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05 December 2012 @ 07:52 pm
Fic Post: In Excelsis Deo  
I dont know how much Christmas fic I'll have this year but I'm gonna have fun with it all.

Title: In Excelsis Deo
Author: Montiese
Category: AU/Family/Friendship/Holiday
Characters: Penelope Garcia, Aaron Hotchner, Megan Kane, Jason Gideon, Sarah Mapes
Rating: TEEN
Summary: “I just have to have faith; allow myself to be used as a vessel for good.
Author’s Note: This story is written in the Thicker than Water universe where the BAU are kids and teens. I so loved Sarah Mapes in The Fallen that it was little surprise when she spoke to me and how she did so. I'm not much of a religious person at all so I'm always surprised when characters in my head turn out to be more faithful than me.


“Hi Sister Sarah!” Penelope came bursting through the door of the Mount Olive Baptist Church Community Center. The joy came off her in waves and it made Sarah smile too. She opened her arms and Penelope went straight to them. “Merry Christmas! I brought two more elves to help with the work. This is my brother Aaron and his girlfriend Megan.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Sarah extended her hand.

“Hello Sister Sarah.” Hotch shook her hand and then Megan did. “Penelope has nothing but wonderful things to say about you.”

“That’s nice to hear. God sends angels in all shapes and sizes, including little bubbly blonde ones.”

Penelope smiled, asking what their assignments were. It was December 23rd and instead of sitting at home contemplating what gifts Santa would bring, Penelope was out helping others. Tonight was Mount Olive’s Christmas dinner. They fed about 200 underprivileged locally every year. It had been going on for about a decade but Penelope just got involved last year.

The family always went to Mount Olive’s Christmas concert and Penelope loved the music. She was quite surprised to see Miss Sarah there last year. She was a teacher’s aid at school and worked with the kindergarteners. Chatting after the show, Penelope found out about the dinner and wanted to help. It wasn’t just one day; this kind of undertaking took months and months of planning. While some of the committee balked and even snickered at Sarah making Penelope an actual equal, the older woman was undeterred.

That belief paid off when Penelope got Erin’s job, the International Freedom Coalition, to donate kids’ gifts. She also got Kassmeyer’s to donate turkey hams. This would be the first year in five that the church would be able to give away toys. It was so hard to get sponsorship and the committee didn’t want any kid who came to go without.

“Alright Aaron, I'm going to put you and Megan on kitchen duty. Yvonne needs some help peeling and getting the yams ready for the oven. She’ll get you some aprons and you can get started.”

“Great.” Megan smiled.

“The kitchen is right through the door.” Sarah pointed.

“What about me?” Penelope asked. “Am I going to snap peas?”

“Actually this is a little unglamorous but we need to make sure the floors are swept and all the tables wiped down before we do the decorations. Vincent mopped night before last but this place can be dusty.”

“No problem.” The kid smiled. “Do you mind if I play some music? Kevin made me a great tape as part of my Christmas basket.”

“You know I don’t mind. The tape deck over by the Christmas tree works. Let me know when you finish sweeping so Vincent can help you wipe down the tables and chairs.”

“Gotcha.”

Penelope put in her tape, smiling as the voice of Karen Carpenter filled the room. She started singing Home for the Holidays, grabbing the broom to use as a microphone. Sarah smiled and went into the kitchen. Megan was helping Hotch tie his apron.

“Yvonne can be a slave driver.” She told the teenagers.

“Don’t listen to anything she says.” Yvonne smiled. “Can either one of you cook?”

“No ma'am.” Megan shook her head. “In fact it might be better to just have me preparing. I don’t want to mess anything up.”

“I can handle the oven.” Hotch said.

“OK, Megan you can peel, mash, and prepare the yams. Just do everything I say and you'll be fine. I promise.”

“Yes ma'am.”

“Aaron, how do you feel about turkey preparation?” Yvonne asked.

“I think that'll be just fine.” He smiled and his dimples showed.

“Well let’s get to it.”

***


“Sister Sarah has been through so much but she's faithful and keeps helping others.”

Penelope was in the kitchen now. The floors were clean; so were all the tables and chairs. They were waiting on other committee members to get there with decorations. Sister Yvonne put Penelope on dish duty to pass the time. Keeping the kitchen clean piece by piece was better than having to do it all at the end of the night.

People were in and out of the kitchen…it was getting busy. Sister Yvonne’s daughter Cindi was helping with the cooking. Vincent was there to help, though food preparation wasn’t quite his thing. Sister Sharon and Andrea Harris were also there now. There was bustling activity; the whole place felt alive.

“How do you know what she's been through?” Hotch asked, cringing some as he shoved his hand up the turkey’s butt. This was gross but not horrible. They were going to feed a lot of people tonight, it was worth it.

“It’s her testimony, Hotch.” her little sister answered in her ‘duh’ voice. She could tell from the look on his face that he still had no idea what she was talking about.

“Testimony is when someone tells about the goodness of God through witnessing.” Megan said, sprinkling sugar on the pan of yams just liked Sister Yvonne showed her. “They tell stories about how he came through for them in the roughest times. It reaffirms their faith and can strengthen that of others.”

“What she said.” Penelope nodded.

“How did you know that?” Hotch looked at his girlfriend.

“Aaron, I'm from Texas, of course I know what testimony is. The only thing we love more than God is football and guns.”

“Hotch is an agnostic. That means…”

“Don’t say it so loud Penelope.” He hissed.

“The people here are good people. They’ll love you even if you don’t know what you believe. It’s what the Bible says. There's always time to find Jesus.”

“Well thanks Penelope.” Hotch couldn’t help but smirk.

“You're welcome.” She smiled.

“Hey Penelope! Merry Christmas!”

“Hey Bill!”

Penelope jumped down from the stool where she stood. She ran over to hug the man who walked into the kitchen. Hotch just looked at the man. Penelope was friends with these adults and he had no idea who they were. Religious or not, he wanted to keep an eye on them.

“Bill, this is my brother Aaron and his girlfriend Megan. Guys, this is Bill Hightower. He's a war hero. And this is his mom, Sister Maxine. Merry Christmas, Sister Maxine.”

“Merry Christmas, Penelope. It’s nice to meet you guys.”

“You too ma'am.” Megan smiled.

“I brought the table decorations.” Bill said, holding up two plastic bags. “I'm hoping my favorite Christmas elf is going to help.”

“You bet.” Penelope grinned. “And I'm dressed for the occasion too.”

She took off her yellow rubber gloves and blue apron. Penelope wore a pair of green jeans and a red sweatshirt. The shirt was decorated with a giant Christmas tree. She’d attacked it with glitter and her Bedazzler; it was quite festive. Laughing, she and Bill left the kitchen to go out front. Mrs. Hightower smiled.

“So you're Penelope’s older brother?” she asked.

“Yes ma'am.” Hotch nodded. He basted the second turkey and then took it over to the huge oven.

“She's a little angel. I know she's been here before and she’ll help so many people before she's done. The best part is that she has no idea of the gift God has given her.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s not easy to explain God’s plan, not that a mere mortal like me could ever truly understand what's in store.”

“Yes ma'am.” Hotch nodded.

“I think these are ready for the oven.” Megan said, pointing to her two large pans of yams.

She’d probably peeled, mashed, mixed, and decorated a million of them. If she never saw a yam again it would be alright. Still, it made her heart feel good to help. She knew things like this happened in the city but volunteering hadn't been something she thought of before. Maybe that could change.

“I’ll put them in.” Hotch grabbed one of the pans and got to work.

***


“I wish we could’ve stayed a little longer.” Penelope said as she ate her dessert at home later that evening. “I didn’t get to see Santa.”

“You’ve already seen him.” Jason said.

“You can never see Santa too many times. Plus, I wanted to see all the kids’ faces. It was more about them then me. I bet they were so excited. I’ll just go to the committee meeting on Saturday; Sister Sarah will tell me all about it.”

“You two are getting closer huh?”

“She's totally awesome, Jason. The horrible things that happened to her and she still helps all those people who have less. I talked to her about my mom and dad too. She says she's praying for me.”

“I know she is.” Jason nodded. “You’ve done a great thing this year, Penelope. There will be lots of local families who had a nice holiday because of your help.”

“And the community center does even more. They give away clothes, toys, and have social services too. Sister Sarah teaches adults to read on Saturdays. They need all the help they can get.”

“It’s good of you to do what you can.”

“I feel really good.” Penelope smiled. “I still have a whole bunch of questions about God and stuff. Sister Sarah says that’s OK. I just have to have faith; allow myself to be used as a vessel for good. She said not everyone comes to God at the same time or in the same way.”

“She’s definitely right.” Jason nodded.

“She bought me this Bible to study at my own pace.” She pulled a pink Bible from her backpack. “It’s for teenagers and poses questions and has stuff at the end of each chapter putting things in modern perspective. I think reading it will be awesome. You believe in God, right Jason?”

“Yes I do.”

“And you promise that you're not going to burn in hell for the Jesus thing?” Penelope asked.

“No.” he shook his head. “According to many Bible passages, we are God’s chosen people and the kingdom of Heaven waits. We’ll go through hell in the human world before we get there but we’ll get there.”

“Awesome.” She grinned. “Well, the going through hell thing isn’t that awesome but going to heaven is. Maybe next year we can all volunteer. The church does Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. There's a lot of hands between us…we can do so much.”

“It’s definitely worth considering.” Jason said. “You relax and enjoy your ice cream. You deserve it for all of your hard work.”

“You think I might deserve an extra scoop?” Penelope asked.

“Don’t push it, missy.” He playfully pulled one of her pigtails. “You wanna watch a movie tonight? We’ll watch whichever you feel like it.”

“Actually, I'm beat. It’s the good beat but I'm gonna have a bath, walkie-talkie with Kevin, and then go to bed. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve; there’s even more to do.”

It had been a great but exhausting day. Penelope was looking forward to Christmas with her whole family and all the great things the day always brought. Knowing she was able to give just a little of that to people in need meant she already got some of what she wanted from Santa.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: mellowmellow
Background Noise: silence
 
 
( 2 had thoughts — Thoughts? )
hgrhfan35: EmJay Cuddlehgrhfan35 on December 6th, 2012 09:26 am (UTC)
Awesome!!!!
I can see her bubble away all day and then at the table slowing down....nod off....wakes again....slowly nods off....and awake again! :D
She's adorbs!
SSA McGeek: Thicker than Watermcgarrygirl78 on December 7th, 2012 02:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's probably pretty much exactly how it happened. Penelope is full of good energy and she cant wait to use it all. She had a great day in this story.
( 2 had thoughts — Thoughts? )