By rese

Summary: On Jo's eighteenth birthday, questions are asked and demands are made.

Disclaimer: Louisa May Alcott owns Little Women and not me. Therefore she gets money and not me.

A/N: well, I feel it's necessary to write something in celebration for my becoming an adult yesterday. This instead of the cigar smoking and contract signing my ancient history buddy and I thought were appropriate activities for this afternoon. Also instead of me doing my feminism (my god, even us ladies hate that) in art sheets for homework. How I despise art.

I am going to do a sequel for No, Don't soon (when I can make the time) so keep an eye out. Slash I have so much to finish with other stories… it'll happen. Sure.

This story seems a little OOC to me, and darkerish than my usual J/L oneshots. But whatever. The fandom's a little slow with stories now.

"Jo," the deep whisper came over her shoulder.

"Teddy!" Jo practically squeaked as she turned around to find him standing all too close. He smelt of something more than lemonade and she gave the tall boy a stern look that in turn made him smile sheepishly back. "I didn't know there was champagne, Laurie."

"Oh so it's 'Laurie' again is it?" he asked, leaning in further. Jo immediately took a step back and straightened up, preparing herself for an overly sentimental Theodore Laurence as was usually the case when he happened across liquor.

"Honestly Jo, you shouldn't be so scornful, and ah!" he held a pointing finger at her raised brow and disappointed look, stopping her from interrupting him with denial "don't tell me you aren't!" Laurie's face had come close to hers again during the lecture and she swallowed as she caught a whiff of his breath again which seemed warmer than normal.

"Oh? Well then, you shouldn't be so easily tempted Laurie." She crossed her arms and instantly regretted the action as the boy leaned a hand by her head on the wall and brought himself closer. Jo looked around, over Laurie's shoulder and through his arm to see if there was anyone else about, anyone else who might save her, anyone else who might catch them in such a way.

"Oh, but Jo, you don't realise just how hard it is." His head lowered to rest by hers and again she swallowed.

"Maybe you should try harder then."

"Should I?" His voice had lowered considerably and Jo felt that the small thrill that raced up her neck as Laurie's breath hit it was simply a response to the clearly uncomfortable position she found herself in.

"Should I, Jo?" He repeated.

Jo didn't respond but Laurie continued to lower his head until it was stopped by Jo's shoulder. His breaths stirred the wisps of hair from on the base of her hairline and Jo found them long and surprisingly steady, for had Laurie not poured that extra glass to toast Jo a 'very merry day' each time she had passed the front door he might have found his erratic heart making itself heard through his voice as he stood there.

"You have no idea just how difficult it is, Jo. It's so trying and all you do is push me away." She caught the dark look in his eye and Jo tapped his shoulder in an effort to make him straighten up, but Laurie remained still, moving only to cup her jaw in his left hand. "You see?"

Jo gave him an odd look, not understanding his double meanings and ready to flee from the increasingly strange talk from her friend. "Teddy –" she began but was cut off as he tugged her head to face his.

"Why won't you make it easier for me, please?"

"Alright, we won't open any bottles next time you come." Jo answered with a shrug but found the tall young man close his eyes in response.

"Jo," he started, almost ready to tell her she misunderstood and that he wanted her, more than appropriate for a neighbour and friend but he shook his head and stepped back, feeling the world move slightly as his arm fell beside him again. "Thank you."


The pair turned to find a suspicious looking Amy watching them from the doorway. Jo brushed her skirts habitually and Laurie finished straightening up, shaking his head and taking an extra step from Jo.

"The cake's ready."

The fifteen year old turned slowly around, trying to flush the image of their college fellow half draped over her sister from her mind as she went to see over the younger girl cousins.

"Well." Jo said her face redder than the sash on about her waist. She smoothed her skirts again and went for the door but was stooped by the large hand that fell on her arm.

"Jo, wait."

She did and Laurie removed his hand, reluctantly and he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry fellow, for making such a mess." A hand ran through his fashionably cut hair and Jo beheld his apologetic countenance, ready to forgive for his earlier queerness. "It's your birthday and I shouldn't have been so, well… you know. I'm really very sorry."

Jo smiled and held his hand. "It's alright Teddy, just please, promise something for me?"

"Anything." Laurie said easily, beginning to lead Jo out of the side room, his hand still firmly in the one she readily gave.

"Don't drink quite so much, please - you're too serious and today is for fun."

"Only if you promise me something," Laurie answered as he stopped them at the door.

"Anything." Jo smiled, but not as brightly as before.

"Promise that one day you'll understand and the answer will be 'yes'."