Author's Note: Welcome, Readers to our annual JJ/Rossi Christmas story. Tonnie & I hope you enjoy the trip! Let us know!!
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Jennifer Jareau felt she was sinking in a quagmire of exhaustion. The past several months had been a long hard journey. Will LaMontagne was gone…back to the Big Easy and out of her life, the trials of parenthood too heavy a burden for him to bear. She was currently working at an exceedingly demanding job that paid a pittance and demanded more and more of her soul each day. Her nights were filled with single-handedly parenting a year old little boy with boundless energy. Add to that the fact that it was Christmastime again and she was fairly certain that she was going to lose her mind in fairly short order. And to top it off, he was watching her.
That wasn't the problem. He'd always watched her to a certain extent, masculine interest gleaming in his onyx eyes.
The problem was that she found herself enjoying it. A lot. And that was going to cause her considerable problems if she didn't find a way to get herself under control. Quick, fast and in a hurry. Because he was the very last thing she needed.
Shuffling her papers in her lap once again, she sighed as she tried to remember what she had just read. Glancing down at the file, she forced herself to focus on the words this time, not just the writing. Surely she could comprehend the simple written English language, couldn't she? But after reading the same paragraph three more times without comprehending a single word, she began to wonder. Maybe she should spend her time just staring out the small window, looking at the passing clouds. God knows that might be more productive than her so-called attempts at working.
Feeling the seat next to her dip quickly, she raised wary eyes, wondering if she was about to come face to face with the man of her dreams. But the smiling eyes of Derek Morgan met hers instead, and for that, she was momentarily grateful.
That was, until he opened his mouth.
"So tell me, JJ, what type of plans do you have for this Friday night?" Morgan's words were casual, but JJ didn't have to be a profiler to grasp the subtle nuances that were fairly screaming from her new seatmate.
Raising a weary eyebrow, JJ asked carefully, her eyes narrowing, "Wanna tell me why you're asking first?"
Grinning widely, his white teeth gleaming, Morgan chuckled as he shook his head, "Gee, JJ, you don't have to sound so suspicious. Can't a guy just make small talk with his friend?"
"Not when the friend in question knows you as well as I do," JJ retorted with a snort. "I know that look in your eye. You want something out of me, I can smell it."
"Okay," Derek admitted, "You got me. For somebody that says you wouldn't make a good profiler, you sure do have the team pegged."
"Been working around you freaks too long. I guess I'm picking up some of the tools of the trade," JJ shrugged carelessly. "So what kind of favor is this, Morgan. Personal or professional?"
"A little of both, actually. And bear in mind, Jayje, I'll owe you. Big. If you agree to help me, that is," he hedged evasively.
"Start talking, Derek," JJ urged, crossing her legs.
"You know that fundraiser for all the FBI bigwigs," Morgan began slowly.
"You mean the one you stupidly volunteered to help plan and emcee in an effort to convince Strauss that you were still a responsible, shrewd FBI agent," JJ snickered, remembering the look on Derek's face when Strauss had suggested it would be in his best interest to impress some of the higher ups if he'd like to continue his position within the unit after his relationship with Tamara was outted.
"That's the one," Derek nodded. "Tamara was supposed to be my Mrs. Claus and unfortunately, her office is sending her out of town. I'm down one beautiful wife of Santa. Think you could fill in?"
"Derek," JJ groaned.
"Come on, Jayje, I'm beggin' here, girl! Garcia's already an elf and she won't fit in the costume. Help a brother out! You were gonna be there anyway. Attendance is mandatory, remember?"
"Yeah, but I was looking at half an hour tops! You're talking about the entire night," JJ moaned.
"Not necessarily," Morgan countered, grinning as he recognized signs of weakening in her voice. Wheedling, he added softly, "I'll make you a deal. Two hours at the absolute most. If we're not done then, you can walk out the door and I'll not even try to stop you."
"An hour, Morgan, and you have to find me a babysitter," JJ shot back, wondering why she was even agreeing to such an asinine thing. God only knows why she let herself get into these predicaments, she thought with a sigh.
"An hour and a half, and I'll screen the sitter personally," Morgan negotiated smoothly, adding, "Or if you want, I'll have a friend at the Secret Service vet an entire stable of sitters if you want until we find one that meets your standards."
"What standards?" JJ groaned, pressing a hand to her forehead as she tried to stop the headache that was already building at the mere thought of this little adventure. "Apparently, I can be easily swayed." Turning quickly, she then glared at Morgan as a stray thought took up residence in her fatigue-ridden mind, "What exactly does Mrs. Claus have to do for the night?"
Making a face, Morgan shrugged. "The usual…smile at the kids, take care of Santa's needs, take a turn in his lap…"
"And who is Santa, Derek?" JJ asked suspiciously.
"Fat guy, red suit, white beard," Morgan said easily with a grin.
"Morgan," JJ drawled warningly as her patience frayed.
"Another problem of mine, Jayje. I don't actually have a Santa Claus yet. I'm still working on it," Morgan groaned.
"You do realize that Friday is three days away, right?" JJ said, flashing him an incredulous look.
"Yeah, got that memo, Jayje," Morgan muttered, hoping against hope that JJ's agreement to be Mrs Claus would influence a certain grizzled profiler into cooperating with his master plan.
"And you know Erin Strauss will personally decapitate you if this doesn't go off without a hitch," JJ added, a little too gleefully.
"Got it, JJ. You in or out, girl?" Morgan asked a tad impatiently.
"In, I guess. But like you said, you're gonna owe me," JJ reminded him with a small smile.
"I know, I know," Morgan nodded, his bald head bobbing up and down as he stood. "I'll give you my firstborn child if you want it," he grinned.
"God, no…Henry's enough, thanks. I'll just keep this marker in my hat for a time of my choosing," JJ smiled.
"No good deed goes unrewarded, JJ," Morgan laughed, turning to move to the back of the plane. He only hoped David Rossi would make things as easy as Jennifer Jareau had.