Title: All I want for Christmas

Series: Yes - part 11 in Conversations

Author: Alyse (alyse@CI5Ops.co.uk)

Archive: CI5 Operational Control (http://www.CI5Ops.co.uk), Britslash

Category: Curtis/Keel.

Rating: NC17.

Spoilers/Warnings: No spoilers. No warnings. Sex. No angst. Well, it is Christmas :)

Summary: Christmas Curtis and Keel style.

I'm cheating. This is in response to both Christmas challenges on NewProfessionalslash, the silly one that Munchie and I did and Lou's considerably saner one. You didn't really expect me to write two did you? You did? Oh well, life is full of disappointments :)

Feedback: Yes please, to alyse@CI5Ops.co.uk . Constructive criticism welcome, flames will be used to melt chocolate, and we all know what I'll do with that :)

Disclaimers: They belong to Brain Clements and David Wickes Productions. They don't belong to me - if they did we all know what they'd be doing. I don't make any money from this. I have nothing but my own warped imagination and therefore I'm not worth suing. :)

Kudos: Many thanks to my excellent beta Lou, for the eagle eyed spotting of typos and soothing of fevered brow.
 

All I want for Christmas

 

by Alyse

 


Act One: Christmas Eve

Chris dumped his overnight bag (overnight? Hah! Week or two bag would be a better description) on to his partner's couch with a huge sigh of relief. Thank God for small mercies. Their latest mission completed with - he glanced at his watch - at least ten hours to go until Christmas Day. For a while there he really thought they weren't going to make it and that he and Sam would spend their first Christmas together as a couple... well, as a couple but as a couple of CI5 agents buried deep undercover in an arms dealing ring rather than as a couple of lovers unwrapping each other come Christmas morning. In fact, they'd spent most of the case apart, which hadn't done much to reassure him that this Christmas would be a success on the togetherness front. But finally they'd had the breakthrough they'd been waiting for and brought the bad guys' house of cards tumbling around their ears and been reunited for the long flight back. Just in time for Christmas.

Although Christmas Eve had always been a bigger deal for him growing up than Christmas Day he'd noticed that the Brits appeared to do things differently, leaving the whole unwrapping of presents thing until Christmas morning. And when in Rome, or more precisely London, do as the natives do. He'd really tried to get into the whole British spirit of Christmas, even going so far as to suggest to Sam on the flight back that they do that most British of festive things and go and see a pantomime. Sam's reply to that hadn't been printable. Sam, to Chris' mind, just wasn't getting into the spirit of things. The man hadn't even bought a tree.

"Come on." The subject of his musings interrupted his chain of thought, rather peremptorily handing him back his coat that he'd only just taken off and, in a nod to Sam's penchant for neatness, hung up on the hook provided for such purposes.

"I've only just sat down."

"I know," explained Sam impatiently. "But now you've got to get back up again. We've got to go out."

"Where?"

His lover gave an exasperated sigh. "If you want to eat tomorrow I would suggest Tesco's which shuts..." He glanced at his own watch. "In a little under two hours and won't open again until Wednesday at the earliest. We'd better get a move on. And don't bother pouting because I am *not* braving the supermarket on my own on Christmas Eve."

Yep, Sam was definitely in a foul mood, hardly full of goodwill to all men. He wondered how much that had to do with the case they'd been on, the long flight back or the thought of shopping on Christmas Eve and how much had to do with the fact that tomorrow was Christmas Day and to Chris' knowledge Sam hadn't spoken to his family since informing them about his relationship with Chris. Not that he'd even known that Sam had even done that until recently.

He sighed heavily, making sure Sam heard him even though he knew it would do no good. No point in giving in gracefully. If he did that, Sam might decide that having Chris accompany him on trips for essentials like food should become a habit.

Sam looked even more impatient. "Today would be nice," he grated.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Chris groused in reply. Wonder of wonders, that actually got a hint of a smile.

"Not yet. At least not that I've noticed."

He perked up. Maybe if he was well behaved around the shop he could persuade Sam that he deserved a reward. He could hope, couldn't he?

*****

He watched the seething mass of humanity swirling around the large supermarket entrance with something close to despair. They'd made extra good time getting here, thanks to his partner's disregard for both speed limits and pedestrian safety, but even so, this... this was just unbelievable.

"The shopping isn't going to do itself, Chris."

Chris didn't respond to either the question or the still irritable tone it was delivered in. Instead he gestured helplessly at the crowds, words failing him.

"I know. But it's not going to get any better. And we'd better get going since it could take us an hour to get through the checkouts. It did the last time I left it this late."

"An hour?" He glanced at the crowd even more aghast.

"Yep." There was a morbid note of humour now in his partner's voice as he too surveyed the masses moving in and out of the door.

Chris sighed melodramatically. "Let's get to it then." He straightened his shoulders as though he was headed off to face his doom and Sam's face broke out into a smile. "Shall we?"

They wove their way through the multitudes, barely managing to avoid being overrun by old ladies with shopping trolleys.

"You know what these remind me of?" asked Sam suddenly. "Lemmings, all rushing over the cliff of consumerism."

Chris blinked, a little taken aback by the humour in his partner's voice. For some reason Sam's mood appeared to have improved and he couldn't quite figure out why, unless it was something to do with being reunited. It was a silly thought, really, and silly that it made him feel so warm inside but he let himself play along.

"They don't really do that, you know?"

"Hmm?" Sam pounced on an abandoned shopping trolley just ahead of a hassled looking businesswoman and smiled sweetly as she glowered at him before resuming her search.

"Lemmings. They don't run over cliffs. I'm sure I read somewhere that that was an urban myth, perpetuated by Disney."

Sam was only half listening to him, he could tell, but he answered anyway. "What does Disney have to do with it?"

"Well, in the early sixties Disney made pseudo nature documentaries, getting all their facts wrong. And in one of them they filmed lemmings rushing over a cliff."

"And?" Sam had pulled a shopping list out of his pocket and was reading through it.

"Well, apparently lemmings don't really do that so the only reason they ran over the cliff in the film was because the film crew was chasing them."

That finally got his partner's attention, Sam staring at him, open-mouthed, and then he frowned.

"Are you pulling my leg?"

Chris shrugged. "Well, I'm not saying it's true. It could be another urban myth. All I know is that my sister was quite upset about it all when we were kids. She wanted us all to boycott Disney movies and for Dad to donate loads of money to a lemming sanctuary or something."

Sam laughed. "They actually have those?"

"If they didn't she probably would have started one. She was into save the whale and everything back then."

Sam started to laugh. "A home for wayward lemmings?"

He beamed, pleased that the story appeared to have cheered his partner up. "Something like that."

Sam shook his head, a smile still gracing his face. "And I wondered where you got it from," he muttered darkly, although his heart obviously wasn't in it. He glanced down at his list again and then looked up at the crowds with another sigh.

"Feel like jumping over a cliff?"

"With you?" he grinned. "Any time."

Sam rolled his eyes at the sappily phrased sentiment, but Chris could tell that his partner was pleased anyway. He'd realised during their brief week away that Sam needed to hear that he was important to Chris and on a regular basis.

Sam. Insecure. It was still a concept he was struggling with.

They ventured through the door and the noise and bustle hit Chris almost like a physical blow. To one side were the tills, whirring and humming as though they had a life of their own, staff tearing between them on roller-skates of all things. To the other side a group of school children were singing carols, all of them wearing jaunty Santa hats adorned with tinsel while some of their number were circulating and shaking collection tins hopefully at shoppers. Ahead of them gaped the portal into another world, huge racks of shelving rearing above them like some primitive temple to Mammon.

It was just like Wal-Mart.

He was home.

He peered over his lover's shoulder at the list clutched in Sam's hand while his lover flicked desperate eyes left and right, taking in the toys, videos, CDs and computers to one side and the racks of Christmas clothing to the other. Chris had the beginnings of an idea.

"Do you want to split the list?" he asked, pitching his voice so that it could be heard above the throng. Sam gave him a long, slow look that spoke volumes and he grinned. "I promise I'll get everything that's on it, Sam, but it would be quicker that way. Take half the shop each?"

Sam's look was still doubtful and Chris' grin widened. "You don't need me to hold your hand going around, do you?"

"Are you kidding? Have you seen those old women who gather around the cheese counter? They scare me."

"And you a big, tough CI5 agent."

"Hey, I know my limitations."

"So..." Chris wheedled. "How about it? Because, frankly, the sooner we get out of here the better."

Sam sighed and, with a sudden decisive move, tore the list in half. "Everything on the list, Chris. Okay?"

Having won this battle he could afford to be magnanimous. "Sure. Where shall we meet?"

Sam glanced around, his eyes settling on a sign for a café. "There. After we've finished. Good luck, and you'll need a trolley."

He gave Chris a slightly smug smile, clutching his own tightly as Chris glanced around at the throngs again, his heart sinking.

"See you in hell," Sam said, still with a smug smile, before heading off to do battle with the masses.

"Yeah," muttered Chris. "Sure you will." Probably literally, knowing Chris' luck.

*****

Actually, once he got beyond the door, it wasn't too bad. It was even fun, in a sick and twisted kind of a way. And while he had to get everything on Sam's list that didn't mean he was limited to the list. As far as he was concerned there was a notable lack of sugar based products on Sam's list and he intended to remedy that, although his partner had unbent enough in the holiday season to actually include 'Christmas Cake' among the required items, which was a wonder in itself. Oh, and mince pies he noticed. He presumed that was sweet mince rather than savoury. Well, that's what he was getting anyway.

He hovered over the cakes for a while, frowning while he tried to differentiate between Dundee Cake, fruitcake, cakes with white icing, cakes without. He finally settled on something called a 'Yuletide Log', mainly it had to be said because of the plentiful chocolate icing. The plastic robin and holly wreath sitting on top of it seemed quite festive too.

He spent a pleasant few minutes ambling along the special Christmas aisles, throwing the odd tube of wrapping paper into the trolley and picking up odd small gifts for Sam, silly things that caught his eye, for the pure joy of buying them. And then he hit the toy aisles and was in seventh heaven. Only his awareness of the rapidly passing minutes managed to drag him away.

Strangely enough it actually grew quieter from then, probably because few people had left it to the last minute as he and Sam had been forced to do. It did mean, however, that contrary to his partner's dire predictions he wasn't in the queue for an hour, and there was an attractive young woman, still on roller-blades, who helped him pack his shopping, smiling sweetly at his largest purchase. He'd still been beaten by Sam, who he spotted heading into the café while he was still in the queue, probably because the Englishman had limited himself to the list and only the list. He supposed being impulsive had its drawbacks. Mind you, he thought as he hefted his largest gift for Sam, being impulsive did have its benefits. He couldn't wait until Sam set eyes on this. Actually, he didn't want Sam to see this until tomorrow, which left him with a bit of a dilemma.

A dilemma that was easily solved. All he had to do was find his wrapping paper and the nifty little sellotape thingy he'd purchased, something that sat on your wrist and dispensed little strips of sellotape one at a time and he could never resist neat little things like that. He begged a pair of scissors from one of the till girls, turning on both the charm and dimples so that she didn't stand a chance and voila - one not terribly neatly wrapped present. While he was on the subject - voila. Several not terribly neatly wrapped presents.

He was feeling quite smug with himself when he finally made it into the café, even though there wasn't really enough time for him to have a well-deserved cup of coffee.

Sam had obviously had the same idea as he'd had, since sat on the seat next to his partner were several much more neatly wrapped presents, all shoved into a carrier bag. His partner, however, had done it in comfort, and seemed to be deep into his second cup of something hot if the empty cup sitting on the table was any indication.

"Didn't you get me one?" Chris pouted.

"I did," replied Sam urbanely. "It was going cold so I'm drinking it." He eyed the full trolley Chris was wheeling with some trepidation. "Get everything?"

"Yep."

Sam made a little 'hmm' sound in the back of his throat. "And then some by the looks of it." His curious gaze settled on the wrapped presents sitting atop Chris' pile but he didn't comment. "Let's get going then."

*****

It took a while for them to unpack the shopping, bickering good-naturedly as they did so. It was good to be home, even if home appeared, for the present, to be Sam's place, mainly because Sam, at least, knew how to cook. Not that he minded being at Sam's - he liked it. Sam's place, although smaller than his, was actually quite homey, with a large couch, which by now had a lot of fond memories associated with it for Chris, and warm furnishings. It surprised a lot of people, he knew, who expected Sam's apartment to be as cold as his partner appeared to those who didn't know him well. It had surprised Chris too at first, if he was honest with himself. Just one of the facets of Sam that very few people got to see - and he was honoured to be numbered among the few.

Best of all for Chris was that the place was full of Sam-touches and the scent of Sam permeated everything. A good, clean scent he couldn't get his fill of. He only had to walk through the door to ease his troubled heart.

Home.

By now he pretty much knew where everything went, with Sam insisting that everything was put in its proper place, and went about stowing the shopping away with gusto.

"What is this?" Sam asked him suddenly, pulling out a rather garish box and waving it in his direction.

Chris blinked at him and smiled. "What does it say on the box?"

Sam gave him an old-fashioned look and didn't bother to answer. Chris did it for him, still smiling sweetly. "Fairy lights," he replied brightly.

"How very apt," murmured Sam, now staring at the box as though it was about to grow teeth and bite him. "I hate to disappoint you, Chris, but we don't have a tree to put them on. Unless..." He frowned and started to peer around at the still unemptied bags. "You didn't buy one of those too, did you?" he asked suspiciously.

Chris chuckled softly, rather enjoying his lover's consternation. "We improvise."

That earned him a raised eyebrow, Sam's look openly doubtful. "Oh ye of little faith," Chris chastised, casting his eyes around the room until they fell on one of Sam's plants; a small bonsai.

"Oh no..."

"Oh yes," he beamed, snatching the offending box out of his partner's hands and stalking over to the small tree. "This will do nicely."

The eyebrow raised further, but Sam had obviously decided to humour the madman currently wearing his partner's face and didn't comment further as he watched Chris wrap the gaudy lights around his prized bonsai, humming happily to himself as he did so.

"There you go."

"Very Christmassy," said Sam dryly. "You didn't buy a star for the top, then?"

Chris eyed the bonsai doubtfully. "Does it have a top?"

"That was sarcasm, Chris."

"Really?"

"Yes, really."

"'Cause I could always go out and get a star. There's bound to be a shop open somewhere. Or we could make one out of tinfoil."

"Chris?"

"Yes?"

"Give it a rest."

"Sure?"

"Absolutely positive."

Chris treated his lover to a flash of his dimples and then, while Sam was still reeling, turned his attention back to the tree. "It's not very big," he said critically. "We're not going to be able to get many presents under it."

There was a telling hesitation behind him and he turned around just in time to catch the tail end of a frown crossing over his lover's face. "You didn't get many, did you?" Sam asked, obviously concerned that he was about to face a deluge of gifts and wouldn't have a similar number to give Chris back.

"I was kind of assuming that I'd get you, gift-wrapped," quipped Chris. "And you are definitely not going to fit underneath there."

Sam gave him one of those long-suffering looks his partner seemed to specialise in. "I thought," he said, still dryly, "that I'd be lucky to get out of bed tomorrow morning with my wrapping intact."

Chris beamed. "Well, that's okay then." He gave the tree another critical look, and then turned it slightly, so that the angle was to his satisfaction and they would get the full effect of the lights when they were cuddled up together on the couch. And there would be cuddling. He was counting on it.

Sam shook his head, his expression exasperated although Chris could see the laughter dancing in his lover's eyes, and then turned back to the arduous task of putting the rest of the shopping away. He didn't even comment on the chocolate Yule log, merely limiting himself to a heavy, hard done by sigh and shake of the head while Chris grinned at him unrepentantly.

When the shopping had finally been stowed to Sam's satisfaction, Chris sank onto the couch with a grateful sigh, kicking his shoes off and placing his aching feet onto the coffee table. He fully intended to remain there for the rest of the evening, deciding that it would take dynamite to shift him.

"I'm going to start on the food for tomorrow and then I think I'll have a bath," commented Sam quietly, handing him a cup of fragrant coffee.

Dynamite or a naked partner.

"Do you need your back washing?" he asked hopefully.

Sam's mouth twitched. "I thought you were going to leave unwrapping me until tomorrow?"

He pouted, to no effect. "Seems a pity to wait until then."

Sam smiled again and leant over to kiss him gently on the lips. "I'm flattered," he said. "But I'm also shattered. Maybe another time, okay?"

There had been a time, not so long before, that Chris would have been worried by the refusal, letting his insecurities rule him, but not now. He knew Sam loved him, and didn't need the reassurance, not now Sam had finally said the words, and so he smiled softly before kissing Sam back.

"'Kay. Need a hand with that cooking thing?"

Sam was already heading back into the kitchen. "No. I think have it covered."

Chris was prepared to admit that he could barely cope with cooking beyond the simple instructions that appeared on the back of ready made meals, i.e. shove under the grill, in the oven or in the microwave for however many minutes, but he was feeling a little guilty about leaving Sam to do it all. The guilt hauled him to his feet and dragged him into the kitchen.

"Sure you don't need a hand?" he asked, leaning against the worktop, still clutching his cup of coffee.

Sam glanced up at him and spared him a smile. "Well, this joint is proving a little troublesome, so why don't you execute a flanking action and cut it off at the oven before it has a chance to call in reinforcements."

"Ha ha."

"Seriously, Chris. I have it under control. If you're feeling guilty about it, don't be. You're doing the washing up."

Damn. "Okay."

He watched Sam for a few moments before asking, more for the sake of making conversation than any genuine interest, "We're having ham tomorrow?"

"Nope. We're having turkey." Sam gave him a wry look. "It's a bit of a tradition."

"So what's with the ham?" He reached out and stuck one finger in the honey pot that Sam had left open on the counter, ignoring Sam's irritated look with the ease of long practice. Strange really, to see Sam so domesticated.

"That's a tradition too, at least it was in my family."

He removed the finger from his mouth and tried not to look too eager at this glimpse into his partner's formative years. "Oh?"

"Yeah, Mum used to do one every Christmas so we had something other than turkey. She'd cook it a couple of days beforehand, and we'd make sandwiches or have it with veg..." Sam had finished scoring marks into the ham and began to smooth some of the honey over it. "And she'd always do extra veg on Christmas day, so we'd have cold roast potatoes to eat all day." He gave Chris a sweet, reminiscent smile. "That was the best part."

"We doing that?" Chris pulled up a stool, seating himself on it and leaning his head in his hand as he watched his partner. The domesticity of the scene made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside, comfortable and secure.

"Of course." Sam spared him another smile before he began to shake out some cloves. He began talking again, and Chris wondered if he even realised he was doing it or whether some strange nostalgic Christmas bug had infected him without him realising. He didn't comment on it though, just relishing the emotional closeness between them.

"After Mum died, Nan used to do the same only she'd cook the joint at her house and bring it over to make sure that we didn't starve." Another smile. "Dad wasn't much of a cook. I had to learn in self-defence really." He was sticking cloves into the ham's skin now, at the intersections of the criss-cross marks he'd scored earlier. It was strangely hypnotic, watching him. "Wasn't the same though, not smelling it cooking." He paused for a moment, staring into space. "I missed her then."

"Yeah," Chris said softly, thinking about his own losses. "It's hard." And then a sudden thought struck him. "You're going to miss your family this Christmas too, aren't you?"

Sam shrugged, his attention apparently still fixed on cooking, but Chris knew him well enough by now not to be fooled. "Sam..."

The tone in his voice finally got Sam looking at him and Chris gave his lover a shaky smile. "I'm sorry..."

"Don't be." Sam's voice was low and intense, matched by an equally intense look in his green eyes. "I made my decision and I stick by it. I have you, that's enough."

He wanted to ask if Sam was sure, but the look in his partner's eyes stopped him. Instead, he reached out and captured one of Sam's hands in his own.

"Besides," Sam continued, his tone a little lighter although the look in his eyes remained almost fierce in his determination to convince Chris that he had no regrets, "you've gotta miss your family too."

"Yeah," he answered softly. "But it's different for me..." He meant with his family effectively gone rather than having turned their backs on him but Sam seemed to sense this and interrupted him before he could complete the thought.

"You still have your Mom. Aren't you going to be missing her?"

He gave Sam a sad little smile. "She barely knows who I am anymore, and on the rare occasions she sees me all that does is bring home what she's lost. It upsets her, and most of the time she's happy enough, lost in her own little world."

It appeared to be the day for sharing confidences, and he wondered if he'd been infected with the same nostalgia bug as Sam. It was the first time he'd explicitly mentioned his mother's frequent absences from what passed as the 'real' and 'sane' world, and he didn't want to put a damper on their first Christmas together. Instead of dwelling on it, he pulled Sam's hand up to his mouth, placing a kiss gently on the back of it and stroking Sam's long, strong fingers, sticky now with honey. "I have you and that's enough," he echoed, meaning every syllable. And then he smiled devilishly and, unable to resist, sucked one of the honey-covered fingers into his mouth, licking the sweetness from it with his tongue.

Sam's eyes dilated slightly and his lips parted as the shock of the action obviously coursed through his veins. Chris let his smile widen, his tongue slowly tracing up and down Sam's index finger. And then he drew it from his mouth entirely, letting it slide out with a quiet 'pop' before asking innocently. "Didn't you say you were going to have a bath?"

"Erm... yes."

What a kick. Managing to reduce his normally collected partner to quivering speechlessness with one simple action. He felt quite smug about it. He couldn't resist teasing a little.

"Going to put that in the oven before you do?" he asked, still innocently. Sam scowled slightly and then flushed.

"Smart arse."

"Hmm mm. Just hate to get it all heated up and then not... put it to good use."

He smirked and Sam gave him a reluctant smile before leaning over and kissing him again, sliding his tongue gently past Chris' lips to taste the honey and to scrape it lightly over Chris' teeth.

He pulled back to ask, "Anyone tell you you have a one track mind?"

Chris smiled. "You. Frequently. And my answer stays the same. It's difficult not to where you're concerned... Cuddle bunny."

*****

He let Sam take his bath in peace, having satisfactorily teased his lover mercilessly. Thinking back on it, he smirked again at the picture of his lover's exasperated face at the infamous 'cuddle bunny' reference. For all of Sam's bitching about it he was growing more and more convinced that Sam didn't really mind, enjoying the teasing in a strange kind of a way.

And thinking of Sam, his partner had gone suspiciously silent. He padded on silent feet over to the slightly ajar bathroom door and was greeted by a breathtaking sight.

Sam had fallen asleep, his head resting on the edge of the bath, his damp hair flopping into his face and his naked body lying supine, open to Chris' avid gaze. There was something both erotic and touching in the sight; Sam's long, dark eyelashes sweeping down over high boned cheeks, his lips slightly parted as the broad chest rose and fell with each drowsy breath.

He settled down on the floor by the bath, drinking in the sight. He didn't often get the opportunity to simply watch Sam sleeping; their lives were too hectic for that. And Sam never relaxed this completely when they were awake, not even in that state of post-coital bliss Chris had reduced him to more times now than could be counted. It was a rare privilege to see him like this and Chris was savouring the experience.

He didn't know how long he sat there watching his lover until Sam finally stirred, opening sleepy eyes to catch him looking. And then he was rewarded with a wonderful smile, sunny and still sleepy at the same time.

"Hey," said Sam, his voice still gravelly with sleep. "How long was I out?"

"Hey yourself," Chris replied softly. "Don't know, but when I realised you were asleep I couldn't leave you on your own."

Sam stretched, catlike, the move sending another sharp surge of longing through him. "Should have woken me," he murmured.

"No," he sighed. "I was enjoying watching you." He reached out and stroked a gentle finger along one of those cheekbones. "I always enjoy watching you..." The finger moved down Sam's face towards his mouth. "Especially when you're wet and naked."

He traced the smile that formed on Sam's face, unsurprised when Sam gently sucked the end of his finger in, nipping at it gently. The finger moved down Sam's throat and he cupped his whole hand loosely around Sam's neck, palm down, feeling the pulse beating underneath the skin. "You're beautiful," he breathed, his thumb sliding over the satiny skin, back and forth, back and forth. "Beautiful..."

His hand went on the prowl again, sliding down over Sam's torso, pausing to dip his fingers into the hollow of Sam's throat before mapping the line of his lover's breastbone. A detour to circle one flat nipple, flicking lightly at it with the tip of his index finger until it peaked at his touch. Sam's eyes never left his face, watching him while he petted and stroked him, the green eyes darkening with each caress, taking on a silvery sheen of arousal. His attention flicked back and forth between watching Sam and watching what his hand was doing to his lover, absorbing the sight and smell of Sam's desire.

His fingers drifted lower, across the muscles of Sam's taut abdomen, feeling them twitch beneath his touch. He took it slowly, and by the time he reached Sam's groin his lover was already hard, his shaft silk covered steel beneath Chris' fingertips. Sam finally broke their gaze, his seal-dark head dropping back against the side of bath with a sigh as Chris began to slowly stroke along his length.

There was a bottle of baby oil on the shelf next to the bath and he reached for it, slicking his hand to slide it along Sam's erection, listening to his lover moan as his fist slipped over his lover's heated flesh. His hand slid down between Sam's parted legs and into the cooling water, finding his lover's velvety sac and rolling his balls between careful fingers before stroking along the path of his lover's perineum to the puckered entrance Sam's body, flicking over it with one blunt fingernail before retracing his steps and pumping Sam's cock again.

He repeated the move several times, each time slowly and carefully, giving Sam plenty of time to savour the experience, all the time watching Sam's face, drinking in the pleasure blossoming there.

Sam's moans came more frequently now, interspersed with soft exclamations as Chris' fingers worked their magic, driving him closer and closer to the brink. Chris was relentless, utilising every trick he knew that his lover liked to bring him to the peak and keep him there, circling around the corona, sliding into the weeping slit and then abandoning Sam's cock completely to move down and circle and fondle Sam's balls before moving back again to slide one oil-coated finger into his lover's tight heat.

Sam's eyes were tightly closed now, his head tossing from side to side and his hands clutching the sides of the bath as Chris touched him. He was panting heavily, his lips parted and Chris brought his free hand up to stroke over Sam's mouth, feeling a surge of arousal as once again Sam sucked a finger in, the thrusting of his tongue against the tip an echo of the thrusting of his cock into Chris' slick and tight fist. His eyes opened again, dazed with passion, and met Chris', no comprehension in that gaze just sheer pleasure and need. And then he came, arching into Chris' hand with a harsh cry, spilling his warm seed over Chris' fingers.

Chris continued to pump him until the last of the shudders ran through Sam's body and then his lover sank back into the water, his body limp and exhausted. His eyes, when they opened and met Chris', were warm and Chris couldn't resist leaning in to give him a kiss, rinsing both his hand and Sam's belly with the by now cool water as he did so.

"Beautiful," he breathed against Sam's mouth. "My beautiful love."

"What about you?" Sam asked when he'd regained the power of speech.

"I'm fine." And he was. This had been for Sam and strangely enough although he was aroused, there was no burning need to make love right then and there. He could wait. He smiled and kissed Sam again.

"Come on," he said lightly. "Better go get ready for bed or Santa Claus won't come. Have you been naughty or nice?"

Sam smiled back and swiped at his stomach with the flannel, washing away the last remaining traces of his orgasm. "You tell me."

He kissed Sam again. "Both, baby. Definitely both."

*****

Act Two: Christmas Day

He woke slowly, luxuriating in the feel of a warm body entangled with his. Lovely way to start the day.

Christmas Day.

"Hey, Sam. Can I have my presents now?"

"Wha...? Chris, what time is it?"

"Half six. Can I have my presents now?"

"Half six in the fuckin' morning?"

"Yes. And?"

Sam muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'worse than having a kid' but since it was Christmas Chris let it slide.

"So can I?"

"Sure. Fine. Whatever."

"Sam?"

"What?"

"Aren't you going to get up too?"

"No."

Pout.

"Fine, I'll get up but I want coffee and lots of it. Can't believe that I finally get a chance to have a lie in and you wake me up at six thirty a.m. and not even for sex...."

"Sam?"

"Yes?"

Pounce. Kiss. Stroke. Kiss.

"Better?"

"Much. If you're going to wake me up at six-thirty, Chris, you'd better make it worth my while."

"Coffee?"

"Coffee and lots of it. And while you're on, I'll have another kiss too."

"And then?"

"And then yes, Chris, you can have your presents."

He smiled and leant in to kiss his partner thoroughly, making sure that Sam felt both loved and appreciated.

"I'll go and put the kettle on."

He was filling the kettle when he felt a pair of strong arms wrapping around him and leant back into Sam's embrace, feeling his lover place a gentle kiss on his hairline. "Merry Christmas, love," the Englishman said.

"Merry Christmas, Sam."

He twisted around in Sam's embrace, once again kissing his lover and almost spilling the water in the kettle. "Oops."

"Coffee."

"Coffee first?" he asked hopefully, putting the kettle on to boil.

"In my house," replied Sam with a sparkle in his eye, "the grown-ups always had to have coffee before we were allowed anywhere near the presents."

"In my house we got to unwrap them on Christmas Eve," he grumbled good-naturedly.

Sam grinned at him. "I thought you did get to unwrap your present last night."

"Yep," he shot back. "True enough but I didn't get to play with it for long enough."

Another kiss and then Sam pulled back to say, in a mock solemn voice, "A CI5 agent isn't just for Christmas. He's for life."

He had to laugh and answered, "Well in that case I hope someone fitted you with Eveready batteries."

"Oh yes, I just keep going and going and going..."

"And coming. Don't forget the coming."

"Oh yes," Sam growled. "Coming will definitely be on the agenda."

Well, that was his Christmas Day planned out nicely.

To show his appreciation of the agenda he spent the time until the kettle boiled leisurely kissing Sam, holding him close and running his hands over him, although Sam was right about it being early. Too early yet for anything overtly sexual, but this was very, very nice. A wonderful way to celebrate waking up on Christmas morning with a wonderful man.

And he was getting very sentimental in his old age, even taking the time of year into account.

He finally pulled back with a satiated sigh. "Coffee?"

"Coffee."

Cups clutched in their hands they made their way back into Sam's small living room. He shouldn't have been surprised to see the presents clustered around Sam's bonsai tree but somehow he still was. Sam had moved the furniture around so that it now stood on a high table, and the presents fit neatly underneath it on the floor. He'd obviously done that after Chris had gone to bed and Chris hadn't heard a thing. He was oddly touched by the gesture.

"Hang on," he said, thrusting his cup into Sam's free hand. "I'll go get yours."

Sam sighed, and settled himself on the couch while Chris rushed into the bedroom and pulled together the presents he'd left haphazardly strewn on the floor. He wasn't quite sure whether he was more excited about opening his own gifts or watching Sam open the ones he'd bought him.

Sam, definitely. He barely made it into the living room before he was thrusting the largest one into his lover's hands.

"Coffee," said Sam firmly.

He pouted.

"Okay, fine," sighed the Englishman, putting his cup down onto the floor and assuming his best 'hard done by' look. "I suppose I can do both at once." He turned the present in his hands gingerly over and over, squeezing it and putting it up to his ear to listen.

"Sam..." he growled, exasperated, only to be treated to a beaming smile. "Just open it."

Sam laughed and then began teasing the paper apart to reveal something fluffy and orange.

"It's Tigger."

"Yes. I can see that." Sam smoothed Tigger's fur down, a slight smile gracing his face.

"I bought him to keep you company when I'm away."

"So when I can't have my Tigger I can have a substitute one?"

"Exactly. You know, like when we had to work apart on this last case."

Sam chuckled. "I somehow think people might notice if I turned up for a flight clutching this Tigger instead of my real one."

"Ah," said Chris, reaching for another present. "I thought you might think that so..."

Sam unwrapped that one and then burst out laughing. "A portable version?"

"Yep."

Sam sat the beanie Tigger down on his lap and sat there smiling at it. "Thank you," he said. "And while we're on the subject of Christmas presents, open that flat one. No the one underneath it."

"Tigger boxer shorts."

"They seemed apt," Sam smiled.

"They are indeed. Thank you."

"You might like the one that was resting on top of it too."

He tore the wrapping paper off. "Chocolate!"

"Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a selection box, Chris."

"Thank you."

"You're going to eat chocolate before seven a.m.?"

"Ohf.. courphe..."

"Don't speak with your mouth full, Chris. Unless..."

"Yef...?"

"It's full of me!"

He spluttered, spraying chocolate all over Sam's couch, much to the Englishman's disgust, but he couldn't help it. He had to laugh at that surreal flashback to Tennessee.

"We're not having anchovies for lunch, are we?"

Sam gave him a look that spoke volumes. "Absolutely not. We're having turkey, which reminds me I'd better check it's defrosted."

"Yep. Get out the tin, get out the turkey baster..." He started ticking tasks off on his fingers.

"That's what a spoon is for, Chris."

He trailed his partner into the kitchen. "You have no sense of adventure."

"I have a very keen sense of adventure, Chris, just one that doesn't involve any kitchen implements. Apart from knives, and even then only in a professional sense."

"Pity. Could be kinky. How do you feel about sex on the kitchen table?"

Sam gave him an amused look. "With whom?"

Chris mock scowled at him. "With me of course."

"Can it wait until I've had my second cup of coffee?"

"Of course it can."

"Thank you."

Chris did, however, steal another kiss as Sam wandered past him back into the living room.

"More presents?" asked Sam as Chris dived back into his selection box.

"Sure."

He was about to hand Sam another package when Sam beat him to it, handing him a small box, his expression slightly nervous.

Sensing this, Chris unwrapped the gift very carefully, not tearing the wrapping paper off with abandon the way he had for his other gifts.

He wasn't sure what he was expecting, jewellery maybe, given the size of the box; something tasteful like cufflinks or a watch, not that he wore shirts requiring cufflinks very often. He was surprised therefore to find a couple of keys inside, one shiny new and the other old and rather battered, not to mention much smaller. He looked to Sam for an explanation, and his partner reached out to touch the keys lightly.

"That's a spare key to my flat. I know you already have one officially, with being my partner, but I thought it was about time you had one unofficially, for... well, not for being my partner anyway. One I'd given you because I wanted to and because you wanted to have it. The other..." He placed the same, gentle finger on the other, battered key. "This is the key to my wardrobe. There's only one, so you'll have to leave it here..." His voice trailed off and he shrugged as Chris watched him seriously. "I cleared some space in it for you," he added.

"Are you asking me to move in with you?" Chris asked softly when he'd found his voice.

Sam shrugged again. "That's not really an option, Chris. Not with the 'be discreet' rider that Malone gave us. Just wanted you to know that you can come and go as you like, leave some clothes here if you want..."

Once again he was watching Chris nervously as Chris echoed Sam's earlier gesture, reaching out to touch the keys with gentle and gently shaking fingers.

"Sam... It's a wonderful gift..."

"But?"

He looked up from the box straight into Sam's intense green eyes, a shadow lurking in their depths, enhanced rather than masked by the crooked smile gracing his partner's much loved face.

"No buts," he said softly, reaching up to touch Sam's face, still with those same gentle fingers. "It's a wonderful gift, Sam," he repeated. "I know how much you value your privacy and I'm honoured that you're letting me share it. Thank you."

He leant in to kiss his partner, sliding his fingers into Sam's hair. When he pulled back Sam simply said, "I love you."

He couldn't get enough of hearing it, no matter what he'd said to Sam in Devon. "I love you too."

Sam limited himself to a brief nod and, seemingly a little embarrassed by revealing so much of what went on in his complicated mind, glanced down at the gifts cluttered around the base of the tree.

Chris eased the tension now evident in the room. "Your turn. Here you go."

It was one of the few presents that Chris had been able to buy in advance rather than on the spur of the moment yesterday and he watched anxiously as Sam unwrapped it with his normal, consummate care. In no way could it match the gift Sam had just given him. A silk Gucci tie. While Sam didn't wear ties very often - too easy for someone to grab them and strangle you with them - when he did they were of this type. Expensive, classy and understated. Add in gorgeous, funny and goes like a bunny on Eveready batteries and you'd have a description of his partner.

Definitely the season to be sappy, although he could always blame Sam's gift for the current sense of bliss he was experiencing.

"Thank you," said Sam simply, admiring the accessory in his hand. And then he did something that really surprised Chris, turning to the large Tigger still sitting on the sofa beside him and tying the tie neatly around his neck.

"Suits him," he said with a grin in Chris' direction.

A playful Sam. Just what he wanted for Christmas. Joy to the World indeed.

"And talking of Tigger," added Sam casually, "when are you going to model those boxer shorts for me?"

"Now?" he asked hopefully.

A slow, lecherous smile spread itself across Sam's face. "Now would be good. Especially since you haven't made up for getting me up at some godforsaken hour on my day off."

"So I make up for getting you up by getting you off?"

Sam chuckled. "Sounds like a plan to me."

It did indeed. The presents could wait. He had something much more important to unwrap.

*****

Act Three: Boxing Day

The phone ringing dragged him straight out of a very pleasant dream in which he was making slow and tender love to Sam. That was another change. He dreamt more about Sam these days than Annie, even though the nightmares still plagued him. But he was finally finding some kind of peace, largely thanks to the man lying in bed next to him.

He flailed for the phone but Sam beat him to it, which was probably just as well, since they were still in Sam's flat and Sam's bed. That would be a bit difficult to explain to anyone but Backup.

While Sam dealt with the caller, he switched on the bedside lamp and peered blearily at his watch.

Four thirty a.m.

Looked like Christmas was over.

Sam was using the low, precise tones he always used when dealing with Ops, getting to the point as quickly as possible and gathering all relevant information in a few well-chosen words. Work then.

"Work?" he asked as soon as Sam hung up.

"Of course. Hostage situation at the residence of the Ghanaian ambassador. We're needed."

"Aren't we always?"

He heaved himself out of bed and began to pull on his clothes. He kept some dark clothes in his locker at HQ. He'd be able to change there. Soon as this assignment finished though, he was moving some clothes into Sam's wardrobe and getting a key cut for Sam too. He was going to have to clear some space for Sam's stuff too, something he wasn't looking forward to. He wasn't a clotheshorse like his partner, but he also wasn't particularly tidy and clearing space in any of his cupboards would be an effort. God only knew what he'd find.

It was worth it though. Sam was worth it.

"Aren't you changing out of those?" his partner asked suddenly. He followed Sam's line of sight to his Tigger boxers, which he'd put back on after their lovemaking the previous day.

"Nope. Like them. Something to remember yesterday by."

"Hmm," Sam said. "Just don't get distracted. Besides," he added. "You have me to remember yesterday by."

He did, didn't he?

Best Christmas present ever, wrapped or no. Revelling in the thought he followed his partner out of the door to where work beckoned.

Their first Christmas was over. He was looking forward to the second one.

The End
 


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