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Title: Rennovations and Restorations
Author: erinm_4600
Gift for: akamine_chan
Characters: The Team (specifically Jules), with an appearance from Sophie
Word Count: 1500
Rating: G
Prompt: "A Jules-, Ed- or Greg-centric fic, I let you pick which one you would rather see", with a holiday touch, per the rules
Summary: Jules just wanted to renovate her home... not her whole life.
Warning: post-301, specifically, but general Season Two information. [If you haven't seen the season opener, it's a doozy. Be warned.]
Disclaimer: The original characters belong to CBS and their respective actors. The OCs are mine.
Author's notes: I was going to stick with generic, because Season Three hasn't aired here, yet. But, as I am impatient, I found a way. And, as soon as I did, the end of this story was in my head. The trick was getting it there. And, it came out in drabbles. *Gibbs-slaps Steve*


Jules Callaghan enjoyed the holiday season most of all. Perhaps it was the lights, decorating trees, the food, wrapping paper, bows... Maybe it was just that change in the air. Her brothers always made fun of her, but Jules swore that the air at Christmas was different. "It's the same air. It's still Canada and it's still cold," they would always say. Her father, however, understood what she meant about the difference.

This was going to be her first Christmas in her "new" house, and it was going to be perfect.

Jules didn't know how, but she just knew it.



It had started as a simple team-building event – a cookout at Greg's house, celebrating the survival of one of the summer holidays – and had grown into a multi-annual event. Every major holiday, one of the team would host lunch or dinner, with a certain apartment-dweller 'renting' out Ed’s back yard and grill.

About a week after Jules mentioned the renovation, the team got together and decided Christmas would be at her house. They didn't tell her this, of course, until the afternoon they had all come over to help tear out the old drywall.

Jules saw it as a deadline.



When the criminals went into overtime, taking the SRU team with them, Jules feared she wouldn't be able to get caught up. Greg pulled her aside during one of the few downtimes and offered his house, if she needed it. She thanked him, and suggested that he, instead, come over and rewire the living room so that she would have a place to plug in the tree.

"And take all the fun away from Ed?" he asked with a straight face. "You know how much he loves to use those power tools. I just can't take that joy from him."



Jules had fallen behind schedule during the whatever-it-was with Sam. She enjoyed his company, liked the idea of having someone in her life and, keeping their relationship a secret was definitely keeping things interesting. And, then, she got shot.

So much for her schedule.

Spike and Lew dropped by the hospital one afternoon, sneaking in a chocolate milkshake, and told her it didn't matter of they were partying in the middle of open studs and bare, plywood floors. "We could call it a rustic Christmas," Lew offered with a smile.

"Nothing like Christmas in Canada, with no insulation," Spike responded.



The guys knew how much Jules wanted to finish the project on her own, but, they also knew that she was probably the third most stubborn person on the team. Spike blamed Ed and Greg. They were sitting around a table in the cafeteria one afternoon when Ed and Wordy started talking about going over one night to help the work along – heavy lifting and such that Jules wouldn't be able to do after she got out of the hospital.

Lew and Sam were in, if someone else brought the beer and pizza, and Spike could talk Greg into going.



The day Jules was released from the hospital, she almost didn't go home. Not only did she have orders from her doctors to stay away from work, but also two from Greg, one from personnel and a very long speech from her oldest brother.

As much as she wanted to push the rehab and get back to work, she also knew what her system could take. With a heavy sigh, Jules stood on the porch and fought going inside. She didn't even want to think about the mess inside; she couldn't work on it.

Her house would never be finished.



Jules dropped her bag inside the doorway and headed straight for the kitchen. She wanted a beer and didn't care if it reacted with her medication – she wasn't going anywhere, anyway. She was two steps into the kitchen, wondering just how much of the food in the fridge needed to be tossed when she stopped and stepped back into the main room.

Jules stared at the walls and her breath caught. The walls were covered in drywall and dozens of slips of paper were taped to the walls. She pulled the closest one off and laughed.

NAIL GOES HERE –ED



Jules spent half the night just reading all the notes that her friends had left. There were random nails missing, with notes similar to Ed's first; mostly-cut out holes for outlets and light switch boxes, with instructions on how to proceed with finishing the cut; random tidbits from Lew and Wordy about how 'Sam hit himself with the hammer putting in this nail' and 'Ed told a long, boring story and Spike had to hold this panel all by himself'; and, near the corner, Greg had outlined a tree in pencil, complete with an arrow, pointing to an already-installed outlet.



Jules didn't tell anyone she was done with the renovations for almost a week. Ed figured it out first, seeing the relief in her shoulders and eyes. But, he said nothing. Greg had a habit of asking how the project was going, and Jules always responded with a "good" or "fine". Wordy kept offering to go shopping with her, in case she decided the "new" house needed a new big-screen TV. Spike told her it was because he really wanted a new TV and his wife kept saying "No". Jules told him she'd let him know, but hers was fine.



If there was ever a time Jules wanted to skip over a holiday, it was this one. The last few months had been worse than when she was in the hospital. The team was on edge; no one was talking about it, even though everyone was thinking the same thing. It wasn't Leah's fault that Lew was gone, but Jules had lashed out at her. It was too soon for a new team member, they should stay just as they are...

Jules could go through every excuse, twice, but Lew wasn't coming back.

She really needed to apologize to Leah.



Jules was at the store, trying to find a Christmas present for the exchange, when she moved to the holiday aisle. Decorations of every shape, size and color stared back at her. There was no reason for a big tree, because she was alone in the house, but she needed to do something more than a simple strand of multi-color lights and some garland. Jules scanned the shelves, separated by theme and, as her eyes caught the second section, she blinked and smiled as the tears began to form.

Reds, browns and plaids; pinecones, dark metal ornaments, wooden cranberry garland...

Rustic.



Ed and Sophie arrived about half an hour after Greg, bearing green beans and pie. Wordy was standing next to the couch with Sam, discussing the excellent craftsmanship of the walls, while Spike was running a hand over the surface, trying to find the seams. "Oh, wait!" Spike called out, looking at Ed. "I think this is one Ed put in. Yep," he nodded, "Geez, Ed. Who taught you how to hang drywall?" Ed gave him a dirty look and followed Jules into the kitchen.

Leah moved over to the tree and smiled, seeing Jules' bracelet acting as the angel.



Christmas was the same, every year – each member of the SRU team would buy one gift, and then they would each draw a number. Number One got to pick the first present, Number Two the next, and so on.

Normally, Jules would buy a six pack, a bag of chips and the newest action movie, because one of the guys would end up getting her gift. It was almost expected, and really entertaining to watch the guys fight over who got the beer.

She had to use a different box each year, so they didn't know which one was hers.



Sophie and Jules were laughing in the kitchen when Wordy stuck his head in. "I'm gonna call it a night, Jules," he said with a sad smile. "Takin' Sam and Spike," he added. Jules frowned and moved over to hug him.

"Ed!" Sophie shouted over a cheer from the living room and, a moment later, Ed joined them in the kitchen. She pointed to the dishrack and Jules and Wordy shared a smirk as Ed grabbed a towel. Jules headed out to say goodbye to the guys and Leah, who was also heading out – with her beer, chips and DVD.



"Hey, Jules," Greg said quietly, nodding her over as Spike and Sam stepped out onto the porch behind Wordy and Leah. Jules moved over to Greg and smiled as he leaned back to make sure that they were alone.

"Here," he said a second later, holding out a questionably-wrapped rectangle. Jules narrowed her eyes as she took the package from him and flipped it over. She'd already received her gift – a gift certificate from a local restaurant – so she was slightly confused at the second gift. "Housewarming gift," he added.

Jules smiled at the sight of her bathroom sign.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
waltzforanight
Dec. 22nd, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
I just went "AWWWWWWWWW" really, really loud. Rustic Christmas! Nail goes here! The bathroom sign! Oh, TEAM.

♥ ♥ ♥
erinm_4600
Dec. 22nd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Thanks! I wasn't sure if it was going to work... :D
lucifuge_5
Jan. 4th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
Let me join the chorus of AWWWW! I'm total sucker for Team!fic as well as for Ed/Greg!fic. Jules!fic, however, is like the crown jewel in FP stories for me.

I feel you captured the FP tone perfectly and I was both giggly and weepy at intervals.

Leah winning the 'usual' boy's present was hee!-inducing.

That last line was a great way to bring such a good fic to a solid end.

Good work.
erinm_4600
Jan. 4th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
It actually kinda broke my heart to see the sign going... I ♥ the sign...

Thanks! I still don't quite feel like I've got the 'knack' for writing Flashpoint - but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it :D
akamine_chan
Jan. 4th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC)
Sorry for being so late, erinm_4600...

This is lovely. So many glances into the relationships and dynamics that make the team so strong, so together.

I love the details - Wordy wanting a big-screen tv, Ed hanging drywall, Greg outlining the tree, Spike and Lew sneaking in the milkshake while she was in the hospital - all the little touches that brings them together, makes them a family.

Thank you for writing such a lovely gift. I enjoyed it tremendously.
erinm_4600
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
No worries! ♥

I was rather happy to try and get back into writing for Flashpoint, so thank YOU!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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