"Marco, walk me home?" Rachel asked as she stood up to leave the coffee shop the team had been sitting at, planning their next move. Marco jumped up before she could blink and was holding the door open for her.

"Bye guys" They both said, waving to Cassie and Jake as they left them.

"So..." Marco began, shoving his hands in his pockets. Their breath misted out in front of them in the early evening air. "Any particular reason you chose me to walk you home?"

"I wanted to leave Jake alone with Cassie, you know how much they like each other"

"So, it wasn't because you adore me and want to spend quality time with me?" Marco asked, grinning at her.

"Sorry, but no" Rachel laughed.

The two walked in silence for a few moments, passing several stings of christmas lights.

"What do you want for christmas?" Rachel asked Marco, stepping around a man carrying a wreath.

"Angelina Jolie and a million dollars?" Marco asked jokingly. Rachel punched his arm playfully.

"You know what I meant..." Rachel threatened.

Marco laughed and nudged her with his shoulder, noticing for once that she was a good few inches shorter than him. He had grown that summer. While he was looking, he noticed that she had grown too, she looked... different.

"Hello, Marco?" Rachel's voice intruded on his inner monologue. He realized he'd been staring.

"Is it too much to ask for you to go on a date with me?" Marco rattled off in his usual manner. Rachel smirked, continuing on down the street. She got a few paces ahead of him, and Marco felt his eyes drift downwards, checking out her legs and butt. In her tight jeans, she looked good.

"Stop staring at my ass and get up here where I can see you" Rachel said, not slowing her pace. Marco grinned and jogged to catch up.

"So, what do you say to a Christmas date with me?" Marco asked only half-seriously. Rachel didn't reply, just stayed silent. Marco meant it as a hint to move on to something else.

"Erm, well... What do you want, then?" Rachel looked at him curiously. "...For Christmas?" He prompted.

"I'm surprised you asked, Marco... Well, i'll just take whatever you get the others. If you get them anything" She replied.

As they walked the last couple of blocks to Rachel's house, snow began to fall down from the now dark sky.

"Let's hurry, I don't have a good jacket for the snow" Rachel said, frowning at the heavens. Marco wiggled out of his windbreaker, handing it to the blonde beside him.

"No, it's okay" She protested, but Marco dropped the jacket on top of her head before walking ahead a few paces. Behind him, he could hear Rachel grumbling as she put on his coat.

After she got it on, Rachel scurried to catch up. Then she did something unexpected. As she matched his strides, she slipped her hand in his. Marco looked incredulously at his companion. Rachel snatched her hand away as if she'd been burned.

"Sorry, it's just a reflex... I-" Marco cut her off by taking her hand again, her small hand nearly disappearing in his larger one. Rachel flushed and fell silent.

The snow fell silently around them, and soon they arrived at Rachel's house, still hand in hand. Rachel led Marco up the driveway and to the side door.

"You, um... Want to come in?" She asked nervously. Marco shrugged, following as she led him into her house.

He had been over a few times before, but usually with the others. His inner self cheered at getting invited in Rachel's house. Rachel let go of his hand to take off his coat, and Marco found himself missing the warmth her small hand brought.

Marco took off his sweatshirt, leaving him in a tight white tee. He saw with a flash of pride that Rachel's eyes lingered on his semi-defined abs.

"You want some cocoa?" Rachel asked, walking down the hall to the kitchen. Marco followed.

"That's what I had at the coffee shop, probably better not to put any more sugar in my system. Water's fine" Marco said with a laugh. Rachel nodded, opening the cupboard for a glass. her blank expression turned to frown when she saw the only clean glass was on the top shelf.

"Damn it..." She muttered, straining to reach.

"Hey, I got it" Marco said, reaching over Rachel to the get the glass easily. Rachel turned around, finding herself in very close proximity with her companion.

"You've grown, Marco" She remarked with a shy smile. Marco set the glass down on the counter behind Rachel, praying that his next few moves would come out smoothly.

"You've grown too, Rachel. More beautiful than before" He whispered huskily, his hand on the counter moving to curl around her body while still supporting himself. Rachel was so thin that he could probably wrap his arms twice around her.

"Marco" She whispered, Her eyes meeting his. Her small hands came to rest on his chest. Marco began to reach his head down to kiss her waiting lips.

Just his luck that the phone began to ring, causing Rachel to shove him back as she dove for it. Marco stepped back, hurt.

Rachel disappeared into the next room, talking to whoever called. She came back a few minutes later to find Marco putting on his sweatshirt.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"I should go... You don't need me here" Marco said, not meeting her eyes. Rachel came up to him, drawing his chin down to look at her.

"What happened?" She asked, her blue eyes taking on a stormy hue. Just like that, Marco found himself opening his mouth to tell her what was wrong.

"You don't like me, Rach... Not in the way I like you. You seemed kinda desperate to get away from me just now, I think it's best if I get out of your hair" Marco said, taking a deep breath.

"Marco..." Rachel said unsteadily. Marco took his coat off the rack and began to walk to the door.

"Look out" Rachel said. Marco looked up just in time to smack his face on a leafy plant hanging from the doorway. How he hadn't noticed it coming in, he had no idea. He must have been watching Rachel.

"Do I get an extra kiss if I hit the mistletoe?" Marco laughed, steadying the plant as it swung wildly around. When Rachel didn't say anything, he turned to look at her. He jumped as he suddenly felt her warm hands on either side of his face.

Their lips met for only a second, but Marco managed to catch the feelings stored in Rachel's kiss. He reached out for her, and she came to him, folding into his chest.

"Marco, I don't want you to go" She mubled into his chest.

"Well, I don't have to go anywhere" He replied with a chuckle, kissing the top of her head lightly. Her hair smelled wonderful, like some sort of citrus.

"Is it too late to respond to that Christmas date?" She asked, looking up at him shyly.

"Not at all" Marco replied, kissing her again.