Christmas Countdown: December 8
CSI: New York

By Juli

December 2008

Mac heard his lover before he saw him. Rather, he heard the water running in the bathroom connected to the master bedroom. Since it was the only the two of them in the condo, he figured it had to be Danny. Mac looked at the clock. He was actually surprised that Danny was up as early as he was. He put his coffee and newspaper down on the table next to the easy chair he was sitting in; if the night before was any indication, Danny was probably going to need all of his attention this morning.

A few minutes later, Danny shuffled into the living room and Mac grinned at the sight. It had been easier to get Danny into a pair of Mac's flannel bottoms that it had been anything of Danny's and they hung low on his hips. Getting a t-shirt on an uncooperative Danny hadn't been easy, but even with the two of them sharing the bed, it was too cold to let Danny go bare-chested and so Mac had persevered. The shirt wasn't as big on Danny as the pants, but with his rumpled hair and without his glasses, Danny looked barely old enough to be out of high school. The way he rubbed his eyes only reinforced that perception and Mac felt like a dirty old man for enjoying it.

Without speaking, Danny made his way into the living room and straight up to Mac. It was a good thing that Mac had already put his stuff down, because Danny crawled right into Mac's lap and snuggled his face into the older man's chest.

"Wh' time is it?" Danny asked.

Mac rubbed his back. "Later than a work day, but early enough that you should stay in bed if you want to."

Danny sighed. "Mmm. . . here's fine."

As it happened, Mac agreed. He settled himself deeper into the chair, glad that it was an oversized one. Outside of bed, Danny didn't encourage much physical affection. While Mac didn't like the circumstances that drove Danny to seek comfort, he was thoroughly glad that he was the one to provide it.

They sat in companionable silence for several minutes. Danny was so relaxed that Mac actually thought that his lover had fallen asleep, but then Danny spoke again.

"I'm sorry, Mac."

"For sleeping late?" Mac asked, being deliberately obtuse. "There's no crime in that, Danny. We've got nowhere we have to be."

Mac grimaced and mentally kicked himself for his choice of words. He'd been so intoxicated by the chance to hold Danny that he'd forgotten what had caused the whole situation in the first place.

"And who's fault is that?" From the sarcastic, bitter tone in Danny's voice, Mac knew it was meant as a rhetorical question, but he chose to take it at face value.

"Your family's," Mac replied firmly. "They're wrong, Danny. They're wrong about blaming you for what happened to Louie; they're wrong for ostracizing you for being gay; and they're wrong for telling you that you're no long part of the family."

Danny had been told in no uncertain terms that he was no longer welcome at any Messer family function. The word had come at Thanksgiving, but Danny had been hoping that by Christmas, his family would have changed their mind. He'd been wrong. Thanksgiving hadn't been too difficult for the young man to handle, because he'd accompanied Mac to Chicago. Christmas, however, had been a lot worse. Mac had spent Christmas Eve trying to keep Danny from drinking himself into an alcohol-induced coma.

"They're my family, Mac," Danny's voice was muffled against Mac's chest, but the heartbreak in it was easy to hear. "They're supposed to love me."

Mac's arms tightened on his lover. "They do love you, Danny, they're just hurting right now. A lot of them live on the edge of the law, including Louie. It's easier for them to blame you for what happened, rather than to accept any responsibility. Since Louie's disabled, no one wants to blame him either."

Danny snorted. "Yeah, just blame the gay guy. That's easier." He lifted his face to look at Mac. "There's a reason our last name is Mess-er. We're a mess."

Mac was glad to see a little bit of attitude. He kissed Danny gently. "Just remember that I love you."

"I know," Danny replied shyly. "That helps. Believe me, Mac, it helps."

"Stella loves you too," Mac told him, pressing the point. "And Flack and Hawkes and Sid; they all think very highly of you."

"But not Lindsay?" Danny asked, a glimmer of his normal mischievous glint back in his eye.

"Not Lindsay," Mac repeated firmly. The newest CSI was a little too fond of Danny for Mac's comfort, which was a source of endless amusement to Danny.

"Still a sucky Christmas for you, having to babysit me like that `cause I was cryin' in my beer."" Danny shifted on Mac's lap, as though he wanted to get up.

Mac was having none of that.

"Are you kidding?" Mac demanded as he wrapped his arms around the other man. "Curling up with you was much better than had I gone to Chicago. You ate my mother's turkey, but I'm not sure you would have survived her fruitcake."

Danny gave him a disbelieving look. "Staying here with me is better than a family Christmas?"

"Danny," Mac kissed him for emphasis. "Staying here with you is a family Christmas. For me, anyway."

Mac returned Danny's searching gaze with a steady one of his own. Finally, Danny seemed to accept Mac's claim and relaxed back into Mac's arms.

"You're crazy, Mac."

"Crazy in love," Mac agreed.

Danny groaned. "Man, you're killing me here. Take it easy on the puns, I have a hangover."

A smile tugged at Mac's lips. "I take it you don't want any eggs for breakfast?"

His question got him a smack on the arm, but there wasn't any force in it. "Quiet, you."

Mac chuckled and stopped teasing. He silently nuzzled Danny's hair and kept up a gentle rubbing of the other man's stomach. After a few minutes, a gentle snore told him that this time, Danny had fallen back asleep. Mac liked to think that maybe their conversation had allowed Danny enough emotional support for that to happen.

"Merry Christmas, Danny," Mac whispered softly as he kissed the untidy hair. It maybe wasn't the happiest of Christmases, but he was with Danny and so to Mac, it was indeed a holiday spent with family.

~the end~


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