- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Challenge Response
Maggie Lynn Reid is DarkJediQueen’s OC, that she kindly allowed me to borrow. New Heaven is also her invention.
Tony bundled himself into his coat and grabbed his keys. The weather was miserable, but it was the first Saturday in December, the team wasn’t on call, and he’d made it successfully undisturbed through breakfast and therefore through the most likely time for a surplus of dead petty officers to see him called in anyway. Why did Gibbs forget the meaning of the word No whenever dispatch called? He wasn’t giving up this chance to get a headstart on his Christmas shopping.
He opened the door and stopped dead in his tracks as a lumpy parcel tumbled into his way.
Not good. So very not good.
Tony pulled his phone out, eyeing the parcel suspiciously.
“Yeah, Pete, this is Tony from 3B,” he said as the doorman answered his call. “I seem to have received a mystery delivery overnight.”
“Oh, yes, that.” Pete sounded amused rather than concerned, which let Tony relax somewhat. “I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but I can promise you without a doubt that it is utterly benign.”
“I’m not sure I find that entirely reassuring.”
“Switch your Very Special Agent paranoia off for a moment; this is exactly as innocent as it looks. Enjoy your weekend, Tony!”
Tony glared at his phone for a moment, totally done with being hung up on. He might have to reconsider Pete’s status on his Christmas shopping list – and he actually liked the guy!
With a sigh, he picked up the parcel and twisted it around in his hands. Somebody had done a very determined but incredibly clumsy wrapping job with it. They hadn’t even used wrapping paper but regular printer paper – and were those fir trees drawn in Crayola? Closing his door again, Tony went into the kitchen to cut through the overabundance of sellotape. There was no way he’d set this aside for later, it would just drive him nuts while he was out and about.
He was halfway through his unwrapping job when a little cardboard tag fell out of the parcel. Tony flipped it around to find the words From your Secret Santa barely legible scribble onto it with a pencil. This was making less sense by the minute.
Unwinding the last layers of paper revealed the gift to be a small figurine of Mickey Mouse and Snow White sitting on a stack of film roles. The colouring was kept slightly muted to create a vintage look, and the thing was rather tasteful for what it was. But it didn’t tell Tony anything about who was behind this gift; his interest in movies and their history was hardly a secret. With a sigh, he found the little figurine a nook on his bookshelf and headed out.
All throughout his day full of shopping, his mind kept ruminating on the mystery.
Who could be his Secret Santa?
And why did they write and gift wrap like a child?
Sunday remained gift free, and Tony was just about to relax his guard when he returned from work on Monday evening to find another parcel leaning against his apartment door.
He picked it up with a sigh and scrunched his nose at the watercolour stars that adorned today’s paper – as much as you could see them between the wrinkles and tape. He inwardly swore that the moment a gift had any kind of hearts on it, he’d toss it in the trash unopened.
Arbitrary line drawn and feeling somehow better for it, he unlocked his door and settled all his stuff into place before getting comfortable on the couch to open the surprisingly heavy present.
As the paper came away, he snorted in amusement, but then found a genuine smile spread over his face. His mysterious Secret Santa had given him a snowglobe – but not any old snowglobe. This one held the unmistakable figure of Magnum, Hawaiian shirt and all, leaning against the red Ferrari, wearing a Santa hat. Tony turned the globe around to find snow and tiny tropical flowers floating around the plastic PI. At least his mystery gift giver had really good taste in useless knick-knacks.
No more gifts had appeared throughout the week, and Tony was none the wiser on the matter. Pete had been out with the flu for a few days, so that avenue of inquiry was out and there weren’t many other options for Tony to explore.
The most obvious ones were the kids living in his building, but why any of them would send him gifts wasn’t any easier to figure out. He didn’t know any of them all that well. Sure, he could put names to faces and knew which kid belonged to which parent or nanny and into which apartment. He tried to exchange at least enough friendly words with the kids in the house that they’d feel comfortable coming to him as a cop if they found themselves in any sort of serious troubles – he didn’t have to be stellar with children to manage that. But it had never gone beyond that. He also wasn’t friendly with any of the parents, and besides the elderly ladies, nobody in the house had bothered to flirt with him in quite some time. More’s the pity.
Tony pushed away from the back wall of the elevator as the opening of the door shook him out of his musings. It was only four in the afternoon, but he was utterly exhausted after they’d spent all night hunting done the kidnappers of a Navy officer’s husband. They’d gotten their perps in the early hours of the morning, and the couple had been happily reunited. All good in his book, topped by the fact that Gibbs had sent them all home as soon as their initial paperwork was filed.
And now, he only wanted a shower and his bed. Maybe food if he could muster the energy.
“Hello, Agent DiNozzo” a cheerful voice called from further down the corridor. “You’re home early.”
“Hello, Miss Maggie Lynn.” Tony smiled at the newest addition to the house. “And I’m only home early because I was working all night. So you could just as well say I’m home quite late.”
“Did you catch your bad guy and rescue someone?” the seven-year-old girl asked eagerly.
“Sure, we did. There were three bad guys, but we got them all and the man they’d kidnapped only had few bumps and bruises. Totally worth missing out on sleep.” Tony usually would be more circumspect about his job, but Maggie Lynn’s father was a federal agent as well, FBI of all place, but having talked to the man, Tony was inclined not to hold it against the too attractive Dr Reid. He’d moved to DC with his daughter the previous month to join the BAU’s Unit 4, and if that was your area of expertise, you couldn’t do better.
“Awesome! Dad said your team has the highest solve rate in the alphabet soup.”
“We do, and we all work hard for that. But the team your dad is joining is pretty amazing as well. Their statistics are difficult to compare because of the way they work, but pretty much everyone thinks they’re the best at what they do.”
Maggie Lynn stood a little straighter, clearly proud of her father. “Dad is brilliant, he should work with the best! I just wish it wouldn’t mean he’d have to travel so much. But it’s going to be fine. This was his dream since he joined the FBI and he worked really hard to earn this spot.”
“How’s that going to work out?” Tony wanted to know. He knew Reid had started his new job with a mixture of half days at the office and working from home because Maggie Lynn had broken her arm in the middle of their move and he hadn’t felt comfortable leaving her in the care of people she didn’t properly know yet like that. The poor kid was still in a cast.
“Oh, I was accepted into New Heaven. They offer students to board on a day-by-day basis, so Dad can pick me up whenever he is home, and I’ll have enough stuff there to stay whenever the team catches a case. I already met the girls I will room with, and they’re nice, so it’s going to be fun. Dad says New Heaven is also a really good school, which I’m looking forward to. My first school was soooo boring.”
Tony chuckled at Maggie Lynn’s complaint. It had taken him all of three minutes to figure out that the girl had inherited her father’s genius. He didn’t know anything about her mother, as that wasn’t the kind of question you ask randomly when chatting on the corridor, but the gossip was that Reid was a widower at only 27. Before Tony could say anything else, he couldn’t stop a huge yawn.
“My apologies, but the missing sleep is catching up with me.”
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kept you from your bed,” Maggie Lynn said, looking genuinely contrite.
“Mags?” came her father’s voice out of their apartment. “There you are. Ready to go shopping? Oh, hello, Agent DiNozzo,” he added as he stepped into the hallway.
“Please, Dr Reid, call me Tony. You too, Maggie Lynn, I’m not big on formality.”
“Well, you’ll have to call me Spencer then,” the man insisted awkwardly with a hint of blush on his cheeks. “I hope Mags hasn’t been bothering you. She can be a bit nosy.” He mock-pinched his daughter’s nose and chuckled when she stuck her tongue out a little in response.
“That’s all the investigator genes. I can’t help it!”
“Don’t worry about it. Maggie Lynn was just inquiring about my day,” Tony assured them both.
“Oh, Dad!” Maggie Lynn switched straight to excited. “Can we bring dinner for Tony home with us? He’s been working through the night.”
“Mags, you can’t just decide to feed someone unasked.”
“But you always say that agents forget they need sleep and food when a case gets hot and replace it with coffee and sweets. And Tony is super tired and surely doesn’t want to cook anymore, even though he must be really good at it from what we smelled so far.” She gave Tony a cheeky little wink that startled a laugh out of him.
Tony was tempted to watch the little argument go on longer, but he was simply too tired to enjoy it. “I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“But we’re picking up takeout after shopping anyway,” Maggie Lynn insisted.
“Mags is right,” Reid agreed on a small sigh. “She’s been wanting to try the Indian place down the road, so we’re stopping there after getting just a few necessities from the store, so we shouldn’t take long. I’m sure you want to get some sleep soon.”
“Oh, that place makes amazing and authentic food.” Tony’s stomach decided to growl at that moment – just the thought at Sharma’s cooking made his mouth water.
Reid gave him a quirky half-smile. “Well, then… What should we get you?”
Maggie Lynn smiled so wide and a little smug that Tony knew he had no chance arguing the case with the Reids any more, so he just rattled off what he’d like.
“I can text it to you as well,” he offered, as Reid had made no notes.
“Not necessary.” Reid tipped against his temple. “Eidetic memory means I never get a food order wrong – unless you’ve pissed me off somehow.”
“But don’t worry. It takes a lot to piss Dad off, and my memory works just as well, and I would never let him get your order wrong.” Maggie Lynn smiled at Tony serenely.
“That’s a relief. Here let me-” Tony reached for his wallet, but Reid waved him off.
“My treat, seeing as my daughter essentially invited you. Go get comfortable, and we’ll be back with your food in under an hour. I’ll knock loud enough in case you’ve fallen asleep by then.”
“Or he could pick your lock. Dad’s really good at that.”
Tony couldn’t be entirely sure that he’d heard Maggie’s parting words correctly as her father had playfully put a hand over her mouth and prodded her into the elevator, but he figured he probably shouldn’t be worried – much.
After a nice hot shower, Tony found himself contemplating what clothes to put on. Then, a hearty yawn made his eyes water, and he shook himself loose and reached for his most comfortable flannel PJ bottoms and favourite OSU sweater.
“Just how stupid are you over Reid that you consider dressing up while dead on your feet,” he grumbled to himself while he got dressed. He was dozing on the couch with some classic cartoons running on the TV by the time the Reids knocked on his door.
“Well, if it isn’t my favourite lifesavers,” Tony greeted them with a genuine smile at the delicious smell rising from the bag Spencer was carrying.
“I’m sure you could have survived on some toast without us,” Spencer said with a wry smile but gamely passed over the bag. “Here, this is certainly better.”
“We also got you some naan bread because I couldn’t decide which one to try and Dad said two types were too much for just us, so I convinced him it would be the logical thing to share with you.” Maggie held one of two small paper bags in her hands up to him with a radiant smile that wasn’t as innocent as she hoped.
Tony snorted but took the proffered bag with a little bow. “Thank you very much for thinking of me, Maggie Lynn. I’m glad I could be of assistance – of a sort. I’m sure there will be a day when your dad regrets he taught you how to argue with logic.”
“That day has long since passed,” Spencer sighed and tucked on one of Maggie’s braids as she curiously glanced around Tony to get a look at his apartment.
“I’d normally invite you in, but I might outright doze off in the middle of chewing, so… another time?” Tony was surprised that he actually meant the offer directed at both Reids. He hardly made a habit out of inviting people into his sanctuary.
“It would be our pleasure. Enjoy your food.” Spencer gave him a little wave that Maggie mimicked with her healthy arm.
“Yes, and don’t fall asleep on the couch! Dad always complains about his neck the morning after he does that.”
Tony was still chuckling as he locked the door and set his alarm but did indeed follow the order.
Monday morning came too early and with yet another gift on his doorstep; this time it was packed in a large manila envelope with gingerbread man stamped all over it and From your Secret Santa scrawled on the flap. He pulled his knife out to open it and pulled out a spiral-bound book of sheet music that had all the James Bond title songs arranged for piano.
Tony looked at it, stunned.
This was by far the best gift his Secret Santa had picked, and his fingers were itching to try some of the songs out right now. Sadly, a quick glance at his watch confirmed what he already knew – he didn’t have time for that now. Unless he wanted to start the day with Gibbs chewing him out. So he gave the book pride of place on his piano and would spend his day looking forward to playing from it all evening.
He was working on the second song, still letting the tediousness of a day of paperwork bleeding away, when there was an excited knock on his door.
“Hi, Tony! Look! The cast is finally off!” Maggie was waving her arm at him.
“Well, hello, Miss Maggie Lynn,” Tony answered with a smile. “That is wonderful news. Do you want to come in? Hold on.” He held up a hand when she started to dart around him immediately. “Does your father know where you are?”
“Yes, and he said it was okay, but that I shouldn’t bother you if you have better things to do. You don’t have better things to do, do you?”
“Not remotely, come right in, young lady.” Tony waved her in with an exaggerated bow that made Maggie giggle.
She strolled around his living room, inspecting the contents of his shelves, wowing at the huge TV on his wall, barely sparing the kitchen a glance. She did, however, pay a little too much attention to the Secret Santa gifts on his shelves, confirming a suspicion he’d had since she’d been so eager to feed him. Now, the thing he still had to figure out was what exactly her intentions were.
“You’ve got a lot of DVDs.”
“Yes, I really enjoy movies, pretty much all types of movies. It’s one of my biggest hobbies since I was your age.”
“Only movies? Or do you watch TV shows as well?” Maggie let her finger trace along the shelf that was notably missing any box sets.
“There are some good things produced for TV that I like to watch, but I’m mostly sticking to productions for the big screen. Filmmakers tell stories differently than TV makers because they can count on their audience’s undivided attention.”
“Yes, I know,” Maggie said on a sigh. “What kind of TV shows do you like?”
“I guess mostly things that try something new or are especially well cast.” Tony shrugged. “I haven’t enjoyed any kind of cop drama since I started to work in law enforcement myself.”
Maggie nodded her understanding. “Neither does Dad, but he mostly favours SciFi and Fantasy, anyway. Have you ever watched Doctor Who?” Maggie didn’t quite manage to make the question sound as casual as she intended.
“I caught a few episodes here and there when I was a kid but never really got into it properly,” Tony said.
“Shame. I was practically raised on it because it’s Dad’s favourite. I like New Who a little better where he prefers the old ones, but he says that’s alright because the new seasons match with my viewing experience more. I still love watching the old storylines with him.”
Tony nodded, not sure where that conversation was headed. “Is New Who everything they produced since the relaunch 2005?”
“Yup.” Maggie popped the p. “But it’s not really a relaunch as with other TV shows, they haven’t started over. They’re continuing on from where they left off in 1989 and then with that questionable TV movie in 1996.”
Maggie launched into the kind of rambling explanation only a true fan and geek could deliver and Tony settled on the arm of his couch and played the captive audience. It wasn’t as if the information wasn’t interesting, he just wasn’t sure yet why it seemed so relevant to her.
Eventually, her little lecture was disrupted by another knock on his door, and he wasn’t at all surprised to find Spencer in the hallway.
“Ehm, sorry, but I believe my wayward daughter was headed this way. I hope she didn’t disrupt your evening or talk your ear off?” The man looked so unsure about how Maggie’s presence had been perceived, Tony couldn’t help but find it adorable.
Maggie appeared by his side. “Hey, he asked for it. Sort of,” she ended more sheepishly.
Tony laughed. “I got a very thorough answer to my very general question. But it was fascinating.”
“Well, then.” Spencer tucked a strand of his hair behind his ear. “It’s time for bed now, Mags. You have a full day of school tomorrow.” He gave her a pointed look.
“Yeah, right. The pleasures of no longer wearing a cast.” She sighed dramatically. “Which kid has to start school so close to Christmas?”
“The kind of kid that has been moaning about boredom for the last three weeks,” Spencer answered with a pointed look before he turned to Tony. “She came over to tell you that she’s fully healed and might stay at school overnight if our team gets called on a case. I’ll be no longer staying behind if we’re headed out. Hotch was already very accommodating over the last weeks with Maggie’s injury.”
Tony nodded. “Yeah, for all that Hotchner has a reputation as a hardass, I can see him being very understanding in your circumstances. And thanks for letting me know, or I might have worried if you two are suddenly not around,” he said with a smile.
“Yes, well.” Spencer was a bit flustered and blushing. “Let me get this one out of your hair and off to bed.” He pulled Maggie to his side, and she only pouted a little.
“I didn’t even get around to asking tony to play something on the piano for me!”
“Another day, Maggie. The piano isn’t going anywhere,” Tony promised.
He waited in his door until the two Reids had vanished through their own with a little wave before he returned to his piano. He let his fingers pluck out a random tune while his thoughts wandered on the implications of Maggie Lynn being his Secret Santa and Spencer blushing under his attention. He didn’t believe for a moment that the man knew what his daughter was up to.
Tony wasn’t at all surprised to find his no longer secret Santa had placed the 2005 season of Doctor Who in front of his door by the time he returned from work the next evening – wrapped much more neatly now that Maggie had the proper use of both her hands.
The lead up to Christmas was crazy as ever, and Tony was beyond glad the team wasn’t on call over the weekend. He was glad it was because McGee had sprained his ankle taking down their latest criminally greedy service member, but he would take the time to recharge all the same.
The BAU had also caught a nasty case, and Tony had seen glimpses of Spencer on the news here and there. He’d been stunned to see he favoured three-piece suits for work, always with a unique twist on patterns and colours that were uniquely him and very flattering.
Reid being away had of course also meant that Maggie had stayed at her school and there had been no more gifts waiting for Tony. Not that he didn’t think the girl hadn’t spent more than enough money already and he wondered how she managed it in the first place. Tony had already purchased gift cards from the nearest cinema and the bookstore he’d seen father and daughter shopping at one time to make it up to her.
But coming home to those thoughtful gestures had filled him with warmth he’d been missing in her absence.
Tony was already mostly through the lobby when Pete called him back.
“Got something for you, Tony.” The man outright smirked at him as he waved a golden envelope with a red bow stuck to it at him.
Tony was a little torn between happiness over yet another gift and feeling like it was getting all too much, especially since he’d figured out that Maggie was his gift giver but hadn’t called her on it.
“This is getting ridiculous,” he murmured as he reached for the envelope.
“I have a feeling this might be the last present you get from your Secret Santa,” Pete told him.
“Not so secret anymore.”
“So, you figured it out. Would have surprised me if not.” Pete settled back into his chair. “Disappointed?”
“No, but also not sure what her endgame is. You know what’s in here?”
“Not exactly, but I was included into some of the planning. Are you worried?”
Tony let out a sigh. “I’m not the only one being surprised here, am I?”
“No, you aren’t. You think that’ll be a problem?” Pete looked a bit concerned now.
“Not in general, but it could make things awkward. I’m sure you’ll learn of the outcome soon enough.” He tipped the envelope on the counter and headed for the elevator.
In his apartment, he dropped the envelope on the table and tried his best to ignore it until after he’d showered and eaten, but he couldn’t avoid it forever, that simply wasn’t his style. The card inside was pretty if a little generic and the message on the inside was written in careful block letters.
please be outside your apartment door tomorrow (Saturday) evening at 7pm.
Dress nicely but comfortable and you won’t need a coat.
Your Secret Santa
And so Tony found himself leaving his apartment the next evening in slacks and a nice cashmere sweater at precisely 7pm to hear the elevator doors opening. What he hadn’t expected was to see Aaron Hotchner stroll down the hallway with a bag of what looked like takeout from one of the best Italian restaurants in town in his hand.
“Relax, Agent DiNozzo,” the man said with an amused half-smile. “I’m just acting as Santa’s helper.”
Before Tony could answer to that, a door farther down opened, followed by Maggie’s voice.
“Tony! Hotch! And both right on time! I love men who can follow instructions!”
Both men snorted in amusement.
“Magdalene Lynn Reid! What, in the name of sanity, have you cooked up now?” Spencer’s voice preceded him into the hallway, sounding much less amused.
“Nothing? At least nothing bad. Trust me!” She put on an angelic smile that didn’t have much of an effect on her father.
“Hotch, Tony, I have no idea what is going on here, but I apologise for Maggie’s machinations.”
“Oh, nothing to apologise for. I had a very attentive Secret Santa this season,” Tony said with a wide smile.
“You figured it out.” Maggie sagged in on herself a little.
“I told you he would,” Hotchner said softly. “His reputation as one of the most talented investigators is well earned. And I’m here as a completely voluntary helper, Reid, so don’t worry.” He pushed the bag of food into Spencer’s hands. “Dinner for two. Rossi picked up the bill and don’t even try to argue about it with him, it’s always pointless. Are you all packed, Maggie Lynn?”
“Yes!” She pulled a backpack and her coat from just inside the door and moved to Hotchner’s side, at which point Spencer shook himself free from his surprise.
“And what is the meaning of this?”
“You’re going to have a nice date night with Tony because you really need someone beside me in your life, Dad. I won’t be sticking around forever. No offence. And you’ve liked him from the get-go. Meanwhile, Hotch has kindly arranged for a BAU kids bonding night at uncle Dave’s place so I’ll be out of your hair until tomorrow.” Maggie’s smile spoke volumes about how pleased she was with herself.
“I knew I’d regret taking you into work with me,” Spencer groaned. “I just didn’t think it would be like this.”
“We can just split the food and go our own ways if you’d rather not spend the evening with me,” Tony offered, trying not to sound as disappointed as he felt.
“No, that’ not… You want this?” Spencer looked terribly vulnerable.
“Yeah, I’m a hundred per cent on board with this,” Tony assured him.
“Well, then.” Spencer turned towards his door and gestured Tony in as a throat was cleared behind them.
Maggie was pointing above the door. “Pete helped me decorate.”
Tony snorted in laughter at the mistletoe the sneaky girl had placed strategically. He raised an eyebrow at Spencer who was blushing profusely but turned his face up to him with hopeful eyes.
The moment was a weird mixture of awkward and intimate, and Tony was very aware of their audience. He slowly leaned in and pressed a chaste but lingering kiss against the corner of Spencer’s mouth, noting the softness of lips and already hoping for more later.
He pulled back when Hotchner cleared his throat. “Come on, Maggie Lynn. We’re entirely surplus here, and there’s a pizza waiting for you to choose the toppings. Enjoy your evening, gentlemen!”
“Yes, have fun!” Maggie waved with a big smile as she followed Hotchner into the elevator, and suddenly, they were alone.
“Shall we?” Tony asked when Spencer appeared frozen in place.
“Oh, yes. Yes, please!”
Profilers for Christmas is an anonymous crime drama Advent Calendar featuring both art and stories. Additional information about the challenge can be found here.