Christmas morning at the station! Ollie got up early to SPREAD SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER but Baxter is decidedly un-cheery.
Ollie was tired. Er, she was very tired. Actually, Ollie was so tired she wasn't sure if she was still alive or if she had become a horrible machine that only ran on luke-warm coffee. But, regardless of her status as a living creature or not, she had managed to complete her plans for Baxter's Christmas - she came in early, snatched up his paperwork (he had seemed to accumulate some from others besides her, which filled her with righteous anger as he was her paperwork gopher, dammit), filled it out as precisely as possible (which was why she had her manual out), and then... put it in his outbox and then poured a few bags of tinsel over his desk.
You know. Festive. For the holidays?
Ollie didn't even really know anymore, as she was sitting at her desk with her chin on the surface and her cup of coffee sitting right in front of her, nose touching to the cardboard. her eyes, usually bright, were dull and accented by some dark bags. Her uniform was more wrinkled than usual and her Skitty was sitting in her lap, asleep, with some tinsel in her mouth.
Baxter was expecting a wholly uneventful Christmas. Well, as uneventful as working police dispatch happened to be. His Mom had sent him a new scarf (gee, thanks, Mom) and he fully expected that to be the extent of his own personal relationship with Christmas this year.
He got to the station early, as he tended to, and went to his desk to check whether anybody had left anything there for him. He had his coat slung over one shoulder, held in one hand by the collar, and this dropped to his side when he saw his desk. He just stopped, perfectly still, staring.
Finally, his head turned and his gaze settled on Ollie. And he just stared, burning a hole in her with his eyes.
Ollie's eyes had started to close when she suddenly felt that someone was wishing to bore deep into her skull with their eyes. Rolling her head to the side, her ear to her desk, she stared blankly at Baxter before she suddenly processed who he was and why that was important. She suddenly jerked up, disturbing her Skitty (who mewled in protest) and waved towards him.
"...Merry Christmas," he mumbled in reply, and he turned away from her to walk around his desk and drape his coat over the back of his chair. The more he looked at that tinsel, the more he thought about what a pain it was going to be to clean up later, and so he just decided he wasn't going to deal with it right now. He walked off without another word, headed for the dispatch desk at the front of the station.
"Hey! Wait!" Ollie scrambled out of her chair to follow Baxter, Wiley Kit bouncing from her lap and onto her shoulders as she stumbled after him. Despite her being energy being sapped earlier, she seemed suddenly revitalized.
"What's wrong? Not into the Christmas Spirit this morning?"
He stopped to wait for her with a sigh. When she got to him he glanced over at her and said, "Not really, no," before continuing to the doors.
Ollie reached out to grab his arm, trying to get him to stop or at least turn around.
"Hey! Why in such a hurry?"
It worked. He did stop and turn to face her, looking exasperated. "Because I'm here to do a job, Ollie."
She sighed and rocked back on her heels, putting her hands on her hips. She looked exasperated too, her Skitty trying to maintain its balance on her shoulders.
"You're here early! You have some time to chill!"
Pause, another sigh.
"You're not mad at me, are you, kid?"
He sighed, seeming to relent. "No, I'm not mad at you. I don't get mad, I'm Baxter." He folded his arms, gaze directed somewhere toward the ground some distance to Ollie's left. "Sorry, it's not your fault, anyway."
Ollie stared at him, then shook her head.
"No way! This is N-O good! No good! We can't have you being like this, especially on Christmas!"
She reached over and put her hands on his shoulders, "If you wanna be mad, be mad! If you wanna be happy, be happy! If you wanna say 'dammit Ollie, you covered my desk in tinsel' then say it. Because - and I might be guessing wrong here, but hey - I'm pretty sure you can get mad. Just a hunch."
This visibly surprised him; he blinked and looked up at Ollie, staring at her uncertainly. "Dammit Ollie, you covered my desk in tinsel," he repeated, slightly flat but that was more out of surprise than out of not actually meaning it.
She stared at him intently for a split second after he said it, before her expression cracked and she broke down into giggles.
Her giggles actually managed to get him to crack a smile, if only just barely. "Yeah, but I'm not actually mad about that. Just kind of annoyed because I don't want to clean it up later."
"Eh, it all sticks together so I'm sure it won't be too hard. If you have trouble with it I guess I can take one for the team and help."
"Thanks." Pause. "Um... I appreciate the gesture, at least. So Merry Christmas."
Of course the tinsel wasn't really what was bothering him, but...well, Baxter wasn't really the sort of person to just talk about the things that were really bothering him.
"Haha! There's the spirit you oughtta have on Christmas. Merry Christmas!"
She pat him on the shoulders before stepping back and prying Wiley Kit off her shoulders to hold her in her arms instead.
"It hardly even feels like Christmas." It was sort of mumbled, and he was looking away from her when he said it.
"Hm? What'd you say?" Ollie asked, somewhat distracted by the skitty that was trying to wiggle its way out of her arms.
This time he spoke audibly. "The decorations are up and charities are ringing their bells outside grocery stores and Christmas specials are on every channel but it just doesn't feel like Christmas."
Ollie nodded, her smile fading until it was just barely there. "I know what you mean. I honestly hate this time of year."
She rolled Wiley Kit onto her back, cradling her in her arms and scratching her belly gently, to which the skitty quickly surrendered.
"And then my family didn't even get me anything--well, my mom sent me a scarf but it's green and I hate green and my sisters didn't even get me anything even though I got stuff for them--" He cut himself off suddenly, arms falling to his sides, a sort of almost-wince crossing his face. He really hadn't meant to start ranting about it, and it was obvious that he was embarrassed that he had.
She stared at him, eyebrows arched and looking genuinely surprised. Wow. That was a lot of pent up rage inside the tiny Jenny-boy. Ollie offered him the docile skitty.
"Pet this and tell me all about it. Both of 'em will make you feel better, ranger's honor."
"She'll get fur all over my uniform," he mumbled, reaching up to fidget with his bangs.
"You already have some tinsel on it!"
He looked down at himself. "...Dammit."
She shrugged, pulling Wiley Kit back to lay against her chest. "I dunno, I kinda like it. It's flashy! We should petition them to add it to the uniform."
"We really shouldn't." He started trying to pick it off of his uniform. "Anyway I'm just kind of mad because my family basically forgot me on Christmas this year."
Ollie leaned over and picked a piece of tinsel off him, dangling it over her skitty who immediately tried to eat it.
"Are you serious?!" Ollie huffed, "That's the biggest load of crock I've heard in a while. Who do these people think they are? That is bullshit, Baxter. Bullshit."
"Um...it's really not a big deal..." He drew in on himself, arms crossed, shoulders hunched, closing up. "I shouldn't even have mentioned it, really. Christmas is about giving, right? So it's kind of selfish to be mad that I didn't get anything."
"Giving isn't just like... gifts, though, kid. It can be about giving a damn, too. Seems to me like that's what you're more upset about, and I don't think that's selfish at all."
Pause. He looked up, off toward the wall to his right. It was true, really. That was what he was more upset about. Allison and Charlotte hadn't even bothered to send him a card, and his mother hadn't even bothered to remember his favourite colour despite the fact that it'd always been red ever since he was a kid. A red scarf would've been okay!
"Green is Charlotte's favourite colour," he muttered, more to himself than Ollie.
Ollie tilted her head to the side, staring at him for a moment before gently moving Wiley Kit to her shoulder.
"Hey, lets forget about that for now," She moved closer to Baxter and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, "I hate seeing you upset like this." She winked at him, "It breaks my heart!"
"Yeah..." A short pause, and then he pulled away from Ollie. "Anyway, I should go relieve the guys at the desk, um." Like he was going to continue, but thought better of it.
"You do that. I'll catch up with you in a bit!"
She stepped back and waved, turning on her heel and then walking with a spring in her step towards the break room. She needed more coffee if she was going to keep this up without passing out.