Greetings dear readers.

Well, I saw Kick-Ass 2, and it definitely inspired me to write this new chapter and get it up as soon as I possibly could. I thought it was an awesome movie and a definite improvement on the source material comic. I guess it fulfilled the main job of the second film in a series in that it definitely left me wanting to see a third movie.

As well, I see I've acquired quite a few new readers in the last week or so. To those of you who are new, let me say welcome to my fic-verse. I hope you enjoy my stories for Kick-Ass and may also peruse my takes on Let Me In and Dark Shadows. (FYI, in my main fic-verse, the worlds of Kick-Ass, Let Me In and Dark Shadows all co-exist. Thus, Mindy is a distant blood relative of both Abby and Carolyn.)

I'm also toying with a Kick-Ass/Dark Shadows Crossover that's an AU to both my regular Kick-Ass and Dark Shadows fic-verses and will directly follow Kick-Ass 2.

Sorry there's not a lot of action in this chapter. This one is strictly to move the Dave/Mindy plot forward. I hope nobody minds.

As my regular readers now and as a gentle plea to my new readers...I just LOVE reviews. It makes me update sooner. :-)

And awayyyyy we go. :-D


Two combatants glared death at one another as they spewed profanities back and forth across the combat zone. Then, the overweight man in a bowling league jacket, with gelled hair and an (artificial) orange tan lunged at the other. His opponent, a man with a leather jacket and mullet, clocked him on the side of his jaw as the orange-skinned man's fist collided with his own face. The first blows exchanged, the two men began to swing wildly at each other, falling to the ground and rolling in the parking space that both had been trying to park in and which had instigated the fight.

Standing at the sides watching, the spouses of the two combatants watched…and cheered. As they trash talked the other's husband, words soon they began to trash talk each other. Inevitably, the two women began to exchange pushes…which rapidly escalated. Soon, the two women –both of whom were skinny, wore high heels and had big hair- were grappling on the ground beside their menfolk.

Inside the two minivans that had converged on the one parking space and sparked the ongoing war –one that had New York plates, the other (belonging from the orange-skinned pugilist) from New Jersey- two small children strapped into their car seats looked across at one another with confusion.

Walking across the parking lot from the bus stop, Mindy and Angela paused to look at the scene before them.

"Peace on earth and goodwill to all, Angela." Mindy said with a sarcastic roll of her eyes.

"Why do people try and actually park at a mall right before Christmas?" Angela pondered. The parking lot was packed with Christmas shoppers and more people were lined up on the streets leading to the parking lot entrances. She and Mindy had never considered anything other than public transportation to get them there. (Mindy hated city buses, but conceded it was better than trying to deal with the lunacy of Christmas parkers.)

"Short answer: I don't know. Slightly longer answer: please observe that these people are clearly not in the running for magna cum laude."

Angela looked over at the two cars. "It looks like one of them is from New Jersey."

"Well, that explains at least half of it."

"Definitely." Angela agreed. In the past, Justice Forever had occasionally been forced to co-ordinate with the costumed crimefighters from Hoboken. It was a great shock to see that their version of a costume was simply a wearing a mask and going out in their night club clothing. "Should we try and help?"

Mindy gave her best female friend an 'are you fucking kidding me?!' look. "Let me think about that…no." Mindy said definitively. "Besides, here come those trained and paid to deal with such intellectual heavyweights." The small, blonde girl said as she pointed to where several mall security guards –some on Segues and some on foot were converging on the fight and set about breaking it up.

"Ah well…There goes our entertainment." Mindy said as the two friends resumed walking towards the mall entrance.

"Where are we meeting them again?" Angela asked. Mindy pulled her iPhone from her belt and looked at the text message. "In front of the Starbucks by the fountain."

"Is that THE fountain?" Angela teased.

Mindy rolled her eyes. "Yes, it's THE fountain, thank you very fucking much. I'm still trying to live that down."

"What else could you have done?"

"I don't know. I mean…I could've done…SOMETHING. Instead, I had to jump for my life and wound up taking a swim." Mindy sighed as she recounted her narrow escape from a wild posse of an armed Santa and his elves two years before. It was during their first big case, The Santa Claus Strangler. It was the successful conclusion to that case which announced to the city and the world that Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl operated on a level above most of the other costumed crimefighters.

"Dave saw it all, didn't he?" Angela asked as they walked in and maneuvered through the throngs of Christmas shoppers.

"Oh hell yeah, he was knocking his way through the crowd like you wouldn't believe. He looked like he should be on the Jets." Mindy recalled. "I remember when I surfaced and pushed my hair out of my face, he was the first thing I saw. You should've seen his face. He saw me and it was like the weight of the world came off of his shoulders." Mindy said with a faint smile on her face.

"He was worried about you." Angela noted to her friend.

"Yeah…I remember I was surprised how concerned he was."

"Why would you be surprised?"

"I don't know. Katie had just moved away and he'd been moaning in anticipation of that since the summer, and…"

"And what? Katie leaving wouldn't make a difference. You two were already pretty much inseparable. Why would you think he wouldn't be petrified of something happening to you? It's funny Mindy, you have all the confidence in the world in just about everything else, but when it comes to Dave you always sell yourself short." Angela said sagely to her best friend. The two of them had talked a long while before going to sleep the night before as Angela wound down from walking in on Jessi and Dillon having sweaty, raunchy sex in her bed. Mindy had told her about the kiss she and Dave had shared after the Justice Forever party wound down…which led to her telling Angela all about her feelings for Dave. "Why do you do that?"

Mindy gave her a sideways glance and shrugged. "I don't know. I guess…I guess I'm afraid he still sees me as the little kid I was when we first met. Or, maybe we've been so close –I mean his dad, his grandparents, they all treat me like I'm a part of the family- that he looks at me like I'm his little sister or something."

"Well, just my two cents worth, but I'm pretty sure when he kissed you he wasn't seeing a little girl." Angela said. "And the same goes for last summer." She added.

"What about last summer?"

"Remember whenever we went to a pool or the beach? Dave's jaw was on the ground every single time he looked at you in your bikini."

Mindy's eyes brightened. "It was?"

"Oh yeah. He looked like he wanted to yank it off of you and take you right there like he was David Hasselhoff or something."

"He did?" Mindy asked, unable to keep the giddiness from her voice.

"You didn't notice? Wow, I hope you're more observant the rest of the time Angela teased, while taking care not to say too much in public. "I guess you also didn't notice that a whole bunch of other guys were staring at us?"

"Oh, that I noticed. Well, we both looked pretty damned hot, didn't we?"

"Totally…But did you see the look Dave gave them? He looked like he wanted to rip them all apart for checking you out."

"He did?" Mindy said, well aware she was sounding like one of the vapid girls she always loathed. The thought of Dave checking her out, being territorial around her and possibly doing an ass-kicking on someone was a triple-play turn-on for her.

"Mindy…I know how good you are at a whole ton of stuff, but this is really your blind spot. Dave's in love with you." Mindy started to say something, but Angela plowed on through. "Trust me, he is."

"Angela…Not that I'm upset or complaining, or anything…But why're you telling me all this?" Mindy asked. Her red-haired friend smiled gently at her.

"You're my best friend. Does there have to be any other reason?"

Mindy smiled and mentally decided that befriending Angela ranked second only to becoming partners with Dave in terms of wise decisions she'd made in her life.


Casimir Lizewski descended the steps to the basement of his home…or what his son and Mindy called "The Lair". (As proud as he was of what they did, he did have to shake his head at their love for needless theatrics.) As expected, he found Dave doing one-armed chin-ups. After counting off more than he himself had ever done –and that was even going back to his days as an Army Ranger- Caz watched his son let go of the bar and drop to the floor.

"Bravo, son." Casimir said, attracting Dave's attention.

"Thanks Dad." Dave gasped as he took a drink from his water bottle.

"I brought this down." Caz replied, handing Dave a glass full of protein drink. Dave nodded his thanks and drank it down.

"You're working out early today. Don't you usually wait until Mindy's here?"

"She's gone shopping with Angela this morning. Besides, I wasn't really working out."

"My, you could have fooled me."

"I mean, this wasn't anything strenuous."

"It looked strenuous to me."

"I just wanted something to do this morning."

"Here's a novel idea: why didn't you stay in bed and gotten some more sleep?"

"I didn't feel like sleeping."

"You need your sleep. You have to be rested for what you do. You could get hurt."

"Don't you read what's posted online? Kick-Ass doesn't feel pain." Dave said with a wry grin.

"Well, Kick-Ass' father does get worried that his son is wearing himself out and not eating. Go take a shower and come to the table. I've got some breakfast on." Casimir commanded.

Ten minutes later, after a quick shower, Dave sat down at the kitchen table and tucked into the high-protein breakfast that was his morning staple. His attention was divided to his iPhone as he looked over the news he'd received earlier that morning. His father sighed in mild exasperation.

"Is there something of extreme interest in the news this morning?"

"Hmm? Oh…Yeah…A source Mindy and I have in the Corrections Department let me know that Jacob Jeremiah was murdered out on Riker's Island last night."

Caz took a sip of his coffee and then looked at his son. "Not to lessen the loss of human life, but how is that of significance?"

"He was a low-level drug dealer Mindy and I caught a week or two ago up in the Bronx. He gave us some information that led us to the meth lab we busted a couple of nights later in Coney Island."

"And you doubtless believe the two are connected?" Caz said in a dry manner.

"I don't believe in coincidence anymore." Dave acknowledged.

"Jails are rough places. What was the actual charge he was in on?"

"Parole violation and selling drugs…to school kids at that."

"Didn't Marcus say once that people who prey on children or get them hooked on drugs tend to be very low in the jailhouse pecking order? He could've been killed by another inmate there."

"That was my first thought. But, our source gave me two bits of further information that disproves that. First, it happened last night, after dinner in the yard. It was when almost all the cons there were either back in their cells or dormitories for the evening count or being supervised somewhere. Nobody had the opportunity. Secondly, most jail killings are done with homemade weapons –a shiv, a homemade garrote…stuff like that. Jeremiah wasn't killed that way. His neck was broken. In fact, his head was twisted almost around."

Casimir pondered those words. "When I was in the Rangers, we were taught how to snap necks if we had to. It's not quite as easy as the movies make it out to be. And to have the head twisted like that, it'd have to be someone really strong."

"That's what I was thinking."

"And the place has significance?"

"It was out in the yard, away from anyone. He was sent out there on a work detail after the evening meal and was never seen alive again. When he didn't report back they actually thought it was an escape attempt until they found his body. All the cons were supposedly accounted for, as were all the correctional officers."

"Which means…?"

"Which means that somehow, someone got into the yard, snapped Jeremiah's neck and got out again without being seen."

"You think it was an inside job somehow?"

"Oh, I know it's an inside job."

"My, what's happened to the local authorities? Maybe ordinary citizens will start putting on masks and start undertaking vigilante justice…Oh wait." Casimir said with dripping sarcasm. "It sounds to me like getting to the bottom of this will be a tough job."

"Yeah. It's going to be a tough job.

"So…naturally not getting enough sleep and working out past the point of exhaustion is a sure and certain way to get positive results." Caz said without looking up from the sports section of his morning paper.

"Dad…"

"I'm just trying to keep you healthy, son." Casimir said with an innocent look. "One thing though…."

"Yeah?"

"You heard about this Jeremiah guy this morning?"

"That's right."

"Then why were you up last night? I heard you pacing around, then you went down to the basement and worked the punching bag for a time…and then turned on the television. You couldn't sleep for some reason?"

"Yeah" Dave said hesitantly.

"Mind if I ask why?"

"The party last night." Dave said quietly.

"The Justice Forever Christmas party?"

"That's the one."

"What happened? Did anything go wrong?

"No…Nothing went wrong. Everything went right…really right."

"Then why the midnight prowling? You usually only do that when you're out of the house with Mindy." Dave's eyebrows shot up at the mention of Mindy's name. His father noticed and was not unduly surprised. "Ah, was it something to do with Mindy?"

"How did you…"

"I'm your father. Give me a little credit, will you?"

Dave sighed and decided he had nothing to lose by opening up. "We stayed after everyone left to help tidy the bar up. There was some mistletoe up. One thing led to another…and we…kissed."

"Is that a bad thing?"

"I don't know. It wasn't bad at all. It's just that…"

"Just that what?"

"Well, I've been thinking about Mindy a lot lately."

"That's not surprising. You two are really close."

"Yeah, but that's part of it. We're close, but I think I want to be…closer…to her."

"What do you mean?" Casimir asked, even though he knew full well what his son meant.

"I want…I want to be more than friends with her."

"You want have a romantic relationship with her?" Caz said, fighting to keep the smile off of his face.

"Yes." Dave finally admitted.

"Well, why were you so nervous then?"

"Because…"

"Because why?" Caz said, fighting exasperation. It was almost like Dave was a child again.

"Because I'm just setting myself up to get hurt. She doesn't think of me that way. She'd never want that with me."

"Uh…huh. Hold on a second." Casimir said as he rolled up his sports section. "Hold on…and…there!" He said as he lightly thwacked Dave over the head with the rolled up newspaper section.

"Did you get the fly?'

"There wasn't one! I was trying to knock some sense into you!" Casimir said in an exasperated tone.

"Huh?"

"For such a smart kid who's apparently capable of outwitting every criminal in New York City, you are really dense about this. You actually think Mindy doesn't feel that way about you?"

"You mean she does?" Dave said, unable to keep the hope out of his voice.

"Of for the love of…" Caz sighed. He began again. "Mindy's pretty popular at school, isn't she?"

"Yeah…I mean, she doesn't have a big crowd of friends but…"

"But most of the guys think she's attractive…she's smart."

"Of course they do." Dave said. He'd heard Mindy and Angela discussing what went on at his alma mater pretty regularly.

"And does she ever get asked out?"

"All the time."

"Has she ever gone out with anyone?"

"No."

"Why do you think that is?"

"Well, her free time is for training and patrolling and…"

"Come on…Even Spider-Man went on dates from time to time. Yet, Mindy's free time is spent with you."

"Not all of it."

"Not all of it? Are you serious?"

"You're not kidding me, are you?"

"Am I kidding…" Caz grumbled to himself.

"Her not going on dates doesn't prove anything."

"Why don't you go on more dates?"

"Huh?"

"You're in college. You're in great shape. You have tons of self-confidence...in most areas. You can't tell me girls don't notice you."

"Well, they kind of do…"

"Then why don't you go out with them?"

"It's complicated."

"How's it complicated? You've been single since Katie moved away. How come you haven't done any serious dating?"

"I dated that girl from Justice Forever?"

"Which one? That one called Night Whore?"

"Night Bitch."

"Really?" Mused Caz. He'd never met her and remembered that Mindy had referred to her as only 'Night Whore' and was in a most foul mood the whole time Dave's sexcapades with her were ongoing. "But no matter, what she was called. It wasn't exactly a deep relationship, was it? Did you two ever see each other out of your costumes? Did you ever do anything together…besides the obvious?"

"Not really." Dave admitted.

"So, you haven't tried to have a serious relationship with anyone. Why is that?"

"Because…Because of Mindy. Everytime a girl talks to me I just compare her to Mindy. And they just don't equal up." Dave admitted with a sigh. "I don't want to get involved with someone when I know going in, she's not the girl I really want."

"Ah, progress. Ok, so what makes you think that Mindy doesn't feel the same way and that's why she doesn't go out with anyone?" Casimir asked his son. "Let's move on to some more proof then." Casimir said as he walked over to the fridge and opened the door. He pulled out a Styrofoam meat package. "What's this, Dave?"

"Liver."

"Yes. Do you ever eat it?"

"No."

"Neither do I; but we both know that Mindy loves it. That's why we have it in our fridge. In fact, it's the two of you who do the grocery shopping for us most of the time and who buy it." The elder Lizewski reminded his son. He strode over to the laundry basket on the floor and dug through the clean clothes.

"Exhibit 'B'" Casimir said, as he held up a small, purple 'Hello Kitty' tank top. "Now, neither of us wear this. And there's other items in there that I won't manhandle, but suffice it to say you or I don't wear."

"Yeah" Dave said as he wondered where his dad was going with this. "So, Mindy keeps food she likes here and clean clothes here. I've got some stuff at her place too."

"Exactly my point. And the final piece of evidence…Those certain feminine items in the bathroom cupboard that we both make a point of ignoring….Son, when a girl leaves tampons at a guy's house, she's staking her territory. Don't you see? This is like home to her too. So far as I'm concerned, she's already family. You too are already a couple except for the fact that neither of you has acknowledged it; or really done anything about it until last night."

Dave sat at the table as he absorbed his father's words. His mind flashed over the years that he'd known Mindy…Especially the last two when he realized his feelings had started to develop beyond friendship for her: them throwing civilian clothes over their costumes and going right from patrol to see a midnight screening of a movie; having a heated argument with her over the merits of a comic book that could last for hours until one of them finally broke; the times when a patrol lasted until dawn and they'd watch the sun come up together before going to get breakfast at Denny's; the nights when she slept over and she would snuggle against him. These were, to Dave, the happiest moments of his life because they were the time they had together. He had never looked elsewhere because being with her like that made him happy even if he wanted more. It was all clear to him now that she'd felt the same way. It was so ludicrous, he almost laughed. Almost, but not quite…He scrolled down his text messages again.

"She's at the mall."

"Pardon?"

"Mindy…She and Angela went to the mall this morning; something about Angela needing new sheets…" Dave trailed off as he read the text. He idly thought he wanted to get the full story on that. But, there was a higher priority now. "They should still be there." Dave said as he checked his watch and texted Mindy back.

"Dad, can I borrow the car?"

"Sorry, I'm working early today because I have a Knights of Columbus meeting tonight." Casimir said sympathetically. "Oh, we're planning the Council's New Year's Eve Party…You should bring Mindy as your date." Caz said with a smile, as he was proud that he'd convinced Dave to become the third Lizewski male in as many generations to join the Knights of Columbus.

"I'll ask her." Dave said as he dashed to the closet to get his coat. "How do I get to the mall fast?" He muttered to himself.

"You could take Mindy's Ducati." Casimir said, in reference to Mindy's tricked out, purple motorcycle that was temporarily locked away in the Lizewski garage while Marcus repaired a leaking garage roof at his place.

"In the daylight and on our street Dad? Not very subtle."

"The Mistmobile then…Much more subtle." Casimir said as he drank off his coffee.

"It would take too long to get it from the garage." Dave said as he completely missed his father's sarcasm.

"Hold on…I'll drop you by the mall on my way to work." Casimir said as he carried his dishes over to the sink.

"Thanks Dad."

"It's alright…You just go and find Mindy and tell her what you should've told her a long time ago." Casimir said. "Son, she's one in a million. Don't ever forget that."

"Never." Dave promised as he pulled on his jacket.


At the mall, Mindy and Angela were milling about, killing time while they awaited Dillon and Jessi. The latter two had texted Angela that morning offering to go out with her and replace the sheets they'd rendered unfit for further human contact and take her quilt to a dry cleaner for a thorough steam cleaning.

"I wonder what's keeping them." Angela said, looking at her wristwatch.

"Maybe they have a hard time walking." Mindy smirked.

"Ew. Don't remind me. I'm going to have to move my bedroom furniture around so it'll look different. Otherwise, I'm always going to have a flashback to last night, every time I go into my bedroom." Angela grimaced.

Mindy started to laugh and say something when both girls felt a hand go their shoulders and a husky male voice chortled "Ladies…"

It was the last thing the speaker said prior to a yelp of pain as Angela drove her elbow into the stranger's solar plexus, while Mindy instinctively shot her forearm back into the person's throat –she judged the height from where the voice came from- while grabbing his wrist in a lock and forcing him to his knees.

"Word of advice, fucktard…" Mindy began, then she let go of the wrist and squealed "Marty!"

On one knee, trying to catch his breath while gritting his teeth against pain, was Marty Eisenberg.

"Hi…" He was finally able to gasp as Mindy and Angela each took an arm and hauled him to his feet.

"Marty, what're you doing here?" Mindy asked as she gave her longtime friend a hug.

"I texted Todd about getting together to hang out. He said he couldn't make it, but you two were heading for the mall and maybe I could find you two and chill a bit with you. I didn't expect lethal force."

"Don't sneak up on us then and we won't plant you into the ground." Mindy laughed.

"Geez. Taken out by a couple of high school girls." Marty moaned in fake indignation. "My studly reputation is shot."

"Oh, take your tampon out." Mindy sighed as Angela broke down laughing.

"How's Washington?" Angela asked.

"It's…different. I miss New York though. Let me tell you, if you think the crime here is bad, you should come on down to D.C. It's a fucking asylum at times."

"They don't have any heroes?" Mindy asked quietly.

"Not really. At least nothing like Justice Forever. Maybe everyone's afraid of getting the Secret Service paranoid, or something."

"So, Battle Guy hasn't been seen?"

"Not at all. Without a good team, Battle Guy would soon be Dead Guy, or Intensive Care Guy."

"That's a fucking shame."

"Eh, I'm moving back when I graduate, so it's no big thing…But I know what is." Marty crowed as he looked at Angela. "Congratulations to my favourite red-head. I hear you've made a semi-honest man out of my boy Todd."

Angela giggled with happy embarrassment. "He told you?"

"He couldn't wait to tell me. The guy is on Cloud Eleven! Congratulations! I've never seen Todd as happy." Marty cheerfully informed her. "So, are the two of you here for a celebratory trip to a shoe store? Or just going for some facials or something?" He teased as Mindy rolled her eyes at him.

"Do I look like someone's pointing a gun at my head? We're meeting Dillon and Jessi. Do you remember them?"

"Yeah….Jessi's your old friend right?" Marty asked Angela who nodded. "Thin with dark hair and C-cups, right?"

"That's right." Angela replied.

"And Dillon…Aw yeah, I remember him. Really shy…awkward…had a crush on Mindy once but was too shy to really do anything about it? Yeah, I remember him. He was a cute kid. Did he ever get over that whole shy-awkward thing?"

"And how." Angela sighed with a disbelieving shake of her head.

"And speak of the horny devils, there they are." Mindy said as she pointed down the crowded mall.

Dillon and Jessi, their arms wrapped around each other were seated at a table in front of the Starbucks, alternately sipping at their drinks and making out.

"They're dating?" Marty asked.

"That's an understatement." Angela muttered under her breath as Mindy chuckled again.

"I thought Jessi moved to Rochester." Marty said.

"She's in town for a few days to visit relatives." Mindy explained.

"How can they start up a relationship with so little time?" Marty asked.

"I think they're focusing on making it quality rather than quantity time." Mindy deadpanned as Angela suppressed a shudder.

Dillon and Jessi spotted the trio walking over and waved. Mindy instantly saw that they looked…mussed. It was as if they'd gone somewhere for a quickie. Then she noticed that both had their shirts incorrectly buttoned and realized she was on to something. Dillon and Jessi stood up, as they did so Jessi made a point to rub herself up and down Dillon's leg, causing the youth's pants to bulge in a certain spot. Her eyes went wide as she saw it. She had thought that Angela might have been exaggerating the intensity of what she'd walked in on the night before. But if this was any indication, Angela was bang on accurate in what she had reported.

"Hey guys." Dillon and Jessi chorused. Mindy and Angela returned the greeting as they tried to process this new look at Jessi, as well as Dillon's inner sex maniac come to the forefront.

"You remember our friend Marty, don't you?" Mindy asked the new couple. They apparently did remember him and exchanged greetings.

"Angela, we stopped at the cleaners on the way here." Jessi told her childhood friend as she handed over a ticket. "We dropped off your quilt, blanket and pillows. They'll be steam cleaned and disinfected by this afternoon."

"Uh…thanks." Angela said sheepishly. She couldn't think of anything else to say.

"Where were you two anyways? Angela and I were looking around when you weren't here when we got here." Mindy said.

"Oh…Dillon and I wanted a bit of privacy."

"Why did you want…OW!" Marty started to ask before Mindy and Angela each kicked him on a separate ankle.

"Oh, just a little "us" time." Dillon sighed. "Luckily we found a photo booth with a curtain."

"And lucky we had enough small bills for the time we were in there." Jessi added as she reached around to squeeze Dillon's butt.

"You said it." Dillon replied as he squeezed hers and they kissed again. As they did so, three separate strips of photos feel to the ground. Mindy bent down to pick up two, Marty grabbed the third.

"What are you two talking about?" Marty asked as he looked at his photo strip. "Oh sweet mercy!" He gasped as he looked at the image.

Against her better judgement, but drawn by morbid curiosity, Mindy looked at the photo strip and suppressed a gasp of surprise. She'd seen a lot of shocking things in her career as Hit-Girl…But this was a whole new ball game. She'd never seen anything that explicit…with the subject so unconcerned and unashamed. She wondered if Jessi and Dillon were like some pornographic binary chemical where they needed the other to cause the reaction.

"Wow…That's just…wow." Mindy muttered as she replaced the pictures on the table.

"Told you so." Angela whispered.

Mindy was about to respond when she saw Dave hurrying through the mall towards them.

"Hey guys." He said as he reached them. "Hey Marty. What brought you out here?"

"I thought I'd offer my protection to these helpless damsels, but wouldn't you know it they beat me up and took my lunch money." Marty joked as he handed back the picture and rubbed his eyes.

"Hey Dave." Jessi greeted him and gave him a quick hug. "Dave." Dillon greeted with a handshake that was at least twenty percent cooler than his normal behaviour.

Mindy noted that Dave seemed agitated and anxious to talk with her. She glanced at Marty and Angela. "Why don't you guys go on to Bed, Bath & Beyond? We'll catch up." Angela and Marty took her hint and led Dillon and Jessi away, still trying to come up with a conversation piece that didn't involve the photo booth.

Once the others had gone, Dave and Mindy walked slowly around the fountain that they both so remembered.

"What did you want to talk to me about?"

"Ah…About last night." Dave said as they strolled up onto the bridge that spanned the fountain.

Mindy bit down on her lip nervously. "What part of last night?"

"The party and…the kiss." Dave said nervously.

"Yeah?" Mindy said as her heart pounded. She was half-expecting Dave to tell her that he didn't expect anything to change and that it was just the moment, or something. Mindy steeled herself to have her heart broken.

"I….uh…" Dave stammered as he cursed his nervousness. He'd mentally rehearsed everything in the car but now he found himself blanking out.

"What? Look, if you're going to tell me it was no big thing last night, just spit it out…I can take it." Mindy said, although the tone of her voice on the last four words indicated something different.

"No!"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean it…It was a big thing for me."

"It was?" Mindy asked as her heart began to pound now in eager anticipation as she wondered if Angela had indeed been right.

"Yeah…I wanted to do that…for a long time" Dave said, his voice tight with nervous anxiety.

"You did?" Mindy asked, as she suddenly felt happiness building within her.

"Yeah…I…" Dave tried to say as they stopped in the middle of the bridge.

"What?" Mindy demanded anxiously. However, instead of saying something, Dave wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him. Before she could say anything, he bent his head down to reach hers and kissed her deeply on the lips.

After several seconds they broke. Mindy's face was a mix of absolute surprise and utter joy.

"That's what." Dave said, finally finding his voice. "I've wanted to do that for a long time. And…And I want you." He said plaintively. "Mindy…" He was cut off by Mindy throwing her arms around his neck, standing on her tiptoes and kissing him again.

"You really want me?" She murmured after several long seconds.

"More than anyone or anything in the world." Dave replied. Mindy pulled him down to her level again.

"Shut the fuck up and kiss me again." She giggled happily and she pulled his lips on her hers as Dave lifted her slightly off the ground to match his greater height, oblivious to all around them as they kissed yet again.


A/N: Oh, the opening fight in the parking lot...is based on the fact I've seen fistfights break out over parking in shopping centers at Christmastime.