Title: Make My Wish Come True
Series: All I Want For Christmas (Is You)
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 25 December 2013
Pairing: Nikita Mears/Amanda Collins
Word Count: ~4100 for this part
Summary: Amanda has no holiday spirit, and no holiday plans. Nikita is not okay with this...
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD11
Author's Notes: Set during Nikita's first Christmas as a full agent.
Amanda surprised herself by sleeping in the next morning - granted, eight in the morning on Christmas Day wasn't exactly setting a record anywhere, but Amanda was an early riser and it was much later than she normally slept.
She'd taken Nikita's request to heart, keeping her promise to at least eat lunch before burying herself again in her paperwork and reports - keeping it and then some, actually, as she'd allotted herself a couple hours (after eating, of course) to take care of what couldn't wait before spending the rest of the day relaxing.
It had felt strangely good to simply sit and read just for pleasure as music played quietly in the background. So much so, in fact, that she'd taken her book to bed with her and actually fallen asleep reading - which also meant that she'd forgotten to set her alarm, and slept until she woke on her own for the first time in ages.
It was an extremely pleasant sensation, if a little disorienting, and Amanda was actually smiling as she sat up and stretched. The smile grew even wider as she caught sight of Nikita's gift on the nightstand - she wasn't sure exactly why she'd left it there, but the logical part of her simply pointed out that it ensured she wouldn't forget Nikita's gift and inadvertently hurt her feelings.
The mere thought of Nikita conjured up a tangled web of emotions that Amanda wasn't nearly awake enough to contemplate yet, so she did what any human being in possession of even the tiniest vestige of an inner child did when confronted with a present on Christmas morning. She opened it, and completely ignored anything that interfered with that goal or the pleasure of pursuing it.
Amanda hadn't received many spontaneous, heartfelt gifts in her life - not that she ever let herself dwell on that fact - and that may have been what compelled her to take such care opening the small package, carefully preserving the red and gold wrapping paper and matching ribbons. It was indeed jewelry, exactly as she'd guessed from the size and shape of the box, but she raised an eyebrow in surprise as she recognized the name of a small and very expensive boutique.
Hoping she wouldn't have to add a further conversation about giving inappropriately expensive gifts to the growing list of things she needed to discuss with Nikita, Amanda opened the box. Her eyes widened in pleased appreciation as she took in the necklace that Nikita had chosen for her, and she pulled it from the box to get a closer look.
It was a simple necklace, with a gold chain and a gold and diamond pendant - not so extravagant that she'd need to talk to Nikita after all, thankfully, though she was familiar enough with the boutique's prices to wince a little at the prospective price tag. It was easy enough to see why Nikita had picked it out for her - the pendant was in the shape of a capitalized letter A that looked remarkably like her own handwriting.
It wasn't more than a moment or two after putting the necklace on that Amanda's phone buzzed with an incoming text message. Somehow, she wasn't the least bit surprised to find that it was Nikita, whose message consisted of a simple Merry Christmas.
Amanda smiled as she typed out her reply. Good morning, and Merry Christmas to you too. The necklace is lovely - thank you very much.
She rolled her eyes as Nikita responded with an emoticon of a broad smile and nothing else. Then those same eyes fell on the flyer she'd been given the day before - which had somehow ended up on her nightstand alongside Nikita's present - and hesitated for a moment before giving the mental equivalent of a 'why the hell not' shrug. Are you free tonight?
Nikita's response was quick, and teasing. The party should be done around five. Why? Do you need me to come cook for you again?
Amanda actually laughed aloud at that. I can cook for myself just fine, thank you. There's a display of Christmas lights I thought we could go see once it gets dark.
The moment she sent the reply, Amanda found herself second-guessing the wording - especially when no immediate response was forthcoming. Then she got annoyed with herself and decided she needed tea and food if she was going to have to continue holding any sort of conversation with Nikita - not that it honestly made her worry any less when Nikita remained silent.
Finally, as she sat sipping at her tea and picking at her breakfast while reading the morning paper, her phone buzzed again. Sorry, watching the neighbors' kid and she hid my phone when I wasn't looking. Christmas lights sound awesome. What time?
Amanda quickly sent the time and location, smiling as Nikita acknowledged it and added another teasing message. Sure you don't want me to come over there and cook for you again?
Rolling her eyes yet again, Amanda teased a bit in response. Not if it means bringing a toddler over here with you.
Nikita laughed at that - communicated via one of those acronyms Amanda found as annoying as the emoticons - before firing off another shot. You know I'll never believe you can cook unless you make me dinner, right?
Shaking her head, Amanda decided it was time to end the conversation. Goodbye, Nikita. I'll see you at six - don't be late.
Nikita's reply was a bit more serious than her previous one, but it made Amanda smile anyway. I wouldn't dare. Call me if you need anything before then.
Setting the phone aside, Amanda went back to her breakfast, appetite strangely restored. She didn't even realize for several minutes that she'd started humming to herself between bites, or that she continued to do so even as she started looking over the reports she'd set aside the day before.
Having had an unusually productive day - interrupted only by taking herself someplace nice for an early Christmas dinner after a pointed (and wholly unnecessary) reminder from Nikita - Amanda was more than ready by sunset to spend a little time on her feet and moving around. She honestly had little interest in Christmas lights, but she knew Nikita would enjoy them, and had decided that it would be a nice way to thank her for their excursion the day before.
It was surprisingly easy to locate Nikita, even with the unexpectedly large crowds - of course, the laughing, squealing toddler Nikita was holding probably did quite a bit to help. The sight threw Amanda for a moment, but Nikita's happiness was apparently infectious and she ended up smiling as she walked over to the pair.
Nikita greeted Amanda with a huge smile, encouraging the little girl in her arms to smile and wave at her too. A couple around Nikita's age stepped over just as Amanda got there, and the entire scenario suddenly made sense as Amanda recognized Nikita's neighbors - the apartment to the right of Nikita's held a family with a two-year-old daughter, and Amanda had seen pictures of them all while vetting the apartment building and its residents.
Nikita introduced everyone - James Keller, his wife Charlotte, and their daughter Chloe - and Amanda did her best to bury the unease the conversation caused her. She already knew that the Kellers were just a typical civilian family, and there was no harm in meeting them face-to-face this once - the more practical side of her also recognized that it gave her a nice gauge for how well Nikita's cover was holding up.
Little Chloe didn't really seem interested in any of the pleasantries, preferring to direct her attention to Amanda's brightly-colored scarf once she caught sight of it. It was rather sweet and charming, even if Amanda didn't normally care much for children, and she indulged the little girl by taking the chubby little hand that was extended to her. "You must be the one who hid Nikita's phone earlier."
"Kita!" Chloe laughed and squealed again as she echoed Nikita's name - or what part of it she could easily pronounce at two years old - and wrapped her arms back around Nikita's neck. Amanda just smiled, not at all surprised that Nikita was apparently very good with children.
She continued smiling as she watched Nikita try and untangle herself from Chloe in order to hand the little girl back to her mother. It wasn't that she was having some sort of maudlin reaction to the sight of Nikita with a child - that just wasn't her at all. It was more that she was strangely pleased to see Nikita doing something as normal as making friends with her neighbors and even babysitting their child.
The Kellers were nice enough - and Amanda would honestly have been just fine with them sticking around if that's what Nikita had intended - but she was also little relieved when they made their excuses and went on their way. She wasn't quite ready to examine why that was, though, so she didn't.
Instead, she just arched an eyebrow at Nikita, who was laughing as she spun in a circle with her head thrown back and her arms flung out at her sides. "What are you doing?"
"It's a giant Christmas tree," Nikita explained as she grabbed Amanda's arm to steady herself, pointing at the strands of lights currently over their heads. "You're supposed to spin underneath it so that it all blurs together and creates the illusion."
A quick examination of the structure - plus the other people spinning underneath it - confirmed Nikita's explanation. It was cute enough - if a bit kitschy to Amanda's admittedly overly-particular eyes - and definitely made an appropriate starting point for a large display of Christmas lights.
The lights themselves proved to be somewhat less touristy, thankfully, though the look on Nikita's face as they reached the start of the trail told Amanda that she wouldn't have cared even if they had been. The official start of the display was an arching canopy composed largely of blue and white lights, and Amanda had to concede that it was actually rather pretty.
Nikita grabbed Amanda's hand as they entered that canopy, and Amanda covered her somewhat startled reaction by pretending it was the fault of the person who'd just bumped into her. She didn't really have much time to worry about it, though, as Nikita suddenly slid into a happy, bouncy mood that made Amanda think of nothing so much as an over-excited puppy - and if Nikita continued holding her hand, well, that was just as well since it was probably all that was keeping Nikita from wandering off ahead of her.
The crush of people at the canopy entrance rapidly thinned out once they were out from under it, and gave Amanda enough breathing room that she could actually attempt to enjoy the various displays. It honestly wasn't that difficult - the more traditional displays were actually quite beautiful, and the ones that weren't were generally still quite clever in their execution. A few displays centered around pop culture references that she couldn't quite identify, but Nikita seemed to enjoy explaining them to her well enough.
The only real complaint she ended up having was the music - definitely too repetitive and sentimental for her taste, even if she did find herself smiling as Nikita sang along with the various carols under her breath.
They passed through another canopy about halfway through the trail, this one a riot of colors - as expected by that point, Nikita found it absolutely breathtaking while Amanda found it a bit too overwhelming to truly like it. Nikita was still teasing her about it when they walked up on one of the many clusters of food and drink vendors, at which point they both decided they could use something hot to drink after walking around in the cold.
It was a bit crowded around the many vendors, so Amanda opted to save a spot at the nearby picnic tables while Nikita waited in line. Amanda actually managed to find a completely empty table, and used the time alone to catch her breath - it was good to see Nikita so excited and happy, but trying to keep up with her was a little overwhelming.
Nikita came walking over a few moments later, and Amanda couldn't help but raise her eyebrows in dismayed disapproval at the plate-sized mass of fried dough and powdered sugar she held in one hand. "What is that?"
Nikita just grinned as she handed Amanda her cup of hot spiced tea. "You've never had funnel cake?"
"I can't say that I have." Amanda had never had much of a sweet tooth, and couldn't imagine that the funnel cake was going to be anything other than sickeningly sweet.
She was right, of course, and couldn't hide that fact after she let herself be coerced into trying a bite, but Nikita laughed rather than being offended. Amanda watched with a kind of faintly horrified disbelief as Nikita then proceeded to eat the entire funnel cake herself at an alarming pace - the thing was the same size as the paper plate it was on, and covered with more powdered sugar than Amanda had ever seen utilized at any one time. To make it worse, she was apparently washing the thing down with cheap, over-sweetened hot chocolate...
It made quite the mess, even though Amanda was certain that Nikita was actually being neater than most people would have been. That led to a supremely awkward moment once Nikita finished wherein Amanda reached out for Nikita's face, napkin in hand, before she even realized what she was doing - fortunately, the moment was interrupted by the buzzing of a cell phone, leading them both to immediately start digging in their jacket pockets.
"It's mine," Nikita said, having managed to retrieve her phone first. Then she frowned as she read whatever was on her screen. "Great. That was Charlotte - the power is out at my building... again."
Amanda frowned herself, inferring from Nikita's statement that this had apparently been a recurring issue lately. Her response to the situation surprised even her, especially considering that the words tumbled out before she could even finish thinking them. "You can stay with me."
Nikita gave her an odd look, and Amanda hastened to get the conversation back onto more comfortable footing. "There's no reason for you to stay at a hotel when I have four spare bedrooms."
Amanda's logic didn't really make things any more comfortable, but it at least gave them something to hide their discomfort behind. Nikita accepted the offer, promising that it wouldn't be for long and that she wouldn't be any trouble, after which Amanda provided the obligatory reassurances that she already knew as much.
Amanda managed to push aside her own unease at the idea of Nikita staying at the penthouse for however long it took to get the power back on at her building - it was too late to retract that invitation now, anyway, no matter how much she might want to - though it took great effort to do so and seriously impacted her ability to enjoy the rest of the lights. Fortunately, it didn't seem to have the same effect on Nikita.
By the time they made it back to Amanda's apartment building, though, Amanda had managed to reconcile herself to the idea of Nikita's extended presence and the awkwardness it was sure to bring with it. Neither of them were children, after all - they could surely manage staying under the same roof for a few days. (Of course, that did nothing whatsoever to keep Amanda from privately resolving to apply some pressure to whoever managed the upkeep on Nikita's building...)
They stopped at the front desk to let the clerk know about Nikita's extended visit, telling them that Nikita was an employee of the company holding the penthouse, then headed up. The first few moments alone in the penthouse were exceedingly awkward, through no fault of their own - they both knew that Amanda didn't really want to share her space with visitors, even a friend like Nikita, and the fact that she'd have to lend Nikita some of her own things until they could get over to Nikita's apartment certainly didn't help.
Still, they eventually managed to settle in comfortably together - and much more quickly than they'd expected, to be honest. As Amanda's usual portion of the penthouse was in fact also her bedroom, they decided that the library would make excellent common space until they had a better idea of how long Nikita might be staying - the spare rooms all had their own bathrooms, and there was no issue with sharing the kitchen or breakfast room, so the negotiating process was actually pretty painless.
The library was stuffed full of books - Amanda smiled at the way the sight caused Nikita's eyes to light up - and also boasted an excellent entertainment system. Amanda had honestly never even used the entertainment system, never caring much for television or movies, but found she didn't mind Nikita turning the large television on - she was, however, a bit surprised when Nikita bypassed all the usual holiday fare in favor of a fine arts channel that was showing different versions of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. She'd never realized that Nikita held a special fondness for that particular ballet, and couldn't help smiling again at Nikita's enthusiasm as she settled in to watch.
Amanda even opted to watch with her for a little while - while not her favorite, she'd always enjoyed it well enough, and Nikita's enthusiasm was, as apparently usual, a little infectious. She was a bit surprised to learn that Nikita had never gone to see it in person - outside of the usual field trip it seemed every schoolchild took - but didn't think much of it afterward as a lingering chill from the earlier outing led her into the kitchen with a sudden craving for some mulled wine.
She hadn't been planning on making it, so she was pleasantly surprised to find that she had everything she needed - including a nice port she knew would suit Nikita's apparent sweet tooth. It was a little - okay, a lot - more domestic than she normally got when home on her own, but having a house guest provided an excellent excuse, though she was adamant that she was simply being a gracious hostess rather than making an unusual and not-quite-understandable effort to please Nikita in particular. (Amanda had a feeling that that was most definitely going to become a familiar refrain if Nikita stayed for very long at all...)
It took Amanda about half an hour to prepare the mulled wine, and she was certain she'd made a lot more of it than she'd intended to, but she decided it was worth it when she learned Nikita had never actually tried it. Part of her quietly warned that alcohol wasn't going to help make things any less awkward as she went to hand Nikita a glass, but she ignored it and turned her attention back to the television - things seemed comfortable enough for now, with the two of them curled up on opposite ends of the couch discussing the differences between the current performance and the one that had just ended.
Things certainly seemed relaxed enough as they found themselves drifting closer and closer together on the couch. Too relaxed was probably a more apt description, to be honest - the fact that Amanda didn't object when Nikita curled up next to her and put her head on Amanda's shoulder should have been a warning of sorts, but it felt nice and comforting and totally harmless, so Amanda let it slide.
Amanda ignored the second warning in much the same way - it was both more subtle and more immediate, and seemed equally harmless. It was hard to fathom how giving in to the urge to reach out and brush a stray lock of hair from Nikita's face could be at all problematic - except that it very much was, and Amanda came to regret the gesture almost immediately.
The second she touched Nikita's face, something changed - whatever it was that had been lingering between them the last few days suddenly rushed back to the surface, and Amanda found herself with an armful of Nikita as the other woman pushed her back against the cushions and kissed her.
Things went hazy after that, and by the time coherent thought returned, Amanda was reaching for the waistband of Nikita's jeans - Nikita's sweater and shirt had already been removed and tossed aside, though no one had apparently bothered to remove her bra just yet. Nikita, for her part, was busy tugging at the hem of Amanda's sweater and didn't seem to notice that Amanda had pulled back a little.
The dizziness and faint headache that had accompanied Amanda's return to reality hadn't faded at all over the last few moments - knowing what that indicated, Amanda pushed Nikita's hands away. "Nikita, stop."
Nikita obeyed without arguing, though she seemed a bit confused as to why she'd suddenly been told to back off. Amanda did a quick check and realized that they'd apparently drunk all the mulled wine she'd made - and that she had no clue how much of it they'd each consumed individually. She really should have been keeping a better watch, especially on Nikita, and annoyance at herself bubbled up to overshadow everything else.
"I'mů I'm just gonna go," Nikita mumbled, clearly embarrassed and apparently worried that Amanda's flash of irritation had been directed at her. She seemed steady enough on her feet as she hastily put her shirt and sweater back on, but Amanda wasn't going to trust that assessment when she didn't know how much Nikita had actually drunk.
The fog started to lift a little, and Amanda also remembered that Nikita was here because her apartment building had no power. "You've been drinking, Nikita, *and* your power is out - you're not going anywhere right now."
Nikita actually smiled a little at that, and some of the tension faded from the room. "I know. I was just going to go to one of the guest rooms and sleep this off."
"Good," Amanda said, forcing herself to smile back. "Make sure you drink a glass of water first."
She sat there for several moments struggling to gather her thoughts after Nikita left the room, then decided that Nikita had had the right idea - whatever needed to be done or said could wait until tomorrow, after they'd both slept the port off. Pausing only to take her own advice - she didn't figure either of them would be hung over, but the extra hydration couldn't hurt - she quickly got herself ready for bed.
She fell asleep easily enough, but woke up a few hours later - no worse for wear, fortunately, outside of being a little thirsty. Getting up to get some water gave her an excuse to go check on Nikita as well, so she started making her way to the kitchen as she tried to guess which guest room Nikita had picked out.
She couldn't help smiling as she found that Nikita had chosen the one just around the corner from the master suite - Nikita was in fact sound asleep, apparently completely relaxed and smiling at some pleasant dream or other. The gas fireplace had been turned on, and Amanda let herself watch the firelight play across Nikita's face for a moment, acknowledging - however obliquely - the tangled mix of feelings the younger woman had come to evoke in her.
She stopped herself just short of pulling up the covers and tucking them around Nikita, shaking her head in wry amusement as she forced herself to head back out into the hallway to continue toward the kitchen. Somewhere between stepping through that doorway and finishing her glass of water in the kitchen, she reached the decision that she wanted to see where all of this led, and rules be damned - she had no idea how they'd make it all work, but she wanted the chance to try.
She also had a burst of inspiration, finally settling on the perfect, if somewhat belated, Christmas gift for Nikita. Grabbing her tablet from the table in the breakfast room, she started checking for the next performance of The Nutcracker...