Epilogue – Binding, Legal Agreements and Snowstorms

Disclaimer: Last time I checked, I still didn't own anything more than a few calendars and pencils. Sigh.

Everyone has finally gone home after an 'entertaining' day of decorating and eating. What will happen now, you ask? The true end of this story now begins as one figure makes his way back to her house. Sigh… binding, legal agreements are so much fun.

WARNING!!: contains much, much fluffiness and mushy stuff!! May be a little explicit for younger readers. You have been warned!!!

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After giving the five departing figures one last enthusiastic wave of her arm, Téa shut the door and flicked the lock, sighing happily. Another Christmas Eve to look forward to, she thought, before her cheeks glowed brighter than a sunset. Seto's final touch on her arm still lingered and tingled. She wouldn't be spending this Christmas alone, either.

Walking back into the living room, she surveyed the mess that greeted her. Grimace. Sigh. The work was never done. Mugs of half-finished cider littered the coffee and end tables. Wrinkled vegetables peeked out from underneath the couch, reminding her of Joey's battle with them earlier that night. And he hadn't done a good job cleaning them up either. She'd have to get him for that later. Maybe threaten to not make his birthday cake as she usually did. That would certainly make him sit up and listen.

Glancing at the clock on top of the T.V., she saw that it was already 7:30 in the evening. The sun had set over an hour ago and she still had the mess of the century to clean up. Sigh. Might as well get started. At least she could listen to the radio while she was cleaning. Turning it up a bit, she heard the merry sounds of "Jingle Bell Rock" as it played and she couldn't help but smile.

Tonight had been very interesting indeed.

Téa spent the next couple of hours or so putting the living room and kitchen back into some semblance of order. The dishes were washed, dried and put away, the leftovers, what few there were thanks to Joey and Mokuba, were put away in the fridge, the tables were dusted and the carpet was vacuumed. Her mouth gaped open in a yawn and she stretched her arms over her head as she headed upstairs to have a quick shower before having an early date with her bed. Her friends were great but they could be emotionally draining when she was in a constant battle to stop one from killing another. If only they knew what had really happened through the night, they would have hit the roof and really tried to kill Seto.

Mmm, Seto, she thought, a grin breaking through yet another yawn as she stepped under the hot spray of water. Memories of him flashed through her mind, from the "I'm sorry", to the snow-shovelling and subsequent kiss in the snow to that last kiss they'd shared, ALONE, under the mistletoe. Seto Kaiba was a better kisser than she would have given him credit for yesterday. She couldn't wait for him to collect on their 'binding legal agreement'. That little lick on her cheek he'd given her during their second mistletoe kiss… she owed him for that one. Payback was always fun and didn't necessarily have to involve a snow wash. She scrubbed herself dry with her towel, put her pyjamas on and walked into her room.

Her bed looked so inviting, so warm and cozy, with its' pink and white comforter and big, fluffy pillows but she wasn't as tired as she'd been before her shower. Shrugging her shoulders, she threw on her red, silk bathrobe and headed downstairs. Maybe some mindless T.V. and a cup of hot chocolate would relax her enough to hit the sheets.

Settled on the couch, mug of marshmallows melting in hot chocolate in hand, she flicked on the T.V. and turned it to one of the movie stations. Some mindless movie with Kevin Costner on a boat played on the screen but she really wasn't paying too much attention. Too lost in thoughts of Seto Kaiba and what the two of them had started that day. Smiling as she set down her mug of hot chocolate, she recalled how easy it was to fluster him. And then remembered with chagrin, how easy it was for him to do the same to her. Fingering the pendant that hung around her neck, she giggled. Whoever would have thought that the fiery cheerleader and the cold-hearted bastard would be so well suited for each other?

Mokuba, obviously. It had been his own, devilish idea to hang the mistletoe in the kitchen. Thank God he had, or the two of them would have driven each other crazy through the night. Her cheeks grew hot when she remembered how intense that kiss had been.

Lifting onto her tiptoes, she kissed him back with an eagerness that surprised even herself. He was being too gentle, though, this time around. The heat was what she wanted from him. Raw passion right now. The electric friction between them increased exponentially and he groaned softly as she nipped at his bottom lip. His mouth opened for her and her tongue swept in, tasting the cider he'd had earlier and his own unique taste as well. She didn't know exactly how to describe it but to her, he tasted like fire.

He pulled her closer, deepening the kiss as his tongue sparred with hers. He felt so warm and… male and… solid that she couldn't resist letting her hands skim down his back, lightly caressing the muscles and feeling them tense at her touch. A groan escaped his lips when her hands reached lower and gave a little squeeze …

Ding dong ding dong … ding dong ding dong.

Ding dong ding dong … ding dong ding dong.

Ding dong ding dong … ding dong ding dong.

Ding dong ding dong … ding dong ding dong.

She sat up with a start, rubbing her eyes and realized that she had fallen asleep on the couch. And someone was about to break the doorbell if they didn't stop punching it soon. She wasn't deaf and whoever it was had gotten her attention. Sighing as she finger combed her still damp hair and tightened the sash on her robe, she headed for the front door, determined to give whoever was on the other side a piece of her mind for waking up the entire neighbourhood at… she checked the clock over the T.V… 11:13 at night and ruining her perfect dream. It had better not be Joey come begging for more leftovers. The door latch felt cool under her fingers as she pressed it down after snicking the lock open.

"Did you think I'd forgotten about our 'binding, legal agreement', Gardner?" a cool voice asked amidst the swirl of snow the wind carried into her face. No, it couldn't be... could it? Could the object of her dreams be standing at her door right now?

"Seto? What are you doing here? You do realize what time it is, don't you?" Téa regarded him sleepily as he stepped into the hallway and she shut the door behind him, somehow noting that he'd changed before re-appearing at her house. Snug blue jeans and a thick, black, cable knit sweater caressed his long, lean form. A form she couldn't help but admire from all angles as he slipped his coat off his shoulders and placed it on the banister. Before her sleepy mind could react, Seto had her in his arms and the scent of his aftershave surrounded her once more.

"Of course I know what time it is. It's time for you to pay me for all of my services and hard work. You promised to make it worth my while, remember?" he whispered, sliding his hands up her back to her shoulders, feeling some sort of smooth material slip under his fingers. He hadn't gotten a look at her yet. The thrice-damned snow out there had obscured his vision when she'd opened the door and he hadn't been able to stop himself from holding her close.

"At this time of night? I was just about to slip off to bed," she complained, mocking him gently, inhaling his scent. It was like a drug to her. She could never get enough of it. She was going to have to buy a bottle of it or something.

She felt his laughter and grinned as she held him closer for a second before pushing herself away from him. The front hallway was no place for this sort of thing. He gasped sharply when he saw what, exactly, she was wearing. She hadn't been kidding about getting ready for bed.

That blue tank top and shorts pyjama set he'd seen spread out on her bed earlier now covered her exquisite form. Not that he could see much of it with the long, rumpled, red silk robe she wore over top of it. Combined with that sleepy look in her eyes and her damp, tousled hair, he decided that the 'just getting ready for bed look' was sexy as all get out. His breath caught in his throat as his wandering eyes saw the telltale glitter of the pendant and chain he'd given her still around her neck. Through the V of the robe, he could see that it rested under her pyjama top, right between her… The brilliant flush of scarlet across his cheeks was greeted with a knowing look when his eyes came up to meet hers. Her eyes flicked down and saw that he was still wearing her belt buckle. She knew that that had been a great present for him and wondered now why she had agonized so long over it.

"Going to bed so soon?" he asked, his tone light-hearted and not too serious, "Care for some company?" She didn't answer but her laughter rang out merrily as she turned and headed towards the living room once more. They always ended up either there or in the kitchen, it seemed. Not that he minded, as long as he was close to her.

The smell of her hair was subtly different, he thought as he followed her into the living room. She sat down at the end of the couch and patted the seat beside her, smiling all the while. The chain from the pendant still glittered in the glow coming from the T.V. and he couldn't take his eyes off it when he sat down next to her. She snuggled into him immediately, hand on his chest and cheek resting in that oh-so comfortable spot on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her in closer. The damp strands of her hair caressed his chin and neck and he inhaled that unfamiliar scent of her shampoo once more. Strawberries, he figured and sighed. Yet another company he was going to have to buy.

She trailed a finger up and down the sweater that covered his perfect chest, lazily drawing circles, and sighed softly in contentment. Another yawn broke through a second later and she felt the rumble of laughter in his chest once more.

"Tired?" Seto asked, his fingers running through her hair now, revelling in the damp, silky softness.

"What do you think?" she asked right back, sitting up a little so she could peer into his blue, blue eyes. "I told you I was just about to go to bed."

"Judging by that yawn, I'd say you were too tired to make good on that little promise you made me a few hours ago." A note of challenge hung in the air between them and he watched the grin spread across her beautiful face. He was in for it now.

"Too tired? I don't know. I'm not sure if you could handle it…"

"Bring it on," was his only response and the glimmer in her eyes made him weak in the knees. Maybe he shouldn't have issued her the challenge. Maybe he should have just…

Too late.

Quick as a wink, he was on his back on the couch with Téa straddling him across his middle. Provocative. Sensual, especially with her curtain of hair cascading over her shoulders as she leaned over him. Her pendant swung free, giving him a tantalizing view of what was underneath that blue tank top. At least he wasn't sweating. Yet.

"Sure you can handle it?" Her sexy whisper sent shivers down his spine. Payback time for that lick under the mistletoe. He just didn't know it yet. And she was going to make him really work for this 'agreement'.

"Bring it on," Seto commanded once more, wrapping his arms around her waist. The damn robe was too slippery, his hands just kept sliding down. Growling low in his throat, he pulled at the sash holding it closed and made a move to slip his hands under it.

"Ah ah ah," she scolded. "None of that. I'm supposed to be making it worth your while." She grasped his wrists in her hands and held them down over his head. This was a new twist, he thought. He'd never had anyone do this before. Not that he'd ever been in this exact position before, with a girl straddling him. Usually, he was the one in control of the situation, no matter what it was. Then again, he'd never messed with Téa before. The fiery cheerleader was constantly surprising him. She had usurped his authority completely. Her grip was surprisingly strong as well.

She pressed her body closer to him, molding it to his, and he inhaled sharply. So soft and warm, even through that thrice-damned robe that was now half-open. Her face was inches above his, her knees keeping her weight off him and the wicked gleam in her luminous blue eyes was beguiling. How had he never noticed before today how attractive she was?

"Are you ready?" she asked, her lips hovering just millimetres above his. A groan escaped his lips just then and his hands tried to wiggle free of her grasp. No use, her grip was too tight. He was trapped… and turned on.

Her lips ghosted across his, barely skimming them, once, twice. Her hair tickled his cheeks and his breathing became a little more erratic at the near misses. Coherent thought was gone. All he wanted was for her lips to just press down on his. Teasing him was ever so much fun, she thought, watching his eyes gaze pleadingly at her. Who knew that taking control away from Seto would leave him as putty in her hands?

"Well folks, hope you have someone to cuddle up with tonight. The weather forecast is calling for 8-12 inches more of that nasty, white stuff. All major roads in Domino City have been closed to allow the road crews to prepare for the inclement weather…," the weatherman announced, his voice droning on but Téa stopped paying attention.

She grazed Seto's lips once more, smiling wickedly as he arched underneath her, trying to capture her mouth with his. Pressing a little harder against his wrists, she pressed in even closer to him, hearing his gasp and subsequent groan at the exquisite pressure of her on top of him. "That was payback for that little lick you gave me back there in the kitchen a couple of hours ago. If you promise to be good, I'll let go of your hands."

Seto nodded his head emphatically, unable to even say a word with his brain turned to mush. If she kept this up, he wasn't going to survive. Seeing his nod, she smiled and slowly released her grip on his wrists. They plunged into her hair and pulled her down so that his mouth finally connected with hers. A relieved sigh broke through and his lips caressed hers thoroughly for the next couple of minutes before they separated. He gazed up at her half-lidded eyes, passion-bruised mouth, and grinned wickedly, finally able to put a thought together.

"You are as naughty as I am," he whispered. "Santa isn't going to bring presents to either of us this year." He chuckled softly as one of her fingers traced over her lips. Now she was the one blushing a brilliant scarlet. A giggle erupted from deep in her throat and her eyes sparkled merrily as she regarded him, flushed and breathing heavily, underneath her.

"Santa already has," Téa whispered playfully, watching his eyes widen as he took in the meaning of her words. Eyes that blue and sexy should be illegal. One look and she was willing to do anything. And the way he was looking at her right now…

Seto sat up slowly, his arms around her waist holding her in his lap and felt her legs wrap around him. God, what a thought-provoking position this was. No, he couldn't think about that… Too late. He already was. A boy and a girl. Alone in a house. NO possibility of interruptions at this time of night… but he couldn't… His mouth came down on hers once more, his teeth nipping at her lower lip. Her mouth parted for him and his tongue swept in, tasting the hot chocolate she'd had earlier and her own unique flavour as well. He didn't know how to describe it, just that he wanted to taste more of it. He would never get tired of this one thing. And judging by the way she was gripping his arms, she wouldn't either.

Téa was in serious danger of swooning when the kiss was broken a moment later. But that was all right since Seto really didn't seem to want to relinquish his hold on her anytime soon. If it was possible, he'd become an even better kisser since earlier that evening. Maybe he'd looked up how to do it on the Internet…? "Wow."

Hugging her close, Seto stood up and heard her sharp gasp of surprise. "Thank you. Now, if I don't get you to bed soon…"

"What?" Had she heard right? Seto was taking her to bed? He was really strong…

"You need to get some sleep. And I need to get home. I have a lot of work to do if you expect me to come to your Christmas Eve sleepover." Sighing softly at his innocent need to get her to bed for sleep, and nothing else, she snuggled in closer to him, her nose against his neck as she inhaled his scent once more before something popped into her head.

"But you can't go home. All of the major roads in Domino City are closed for tonight because of the weather."

That stopped him mid-stride as he looked at her. What was she talking about? Where had she heard this crazy idea?

"It's not a crazy idea. That's what the weatherman said earlier… when I was … teasing you," she replied, biting her lip to stop from laughing at the look of incredulity on his face. Obviously, he hadn't realized that he'd spoken aloud. If that were true, then how was he supposed to get home? He had reports that he needed to work on before the meeting he had on Tuesday. There were disk designs that he had to finish for the R&D team so they could start work on building a proto-type. He had to…

She licked his cheek, her tongue scraping against the stubble, sending shivers racing through him. Musky but sweet, she thought, before saying, "Loosen up. Stop thinking about work so much."

"How… how did you know that I was thinking about work?" She must be able to read minds. If she could… he was in big trouble.

"You tensed up. Don't worry about what you can't control. Besides tomorrow is Sunday. Even you need a day off once in a while. And… and… you could sleep here… if you wanted…" her voice trailed off as she realized the implications of what she was saying. Two hormone driven teenagers alone in a house with a raging snowstorm outside. That was just about asking for trouble, or something, or Heaven forbid BOTH, to happen.

"On the couch. I'll sleep on the couch," he stuttered, flames burning his cheeks. He was feeling very shy and awkward all of a sudden. No matter how much he wanted to be alone with her, something like this was way, way, way beyond his spectrum of experience. She wriggled against him, bringing him back to the here and now.

"Put me down," she asked, her hands pushing against his shoulders. If he was going to stay here on the couch, she needed to get some things out of the closet for him. Pillows and blankets she had, but what about pyjamas. SHE had nothing in her closet that would fit him. Not even her father's clothes would fit his tall, lean, sexy frame. He obliged and set her down gently on the first step heading up to the second floor. And her bedroom, he thought to himself, almost disappointed that he wouldn't be able to see it tonight, even if it was just to tuck her in there.

"I'll be back in a sex… I mean sec… I just have to grab some blankets and pillows for you. I'll be … uh… yeah… just a minute…" she stuttered, calling herself an idiot in every language she could think of and inventing new words for it at the same time before dashing up the stairs at top speed. What a Freudian slip!!!!!

Seto stared after her in some confusion. Had she just said what he thought she'd just said? He shrugged his shoulders. Not that that was likely to happen in the near future. Just thinking about it made him flush to the roots of his hair. He turned around and wandered back to the couch to watch something, hopefully distracting him enough from that line of thought so that his poor heart could stop racing.

Pounding footsteps on the stairs alerted him to her re-entrance into the living room and he found himself unexpectedly covered with green blankets, red blankets and three enormous pillows. Well, his hair was already messy anyways, he thought as he unburied himself. There she stood in front of him, red robe gone and a smile as wide as Texas gracing that oh-so kissable mouth. The pendant was still there, too, the end of it hiding under her blue tank top.

"Well, um, I guess this is good night, Seto…" she said, clasping her hands demurely in front of her, totally contradicting the smile on her face. He threw the pile of bedding off to the side as she walked towards him. "Hope you sleep well. I've napped on that couch before and it's quite comfortable."

Great, how was he supposed to sleep with images of her sleeping there running through his mind? At least he was going to be in the same house as her. Maybe not next to her but close enough. "Sleep well, Téa. And I'll make breakfast in the morning."

Her eyes widened at that. "You can cook?" Her question was greeted with amused laughter as his hands clasped hers.

"Quite well actually. I just never have the time to between looking after Mokuba, school and my company." He pulled her closer and placed a sweet, gentle kiss on her cheek. "Thank you, for everything."

Téa pulled out of his grasp and turned to head back up the stairs. "You're amazing. Did you know that?" She left the question hanging between them as she went upstairs to her big, empty, cold bed.

He sat on the couch in stunned silence for a moment, going over what she'd just said. Now that had to be one of the best compliments he'd ever gotten. On par with that one line he'd heard in that movie "As Good As It Gets".

He tiptoed upstairs a couple of hours later, waiting to make sure she was asleep before he snuck up to have a peek. The house was quiet and dark, only the occasional creak of the trees outside as they bent for the wind breaking the perfect silence. The stairs didn't even creak as he carefully placed his sock-covered toes on them to minimize any noise he might make.

Just a peek. That's all he wanted. A real image of her sleeping, her hair fanned out on the pillows under her head, her lips parted as she breathed softly. If he was lucky, she might give a little sigh or moan. That was wishful thinking on his part.

Her bedroom door was already slightly ajar and he pushed it open, praying to whatever Higher Powers there were that it wouldn't squeal at this most inopportune moment.

It didn't.

He inched his way into her room and stopped when he saw her sleeping form snuggled underneath a huge pink and white comforter. Cursing silently, he realized he was going to have to go in further if he wanted to see her face. Sigh. Nothing was ever easy. The floorboards squeaked once and he froze as the form on the bed shifted position. Téa sighed softly and snuggled in further under the covers. He heaved a sigh of relief and continued on with his reconnaissance.

Finally, he reached the opposite side of her bed and peered down at her. Just like an angel. The pendant rested on the pillow, her hand clutching at the silver chain. Her mouth was parted just a little bit and he heard the soft sounds of her breathing.

Her blue eyes opened a moment later and stared at him knowingly. "What took you so long?" she whispered, her voice sleepy sounding. He just kept looking at her. Sigh. Nothing was ever easy. "Crawl in. There's room for two…" her voice trailed off as he audibly gulped. She smiled and flipped the covers back, motioning for him to get in.

So he did. She covered them both back up again and snuggled into his back, draping one arm over his waist. He sighed contentedly at the heat she radiated and burrowed down into the soft pillow under his head. "Thank you."

"..'t mention it. Just go to sleep." The rhythmic motion of her breathing told him she was almost asleep again. So he closed his eyes, smiling, and dreamed of a place that time didn't know.

Really FIN

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Wow. Told you it was cute, sweet and full of fluffiness. Hope you all enjoyed this. Expect the first chapter of the sequel in a couple of weeks. The semester at University will be done and I'll be able to concentrate whole-heartedly on that project.

Thanks again.

Aphrael21 ;)