The team had met at the ranch Christmas Eve to have dinner and exchange gifts. They had decided to do "Secret Santa" this year, each selecting a name from a hat.
Once dinner was finished, they moved to the living room, where a fire was cackling in the fireplace. The small tree that had been selected for the occasion was modestly decorated. The only presents under it were the ones each member of the team had slyly placed there during the evening.
JD, who volunteered himself to be 'Santa's helper', went over to the tree to hand out the presents. That is when he was discovered that there were only six packages under the tree.
"Um, guys, did somebody forget to bring a present?"
Ezra warmed his hands by the fire. "Do not worry, my dear friend. All the gifts are accounted for. Let us begin the exchange."
The others looked at each other in confusion, but didn't say anything as JD handed out the wrapped boxes. It was quickly obvious that there wasn't one for Nathan.
Ezra stood to gather everyone's attention. "I had the privilege of selecting Mr. Jackson. I thought long and hard about what he would desire for the Yuletide. He is not a man preoccupied with material things, as we all know. He often sacrifices his own time and energy on our behalf."
The undercover agent pulled a paper out of his suit jacket and handed it to Nathan. "My gift to you is two-fold. First I have made dinner and room reservations at the Ritz-Carlton here in Denver for you and your lovely wife for New Year's Eve."
Nathan was shocked. "That's too much, Ezra. I can't accept."
"Oh, you can and you must. You see, I have already spoken to Raine about this. I would not dare make plans for that night without her consent."
The other men joined Nathan in laughter.
"What's the second part?" Vin asked.
"Ah, yes. The second part is that I have decided to guarantee that you enjoy your special evening with no interruptions."
"How are you going to do that?" Nathan asked.
"Very easily. I am going to have the entire team spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at my condo. No fireworks, no mountain climbing, no ATV riding, no snow-related sporting activities, no horseback riding, nothing that might attract injuries. Just a couple of days spent eating, drinking, watching movies, playing various games, and anything else we can partake in that will not result in bodily harm."
"But . . ." both Buck and JD started.
Ezra held up his hand. "You may all invite one other person to join us for that evening. One, Mr. Wilmington, just one."
Buck was about to protest when he felt Chris nudge him. He looked where Chris motioned and saw Nathan was smiling ear to ear with tears in his eyes.
The EMT got up from his spot on the couch and surprised Ezra by hugging him tightly. "That sounds like the best Christmas gift ever," Nathan managed to say.