Um, I swear I'm a Yuan fan! Seriously! …but this fanfic suggests otherwise…

Believe it or not, this fic is dedicated to My Lovely Yume, in thanks for the idea in the first place! You rock!

Heheheh, I don't own Tales of Symphonia. If I did, let's just say Zelos wouldn't be the one that can die… (glares at Regal)

Yeah, if you look closely enough, this fic references to the timeline of Lloyd and co. (chuckles) …and maybe my other oneshot, Sleep, as well.

As in all great things, it started with a dare.

A simple dare really; nothing of "I dare you to save the world!", like I had told Mithos a few months ago. Which, by the way, he is still on that. Really, how long could one take to form pacts with all the Summon Spirits? It's not like he doesn't have a sword teacher, or a healer of a sister, or a great and awe-inspiring, cool-looking, best double saber-user out there. Come on.

But I'm afraid I wander from my topic; as I said before, it started with a dare…

"Hey, Yuan…"

"Oh, no you don't, Mithos. I don't even want to know what you're thinking in that head of yours."

"Come on, Yuan! It'll be funny…"

Yuan waited until he was sure everyone was asleep. It didn't take long at all, considering they only had a few blankets to sleep on the cold, rough ground of the forest floor. He sat up and examined his traveling companions.

The moonlight that came filtered through the trees illuminated everyone's silhouettes. Martel fell asleep sitting up on her knees once again; her light green hair fell softly on her pale and relaxed face. Mithos was curled next to her, snoring quite loudly for such a small boy. A soft smile played on his lips, probably dreaming about finally bringing the end to half-elf discrimination.

At last, Yuan laid his sapphire eyes on the one that he was to target. The figure was lying straight on its back, its arms directly behind its head.

Yuan held his breath as he crept closely to the calmly breathing figure. The half elf knew that any sudden movement and his target would be fully aware of his presence. He slowly inched across until he fully saw the serene countenance of Kratos Aurion.

The auburn haired man breathed deeply, but quietly; the cobalt was sure that he had trained himself to breath in a certain way to make as little noise as possible. Yuan felt himself gulp silently as he reached for Kratos' hand. Steady…steady…

Kratos' mumbled something under his breath as Yuan pulled the swordsman's hand away from the back of his head.

Step one: Complete.

The half elf didn't allow himself time for savoring the victory; he quickly put into motion the next phase of Operation: Mithos' Dare. He pulled out a carefully concealed package of whipped cream out of his cloak, cautiously spreading the white substance on Kratos' open gloved palm.

Step two: Complete.

I should be a secret agent! Yuan thought with glee as he finished up spreading the sugary stuff on the human's hand. The cobalt wasn't completely sure why he had accepted this "assignment" from Mithos; he wasn't the one for childish pranks. But this seemingly impossible task was just too tempting…

And Yuan wanted to secretly gape at Kratos when he was sleeping; the human slept with his eyes open!

Sure enough, the auburn haired man's garnet eyes stared into nothingness, as if in a strange trance. It was plain amusing to Yuan, who had never seen anyone that slept with that habit. Of course, it would've been hilarious if he sucked his thumb or something else equally embarrassing. Oh, the blackmail opportunities…

Better yet though, Kratos "looking" the entire time gave Yuan more bragging rights when he completed his mission.

Okay…last thing…The cobalt felt anxiety build up as he stealthily reached for his long ponytail, bringing it up to Kratos' nose. He waved the small tip of hair experimentally under the swordsman's nose. The auburn haired man still stared straight ahead, unnerving Yuan to some extent.

Step Three…

Yuan stifled a chuckle, seeing that the tickling was working. The blue strands of hair were bothering Kratos, and the human used a hand to swipe at his nose; only to smack whipped cream all over his face.

Operation: Mithos' Dare-Success!

The cobalt would've cried in triumph, but he suddenly sensed that something was wrong. Dreadfully wrong.

Kratos' garnet eyes didn't look as empty and distant anymore.

Actually, they looked a little…angry.

Yuan took a sharp intake of breath, grimacing in his failure. Kratos was awake; awake, and furious. "Uh…hi, Kratos…?" Yuan tried weakly, too scared to attempt to scramble away from the auburn haired man.

They stared at each other for a few moments; Yuan only hovering a couple of inches away from Kratos, still clutching his long ponytail in the pose he had when tickling.

The swordsman visibly twitched, the whipped cream on his face melting from the sheer heat of his livid state. Yuan would've laughed at the humorous prospect, but the half elf was a little too occupied with the mental will he was forming in his head.

My cloak will go to Martel, and I'm sure Mithos could use my double saber…The cobalt didn't mind the fact that it was Mithos that suggested the mission of his doom in the first place.

All things said; it was a long night.

"Oh my!" Martel placed her hands over her mouth, studying her boyfriend's face, "What happened? Did a monster attack?"

"You could say that…" Yuan replied glumly, eyeing Kratos with an irritated look on his features. His typically pale face was darkened with bruises, and his lip was cut and bleeding in several places. There were also large bumps covering his head where a blunt object had obviously made contact with. The cobalt would never admit to his "punishment" for his "foolishness", but his pride wouldn't accept a First Aid from his girlfriend, no matter how much she fretted.

Mithos, knowing a little of what had happened, decided not to speak of the matter; instead, he chose to make fun of Yuan and his deformed face. Who knew that such an innocent-looking boy could be the master scammer of anything evil? Yes, Mithos knew that Kratos would catch him…oh yes he did…

Said Kratos, unusually pleasant and cheerful that morning, clapped a hand to the cobalt's back, grinning ruefully and laughed wickedly, "Blame your fate."