Disclaimer: I own nothing but the mistletoe.

Author's Note: Sorry for the absence. My original work has been consuming most of my time. This chapter is a bit short, and for that I apologize. But it's pretty funny with some Taylor/Ayani fluff on the side, so hopefully that makes up for it. Enjoy!

Kiss With a Fist

It's five days before Christmas the first time she gets kissed. Taylor wishes he could say it's also the first time she punches one of her teammates, but the mental image of Jenkins' broken nose reminds him that wouldn't be entirely accurate.

They're back on leave again and there's a military ball being held that the entire unit is invited to. Taylor, of course, will gladly take any opportunity to dance with his wife. Seeing Wash in a dress and his son in a suit are just added bonuses. Wash even talks Lucas into letting her gel his hair, and by the time she's done he looks like a proper little gentleman. Taylor never does remember to ask her how exactly she learned to gel hair.

The ball is held in a proper ballroom with chandeliers and fancy place settings. Wash and Lucas are both in awe of the whole thing. The two of them quickly scarf down dinner, mostly just to satisfy Ayani, and move on to the variety of fancy deserts. Taylor is surprised either of them can even move after they finish. But the sugar must have kicked in because they both get up and head across the room to dance.

The music that gets played ranges across a variety of styles. Taylor dances a round with Collins before sweeping his wife off her feet. They twirl and laugh and step for several songs. Then Reese steals Ayani away and Taylor steps off to the side with Wash, who seems to be taking a short break from dancing.

"You having fun?" he asks. Wash nods.

"Absolutely," she says. The lack of her customary "sir" just goes to show how relaxed she truly is. A grin crosses her face and she points over to where Lucas is dancing with Collins. The two of them are obviously having a good time. They also look utterly ridiculous.

Harrison comes over to join them, munching on a cookie.

"Fancy meeting you here," he says with his usual humor. His gaze drifts over Wash's shoulder and his eyes suddenly narrow.

"What?" Wash asks.

"That corporal over there," Harrison said. "I don't like the way he's looking at you."

Wash and Taylor both turn around to see the man Harrison means. He's looking straight at Wash with a strange smile. Personally, Taylor doesn't much like it either. But he's also fairly confident that he won't try anything here. And if the man does, Taylor had no problem with knocking some sense into him.

"Stop worrying," Wash tells Harrison. "I can take care of myself."

"I know that," Harrison says. "But I still don't like it." Wash rolls her eyes.

The song ends and a new one begins. A few minutes into it, Harrison looks past Wash again and frowns.

"He's still staring," he says.

"Just let it go," Wash says in mild exasperation. She obviously isn't bothered by it. Harrison, on the other hand, is suddenly in full protective mode. He looks down at Wash with a sudden twinkle in his eye.

"Play along," he tells her.

Before Wash has a chance to ask what he means, Harrison has leaned in and pressed his lips to hers. Wash stiffens briefly, but then she seems to lean into it. Taylor's pretty sure his jaw would have hit the floor by now if it wasn't so firmly attached.

Harrison pulls away a moment later with a grin on his face. Wash stares up at him, obviously trying to process what just happened.

"Is he still looking?" she finally asks. Harrison glances over her shoulder and shakes his head.

"Nope," he says, a satisfied expression on his face.

"Good," Wash says.

Her fist comes up in a sharp uppercut and connects with Harrison's stomach. Harrison doubles over as all the air rushes out of him. Taylor's eyes widen a fraction. Part of him is surprised, but knowing Wash he decides he really shouldn't be.

"Mistletoe," Harrison wheezes. Wash's brow furrows as she tries to figure out what he means. Then her eyes widen in understanding. She and Taylor both look up and, sure enough, they're standing under a sprig of mistletoe.

"Sorry," Wash says. She doesn't sound like it. Harrison straightens up and shrugs.

"I guess I sort of deserved that," he said.

"Just a little," Wash says drily. He laughs.

"Oh, come on," he says. "Can you honestly tell me you didn't enjoy it?" Wash's signature death glare tells him very clearly not to push his luck. Harrison quickly holds up his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay. It won't happen again. But since you've just deeply wounded my pride, I think you owe me a dance to make up for it."

Wash rolls her eyes, but she takes the arm he offers her and lets him lead her out onto the dance floor.

"What was that about?" Ayani asks, coming up beside her husband.

"Harrison tried to defend Wash's honor," Taylor tells her. "Wash then made it very clear to him that she can take care of herself."

"I see," Ayani says with laughter in her voice. They watch as Harrison gives a mock bow before taking Wash's hands and beginning to lead her through a dance. Ayani looks up at her husband. "Shall we join them?"

"Not just yet," Taylor says, turning and wrapping his arms around his wife so he can pull her against him.

"And why not?" Ayani asks, pretending to pout.

"Because I know something you don't," Taylor says cheekily.

"What's that?" Ayani asks. Taylor grins down at her. Then he looks up and Ayani's eyes follow his to the sprig of green hanging from the ceiling.

"We are currently standing under mistletoe," Taylor says.

"I see," Ayani says, a twinkle in her eye.

"What do you think we should do about it?" Taylor asks innocently.

Ayani's answer is to wrap her arms around his neck and pull him down for a kiss.

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