The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Shaz

Rating PG

Disclaimer: None of the recognised characters belong to me, no infringement intended. I also don't own the song used either, if I knew who had written it I would credit them!

A little xmas song fic, please review! I just thought I would post this little one shot, it has nothing to do with my other work in progress!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The pale figure sighed as he trudged through the sludged that lined the streets of London, he was already cold and tired and now he was wet to boot. It had been a long week; hell it had been a long week. He was physically and mentally exhausted and the festivities were not doing anything to lighten his mood. He had already volunteered to work Christmas day and Boxing Day after all what was Christmas if you had nobody to share it with? He sped up his pace as his melancholy prompted him to hurry home to his bed- alone as usual. Sure he had had offers of Christmas dinners but if it was one thing that he hated, it was being pitied and intruding on someone else's family time. He looked up as he walked past the park, all of the kids playing in the ice throwing slush at each other as they laughed enjoying the beginning of the school holidays. He sighed to himself and allowed a small grin to grace his tired features. He had always wanted a family of his own, a chance to prove that he didn't take after his father. If he had children he would love and cherish them, they wouldn't want for anything and he would never raise a fist in anger or frustration, his kids would never fear him the way that he still feared his father. He had always thought that he would have a family with Kerry, that the two would one day make up their differences and walk down the aisle together, but Gabriel Kent had made sure that that would never happen, then his own stupidity had wrecked things with Louise, he sighed as he decided that fate had long ago written that Dale Smith would always be alone. He looked up at the Christmas tree, the lights shimmering in the misty night, the star on top shining brightly. Christmas had never really been a happy time for him throughout his childhood, yet since he had been at Sun Hill he had felt like he belonged. He got on with he shift and they accepted him for the most part as he was, yet this year had been so hard that he couldn't even bring himself to attend the Christmas party the following day. Still at least he had the day to himself, a day to dwell on his past or decide on his future, it didn't matter as long as he was alone as he was destined to be.

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year

Dale finally got home an hour later, having regretted the decision to walk thirty minutes into the journey exactly when it made little sense to turn around and walk back to his car since he was just as close to home as he was to the station. He sighed as he switched on the central heating and slipped off his soaking shoes, pulling off his soggy socks as he did so. He yawned to himself and headed straight to the freezer, pulling out today's microwave meal, he threw it in and keyed in the timing then headed off to get changed. He pulled on a pair of old jeans and a baggy jumper, perfect for lounging around in. The microwave beeped a few seconds later, he grabbed the plastic dish and placed it onto a tray pulling out a knife and fork as he did so. He headed to his comfy armchair and slouching down flicked on the television with the sole intention of watching some mind numbing soap that took no concentration or mind power to watch at all. Finding the perfect thing he began cutting up his 'fresh' chicken breast and noisette potatoes, he slowly ate his satisfying meal. Nice he had finished he took his tray out and grabbed a cold beer from the fridge, sitting back down once more. Just as he sat down his doorbell sounded. He sighed loudly, really not wishing to be disturbed. Wrenching open the door he found a group of children stood on his doorstep. A cute blonde child stood at the front of the group.

"Silent night, Holy Night,

All is calm all is bright"

He sang out, his voice pure and innocent in his young age. Dale closed his eyes against the sound, allowing the song to wash over him. When the youngster had finished harmonising with the older group behind him, Dale reached into his pocket and pulled out some money that he placed in the bucket that they were carrying, he vaguely noticed the name of a charity and a registered number printed on the side, yet he didn't really care at that point.

"Thank you sir, have a merry Christmas" the young boy told him with a big toothy grin. Dale smiled back.

"You too matey" he replied, not wishing to transport his own low mood onto the children. As he shut the door the image of the child sprung back to his mind, the tinsel wrapped around the boy's cuffs and collar showing that he loved the sparkle of Christmas, yet the song choice showing the true meaning of Christmas. Not to mention the young boy wishing him a merry Christmas, if only kids knew what came in later life, they'd never want to leave school. It was easy for children to wish you happy times- they didn't fully understand the trials that life put you through, he sighed once more if only they did, he shook his head, no. No children should stay as children, he wouldn't wish his own child hood on anybody, it was good that that young boy and his friend s should be enjoying the spirit of Christmas, he was only jealous he supposed. Thoughts cast out of his mind he headed back to the television and his beer.

Dale woke the next day to loud banging on his front door, he sat up with a start finding that he had fallen asleep in his armchair. He shook his head to clear his beer fuddled mind. Finally he came to his senses enough to get to his feet and open the door.

It's the happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings
And great happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the happiest season of all

"Bloody hell Dale!" Gina Gold greeted him on the doorstep.

"Ma'am?" he questioned confused.

"You've forgotten haven't you?" she asked him, the frustration clear in her tone.

"Forgotten what?" he asked, answering her question straight away.

"You're supposed to be coming to the shopping centre with me and the rest of the relief, carol singing to raise money for Cancer Research UK" she reminded him.

"Oh" he responded, it had gone clear out of his mind and he groaned at the memory of agreeing.

"Look at the state of you, you'll scare the kids off looking like that. You go and get yourself cleaned up and changed and I'll make you some breakfast" she told him barging past before he could form a response.

Dale emerged from the bathroom some time later, freshly showered and shaved and looking a million times better. He had got dressed into his smarter jeans and another warm jumper before going back into the kitchen, where he was greeted by the smell of freshly cooked bacon and eggs.

"Ma'am, you didn't have to cook all that" he told her, his eyes widening at the feast she had cooked him.

"Well I guess it is the first time anything other than a ready meal has made its way into your system so it may as well be lots of it" she told him, as she reached for her own plate. "Were you out last night then?" she asked him, having smelt the alcohol. Dale blushed at the question.

"Er no, I stayed home last night" he replied.

"Alone?" she asked, surprised, she hadn't known Dale to really be a big drinker alone, and that was after all when drinking got dangerous.

"Yeah, I had a few beers in front of the telly" he told her, pushing the food around on his plate. She sighed; knowing that if she kept pushing the only result would be pushing him away.

"All right I told the others we would meet them at eleven so there's plenty of time for you to eat that lot" she told him, and he looked up a slight grin gracing his features. Knowing full well when he was defeated he set his attention on attacking the food in front of him.

Some time later when Dale had finally finished, the two left the house well wrapped up, and headed off to meet their colleagues. When they arrived the sight actually took Dale's breath away. Some time overnight some snow had fallen, the relief were stood around the Christmas tree in the middle of the green directly outside the shopping centre, the lights twinkling against the snow covered branches. He gulped, emotions strangely overcoming him as he saw the group of people that he considered as his family stood around in the snow laughing amongst themselves, some playing in the snow, others content to stand and look up at the beautifully decorated tree.

"Looks magical doesn't it?" Gina whispered quietly, after noticing Dale's reaction to the sight before them. She spoke quietly so as to not break the spell that had obviously enchanted him.

"Yeah" he responded quietly. Shaking his head to clear the cob webs the two headed over to join the group.

"Hello Smithy, ma'am" Reg greeted them, handing them each a song sheet. "the sally will be along in a bit" he told them, and they both nodded in response. Smithy turned around as someone tapped him on the shoulder, and he found Amber stood behind him.

"There ya go sarge, that will warm you up" she told him as she handed him a glass of mulled wine. He didn't know why, but that simple gesture brought a whole new emotion flooding through him, but he couldn't quite define what it was.

"Cheers amber" he told her accepting the drink. A short time later the salvation army arrived, armed with there brass instruments and song sheets they stood to one side of the tree. The two groups exchanging words before commencing, charity collection buckets lined up in front of them.

"Right lets get this show on the road" Gina commented as the music started up.

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for roasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago

Smithy yawned as they got to what felt like the fiftieth carol of the day, his hands no longer felt cold and neither did his heart, but he was beginning to lose his voice, although it was worth it for they had made a small fortune for their charity. Finally the music stopped and the two groups began packing their stuff away.

"You coming across to the park sarge?" Tony yelled out, and Smithy shot him a puzzled glance.

"We're all going for a walk and a few more drinks before the party" Tony told him, just as Smithy was about to decline the invitation, Gina jumped in.

"Of course Sgt Smith is coming with us, wouldn't let the team down now would ya Smithy?" Gina teased, knowing it was a low blow but determined to get Smithy into the festivities.

"Na of course not ma'am" Dale replied, false cheerfulness to his tone. "I'll get you later" he practically hissed into her ear, and she had to bite her lip to stop herself from laughing. The group wandered down to the park, hands shoved deep into pockets and scarves wrapped up tightly in the battle against the cold December evening. The group made their way directly across to the large fir tree decorated in silver and blue lights and tinsel- in fact it was the tree that Smithy had admired the day before, now its beauty amazed him even more with the backdrop of snow. Someone laid down a blanket on the ground and someone else had somehow lit a small fire.

"What's going on?" he questioned.

"Just having a small gathering" Honey replied.

"We'll all gonna end up locked up!" Smithy replied, gesturing to the fire.

"Don't be daft, it's Christmas" Amber replied, handing her gobsmacked sergeant another glass of deep mulled wine. Smithy stood back and watched as the bags were emptied and piles of sandwiches and other treats become evident.

"Seriously, what is going on?" Smithy asked Gina quietly.

"The relief knew that you were blowing them out for the Christmas party so they decided to lay on a special pre party so that you would be here" she told him, and Dale stared at her open-mouthed. "People care about you Dale, you need to start realising that not everybody is as callous as your father. These people love you for you, and they want to see you happy, they don't want to see you hurting" she told him quietly, then squeezed his arm gently and moved away. Dale stared at the sight before him, she was telling the truth, he had everything that he needed right here; he had his family before him. He turned around as he heard crackling and smelt a familiar smell, as he turned his attention around he caught sight of Tony carefully roasting some chestnuts over the home made fire, and Dan sat cross legged on the floor holding a marshmallow on a stick into the flames. He shook his head in amazement, he had been so caught up in what he had lost and what he had never had that he had forgotten about how lucky he really was. With a small smile, he went and sat beside Dan warming his ungloved hands by the fire.

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year

"Dale, can I borrow you for a second?" June called out from over the other side of the tree, and he headed straight over a small smile on his face. He found Amber stood directly beside the other sergeant.

"What's up?" he asked, and Amber giggled before pointing directly above her head.

"That is!" she told him, showing him the mistletoe directly above her head. He grinned lightly, he should have known he was being conned. With a shake of the head he stepped forward and planted a soft kiss on the constable's lips. She blushed furiously and giggled to herself, not having fully expected him to acquiesce to her not so subtle request.

Dale walked away back to the group, and as he walked he realised what the feeling inside had been since he had met up with the group. It was Christmas spirit and the joy and love of having a family that loved you back. With a smile he realised that Christmas wasn't so bad after all, in fact it was a pretty good time of the year.

End

Please review I am very sorry it was so depressing and then so mushy! Please review anyway!