Much later that night, once everyone had worn out Henry Spencer's welcome, Shawn and Juliet return to her apartment.
They eat Christmas cookies and put on a movie. She grabs a blanket, which they share as she relaxes against Shawn on the couch. She's nearly falling asleep when he asks her, "So, did you figure out why I love Christmas?"
She sits up and smiles at him. "Yeah. It's because of your dad. He loves Christmas, and you guys act kind of differently towards each other. You don't really fight or get mad. You guys are more...something."
"Yeah, for some reason, we both try to level down the open hostilities at Christmas. Don't get me wrong, we have fought like, yelling-raging-bring-down-the-house fights a couple times on Christmas, but we try harder not to. It's almost like we have a borderline-good relationship at Christmas..."
"I might even say borderline great."
Shawn shrugs. "Maybe."
"I was really surprised he bought us both tickets. We haven't been dating that long. I didn't really expect him to think of me and you actually traveling together."
Shawn smirks. "He only bought those tickets because of you, Jules."
"What do you mean, Shawn?"
"Well, he would be too afraid to send just me."
"I once took off without a goodbye and didn't see him again for years." says Shawn quietly. "And I know he really does want you to 'officially' meet my mom, but that's not the main reason he made sure to get you a ticket."
"Then what is?"
"Well, I don't know if you know this, but you're pretty much everything he wanted me to be. A responsible detective with a real job and a life here in Santa Barbara."
Shawn laughs and leans in close to her. "He knows, one way or another, I'd eventually have to bring you back home, thus bringing myself back in the process. He knows I'd follow you anywhere."
And before she can fully comprehend it all, Shawn kisses her. For a long moment, it's just them, the only two people in the entire world.
And then he pulls away, and his happiness is evident in his eyes and his smile. "And nary a mistletoe in sight."
She smiles back. "Mistletoe is so overrated anyway...as if we need a reason to make-out into the wee hours of the morning..."
Shawn nods. "Ah, the wee hours. My favorite time of day...and making out, too? This is definitely turning into the best Christmas ever. "
And as they kiss again, as her heart flutters and her fingers automatically tangle in his hair, Juliet can't help but agree.
A/N: Merry Christmas, everyone!