Christmas is never the same as last year, Fitzie

Summary: Martin is celebrating a rather depressing Christmas when it knocks on the door. On the other side, one Danny Taylor is determined to cheer his friend up. Not slash.

Pairing/s: None.

Warnings: None.

Martin and Sam was never together, they don't have any feelings for each other. Martin was shot, and it's thanks to that that he and Danny are so close in this fic, kk? It's not yaoi folks, it's simple friendship. Oh, and Elena isn't working with them.

Disclaimers: I don't own Without a Trace.

-

Martin Fitzgerald was not much for Christmas, or any other holiday for that matter. Holidays for him represented parties his parents dragged him off to, strangers he had to act like he knew them, countless men or women who walked up to him to make him dance with their daughters. His father's forced smile as he 'bragged' about his wonderful son. If Martin had anything to say, he would have shouted his frustration out.

Since he could not do that, he had simply declined the year's Christmas parties and opted to stay in his apartment. His mother had tried with the disappointed tone to get him to come but it did not work on him anymore. He was simply too tired to deal with what he always had to deal with.

At times like these, he envied his colleagues. They had families, or at least friends, they could be with and actually enjoy the holiday. If Martin wanted to be with his parents, which would never happen of his own free will, he had to be dressed up the whole day, from the moment he woke up to the moment he was going to sleep, and he could never, ever, act like himself.

So that was he reason he stayed home. He did not feel like faking a smile the whole day and walk around in a costume he hated and that his mother had picked up as his own costumes was not good enough. So here he was, in a too clean and empty apartment with a glass of water in front of him and Chinese take-out. He was dressed in fading black jeans and a worn-out and old white shirt, not feeling to go and change. He wondered what his colleagues were doing.

Jack was probably with the kids and his ex-wife. Despite their heavy arguments before over the kids, Jack and Maria finally have a good relationship with each other, maybe because both Kate and Hannah did not want them to argue about them.

Vivian was with her family, he knew that. She would take any chances to spend time with them, and had even invited him. Not wanting to spoil the Christmas spirit in their home, he had declined politely. She had questioned but looked a bit worried.

Sam was probably with one of her male friends, having a bit of a good time. Martin had to chuckle at the thought; when did she not have a good time? He sent his well-wishes to her, and hoped she had a very nice evening since she did not celebrate with her family.

Danny… if he was not with his brother Rafi and his family, then most likely with that aunt he had talked about. Or maybe it was aunts. Martin was not sure; Danny had mentioned more than one aunt, or so he would like to believe. It was hard to follow Danny when said man was excited about something.

Either way, all of them were having a great time. And Martin was eating Chinese take-out and sat in the darkness of his apartment. He did not feel like decorate his home with Christmas things, because he knew he would tear them down right after he put them up.

A knock on the door brought him out from his thoughts and he frowned. He squinted to look at the time and saw it was seven in the evening. Who was visiting him at this time? Not his parents, because their party began at six. He got up once it knocked again, saying:

"I'm coming!"

He trudged to the door, unlocked it and pulled it open, ready to be a very irritated Martin Fitzgerald. But instead he blinked.

"Danny?" he said in surprise.

"What are you doing, Fitzie? I've been knocking on the door for two minutes, feeling like an idiot," Danny replied. "Can I come in?"

"Of course."

Martin moved back into the apartment and put the lights on. Danny looked around and said:

"Hey, do you have some fright against dust or something? It's always disgustingly clean these days."

"Ha-ha. No, I was bored."

"You clean when you're bored?" Danny asked and raised his eyebrow.

"Sometimes I do that, so what? Why are you here anyway?" Martin asked as he moved to fall back to the couch again.

"Don't sit down! You're coming with me."

"… Say again?"

"You're coming with me!" Danny declared and dragged Martin over to the man's bedroom. "And you can't wear that; too plain and too dirty. Throw them in the hamper; I can clean later if you want to."

"What?" Martin was utterly confused now as he watched his friend dig around in his wardrobe.

Danny thrust a black T-shirt and a red shirt into his arms and said:

"Put those on and this one as well."

He threw a new pair of black jeans at Martin.

"What… where… Danny, explain."

"You're coming with me," Danny repeated and shut the wardrobe. He moved forward and ruffled Martin's hair. "You showered today?"

"Yes, just a few hours ago."

"Good. Now dress."

Martin had learned long ago to not question Danny and most of all, to not make the man wait. So muttering under his breath the man moved to change clothing. Danny went out again and Martin heard him open the fridge. He got the red shirt on and moved out. Danny showed up again, as if knowing Martin was ready, and beamed. In his hand was a half-empty water-bottle; ever since Danny became his closest friend, Martin had always a fair share of water-bottles in his fridge.

"Much better," he said. "Come on, shoes on and don't take your coat. Take this jacket."

A jacket was thrust into his arms. It was only now Martin noticed his friend was not dressed in costume but in dark blue jeans, a black shirt and a jeans-jacket. He looked down at the jacket in his arms and saw it was the one Sylvia, Rafi's girlfriend, had bought him; a black leather-jacket.

"Where are we going?" Martin asked even as he tugged the jacket on.

"Surprise. Now move."

Martin found himself being pushed out from the apartment and away from the depression that had threatened to drown him just minutes ago.

-

Danny seemed entirely too happy and Martin glanced at him suspiciously.

"What?" Danny finally asked.

"That's what I should ask you," Martin replied. "Why did you come?"

"Because no one is alone at Christmas."

"Forgive me for spoiling the happiness, but everyone says I'm a bitch to deal with at Christmas."

"Who is everyone?"

"My mother, father, my cousins and my parents' friends."

"That isn't everyone," the man said and looked at his friend. "Fitzie, you were probably a bitch because you didn't enjoy yourself. Have you ever had a Christmas without your family?"

"No," Martin said sourly and looked out at the street as Danny drove. "This is the first year I declined, and I'm gonna get hell for it."

"Why don't you just say you don't want to be there?"

"Danny, I'm not suicidal. You gotta be suicidal if you of your own free will say to Victor Fitzgerald you don't like his parties."

Martin's voice was bitter, and Danny had never heard that tone before. He glanced over at Martin and said:

"He can't give you that much hell, can he?"

"Yes he can, and he will," Martin said. "If it was possible, I would wish for another family."

Danny was quiet a bit, glancing at Martin every so often until the other man said:

"Where are we going?"

"Surprise."

"Come on, tell me. I don't like surprises."

"You will like this one."

Martin growled at the man who only smiled cheekily.

-

Danny pulled up at a house and stopped the car.

"We're here," he announced to Martin who looked out at the house before stepping out. The air was chilly and he shivered at the cold.

He had no idea where they were, or who was inside the house. Danny dragged him up to the front door and knocked. A woman opened and looked at them both. She looked a tiny bit like Danny's mother, Martin noted. He had seen a picture of her a while ago. The woman shone up as she saw him and said:

"So this is the guest you went to get, Danny?"

"Yep," Danny replied. "Marty, meet my aunt Rosé, Rosé meet the depressing Marty."

"I'm not depressing," Martin snapped.

"Why did you sit in the dark then when I came to get you?" Danny asked.

"Hell if I know!"

Rosé laughed at them both and pulled them into the warmth. Martin looked around. He spotted Rafi with his girlfriend and son, two women similar to Rosé along with a younger woman. Around them ran children, laughing and mock-chasing each other. He heard laughter in another part of the house.

"Rosé's two sisters, Eleanor and Elina, Elina's daughter Sofi and most of the kids are Eleanor's grandkids," Danny explained as Martin took off his jacket and shoes. "You know Rafi, Sylvia and Nicky."

The next ten minutes were spent to call in the whole family so they could greet Martin. Normally his greetings would be a handshake and a chilly smile, but here it was hugs, kisses on his cheeks, a hand on his shoulder and smiles. Real smiles. Martin could not help but smile back, the chilliness gone and the façade he normally put up thrown out of the window.

Unknown to Martin, Danny stood by the side and smiled.

-

"Your family is a very happy family."

Danny looked over at Martin, who smiled at him.

"Yeah," Danny said. "A happy family. Does your family celebrate New Year?"

"Oh god, don't remind me," Martin moaned. "They have a party then as well."

"Oh well, too bad you can't go on that party then," Danny said.

"Why can't I?" Martin asked eagerly, taking any chances to avoid his parents.

"Because you're celebrating New Year with your new family," Danny said.

Martin's eyes grew wider. Danny chuckled and said:

"You think my family's gonna let go of you now? They adored you, and since Rosé doesn't have any kids she seems to have made you her kid now like she did with me. Welcome to the big, happy family."

Martin was speechless. He tried to speak but ended up just closing his mouth again.

"Marty?"

He finally found his voice.

"Yeah?"

"That was my gift to you," Danny said without taking his eyes off the road. "I knew you were never happy around Christmas, and seeing you tonight with that grin on your face… I knew I had given you the right gift."

Martin sat quiet for a little longer before the man saw his mouth curl into a soft smile.

"Thanks," Martin said.

"Christmas is never the same as last year," Danny said with a teasing smirk.

Martin could not help the chuckle that escaped him, and it was with laughter in his eyes that he replied:

"Then I can't wait to see what Christmas has to offer next year."

End


Hope you enjoyed that one, haven't written much WaT before. Merry Christmas!

Until another time,

Ja,

Tiro