joke.

So instead he shakily clips the suspenders to the tops of her stockings, trying to be as surgically detached as he can about the whole situation lest he lose all self-control and tackle her.

He breathes a sigh of relief as he finishes and starts to lean away from her. Kairi shifts upwards, supporting her weight on her hands, and her cleavage deepens. Sora is too busy surveying the delightful change in geography to notice Kairi's leg lifting upward again. "Don't forget the ones in the back," she informs him.

"What?" Sora asks her chest. Suddenly he finds a stocking covered foot directing his jaw upward so that his eyes are forced to meet Kairi's.

"Sora, the garters that attach to the back of my stockings? I need you to get those too." Sora still hasn't completely heard her; he's too busy trying to get air past the airway that was completely blocked when he found himself looking straight down her leg at her half-naked body. "Sora?"

"Huh?" He finally manages to reply with, eyes focusing on Kairi's. He is aware of how unintelligent he sounds at the moment, but considering that his brain is not the body part currently in command, single syllables are all that are within his capability.

Suddenly Kairi starts to smile, a strange light illuminating her eyes. "Oh my gosh," she says, lowering her leg and moving to sit on the edge of her bed, which does Sora no favors since he now is looking straight down into an aerial view of her cleavage, "You're totally turned on right now, aren't you?" She asks, smiling deviously.

Sora's attempt to reply crashes into a few uttered syllables and Kairi giggles. "You are; you totally are."

Sora opens his mouth, but nothing comes out so he grits his teeth and groans. Finally he chokes out an indignant, "Well!" and stumbles backwards away from her, trying to focus on anything else in the room. 'Turned on' is a gross understatement. The truth is that he's hornier than he's ever been in his life, and Kairi seemed to be completely oblivious to it.

He resigns himself to staring at the ceiling. He hears the squeak of the mattress springs as Kairi gets off the bed, and then he can no longer ignore her because she's standing right in front of him.

Sora slowly looks back at her, and gulps as he resists the urge to maul her. Kairi's smiling gently at him, and it reminds Sora that the reason he wants her so badly is because he loves her so much. Kairi steps closer, wrapping her arms around his torso and pushing her body close to his.

She brushes her lips against his chin on her way to his lips and Sora holds his breath as she smiles at him. "You're so adorable when you're embarrassed." She finally moves in and kisses him, and Sora finds himself fervently pressing his lips against hers, kissing her with a dangerous passion. Just as he nudges at her lips with his tongue she pulls away, moving to kiss his cheek, his chin, his jaw.

He slowly raises a hand to linger at her neck while the other traces patterns in the small of her back. His eyes roll back into his eyelids as Kairi begins to brush languorous kisses along his jaw line. He lets out a ragged breath as he feels her tongue tickle the sensitive skin behind his ear, right where the jaw ended. He can feel Kairi's hot breath against his ear as well as her impish smile.

"You always knew you'd get to have me one day," she whispers sweetly as she presses her body even closer to his. Eyes still closed, Sora raises his eyebrows and grins. Oh, yeeees. He feels her smile grow against his skin and her hot breath as she speaks again.

"Just not today."

And just like that she's gone. Sora's eyes snap open and he watches as she walks away, back to her closet, leaving him standing there dumbfounded, hand still hanging in the air from where he had been stroking her neck. He stares after her as she walks away; still too shell-shocked to register that she seems to be having no trouble clipping the garters to the back of her stockings as she walks away.

She enters the closet and begins pulling on a lavender blouse. "I've got to look extra nice today," she says casually, acting for all the world as if she hadn't just tricked him into thinking he was going to get lucky. "The kids don't start back until Wednesday, but there's a big important meeting with members of the school board today." She ignores Sora's dumbstruck impression of a statue as she finishes buttoning her shirt and pulls a navy pencil skirt off its hanger and begins putting it on. "They want someone really young and pretty and intelligent there when they see if we can't swing that big field trip for the kindergarteners." She turns and winks at him.

Sora is still trying to process what had just happened. The current bodily government is in turmoil, but his brain is making a valiant effort to reinstitute its command in the absence of any other capable leadership.

His ability to speak has yet to return, so he can do nothing but silently watch as Kairi steps into her pumps, grabs her bag, and stops in front of him to smile brightly and declare, "Well, I'm off. Wish me luck." She presses a quick kiss to his mouth, which is still gaping open, and continues on her way out the door.

Kairi is grinning from ear to ear as she trots through her kitchen and into the foyer. She pauses by the front door to call smugly back to Sora, "And that, baby, is how a woman wins an argument."

She pauses with the door half open to enjoy the shocked silence that follows. She's halfway out the door when she hears the indignant shout.

"Conniving, evil, sexy, cheating witch!"

She leaves him with no more than the sound of her triumphant laughter.

(end)


A/N: That's one way to make a point. And yes, I totally got inspired by Gabrielle in the episode 'Sweetheart, I have to Confess' of 'Desperate Housewives', although the idea was kind of growing before then.

I changed my mind about verb tenses several times, so I might have missed a few words when I went back and switched the first several paragraphs from past to present. Point them out and I will fix them. THIS GOES FOR ANY TYPOS: POINT THEM OUT AND I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER. I edit pretty meticulously, but I still manage to miss a thing or two from time to time.

As for the winners of my contest: I'm getting there. It's not easy. But I haven't forgotten, so don't worry.

No spoilers for BBS in reviews, please.