Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to the TV series, Criminal Minds.

Challenge: to use 100 prompts and write 100 stand-alone stories that will be centered on Derek, Emily or Derek/Emily. Each story will be titled with the prompt word/words. These prompts may determine the overall theme of the story, or may just be used within the story in some small way. There is no order to these tales, hence the set title: Maze of Moments. Feel free to read a few or all, and help cheer me on toward my goal if you'd like. Most importantly, I hope you will find something here to enjoy!


N. J. Borba

She looked at herself in the mirror, feeling a little out of place in the long satiny dress. It made her feel both ridiculous and giddy at the same time. But she'd been experiencing a whole host of conflicting feelings ever since Derek Morgan had proposed to her. A year ago... even six months ago she never could have imagined her life ending up where it was currently. In love with a great man and picking out fairytale dresses. Emily was a long way from the bookworm adolescent girl she'd been, even further away from the defiant, slightly out-of-control, teenager she'd turned into. And most definitely a goodly distance from the take-no-prisoners FBI profiler she'd become over the last five years.

"How do you like this one?" the boutique attendant asked.

"It's..." Emily pressed her lips together and screwed up her face in contemplation. Then she relaxed and let a breath out. "It's very white."

"Most wedding gowns are white, ma'am," the older woman replied. "Usually some variation of white or cream."

Emily nodded as she ran her hands over the fabric at her sides. The design fit her like a glove and the silk felt like a dream against her skin. "I know, but isn't there some tradition where the bride is only supposed to wear white at her wedding if she's a virgin?" she queried.

"I, well..." the seamstress bit her lip nervously. "Yes, I suppose that is..."

The small dressing room's curtain was drawn back and Emily spied him behind her from her vantage point in front of the mirror. "Don't mind her," Morgan leaned against the fiberglass partition. "Profilers are famous for thinking things to death," he grinned, eyeing the attendant. "Could you give us a few minutes?"

"Certainly, sir," the woman nodded, and practically curtsied, before exiting the space.

"You know," Emily caught his eye in the mirror. "I think there's another tradition where the groom is not supposed to see the bride in her dress before the wedding ceremony," she pointed out.

He chuckled and used one hand to close the curtain, hiding them away from anyone else in the store. "Now you've suddenly gone all traditional on me?" Derek moved in closer until he was standing just behind her. He snaked his arms around her waist and rested his chin against her shoulder, feeling the smooth fabric of the narrow shoulder strap against his skin. "Do you remember that six-month-old baby girl we left with your parents this afternoon, you know... the one with my eyes and your smile? I'd say that chapter of our lives was rather untraditional."

"Very true," she acknowledged, thinking back over the years. Somewhere along the line their working relationship had turned into a physical one, then a loving one and thirdly... into parenthood, without much warning at all. It had all happened so fast that the idea of marriage had sort of gotten lost in the shuffle. Not that Emily minded too much, she actually liked their life quite well without the ties of heavy commitment that marriage brought. But the morning their daughter had been born, something shifted in both their hearts. That little living, breathing connection between them had cemented their love and made them want more. Made them want it all.

Derek softly kissed her neck, just beneath her right ear. He tugged gently at her earlobe and whispered. "So, why is it taking you so dang long to pick a dress? I think the whole white virgin tradition flew out the window a long time before we ever dared to challenge it," he uttered.

She sighed. "Maybe so. I guess..." Emily closed her eyes for a moment and reveled in his tender touch. "I just never thought I'd be getting married."

"Never?" he asked.

"Never," she replied.

He didn't seem upset or worried about that answer, just curious. "Why not?"

Emily shrugged. "I'm not really sure. I pictured going to college, working for the FBI, promotions... retirement. I guess I focused so much on those things, I let everything else slide. And then as I got older I just resigned to the fact that it would never be a priority."

"Sounds kind of sad, Em," he stepped back just a hair and placed his hands at her waist. "But this..." Derek caressed the fabric beneath his fingertips and let free a low, appreciate growl. "This dress is amazing, and you're going to stand in front of all our friends and family and vow to be my loving, dutiful wifey in this dress. And then," he leaned in again and whispered something more in her ear.

Her eyes rolled and she swatted his hands away. "First of all," she reached down and grabbed the price book off of a nearby chair. "If I'm going to spend this much money on a dress," Emily pointed to the dollar amount and watched his eyebrows raise. She let the book fall back onto the chair. "You will not be ripping any part of it off me."

"Well, in that case..." he spun her around and pressed his lips to hers, drawing out a long sensuous kiss. When he pulled away, Morgan leaned his forehead against hers. "I guess I'll have to slowly, gracefully, meticulously, peal it off your body and then do those others things I mentioned."

Despite her best efforts, her cheeks flushed and she felt her body ache with need like the first time they'd made love. Emily took a slow steady breath. "Second," she began again. "It you ever call me dutiful again, I'll deck you," Emily pushed him away and turned to look at herself in the mirror again.

"How about wifey?" he teased. "Can I still call you wifey?"

She grinned and nodded. "I'm just not sure about this one," Emily made a half turn to the right and examined the dress further. "I wonder if they have something in blue, or maybe red... I mean, since we've already established the non-traditional aspect of our relationship."

Morgan backed toward the curtain. "Emily, get that one," he pointed at the dress that hugged her curves and made him want to rip it off her all the more, the longer he admired her. He pushed the curtain open again and emphasized his point once more. "Get the white one."

Emily quirked her lips to one side as she stared in the mirror. The dress still felt ridiculously out of place on her, but also... right. Just the way she felt in Derek's arms.