Title: A Christmas Conspiracy
Word count: approx. 915.
Warnings: Spoilers for season 4 finale Slow Burn.
Disclaimer: Don’t own any of the characters in this story. Wish I did!
Summary: the team have kept a secret from Greg. Written for bessemerprocess's stocking over at fandom_stocking.
Special thanks to loisarahfor the beta :o) Any and all remaining mistakes are mine.
A Christmas Conspiracy
Greg Parker was just making his way to the locker room of SRU Headquarters to change out of his uniform, when Ed caught up to him.
“Greg? You got a minute?”
“Yeah, sure,” Greg replied readily, immediately shifting gears to follow Ed. “What’s up? Everything-“ Greg began as they entered the briefing room, but paused when he was greeted by the sight of his entire team sitting around the briefing table. “…okay?” He looked around at the familiar faces and felt his gut clench. “Guys? What’s goin’ on?”
“Well, Greg,” Ed said, and Greg turned to see him holding a large, flat, gift-wrapped package that was extravagantly decorated with green, gold and silver bows. “We know we did the Secret Santa thing already, but we wanted to give you something from all of us to show you how much we appreciate that we get to keep you as our Sarge so…here you go.”
“Whaaat?” Greg sputtered with surprise as he accepted the gift from Ed. He looked around at the rest of his team and found all four of them grinning back at him. “So you were all in on this, huh?” he said, pretending to eye them all sternly, but unable to suppress another smile. Looking down at the rather heavy gift in his hands though, he hesitated.
“Come on, boss, open it!” Spike urged impatiently.
“All right, all right!” Greg said, chuckling. It amazed him how, even after the rough year Spike had had, he could still be like a kid when it came to opening presents. Greg made short work of the wrapping, and stared at what he’d uncovered.
It was a plaque. A large, chestnut plaque with names emblazoned on it in gold. There were some personal notes on it, too, and Greg swallowed as he read some of them. Featured prominently were a note from Haley, and another one from Marina. Greg stared long and hard at the words.
"Read it, Greg," Ed said gently. "Believe it. That's a lot of names and these are just the people you saved in the past two years. Every time you start doubting yourself, Greg, you go home and look at this and know that you are saving lives."
Greg looked up − at Ed, at his team. "How- how did you-?"
Ed grinned. "Team effort. Jules came up with the idea and Spike worked his magic tracking a few people down. Sam, Raf and I made some house calls."
Greg nodded silently and looked down at the plaque once more. He fingered the smooth surface and was lost in memories for a moment as he recognized each and every name. Then he raised his head and took in the anxious expressions on his team’s faces. "Team One…” he began, fighting to keep his voice under control. “I am…lost for words… You are the best team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. This-“ he said, gesturing at the plaque, “this means more to me than you know, but the best gift I could ever wish for is having you, all of you, as my team and as my family.” He paused, struggling to keep his emotions in check, before he chuckled softly and shook his head. “I don’t know what I did in a previous life to deserve you all, but it must’ve been something pretty damn spectacular.”
His soft laughter broke the spell his team had seemingly been under, because the anxious faces broke into relieved smiles and Ed put his hand on Greg's shoulder. “Greg, buddy, a team’s only as good as its Sergeant,” Ed said, grinning.
“And its Team Leader,” Spike added.
“Hear, hear!” Sam said and Raf and Jules murmured their agreement.
Greg looked back at Ed. “They’re right, Eddie,” he said, patting his friend on the back.
“Nah, it’s the sum of its parts,” Ed replied, almost solemnly. Then he laughed. “But it’s almost Christmas Eve, so who am I to argue? Speaking of Christmas… Raf?”
“Yep, got you covered,” Raf said, producing five bottles of beer and a soda out of nowhere. He shared a conspiratorial smile with Ed as Sam, Spike and Jules looked on in surprise, and proceeded to hand out their respective bottles. When they all had their drinks and Greg was in the middle of chastising everyone good-naturedly for keeping this whole thing from him, Raf politely cleared his throat. “Could I uh…say something?”
They all fell silent and shifted their gazes to Raf. For a very brief moment Greg saw Leah, not Raf, standing there. “Sure, Raf,” he heard Ed say. “Please, go ahead.”
Raf looked around at all of them. “I know I’ve only been with you guys for a few months, but I’ve seen what you can do and I’m incredibly proud to be a member of this team. From day one you’ve made me feel welcome, so I just wanted to thank you for accepting me as part of the family.”
“No, thank you, Raf,” Greg said, “for being willing to learn and for your willingness to put your team members’ lives before your own even though you’d only been with us for a couple of weeks.” At that, Spike nodded and gave Raf a grateful smile. “We’re happy and proud to have you here with us.”
Ed raised his bottle, the rest of them automatically doing the same. “To the team,” he said.
Greg shook his head. “No. To family. Merry Christmas, Team One.”