Greetings and salutations,

No, I didn't drop off from the face of the earth. Although at times, it felt like I did. I have not written for a while due to personal hardships since April. But I have not stopped my love for Chandler/Kent. I know it's late, but I just had enough time to write this quick little bit of holiday fluff. Thank you all authors for your contributions and thank you to all readers. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Nope. Whitechapel still doesn't belong to me.

Gift Exchange

"Do we really have to participate in the gift exchange for the Christmas party? I hate shopping, especially during the holidays," a grumpy DC Kent muttered in annoyance.

"It's the boss's orders. No exceptions."

"What's the matter, Emerson? You usually like these kind of social events," Riley asked.

"It's not the party itself. I always end up being the last one to choose and the best gifts are gone by that time."

"You never know. Maybe you'll get lucky this time."

"Not with Mansell around."

"And just what's that supposed to mean?" the other DC demanded.

"YOU are the most cold-blooded person when it comes to taking away gifts. Because of you, I ended up with socks the last time I participated."

"At least they were designer socks."


"Don't be such a grouch. After all, isn't it the season for peace and good will towards men?"

"Not when you're that man."

"Quit it, you two. You sound like an old married couple," Miles barked from his desk.

"Sorry, Skip. Anyway, it won't make any difference if I don't participate."

"Oh, come on, Kent. It'll be fun. Your luck's gotta change some time."

"Mansell's right. And it's still not too late to get something. Come on. What's the worst that could happen?"

"I could get socks again," Kent replied sarcastically.

Kent sighed despondently as he perused the department store shelves for the hundredth time. He just couldn't find anything that was suitable for the gift exchange. His feet were dead tired and he was ready to give up. It wasn't that he hated the holidays. He just hated being one of the few people in the group that didn't have a significant other. And the fact that his crush on Chandler was not noticed or reciprocated made Kent feel sadder. Oh well, his situation wasn't going to change any time soon. May as well at least accomplish his original task of finding a gift. In the end, he decided on a nice bottle of wine along with two fancy fluted wine glasses. At least someone else would have a merrier Christmas than he would be having.

"Kent? Is that you?" a familiar voice came from behind as Kent was about to leave with his prepared gift bag.

The young DC's chocolate-brown eyes widened in surprise. "Sir? What are you doing here?"

The taller blond-haired, blue-eyed, Detective Inspector gave a sheepish grin. "Probably the same reason you're here. Shopping for the gift exchange."

"Observant as always. Any luck?"

"I think I may give up soon. It's so frustrating when you have to shop to accommodate both sexes."

"Hang in there, sir. If I can do it, then so can you."

"I'm glad you changed your mind and decided to participate after all."

"How did you know that I wasn't originally planning to?"

"Oh,, well, I kind of overheard your conversation with Mansell and Riley the other day," Chandler replied in slight embarrassment. "My door was open and I couldn't help hearing."

Kent smiled in amusement. It wasn't very often that Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler got easily embarrassed.

"That's all right. It's not like it was a secret meeting or anything."

"Well, I don't want to keep you from your shopping. See you at tonight's party."

"Actually, I'm all finished. Mind if I tag along?" Kent asked, with a look of hope in his eyes.

Chandler's eyes reflected surprise as he broke into a huge smile. "Not at all. Have you had lunch yet?"

"I didn't even have breakfast."

"What? Don't you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?"

"I don't mind."

"But I do. Come on. Let's get some food first. From the looks of the crowds and lines, we'll need our full strength if we're ever going to find anything."

Kent smiled before replying, "You're the boss."

Kent gulped nervously as there were two gift bags left later that night at the gift exchange. Mansell, and Kent were the only ones left who had not chosen yet. All the other previous gifts had been already been chosen and exchanged several times over and could not be taken again. He was in constant fear that he would get a gag gift again like he did every year. Even getting his own gift would have been fine with him since it was one of the two remaining.

Mansell was the first to choose. His hand wavered back and forth for between the two bags for what seemed like an eternity, making Kent sweat nervously.

"Uh Mansell, I think we'd all like to move this along before midnight," Miles remarked bluntly.

Several other people echoed the same sentiment in unison.

"All right, I get the hint. I choose...this," Mansell replied picking up a rather large red and green festive bag. It took a few seconds to rifle through the mounds of tissue paper to get to the gift which was at the bottom.

"SOCKS?" he replied in disbelief. From the tone of his voice, it sounded like he was sure it was going to be something else.

Kent smiled the biggest smile anyone had ever seen. "I guess that means this is mine," he replied happily picking up his own gift bag. This was indeed a very happy holiday after all.

"Not going home yet, Kent?" Chandler asked as everyone else already left.

"Just cleaning up a bit before I leave. It was a great holiday party, sir."

"You seemed to enjoy yourself. I'm just sorry you ended up with your own gift."

"Don't be. The look on Mansell's face was my real gift. I was sure he was going to pick my bag."

"Oh that. Well..." Chandler replied in embarrassment.

"Well, what?"

"It seems he got the impression that your bag was the one that contained a pair of socks in it."

"But nobody else knew mine was the gold and silver color bag, except...except you," Kent replied in surprise. "Sir, I'm shocked. You were the one that gave Mansell the idea?"

"I admit it. Guilty as charged."

"But why would you lie about that and on purpose?"

"For once I wanted you to have a wonderful memory after so many years of coming in last. It would have been a shame to have only bad memories during Christmas time."

Kent was touched beyond words. For Chandler to go to such lengths for him was the greatest gift he ever received. "Would you like to have a drink with me, sir? After all, I can't finish this wine all by myself."

Chandler smiled, "I'd love to."

"You know, it might the wine talking, but you're a pretty nice guy," a slightly tipsy Kent mumbled as he finished off his second glass.

"I guess I can take that as a compliment," Chandler replied taking away the wine glass from Kent's fingers.

"No, really. When you first came, I thought you were just another pompous fast tracker."

"So what changed your mind about me?" the DI asked softly.

"I saw how much you really wanted to make a difference, in spite all of the obstacles you had to overcome initially. But I think you won me over when you apologized for accusing me of being the mole. None of the previous DI's ever apologized for anything they did. But you didn't hesitate to admit that you were wrong. I knew then that you were special."

"Unfortunately, I've had plenty of practice at being wrong since then."

"That's another reason why I respect you, sir. You're not afraid to ask for help even from the most unlikely sources. You include everyone's input. Most of all, you don't give up. How could I not admire you?"

"You admire me, Kent?"

"That goes without saying. I admire you so much that I can't think straight sometimes. I've never met anyone like you before."

Before Kent knew it, Chandler crossed the gap between them and wrapped his arms around Kent, pulling the surprised younger detective into his arms and kissed him long and hard. Kent was too stunned to react, but then again, he didn't want to react. He just wanted to remain in Chandler's strong arms and let the kiss continue forever. Chandler easily pried open Kent's mouth to taste him. He was like a thirsty man who hadn't had a taste of water in ages.

"I must be dreaming," Kent murmured after they parted for air. "Why did you do that?"

"Because I wanted to. In fact, I've wanted to do that for a very long time. I was just waiting for the right moment."

"You certainly have a rotten sense of timing. If you had done that sooner, you could have saved me a lot of grief and heartache."

Chandler reached up to caress Kent's pale cheek softly, making the younger man shiver with delight.

"I didn't want to force you to return my feelings. And I didn't want you to feel obligated just because of our working relationship."

"But why would you be interested in someone like me?"

"Because when I'm with you, I feel like I can do anything. You give me the strength to go on when I want to give up. And you're always cheering me on."

Kent pulled away slightly. "Is that all I am to you? A glorified cheerleader?"

Chandler brought Kent back against his chest. "You're much more than that. Shall I show you how much?"

Kent's eyes sparkled with anticipation. "Please do."

Chandler smiled and gave him another kiss that made Kent cling to Chandler's shoulders. His knees almost buckled beneath him as Kent's senses were stimulated beyond his limits.

"How's that for a start?' Chandler replied huskily.

"Not bad. But I'm going to need more convincing," Kent replied cheekily as he reached up to kiss Chandler's cheek softly.

"I think we should continue this discussion at my place."

"You know, this could be construed as harassment," Kent joked.

"Not if it's mutual."

"Oh, it's more than mutual. Much more," the younger man replied softly.

"Yeah, me too." Chandler reached over to brush his lips across Kent's forehead. "Merry Christmas."

Kent responded by wrapping his arms around Chandler and pressed his cheek against Chandler's chest. Sometimes the best gift didn't come in wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons. Kent could personally attest to that. Everything he could ever want was right in his arms.

Uploaded: 26Dec2015

Thank you for dropping by! Hopefully I'll be able to write again soon. Keep the fires burning for this fandom!