Playing Games by JuliaBC

It started as her family's tradition.

The summer Kate was entering sixth grade, her sister was in tenth and...well, not popular. She was home all the time, one of Kate's best, best friends had just moved away and suddenly they both found themselves with more time on their hands than they could find use for.

They'd always been a close family, and often played games such as Monopoly or Poker on a rainy or cold afternoon, but their aunts and uncles almost always gave them board games as presents on birthdays.

One day during that summer, Kate had brought down their box of Clue, and handed it to her sister, Elizabeth but called Liz for short.

She'd always been Liz.

"Come on, let's play this," she said, and her sister had hesitated just a moment before saying yes.

By now, years after that golden summer, Kate had inherited all her sister's board games—and there were a lot of them—and taken all the games from her parents' house when her father died nineteen months ago.

She and Meg had kept up the tradition, for her mother's love of board games was something that Meg herself could identify with. Friendly, but not necessarily outgoing, she preferred, even in kindergarten, to play Candy Land rather than have a playdate at a friend's.

And every birthday, Kate would give Meg a game, and Meg would return the favor on Kate's. On Christmas, they got each other one player games to play when the other was alone.

Chris didn't hold much with board games; the only game he'd ever play was Monopoly on a very rainy afternoon.

And after Kate's fifth flight on the BAU jet, she had reached into her go-bag and found a game inside. She remembered telling Meg how long the flights got sometimes, and her beautiful niece had remembered.

Since then, every time she left, she'd find a new game inside her bag.

This time, after a harrowing case involving a brother who murdered his sister and would have cheerfully murdered his niece, Kate reached into her bag a bit more slowly.

They'd been in the air for almost an hour now, most of the team was trying to sleep so Kate was sure she wouldn't be offending anyone by doing something alone, as once before she'd played Solitaire and Morgan had seemed a bit miffed that she hadn't tried to get a whole game together for Poker or the like.

It was a one person Clue set, titled Clue Suspects. She'd never actually played it before, and took a few minutes to read the instructions.

You were given a little house, Boddy Mansion, twelve little figures and a deck of cards with ten elimination clues on them.

She read one to herself. "The dead body was found in the dining room and all eleven suspects were in the mansion at the time of the murder."

She was working through it, and feeling fairly confident as she placed Colonel Mustard in the Ballroom. "Professor Plum was on the same floor as Miss Scarlet, but on the opposite end of the mansion," she murmured, and felt someone's presence above her.

"Hey, Kate," Reid said, perpetual coffee mug clutched in his left hand. "It would seem that you and I are the only ones unable to sleep right now." He spoke softly, and she gestured for him to take the seat opposite her.

"What are you playing?"

"It's a Clue game for one," she said. "Meg gave it to me. It's kind of our family tradition by now."

"I've noticed you with games on the flights," Reid said.

"Meg started packing them for me. It's always a surprise what I'll get," she said.

"Can I see?" Reid said, and she handed him a card, then slid the mansion over to him.

He scanned the card. "Mrs. Peacock was in the room next to the room Professor Plum was in. Oh, I get it. Elimination."

"Yeah," she said. "I'd finished my card. You can have a go."

He started to place the figures, and was done in what seemed like a few seconds. Kate laughed at herself for taking so long over something that Reid had figured out in moments.

"Pretty good," she said.

He slid the mansion back. "You know, I can just use the cards," he began. "And place them mentally. That way you don't have to stop playing."

"Or we could turn it into a game of who can solve one faster," Kate said, already knowing she'd lose and Reid shot her a rueful smile.

"Do you really want to?"

She smiled, shaking her head and Reid smiled too.

"I didn't think so," he said, and she split the deck.

"The red cards are harder," she commented. "So you can have that part of the deck."

He took the half handed to him, and she just watched him for a few minutes, amazed at how quickly he discarded a card and went to the next.

She started her own card, reading to herself about Mr. Boddy and Mr. Green, and the newer characters like Lady Lavender and Prince Azure when Reid placed the deck down.

"You're finished already?" She asked.

"No, I just didn't want to play alone anymore," he said.

Kate had a feeling she could learn to love Dr. Reid.

A/N: So, yeah. Let me know what you think. I've been trying to write more about Kate but that long winter break that Criminal Minds had is not good for my writing.

I have a vague idea to do this weekly, one corresponding to each episode in time if not in content. This would go with Amelia Porter. For the first few chapters, it will be mostly Kate and Reid, but after a point, it should expand to the rest of the team.

And who else is beyond excited for the new episode tonight? I'm really worried for JJ.