Wanna' Bet?!

By: Crystal_V_Princess

Disclaimer: All rights to characters or storylines (except the one I'm writing right now of course) belong to Rumiko Takahashi (God bless her genius!!!).

Note: The numbers at the top, right-hand corner of the pages are the numbers of how many it would take to print this out. I just thought that would be convenient, because I know it's annoying when you want to print something out and don't know if you have enough paper.

Akane Tendo was angry. True, this was not a strange happening in the Tendo household, oh no; but, nonetheless, she was angry. "Ranma, you jerk!" She shrieked at the top of her lungs, her velvet-brown eyes blazing in self- righteous fury. "You cheated!" The petite girl held up a handful of cards, scanned them, and then looked back at where her arranged fiancé had laid down an Ace of Spades. "There's absolutely no way you could have an ace! I counted!"

Ranma suddenly bolted up into a sitting position from where he was reclining on the floor. "You have nerve to say I'm cheating when here you are counting cards!" He pointed an accusing finger at her in annoyance. Akane batted it away with a quick hand. "How dare you accuse me of cheating! These are your cards! I bet they're marked!" She picked out a bent Queen of Hearts and waved it triumphantly before the boy's face. "Here! You bent the tip so you'd know it was a power card! Ha! Caught you red-handed! Now what do you have to say for yourself, Ranma?!"

The pig-tailed boy waved his hand at her in an unconcerned manner. "Feh. Practically all the cards are bent from being dealt so roughly by your macho hands." Akane's skin prickled in irritation and her eyes darkened.

"Ran.ma." She growled, her hands clutched in rage, glowering at her ever-arrogant fiancé. "I hate you!" Akane pulled out a large mallet and prepared to send him into orbit around Nerima. "Hold it!" Ranma shouted, holding up a hand defensively, before she could smash him through the roof, "I've got a better way to solve this!" The black-haired girl stopped suddenly, her interest piqued, despite her provocation. "And that would be.?" She questioned, still holding said weapon of destruction. "And if you say Martial Arts Card Playing, I will send you to Kyoto!" She tightened her grip on the mallet to further illustrate her threat.

"Noted," the boy gulped, pushing the weapon away slightly with two fingers, "I was simply going to suggest War."

Akane's face scrunched up in puzzlement. "Excuse me? I thought we settled that there would be no martial arts involved." Ranma rolled his eyes and sighed in exasperation. "No martial arts. The game War. You each get half the deck and have to put down a card at each turn. The card, which has the higher number, beats the opponent's card and that person wins the turn. If the cards are matched, both players have to put down one card upside down on their matched card, then another face-up as a "sweet card" to further the win. Then, the upsides down cards are flipped to see which beats the other. Whoever has the higher card gets all the cards that were put down. If the flipped cards are matched again, then they have to put down two more cards, and so on and so forth. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins." The girl's eyebrows knitted together for a moment, then her pretty face cleared.

"Okay. Sounds easy enough. But how does this settle our argument?" She placed the mallet by the dresser behind her. Ranma let out a sigh of relief, thankful that her anger had calmed. "I was getting to that." He said matter-of-factly, scooting into an Indian-style position on the floor, his arms resting on either leg, "We'll play the game, you dealing if you like. And whoever wins gets something from the other, just like the purpose of the sweet card in War."

Akane eyed him carefully, not noticing how close she was leaning to him. Ranma tried to swallow the lump in his throat and pulled at the collar of his red Chinese shirt. Mercifully, she moved back into her own space quickly afterwards, still unaware of his sudden uneasiness. "Fine. If I win, you have to carry me to school with you on the fence every day for a month."

The boy's deep blue eyes took in the look of determination on her face as his mind digested the idea of carrying her to school. She would be close to him. Very close to him. She would be so close that he would be able to see every eyelash that surrounded those velvet eyes of hers and smell the lavender scent of her hair, see the dark tresses brush against the soft skin of her cheek to be delicately pushed back behind her ear by a small hand. The thought was almost too much to take, and Ranma's cheeks blushed a brilliant shade of red. "O-okay."He choked out, struggling to find some moisture in his mouth to help him form the words. Akane crossed her arms over her chest, tilting her head to the side. The pastel pink and yellow flowers on her fluffy sweater subtle against the pale, smooth skin on the graceful lines of her neck and cheeks. Ranma gulped again, thinking about what he wanted. What he truly wanted.

"Well?" The girl questioned, becoming impatient, "What do you want?!" She pursed her lips and pushed upwards with her toes to sit on her haunches.

Silently, he prayed that he would live through her reaction to what he was going to say. His down-turned face looked up to stare at her awkwardly. "A.a kiss." Blue eyes met brown and brown fell pray to shock, blue to embarrassment. The boy kicked himself mentally; how had he even managed to say something like that? Moreover, how did he expect this girl whom he teased constantly to take his request without violence. He shut his eyes tightly and tucked his chin into his chest, waiting in trepidation for the doubtless onslaught that would soon greet him in response to his rash words.

"I- if.that's what you.want.Ranma." Akane's voice filled his ears, anxiety and what Ranma assumed, no, aspired, to be hope knitted into it. He raised his head to look at her, a familiar blush creeping into his cheeks; not so astoundingly, it was mimicked on her own delicate features. Her eyes refused to meet his and remained downcast as she reached for the tossed aside pile of cards on the floor. He watched carefully as her slender fingers shuffled and dealt them with a nonchalance he was almost positively sure she did not feel. After the entire deck had been split, Ranma laid down his first card; it was a Two of Clubs. Damn! He cursed silently, there goes one chance I had of beating her! And he was right; Akane's card was a Ten of Diamonds.

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend," she quipped, as she gathered the cards and put them beside her into a now formed "win pile". She's pretty cocky, Ranma thought as he laid down another card; a King of Spades. It easily beat her Five of Clubs, and he mimicked her previous gesture by creating his own pile of won cards. "Obviously Clubs aren't though," he said, looking at her with a slightly down-turned face and a very superior grin on his lips, "But hey, you're going to lose this anyway, so I guess you already knew not to get your hopes up, eh?" Akane gritted her teeth and pouted, slamming a card down before her. Ranma did the same and won her card quickly. This went on for a while, cards put down, cards picked up, until Ranma and Akane both had rather substantial piles; as a matter of fact, it appeared that they both had the exact amount of cards in their win piles as each other. They stared daggers at each other over the twin hands of three cards they both held, resolute in beating one another. As their cards hit the floor, the two dual sevens on the faces seemed to laugh mockingly at their owners. Match. This had only happened about twice before in the game and it was purely chance since you weren't allowed to choose which card you wanted to put down to flip. Gotta' win, gotta' win! Ranma thought, cracking his knuckles in a conditioned response to pressure. He took a deep breath and placed a card facedown on top of his seven, Akane did the same. They dropped their last card onto the upside card they'd just put down and waited.

The seconds ticked by and became minutes, which to Ranma, seemed like millenniums. "War." He growled through gnashed teeth, and waited for Akane to flip her card. It was a Queen of Diamonds. Damn! Damn! Damn! He shouted inwardly, closing his eyes and swallowing in terror. The metallic taste of blood brought him back to reality. He had bitten his own tongue.

Ever so painfully slowly, he reached for the card before him. Just flip it, idiot! He yelled at himself in his head, It's now or never! He felt his fingers grasp the card and turn it over. There, staring straight into his face was a King of Hearts. Ranma made a mental note to frame the card. Never in his life had he ever been more happy to see that strange-faced, crowned, red and yellow monarch. He placed his hands on his knees and moved his gaze gradually up to Akane's own. She bit her lip nervously and clenched her fists. "I.I guess you win." She said, her voice somewhat expectant. "Guess so." He replied, gazing into her eyes. He twiddled his thumbs for a moment, unsure of what to do next. They both sat on their heels, petrified by timidity. The pig-tailed boy took a deep breath and leaned a little closer to his fiancée. He wetted his lips with a sawdust tongue and moved to place his hands on her shoulders. Instead of grasping them gently as he'd planned, his hands just sort of hung there in the air on either side of her.

Akane's lower lip trembled as she turned her face up to look at him. She swallowed quietly and picked at her fingernails. They were like statues, barely moving, barely breathing. After a few minutes, the girl cleared her throat and inched closer to Ranma, her knees touching his. He nearly jumped ten feet in surprise but allowed her closeness because he was certain that he wouldn't be able to move closer himself.

His hands fell to her shoulders and he felt her finger hook into his collar, pulling him closer still. Suddenly, his head angled as if by instinct as silently his lips met hers.

Ranma never knew it was possible to see and feel fireworks going off in one's head simultaneously, but here they were, and they were louder and brighter than he'd ever imagined. Not wanting the feeling to end, he wrapped his arms around Akane's small form, deepening the kiss. She reciprocated by snaking her arms around his neck, her fingers unconsciously playing with his braid of black hair. A sound that greatly resembled a moan escaped his throat and he released her with a sigh, his blue eyes still closed, relishing the past experience. Breathing harder than usual, he linked eyes with hers again and moved in for another kiss. His lips had barely brushed hers when he felt a small hand on his chest, pushing him away gently. "Uh-uh." Akane whispered, touching his cheek tenderly, "We agreed on one kiss, remember?"

Confused, Ranma searched her face, finding what he had been hoping for for a long time. Love. "But, I." He began, but was quickly silenced by her finger on his lips. She smiled coyly.

"Another kiss, if you beat me at War." She said, giggling. Ranma gathered the cards into a pile and began to shuffle them.

"And if you win?" He asked, looking longingly at her lips as she dealt the cards. "Two kisses." His eyes flicked up to hers, tiny gold flecks laughing playfully in their depths.

For once, Ranma knew for a fact that he was going to lose. And defeat would never taste so sweet. Twice.

Author's Note: If you were reading carefully, I put little things into the story to add to the irony of it. Like the card he won with was the King of Hearts. See? Okie, well, if you want me to write anymore fan fiction, (actually, I will anyway.) please review. It's nice to know what you think of my stories, whether your opinions are good or bad. Thanks and God bless! -Crystal_V_Princess