Author's Note: Hello fellow readers and authors! A few housekeeping items for the day. First, we are pleased to announce that we are ahead of schedule and the FINAL VOTING BALLOT IS NOW AVAILABLE for the first ever ff. net based 2010 Criminal Minds Profiler's Choice Fanfic Awards at "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum. To vote, you can access the forum through either my (ilovetvalot) or tonnie2001969's profile pages. Details, rules and the voting ballot are available at the forum. We had seventy-nine unique nominators choose 130 of their fellow author's works. So, let's all go grab a ballot and choose the authors we feel deserve those votes. You have until November 30, 2010 to get your ballot entered. Don't forget to send it to the Profiler's Choice CM Awards private message box. Ballots will NOT be accepted at either ilovetvalot or tonnie2001969 inboxes.

Anyone that chooses to assist us in publicizing the voting process for the 2010 Criminal Minds Profiler's Choice Fanfic Awards can also visit our profile pages. We have a blurb written to copy and paste to either your profile pages or author's notes if you choose. We truly appreciate all the assistance our fellow authors have given us and hope you will continue to support this venture.

Second, we'd like to encourage you all to take a look at our first ever ff. net based "Criminal Minds Christmas Gift Fic Exchange"! Sign-ups are simple and run through October 31, 2010. Participants can either PM us or join on the forum thread telling us 1) Which pairings you would feel comfortable writing, 2) the central pairing you'd like to be featured in the story you receive as a Christmas gift, and 3) Name a Christmas carol plus three Christmas-y prompts you'd like to see in the story you receive as a Christmas gift (you'll only have to use three of the four items in the actual fic). Assignments will be given on November 1st and you'll have until DECEMBER 25, 2010 to post your gift. Further details are available at the forum. Please, let's make this a Merry Christmas for ALL!

We also have a new discussion thread open for your comments called, "With Which Character Do You Most Identify and Why?" available at the forum as well as a great new interviews with our fellow talented authors Starofoberon, celticstarwolf, Fanatical Writer, FloatingAmoeba, and Flames101. Stop by and learn more about all our nominees in the Profiler's Choice Awards over the coming weeks! Please drop by and leave your thoughts.


If You Speak of Love

TV Prompt: Amazing Stories - The Pumpkin Competition

Watching as she moved gracefully around her small, cozy kitchen, David Rossi felt that familiar little flutter in the pit of his stomach that he'd been experiencing for the past month. And while he may be becoming accustomed to it, it still never failed to give him pause.

Damn it, this was so not supposed to happen to him again. Not at this stage in his life. He'd been prepared to die a lonely old man, hadn't he? He'd made his peace with the fact that he simply wasn't meant to be in a relationship, his solitary existence assured by the fact that he'd tried and failed miserably three times before.

Of course, that was before he'd drifted into Jennifer Jareau's sphere of influence. Now, he wasn't sure about anything anymore. Well, maybe one thing still counted. There was the simple truth that he no longer waited anxiously for cases to carry him back to the road; the idea of home and hearth much more appealing now that he'd encountered someone he enjoyed sharing it with.

Not that they were technically sharing anything. He had his place. She had hers. But, he couldn't deny that in the last month, when he was in town, he was gravitating more and more to her place rather than his. And he liked it. Probably more than he should.

But, he thought with a wide smile at the little boy currently extending his pudgy arms up at him and gazing with utter trust into his eyes with that same cornflower blue orbs he shared with his mother, who could blame him? No one could ask for more delightful company than JJ and Henry Jareau.

Will LaMontagne was obviously an idiot.

Dropping the cut flowers into the vase she'd pulled down from her kitchen cabinet, JJ glanced at Dave, noticing easily the relaxed manner with which he seemed to lean against her kitchen counter. "You know," she said, snipping the end of the stem of one rose with an efficient flick of her wrist, "you don't have to bring us something every time you come over. Especially if it looks like that," she said with lips that twitched in amusement as she gestured toward the pumpkin at the end of her counter.

Following her eyes to the orange gourd perched precariously on the counter, Dave winked. "I don't know what you're talking about," he shrugged, bending to hoist Henry in his arms, hitching him against his chest as they strolled over to take a look at the unique pumpkin he'd found at a roadside vendor on the way here. "This pumpkin has character," he said, patting it affectionately.

"That pumpkin has the pox," JJ snorted, eyeing the fruit warily. "Or leprosy."

"Mama's just being silly, isn't she?" Dave chuckled, grinning as Henry's active hands patted at the pumpkin.

"Dave," JJ groaned. "That thing looks like it's covered in warts," JJ grimaced, putting the final bloom in her vase and carrying it over to the kitchen table, sliding the glass into the center.

"That's what makes it perfect," Dave argued good-naturedly. "Perfectly in the spirit of Halloween. Who was the last wart-free witch you laid eyes on?"

"Easy," JJ retorted, her eyes shining with laughter, "Erin Strauss, five weeks ago."

Laughing deeply, Rossi looked down at a squirming Henry, "Mama's got me there, kiddo."

"Besides," JJ smiled, patting her own perfectly carved pumpkin at the other end of the counter. "My pumpkin beats your pumpkin any day of the week."

Jaw dropping, Dave shook his head. "Are you dissing my pumpkin, Jareau?" he asked, raising one eyebrow as Henry snuggled his head into the crook of his neck, the baby rubbing his nose against the column of Dave's throat sleepily.

"That would have to qualify as an actual pumpkin in order for me to diss it, Dave," JJ averred sweetly, propping her hands on her hips. "That, my dear Rossi, is a mutant gourd grown by the Cryptkeeper himself."

"Well, Henry likes it, don't you...Henry?" Dave asked softly, jostling the baby slightly as he huffed out a sleepy sigh, his downy fine lashes skimming his rosy cheeks.

"Evidently he thinks you've lost the great pumpkin competition as well," JJ snarked, chuckling softly as she watched her son pop his thumb in his mouth as he leaned against Dave's shoulder. "I'll take him, Dave," she said with a soft smile. "He held out for you tonight as long as he could."

"I can put him down, can't I?" Dave asked hopefully, tightening his arms around the sleeping baby.

"Of course," JJ nodded, her heart lightening as she watched Dave's face brighten. "He prefers you to me these days anyway," she confided, her tone not at all regretful. "He asked for you all week."

"He did?" Dave asked, his heart flipping in his chest as he heard her soft confession. Somehow, just knowing that simple fact seemed to lighten his steps and bind him closer to this small family…the family he was beginning to consider his own.

"Uh huh," JJ smiled. "Every night."

"I missed him this week, too," Dave whispered against the baby's temple, Henry's fine hair tickling his nose. "I've sort of gotten used to the little munchkin pulling at my whiskers."

"Well, I have it on good authority that the feeling was entirely mutual," JJ whispered with a wink.

"Gimmee a sec," Dave murmured, shooting her a smile as he walked the baby back to his nursery. Settling the drowsy child into his crib, Dave stilled for a moment as he stared down at the angelic face only an innocent child could have. Tenderly stroking a smooth, full, cheek, Dave smiled. "You're definitely an addiction I could get used to having, munchkin," he whispered. "You and your mama, too."

"Dabe da," Henry huffed out in his sleep, rubbing his cheek against the soft cotton sheet beneath him.

Heart constricting, Dave patted the baby's back soothingly. "I'm here, monkey," he breathed, watching wondrously as the boy settled again.

Shaking his head, Dave realized just how far he was getting in over his head. In a month's time this tiny family had done what three former wives had failed to do...tied him into knots that he couldn't for the life of him begin to unravel. And he didn't know whether to be elated or terrified.

He'd never once had a relationship that had ended in anything other than colossal failure. And the idea of disappointing either this child or his mother horrified him. But he had a proven track record of doing just that for the people he chose to love...and that's what it had been before. A choice.

This...what he felt right now...he couldn't define. Hell, he was scared spitless to put a name to it. As long as it remained unidentified, he might have a chance in hell of preserving it. Analyzing would only lead to him fucking it up...and he refused to do that.

He couldn't. The boy in front of him had already been abandoned by one father. He wouldn't be the second bastard to let this kid down, he thought grimly, gently pulling the soft blanket over his body. The kid deserved something dependable and stable in his life.

Could he offer him that? Hell, better question...did JJ even want him that way? Sure, they'd exchanged a few heated goodnight kisses...but she'd never pushed for more. And since he'd didn't embrace rejection, he never had either. Not that he didn't want to. The woman had a body built for sin. But he respected her...liked, don't go there, Rossi. You don't know WHAT you feel, remember?

Sighing heavily, he bent to quickly press a kiss to the top of Henry's head. While he might avoid labeling his feelings for the baby's mother, the baby himself was an entirely different story...Dave knew exactly how he felt.

"I love you, munchkin," Dave murmured, inhaling the sweet scent of an innocent child. Dimming the light to the room, Dave went in search of JJ.

Because while he might not be ready to deeply contemplate their future, he was determined to enjoy their present.