AUTHOR'S NOTES: Hey everyone! So, I've read a few really cute Mary/Bert Christmas fanfictions and I really wanted to write one of my own...so here it is! This has also been somewhat inspired by the chapter entitled "Winter" from DarlingPretty's "Snapshots" fanfiction!

I'm still working hard on my two ongoing Mary Poppins fanfictions and a couple of oneshots that I'm quite excited about, so stayed tuned!

I really hope you enjoy this...it's nice and fluffy!

Merry Christmas

Christmas, like everything else, only came around once a year; and for Mary Poppins, I was one of her favourite times of the year. Some years ago – in the early days of their friendship – Mary had dedicated Christmas eve to her best friend; it was there way of making sure they could always spend time together during the holidays. Work always kept Mary busy, but she was never kept away from the Christmas celebrations she would share with Bert. Perhaps what she loved most – besides being able to spend time with him – was the fact that each year was different, sometimes he would he would take her out into the city, sometimes they'd dine at wherever was open, and other years they'd simply sit in his flat and eat hot chestnuts. Of course, no matter what they did, in Mary's eyes – and Bert's for that matter – it was absolutely perfect.

On one particular Christmas eve, they'd agreed to meet at the park. Mary was between jobs and had been staying with her Uncle Albert, she had walked briskly through London, fighting her way against the cold evening air that cut against her skin like tiny shards. She pulled her scarf up slightly to try and shield her cheeks. He sensible heels clicked against the pavement and Mary couldn't help but feel disappointed by the lack of snow – when she had her charges with her, snow could be a bit of a headache, but she couldn't deny the joy it would bring them…and she adored it too. When she finally reached the park she found him leaning against the gates – a warm grin painted across his face.

"Evenin', Mary Poppins –" he greeted, "—may I say that you are looking as lovely as ever" he smirked as she pulled down her scarf to reveal her blush.

"Good evening, Bert…you're looking fine too" she said, her usually confidence now returning to her.

"'aven't seen you in a while, 'ow've you been?"

"I've been just fine thank you, and yourself? Still keeping busy, I hope"

"Oh, absolutely!"

"I do apologise for not seeking you out sooner, but I haven't been back in London for very long –"

"You've got no reason to apologise, Mary, I know 'ow busy you are; besides, we've got tonight, ain't we?"

She smiled warmly as he beamed at her. He always made everything better.

"Indeed we have…and I believe that it was your turn to make the arrangements this year?"

"Your instincts serve you well, Mary Poppins" he chuckled.

"So, what have you got up your sleeve this year?"

"Well, it took me a while to make me mind up, but then, the other day, the perfect plan just 'it me out of nowhere!"

"Is that so?"

"Yep! You see, I was sitting in my apartment and I realised that we 'aven't 'ad any snow this year…I then realised that snow is the favourite weather of a Miss Mary Poppins, isn't that so?"

She blushed again.

"It is indeed"

"So, on this fine December evening, I have drawn the perfect snowy get-away for us both to spend our Christmas eve in…providing that you'd be kind enough to provide some of your magic, of course"

"And what would you do if I declined?" she teased.

"Well, that would certainly be very awkward"

"Lucky for you that I'm so kind hearted"

"Ain't that the truth!" he complimented.

Mary held out her hand and encouraged him to take it – which he did so.

"Come on then, show me this masterpiece of yours"

"Right this way, Ma'am" he said as he led her down the road to his usual spot.

They followed the procedure that had become second nature to them both after so many years of friendship and within an instant they were in Bert's drawing. It was a picture perfect snowy forest, with towering pine trees that seemed to make the air smell sweet, their branches were covered in snow and Mary had never seen such pastoral elegance. A thick layer of untainted snow lay beneath and all around them – she'd never seen such a perfect flurry. To top it all off, there was a clear sky that was sprinkled with the clearest of stars, each on shining brightly like dreams burning bright in the mind. Perfectly shaped snowflakes began to fall gently around them, sweetly glittering their coats with the magic of the season.

"Oh, Bert…it's perfect" she breathed – her breath clouding around her lips.

He still had hold of her hand and he gave it a slight squeeze.

"I'm glad you like it" he said simply with a smile as a gust of wind whipped around them.

Mary shivered.

"It certainly is cold, though!" she chuckled.

"Fear not, Mary Poppins" he exclaimed as he turned her around.

Soon Mary was facing a cosy log cabin that Bert had drawn to accompany her picturesque Christmas scene. There was the warm glow of a fire bursting through the windows – accompanied by the charming whirl of smoke escaping the chimney.

"Oh, you diamond" she whispered.

And with that, they walked their venue for the evening. Their feet crunched happily through the snow and Mary could help but smile giddily at it all. She took his arm as they strolled towards the cabin and he gave her a warm smile in response – his eye sparkling with fidelity, his cheeks colouring slightly and Mary felt her heart flutter almost erratically. Mary couldn't help but wonder about that fluttering, after all, it wasn't entirely new to her. She had noticed it some time ago, noticed hat she seemed to get butterflies every time Bert so much as looked at her and if he gave her a smile, well, Mary had to muster a ridiculous amount of strength to simply stop her knees from buckling. At first she'd done everything in her power to ignore it, to keep their friendship safe, to keep things as easy as possible between them, but as the feelings continued, and as they grew, she came to like them. But they scared her. They made her feel like she wasn't in control of her own mind. Of her own heart. She like to have everything under control, for the most part, she was a logical thinker, but there was little logic behind her feelings. She had told herself that she couldn't allow herself to fall for Bert, that she couldn't have feelings for him, that it would be too hard. But now…now she wasn't so sure.

A roaring fire greeted them as they finally walked into the cabin, the warm orange glow accompanying the warm embrace of the heat. Mary's eyes slid shut as she smiled from the sudden warmth – it was like being embraced by the sun itself. She took a deep breath and her eyes flew open in anticipation as she smelt the unmistakable scent of freshly roasted chestnuts. Then she spotted the bottle of champagne that lay next to them. She smirked at Bert and found him blushing; then, with a smile he took her hat and coat from her and led her into the cabin.

"Christmas for two!" he announced proudly.

"It's perfect, Bert" she replied warmly – smiling at him affectionately.

They made their way over to the plump sofa and sat side by side as they picked away at the warm chestnuts and sipped their champagne. It seemed to taste so much better after being formed by magic and Bert's loving artistic hand.

"So, 'ow long d'ya think you'll be in London for?" Bert asked before popping another chestnut into his mouth.

Mary sighed ever so slightly.

"I'm afraid I couldn't tell you even if I wanted to…I've only been back for about a week, but I cannot guarantee that I'll still be here by the new year…" he tone was verging on sombre.

"There's no need t' sound so sad, Mary…" he said softly, "…I'm just grateful t' be able to 'ave this time with you"

She locked her eyes on the glittering champagne as she swirled it gently in the glass.

"I'm sorry I'm away so much, Bert…I do try to be in London as much as I can, but I don't always have a choice…you understand that, don't you?" she asked quietly – not wanting him to here the quiver in her voice.

He moved closer to her – only by a small amount – and took her hand. She let him.

"Of course I do and I never want you t' feel upset about always 'aving to travel…don't get me wrong, Mary, I'd love it if we could spend more time together, but it makes me so 'appy to know that you're out there makin' a difference to some many families, that you're doin' what ya love an' doin' it really, really well…I'd much rather 'ave you in my life sporadically than not 'ave you at all…"

Mary could've cried.

Whilst Bert every word of what he'd just said, there was a fairly large part of him that did wish it could all be different; in truth, it did hurt Bert a lot every time Mary left. It was almost like torture. Almost. She would roll back in with the winds and back into his life, everything would seem like perfection, they'd jump into chalk drawings and would spend her second Tuesdays together…when Mary was with him, he was at his happiest. But then, when things seemed so blissful, when he'd forgotten that she'd have to leave, the West wind would come back and snatch her away from him. They days that followed were always the worst, he would feel alone, and he would feel empty. But, he was always so grateful for their time together and he was so grateful for their friendship.

"You really are wonderful…" Mary whispered.

Bert was about to respond, but he felt Mary shuffle over to him and cuddle into his side. Mary wasn't quite sure what had possessed her to do it, whether it was a rush of courage (perhaps from the champagne) or curiosity…or perhaps she finally followed that fluttering in her heart? Perhaps she just wanted to? Either way, that fluttering returned when Bert slipped his arm around her in response. The whole thing had stopped him in his tracks and sent his mind into a whirl; he really hadn't expected it of her, and, in truth, the whole thing made his heart do flips and his stomach hollow with excitement. He had such adoration for her, a sort of tenderness that, on occasions, alarmed him. He knew exactly what the feeling was, and he did his best to ignore it for the last thing he wanted to do was jeopardise the friendship that was so dear to them.

But he couldn't ignore, not for very long, and with Mary in his embrace, those feelings were stronger than ever. He told himself that he could never act on them, that Mary trusted him to not press his advantage, that he would upset her or perhaps even frighten her; but there were times, oh so many times, when it became almost impossible to ignore. When she sang or when she smiled at him; the way she would blush at his compliments or let him hold her as they danced across the rooftops. He was almost enthralled by her and he wished, with his whole heart that he had the courage to do something about it; or at least tell her how he felt. But, as he had said before, he valued their friendship and he'd much rather have her as just a friend than not have her in his life at all. He was happy with that choice.

Then, Bert hit some sort of realisation…

"I'll never leave you, Mary…" he whispered, "…you know that, don't you?" He felt her tense ever so slightly, "No matter 'ow many times you 'ave t' leave London, I'll always be there waitin' for ya"

"Thank you, Bert…" it was almost inaudible…her voice wavering again.

Oh, how he wished he could stop her from looking so sad, after all, it was Christmas eve. Suddenly he stood up.

"Come with me" he said – most excitedly.

"Hmmm?"

"Come with me, I think there's something outside that'll cheer you up"

She eyed him suspiciously, but couldn't deny his smile. Slipping on her coat, she followed him outside and back into their private winter wonderland – snow still falling delicately around them.

"Look up" he prompted.

She did so and almost gasped at the sight of multiple shooting stars flying past at their own rate. Each one zipped past like a granted wish or hopeful dream.

"Oh, Bert…" she sighed happily.

They stood there for what seemed like hours – simply admiring the beauty of it all. It was truly spectacular. The stars that stood still glittered innocently, and lit the path for those that were destined to move. It was art, pure art…art that went beyond Bert's talented hand. It was something so beyond their understanding, something that lay far beyond what they knew and what they could ever hope to know. Mary wondered if it was some sort of metaphor…

Mary had no idea why she didn't notice it, but at some point, Bert had apparently bent down and picked up an item that he suspected could be the end of him; because as Bert walked past her, Mary felt the unmistakable feeling of a snowball being shoved against her neck. She squealed slightly, but Bert noticed that there wasn't a single shade of anger in her response, in fact, she laughed ever so slightly as the cold flake slipped across her skin and her lips eventually curled into a smile. Bert stood triumphantly, not only because he'd managed to catch the great Mary Poppins off guard, but because he cheered her up. Because he'd made her forget herself in the best possible way.

"Bert! You scamp!" she giggled.

He couldn't help but laugh at her flustered state, but in his moment of bliss, he failed to noticed Mary preparing her own snowball…which eventually went colliding into his chest.

"Hey!" he exclaimed – fighting off a smile.

"Everyone gets their comeuppance, Bert" she said matter-of-factly…a smug looked painted across her features.

"Oh, is that so?"

"Don't throw another one, Bert…you'll just make it worse for yourself" she warned playfully.

"Oh, will it?"

"Bert…"

But he ignored her humorous warnings and bent over to pick up another snowball. Mary truly had forgotten herself, for she began to run away from him – giggling excitedly. But it didn't save her from the next attack as the snowball eventually collided with her back. Well, she wasn't going to let that go unpunished, was she? She sent another snowball flying towards him and Bert soon discovered that Mary Poppins had very good aim. Mary couldn't remember the last time she'd had this much fun, of course, taking her charges into Bert's pictures and spending her second Tuesday alone with him were her most treasured moments, but there was always some degree of her practically perfect image about her in those times. But now, she'd allowed herself to forget it. Now, she wasn't Mary Poppins the practically perfect and applied nanny, now she was just Mary Poppins, a woman enjoying Christmas eve with her best friend.

Several snowballs were exchanged between the pair, whipping back and fourth between them until Mary tried a new strategy; with a snowball in her hand and ran towards Bert and shoved it straight into his face – laughing devilishly as he gasped at the coldness of the contact. But after that, Bert forgot himself too, for instead of picking up another snowball, he ran after Mary, took her by the waist and tackled her to the ground. The fell to the ground with a soft thud as the snow enveloped them and Bert unexpectedly found himself on top of her. They stopped laughing.

Their eyes locked and something shifted between them; it was something heavy, something new…something so very strong. He was so close to her and Mary seemed to forget how to breathe as he heart began to pound. She tried to choke out his name, but the words just wouldn't come to her. She looked up at him longingly as the electric between them seem to grow, and she realised what he was seconds away from doing…and she eventually realised that she wanted him to do it.

And he did. Slowly – perhaps fearfully – he leaned in and when she didn't shy away, he captured her lips with his own. Suddenly, they didn't feel the cold anymore. Mary found herself responding instantly and their minds screamed with relief from the contact that they had both knowingly and unknowingly desired for so very long. She brought her hand up to his hair and pulled him closer to her; she even allowed him to deepen the kiss with a soft moan. The kiss felt like pure magic, far beyond anything either of them had ever experienced; it was like fire, like wind, like an all-powerful force that transcended all they thought they knew. They felt as if their bodies were made of lava and their hearts thundered out of their chests as they seemed to melt into each other. The way their lips moved together to perfectly and so passionately was truly incredible to them.

When they finally parted their breaths were heavy, but they found that they couldn't tear their gazes away from each other, in fact, they looked deep into each other's eyes and saw the yearning that they had for each other. The tenderness that they had so hoped the other would return.

"Bert…" Mary finally breathed. She wanted to say more, but for the first time in her life, she was speechless. She had just kissed her best friend and it had felt so wonderful; in truth, she wanted to do it again…in fact, she was almost completely convinced that she wanted to be more than just friends.

Then, Bert seemed to fully process what he'd just done. He lifted himself away from her and helped her to her feet.

"Mary, I…I'm so sorry!"

"Bert…" she tried to interject.

"I pressed my advantage…" he stuttered.

He had adored the kiss, adored it more than anything else he'd ever experienced, but he became so fearful that he'd ruined his friendship with Mary. In fact, he looked horrified with himself. In a small moment of panic, he began to walk away from her, trying to figure out how he could possible make her forgive him.

"Bert, wait!" she called as she trailed him through the snow.

He stopped as soon as he heard her voice, he was never one to deny a request from her. He turned to face her and as soon as he did he felt her press her lips against his longingly. He couldn't help but respond, but for a few seconds, he wasn't quite sure if he understood what was happening, until he eventually realised that his first kiss hadn't upset her; in fact, he began to let his hopes rise, he let himself begin to believe that she returned his feelings. As Mary's hands slid up to his neck, his went to her waist and he subconsciously pulled her closer. Her lips were so soft against his own and he wished that he could capture this moment in a bottle. It felt like a dream. Actually, he concluded that it was better than a dream because this was so very real.

Mary stayed close to him when they parted.

"Bert, I know you're a gentleman, but I never want you to apologise for what you did back there" she said softly – her gaze never breaking from his own.

"Mary, are you saying that…?" he trailed off, still somewhat paranoid.

She nodded.

"I am…I was so unsure at first and I didn't want to ruin things between us, but I don't think I can ignore it any more…especially after that kiss" she blushed.

"So…what 'appens now?"

"Now, we enjoy the rest of our evening…and take everything one step at a time"

"I like the sound of that!" he smiled.

"Merry Christmas, Bert" she said softly – her eyes conveying her adoration for him.

"Merry Christmas, Mary"

And with that, he kissed her again.

**!**

AUTHOR'S NOTES: So, there you go! I really hope you enjoyed that and I hope that it helped to put you in the holiday spirit!

This story is going to remain as a oneshot, but, like I said, I', still working on my current stories and have some more Mary Poppins oneshots on the way.

FUN FACT: The snowball fight was low key inspired by the one from "Until Dawn" - anyone else played that?

See you soon and Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays! xxx