|Old City Bar
Author: Kaylin Tesla PM
Christmas spent with the Red Cell team never has a dull moment. Last chapter is up!Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Gina L. & Mick R. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 61,964 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 01-09-12 - Published: 12-18-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7648700
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior Fanfiction Number Seven
Old City Bar
First summary- Christmas spent with the Red Cell team never has a dull moment.
Rated Teen for cursing, mentions of alcohol, and mild violence.
Pairings- Mick/Gina, but not quite together yet.
Some spoilers for the first season. Definite spoilers for Siblings, Evil Angels, One Thousand, Monster, Demolition Lovers, and Walk Away From The Sun. This is the seventh story in my series of the show, so you might want to read the previous works first. It takes place a few weeks after the end of Walk Away From The Sun.
I own nothing involving Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior. The only things I do own are my creations such as personal characters. Nor do I own any rights to the music that may be mentioned in future chapters. I am simply borrowing these character for my own entertainment.
This story won't have a case in it, unlike the previous stories, so it won't be very long. It's kind of like a bridge between the end of this story arc and the beginning of next year's. This is the first time I've written a one-shot in a while, so I hope it's decent. I'm switching back to Gina's perspective because it's easier to write in hers than anyone else. Any grammar mistakes are my own. Please don't verbally kill me for a typo. The idea for this came from a Trans Siberian Orchestra song. It's tradition in my family to listen and watch them play every year for Christmas. Normally I never listen to Christmas songs, but I think the upcoming holidays deserve an exception.
Anyways, onto the story!
Chapter 1 Neon Light
"Mick! Hurry up! We're going to be late!" I shouted down the hall of my apartment.
Holidays are always a rush for people. It didn't matter what religious outlook they took, they always have big plans from the end of November to the beginning of January. Thanksgivings are used to spend time with family and friends. Food is just an excuse to bring them together, even when they normally fight like cats and dogs. Okay, so that's how I always saw it. My family was…different…like that. Christmas, in my mismatched and dysfunctional home, is and always has been one thing after the other. I have gotten used to buying Christmas gifts a month in advance, planning parties for Christmas eve and well into the early morning of Christmas day, and lying to my relatives.
That sounds really wrong, I know. But if you had a mother and father who demanded that you bring a respectable fiancé to every holiday reunion, you would understand. It's not that I don't want to spend the holidays with my family, I just don't want to listen to their accusations. My sister already had a fiancé and a wedding date set for the beginning of the year. She was younger than me by three years. Normally I wouldn't care how her life carried on a daily basis. But my mother's message on the answering machine a week before had my nerves on end. She actually expected me to bring a fiancé to Christmas dinner. One that my dad could beat into submission if he didn't like him. The problem was that I didn't have a fiancé. I didn't want to get married at the moment, despite how much my family thought I should have been concerned with it. Hell, I didn't even have a boyfriend. All I had was an emotionally recovering roommate.
When I say roommate, I don't mean we actually share a room. Mick Rawson and I share my apartment. There's a big difference. He should have returned to his own apartment weeks ago, but something kept him here. I couldn't complain though. His company was nice, welcoming even. True, he had cleared out his own place two weeks ago. Sam Cooper and I accompanied him to the ransacked home and gathered his belongings. For the time being he was living out of my spare room. Everything he owned was either in suitcases or the spare dresser and closet. We lived together like we had been doing it forever. Granted, he had lived in my apartment for two weeks before he tried to go back to his own. Fourteen days doesn't seem like a long time, but it was to me. I was somewhat glad that he had chosen to stay with me. After the hell he went through in his own home, it was better this way.
The previous few days had been enlightening towards that fact. Mick wasn't allowed on field duty and wouldn't be until the beginning of the new year. I understood Cooper's order to sideline him. Among the cracked bone in his ankle, he was a mental character study just waiting to be solved. Putting him back in the field and in harms way would have been signing his death warrant. What happened in his apartment at the beginning of November had stuck with all of us. It kept me awake at night sometimes, just thinking about what Cooper had told me about his military days. Those were the times where I hated my imagination with a vengeance. They only served to remind me that he wasn't immortal. He was human like the rest of mankind. Meaning he needed help sometimes.
"I'll be out in a minute!" Mick's thick Welsh-English accent rang through the open hallway.
I sighed and dropped the black trash bag of Christmas presents on the couch beside me. He had been saying the same thing for fifteen minutes. I was starting to lose my patients. We had another thirty minutes to arrive at the office before we were considered late. It was bad enough that I had been late half a dozen times since Mick started seeing Wendy Flores for secret therapy sessions. Mick couldn't be late again, not without answering to Director Fickler.
None of our other teammates knew that the sniper was getting help on an emotional and physical scale. He didn't just need help dealing with what Ellen Stephens did, but he needed to realize that he couldn't turn to alcohol whenever he had a bad day. They were curious and sometimes demanding when he showed up an hour after he was supposed to with an expression that clearly said he was ready to hit something. Whatever Flores did was helping though. He ranted about it over dinner when we got home every night. It was progress, even in the smallest bit.
From what I gathered by his angry ranting, Flores asked the questions that pushed his buttons. He refused to say anything, just sat in the chair and tried to pretend that she wasn't there. I never expected him to talk about anything with her. Clearly she knew that as well. It was a well crafted ploy to get him to talk to someone. Somehow she realized that if he wasn't going to talk to her, then he was going to talk to me. Hence the rambling after a session every other day. It appeared to make him feel better, though. I realized that two days before when we were wrapping Christmas gifts.
As well as making them almost picture perfect, he had fun with the tape. I wasn't sure how our teammates were going to open them… As far as I knew, we hadn't gotten each other something yet. I was sure he would have tried to sneak away to buy mine. With only three days until the twenty fifth, I was silently kicking myself for not doing the same.
I ran a hand through my hair, pulling at the soft band that held the braid in place. Then spun on the heels of my winter boots and headed for the kitchen. I poured myself another cup of coffee and leaned against the sink counter. My attention was gathered by the bright light strings along the border of the ceiling. They flashed in time with a silent carol, radiating the ceiling in a multicolored glow that I found mesmerizing.
I've always liked Christmas decorations, but haven't had the time over the past two years to hang any in my apartment. Mick was determined to change that after I mentioned it a few days ago. It was only in passing conversation and I didn't expect him to even be listening to anything I said. But he took the admission to heart. When I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of him in the living room, footsteps muffled by soft carpet despite the cane he continued to use, I found my home a festive assortment of old multicolored lights and a bare fake Christmas tree. Mick had found my boxes of decorations in the spare room closet, all hand-me-downs from my parents when I rented my own home, and decided to do something remarkable. I caught him with a chair in the kitchen, balanced on one leg and trying to hang a small mistletoe decoration over the open doorway. He grinned like a child with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Then ushered me to go back to bed with a mumbled promise that he would make breakfast in the morning. Needless to say, I was too tired to argue.
"Gina, have you seen my boots?" Mick's question from the doorway drew my eyes. I almost dropped my coffee ceramic cup at the sight of no cast on his left ankle. The dark jean pant leg held no indent to suggest he had tried to hide it. Thick gray socks covered both his feet, matching the grayish blue sweater. His hair was still damn, even though he had gotten out of the shower twenty minutes ago. A frown traced his lips as he squeezed the handle of his cane in the opposite hand. Dense scabs had already formed over the left knuckles, reminding me of the night I had to patch him up after he punched his bathroom mirror. "What's wrong…" He started to ask, confused as to why I was gaping at him.
"What the hell did you do?" I didn't mean to sound harsh, it just came out that way. He flinched at the tone as I stepped forward, slamming the cup on the counter behind me, and grabbed the back of a dinning chair.
"It's fine darling. I just removed the cast…" He replied quickly. When I tried to push him into the chair to assess if he had hurt himself while removing the cast, he held up a hand and kept me at arms length. "This isn't the first time I've removed a cast by myself. Trust me, I knew what I was doing. Beside, it doesn't even hurt that much. No sense in wearing that thing if it's almost healed, right?"
I blinked at him in disbelief for a moment. Of course there was a point to wearing it. Bone doesn't heal as fast as skin. It would take months for the previous injury to be remotely manageable again. How the hell did he even remove it? Somehow the idea of his military knife, as sharp as it is, didn't sound plausible. Then again, I've learned over the weeks that he's stayed with me that he could figure out almost any puzzle if he really wanted to. "But what if you hurt yourself? I mean, you really shouldn't have tried to do that alone. That's why you have a doctors appointment on the twenty eighth…" I tried to prove that his actions were ridiculous, that they were bordering on stupid, but he didn't understand.
The sniper raised an eyebrow, shaking his head as he interrupted, "What is wrong with you, love? You've been almost paranoid for the last few weeks. Every time I do something, you've got your eyes glued to me like you're afraid I'm going to fall over. It's strange, to be honest."
That wasn't necessarily true. Well, I didn't think it was. I could say that maybe I was being a bit over protective. After what I had seen and heard after he got his apartment back, I thought I had a right to be. He had been sick for a week after he was sober. Days were spent barely eating and curled in bed. Nights were worse as he tried to sleep, but couldn't because of the standard nightmares. When he did get over the alcohol educed poison, he attempted to return to life as if nothing had happened. But there was nothing normal about what happened. He couldn't just forget it and move on. So, yeah, I thought that keeping a keen eye on him was a good idea. It helped my nerves to know where he was most of the time. Don't ask to explain why exactly. I may be a damned good profiler, but that kind of emotion is completely foreign to both of us.
"Nothing's wrong." I answered, stepping back to stuff my hands in my light denim jean pockets. His own dark eyes stared into mine, trying to find a lie behind my words. I swallowed the bulge in my throat and rocked on my heels nervously. A few seconds of uneasiness spread through the kitchen, broken by the faint drip of the sink facet and the loud neighbors through the opposite wall. I drew a heavy breath and held it. The warm smell of coffee and homemade pancakes filled the air, adding to the stagnate trace of dusty holiday decorations. "Okay, so I may be a bit paranoid…"
"A bit? Gina, I think you've forgotten something important. We've not actually a couple. There's no reason for you to be so worried all the time. I mean, it's not like we're sleeping together."
"Right, because that would be bad for our work relationship…" I responded, forcing a quick grin to hide the blush I could feel crawling on my face. He opened his mouth to say something against my comment, but I continued without giving him the option. "I didn't mean it like that." The realization that I had metaphorically put my foot in my mouth was like a slap to the face. I could feel my face burning in embarrassment as both our imaginations kicked in. He hid it fairly well. But the slightest blush and sudden lack of eye contact said that he realized the innuendos in his words a minute too late. "You left your boots behind the sofa." I blurted out, hoping to change the subject.
He snorted a laugh to cover the uneasiness. Then shook his head and spun on his right heel. I watched him hobble out of the room in silence before falling into the chair I had pulled aside carelessly. "Cooper tell you why Flores doesn't want to meet in her office today?" Mick called out from the living room. I shook my head subconsciously and rose from the seat, coming to lean against the door frame. The younger man sat on the couch, last boot in hand and fighting to slide it on the still tender limb. "Every other day it's been the same thing. Go to her office, sit in that damned chair, and listen to her try to get inside my head. I don't see the point in it. There's nothing to tell her anyways."
That was odd. Flores struck me as the kind of woman to stick with routines. She lived her life in one long sequence of daily events. For her to change that pattern now suggested that she had something else in mind. I didn't know if she did tell Cooper and he refused to reveal the secret, or if she planned to surprise all of us.
"No, but it is weird. You can ask him when we get to the office." I replied, glancing at the nearby wall clock. "We're going to be late if you don't hurry up." I pushed myself off the frame and headed for the coat rack by the door. My own thick dark purple coat slid over the light blue cotton sweater easily enough. That was followed by a gray and black striped scarf and gloves. I threw Mick's heavy leather jacket towards him as he stood from the sofa. Then pulled my purse over my shoulder and nodded to the door. He grabbed the bag of gifts and slung it over his own shoulder after zipping his jacket. One hand gripped the handle of the cane tightly as he took the first step. He lied about the ankle being painless. I could tell by the grimace that flashed over his features.
"It's fine, I've got it." He mumbled when I tried to pull it away from him. "Come on love, you do want to get the first doughnuts before Beth and Prophet steals them all, yeah?"
I smiled at the thick tone his accent put on. "You know, they're going to freak on Christmas day."
Mick forced a laugh as we stepped out of my apartment. "That's the point."
The sight of DC covered in three inches of crisp white snow was beautiful. In all my years of living in the city, I had never seen it this quiet. Few people were still driving their cars down the rock salt laden streets. Others crowded the sidewalks, wrapped in their thickest clothing against the bitter cold. Several shop owners had shoveled sections of the frozen concrete for their customers. The state probably hadn't gotten to clearing the sidewalks of local areas yet. They were more focused on the roads because it limited access to other locations around the state.
I didn't want to risk a taxi cab crashing with us in it on the slick terrain, so Mick and I strolled through the snow on foot. Our boots crunched the already depressed substance, adding to the previous footprints that lined the concrete as far as we could see. The sound of dripping water from the edges of lampposts and building gutters told us that the sun was melting ice. I pulled my scarf tighter, trying to block the harsh wind from biting my skin. Then glanced at Mick beside me. He carried the bag on him shoulder without as much as a grimace at the extra weight. A smile fell on his face when he caught my staring, but he didn't say anything. It was obvious that he wasn't used to the cold. The shivering and bright red tinge to his skin proved it. His fingerless gloves did little to help, as did the lack of a hat to cover his reddening ears.
"How much do you want to bet that Prophet's working on a snowman now?" The younger man broke the silence between us, grinning at the thought.
He seemed to be enjoying the brisk weather, especially the snow. I knew London got snow every year, but no more than a few inches. He had probably never experienced a real snowy Christmas before. That explained his sudden change in attitude. It wasn't because Flores's sessions were working, though I assumed that was part of it, it was due to the new scenery. "I learned a while ago to not bet with you. You're usually right." I smirked.
Mick chuckled in agreement. "True. So, any ideas for Christmas?"
I gave him a curious expression at the change of subject. "Isn't that cheating? You're supposed to pay attention the entire year and pick out something you think the person would appreciate."
"It's not cheating. I'm just asking what you put on your wish list." He protested.
"I could ask you the same thing. Any new music albums you want? Or maybe some new gloves?"
He glanced down at the frayed black cloths shielding his hands, then shook his head. "Jenna sent a box with presents, like she does every year, last week. More than likely Lillian made a new pair of gloves again. That's where these came from. She made them a few years ago."
The mention of his foster mother was surprising. Jenna, his younger sister who still lived in London, was a common subject. His conversations with her every morning were talked about over breakfasts. She was working with her foster parents to clear out Cassie's room by the end of January. It would be a year since Mick's foster sister died in New York in a month. Neither of the parents appeared to be thrilled about packing their dead daughter's belongings, but Jenna made a valid point. They had to move on, all of them. Mick included.
"That's nice. Maybe Penelope can set up a video feed so they can join the party on Christmas eve."
Mick grinned at the idea as he replied, "Yeah, that would be nice. William and Lillian are disappointed that I can't come home for the holidays this year, so that would be good for both of them. Not to mention that Jenna loves being on camera. She'll have fun with it."
I stuffed my hands in the pockets of my coat and nodded. People walking past us paid no attention to our conversation. Business men and women bustled down the sidewalk with briefcases in hand. Pedestrians on their way to breakfast or work kept to themselves. Some appeared to know each other as they talked about their approaching day. I caught sight of a few fathers and mothers leading their children towards the local diner for a holiday themed breakfast. Young children were wrapped in more warm clothing than I thought was necessary. Teenagers stayed close to the buildings, kicking the snow in amusement. Holiday decorations occupied shop windows. Colorful blinking lights lined borders and cute animated robotic animals drew the attention of several children. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees, small and large, offered a cheerful environment to passing customers. Even the street lamps were an assortment of dazzling garland and frozen lighted figures. Red and white striped candy canes, blue snowflakes, and life-like green wreaths hung from each pole. I was jerked out of my observations by a sudden change in footsteps.
The Welshman stopped in mid-stride, causing pedestrians to swerve around him. He eyed a passing teenager with a tight expression. I followed his gaze to the girl, confused at why he was staring. She couldn't have been more than fourteen. Torn dark gloved hands were kept close to the open faded coat, fumbling with something. Broken boots crunched the ground beneath her feet, half hidden by knee torn dark jeans. Short red hair was barely covered with a thread-bare blue hat.
"Mick, what's wrong?" I asked, not taking my eyes off of the teenager. She was out of earshot and headed towards an alley four buildings down. The posture alone suggested that she was a street kid. More than likely she was a run away. Either from the local orphanage or a foster home.
Mick bit his lip roughly to avoid a curse. Then placed the bag on the ground and stuffed his cane-free hand into his back pockets. His eyes widened in anger and disbelief, shooting daggers at the teenager. "That little rat stole my wallet!" He hissed, accent thicker than normal. I looked between the two once more before dragging my phone out of my purse. After a few quick photos with my cell phone camera for later identification, Mick shouted, "Oi! Kid! Get your ass back here!"
The girl froze instantly, chancing a glance in our direction. Bright emerald eyes stared at us in fear for a moment. Just like Mick, her face was slightly redder than what I considered to be usual. A few scratches lined thin cheeks, giving the impression that she had been in a fight recently. Mick stepped forward, straightening himself to appear intimidating whilst leaning off the cane. His free hand brushed the handle of his holstered gun attached to his hip. It was a risky move to do such a thing to a street kid. Under normal circumstances, they would run at the first sign of danger. The angry tone in an adult's voice or dangerous stance could mean the difference between a beating and a stern lecture. At least, that's what Mick had told me once.
"Yeah, I'm talkin' to you! Get back here ya little thief!" Mick shouted, voice thick in anger. The only times I heard him disregard the proper tongue he used more often than not was when he was either drunk or about to lose his temper. He always seemed to have a good handle on his anger, but this hit a nerve. Someone stole from him and he didn't see it until after the fact. He was too busy talking to me to notice. Now that the kid was out of arms reach and probably going to run, he was pissed.
She shook her head minutely as if to say that she wasn't going to stop, then spun on her heels and ran. I took off after her before Mick could. My own boots slid on the snow and ice mixture. I swerved around curious people. Muffled curses were thrown in my direction as I shoved past them roughly. Staying on my feet was harder than it should have been. The snow was too slick to gain any real traction in a foot chase. But I tried to push myself faster despite that fact. Cold wind slapped at my skin, pulling the air from my lungs. My breath could be seen in abusing sunlight, disappearing into the air as if it never existed to begin with. I focused on maintaining my footing and breathing as I slid past a father with his two young boys in hand.
I heard Mick's own footsteps behind me. The lack of a third click insisted that he didn't bother with his cane. He limped as fast as he could to keep up, ignoring the obvious grimace as he put too much pressure on his left ankle. The sound of a rustling trash bag gave the impression that Mick didn't trust leaving our gifts in the middle of a busy winter street. There were too many people who would have appreciated the free Christmas. I wanted to stop him, but didn't have the time. Not when the teenager was still two car lengths away from being caught. The sniper shouted for her to stop, but it had no effect. She was getting closer to the alley between the deli we usually got dinner from when working long nights at the office, and a newly opened book store.
"Stop! FBI!" I screamed, hoping that would scare her into halting. But she seemed to be oblivious to my words as she weaved between innocent bystanders. She rounded the corner into the alley before I could intervene. By the time I reached the entry way, I had the clip of my holster open and my hand wrapped around the handle. It was safe to assume that she was just a thief. She probably wasn't going to be a threat. But I wasn't taking any chances.
The alley way was littered with barely touched snow. It sat on top of half open dumpsters and soggy cardboard boxes. Deep foot prints on the ground contrasted with the prints of small animals. Judging by the size and shape, there were a few stray dogs and cats roaming the streets at night too. I followed the deeper treads towards a dumpster, gripping the end of my weapon tighter. The snow hadn't been disturbed, so she probably wasn't inside.
"We're not going to hurt you. I just want the wallet you stole back." I said loudly, keeping my tone calm to prove that I wasn't a threat. There was a shuffle of plastic behind a dumpster several feet away. I stepped towards it, but stopped when Mick's distinguishable footsteps entered the alley. He was breathing just as fast as I was. The bag over his shoulder was gripped until his uncovered fingers whitened. A furious expression mounted on his features as he leaned on the cane by his side for support and removed weight from the throbbing limb. He heard the second rustle of plastic and pinpointed where it came from immediately. I held up my hand to order him back when he stepped towards it. "Just give us the wallet and anything you may have stolen from inside it, then we'll leave you alone."
A few seconds of tense silence filled the bitter air. I could still feet my heart beating against my ribcage from my sprint in the icy snow. My breath came out in anxious bursts, clouding the December wind. When I glanced at Mick, I shook my head to stop him. He dropped the bag on the ground again and pointed to the edge of the book store. It didn't take being an FBI agent to understand what he had in mind. He was going to skirt the wall, keeping himself close to hide from the assailant, then surprise and subdue them in one motion. This wasn't the first time we had done something like that. Usually it was only with an unsub or suspect. Would it work with a thieving teenage run away? I didn't know.
"Look, kid, we don't want any trouble. Turn yourself in and we won't press charges. You can go home like nothing happened." I called out again, hoping that would be enough to distract her from noticing my partner.
Rustling got louder before it stopped completely. Mick was less than five feet away, one hand on the cane and the other on the wall to keep himself as silent as possible. The sudden disappearance of sound didn't last long. I snuck closer in unison with the sniper. My hand clutched my weapon in anticipation. Mick had gotten within two feet of the metal bin when we both jumped. An ear splitting bang had both of us drawing our weapons. It was louder than a gun shot, but slightly muffled by something. Metal against metal was a better way to describe it. Like a pipe smacking against a hollow piece of sheet metal.
I rounded the dumpster before he could and trained my gun on the gap between the bin and a ruined cardboard box. There was no teenager cowering from us. Instead, the area was empty. Nothing but indentations in the snow, several disheveled trash bags, and the girl's torn coat. I slid my weapon back into its holster, silently cursing to myself, and grabbed the jacket. As soon as it was out of the way, I realized where the noise came from.
The book store had a basement, meaning they had a bottom window. It was inches from the ground, leaking warm air that had already started to mingle with the freezing winds. That metal against metal sound was apparently a pipe she found under the dumpster. The window was opened easily enough, but it was sealed with a thick metal security screen. Dense chicken wire material threaded so tightly that it was as strong as Kevlar. She must have used the pipe and her feet to smash her way through it.
"Damn it…" Mick muttered behind me. He sighed in frustration and rubbed a hand over his face. I placed the coat into his outstretched hand, watching him search it while leaning against the nearby wall. "That's the first time I've seen her around here. I know there are some run away kids on the streets, but she's new. The way she was acting, the fact that I didn't even realize she picked me until it was too late, suggests otherwise though. She's probably new in town, but not new to the game."
He looked up at me with a tight lipped smile and shook his head. "Pick pocketing is how they don't starve to death. Steal the money you need and sometimes keep a little extra for backup. She picked the wrong person to steal from though." He paused in his movements, fingers grasping something on the inside right pocket. Relief swept over his face as he pulled out an old thin black wallet. I recognized it as his instantly. The younger man dropped the coat and flipped it open. He mumbled to himself as he counted everything inside. Pictures, driver's license, credit cards, and even a signed copy of proof that he wasn't an American citizen but allowed in the country anyways. Everything seemed to be in tact. The slide for his FBI credentials was moved so two plastic credit cards could be seen. One for a bank just twenty minutes away. The other for a European bank that probably held his military funds.
When he got to counting the bills in the middle pocket, he stopped and frowned again. I watched him recount them twice before asking, "What did she take?"
"I had four hundred in fifty dollar bills. Now I've only got two. She stole two hundred dollars from me." He replied angrily.
I held him back as he pushed himself off the wall and towards the broken window of the book store. "Okay, we'll have Penelope run security footage when we get to the office. She's gone so there's nothing we can do about it now. If we find her, then I'll get the money back and you can call the police to file charges." I said, trying to keep him from chasing her. He couldn't possibly find her now, especially in a crowded book store. The best option was to follow the electronic trail and see where it lead us.
Mick's shoulders sagged at the options. Clearly he didn't want to wait. He sighed heavily in an effort to control his temper and ran his hand through the still slightly damp hair. Dark ends stood up, pulled in whichever direction the wind seemed to take them. The motion was a sign of stress, something he hadn't been dealing with recently. "Fine, but I'm not going to press charges." He responded as he slid the wallet into the interior pocket of his jacket. At my confused expression, he explained, "It's freezing out and she was probably starving. Believe it or not, I can sympathize with that. I do want my money back because it was going to be used for your Christmas present. But I suppose I can wait until after Christmas."
I stared at him in amazement for the show of sympathy. That wasn't the Mick Rawson I had known over the past year. How could I complain though? The show of real empathy was a sign that he was turning over a new leaf. I could see that he was still pissed that the kid had stolen from him, but he took it a lot better than I expected. "That's very…thoughtful…" I whispered as I grabbed the abandoned coat and followed him back to the bag of gifts.
He wrapped his free hand around the top and pulled upward, muttering a quick 'yeah' in agreement. As the bag was lifted up and didn't have the support of the ground anymore, we both heard the sound of plastic ripping from the bottom. We had packed twelve gifts in total, three for each of our teammates including Penelope, so the bag was a bit over stuffed. The teenager had used something, probably a pocket knife, to slice the bottom and steal one of the smaller packages. I didn't know how we couldn't have noticed that. The wrapped boxes fell to the snowy ground with a muffled clatter. If Mick hadn't gone to extremes on the tape to screw with our teammates, the wrapping paper probably would have been ruined.
"This day just keeps getting better, eh love?"
Note- Ta-da! I'm back people! So, where should I begin?
This story is going to be different from my original draft. But different in a good way. There will be no case, not like the previous stories, so there will be a lot of character interaction. I had the idea to put this kid in the second half because it changes the story a bit. She plays into the ending and maybe I'll use her in the future. Or maybe she'll be a one time thing to emphasize the point behind the story. We'll have to wait and see. Wendy Flores comes in the next chapter with the rest of the team. She's going to be fun for the rest of the story. The interaction between Mick and Gina was fun to write. It shows that after everything they have been through, Gina is a bit too paranoid for his safety. He doesn't quite understand why, even though it's obvious. The sessions with Flores has helped both of them. Because of her, Gina and Mick have grown closer as friends and is one step closer to being something more. Mick won't continue to shun Flores forever, but it's working for this story. I've got her planned out for the next few stories so that will be interesting.
I think that covers it. You know that I love reviews, right? A big thanks to the people who have read, reviewed, and subscribed to my stuff so far. You guys are awesome.