A/Ns: So, I've always wanted to do a story with Mac and Stella at Christmas time, so here is my first go at this! And, as I assume all of us know, I'm just borrowing our good friends from the CSI: NY set. I'll try to put them back on the shelves as soon as I can, but we all know I can't make any promises.

Snow fell lazily from the night sky and a crisp, cold air blew just often enough that there was no relief from its stinging blow. Already a light, fluffy layer coated the sidewalks, buildings, and road in the bright city.

There was about two weeks until Christmas and Detective Mac Taylor was, of course, still hard at work. He sank down in to his chair in his office with a sigh and a warm cup of hot chocolate in his hands. Normally, he would've voted for the usual coffee, but something about the air and environment made him choose the hot chocolate instead.

As he sipped cautiously at the hot liquid, he shot a glare at his computer screen, which currently had a pop-up saying he had at least 30 emails to make it through. (Although Mac was almost to the point of betting there was more than 30 in his inbox.) His gaze shifted from the computer screen when one of his team members came in the office with a smile on her face.

Mac couldn't help but offer a small, soft smile in return.

"You cold or something?" Stella asked as she swiped a seat on the couch in his office across from him.

Mac's smile widened ever so slightly. "No, but it's that time of year," he replied, raising his cup of hot chocolate in his one hand a bit.

Stella grinned. "Shouldn't you be at home or something?"

Mac shot her an all too familiar glance as he pulled up his emails. "I could be asking you the same thing," he told her as his gaze went over the first 15 emails displayed on the screen with a short description of what they were and such. He sighed. He'd need another cup of hot chocolate if he was going to do this.

Stella smirked as she watched the unenthused expression on Mac's face as he looked briefly over his emails. "I was on my way out, but everyone has a proposition for you," she said.

Mac raised an eyebrow at her. "Oh yeah?" he asked. "If this is like Adam's party, then you can already count me out," he said, remembering that misadventure quite clearly. That was something Mac vowed he would never let himself do again.

That brought a laugh from Stella and a slight smile crossed Mac's face. "No, no, it's nothing like that. Later, more towards Christmas, we're all going down and having a few drinks to celebrate. They're really hoping you'll say yes," she said, looking at him with a certain gaze that told Mac he would not be getting away with saying no.

Mac sighed and sat back in his chair, a full-blown smile on his face now. "Oh…why not?" he replied. "What day and what time?" he asked.

Stella flashed a triumphant grin. "Next week, Thursday the 19th. We're thinking at heading over at…seven-ish," she replied.

Mac was still smiling. "Alright. Meet you guys here after the shift's through?" he questioned.

Stella nodded. "Done. I'll go tell them," she said standing and walking back out to the lab, leaving Mac still smiling in his office and wondering what he'd just gotten himself in to.

He sighed and shook his head, turning reluctantly back to his computer and starting on the stack of emails that had accumulated in his inbox over the few hours since he'd checked it. He wasn't so reluctant to turn back to the hot chocolate, however, although he knew he'd need to make another trip out of the office to grab at least one more cup.

Two hours and one cup of hot chocolate later, Mac shut down his computer for the night and grabbed his keys and phone off of his desk and shoving both in to the pocket of his pants before grabbing his jacket. Now that temperatures were even lower, he had been making a habit of a winter jacket being the one he wore to work on a daily basis. With a yawn, he slid on his jacket and gloves, since there was no way he'd leave without them in this cold of weather, and then headed out.

Believe it or not, he'd walked to work earlier that day and now decided a walk back to his apartment wouldn't hurt either. Neither would a bottle of champagne if he was honest with himself, but he had to remember there was two weeks before it was Christmas day. That's when you really need the alcohol to celebrate, right?

He tugged the collar of his jacket up a little more, watching as his breath plumed away in a vapor-gray cloud. Plunging his hands back in to the pockets of his jacket, he continued to wind his way through the throngs of people on the streets on his way home.

Yes, walking would take him much longer to get back if the city traffic wasn't so bad and road conditions were relatively ok. No, this did not occur to him as a problem.

New York was really at its best around Christmas. Santas stood on every corner you could find and soft, white lights lit up the sidewalks in a soft glow even in the more harsh lights that were common in New York.

As snow continued to slowly fall towards the ground, Mac found himself marveling at the beauty of it all. He also got a feeling that he'd have to bring a truth out this holiday season. A truth he knew he'd been hiding for long enough. The question about it was…would he have the courage to tell her? It was Christmas after all, that was as good a time as any, if not one of the best times.

He nodded to himself, determining that he'd find a way. He'd find a way to break the news.

He could only hope that it wouldn't turn around and bite him.