DISCLAIMER: Not mine. I promise I'm only borrowing them and will return them to their rightful owners whenever they ask for them back. My imagination took a flight of fancy.....my bank account stayed empty. (Seriously, the casts of SVU, SG1, CSI and Voyager belong to other people and I'm only borrowing them for some free daydreaming that I wrote down).
SPOILERS: No spoilers. This is a fic that's entirely Ralst's fault .Happy Christmas all, wherever you are!
CHALLENGE RESPONSE: Submitted for the Passion & Perfection Xmas Challenge 2005
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Why are we here?" grumbled Sara Sidle good naturedly as she was led by her long suffering lover through the crowded shopping mall
"Because Lindsey wants to ask Santa for her big Christmas Wish present" replied Catherine Willows, trying not to look too amused at her lover's mock scowl. If there was one thing Sara seemed to hate more than loose ends in a case it was pre-Christmas festive crowds.
"But " began Sara, only to be immediately silenced by the growl and raised finger waved under her nose
"Nope, not a word " began Catherine for what felt like the thousand time since she'd outlined their weekend plans to Sara at the start of the previous shift
"But I was only going to say "
protested Sam Carter, sending a pleading look for support towards her lover, Janet Fraiser
"Nope, not listening" shouted Cassandra Fraiser, emphasising her point by sticking her fingers in her ears and singing 'Jingle Bells' at the top of her voice
"She's not listening to you Sam" confirmed Janet, amused by the petulant expression now adorning her lover's face. It took all of the petit woman's formidable 'CMO power' to refrain from ruffling the astrophysicist's already tousled hair.
"But she should .why won't she even let me talk to her?" Sam inwardly cringed at how whiny she was probably sounding but was seemingly determined to get to the bottom of this mini-parenting crisis she was currently facing
"Because she thinks you're going to tell her that Santa doesn't exist"
"You mean that Alexandra Cabot, Assistant District Attorney, blood so blue you can John Hancock a warrant with it, still believes in Father Christmas?" asked Elliot, shocked
"No, that's not what I meant ." Began Olivia wearily, regretting bringing the topic up
"But it's what you said " observed Munch reasonably
"Yes, but it's not what I meant!" protested Olivia weakly, already too frustrated to even bother attempting to clarify her situation
"So what did you mean Detective?"
"Alex!" Startled, Olivia leapt out of her chair which obediently rolled back into the wall of lockers with a satisfying thump
"Tell me Olivia, what did you mean when you said whatever you said " teased Alex, sipping from her coffee which she'd bought on her way over from Court
"You drink too much caffeinated refreshment" observed Seven of Nine suddenly
"Stop dodging the question Seven" teased Captain Janeway, amused by her normally controlled Borg's visible unease
"I have not moved" came the infuriatingly logical response
"Yes Captain?" The intonation was as calm and crisp as ever, but the fractional twitch of implant spoke volumes
"Would you care to tell me why you're so adamant that Santa Claus does exist, a sentiment which, whilst delightfully human, is completely out of character for your normal non-festive Borg self?" asked Kathryn, her amusement coming to the fore now she'd seen the subtle clue that Seven was in excellent humour
"Because I have met him, twice." The sheer precision of the answer, combined with the tone of voice, which Seven normally reserved for such unequivocal statements such as 'Irrelevant' prompted Kathryn to react in a most unfortunate way.
"You've spilled your coffee" observed Alex neutrally, although the blue orbs framed by the understated elegance that was the 'glasses of justice' sparkled with merriment.
"What?" confused, Olivia glanced back at her desk where, as Alex had finally commented in the pregnant silence, she had indeed spilt her coffee. As she half-heartedly mopped up the spreading liquid with a blank DD-5, Alex rephrased her earlier enquiry
"What did you intend everyone to think when you said whatever you said a few minutes ago that is now being, as far as you're concerned, completely and erroneously misinterpreted?"
"Good day in court Counsellor?" asked Munch, impressed
"Fabulous, thank you." Smiling, Alex turned her attention to Elliot and fixed him with that special look, the one that says 'spill, now' so eloquently.
"Olivia said you still believed in Santa Claus " Smiling triumphantly, she set her coffee cup down on Olivia's desk. She'd got him so well trained .
"Why would I do that?"
asked Sam seriously, pulling Janet into her lap.
"It's what most parents seem to be doing this Christmas, according to Cassie at least" explained Janet equally seriously, keeping a discrete eye on Cassie out of the corner of her eye.
"Ah, but we're not most parents"
"True, and Cassie's not most kids either "
"Not to mention all the really cool surprises we could give her, if only she'd listen to us sometimes " continued Sam, wondering if Cassie would take the bait.
Jingle Bells stopped.
"True, like that time Jack took her fishing ." Began Janet, wondering how long it would take for Cassie's patience to snap.
"Alright, I'm listening!"
Not long at all.
"You really listening?"
"Ah, well I'm not going to say it now!" came the teasing response,
prompting a groan from Catherine as too late she recognised the teasing glint in Sara's eye. Unfortunately, their exchange had attracted some unwanted attention
"Not going to say what?" asked Lindsey, suddenly interested in the 'grown up' conversation that was being conducted above her head
"Not going to say nothing" countered Sara quickly, flashing a triumphant grin at Catherine as she managed to derail Lindsey's natural curiosity with the tongue-twister-like phrase
"But you just said something!" came the triumphant response after a few seconds as Lindsey found a flaw in Sara's comment, earning Sara a poke in the ribs from Catherine and Lindsey a rewarding pat on the head
"Do you want to wait in line on your own, or do you want to go and see Santa with one of us?" asked Catherine, ignoring once again the groan that sneaked past Sara's lips. The second thing it seemed that the slender brunette hated, after loose ends in cases and crowded shopping malls, was waiting in line with lots of other people's children.
"On my own?" asked Lindsey keenly, eager for the opportunity to, as she saw it, be a 'big girl'. As the blonde girl joined the back of the line which was being carefully controlled and supervised by mall staff, Catherine felt rather than heard the muttered protestation
"I wasn't going to say it!"
Wearily, Kathryn Janeway took that vital final step through the ready room doors and visibly slumped the moment the doors separating her from the Bridge sealed closed. Christmas Day may hold special meaning for many millions of people but in deep space it was just another day and just another Bridge Duty. This far from Earth and it was just another Stardate, neatly sandwiched in the Captain's off duty rotation between alpha shifts. Stepping onto her Bridge that morning, with forced smile on her face, she had gradually felt the smile become genuine as she took in the animated faces of her fellow officers but the tension of command and the ever present seeds of isolation and loneliness remained. Glad to be in the sanctuary of her ready room for a few moments before braving the maze of ship's corridors that would lead her to her quarters, she crossed to the replicator, intending to make herself a cup of fortifying coffee .
Sipping from the cup, Janet couldn't help but wince at the taste. Obviously, this was a pot made some time ago. Sighing, she returned to the coffee maker and automatically started making a fresh pot, her mind focussed on other things, including why it was that for so many alien races, Christmas Day was the perfect day to try and unleash all manner of random plagues on the Tauri. Couldn't they appreciate the notion of a day at home with your loved ones? Running her fingers through her hair, trying to massage away some of the tension she was feeling, Janet mentally reviewed her progress so far. The 'cure' had been sent to the labs for final tests which, as far as she was concerned were just an administrative formality. By her rough calculations, she would be able to deliver the first treatment in about two hours, with the effects being apparent in a further 3 hours. Two more hours would be needed to supervise the distribution of the successful medication to all those affected and then the lockdown would be lifted and she could get home
Glancing at her watch, Sara reckoned that by that time, even for Vegas, the roads should be quiet enough for her to get home in under twenty minutes. If she was really, really lucky, she might even manage to get into bed 'early' enough so as to maybe get some quality time with her lover before a kiddie-tornado hurtled through the house. She'd yet to experience the phenomenon that was Lindsey Willows on Christmas Morning first hand, but she'd managed to accumulate enough evidence to suggest it was a sight to behold. One thing that was certain was that if this DNA sample didn't match their suspect in the next two minutes she was unlikely to get home before Catherine awoke. Catching herself just as she was about to glance at her watch again, she was taken out of her misery by the welcome beep of DNA machine .
Ignoring the beep that signalled a text message, Olivia Benson determinedly shut off her cell phone. Shaking the snow from her coat, she toed off her heavy boots and left all her cold outer clothes in the hallway; stealing a look at the clock as she made her way through her apartment, hoping that it really wasn't accurate. Not that she ever begrudged people reporting legitimate crimes but did they really have to do them at 11pm on Christmas Eve? Didn't they understand that even dedicated NYPD detectives wanted to be home on Christmas morning, preferably having had some sleep? Pausing only in the kitchen to pour a glass of water, Olivia Benson headed for her bedroom.
In the early hours of Christmas Day morning, four weary women trudged home to their beds, each idly wishing for something nice to unwrap from Santa Claus when they awoke in a few scant hours' time. The fact that none of them believed in Father Christmas was not the point, for the hour was late enough that idle fantasy and childhood dreams could be indulged in all seriousness, without fear of embarrassment or exposure. Pausing on the threshold of their bedrooms, they all stopped, each one's senses alerted to something being not quite right, although the 'wrongness' that was being felt was instinctively categorised as being 'good'. As each woman's eyesight adjusted to the dim light that the stars were providing through the uncovered windows the silence and stillness was broken as the bedcovers moved. In husky voice, the blonde in the bed whispered
"Do you believe in Santa now darling?"
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