And, finally, my favourite couple! Hotch and Prentiss...
I hope everyone had an awesome holiday season and have great things planned for 2009! I'm certainly hoping for an award for the 2008 Fan Fic Awards. Check my profile if you'd like more information.
Here's to great fic in 2009!
He smelled her before he saw her, that alluring scent of coconut and vanilla that always floated after her. He'd identified it long ago, had it committed to memory from the number of times it had tickled his nostrils. It stirred emotions in him he'd figured locked away after Haley ripped his heart out. Affection, attraction, heady and hot lust... It had been a long time since he'd been so magnetically attracted to one woman.
"I'm surprised to see you here."
Her nose was adorably red her hands tucked in the pockets of a black pea coat. Her scarf was almost the same colour of her nose, the top of her hair hidden under the white hat she had on. Nevertheless, it still curled wildly over her shoulders.
"I should have known we'd both be invited."
Her lips quirked in a small smile. "Usually I avoid this shindig. You know, politics and all."
They stood face to face on the White House lawn, awaiting fireworks set to go off at midnight. All of Washington's biggest players were there, families scattered about. Children wove through the legs of the guests. The snow had been trampled down for the night, flattened so the guests had somewhere solid to stand on.
"Then why did you come?" he asked, stepping imperceptibly closer.
She shrugged. "Didn't want to stay at home by myself, I guess." She paused for a moment considering him. "I forget your father was a Washington big shot before he died."
He didn't want to talk about his father. He hated his father. He knew she knew that. They were close enough friends for her to know he hated his father. Heck, they were close enough friends that he'd started confiding in her about the divorce with Haley. She'd stuck beside him when his ear had been giving him trouble. She'd been one of his main character witnesses when he'd had to go through child custody proceedings because Haley was fighting for sole custody of their son. She had become his rock in his life. He was glad she was here.
"Me too," she replied and he realized he'd said it out loud. "I'm not usually a big New Years' Eve person."
She shrugged again, her hands coming out of her pockets to press against her cold cheeks. "Because when I was a kid and went to these types of parties, I always ended up beside some gross top player in whatever country I happened to be in at the time. Let's just say, I've had my fair share of terrible New Years' kisses."
"You look cold," he told her seriously, switching subjects once again.
"I am cold," she replied laughing. "I love it."
He arched an eyebrow. "You love the cold?" He'd always taken her for a sunshine and tanning type of woman.
"I do," she agreed with a nod and a very wide smile. "I always have. I prefer the cold to the heat."
"Well, not in my own home. Home has to be warm and cozy. Welcoming. Outside though.... yeah, I've always preferred the cold."
He took that and filed it away in his Emily Prentiss file, along with the fact that her favourite colour was purple, she disliked cooked vegetables but would eat raw ones like candy and that she owned a pair of flannel pyjamas that glowed in the dark. The intimate details of the woman he was currently standing with under the DC sky, waiting for the countdown to midnight.
"Did you hear we have to add an extra second tonight?"
And leave it to her to bring up trivia like that. She was a news hound and he knew it. "No, I didn't."
She laughed a little. "Something to do with Earth's orbit slowing down, I think."
"Time is a fickle and funny thing."
She hummed in her throat, turning away to face the large crowd. They were on the edge of the so-called floor, out of the way of the groups of laughing and talking politicians. "Did you come by yourself?"
"I barely had enough time to find my good suit pants," he replied wryly. "Last night's flight got in late."
"How was it?"
He'd been on a consult for the past four days, a case in Casper, Wyoming. Between the clean up interviews and weather, he hadn't been able to get a flight until the worst hours of the night. He'd returned to his apartment and all but fallen over on his bed. His suit pants had the wrinkles to prove it. "Uneventful. Long."
"You were only gone four days."
There was amusement colouring her voice. He glared at her. "I'm too used to having someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone who thinks like me." She thought like he did. He'd wished she was there with him. He always wished she was there with him. They'd spent Christmas together, eating leftover turkey from earlier Christmas feasts on Kaiser buns. It had been one of his favourite Christmases.
"You could have called more often, you know. We were all in the bullpen, I don't think we would have minded helping you out."
He'd called her. A few times over the course of the case when nothing was making sense and he needed someone to find a different perspective. He needed a breath of fresh air, and that's what she always was to him. What she'd become.
"It worked itself out. What about you? Here with anyone?"
"Nope," she replied. "Mother's wandering around somewhere and I know Daddy had mentioned he was thinking of showing up. Other than that, there isn't anyone I know that I would willingly put up with for an entire night or feel comfortable throwing to the sharks."
His evening was getting better and better. Not only was she here alone, but she was standing in front of him, smelling so good, looking so adorable all bundled up for winter despite her declaration that she loved the cold. "Morgan would go to bat for you. Dave would put up with it."
She snorted. "Derek... I'd have to bribe him with cleaning his house for a month or something. Dave, maybe if I put out at the end of the night."
Ah, so she'd noticed it too. Still, it surprised him that she'd outright say it and he knew it showed on his face. "You have excellent self-presevational instincts."
"I like to think so," she agreed, eyes glittering in the way he recognized when she appreciated his seamless response. "Well honed at the very least."
He really liked that sparkle. "Resolutions?"
"Too many to count," she said with a sigh. "A personal life would be nice."
He understood the sentiment. Cases, profiles... they were the life of the BAU and only a profile could really understand what the job was like. Their team was their family, their friends, the people who best understood who they were and what they struggled with. It was difficult to draw the line between
"Take more personal risks, less professional ones."
That intrigued him. She was the female equivalent to Morgan in his mind but without wearing her heart on her sleeve. "Oh?"
She shrugged, and he saw the embarrassment for what it was. "There's more to life than the Bureau," she said finally.
He'd noticed she was chewing the inside of her bottom lip. He wanted to taste that lip. He reeled himself in. "It's news to me."
"You should really think about it." Though her words were light, her eyes weren't and he saw the words for the serious moment she intended them to be. He'd already lost Haley. He was still fighting for Jack. There had to be light somewhere and he knew it didn't exist in his work.
But it did exist in her. He was glad she was here, beside him, close enough that when the countdown started – any minute, his brain told him – he'd be the one there to kiss her. And tell her that he wanted to do that more often, that he'd been thinking about her, unable to get her out of his head. They were the non-couple of the moment, not exactly in any sort of romantic relationship but most definitely not just friends either. He was sick of flirting with that line.
"What about you?"
"The same," he replied. "Find a life that isn't about serial killers and crime. Find somewhere where death can't touch me." It was a goal for almost every profiler. "Spend more time with my son."
She nodded. "I think that's a good idea. We see too much darkness."
As a general rule, he'd agree. They did see too much darkness, too much of the terrible things one human being could do to another. He watched her glance back to the stage set up in front of the White House as the emcee took to the stage.
"Ready?" she asked, keeping her body turned to his even as she watched the stage.
Oh, he was ready. He was ready to kiss her and stop doing this quasi-non-couple thing they had going on. "One more resolution," he said as they started the countdown.
Her eyes met his curiously. "I'm listening."
He leaned forward, closing the minimal space between them. "End uncertainty."
Her brows wrinkled. "Uncertainty? What kind of uncertainty?"
She wasn't that dense. She couldn't be, could she?
Three! Two! One!
"The best way to explain it is to show you."
Happy New Year!
Her lips were already parted in surprise and he took advantage of the unintentional permission she granted his tongue. He didn't try to coax her into anything, just took until she responded with her own ardour, her body pressing close to his, mittened hands coming up to cup his cheeks.
"Oh," she breathed when they finally separated. "That kind of uncertainty."
He nodded, anxiety starting to pump adrenaline through his veins.
Her eyes were bright when they met his again. "You know, I don't know if I want to watch the fireworks anymore."
He arched an eyebrow, trying not to groan as she leaned against him.
"I think creating our own would be so much better."
That sounded better than logical to his frozen ears. With her hand in his he led her out of the party, bickering about whose apartment was the better choice to continue their New Years' celebrations. He didn't actually care, so long as he was doing it with her.