A/N: Loosely based on speculation for iBeat The Heat, focusing on my interpretation of the relationship Griffin initiates with Sam in order the win Carly back. I have no idea where this came from. I've always been a steadfast Sam/Freddie girl, but I woke up with this idea on the brain and it wouldn't leave me alone.

Of Players and Pawns

'Most of us are pawns in a game of love we don't understand' – Leo F. Buscaglia.

- - - -

He doesn't like her. He doesn't want, need or love her in the slightest, but she is just as desperate to prove a point as he is that she shuts off her mind and decides to stop caring. She agrees to his plans of a stage relationship without a second thought (secretly wanting a relationship with someone who is able to match her move for move), beginning the elaborate game with a smile on her face and only the slightest hint of an ache in her chest. She's not surprised that he wants to do this because every boy she's ever shown an interest in wants Carly in the end, be it Jonah, Pete, Freddie or Griffin. They're all the same.

It is easy being used for another's purposes because she is all too familiar with the concept of becoming a plaything that is eventually cast aside once the novelty wears off. In theory she doesn't mind being used as a pawn in his fucked up game to get the girl with brunette hair and almond eyes back into his arms (and into his bed) because she is getting a taste of her own medicine for partaking in similar games to get what she's wanted in the past. At least she forces herself to believe that she is passed giving a damn while they're sat on the bleachers sharing a pack of Marlboro lights. His arm is slung comfortably low around her tiny waist, her head is resting on his broad shoulder and they're acting oblivious to the way Carly stares at them across the playing field with a mixture of intrigue and disappointment.

Together they put on a show worthy of a stint on Broadway, from their big bright smiles to their adoring gazes to the way they cannot keep their hands to themselves.

It is a travelling show and their first stop is the Shay's couch (because Carly has no choice but to endure his company now that he's involved with her best friend, despite the effort she's put into avoiding him since discovering his odd hobby). Griffin sits with his legs stretched out to take up the entire three-seater and Sam straddles his lap which leaves Carly and Freddie relegated to sitting on the floor. The television is blaring but no one is paying it the slightest bit of attention and Carly does a disappearing act an illusionist would be proud of when they begin to undress each other with their eyes. (Griffin whispers in her ear that maybe Carly's gone to sit in the shower and cry like she does when she's depressed because she can't stand to see them together, his tongue flicking against the shell of her ear as he speaks and she giggles in a way she never thought was possible.)

She kisses him long and languid when she hears Carly's feet coming back down the stairs, knots her legs with his, fists her hands in his dark hair and he increases the tempo of their kiss, speeding it up to become a wild collision of tongues and teeth. She's never kissed or been kissed like this, never experienced aggression on the same level as her own, and she knows she's in danger of falling for him hard despite their current circumstances. He trails a hand down her chest and up the front of her shirt, resting in the dip of her ribcage which evokes an involuntary moan to bubble over her lips and it contaminates the air of the room, turning the mood sour in a nanosecond.

It takes two minutes for Carly to remove herself from the room by going to slam items around in the kitchen and a further three minutes for Freddie to leave after becoming sick of the chorus of groans and the way Sam's foot keeps jamming into his shoulder whenever Griffin inches his hand further up her shirt, preferring to go and cyber with his 'internet girlfriend' than witness the spectacle playing out before him.

(Griffin may be using her as a tool to hack away at Carly until she caves in, but he is unwittingly helping her mission to get beneath Freddie's skin. She's seen the longing looks he's been giving her, his eyes lingering on her longer than necessary, and this is the perfect opportunity to wind him up something rotten. He only has himself to blame for breaking her down when he briefly became involved with Carly.)

She meets Griffin in the basement of the Bushwell Plaza that evening after dining with the Shay's and she helps him throw every last one of his stuffed toys into the incinerator. He says a heartfelt goodbye to each one in turn and it has to be the most touching thing she has ever experienced, causing her to wonder why he's putting so much commitment into capturing a girl he's too good for. She holds his hand in hers when he's done, listens to him as he states "She'll love me now" and she pushes the thought of I'd love you, toy animals and all to the back of her mind.

Their second venue is the school hallway. She enters stage left wearing Griffin's beloved black leather jacket that buries her small frame and it is premeditated kick in the teeth for Carly, a symbol that screams look, he loves me more than he loved you, and the way Carly's coffee coloured eyes widen and she stops talking mid-sentence to gape is a good indication that the tactic has worked. Griffin enters stage right on her signal, ignoring the teacher who asks him if he attends this school, and in one fluid motion he wraps his strong arms around her hips to pull her into a deep kiss. She can feel Carly ogling and she hears Freddie's sneakers slapping against the tiled floor as he emerges from the backdrop, but she blocks out her surroundings once Griffin's hands slide down the back of her jeans to palm her soft flesh. She could almost kid herself that he's actually into her with the dedication he's putting into giving a top-notch performance if it weren't for how she isn't that naive.

She keeps reminding herself that he doesn't like her. He doesn't want, need or love her in the slightest.

Reluctantly they break apart to the screams of "No fraternising in the hallways!" and for several minutes she stands with her head against his chest as he tangles his fingers in her curls before she's being pulled away by Freddie to attend her American History class. She's halfway down the hall when he shouts "I'll drop by the drug store before I come pick you up on my motorcycle" teamed with a seductive wink and the not-so-subtle hint of their make-believe extracurricular activities successfully leaves her friends stuttering and marginally bewildered.

She thinks she hears Carly mutter slut under her breath, but she takes this as a good sign. A good sign for Griffin, that is.

Carly drags her into the bathroom at lunch, cornering her between the waste bin and the hand dryer. Carly says, "are you sure he isn't using you to get back at me?" and she has to give her best friend credit for rightly assuming that everything revolves around her, as always. She just smiles tight lipped, shrugs her shoulders and whispers "I'm going to let him do bad, dirty things to me tonight" before manoeuvring around a gobsmacked Carly and hot footing it out the door.

Their finale performance takes place on the eighth floor of the Bushwell Plaza, the space between Carly and Freddie's apartment doors to be exact. They time it so she is exiting the Shay apartment as he's walking out of the elevator and it takes him two strides to level with her, backing her against the wall and launching into an assault on her neck. He alternates between sucking bruises with his lips and using his tongue to sooth the ravaged skin and she uselessly claws at his back with her lethal fingernails while throwing her head back to grant him further access to her throat.

They know they've got an audience of two, Carly and Freddie watching them through their respective peep holes and it is the catalyst to push their actions into forbidden territory.

They might as well put on a firework display for their clandestine viewers.

Griffin picks her up and slams her against the wood of Freddie's front door (she faintly hears the dork yelp in surprise at the sudden crash of her body), his left hand gliding up her skirt, between her legs and she's cursing everyone from biblical figures to the devil, full-out moaning, genuine guttural moans because there is no way in hell she could fake this level of pleasure. He leans down and attacks her mouth with his, making the kiss fierce and passionate, forcing his lips so hard against hers that she either opens her mouth to him or cuts her lips on his insistent teeth. She grants him access and he licks a line along the roof of her mouth, swallowing down the whimpering noises she makes, and she runs her hand down his front to grab him through his jeans.

Carly comes crashing through her apartment door with the face of a woman scorned but she at least has the dignity to fake an apology ("Oh God, I'm so sorry; I didn't know you guys were out here!") and makes the excuse that Spencer needs her help down in the lobby before storming off, presumably satisfied at breaking up their steamy liaison. Griffin smirks as Carly leaves, clearly enjoying making the dark haired girl tick and he yells a quick "jealous much!" at her retreating back.

Once their breathing patterns have returned to normal he grabs his decoy lover's hand and they set off running down the stairs, taking them two at a time, laughing as they stumble into a visibly annoyed Carly. Griffin stops to scoop her up in his arms bridal-style and she lets out a shriek of "Oh Griffin, take me now!" as they leave Carly behind and continue their descent down to the parking lot where they collapse against each other in a fit of laughter.

(Sad thing is, she'd let him do as she said if he were willing to.)

He takes her out on the back of his motorcycle that night and she revels in the excuse she has to wrap her arms around his waist. His back is flush against her chest and he keeps flashing her award-winning smiles in the right wing mirror as the loose curls that aren't trapped beneath her helmet fly around her face. They come to a stop by the lighthouse at Alki Point and he asks her if she thinks he'll have Carly back by the end of the month to which she replies that she's positive it will all go to plan and chokes back the feelings for him that have been brewing since they began their sham romance.

He doesn't like her. He doesn't want, need or love her in the slightest and she needs to remember that.

When he drops her off at home she crashes her lips to his because she can't help herself, kisses him with an unfaltering vigour despite their lack of spectators and as he withdraws to hold her at arms length she knows that the puzzle pieces have clicked into place in his head. She hands over the helmet and leather jacket he's lent her, leans to place an innocent kiss on his cheek and it is abundantly clear that he's finished playing with her when she hears his motorcycle roar to life as she's walking up her garden path.

She can predict it now. He is going to get the girl and she is going to be left with nothing except this strange yearning in her chest.

And she's right. Gradually his cunning plan has worked and he wins Carly over the following morning, but she isn't exactly sure of which part of their elaborate lie tipped the scales in his favour (and she can't help but cynically think that maybe he inadvertently pushed her in front of a taco truck and saved her life because that is the sure-fire way to win the heart of the girl with a damsel-in-distress complex). She endures Carly's patronising ways as a consequence, sitting with clenched teeth through the speech during homeroom that goes along the lines of "silly girl, he didn't love you at all" and resists the urge to punch her when she divulges the details of she knew Griffin's interest in her was fake from the get go, amusing herself with imagining Carly's nose growing in length with each lie.

Like she doesn't already know that no one loves her for the slightly abrasive girl she is. Why love her when they could have Carly?

All in all it is twisted, fantastical, a little sick if you take into account how she enjoyed the pseudo relationship while it lasted, but in the end everyone has their individual ways of getting their rocks off. It just happens that being used, abused and disposed is her method of choice.

She's served her function and she has been promptly discarded on top of the junk heap. He doesn't make an attempt to speak to her when she next sees him and she curses herself for thinking she'd get so much as a thank you out of him. Regardless of his dismissal she'll be okay. She'll be perfectly fine when given forty-eight hours to recuperate and put her don't-give-a-fuck facade back into place. There will be another boy along in no time –they're like buses; she waited forever for one and now they all come along at once– to treat her like the fool she's been letting herself become.

Maybe she'll get her chance in the future to moonlight as a queen, the deadliest of chess pieces, and capture a weak pawn of her own, but she won't bet on it.

Freddie's gotten too clever to keep falling into her intricate traps.

A/N: Ouch. I apologise if this comes across as a little bitter. I've used my personal experiences of coming second place to a best friend in writing this.
(Also I think I may actually like the idea of Sam and Griffin together which was not the intended outcome of this little fic at all. Damn.)