This is my 'T' contribution to the Mistletoe Challenge. If you're interested in participating, check out either my or Batwings79's profile for the criteria.

These guys don't belong to me, I've just borrowed them from Julian Fellowes and ITV for a bit of Christmas fun.

Charles Carson was searching his desk for something very important to do. He knew that there had to be something but at the moment was having difficulty finding anything that would keep him safely in his office and away from the servants' hall. His search was interrupted when a Scottish storm blew in and all but slammed the door behind her. Taking in her disheveled hair and angry eyes, he said, "I take it you've been Patmored."

She blew out a harsh breath before answering, "I most certainly have. You really must do something about her Charles."

He watched her with amused eyes as she stepped over to his looking glass to straighten her hair, "Me? Why do I need to do anything about her?"

Elsie glared at his reflection in the glass, "Because you, Mr. Charles Carson, are the one who gave her the brandy in the first place."

"Elsie," he began patiently, "she told me that she needed it for the fruitcake. How was I to know that she'd sample a little herself?"

"A little!" she scoffed, "'Two for me, one for the cake, two for me, one for the cake.' Charles, I honestly don't know that the cake saw more than a drop or two of the brandy."

"Why can't someone just take the mistletoe down?"

Elsie blew out her cheeks, "Sarah tried that. Beryl threatened her with a knife," then turning around to face him, she said in a fierce whisper, "She kissed me on the lips, Charles."

Charles' eyebrows rose, and he bit the inside of his jaw so hard that it hurt to keep from laughing out loud, "I suppose she has had a few too many then. Should I fight her for your honor?"

That comment earned him a cutting glare and a smack on the shoulder with a rolled up newspaper from his desk before her sense of humor took control, and she laughed with him, "How have you managed to avoid her so far?"

He chuckled, "I shoved William into her arms after dinner and made my escape."

She cast him a sideways glance, "That was cruel. And certainly not part of that boy's job description."

"I suppose not," he agreed, "but I wasn't going to risk getting Patmored and your anger. I'll think of some way to make it up to the boy."

Leaning seductively back against his desk, she said, "Charles, everyone but she and Daisy have gone to bed, and if she doesn't go to bed soon, you're never going to get your gift."

"Is that a threat?" he asked, stroking the outside of her leg with his knee.

"No; it's just reality. It is Christmas, after all, and we've both worked hard today. I don't know how late I'll be able to stay awake. You do remember that I mentioned earlier that your gift might be wrapped a little differently this year."

He gave her his most severe expression before glancing down meaningfully, "I do remember. Thinking about that has had me a bit distracted all day."

"Only a bit?"

"More than a bit," he admitted grimly sitting up to let his hand rest on her thigh, "Will you give me a few guesses as to how my gift is wrapped?"

She smiled and gave him the slightest of nods, "Certainly, sir, but I'm not sure that you'll ever be able to guess."

"That sounds like a challenge," he said leaning back again and watching her with hooded eyes. He resumed his gentle strokes of the outside of her leg with his knee.

"Red?" She shook her head. "Blue?" Another negative response. "Pink?" She gave him a scornful look before shaking her head emphatically.

He ran through every color that he could think of and then finally asked, exasperated, "For heaven's sake, what could it be? Tartan?"

She shook her head again, "Charles, I think it's safe to say that this is your favorite wrapping."

"Elsie, you know I like you best with nothing…" he trailed off at her smug smile and very slight nod.

"Nothing!" he whispered hoarsely, "Not anything? That is you're…, under your dress there's not…?"

Her nod was a little firmer this time.

He sat back jaw slightly slack and stared at her face with wide eyes utterly flabbergasted. She watched him with a smug smile, but his mind was too preoccupied to even be upset.

He shook his head to let the fantasies gathering there dissipate, "You mean that all day you've been walking around with nothing, um, under, um, there?" he indicated her dress with a weak wave of his hand.

She gave him a stern glance, "Well, considering that I have my shift and corset on, not to mention a few layers of dress, I wouldn't say 'nothing'..."

"Just no knickers," he finished for her, and she nodded with an impish smile.

His own smile broadened, and he glanced downward once again.

She looked at him expectantly, "Well, are you going to take care of it now?"

"Oh, I certainly intend to take care of it, but I think we need to wait until everyone else is in bed," he grinned.

She smacked him again lightly on his arm, "I meant Mrs. Patmore, you big oaf."

"Oh, yes, I'll be out there in a few minutes."

"You really shouldn't delay this any further."

"Elsie," he said looking at her meaningfully, "I need a few minutes."

"Oh," she said glancing down at his lap as understanding dawned, "How long do you think it will be?"

"Unless you plan on taking care of my problem in the traditional way, I think it'll take less time if you're not here."

She smiled at him and walked out of his office with a slight swing to her hips and was rewarded with his low groan.

About ten minutes later, he followed Elsie into the hallway and heard the sound of slightly off-key singing and an occasional hiccup from the kitchen. Watching surreptitiously from the hall, he saw that Mrs. Patmore was singing while cutting the infamous 'dry' fruitcake, and Daisy was yawning while urging her to go to bed. He looked down the corridor to see that Elsie had stepped out of her parlor as well, and his mind clouded for a moment with the mental image of how she looked under her dress. Shaking his head slightly, he tugged on the bottom of his waistcoat and decided this needed to be settled now. He stepped into the doorway of the kitchen and cleared his throat. Unfortunately, in his still slightly distracted state, he'd placed himself directly below the mistletoe. Mrs. Patmore looked up and smiled broadly, "Mr. Carson, I've been waiting all day for you."

He glanced up, too late, and saw the mistletoe. He closed his eyes with a low groan before looking in desperation toward Elsie's parlor. He was surprised to see that she had moved so that she was right beside him and was glaring at him fiercely. She brushed past him into the kitchen, and he almost sighed in relief. Surely she would take care of Beryl for him. He was startled, then, when she only stepped over to the table and folded her arms watching him patiently.

Before he was able to register that no help would be coming from that quarter, Beryl was directly in front of him and beckoning him down for a kiss. He gave her his sternest glance, "Mrs. Patmore, you must cease these excessively affectionate displays at once. They are certainly not becoming of the dignity of this household."

She merely smiled up at him and swayed slightly, "If you'll let us give you a little peck Mr. Carson, you can take that mistletoe down directly."

He glanced over desperately at Elsie again. She was watching the whole scene unfold with mild amusement and arms folded below her breasts. His anger rose. Fine, if she wasn't going to be of any help then he'd get himself out of this situation on his own terms. He leaned down to allow Beryl her 'peck.' She was aiming directly for his lips, and he braced himself for the impact by closing his eyes. He was surprised then when she shifted at the last minute and kissed him lightly on the cheek. He was surprised, that is, until he opened his eyes and looked over to where Elsie was still standing, only now she was holding the knife that Beryl had been using to cut the fruitcake and giving Beryl a dangerous look.

He sighed in relief and reached up to take the mistletoe down. "Daisy, you take Mrs. Patmore off to bed while Mrs. Hughes and I straighten this lot up," he instructed. Daisy nodded at him gratefully and took Mrs. Patmore's arm to direct her to her room.

He and Elsie made quick work of covering the remaining cake and placing it in the cupboard, his hand straying only occasionally from his task to caress her bottom. He could detect no difference just by touch, but the mere thought of her missing undergarment was enough to drive him to distraction. Not quite trusting himself to speak, he waited patiently for her, and they walked down the hall together toward his pantry and her parlor. He caught Elsie's arm as they passed his pantry and drew her through the door, shutting it firmly behind her. Leaning against the wall with the hand holding the mistletoe over her head, he caught her lips in a very thorough kiss, then pulled back only to lean forward again for another quick kiss,"You, woman, are going to pay for teasing me about that 'wrapping' as well as for being so unhelpful just now."

"And how, pray tell, will I pay, dear sir?" she asked breathlessly before stretching up to kiss him lightly on his bottom lip.

"I happen to have an entire bag of peppermints in my desk drawer," he answered before kissing her again and pulling her back toward his desk.

"An entire bag?" she asked, voice rising slightly.

"Yes; and since I won't have to waste time unwrapping anything, I'll have plenty of time for other activities."

"You're not too tired?"

"Tomorrow is Boxing Day, dear woman, we'll have plenty of time to rest," he said before lifting her onto his desk, pushing her skirts up before settling in his chair.

"Well, I'm glad you like your gift and the wrapping," she said leaning back with a smile and putting one foot on either arm of his chair.

He smiled up at her before placing a peppermint in his mouth, "You know that I always appreciate edible gifts," and then leaned down to end all intelligible conversation for a long while.

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