Warnings: Implications. Commonplace Sofia Pacini-type violence. Sappy romance. You get the picture.

A/N This is another of my romantic fics that I consider sappy. If you manage to get to the bottom without choking to death, and are alive enough to leave a review, you'll get a Rager. Or a Shurric. Your choice.

I love 13th Reality, surprisingly. Unfortunately, there's no wikia for it, so I couldn't look up crucial information, like Paul's last name and age. I had to dig around to find it.

Enjoy. Or don't.



*#*#* Kiss Me, Idiot *#*#*

Sofia really, really didn't like him.

At least, that was what she liked to think. It'd been that way with all the boys she met: they just weren't good enough for her. In fact, if the Hunters of Artemis were still around, she figured that she'd join them. Paul was immature, childish, and definitely not good for her, and she constantly told herself that if she fell for him, she'd end up like the stupid American girls that were everywhere now. And after all, he'd never even expressed an interest. Who was she to care?

She followed it up with: think of what your parents would say if they found out.

Of course, that was always countered by: they wouldn't say anything.

The fact was, it was a Romeo and Juliet all over again, but this time the Romeo didn't know who he was. (She laughed at that. Paul, as Romeo? Please.) They lived too far apart; he in Florida and she in Italy. She was rich, of course, she could pay for him to visit – but he had a family too. And she knew that, without questioning it, he'd rather see them and Tick than her. All of those insults couldn't be nothing, after all.

That was what it came down to then, wasn't it? That he didn't care for her?

Well, that was awfully hard to believe when he was standing there in Tick's hallway, running his hands through her hair while he kissed her.

She supposed she liked it – you were supposed to like kissing, weren't you? That would explain why people spent so much time doing it. And clearly Paul liked it – unless he was acting? That'd be just like him, she thought with annoyance: play her up on her birthday and then completely ignore it later. He was a pure pain in the butt like that.

But it was her birthday. And this did feel awfully real.

He was much taller than her, that couldn't be avoided, but she kind of liked it. It was nice to just lean back in his arms, close her eyes, and kiss him. It felt good. Really good. Delicious, actually, but she wouldn't tell anyone that, especially him –

No! she screamed to herself. You shouldn't be doing this, it's wrong. You're too young to be kissing anybody, especially someone older than you...

She replied, shut up!

It was somewhat disconcerting, too. At midnight, in her best friend's house, with the moonlight coming down from the window and making them painfully obvious to anyone who cared to see. If Tick decided to come upstairs right about now, he'd see them and there wouldn't be any valid explanation. She'd be totally humiliated for life, and for a Pacini total humilation was akin to death.

Then again, did she care?

No, of course she didn't. She'd forgotten about everything, only conscious of Paul as his hand fell dangerously low...

She pulled away from him quickly, swinging her hand with intense ferocity across his face. She lost her balance and almost fell, and he reeled backwards, too.

"Dang, Miss Italy," Paul said in a whisper, holding his face with his hand. "You hit hard."

"You asked for it," she coldly replied, her accent more prominent with adrenaline. "Don't touch me like that."

"You didn't have to hit me, though."

I know that, it was instinct, and I'm truly sorry, was what she thought, not sarcastically. "Who knows what you would or wouldn't have done?" was what she said, also without sarcasm. "Men can't be trusted."

"Are you calling me a man?" he asked, sounding flattered. Sofia never called him a man.

She blushed and was glad it wouldn't show in the dark. "It was a generalization," she amended. "Nobody in her right mind would define you as a man, Paul Rogers."

"You must not be in your right mind, then," said Paul. She could hear his smirk, and it irked and attracted her at the same time. I hate growing up, she thought. Stupid puberty.

"I think you had a little something to do with it," she muttered darkly.

"And I quote: 'You asked for it.'"

That was true, she had to admit, and in a most literal sense. She'd been downstairs, unable to sleep and looking for a book to read (that wasn't about physics; sci-fi was all Tick seemed to have in his house) and Paul had come up from rooming in the basement with Tick for a drink of water. That was what he claimed, though Sofia liked to think she had something to do with it.

Anyway, he'd come upstairs and, seeing that it was after midnight, she'd subtly reminded him that it was her birthday ("A very important thing happened about now several years ago." "Um... Something about pasta?" "Of course not, stupid." "What, then?" "I. Was. Born." "...Oh..." he'd been smart enough to know that forgetting a girl's birthday was never a good idea, even though women detested the idea of growing older). He'd said, "Happy birthday, Miss Italy."

"Thanks."

There was a long pause, and he seemed to remember something. "Um... What do you think you're getting?" She'd known immediately that he'd forgotten a present and was trying to cover for it. Typical Paul.

She'd walked into the kitchen, where he was standing awkwardly with a glass of water in his hand, and leaned against the wall. "You forgot, didn't you?" she said calmly, a smirk plastered on her face.

"Of course not," he'd replied. "Why would I do something stupid like that?"

She smiled, tossed her head, and took a huge chance. "Kiss me, idiot."

He'd stood there looking surprised for a few seconds, then obliged.

It was awkward, and weird, and as her very first time she wasn't good at it at all. But it was also heaven, and she loved every second of it.

Now, seeing him smirking at her from across the hall, she tried to think of a good comeback. But for once, her reliable wit proved inconsistent, and she just stood there blankly. Then she took another chance.

She stepped back into his arms and kissed him again. He obliged.

And it was nice, she thought. She could stay there like that for a while, oblivious to the world around her, ignoring the troubles with Master George and Mothball and Rutger and Mistress Jane.

Who was Mistress Jane again? And Rutger? Mothball? Who the heck was Master George?

Kissing Paul Rogers could do that to a girl, apparently. And she loved just forgetting everything like that; it was amazingly non-stressful. Sofia was a girl who thrived on stress for some unfathomable reason, but she didn't mind ignoring it for a while as long as she was in her happy place.

Before, Sofia's idea of a happy place was what psycho (no point in adding logical) doo-dad therapists told you would help you in times of stress. In hers, if she had one, she'd always figured it would involve her parents caring and happy, and noticing her, with no life-saving to do and no world-saving missions in which she could potentially die to occupy her time. There would be no Master George, no Rutger or Mothball (much as she loved them), and no Tick either, because Tick could manipulate the Chi'Karda and bring the whole Realities concept crashing down on her.

Now, she realized it didn't have any of that, not even the concept of her parents. No, all it had was Paul and everything about him.

It was beyond creepy.

And she didn't mind at all.

#


#

Later that day, she didn't remember how she got onto Tick's couch. She didn't remember falling asleep. All she remembered was Paul, and that scared her more than a water kilt or fangen ever could. It scared her even more than anything she'd ever faced.

She woke up with her head on Paul's chest, his arm around her shoulders. She was comfortable, but rather cramped as well, and spent a few minutes debating what to do in way of starting the day. It's my birthday, she noted with pleasure. I can do what I want.

She usually did what she wanted anyway, but this was different. This was a right God-given to everyone. Nobody would complain on her birthday, especially since she was spending it with Tick's family instead of her own.

Then the full truth of where she was hit her, and her eyes widened as she sat up quickly.

According to the evidence, nothing had happened. Her pajamas were still on with no signs of having been removed, and it didn't look like anything had really gone awry...

Paul stirred and groaned. Her quick movements had woken him up.

"Soph?" he asked groggily. On a sudden whim, she slapped him again, just like old times. He grimaced and said, "You've gotta stop doing that... What was that for?"

"For falling asleep with me," she said coldly. Then she leant down, kissed him quickly, and stood up to leave.

"And that?" Now he sounded incredulous, as if what had gone down last night couldn't possibly occur in the full light of day.

After a bit of debate, she said, "Same thing."