DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T - Teen
SPOILERS: Sometime Post S06XE02 - J.J.
PAIRING: General Team
WORD COUNT: 1613
SUMMARY: The team is getting ready to leave for the Thanksgiving weekend.

A/N: I decided to oblige the laments of a few friends as an early Thanksgiving present

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.


After finishing up their case two days before Thanksgiving, everyone was feeling pretty confident that they might actually get to have a normal holiday for a change. They were gathering in the conference room for the final debriefing on the case, and then they were in the clear. The B-Team would be on tap for any fresh calls, unless it was truly high priority, and that kind of thing usually followed the holiday, instead of coming before it.

Morgan hits up Garcia the moment she strides into the room, "Okay, Miss Thing, let's hear it. Last year was partying it up in the French Quarter all weekend, and the year before that you ran a four day long geeks and gaming fest for your hacker buddies… What kind of mischief have you got going this year?"

Rolling her eyes as she tosses a few locks a blonde hair dramatically behind her, Garcia quips, "A lady likes to keep a little mystery in her life, Mr. Derek Morgan."

"Oh, come on now, Babygirl." He flashes her those dazzling pearly whites. "Don't leave me hanging like that, now."

"Sorry, Derek, but there's absolutely no mischief to report." As she sits down at her tech station, her face is the picture of coy.

"No way… I'm not buying it. Start spilling, Miss Penelope." Derek shakes his head and smiles to see her playing it off so well.

Before she can deny him again, Kevin pops his head into the conference room and says, "Your bags are in the car, Penny, and we're ready to hit the road as soon as you get the all clear. Three hours to my sister's and then two more to my folks'. I can't wait!" And just as soon as he appeared, Kevin is gone, leaving Garcia with a cat that ate the canary look all over her face.

Derek shakes a finger at her, and she blushes wildly when Reid chimes in with, "You know, the meeting of a mate's parents is a significant milestone in the course of a relationship. It denotes a desire to intertwine the different halves of a person's life into one. It also signifies a mate's willingness to make a significant commitment to the other."

"Well, I would certainly hope so, considering the status change request I just submitted to the assistant director." Hotch walks confidently into the room and sets his folders down on the table without a hint of emotion in any of his words. "Oh, and congratulations, Penelope."

"What status change?" Rossi quietly joins the room.

Garcia is totally busted, and she tries to save herself, "Well, the one I put in, because I may, or may not be getting hitched in the very near future, like maybe tomorrow, at Kevin's parents with his brother the minister? Sort of, maybe, yeah." She drops her head to the table in a classic "headdesk" flourish of resignation.

"Oh, that… Yeah, I already sent a gift. Congratulations." Dave pulls up a chair to sit down and grabs one of Hotch's folders, granting neither pomp, nor circumstance for her revelation.

"Are you serious? You're gettin' married and you don't even bother tellin' me?" Derek is visibly upset by the news.

"Well, we were gonna do it in Vegas a couple weeks ago and surprise his folks, but then we got this case and I had to cancel our trip and it took longer than anticipated to close the case and Kevin had to go in lockdown on another case and he was dying to tell someone, so he talked to his brother, who had the great idea to do it at their parents' for Thanksgiving, because what's more to be grateful for than to find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and it would be this awesome surprise for their parents, because they got married on Thanksgiving, too, and I was all for it, and his sister planned everything and we just had to pick her up and get to their parents and with the case taking so much of my time, I just sort of even forgot that we even made the plans until I got home night before last and Kevin was all packed and…" She finally took a breath when she realized they were all staring at her with the most comical expressions on their face. Stopping to gather her thoughts again, Garcia understands what a ridiculous situation she is in, and laughs, "Yeah, so, I forgot I was getting married… Go ahead, laugh. I know you want to."

Rossi shakes his head with that lopsided smile of his and says, "Not laughing at you, PG. I was just thinking about how much fun it will be to tell that story to your kids some day."

"Who's kids?" Prentiss saunters into the room and takes her seat between Derek & Rossi.

Rossi points to a furiously blushing Garcia, and Prentiss turns indignant. "Dang! I thought you were waiting to tell J.J. about the kid thing before the team." Prentiss sinks down in the chair in a huff. "Thanks a lot."

That manages to shake the false calm from Hotch's demeanor as he looks alternately between Prentiss and Garcia. Suddenly realizing she has said more than she should have, Prentiss covers her face with her forearms and tries to hide.

Tossing one of the bangles formerly around her wrist in Prentiss' direction, Garcia shouts, "Thanks a lot, EM-I-LY!"

Reid looks up from his iPad in a typically confused state, and franticly asks, "What? What did I miss?"

Garcia's expression is stern when she says, "Nothing, Reid. And the rest of you better act damned surprised later when KEVIN tells you about it."

"Tells us what? I'll act surprised, I promise. What's he telling us later?" Reid is desperate to find out her secret now.

Derek slaps him on the back and says, "Sorry, buddy. But you're not a very good actor. We better just let you be surprised later." He then motions to Garcia that she better call him later with some details.

They completed the briefing and Hotch released everyone for the long weekend. Derek and Reid left for the airport, each to see their mothers for their own versions of a typical holiday. Penelope and Kevin departed the BAU, hand in hand, embarking on their new lives together. And that left Hotch to finalize the paperwork before heading home.

Tucked away quietly in his office, Hotch gives himself a moment to reflect on the status of his team. It was still hard without J.J. to rely on, but they were getting along. Everyone was finding their strides again, and they were all working very hard.

His thoughts are interrupted by a knuckle wrapping on his door. "I thought that was all done?" Rossi asks from the doorway.

"Just a few reports to file. No need to worry." Hotch gave him a hint of a smile with his answer.

"I can stay to help out." Hotch could see that while Rossi would stay, he really wanted to be somewhere else.

"I'll be done in ten minutes." He nods to a space over Rossi's shoulder. "Get out of here. I know you've got better places to be."

Rossi looks back over his shoulder into the bullpen. "I might…" He smiles with a knowing look on his face. "But I want to make sure you get home to a certain little man."

"Right behind you." Hotch tries to assure him that he is nearly finished.

Prentiss sticks her head into the office and asks, "Hey, Hotch… We're still on for Turkey Day, right? Two p.m. at St. Mark's to mash some potatoes and then we can head over to J.J. & Will's from there."

"Right, I'm dropping Jack off there on my way to the church." Hotch nods his affirmation to her.

"And you can both rescue me from the kitchen when you get there." Rossi rolls his eyes in mock disgust. "How Jimmy managed to con me into stuffing turkeys all morning, I'll never know."

"It's called 'Catholic Guilt' for a reason, Dave." Prentiss nudges him with her shoulder and they all laugh.

"Okay, if you're sure you don't need any help…" Rossi leaves it as an open question.

Hotch frowns and shoos him off. "Get out of here. Both of you… I'm fine."

The pair shrugs and finally accepts his decision. As they walk away from his door he can hear Emily, "I need help finding something for Penelope to make up for being a doofus today."

He chuckles out loud at Dave's response. "Honey, there's nothing that'll make up for you being a doofus…but maybe we can send some flowers to Kevin's family for the wedding." Hotch doesn't need to see them to know why Dave exclaims "ouch!" after that.

Signing the last report, Hotch smiles when his phone rings. A picture of his son greets him as he picks up the phone. "Hey, buddy. Are you ready yet?"

His excited son launches right into the conversation, "Daddy, Aunt Jessica said I was the perfect helper today. Even better than you!"

"Well, that's something then, huh?"

"We're downstairs waiting for you, Daddy. And Aunt Jessica says if we're not late, and we wash our hands, we can have one of the pies I helped make tonight!" Jack's excitement makes Hotch appreciate the gift each of them has been given this holiday. The thing he is most thankful for this year is simple normalcy.

"Okay, buddy. I'm coming right now. I wouldn't want to miss out on any of that." And he means every word of it.