They antagonize each other, pure and simple. They bicker and they fight and they push each other's buttons and they get a weird almost kinky pleasure from it. No one knows that when she glares and she pouts and she digs into his self-esteem until she hits a nerve, she's feeling practically turned on. No one knows that when he pokes and prods at her insecurities and watches a furious blush spread across her cheeks he's lusting after her more than ever.

Bu a chance meeting changes heir tenuous connection. He comes upon her one evening, crying behind the old Arts building, bitter tears of pain and humiliation and self-rage-not that he's short on the pain or the humiliation or the self-rage either, after the big fight they've just had, the fight that their friends think went too far, the fight that made them hurt and made them want. So yeah, he's feeling pretty bitter and angry as he storms along home, and finding her there in tears doesn't help any.

"Hey."

She stands, swallows a sob. "Hey."

Their eyes meet, and they recognize matching pain, two halves of a messed up whole, each a broken shard of this weird, twisted thing they have created between them. Then he steps forward and touches her face, because he can see in her eyes other matching emotions too-matching need, matching desire-and he understands that it works the same for her as it does for him, that their fights are an aphrodisiac, that they can only get closer when others think they're moving further apart.

And then, suddenly, their lips are mashing together, bodies melding, and the whole world for him shrinks to the salty taste of tears, the smell, the feel of her hair, the wonderful things that are happening where the line of her body presses into his. And she can feel her back against a cold stone statue, her mouth on the heat of his, her hands in his hair, her leg riding high on the rough denim of his jeans.

The world dips and turns and restores its equilibrium at a different angle, and the heat and the sensations build and grow and stroke and caress until she's moaning his name in his ear, until he's biting her neck to keep from crying out.

After it's over, they stand still enmeshed, intertwined, until he mutters, "Well, that's one way to break the tension," and she laughs, and cautiously, awkwardly, they separate.

She turns to leave, slower than she might have perhaps, but he calls out her name. "I know you think I'm a douche, I'm-well-but this isn't like-what I mean to say is, I don't want this to be-well, maybe this could be not just a one-time thing? I mean-not to sound presumptuous-I do sound presumptuous, don't I?-but what I really mean to say is that I-"

"You don't have to explain yourself to me," she cuts him off, offering up a soft half-smile half-grimace of recognition. "I understand."

And it's true.

The days pass, the weeks, the months. They still bicker and fight and scream and sigh in front of their friends, but they always meet up after to blow off steam, letting sensuality become a soothing balm for their battered souls. And it works. Surprisingly, it works. For once in their lives, they're on the same page, they're enjoying this weird, this perverted little desire.

And then one night, when his roommate has a night class, and she's in his bed half-melted to the sheets, he raises his head from her hair fanned over the pillow and says, "So, how 'bout it? Want to try a more conventional relationship?"

She laughs. "Has anything we've ever done been conventional?"

"Fuck no. That's not exactly what I'm suggesting-but it would be nice, you know, if I see you on campus, to come over and kiss you and tell you you're beautiful instead of picking a fight and then fucking you senseless later."

"Really, I'm impressed. You think you can control yourself and only kiss me once instead of pressing me up against a wall and having your dirty way with me?"

"In public, yeah. I'd still press you up against a wall and have my dirty way with you later."

She laughs again. "Well, we'll see."

It's the next day that she comes up to him in the quad after class, stands next to him and looks silently at his friends.

"Hey."

His friends snicker; she smiles. "Hey."

Suddenly she takes him, his head in her hands, his lips under hers, and it's like the first time all over again, and she's right, he's definitely not in control, not at all, and he's not entirely sure whether she is either.

She pulls back as quickly as she pulled in. "See you later." There's a little gleam of victory in her eyes, and damn him if it it doesn't just make him want her that much more.

He's left with his jaw hanging open and pants feeling just a bit too confining. She's halfway across the quad before he thinks to say, "Yeah, see you," and even when he does, his voice is so hoarse she raises her hand in a further sign of victory.

His friends are all agog when he can look at them again, and he's pleased to find he can say without his voice betraying him, "What're you all staring at?"

Meanwhile her friends aren't letting it lie, they're running over and pounding and stabbing at him with their little jabs of questions. "What was that? What did you do to her? Was that a bet? A dare?"

And it gives him the greatest pleasure to turn, to walk away, to find her already in their spot, behind the old Arts building, ready and waiting

After the release, the dissipation of the tension, he asks her, "Do you ever wonder if it's healthy, this thing we do?"

She snorts. "Clearly it's not. But what's the alternative? You were always going to be a thorn in my side. Now-"

"I get to stick my thorn into other parts of you as well?"

"Exactly. And that makes it all better."

It doesn't, but it's okay, it's enough, it's all he can ask for.


A/N: Dudes! Okay, this is not the most spectacular thing I've ever written and it's very short but I DID meet my goal of publishing something by the end of the month.

In other news, I have an internship for the fall! Yayz! So that was a stressful few weeks there. But we're all good. Hopefully.

Also: images? For stories? WHAAAA? You will probably see some of those popping up on my stories because that seems like a good way to waste time.

Anyway, I just wanted to THANK ALL YOU GUYS for reading and reviewing and favouriting and alert-add-ing. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST. Seriously. I'm starting to see myself popping up on favourites lists that also include people like, I dunno, star123 upon whom I have a totally non-creepy fangirl authorcrush.

Ahem. Anyhow. You know I love reviews!

-s