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Author's note: Thanks as always to my j20 peanut gallery, for cheering me on.

Odds Are
by Tara LJC O'Shea

"I say, at least two more nogs, and then he makes his move."

"You're dreaming."

"I say at least four."

"Oh, come on! There's enough brandy in that eggnog to dope a horse! That's enough Dutch courage for three field agents and six tech support geeks."

"How many has he had?"

"One and a half—he spilled the first one when he tripped over Delano."

"Yeah. That was smooth."

"I say one, and they dance first."

"He hasn't danced with her yet?"

"Has he even seen her yet?"

"She's been talking to Lou for the last fifteen minutes."

"What's going on?"

"Carver has a pool going."

"What's the ante?"

"20 bucks. But you're not allowed in."

"Why?"

"Because you cheat, Seymour."

"Cheat? I che—that's slanderous! That's totally unfair—"

"Marissa Donatello's baby."

"Okay, is it my fault that my cousin Cheryl just happened to go to summer camp three years running with her brother's girlfriend's sister?"

"Did you place your bet before, or after you placed the call?"

"So, what am I not betting on?"

"See over there?"

"Yeah?"

"Hanging right there, with the stupid ribbons—"

"Do tell! And we are waiting for the enigmatic Mr. Foley to...?"

"Shhhhhh! Not so loud."

"What? He's, like, all the way over by the ice sculpture—"

"Just—just keep your voice down."

"Okay, Fran here says the doc corners him. But my money is on him growing a pair and making the first move."

"Please. You two haven't seen those two in the lab."

"Those two—Foley and—-"

"Shhhhh! Jesus, Seymour, no wonder they put you in the basement!"

"Wait wait wait—why is Fo—why is he in the medlab?"

"That's classified."

"Okay, when you say 'classified'—"

"Oh! She's on the move!"

"What's her 20?"

"Buffet table."

"Oh, check out the reaction!"

"The dress is—"

"It's a good dress."

"Props for the dress."

"That's gotta hurt. Eggnog in the sinuses. Ow."

"Are they...?"

"Hey—you're humint. You figure it out."

"I was just asking."

"No."

"Not yet."

"Third eggnog. I'm telling ya, he's going for it."

"Houston, we have a problem."

"No! Somebody go over there and tell Mitchell to back off!"

"It's the dress, I'm telling you. I mean, who knew?"

"You know, a woman can be a brilliant doctor and be hot."

"I'm not debating that. Did I say anything of the sort?"

"Carver! Go dance with Mitchell!"

"You go dance with Mitchell."

"Whoa—hey. Don't ask, don't tell."

"Shit. There goes Daniels, too."

"In fact, can we just keep all of Crypto away from her? Those guys are weird."

"Those guys are weird."

"Ooooh, she did the hair thing."

"What hair thing?"

"That hair thing."

"Whoa."

"Okay, I'm with Fran. I think she's got a plan. She did the hair thing twice."

"No man is immune to the hair thing."

"You know, Lou knows she went to Seattle."

"Really?"

"Please. Give the woman some credit."

"Seattle? What happened in Seattle?"

"That's—"

"Lemme guess. Classified?"

"Hart? You're cut off."

"I am not drunk."

"Then whose hand is on my ass?"

"Is that your ass?"

"It's not my elbow."

"Oh crap, here comes—"

"Agent Duarte! Have you partaken of the Christmas cheer?"

"Sy, they let you out of the basement?"

"For special occasions, for special occasions."

"So—what's the ante?"

"Ante, sir?"

"Carver's got a pool, right?"

"I don't know what you mean, sir."

"I've got $50 on the doctor. That's quite the dress."

"And she did the hair thing."

"Twice."

"My money's still on our boy."

"He's gonna have to throw down with Daniels."

"I thought Daniels was married?"

"Divorced, last April."

"That's a shame."

"Not according to his ex. She works at Foggy Bottom. I know the guy who's two cubes over from her—"

"Oh! He cut in! He is the man!"

"Is it too late to change mine?"

"I'm telling you—it's the hair thing."

"Okay, he needs to manoeuvre her—"

"That sounds dirty."

"Hart, you think everything sounds dirty."

"They're moving away from it, though. They need to move towards it."

"He'll get there. I'm telling you, he's making his move."

"He's not a bad dancer."

"You should see him with his shirt off."

"Fran!"

"What? He works out. I'm just saying."

"I thought you were seeing that guy from Senator Matheson's office—"

"Oh, God, not since forever. It was just at that one thing, the FBI thing with the one guy. He was weird."

"Slow song. And look at him—such a pro. They're almost there."

"You assume it's him—"

"Well, he is leading."

"Aw, they're so cute!"

"Okay, now who's drunk?"

"Shut it, Hart."

"So, I heard you two double dated—"

"I wouldn't call it a double date, exactly."

"Who knew there were NSA groupies?"

"Chicks dig spies."

"Chicks?"

"Uh, um... women—I've heard that the ladies, you know—"

"Seymour? Quit while you're ahead."

"She just put her head on his shoulder!"

"Wow. She knows her stuff."

"Have you been doing this all night?"

"Sir?"

"Watching the two of them, waiting—"

"It's either that, or wait to see which of the codebreakers throws up in the potted plant next to the ladies room first."

"Okay, I remember last year. Somebody really needed to tell Theresa that tequila shots were not a good idea."

"Yeah, I think she figured that out."

"Too late for the plant, though."

"Well... yeah."

"I think it was a ficus."

"Yeah, they're fragile."

"Okay—somebody needs to go over and bribe the band. Nobody can score to the 'Grinch' song."

"I wouldn't say nobody—"

"Sir, with all due respect?"

"Yeah. No. I see your point."

"Where are they going?"

"Crap."

"Where is she—"

"Shit. I think—I think he's—"

"Crap crap crap crap—"

"Hart! Again, not my elbow!"

"Hey, guys. What's going on?"

"Hey, Jake. You having a good time?"

"Some party, huh? I mean—wow. Did you see that ice sculpture?"

"Chief Director Skerrit went all out."

"Yeah—last year I was at the IT one—it wasn't quite like this. I mean, IT guys? Know how to party, don't get me wrong..."

"I've heard that. About IT."

"You know, I know a guy—"

"Really, Seymour? You know a guy?"

"Yeah, he—wait. Was that sarcasm?"

"So, what's the pool?"

"What?"

"The pool."

"Pool? What? No. There's no pool."

"Really? I heard about Marissa's baby—"

"Well, yeah. But that was—I mean. Have you tried the egg nog?"

"Yeah. It's good."

"If fact, I think I might go get some—"

"You know what? Me too. I'm feeling a little dry."

"I'll join you."

"Like rats from a sinking ship."

"Et tu, Kyle?"

"Yeah, well—nobody told Seymour about nano-hearing."

"That's classified."

"So, anybody throw up at the IT party last year?"

"Yeah, somebody should have told Darin that the killer combo of nog and Jager was a bad idea."

"It could have been worse. It could have been tequila."

"This is true."

"Jake?"

"Yeah?"

"You owe me 50 bucks."

"Kyle?"

"Yeah?"

"Go dance with Lou."

"You know, I just might."

"Go get her, Tiger."

"Okay, never call me 'Tiger' ever again."

"You better hurry—I think that guy Daniels from Crypto is about to make his move."

"Those codebreaker guys are weird."

"You know, I've heard that."

"Hey, Diane. Merry Christmas. And may I say, you're looking lovely tonight."

"Why, thank you, Agent Duarte!"

"Kyle?"

"Yes, Jake?"

"You didn't mention my outfit."

"I thought that was for the best."

"Nobody gets my style."

"You have a style?"

"Thanks, Diane. Always good to know you've got my back. Cab on its way?"

"Yeah."

"You guys are taking off?"

"Um, yeah—"

"Long day."

"Yeah. Really—with the tests, and the treadmill—Long."

"I bet."

"G'night, Kyle."

"You two be good."

"What did he mean—?"

"Did you know that Marissa Donatello—"

"Yeah, in the cloakroom at last year's party. Carver had a pool."

"A pool? Carver? No!"

"Funny. Who's that guy with Fran?"

"That's LaFortunata."

"The one from the basement?"

"The one and only."

"Huh."

"He's not a bad guy."

"He looks like my cousin Murray."

"I think he looks like everybody's cousin Murray."

"The cab'll be out front—"

"Wait, let's just wait here for just a minute. Just, like, two minutes."

"Well, they won't be here for another—hey, is Kyle doing what I think he's doing?"

"Shhhh.... you'll jinx it. Oh! The band's playing 'Santa Baby!' Sweet!"

"Wow. Okay, I owe you 20 bucks."

"Just give it to Kyle."

"Wha...?"

"Nevermind. Have I told you you look amazing in that dress?"

"You know, I don't think you have."

"And you did the hair thing."

"The hair thing?"

"Twice. I've heard no man can resist the hair thing."

"Have you?"

"C'mere."

"But the cab's gonna be—"

"Yeah, but the mistletoe's over here."