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Good Friends

Chapter Nine: Going to be Okay

By Ann Parker

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"Alan, do you need any help with that?" asked Megan. The Eppes father was carrying a tray of hamburgers and hot dogs out to the grill.

"No, no my dear. Millie has already offered her assistance. You go back to supervising the boys in the garage. I'm sure they need it," Alan stated, setting the tray down. Millie came out with another tray just then. Megan laughed as she started to head the garage when a few cars pulled up in the driveway.

She made a detour over to the other agents getting out of the cars. "I see you convinced the team to join us before heading back to DC," she stated to JJ.

"Well, you know JJ, she can be pretty persuasive when she wants to be," commented Morgan. "Plus it's Saturday, like we need to head back immediately." JJ smiled at him before looking at Megan again.

"He's in the garage," Megan stated before JJ could ask. "Be careful though, you're walking into an air hockey battle royale." Everyone laughed slightly as JJ made her way to the garage.

"Boy, am I glad to hear that sarcastic sense of humor again." Megan turned at the sound of Colby's voice to see David and Colby behind her and smiled. She hugged them both briefly.

"Have you two been behaving while I've been away?" she teased as the group started towards the garage.

"Yeah right," grinned Don, earning a punch in the arm from David.

"I'm Megan Reeves, by the way," Megan greeted Emily. They hadn't been introduced yet.

Emily smiled, "Emily Prentiss. Nice to meet you."

Morgan's cell phone went off and Megan looked behind her at him, watching the smile creep across his face. "Hey sweet thing, what's up?" Megan shook her head and caught up with Gideon.

She linked an arm with him and leaned in, "Those two are still flirting? Has he finally asked her out yet?"

Gideon smiled, "Yes and no." Megan shook her head. "I hear you're dating a physics professor?"

A slight chuckle escaped her lips, "I see JJ can't keep her mouth shut." By this point the group reached the garage just in time to interrupt an argument.

"I'm telling you Charles, this student of yours has loaded his mallet or something," commented Larry, inspecting Reid's mallet.

"Larry, stop being such a sore loser. You're just mad because I royally beat you again," teased Reid, flipping the puck around in his hand. He smiled at JJ who gestured to the rest behind him. He glanced behind them and smiled softtly. "Or did Megan's return just throw your game off even more?"

"Hey now, leave me out of this boy wonder," stated Megan, earning a chuckle from Reid.

"How about you guys forget the air hockey and we play something more than two people can enjoy?" asked Don.

"What do you have in mind?" asked Charlie.

"How about poker? Just not for money, though, I'm not in the mood to give you, Larry, or Millie my paycheck," David suggested.

Charlie noticed Reid's eyes immediately light up and chuckled. He knew they weren't the ones to worry about. "That sounds good." The group headed out of the garage.

"Good timing as usual. The food is just about ready," Alan stated. They soon piled into the house and sat down all around the living room and dining room with their plates. Hotch and Morgan were the last to join the group and how close JJ and Reid were sitting next to each other didn't go unnoticed by them.

"That's why she asked for vacation," Morgan whispered in Hotch's direction so only the team leader would hear.

"It's about time," Hotch stated back, smiling. They found their seats and the group began their idle chatter.

"So Dr. Reid, do you think I'll ever be able to steal you away from the FBI?" asked Millie after a few minutes. "I think I might have a place for you." The entire BAU team stopped eating and looked at Reid.

Reid glanced at Charlie and then JJ, both sitting next to him, before looking back at Millie. "I'm afraid not. I think I'd like to keep my government job for awhile," he grinned. Millie nodded. "Thanks for the offer though." The team let out a collective breath. They hadn't lost him. JJ linked her hand with his under the table and squeezed it. He smiled at her as everyone went back to eating. When he glanced back at his other side he noticed that Charlie was smiling. He nodded slightly at Reid and patted him on the back while taking a sip of his drink, approving the decision he had made. Charlie had had a feeling that Reid wasn't going to give up the career he had wanted those years ago when he was his professor. It made him feel good that he had helped his former student figure out what to do, much like Larry helped, helps, him. Reid mouthed 'thanks' and Charlie nodded with a smile. Everyone else noticed the silent exchange between the two geniuses and smiled slightly. Both men were something special on their own. It was really something spectacular that they were such good friends.

"Oh, before I forget," started Don, getting everyone's attention. "Thanks for cracking the case Reid. It's a good thing your team is getting you back."

Reid smiled, "Thanks Don." He had already made his decision to return to work when JJ told him the news on the beach, but it still felt good to get complemented. He knew the nightmares from his time with Tobias would never fully go away, but he now felt that he could handle them. That was why he threw the vials of Dilaudid into the ocean when no one else was watching. He knew he didn't need them anymore, or at all really. And he had figured this all out thanks to the help from his 'old' college professor. The group finished eating and quickly put everything away.

"So Spencer, you got any funny stories about Professor Eppes from Stanford?" asked Amita. Charlie just about choked on his soda at that question and Reid laughed.

"Didn't we say something about playing poker?" Charlie asked quickly, trying to change the subject.

"Poker? I'm in," stated Millie as she reentered the room from the kitchen.

"So who's all playing?" asked Morgan, sitting down at the table. He had a feeling this might get ugly, at least for him, but he figured it would still be fun. Don, Charlie, Larry, and Reid all sat down with Millie. "Anyone else?"

"No, no, I'm not in the mood to be embarrassed by a bunch of professors," stated Alan, heading over to the couch. Amita, JJ, and Emily all joined him.

"I'll play," stated Megan, sitting down next to Larry. She knew she was in for trouble, but at least she was away from that assignment and back with the people she cared for. Gideon slid into a chair as well.

"I've seen Larry and Charlie play. I'm not sitting down at that table, not with the added bonus of profilers," stated Colby. David chuckled at his friend as he took a seat next to Don. Colby made his way over to the rest by the TV.

"So Agent Hotchner, are you going to chicken out like the others?" asked Millie, lowering her glasses as she looked at him. She began to shuffle the cards. "Or are you afraid of a couple math professors as well?"

Hotch chuckled, "It's not the math professors I'm worried about." Reid looked up at him and grinned. "Or did Reid forget to tell you that he's from Vegas?"

Don groaned, "Chuck! You're supposed to tell me these things."

Charlie laughed, "Don't call me Chuck and it at least we're not playing for money."

Millie looked over at Reid, "Vegas, huh? Well, I love a challenge." She began to deal the cards as Reid looked back at Hotch. He smiled up at his superior, letting him know he was okay. Hotch returned the smile, nodding. He looked over at Gideon who was also grinning slightly. Gideon nodded at him as he turned to walk over by the rest watching TV. He let out a deep sigh; finally feeling like everything was going to be okay.

"So, Reid, you never answered Amita's question," stated Don as the group looked over their cards.

Reid and Charlie looked up from their cards. Reid grinned at the slight bit of fear on Charlie's face. "Well, there was this one time when…"

The End

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So there you have it! I wanted to end in typical "Numb3rs" fashion – at the Eppes home and usually in the middle of a non-work related conversation. Hope you liked it. Just for the record, Larry won the boat race. :) I thought about having a brief epilogue about that, but decided I liked this ending better. After "Reading the Bones" is finished – which should be shortly – the next CM story I'll post will probably be part three of the Sarah series. It just might not be for a while. Hope you enjoyed this conclusion and thanks again for all the great reviews I've received! How knows…I might be able to come up with an excuse for Charlie to end up visiting Reid in Quantico!

Thanks again for reading!

Ann Parker