AN: For marenkp, an LJ friend of mine. As a holiday gift, I said I'd write her a little fic if she gave me a prompt. Her prompt was: 'caught under the mistletoe', Matt/Kate, so I obviously had fun. ;)
Caught Under the Mistletoe
"This was a bad idea," Matt said as soon as he walked inside the building. This was just the foyer, and already it seemed closer to Versailles than a mansion in Lionsgate City. The ceiling was impossibly tall and covered in golden designs, the chandeliers casting everything in a warm copper glow. There was a wide, sweeping staircase up to the second floor, and Matt could hear tinkling music filtering through the massive double doors at the top. Everywhere he looked there were men in tuxedos and women in ball gowns, all looking much more impressive than him. He gulped.
"Nonsense," said Kate briskly, intertwining her arm with his. He glanced down at her, taking in once again her emerald ball gown that hung over one shoulder and draped down her body in the most becoming way possible. Her mahogany hair was piled in an elegant way on the back of her head, with a few wavy locks hanging down. She was facing the stairway, taking in the room with a regal tilt of her head and a confidant smile just barely showing in the corner of her mouth. "You're right where you're meant to be."
Turning to smile up at him, she gave his arm a little squeeze and then walked forward, taking him with her. Matt was still a little unsure, but he was so captivated by her presence that he followed without further complaint.
"Kate de Vries! Oh, you look magnificent. How lovely to see you!" An elderly woman with an ostentatious chocker of diamonds came up to greet them. She didn't acknowledge Matt but her gaze flickered to him a few times in curiosity.
"Thank you, Mrs. Hamilton. This is an absolutely magnificent party, thank you so much for inviting us." Kate smiled brilliantly, tightening her grip ever so slightly on Matt's arm and looking up at him with visible affection. Matt bit his cheek, knowing she was about to provoke a reaction from Mrs. Hamilton using him as bait, and resigned himself to the task. "Mrs. Hamilton, have you met Matt Cruse?"
"Matt Cruse?" The older woman asked, confused for a moment before recognition sparking in her eyes. "The one who fought that pirate!"
"And found the Hyperion and saved us all when we went into space." Kate's voice was proud, but a little smug, like she was planning something.
"Good gracious!" Mrs. Hamilton said, her hand fluttering up to her throat rather dramatically. "You are most welcome here, young man. Do have a pleasant evening and a Merry Christmas." She rushed off suddenly, after earnestly shaking his hand.
Matt watched her go, confused. "What was that about?"
"She's probably off to tell all her friends that there's a hero at the party tonight." Again, Kate's voice had that smug undertone, and he raised his eyebrows at her.
"What on earth are you planning?"
"Me? Planning? Whatever made you think that?" She blinked at him, her dark eyes wide and deceptively innocent. He didn't say anything, just continued to look at her with raised eyebrows. She held his gaze for another moment before sighing. "Alright, fine. My goal for this evening is to spread as much positive gossip about you as humanly possible."
He chuckled. "Is there such thing as positive gossip? And why, exactly, are you doing that?"
They were walking up the grand staircase now, arm in arm, but for some reason Matt was only mildly self-conscious of slightly-out-of-fashion tux he had bought himself with the money from the Starclimber mission. Maybe it had something to do with all the attention in the room being focused on the woman at his side, not at him. She did look absolutely stunning, the emerald against her pale skin making it glow.
"Well, if I'm going to be marrying you, I want everyone to recognize you for exactly who you are." She said it rather haughtily, and Matt's momentary adoration over her mention of their engagement faded. At the top of the stairs, he made them stop.
"Why do you feel the need to do that?" he asked, turning to face her directly. "To put as positive spin on my appearance here? Do you think I need to prove myself to these people?" A little bubble of anger was building in his chest.
"No!" Kate looked up at him with a frown. "Of course not! I just want them to see the kind of man you are." She made a little noise of aggravation in the back of her throat and laid a hand lightly over her eyes. "Not that you need any help being seen that way…oh, for goodness sake." When she looked up at him, her eyes were apologetic. "It came out of good intentions."
"I know," he replied, anger already slipping away. "It's alright. Just don't set any more old ladies afire, okay?"
She gave him a devilish look. "But what if I want to cause a stir?"
He laughed. "I think you're doing that already." It was true. As they entered the grand ballroom – which made the impossibly elegant foyer look like the mudroom of a cabin he had once stayed in – almost every single gaze was trained on Kate and her vibrantly colored dress. Now it was Matt's turn to feel smug, for she was on his arm.
She turned to him and slipped her gloved hand in his, smiling. He felt something hard under her glove, but this time it was his ring on her finger, and not someone else's. They hadn't told anyone of their engagement, however, so she kept her long gloves on. "Shall we dance?" He nodded and they stepped out into the dance floor.
Having Kate this close to him, wrapped in his arms, felt like some form of heaven. The song was slow and elegant, and just played by the grand piano in the corner. She looked up at him as they slowly twirled, her dark eyes never leaving his. There was a little smile on her lips, and he very much wanted to kiss her then.
The evening passed in a blur of golden lights and elegant music, with snow falling softly through the dark sky outside the windows. Matt and Kate stayed very close together, almost always touching in some way, whether it was Kate's fingers on his arm or his hand on her lower back. When other men asked her to dance, Kate politely declined and Matt felt the bubble of happiness in his chest expand.
As the company began to disperse and brave the snow to go home, Matt and Kate began to walk out of the grand ballroom. Suddenly, she stopped and looked up at the arched doorway.
Matt paused as well. "What?"
She looked back at him and smiled, sliding her hand down his arm to link her fingers with his. "Mistletoe." Her voice was quiet, but her eyes were alight with affection and no small amount of mischief. He looked up at the doorway and saw the little green spring of devilish plant, and then back at Kate. She just kept smiling. "Kiss me, Matt."
He blinked. "Here? In front of…everyone?"
"Mhm." She inched closer to him, tilting her head to look up at him through her eyelashes. "You're not afraid, are you?"
Matt cursed her for being so utterly beautiful and beguiling, standing there with a challenge in her eyes and a smile on her lips. He chuckled slightly and took a step towards her, closing the distance between them to a mere few inches. Around them, he could feel people stopping to stare.
It seemed like a year passed as Matt slowly lowered his head to hers, his free hand cupping her jaw, and gently pressed his lips to hers. It was a chaste kiss, their lips simply touching, and yet it wasn't simple at all.
Kate sighed against his lips, melting into him a little, her fingers tightening in his, her own free hand going to rest lightly on his chest, where his heart was wildly galloping away.
Kissing Kate was like breathing to Matt: completely and utterly necessarily to his existence. He wanted to open his mouth and draw her in deeper, but he was content to just be like this with her, to just be close, just be touching.
He pulled back slowly, not wanting to be even an inch away from her but realizing that they had been kissing for far longer than was socially acceptable, especially under the mistletoe at the fanciest party Matt had ever been to. Kate was slow to open her eyes, but when she did, she let out a little hum of happiness and smiled slowly, sleepily. He could have stayed like that, just staring at her, forever, but again he became aware of the people staring at them, and so tucked her hand into his arm and led her out of the room.
As they walked down the grand staircase, their sides pressing together a little closer than was technically acceptable Matt leaned over and whispered in her ear. "I love you."
She didn't look at him for a moment and just smiled, as if to herself. Then her eyes flickered up to his, the corners crinkled with happiness. While she didn't saying anything aloud, Matt simply smiled and looked ahead again as they walked out of the mansion and into the darkened night.
Snow was fluttering silently from the blackened sky as Matt hailed a car and opened the door for Kate. She stayed still, however, just looking up at the white flakes. Some got caught in her hair and the dark coat she had on over her gown.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Cruse!" Someone yelled, and Matt started. He looked around, but couldn't find the source of the voice. As she walked past him to get in the car, Kate paused to lightly kiss his cheek, near the corner of his mouth.
"See? You do belong here." With a soft smile, she slipped into the car. Matt remained in the snow for a moment longer, took a deep breath of the biting air and then followed her.