A/N: And so we've come to the last chapter of my longest DOC story to date. Hope you've enjoyed the ride so far, and that this chapter will live up to expectations.

AJeff - Thanks for the continuing reviews & support. And lots of thanks for that incredible compliment (about my style of writing)! I never thought it was anything special or all that good, but apparently I'm doing something right at least. And the good news is: I like doing it. Grin.

Chapter 10

Friday, 31st of December, 2004

The morning and afternoon slipped by fast. Nancy had come over to Clint's apartment for breakfast, before preparing together for the evening. They did the groceries, and when they were back home, they managed, in between some passionate kissing, to prepare snacks and the like. The others would also bring food and drinks, so Clint wouldn't have had to worry about everything.

When they were done, they sagged onto the couch, and were soon sitting closely next to each other. The knock on the door caused Clint to stand up, and while he went to open the door, Nancy disappeared into the bathroom to make sure she was presentable. After all, they wanted to keep it quiet for a while. Although she wasn't sure how they were going to manage to keep it quiet for an entire evening, let alone a few weeks!!

Walking into the room, she went to greet Derek and Nellie Hebert, and their daughter Gracie. Clint was holding the door open for doctor Oliver Crane and his wife Lynn; and Raul could already be heard on the stairs, so the Jackson family was on its way as well. Fifteen minutes later, Donna DeWitt, and Tippy and Steven Doss had also arrived, so the group was complete.

Stories were shared about what people had done during Christmas, what mischief nephews and crazy uncles had been up to, and how the latter had successfully been evaded. When Nate heard that Nancy had received some riding lessons from Clint, his eyes widened. "Rather you than me! I'm not ever going near a horse again!"

It was almost eleven-thirty, and somehow Nancy and Clint had managed to not give anything away. While they had still sat next to each other, Nancy had sat on the couch, next to Tippy, and the country doctor had sat on the chair next to the couch. It got harder though, since they had gotten used to sitting close to each other. When Nancy, for the umpteenth time, had to force her hand to remain on the couch instead of reaching for Clint's hand, she felt Tippy's look on her.

"There's something about you tonight… if I can just put my finger on it…" Tippy murmured as she gazed at her friend. Donna, who sat on Tippy's other side, heard Tippy's comment, and looked up just in time to see Clint's expression, before he hid it.

She opened her mouth, closed it again, and reached out to take a sip of her wine. But her observant eyes closely watched the doctor and the nurse over the rim of her glass. When Clint leaned over to say something to Nancy, it hit her, and it was all she could do to stop a wide smile from erupting on her face.

Tippy was still munching over it, even though Nancy tried to divert her attention. Her hand found the bracelet she'd been given by the man she loved, and she fiddled with it as her thoughts started to drift off to Clint.

Suddenly Tippy exclaimed, "Oh!!"

That brought Nancy's attention back to the present. Everyone in the room fell silent and looked at the receptionist, who blushed at the attention. "Oh, oh my."

"Tippy, is something wrong?" her husband asked concerned.

"Oh," she blinked. "No, no, nothing is wrong ! I'd say it's finally right!!" Excitedly she looked at the blond-haired woman sitting next to her on the couch.

"I am right… right?" she asked, suddenly uncertain. She looked at Donna, who nodded and allowed the smile to spread over her face. Clint caught Nancy's eyes, and raised his eyebrows. Nancy sighed and nodded, and Clint spoke.

"So much for keeping it quiet." Immediately all eyes were on him, wondering what had just happened.

"Ehm, keeping what quiet, exactly?" Derek asked, clearly confused.

"Well, as you all know, Nancy and I went to visit my family back in Montana for Christmas, and… well, let's just say we ehm… got together."

"We're officially dating," Nancy said, a slight blush creeping up her face, but she turned to look at Clint, and their hands found each other.

Gasps, whistles and squeals filled the air.

"Sweet!" Raul exclaimed, punching the air in a claim of victory. Derek looked both baffled and pleased, and Nate and Steven smiled broadly. Even Oliver smiled slightly and applauded. Beverly, Donna and Tippy were quick to come over and give the couple a hug. Lynn came at a more sedate pace, but hugged them all the tighter. "I knew you two belonged together, from the first time I met you."

"You're so going to owe me details," Beverly whispered into Nancy's ear.

When Nellie Hebert looked at the two, she smiled, and said, "Seems I've lost my touch. It took four years for my matchmaking to take effect." The couple grinned, remembering her early hints about both of them being single.

Meanwhile, Nate, Steven and Derek had come over to hug Nancy, and clap Clint on the shoulder.

"Congratulations, Country, you finally got your head out of the sand," Nate said. Derek shook his head, and smiled. "I…I… I agree with Nate, you took your sweet time… but I'm glad you finally realised it too."

Gracie looked up at the couple, and tugged on their jeans. When she had the attention of both, she asked, "Are you going to get married?"

Nancy and Clint shared a look, then Nancy leaned down, and whispered conspiratorially, "Not quite yet, but we'll let you know when we will, ok?"

The girl looked up in awe, and nodded. "Ok." She skipped away again, to play with little Mattie.

When Oliver came over and shook the hands of both Clint and Nancy, he said, "Congratulations, doctor Cassidy, nurse Nichol. Of course I've always known you two would end up together, but please… don't take your… affections with you to the clinic."

"Like we did, Oliver?" Lynn asked, her eyes sparkling with mischief and joy. Immediately, Oliver looked appalled, and Lynn conceded. "Alright, it was only a kiss one or two times… or ten or eleven, I can't quite remember. But they were quite passionate, I'll tell you that!"

"Lynn!" Everyone burst out laughing at Oliver's reaction.

Meanwhile, they were ten minutes further, and midnight was closing in. Everyone had started chatting again. Clint took Nate aside, and quietly discussed something. The police officer nodded, and Clint quickly went into his bedroom, reappearing mere moments afterwards. He walked through the room, to where Nancy and Tippy were talking.

"Excuse me, ladies. Tippy, mind if I borrow Nancy for a while?"

Tippy blinked. "Ah, sure, but how does that work exactly, since I don't own her?"

Clint's eyes narrowed, and he smiled, waggling his finger. "Oh, no, this time I know you understood what I meant. I've heard you ask after this one before."

Tippy scrunched up her nose. "Hmm, must be the residual of our honeymoon which throws me off balance. Oh, not our honeymoon, of course; I meant, the honeymoon of Steven and me."

Nancy and Clint chuckled, shook their heads. Tippy smiled, and walked off to stand with her husband.

"So, why did you need to 'borrow' me?" Nancy asked, a speculative look in her eyes, as she slid her arms around his waist. Clint chuckled, and brought his arms up around her shoulders, and started to slowly walk backwards. A quick kiss, and then he pulled gently through the door. Nancy's eyebrow rose. "Clint, in case you haven't noticed, we, I mean, you have guests."

'I'm already thinking of us as a couple. Well, we are, but. Oh, no 'buts'. We are!' The thought brought a smile to her face.

"All taken care of," Clint said, ignoring her little slip, although inwardly he chuckled. He led her to the stairs, and pulled her along towards the roof. Once there, Nancy breathed in deeply, then let go, secretly grateful for a moment alone with the man she loved. Clint pulled a blanket from the large chest which Nate and he had put up there, since they both loved to sit on the roof, and the nights could unexpectedly turn cold. He handed the blanket to Nancy, and she draped it around her shoulders.

"So, want to tell me what you're up to now?"

Clint nodded, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her slowly. Nancy's mind went blank. She forgot that she was waiting for an answer, forgot they had guests, and forgot it was almost midnight, and she should watch the time. The kiss ended all too soon for her liking, and when Clint started talking, she was tempted to just ignore his words and kiss him herself. Clint seemed to read her mind, and he chuckled, shaking his head, before turning serious.

"Nancy, I know we've said we won't rush into anything, but I want you to know how serious I am about this, about you, about us."

Quietly, Nancy waited for him to continue, her eyes now focused on his.

"I kind of had this bought before we went to Montana, but wasn't sure when to give it to you. I think now would be appropriate…" His hand slipped into his pocket, and gave Nancy a small box. "It's not a ring," Clint warned, "although I do have every intention of asking you to marry me in the near future, but I hope you'll like it anyway."

Nancy looked up at him, before even opening the box, and said, "Clint, you didn't have to do this. I know you love me, and you'd better not wait too long to have that chat with my father, which ," she said, holding up her finger to stop Clint from interrupting, "I know you will do, even if wild horses couldn't stop me from accepting your proposal."

Clint gave her a lopsided grin. "You know me well, Nancy Nichol."

"Someone has to," Nancy teased. Clint rolled his eyes, and then motioned with his head towards the small unopened box, Nancy still held. "Now would you open that, so we can get on with it?" he urged, causing a burst of laughter to escape from Nancy's lips, but she did as he asked.

"Oh, wow, Clint. This is beautiful!"

It was a necklace, of the same design as the bracelet he'd given her for Christmas. Immediately, Nancy pulled Clint's head down, and kissed him.

"Guess you like it," Clint breathed, when she let go. "I love it," Nancy said, looking down at the object in her hand, before tilting her head back. "I love you."

"Love you too."

"Alright, lovebirds," a voice suddenly interrupted, and Nancy and Clint looked up. Nate walked onto the roof, wearing a goofy grin. Then the whole group of people filed out from the staircase onto the roof. At the couple's questioning gaze, Nate shrugged, and said, "Well, you asked me to come and get you in case you got a little… hung up, before midnight, but then I thought, why not just come up here, and let everyone enjoy the night sky."

Beverly walked up from behind her husband, and handed Clint and Nancy their coats. "Don't let him fool you, he really is a romantic…" She wrapped an arm around Nate's waist, and smiled at him, before explaining to the other two, "He actually wanted to give you guys a few extra minutes, but didn't want you to be late for midnight, so… here we are."

"Yeah, well…" Nate shrugged, feeling a tad embarrassed. Clint and Nancy smiled. "Thanks, Nate," Clint said, his appreciation obvious through his voice.

"You're welcome Country. Now, if you'll excuse us, if Raul's frantic gestures are anything to go by, I'd say we're mere seconds away from the new year."

He and Beverly walked towards their adopted son, and took Mattie from Tippy. Raul did a count down, watching his wristwatch carefully. "…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!!!"

At the same time, the church bells throughout New York sounded, and everyone started kissing each other, and wishing each other a good new year.

"Raul? Do we really have to kiss?" Gracie asked, distaste evident from her tone, and everyone laughed, as Raul blushed furiously.

When wishes were exchanged, and couples had found each other again, Nancy leaned back against Clint's chest, and together they looked up at the sky, where the twinkling stars were visible, although not as bright as they had seen in Montana. She sighed with contentment.

"You ok?" Clint whispered.

"Yeah," Nancy nodded satisfied.

"Me too," Clint replied, leaning his head on Nancy's hair. "You know, I think this was the best Christmas I've had so far."

Nancy shifted her head, so she could look up at Clint, and said, "I'd say we've gotten the best Christmas present we've ever had." She thought for a moment, and amended, "Well, aside from the one the preacher talked about."

They grinned, shared another kiss, and started the new year together.

The End

A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Personally, I loved writing it, even if most parts were written in a hurry. See you around! - zeilfanaat

Oh, and as Give us Peace reminded me - Lynn was not from the actual show. Aside from the fact that it's mentioned two or three times that doctor Crane is married, we never saw his wife, nor do we know her name. Hence why I made her up. She was first mentioned in my other story, 'It All Comes Down To Love'.