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Auld Lang Syne

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It was the last place that Liz would ever have planned to be, at the New Year’s Eve party of some shadow criminal and his wife, pretending to be Red’s girlfriend and all but contractually obligated to kiss him at midnight. That aside, she intended to make the most of it.

She tugged on his lapel. “It’s tradition, Ray.” For this one she was calling him Ray. Once he was close enough, and her voice would be obscured by people counting down, she hissed in ear, “People are watching.”

“So they are,” he said. He turned his head and kissed her.

She wasn’t entirely sure what she was expecting. Some kind of clear answer to coalesce out of this accidental trap? On the one hand, there was an unequivocal ‘no’ to her question, was Red her father. There was his insistence that he had never lied to her directly. On the other hand, there was the large spectrum of information doled out or kept hidden that Raymond Reddington could allow ‘not directly’ to encompass. There was the fact that he had been entirely too vague on the subject for her to be sure of anything.

There was a moment where all Liz could do was ask herself if she was really doing this: playing incest chicken with a master criminal at the beginning of the new year. Did she think he’d hesitate at the last minute? Peck her awkwardly on the cheek against his character, who was meant to be deeply in love with his younger girlfriend? Did she intend to shout ‘aha!’ as soon as they were out of that room and force him to finally give her a straight answer?

Well, if she had she was about to be disappointed, because he definitely didn’t peck her on the cheek.

He actually didn’t kiss her for very long, but from where Liz was standing, hanging on to his lapels and wondering why it was that gravity had never seemed like such a bitch before, it lasted quite long enough. And he kissed her like maybe if he did so deeply enough he could lick her toes.

When it was over he brushed a few strands of hair out of her eyes and said, “Now, I believe we have some other business to attend to,” and tugged her toward their mark’s office.

She nodded breathlessly, painfully aware of what anyone watching them would think they were slipping away to do. She had ultimately learned nothing, really, except how little she knew.

That- and that she liked kissing Raymond Reddington a great deal more than she wanted to.