A/N: Before you decide to kill me for not posting another installment of "Best Eaten Cold", please bear inmind I posted TWO chapters in less than 48 hours! I'll try for another 2 before the end of the year, k?

A/N2: My own twisted take on Christmas carol-fic! Hope you like it...

Xxx XXX xxX

Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves...

"And a bloody corpse rotting next to the Christmas tree"

I know my thoughts aren't exactly Christmasy, but if there's something I really hate is having to work on the days prior to the holiday. Specially on bloody corpses where there's no evident motive or murder weapon. Or suspect, to make matters ever more wonderful. This here Mr. Peter "I lost 4 pints of blood and ruined the Christmas decorations my wife and kids so painstakingly put up last night" Morrisey is definitively ruining the season for all of us involved.

Maybe I'm being cynical. Maybe I'm being un-Christian. Maybe I'm just too friggin' tired. It is, after all, 11 at night on December 23rd and I'm sitting around the lab waiting for some results to pop up the computer that will magically solve this whole case so I can go home and take my two days off and maybe, just maybe, and for once since I've started this job, not ruin the family's Christmas celebration.

Keep dreaming, Messer. Chances of that happening are as good as Lindsay walking through that door wearing nothing but a luminous smile and ravishing me on top of this desk.

Shit. If things weren't bad enough as they were I had to top it off with thoughts of her.

Not that everything else was just peachy, to begin with. I've had lousy years in my life, but this one is taking the cake. I lost my best friend to a creep, I lost my brother to our past, I lost a promotion to my temper and now I have this nagging suspicion that I've lost the right girl to my big mouth. Oh joy.

... eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying...

I wonder who was the moron who left that song on loop. I have nothing against Christmas carols, but it is kind of morbid to have them playing non-stop on a crime lab. Besides, where is it written that we ought to celebrate the holidays during twelve days?

The "plink!" from the search engine warning sounds unusually loud in the semi-deserted place, and I approach it with mixed feelings. One the one hand, I'd love it if there were a fingerprint match that would lead us to the culprit and be done with the whole thing. On the other hand... family quality time is not my idea of thrilling fun. I love them to pieces,mind you, but there's a limit to the amount of time I can spend with a bunch of lively, loud, drunken Italians before I pass out, either from alcohol ingestion, over stuffing myself on my mother's cooking, or getting overly feisty with some of the fist-happy cousins that seem to pop up everywhere you look. Great fun for a couple of hours, really, but not for a couple of days.

Whaddaya know? No match. I'm really not surprised. If I had a penny for every time things go the way I want, I'd be living in Upper Manhattan and driving an '07 Land Rover with leather seats. And I would have found the formula to get Montana to marry me.

Now where the hell did that come from? Sure, I adore that darn woman and her charm and wits and smile and intelligence and looks. Sure, that mouth of hers has been driving me crazy for some time now and it has done nothing for my sanity the fact that I know from holding her that our bodies are a perfect match. And sure, all that put together has been hounding my nights and my fantasy life for longer than I'd care to admit...

But marriage? Damn, that's a first.

Rubbing my face in frustration I realize that the clock is showing 12:15 now. December 24th has arrived and I'm stuck in here with a corpse that't not talking to me, evidence thats not coming together and "Twelve days of Christmas" running non-stop over the speakers.

Ain't I one lucky guy?

Overlooking the whole evidence layout I realize that all I can do now is sit and wait for more lab results. That means I can go home and pretend to sleep for 4 hours and then get back here to check them, or I can just stay here and pretend to work while I wait for them. Either way, I'm screwed, and so is the Holiday. At least for Mamma Messer. And maybe one or two of those umpteenth degree cousins thrice removed who were kinda hoping to get me under the mistletoe... and into their underwear. How's that for family traditions, huh?

I decide to wait out for the results. If I go home I'm sure I won't be getting much sleep. I'm way too wired to even try it, and not even some "quality" time with myself would work right now.

And the reason it wont work is that it'd unavoidably bring me back to Lindsay. And these days thinking about Montana is more pain than pleasure.

...Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping...

"Nine times I've heard that..."

Twelve presents, and not the useful variety, for my true love. On second thought, the five golden rings might prove useful, but other than that... I wonder what kind of presents would I give Montana if she were my true love?

Okay. It's official now. I'm royally screwed. I'm in love with a woman who couldn't care less. Either that or all this caroling has gotten to my head. And if I'm honest with myself, it's the former rather than the later what's causing me all this angsty feelings and foul moods and overall pissy attitude.

And pissed I am. What kind of fool falls for a woman without checking first is she's interested? I haven't even kissed her, dammit, and here I am thinking true love and marriage! I'm definitively screwed up, my reputation is damned and my soul is a goner, for sure.

I'm such a looney case no wonder she wants nothing to do with me. Even if my reputation didn't precede me, why on Earth would she want to get involved with a two-time looser like me? "It's not you, its me". Yeah, right. As if I hadn't heard that one before. Hell, I've even used it myself a couple of times when the girl didn't deserve having her feelings hurt over something that wasn't really worth it. "I have issues I have to work out first". Yup. Like banging your friend Irene and her cousin instead of trying to work on a monogamous relationship with you.

Been there, done that, Montana, so how about a little honesty for a change? It's not like I haven't been shot down before. I don't break that easily. And I know this song. "I really like you" is just a nice way of saying you don't have feelings for me or, and this is the ouch part, you don't find me attractive at all.

So please don't mess around with my head. If you don't feel it, you don't feel it and that's that. Don't insult my intelligence with elaborate explanations.

Just go ahead and break my friggin heart once and for all.

I check the clock once more. 3:40 am. My, my, how time flies when you're having fun. I remove my glasses and pinch my nose's bridge. I'm hoping I'll be so tired by the time I do get to bed that I'll fall asleep instantly. No thinking. No dreams either. That would be nice for a change.

If only it were so easy to get HER out of my head!

... On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Wonder what happens on the thirtheenth day? Does he bill her for the presents? Does she show her appreciation in any way? Do they live happily ever after?

Or does she send him packing?

Maybe this is it. Maybe that's what's going on between Montana and me. We┬┤re friggin' stuck on the thirteenth day of Christmas, and just like the song itself, it's been playing non-stop for a while now.

Problem is, I'm not sure it'll move on come January. Or February. Or never, for all I knew. I'd laugh at the notion if it weren't so close to the truth. I'm so in love with her it's pathetic, and there isn't a single thing I can do about it, short of killing myself, and that's definitively not an option. Is it?

I must have nodded off some time, cause I'm awakened with a startle. A noise. The computer search program is still running, so I rule that one out. The clock ticks at 4:15, so it wasn't that either. That leaves only... the door.

Spunning around I'm met by a warm pair of eyes and a timid smile. "Whatcha doing here at this time of the morning?" I ask her, fearing, yet yearning her response.

"And here I thought you'd be glad to see me!" She shakes her head in mock shock. "How long have you been here"

"I checked in ... 22 hours and 15 minutes ago... give or take a few seconds."

"And how much longer are you planning on staying?"

"As long as it takes. You should know me better than that by now, Montana." At least, Im hoping you would.

She smiles and raises a take out bag I have somehow missed noticing before. "I do. Here. Bagels and coffee. And some of that apple pie you seem so fond of."

I dunno what made my day better, her smile or her thoughtfuness. Or the apple pie. All that mattered was that she was here. I wondered if that was a sign of sorts.

That's when I realized what had really awakened me. It was the silence. The song wasn't playing anymore. I looked up trying to figure out what had happened.

Montana must have noticed the gesture. She then proved once more that she knows me better than I think... or hope.

"Missing the song already? Someone must have hit the "repeat" button by mistake. It's a wonder you weren't driven crazy! Stuck on it like that... Lucky for you I came along, huh?"

Montana, you have no idea.

Xxx XXX xxX

A/N2: Not exactly the kind of songfic you might have had in mind, huh? Happy holidays!