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give you the sweetest kiss that you'll taste

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It starts the way most Cow Chop parties start.

They finish filming their Krampus special, narrowly avoid setting the warehouse on fire again, and in the time it takes Aleks to change out of his terrible-smelling costume, everything devolves from tipsy chaos into drunken chaos.

He hears it start from the bathroom as he’s peeling the dumb suit off. Lindsey has exerted her usual dictator-esque control over the playlist, and Mariah Carey is playing at a decibel that threatens the warehouse’s foundation and probably a few noise laws. Brett apparently spikes the punch a second time, because the first drink he grabs on his way through the kitchen leaves a caustic burning sensation in the back of his throat, and makes him cough in surprise.

He can see most of his coworkers dancing around the Prime Time set, or draped over the couch, everyone except-

“Merry Christmas!” Trevor’s wobbly, jubilant voice is right in his ear, and Trevor is towering over him from behind, wrapping a warm arm around his waist. He’s got that stupid red flush all the way to the tips of his ears that he gets when he’s drunk, and he’s smiling down at Aleks like it’s the best day of his life.

They’ve been drinking for a few hours at this point, but Aleks feels suddenly like he’s not nearly drunk enough to cope with the rest of this party.

“Merry Christmas, dude,” he murmurs back, definitely not feeling a hot flush ascending up his body from the point where Trevor’s hip is pressing into him. He realizes a beat too soon that they’re under one of the approximately seven hundred sprigs of mistletoe that James secreted around the warehouse that morning, hanging off the horns of the cow skull above the sink, and he can actually feel Trevor follow his line of sight before he clears his throat.

“Hey, isn’t that-,”

Aleks hides his face in his mug under the pretense of taking a long drink, ignoring the way it makes his eyes water. Brett must have tossed in fucking moonshine when they weren’t looking.

“Why aren’t you wearing a goddamn sweater, Aleksandr ?” The man himself appears out of nowhere, glassy-eyed and waving one of their branded sweaters at him. Trevor’s arm disappears from his waist, and Aleks immediately misses it. “You promised!”

“It’s fucking hot in here, I’m not wearing a sweater.” He’s definitely not being petulant. Trevor’s gone, wandering toward the throng of idiots who are more falling over camera equipment than actually dancing, tossing a look back at Aleks that he can’t read at all. Brett is getting ghost pepper sauce in his coffee Monday morning.

“The fuck you aren’t!” Brett looks murderously cheerful in only the way Brett can. He lunges at Aleks with the sweater. Aleks dodges toward the counter and feints under his outstretched arm. And thus begins an embarrassingly long game of chase that ends with Aleks yelling with his face pressed into the concrete floor, as it usually does.

Aleks wears the shitty goddamned sweater.

--

Word gets out, and soon various members of Sugar Pine and Funhaus are trickling into the warehouse, pouring out of Lyfts still tipsy from their own office parties. Brett makes another batch of punch, cackling as he does it like a mad scientist. Cib leans down over the bowl to smell the concoction and immediately stumbles to the sink, heaving. Aleks decides to avoid it for as long as possible.

He manages to dig an ancient Smirnoff Ice out of the fridge and make his way over to the couch, which is quickly becoming the least populated area of the warehouse. Clusters of his friends are everywhere, but Aleks is content to sit alone on his side of the couch and let the speakers blasting Lindsey’s playlist slowly destroy what little hearing he has left.

It’s not that he wanted to kiss Trevor, it’s really not. He’s not sulking about it.

It’s just that he really fucking wanted to kiss Trevor, like, so bad it’s making his stomach hurt more than Brett’s shitty punch. He wanted Trevor to back him up against the counter and get acquainted with his tonsils, and probably has wanted that for a while, if he’s being honest. Trevor is going home for Christmas and won’t be back before New Year’s, so his chance is probably gone until next year, unless any of James' mistletoe survives once they clean all of this shit up.

“Why’re you sitting over here by yourself?” The couch dips next to him, and Trevor’s drunken voice manages to permeate the deafening wail of Ariana Grande coming from the speakers. The couch is more than a little bit broken, so Trevor tries to sit in the middle, but the cushion immediately creases between them and they end up sinking into the groove of it together.

Trevor’s absurdly warm body is pressed against him from shoulder to knee, and they’re so close that his breath is tickling the hair at Aleks' ear. Aleks feels every nerve ending on the left side of his body hum to life. He feels very attacked.

“I just, uh - there’s too much going on, you know?” he deflects, gesturing with the chilly bottle in his hand at the raucous groups all over the warehouse. Jakob has pulled the trampoline out of storage, Brett is wearing the Krampus mask and chasing Lindsey with a lacrosse stick, and James DeAngelis is riding on James Willems' shoulders, screaming something that sounds like ‘ Optimus James !’

“Yeah, it’s getting pretty crazy in here. I think I saw Asher looking for fireworks.” Trevor angles himself toward Aleks, one arm slung over the back of the couch, precariously close to being draped over Aleks' shoulders. Aleks tries very hard not to notice.

“We’re all gonna end up spending Christmas in jail, I swear,” he snorts, turning toward Trevor and curling one leg underneath himself, unable to keep from resting his knee on Trevor’s thigh. They’re wearing the same sweater, and Aleks wants to put his hands all over Trevor’s chest and see if it’s just as soft as the one he’s wearing. That’s the only reason.

“At least we’ll be together,” Trevor says, and immediately looks away, focusing on something on the bookshelf like it’s the most interesting thing in the world. Aleks isn’t imagining it - the flush on his face is back, and a new shade of red. Aleks feels a little flushed himself.

“Hey, look what I found.” Trevor is still red, but he’s smiling and looking at Aleks again, almost shyly pointing to the bookshelf behind them. Aleks follows his line of sight, but he knows what it is before he sees it.

A sprig of mistletoe, held onto the shelf with a piece of tape.

“What are the odds that it happened to us twice?” Aleks asks, going hot all over. He chances a look at Trevor, who was already close, but seems impossibly close to him now, his breath playing on Aleks' jaw.

MERRRRY CHRISTMAAAAS, YA FUCKIN DICKS! ” James appears out of nowhere and flies onto the couch kamikaze style, landing across both of their laps. His elbow catches Aleks in the balls in a devastating direct hit, and Aleks buckles over, trying his best to elbow him in the eye. By the way Trevor yelped and threw himself off of the couch, crawling away from James to writhe on the floor, he met a similar fate.

James looks up at Aleks with a shit-eating grin and slurs, “dude, you’re my best fucking friend!”

Aleks pours his entire Smirnoff out onto James' head.

--

It kinda seems like Trevor avoids him after that, but Aleks wouldn’t know, because he’s busy avoiding Trevor. It didn’t take long for them to recover from the James incident, but he doesn’t think he can handle another one of his friends ruining the moment and inspiring him to commit holiday homicide.

Aleks tries to stop sulking and mingle, he really does. He spends a few nerve-wracking minutes on the trampoline with Jakob and Asher, he discreetly swaps Lindsey’s playlist out for a heavy metal song called ‘Jingle Hell’ and manages to escape her wrath in the ensuing mosh pit; He balances on Brett’s shoulders to play chicken with gigantic plastic candy canes until Autumn almost gives him a concussion. For a good hour, he’s game for anything.

Trevor reappears, laughing brightly with Keenan’s arm slung around his shoulders, and doesn’t seem to even see Aleks as they pass by him. Aleks is ready to go home now .

He abandons his cup of hooch and makes for the office to grab his shit, intending to bail before anyone notices. Mishka and Celia are probably pissing on everything he loves because he hasn’t come home to feed them yet, and he’d rather be in bed with them and a bottle of vodka than deal with the way Trevor is making his chest ache for another minute.

“Hey, you leaving?” Trevor catches his arm with a warm, gentle grip. Keenan is nowhere to be seen, but Aleks still has a small, petty urge inside of him to shrug the touch off and keep walking. He doesn’t, choosing to enjoy how Trevor’s enormous hand spans the width of his forearm.

“Yeah, I think so. For once I don’t feel like trying to get alcohol poisoning,” Aleks says, huffing out a laugh. Tension that Aleks didn’t notice was in Trevor’s face before seems to dissipate, and he grins knowingly, swaying imperceptibly closer.

“Can I talk to you for a sec, outside?” His voice dips lower than usual, and it probably means nothing, but it makes Aleks feel like he’s still being thrown around the trampoline by drunken idiots hell-bent on sustaining spinal cord injuries.

“Yeah, sure. What about?” It comes out pretty casually considering his stomach is doing gravity-defying flips.

“Um.” Trevor starts to move his hand from Aleks' arm, looking past him, and it makes Aleks' stomach do another funny dip toward disappointment. Then Trevor is holding his hand, linking their fingers together, which really shouldn’t be feasible considering the size difference of their hands, but it feels fucking amazing. He’s pulling Aleks somewhere, and Aleks can’t even concentrate on where, exactly, until Trevor opens the door to their brick-walled courtyard set.

“Outside, huh?” he laughs, nervous energy turning it more into a giggle, and Trevor smiles bashfully as he pulls Aleks down the short steps.

“It’s outside enough.” The walls of the set block the rest of the partiers from their view, muffling the sounds of shrieking laughter and legal nightmares, and it feels like they’re alone for the first time all day. That is, until they hear a throat being cleared from the corner next to the steps, and Cib comes up for air from where he’s leaving dark, painful-looking hickeys down the length of Steven’s neck to notice them.

They have a silent staring match for a few seconds, until Cib drunkenly raises a hand and points at Trevor, raising his eyebrows, and Trevor points back, confused. It seems to be enough communication, because Steven and Cib peel themselves off the fake bricks and stumble away laughing. Their trajectory looks like they’re going to Brett’s office, and Aleks is a little sad that he’s not sticking around to see Brett catch and subsequently murder them.

“The fuck was that about?” Aleks laughs, suddenly so fucking nervous. His palm feels sweaty against Trevor’s, heart pulsing hard in his wrist. Trevor laughs, too, but it’s something beyond nervous.

“This, maybe?” Trevor is holding a sprig of fucking mistletoe above his head with his free hand. He must have fished it out of his pocket when Aleks wasn’t looking. The blush that spreads across Aleks' face feels like it reaches all the way down his chest, and words catch in his throat.

Trevor doesn’t let him stand there with his mouth open like an idiot for too long. He uses their joined hands and his height advantage as leverage to walk Aleks back against the wall, in the spot their friends had just vacated. In fact, the bricks still feel suspiciously warm. Maybe that’s just him.

“I’ve been trying to get you alone all day,” Trevor murmurs, so close that Aleks can count his eyelashes.

“I’ve been trying to be alone all day,” Aleks breathes more than speaks. “With you, I mean.” The resulting smile on Trevor’s lips is blinding, and beautiful.

He tosses the mistletoe behind him and lets go of Aleks' hand, and for a brief second, Aleks thinks maybe it was a joke, and he’s going to leave. Instead, Trevor settles one hand on his waist and presses close, the heat between them intensifying as they lean into each other. Aleks' hands find their way around Trevor’s neck on their own, which is lucky, because Trevor’s other hand is tipping his jaw up, thumb swiping his cheek, and his brain stutters to a halt.

Trevor is rubbing the tips of their noses together, sending frantic little shivers down his spine, and then they’re kissing. The first touch of his lips to Trevor’s is a little clumsy, but he feels it all the way to his toes.

It’s too short, both of them pulling back just enough to draw air into their nervous lungs, but Trevor is laughing against his lips like it might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Aleks slips his fingers into Trevor’s hair to kiss him for all he’s worth, because it is definitely the best thing to ever happen to him.

It’s the first time all night that Aleks feels truly drunk. It has nothing to do with the spiked punch, and everything to do with Trevor pressing a thigh between his, moaning quietly when Aleks twists the fingers in his hair to bring him closer.

They don’t stop for a long time, one kiss melding into the next, Trevor’s tongue circling against Aleks' until he feels impossibly dizzy, Aleks' hands raking through his hair and down the nape of his neck until he feels Trevor shudder. When they finally do pull apart again, they’re gasping each other’s air, foreheads pressed together. There isn’t anywhere they aren’t pressed together.

“You want to get out of here?” It takes a good minute for Aleks' brain to process the question and understand it, especially when Trevor won’t stop moving the thigh that he’s straddling.

“Where? I mean, fuck yes, obviously.” He’s so turned on that he barely recognizes his own voice, low and uneven. He has to kiss Trevor again before letting him respond, pull Trevor’s lower lip between his teeth and get another perfect moan for his trouble.

“My place? There’s already a Lyft waiting outside for Criken, I don’t think he’d mind if we asked-,”

“We’re stealing it, right now.” Trevor’s face is in danger of splitting open from the grin that elicits, and he pulls Aleks away from the wall and toward the side door out of the warehouse, elated laughter bubbling out of them both. Aleks spots the mistletoe discarded on the floor as they rush off the set, and Trevor sees it a second after, almost reading his mind.

“We don’t need it.” A weight that Aleks didn’t even realize was there lifts off of his chest, and he lets a giggling Trevor pull him through a labyrinth of costume racks and prop mountains to their escape, leaving it and most of his belongings behind. He has their fingers tangled together, the taste of Trevor’s lips on his. He doesn’t need anything else.

It’s shaping up to be a merry Christmas after all.