12

Mistletoe and Mayhem

Chapter 6

Christmas Eve, 8:50 pm

Hoover Building

A small crowd gathered in front of the television monitor watched the unfolding scene with interest.

"This a shot of the President and his family entering Washington National Cathedral as scheduled," the correspondent smoothly reported. " Earlier, an unidentified man attempted to disrupt this special Christmas Eve service. Thanks to the Secret Service and FBI, the agents were able to quickly subdue the person and have him taken away for questioning by the local authorities."

"Thanks to the Secret Service?" Lucy parroted in disbelief. "We do all the work and the Secret Service gets top billing? Where's Bobby? Is he still being debriefed? He needs to protest the kind of coverage we're getting!"

"Well, at least this time we got credit," Sue pointed out matter-of-factly.

"Right," agreed Dimitrius, "and Lucy, let's not forget the big picture."

"And that is?"

"It's not important who got the job done, just that it was done."

"Well, I guess since it was POTUS and his family…okay…this time."

"Good."

"And let us not forget the person responsible for saving the day," added Jack, "…our very own FBI Special Agent Myles Leland the Third. That was, without a doubt, a catch worthy of Santonio Holmes."

"Let's hear it for Myles!" cheered Tara grabbing her friend's arm and raising high.

"Ouch!" grumbled Myles clutching the aching part of his body. "Go easy there!"

Instantly she dropped the appendage like a hot potato. "Sorry!"

"Who's Santonio Holmes?" Sue piped up.

"The guy who caught the winning touchdown in last year's Superbowl. Great catch." Jack leaned over to answer.

"Oh."

"I think I might have re-injured that old football injury," complained Myles.

"Shall I get some ice?" Tara offered guiltily.

"Wait!" said Lucy skeptically. "What football injury? You didn't play football in college. You played tennis."

"Did I say it was from college? I did not. I suffered this injury from our last battle for Myrtle's girdle against the DEA…a most memorable event where we won."

"Oh, right….the one where you ran into the goalpost trying to catch the ball." She peered at him critically. "Not one of your most dazzling moves."

"Perhaps not but this should make up for it, shouldn't it? It was a splendid catch, if I do say so myself," the Boston bred agent preened a bit his sore shoulder forgotten.

"Yes, Myles, it was," Jack humored his teammate whacking his friend on the back.

"Ow!"

"Hey! Wasn't that the time that DEA agent was making a move on Sue?" Tara brought up.

"That's right," Myles chimed in. "Maybe he's the one Thomas should have kissed under the mistletoe."

Interested eyes immediately swiveled to the suddenly self-conscious blonde.

"I think Levi wants to take a walk," Sue spoke up taking out his leash. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

"Perhaps there's still time to get him to come here," Myles teased.

"Since apparently none of the people here are the couple," Lucy grieved. She was always up for romance.

"Well, I think…" began Tara.

"Hi!"

"Stanley!" Tara's head jerked up at the sound of the familiar voice.

"Perhaps I spoke too soon," Lucy murmured to Jack.

"Oh my gosh! I completely forgot…we were so busy…I meant to…I am so sorry!" Tara apologized profusely aghast at her forgetfulness.

"Not a problem. When you weren't at the airport to pick me up I tried calling a few times but you didn't answer so I thought you might be busy with a case so I decided to take a cab here and wait. And here you are!" the cryptographer beamed.

"We had a little excitement," D answered extending his hand "Good to see you, Stanley."

"Anything I can do to help?"

"It's been taken care of."

"Good." He scanned the bullpen. "Aren't you missing…"

"Bobby's being debriefed, Sue's letting Levi stretch his legs," Lucy filled in. "He's been cooped up for a few hours."

"I totally sympathize…even though I'm not a dog. You know, I don't like being cooped up for too long myself."

"I know what you mean," Jack commiserated.

Stanley looked at Tara. "If you're ready…"

"Sure…that is…" She looked uncertainly around the little group.

"Get outta here!" D smiled jerking his head towards the door. "There's nothing here that can't wait until the day after Christmas."

"All right." Tara happily accepted her supervisor's okay.

"Let me help you with that," Stanley offered reaching for her coat.

She tossed him a sweet smile over her shoulder as she slipped an arm through a sleeve. It warmed him to his very toes. She was just so adorable! he thought. It took all his self-control not to kiss her.

"Ready?"

"Uh-huh," she answered. "Merry Christmas, everybody!"

"Hey, Tara!" called out Jack stopping the couple in their tracks.

"Yeah?"

"You forgot something."

"What?"

The dark-haired agent pointed meaningfully to the piece of greenery overhead. The pair looked up.

"Oh!" She looked at Stanley. "I know what you're thinking but it's not what you're thinking and you don't have to do it. It's just this silly little thing someone's been…."

All words stopped when Stanley swooped in, bent his lady love over his arm and planted a passionate kiss on her lips. Jaws dropped at the surprising action of the steganographer.

"Wow! I mean…wow!" a flustered Tara responded.

"Merry Christmas, everyone!" Stanley beamed as he wrapped his arm around Tara.

She wiggled her fingers her eyes never leaving her boyfriend's face.

"Well…that was totally unexpected," commented a taken aback Lucy.

"Unexpected but it does keep the Mistletoe Fairy's record intact for all intents and purposes," Jack reminded.

"I wonder…" began Lucy.

His expression begged her to complete her thought.

"…does it really count as another romance for the Mistletoe Fairy just because they kissed under the mistletoe and they are going on a date. Or…maybe it…"

"…doesn't because our enchanted couple were dating even before they kissed under the mistletoe which would technically mean kissing under the mistletoe didn't cause a new romance but is sustaining a continuing one," Myles chimed in.

The Rotor made a face. "I don't know how you do it, Myles."

"Do what?"

"Drain all the fun out of a harmless little joke."

"It's a gift."

"Is that what you call it?"

Elevator

"Still here?" the other man asked in surprise when Bobby stepped into the elevator.

"Debriefing. You?"

"Pulled the short straw."

"Pity."

The agent shrugged. "By the way, good job." News of the team's success had spread through the building even with the down-sized holiday staffing.

"Thanks, mate."

"Going home?"

"Soon." The doors opened.

"Merry Christmas, Bobby."

"Merry Christmas, Chuck."

He'd leave as soon as he jotted down some notes, Bobby planned as he walked down the deserted corridor. Jack had invited him to spend the holiday with Billy and him and so had D, but all he wanted was a quiet day at home. He was exhausted.

"Levi!" he exclaimed when the stairwell door on his right suddenly opened. The Golden Retriever bounded out to greet his friend.

"Sorry," Sue apologized.

"Don't. We should all be greeted by our friends with such enthusiasm," Bobby declared as he scratched behind the animal's ears.

"How was the briefing?"

"Fine. The fact that we have the entire cell in custody and stopped the attack certainly helped."

"Always a plus."

"It certainly is." They walked a few steps in the quiet corridor. "Special plans for Christmas?"

"Lucy invited me to her mom's but I think a nice long bubble bath and ten hours of sleep sound a whole lot better. You?"

"Great minds must think alike." He flashed a brief dazzling smile. "Except for the bubble bath. Real men take long showers."

"And here I thought you'd like the strawberry scented bubble bath I got for you," she teased.

"Strawberry, eh? I might try to dri…Tara! Stanley!" greeted Bobby noting the glowing expressions on his friends' faces. "What have we here? Off to start your holiday, are we?"

"Yeah, we are. See you on Tuesday," Tara replied breathlessly as Stanley shook hands with the Aussie agent. "Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas!" signed Sue.

"They look happy," Bobby commented.

Sue made a gesture.

"What was that?"

"They're in love." She repeated the sign.

"But definitely! Say, we just passed Tara and Stanley in the hallway," Bobby remarked as they entered the bullpen. "They looked positively glowing with Christmas cheer."

"You missed it," Jack reported.

"Missed what?" Bobby stopped in his tracks.

"The kiss!"

"What kiss?" demanded Sue.

"Tara and Stanley!" Lucy said excitedly. "The Mistletoe Fairy did it again!"

"Tara and Stan the Man?" Bobby interjected skeptically. "They're already a couple. It doesn't count."

"Of course it does!"

"No, it has to be a new couple."

"Says who?"

"People, people…," Myles said in a placating tone. "Potatoes poh-tahtoes tomatoes toh-mahtoes. A romance is a romance is a romance. Give the ol' girl the credit."

"Yeah, after that kiss, they're a couple!" Lucy answered enthusiastically.

"So…what happened?" Sue asked curiously.

"As our happy couple was leaving, Jack here pointed out the sprig of greenery purportedly placed on our doorway by the mysterious Mistletoe Fairy," began Myles, "and while Tara was dithering…."

"…Stanley took her in his arms and gave her this totally ro-mantic kiss!" Lucy gushed. "Just like in the movies!"

"I didn't think the bloke had it in him! Good one!"

"Good for Tara, you mean!" snorted Jack. "In fact, I wouldn't be…"

"People," interrupted D, "while this may be a fascinating subject, this is Christmas Eve or at least it will be for the next two hours and twenty-seven…no, twenty-six minutes and I'd like to spend it with my family so I'm going home and I suggest you do the same," he recommended reaching for his coat.

"Now that's an order I can follow," Lucy said. She began to clear her desk.

"What are you doing, Bobby?" asked Sue as the tall Aussie fiddled with the green and white sprig of mistletoe over the doorway.

"I thought Myles might need this with his beautiful brunette."

"Ha! Ha!" the Boston-bred agent said wryly. "I don't need a piece of parasitic greenery to entice a woman to kiss me. I have my natural charm. You, however…"

Bobby stopped in mid-motion. "What?"

"I have an idea."

"What?"

Myles' gaze flicked toward the woman standing next to the younger man.

"You…Sue…mistletoe. Need I say more?"

Sue missed the Harvard graduate's comment but noticed the other team members looking at her then Bobby.

"Did I miss something?"

For a moment, Bobby was taken aback at the suggestion then a twinkle appeared in his blue-grey eyes.

"Myles here is suggesting we give the Mistletoe Fairy a last chance to work her magic before the witching hour," Bobby joked lightly.

"I think he has his holidays mixed up," Lucy murmured to Jack who looked on in stunned surprise.

"Yeah," he mumbled his gaze transfixed on the pair.

An answering sparkle gleamed in her eyes. It would be fun to turn Myles' obvious attempt at a practical joke upside down. "Why not?" she answered demurely.

Smiling, Bobby grasped her shoulders, bent down to kiss her and then…

Lucy's jaw dropped.

D stopped in mid-step.

Myles looked on in smug satisfaction.

Jack stared in shock at the unexpected reaction of his two friends under the mistletoe. Reaction? It was combustion! He could swear he could see fireworks sparkling above their heads. Bobby and Sue?

Heartbeats later when oxygen became necessary, two heads drew apart. Blue-grey eyes were riveted on dark green ones at the most unexpected result of an innocent tradition.

"The Mistletoe Fairy does it again," murmured Myles as he shrugged on his camelhair coat.

"How did she know?" Lucy asked in stunned surprise.

"Ours is not to reason how. Ours is to believe it now," the Harvard educated agent paraphrased tongue-in-cheek.

"And I think this is my cue to leave. What I don't see, I don't know," D spoke up referring to the no-dating rule.

"You got a point there," Lucy agreed. "Plausible deniability." She turned to the agent next to her. "Jack…"

The dark-haired agent dimly heard the words as he processed what he was seeing. Bobby and Sue? From the expressions on their faces he wasn't the only one surprised by that kiss. It was obvious his best friend and Sue had been touched by the magic of the Mistletoe Fairy.

"Jack?" Lucy repeated concern evident in her voice and face. "Are you all right?"

He blinked as Lucy's query finally registered in his chaotic thoughts. "What?"

"Are you all right?"

"Uh…yeah. Just thinking…"

"About…?"

"Things," he responded vaguely.

"Things."

"Yeah."

Lucy looked thoughtfully at Jack. A myriad of emotions were crossing his face—disbelief…confusion…regret. She waited. He might need a shoulder…or an ear.

Bobby and Sue. It would take some time to get used to the idea but he could…if that's what his friends wanted. It wasn't as though he had any claim on her. He lost his chance because he hadn't…couldn't commit himself. He didn't know if he'd ever be ready. It didn't look like that would be a problem with Bobby. His expression alone spoke volumes.

With a sad little sigh Jack flashed a brief smile at the waiting Rotor. "C'mon. I'll walk you to your car."

"Should we…?" She tilted her head in the direction of the doorway.

"No," Jack said firmly as he grabbed Lucy's elbow. "I think they have other things on their mind." With one last look at the pair under the mistletoe, they left.

"I think everyone's leaving," Bobby commented absent-mindedly.

"What?"

"I think everyone's leaving." Long slender fingers gently framed her face as her hands rested lightly on his.

"They are?" She was still in a daze trying to absorb the wonder of what had just happened.

"Mmm. Sue?"

"Uh-huh?"

"That Mistletoe Fairy?"

"What about her?"

"How did she know when we didn't?"

"She's magic."

"And so are you."

"Oh, Bobby!"

"Shall we?"

She nodded in breathless anticipation. His gaze caressed her features as he closed the gap between them.

A dark blue Mercedes pulled up in front of the Hoover Building. A tall man in a light colored coat opened the passenger door and slipped in.

"Joyeaux Noel!" the beautiful brunette warmly welcomed.

"Joyeaux Noel," he smiled leaning over to give the driver a quick kiss. "You got here quickly."

"No traffic. It seems everyone's at home…where we should be, too."

"I couldn't agree more."

"Ready?"

"Definitely."

"Everything okay?"

"Definitely."

"Care to share?"

"Let's just say we did our job."

"Always a good thing."

"Yes, it is."

The woman competently drove while Myles relaxed in the coziness of the car. She cast a loving glance at the man beside her. It was serendipity that day he came into her floral shoppe to order flowers for his sister's birthday.

"Myles?"

"Mmm?"

"Did it work?"

"Did what work?"

"You know….the thing…with your friends and the mistletoe you bought last week."

"Oh. Funny you should ask."

Finis

A/N: Yes! Myles was a busy little bee in this story. I'm so glad I finally finished it with the help of Akaallias. Thank you, A! And thank you to all of you readers and reviewers. Enjoyed all your comments. Keep 'em coming!