Author's Notes: This is a fairly old fanfiction I wrote back when I lurked Gaia, one night a few of my friends started going on about other things Kuze and Motoko could have gotten up to when they were trapped at the end of 2nd Gig, this however was the result. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I profit in no way from the intelectual and physical property of the copywrite holder or their affiliates.


Ghost In The Shell: Poker Face:

Explosions boomed above the small cavernous enclave. With every echoing detonation more and more fragments of concrete and rock would slip from the haphazard ceiling and spill onto Motoko's lap. She looked across the dark cavern at Kuze, she'd have pinned him down and shutdown the hub-cybrebrain but her ankle was crushed beneath an iron girder that she couldn't possibly budge. A malevolent grimace crossed her pink lips as she glared at Kuze.

She watched silently as Kuze dusted off his brown jacket, his emotionless face framed by his glowing, white hair. He stood slowly and raised his shoulders and palms to the thick slab of concrete that sealed the crater that was their cavern. He strained as he just barely managed to lift the several tonnes of concrete, collapsing onto his behind as he was unable to stand the strain on his body, even with all of his augmentations and his pain receptors disabled, he couldn't pry open a means to escape. Motoko scoffed inwardly as the man she'd chased halfway across Japan sat right within her grasp.

"It would seem we're stuck here." stated Kuze, his voice a melancholy deception of his malicious eyes.

Motoko played into his attempt at conversation, "at least I know you won't be going anywhere."

Motoko watched as Kuze scooted forward and leant his back against an upright slab of concrete, he folded his arms across his chest and closed his eyes; dipping his chin into his collar bone so his brilliant white hair shrouded his features. She watched him with anticipation and although she doubted it highly, knew that Kuze was a man of action, if he so desired he could easily tear her apart; even more frightening was his hub-cybrebrain. Motoko could dive in remotely without a single concern, getting in was the easy part; but if she did she would almost certainly get lost within the thousands of minds that flocked to his, and she would be assimilated before she could even hope to resist.

'What is he planning?...Batou?...Ishikawa? Can anyone hear me?'

There was no response. Motoko was filled with a sense of trepidation as she watched Kuze suddenly reach into his pocket. Her mind raced with anticipation, was he going after a gun? A blade? Would he lower himself to that level? To destroy her with a weapon after he single-handedly immobilized Batou. As long as she'd known Batou, only a few individuals had ever beaten him in single combat, much less in Batou's home field of knife-fighting.

'I've got to do something...'

Motoko braced for impact as Kuze pulled a deck of cards from his pocket in a single fluid motion. Her eyes burst open, her arms shielding her head and torso; in a mix of confusion and anger she watched without a word as Kuze quietly shuffled the deck and placed it on the ground.

'Is this real?...is he serious?'

Unsure of whether her sense of perception was failing or that reality had collapsed around her, Motoko hastily ran a scan to make sure she'd not been hacked. Confirming that her ghost was the only presence in her body, she raised an eyebrow at Kuze and couldn't help but smirk. "Biding your time with solitaire, perhaps?"

Kuze's eyes appeared from the cowl of hair that hid his true intensions, "it soothes my mind...join me if you like."

"Sorry." dismissed Motoko, "I'm not interested in the pass-times of the elderly."

Despite Kuze's immobile face, Motoko could tell she'd struck a nerve as he said; "age is just a number, you and I both know this." There was a brief pause of silence before Kuze resumed; "but if you would prefer we can play poker."

'Well, this is perfectly normal.'

Motoko watched in bewilderment as Kuze pulled back the sleeve on his left arm; his arm burst open in a quick series of mechanical configurations, revealing a complex shotgun designed into the structure of his extremity. Motoko felt her body tense as he pointed the barrel to her and in a quick flash of light a small stack of poker chips landed near her lap. She picked up the green, blue and red stack of playing chips, wonder just why exactly did Kuze carry them in his shotgun augment. Was it symbolic like in the Chinese assassin case she'd handled the previous year, or was it another melodramatic pun?

"Do you always load your weapons with unofficial currency?" asked Motoko as she stacked the chips in three separate piles.

Kuze humoured her, his eyes smiling in an unnerving fashion, "it was not my choice to have this function installed. It hasn't been loaded since the war."

Beyond her ability to express communication, whether it be idle or imperative, Motoko was for once lost for words. Kuze was such a bizarre individual. She had never met a single person in her lifespan who had been as sombre, malicious and distant, yet at the same time be vigilant, compassionate and show a formidable sense of wisdom. There were aspects of him that reminded her of the Laughing Man, his ability to execute mass hysteria with impeccable planning while simultaneously acting out of impulse. He was a paradox.

"Shall we play?" asked Kuze, having cut and dealt himself and Motoko a hand, placing four cards in-between them.

'He certainly follows the Laughing Man's peculiar reasoning.'

"Sure," smirked Motoko. "Why not?"

For what seemed like hours Motoko found herself staring at the expressionless, sculpted face of a madman's puppet. She had lost all sense of time while playing poker with him. As far as she could tell the battle above them might have been over, she'd not recorded any sudden impacts for what seemed like a long time. Yet in her mind was a lingering sensation of dread, as she would peer over her cards to Kuze, she would see his eyes, the only part of him that displayed any emotion or intent; and they would be locked onto hers. It was unnerving; she was more than used to the stares of perverts and the gawking of passerbyers, part of the appeal of her body was the attention it would bring to her. But they way Kuze would simply stare directly into her eyes, like he didn't see anything around her, was unequivocally disturbing.

Poker was not a difficult game, anyone with a basic knowledge of averages and a small amount of luck could easily win. Motoko however was well versed in poker; she was aware just how powerful it could be to hold her opponent in her dominion, to play with their mind. In the simplest terms poker was an intellectual's game, a game of the psychoanalyst, not of the drunkard. The ability to asses, predict and play off one's opponent was the key to victory, the cards were menial at best.

'Circumstances can change when your opponent doesn't have a face.'

"Motoko!" echoed a masculine voice from the surface.

"Perhaps your luck has changed." stated Kuze as the concrete ceiling began to cave in.

Motoko scoffed, "Batou." She spoke softly, under her breath.

Within but a moment Batou had pierced their concrete enclose with a large girder. He looked down to see Motoko pinned and Kuze sitting across from her, a deck of cards and poker chips spread out between them. He dropped the girder and leaped into the cavern, looking back and forth between the two captives before he opened a link with Motoko.

'Major...can you deal me in?'