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Christmases Future

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Christmases Future
by nancy

Christmas fell on a rare down period between cases. That was good because Patrick wanted to watch, unimpeded, as everyone opened presents that they'd insisted they didn't want from him, but really did. Most of the other teams headed home to family as soon as the clock officially said they could, but their team had become a kind of family over the last few years. More of one than Patrick wanted to admit, if he was honest.

Sitting on his sofa, Patrick watched as Grace opened her small, perfectly wrapped gift first. She was the most difficult to buy for, but mostly because he didn't want to put Rigsby in the uncomfortable position of competing. He had a lot more money than the agent and didn't want to accidentally show him up.

When Grace opened the bottle of perfume, not too expensive, but in high demand, she smiled at him and exclaimed, "I love this perfume!" and rushed over to hug him.

Patrick stiffened at first, not expecting the outpouring of thanks, and then relaxed a little. He awkwardly patted her back and said, "I'm glad."

Rigsby scowled a little, but only until she went to sit near him. They were still officially not together due to regs, although the whole team knew they were, so she simply put her hand on top of his. That made Rigsby smile at her and then back at Patrick, asking, "So? What about me?"

Cho snorted and observed, "Subtle."

Patrick laughed and picked up an envelope, tossing it over.

Frowning, Rigsby opened it and then jumped to his feet with a crow of excitement. "Season tickets! No way!"

Patrick grinned and then `oofed' when the bigger man grabbed him in a bear hug, the air gone in a rush. He coughed a little when Rigsby put him down and then said, "I guess you liked them."

"Season tickets? Hell yeah," Rigsby replied, grinning. Then his face fell and he continued, "Of course, now our present seems kinda lame."

Patrick's eyebrows rose in curiosity and he asked, "What is it?"

Grace stood and handed over a card. She looked a little shy as she said, "It's from both of us."

"I didn't hear that," Lisbon immediately stated, smiling. "Jane, open your present from the mysterious benefactor known as Santa."

Patrick winked at her and opened the card to find both a silly message inside and a piece of paper. That turned out to be a membership in a World Tea Club, which promised a new, exotic tea to arrive every month. Surprised, he gave them both a smile and said simply, "I love it. Thank you."

Rigsby rubbed the back of his neck with a look of embarrassment, but Grace smiled back and hugged him again, more gently.

"Okay, my turn," Lisbon announced.

Grateful for the interruption, Patrick clapped his hand together and said, "Yes! No pony this time, unfortunately."

Lisbon rolled her eyes and countered, "Your present, goober. Here. Enjoy."

Patrick took the box from her with surprise and opened it to find a big red mug inside that declared, "#1 Detective" in big, bold, black letters.

She laughed out loud when he looked at her and chortled, "You should see your face! No, that's not your real present. Here."

Patrick made a face at her and the gag gift and then took another envelope, this one long and thin with "Sacramento Arts Council" on the front. He frowned thoughtfully and opened it to discover a "donation made in your name" card inside. The figure was substantial and he gave her a surprised look.

"I know you claim to like the tragedies, but figured kids getting a chance at art would make you happier," she told him, smiling for real. She kissed him on the cheek and said, "Merry Christmas, Scrooge."

Patrick chuckled and replied, "And now for you," reaching back onto the desk for her box.

Eyeing first the jewelry box and then him sternly, Lisbon warned, "That better not be from a poker game."

Assuming an innocent expression, Patrick asked, "Would I do that? Again?"

She snorted derisively and opened the box to reveal a discreet gold cross on a delicate chain inside. All joking immediately left her face and she touched it lightly before smiling up at him and saying, "Thanks. It's beautiful."

Everyone turned to look at Cho, who was sitting at his desk watching them with that inscrutable face of his. He shrugged and told them, "I don't celebrate Christmas."

Rigsby promptly walked over to punch him in the shoulder hard enough to make the Asian man wince. "Hey! We got you things!"

"He's joking, Rigsby," Patrick said, chuckling. "The presents are in his bottom drawer. The big one. I can tell you what he got you all, if you like?"

A simultaneous, "No!" chorused from the rest of the team and he grinned, making a zipping motion across his mouth.

Cho's ten year old niece had been doing a fundraiser, so they'd all received various subscriptions. For Lisbon, a book club subscription. For Rigsby, a sports magazine subscription. For Grace, one to do with horses and the other the occult because, as Cho explained, "I couldn't figure out which you'd like better." For Patrick, a subscription to California politics. Cho had a little smirk as he pointed out, "Because no one needs to learn how to be politic more than you."

Patrick rolled his eyes and said, "Just for that, I don't think you deserve your present."

Lisbon slapped him on the shoulder. "Don't be a spoil sport. And besides which, he's right. I wish I'd thought of that present."

Patrick shook his head in amusement and reached back for the remaining box on the desk. He walked over to Cho's desk and handed it to him, watching as the younger man opened it to find a small, hand-carved, jade butterfly inside.

Cho's mouth opened and then closed again as he looked at the gift and then at Patrick. Dark eyes met his for a long moment and then Cho said, "Trust you to do something like this."

"Like what?" Grace asked, sounding curious.

Sensing that Cho would very much like not to explore the reasoning why Patrick had gotten him something so personal, something that symbolized his name, Patrick winked at her and then kissed Cho full on the mouth. Cho jerked back, but not right away, which was most interesting of all.

"Oh, for God's sake, Jane," Lisbon exclaimed. "Trust you to ruin the night."

Patrick grinned and pointed up at the mistletoe. "Tradition must be observed, right?"

Shaking her head, clearly amused and trying not to show it, Lisbon said, "All right, time to wrap this up, guys."

Rigsby informed him, "You try and kiss me and I'm taking back the tea."

Patrick snickered and replied, "Well, I wouldn't want that, so you're safe."

They cleaned up the office and headed out into the cold weather, chatting amiably and holding their various gifts. He got into Lisbon's car, waving to the others, and enjoyed a quiet ride back to his apartment. Once there, she leaned over to kiss him on the cheek and said, "I wish you'd reconsider and come over tomorrow."

Shaking his head, Patrick promised, "I'll be fine."

"Maybe I won't be," Lisbon countered.

He looked at her for a long moment and then smiled. "What time are the others coming over for dinner?"

She snorted and told him, "You're impossible."


"Three o'clock."

"Have Rigsby and Grace pick me up on the way, then," Patrick told her.

She laughed softly and told him, "Call them yourself. You've got their numbers. Good night, Jane."

Patrick grinned and replied, "Night, Lisbon," climbing out of the car and walking up to the building. She didn't leave until he was inside the lobby, watching to make sure he got in. He waved and then she drove off.

Humming softly to himself, in an amazingly good mood considering the time of year, he pressed the elevator call button and waited. A loud pounding at the door sent his heart into overdrive and Patrick jumped in fear, spinning to find Cho outside. Patrick let out an aggravated breath and glared as he walked back to the door.

Opening it, he demanded, "What are you doing here? You scared the hell oumph…"

Cho's mouth silenced the rest of his words and strong hands gripping his waist, pushing him up against the nearest wall. Patrick's head swam as the other man kissed the same way he interrogated a suspect: with intense concentration and muted passion. Only, not so much on the muted part. Patrick gasped for air which Cho took advantage of, pushing his tongue inside as his thigh pressed against Patrick's groin. Moaning in unexpected pleasure, Patrick wrapped his hands in Cho's shirt and pulled him in closer.

"Excuse me! This is a family building! You can't do that in the lobby!"

Cho jumped back, but Patrick kept hold of his shirt so he couldn't go far; both to hide his erection and so Cho didn't run away. Clearing his throat, he offered a weak smile to Mrs. Lennon and apologized, "Merry Christmas?"

The old woman rolled her eyes and pointed her cane at them. "You know better, Mr. Jane. Bring that nice young man to your apartment before Mr. Welks sees you on the monitor."

"Yes, ma'am," Patrick promised.

She snorted inelegantly and walked outside.

Patrick couldn't stop the laughter from bubbling out of him. Leaning on Cho, resting his forehead on the other's shoulder, he finally managed, "Come on up?"

Cho kissed just under his ear and agreed, "Definitely."

A light shiver ran through Patrick as they walked to the elevator and Cho refused to give up his hand. The look in those dark eyes was both proprietary and loving and Patrick had the idea that this was either a really good idea, or a spectacularly bad one. He decided to take a chance on Christmases Future and hope for the best.

Then he grinned and tugged Cho into the elevator as he asked, "So where's my real present?"

Cho just smirked as the elevator doors closed.