Title: Home with Me
Author: Erin (erinm_)
Characters, Pairing: Kilmer, Frankie, a random HS security guard and Frankie's brother and parents (mention of Mo, Jelani, Holly and Colonel Atkins)
Rating: PG
Summary: Kilmer stops by Frankie's on Christmas Eve
Warning: post-series AUish, as I forgotdisregarded Frankie's family history. Also, don't ask me why Kilmer wouldn't be watching football. I have no idea...
Disclaimer: The original characters belong to ABC and their respective actors. The original characters are mine. The slightly-trimmed The Only Gift belongs to 'N Sync.

Frankie Ellroy-Kilmer was in the kitchen with her mother when the doorbell rang. Her parents and older brother were visiting for the Christmas holiday. "Brian, can you get that?" Frankie called to her brother, who was in the living room. She was trying to get the turkey out of the oven with her mother's help.

Brian Ellroy was a big guy, football player-size, in fact. He hopped up from the couch and moved to the door of Frankie's rather spacious apartment. When the door opened, he was more than upset with who was waiting on the other side. "What do you want?" he asked curtly.

John Kilmer, Frankie's co-worker and ex-husband, stood at the door with a few wrapped gifts. "Merry Christmas to you too, Brian." Frankie's dad removed his glasses and eased himself out of the side chair, setting down the book he was skimming. "Mr. Ellroy," Kilmer said politely.

"What do you want?" Brian asked again.

Kilmer's gaze returned to his former brother-in-law. "I was just bringing these by. Don't worry, Brian. I'm not movin' in."

"Damn straight," Brian said with a huff. Kilmer continued to watch Brian, who didn't budge.

Frankie came into view asking: "Who is it?" She smiled to Kilmer, who was still looking at Brian. "Hey," Frankie said, pushing between her brother and Kilmer. "Come in, please."

Kilmer finally entered, still looking at Brian. Frankie turned as her mother came into the room. She smiled and pulled Kilmer into a hug after he set the packages on the side table. Frankie gave her brother a very mean look and turned away.

Frankie's mom kissed Kilmer's cheek and was positively beaming. "How good to see you, John. How are you?"

Looking at all of them as he spoke, rather nervous of Brian and Frankie's dad, he replied: "I'm... okay. Glad to see you're well." He looked back to her and smiled. It was no secret that Brian despised Kilmer, and that Mr. Ellroy wasn't too fond of him either, but Mrs. Ellroy adored him.

"Can you stay for dinner?" Kilmer didn't even look away.

"Thank you, but no. I just wanted to drop these off..." Kilmer's glance shifted to Brian once again, but was deterred by Frankie.

"You didn't have to..."

"I wanted to." He took a breath and decided to cut his visit shorter than already planned. "I gotta go." He glanced between Frankie and her mom and added: "Merry Christmas. Lois," as he leaned in for a hug. "It's wonderful to see you. Brian," he straightened. "Harry." He gave them both a nod and turned for the door. Lois glared at her husband, who sighed.

"John-" Kilmer turned. "Drive safe," Harry said a moment later. Kilmer nodded and Frankie moved closer to him.

She quickly mouthed 'Sorry' and said sternly: "Merry Christmas." Kilmer let a smile slip and nodded.

Lois stepped toward them and stated: "John, let me walk you to your car." Everyone except Frankie started to protest.

"But, Mom... dinner?" Brian whined, pointing to the kitchen.

"I don't think you'll starve for another five minutes," she said smugly.

"Really, Lois. It's okay," Kilmer said. She simply waved him off.

"I insist." As she pulled on the door, she turned. "Oh, for God sakes, you two. Start without me." After she pulled the door shut, Frankie glared at Brian.

"What?" he asked rudely. She simply shook her head and walked back into the kitchen. Brian turned to his father and they both returned to their seats. As Frankie pulled the rolls from the oven, she considered shooting both of them.

-*-

Outside Frankie's building, snow was just beginning to fall – the perfect setting for Christmas Eve.

"Now, tell me truthfully," Lois began, holding Kilmer's arm. "How are you?"

"I'm fine. A little overworked, but we all are these days." Lois nodded, seeing the exhaustion in her daughter's face over the last few days.

"I'm sorry for them. They're stuck in 'caveman' mode..."

"It's okay. Actually, Brian seemed pretty calm..."

"That's because my daughter has a gun." Kilmer couldn't help but smile. "There it is..." Kilmer looked at her.

"What?"

"That smile..." Kilmer looked at his feet. "You two are gonna drive me crazy."

"How's that?" Kilmer asked, kicking some snow around.

"Because, you let those two," she nodded toward Frankie's apartment. "-dictate your life. So they didn't approve. Big hairy deal." Kilmer smiled. "It's none of their business. It never was. Hell, my parents didn't approve of Harry. And my son is the -last- person who should be giving advice on relationships! The boy hasn't had a steady girlfriend since ninety-two! He's lucky if he can get a girl to go on a third date, let alone a second!"

Kilmer and Lois both chuckled, then Kilmer sighed. "They knew it wasn't gonna work out. They could see what we couldn't. We were two kids blinded by the idea of love and they called us on it."

"Oh horse crap."

Kilmer couldn't help but laugh. "Horse crap?"

Lois punched his arm. "You let them tell you what to do. Maybe it wouldn't have worked out; but it was something for you and Frankie to find out for yourselves." Kilmer took a deep breath and returned to looking at his feet. "Do you love her?" Lois asked simply.

Kilmer nodded sharply before saying: "Yes." Looking up, he added: "Forever and always." Lois smiled. "Well... I'm honestly surprised that they don't want to kill either of us at this point..." Kilmer noted her confused look and added: "For working together." Lois nodded.

"Well, they don't actually know about that." Kilmer gave her a look. "My daughter is allowed some secrets... Besides, it's none of their business who she works with."

Kilmer quickly brushed the snow that had accumulated on his head away and laughed. "Actually, we see each other more at work than I think we ever did before."

"Why do you think she took the job, John?" Lois said with a sly grin. Kilmer failed at hiding the slightest grin. After a few moments, she asked: "You have plans Friday?" Kilmer gave her a raised eyebrow. "You think we're stupid enough to take those two shopping the day after Christmas? Please... While they watch football, or whatever sport, Frankie and I are going shopping. Have lunch with us?" Kilmer shifted and, with a wink, agreed. "You still have the same number?" Kilmer nodded. "Well, I'm sure Frankie knows it anyway. You'll have to remind me Friday – I got a cellular phone in February... finally joining the twenty-first century and all."

Kilmer smiled and nodded. "Scary time, isn't it?"

Lois nodded. "I also have the office number," which she accentuated with quote marks. "For extreme emergencies. Frankie said they would take a message and pass it on." Kilmer nodded. "And for regular emergencies, I have Frankie's cell..."

"And for in-between emergencies?" Kilmer asked, jokingly.

Lois winked. "I have yours."

Kilmer smiled again and took a deep breath. "You'd better get back before they send out the search party. Probably think I kidnapped you..."

Lois guffawed and pulled Kilmer into a hug. "I love you, boy. You make me laugh."

Kilmer returned the hug and kissed the side of her head. "Love you too, mom." He added the last bit quietly, but Lois still smiled.

As she backed toward the curb, Lois pointed to him. "Friday!"

"I'll be waiting by the phone..." Kilmer said, which prompted Lois to stick her tongue out. He laughed and watched her head for the front door. With a sigh, he glanced up toward Frankie's apartment and saw her looking out of the kitchen window.

He gave her a smile and blew her a kiss, which made Frankie smile. Hearing Brian, Frankie turned to see her mother moving toward the kitchen. Turning back, Frankie found that Kilmer had disappeared, the snow now falling fast enough to fill in any footprints that were on the ground. Frankie sighed and frowned slightly as her mother and brother began arguing.

-*-

After a rather strained meal - Frankie had started clearing plates long before her brother and father had finished - Frankie stood in the kitchen, rinsing plates as her mother brought in more.

"It was a lovely meal, dear."

"Thanks, mom..." Lois put a hand on Frankie's arm and said nothing. She didn't have to. Finally, Brian and Harry moved back to the couch and side chair and began talking sports.

After a few minutes, Frankie dried off her hands and looked at her watch. "Mom, I'll be right back." Lois nodded and continued to dry plates. Frankie moved into the living room and looked around.

"What have you lost, dear?"

Frankie faced her dad and replied: "Have you seen a black attaché case?" Harry quickly glanced around the room and shook his head. "Damn. I must've left it at work." Frankie moved to the coat closet.

"You have to have it now?" Brian asked.

"Yes, Brian. I left something in it that could be important tomorrow," she said with an annoyed tone. "I'll be back, half hour... fourty-five minutes tops."

"You want company?" Harry asked sincerely.

Frankie smiled at him. "No thanks, Dad. You'd just have to sit in the car. I'll be right back." Brian huffed, which Frankie responded to with a glare. She hurried out the door, digging her keys out as she neared the stairs.

About ten minutes later, Frankie arrived at the parking garage of the Homeland Security complex. She quickly walked to the elevator and pressed the up button for the main level. After walking down a long hallway, she saw the regular security guard, Jake, sitting at his station. A radio was sitting next to him, lightly playing some old Christmas tune that she couldn't place.

"Ms. K, what are you doing here this time of night? And on Christmas Eve?"

Frankie gave him a tired smile. "Left a present in my office. Could ruin the whole holiday. Why are you here?" she asked as she passed her keys and cell to him.

"Gotta pay for the holiday spending somehow," he said with a grin. "Besides, I should be home before the kids wake up."

Frankie had already stepped through the metal detector and was putting her keys back into her coat pocket. "Well, I'd better get my bag. Told the family half an hour. Fourty-five tops." Jake nodded and returned to his chair, and Frankie headed down the hall, then turning left.

As Frankie neared the main room of the department, she saw a soft glow of Christmas lights. A few days before the holiday, Holly and Mo had decorated the office, much to Colonel Atkins dismay. But, after about an hour, he'd gotten over it. The decorations were rather subtle, and everyone had cheered up right after they'd appeared, so Atkins figured 'why fight it?'

As Frankie moved down the ramp, she heard Christmas music playing and noticed that a large stack of files and papers was spread out on the conference table. She spun around to see who was still working on the holiday, but found no one.

"Hello?" she said calmly, figuring someone had forgotten to turn off a radio. There was a rustling to her right, coming from the direction of the temporary file room, and Kilmer appeared, reading something in the folder he carried. Realizing someone was there, Kilmer looked up and stopped abruptly.

"Oh, hi..." he said, as if he'd just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "What are you doing here?" he asked, closing the file and moving toward the conference table.

"I forgot something."

"And you drove all the way over here? On Christmas Eve?" Kilmer gave her the eyebrow, a common look she got from him.

"Well, my mother told me she'd made a lunch date for Friday, and I remembered that I left the other day before you got back, so I didn't have the chance to give you your present. So, I figured that I'd get it tonight, because I'd never get away tomorrow, and I would have it for you on Friday. And since you already showed me up this evening, I guess it could've waited until we got back..." Kilmer just smiled – he was always entertained by Frankie's rambling fits.

"Frankie." She stopped mumbling and turned red.

"I'll be right back." She ducked right and headed around the corner to her 'office,' which was really not much bigger than a small bathroom. Kilmer had the big office... with all the windows... and cool furniture... Frankie's pout-fest ended as she found her black bag under her desk. As she pulled it out, she had a realization.

Walking back into the main room, Interrogator Frankie took over. "Why are you here on Christmas Eve, Kilmer?"

Kilmer set down the file he was flipping through and turned the chair toward her. "Well, as it's a holiday, it was either be home alone, or here. And since everyone is gone, I can work in peace. Lotsa paperwork to get caught up."

"Christmas for the Colonel?" Frankie surmised with a sly grin. Kilmer didn't respond, but got up. Frankie held out the package and smiled. "Merry Christmas."

Kilmer slowly reached for the gift and nodded. "Thank you."

He turned it over once and looked at Frankie. "You not gonna open it?"

Kilmer shook his head. "And ruin the fun tomorrow?" Frankie let a laugh slip.

They stood in silence for a few minutes and then Frankie said: "I should get back. Told them..."

"Half hour? Fourty-five tops?" Kilmer guessed with a grin.

Frankie made a face and looked toward the ramp. "Don't work all night, Kilmer." He gave Frankie an agreeing smile. She turned and started toward the ramp.

As she got about five feet away, Kilmer took a step closer. "Frankie?" She turned. "Stay for one more song?" Frankie didn't even look at her watch, but moved back toward him with a nod. Kilmer did a half turn and leaned over the table where he had a remote.

"Atkins know you're using the speakerphone for CDs?" Frankie asked with a grin. Kilmer turned the music up a few notches and hit the button to skip a track. Suddenly, an awkwardness hit the two of them. Kilmer set the remote down and turned back to Frankie.

Frankie, on the other hand, had taken her coat off and laid it over her black bag. The music started and, for a moment, they simply looked at each other. Then, Kilmer stepped up to Frankie and took her hand. Moving away from the table, Kilmer and Frankie began to dance. Not exactly ballroom-fashion, but good enough for each of them.

I was making my list // I was checking it twice
In the middle of this // I got tears in my eyes
For in my foolish heart // There was one simple truth
The only gift I wanted was you

For in my wishful heart // There was one simple truth
The only gift I wanted was you

As the song drew to a close, Kilmer took a chance and gave Frankie a kiss – short and sweet. If he dared any longer, the guys in security would probably have one interesting Christmas story... and Frankie would most definitely -not- make it home in fourty-five minutes.

As the next song started, Kilmer let go and reached for the remote. Frankie stood relatively still and smiled to Kilmer, slightly flustered.

"So... what are they gonna say when you get back without a gift?" Kilmer asked matter-of-factly.

Without missing a beat, Frankie waved if off. "I'll just blame Jelani..." Kilmer stifled a laugh. "Naw, I'll just tell them it was some food product and that it was the victim of some impromptu office party last night. I'll stop by the store on the way."

"A grocery store open after nine on Christmas Eve?" Kilmer said, egging her on.

"Oh, who cares! If they ask, I'll... hell, I've gotten crap from the world's foremost terrorists that would scare Hitler. I'm sure I'll think of something, Kilmer."

Kilmer leaned over and picked up her coat. "I'm sure you will," he said as he helped Frankie with her jacket. She turned to face Kilmer once again and couldn't help but smile.

Leaning in, she gave him a kiss that was just slightly longer than the last, and said: "Merry Christmas, Mr. Kilmer."

He smiled and responded: "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Kilmer." Frankie smiled and moved back. With her bag in tow, she started up the ramp.

"Drive careful," Kilmer called after her.

"You too," she called back. Kilmer put his hands on his hips and smiled. After all, Frankie said nothing about working -most- of the night...