Title: Life is Better with Brownies
Rating: PG
Criminal Minds
Genre: Humor/Friendship
Summary: In which there are cookies, cider, Chinese and companionship.
Author's Note: This is for Arwen Lalaith, who is feeling a little down. Next one will be yours, Yellow Smurf – hold me to that.

Derek Morgan was weighted down by plastic bags; one had a couple of six-packs of cider, and the other enough cartons of Chinese to feed an entire family. There was just something about eating nothing but stale pastries and drinking bad coffee for six days at a time that prompted buying out the local Happy Lotus. Next small town they went to, he was making sure had at the very least, a pizza joint that was open all hours.

Shifting the bag of cider to his right hand, he knocked on the door, hoping like hell Emily was actually home. She'd been a little down as they'd left the jet; they'd found the unsub just minutes after he had stabbed the last victim, and Emily had kept pressure on the wounds until the ambulance had gotten there, but even then, it had been too late.

Sometimes it felt like they were always too late.

'Just a second,' Emily's voice called out, and Morgan gave a half frown. She sounded a lot more cheerful than he'd expected her to. Maybe she was waiting for someone else? She hadn't been acting differently at work – not in a way that might indicate she was seeing something. Still, it wouldn't have been the first time he'd missed the ball.

Of all the things that he could have seen as the door opened, this was probably the least expected. He would have been less surprised if he'd seen her in a corset and fishnets for the annual Rocky Horror party (mainly because that was actually something he had walked in on once. He didn't want to see Spencer Reid in a garter belt ever again). Emily was wearing an apron, but in spite of that precaution, flour still dusted her from head to toe. She held up a wooden spoon in her left hand.

'Hi,' he said, unsure of what else he could possibly say. Emily's eyes were wide, as if this had been the last thing she had expected.

'Hi,' she said eventually, holding out the wooden spoon. 'Cookie dough?'

'I'm fine.' He held up the bags. 'I bought food and drink – can I come in?'

'How can I say no to that offer?' she asked cheerfully, though there was a note of lament in her voice.

'Well they say the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach.'

'And her liver,' Emily added. 'Let me clear some bench space for you.' He wasn't exactly sure why he'd need bench space until he stepped into the kitchen, and saw that nearly every available surface was covered in cookie sheets and muffin trays and brownie pans. Her entire apartments smelled like a bakery.

'Doing some baking?' he asked, a little unnecessarily, as she moved a tray of what looked like chocolate chip cookies and put them on top of the stove.

'Stress relief,' she shrugged, staring at the cookies. 'Creating something, instead of watching it be destroyed. Also, there's chocolate.'

'If you're going to eat all of these, then won't they be destroyed anyway?'

Emily rolled her eyes. 'You really think I'm going to eat all of these? We have fitness evals next month, Morgan, I don't think it would be appreciated if I gained fifty pounds. They'd have to refit my Kevlar.'

'That'd be a pity,' he grinned. 'Reid doesn't look nearly as good in a vest. But curves can be sexy too,' he added.

'Well I'll give them all to Rossi, and you can compliment him on his curves,' she retorted. 'Some of them I'll take to work. The rest will probably go to a shelter.' She frowned. 'I guess I should make some stew or something as well; I think dinners are of a greater importance than brownies.'

'I think you're underestimating the importance of brownies. But, if you'd like, I can help you with that stew.' He extracted two bottles of cider from the cardboard holder, and passed one over to Emily. He'd seen her order a variety of drinks, but tonight he'd been in a cider mood, and he knew that Emily did like her Woodchuck apple ciders every now and again.

She moved another tray out of the way, and dug some bowls out from a cupboard. 'I know there's football on tonight that you're probably DVRing, so did you want to watch that, or just a movie?'

'A movie sounds good,' he agreed, taking the spoon that she handed him. Fried rice, layered with half a dozen other dishes.

'Seriously, Derek – did you invite an army that you forgot to tell me about? How are we going to eat all of this?'

'I seem to recall a post case dinner where you ate Rossi's and Reid's leftovers, because your own meal wasn't big enough.'

'It wasn't my fault their Caesar salads were so small,' she countered, but the look on her face told him that she wasn't going to argue the point.

'What movie do you want?' she asked, as they sat at the coffee table.

'Anything but Rocky Horror.'

Emily gave a scoff. 'Please. You aren't dressed for that.'

They ended up with Star Wars Episode IV, because Emily didn't own the first three; she gave him the evil eye when he suggested they start at the beginning. In any case, the movie seemed much more bearable without Reid giving a running commentary on the socio-economic history of Tusken Raiders.

Dinner was followed by brownies – chocolate fudge – and ice-cream, and Morgan made a mental note to hit the gym tomorrow.

By the time the credits had rolled around, Emily had fallen asleep. He didn't want to intrude on her privacy by carrying her upstairs, but he did managed to find a blanket and pillow, so that at least she didn't freeze to death.

Her face was serene – far more relaxed than he had seen it in a long time, and somehow he knew that she wouldn't be having any nightmare. He laid a soft kiss on her forehead. 'Goodnight, Em.'