Title: A Turkey and Some Mistletoe
Characters: Alec McDowell, Peter Burke/Elizabeth Burke, Neal Caffrey
Content Warning: Teeth-rotting fluff.
Summary: In which Alec finds himself with an unexpected Christmas surprise.
Author’s Notes: Written for the awesome fribbled, and her wonderful Peter. Merry Christmas!
Disclaimer: I don’t own. They belong to FOX and USA. I’m just borrowing and will put everything back where I found it.
“So, Alec,” Peter begins as he’s sitting behind his desk, finishing up the last of the paperwork. “What are you doing for Christmas?”
Alec likes being in Peter’s office—or at least, the fact that he’s able to poke around in Peter’s office. Peter gives him a bit longer of a leash than his lovely NSA handlers, and so long as he doesn’t pick up and look through anything too explosive or work-relevant, he’s allowed to peruse whatever he likes. Mostly because Peter knows that he wouldn’t be able to stop him otherwise. He’s a bit like Neal that way.
Which, by the way—Alec really likes Neal. With the exception of when Peter looks like he’s going to explode because of something Neal did. He has enough self-preservation instinct for that, at least.
That question, however, makes it feel like a pile of ice is sloshing in his stomach. “Not much. Hard when you’re being held by the government and your family is across the country.” Holidays make him miss Seattle all the more, but he did the right thing. He’s protecting his family this way, and he just has to hope that they throw some extra lights up, just for him.
That seems to strike Peter quiet, however. “Nothing at all? Not even a phone call?”
Alec gives him a skeptical look at that. “Are you kidding? They’re way too paranoid about me to give me a phone.” The NSA still hasn’t learned that you apply enough of the right kind of pressure, and a person will do as they’re told without that much coercion. This is probably part of the reason why they never were able to really handle the X-series.
“Huh,” Peter comments dryly. “That’s a shame.”
He shrugs again. “Not like I’m accustomed to having it. Manticore wasn’t exactly big on encouraging the season of giving either.” He’s whining. It feels like he’s whining, when really he’s just trying to be clear. Christmas? Not that big a deal. He’s a big boy. He’ll suck it up.
Peter, on the other hand, just falls quiet and goes back to his paperwork. If Alec didn’t know better, he’d say the wheels in the man’s head are spinning. But he does know better—because as much as he may like Peter, he’s not expecting the man to go out on too many limbs for him. He is, after all, just a weapon. He doesn’t really expect to be seen as anything different.
He’s up at six AM on Christmas morning, and has a pile of books to read and TV privileges to abuse. The guards don’t want to be around him any more than he wants to be around them, so he keeps to himself, only really looking up at mealtimes when they bring in his food. It is bound to be a long day, with nothing to really break it up, but he isn’t going to let it bug him. Much.
In the end, though, he isn’t in the cell for that long. Around nine AM, the door to his cell rumbled to life, and he looks up to see Peter Burke standing in the doorway. He’s confused—he figured that Peter would be spending the day with his wife—but apparently there he is, standing in the doorway.
“We’ve got a case. Let’s go.”
“A case?” He doesn’t disobey. He pushes to his feet, and grabs his boots and jacket, but that doesn’t stop him from questioning what’s going on. “On Christmas.”
“Apparently crime waits for nothing—not even the holiday spirit.”
He knows this logic is flawed. Peter works white collar crime—those cases just don’t come up on Christmas—but he’s not going look a gift horse in the mouth. He follows him out the door without question and down to the bureau issued black sedan. He slides in the front seat, buckling up before speaking.
“Your wife must have pitched a fit.”
Peter smirks, Alec isn’t entirely sure why, and nods. “She just wants me to solve the case and get home as soon as possible.”
Alec nods. Solve the case fast—he could do that. Just because he is having a sucky Christmas doesn’t mean that he wants Peter to have the same. He sits in the silence of the car for a while until he realizes that they aren’t going anywhere near the FBI building. He frowns, before glancing back at him.
“Are we going to the crime scene?”
“Not exactly.” A few minutes later, they pull into a residential neighborhood, and Peter pulls the car to a stop in front of a house. He puts the car in park, before looking over at Alec with a small smile. “Elizabeth insisted, and I couldn’t really find the grounds to disagree with her.”
There’s a long silence. Alec is trying to process what’s happening because it can’t be happening. There’s no reason for logical conclusion to be happening. So he just stares at the house, before turning to stare at Peter.
“We’re inviting you to dinner,” Peter says with a small smile. “Merry Christmas, Alec.”
Alec is quiet for a moment, before looking up at the window again. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Peter laughs, before starting to climb out of the car. “Come on—the food’s getting cold.”
The food is good. Really good. So good that Alec eats too much of it and ends up sprawling on the couch, rubbing his stomach gently. He is almost content enough to purr, but he knows that Peter is weird enough about his catlike tendencies. He doesn’t want to freak out his wife as well. She seems rather pleased with the way he attacked her food though—that much is written on her face when she comes out to sit on the armchair near his head with her cup of coffee.
“I take it the food was up to par?”
His head tips back so that he’s looking at her upside down and he flashes a lazy smile. “Are you kidding? I’m basically living on prison food. Compared to that, that was the king’s feast.”
She laughs. “I hardly think it’s that good, but thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he replies politely. “And thank you for having me.”
“It wasn’t any trouble,” Elizabeth sighs, waving a hand. “Peter mentioned that you were going to be spending Christmas alone, and I always make too much food anyway. I’m sure our refrigerator will appreciate the lack of leftovers.”
“Well, if you ever want Peter to fake another case so that I can come over and clear out your fridge, trust me—it won’t be a problem.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” she grins, before looking up as Peter appears in the doorway. Alec follows her eyes and flashes Peter the same smile on his face. “Neal kick your ass at chess again, sweetie?”
“We’re putting the game on hold for a little,” he sighs, before looking back at Alec. “Time to go.”
“Do you plan on carrying me? Because I don’t think my legs are going to work.”
“Don’t be a smartass,” Peter says with a look. “It’s almost curfew.”
Alec sighs as he pushes himself into a sitting position. “Yeah, I know.” He gets to his feet, before turning back to Elizabeth and extending a hand to her. “Again, thank you for having me.”
She squeezes his hand before nodding. “You’re welcome anytime.”
Alec nods, before turning and following Peter out the door. He makes it about halfway to the car with his hands in his pockets before he stops. “Hey, Peter?” The older man turns around, and all it takes is a few steps before Alec is wrapping his arms around the other man in a tight hug. He’s quiet for a moment, but eventually there’s a murmured ‘thank you,’ against his shoulder.
Peter tenses at first, before his arms come up and slide around the younger man’s shoulders. “Anytime, Alec,” he says softly. “It’s the least I could do.”