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13 December 2010 @ 06:46 pm
24 Gifts Of 2010 - Day Thirteen - Completely Safe (Ryan/Brooke)  
Set in the universe of 'Never Again', but several years pre-story. It's a significant Ryan/Brooke moment in this universe, though, and I sorta love it.

Completely Safe

"Christmas just... isn't not a good holiday for me," Ryan said as he stood by the fridge, nervously watching Brooke pull decorations out of bags. "Screaming, crying, cops... that's Christmas for me."

"Well, for me, Christmas is lots of gifts, none of which I would ever want but that I can return for cash and store credit," Brooke replied. "Or at least it has been. This year, I have an awesome boyfriend who I'm sure I can convince to at least appreciate the mistletoe part of my decorations." As she said it, she held a sprig of green over her head, raising an eyebrow.

Ryan laughed but walked over and wrapped his arms around her to place a soft kiss on her lips. "I can't really afford anything good enough for you," he said.

"Hey, who said I need more stuff?" Brooke said. "Don't you always say I have way too much stuff?"

"That's because you do," Ryan said, laughing again as Brooke stuck her tongue out at him. "But, seriously... you keep doing this buying me stuff thing..."

"I know, and I know you still have that whole 'is this really charity' drama in your head, but it's not charity," Brooke said. "It's me making your apartment someplace an actual human being would like to enter," she added with a grin.

"Oh, so that's how it is?" Ryan said.

"Uh-huh, mister minimalist."

"I'm not a minimalist, I'm just cheap," Ryan replied.

Brooke rolled her eyes and pulled away to go back to pulling out decorations. "All I require for Christmas is a slice of chocolate decadence cake from the restaurant."

"I think I can manage that," Ryan replied.


"Well, if it isn't one of the most beautiful girls in the world," Paulie said as Brooke walked into the restaurant on Christmas Eve.

"Hi, Paulie," Brooke replied. "Ryan told me to meet him here."

"Allow me to show you to your table," Paulie said, offering her his arm.

Brooke laughed and took it, letting him take her out to the patio, snowflake garlands wrapped around the railing and tall white candles on the single set table. "Oh..." she said. "Ryan!"

"Merry Christmas," Ryan replied, getting up from the table.

"Enjoy your dinner," Paulie said, kissing Brooke's cheek before leaving them alone.

"I can't believe you did this," Brooke said.

"Well, I may not be a fan of Christmas, but you are, so... I wanted to do something special," Ryan said."But, if I'm honest... Paulie's treating us to dinner. When I asked if I could use the patio after hours, he said that he'd make us dinner himself."

"He didn't!" Brooke said, moving to lift the cover. "Oh! I love Paulie's spaghetti!"

"I know," Ryan said, smiling.

"You are the best," Brooke said, turning to grab Ryan and kiss him. "Thank you."

Ryan smiled. "I... I love you, Brooke."

For a moment Brooke was quiet, surprised, then she smiled. "You... you said you love me?"

"Yeah, I did, I do," Ryan said. "You're... I love you."

"You told me that you wouldn't..."

"Wouldn't say it until I was sure I wouldn't get me heart broken," Ryan said. "And while I am pretty sure my heart's safe, I also know how I feel, and... I can't live my life afraid of being happy, of being in love, because then I'll just be miserable."

"Your heart is completely safe with me," Brooke whispered.

"I love you, Brooke. I love you."

"I love you, too," Brooke said, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him. "I love you, Ryan."

The End