Thanks to my "editor" Mitch who spent his lunch break checking this story - here's a little pre-Christmas gift for all of you out there. It's supposed to be a oneshot, but if I happen to stumble over some inspiration for a New Year's update, I might change my mind... Hope you like it! Please let me know by reviewing, thanks :-) (Btw, reviewing might increase the chance for inspiration #gg#).

-

It Only Took One Kiss To Know

Features the song It Must Have Been The Mistletoe – an old traditional Christmas carol, origin unknown (sung by artists like Vikki Carr or Barbra Streisand).

-

Mac and I had been processing a scene in the middle of Central Park on December 24, it was already dark and light snowfall added a few more inches to the already existing blanket of snow. What seemed to be a crime scene turned out to be an unfortunate if not funny accident.

When we arrived, paramedics told us that pedestrians had reported an unconscious bleeding man under a tree in the park. We discovered splinters of wood that could have been from some weapon used to beat the poor guy – who by the way was dressed in a Santa costume and couldn't remember a thing. What had confused us where tracks we found in the snow.

Half an hour later Mac got a call that explained the mystery – the tracks at the scene were indeed those of a sleigh and the strange imprints were footprints of reindeers. The whole thing was no robbery gone bad – Santa's reindeers had bolted, the sleigh had crashed against the tree, he fell off and the animals had taken off with the vehicle. Now they were 'in custody' and we had solved the 'case'.

Santa, who still didn't have a clue of what had happened or what was going on, then wished us a Merry Christmas and told us he had been watching over us and had come here to make sure we would meet to find our love in the park. There you go.

That's as far as things went more or less normal for a Christmas Eve in New York City.

-

It must have been the mistletoe
The lazy fire, the falling snow
The magic in the frosty air
That feeling everywhere


It must have been the pretty lights
That glistened in the silent night
It may be just the stars so bright
That shined above you

-

The night was cold and starlit, the snowfall got heavier and we were in the middle of the park. Our car was parked on the other end and we had to walk back. For a while, we walked in silence side by side.

"Phew, it really cooled down today, it's almost frosty…" Mac remarked.

I looked over to him, my hands hidden in the depth of the sleeves of my coat, my neck pulled in as much as possible so that only my nose would stick out from my scarf. Almost frosty? He had to be kidding. It was lousy!

"You cold?" he asked when he didn't get a response from me.

Cold? Nooooo…

He looked pensive, then he suddenly ran some meters and turned around. He bent down and grabbed some snow to form a ball. What was that supposed to mean? He wouldn't, would he? He couldn't possibly…

Smack!

A soft, but pretty large snowball hit my right shoulder, only inches from my face. He did! I couldn't believe that Mac Taylor would get into such a childish thing like a snowball fight.

I narrowed my eyes to check what he was doing, but instead of waiting for a reaction, he had already formed the next ball. I could just duck in time to avoid another hit. This wasn't really happening… But okay – he wanted a fight, he could have it.

Before we knew it, we were involved in a wild snowball fight until Mac finally pulled a handkerchief from the pocket of his coat and waved it.

"I give up!" he exclaimed breathlessly chuckling.

"You're the one who started it," I returned, not less out of breath.

"But you have to admit, you're not cold anymore, are you?" he smiled. "Peace?"

I smiled back and took the hand he offered.

"Peace," I nodded.

-

Our first Christmas
More than we'd be dreaming of
Ah, Saint Nicholas had his fingers crossed
That we would fall in love!


It could have been the holiday
The midnight ride upon sleigh
The countryside all dressed in white
The crazy snowball fight

-

We were just about to continue our way to the other side of the park to get to our car, when suddenly someone started shouting. Then everything went pretty fast.

I remember that there were three figures with black clothes and ski masks. Someone grabbed me from behind and pulled my arms behind my back. I felt a stabbing pain in my right shoulder from the sudden movement. Mac, who instantly tried to come to my rescue, was attacked by two other guys. I saw him fighting off the first one who curled up in the snow, wincing from pain.

Somewhere in the struggle Mac's coat must have opened and apparently revealed either his gun or his batch. At least I recall the guy holding me suddenly calling something like 'He's a COP!'.

The guy who was still trying to attack Mac let go off him, pulled his accomplice up and headed off while my attacker pushed me hard so that I stumbled and fell. My head must have knocked against something because here I'm missing a piece of memory.

XXXXX

When I woke up again, I was lying on some sort of cot that turned out to be a stretcher, a blanket covering my legs. I tried to rise – which wasn't a good idea because immediately a firework started to explode inside of my head. I sank back. Life was hard and apparently so was whatever had hit my head. After figuring that moving my right arm caused a similar firework feeling in my right shoulder, I tried the left side. That worked. Slowly, I reached for the back of my head.

A ball of the size of a medium tomato started to form there. Great. At least I couldn't feel any blood. I tried to open my eyes and after some blinking and readjustment of focus it worked pretty good. I looked around without trying to lift my head again - I'm a quick learner. I was inside of an ambulance, but there was nobody around. The backdoors were open and I could hear Mac talking to someone.

"Hello??" I managed to get out. "Anyone there?"

He was at my side within milliseconds.

"Stella! Thank God. How are you?"

"Well, you know: Bad weeds grow tall. I guess I'm okay," I said, not really that convinced by what I just said myself. But I knew what would be coming and wanted to avoid that from the beginning.

"Yeah, right," Mac returned. He wasn't convinced either. "Wait a second…" He jumped out and went over to the investigating officers.

In the meantime, I tried to convince the paramedics to let me go. I knew that Mac would make me go to the hospital and the last thing I wanted was to spend Christmas Eve there. So I thought that if I could convince them to let me go now, I would just tell him they had said that I could go and…

"Is there a problem here?"

Damnit! That hadn't been enough time. Of course the paramedics explained the situation to him and also of course…

"Miss Bonasera WILL go to the hospital," he firmly declared. Then he quickly returned to the officers who finished taking his statement. "I'll come to look after you as soon as I can, be nice!" he added in my direction.

I wanted to roll my eyes on his last comment, but gave up on that instantly. More fireworks…

XXXXX

A pen with a light bulb at the front end was shining into my left eye, then into the right one. A finger was moved in front of my eyes to check the reaction of my pupils. My hands and feet were tweaked to test the nerve tracks. Apparently everything was working properly and still placed where it should be and despite a possible concussion, the doctor finally agreed to let me go.

Under one condition: Mac, who was also present during the examination, would take care of me and had to promise not to let me out of his sight and to get me back to the hospital at the first sign of nausea or dizziness.

Obviously the good doctor was of the opinion that one shouldn't spend time at the hospital, especially not on Christmas, if one could be with one's loved ones.

Loved ones??? I didn't question or argue, the point was I was about to get out of there.

-

It could have been the steeple bell
That wrapped us up in its spell
It only took one kiss to know
It must have been the mistletoe

-

Mac drove me to the exit of the lobby in a wheelchair. Not that I wouldn't have been able to walk, but it's general hospital policy that patients are to be transported in a wheelchair up to the front door. So what?

At the door, a nurse took the chair from us and wished us a Merry Christmas. I was wondering for a brief moment why she said it with a twinkle in her eyes, looking at us, then up and back to us. Then she nodded with a smile and turned to leave.

I looked up – and then to Mac. He followed my gaze and smiled. We were standing under some mistletoe. Why there was one above the entrance door of a hospital is unknown to me, as is the reason for what happened next.

Mac looked into my eyes.

I looked into his.

We didn't speak or move. There was a silent conversation between us, questions that were asked and answered, then he came closer to me – and suddenly his lips were on mine.

It was just a kiss between friends and partners. Just an old Christmas tradition. Sweet, yet innocent. Nothing more. Very innocent and harmless and…

Why didn't he pull back now?

And why didn't I?

Why were we still kissing?

And did he just pull me closer against him?

Did I just open my mouth to let his tongue explore it?

Santa's words in the park reappeared in the back of my mind: '…I came here to make sure you meet to find your love tonight…'.

-

Our first Christmas more than we'd be dreaming of
Ah, St. Nicholas must have know that kiss
Would lead to all of this
It must have been the mistletoe


The lazy fire, the falling snow
The magic in the frosty air
That made me love you

-

XXXXX

"Do we have to go home yet?" I asked after we finally broke the kiss. The night was beautiful, the snowfall had stopped and the night sky was clear and full of stars. It was still freezing cold, but I needed fresh air.

"What do you want to do?" Mac softly asked me as we started walking. He was still holding my right hand, warming it with his left one inside of his coat pocket.

"I don't know…"

I really didn't. It didn't matter. All I wanted was to be with him, absorbing the magic of this special night.

"I know something, come on!" he suddenly said and started walking across the street, towards Central Park again.

XXXXX

"Nothing more romantic than a sleigh ride in Central Park when you are newly in love, right?" the driver asked as he encouraged the two horses to start pulling the sleigh.

Mac nodded with a smile as he gave me a tender, loving look. His left arm was wrapped around my body in a protective gesture, the woolen blanket on our knees kept us both warm. I smiled back and leaned my head against his left shoulder. Santa had been right, the doctor had been right – the sleigh driver was right.

We both knew that now – and it only took one kiss to know…

-


On Christmas Eve our wish came true
That I would fall in love with you
It only took one kiss to know

-

The End

(Edit: Make this a TBC, there's gonna be a chapter 2 :-))

-

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my loyal reviewers and all the StellaMac fans out there :-)

xxxlittlesheepxxx