Title: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Xbox
Rating: PG-13
Criminal Minds
Genre: Humor/Romance
The story of how David Rossi and Emily Prentiss became game connoisseurs.

It started at Christmastime, on Long Island, with Rossi's family. It was after eight, and Emily was pleasantly buzzed on egg-nog. It'd been a long, long time since she'd been to a family Christmas that didn't involve formal dress and kissing ass.

Emily suppressed a smirk at the sight of her fiancé, standing by the Christmas tree wearing a dark green sweater and drinking red wine. Five years ago, she couldn't have imagined him in this setting. Not the arrogant, self-possessed senior profiler that wouldn't know the meaning of the word team if it bit him on that ass.

'Uncle Dave!' His youngest nephew tugged on his sleeve, and Dave looked down with such warmth that Emily felt a twang in her chest. 'Uncle Dave! Can you come play Mario Kart with me?'

'I'm not really all that good at video games,' Dave answered. In six months, every time he went out to buy a new game, those were the words that Emily repeated, just to make a point. Because as it turned out, he was pretty good. And more than that – he enjoyed himself. So much so that six days later, Emily came home to find him hooking up an Xbox 360 to their TV.

'What are you doing?' she asked, with a half frown. She'd spent the morning with her mother, which had been a chore in and of itself.

As it turned out, he had spent the morning in consultation with "experts" in order to determine the console that best fit his needs. 'To improve my hand-eye co-ordination,' he explained, which sounded like an excuse more than anything.

Still, if it meant that Dave was going to familiarize himself with modern day culture, then Emily wasn't going to be the one to argue.

She watched with amusement as he fought off zombies in Left 4 Dead, played Angry Birds in the other room when he navigated Liberty City, and commandeered the console for herself once he'd finished Portal. She didn't even complain when he bought a Playstation 3 and demanded that she play Little Big Planet with him.

They both drew the line at Guitar Hero.

Hand-eye co-ordination was one thing, but Emily Prentiss restricted making a fool of herself to alcohol fueled endeavors. It was bad enough that Garcia already had video footage of her past musical pursuits (a rather drunken rendition of Electric Six's timeless classic, Gay Bar). Absolutely nobody needed to hear those sounds again, no matter the level of inebriation.

The night before their wedding found Dave and Emily embroiled in a heated Dead or Alive IV battle, and since taking an Xbox to Hawaii proved to be somewhat problematic, the only game they played on their honeymoon was strip poker.

Emily was okay with that.

Once they returned home, strip poker evolved into strip chess, strip backgammon, and, on one confusing yet entirely memorable occasion, strip monopoly.

'I have a new game,' Emily announced one day, passing over a small box – barely the size of a paperback book. It was difficult to suppress the feeling of glee that had consumed her. 'It's called "what's in the box?"'

'I saw that movie,' Dave commented. 'It didn't end well for Brad Pitt.'

'Fortunately, this box does not contain a severed head,' Emily deadpanned. 'I think we get enough of that at work.'

'So what is in the box?'

Emily gave him a look. 'That's not how it works.'

'Well there are a lot of things that could fit inside a box this size – guessing them all could take days, and I don't think I can go without food that long.'

'Or you could just open it,' Emily suggested. Dave pretended to consider the matter. In the end, he did open the box, and his immediate reaction was silence.

For one split second, Emily was terrified. What if he didn't want this? They'd never really discussed the matter, but she had barely even considered the possibility that he didn't want it.

'Well were gonna have to stop playing strip poker,' he said finally, picking up the pregnancy test that had been encased in the box. 'Unless you want this kid to be embarrassed every time he brings his friends around. And I guess I'll have to restrict Grand Theft Auto to post-bedtime hours.'

'I think that's probably a good idea,' Emily smiled. 'And why do you just assume we're having a boy?'

'The amount of video games you play, I don't think it's possible for anything else to happen.'

'If I play video games a little too much, we all know whose fault that is.' Emily leaned in, and kissed Dave on the lips. 'And we both know that that has absolutely no bearing on gender. But look at it this way – at least we won't end up some fuddy-duddy parents that have no idea how to program a VCR.'

'Who still has a VCR?' Dave frowned.

'My point exactly,' Emily grinned. 'And maybe we're going to have to play Mousetrap instead of Mass Effect for a few years.'

'I don't think I've ever played Mousetrap.'

Emily stared at him, incredulous. 'You've never played Mousetrap?'

'Not that I recall.'



Emily shook her head. 'And you consider yourself cultured.' She stood, grabbing her purse. 'Come on, Romeo – we're going shopping.'

'For Mousetrap?'

'Amongst other things.'