Emily turned over, grumbling. The A/C sounded like a freight train, somebody in the next room was having a lot of fun, and the curtains didn't quite block out the lights outside the window.
She'd spent enough time in strange hotels that she could have slept through all that-had, in fact-but her brain just wouldn't stop moving. And she missed him.
She hated even thinking it, because it sounded so whiny. Hadn't they basically spent the day together?
But they'd spent the day as part of the team, talking about an unsub who filmed his victims as they starved to death in the wilderness. Hardly the date she'd planned.
She groped around the nightstand and found her phone. Hitting one on her speed-dial, she tucked it between her cheek and the pillow, wondering if he would pick up.
"Hey," he said, not sounding drowsy at all. "You're awake."
"I can't sleep. You neither?"
"I keep going over the profile," he said.
"You mean the profile we used to have?"
"We can still use parts," he said, annoyingly reasonable. "And it's not the first time we've had to retool our profile after getting new evidence."
"I know, but I really thought we had him." She sighed. "I didn't call about the case. I just wanted to talk."
"Not about anything. Just talk." She could almost see his brow furrowing as he wrestled with that concept, and smiled. She burrowed deeper into her blankets, already relaxing. "I guess I'm also grouchy because I had a date with a really hot guy for tonight, and I had to break it."
"Oh? That's quite a coincidence. I also had a date with a beautiful woman."
"Yeah? Poor us."
"Well, if you think about it, we did have dinner."
"Right. In a conference room, next to a murder board, out of white foam boxes. So romantic." She rubbed her stomach, which was as unsettled as her brain. How any place could make a salad greasy, she didn't know, but they'd managed.
"Emily, on our last date, we balanced hot dogs on our knees and drank beer out of plastic cups."
"It was a baseball game. What did you expect, foie gras? You enjoyed yourself," she reminded him.
"Watching you eat a hot dog? Absolutely."
She snickered. "Plus, you helped me win fifty bucks off the guy in front of us."
"I still don't know why he was so surprised. Everyone else was keeping them."
"It wasn't the stats, honey, it was that you weren't keeping them anywhere visible. And you weren't using a calculator."
"I didn't need one. The math is actually quite basic."
"Which is why we got to hit the bookstore on the way home." She climbed out of bed and padded across the room, aiming for the chair where she'd dropped her purse. She had to use the light from the phone's screen to find what she was looking for.
"What's that noise?" he asked.
"Antacid," she said, crunching away. "My dinner is waving hello."
"Oh, thanks. Nice image. Very nice."
"Sexy, right?" She climbed back into bed.
"Yeah, hot. So where did you want to go tonight?"
"I was thinking the Moroccan place."
"The new one in Arlington?"
"Yeah. What movie did you pick?" They had an agreement; on dinner-and-a-movie nights, they split up the choices to surprise each other.
"Twenty Minutes to Sunset was playing at 7:15, 8:35, and 9:05 at the movie theater by my house."
"Oh, my God, the cheesy apocalypse movie?"
"Did you already see it?"
"No way. You're the only person I can see apocalypse movies with. Nobody else knows how much bad science there it. Let's do it the night after we get back. Moroccan too."
"Sounds good. You want to find something on TV?"
"Sure. Dirty movie?"
He sounded flustered. She loved that. "Uh, I have no objections, but only if you explain it to Accounting when they get the expense reports."
Flustered, and yet made all sorts of sense. The perils of dating a genius. She sighed and reached for the remote. "Okay. I've got cop show, cop show, cop show, FBI show-"
"Those are astonishingly unrealistic."
"I know. They always interview, like, one witness and then they know. And it's always right." She huffed out her breath, thinking with annoyance of the destroyed profile.
"The traditional four-act structure of a one-hour television drama probably doesn't admit for all the different witness statements, paper trails, victimology, police liaising, follow-up interviews, false leads, and so on."
"Yeah, plus it's probably really boring to watch." She narrowed her eyes at the TV. "And they always have such pretty people. Who's that good-looking in our department?"
She melted. When he wanted to, Spencer Reid could be an armful of roses. "You too."
"I'm not good-looking. What about the History Channel? It's twenty-six."
She clicked over and watched for a minute. "World War II death camps? Not tonight," she said definitely. "Not with this case. And you're hot. I would say that even if I weren't contractually obligated to do so, as your girlfriend."
He grunted. He claimed to abhor the terms "girlfriend" and "boyfriend," citing their inaccuracy since both of them were legally and biologically adults. Emily suspected he secretly liked them, after fast-tracking through all the usual adolescent and young-adult milestones but missing out on relationships because he was too busy being a genius.
Of course, she used them as often as possible, just to watch him twitch and try not to look pleased at the same time.
"Really," she said now. "Do you know how many times I've had to warn people off?"
"Not telling," she said, flipping the channel. "Oh, Doctor Who!"
It immediately distracted him. "Which doctor?"
"Tenth. Channel forty."
There was a pause as he switched over. "I haven't seen this episode."
"It's good. It's got Captain Jack in it. Those are all good episodes." She watched for a moment. Then, the antacid having done its job, she rolled over and reached for her purse to retrieve a snack.
"What are you doing?"
"Eating my chips from lunch," she said with her mouth full.
"Good idea." She heard rustling on his end. "Hunh. M&Ms, Snickers, or Reese's?"
"Cups or pieces?"
"Do you really have all that in your bag? I'm raiding it tomorrow."
"Doesn't it seem counterproductive to warn me in advance?"
"It's funny to watch you try to protect your chocolate from me."
"I'd give it to you if you asked."
She considered this. He would. "Yeah, I know, but it's more fun stealing it."
They watched the show for awhile. During a commercial break, he said, "Do you think that human profiles would hold true for Time Lords?"
"He's been human-shaped for awhile. Think about what Terry Pratchett says."
"Still, we don't know what a Gallifreyan childhood was like. Maybe the Master is actually normal."
"I don't see how a society could function full of people like the Master."
"But we only have experience with human society-"
"Which is bad enough sometimes," she interjected, shaking chips into her hand.
"Who knows how their society operated?"
"Well, the writers are humans. So at some level the profile's got to be closer to human than not."
The Doctor came back on screen, helter-skeltering toward the climax. When the universe was saved once again, Emily said, "Speaking of close to human, are you worried about Hotch?"
"Should I be?"
"He just seems, you know, more workaholic than usual."
"Emily, that's Hotch."
"Uh-huh. My point exactly. It's how he deals with stress."
"Well, in three weeks, it'll be a year since Haley died. Grief is rarely linear."
"And Jack has to be feeling it too. Can't be easy at home."
"Okay, well," Emily said, "if I talk to Rossi, will you mention it to Penelope?"
"Odds are she's noticed too. But I'll say something, get her perspective."
On the screen, the credits rolled. Emily swatted chip crumbs off her pajama top and then shook the covers, hard, so they would bounce onto the floor and not get into the sheets. Over the phone, Spencer made a strange noise.
"Did you just yawn in my ear?"
"It's late!" he protested.
"Yeah, I know." She snuggled down into the covers again, which felt warmer and softer than they had half an hour ago. "Is there another episode now?"
"Looks like the news," he said.
Which would have a leading story on the investigation, all breathless speculation and hysteria with no real facts. "Mmf," she said, and shut it off. Dark descended.
"Are you asleep over there?" he asked.
"About to be. What are you thinking?"
"Are you sure our promise to Hotch covers phone sex?"
She laughed. It was a grey area, but- "I wish I had the energy."
"Damn. Me too. I love you, Emily."
She bit her lip. It astonished her a little to hear it every time, not because she didn't believe him, but because undemonstrative, fact-based Dr. Reid was so frank about saying it. "I love you back," she said. "G'nite."
She disconnected and set the phone on the nightstand to cool off. As she pulled the covers around herself, she pictured him curling up in his own bed. She'd been looking forward to jumping his skinny bones tonight, too. The things those long-fingered hands could do defied description.
Still, she'd had worse dates.