Author: Stephjag

Email: Stephrabb@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of The District; they are the propriety of CBS and they belong to Jack Maple and Terry George.

Classification: Romance Jack Mannion and Ella Farmer

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: none

Summary: it's Christmas time again. But this year is different. Sherry won't be there. with whom will he pass this special time of the year and where? In the office? On his boat? Or somewhere else?

Author's note: I wanted to write this story 'cause I love Christmas time. I also love the characters of Jack Mannion and Ella Mea Farmer and I think they would be great together so I thought about this little story. This is my first story of The District so be kind with me.

Thanks to Celine Dion for this wonderful song "These are special times"

Many thanks, to Dae, AeroGirl and for beta-reading!

Feedback: Please, if you would like to express your enjoyment. If my work does not appeal to you for any reason, I have no problem with that, but please, no need to share that with me.

Jack Mannion was walking in the streets of Washington D.C. which were now covered by a white mantel of snow, was announcing the arrival of Christmas time. A time of joy and happiness for most of the people and most of the time for Jack Mannion, but this year was different. Sherry wasn't there anymore. She had been killed by the Russian mob a year and a half ago. Jack had still a hard time with it, but it was a little easier every day, even if he wouldn't admit it to himself. Ella had been a great friend through the hard times just after Sherry's death.

Dimitri Putin had finally had what he wanted: get to Mannion through one of his relatives. Jack took his revenge. First all he had wanted was to kill the guy, but then he'd realized that Putin wasn't worth it and that that was in fact all Dimitri Putin wanted him to do.

So Jack arrested Putin and put him in jail for the rest of his miserable life. Jack's thoughts suddenly drifted away. Now he was thinking of Ella. Something Jack Mannion was doing pretty often lately.

And he was honest with himself, Jack would admit that he was thinking about her every day - not every moment of the day, but often. Ella was much more than the director of the administrative service. she was his dear friend, she was his best friend. Actually he felt like there seemed to be something a little bit different than friendship; it was something way much stronger than friendship. Jack didn't dare to put a name on the new emotion he felt for his best friend - not yet.

Mannion was now in front of the D.C. Police building. He entered and greeted everyone before heading for his office, but changed his mind at the last minute when he saw that Ella's office door was open. Jack saw his friend sitting at her desk, her head in her hands. The Chief of police knocked softly on the door.

"Ella, you ok?"

Ella Farmer lifted her head up at the sound of the voice who had just spoken, just showing teary eyes at her boss. At the sight Jack's heart tore. Mannion entered her office and closed the door behind him, shutting the blinds as well.

"Ella, what's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Ella come on! It's me, Jack Mannion, the Chief of the police department. You're supposed to tell me everything!" He grinned. "Seriously Ella, tell me what's wrong. I'm your friend, remember? You can tell me everything."

"Not this time, Chief."

Mannion closed the distance between them and knelt down next to her chair like he had done so many times before. He had done it when Gisele died and when she'd told him that her cancer was back and that she had to do a biopsy the next day. Jack had suddenly felt so helpless. He'd told her she could always count on him. Then he had left her office with no further word.

"How do you mean not this time, Ella? I'm not sure I heard you right. I think I just lost my hearing ability. I can't hear you well anymore."

"Chief, please."

"Ella, I'm not going anywhere until you tell what's bothering you."

"All right. All right, I guess I'd better tell you what's bothering me. Because you won't leave me alone as long as I don't tell you."

"You got that right!" He smiled.

Ella couldn't help but smile through her tears. "You're never gonna change huh, Chief?" She faced him and looked deeply into his eyes. "Can we go somewhere else?"

Jack stared at her a little surprised, but then smiled. "Sure! Where do you wanna go?"

"I don't know, as long as it's not here."

"Have I ever invited you on my boat?"

"Nope."

"Well, let's change that then!"

Mannion stood up and stretched his hand out to her. He took her coat and helped her to put it on. "Ready?"

"Yes." Ella agreed.

Jack held the door open for her and they headed out of the building to his car. He had the need to check his car. Since the day his car had blown up he couldn't help it. Ella did not say a thing because she knew what went through him. After he completed the check he held the front door open for her. They didn't say very much on the road to his boat. They were both lost in their thoughts. Actually they were thinking about each other.

When they arrived Jack Mannion killed the engine of the car. But he didn't get out of it immediately. He leaned back and closed his eyes. He sighted. Ella Farmer watched silently wondering what he was thinking about. Finally he opened his eyes again and opened the car door, went around the car and opened the door for Ella, helping her out.

"Here we are, on the 'Betty 'O', my home. Watch your step."

"Thanks."

"Careful."

"Yeah, don't worry Chief."

"Welcome to my home, Ella."

"It looks nice."

"Thanks. Do you want something to drink?"

"Do you have coffee?"

"You want coffee? Coffee is on its way!"

Ella took a seat at the small table after Jack Mannion had helped her with her coat. Jack took his coat off as well before starting to make coffee. "You'll have coffee in a few minutes, Ella."

"Thanks, Chief."

"Ella, please - you're at my home so do me a favor, stop calling me 'Chief' and call me Jack."

"Okay, Jack."

Jack put his stereo on so the room would be filled with soft music. When he looked at her he could see she was pleased with what he just at done. He smiled. Jack came back to her and took a seat at the table as well. "How's Ricky doing?"

"Pretty well, actually. He's with a friend and he is going to spend the night there." She sighted. "Kids grow up so quickly. Too quickly."

"I can only agree with that. It seems like it was yesterday that Beth was still her daddy's girl, and now she's going to be a police officer. And Jack, Junior is going to be a lawyer. My God, where does the time go?"

"That's the question without an answer, Jack."

It seemed like coffee was ready so Mannion stood up to get two cups and poured out the liquid into them. "Here's your coffee."

"Thank you." She smiled.

"You were about to tell me something at the office, Miss Farmer. Can I please ask what it was?"

"You won't give up, huh?"

"No," he said, a proud gaze on his face.

Ella Farmer couldn't help but smile. He had always been able to do that. He had always been able to make her smile when she felt sad or scared. And here she was again smiling, feeling better. Jack was the best friend she had ever had. That was precisely the reason why she was reluctant to tell him what she was about to say to him.

She took a deep breath and cleared her voice before she went on:

"Do you remember the day where the congresswoman, Helen York, accused you of spending money wrongfully because you'd bought me a new washing machine and a tumble-drier?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, I said something like you're not my kind of man, because I had the feeling that you were making fun of me back then. But. Well." she stopped.

"Ella? Why did you stop?"

She was now staring at her coffee afraid to go on, and most of all, afraid to look at him. Jack stretched his hand over the table and placed a finger under her chin and gently lifted it up.

"What were you about to say?" Jack asked softly.

"Jack, I don't want to risk jeopardizing our friendship by telling you this."

"You won't. I promise." There eyes were locked now. "What were you about to say?" He softly repeated his question again.

"Well. I. lied, that day. You are my kind of man. You have such a strong presence when you are in a room. You have such humanity. No matter what the case is, when you know something is right you go for it."

Jack Mannion was looking at her. A bright smile on his face and his smile was getting to his eyes. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Ella Farmer was telling him that she liked him. And he thought that these words were the greatest words he had heard for a long time now.

"Jack, say something, please?" she begged.

But Jack didn't. Instead of doing so, he sat back, then stood up and kneeled in front of her before singing the most beautiful words Ella had ever heard.

In these moments, moments of our lives

All the world is ours

And this world is so right

You and I sharing this time together

Sharing the same dream

As the time goes by we will find

These are the special times

Times we'll remember

These are the precious times

The tender times we'll hold in our hearts forever

These are the sweetest times

These times together

And through it all, one thing will always be true

The special times are the times I share with you

With each moment, moment passing by

We'll make memories that will last all our lives

As you and I travel through time together

Living this sweet dream

And every day we can say

These are the special times

Times we'll remember

These are the precious times

The tender times we'll hold in our hearts forever

These are the sweetest times

These times together

And through it all, one thing will always be true

The special times are the times I share with you

These tender moments

When heaven is so close

These are the moments that I know

These are the special times

Times we'll remember

These are the precious times

The tender times we'll hold in our hearts forever

These are the sweetest times

These times together

And through it all, one thing will always be true

The special times are the times I share

Are the times we share, are the times I share... with you

Special times I share with you

Ella fought back her tears. Jack stood up and sat next to her. He took her in his arms. And murmured in her ear, "See I told you, you wouldn't jeopardize our friendship." Then he added more softly, "I love you."

"I love you too, Jack."

Then she drew back from his embrace and face him and Jack Mannion bent his head a little to brush her lips, he looked at her just to be sure. All he saw was love shining in Ella's eyes. Their lips met again and within seconds the kiss deepened and they were lost in each other.

No matter how many hard and painful moments they had been through, they knew they had been there for each other. The loved ones they had both lost would never come back, they knew all too well, but they'd be there with them, in their hearts.

And no matter what the future would bring them they would face it like always, knowing they would be stronger because they were bound by their friendship - but now they were also bound by the most powerful feeling in the world. Love.

----- THE END -----