DISCLAIMER: Popular and its characters are the property of Ryan Murphy. No infringement intended.
DEDICATION: This for Hannah, cuz she love the mistletoe. And this for Dave, cuz he… love the porn? Nah, I'll stick with just 'because' ;) ILU BOTH.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first 18/NC-17/sex-ay fic. And I'm oddly proud I finally made it here ;)
FEEDBACK: Love it! Drop me an email; raye_raye2001@yahoo.co.uk
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Warmth of Fire
By Redlance


"I can't feel my hands." Was Sam's greeting as she entered the cozy, picturesque cabin their parents had rented for the week. It had been nine days since they'd been told they were to take an impromptu holiday and would be spending Christmas surrounded by snow and skiing hills, away from the warmth California brought. To both of their surprise though, neither of them held any reservations about that. They thought it would be nice to experience one of those white Christmases they wrote songs about, and so far they were right. Their parents had told them that there was to be no arguing between them during the holiday and that they were going to bond and have fun, not to experience an average day at home in another venue. But Sam and Brooke had been on friendly terms for a while. Actually, they'd been bordering on something more than that as of late and both of them had a pretty good idea what 'more' was, but neither were willing to come out and say it.

"You're such a wuss, Sammy." Brooke laughed, glancing over her shoulder and the back of the two-seater she was currently curled up on. Sam shot her a contemptuous look that was softened by an eyebrow raise.

"Polar bears wouldn't be caught dead out in this weather. I swear, it could freeze the brass-"

"I'm begging you not to finish that sentence." Brooke smiled as Sam rolled her eyes, unwrapping her scarf from around her neck and hanging it on the coat stand that was next to the door.

"Prude." Sam pulled the bobbled woollen toque off her head and placed it with her scarf, shrugging out of her snow-smattered jacket. "How'd it go?"

"Well, I'm pretty sure I twisted my ankle."

"Ouch." Brooke grimaced, a sympathetic smile moulding her features. Sam peeled off her gloves and shoved them into the pockets of her now hanging jacket, then strode towards the welcoming heat of the mistletoe and holly-laden fireplace the blonde was sat in front of.

"Oh that's not even the bad part." Her cheeks were reddened from the cold, but Brook was sure the blush intensified slightly at Sam's next words. "I was on the stupid bunny hill. There were eight-year-olds out there doing backflips over me." This elicited another laugh from Brooke. "I'm serious! Literal backflips. I was mortified when I messed up that bump masquerading as a lift. I'm pretty sure I have snow in my underwear to boot." Sam stood in front of the fire, holding her hands out to the flames.

"You do have a nice big wet spot back there." Sam's head turned to glance at Brooke over her shoulder and her eyebrows rose innocently. "Not that I was looking." And it was comments like that, that had made living together far more interesting over the last few weeks. They were always made in an offhand sort of way, never waltzing too far past the line of friendship, but far enough to drop the other's jaw from time to time.

"Riiiight." Sam smirked, eyes going back to the fire. She rubbed her hands together and soaked in the heat until her fingers were thawed. "I'm gonna change." Brooke nodded in acknowledgment and sipped at the hot chocolate she was cradling in her palms. Her eyes swivelled to the huge grandfather clock that stood in the rightmost corner of the room that looked like it was made to be a reading area. There was a tall bookshelf and a comfortable looking armchair, a hanging lamp situated over it. It looked cozy, like the rest of the cabin. It was exactly how she'd expected a log cabin sat in the middle of snowy mountains to look. "I think I'm going to be sleeping in this tonight." Sam confessed, exiting her room wearing loose-fitting pyjama bottoms and tugging a deep red hoodie over her head. Brooke's heart skipped as her eyes travelled over the skin of Sam's torso, completely bare and exposed briefly as the brunette stretched to pull the sweater on, and then up over her covered chest, before her view was obscured by the baggy garment.

"I think your internal temperature is off, 'cause I'm fine." A blatant lie, she felt like the heat had just been turned to 90, but Sam had done that on purpose and she wasn't going to give her the satisfaction. Hazel eyes looked at Sam over the steaming mug.

"And I think you're part chicken." A noise of indignation left Brooke before she could take another sip of her drink.

"Could you have possibly thought of anything more stupid or ugly to compare me to?" She huffed, looking offended. Sam grinned and fiddled with the hood of her sweater as she approached the loveseat, smacking Brooke's legs out of the way so she could sit down on her right.

"Yes." She said emphatically. "What if I said you were a good looking chicken? Would that make you feel better?" Brooke's skin prickled as Sam adjusted her position so she was mimicking Brooke's, knees bent and legs tucked beneath them, and her knees brushed against the underside of the blonde's feet. She maintained her wounded expression.

"No." She pouted, but when Sam suddenly winced and shifted positions so her left leg was straight out, she forgot the comment. "You okay?"

"That damn bunny hill! I swear to god, it was more like a bear hill." She reached down to rub at her sore ankle.

"Should you be going to the hospital or something? I'm willing to brave the snow to drive you." Sam frowned and shook her head.

"No, I think it's mostly fine, I just landed funny. Thanks though." Her frown smoothed itself away and she smiled at Brooke's concern, feeling it do a better job of warming her than the fire. "Where did Mike and my mom get to?" Sam glanced around the room, wondering whether or not they'd been there the whole time and she just hadn't noticed them. Brooke took another sip of the chocolate drink.

"They're out having a romantic Christmas Eve dinner, told me not to wait up." In unison, their noses crinkled.

"Ew, gross. There needs to be some kind of law against parental romance. No canoodling for anyone over the age of 35. And that includes talking and or reminiscing about past canoodling experiences." She said firmly, all but ready to write out a legal document herself.

"At least someone's getting some." Brooke breathed into her mug before she could stop herself. Sam's eyes bulged ever so slightly and she let out a short burst of laughter.

"Oh, the ache of the teenage libido." She taunted, chuckling at Brooke's reddening cheeks.

"I meant romance. At least someone's getting some romance." Sam rolled her eyes and gave her a look that let her know she didn't believe her for one second. Brooke just averted her eyes and stared into the fire.

"Well, you could be." The reporter said after a moment of silence. Brooke didn't look at her, but her heart thumped a little faster in her chest.


"I just mean…" There was a pause and Brooke knew Sam was licking her lips in preparation of some speech. "You were dating Josh and he seems like a half-romantic guy. The kind who would at least think about bringing you flowers, even if he didn't remember to. If you hadn't broken up with him, he could be romancing you right now."

"Did you ever think I don't want him to be the one romancing me?" Brooke tone was suddenly tense and tight and biting, Sam words rubbing her the complete wrong way. She knew Josh had the romance potential, she just didn't want him bringing her flowers or kissing her under the mistletoe.

"Sorry." Sam said softly. "Didn't mean to step on a nerve." At that, Brooke did look over at her. The brunette's features weren't threatening or argumentative in the least, she'd known they wouldn't be, and she felt her momentary annoyance drain away.

"No, it's fine." She brushed it off with a wave of her hand. "I shouldn't bitch about something that's my own fault. Josh is… Josh is a nice guy. The nicest. He's sweet and funny, and he cares about people. It just didn't feel right being with him anymore, you know?" Sam looked at Brooke for a few seconds before she spoke slowly, shaking her head.

"No, I don't. I mean, I've never really had a boyfriend." She frowned, her mind drifting somewhere. "Because I don't think kissing Byron Ellis on the lips once during recess when I was ten counts." Brooke's eyes didn't blink for a good five seconds.

"You kissed someone called Byron?" Sam grinned and shoved Brooke's shoulder lightly, making the dark liquid in the blonde's mug churn and roll.

"Shut up, I was ten." The blonde chuckled softly, lifting one hand to tuck her hair behind her ear and peeking at Sam cautiously.

"How come you haven't? Had a boyfriend, I mean?" It's something she'd wondered about for a while, unable to come up with an answer by herself. "Why haven't you dated Harrison or something?" Sam made a face.

"I love Harrison to death, and I happen to adore his Dumbo ears, but that would be like dating my goofy kid brother and I'm pretty sure incest is frowned upon." The urge to let out a howl of insane laugher bubbled up inside Brooke until she was positively terrified it was going to escape, but at the last second she managed to slap a lid on it.

"But you could have dated other boys. It's not like you're not easy on the eyes." And that one she was well aware was about to leave her mouth, but every now and then it felt good to let one slip. It was nice to see Sam's eyes gleam the way they did then.

"Well, despite being voted the newspaper's number one hottie…" She said in a self-deprecating manner that made Brooke would to smack her. "I guess I've just never been that interested. And neither have the boys. And I'm okay with that." Sam shrugged, content to leave it there and not give answers to any of the questions Brooke was silently throwing in her direction.

"But haven't you ever-" Brooke stopped short, her stomach flipping as Sam's brown eyes locked with her own. "Haven't you ever wanted to just grab someone and kiss them until they can't breathe?" She could hear her heart in her ears and was pretty sure that wasn't normal. Sam didn't say anything at first, and when she reached her hand out towards Brooke, the blonde almost fell off the couch. Sam smirked, and Brooke's heart was in her throat at the thought that the other girl might be able to read her mind, but long fingers brushed against her own and eased the mug out of her grip. Brooke felt her lips part and her mouth hang open ever so slightly as Sam's closed around the lip of the cup and she sipped at the warm liquid.

"Oh, definitely." Her voice was suddenly low and husky, but Brooke couldn't be sure that it wasn't just dampened by the thumping in her ears. Sam's finger teased the rim of the cup and she felt a thrill run through her that paled in comparison to anything she thought she could feel on the slopes outside.

"Who?" Brooke's voice cracked as she spoke, but she couldn't find the effort needed to care. It was all being spent keeping her upright on the couch.

"I don't kiss and tell."

"But you haven't kissed them." That last word reverberated inside her head and she mentally smacked herself for being so obvious. She might as well have just come out and said 'her'.

"Yet." Sam drawled, her smirk so wide it almost made it impossible for her to take another drink. A breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding left Brooke in an embarrassingly loud 'whoosh' and, feeling another blush rise at the elegantly arched eyebrow being directed at her, she snatched the mug back right out from Sam's lips. Still grinning, Sam's tongue poked at the inside of her cheek and Brooke felt a warmth flood the pit of her stomach.

"You should definitely get on that then." She threw back. Two could play at… whatever game they'd been playing for a while now. "It's not fair that the marrieds get all the canoodling action, after all."

"No, but it looks like you and I are going to be left out in the cold this Christmas despite that."

"You're the one that's cold." Brooke pointed out, refusing to take the bait, and Sam sighed, running her fingers through her hair.

"Yeah. Aren't there any blankets or anything?" She glanced around. "I'd get up to look, but I'm pretty sure any more walking around on this thing," She lifted her injured foot. "And I might end up taking you up on your offer." Rolling her eyes, Brooke placed her mug on the end table beside her and patted her lap. Sam stared at her, completely expressionless.

"I'm not giving you a lap dance. It's too cold to strip." Brooke was very thankful she'd put her mug down, because she was certain she would have dropped it otherwise.

"Put your leg in my lap, you ass." Hesitantly, Sam did as she was told, adjusting her position so her back was against the armrest and legs were resting across the blonde's knees. Brooke's fingers were warm against her still cool skin, but Sam flinched when she felt them slip inside the leg of her bottoms anyway. Hazel eyes glanced her way, but the cheerleader didn't say anything. Neither did Sam. Gently, Brooke probed Sam's ankle, retreating briefly whenever the brunette winced. "I don't think you did any permanent damage." She said quietly, fingers stroking firmly in a slow massage. A 'hmm' sound was all Sam was able to make, Brooke's touch shooting fireballs up along her leg and somewhere far south of her brain, which she was struggling to remember to use. "You should learn to stretch before you go gallivanting off to brave bunny hills." A teasing smile pulled the corners of her mouth up, but she kept her eyes on her fingers as they gently rubbed. Sam remained silent, and normally that might have worried her, but now it just sent a jolt of excitement through her. Because she knew the only reason Sam wasn't speaking was because she couldn't. Why did she know that? Because if their current situations were reversed, she would be having the same problem.

And so a silence fell. As soft and smooth as the snow falling outside, broken only by the crackling of the fire. So slowly that she barely noticed herself, Brooke's fingers inched their way from Sam's ankle, higher until they danced along the smooth skin of a calf that was tight with muscles Brooke had most definitely not expected to be there. She bit her lip, then caught herself and released it, quickly glancing to the side to see if Sam had noticed. Her fingers stopped when she found eyes that she would swear were darker than usual watching her. She could see Sam's chest rising and falling a little more rapidly than could be considered normal beneath the baggy sweatshirt. Her lips were parted and Brooke saw her lick them again as she prepared to speak.

"I'm glad I have someone so experienced to help me out." And this time there was no question about it, Sam's voice was husky. It felt like Brooke's fingers were burning holes where they rested and her entire body throbbed with the need to feel that burn everywhere else. But she controlled herself. She'd played her part too well to just wreck everything now.

Under the pretence of simply getting more comfortable, she stretched, her torso arcing a little and she extended her arms leisurely over her head, crossing them at the wrists and only breaking eye contact for the second or two it took her to let out a groan of appreciation as her back popped itself back into alignment. She never wanted to see another ski hill ever again.

"I'm not all that experienced." Brooke croaked, and then cleared her throat as she finally looked away. "With stretches and-and massages I mean. I just learned in the Glamazons. You're less likely to fall off the top of the pyramid if you stretch first, but you can still get a cramp from time to time." Brooke's hands began to move again as she spoke, fingers and thumb gently kneading Sam's muscles and then easing away any discomfort with a smooth caress.

Sam was pretty sure her insides were on fire. It had started somewhere it her toes and was finally burning away the parts of her brain she needed in order to form coherent sentences. Her stomach muscles felt like they'd been replaced by jumping beans and her head was fuzzy, like a layer of cotton candy had been wrapped around it. Thick and sweet and slightly pink. Her breath caught when she felt Brooke shift, it was then she realised her eyes were closed, and scoot closer to Sam. The movement allowed her hands to slip further up the leg of her pants, until Brooke's fingers swept across the back of her knee and made her shiver.

"Cold?" Sam's eyes snapped open and she swallowed hard, having almost completely forgotten her surroundings and the fact that she wasn't asleep. Brooke's smile, teasing and hooked at the corner and showing a sliver of pearly whites, set molten fire sinking lower. She panicked when she found that no words would leave her, no matter how often she opened and closed her mouth. Brooke's smile just got wider as she tickled the sensitive skin at the back of Sam's knee and felt her jump and her leg tense. Brooke's right hand had stilled atop her calf, her left easily able to reach around to the sweet spot she was currently teasing.

"Hot." She retorted, a ballsy edge to her words she most definitely didn't feel. Brooke's eyes sparked.

"I won't argue with that." Sam didn't think she was ugly. She looked in the mirror and wasn't anymore repulsed by what she saw than the average teenager, but she'd known since sixth grade that she wasn't 'Brooke McQueen pretty'. She wasn't going to be the one being lusted after, not when Brooke walked the same hallways as her. And so when popular, perfect, drool-worthy Brooke McQueen made comments like that, it both baffled and flattered her. And never failed to turn her on, because there was no doubting the fact that Brooke McQueen finding you hot could turn even the most asexual people into lustful lunatics.

And it was that comment, coupled with Brooke's torturous touches that had turned into more of a caress than a massage, and her 'I'm undressing you with my eyes' smile, that finally made Sam grip the game board by its edges and hurl it and all its pieces across the room. In one swift motion, she pulled her legs from Brooke and pushed herself up, swinging one bent leg over a shocked blonde with the momentum and straddled her, hands gripping the back of the couch on either side of golden locks. Her breathing was fast and heavy and they were so close, Brooke's breasts brushed hers every time she took a heaving breath of her own.

"Sam-" Brooke was sure she had something important to say. Something clever or witty or romantic. However, she was also sure the feeling of Sam's thighs beneath her palms, fabric separating them or not, would kill her. And then she was only sure that there couldn't be anything on the planet as soft as Sam's lips, because the brunette was kissing her, and nothing else existed. Just Sam's lips, not even her own. They were soft, untouched by the cold like she'd briefly thought they might be, and warm and wet because Sam apparently didn't lick them only before she spoke. It was only when she felt a whimper press against her lips that she remembered she had a pair of her own, and that they moved just the way she wanted them to if she concentrated hard enough.

Sam's whimper turned into a moan when she felt Brooke respond, and her hands clutched reflexively at the back of the loveseat as their lips moulded together. Something in the back of Sam's mind was reminded her to take it slow, to etch everything about this into her memory, but then she felt Brooke's tongue teasing her bottom lip and all thoughts of slow were thrown somewhere among the debris of game pieces. She opened her mouth without hesitation and let Brooke in, feeling warmth flood the pit of her stomach at the first brush of the blonde's tongue against hers. Brooke moaned, her fingers digging into Sam's hips, that bucked forward involuntarily at the firm touch. The movement sent a rush of wetness to pool between Brooke's legs and, consumed by the need to make Sam do it again, her hands slipped boldly from the brunette's hips and beneath her hoodie. Sam wrenched her mouth away and, eyes still close, she gasped at the feel of Brooke's hands on her. She rested her forehead against Brooke's and hazel eyes opened to watch Sam's face as she let her fingers trail patterns along the reporter's sides. Every few seconds, Sam's body would jerk in what Brooke hoped was pleasure, but it didn't move quite like it had before. She moved them along the length of Sam's back, felt the girl twitch and watched as she frowned, looking as though she were attempting to control the movement. To stop it. Brooke's hands returned to stroke along Sam's sides, ever so slowly moving upwards, captivated by the other girl's face. Her mouth hung open a little and she was pulling in ragged breaths. Brooke could hear Sam's fingers pulling at the fabric of the couch and it made her smile, knowing that this was all her doing. That she was driving Sam to practically rip holes in the two-seater.

Fingers inching higher, Brooke leaned in a little to brush her nose against Sam's and then tilted her head to press their lips together again. No probing was needed this time, their mouths opened and their kiss was deep from the get go. Long, languid strokes of their tongues accompanied each caress of Brooke's thumbs against Sam's skin. Along her ribcage, skirting the edge of an invisible barrier dangerously until she decided the prize was too tempting and brushed the sides of Sam's bra-encased breasts, pulling a low moan from her and getting the desired cant of her hips she'd been searching for. Suddenly, Sam's fingers were in her hair, pulling her closer and pushing their kisses from slow and steady, to almost frantic with some unspoken need.

Brooke wasn't in control of anything anymore. Her hands grasped at soft flesh, feeling erect nipples bump at her palms through the fabric and Sam's hips roll down against her, sending her somewhere two stops past crazy. Brooke let out a whisper of a gasp as her bottom lip was pulled into Sam's mouth and gently bit, any semblance of restraint lingering in her grasp shattering. She pulled back and tugged at the hem of Sam's sweater, watching as dark eyes opened to stare at her from beneath heavy lids.

"Off." It was the first word that had been spoken in many minutes and Brooke's voice was hoarse. Sam took the edge of the garment from Brooke's hold and slowly, teasingly slowly, pulled it over her head, tossing it somewhere to the side. Brooke rested a hand against the flat stomach before her, pushing Sam back ever so slightly so she could look at her properly. She marvelled at how Sam's stomach muscles twitched beneath her fingers when she touched them, and bit her lip before speaking.

"You're so…" And Sam found that she was wrong, that there was something better than Brooke McQueen telling you that you were hot. It was her having no words to describe you at all. Unable to talk, Brooke gripped the back of Sam's neck and pulled her down into another kiss. She felt hands slip under the long-sleeved shirt she was wearing, the action made only a little difficult by Sam's boosted height, and stroke lines of fire along her sides, as her own free one trailed along a smooth back until it skirted the edges of the brunette's pyjama bottoms. In a bold move, the blonde's hand shifted and closed around the flesh of Sam's rear and squeezed. Sam inhaled noisily through her nose and broke away long enough to let out a teasing comment.

"I knew you were looking." And then she silenced Brooke with her lips before anything more could be said. Sam's hands moved awkwardly but enthusiastically in their close quarters, stroking along Brooke's stomach and moving upwards until one of them had halted on her side and the other was covering a breast that was far more bare than she'd expected it to be. One of them, both of them, let out a whimper at the contact, but the kiss never slowed. Sam's tongue slid against Brooke's as her hand slowly uncovered the mysteries of the flesh beneath it. Found out what touch elicited moans, what elicited gasps, and that softly trailing her thumb over the puckered peak made Brooke's hips mimic the movement Sam's had made earlier. Only when she took it between her thumb and forefinger and applied pressure did Brooke break the kiss to let her head fall back against the couch.

"Oh, god…" She moaned, closing her eyes tight and willing her heart to calm enough so it wasn't in danger of exploding. But suddenly Sam's lips were on her neck and her teeth were nipping at the skin there, and, sure the underwear she was wearing was beyond salvaging, she decided it could have exploded right then and there and she wouldn't have cared. Then Sam was nipping at her pulse point and sucking so hard she was sure there would be a mark tomorrow, and she wanted to stay alive just a little bit longer. She felt Sam's hand on her side move, expected it to go up but felt it slide down and her stomach roll with it. It stopped at her hip, her thumb dipping into the top of Brooke's pants as the blonde held as still as she could, waiting to see what Sam would do next.

"Brooke." Her name was a breath against her neck as it left Sam, low and cracked and the sexiest thing she'd ever heard. She couldn't open her eyes and she didn't want to move, scared it would somehow stop everything.

"Sam, if you don't touch me I'm never going to speak you again and you definitely won't be getting past first base for a long time." She had tried to sound confident, but she was pretty sure she'd failed because Sam was chuckling into her neck and her fingers were just playing with the hem of her pants. Unable to stop herself, Brooke grabbed Sam's wrist and pushed her hand past the barrier, gasping and letting go when it cupped exactly where she needed to be touched. Or, almost.

"You're so warm." Sam said, voice shaking, and cheeks instantly blushing at the stupidity of the statement. But Brooke did what she somehow always managed to do and made it okay.

"I feel like I'm on fire." Sam held her hand still, using the moment of coherency to take everything in. Or, she tried to, but she only got as far as 'my hand is in Brooke's pants' and the coherency was gone again, because at the exact moment she thought it she felt the hips beneath her buck upwards. "Sam…" She'd never heard her name said like that, like she was being begged. It pulled at her insides. She shifted her hand and Brooke let out a cry of frustration as her hips met nothing, but it morphed into one of pleasure as Sam slipped beneath her underwear and resumed the position. Brooke was wet. Really wet. It made Sam's head spin and sent a wave of pins and needle's cousin over her entire body. She pressed her forehead into the crook of the cheerleader's neck, releasing the hold her right hand had on Brooke's breast and lowering it to her side, and looked down to watch Brooke's hips move against her fingers. She was gasping and Sam felt her pulse hammering against her forehead. And she didn't care that her wrist was twisted in what she'd previously thought to be an impossible angle, she didn't care that it hurt a little, she only cared about the noises Brooke was making and the way Brooke was moving, and making sure all of those things continued for as long as possible.

The thought of not knowing what to do, didn't enter her mind. Later, she wouldn't be sure if that was because she'd been too caught up in the moment or if all those people she'd heard say 'you just know' were right. Because her fingers moved to part Brooke's lips and were coated in a wetness she had induced, and there was no nervous thought in her head. There was just Brooke, gasping her name and gripping her hips as she rocked against her probing fingers. There was only her name and the sound of the fire and their heavy breathing to break the quiet. Her thumb absently stroked the skin in the dip at Brooke's hip and her lips kissed the soft skin beneath them, as she finally slid a finger inside and felt Brooke clench around it.

"Sam…" Her name left Brooke again in a groan that made her clit throb, but she pulled her mind away from her own increasing need and instead, somehow, managed to find Brooke's little bundle of nerves with her thumb. The blonde's hips leapt from the sofa, but then lowered immediately to rock faster against Sam's fingers. "Fuck." She managed to get out before words left her completely. Sam's eyes rolled and closed involuntarily as Brooke's cursing sent a jolt of arousal through her, and she began moving in and out of the blonde, as much as she could given their positioning, making sure her thumb hit home on re-entry. After a few moments, she added another finger and it wasn't long before Brooke's hips began losing the painfully controlled rhythm they'd been set and moans were leaving her almost continuously. Sam lifted her head and kissed her, not to silence her but because she'd felt an overwhelming need to. This one was slow again, but short, because Sam's fingers were curling and hitting a spot inside Brooke that made her see stars. It was all of five seconds afterwards that Brooke tore her lips away to scream the only word she remembered, and Sam's name left her, her hips bucked one last time and her back arched, nails cutting into Sam's skin as she came around the fingers moving inside her.

Her body slummed heavily back against the sofa and she was sure her eyes wouldn't have open even if she'd tried to get them to. Sam's fingers moved slowly still, dragging out the aftershocks and making her body twitch randomly when she didn't expect it, but eventually they withdrew from her and she was left feeling oddly empty, but utterly spent. Sam's head returned to the crook of her neck and Brooke could feel her smiling.

"I think I love you." Had the admission not been whisper, had the previous events not transpired, had they just simply been sitting on the couch together, Brooke might have laughed it off. As it were, she felt her heart seize, in a good way, and her eyes prick sharply behind closed eyelids. Because she hadn't realised it until that very moment, but what she felt, what she'd been feeling for weeks now, had been what she'd been waiting for. What had been missing with Josh, what she had only attached to Sam in dreams, was being spoken about in reality and manifesting itself like some corporeal being that she wanted to grab onto and never let go. The feelings had all been there, they'd just hidden behind teasing comments and longing glances.

Brooke found the strength to lift a hand to stroke Sam's hair. Then she gripped her shoulder, prying her back so she could look at her. Eyes dazed and glassy, lips swollen from kissing and red from biting, Sam felt her heart clench and an unshakable worry that her dream was about to be shattered by the ringing of her alarm clock. But Brooke smiled, and everything was okay again.

"I think I love you too." And it was so sappy, and so 1970's love song-y, that it might have made them feel silly if they didn't feel so damn high. But Brooke's head was still fuzzy and Sam didn't think she'd ever felt this happy, so it never occurred to them to feel silly either. Sam leaned in and brushed their noses together again before placing chaste kisses against her lips for a moment that could easily lasted hours, had the sound of boots crunching snow not reached their ears. They pulled back from one another, shock immobilizing them for two seconds that felt like an eternity, and then they leapt off the couch when the sound of Jane's laughter broke their paralysis with a jackhammer.

"Oh shit, oh shit!" Sam cursed, almost tripping over her sweater as her momentum carried her past it. She bent down to reach it and turned to find Brooke turning in circles, surveying the room to make sure there was no incriminating evidence lying around. Their eyes locked, then snapped to the door when they heard the sound of the handle turning. Sam bolted, pushing against Brooke and forcing her forward towards her room. "Go!" Panting, they skipped around the corner and into the room, slamming the door closed as they heard the one leading outside open. With bated breath, they stayed silent, facing one another with their ears pressed against the door. They heard the murmured voices of their parents as they milled around in the main room for a few minutes then let out equally huge sighs of relief when they heard another door close.

"I cannot believe that just happened." Brooke laughed quietly, pressing her back against the unusually cool wood of the door that Sam pushed herself off of to face her, eyebrow raised.

"Which part?" The blonde blushed, and Sam tossed her sweater onto her bed behind her.

"Well, the whole evening took a pretty unbelievable turn when you came home." She grinned, lifting her arms to wrap them around Sam's neck and pull her closer. Sam smiled, resting her hands on Brooke's hips and dropping her gaze shyly for a moment.

"Definitely different from our usual evenings together." She remarked, lips pursed to suppress a smirk.

"Hey." Brooke said, coaxing Sam's eyes back up. She threaded her fingers through dark hair, enjoying the feel of it sliding between them. "I meant what I said." Because she didn't want there to be any doubt, not anymore. She waited for Sam to say something, but the shorter girl just looked at her. And then glanced upward. Brooke frowned when her gaze remained there and she tilted her head back to see what was so interesting. Apparently, the owners of the resort liked Christmas traditions. Hanging from the inside of the doorframe, was a single sprig of mistletoe.

Their eyes met and there was a short, lull of silence, before they both laughed and Brooke pulled Sam in even closer.

"Merry Christmas." She breathed against the lips mere millimetres from hers. "Time to give you your present." Then she covered them with her own.

The End

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