365: Day 365
New Year's Eve
Dave's cabin at Little Creek was a flurry of activity. The entire team. Their significant others. Their children. A few friends. All ready to celebrate the ending of one eventful year and the beginning of the next. It had been a year of ups and downs, of joys and losses, of scares and surprises. And as with any close knit family, they went through it all together.
What better way to end the year and start anew than with each other.
Aaron, Beth, Jessica, and Jack.
JJ, Will, and Henry.
Alex and James.
Derek, Penelope and Spencer.
Emily made the trip across the pond, and brought Clyde Easter with her.
Kevin, Anderson, and Gina joined the party.
Even Father Jimmy made an appearance.
As well as everyone's favorite barista, Angela, though she couldn't stay. She brought a tray of everyone's favorite pastries from the bakery as her way of saying thanks for another year of friendship and memories, and to thank Dave for his generosity in helping pay her college tuition. She got lots of hugs and well wishes before heading off to work the late shift.
Her pastries were just the beginning of the smorgasbord of treats lining the countertops in Rossi's kitchen. Two pots of soup were heating on the stove: a Santa Fe Soup and a Manhattan Clam Chowder. When asked why Manhattan instead of New England, Rossi scoffed, "I'm a New Yorker. New England Clam Chowder is not allowed in my kitchen."
There were all the makings for ultimate nachos, and the buffalo wings that were standard at all team gatherings. Chicken fingers, pasta salads, chips and dips, cookies, pies.
And of course, hot dogs and mac & cheese for the little ones.
The music was pumping, the drinks were flowing, and the joy and laughter could be felt in everyone. Derek took turns spinning Emily and Penelope across the dance floor, aka, Rossi's back deck. Will brought sparklers for Henry and Jack, who loved trying to make designs in the sky with them before they burned out. Clyde and Aaron were spotted chatting off to the side away from everyone. Rossi was certain Hotch was making sure Clyde was keeping his promise and taking care of Emily in London. And probably discussing unsub take down strategies.
In the dark the gang couldn't see the platform that had been set up in the middle of the lake.
At 11:45, Rossi asked everyone to bundle up and join him on the lawn in front of the lake. Wrapped in coats and scarves and hats and gloves, everyone grabbed some blankets and the coffee and hot chocolate and came out to the lawn. They laid blankets on the ground to sit on, then snuggled up with each other and covered up against the wind. Jack and Henry jumped up and down with excitement as lights illuminated the platform and a small lighted ball like the one in Times Square shined atop the pole in the center of the platform.
"How on earth did you pull this off?" Morgan stared at Rossi.
"I have friends," Rossi answered with a wink as he pulled out the bottle of champagne and started filling flutes for everyone.
"Do I want to know about these friends, David?" Father Jimmy raised an eyebrow at him.
"Probably not," Dave laughed.
Once everyone had a glass, he raised his to propose a toast.
"We started this year together just like this, but there were a few of us missing. This time, from far and wide, the family is all together. And even though we've all had our share of rough times and heartaches and tragedies," he paused a moment, remembering Erin, "the one thing we've always had is each other. Everything starts and ends with family. And I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this one."
"Here, here!" They raised their glasses and toasted each other. Even Jack and Henry had their own flutes filled with apple juice. They all took a moment to look around at each other, thankful that through it all, they still had each other. Couples cuddled and shared kisses. Friends embraced and shook hands.
And then the lights on the platform began flashing.
"Here we go! Come here, boys," Rossi called Jack and Henry over. Everyone else stood behind them watching as the ball began to drop toward the platform.
Jack and Henry could barely contain their excitement as the ball inched closer and closer. By the time the countdown started, they were bouncing on their toes.
"10! 9! 8!" they all counted out loud. "7! 6! 5!" they got a little louder.
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" They all hollered and cheered as the ball hit the platform and a fireworks spectacular lit up the sky over the lake of Little Creek. A 2014 sign flashed and the bangs of brilliant light could be heard all around. Mudgie was ensconced snuggly in the house under a bed.
As the voices joined together singing "Auld Lang Syne", arms all wrapped around each other, Jack on Aaron's shoulders and Henry on Will's, David Rossi looked at his family and smiled.
A/N: Well. There you have it! I still can't believe I made it! WE made it! I give you all a STANDING OVATION for sticking with me for so long. We've laughed together. We've cried together. We've screamed at our televisions together. And I feel like I've made some wonderful friends along this journey. I hope the ending lived up to the expectations. And though "365" may be over, I'm not going away completely. There will be more stories and post-eps. You know there's no way I'm letting episode 200 get by without putting my own little spin on things! LOL! I wish you all the best for 2014!
Now... are you ready for the longest shoutout ever?! Here goes...
To all of you who reviewed this saga, whether you reviewed once or 365 times, every review meant the world to me. Special thanks to...
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Thank you all.