A/N: As today is the first day of advent, I thought I'd write a Christmas-themed oneshot. The Christmas Pantomime is a bit of a tradition in the UK and was kind of the inspiration for this story. Please read and review. :- )
Disclaimer: I don't own Cold Case.
A Philadelphia Fairytale
It was December and Philly PD had organised a fundraising event in the form of a small stage production of Sleeping Beauty. Kat Miller had been put in charge of this event and was wandering around the bullpen one afternoon trying to sign people up for the production.
As she saw her approach, Lilly ran into the break room where Will Jeffries was getting himself a coffee, leaving Scotty and Nick to be cornered. As Scotty was on the phone at the time, Kat approached Nick first. "Hey Nick, you wanna sign up for the play?" She asked.
"Not really." Nick replied in between bites of his donut.
"Come on, where's your Christmas spirit?" she teased him, "It's for a good cause. The money raised from ticket sales will go to help starving children."
"Lay the guilt trip on me why don't you?" He sighed, "Okay, okay I'll do it." He told her, relenting. Just then, Scotty got off the phone.
"Ah there's our prince!" Kat said as she walked over to him.
"Good to see you too Miller!" Scotty replied, a cheeky grin on his face.
"She's signing you up for the Christmas play!" Nick told him over Kat's shoulder.
Scotty smiled brightly. "Sure, I'll do it!"He said, surprising Nick.
"Thought you hated that kind of thing?" Nick asked.
"It's for a good cause!" Scotty replied smiling.
Miller rolled her eyes, "and because Linda McNally from Ballistics will be playing Sleeping Beauty!"
"Why can't I ever get to play the prince? Who am I being cast as anyway?" Nick asked, frowning.
Kat looked down at the list, "the wicked fairy." She said casually and then walked into the break room, leaving Scotty in hysterics.
Kat saw Lilly and Will in the break room. "Lil, you wanna take part in the Christmas play?" She asked.
"Err no, I don't think so." Lilly replied.
Kat looked at her knowingly, "I could use a production assistant – someone to make sure everything runs smoothly and to help the guys out with their lines?" Lilly paused for a moment, hesitant.
"I don't know Kat, there's a lot to be done around here…."
"It'll be after work and anyway we haven't had a case in about 2 weeks, and besides, Will has volunteered to cover for us."
Lilly paused, thinking how she could get out of this.
"Yeah don't worry Lil, we'll let you know if things get busy again, but right now, it's quiet." Will assured her.
Lilly looked at her male colleague "how did you get out of it?"
Will looked at her and smiled, "Cos I asked Boss first!" he said, grinning and he then walked back to his desk, leaving Lilly alone with Kat looking at her expectantly.
"Okay," Lilly sighed in resignation, "as it's for a good cause."
Kat smiled triumphantly, "thanks Lil."
There were just a couple of days left before the performance. Kat and Lilly were busy getting the sets ready for the scene where the prince finally wakes the princess from her slumber. Kat had told her that they needed to make the set look like it was overrun with thorny vines but Lilly felt there needed to be some wildflowers there too so she had stayed up the night before making some out of paper, she had even made little stalks for them too. They looked really pretty scattered about the set. She didn't dare admit it to anyone to anyone, as it would kill her Ice Queen image at work, but she enjoyed doing little creative touches like that.
She was just finishing up when she heard Kat, Scotty and Lynda walk into the room, talking and laughing together. She looked up and smiled as she saw Kat's daughter Veronica walking towards her, carrying a box of Christmas decorations.
"Lilly, do you want to help me decorate the tree?" the young girl asked her.
"What tree?" Lilly asked confused.
"This one!" Nick said trailing behind the others, carrying a 6ft tall artificial Christmas tree.
"Set it down in that corner." Kat instructed him and then walked over to Lilly and her daughter. "Thought this place could use some Christmas cheer!" she told her. "Do you mind helping Ronnie put up the decorations; I got to get this lot ready to rehearse this scene?"
Lilly smiled, "sure, no problem. Come on Veronica." Veronica smiled and followed Lilly to the corner where Nick had set down the tree. Lilly didn't normally enjoy Christmas but there was a different energy in the air this year. She thought that maybe seeing the excitement and joy in Veronica's face made her feel hopeful. The two of them proceeded to adorn the tree with baubles, tinsel and lights and when they had finished they stepped back to admire a job well done.
"We still have some tinsel left over, why don't we hang some from the ceiling?" Veronica asked while holding the long reams of tinsel up.
"You know, that's a good idea. I'll go get the ladder." Lilly told her and made her way backstage.
While she was moving boxes around in an attempt to get to the ladder, she heard a male voice behind her call her name, "Lil?"
Lilly turned around to find Scotty standing there, one of her wildflowers in his hand. "Hey Scotty," she greeted.
"You've done a great job with the set, did you make these?" He asked, referring to the wildflowers.
Lilly blushed, "err yeah, I did."
"They're beautiful Lil," he said and she smiled shyly.
He reached out and put the flower in her hair. He was smiling now, partly amused at how shy she had suddenly become.
The moment was broken with the sound of Kat calling everyone to rehearsal. Scotty's eyes lingered on Lilly for a second more before he joined Nick and Linda to get ready for the scene.
After helping Veronica put up the rest of the decorations, she went backstage to watch the rehearsal. Once there she noticed Linda sitting on a chair practising her lines. "Need any help?" Lilly offered.
Linda looked up and let out a frustrated sigh, "I just can't concentrate today. No matter how much I try, I can't seem to remember this one damn line!"
Lilly had a look at her script. "Isn't this the one we practised yesterday?"
"I know, do you mind going through it with me again?"
Lilly smiled and handed her back her script, "sure." Without looking at the script, Lilly recited the lines of the old woman sitting at the spinning wheel and when she was finished, she looked at Linda expectantly for her to say her line.
However, Linda just looked her in disbelief, "how the hell did you memorise all that?"
Lilly smiled, "must be my training as a detective, helps when you need to keep track of all the suspects' lies."
Linda smiled and then sighed, "I better get out there; my bit's coming up shortly. She then sneezed.
"Bless you!" Lilly said.
"Thanks. Must be all this dust around here." Linda smiled, "thanks again Lilly." She then walked onto the stage when she was cued.
It was December 23rd and finally the day of the performance had arrived. The play was due to start at 7pm that evening and after they had finished work, Lilly and Scotty headed off together to get ready. "So you nervous about tonight?" Lilly asked her partner.
"Nah, I got my lines down, and I got my natural stage charm." Scotty replied and Lilly rolled her eyes and laughed.
"Good thing there's no traffic; we don't have much time left to get everything set up and ready."
"Sounds to me like you're nervous!" Scotty observed.
"I just want everything to go okay. We've all worked so hard on this. I hope the costumes have arrived. Kat looked pretty annoyed when she was on the phone today trying to sort it all out!"
Scotty smiled, "don't worry Lil, everything'll be fine."
They pulled into the parking lot ten minutes later, got out of the car and made their way to the hall where the play was to take place. Once there, they were greeted by a frustrated looking Kat. "Thank God you're here!" she exclaimed.
"What's wrong?" Lilly asked.
"Half the cast haven't arrived yet and we've got only forty five minutes to get ready. And the heating's not working, it's freezing in here! At least the costumes arrived - ten minutes ago! God, I feel like kicking someone's ass! Scotty you need to go backstage to get changed." Scotty nodded and walked off.
"Damn it!" Kat was getting increasingly frustrated.
"I'll go get the stage ready for the first scene." Lilly told her, in an attempt to calm her colleague down. Kat nodded and then went to find Nick.
There were now just fifteen minutes until the start of the performance and Kat had begun to pace the floor. "You okay?" Lilly asked.
"You're not gonna believe this!" she began, "Linda has the flu! She has a fever and a throat so sore and hoarse that I was barely able to understand when she was saying!" She clenched her fist as if she was about to punch something. "What the hell are we going to do now?"
Scotty came over to join the two of them. "What's goin' on?" He asked, concerned.
"Oh, nothing," Kat told him sarcastically, "just our star actress getting a bout of flu!"
"Oh crap!" Scotty exclaimed.
Just then, they heard someone approach them, shouting. "No, absolutely not!"
Kat turned around to see Nick and tried her very best not to yell at him. "What is it now Nick?"
"I agreed to wear the makeup and these stupid wings, but under no circumstance will I be wearing THIS!" He informed her holding up a pair of snug fitting leggings.
Scotty laughed, "You afraid you won't meet the ladies' expectations Nicky?"
Nick scowled, "one more word out of you Valens and I'll..."
"Alright! That's enough!" Kat said, her voice was now raised in annoyance. "I have enough to deal with without the two of you going at each other like a couple of adolescents!" She took a deep breath and an idea came into her mind. "Lil, you know the princesses' lines..."
Suddenly a mild look of horror adorned Lilly's face. "No, Kat. No, I don't think I could do that!"
"Come on Lil, we're desperate. Please."
Lilly could see that there really was no other alternative and not wanting to let everyone down, nodded her head. "Okay, okay."
The relief on Kat's face was obvious as she let out a long breath she didn't realise she had been holding. "Thank you Lil. I owe you one!" She then turned to Nick, "Come on Nick, let's see if we can find something else."
The play was going well, Lilly remembered all her lines perfectly, Scotty looked very handsome in his costume and even Nick managed to keep it together in spite of all the giggles from the audience that his costume garnered. They were coming up to the part where the prince enters the tower to wake the princess from her deep sleep. As Scotty approached Lilly, who was lying down covered by artificial branches, he was taken back by how beautiful she looked in her dress, her silky blonde hair strewn about her shoulders. She really does look like a princess. He thought to himself and could barely take his eyes off her. He slowly leant down to kiss her; he could smell the delicate floral scent of her perfume as his lips softly touched hers. A few seconds later Scotty was confronted with a beautiful burst of blue as Lilly's eyes fluttered open. The princess had been awakened. Scotty pulled back and gently took Lilly hand in his as he lifted her up. It was only then that he fully saw the dress she was wearing. Luckily for Lilly, Linda was roughly the same build as her, albeit a little shorter, so the dress fitted her perfectly although it was a bit shorter than was intended, stopping just below her knees. The two of them stood there, smiling, each holding the other's glance as Kat, who was also the narrator, told the audience:
"The prince and the princess were soon married and the king and queen held a feast in their honour. And they both lived happily ever after. The end." As the curtain slowly came down, the audience got to their feet for a standing ovation. Kat smiled in contentment and the audience whistled, clapped and cheered - the play was a complete success!
After the actors had taken their bows they all headed backstage. Scotty took Lilly aside to congratulate her on her performance. "You were really great tonight Lil, I'm glad you agreed to do it." He told her, his eyes sparkling.
Lilly smiled, "thanks Scotty. Not sure the role really suited me though."
Scotty shook his head in disbelief. Stepping closer to her he said, "the story goes, that the good fairies bestowed upon the princess gifts of beauty, grace, intelligence..I can't think of anyone else more suited to the role."
Lilly's face turned a shade of crimson at those words and her eyes fell to the floor, not expecting her partner to talk to her like that. Scotty didn't know whether it was the feeling of happiness and relief that the play had gone well, the distinct Christmas feeling in the air or the fact that his usually tough-as-nails partner looked decidedly adorable in her white flowing dress and pink stained features, but he found himself leaning into her and lightly kissing her cheek. Lilly jumped slightly in shock at the unexpected gesture. "I...I need to go get changed.." she stammered, but as she began to turn and walk away, Scotty caught hold of her hand which made her stop and turn to face him.
"Merry Christmas Lil."
Lilly looked into his eyes and reflected the smile she saw on his face. "Merry Christmas Scotty."