Prompt: Will and Grace - All About Christmas Eve
A/N: ilovetvalot – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. This one's for you. –points- your fault!
"This is a tree." The blonde woman said, bending down in front of Henry's high chair. She turned, pointing towards the undecorated Christmas tree in the corner of the room. "Can you say tree, Henry?" She asked of the child, who giggled innocently. "Tree." He didn't respond, but she didn't expect him to.
Christmas Eve was running late.
It was 11 in the morning on December 24th, 2009, and Jennifer Jareau had not yet decorated their gigantic Christmas tree. Looking at the evergreen, she wondered if Henry's first Christmas was going to have a threadbare tree with unwrapped presents underneath. Years later, she'd show her grown up son pictures – 'And yes, honey, this was your first Christmas. Mommy didn't have time to decorate the tree, your Daddy left three months before, and David freaking Rossi never showed up.'
Yes, that would be a lovely story for her to tell him when he grew up – how she screwed up his first ever Christmas.
They'd been away on a case until two days prior – and she had to admit, Will had been godsend with taking care of Henry, but it didn't nearly make up for what he'd done to her heart. He'd crushed it. He'd made her make the decision she'd asked him countless times to not force on her.
He had been tired – tired of worrying about her, tired of being so far away from her – and he'd asked her to choose.
It was him, or it was the job.
She'd asked him not to do this, because she knew, undoubtedly, that she'd never be as happy in another job as she was in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Knowing that about herself, she'd really only had one decision. Knowing that she had once loved William LaMontagne did not make it any easier to let it go, but it was becoming easier.
David Rossi was why it was becoming easier. Over the past three months, he'd stepped up, stepped closer, and she'd finally allowed him in. It hadn't been easy, after that breach of her trust by Will, but she'd wanted to allow him in.
And, now that she had, she couldn't say that things didn't still hurt – they did – but she could easily say that she was happy.
Rather, that she had been happy, until David Rossi hadn't shown up when she needed him. Her blue eyes went to the clock one more time, checking that he really was an hour and a half late and hadn't called.
It was. He hadn't.
"It looks like we're spending Christmas by ourselves, bud." JJ told her son, who smiled innocently and played with a stray cheerio on the high chair table attachment. Upset as she was, she still couldn't help but smile at his antics. "That's alright; we'll have our own fun." She promised him as she heard the timer beep for the oven. Along with the incessant beeping, playing on her favorite holiday station, quite appropriately depressingly was Faith Hill's Where Are You Christmas?
Absentmindedly, the blonde woman walked to the oven and grabbed a pair of oven mitts. She opened the oven and removed the candy cane shaped cookies – realizing she'd have no one to share them with. She wasn't about to feed a six month old a cookie, not with all the sugar she'd put in them. Methodically, she placed them on a cooling rack, arranging them without paying attention.
The liaison didn't realize that she was humming, or that her humming along had quickly turned into full blown singing. Her voice was sad, off-key … but she wasn't aware that anybody was listening.
David Rossi was leaning against the doorway to the kitchen, nearly out of sight, watching as she spun from oven to cooling rack to child. Her voice was sad, off-key, but beautiful. He leaned his head against the wall, watching her. He'd let himself in with the key he'd gained a month ago.
He hadn't meant to be late, but there had been matters that needed attending. Important matters that he couldn't tell her about. He would have called, if that hadn't been the fact.
He couldn't believe he'd never heard her sing before. It was beautiful – she was beautiful. The house smelled wonderful – evergreens, peppermints, freshly baked cookies and her perfume.
The song changed only a moment after he'd entered the room, and she ceased singing, returning to working silently on the arrangement of cookies on plate.
The song was wildly appropriate. Over the speakers poured Josh Groban's I'll Be Home for Christmas. Rossi pushed off of the wall, taking a breath, not wanting to frighten her. In retrospect, sneaking in hadn't been a brilliant idea – not when the person you were aiming to surprise was an FBI agent. He cleared his throat, cringing when she spun around in definite alarm. Blood rushed to her cheeks and she dropped whatever she'd been holding before her eyes narrowed dangerously.
"I should have knocked…" he began, taking a step forward. Henry, in his high chair, giggled. "I'm sorry for scaring you."
She shook her head, holding back her hair with her hand. With the other hand, she reached for the dropped item – a Christmas cookie – and tossed it in the garbage, her back to him. "You didn't scare me." She lied. "But calling would have been nice. "There was undisguised bitterness in her voice. "Why are you so late?"
"There was … business… I had to finish."
She paused, a hand on her hip. She looked down at her feet once before sighing and pasting a smile on. "You know what, Dave? Putting it behind me." She smiled wider, and it broke through the bitterness. She paused mid-breath, eyeing him suspiciously. "Just how long have you been standing there?"
"Somewhere around 'do you remember?'" He winked, and she flushed again.
"Nobody was supposed to hear that." JJ muttered, taking a candy cane shaped cookie off of the platter and handing it to him.
"You sing beautifully, amore." He took the cookie and she flushed for an entirely different reason. "And these are good."
"The rest are for SANTA." She said the last part loud for Henry's sake, even if the young boy didn't have any idea what she was taking about. He found the mothering side of her adorable. "Right, Henry?" She asked, and the young boy giggled.
Rossi leaned down and whispered in her ear. "Do I get to be Santa?"
She shivered. "Mm, maybe." She whispered before ducking out and moving over to a box in the corner. She picked it up, vaguely aware of the radio still playing in the background, and shoved it into his arms. It was full of ornaments and tree lights. "Santa also gets to help decorate the tree."
"He does? I don't quite remember that part of the story."
"It's a new tradition." She said. He smiled at the use of the word 'tradition' and moved to the tree, carrying the box of ornaments. He loved that she was still unaware of the bag of Christmas presents he'd left in his car, big enough to be Santa's burlap sack of presents. Some of them were for Jack – but quite a few of them were for her. One of them – a crystal ornament of a baby bottle – was for both Henry and her.
The most important one was in his jacket pocket. He hadn't taken his jacket off yet, because this present was the reason he'd been late. He couldn't exactly stop on a case to go get holiday presents, and it had had to wait until the last minute.
And, it had also taken him a considerably long time to choose. A painfully long time.
He became aware of her standing next to him as he neared putting the first ornament on the tree. She seemed tentative, unsure, and he looked up. One hand was hovering over his shoulder. He didn't have a chance to speak before she began to, her words soft. "I think …" she began, and he realized she was holding one hand behind her back. "I think that, maybe, you should put this one on first."
She brought her hand out from behind her back, and his throat tightened.
It was, of course, an ornament – the silver outline of a heart with a smaller heart hanging in the center. That wasn't what was special about it – no, it was what was engraved on the ornament that made his chest tight.
'Our First Christmas' was engraved on the right side of the outline of the heart, and, on the smaller heart, the year was engraved.
She knelt down next to him. "I want us to be a family, Dave. I want us to be happy, together." He realized that there were tears glistening in the corner of her eye, and he knew immediately how much this had taken for her – to overcome all that that bastard had done to break her heart. "Is that possible?" She asked. He'd never seen her so unsure of herself. It broke his heart.
Gently, he took the ornament from her shaking fingers and hung it from its red ribbon on a sturdy branch of the evergreen tree. "It's more than possible." As if his fingers were moving by themselves, he reached inside of his jacket and grabbed a box. "I was saving this for tomorrow, but I think I need to give it to you now."
He enjoyed watching the look in her eyes go from puzzled to surprise as he held out the box. Her fingers were still shaking when she took it and revealed the pendant inside. She bit her lip as she removed it from the box; he reached out and touched her arm.
It was a silver pendant, the outline of a circle. Inside, there were three hearts – each encrusted with diamonds – joining inside the circle, a small family of hearts. Wordlessly, she held it out to him, and he took it in silent understanding. She held her hair back and he clasped the necklace into place.
Leaning over, he whispered in her ear, "Merry Christmas Eve, Jen."
The first of what he hoped would be many more to come.
Merry Christmas! I blame ilovetvalot for this one – though it didn't quite go as I expected it to, I'm glad that it went this way. It was a lot more angst-ridden than I intended, as well. I've never done this pairing before – hope it was done well.
Oh, all of the presents mentioned in this – the pendant, the ornament for Henry and JJ, and the ornament for JJ and Rossi – are linked on my profile page. The mention of Rossi searching for a terribly long time for her gift was an ode to myself, spending a half hour on the Jared website. I hope that you like the outcome.
Also, another note: with the Christmas songs. I had my local holiday station on, and the honest truth is that those songs actually came on in that order as I was writing. It was perfect, especially if you look up the lyrics to the second song.
The recipe for the cookies that JJ makes is also on the profile page.
Any mistakes in here … I blame the half of my brain that is currently taking a vacation in Panama. It won't be back for awhile, which is a slight of a problem because I have a research paper to do.
This one is dedicated, obviously, to ilovetvalot, for the prodding. Merry Christmas. Also a shout out to Kavi and Sienna's comm., for giving me the prompt for this. Thanks for inspiring the CM masses to write!