So I made my brother go to this link without even telling him what it was, which was fun. He loved it (at least, that's what he told me) and left a review. He thanks each and every one of you for reviewing, by the way, and for wishing him a happy birthday. I got more reviews than I expected, so that was an added surprise. Thanks again! Also, to all who wonder about Christmas 2005 – you might be seeing a one shot about that from me shortly. Keep an eye out for it.
"I don't think he has a clue, Jayje." Penelope Garcia said as they arrived at the club that night; she was dressed in an outfit that would surely leave glitter all over the seat of the car. The two agents of the bureau had driven to the club together; the others would be arriving shortly in their own cars. Morgan, in another attempt to make sure Reid actually arrived at the club, was driving the youngest agent.
"I don't know how they got him to go." JJ confided as she parked the car in the club's lot. "Morgan and Elle, I mean. I tried myself – he usually agrees without a problem, but for some reason he was refusing today."
"That's the superfox for you – king of persuasion." Garcia winked. "Actually, I heard it was a Christmas 2005 threat." She confided, as JJ turned a color of red that hadn't before been seen in nature.
"Don't worry, I'm guarding that photo with my life, JJ." Garcia said, a devilish smile making its way onto her face. "It's worth quite a lot on the blackmail market-"
JJ was already opening the door of the car and slamming it behind her before Garcia could start laughing.
Inside the club, the music was already blaring, and people were making their way to the dance floor. The BAU had crowded themselves around a table in the corner. Morgan was eyeing the ladies at the table across the room until Elle kicked him with a heeled foot underneath the table. Hotch, noticing the antics, raised his eyebrows.
"Your drink's on me." Elle announced to Reid, nodding to a bartender.
"Elle, I can pay for my own drink." Reid said, already wishing he hadn't come here. He wasn't in the mood for the kind of playful attitude a night out entailed.
"Kid, it's your birthday. Don't kill her spirit."
"Or she might kill you." Hotch announced, his usually well hidden teasing spirit coming out. He could only think of how many times that day alone he'd watched his team secretly plan this night.
"I… You…" Reid stuttered, his eyes flitting from Gideon to Hotch to Morgan to Elle to JJ to Garcia and back again. "You remembered?"
"You didn't honestly think we'd forget your birthday, did you?" JJ asked, tilting her head to the side. She could see it in his eyes – he was indeed surprised that they had remembered.
Reid bit his lower lip. "Maybe?" The young agent paused. "There haven't been many times when people have remembered."
Elle reached out and put her arm around his shoulders. "Well, we did."
"We didn't forget last year, either." Gideon reminded him, eyebrows raised, making a mental note to ask Reid about what was bothering him later.
"Come on, Reid. You think I'd have brought up Christmas unless it was a real emergency?"
Two agents at the table went a color similar to a red delicious apple. "Yes?" Reid answered the rhetorical question.
"Garcia put me up to it." Morgan announced, pointing a finger in the tech analyst's direction.
"Who, me?" She asked innocently.
"Yes, you, baby girl. And in fact, she photo shopped it. It has a border now. With hearts." Morgan confided, miming a border with a finger. "And that photo isn't the only story from that night, if you do remember yourself." Reid made a noise similar to that of a dying humpback whale.
"Morgan, is this an appropriate discussion?" Hotch asked, viewing the agent in question with hardly disguised curiosity.
"It was a dare!" JJ cried out, letting her head fall to the table.
"I enjoy torturing the two of you as much as the next chica," Elle said. "But we have presents."
"Me first!" Morgan announced, reaching behind him to grab the wrapped gift.
"I swear to god you are a two year old in a thirty year olds body." Elle said, tapping her fingers on the edge of the table.
"Are we there yet?" He teased.
"Some of us aren't getting any younger." Hotch said, a smile twitching on his lips.
"Here, unwrap mine first." Elle said, handing over her own present and ignoring the heated look from Morgan. Reid began to rip the light blue wrapping paper away. "It's not much." Elle explained. "But I saw it in a bookstore window, and I couldn't help it."
"Elle," Reid began, running his finger along the spine of the book.
"I know it's not much." She began again.
"Elle, it's perfect." He stared at the old copy of a complete collection of Chaucer. "Thank you. This means a lot." Elle's eyes smiled, as Morgan shoved his gift in Reid's face.
"Mine next." He said, handing over a gift wrapped in pink paper.
"It's from the both of us." Garcia explained, leaning closer to Morgan.
Reid idly wondered if he should fear the present in his hands as he ripped away the pink paper.
"You can put the picture in it." Garcia explained as he stared at the bronze frame. "I'll have to blow it up, but …"
Reid stared in horror at the giggling duo. "Why do it?"
"Open the frame, kid. Look in the back." Morgan said, pointing a finger at the frame. "Just do it." He said in response to Reid's pointed glare.
"If there's a picture in here, Morgan, I swear…" He said as he pulled out the glass, watching something fall to the ground. He stooped and picked it up, brow furrowed.
"They're for the comic con. In new York." Garcia said. "You can take anyone you want."
Reid's answering smile was astounding. "Thanks, guys." He paused. "I'll find someone to take, I guess."
"I'm sure you will, pretty boy." Morgan said with a wink, as Gideon spoke up.
"This is from Hotch and I." He said, handing over a plain envelope, which Reid unsealed with a finger.
"Plane tickets to Las Vegas?" Reid asked, looking from Gideon to Hotch and back again.
Gideon nodded as Hotch said, "You haven't been out there since our last case there. Just do us a favor and …"
"Don't let myself get caught by an UnSub, I know." Reid finished.
"I was going to say to have fun and go to a casino while you're there." Hotch said, hiding a smile.
"I could try that too." Reid admitted, looking both Gideon and Hotch in the eyes before putting the tickets in his wallet. "Thanks."
"I guess I'm the only one left." JJ said, pushing her present across the table. "It seems kind of stupid now." She muttered.
"I'm sure it's not." Reid assured her, smiling before ripping away the purple paper and revealing something soft of the same color inside. He pushed the paper aside and pulled out the fabric.
"It's a scarf." JJ said bluntly. "It's, um, purple."
"I can see that." Reid said, trying to hide the smile that was creeping onto his face. He wrapped the scarf around his neck. "How do I look?"
"Dashing." Garcia said, grinning.
"I'll wear it to the next case, then." He said, smiling at JJ.
"You don't have to-" She started, feeling her cheeks go red.
"I want to." Reid said, sounding quite sure. "Thanks, JJ." With a smile, he looked to the group around him – more his family than he'd ever realized before. Did they know that they'd made this one of the best birthdays he'd had – there'd only been a few in his adult life that anyone had recognized. If they did even have an inkling of just how great they'd made a usually depressing day, Reid didn't think that they could possibly know just how much it had done for him.
It was three in the morning when Reid finally made it back to his apartment. After presents, the night had been great. Elle – and Reid wasn't sure that she'd been exactly in her right mind at the moment – had tried to teach him how to salsa to pop music, which hadn't exactly worked, and he didn't think it would have even if salsa music had been playing. Reid was pretty sure that Morgan and Garcia had new pictures to blackmail him with. Gideon had taken a side seat, as he usually did in these events, watching the scene through wizened eyes.
Reid had even danced with JJ, who had more of an idea how to dance to pop music than Elle did, another even that he was sure had been saved for the rest of eternity on camera. In fact, he wasn't surprised if he found a scrapbook one day of Morgan and Garcia's blackmail pictures.
Hotch had even danced. Reid wasn't sure, though, if Garcia and Morgan had been daring enough to get pictures of that.
Never the less, it had been a fantastic birthday, and the tickets to Las Vegas that sat on his desk now seemed to be looking at him instead of the other way around. Pulling out a fresh piece of paper, Reid began to pen a letter to his mother, telling her that he'd be visiting that weekend.
Perhaps she'd remember, maybe she wouldn't.
But Reid had suddenly found a new way of looking at it- every day, to his mother, was his birthday. She treated him like that every day, and she was there for him, always, when he needed her.
And that was all he needed.
Yes, yes, Christmas 2005 will be seen as a story of mine one day. Be on the lookout for that.
Happy birthday, 'Spence'.