Title: A Jellie Christmas (Or Eve if you want to be picky) Part Two. (Original chapter titles aint it?)
Characters/Pairings: Ellie, Casey, Greta, Morgan, Alex
Genre: Humour, romance
Rating: Its fine. No bad language.
Summary:It's Christmas Eve, Morgan is in a pickle and he needs the help of only one man. John Casey. He doesn't want to, but Ellie could come to his rescue!
AN: Again tis beta-ed by kuryakingirl Nothing else to report in this, basically any mistakes are mine. John Casey doesn't belong to me (DAMMIT) and that this is just silly fun. Also can anyone guess who Greta is? XD Enjoy folks
It had been longer than expected and John still hadn't returned. She was getting concerned as to how he was doing on this mission.
She wasn't sure what she felt about John Casey, there were a lot of feelings mixed up inside and the response she was receiving from him was exciting and new, creating a spark that she had been without for a year. Or had it been longer? From the moment she had met him, with the quiches and that gorgeous smile, Ellie Bartowski had been smitten…but what was this now?
It was going to be a long while before the party, so she decided to go out and collect a few things, including her costume for the fancy dress. Ellie hadn't expected to see the sight before her when she walked through those sliding doors.
The Buy More store was busy, as was the norm for Christmas Eve. Customers were like ants in all the aisles but another and more unusual setting was situated at the far end of the store and had a curious gathering. Although Ellie couldn't quite see what was behind the crowd of children and their parents, she knew all too well what they were here for. The atmosphere was decidedly different from other venues; it wasn't a bright excited and happy one.
Ellie observed the expressions on the people's faces, listened to the murmurs and just like everyone else, jumped when a tantrum like squeal carried across the store. She watched as Morgan went rushing through the customers in a desperate attempt to calm things down, but she was immediately distracted when a friendly female voice spoke behind her.
"Can I help you, ma'am?"
She turned round and came face to face with an employee she hadn't met or even seen before. She was smaller than Ellie and had a wide beaming smile that she reckoned nothing in the whole universe could douse. Soft light brown curls bounced around her shoulders and her bright green elf costume wasn't as pristine as some of the others, but it seemed to emphasis her cheeriness. Printer ink stained her fingers, it stained on her skimpy short dress and there was also a tiny smudge on her nose from where her fingers had obviously rubbed.
If Ellie hadn't seen the name tag, she would have thought this was another normal (not the right word) Buy More employee. This young bright and cheerful woman wasn't anything like her predecessors.
"I'm here to see John Casey." Ellie said, peering back over her shoulder at the decorated wonderland setting.
"Are you, by any chance, Ellie Bartowski?" asked the elf woman. Ellie smiled back and held out her hand.
"I'm Greta. Pleased to meet you. I've heard Casey talk about you."
"He talks…about me?" gasped Ellie, surprised at this piece of news. She felt her cheeks burn as the excitement, at hearing that, soared. Greta nodded.
"I've been here for over a week now and what I've learnt about John Casey is that he doesn't talk much." Greta stood straight and as tall as she could, flicking the long point of her hat and making the bell jingle. "When he does, it's normally related to…"
Ellie shared a look with the Greta agent, making her aware that she knew just who Casey really was, what he did and who Greta was. The woman's smile became serious—a little frightening—instead of chirpy cheerfulness.
"He normally talks about things related to his work." Ellie said for her.
"Of course." Greta's façade of being so bright and carefree vanished. She took upon a more formal, composure which was so military, very much like John. "It's unusual for Casey to talk a lot or about anything not "But More" related. So, I take notice when he mentions you, on more than a couple of times, in casual conversation."
"He likes your cooking."
Ellie knew this, but it pleased her no end to know that he had told other people. The CIA agent noticed her reaction and shuffled just a little bit closer to Ellie and lowered her voice.
"He likes your company a lot more."
"He-? Er…how is he doing?" asked Ellie, clearing her throat and turning away so she didn't have to look at the goofy grin that creased on Greta's lips.
"Not bad, but not great either." The woman wasn't going to press the matter of the Colonel's fascination with Ellie further. She clasped her hands behind her back and gazed over to the grotto. "He's brought a whole new side to the role."
Something beeped within the confines of Greta's elf costume. Ellie was surprised when the agent pulled a PDA from somewhere on her person, the costume really didn't have a lot of places to keep anything. The device beeped with alarm and when Greta looked at the screen, she sighed in frustration and the slight smile turned into something more. Ellie knew it. John got the same smile when Chuck told him about a potentially dangerous mission. Or, as probably was in this case, he got the opportunity to scare the wits out of a Buy Moron.
"Please, excuse me." Greta bobbed her head at Ellie. "I've got a rodent problem to deal with."
Ellie returned the gesture and watched as Greta passed the Nerd Herd desk and snatched up a staple gun and a large tightly coiled ring of red ribbon. Not the usual equipment to have when dealing with vermin; however Ellie suspected Greta was actually going after the two rats that were still creeping out the other customers. The rats called Jeff and Lester.
While Greta was keeping Jeff and Lester under control, Ellie meandered slowly along the aisles and queues of people, taking in their apprehension, frustration and impatience.
Big Mike often took the honour of playing Santa at the holiday season. It was his role, he embraced it and everyone knew that whilst the Big M was tough on sales and business, he was a softie when it came to having the little kids sit on his knee and getting their picture taken together. He could laugh and be so jolly that it became infectious and that in turn made the customers stay longer and literally 'buy more", which was the whole purpose of having a grotto in the first place.
Colonel John Casey looked anything but jolly, happy or comfortable sitting on the chair amidst snow, reindeer and other assorted Christmas decorations. He was sitting so rigidly that he could have been mistaken for one of the plastic ornaments. Ellie grinned at his clear discomfort and she had to wipe her hand over her mouth to get rid of the smile.
Casey looked the perfect Santa. The plush red velvet suit with white fake fur lining was stuffed so it fattened him and hid the real muscled and toned body beneath. The fake white beard hid the bottom half of his face except for his mouth and with the brim of the hat covering his forehead, only those startling blue eyes visibly showed. John's eyes peeking out from the whiteness were a raw ice blue that was snarling with anger, but Ellie saw his fear as well.
He looked so alone, despite being surrounded by children. He was afraid and angry and not in a Santa Claus spirit at all. Morgan wasn't helping either standing behind him and whispering things. Ellie may not have heard the snarling growl John gave back in response, but she knew he did it, mainly because it made a tiny little three year old currently on his lap to start crying. The mother took her daughter away whose cries erupted into screams of "Santa doesn't love me!" and it left Casey looking shocked and so saddened.
"I badly want to go over there and rescue him."
"You're not the only one." Ellie turned and smiled warmly in greeting to the twenty one year old now standing at her side. "He is trying though. He really is."
Alex McHugh nodded and nervously played with the strap of her satchel on her shoulder. Seeing her father like this was new for her and Ellie couldn't help but notice the same sadness in her cobalt eyes. While John had confided in Ellie about Alex, how he felt and regretted not being there for her, Ellie wished that Alex would do the same. There was no doubting that she had a lot of love and pride for Casey, but there was regret and loss buried deep down inside this young woman. The two needed to have more time together, Ellie shouldn't be getting in the way of that. The pang of guilt stabbed at her chest, she knew how important a father and daughter relationship was…a girl depended on it. Ellie had to swallow a sob as she felt the agonising loss of her own.
"So." Ellie wet her dry lips with her tongue. "How are you?"
"I'm good," Alex brightened somewhat and stopped fiddling with the strap of her bag. "My courses are going well, Morgan has been supporting me…dad too…but I'm really looking forward to this party tonight. I have my costume already…I see you have yours."
Ellie held up the hanger from which dangled the grey plastic covered costume. Thinking about her choice, which she had picked out weeks before, made her smile. It wasn't a strange choice, just a little, bizarre, considering the current circumstances.
"Are you going to be staying for Christmas? You are always welcome for dinner at mine." Ellie patted down the cover of the costume absentmindedly. Alex shook her head.
"I'm going home to see mom."
"What about your dad?"
"He's going to your party, isn't he? I can spend some time with him there. Besides, don't you want to spend some time with him? You and he are getting on pretty well."
Ellie couldn't respond to that. Her silence was mainly due to the fact that "getting on pretty well" was an understatement. Whilst she wasn't entirely sure what it was that she and John shared, Ellie was certain it was more than "well." Alex's smile widened.
"Do you think John will want to come to my party after doing this?" Ellie asked as they watched Casey have a present wrenched from his hands. The little boy was clearly uncertain and anxious about the Santa and didn't want to wait around, so he leapt off Casey's lap and pegged it back to his parents.
"Since the Buy More Santa's grotto opened…." Alex took in a deep breath. "My dad has made over ten children cry. Six of them before they sat on his lap and before he even said anything. He's been sneezed on, coughed at, poked, prodded, kicked and dribbled on. He had to change his costume twice as two children actually wet themselves they were that scared of him. One boy stuffed some m&m's up his nose. That did not go down well; however, if it hadn't been for Morgan and Greta, it would have been a catastrophe. So in answer to your question, will my dad want to come to your party after this? Yes, most definitely, yes."
"Most definitely?" Ellie's voice had a little startled squeak to it that made Alex laugh, but the sweet chuckle only shocked Ellie more. Alex waved a hand in dismissal.
"It's all right. You make him happy. I'm happy that you do…from what dad has told me…he hasn't had a whole lot of that in his life. Being happy that is."
Ellie suddenly felt quite bad. If only she had told Morgan no, then John would be helping her with the party preparations, they could have had lunch together…he would have been happy instead of being here, having a cute little three year old gnawing on his fingers.
"Jennifer! Sweetie, don't chew on Santa!" the girl's mother rushed forward towards Casey who was trying to extract his two fingers from the child's mouth, but he winced as the girl growled back and bit down. "Jennifer! Honey! He is not food!"
"It's all right, mam!" Morgan stepped forward and grinned, ruffling the little girl's head.
"What?" hissed Casey as he jerked his arm to get the girl to let go. "No it's not!"
"She's just excited to see you, Santa!" Morgan made happy faces to the girl. "Why don't you give her her present and I'm sure she'll stop eating your fingers…"
"Ow! She is going to chomp them off!" Casey stood up, the girl was now clinging to him even tighter and still holding his digits in her mouth. The child had an amazing bite, her grip was fierce and strong for one so young and he couldn't help but admire that greatly, but they were his fingers she was chewing on. "I've already lost a toe, I'm not going to lose my fingers as well!"
"She won't do that!" Morgan, having picked up a present from the bag by the chair, waved it about in front of the girl's face. She wasn't interested. "I'm sure she won't bite off your fingers."
The mother's facial expression didn't do anything to back that statement.
"Are you sure?" Casey growled, which made the girl do the same. Her little fangs nipped harder on his skin, drawing blood. For a moment the Santa and little girl snarled at each other, but she giggled and carried on, her dribble oozing down his hand. "You wanna to swap places with me, little man?"
Ellie couldn't bare it, she desperately wanted to go over and help him and Alex felt the same. They were about to, but relief took over them and Casey when the little girl was distracted by some sweets. Her mouth released Casey's fingers and she grinned a bloody smile as he handed her back to her mother.
Casey was in an even fouler mood after that and the grumpy Santa affected everyone around him. The screams and wails of disappointed children increased as disgruntled parents tried to take them away from the mean Santa. Casey's patience looked as if it was going to finally snap.
"This is not going to be good." Alex was beyond worried now, she was actually fearful as to what her dad would end up doing. He had patience, yes he wasn't renowned for it, but in his line of work he had to be patient. This was not a mission, the fate of the world did not depend on him and a he was not under orders. He was Santa Claus, dealing with children, something he had never had to do ever before. He looked ready to explode. "We have to get him out of there. Why doesn't Morgan let him have a break?"
"Wait!" Ellie grasped at Alex's arm and felt a flutter in the pit of her stomach, a sensation of bizarre excitement and fear. A plan had popped into her mind and it was so simple! It was also a bit scary, but Ellie knew it would work. Well, she hoped it would work. "I think I know how I can help."
Alex immediately clicked on to what Ellie was thinking and the young woman simply beamed. She even did a little jiggling hopping dance, before directing Ellie to the back of the store herself.
"It's perfect!" Alex said, wincing as the children's screams and raised voices at the grotto reached deafening volume. "Ellie…you're going to make his day!"
"And the children's."
Alex clapped her hands together and nodded.
"This is going to be the best gift ever!"
To see such enthusiasm on Alex's face only made Ellie more nervous. What she was about to do was a lot more than just having lunch or a cup of coffee with John Casey.
"I want this…! I want that…! AND I want all…!"
Casey had tuned out the whiney nasal tones of the kid's irritating voice. How he had managed to do it, he didn't know. His eyes blurred and tried to focus on an electrical appliance in the distance as the spoilt, over indulged kid on his lap spouted out a list of toys, gadgets and food that he wanted to have for Christmas. Standing to the side, the kid's mother dolled up with makeup and tacky bling was grinning and cooing over her son like he was a saint.
The nervous twitch on Casey's face was increasing into an uncontrollable spasm. If he didn't get up and leave now, he was going to regret it; like he did for saying he would do this stupid façade. Instead of this fat spoilt runt, he could have been with Ellie. Thinking of her made some of the angry tension and pent up frustration ease off, a light almost goofy smile drifted across his face.
"Oi! Santa! Are you listening to me? I'm telling you what I want for Christmas!" A finger jabbed Casey in the face. That was the last straw.
"I know what you need kid!" Casey sneered, jumping up from the chair and dumping the child on the floor. "You need a boot up your ass, you selfish ungrateful BRAT!"
There was a sudden silence. All eyes turned on Casey, startled and gobsmacked that he had erupted like this, though he thought it ridiculous. Everyone must have been dumb as a wooden plank to miss his crumbling restraint. The obnoxiousness of the spoilt greedy tyke was making the haze of red deepen.
"How DARE you!" sneered the kid, spitting and seething with hatred. "Santa can't do that to me! Mom! Tell Santa he can't do that to me!"
"You can't do that to my son!" screeched the woman. "Manager! This is an outrage, I demand…"
"Demand? You demand?" Casey's growl took upon a deep feral gruffness to it that scared the woman and he would have gotten right into her face if it weren't for Morgan getting between them. Morgan was squashed between the plumped roundness of Casey's costume and—rather awkwardly—the large fake squishy breasts of the woman. He choked and tried to extract his face from the two boobies, but he was squashed some more.
"I demand that this man be escorted from this shop!" the woman spat. "I also demand my money back and compensation for the emotional trauma."
"Emotional trauma? WHY YOU-!"
"That's not Santa!" the boy cried, filled with spite. "He's just a mean old man!"
The children did not like that bit of news at all. Casey's ears felt as if they were going to burst, the shrillness was so high. This was an utter disaster, his Christmas was ruined and because of his foul temper, he had ruined it for the children as well.
He sunk back down into the chair and blocked out everything as Morgan, Greta and the rest of the staff tried to prevent an all-out riot. Casey didn't bat an eye lid, he just tried to control his breathing and calm down, he didn't even make a fuss when the little girl Jennifer came back and gnawed on his other hand.
"Casey! Help! Do something!"
What? What could he do? Nothing good in his current state.
The fact that Jennifer had actually stopping nibbling on Casey's finger and said something, was enough to make Casey look up. It was then that his mouth and eyes widened when he saw a vision of loveliness walking towards him. She was perfect and delectable in a dress of deep blood red, fringed with white fur. Time seemed to slow down, he was spellbound as she appeared to glide like an angel towards him.
"Messa Santa." Jennifer stroked at Casey's beard. "Santa be okay now!"
She'd come to save him.