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Un-beta'd - all mistakes my own. I am making no money from this and the Ozzies are not mine, just borrowed for a while.
Family Reunion 1/?
"Why don't the pair of you take some time off?" suggested Cragen dryly to Elliot.
Elliot smiled a small, lop-sided smile. Simultaneously, Chris, who was sitting at Olivia's desk, with his feet up and his hands behind his head, smiled too. His had more megawattage. They shot each other a covert glance.
"Sure, Captain," said Elliot. "But we're on skeleton staff over the holiday season. Don't you need as many hands on deck as possible over the next few days?"
"We'll manage without you for a while. I'll let you know if we're under pressure, Elliot. Why don't you go and catch up with each other a bit, spend Christmas together for the first time?"
Elliot stood up and rolled down his sleeves. Chris swung his legs off Olivia's desk (thankfully she was on leave herself and not there to see how he'd treated it over the past few days) and pulled down his sweat shirt sleeves too.
"Thanks, Captain," said Elliot as they headed to the door, both swinging their leather jackets identically off the hall tree as they went and shuffling into them. Brand-new, matching, black leather jackets. Chris's Christmas present to them both apparently. Elliot pulled on a blue woolen beanie, courtesy of the NYPD, and Chris pulled on a grey one that had his school insignia on it. On went strangely similar plaid scarves as well before they clumped out of the unit in almost perfect timing.
"That was easy," said Munch.
"Yeah," said Cragen. "Almost too easy."
Elliot never took leave without a fight. Until recently he practically had to be threatened with a psych evaluation before he'd consider it. Until Chris.
"Really generous of you, Captain, letting Elliot spend Christmas with his bro like that," said Fin.
"Call it the spirit of Christmas, but I just don't feel comfortable having my longest-serving detective's long-lost ex-con brother spending so much time in the precinct, looking through our current cases," said Cragen. "Besides Elliot seemed set to spend Christmas with Chris one way or the other."
Chris had arrived at One Six the day Olivia went on leave, ostensibly to ask Elliot for lunch and had simply not left. He settled in like a large, disquieting cat, mainly silent, but watchful, a presence that seemed to take up most of the room. At first he had read a novel at Olivia's desk, unspeaking other than when he shared Elliot's coffee break (strong, black, no sugar for both of them). They left together that afternoon, discussing pizza toppings and the possibility of a work out. On the second day they arrived (and much, much later, left) together laughing, in their matching jackets, ate a brown bag lunch at "their" desks and partook of the unit's coffee at regular intervals.
Chris had contributed to the discussion of the latest rape-homicide the unit was investigating over the festive season. His prognostications about the psychology of the rapist had been uncannily acute. Huang had picked up on that in no time at all. When he politely alluded to it, Chris had smiled a self-deprecating smile and put it down to "experience". Precisely what form his experience took he did not say. Huang ceased probing at that point, but looked thoughtful.
Cragen had thought about it too. Chris's constant presence irked him, although it clearly cheered Elliot up no end. Chris had discerned Cragen's displeasure, although Elliot was seemingly oblivious of it. When the perp was caught and revealed to match the profile that Chris had described, he made a special point of catching Cragen's eye and smirking as if to say, "See? I was right."
On the third day the twins arrived together again, in their matching jackets. Cragen stared at them as they hung up their jackets, laughing, always laughing. Laughing in a way Elliot had not done at work or evidently anywhere else for years.
"Uncanny, isn't it?" said Munch from his desk, where he'd been working already for some time when Elliot and Chris came in. "I met them in the corridor going home yesterday and it was like that scene from The Shining, you know, `Come and play with us, Johnny, come and play with us forever and ever'."
"I didn't know you were into that weird ass TV shit," said Fin.
"Kubrick's Shining," Munch told him disparagingly. "The great cult version of the book, made when you were probably still in diapers."
Chris was reading emails on Elliot's computer, while Elliot made some calls from Olivia's phone. Seemed they were going out together soon to time how long it would have taken the victim to walk from the club to the crime scene.
"At least he's not taking him to interview witnesses," said Munch.
"Not yet, anyway," muttered Fin.
On the fourth day Chris arrived wearing an NYPD sweat shirt borrowed from Elliot. That had been the last straw for Cragen and when he'd caught him flipping through files on Elliot's desk and scanning the chart the team had made of an old child abduction for a cold case, Cragen felt it was time he acted. Watching them leave with such alacrity, however, he couldn't help wondering if he had somehow been played.
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