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Battle for the Bulbs
TV Prompt: Better Off Ted - Battle of the Bulbs
It was a well known fact throughout the Behavioral Analysis Unit that Penelope Garcia had served as Santa's right hand in a past life. It was the only explanation that anyone that knew her could accept for her need to extravagantly celebrate the Yuletide season each and every year.
And each year seemed to be more…festive…than the ones before.
All that knew her would tell you that from the day after Thanksgiving until the second day of January, Garcia became a walking, talking Christmas machine, putting any of Santa's favored elves to shame with her ingenuity and spirit. And all who knew her accepted her behavior as normal. Christmas was Garcia's realm, and they were all slaves to her holiday histrionics for one month of every year.
Well, everyone, that is, save one.
If there was one cracked holiday ornament on Garcia's tree of light, it was him.
And each member of the BAU's Alpha Team knew it.
Which was why on the first frosty Monday of December, all were gathered to watch the imminent Ebenezer Scrooge vs. Garcie the Snowgirl smackdown. So far, the odds were favored for Rossi to best Garcia three to one, the profiler's past victories skewing the bets. But Derek Morgan had a gut feeling that this year was Baby Girl's year to shine atop her Christmas tree.
Hearing the elevator ding behind him, Spencer Reid glanced over his shoulder as the grey metal doors slid over. Turning around quickly, he slapped Emily Prentiss' shoulder. "He's here! He's here! The eagle has landed," Reid whispered frantically, moving rapidly to the side of his desk, seeking to put solid furniture between him and the coming explosion.
Three sets of eyes swiveled to stare at a grim faced Rossi as he strode toward them, varying degrees of anticipation reflected on their supposedly controlled faces.
"What's everybody looking at?" Dave questioned gruffly as he approached, scanning each face for signs of oncoming disaster. His team rarely stood around clustered together looking that tense unless there was an unsub involved. "Did we catch a case?" he asked, mentally sighing in resignation.
"Ah...no," Hotch shook his head, carefully keeping his face blank despite his amusement.
"We were just...catching up," Emily added weakly, her dark eyes flashing toward Dave's office.
"You know, shooting the breeze, Rossi," Morgan said easily as he leaned against his desk, his lips twitching.
"With each other," Reid added nervously, gulping as his eyes slid up the stairs, mentally calculating the distance and time necessary for the coming war.
Frowning at the cagey crew assembled in front of him, Dave felt the first stirrings of unease climb his spine. Hotch, Prentiss, Morgan, Reid...where was Garcia? Garcia. Garcia!
"All right, you guys," Dave began, cocking his head as he narrowed his eyes on his teammates. "What's going on? Where's Penelope?" he asked bluntly.
"I...uh...she's around here somewhere," Emily murmured evasively, darting her eyes around the bullpen for effect from her perch atop Reid's desk.
"I think she had a special project she hoped to complete this morning," Hotch added blandly, his lips threatening to twitch as he added his two cents.
"You know how Baby Girl is with her pet projects," Morgan grinned, shifting his hip as he reached for a nearby candy cane, stripping off the cellophane wrapper.
"Yes," Reid bobbed his head, "Garcia can be quite industrious when she takes a notion," he agreed, his words coming quickly.
Inhaling deeply as he stared at his colleagues, Dave wrinkled his nose. What the hell was that smell? Was that cinnamon? It was. Cinnamon and spiced apples if he wasn't mistaken. Why would..."Oh, hell no!" Dave barked, stepping toward the group. "What so-called special project is Garcia working on?"
"I...well..." Emily faltered, glancing warily at the older profiler.
"She's in my office, isn't she?" Dave barked, jabbing a finger toward his closed office door. Glancing upward, he noted the drawn blinds on his window. "Why didn't one of you try to stop her?" Dave complained, grimacing as he spared a thought to what Winter Wonderland that whirlwind of Christmas Cheer had spread through his office.
"It's Garcia, Dave," Hotch replied dryly, shrugging his shoulders underneath his ever-present suit. "Quite frankly, I don't have balls that big."
"Cowards, all of you," Dave muttered, wincing again as he stared up at his office. "How long has she been spreading her Christmas propaganda all over my office, damn it?"
"Well, she was already up there when I arrived this morning," Reid admitted hesitantly. "That was at 7:30."
"She's been spreading hedonistic holiday horseshit all over my office for two hours?" Dave thundered.
"Actually closer to two and a half," Morgan chuckled gleefully, completely ignoring the senior agent's wrath. "Face it, Ebenezer, you're gonna be facing Santa's castle on crack."
"God bless me, everyone," Dave huffed, stomping toward the stairs.
"I think you mean, God bless us, everyone," Reid corrected automatically, retreating behind his desk once again as he felt a heated glare aimed in his direction.
"I said what I meant and meant what I said, kid," Dave retorted over his shoulder as he stiffened his spine.
He had a showdown with Santa to face. And he wasn't expecting to end up on the nice list when it was done.
Opening his office door a scant thirty seconds later, David Rossi fought the urge to howl as his eyes scanned his deviously decorated office. Fake snow dressed his window, while a large artificial tree stood in the corner, adorned festively with every colored bulb in the rainbow and twinkling with Christmas lights. Wrapped presents were placed with loving care beneath it, each festooned with a bright red bow. Hell, she even had a sprig of frickin' mistletoe hanging above his office door. The woman had gone certifiably insane.
"Halt, cease and desist," Dave said, raising his voice authoritatively as he slammed his office door closed behind him.
Jerking, Penelope's eyes widened as she almost fell of the ladder she was using to string Christmas lights across the top of his towering credenza. "Agent Rossi! You almost made me fall!" she admonished over her shoulder, her grip once again sure. "I was almost finished."
"Oh, you're finished, Garcia, trust me," Dave snorted, striding forward to stand in front of her ladder, hands on his hips. "Come down from there and face me like a woman," he demanded, his eyes flashing as he looked up at her.
Swallowing quickly, Garcia blinked innocently down at him. "No, thank you, Sir. I think I feel safer up here," she shook her head, jingle bells bouncing against her dog-ears.
"Garcia," Dave warned, bracing his hands on the ladder as she took another step upward, her busy hands efficiently untangling the white lights she held, "Back away from those lights, Red," he ordered sternly.
"Now, Agent Rossi," Penelope said, "I'm almost finished. If you'll just go get a cup of coffee or something I can...hey!" she yelped as Dave's long arm snagged the coiled lights from her hand. "Give that back," she frowned, tugging on the line.
"No. Let go, Penelope."
"You let go," Garcia retorted, her eyebrows drawing together as she tugged at the green line. "I've got Santa's work to do."
"You are NOT a missionary," Dave growled, jerking against the lights.
"No, I'm St. Nick's elfin emissary," Garcia replied hotly, tugging with all her might. "Lemmee have those lights, Ebenezer!"
"Three words, Kitten," Dave said, glaring at her, "Bah fucking humbug!"
"Well, Merry frickin' Christmas to you, too, Agent Stick up his Butt!" Penelope replied smartly, jerking the rope of lights toward her again. "Let it go! These lights are mine!"
"Yeah? Well this office is MINE," Dave countered, neither party aware that the door had opened ever so quietly.
Four heads watched in stunned awe as the battle raged.
"It's just a little Christmas spirit, Agent Rossi," Penelope tried to reason, tugging valiantly at the lights, her fingers gripping the ribbed roping.
"Kris Kringle threw up all over my office, Garcia. That is NOT just a little Christmas anything!" Dave blustered, wrenching the ropes toward him.
"Stop it!" Garcia growled, tugging the rope with a vicious pull, her foot slipping precariously on the top rung.
"Make me," Rossi challenged, pulling his end.
"Don't make me make you sorry, Agent Rossi," Penelope warned. "I've got a modem and I know how to use it. I think each of those ex-wives of yours would be thrilled to see a Christmas bonus in their alimony checks, wouldn't they?" she asked, narrowing her eyes evilly as she gave one last violent tug.
"Fine," Dave huffed, letting go of his end of the lights and widening his eyes as Penelope's shriek filled the air.
"I'm falling," she squealed, losing the battle for her balance on the ladder and toppling to one side.
"Oh, hell," Dave groaned, moving quickly to reach for her.
Their bodies collided with enough force to knock the breath from both of them as they tumbled to the floor. "Oh, God," Dave gasped, trying to catch his breath as he twisted, falling to the ground first.
"This is all your fault," Penelope moaned, rolling off him as their team's laughter filled the room. "We've got an audience," she sighed to Rossi, slapping his chest with her taloned nails for emphasis.
Dave sighed heavily. Well, it was official; the death knell had been sounded on his Christmas decorating chaos for good.
"Well, fa la la la la, la freaking la," Dave sang weakly, a groan filling his voice as he closed his eyes against the sound of cheerful laughter.