A/N: Here it is, the last chapter. Please don't yell. It was getting difficult to continue. I have a long list of possible attributes, but they weren't strong enough to build entire chapters around them, so I thought I'd end it before it got stale.
Thank you all so much for your extremely kind reviews and amazing interest in this story. This is the first multi-chapter fic that I've written that has received more than 100 reviews, and I am truly touched by how much you all like it. It really means a lot to me.
Special thanks to Auddie and Cyko for the beta and the reassurances.
"All our young lives we search for someone to love...someone who makes us complete. We chose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect...who might be searching for us."
- Kevin Arnold, "The Wonder Years"
Lindsay had never been inside Danny's apartment before, but examining the décor was the last thing on her mind as his fingers slid underneath her blouse and ran along the sensitive skin of her stomach. She shivered and gripped the back of his head, bringing his mouth to hers. She kissed him with fiery abandon, pouring her heart out through her lips. Danny returned the kiss with equal fervor, worshipping her mouth like a pilgrim bows before a religious relic.
She pulled away and licked her lips, tasting him still and hopelessly addicted. She met Danny's gaze, unwilling to look away. "So…dinner, drinks, a few laughs?" she asked, grinning.
Danny blew out a slow breath across her collarbone. She shivered again. "Total bullshit," he mumbled, surging forward to kiss her once more. His fingers slid up her stomach, and she inhaled sharply as they brushed the underside of her breast. "If I can't have you – all of you – then I seriously might die."
She giggled and fingered the waistband of his jeans. "Well," she murmured, "we wouldn't want that to happen, now would we?"
He groaned and backed her against the door. "No. We wouldn't."
She slipped her hands under his shirt. He hissed in a sharp breath and swore softly. There was so much she wanted to tell him, and she had no idea how to begin. "Danny – "
She never got to finish, because quite suddenly Danny was kissing her, robbing her of coherent speech and conscious thought. The kiss was a contradiction – full of passion and need and tenderness and promise. It was slow and deep and so erotic she thought she might swoon. The only thing keeping her upright were Danny's hands on her hips. She wound her arms around his neck, desperate to get as close to him as possible.
Somehow, they ended up in his bedroom, tangled in the sheets of his unmade bed. It didn't matter how they got there – what was important was that they had. That Danny was slowly undressing her, delicately unwrapping her layer by layer. The look in his bright blue eyes nearly made her come undone right then. It was possessive and helpless at the same time, yet he was gazing at her with barely concealed awe, as though he couldn't believe that she was really beneath him.
She had never felt so complete.
Afterwards, she lay draped across his chest, delicately tracing the lines of his tattoo. She thought he was asleep, but he tightened his arm around her, shifting her position so that she was completely on top of him.
"Linds," he said, "I have to ask you something."
The seriousness of his tone made her nervous. She took a deep breath and nodded. "Sure."
He dropped his head back against the pillow, sighing. Then he met her gaze. "I couldn't help but notice your tattoo."
Lindsay froze. She had completely forgotten. She felt her cheeks grow warm and knew that she must be a brilliant shade of red. She burrowed her face into his chest so that she wouldn't have to look at him. "I got it in college," she mumbled against his skin.
His chuckle reverberated through his chest. "Damn, I must be good. You branded yourself with my initial before you even met me."
She lightly slapped him on the shoulder. "You are so full of yourself."
He wrapped his other arm around her and then rolled them over so that he was on top. "Mmm," he said, nuzzling her neck. "I'd rather that you be full of me."
She gasped. "Danny Messer, that was a dirty joke!"
He grinned and waggled his eyebrows. "Why, yes it was, Miss Monroe. What are you going to do about it?"
She licked her lips and watched his pupils dilate. "For starters, I'm going to kiss that smirk off your face."
He laughed and leaned forward. "I like the sound of that," he said against her lips.
Several weeks later, Lindsay received a package from Montana. She furrowed her brow and cautiously unwrapped the brown paper. There was a note from her brother on top.
Found these in one of Mom's old trunks. Thought you might like them.
Lindsay picked her way through the box, pulling out items such as one of her mother's old scarves and pictures of Lindsay at her kindergarten graduation. Lindsay lightly ran her fingers over the image of her mother as her eyes stung with tears. But the thing that held her most captivated was at the bottom of the box.
It was a faded piece of paper that had been folded and unfolded many times. Curious, Lindsay opened it. The writing was barely visible but recognizable. It was hers. Or at least, it had been hers, at the age of ten.
It was her list.
Her hand flew to her mouth as she scanned it. She was certain that her mother had thrown it away. She read line after line, her heart beating madly. It couldn't be. It just wasn't possible. She jammed the paper in her pocket and dashed out her door. She was at Danny's in record time, pounding wildly on his door.
"Linds?" Danny asked, opening the door to let her in. "Did we have a date and I didn't remember?"
She shoved the list under his nose. "Read that."
He cocked an eyebrow but indulged her, taking the paper out of her trembling hands and reading it. When he was finished, he looked up. "Am I missing something?"
"I wrote that when I was ten," she said. "It's a list of all the attributes I wanted my perfect guy to have."
Danny nodded patiently. "Yeah?"
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "You fit all of them."
He looked at the list with renewed interest. "Really?"
"Do you know what that means?"
Danny shook his head, his eyes still glued to the piece of paper. "I have a cute butt?" He grinned at her.
"Danny, I'm serious." He sighed and set the list aside. "Do you believe in soul mates?"
"No. Do you?"
She didn't know what to think. The list had been a joke; she hadn't been serious, but here was her perfect man, standing before her, looking at her like she was crazy. Colt, Dexter, Martin… They had been stops along the road that ultimately had led her to Danny. They were the opening acts she had to suffer through before she got to the main event.
She was in love with Danny. She always had been. She just wasn't willing to admit it to herself. But now the proof was staring her in the face.
She smiled. "I didn't used to believe," she said. "And then I met you."
He quirked his lips in a half-grin and drew her into an embrace with one arm. "That's the corniest thing I've heard."
"You love it," she said.
He leaned forward until his forehead rested against hers. "I love you."
She pressed a light kiss to his lips and felt the tears come. "Isn't this about the time I'm supposed to give you a pen?"
Danny laughed and wiped away a stray tear with his thumb. "You'd better not. I give you my heart and you give me a pen? That's cold, Monroe."
She wrapped her arms around him, burrowing her face into his chest. "You have my heart. Jackass."
He laughed and captured her lips once more. There was very little talk after that.