Disclaimer: I don't own any of the CSI NY characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
“It’s bad luck to have an undressed tree in the house at Christmas,” Don Flack – Under the tree at Christmas.
Those words had been part of the first spark that changed their relationship. Whether it was true or not, Mac Taylor wasn’t about to take any chances, and every year since then, big or small, their trees, at first individual, and then the ones they shared, were always well decorated by the big day.
If it had been up to Don, there wouldn’t have been any actual tree visible once the decorations were on. While Mac was of the ‘less is more’ mentality when it came to decorating the tree, Don too the ‘shove as much on the tree as possible’ approach.
“I remember one year as a kid,” said Don, as he picked out a shiny gold bell shape from the box. “I felt so bad for the ornaments left in the box that didn’t get to on the tree. I thought it wasn’t fair that they were missing out on the Christmas fun. Got so worked up about it that Mom had to send Dad out to get a second tree just to hold them. After that, I think she wised up. Next year she brought down a much smaller box of decorations and said that the rest had ‘gone to live on a Christmas tree farm upstate’.” There was a wistful smile on Don’s face at the memory.
Mac laughed at the image of a tousle headed Don arguing the case with his parents, but he was more than happy to indulge Don’s taste in tree decorating, and so many other things besides. After all, thought Mac as he picked out a shiny red bell and hung it beside the gold one, when it came to loving Don, more was most definitely more.
The didn’t always get to spend the entire day together of course. While they did their best to co-ordinate their holiday schedules so that they were either both working or both off, sometimes it seemed that the criminals in the city went out of their way to ensure that Mac Taylor and Don Flack didn’t get a proper Christmas Day together.
But they always managed to mark the occasion somehow, catching a few hours on the day itself to share a meal and exchange gifts. One year it had been almost ten at night when they’d eaten a frozen meal zapped in the microwave. But Don had worn his Santa hat, Mac had plucked out a few carols on his guitar and if the turkey had been a little dry, at least they’d been able to eat it together.
This year however had seen that rare beast, with neither Don nor Mac scheduled to work. True, Don had been working late on Christmas Eve, and Mac had been rostered on call for Christmas night, but they would have had at least most of the day together for certain.
And then Jo had told Mac a few days earlier that she was swapping shifts with him. “This is the first Christmas that you and Dan have both had off since you guys moved in together. Think of it as my Christmas present to you both.”
“But what about Ellie?” Mac had been touched by Jo’s gesture, but he didn’t want to take Jo away from her family time, and he knew Don would feel the same way.
“Oh, Ellie is getting to the age where spending all day with your family isn’t considered ‘cool’ anymore,” said Jo, with a rueful smile. “If I do get called in, she’ll be more than happy to chat to her friends half the night and order take out!”
Mac had made a token protest, and knew that he could have overruled her, but in truth, the prospect of knowing that he’d have the entire day with Don was not something he wanted to lose unless absolutely necessary. Of course, he thought afterwards, there was always the prospect of some major disaster taking place that would require both he and Don to be called in, but that was something he couldn’t plan for. The rest of the day however, well, Mac had various plans in mind.
Christmas morning dawned and Mac allowed himself the luxury of a little lie-in before getting up to set his plans in motion. He’d planned with all the precision of a military maneuver, including built in contingencies should weather or any external forces disrupt them.
Don shifted sleepily in the bed as he felt Mac leave it. “Hey,” he mumbled, “Time to get up already?”
“Not yet,” said Mac, he leaned over the bed and kissed Don on the forehead, “Go back to sleep for a bit. I’m going to make you breakfast in bed.” He tucked the bedclothes carefully back around Don.
“Nice,” murmured Don.
Mac tied his robe around him and headed for the kitchen. “French toast with pancakes on the side.” A leisurely breakfast was something they rarely had time for, and Mac was looking forward to indulging Don’s sweet tooth.
Afterwards, weather permitting there would be a stroll in the park. It had snowed the day before and if there was enough left on the ground, Mac was more than willing to let Don persuade him to build a snowman. Then back home to cook the Christmas dinner for a mid-afternoon meal followed by the exchange of presents. Mac had a very special present for Don under the tree, and the rest of the day’s schedule would be contingent on whether Don accepted it or not. Mac put the thought firmly from his head as he focused on the current task at hand.
The breakfast tray was laden with pancakes and toast and coffee when Mac pushed open the door to the bedroom a little while later. “Merry Christmas, Don,” he started to say, only to stop dead as he beheld the sight in front of him.
A considerably more alert looking Don Flack lay sprawled against the headboard of the bed, as naked as the day he was born, well, except for the strategically placed Santa hat covering his modesty. “Hey Mac,” he said, a wide grin on his face. “Merry Christmas!”
Mac carefully put the tray down on the dresser, but he had a sneaking suspicion that the breakfast might have to be remade, and that his carefully thought-out plans had failed to take this contingency into account. “I’m trying to remember,” he said, moving over to the bed, “If an undressed Flack in the house at Christmas good or bad luck?”
“Depends on what you want to do with it,” said Don. He wriggled his hips making the bell on the end of the hat jingle slightly.
“Well for starters, you can lose the hat,” said Mac, a mock grimace on his face.
Their first Christmas together, Don had worn the hat, just the hat, in bed on Christmas night. Mac had initially been amused by it, watching it bob up and down as Don writhed beneath his tender ministrations but after a while, the constant jingling had proved to be a little bit distracting, and Mac had taken one hand from its exploration of Don’s body and ripped the hat from his head, chucking it in the corner. “Now, where was I?” he’d asked rhetorically, only to be faced with Don in convulsions of laughter.
It had taken a few seconds for Don to stop laughing long enough to tell Mac, “You got something against Santa hats? That’s gonna get youze on the naughty list for sure!”
“Time and place, Don,” Mac had reminded him, and then he’d bent his head and a few seconds later all thoughts of lists and hats had been banished from Don’s mind.
“Well for starters, you can lose the hat,” said Mac, a mock grimace on his face.
“Maybe there’s a surprise just waiting under there for you,” said Don, his eyes alight with mischief.
“I think I know exactly what’s waiting for me under there,” said Mac, dropping his robe and climbing onto the bed beside Don. He flicked the hat gently, making the bell ring. “Besides, I thought we’d agree to not open any gifts until after the dinner.” Mac didn’t really mind one way or the other, knowing that the only important thing in all of his plans was that Don was there to share them.
“Yeah,” said Don, “But I really wanted to give this to you now.”
“Hmm,” Mac caressed the hat gently, “Even if it means foregoing breakfast for the time being?” It was a dirty trick, Mac knew, making Don choose between his partner and his food, and indeed there were some times, he thought with amusement, when he wasn’t altogether sure which would win out. But by the look on Don’s face, Mac was pretty sure he was going to be the winner…this time. He took a grip on the bell and pulled the hat away and was somewhat surprised to see a bright red ribbon wrapped around Don’s cock and tied in a bow.
“Haven’t I unwrapped this before?”
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
If Mac hadn’t been so focused on the ribbon and what lay beneath it, he might have suspected something from the odd note in Don’s voice, but instead he just reached out and pulled on the bow, untying it, and releasing the delight beneath. A quick flick of the wrist and the ribbon was in Mac’s hand. He was about to toss it to one side, when he realized that there was fine gold writing on it. “I love you, Mac Taylor, will you…” Mac looked at Don in shock, “Marry me?”
Don bit his lip, as he waited for Mac’s reaction. “I know it’s a big step up from us just living together like we’ve been doing,” he said, hesitantly. “And if you wanted things to stay how they are, that’s cool. But we’re good together, you and me. We’ve weathered so much together, even before we were together, together, and I can’t imagine the rest of my life without seeing you right there beside me. And I want everybody else to see that too.” He laughed nervously, “I had this whole speech thought up. Maybe I should have gotten it printed on the ribbon, but then it might have been too long and I…”
Mac silenced him with a finger on his lips. “Yes,” he said, softly. “Yes, I will marry you.” He watched Don’s face light up.
The breakfast did indeed grow cold as they consummated their engagement, but it only meant that they worked up an appetite, and Mac had to concede that eating at the table was considerably more practical than in the bed.
Their walk in the snow had to be curtailed when it started snowing again, and when they got back to the apartment, Mac had to fight down the urge to take Don to the bedroom rather than the kitchen to prepare the meal. He’d had to content himself with kissing those oh so perfect lips of Don’s and caressing the rosy cheeks and promising himself that he could unwrap the rest of his fiancé later on.
The meal took longer to prepare than expected and by late afternoon, pretty much then only thing that had gone exactly according to Mac’s schedule had been the opening of the presents under the tree. But as he watched Don sitting on the floor and ripping open paper with as much excitement as a child, Mac really didn’t care about the schedule, or indeed anything other than the look on Don’s face.
“There’s one more present,” said Mac, who had deliberately kept this one until last. He handed Don a plain white envelope with his name on it.
Don looked at him quizzically, “Not very festive wrapping,” he said, holding the envelope up and shaking it. “Well, it’s flat, so it’s not a set of keys to a Ferrari.” He grinned at Mac.
“Better than that,” said Mac, who had enjoyed watching Don try to guess with varying degrees of success, the contents of each gift before he’d opened them.
“Feels like paper…you put a few C notes in there for me?”
Don gave up and opened the envelope, pulling out a sheaf of paperwork, scanning it quickly before looking at Mac in confusion, “Department designation of next of kin? Deeds of transfer…medical power of attorney, Mac, what the hell? Are you sick or something?” He dropped the papers on the floor.
“What? No, no,” Mac dropped to his knees in front of Don and took his hands in his. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I just wanted.” He took a deep breath, “Don, I love you. You are the most important person in my life and I wanted to make sure that everybody else knew that as well. Not just our friends and family, but I wanted it on record with the Department, the city…ev. I was going to get you to sign the papers and I’d have them filed after the holidays.” He laughed, “And then you went and stole my thunder with your proposal, which will cover most of this in one go.” Mac could feel the tension drain from Don’s hands as a smile appeared on his face.
“I guess it’s a case of great minds thinking alike,” said Don, visibly relaxing.
“Different methods, same result,” said Mac, “But then we’ve always complemented each other like that, haven’t we.” He pulled Don closer and kissed him on the lips.
Later, when all the wrapping paper had been tidied up, the dishes washed, and the legal papers stowed safely away, Mac lay in Don’s arms in their bed and sighed contentedly.
“Not quite the day you’d planned, hmm?” said Don, softly.
“Not exactly,” said Mac, “But I did plan to be here, and to be with you. And in the end, that’s really all that mattered.”