Day Fourteen: Truce of Sorts
Christmas Day dawned just as bright as Christmas Eve had. So bright, in fact, that it woke David early in the morning. He groaned and rolled over, burying his head under the pillow. He was most definitely not a morning person in the slightest. As his brain woke further, he realized that there was no puttering. His Jen was a morning person, always had been. She was chipper first thing in the morning. And it was Christmas Day, a holiday she'd been looking forward to for weeks. So where was she?
It worried him enough that he pulled himself out of bed, padding to the kitchen only to find it empty. All of the doors were still locked, so she wasn't outside. He made his way back to the hallway of bedrooms, poking his head into her open door only to be treated with one of the most soothing sights he'd ever seen. JJ was still fast asleep, the covers tucked tightly around her shoulders. Her hair was in tangles spread across the pillow, but David didn't mind as he looked down at her.
He sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, hoping he wasn't going to wake her. He wanted to watch her sleep, wanted to take her in. It was moments like this when he realized he could more than get used to her in his life. It was moments like this he wanted to promise her everything in him. He wanted to promise her his heart and the rest of his life. But that was a big risk to take and he wasn't sure he was ready to put himself in that situation again. He'd already promised her everything he could and bless her heart, she'd taken it as enough. He could never give her enough. He wanted to. He wanted to give her everything. He just didn't have it in him.
And yet, by some stroke of genius, she wanted to be here with him. Sure, she slept in her own bed, and they'd kept things relatively innocent, but she wanted to be with him. She wanted to spend Christmas with him instead of with her family. He couldn't stop his smile blossoming over his face as she began to stir.
"Good morning," he said softly.
It took her a few minutes, eyes blinking open. A hand came up to rub her eyes, to clear the sleep out of them. "Good morning. You're in my room."
He chuckled. "I am. Merry Christmas."
"Mmm... Merry Christmas," she replied. "What time is it?"
"Early. I expected you to be up and bouncing already."
She tugged on his hand, offsetting him enough that he tilted towards her, slightly off balance. "This is my first Christmas where I haven't been woken at the crack of dawn by over-exuberant children wanting to see what Santa brought. For the first time in a long time, I'd like to sleep in on Christmas."
He chuckled. "I cannot believe this."
She cracked an eye. "Believe what?"
"That you're going to sleep in. This, from the woman who has been bouncing around for weeks because Christmas was coming."
"So I can't sleep in?" she asked. "Is that what you're telling me?"
"Not at all. I expected to be woken before the sun rose, not before the sun itself."
JJ smiled and hummed. "Glad I can keep you on your toes."
"You do a very good job of it," he agreed. "I'm going to go get my coffee."
"Sleep, Dave. Coffee can be made when it's time to get up. Lie down. Get under the covers." She tugged on his hand again, snuggling deeper into her blankets.
She opened her eyes again surprised by the apprehension in his voice. Her heart melted a little bit more. Sure they'd kissed and made out like teenagers, but they hadn't shared a bed in any capacity since they'd arrived. Actually, they'd never shared a bed period. She unwrapped the blankets from one side of her, holding them open. "Come on in David."
It seemed he didn't need to be asked again. He climbed in beside her and easily wrapped her up in his arms. JJ couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face when she literally felt the tension leave his body. She wrapped an arm around his stomach, pillowing her head on his chest as she curled against him.
"Just a few more minutes. Then we'll open presents," JJ promised with a yawn.
David's hand rubbed up and down her back a few times over the t-shirt she wore before sliding under the bottom to simply rest on her warm skin. "Whatever you say, sweetheart."
She grinned. "That's such a good answer."
Hours later, JJ's eyes fluttered open. It took her a few moments to realize who was sleeping beside her – and yes, sleeping, if his breathing was any indication – and a wide smile erupted on her face. This was definitely up there as one of her favourite Christmases. And it really was entirely his fault. He'd created a Christmas for her in the same snowy forest that her home was known for, not that he necessarily knew that.
She managed to slip out of bed without waking him, padding her way into the kitchen to turn on the coffee maker. Then she went back to the living room, grinning as she saw the angelically white stocking sitting beside his flannel-and-quilted plaid one. She scooped them both up, dropping them back in her room where he still slept. Her heart warmed further as she realized he'd wrapped himself around her pillow. She made her way back to the kitchen, waiting for the coffee to finish and fixing them both the requisite morning cup before she returned to the bedroom.
"Dave," she said softly as she set his mug on the bedside table. "Dave, wake up."
She tried not to chuckle at the adorably confused look he had on his face. "Good morning. Merry Christmas," she said softly when his eyes finally landed on her.
"You were sleeping."
"I was. It's eleven."
She nodded, lifting his stocking as she took a sip of coffee. "I thought we could open stockings in bed."
"Did you bring me a coffee?"
JJ nodded, indicating the mug beside him. She handed hers to him while she climbed back in, moving the pillows to support their backs as they leaned against the headboard.
"Jen, what did you do?" he asked as she handed him the over-stuffed stocking.
She blushed. "Em, Pen and I have a thing for dollar stores," she admitted.
"You do?" She knew confusion was obvious in her voice.
"Honey, I don't think there's anyone on the team who doesn't know your weakness for dollar stores," he told her. "Did you buy the place?"
"Dave, have you ever seen a dollar store? I can't fit the entirety of the store in your stocking," she said, shaking her head affectionately. "No matter how much I may want to."
He laughed, leaning over to press a kiss to her temple. "So, which one of us is going first?"
It wasn't until much, much later, after a Christmas dinner that was the best David had eaten in years, that he finally pulled out the one gift that really meant the most to him. They'd exchanged a number of little things – books, pictures, movies and a number of other little knick knacks – but he'd held back giving her his last gift. Now they sat in the sun room, wrapped under too many blankets to count in order to ward off the chilly Christmas air and he couldn't think of a better time to give it to her.
"Jen I've got one last thing."
Her eyes widened. "Something else? David!"
He couldn't stop his chuckle at the indignant sound of her voice. "It's the least I could do," he said, pulling the box out of his pocket.
"The least?" she gasped, her hand shaking as she took the small navy blue gift from his hand. "What did you do?"
He watched her hands pop open the box with his heart in his throat.
"David!" Her voice was breathless as she took in the ruby heart. "David."
He wrapped his hand around her holding the box, carefully withdrawing the necklace from it's place. "Consider this a promise, Jen," he said quietly as she willingly leaned forward to let him clasp the pendant around her neck.
"A promise?" she asked, her eyes shining as she looked back up at him, her hand coming to rest over the ruby at her throat. "What kind of promise?"
"My promise to try. My promise to put my past in the past and focus on, at the very least, here and now. I won't make any more of a concrete promise than that, Jen, but I want you to know that this isn't a passing thing for me. I can't promise you I'll be perfect. I can't promise you that I won't get on your nerves, that I'll be this perfect prince on a white horse." He stopped when her hand rested over his mouth.
"If I wanted perfection, David Rossi, you would not be my first choice," she said with a chuckle.
"Do you know what that means?" he asked her, capturing both of her hands and squeezing.
"It means endless days of frustration. It means over-protectiveness that's going to challenge every ounce of my patience. It means accepting your past and accepting that there's nothing I can do to change it," she said, her eyes shining. "But it also means quiet times like this. It means trying to find a balance between my independence and your slightly archaic beliefs as to whether or not I can take care of myself. It means dealing with David Rossi the legend as well as David Rossi the man. It means showing you that despite the things we see, there is light in this world, there are things, lives, outside of our jobs and outside of death and darkness. Does that sound about right?"
"Are you sure you're not a profiler?"
She laughed, cuddling against him again. He noticed her hand played with the pendant. "I want this. I want to try with you. I want to see where this goes, where it's going to take us. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have at least some idea of what I was getting into."
"This will never be perfect," he warned softly, tilting her head up to his.
She kissed him, putting a hand against his cheek. "I don't want perfection. I want you."
As David Rossi held Jennifer Jareau close to his chest on that snowy Christmas morning he felt some of his walls around his heart crack. Because while he was sure there would always be a larger part of him that would be jaded, dark, he also knew that over the past fourteen days, Jen had proven to him that there were good parts to life too, parts that involved sunshine.
And that maybe, just maybe, this would be worth it after all.
Thanks to everyone who has reviewed this and kept up to date with it. It gave me some issues, but I'm satisfied with the way this ended!
Special thanks to Tonnie and Tracia, who seem to always get some sort of special mention in stories with JJ and Rossi as a pairing. I wouldn't have written this if I hadn't started reading your stories. You guys are both highly valued reviewers.