Author's Note: Okay, guys! My muse is giving me the silent treatment! If you'd like to see some new stories, I might need a little push. Any ideas? Send 'em my way, please. As ever, thanks to everybody who has been reading these stories. I really, really appreciate it. As ever, I don't own Criminal Minds.
The Allied Women of the BAU
Sipping happily on her grande-sized martini, Penelope Garcia waved wildly from the corner booth as she saw her favorite blonde and brunette step inside the crowded bar.
Reaching the booth with minimal fuss, Jennifer Jareau slipped onto the leather seat with a contented sigh. Smiling, she said, "This was a great idea, girls. I don't know when I've needed a night out more."
Slipping in beside her, Emily Prentiss nodded as she waved for a waiter. "I'm with you. If I had to spend one more minute listening to Derek and Reid argue about the proper way to make a simple damn pot of coffee, I think I'd have just shot them both and put them out of my misery."
"You can always tell when we've not had a serious case for a while," JJ said, nodding.
"Those two start acting like four year olds that have been kept inside too long."
Garcia grinned around the edge of her glass as she said, taking a sip, "They do have a tendency to revert to childhood quite easily, don't they?"
"You all wouldn't happen to be talking about the guys, would you?" The whole table looked up as Jordan Todd slid in beside Garcia.
"You guessed correctly," Emily agreed, then added, "It doesn't matter how old they are, does it? They'll always be boys at heart."
A minute later, their drink orders placed, Jordan propped her elbows on the table as she said, "Speaking of our men, I need some advice, ladies."
"What kinda advice are we talkin', Peaches?" Garcia asked. "We're at your disposal."
"Actually this might be right up your alley, Garcia. I need cliff notes to the understanding of one Derek Morgan," Jordan sighed.
Giggling, Penelope asked, "What's he done now?"
"It's not what he's done so much as what he hasn't. We've been together four months. We're always together unless he's away on a case, but he doesn't seem interested in moving things to the next level."
"That's our Morgan," Emily sighed. "Mr. Commitiphobe, himself."
"Girls, I know there have been a lot of other women before me," Jordan began.
"I know that feeling," JJ sighed.
"But, I don't wanna be the latest in a line. I wanna be the end of the line. Any thoughts?" Jordan asked, looking around the table.
"Sounds like it's time for "the talk"," Emily murmured, fiddling with the umbrella in her drink.
"The talk?" Jordan asked, her brow furrowed.
"The talk," JJ confirmed, reaching for a pretzel from the basket in the middle of the table. "It's the best known technique for sharing your concerns with your significant other."
"If you can get them to sit still long enough," Emily added, rolling her eyes.
"That's true," JJ acknowledged, then added in explanation, "Men are not known for their long attention spans."
"Wait, wait, wait," Garcia interjected, her eyes widening as she looked around the table. "You mean that men will actually sit still for something other than a sports event or dancing naked women? Really?"
"That's why you use visual aids," JJ grinned. "I don't think Dave will ever forget our first talk, considering what I chose to make my point with."
"Do I even wanna ask?" Jordan asked.
"If you don't, I will," Garcia laughed.
"Well, Dave had kept blathering on for weeks about how he wanted us to be committed to each other. How he was past the stage in his life where his young little groupies could fill his need. But, when I asked him to complete one simple task, he balked."
"What was the task?" Jordan asked seriously.
"I needed tampons," JJ said succinctly.
Spitting some of her margarita back into her glass, Garcia gasped. "You sent Agent Rossi to buy tampons."
"I tried," JJ retorted. "He seemed to think since he'd managed to avoid that task through three wives and fifty-two years that he was safe. Which led to an in-depth discussion regarding the fact that I was not like, nor would ever be, one of his former conquests. Unfortunately for him, he approached this issue while I was chopping tomatoes for our omelets. With my butcher knife. Trust me, Jordan, a potential weapon in your hands does tend to render them motionless."
"Especially one that could remove their favorite part of their anatomy in five seconds or less," Garcia added with a chuckle. Raising her glass, she said in awe, "I'm in the presence of the master. I would bow if we weren't packed in here like sardines."
"But did Agent Rossi get the picture? Really get the picture?" Jordan asked, staring seriously at the small blonde.
"Yep," JJ replied, smiling complacently. "Dave's many things, but he's not stupid. He decided that learning a few new tricks was going to be necessary if he wanted to keep me."
"And he's a better man for it," Garcia said, raising her empty glass to get the attention of the passing waiter. "And he also knows that we would cheerfully annihilate his vast fortune if he ever hurt you in any form or fashion. Nobody hurts our friends and lives to tell the tale. "
Nodding at Garcia's words, Emily added, "That's another thing you have to keep in mind, Jordan. Our men are also intelligent enough to realize one very serious thing."
Looking from woman to woman, Jordan finally said, "Okay, I'll give. What is it?"
"That we, the women they choose to be involved with, have no problems whatsoever sharing everything with each other," JJ answered, smiling sweetly.
"You tell them that we talk?" Jordan asked, surprised.
"Hell, yes, sister," Emily snapped out immediately. "I need all the ammunition I can get sometimes, and informing Aaron of his shortcomings in comparison to the other guys is just an added bonus."
"Doesn't that kind of give us an unfair advantage?" Jordan asked nervously.
"Have you ever heard "all's fair in love and war"? They should change that to "all's fair in love and relationships"," JJ said with a shrug. "Trust us, Jordan, you're going to need every advantage you can get with Derek Morgan. He's too much like Dave for you NOT to take advantage."
"Besides, you NEVER walk into a potential argument without adequate ammunition and information," Emily said seriously.
"What's your biggest gripe about Derek?" Pen asked.
"I've got a few. But I guess the biggest one is that I'm worried he doesn't take this whole thing seriously enough. I don't wanna be convenient."
"Amen to that, sister," Emily said in heartfelt agreement.
Jordan looked at her, surprised, as she said, "I wouldn't have thought that you would have felt that way, Emily. I thought Agent Hotchner would have never taken you for granted."
"Aaron is a man, Jordan," Emily explained, "And men are creatures of habit that are determined to stick to the same rut until someone, namely us, forces them out of it."
"Usually under great duress," JJ added helpfully as she glanced down at her buzzing phone. Clicking a few buttons, she shoved it in her purse, then looked up to meet the inquisitive stares of the other women. Shaking her head, she said quickly, "Not a case, girls. Just Dave trying to figure out where he put the drafts to his latest chapter."
"And you answered him that quickly?" Jordan asked, eyes widening.
"Another key to these relationships, sister, is knowing everything about them and their habits before they even realize it." JJ explained, sipping her drink. "You stay one step ahead of them at all times. It's a rule that will save your sanity on a regular occasion.""But Emily just said that we have to force them out of those habits, right? Or did I miss something?" Jordan moaned, rubbing her forehead.
"They're not mutually exclusive, Jordan," Emily replied kindly. "But it's part of the art of war. Know thy enemy."
"And then use all of that information to scare the crap out of him, right?" Garcia added cheerfully.
"I didn't scare him, Garcia," Emily replied with a smile. "I just instilled a healthy amount of wariness into the relationship."
"How did you do that?" Jordan asked.
"I simply showed Aaron how truly predictable he was," Emily answered easily.
"How'd you do that exactly?" Jordan asked.
"Popcorn," Emily replied, her eyes serious.
"Popcorn?" Garcia and Jordan asked simultaneously, their surprised tones coloring the word.
"Oh, I remember this," JJ said with a laugh, taking the last sip out of her glass. "That was a night to remember."
"Well, share it with us so we can enjoy the same memories," Garcia demanded, leaning forward in anticipation. "Whaddya do, Em? Dump a bowl of the fresh kernels over his staid head?"
"Not quite that dramatic, Garcia," Emily answered. "All I did was get him to acknowledge that there was space in his well-ordered cabinets for more than one box of the movie treat."
"But what did that prove?" Jordan asked, hunching her shoulders.
"Aaron has a tendency to place people into pre-assigned spaces in his life. And when someone moves out of their special spot, he shuts down because he doesn't know what to do. It didn't take me long to figure out that if I wanted him to open up and let me in, permanently, then I was going to have to drive my point home," Emily said. "I used that little blue and white box to prove to him that, guess what, other people can have opinions and thoughts that are different from his, and that it wouldn't kill him to admit that fact."
"But if I remember correctly," JJ added, giggling, "It took him a few minutes to realize that you were talking about your future and not a quick trip to the grocery store."
"I said he's smart, Jayje, but not necessarily quick," Emily chuckled.
Nodding her understanding, JJ looked at Jordan. "See, here's the thing you have to remember, Jordan. You have to treat these men of ours with kid gloves. Speak slowly. Speak clearly. Almost as if you're explaining your various beefs to a three year old. It's the only language they speak."
"And don't expect a lot of response," Emily added.
"Yeah, I do good to get a yes or no," JJ nodded. "Being called on the carpet also tends to make them mute."
"So how do I know if I'm getting through?" Jordan asked.
"You don't," Emily and JJ replied together. Turning to look at each other, they laughed, then Emily said, looking at Jordan, "You'll have more than one of these little chats if you continue your relationship with Morgan."
"But he'll get what I'm trying to tell him, right?" Jordan asked, her voice hovering with hopefulness.
Taking pity on her friend, JJ said compassionately, "The first talk is the worst, Jordan. The next few you have will become a bit easier for all parties involved."
"Sounds to me like it would just be easier to keep things loose and easy," Garcia threw out, happily slurping her lime green concoction. "Either that, or just knock 'em over the head with a two by four every time they step out of line."
"I've wanted to do that a time or two," Jordan muttered, staring down into her drink.
"Don't waste your energy," JJ advised. "They're too hard headed for it to hurt long, and you'd just have to explain it to them all over again when they came back to their senses."
"This sounds like a lot of work," Todd sighed, looking around the table. "Would you do it all over again if you had the choice?"
"Let me answer your question with a question," Emily said, staring at the younger woman. "Do you love Derek?""Of course, I do. When I don't want to commit a crime against him, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world, " Jordan said seriously.
"Then you just answered your own question, Jordan. Because as long as you feel like that...it makes it all worth it. Our boys all have the Peter Pan Syndrome. They don't wanna grow up. It's our job to help them see the error of their ways."
"Whether by gentle persuasion or the end of a butcher knife. You'll find your own method and exploit it to the fullest," JJ agreed with a nod.
"What did my little hunk of burning love say when you told him it was time to chitchat?" Garcia inquired, turning to look at the woman sitting next to her.
"I haven't yet," Jordan admitted, looking down at her hands. "I didn't know whether I should give him a heads up or just…""Ambush him and have the element of surprise on your side?" Garcia finished, smiling gleefully.
"If I could give you a word of wisdom," Emily grinned, "You might want to give him the advance warning."
"If for no other reason than it will cause him to spend all day wondering exactly what he did wrong!" JJ laughed, draining her glass. "That's half the fun of this, you know."
"In my little Chocolate Adonis' defense," Penelope smiled, "you might consider cutting him a teeny weeny little bit of slack. After all, you're the first little chica he's been with that actually had a brain in her head. That alone is bound to throw him for a loop."
Nodding her agreement, JJ added, "You're definitely the first one that had our full endorsement."
"The ones before you were all varying degrees of stupid," Emily said helpfully.
"Morgan has a good heart, Jordan. It's just that in the past, he's had an attention span of a gnat. He paid a little too much attention to his mentor's behavior."
"His mentor?" Jordan asked.
"My husband," JJ grumbled. "Trust me, anything your man has tried or done in his past, mine did it first. So, if it helps, blame Dave. I usually do."
"Me, too," Emily adds, seriously. "Dave has managed to affect Aaron extensively, and more than just in how he investigates a case."
"Sounds like your man has left a wide and blazing path, JJ," Garcia says, nailing her with a glare. "Do me a favor and keep his ass away from Kevin, please. I have him exactly the way I like him."
"Are you planning on your relationship with Kevin lasting?" Emily asked, turning her attention to the colorful technical analyst.
"Probably not," Garcia said merrily, running her finger around the rim of her glass. "But while we're having fun, I don't want to have to deal with any of the crap you three seem to be experts in."
Jordan said seriously, "I'm willing to put up with Derek's crap if I can get a relationship that actually lasts longer than one season on the calendar." Dreamily, she added, staring off into space, "And I can see our future together, and that's the first time that ever happened. He just needs to make a few adjustments and everything will be perfect."
Emily looked at JJ, laughing as she said, "Remember those days?"
"Yep," JJ replied, grinning. "She's gonna drive him crazy, that's for sure."
"After the trail of broken hearts our boy has left across the country, I'd say he deserves the merry chase he's about to embark on," Penelope grinned wickedly.
"And, that Garcia, is definitely something I willing to raise my glass to," Emily laughed, lifting her drink.
As four glasses met in the center of the table, Jordan looked around at the women surrounding her. With allies like these, she just might get what she wanted after all.