Title: Advent Calendar (December 4): Festival of Lights
Summary: Hawkes would like to extend an invitation.
Disclaimer: None of these are mine. Characters are the property of Anthony Zuiker, Jerry Bruckheimer Television, CBS, and Alliance Atlantis.
Notes: This is my attempt at a fic version of an Advent calendar. There will be 25 of these.
"Mac," Hawkes says from the door of his office. "Got a second?"
Mac looks up from his computer. "Sure, come on in," he says. "What can I do for you?" A month ago, six months ago, Hawkes wouldn't have been able to read anything in his gaze other than a mild curiosity, and maybe not even that. Now, he thinks, Mac is pleased to see him. He's almost certain of it.
Hawkes walks in and shuts the door. "As you probably know, this is the first night of Hanukkah," he says.
"That's right," Mac says. "You don't have anything that's going to keep you here, do you? If you're worried you're going to get stuck, I'm sure we can find someone to cover for you. Or it can wait until morning."
"No, no, nothing like that," Hawkes says. "I've gotten my paperwork in order and I've submitted my test requests to the lab. I'm all squared away."
"Good," Mac says. "So what's going on?"
Hawkes takes a deep breath. He's been rehearsing this conversation in his head all day, and for a good portion of the previous night, but now that he's actually in the moment, he can't help starting to feel nervous all over again.
"Nothing much," he says. "I was just wondering if you might like to join me for my menorah-lighting ceremony. I don't usually have anyone over, but I was thinking it might be nice to change that."
"I'd like that," Mac says. He doesn't hesitate at all before he speaks, and Hawkes can't help laughing with surprise and relief.
"Really?" he says.
"Yes, really." Mac shakes his head, a bemused little smile on his face. "Unless you've changed your mind in the last thirty seconds or so."
"No," Hawkes says. "I haven't. I'm just...I'm glad you can make it."
"So am I," Mac says. He pauses, and Hawkes is expecting that he'll maybe just ask about the time and then go back to work, but instead, he keeps talking. "I've been to Hanukkah ceremonies before, when people have asked me, but it's been years now. It'll be good to go to one again."
"Yeah, it will," Hawkes says. He feels even better about things now, and paradoxically more nervous, and so he thinks he should keep the conversation going. "I've got it all planned out. It's going to be small, but stylish. I thought I'd say the prayers and light the first candle, then sing 'Ma'oz Tzur.' Don't worry; you can just listen."
"Just as well," Mac says. "I'm not much of a singer."
"To tell you truth, neither am I," Hawkes says. "But you know what I am good at?"
"Potato pancakes." Hawkes leans over the desk. "I don't mind telling you that I make a damn good latke."
Mac smiles. "I don't doubt it," he says, then glances at his watch. "I need to head down to the morgue now. Which way are you going?"
"Ballistics," Hawkes says. "I'll walk you."
Mac stands up and starts to pull on his jacket. "You know," he says, "I don't think I've ever asked when you converted."
"In med school," Hawkes says. "For a lot of reasons, none of which I have time to tell you about now."
"I'd be happy to listen later, if you want to share any of it," Mac says. He gives Hawkes a look that, from anyone else, Hawkes would describe as hesitant. Maybe even shy.
"Mac, you should know by now that one thing I'm good at is talking," Hawkes says. "I'll tell you one thing: Hanukkah has always been one of my favorite holidays."
"Chocolate and eight nights of presents?" Mac asks.
Hawkes laughs. "No. I like those parts, but that's not it. And not because it's a holiday where you're encouraged to eat deep-fried foods, like a guy at my temple says."
"What is it, then?" Mac asks.
"I like the idea that sometimes people can fight the good fight and win," Hawkes says. "Simple as that. And I like the idea that the impossible can happen. When I light my candles, I can almost believe in that again."
Mac nods. "I like that idea, too," he says, looking into Hawkes' eyes. "It's something good to hold onto. God knows we could all use a little more of that."
"Yeah, we could," Hawkes says. He can't -- won't -- tell Mac that the very fact they're here together, and all that implies, is one of the most impossible things in his life right now, and one that still amazes him every morning that he wakes up and finds that it's still true. He doesn't think he ever will be able to tell him this.
Then again, he thinks as they walk down the hall together, this is only the first night, only the beginning of this time of blessings and wonders. Anything could happen over the next eight nights. Anything at all.
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