Chapter 1: London Spy
He grieves for eight years until he receives an e-mail with flight details and a booking confirmation for a New York hotel.
There's nobody in arrivals, no glimpse of that beautiful face that haunts his dreams. He makes his way to the hotel, disappointed when there is nobody waiting in his room.
The call comes an hour later, a message at the front desk. He tears open the envelope eagerly to find a ticket for a show in Radio City Music Hall.
Hours later and feeling sick with nerves he makes his way to the performance. He gasps when he sees Alex, making his way to the seat next to him.
"How? Why now?"
"Later, Danny. I will explain later."
He wants answers now, pays no attention to the show but is happy when Alex takes his hand. Afterwards Alex takes him to his home. There are lots of tears and talking before they reconnect. A night becomes a week.
In a moment that he hopes is real, they celebrate Christmas with takeout and cheap gifts. He finds sleep difficult, this could all be a wonderful dream. Alex holds him for both their sakes.
"They'll allow our love now, Danny."
Chapter 2: 6Degrees
Conor smiles when he spots the mistletoe in the corner of the tray. "Didn't fancy your chances without it?"
Justin smiles as they each take a piece of toast. "Couldn't hurt. I'm pretty certain you're a sure thing though."
"Fine, I guess we can do it seeing as it's Christmas and all if you've any energy left after last night."
Justin smirks. "Don't worry about my stamina. Do you remember our first Christmas?"
"Course I do. Mam was annoyed I'd swanned off to London, in her words. I know I was still screwed up but your mates were great. I saw that we could be together openly." Conor puts his free hand on Justin's leg. "Their spare bed though, thing squeaked like a door that'd never seen a drop of WD-40. That morning after breakfast was mortifying."
"Now we can be noisy whenever we want. Happy Christmas, Conor, love you."
"Love you too, even without breakfast in bed and mistletoe. I'll get up soon so we can start on dinner."
"Cuddle for a bit?"
Conor puts the tray on the floor while Justin is getting comfy then pulls the covers over them, wrapping his arm round the man he loves.
Chapter 3: Glee
Something wakes Noah, Zack's door maybe. He goes to check on him.
"Zack, it's too early."
"Daddy, wanna see if Santa ate the cookies I made with mommy."
He smiles at his son. "We should wake her too then."
Zack checks the plate, then sees his presents. It's worth the early start for his excitement over his Star Wars Lego.
They both take tons of pictures as Zack exclaims how good Santa is for setting it up.
"Damn thing drove me crazy," he whispers to Quinn.
She smiles at him and he thinks of their daughter in another home. Zack is more than an amazing second chance. He shares his Jewish traditions and Quinn shares her Christian ones and between them they're raising a pretty good kid who admittedly loves his presents but had to be coaxed into writing a Santa letter. He'd actually dictated it to Noah and then signed his own name at the end with a green crayon. It's in a drawer upstairs with his footprints, a lock of hair and his baby book.
Quinn squeezes his hand, leaning up to kiss him.
"Merry Christmas, Quinn."
"I'll love you forever if you get me coffee."
Chapter 4: Haven
Dwight watches Lizzie opening her gifts, far too old for Santa now.
She smiles when she sees the locket. "It's beautiful, dad. I'll need a picture for it."
"There's one of me and Nathan. Don't have any of your mom."
"That's okay. She didn't want us."
Nathan hands her a gift. "Being a senior is stressful so we hope this helps."
She unwraps the laptop and hugs Nathan. "It's awesome. Thank you."
They leave her setting it up and head into the kitchen.
"You want company this year?"
Nathan shakes his head. "Cry like a baby at Christmas for some reason. You got me through enough of that. Can pass his boat other days and remember the good times."
Dwight pours two coffees. "It doesn't get any easier. You got her flowers?"
Nathan nods. Without graves to visit, he leaves flowers on the Cape Rouge. It's been too long without them and in the intervening years he and Dwight found more than friendship, he gained a step-daughter and became Chief again. There have been lots of happy moments but he always makes time for Duke and Audrey on special days. He's only had those happy moments because of their sacrifices.