It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go

Take a look at the five and ten,

it's glistening once again

With candy canes and

silver lanes that glow

It was once again the time of the year that everything in New York turned into a winter wonderland slash fairytale.

For the one and only NYPD consultant Malcolm Bright it brought a whole different level of emotions. And memories and also new night terrors and hallucinations.

However there was also a side that held another level of emotions and memories. Very different ones.

But whatever jam was taken over the city, all up with the cheerful spirited moods and general festivity in the air, it didn't dwell ok with the consultant.

Also it's been snowing for the past few days, almost immediately softening the world, and it seemed even killers caught up with the mood and decided not to actively do their crimes.

So every day Malcolm went to precinct only to be chased out of it by Gil or any other of the team that caught him there.

His own mother seemed taken up a new hobby of dragging him to any party, brunch, sitting available in the Upper East Side part of Manhattan. And his sister got the minute the mysterious about her personal and work life.

That left more mama Jessica pestering him about his life and he was stuck to suffer through that because there hasn't been enough murders for him to avoid his matriarch of the family.

Sure enough, he did love his family and would do anything, and already did some crazy things, to protect them. However them being nosy about his love life not so much. His personal life was his to deal with regardless of its existence level. While he could avoid his mother by some deflection level. While his sister was whole another story. She was ruthless if she was hunting for information and she had the natural investigative side that often caused Malcolm great deal of headache. And Ainsley was not being above telling their mother. All together they made a great team of haunting for his personal life he worked so hard to keep to himself and maybe Sunshine who was his silent support and witness. Sure he felt more confiding in her than his femmes fatales of family at any dinner, lunch or brunch.

And even if he tried to play them he knew it would fall through as he wasn't a particularly good liar. His façade would fail too soon into the poking and prodding.

Therefore he felt the doom slowly descend upon himself as the annual festivity season took the main road by all the lights and bells. Usually he could hide behind a murder he needed to solve or something else that was part of an investigation and for the most part he managed to slide majority of their coming together for almost a decade while he was in Quantico due to the nature of his job. Which was short lived once he got fired from the FBI.

Here in New York he was merely a consultant for NYPD and while it still sounded respectable enough in reality he had less immediate action and more reach for his mother to drop any of her businesses she wanted on his head like a whole of a raindrop. Mostly because she counted on Gil being the conductor to the action due to their long history of being acquaintances and his own secret agenda to make up to him for something that Malcolm long had dismissed.

So, in retrospect, in most cases having a family friend for a boss did not work entirely by Malcolm's rules. Yes, he could grab more moments for errands and ask for things, but, in general, it still backfired him every time Jessica came with smiles, hugs and sweet words for Gil to snag Malcolm away for any occasion she felt her son needed to "get out more".

And all his time back in NY had showed him how little control he had over his own life. Yes, he could buy things with his own money, he could do stuff, but most of the things like paying bills and other stuff like medical needs were more in his mother's hands than he ever knew to explain anyone in this world.

And the fact he had all this "old money" plus whatever he earned from police work was entirely different thing to explain.

Yet, there was one person who held more understanding than words could express. But he hadn't taken up enough courage to reach out yet. That and he felt afraid. They once held a deepest connection he had ever felt with another human being and it was two way road. And then it was taken away by something he couldn't explain nor understand back then. Not that he actually tried now.

Meeting him at that crime scene had been a shock. While he tried to hide it and not show that in fact he felt swept off his feet, he saw that his emotions were quite a read to him. HIM…

It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go

There's a tree in the Grand Hotel,

one in the park as well

It's the sturdy kind that

doesn't mind the snow

And then he promised to keep contact and not to become the missing part of their old "corner table boys" duet. That particular task he'd failed for many months now. He made this promise every weekend approaching and every Friday failed to complete. So on and so forth.

The thought kept popping back the whole week before thanksgiving and just two days ago when a whole snowflake splashed in his face and a kid with a raindeer costume nearly made him faceplant into sidewalk. It was the day he was made to realize and accept it was "the time of the year" again.

Ainsley had been smart this time, she told mother she already had plans with friends. What friends was yet to be seen but so far he suspected his little sis had some agenda in plans.

That left him either to give up every hope he held since last time or start playing matchmaker to keep Gil on her so he could take a breather.

Somehow the thought alone didn't make him feel anywhere close to an escape. Knowing his mother she'd invite herself to some gala and pull him by his arm and leg to be her plus one and then magically set up some rich dude's not so lean daughter as his date.

Wouldn't be the first time nor the last.

And… fuck! Yes, he could talk mile a minute about many things. He could also be the silent palm tree in the corner. Sure, he had manners, all of them, to hold a polite meeting. He was always nice. And tried to carry his family's name in best light out in public.

But he always hated all the attention. He already felt the stares from all the "old money" from every direction. His mother brushed it off with a bottle of bourbon or something and plowed through all that mingle like a figure skater through her program. He usually pushed his shaking knuckles in pockets and took a beeline to most secluded restroom he could locate and avoided being seen until he felt his mother might be too busy. He also turned his phone in DND mode so she couldn't use his gps to locate him.

Yeah, not a particular exercise he wanted to repeat too often.

His glassy gaze turned to the big, all new, plasma screen across the room just in time to catch weather update for Christmas Eve. To his surprise he even reached for the remote and caught the last words of the reporter saying the storm will definitely will come stronger than expected and should everyone in Manhattan evacuate or bundle in preferably in higher levels.

His brain was already stuck on the word storm and evacuate. Slowly, as if in shock, his eyes traveled to window where, through the fresh new glass, he could observe snowflakes doing an intricate dance show.

Sunshine chose that moment to boldly chirp out what to him sounded like a "gasp in Spanish".

"Yeah, girl, you and me both." He told to his parakeet and sighed. "You and me both…"

He then turned the tv off and decided upon random radio station but the second "let it snow" bellowed from the speakers he quickly turned the music center off.

"No more snow calling today." he told more to himself than his bird companion. Then Malcolm chose to close all curtains and blinds and forget everything he just heard and simply turn his lamps on and decided to sink into one of his books and let the world fade far in the background.

That was week ago.

Now he was starting to feel the words of the reporter unleash their talons and sink them deeply into his spine.

How fast this day turned into a state-wide mass chaos was beyond the profiler. It took just few hours for the wind to pile ALL of the arctic snow onto the streets of Manhattan causing the traffic impossible. And he was barely at the precinct when Gil called all the teams back from wherever they were and together with some more detectives organized their plans for the day as it had become all too clear Mother Nature intended them to rush home to their families and be safe as early as five in the morning.

To what snippets Malcolm managed to catch, even before he sauntered into the office with his coat and scarf barely removed, the storm that was announced week ago was now deemed a cat three hurricane and was comfortably plowing its way to NY and it's neighboring states. It was said to possibly strengthen by landfall and to avoid problems coastal sides were being evacuated as early as the day before. Where was Malcolm mentally at that point he even couldn't comprehend. Possibly at home huddled all cozy and singing along with Sunshine to some tunes only they knew.

So when Gil's eyes fell upon his unsuspecting frame the man like a mama bear approached his consultant and told him to turn around and go home and maybe put shutters on his windows unless Jessica hadn't organized that and that he'd be at hers as soon as he was done at the office, and no, he was NOT allowed to stay and mingle at the office. There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for him to do here at this point as the landfall was predicted later towards the evening and by that time he shall be hunkered down with all the necessities.

Next thing he knew was that Ainsley will be at their home with mom and Gil was to be joined with them the minute he's off.


And with that Gil advised Malcolm to either join them now or rush home and let his family know where he's gonna be so they don't worry as it's predicted cellular service will be down the moment this mess will hit the fan.

Oh, and good luck and be safe, moments later issued sent him out the door completely dumbfounded and unprepared.

It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas

Soon the bells will start

And the thing that'll make 'em ring

is the carol that you sing

Right within your heart

Mal was not known to be survival type of guy.

He barely knew his way around kitchen.

Okay, that was not fair comparison, but still, he wasn't that much into wilderness. Sure he'd picked up a fair hand of knowledge from his father and later his training. However that left more desired in the face of a bloody hurricane.

Two hours later he found himself unsure of the proper procedure as New York wasn't that often plagued by hurricanes or tornadoes. Sure some storms hit pretty often but that was nothing to compare.

His sister texted that their mother had taken care of his loft and if he pleases to keep his lonely escapades he could be safe there and also shall he changed his mind he would always be welcomed at home any time.

He texted back that he was thankful and wished them both be safe and that he loved them but decided to stay in his loft.

Maybe he was not yet hit by the severity of the whole thing unlike the rest of the city that seemed to fall into a deep state of chaos and hurried packing and leaving.

Hour later he received another text. This time from HIM asking if he'd minded a company for the night.

It took him all of the following thirty minutes to squeeze out that he would love that.

To what the reply was a heart emoji and a winking emoji.

And for that his brain lost connection with his fingers and only couple more hours later when he realized he had no idea he'd gone his eyes focused on the text that came in and he realized what he'd sent.

He nearly broke his ankle as he suddenly fell into a hole up to his knees in the snow. That was another call for attention as he climbed out and dusted the snow off. Not that it did a whole lot of good.

What Gil forgone to mention was that absolutely ALL of NY's taxis were either busy or rushing to their own safety.

Service was already down to texts as calls never fully went through so he was unable to reach his mother's driver even via text. Obviously Vijay was to be at his place in few hours and it was already noon. For some reason the man of interest had keys to his place so it was possible he'd wait for Mal to find his way home.

And there the profiler came to admit that maybe, possibly even, perhaps for sure some of his medications didn't go along quite that well. Or it was quite sure something to do with him not having enough work and sleep.

Having blanked out this severely was more to do with his hallucinations getting stronger and weirder. And fact that they all weren't related to his father should for sure start alarm bells in his head.

But as it was Malcolm let that all slide more than was healthy.

And he was most likely in danger of some sort.

However I'm true Bright fashion he swept that under yet another rug and moved on.

And fucking moved he alright…


The blow itself wasn't that bad. What felt rather worse was the fact he full-body-planted on the ground where the snowy yet hardened by many footsteps and two feet of iced snow layers under powdery part hugged his head a tad too lovingly and his brain decided it was appropriate to start a fireworks parade.

By the time it all cleared and he could use his brain for thinking he discovered several problems.

One was being covered in what looked like several inches of snow. That led to issue number two- time.

He barely could tell that his watch poked angrily at afternoon hours. His phone was not only covered with a layer of moisture from the snow melting in his pocket but also in a good inch of text messages from Dani, JT and even Gil, but also a fair share of Vijay starting with confirmation of his location nearby and finishing with a worried string of texts asking where Malcolm was and how soon he's gonna be home.

At the very bottom was missed call from his mother and four panicked texts asking if he was okay.

All that was nicely tied up with about twenty voicemails from Claremont that definitely told the profiler his father was still very well and weirdly worried about his son.

Maybe he did give his father way less credit than the man deserved despite being a serial killer. After all the old man did love his son, just in his own way. So what if he truly was worried about his son who didn't pick up his phone, given he absolutely did see all the news about hurricane and whatnot. What if that fatherly instinct was there?

Malcolm had to take a moment to shake that all off. He pushed the phone back in and tried to figure out what to do and where he was in the first place. He shortly contemplated replying Vijay but the thought was swooped outta his mind as he looked around and finally noted his surroundings.

It was chaotic mess alright, but also held a soft quietness that mesmerized the profiler.

When he'd gotten to his feet he couldn't recall but how painful it was he was made aware of after ten steps he managed. Turning around he noticed that it'd been a plywood board that had been flung off of a side of a building by string gust of wind.

It had hit him flat against his back making his painful landing. And that too had been rather unpleasant experience.

Well, he'd flung himself out of a window during a night terror and then another time he accidentally remodeled his rental back at the old days. A whole decade and that's what sprung to his mind? He shook his head again and this time his brain had a serious complaint to make because this customer service was getting worse. The following ache made him miss his days with Vijay that he better discuss with the man himself or maybe not at all.

It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas

Toys in every store

But the prettiest sight to see

is the holly that will be

On your own front door

It took Malcolm about twenty minutes to make his way out ok the street that was badly blown full of snow making some piles over five feet while some surfaces had barely an inch. It was when he received the first actual taste of the hurricane that was obviously close by. The wind was roaring and the second he turned the corner that had neatly tucked him in the nook of protection from the blasts of ice he was struggling to keep his clothes on.

The gusts were ruthless as much as his sister's way of getting a story to sell. It was also abundantly clear his winter wardrobe had a lot to desire in this kind of weather. He probably should've gotten some skiing attire instead of a wool trench coat that he was snuggling to his body as hard as he dared.

Unfortunately the moves must be made as he sensed the real mess will just begin. He caught a second in the orange lantern light and it was now explained in swirls of snowflakes in the lesser gust that the reason he didn't see snow actually falling was because the wind was just blowing everything and the nook he'd taken the ungracious topple was shielding that area from direct wind blowing snowflakes instead just swooping it over the rooftops.

Satisfied of the science lesson his observations gave and also seeing his mind wasn't frozen over from that blow. The cold that chilled his blood and made his limbs sluggish was mostly masking all the pressing aches he'd gained in the fall.

Which was somewhat okay if he wanted to get to home. He could always lick his wounds while back in his place. Surely Vijay would gladly help him… maybe give one of his amazing massages…

Malcolm felt like putting his head in the huge pile of snow. Such thoughts clouding his judgement of current predicament wasn't a wise thing to do.

He settled on shaking his head once more. Just this time it almost sent him twirling among snowflakes. Maybe the ground was indeed harder than snow made it look…

However the still smart part of his mind decided to kick the gears and while he struggled with whirlwinds of that he suddenly realized he'd been circling the precinct for a moment but eventually taken different turn than he usually took to get home. Which left him about halfway. If he chose wisely he'd make it home and just hit the buzzer so Vijay could come and help him get inside.

His pocket decided to vibrate suddenly which ended with a flat splash softly on the snow pileup. Another text he felt too stiff limbed to fish out of his pocket. Luckily this pile wasn't too soft but also less hard which meant his numbers of bruises won't get upped this time.

Even that didn't help how unstable his legs felt and how his head spun. He tried not to look at snowflakes otherwise he'll join them. That alone should sound alarms in his head but all he got was static instead.

In the next twenty or so minutes he made a rather impressive crawl ahead and found another nook to hide from wind that still kept picking up speed.

It made him think about how fast that would be for a car and if that speed could sent him flying like the Prius did once.

And he was the one who ran or more precisely caved in a LeMans once. That one he actually still feels guilty about but as Gil said he better see Malcolm alive than scrape his parts off of the roof of said LeMans.

He was okay with that. Things were more replaceable than humans, especially ones you cared for.

Now Malcolm actually felt like slapping himself.

His thought process was getting more chaotic and derailed than usual. That was probably some level of ADHD getting him distracted.

"Bright, get ahold of yourself." he said out loud to himself. But out of nowhere his own voice in a slightly darker tone replied "Are you sure it's what you really want, my dear?"

With a squeak rivaling a mouse in grave danger he spun around faster than wind blew a snowflake in his face. He was still alone in the alleyway. Wind howling were the only sounds between the walls.

"Don't try to catch me, Bright. You can't even catch your own demons." the voice of his own dark abyss called back and faded leaving echoes in his ears.

"Okay, that was weird." he mumbled to himself and decided to finally move on.

It was about time too.

A pair of Hopalong boots

and a pistol that shoots

Is the wish of Barney and Ben

A very loud crash that followed a really strong gust of howling wind spooked Malcolm to the point of jumping. The startled man looked around with wide fearful eyes and only after a moment realized there was a rubble pile where he was while ago. A sign his time was short if he actually wanted to get somewhere.

About time.

He took a deep breath that caught in his chest and sent him into a spiraling coughing fit. It felt like eternity until he was able to breathe again and almost regretted this decision. But he couldn't stop trying to get home.

So he tried again just with less air intake and he even remembered there was a scarf somewhere still around his neck so he managed to untangle it from the coat and wrap a part of it up his face so he had some shielding from the elements. After that step he actually located a pair of gloves and even managed to fully button up his fancy coat. The dress boots he wore were better choice than the shoes he was very close to picking up that morning but only a slight misjudgment from Sunshine saved him from that choice. And luckily these were some super fancy selection from his FBI days that his dear old friend Vijay had sent him as a Christmas gift.

They actually did keep the contact while he was in FBI just unknowingly of who they were. That was a part of their accidental communication through some website offering dating options and he did that as a part of his studies at first but then returned to it on the most lonely nights after cases from hell. And he never disclosed his identity. In a very roundabout way he'd play pretended to be just some dude and obviously Vijay had done the same. They exchanged gifts for festivities sending them to PO Boxes instead. He'd sent Vijay a very specific tie and gotten these boots instead.

So the thought of the man seeing the boots and realizing they'd actually talked to each other all these years was something he was mildly afraid.

How did he knew it was Vijay he was talking to? Oh that was fun one. While Mal used printed address Vijay handwritten details on his mail and Mal was recognizing that letter work like his own. Back in the day they'd exchanged a whole chest worth of notes so that handwriting was basically ingrained in Mal's mind. He also was trained in handwriting analysis so that was another perk of his job.

When he finally pulled himself out of musings about his boots that despite looking fancy held a particular type of insulation for very cold winter weather and a protective layer that also kept feet not only warm but also dry he was also noticing the soles weren't as prone to slip as his dress shoes were. Which was great.

Freshly refueled for the trip the man of mission begun to trudge through the snow and make some progress while he could.

It took a longest time ever for him to get through a whole block and halfway into next one as the weather kept worsening.

He nearly jumped into a wall when a wailing noise startled his focusing on the way he was walking.

The damned weather service alarm had reached his phone and now was blaring through the pocket of his pants that thankfully weren't dress pants he also intended to wear but once more Sunshine managed to derail that by pooping on them so he went for jeans instead. Which led to his whole wardrobe change for what he felt thankful now that he realized having a turtleneck, casual jacket and jeans along with the boots and without a tie held a style and meaning. Sunshine deserved that extra level of attention and he intended to give her that for being his own little logical side. Maybe the little bird understood more than was appropriate for humans to imagine.

He almost started crying about not giving her all the attention she deserved for being the greatest parakeet in the world and always taking care of him in her own way. But before any year managed to slip through his lashes he was once more reminded that the weather is only getting worse and he shall move his ass before something terrible happens. More than few bumps and bruises.

Turning the sound off on the phone he fished out of the pocket he shortly considered texting however seeing no service written on his screen he made a note to look up how emergency warnings worked when there was no reception available. Maybe government did have some microchips implanted somewhere…

"God, Mal you're getting crazier by minute." he scolded himself and put the phone back in his pocket.

No time for distractions more than he already did.

He also made a note to self that he should invest in some winter wear for occasions like this. And another note to use more of that high level training for logic when facing weather.

And a note to actually remember look out the window before leaving his home and actually check the prognosis at least for the day.

That all left Malcolm imagining himself covered in post-it notes for all the things he was supposed to know and do but given his attention span and ADHD possibility he never did.

He giggled.

And giggled more.

Until he was almost on the ground laughing out loud at the image his brain painted. Like a walking meme.

Dolls that'll talk

and will go for a walk

Is the hope of Janice and Jen

And Mom and Dad can hardly wait

for school to start again

When his sudden fit calmed down he started to recognize the surroundings more and felt relief that among all the snow he still could tell he was another block from home. So making himself to focus on the instincts and knowledge he kept the trudge to his loft.

And for a while he did actually impressive progress. However it took a turn when he reached his street. Or at least what in the morning looked like his street. Now it practically felt like another dimension or entire alternate universe.

Everything that was smaller buildings and corner shops had turned into a huge snow slides. A two story building next to him that he found very delicious donuts and exquisite coffee blends that weren't your usual fancy high class standards but rather a student's choice on a tough exam day that his mother would frown upon if she knew was literally a mountain of snow. Obviously the way wind blew came from the crossing of the next street so all the snow was blown onto the façade.

And while he could tell general direction of his house that wasn't tall either he couldn't see anything past the few feet ahead.

The rest outside his field of vision was blob mass of shapes and shadows. Power seemed to be out if a fallen pole was any indication. But since there were no flashes he assumed the power was out. He tried to carefully pick his way around the poles and street signs and other junk from trash cans that had gotten a wild rollercoaster ride all the way down the street. It wasn't an easy task. Some power lines laid on the ground but held no spark. His feet kept tangling into other cables that had come down. And his struggle became worse as he managed to trip over a light pole and actually faceplant into a street sign that a car had crashed.

As he laid there rubbing at his face and head he almost didn't notice the wind whose howls were long gotten used to so he almost screamed as a cat screeched at him and clipped his cheek with sharp nails as it jumped out from somewhere under him. He paused at the mere thought of sitting on a cat but the new pain of his face caught the laugh bubble before it burst.

"Good job, Mal, good job." he patted himself for no real reason and giggled. So far so good.

He somehow got to his feet eventually and as wobbly he was he still kept going. The feeling of ALMOST there kept the fire in his veins. And magically it was all he needed to keep picking his way through the mess underneath the varying levels of snow.

It also helped a lot to concentrate on keeping his movement. Another distraction meant he was doomed unless Vijay had decided to look for him. Knowing the man and his overbearing need to help and protect while keeping his appearances as someone entirely else Malcolm knew deep inside that he was probably scanning the whole piece of land with some satellite technology to find where his favorite "corner table boy" has gone.

Okay maybe not as superhero movie like but between them two Vijay actually was a goddamn mother hen when he was scared of Malcolm's well-being.

That was one thing reserved for just them.


Just a second of thought cost Malcolm his precarious balance and he was seeing stars or maybe dancing rainbows or snowflakes or all of it. The pain didn't register but he knew there must be some.

Not that he could judge the pain tolerance like a normal person. After all the shenanigans he had withheld he was still a walking wonder.

Or maybe his brain just came up with more distractions that pain didn't hold for long.

Unless it was a snake with a poison.

As the star show slowly eased up he came to understanding that he was blown over by another plywood board. Who nailed them this poorly that they kept flying around the city was beyond his brain capacity.

He wanted to scream at them but refrained to a low growl instead.

It only then occurred that he never saw or met another human being. Almost like apocalyptic movie there was nobody around. Which kinda felt odd if he came to think of. But other than trying to reason with that revelation he noticed that snow was coming down hard. It was like a wall surrounding him and it was scary to witness.

As if stuck in a wild action movie while at the same time mesmerized Malcolm just stared at the snow wall engulfing him.

The wonders nature did.

Some loud bang pretty close by broke the moment and he once more tried to find his footing only realizing how much harder it'd become since he fell on the cat.

Also he noticed how much deeper the snow has become and how wind seemed to want to pluck all the roofing off of the buildings and if not that then just take them apart.

"Whatever the hell is this category?" he wondered out loud to nobody but himself. He felt as if he couldn't even hear himself over the roar. As this street held lower rise buildings the previous howling had turned into roaring and if there were any sound at all he couldn't hear anything at all but the roar and some static among that.

With that new revelation he managed to move ahead some but not too far. Or that's what it felt. Since it had rapidly gone worse he no longer could tell what was what nor where was up nor how the down looked like. He was literally engulfed in a thick deafening blanket of snow. Walls up on all directions and he felt so lost.

So lost…

So alone…

A tear escaped…

Then a whole stream of tears as he suddenly was so fucking terrified. Just pure fear. Nothing specific just terrible fear. Maybe even more than back then…

He sobbed…

"Vijay! Help me! Find me!" he tried to scream with all he got. He couldn't tell the difference. The noise was so damn loud.

The wall of nothingness hugged him tightly and screamed in his ears. He was frozen and unable to move nor make any more sound. It felt like a vortex of a black hole. It made no sense while being all the sense at the same time. It was paralyzing and it was deafening while too loud and moving too fast. Contradiction against contradiction. Was this how apocalypse felt? Was this apocalypse?

What to do? Where to go?

What was he doing? Who was he?

Was this still the same world or some alternative universe entirely?

And just like that it was suddenly all quiet..

And nothing…

It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas

Soon the bells will start

And the thing that'll make 'em ring

is the carol that you sing

Right within your heart