DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, Fox does. I'm only taking them out for a test drive.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: After watching `It's a Wonderful Life', wrapping way too many gifts (I save it all `till the last minute, of course), and drinking a wee bit too much champagne, I came up with this story on Christmas Eve. I just finally looked it over and thought.eh, what the hell? All I can say is, it made sense at the time.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

By Sam

December 24th - 11:15 PM

"Are we done yet?"

Billie looked at Deaq from over the top of her file folder. "I suppose this is enough." Her eyes shifted back to the report as she added in her usual clipped tone, "For now."

"Yes!" The detective exclaimed loudly, holding his arms skyward in a dramatic fashion. He quickly got to his feet and looked over at his partner, who was still seated, gray eyes boring a hole into the top of Billie's desk. "Yo, man, I think we'd better get our asses out of here before she changes her mind." He turned and quickly headed for the office door. "I am incommunicado for the next twenty-four hours."

"Hey," she spoke up, stopping the young man in his tracks. "I expect that phone to be on at 12:01am tomorrow night, you got that?"

"And I guess you'll be calling to check," Deaq complained to her with just a hint of humor.

"At 12:02," Billie confirmed, dropping her gaze back to her work. She lifted a hand and shooed him away. "Go. Enjoy."

Deaq flashed a broad grin. "I intend to. Waddaya say, slick?"

Van nodded. "I am so ready." He stood up and perched himself on the edge of Billie's desk, leaning forward and tipping the edge of the folder down to get the brunette's attention. "So, how about it Billie? You down for a little holiday fun with the Hayes family?"

The brunette didn't meet his gaze. "I already told you, I'm meeting up with an old friend."

"This old friend doesn't happen to walk around rattling his chains, does he?" He straightened up and shot her a mischievous grin. "And look out for those three buddies of his."

Billie lifted the folder again and spun her chair away. "Bye, Van." The two men exchanged a look. Deaq shrugged his shoulders and began gesturing, animatedly, toward the door.

Van's shoulders slumped. "Okay, well...uhh...Merry Christmas, Billie."

"Yeah," Deaq called out as he flashed a peace sign. "Have a happy merry, Boss."

"You, too, guys," she responded, distractedly, still keeping her back to them.

The sound of the two men's stage whispers continued for a minute or two, followed by the loud slamming of a door. With the signal that she was finally alone, Billie released a heavy sigh and tossed the folder onto her desk.

She knew the boys meant well. They didn't like the idea of her spending the holiday alone, but doing the family thing just wasn't for her. So, she chose to let them off the hook by telling them that she already had plans.

Which wasn't really a lie.

Billie grabbed her briefcase and placed it on the desk, quickly opening it and removing an envelope. She leaned back in the chair and held it up between her fingers, turning it over several times as the internal debate continued to wage within her.

The young lieutenant wasn't accustomed to self-doubt. She was all about planning and executing. Anticipate every possibility. Cover every angle. Foresee every outcome. And when it all played out, watch the chips fall and walk away clean. So long as the bad guys lost and she and her boys came out in one piece, it was a done deal. On an especially good day, they might even get a few souvenirs as more grist for the Candy Store's considerably expensive mill. But, mostly, all they ever got to keep were a few regrets.

"Well, to hell with that," Billie announced to the empty room as she got to her feet and tucked the envelope into the back pocket of her jeans. She closed her briefcase, grabbed her purse, and walked out the door.

December 24th - 11:45 PM

"Are we done yet?"

The gray-haired man's bourbon-addled gaze turned to the young, attractive woman behind the bar. "Whaddaya got a hot date, or something?"

"Or something," she answered dryly. "It's Christmas Eve, Lou. Shouldn't you be heading home to the wife and kiddies?"

"Maybe," he commented with little enthusiasm, before his bloodshot eyes suddenly brightened and fixed her with a hopeful look. "Hey, why don't you come along? With that hat, we can just tell them you're one of Santa's elves looking for a place to spend the night."

The bartender yanked the furry red cap off her head with an impatient hand. "Thanks, but I think I'll pass," she replied, brushing a few stray blonde hairs from her forehead.

"Okay, but you don't know what you're missing," he informed her, sliding off the stool and dropping a few bills onto the polished oak surface.

"You've got that right," she smirked.

The man staggered, slightly, as he made his way to the door. "Merry Christmas, Sara."

"You, too," she called out. "Taxi's out front."

"You're an angel," Lou managed to slur before disappearing into the night.

Sara merely shook her head and cleared away the remaining glasses on the bar.

December 25th - 12:18 AM

Billie sat in her car, fingers thrumming nervously on the steering wheel as her pale blue eyes remained fixed on the door of a small barroom across the street. She deliberately parked away from the glaring streetlights to conceal her presence, that deep-seated instinct to protect herself always dictating her movements now, even though her days working undercover were long over.

Except for that one time.

She blew out a frustrated breath. Perhaps this hadn't been such a good idea. The case was finished and she kept her end of the bargain as promised. Sara was free and clear to move on with her life, which she'd obviously done. It may not be the nicest bar in town, but it was an honest living, and from everything Billie knew about the ex-thief's background, most likely her first attempt at making one.

Her fingers dropped down to the key in the ignition. Sitting there like some high-schooler with a mad crush was not how she planned to spend her holiday. She was just about to start the car when the barroom door opened and several people emerged, two of them lingering on the sidewalk while one presumably locked up for the night.

The threesome chatted, briefly, exchanging quick hugs before moving off to their prospective vehicles. Billie's gaze followed one familiar figure, her heart rate kicking up several notches as she waited for the young blonde to reach her car.

The envelope was tucked under the windshield wiper. Billie watched with a mix of trepidation and excitement as Sara spotted it, taking a quick moment to look around before removing it and getting into her car.

From Billie's perspective, she could see the young woman sitting in the driver's seat, fumbling with the note. As she watched Sara reading the words she'd so carefully chosen, it occurred to her that she was deliberately heading into uncharted territory. In all her years on the job, there was only a hand full of people she'd grown close to while working undercover.

But, no one had ever gotten under her skin like Sara Matthews.

The blonde was now slumped back against the seat, her hand still clutching the note as it rested on the steering wheel. She turned her head toward the window beside her and, for just a split-second, Billie was sure she was looking straight at her. But, the illusion was quickly broken as Sara's gaze fell back to the paper in her hand, and with an angry gesture, she threw it aside and started her car, barely sparing a glance before slamming the gas and roaring off down the street.

Billie tried to push down the almost painful feeling of disappointment. She certainly shouldn't have expected any less, but a small part of her had been so sure that she could get through to Sara. Maybe she should have done it in person. Maybe she should have given it more time.

Maybe she was out of her goddamn mind to think there was any chance at all.

"Merry Christmas, Sara," Billie whispered.

December 25th - 4:42 AM

Billie stumbled out of bed, uttering a soft curse as she bumped her shoulder against the doorjamb while trying to navigate her way out to the hall. She had grabbed her gun off the nightstand and had it clutched it in her right hand as she finished pulling on a pair of sweatpants with her left. When she reached the front door, she kept her weapon out of sight and yanked the door open.

"What the hell-" The words caught in her throat.

Sara tilted her head, slightly, taking a moment to look the brunette up and down. "Did I wake you?"

Billie blinked a few times, still trying to clear the sleep from her eyes. "Sara."

The blonde flashed a sexy smile. "Sorry, but I don't do chimneys."

"I don't have a chimney," Billie responded, softly, still shocked to see her standing there in the flesh. And a considerable amount of it, at that.

"Mind if I come in?" Sara asked. "I'm catching a chill."

"Uhh." The detective shook her head, slightly. "Sorry. Come on in." She stepped aside and watched the blonde saunter through the doorway. She could hardly breathe just looking at her.

Sara spun around, immediately catching sight of the gun hanging by Billie's side. "I'm unarmed...if that's what you're wondering."

"Just a habit," the brunette replied as she closed the door and placed her weapon on top of the bookcase beside her. They stood in silence for a moment, and Billie took the time to let her gaze wander over Sara's appearance. She was wearing an extremely thin red silk robe that barely reached the tops of her thighs and a fluffy, white boa was coiled around her slender neck. Topping it all off was a red, pointed hat sitting on her head, making her, in effect, the sexiest Santa Billie had ever seen.

Sara was thoroughly enjoying the look on Billie's face. "I got your note," she finally said

A dark eyebrow shot up. "What took you so long?"

The blonde gave a casual shrug. "I was trying to decide what to wear." She lifted up one of the ties to her robe and held it out, fixing her one-time lover with a seductive look. "Care to unwrap me?"


"I think you said that already."

Billie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Sara, I meant what I wrote in-"

The blonde quickly stepped forward and placed a finger against Billie's lips to silence her. "I know." Her hand drifted down to the brunette's chin and she guided their lips together.

"I really have missed you," Billie confessed, feeling the electricity building between them as their mouths nearly touched. She moaned, softly, all the months of anticipating this single moment nowhere near as suffocating as waiting at the threshold.

The kiss was tentative, at first, little more than a gentle tease of warmth and softness. Billie could feel Sara's fingertips brush against her cheeks as they combed a trail through her thick, dark hair, and wrapped around her head, pulling her closer.

"Wait," Billie gasped as she suddenly pulled away.

Sara furrowed her brow. "What?"

"Just like that?" the brunette questioned, thinking about what she had witnessed earlier that evening. Sara's initial reaction to her note had been anything but pleasant, and no matter how badly she wanted her, Billie could not belie her guarded nature. "After all this time, all you needed were some reassuring words? I was expecting anger, recriminations, something other than you showing up on my doorstep...looking like this."

Sara lowered her hands and took a step back. "I was angry, Billie," she admitted resignedly. "In fact, that's pretty much all I've been, lately. Angry at you, angry at Jill." She dropped her gaze for a moment. "Angry at myself."

Billie tucked a finger under Sara's chin and drew her face up to look at her. "You did the only thing you could do."

The blonde nodded in agreement. "Yeah, but that's pretty cold comfort in the middle of the night."

"I know."

"After everything finally settled down, I couldn't stop thinking about you." Sara reached over and clasped Billie's hands, loosely. "I knew you were just doing your job. Jill and I were bound to get caught sooner or later. Especially after the shooting." Her intense blue eyes fixed on the young detective. "But, I still couldn't believe it was all a lie. It didn't feel like it." She moved in again and guided the brunette's hands around her waist until the lower half of their bodies touched, her hips beginning a subtle, swaying rhythm. "Not in my bed, when you were moving underneath me."

"Because it wasn't," Billie responded, breathlessly, as she squeezed Sara's hands, tightly, and pulled her into a smoldering kiss.

Sara felt her hands being released, leaving her lover's free to begin roaming her body. Tiny shudders ran down her spine with every touch of skilled, experienced fingers, while equally accomplished lips began moving across her jaw and down along her throat. She arched her back and sighed, "Oh, Billie...I've missed you, too."

The young women's bodies melted together, their movements becoming faster, more insistent, as eager hands and hungry mouths continued to explore so many of the places that were both familiar and brand new all at the same time.

After a few heated moments, they broke apart, breathing heavily, lips swollen and moist, eyes darkened with arousal. Sara leaned in and rested her forehead against Billie's as she waited for her heart to stop pounding. "This is quite a Christmas present."

Billie smiled at her. "Actually, I was hoping to serve you breakfast in bed."

"Really? What a coincidence," Sara teased as she grabbed Billie's hand and began leading her down the hall. "Both of our presents involve being in bed."

December 26th - 12:02AM

"I knew it!" Van cried out, triumphantly.

Deaq shot him a look as he sat forward on the sofa and grabbed his cell phone off the coffee table. "What's up, Billie?"

Van sat back and laughed, silently, as he watched his partner glaring at him.

"Say what?" Deaq's brow furrowed as his expression changed to one of uncertainty. "Are you sure?"

The change in the other man's tone caught Van's attention and he looked at him, quizzically. `What' he mouthed.

"Yeah...yeah, I got it, Boss," Deaq answered. "Okay, I'll tell him. Catch ya' later." He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it as though he'd never seen it before.

Van was practically jumping out of his chair. "What, Dude? What'd she say?"

Deaq turned to him. "She said that we deserved a little time off...that she'd been riding us pretty hard. So, she'd see us in a couple of days."

"You're kidding," Van smirked.

"This is not my kidding face, V."

The young cop's expression became serious. "Hey, you don't think."

Deaq shook his head at his partner and got up from his chair. "I don't know, man. But, I do know that there is a twenty-two year old bottle of scotch at the bar with my name on it." He immediately headed into the other room.

Van leaned back again, still somewhat stunned as he lifted his beer in a lone toast and grinned, broadly. "God bless us, everyone."

The End

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