A/N: Well, hello! Welcome to the final installment of A Cal Lightman Christmas! I just knew that if I didn't get this fic finished by Christmas, that it wouldn't get done. So, here it is! Hope you all have a lovely holiday! Thank you for your wonderful reviews along the way!
Cal felt Gillian ease into him as the familiar music began to play—he watched as the characters he had come to know—and love (though he wouldn't quite admit that just yet)—came onto the screen.
"Did you know," Gillian said, "that when the executives saw the final product of A Charlie Brown Christmas, they were horrified?" She leaned her head into his chest, "They thought they'd ruined Charlie Brown."
Cal smiled into her hair, "No, love, I didn't." Cal ran his hand up and down her arm as his eyes settled on the screen.
When Charlie Brown got his little tree, Gillian looked up at him and gave him a little smile. Cal, of course, noticed the way her eyes crinkled at the sides, and he felt his heart constrict when he thought of the fact that he was responsible for that happiness.
When the movie was over, Gillian pressed stop and sat up—Cal felt a profound sense of loss as she moved her head from his chest. He watched as she kicked up a leg underneath her—flicking off the television, she turned and faced him. Bringing her free leg up, she hugged it, resting her chin on the top of her knee—she looked at him, a tentative smile forming on her face.
Cal felt himself smile in return, even as he felt a sense of nervousness wash over him.
She regarded him for a minute—curiosity on her face.
"What?" He asked, finally, as the silence settled over the room.
Gillian quirked her eyebrow—"What was that—earlier, with Zoe?" She clarified her meaning.
Cal felt the nerves bundle in his stomach, and he swallowed hard—he met her gaze, then cast his glance downward—"I don't know," He said, his voice quiet.
Gillian smiled, and Cal was relieved to see she was not angry—"Okay." She spoke, nodding slightly, "But we need to figure it out."
Cal nodded his agreement—and then a smile spread across his face, "Do I need a nickel, then, love?" He asked—and suddenly he imagined Foster, like Lucy, sitting behind the psychiatric booth.
Gillian chuckled, before she let the desire she felt for Cal on a near constant basis slip into her eyes, "Something like that, yeah."
Cal's breath hitched in his throat—"Oh yeah?" He asked, his voice low.
Gillian smiled, and clicked her tongue—"Talk first." She said, laughing when he threw her a disappointed look, "I think," She said, leaning her head to the side, so it was resting against the back of the couch, "We should pinpoint your fears—if we can find out what you're afraid of, we can label it." She said, smiling.
Cal rolled his eyes as she quoted the movie—
"Hey," She laughed, reaching out to playfully smack him on the arm, "You started it." She observed.
Cal narrowed his eyes at her—"So I did." He said, "Then, carry on." He waved his hand dramatically, feeling his chest tighten as she smiled at him.
"Well," Gillian said, her voice dramatic, "Everyone knows you certainly have hypengyophobia." She bit her lip, trying not to smile.
"Oi!" He said, waving his finger at her, "I resent that. I do not have a fear of responsibility." At her look, Cal grinned—"I may have a distaste for it, but certainly not a fear." He said, chuckling.
"Uh-huh." She said, smiling at him. "Let's see—what other phobias did Lucy point out?" Gillian glanced up, trying to recall—"Oh! What about gephyrophobia?" She asked.
Cal considered this—"What does that one mean again?" He questioned.
Gillian giggled. "The fear of crossing bridges." She said.
Cal tilted his head to the side—"That's right." Suddenly, Cal's eyes widened in surprise—"She may be on to something with that one." He said.
Gillian's brow furrowed—"What?" She asked.
"Well, not literally, but metaphorically, anyway." He explained—sensing her confusion, Cal smiled—"I'm scared of taking our relationship to the next level," He admitted—"I'm scared of crossing that bridge, for lack of a better analogy."
Gillian's eyes widened slightly as she understood his meaning. She let the idea sink in, but she couldn't keep the flash of hurt off her face. The idea that Cal was scared of a relationship with her hurt in a way she hadn't been expecting. Cal saw the muscles contract—
"What was that?" He asked, pointing to her face—"There."
Gillian sighed, "What's there to be scared of?" She asked, her voice soft—she brought her hands into her lap and wrung them together, sliding her fingers over one another in a self-comforting gesture.
Cal chuckled lightly—"A better question might be what isn't there to be scared of?"
Gillian's jaw jutted out slightly, and Cal reached to still her hands. Heat spread between them, and Cal smiled.
"Zoe picked up on my fear, Gillian." He said, and he watched as Gillian nearly flinched at the confession—"She made the association," He explained, "But she was wrong about why." Gillian furrowed her brow in confusion—"I'm not unsure of you Gillian," He said, "Hell, I'm not even unsure of this," He gestured between them.
Silence hung in the air between them—
"Then what are you unsure of, Cal?" Gillian asked, and she heard her own voice quiver even as she asked the question.
Cal squeezed her hand, and dropped his gaze—
Reading his thoughts accurately, Gillian lifted her head off the couch, "Oh, Cal." She said.
He shrugged, "Well, it's true—I'm unsure of myself, Gillian." He pulled his hand back into his own lap.
Gillian let out a little noise—and then she dropped her gaze to meet his—"Why?" She asked.
The air was suddenly thick between them—Cal's gaze grew serious, and Gillian watched as his features darkened. When he finally spoke, his voice was rough and wrought with emotion—"Everything I touch gets ruined." If the mood hadn't been so serious, Gillian would have laughed at the fact that he was still quoting Charlie Brown—instead, she fixed him with a serious stare—"I'm serious, Gillian. I couldn't stand it if I ruined you—if I hurt you." He clarified.
Gillian shrugged, "Then don't."
Cal's head snapped up at the simplicity of her answer, and he searched her eyes—he found only passion—he sighed lightly, "You say it like it's so easy."
Gillian pressed her lips together before she spoke, "It is." She smoothed her hand over her jeans, "Or, at least, it could be."
Cal felt the emotion swelling in his heart and he felt it travel upward and plant itself behind his eyes—"What do you want, Gillian?" He asked, his voice hoarse with emotion, "I mean—from this—from us?"
Gillian grew quiet, and Cal listened to the steady hum of her breathing. Her ability to comfort him never ceased to amaze him. Finally, Gillian spoke—"All I want, Cal—" She said, her voice throaty, "is what I have coming to me." She reached her hand out and touched his forearm, "All I want," Cal nearly shivered at the tone in her voice and the way her fingertips lightly danced upon his skin, "is my fair share."
Cal swallowed, "Which is what?" He asked.
Gillian's gazed darkened—"Everything."
Before Cal could react, Gillian's mouth was on his—he felt her soft tongue press against his lips and he opened his mouth to her—her tongue swirled with his and she tasted sweet, like hot chocolate, and Cal smiled against her as she withdrew her tongue. His hand ran up her spine and tangled in her hair, and he kissed her deeply, enjoying the little sounds she made—
Cal pulled away and looked at her—his gaze flickered between her lips and her eyes, her pupils were dilated and her breathing was shallow—
Suddenly, Cal felt the emotion rush over him all at once—he felt it travel through his veins, and it was all he could do not to reel backward from the sheer force of it—"Fuck," He breathed, his breath ghosting across her lips, "Gillian, I love you." He said—"I love you—I'm bloody in love with you and I don't want to fuck this up."
Gillian's lips curved into a smile—she felt her heart swell, and she felt a tingling in her toes, like she was regaining the feeling in them all at once—every nerve in her body seemed to stand at attention. It was the first time Cal had ever said that to her—at least in that capacity, and she couldn't help the tears that began to form in her eyes. She blinked at them, and smiled against them—
"Then don't." She said, leaning forward to plant a kiss on the corner of his mouth.
And just like that, Cal felt his fears dissipate—he felt as though they were seeping into Gillian somehow—like she was taking them away—and discarding them. He realized then, that he wouldn't fuck it up—that he couldn't—
"Okay." He said, and he realized how inadequate and ineloquent it sounded as it hung in the air between them—
But Gillian smiled anyway—a full smile that had Cal's heart pulling—"Okay." She repeated, and Cal leaned forward to kiss her—she spoke against his lips, "I love you, too, by the way."
Cal chuckled, and ran his hand through her hair—he kissed her for a moment, again, enjoying the way she felt melded against him, her body pressed into his—how perfectly they seemed to fit, before he pulled away and caressed her cheek with the back of his index finger—"You're bloody gorgeous,"
Gillian smiled seductively at him, and he watched in awe as she peeled herself off the couch and headed over toward the stairs—pausing momentarily, she threw a glance over her shoulder—"Are you going to let all this beauty go to waste?" She asked, her tone nothing short of dripping with sex.
Cal nearly growled his response, "Not on your life, darling," He said, standing up from the couch—he watched as she laughed, a deep and throaty sound that made him shiver—then she traversed up the stairs—following her, he murmured, "Not on your life."
They lay in bed, Gillian's head on his chest. Smiling against him, she idly drew circles on his chest—
Feeling her smile against his skin, Cal looked down at her—"What?" He asked—
"This," She said, draping her leg over his legs, pressing herself into him, "is so much better than real estate."
Cal smiled, and ran his hand up her bare spine—"Too right." He said, chuckling.
Gillian laughed lightly—the sound filled the room and echoed—she sighed against him, "Merry Christmas, Cal."
Cal leaned his head down and pressed a kiss to her temple—"Mm," He said, enjoying the way she moved against him—"Happy Christmas, darling."
Gillian grinned—as did Cal—happy, indeed.
Well, folks-thus concludes the franchise! I appreciate all of your lovely reviews and encouragement along the way- but, I feel as though there's nowhere left to go with this fic. Well, nowhere that I want to go, anyway. So, this will be it! If I ever DO continue in the Charlie Brown vein again, it'll be without Cal and Gill in an established relationship. (NOTE: Not saying I'm going to continue, just saying that IF I do, that's how it'll be...)
I had fun with you all-and I hope to see you around my future fics.
In the meantime- I have These Sins as a work in progress (so, check it out ;)
Beyond that, once These Sins concludes, I have ideas aplenty. So, stay tuned!