Author's Note 12/25/2011: Merry Christmas! The first chapter of Equinox, the sequel to this story is posted. You will need to have read this story in it's entirety to understand and enjoy that fic.

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Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans. I do own the plot.

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Winter Solstice

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"It's the Winter Solstice tonight, the longest night of the year," remarked Lt. Dick Grayson to the red haired beauty he had met only hours before.

"Then why does it feel as though it is the shortest?" Kori Anders replied.

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Chapter 5

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Cold. Wet. Hard. It took a minute for it to register with Dick that Kori had just hit him in the back of his neck with a snowball. On that small strip of bare skin between where the turtleneck ended and his hat started, a perfect shot and it stung. She apparently had a very good arm plus abundant limb strength as it were.

He turned around to see Kori dissolve into giggles, poised with another large snowball.

"Don't think I won't retaliate Kori, because I will," Dick warned with a smile. With that, Kori threw the other snowball, this one connecting with Dick's shoulder, only because his quick reflexes had him ducking away from the snowball before it would have hit him on the chest.

"You're going down!" he shouted as he scooped up two handfuls of snow as he started off at a dead run. Well, he meant for it to be a dead run. Over two feet of snow slowed him markedly and Kori had a 20 feet lead as she took off toward a few pine trees.

It took nearly 30 yards for him to be close the distance between he and Kori, and eeped in response to being tackled. With Dick on top of her, she was pinned on her back in the snow, unable to control her giggles or steady her breathing after the run. Dick was also breathing quite hard. He was certainly fit but moving in that much snow was a lot of work and being that close to Kori had an added effect as well.

Kori was thrilled to see the desire in Dick's eyes right before he kissed her. She returned his kisses enthusiastically and Dick let out a moan as his tongue swept through her mouth. Kori realized she was losing the ability to think clearly, but rather than surrender completely, she grabbed a handful of snow and stuffed it under his coat and shirt, mushing it into the small of his back. Dick flinched and growled, but didn't let her up. Realizing she was going to lose this battle, she surrendered into the kiss completely.

Dick's kisses became more urgent and Kori reciprocated but she couldn't ignore the fact that she was lying in the snow. She shivered, from the cold or the kisses or both she couldn't be sure. Dick broke this kiss, his eyes smoldering.

"Let's get back to the inn," Dick said in a husky voice.

"Yes." Kori replied dreamily.

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Nothing had been said on the way back to the inn and Kori and Richard walked, their arms around each other. Dick had retrieved the tray they had been using as a 'sled' and left it at the back door by the kitchen before they made it around to the lobby.

Kori's heart was beating wildly and she was trembling when they got to the room.

"You're freezing, let's get you out of those wet clothes," Dick said softly, but still in that husky tone.

"You are c-cold as well," Kori said. "I'll light the fire." Kori flipped the switch and the gas ignited instantly, will the room with a soft glow and warm, dry air. She pulled off the sweats and was down to her long underwear as she set on the edge of the mattress. With her back to him, she doffed the long underwear and dove under the covers to get warm.

When Dick saw her in just a bra and panties, he had to remind himself to breathe. He turned his back right before she got under the covers. His sweats and long underwear were wet as well, so he stripped to his boxers and joined her under the covers.

Shyness overcame both of them as they found themselves under the covers nearly naked.

"C'mere," Dick finally said as he reached toward her, arms outstretched, and pulled her into a hug. Her back was cold to the touch from lying in the snow. "Let's get you warmed up," he said as he rubbed her back.

They laid there just holding onto each other. The countdown had started. By that time the following day, they would be getting ready to go the airport to say good bye.

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With all the exercise and fresh air having tired them out and the comfort of each other's embrace, Dick and Kori dozed off. It was already dark when Dick woke up holding the girl of his dreams. She looked so beautiful sleeping, and he couldn't help himself as he leaned over and kissed her. He reaction was instant as she snaked her arms around his neck and pulled him on top of her.

The kisses became more demanding and Dick let his hands wander down along her on both sides and Kori sighed contently. She unconsciously wriggled her hips and that ignited Dick's passions further as his kisses became almost bruising. Hormones spurring him on, he started to kiss across her cheeks and starting down her neck. She whimpered softly as he placed opened mouth kisses behind her ear.

"Please..." Kori asked softly, her voice shaky. "Please, Richard."

Dick stopped his attack on her neck and placed his hand on her cheek. "Kori, please don't ask. I never want to have to say no to you, but we can't, not if we are about to be apart."

Kori felt some disappointment but some relief. She really wasn't ready, she was just so caught up in the moment. She smiled up at him. "But we can continue with the kisses?"

"Absolutely."

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Their mood at dinner was bittersweet. They chose to dine at a table for two. The B&B was still full, some guests had braved the roads and left, while other arrived, not that they really noticed anyone else.

The lights seemed dimmer, with most of the illumination from candlelight, and Richard could not get over how beautiful Kori looked. After they snuggled for the rest of the afternoon, Richard went back to his room to shower and change into khakis and a camel's hair sport jacket with shirt and red tie. He returned to Kori's room to find her in a beautiful hunter green velvet long skirt with a cream colored cashmere sweater with a bit of a deep sweetheart neckline and a pearl necklace. She had curled her hair at the ends and had on more make up than her had seen her with. A shimmery pink lip gloss made her lips look even more kissable, Richard had thought, and he loved the plum eye liner and shadow and how it brought out her magnificent eyes.

They had agreed to not talk about him leaving during dinner. Not that they were going to pretend it wasn't going to happen, it was just that they were already so attached and they wanted to make the most of their time together. They had just found each other, and they were going to be torn apart for a year. But, as each reminded the other when it did come up, at least they found each other.

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There was caroling again in the lobby and Kori was asked to play. She agreed for 6 songs, figuring that would only hold them up for 30-40 minutes and then they would make their way back to her room. Dick was transfixed by the sight of Kori at the piano again. He took some pictures of her at the keys, causing her to blush but she never missed a note. They ended up staying a little longer than they had intended, but were enjoying themselves, and that's all they needed to do.

Kori was given a warm send off as she got up from the piano bench and they said their good nights to the inn keeper and the other guests.

Hand-in-hand, they walked back to their rooms, parting briefly as Dick went to get his pajamas. Kori had already changed into her nightgown, covered with a matching robe. The set was made of a very soft microfiber in white with some pink and blue embroidery. There was smocking under the bust line of the robe and another band of smocking under the bust of the v-necked sleeveless gown.

Richard thought she looked at the same time innocent and sexy and when he joined her under the covers and embraced her, the softness of the fabric enticed him into touching her even more than he had intended to. He wanted to memorize every curve of her body and burn into his brain the memory of what it felt like for her to be in his arms.

Richard had come to bed in only silk pajama pants, and Kori was so happy laying against his bare chest. It would be a memory she was sure to cherish.

Things were restrained through the night, as the young couple talked and kissed and shared. Multiple reassurances were given. There were promises made, desires verbalized but there was no surrender.

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They cuddled as long as they could but it was Christmas Eve, and they would have to drive to Jump and after getting Kori to Donna's, Richard would be flying to Gotham that evening.

"Let's make sure we've exchanged all our numbers, addresses, email etc. before we forget," Richard said, pen and paper courtesy of the B&B in hand along with his cell phone. "Here's my FPO for regular mail."

Kori's mind raced for a minute. The FPO (Fleet Post Office) was listed as New York. A look of confusion and betrayal crossed her face, "New York?" she asked quietly. But he said he was going to Afghanistan...

Dick reassured her quickly, "All the mail goes to New York and then is shipped to us in bulk. That way you don't pay international shipping, the government does."

Kori smiled, relieved, and silently cursed herself for thinking Dick would deceive her. A reminder that as much as they cared for each other, they were just getting to know each other. "Oh, that's good," she murmured, embarrassed. All pertinent data was exchanged and they headed down for a very late breakfast.

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Kori stopped dead when she saw Richard in uniform. He had changed for the trip to Gotham while he finished packing up. Thank heaven he had plenty of money, he had barely spent anytime in his room. No wonder the inn keeper started being so nice... he rented two rooms out but only one was being used.

"Kori, the rental agency will pick the car up here for you. I'll take you to Donna's and then you can take my car from there," Dick said.

"I am glad not to be driving now but Richard, I can't take your car," Kori replied.

"I'll feel better if you have it. It's 4WD and safe. I was going to leave it at my friend Victor's, but he'd in love with his own car, or 'his baby' as he calls it, the Cayenne would just sit for the year."

"But Richard-"

"Kori," he said, taking her hand, "I trust you with my heart, why wouldn't I trust you with my car?"

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It was mid afternoon and they arrived at Donna's in Jump, "Richard Grayson, this is my friend Donna Troy."

"Nice to meet you," she said eyeing Dick carefully. He looked handsome and harmless, but Donna worried about her friend.

"Very nice to meet you as well."

Kori got settled and Dick and Kori went to the 4:30 PM Christmas Eve service at the nearby Presbyterian Church. It was the family service, and Dick and Kori held hands as they watched the Pageant and the Children's Choir. Dick had insisted that they go. Not that Dick was an avid church goer, but he knew Kori was, and it was something he wanted to do with her. It was wonderful to hear her sing along for the Hallelujah Chorus, another thing he hoped would be burned into his memory to get him through the next year.

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After a light Christmas Eve dinner at Donna's apartment, Dick and Kori shared a private good bye. They knew it would be so hard to say good bye in the airport.

Dick felt it, but had never said those three little words, I love you, to Kori. He had admitted to believing in love at first sight, and it was implied that he had fallen in love with her, but even as they held onto each other as the sat on the bed in the guest room at Donna's, he just couldn't say it. He had never said those three little words to any woman, and for whatever reason, he was holding back. And there was no way Kori was going to say it first, so it was left unsaid.

Donna and Terry Long, Donna's fiancé, drove Dick and Kori to the airport. They were all worried about Kory driving back after seeing Dick off, so they didn't say much on the way to the airport as Dick and Kori held hands and shared a few kisses during the 25 minute ride to the airport.

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"Flight 802, direct flight to Gotham City is now boarding," the announcement was made at the terminal.

"This is it, Kori," Richard said sadly. "People are starting to board. We have to say good bye."

"I know we do Richard," Kori replied, her voice barely above a whisper as she put on a brave smile.

"Kori, I'll talk to you from Gotham and then be in touch, email, phone, text, carrier pigeon, I'm going to miss you so much. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas Richard. I will write everyday."

Richard leaned over and gave Kori a kiss and then placed his forehead on hers, "I love you."

Kori's face lit up, another memory he planned to revisit during his deployment, "I love you, too," she squeaked out, very excited he had said those three little words.

"Last call, Flight 802," came over the PA.

"I've really got to go. Good bye Kori"

"Good bye Richard. And remember, I'll be waiting."

"Thank you Kori. Thank you for that. And thank you for everything."

"Thank you Richard, now go."

One last kiss was shared as tears began to fall. Twelve months apart. It would feel like a lifetime but they would be waiting for each other and both knew that by the next Winter Solstice, they would be together again.

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FIN

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Thank you for reading and please review.

I hope you've enjoyed this enough to go on to read Equinox.