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"I've never known anyone quite like you," whispered Luka in Dave's ear as he held Dave in his arms.

"Good," replied Dave, as he idly traced a pattern on Luka's chest.

Luka closed his eyes as Dave spelt out letters on his bare skin. "Hmm, I...circle...U? What does that mean?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

"It's not a circle," said Dave, with mock indignation. "Try again." He retraced the heart shape between Luka's nipples.

"Nope, that's a circle," said Luka. "And it tickles."

"Hmm, maybe I need to draw it with something else," said Dave as he slipped out of Luka's arms. "Don't go away."

Dave soon returned with a bottle of chocolate syrup. "Close your eyes," he instructed Luka. He started drawing hearts all over Luka with the syrup.

"That any help?" he asked.

"Mmm, I think I know it. Maybe you should give me a little more help."

Dave bent his head to Luka and slowly and deliberately started licking up the chocolate. He paid special attention to the two hearts, which he had drawn, around Luka's nipples.

"Oh yes," said Luka, gasping. "I think I've got it now."

"Not yet, but you will," said Dave as he quickly rolled Luka over onto his chest. His cock was almost fully erect and he smoothed a condom over it. A few minutes work with his tongue and the lubricant and Luka was ready for him. "Now you've got it," he whispered as he slowly but surely penetrated him. Luka's response was muffled by the pillow, but Dave could tell that it was in the affirmative.

Afterwards, he crawled up beside Luka and kissed the back of his neck gently. "I love you Luka," he said quietly.

"I love you too Dave," said Luka. "And I promise I will never leave you."

The words were ringing in Dave's ears as he sat up and thumped the alarm clock. He looked gloomily at the empty space beside him in the bed. He had had such big plans for this Christmas. Last year he had managed to get Christmas day off and had spent it with his family. He knew that he'd probably be working the 25th this year, but he hadn't minded. In fact, he had gone to the Chief and had volunteered to work whatever shifts she wanted, so long as both he and Luka had time off together. Kerry had been most agreeable and had assigned them both to work the early shift on Christmas day. They would have finished at three and then wouldn't be backon again until five in the afternoon on the 26th. Everything was working out perfectly. The turkey had been ordered, the decorations had been put up, Dave had even got strict instructions from his mother on how to cook the best Christmas dinner for two ever. And now it was all for nothing.

Dave knew that it wasn't Luka's fault. After all, how could he have predicted that his father would suddenly decide that this was going to be the last chance he would have to see his sons at Christmas?

"I don't have to go," Luka had said to Dave after getting the phone call. "I mean, I could always take time off in the spring, maybe go to see him then."

"He's your father," said Dave, brushing Luka's hair out of his face. "He wants to see you at Christmas. You can't let him down. It'll be okay. I can go to my folks for Christmas night."

"Are you sure?" asked Luka, "I mean I don't want you to be alone."

"I'll be fine," replied Dave. "You go and ask the Chief for the time off. I'll be okay." Inwardly though, Dave was half hoping that Kerry would refuse to change the schedules or that Luka wouldn't be able to get a flight to Europe at such short notice.

Unfortunately for Dave, Kerry was most sympathetic to Luka, especially after he offered to pay for a temp to replace him. And he managed to get the last seat on a flight to London.

"I'll have to change at Heathrow," he said, showing Dave the tickets, "But I will be home in a few days. I can hardly believe it." Looking up, he saw the expression on Dave's face. Pulling him into his arms, he kissed the younger man on the cheek.

"I wish I could invite you to come with me," he said, sadly. "But I am afraid that my father might not be as understanding as yours."

"It's okay," said Dave, faking a smile. "Maybe some other time."

"I am going to tell him about you," said Luka, relieved that Dave wasn't too upset. "I just don't know how he will take it. Perhaps I should wait until the last day. Then it won't matter if he throws me out."

Dave frowned. "I don't want you to fall out with your family over me," he said. "You don't have to tell him. I mean it's not like we're going to bump into him while walking in the park."

"I want to tell him," said Luka. "I want to tell everyone I meet how happy I am with you...how much I love you." As he said this, his hand snuck into Dave's pants.

"Don't you have to pack?" asked Dave, gasping slightly at Luka's touch.

"We can do that in the morning," said Luka, "Unless you want me to stop?" He half pulled his hand out.

"Hell no," said Dave vehemently, as he pushed it back in.

So now it was Christmas day and Dave was going to work...alone. And after his shift, he was going to go home...alone. Christmas sucked big time, he thought to himself as he locked his bike. He hadn't told Luka that his parents were spending Christmas at his sister Mary's house. He had been invited, and Luka had given him permission to use his car, but Mary lived over five hours drive away. By the time he could get there it would be late in the evening, and he would have to start back first thing in the morning. So he had volunteered to work a double shift on Christmas day. After all, it wasn't as if he had any reason to go home.

"Oh well," he thought grumpily to himself, "Luka will be home in a few days time."

The shift was relatively uneventful. Fairly quiet to start with; then there was an influx of kids who had decided to swallow the contents of their Christmas stockings...whether they were edible or not. After a brief lull, it was the turn of those people who hadn't cooked the Christmas dinner properly.

Dave sighed as he pulled off his puke stained scrub top. Why was it, he mused that patients seemed to favor aiming for the doctor when they wanted to throw up. Still, at least the day was nearly over. Just two hours and forty-five minutes.

Kerry stuck her head round the door of the lounge as Dave shut his locker. "Malucci, we need you out here now."

"Coming Chief," replied Dave. "What is it, MVA, GSW?"

"Neither, the 'Secret Santa' gifts are being given out and we need someone to be 'Santa's little helper'."

Dave groaned. "I'm not really into the Christmas spirit, Chief," he said. "Can't you get some one else?"

"This wasn't a request," replied Kerry as she closed the door.

Dave rested his head against the door of his locker. Two hours and thirty-five minutes to go.

Dave smiled good-naturedly as he walked up to admit where 'Santa' and the rest of the ER staff were waiting. "Okay, what do I do?" he asked.

"You get the gifts from under the tree and give them to Santa," said Kerry, with a smile on her face.

"Fine by me," replied Dave, crawling in under the tree. He pulled out a small package. "Chuny Marquez," he read off the label as he handed it out.

The gifts soon got handed out and opened amidst much teasing and squeals of laughter. Dave finally crawled back out and brushed pine needles out of his hair. "That's the lot, Chief," he said to Kerry.

"But you didn't get one," said Kerry, with a frown. "Are you sure there's none left under there?"

Dave tried to hide the disappointment he felt. "It's clean as a whistle. Guess whoever picked my name out forgot about it."

"Well, we can't have that," said Kerry. "Santa, do you think you could help us out?"

'Santa' nodded and patted his knee.

"Go ahead Dave, sit on Santa's knee," ordered Kerry.

"Chief," said Dave, trying to protest. But Malik and Haleh pushed him in front of Santa. Reluctantly he sat on the red covered knee.

In a very deep voice 'Santa' asked, "So Dr Malucci, have you been a good boy this year?"

Dave decided to play along and said. "Of course I have Santa," he said, forcing a smile on his face.

"That's not what I've heard," said 'Santa' as he pulled off his beard.

Dave stared into Luka's smiling face. "Oh my God, Luka?" he said, his fake smile being replaced by a real one.

"Merry Christmas Dave," said Luka as he kissed him on the cheek.

The cheers and whistles, which greeted the kiss, reminded Dave where he was. His eyes fell on Kerry. "You? You set this up?" he said accusingly.

Kerry smiled. "With a little help from a few people," she said. "I believe you have a break round about now Dr Dave. See you in fifteen minutes."

Turning around she ordered everyone. "Fun's over, back to work everyone."

Luka put his arm around Dave. "Did you think I would miss this? Our first Christmas together?"

Dave shook his head in disbelief. "What about spending Christmas with your father?"

"I told him about us, about how much I love you. He took it well, and said that he wanted me to be happy. Then he said that if I loved you so much, I should be with you. So we had Christmas a few days early so I could get back to Chicago to be with you. It was a good surprise, no?"

"It was a good surprise, yes," said Dave. Looking up, he realized where they were standing. "Luka," he said, pointing to the mistletoe.

Luka saw it and smiled. He wrapped Dave in his arms and kissed him. "Sretan Bozic Dave."

"Feliz Navidad, Luka," replied Dave

The end (of this part anyway)

Authors notes
Sretan Bozic is Croatian for Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad is Spanish for Happy Christmas

(at least that's what Inter Tran said)
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