Author's note: Merry Christmas everyone. Ok so here's what I've got so far not sure were my muse is leading me, but hey I have to go where she lead's even if it's a dark and scary oh sorry took a wrong turn. Hopefully this will be finished by Christmas. Anyway I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: Own nothing but the shirt on my back.
Bright candles burning
Old friends returning
The wishes of children coming true
And the happiest wishes are just old fashioned wishes
May your days be merry, your sorrows be small
May the ones you love be near you
That's the happiest Christmas of all
Michael W. Smith, singer
Sounds of the season, album
Two week's before Christmas
The Christmas season was in full swing, but for many the holiday would only bring painful memories of a time long ago with loved ones passed. For a certain group this year had been anything, but kind to them and most wanted to just forget the festivities even existed. To curl up into their own protective shell and let the New Year enter with as little a fan fair as Christmas.
Unfortunately the bright decorations poured in from all directions, wreaths hung on doors, chains of red and green paper draped across desks and even tiny twinkling lights hung across doorway arches adding to the festive atmosphere. In spite of all the holiday cheer, the air around the BAU's glass door's still seemed to be a somber one.
Spencer Reid glanced up from his copy of the New York Times at just the right moment to see their resident tech analyst hurry by one arm loaded down with files, the other carrying a steaming cup of coffee bright red purse swinging dangerously below. Even from his vantage point he could tell that something was off she seemed troubled or at the very least deep in though. He could see that she muttered a few things to herself like she was trying to remember something.
"Morning Garcia you need a hand?" Reid asked setting aside his paper and risings to his feet albeit slowly as to not strain his leg.
A bit breathlessly Penelope answered, "Thanks sugar I thought for sure my arm would fall off."
Regardless of his skills as a profiler, Reid could see that something bothered the colorfully dressed woman in front of him. Her flushed appearance only added to that assumption. He noticed the bright red sweater she wore had a small Christmas tree on the left shoulder, he took in the rest of her clothing choice of a dark green ankle length skirt and flat boot's, her hair around her shoulders in curls.
"Is there something wrong Garcia? You seem a bit distracted," Reid said his voice laced with concern as he took the arm load of files off her hands.
Granted he wasn't a natural at this kind of thing, he'd never learned how to lead with compassion growing up, but he'd also learned in the last five years you couldn't cover everything with just facts. Besides this wasn't just any person this was Garcia someone who had came to mean quite a lot to him.
Penelope looked over at Reid studying him a minute, before finally speaking, "It's nothing sweet pee, nothing you need to wrong that big brain of yours over."
He didn't buy it, but he didn't push either he just followed behind her towards her office. Once inside he dropped the files on the only empty spot he could find that wasn't covered with computers. He stood back a moment taking in the festive decorations that brighten up the normally dark office and thought that they suited her just prefect.
"Getting into the Christmas spirit," Reid commented picking up a gold and red ornament from the box.
Penelope turned from booting up her babies to watch him examine a glass bauble carefully, before laying it back in its resting place. She knew Christmas wasn't a pleasant time of year for him, given his childhood or lack there of, never getting to experience Christmas the right way made her heart ache for the little boy he was and the man standing before her.
"Just a few simple decorations nothing to flashy, it's going to be a quiet Christmas hopefully this year," Penelope answered taking a sip of her coffee as she watch Reid scan her office. "Any plans for yourself sugar?"
Reid just shook his head a sad light entering the brown depths. He knew a visit home to see his mother should be his top priority, but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to make the travel arrangements. Even with all the knowledge and facts he had stored in his brain he couldn't think of one reason not to go home. Accept that he didn't want to deal with seeing his mother and having her not know who he was, not this year, not when, so much damage had all ready been done to his heart and soul.
"Reid?" Penelope exclaimed worry gathering before her red framed glasses.
"Uh… oh sorry just…" he sputtered a second glancing at Garcia.
"Stepped out on me there for a sec hon," Penelope offered, "I should be asking if you're ok."
"Fine I'm fine just thinking about something is all," Spencer lied trying to not let anything show.
However, he couldn't fool Penelope, "You know I was thinking what had we do something for Christmas this year nothing to big just family."
Spencer thought about it for a minute. It would be nice to not be alone for Christmas, "That would be nice, but doesn't everyone else have plans all ready?"
Penelope shrugged, "Not sure really the thought just popped in my head. Don't worry sugar I understand if you have plan's all ready."
The idea hadn't really just popped into her head she'd been thinking about it since last week. After the death of Haley she knew the team needed to regroup, to lick their wounds either in alone or as a team or more accurately a family away from everything. She also knew the chances of getting the whole team to say yes would be slim to none. JJ more than likely would want to spend the time with Will and Henry as a family. Emily would force herself to go see her mother even at the expense of having to go through another boring party full of people she didn't care about. Reid she figured would go home to Vegas and see his mother to touch base with her. Hotch would share it with Jack alone, as would Rossi. And Derek well she knew or at least suspected that he would travel home to Chicago to be with family maybe even taking Tamara with him. She would spend another Christmas alone microwave turkey dinner and bad Christmas movies on the television would fill her holiday. With Kevin gone just after Haley's funeral, another job offer he just couldn't pass up this time. Oh sure he'd asked her to go, but she couldn't, not with all that had happened the team needed her and in a way she needed them. In actuality she couldn't say that she missed him, but some kind of companionship would better than none. That was why she offered Reid the idea of having a family Christmas just the team even though she knew he would have plan's himself.
"I don't have any plans either," Spencer said breaking up her disparaging thoughts.
Penelope looked up surprise written in her eyes, "But I thought you would be going home for the holidays. Strauss, in a rare nice moment of kindness, has blessedly given us all time off."
"Not this year it's just…"
"There you are conference room in ten Reid," Morgan said entering Garcia's office, "Mornin' baby girl, how's it going?"
"Mornin' Morgan same as usual," Garcia responded turning back to face her babies not really in the mood to see him.
Reid watched the exchange wordlessly seeing the detached way Penelope had answered Derek and began to wonder when things would go back to normal. He missed the days when they flirted almost to the point of being nauseating, but now, nothing but cool professionalism between the pair. Sure Morgan had started called her baby girl again once Hotch took command of the unit from him a week ago, he had slipped back into being the Derek they all had knew before all the madness began, maybe a bit ragged around the edges a bit wiser, but still Morgan. Only Penelope didn't change that quickly she still held to the new old way they had started and Reid could see the confusion and ever a bit of sadness pass across Morgan's eyes before being pushed away.
Finding his voice, Reid offered, "We'll talk later about that thing Garcia, later," before turning and hobbling out the door missing the perplexed look on Morgan's face.
Derek turned to watch Penelope seeing that she sat stiff backed not relaxing in the slightest. He wondered how long it would take her to forgive his foolishness, so that they could get back to the friends they had been. He just wasn't sure if that would be enough anymore. He had tried to make a sold go with Tamara, but it never felt right it never felt whole. He cursed himself for not listening to Penelope's advice and wished he could go back in time and fix everything that had happened.
"Was there something you needed Morgan?" Penelope asked startlingly Derek out of his thoughts.
Clearing his throat Derek tired to think of what to say, which was knew for him, he'd never been at a loss for words before. "No I guess not," was all he said before turning to go.
Sighing Penelope got back to work it did no good to dwell on past regrets and forget to live, for you can't change what has all ready happened. She missed him that she would never lie about, but she could just pick back up were they left off to much had happened and maybe she was being petty, but a girl could only take so much before she brakes. Besides it wasn't as if he needed her anymore, he had her Tamara the woman he had dropped her like a hot potatoes for.
She glanced up at the team picture on the cork board just to the right of her main screen, her eyes coming to rest on the last team picture they had taken at the end of spring. They looked so happy standing their arms wrapped around each other. Hotch with Jack on his shoulders in the middle Rossi and Reid flanking his sides, JJ with Henry in her arms beside Reid, Emily next to her. Derek with his arms wrapped around Penelope's middle next to Rossi, the family in happier times, before the darkness.
"Will it ever be like that again?" she asked the wall's off her sanctuary.