A/N: A little something SMACKED for you for XMAS. To AIP, Blackrose, Stardust585 and all my other loyal readers, thanks for an incredible 2010.

Happy holidays to all of you.


December 18

"It's unnatural for it to be 73 degrees this far into winter."

His soft laughter echoed through the receiver and she rolled her eyes as she gazed out her window at the still summer-like conditions.

"It's supposed to be snowy and cold. Not this. This is what I expect for the 4th of July, not Christmas."

He gazed out his office window and blew out a puff of air at the snow still coming down in sheets of white.

"If it makes you feel any better, it is snowy and cold. Up here at least."

She quirked her eyebrow and pursed her lips, even if he couldn't see the reaction and sighed, "Not helping, Mac."

He grinned and turned back to his desk, leaning back in his chair and trying to picture her, miles away, surrounded by warmth.

"You know, you're always welcome up here. We could do hot chocolate..."

She groaned and let her body relax into the comforts of her sofa, "I have to work. You know the drill. Single, lonely boss takes the bullet for their attached, socially active team."

She smirked and took a sip of her red wine as he chuckled, "When you put it that way, it sounds even worse than it really is."

"Reality is really a drag isn't it?"

She sighed and mulled the thought about in her head as she studied her wine in the glass. Vivid snapshots played through her mind as she thought about the days leading up to Christmas. Carrying the tree with him and laughing at his childhood stories, being at the toy drive and watching the children's faces light up, him holding her close and laughing with her as the team strolled around dressed as elves; weight shifting, holds tightening, and a single kiss brushed against her temple. This year was going to be different; substantially so. She was here and he was there; the distance feeling like a million miles.

"Stella?"

She snapped back to reality and smiled at his concern over the silence. "I'm here, Mac."

"You're distracted."

His eyes narrowed a bit as concern rose in his chest, something wasn't quite right. He could sense it, they always had had that ability with each other.

"Just tired. You know how it is. The job wears you out."

"Evals, budget reports, year end paperwork. Yeah, it's a pretty familiar story."

He glanced down at the paperwork covering his desk and dropped his pen on top of the stack, no longer interested in it.

"So what are you doing for Christmas?"

"Other than working?" She could hear his smile over the phone and sighed, "Probably going to try to stomach some of those cheesy movies and order in. You?"

"Sameā€¦" An awkward silence took over for a moment before she heard him mutter softly on the other end of the line, "Not going to be the same without you here."

"I know."

December 25

Somewhere in the background in his apartment he could hear the sounds of the holiday movie filling a room, but he had lost interest. It wasn't the same watching it without her on the couch next to him, making inappropriate comments about the movie to get him to relax. He missed her. He missed everything about her and the occasional visits weren't working for him. Once a month, if that, was not enough time for him to get to see her.

He stared at his cellphone as it laid in front of him on his bed, contemplating making the call. She'd probably be in her office right now, working on an evaluation of a team member and doing everything in her power to make sure that the review was a good one. It was what made her lovable, that sense of wanting to make sure everyone was taken care of and that no one would be tossed under the proverbial bus.

He ran a hand through the short crop of hair on his head and sighed. He wanted her here. He wanted what they'd had before. The regular coffee runs, walks through Central Park, all of it. He missed it and wanted it back.

Not to say that what they had now was bad. On the contrary, what they had now was a clear step up from their previous relationship. Now it was more urgent and heightened when he saw her; emotions ran high and took over their actions. More than once had they ended up wrapped in the other's arms, holding on tight, not wanting the embrace to end. More than once words had been whispered about how it would all work out and this separation was merely temporary. More than once had they said goodbye at the airport with the hope that the next trip up would be her long awaited return.

His thoughts were interrupted by a melodic knock on his door and he hauled himself off the bed, putting his phone in his pocket and pulling his wallet out. It'd taken a little longer for the food he'd ordered to arrive, but he'd chalked it up to the holiday hustle and bustle on the streets. He reached the door and pulled it open, his eyes downcast as he reached for his money in his wallet, "How much do I owe you?"

"Between cab and plane fare? Somewhere between $500 and priceless."

She grinned as his eyes lifted to her. She fought back a chuckle and held up the paper bag with the food inside it, "Can I come in or are we going to eat out in the hallway?"

He felt the corners of his mouth lift as he took in her snow covered hair and coat and flushed cheeks from the cold. "Get sick of the heat?"

She shrugged, "Got sick of not being here."

She pressed the bag into his chest and guided him back through the door, gracefully kicking it shut and stepping around him. He smiled warmly as he watched her discard her outer apparel and shake her hair free of the white flakes before turning to him as she headed to the kitchen, "You coming?"

He followed her quickly into the room and set the food down on the table before trapping her against the counter, his chest against her back. He breathed in the scent of her hair and tentatively rested his hands on her biceps. She sighed softly and leaned back into him, nuzzling her head in against the side of his neck. "Truth? I came because I missed you."

He gave her arms a gentle squeeze and sighed, "Thought you were working?"

She lifted her head and looked at him, "Had somewhere more important to be."

Blue smoldered with green for a moment as she turned in his grasp and rested her palms on his chest. She leaned up and wrapped her arms around his chest, hugging him tight and close.

His hands gripped her close and he feared letting her go, thinking that he'd release her and she'd be a dream. His grip loosened as she pulled back and rested her palm on his cheek, "Merry Christmas, Mac."

He turned his head slightly, brushing a kiss into her palm and then pulled her closer, closing the distance between their lips as he murmured to her softly, "Merry Christmas, Stella."