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Match? Let it Burn

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                They were all drinking a little too much before what was likely to be their last battle one way or another. Nine was maybe more than a little drunk and eyeing John’s ass despite him making out with Sarah in the corner. Sam tapped him on the shoulder, almost falling out of Six’s lap as he did so. He was way drunk and wrapped around Six like he was the chick. Six seemed to be perfectly fine with it and a lot more sober with how easily she kept Sam from tumbling off like he kept threatening to do.

                “You should ask her out,” Sam told him, leaning back until Six had to pull him back up.

                “Who?”

                “Daniela. She keeps eyeing you too. You’re undertone flirting is annoying.”

                Nine hadn’t even noticed the new Garde was over by John and his girlfriend, but he was willing to roll with the idea that he was watching her instead of John. It wasn’t like he had a chance anyway. He took another drink from his bottle before getting up and sauntering over to Daniela. She raised an eyebrow at his approach as John stumbled off with Sarah to their room. He had the brief idea of splitting up their room, before dismissing it. It wouldn’t stop them.

                “I’m not interested,” she told him when he was in range as she took a swig of her own drink.

                “Me either.” Nine took another drink of his bottle. He wasn’t sure why he came over here in the first place, especially since John was gone now.

                After a comfortable moment of silently drinking, Daniela broke it more casually than Nine could’ve imagined. “I was staring at Six. You?”

                “Four.”

                She nodded and let the silence fall again. He wondered how Sam seemed to think they were secretly flirting with each other. After a moment it spilled out of his mouth. “They think we’re together, that we’ve been flirting.”

                She snorted and looked at him with a similar smirk. “Maybe we just shared a bond on one-sided crushes and didn’t realize it.”

                Nine laughed. “I tried—when it was just the two of us. Nobody but Ms. Sarah Hart for him.”

                “You told him?”

                He shrugged.

                After a moment, Six and Sam stumbled past them to their room. Daniela watched them until they were out of sight and turned back to Nine with an intention drink. “Your room?”

                He smirked. “That sounds suggestive.”

                She shrugged. “Their idea. You want to hang out here. I’m down for playing Mario Cart. You do have Mario Cart?”

                “Wasn’t my idea, but I’ve got a couple.”

                Daniela sauntered over to the couch and flopped down, her drink splashing over the edge. Nine made a face. How much did she still have in that bottle? “You’re getting alcohol over my couch.”

                “Oh, this is root beer.”

                “That’s worse.”

                She grinned. “You need to work on your priorities. Are you going to set up the game?”

                He gave her a half hearted glare before going and putting the game in and turned on the console. He tossed her a controller before flopping on the floor below her. She smirked at him. “You better hope I don’t throw up.”

                “I thought you were drinking root beer,” he grinned up at her.

                She bopped his head. “I’m going to kick your ass on this game.”

                “Put on a real game, and I’ll show you a real ass kicking.”

                “Mario Cart is a real game asshole. Did you just pick Luigi?”

                “You picked Princess Peach,” he pointed out as the game started.

                She just snorted and crossed her legs out in front of her. He did actually play the game with Sandor a long time ago, and Daniela was just as competitive as he was. She cursed when he passed her the first time, and he was pretty sure her foot purposely kicked him. She beat him twice, but he won three times before they put it down.

                “Thought you didn’t play,” she scolded, stretching her arms over her head. Nine watched her.

                “I said it wasn’t my idea to have it. I didn’t say I hadn’t played it.” She looked down at him, and he blurted out the question he’d been rolling around in his head. “Was there anyone else before?”

                She was quiet, slumping over on the couch beside him. “A cheerleader who never gave a second glance- she was a year older. I dated her younger sister who dumped me the moment she became an actual cheerleader. There was a goth I never got the courage to ask out, not a lot. You?”

                “Not really. Homeschooled. Had a friend named Maddie. We dated for a little bit, but it didn’t work out.” He didn’t tell her that it was partly because Maddie had been working with the Mogs and ended up killed because of it. He tried not to think about it too much.

                Daniela eyed him. “You’re bi?”

                Nine shrugged. “I like flirting with everyone, more openly with girls. It’s mostly just fun.”

                She raised an eyebrow. “You like girls?”

                “It’s complicated.”

                “Suppose it might be if you were kept away from people for so long.”

                He snorted. “And constantly trained for war. Easier to just say you’ll find yourself afterwards.”

                “You think we’ll all make it.”

                He was quiet staring up at the ceiling. “I don’t want to think.”

                “Maybe it’s time to think for yourself,” She whispered in his ear. “You don’t have to like someone because people say you do.”

                He tilted his head back to stare at her. “They already think we’re together.”

                “So take a match to their little match-making scheme and burn it. Prove them wrong.”

                Nine let the silence fall, closing his eyes. “Are we going to sleep out here?

                “Probably.” And just like that they fell asleep.