Malcolm had never really had time for Christmas. Sure, there’d be presents for his sister and her kids (chosen by Sam, of course) and most years he’d even be able carve out a few hours to turn up at family dinner. But mostly he didn’t have the patience for it. The loss of time when he could be getting work done, the music, the decorations, the forced good cheer. It just made him tired. Except carolers. Carolers made him tired and fucking angry.
Sam however, loved Christmas. He knew this. She actually got happy around the holidays. She brought in sweets for the rest of the staff, she spent her tea breaks carefully planning gifts and visits to family and friends. She had even enjoyed the Number 10 Christmas parties, which Malcolm had always thought of as a particularly hideous form of torture.
So, Malcolm had decided that this year, his Christmas gift to Sam would be Christmas itself. A real one. Tree, beautifully wrapped gifts, mulled wine...he’d even spent half a day trying to find the least objectionable Christmas album so that there’d be music.
It wasn’t like he had anything better to do. As much as it pained him to admit it, he had plenty of time of his hands these days. The Inquiry and the subsequent fallout had seen to that. He’d avoided any sort of conviction, but he’d never work in politics again.
Technically, he should be spending his time working on his memoirs. He’d been paid a rather substantial advance for them, and the deadline was creeping ever closer. But often working on the book made him angry all over again, reminded him just how much he had given for the Party, only to end up shoved over the cliff. Everything. He had given up everything. Lost everything.
Except, of course, for Sam. Sam who had worked by his side for years. Never scared off by the shouting and threats. A centre of calm in the world of chaos that surrounded them. Sam had sat in that Inquiry everyday, silently supporting him. He’d never be able to tell her how much that had meant to him. Words like that didn’t come easily to him, not even to her.
Nothing had ever happened between them while she was working for him. Malcolm was not the type for office dalliances. They never ended well, and he wouldn’t have ever risked losing Sam when everything inevitably went to shit. Besides, it simply never occurred to him that it would have been an option. She was far younger, far prettier, far nicer. He knew that she enjoyed his company, that she considered him a friend; nobody would stay through all the stressful long hours that the job entailed if they also hated their boss on top of it. But he thought that was the whole of it.
But when everything had come crashing down, there she’d been. He told her that she should try to keep working with the Party. That Reeder or Miller would be mad not to take someone with her experience and skill (not to mention her knowledge - Malcolm wasn’t the only one who knew where the bodies were buried). She had simply stared at him, hurt that he would even suggest it. Then she had kissed him.
Well, first she had told him to go fuck himself, that she’d rather disembowel herself with a dull spoon than work for Ollie, Dan or any of those bastards. Then she had kissed him. And in doing so she had managed the nearly impossible: to make Malcolm Tucker be at a loss for words.
He’d protested somewhat, told her that getting involved with him was the stupidest thing she could do. He was old, he was disgraced, he was mean...then she’d told him once again to go fuck himself. Things advanced rather quickly after that. There was little need to discuss it, it simply happened. They were together. That was that. He’d never had gotten through those first few months without her. She had worked for him for nearly a decade. She was one of the only people in the world who actually knew him. She knew him and she still loved him. Sweet, clever Sam with her smile that hid a backbone of steel. He never stood a chance.
So now he found himself in his house, glaring at a fir tree that was leaning to one side, wondering what, exactly he had gotten himself into with this plan.
“Oi! Are you actually planning on helping with this or what?” Jamie yelled out from behind the tree as he struggled with it, trying to get it straight.
“Fucking useless,” Malcolm muttered under his breath as he went to help his friend get the tree upright and secure it in the stand.
“Would you rather I jam it up your arse?” Jamie bit back. “I don’t have to help you at all, you know. I came out of the goodness of my heart.”
Malcolm laughed. “You came because I promised you whisky and cigars.”
“Which I still haven’t gotten, I might add!”
“Whisky after the tree. Sam will be back in a few hours and this is difficult enough without you being drunk.”
Jamie gazed around the room, shaking his head at the candles and decorations that now covered the place. “It looks like Father Christmas threw up in here--in a tasteful way” he quickly added when he saw the look on Malcolm’s face. “Let’s get this finished, you ol’ pick.” He looked down at the pile of ornament boxes on the floor. “Did you think we’d be trimming a dozen trees or something?”
Jamie sighed dramatically. “A girl smiles in your direction and you go all soft. Pathetic. You used to have teeth.”
A dangerous grin spread across Malcolm’s face “Keep talking like that, cunt, and I’ll show you my teeth by ripping your guts out.”
Jamie smiled and slapped Malcolm on shoulder. “Come on, mate. Got to make it perfect for your lass, eh?”
Malcolm nodded at him gratefully, and the two got to work.
A few hours later and everything was done. Jamie had been sent home, cigars and whisky in hand.
Suddenly he felt nervous. What the hell had he been thinking. She’d think that he’d lost his mind. This was all too much. He began fiddling with the tree once again, nervously moving a small glass star from one branch to another.
He heard the door and froze in place.
“Oh my god.”
He turned slowly, swallowing hard. “Surprise?”
Sam stared at him, eyes wide, taking it all in. The tree was beautifully (if heavily) decorated. Candles glowed from every available surface. The smell of spiced wine was coming from the kitchen. Burl Ives sung softly about silver and gold. There were even stockings hung by the fireplace.
“What did you do?”
"You did all this? You hate Christmas."
"Yes, but you love it."
He looked at her, her face glowing in the soft candle light. He was certain he'd never seen anything more beautiful. He went to her, cupping her face gently in his hands and bent to kiss her softly on the lips.
"Happy Christmas, Sam."