When a mission stretches on for hours, a game of cards seems to be the only way to pass the time, but Irvine will only play if he can add his own rule to the mix.
"Sorry, man," he said, looking up from cleaning his shotgun. "I've told you before I don't play cards with guys."
"...Whatever." Squall stopped shuffling and dealt himself two hands, beginning to play a solitary Triad game. One of the hands was complete crap--a bomb the best of his cards--but he focused on the game as closely as if the end result hadn't been determined from the moment the cards were set out, and Irvine wasn't really surprised to see that the result ended up being much closer that anyone who didn't know Squall would have expected. The man was all about finding ways to turn a bad situation around if there was any chance in hell of it happening. It made Irvine wonder exactly what that careful attention would be like if it was focused elsewhere...
"You know, maybe I could make an exception to my rule. For a friend, just to pass the time." He slipped his own deck out of his pocket, much thinner than Squall's but he blamed that on the fact that he tossed out cards lower than level five. "/If/ you'll add the rule I always play by to whatever ones you want to use."
Squall stayed silent long enough for Irvine to wonder if he hadn't heard him, then he seemed to come to the end of whatever line of thought he'd been following and said, "I play by Lunar Base rules. What do you want to add to them?"
Irvine smiled slow and easy. "Where's the fun in telling?"
Again there was the long moment of thought, then Squall bowed his head slightly. "All right. I'll trust you."
Irvine felt a little bad as he shuffled his cards, but it was mostly overwhelmed by his trying to remember what the rules were on Lunar Base just then. Was he remembering correctly when he thought they'd gotten ride of Same-Wall, or was that Esthar? Were the hands open? He waited to see what Squall did, then imitated keeping his cards close to his chest. "You can go ahead and go first," he said, as he plotted out where the cards he'd drawn would work best.
Squall opened with a turtapod, and, after a second's thought, Irvine decided not to bother leaving himself open by taking it and tossed a malboro into the opposite corner. They continued on like that, each moving out from their respective corner, neither finding a place to take one of the other's cards and break out of the pattern until there were only two blank spaces left on the board. Irvine laughed when he saw the card Squall had just placed, one he could actually capture with one of his final two cards, then he leaned forward as he made his play.
Before he finished moving, Squall's hand was on his chest, stopping him in his place. "What are you doing, Irvine?"
He grinned, not moving back. "You said we could play by my rule, Squall. What sort of rule do you think I'd have to play only with girls, aside from a rare exception?" When Squall didn't move his hand Irvine reached up to take it, gently pulling it aside. "Look, partner, if you don't want to..."
Squall looked down at the game board and seemed to come to a decision. "A kiss for every one card flipped?" he asked, and when Irvine nodded he did the same. "Go ahead then. I won't break my word."
It kind've took the fun out of things if Squall thought of it as a duty/, Irvine reflected as he closed the distance between them. He'd wanted something more than a quick peck, but now that he was actually /doing it, now that it was a matter of his word instead of a fun time for both of them to pass the immensely boring hours with, doing anything more left a bad taste in his mouth and he held himself back.
"It's my move," Squall said when Irvine pulled back again, as if nothing had happen.
"Uh, yeah, go ahead man." Irvine said, looking down at the only spot Squall could place his last card in.
Squall placed his card, and Irvine's eyes widened when he noticed that it's values matched each card around it as well as the wall, causing combos to stretch out across the board, leaving every card in Squall's hand. "One kiss for every taken card, right?" Squall asked again, and though his mouth didn't move Irvine would swear from the look in his eyes that he was smirking.