"We should exchange presents," Jack said.
It had been hours.
A few things had been filed, thanks to Nick's nervous energy, and they had drunk a lot of coffee, and moved on to alcoholic drinks despite Nick's protests that it was barely noon. He of course downed quite a lot of Jack Daniels as soon as it was brought out. Jack had stuck with scotch, and Nick had shown Brit how to mix some fruity drinks before he was too drunk to do it, and she was happily enjoying some odd combination of strawberries, hard liquor, and half a banana (Jack had eaten the other half).
Now Nick sat at the top of the steps into the autopsy area and lay back so that his head rested on Jack's lap. His tie was loosened slightly, and Jack had managed to get the top button of his shirt undone before he'd noticed. Nick's face was flushed, his speech slurred, and he held a glass that he'd almost finished in one hand.
Jack, who sat on the floor, legs in front of him so Nick could rest his head in his lap, was not quite so impaired just yet. He wasn't wearing the coat – it was draped over the back of Brit's wheelchair – and his sleeves were rolled up, his shirt unbuttoned partially. He had a bottle on the side further from Nick's grasp, and poured himself another drink – what was this, fourth, fifth?
Brit sat in her wheelchair, of course, just a few feet away. She didn't protest the coat on her chair, and didn't even seem to mind that the boys had left her at the table so they could go lounge on the floor. She had five or six different types of liquor on the table by the broken computer beside her, and she was occasionally adding shots of them to her drink, upping the alcohol content. Her hair, which had been pulled up in a messy bun, was down now, and wild. Her eyes were dark and clouded, and her face flushed. It might have been early in the afternoon, but she was getting ready to pass out soon.
"I already gave you presents!" Nick slurred from where he rested with his head on Jack's lap. The captain laughed and ran his fingers through his hair. Nick liked that, he smiled and nuzzled the hand.
"Well you don't have to give us any more," Jack said, "but wouldn't you like one in return? It's Christmas?"
"I'm drunk," Brit observed. Jack looked up at her and laughed.
"Yes, yes you are. Do you want your present?"
"I have presents for you," she said slowly, "but I think they should wait until I'm sober."
"Alright. Then I'll just give you my presents, then."
"You didn't have to give me anything," Nick slurred. Jack laughed and shifted.
"Let me up, Nick," he protested, but Nick didn't move.
"No, I'm comfy here! Can't you, like, teleport them or summit?"
"Nick, let me up!" the captain said again and was able to push Nick's head off his lap. Jack got up and Nick's head fell back against the floor. The man groaned and sat up a little. He rubbed his head and turned so he could watch Jack go back to his office to get their presents.
"Jack got me a present," Nick slurred. He moved and noticed there was a drink in his hand. He lifted it up to his eye level to look at it. "Huh." He took a gulp from his drink. Brit laughed.
"You're drunk!" Brit laughed.
"So are you," he said. They looked across the room at each other and burst into laughter. "It's two thirty!" Nick giggled.
"We're so wasted!" Brit laughed. She finished her sweet drink and put her head down on the table. "We're such drunks."
"'m not a drunk," Nick said proudly. He sat up a little straighter and tried to adjust his waistcoat. It came out more crooked than before. Brit snorted and started laughing again. "Well I don't see what's so funny."
"You are! You're… you're drunk," she said, suddenly very serious.
"Yes," Nick said. He swayed a bit and his glass threatened to spill. He downed the rest of the liquid so that wouldn't be a problem and put it aside.
"I'm serious, though, seriously," Brit was saying as Jack returned from his office, "you guys are my best friends. I love you guys!"
"I love you too!" Nick said. They extended their arms to each other and Nick fell forward onto the floor, unable to reach her for a hug.
"Air hug!" they yelled at the same time, laughing. Jack was carrying two wrapped boxes, which he set aside, rolling his eyes at the sight of the two of them.
"You two are too drunk for your own good," he observed, still mostly sober, or at least more sober than they were.
"Your fault," Nick said from where he lay on his stomach on the floor, arms outstretched.
"Yuh'huh," Brit agreed, nodding. Jack sighed and pulled Nick up so he was sitting.
"Come on, at least try to look decent. Your sober self would be ashamed."
"I'm not sober," he said very seriously. He reached up and tugged at Jack's shirt. "Jack, Jack, I think- I think you're confused. I'm not- I'm not sober." Jack laughed and smoothed his hair back from his face then pressed a soft kiss to his forehead.
"I know you're not, dear," he said. Brit watched them, her head tilted to the side.
"You love him Jack!" she said suddenly. Jack groaned and ran a hand through his hair.
"Honestly, you two," he grumbled, "you're like a bunch of children."
"We are a bunch of children!" Brit giggled.
"I'm too cute for you to be mad at me," Nick said seriously. Jack smiled and looked between the two of them.
"I'm not mad; just wish you wouldn't drink so heavily sometimes."
"Was your idea," Nick said with a frown, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Hey, hey, I'm not mad!" he said quickly. Nick didn't stop frowning, so Jack tried distraction. He pulled out the two wrapped boxes – one in deep purple wrapping paper, one smart blue stripes – that he'd brought down from his office. "Look, presents!"
"Ooo," Nick said, captivated.
Brit echoed the sentiment. Jack noticed that her eyelids were getting droopy and guessed she was going to pass out soon. He rushed over to her and gave her her box, the one with stripes.
"Here you go!"
"Hey, why does she get to go first?" Nick whined.
"Oh hush and wait your turn," he snapped, but it was affectionate, and they both turned to watch Brit fumble with the wrapping paper.
In her extremely intoxicated state, she was having a bit of trouble with the box, but she finally got it unwrapped to find a small white box. When she opened it there was a pair of earrings made from computer chips. Brit gasped.
"Oh, Jack, they're beautiful!" she squeaked. Jack beamed.
"When you're sober, try getting the data off them."
"You mean there's stuff in them?"
"You'll have to see," Jack said. Nick pouted because he hadn't thought of anything nearly as clever.
"Look, aren't they beautiful, Nick?" Brit asked and held them up. He had to agree that they were, in their own odd little way.
"And now for your present," Jack said when they were done cooing over Brit's gift. Nick looked up to see the purple present being handed to him.
"Oh, the wrapping paper," he observed.
"What about it?" Jack asked, concerned he'd done something wrong.
"It's pretty," he said and Jack beamed. "I have a tie like this."
"I know," he lied. "Matched the paper to it."
"You didn't!" Nick said, but he laughed. "'s a pretty tie."
"Are you going to open the present or what?" Brit snapped. Nick laughed and started fumbling with the paper.
When he finally got it unwrapped he found an ornate wooden box with many layers of panels woven together out of different types of wood.
"Oh," he breathed, "Jack, it's… beautiful." Odd, but it was gorgeous.
"It's a puzzle box," Jack said, "you have to open it." Nick frowned at the box.
"You mean there's more?"
"The real present's inside."
"Oh," Nick said. He tried to move a few panels, but it didn't seem to do much good. "I need to try this again when I'm not…"
"Drunk?" Jack finished for him.
"I am, yes."
Jack laughed and leaned down to kiss him softly. He put his arms under Nick's armpits and pulled him up to his feet.
"Come on, I'll bring you up to my bed, time for you to take a nap."
"No, I'm working!"
"You haven't been working for hours," Jack said as he guided Nick to the stairs.
"What about Brit?"
They both looked at Brit, who had passed out with her head on the table and was drooling onto her sleeve.
"I'll take care of Brit," Jack assured him. "Let's get you to sleep first, okay?"
"Yeah, okay," Nick reluctantly agreed. Jack helped him up the steps and then up the ladder, though it was a bit of a struggle. Nick lay down and let himself be tucked in. "Happy Christmas, Jack," he said sleepily.
"Yeah, happy Christmas," Jack echoed.
He made sure Nick was asleep and turned over so that if he threw up he wouldn't choke on it, then he returned downstairs. A little tipsy himself – okay, more than a little tipsy – it took him some time to figure out what to do with Brit. Eventually he settled for leaving her in the chair, but bringing her a bucket and leaving water and aspirin beside her. He cleaned up the wrapping paper and put the bottles away, then looked around the hub. It could do with a good cleaning, but he decided that if he tried to do that drunk and without Nick's supervision, he would be sleeping on the couch for a week. So Jack retired himself up to his office, where he passed out on the couch with the rift alarm set to notify only his wrist strap. He put the wrist strap on and powered the rest of the hub down so no one else would get woken up if there was some disaster during the rest of the afternoon.
Before he fell asleep he decided that this had been one of his best Christmases yet.
End Season One