DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to atfm.

New Year’s Eve at Quantico
By Ann


"What?" Agent Jennifer Jareau stared down at the monitors, her eyes wide in disbelief. The entire area was covered in white, the snow so deep JJ struggled to differentiate between the various locations outside the building.

"Yep, we're snowed in." Garcia sighed. With no particular assignment, she'd spent the last few hours helping another tech set up a system similar to her old one. She smiled at the thought of knowing she was still the queen of all things technological, the queen of geeks; she liked the sound of that.

Frustrated, JJ ran her hand through her hair. "How can you smile at a time like this? We're stuck at Quantico on New Year's Eve." Even the memory of Garcia's extreme enunciation of 'Quan-tee-co' didn't lift the dark cloud that currently resided over JJ. She plopped down in a chair, staring at the endless blanket of white. "There isn't even any alcohol here."

"True, but there is the ever lovely Ms. Prentiss." Garcia grinned widely. "At least you'll get to ring in the New Year with the love of your life."

JJ's head swung around so fast, Garcia wondered how it hadn't fallen off. "Shh, Garcia! Someone will hear you."

"I speak nothing but the truth," Garcia chuckled, "I can't believe no one else has noticed how you eyeball that poor woman." JJ had turned as white as a sheet at the thought of one of her colleagues figuring out how she felt about Emily.

"At least I don't come up with pet names for her," JJ countered, keeping an eye on the door to the room; she certainly didn't want a passerby hearing about her crush from the horse's mouth.

Garcia smirked. "That I know of anyway. I bet you have some little cutesy name that you keep hidden away." She looked over her shoulder and lowered her voice. "C'mon, JJ, you can tell me. I won't say a word."

"Oh my God." JJ stared at her friend. Garcia's eyes were shining with mischief, and JJ suddenly felt sick to her stomach. "You've told Morgan, haven't you?"

"Moi?" Garcia placed her hand on her chest and raised her eyebrows, both gestures so dramatic JJ had her answer.

"You did! You told Morgan! How could you, Garcia?" JJ bent over and placed her head in her hands. She was definitely feeling nauseous now.

"Told Morgan what?" Emily Prentiss strode into the room and glanced first at Garcia and then at JJ. She quickly moved to JJ's side and knelt down next to the distraught woman.

"Hey, what's the matter?" JJ shivered at the gentle touch on her back, causing more concern for Emily. "Do you have a fever?"

Garcia tried her best to swallow the chuckle that threatened to escape, but she was unsuccessful. JJ's head snapped up with such force that spots floated before her eyes. She wavered slightly, but Emily's hands steadied her.

"Are you dizzy, JJ?"

Bursting out in laughter, Garcia quickly scurried from the room.

Furniture stood in one corner, leaving the middle of the floor bare, save for the blankets that lay atop the muted-colored floor. Three heads rested on makeshift pillows as their gaze was focused on the center monitor. Garcia sightlessly passed the bucket – one she'd commandeered from housekeeping that had never been used – of popcorn to JJ, her eyes glued to the screen in front of her. Hannibal Lecter was being wheeled into the center of the room on a large dolly.

"I can't believe we're watching 'Silence of the Lambs'; can't you find something else, Garcia?" JJ took the bucket and reached inside before offering its contents to Emily, who lay on the other side. JJ frowned, wondering how she'd ended up in the middle, acting as liaison popcorn-passer between her two friends.

Like Garcia, Emily kept her eyes on the screen as she reached for a handful of popcorn, but her poor aim had her coming up with a handful of JJ instead. Emily bolted upright, her cheeks a very nice shade of crimson.

"Oh, JJ, I'm sorry, I wasn't watching what I was doing."

An equally red-faced JJ was very aware that her colleague hadn't meant to grope her, but the recent dream she'd had of Emily doing just that, only with much more suaveness and sophistication, had her jumping to her feet.

"That's okay. No harm, no foul." JJ brushed imaginary kernels from her shirt. She looked over to find Garcia grinning at her. Apparently the JJ and Emily show was much more interesting than the sadistic cannibal.

Garcia couldn't resist the golden opportunity. "Copping a feel there, Emily?"

"What?" Emily was mortified. "No! I was just trying to get some popcorn!"

"Did you find any?" Garcia sat up and chuckled. She slowly pushed to her feet and moved to the monitor. With a flick of a switch, Times Square filled the screen. "I'm going to go see if I can find something to wet my whistle. I think I'll check on the boys, too; see if they're getting along okay." She turned towards the door, calling over her shoulder, "You two behave while I'm gone." Laughter followed in her wake as she strolled down the corridor.

In the middle of the room, JJ and Emily stood side by side, both women looking everywhere but at the other. Emily finally blurted out another apology.

"Shit, I'm sorry if I embarrassed you, JJ." Emily nervously slid her hands in her pockets and dared to glance up at her colleague. Bright blue eyes were already looking back at her.

JJ just shrugged and smiled. "No, I overreacted. It just scared me is all."

"Oh." Emily wasn't quite sure how to take the reply. The profiler in her wondered if it was because of the suddenness of the touch or because the 'toucher' was a woman. It saddened her to think it might be because of the latter.

Gesturing towards the monitor, JJ noted the timer down in the corner of the screen. A change in conversation was desperately needed. "Um, only two minutes until midnight. I haven't seen the ball drop in years. I've either been out in the field or so tired that I fell asleep by ten."

"Me either." Emily smiled and turned her gaze towards the monitor. "I think the last time was about five years ago when I was visiting my parents. They had this huge party, and I was stuck with the most boring man I've ever met." She paused, grimacing. "Everyone started the countdown, and I was forced to kiss him at midnight."

JJ sighed. "Do people still do that?"

"What?" Emily was distracted by the camera panning to the top of the building.

"Kiss at midnight? I barely remember my last kiss, much less my last New Year's Eve kiss." JJ's eyes betrayed her as they locked onto Emily's soft-looking lips.

Pleased to note the reason for JJ's current distraction, Emily decided to throw caution to the wind as she turned to face the other woman. "Kissing the right person at midnight makes all the difference in the world."

From the speakers, the countdown from Times Square began.

"10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . ."

Emily stepped closer to JJ.

"7 . . . 6 . . ."

JJ glanced up at Emily and smiled.

"5 . . . 4 . . ."

Emily cupped JJ's face gently.

"3 . . . 2 . . . 1!"

"Happy New Year, JJ." Emily leaned forward and softly kissed the salty, pink lips. She pulled away and offered a half-smile, hoping that she hadn't made a terrible mistake.

JJ slid her hand to Emily's waist.

"Happy New Year, Emily." Returning the shy smile, JJ reciprocated with a kiss of her own.

In the doorway, Garcia smiled brightly, and checking her watch, her eyes widened. She took one last look at her friends before she hurried to find Morgan; she just had enough time to get to him before the clock struck midnight. As she moved through the building, she couldn't help but grin at her brilliant plan.

Knowing she couldn't be in two places at one time, Garcia had pulled up last year's scene in Times Square before she'd left her office. Neither JJ nor Emily had had any clue that they'd rung in the New Year with last year's countdown.

Raising her fist triumphantly, Garcia increased her stride.

The End

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