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Mistletoe

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It started with the mistletoe.

Which was Patterson's fault.

(That was Jane’s story and she was sticking to it, because it was Patterson's lab and Patterson's tree and Patterson's lights and Patterson's idea to hang the stuff up, or at least to buy it in the first place. Tasha might’ve also been involved in that last part.)

Tasha’d pounced on it as soon as she’d seen it tumble out of the shopping bag, and had hung it right over the doorway, then placed a rather dramatic kiss on Patterson’s cheek as soon as she got close enough.

Christmas was making everyone just a little goofy.

Jane kind of loved it.

Then Reade had walked in, and Patterson had scampered over and tugged on his arm until he'd rolled his eyes and leaned down so she could buss him on the forehead. Tasha’d kissed him on the mouth, quick and sharp, and maybe he'd shot her a not quite so innocent look in return. There was chemistry without any underlying heat there, Jane thought, almost like they'd both acknowledged that the other was attractive but neither was actually interested.

It went on like that most of the day, with Patterson, Tasha and even Jane offering mostly chaste (but enthusiastic) kisses to whoever walked through their trap and was willing to play along. Mayfair made stern faces at them but couldn't quite keep a smile out of her eyes, and everyone had a very, very good time.

It wasn't until later in the afternoon that Jane looked around and realized that she hadn't seen Kurt all day.

On the heels of that thought was one that told her she'd been hoping he’d show up and step through the door to give her the opportunity to act on the growing feelings she couldn’t completely ignore. She asked Mayfair (in a way that didn't come out nearly as casually as she'd've liked) where he was, and got a vague answer about testifying in court on some case or other, something from before she'd arrived.

It didn't ruin the day for her by any means, but it was disappointing, and her excitement dwindled, because she really wasn’t looking forward to going back to the safe house alone. Patterson had given her a concerned look as she'd packed up to leave, but Jane had smiled - not quite even forced - and waved her on.

Tomorrow was Christmas Eve.

She sat in the open lab space as the population around her left and realized that she wouldn't be coming in the following two days, that no one would be here working. She wondered if she could talk the security detail into stopping somewhere for her to pick out some movies, or books, or something... but of course, she knew they'd politely refuse.

Stupid rules.

Just when she was ready to stop sitting and brooding and go hunt up whoever was stuck with her to ask them to take her home, she heard paper rustling from the next room and a muttered curse.

Her heart tripped a beat and she broke into a grin. She'd know that voice anywhere by now.

"Kurt?" she called, sticking her head out the door.

He looked up, startled. "Hey. Jane. Sorry, I didn't realize anyone else was still here." He paused. "Why're you still here?"

"I just... hadn't left yet."

She knew the exact moment when he looked up and saw what Tasha and Patterson had done to the doorway. He was, as always, almost painfully transparent to her, and his surprise was followed quickly by an indulgent smile and a hint of mischief sparking in his eyes.

"Do I wanna know what happened here today?" he asked, eyes flicking upwards to indicate the greenery over her head.

Jane bit at her lip and smiled back. His good humor was infectious. "Maybe not. It's pretty safe now, though - Zapata and Patterson have gone home already."

She was still focused on him, still had her eyes locked with his, and felt something warm in the pit of her stomach shift through the rest of her body when his eyes heated, considered.

Before today, she didn't have any memories of standing under the mistletoe with anyone. She'd recognized it and known what it meant, objectively, but as usual, she hadn't had any frame of reference for the sensations she was feeling now - nervous, in a good way - fluttery and hopeful and warm under her skin and blooming through her chest. She watched him as he set down the papers he'd been sifting through and walked slowly towards her.

What she did recognize was the soft feeling of certainty and sense of rightness she'd felt with him since almost that very first day.

She'd been waiting for this.

It felt like she'd been waiting for this her entire life.

When he stopped right in front of her, only an inch or two away and well within her arm’s reach, she looked up and held perfectly still, but her brain - that was going a mile a minute, darting around never settling on one thought, one thing - just an amalgam of moments they'd shared until now, of the feeling of his hands on her, of the way he looked at her and the ever-present shadow of wondering about herself as Taylor versus herself as Jane…

He reached up slowly to give her plenty of time to shy away, until his hand was resting on her neck, over the bird in flight, and his thumb was tracing over her jaw. Slowly, back and forth, soothing her.

His eyes flicked upwards to the mistletoe with its jaunty red bow and then back down to her face. Her smiled widened and laughter tried to bubble up from her throat as he finally leaned down to press his mouth to hers, no rush, no hurry, letting them both sink down into the moment, the feel, the shiver of realization and the "click" of it.

It was forever and no time at all, heat and pressure and a suspended moment before he lifted his head and found her eyes again.

Right. Comfortable. Exciting. Yes.

She reached up as he leaned back in, and the second kiss was all those things, but more. The banked desire they'd been tending and sublimating this entire time finally caught and took hold, and she let herself fall into it. For the first time, she deliberately focused only on the here and now and blocked out any possibility of stray memories coming to the fore. She wanted this, to catalog and hold onto each and every memory and sensation of this, right now, and nothing else.

fin