written for ozmissage-on-LJ for Five Acts, prompt was Nick/Jess, touching. Or, the culmination of sexual tension and the author watching all three episodes in a row yesterday.

the timeline is kind of funky though, I don't even know.

In November (which should be a good month, full of sweet potatoes and leaves and eating all of the food), Caroline breaks up with her boyfriend and, three hours later like some sort of timely evil womanly woman, calls Nick.

"Oh no," Schmidt says. "This is not good. This is not good at all. That girl is a ruiner, Jess, do you hear me, she will ruin things."

"Um," Jess says, and "okay, I remember what happened at that wedding, that was not good, but I thought he was over her?"

"Not like this," says Schmidt, shaking his head. "Not like this."

"This is how it's gonna go," Winston says-

"-don't do voices, man-"

"Caroline was like 'oh Nick! Nick! come back to me, with your flannel and your strong arms and your raspy voice, what's-his-name cannot compare to your overwhelming manliness' and Nick is all, 'okay Caroline, let's go have sex and made bad decisions' and then a week later she'll break up with him. And he'll cry. I was in Latvia when that went down the first time, and even I know the story. Well, because he sent me novel-length emails full of sad emoticons and far too many why, god, whyyyyy's."

Jess blinks. "I'm going to go be alone now, thanks," she says, and hastily departs. -

But it's not like Winston isn't right, that's the thing. They have three weeks of Nick going around moon-eyed (more moon-eyed than Jess, and she's pretty sure that's a damn impressive accomplishment) and like, humming to himself and making waffles in the morning before Caroline breaks his heart into tiny, shattered pieces and he starts hugging pillows and crying again.

So then Jess has to avoid him because November is her happy month, and soon it'll be December, and December has the holidays and snowflakes and good cheer. And she'd like to have her first Christmas (well, and Hanukkah too, because it turns out Schmidt is Jewish and likes getting presents for eight nights straight) with these guys be fun. She bakes cookies and puts up decorations and Nick just sort of...stares. Sadly.

She's reading though holiday cards from her students when he comes in, sniffling and nose red in a way that's not just from the cold, when Jess's heart breaks. Or grows three sizes, depending on your perspective. "What's up now," she says, putting aside the note from Maxson Truwell, who, apart from not being able to spell his name, needs some help with punctuation.

"Coach is getting married," Nick says, and Jess is like eighty percent sure he's about to burst into tears. "To some girl in Chicago named Jane."

Jess purses her lips. "So let's... be happy for him?"

"He's getting married, Jess."

"So Gretchen and Schmidt will have shame-sex? Dude, I am not exactly getting your point here."

"I'm not getting married," Nick- yeah, okay, it's a wail, he's totally wailing and this is not a good situation, this is bad bad bad.

"Would you like a hug," Jess asks, and puts down Maxson's letter. "Cause you kinda look like you need one, you sound like the sad best friend in all the movies you guys make fun of me for watching."

Nick shrugs an okay and she walks over to where he's slumped on the couch and squeezes him, hard enough to elicit an 'oof'. She follows it up with a kiss on the cheek. "Is that better?" Jess asks, fully (for the record) intending to follow it up with a nice pat on the arm/head, depending on the angle he returns to slump at.

"Almost," Nick says, and his eyes go kinda weird, kind of dark and smoldery, wow. She did kind of press her boobs up against him, but it was a totally platonic roommatey hug, not a sexy hug. What's even a component of a sexy hug? Grinding? This mood change is actual factual giving her whiplash.

"You're- you're holding onto my arm," Jess says, but that's not the entire truth cause he's stroking it, rubbing his thumb over the inside of her wrist, and she's starting to get all tingly and bubbly inside.

"Yeah," Nick says, "I am," and then he grabs her other arm and pulls and look at that, she is sitting in his lap. Wait. She is sitting in his lap. This is not a casual roommate situation, Jess is pretty sure. This whole last few minutes have taken the roommate dynamic and twisted it all around.

"I, uh, I have to go back to reading," she says.

"Can it wait?" Nick asks, and she's heard him be raspy and sobbing, but now he's being raspy and sexy and Jess knows it's on purpose, and yeah. Okay.

"Maybe?" she says, and it kind of comes out as a squeak, because he really has strong arms, Winston was right, she can feel them around her and he's pushing her up against him so all their parts are touching, and Jess is like a bubbly, happy snowflake right now. A slightly confused snowflake.

"I'm gonna kiss you. And not on the cheek," Nick says, adding the last part for clarity, and yup, casual dynamic is screwed.

"Wait, mister, wait a second." Jess has some things of her own to clarify. "This is not a rebound, I am not your rubber-band girl, nope Nick, nope."

"Can we talk about my possible feelings later, Jess, you are sitting in my lap."

"That I am," she allows, and wriggles a bit to get comfortable, which also has the side effect of making Nick gulp. "Oops."

"You don't get to say oops about that," he says, and then he kisses her. His hands are still on her wrists, and the only thing dividing them is her sweater and his button-down, and maybe those should go away because she'd like to touch more of him than she currently is. He lets go of her wrist to brush a thumb over her lip, and Jess shivers against him.

"Is it too early to say happy holidays to you?" Nick wonders, and Jess laughs, and leans forward the infinitesimally small inch between them to kiss him again. She is not his rebound girl or just his roommate, she is something else entirely, and that is a-ok with her.