Disclaimer: I don't own CM or any of the characters.
A/N: This is for the Chit Chat on Author's Corner Christmas Challenge for missingthepoint. Merry Christmas and I hope you like it!
I used the prompts White Christmas, teddy bear, and snow. FYI this will have one more chapter.
May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.
On this particular night, the air was pulsing with excitement and preparation. A blanket of snowy-white frost covered the roof of every building, and Christmas lights flowed in long strings from doorway to doorway. Children kicked at the icy gravel spread across the ground as they laughed and played, while their mothers, arms overflowing with brightly-wrapped presents, followed behind them, talking animatedly. Wreaths were apparent on every door, and large stockings hung on mantelpieces, next to the tables overflowing with delicious food of all kind. Past the large shops, with their brightly lit signs and huge displays, there was an empty, undecorated building, and perhaps seen this sign:
'Carollers, please note: We are not going to sit here while you waste fifteen minutes of our lives, we are not going to smile while you give us permanent ear damage, and we are damn well not going to give you any figgy pudding!
We hope you have a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year!'
Inside the building, a group of tired, worn people, with their heads bent over their desks, sat silently, brooding. One of these people was called Emily Prentiss, and she was contemplating the sign.
"We are the Grinch split into seven," she said moodily, sighing again as she remembered the sign.
"No, we're not," David Rossi said firmly- he had been the one who worded the sign. And the one who wrote it. And the one who decided to put it up.
And the one who decided to make a sign in the first place.
"We are definitely not Grinches," he continued, "The Grinch has its own name, and comes in female form with blonde hair."
"Hey!" JJ objected. She was sitting at one of the empty desks, unwilling to spend the night alone in her office.
"I think he means Strauss," Hotch said.
Derek Morgan looked up from the stack of papers on his desk. "Yeah. Although, in all honesty Jayje? What you did was just mean." And calling her out on it was 'just mean', too.
She crossed her arms at his accusation. "God, Derek, there was a guy kidnapping five year-olds. It's not my fault the case ended on Christmas Eve! Maybe if you guys had found the unsub faster..."
"We found him in four fucking days!"
"That's enough, you two," Hotch interjected, his patience already wearing thin. "Morgan, JJ was doing her job, and now we're doing ours. If you have a problem with that, take it up with me. Later."
"Why can't we just get Christmas off?" Garcia asked, looking at the Reid. "Isn't there a rule or something?"
Morgan barked out a harsh, dry laugh. "In case you hadn't noticed, baby girl, we're kinda exempt from the No-Working-On-Holidays rule. Case and point would be Thanksgiving, New Year's, last year's Halloween, New Year's from two years ago, National Day two years ago, the-"
"We get it."
"But Strauss can't make us work on Christmas can she?" Prentiss asked, pen stopped mid-sentence. "I mean, it's not like I care too much whether it's Christmas or not, but I really need an off-day!"
Emily Prentiss had no-one to spend her Christmas with- and she hadn't had anyone for the last three years. Neither had JJ. Nor had Reid, or Garcia, or Rossi. Morgan did have his dog, although he was hardly good company.
"She isn't making us stay on Christmas- she's making us stay until we finish the paperwork," Hotch corrected softly. Hotch, for one, had his son. And he was willing to work until six a.m. if it meant he could be home in time to see Jack open his presents.
Reid nodded at Hotch's statement. "Yes, and if we work constantly without any breaks, we should have it all completed in," he checked his watch, "less than three hours. It should be done by midnight!" He beamed.
"And if we don't work constantly?" JJ asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"Well," he scrunched up his forehead, "if we work at our normal pace, that is, with coffee breaks, numerous social breaks, procrastination in various form and countless bathroom breaks, it should take us just over six hours."
The team groaned collectively, knowing just as well as we do that they would finish until three a.m.
Morgan, ever eloquent, pushed away from his desk. "This is bull."
Garcia cocked her bedazzled head to one side. "Um, I thought none of you really give two hoots about Christmas."
"We don't," Prentiss agreed. "It's the fact that everybody else that we work 24/7 to save, has the day off. But of course, we don't."
A beat of silence followed. Then: "I know what we are," JJ said suddenly. "We're not Grinches; we're Scrooges!" She sounded strangely joyous at this realization.
"We're Scrooges who're stuck at the office until three on Christmas..." Morgan murmured in agreement. "Can she even do that?" His last question was directed at Hotch, who shrugged.
"Technically, we have Christmas Day off, as well as the week after. But she can make us stay until midnight." He cleared his throat, knowing they wouldn't like what he had to say next. "But honestly? I get where she's coming from. The paperwork for this case needs to be completed before next Tuesday, and since we have the week after Christmas off, if we don't do it now, it'll never happen."
"Which brings me back to the 'JJ should not have picked a case which she knew would end just before Christmas' point!" Morgan grouched.
"You know what?" JJ started, putting her pen down.
"I think that's enough. We're going to take a break, and when we return we are going to stop acting like irrational idiots," Hotch ordered sternly, eyeing JJ and Morgan, who looked down uncomfortably.
Just then, the sound of a cart trundling up the hall was heard. "Uh, excuse me? Is there an Agent Prentiss here?" A young man of about 19 waved a card and a teddy bear at them. "I have some mail for her. Sorry it's late- we just found it and I brought it straight over."
Emily smiled at him as he handed her the card. "No worries. Thanks!" The second he wheeled his cart away, she tore open the card and read it out sarcastically, her tone hardening with each word. "May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white..."
"That's nice..." Morgan commented, not really getting it. "It's that song, isn't it? 'White Christmas'? And the teddy's pretty cute."
Emily let out her breath slowly. "It's from my mom. And she didn't even write anything. Nothing."
Morgan picked up the teddy bear, which she hadn't even looked at. "Maybe she didn't have time?"
"No. What that means is she sent someone out to buy me a card and a toy and mail it, without lifting a finger herself." Throwing the empty card in the trash, she stood up, shrugging. "Whatever."
"Where are you going?" JJ called as Emily strode out of the bullpen, stuffing her arms into the sleeves of her coat as she walked.
"Outside." On second thoughts, she stopped, turning around to face them. "You guys wanna come?"
JJ looked at the pile of work in front of her. Then at the snow through the window. Back at the paperwork. And: "Yes!"
"We can do the work later," she added as Hotch opened his mouth to argue. "We'll take it home with us and do it during the holidays."
After a beat of silence, he relented. "Alright. We can all join Prentiss outside...Where is Prentiss anyway?"
Emily was already outside, taking in the softly-falling snow and the biting-cold wind. Suddenly, a clump of snow was thrown into her hair by the wind, and she rubbed the back of her head, wincing. Staring at the pieces of snow on the ground, she glanced back at the BAU, knowing the others would still be suiting up and getting into the elevator. Or at least, waiting for Rossi to suit up and get into the elevator. Which gave her...about four minutes. Give or take.
And every second of those four minutes would be extremely well-spent.