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Autumn Drabbles

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"Ladies first” Derek made a sweeping gesture with his arm, earning a scoff from Emily.

“Why? Is the spooky house giving you the heebie-jeebies”

The local cops had referred to it as the “murder house” and all of them had refused to even drop them off to question the owner.

“Ha! No. You?” Derek challenged.

The wind picked up and as it passed through the trees it sounded like a cry.

“Please Morgan I grew up in houses like this. They have a sense of history. Doesn’t freak me out at all.”

“Well I renovate places like this for fun. What I see here is potential”

They both stood on the cracked path, the black voids of the windows seeming to suck them in.

“You know, Reid would be super into this” said Derek “We should see if he wants to be first in”

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“I don’t get it baby girl” said Derek looking round the lair in confusion “I thought you were decorating for Halloween?”

“I am”

“This is more glittery than I would expect” he said with a raised eyebrow.

“Well duh” laughed Garcia “Its a unicorn halloween theme”

Derek coughed, a swirl of orange and silver glitter lifting off the desk, off the monitors.


“Because halloween is too scary and I want to give it some Garcia magic”

“Babygirl don’t ever change”

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Hotch turned up the collar of his coat and readjusted his scarf.

"It's been a while"

The leaves rustled in response.

"I know I usually bring Jack but today I just really needed to talk to you alone"

He paused.

"It was a really...really tough case Haley"

Hotch shifted his weight. He was so bad at this. He hated coming here, it reminded him of the worst day of his life, when he had failed her.

"I wish I could talk to you properly"

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The shouting was growing louder. The ragings of a woman possessed outside his motel room. Spencer dove deeper under the covers and tried to block it out.

The woman's voice grew even louder. Spencer was just glad Emily had the self control not to shoot any birds at 5am.

This time.

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Hotch considered pulling Reid aside to challenge him about the decorations that had sprung up round the office. There was a pumpkin on every desk, cobwebs at the windows and rubber bats and spiders hanging down from the ceiling.

The office rule was now no decorations until the week before Halloween after Strauss had reprimanded them over the great plastic skeleton debacle of the previous year. Reid’s response had been to cram a store’s worth of decorations into the bullpen so they “could all enjoy Halloween month in a condensed time frame”

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“Why do you have a sheet on you Spence?” JJ sighed. She didn’t want to know. She knew she didn’t want to know but here she was asking anyway.

“Pranking Morgan. Revenge. No time to explain”

“Is this revenge for last week?”


“Which in turn was revenge for the week before”


“Which was revenge for the coffee machine thing?”


“Which was revenge for the travel pillow thing?”


JJ nodded and headed back to the office with a sad shake of her head

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“In this town we call home, everybody hail to the pumpkin soooooong”

They were begining to get stared at and Emily decided she was never taking the bus with Spencer again.

“This is halloween, this is haaaaallllooooweeeeen!”

She was also never going to a bar with him again. Especially one having a halloween themed night complete with spooky cocktails.

“Spencer have some water” she said gently, holding out the bottle.

He didn’t take it.

“I am the something some-something” Garcia chimed in and Emily groaned inwardly.

“This is halloween, this wallowheen. No hang on! No!” protested Spencer to no one in particular. He and Garcia continued in the same vein for eight more stops.

Honestly if she hadn’t been so embarrassed Emily may have been impressed at the pitch and volume they managed and the extent to which they sang the whole song in completely the wrong order.

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Dear Haley,
The leaves are changing colour and Jack has taken up

Dear Haley,
Remember that time in high school when

Dear Haley,
The Bureau therapist thinks it may be a good idea to write to you to explore my feelings

Dear Haley,
I was talking to Dave

Dear Haley,
I was drinking with Dave

Dear Haley,
I miss you

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“I get why you like this” sniffed Garcia as she took the tumbler of whiskey from Rossi “Even in the rain your garden is beautiful”

Rossi settled down beside her and passed her a thick woolen blanket that matched his own. There was a chill in the air but the porch kept them dry.

“It helps me think sometimes” said Rossi “And sometimes it helps me not to think”

Garcia nodded, the tears forming again.

“I needed this today”

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“Hey babe”

How had he known to call?

“Hey darlin’” Will’s drawl sounded tinny, the line crackled “Just checking in to see how you’re doin’”

JJ turned over the crime scene photos, unable to bear it any longer.

“Tough case”

There was the briefest of pauses.

“Tell me”

They talked for hours. Or rather JJ talked and Will listened and it made all the difference in the world.

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Hotch frowned.

“I don’t get it”

“I’m telling you Hotch I’m like a cat” Emily said “I got branded and impaled by Doyle - didn’t die. I got blown up but a cult - didn’t die. Ooh and that time in the SUV with the escaped unsub! Didn’t die either! Nine lives”

Hotch groaned inwardly.

“I think I’m going to take up base jumping” said Emily “Or maybe free diving? I wanna see if my theory holds”

Hotch closed his eyes wishing he could drown out Reid protests that it wasn’t scientific and Emily’s counter-protests that “screw you I’m immortal baby”

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He wished he was anywhere else but here now, anywhere in the world. It was like there was a thunderstorm in his chest.

He couldn’t do this.

He needed to do this.

With each voice that spoke the storm grew louder. His blood thrummed under his skin like lightning to accompany the rumbling in his chest.

Then it was his turn. All eyes in the room were on him.

“Hi I’m Spencer”

“Hi Spencer”

“I’m an addict”

Chapter Text

They sat side by side on a park bench, Emily sipping a pumpkin spice latte and Spencer nursing a double espresso.

“I died” said Emily “You died, JJ nearly died, so did Morgan”

Spencer didn’t respond, he shifted his feet, kicking up the first few scattered leaves of the season.

“We’ve lost so much” Emily continued “All those people we’ve lost”

“Hotch” nodded Spencer “Morgan, Gideon, Blake, Seaver, Kate”

“Why are we still here?” Emily wasn’t asking Spencer, she was focused on a family laughing a little way down the path. The daughter chased the dog off the park and towards the trees “Sometimes it just feels like life is one tragedy after another, on and on and on with no reason for it”

“Does there have to be a reason?” asked Spencer.

“Would make it easier I guess”

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“I’m not going to tell you again”

Garcia’s voice shook slightly, she really wasn’t built for this. God she wished Emily was there. Emily could stare down a room of psychopaths and laugh. Garcia was blinking a mile a minute, lazy uncaring eyes meeting her own.

“This is for your own good I swear” Garcia scowled. The frown did nothing. 

That stare locked onto something deep inside her and she knew she was going to falter.

“Sergio please” she pleaded “I know you hate the vet but it’s for the best!”

Sergio meowed in response and finally looked away.

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Luke sat alone at his desk, everyone else having left for the night. O’Keefe’s was having a Halloween evening that Garcia had insisted everyone attend. Stephen and JJ had only escaped because they had kids to get home to but everyone else was going along for some pumpkin cocktails that Garcia swore were to die for.

He went through the paperwork slowly, methodically. Every i was dotted, every t crossed.

Luke hoped they were having fun.

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“Carlos this is the twelfth message I’ve left you” Garcia rubbed her temples “I know you’re mad but please call me back”

It was impossible to get any work done today like this. The past few weeks she had replayed that argument over and over in her mind, the look on his face as he had stormed from the courthouse.

Then suddenly like a bolt of lightning he phone lit up with Carlos’ face on the screen.

He was calling her.

He was calling her which meant he wanted to talk.

Which meant there was hope.

All those sleepless night hadn’t been for nothing.

Garcia took a deep breath.

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“Morgan what is all that?” JJ asked with a raised eyebrow. She had been headed to Hotch’s office when she’s seen him struggling with a hastily cut piece of tarp, three cans of chopped tomatoes, two coat hangers, a pencil sharpener, a woman’s high heel shoes, a bag of gummy bears and a tattered copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Morgan’s grin grew wider in a way that chilled JJ’s blood.

“Pretty boy thinks he can get one over on me and I’m about to prove him wrong” Morgan cackled before running down the hall.

JJ sighed and made a mental note to bring this up with Hotch.

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“Pretty please” 

“No Garcia stop asking me” Spencer shrank down into the chair in the hopes of getting her to leave the subject alone. “Don’t you like how I dress?”

“You are definitely rocking the geek chic thing” said Garcia graciously “But a little shopping adventure wouldn’t hurt and all the new season stuff is in stores now”

“Or at least brush your hair once in a while” said JJ not looking up from her file

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“Who’s up for O’Keefe’s?” asked Luke “This was brutal one”

“Garcia and I are heading to the B-Movie Marathon downtown” said Spencer “Raincheck?”

“I’m down for O’Keefe’s” said JJ “Mama needs a large glass of wine. Matt?”


“I’m in” chimed Tara "Prentiss said she and Rossi have some last minute paperwork then they’ll meet us there”

They left the bullpen in a noisy, huddle leaving Anderson at his desk to go through their reports

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It was amazing the havoc a tiny little bottle could wreak. Spencer paced back and forth, the chill in the air cutting through his coat but was nothing compared to the burning in his chest. 

The alley was dark and dingy. It backed onto a nightclub and the howl of the wind was peppered with the far away thump of dance music.

He should go. He should go back home or to the office. Hotch would still be there or Gideon. He should go and seek one of them out.

But then they’d make him stop and as the guy in the hoodie approached Spencer realised it was the last thing he wanted.

“My usual” he croaked, pushing crumpled notes towards the guy. The guy smirked and handled over two small bottles. Every time Spencer ran home after this he was a little bit faster than before.

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“Grrrr I’m gonna get you!” shrieked JJ, kicking up the leaves as she charged toward Henry who giggled and dove away.

“Mooooommmy!” he yelled, charging around the garden.

He ducked behind a tree, his lurid scarf (a present from Uncle Spencer) flapping comically behind him. If the neon pink and yellow yarn wasn’t enough to give away his hiding place then the non-stop giggling would do the trick.

Still these things were done a certain way, thought JJ with her hands on her hips.

“Where has Henry disappeared to?”

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“Hey wait!” said Emily suddenly “Derek can you stop here?”

Derek looked at her, concerned. They had spent the whole day looking at houses, finally settling on a townhouse that wasn’t too big with a cozy living room for entertaining. Even after speaking to the realtor Emily had been quiet on the way back. Without a word she got out of the car turning around to take in the whole non-descript street.

“What is it?” Derek asked getting out of the car. Emily shook her head.

“I used to live here” she said in wonder “On this street”


“Yeah when I was a kid” the smile dropped from her face and she got back into the car saying nothing the drive back. 

That was the start of it. At JJ’s wedding a few weeks later Derek realised that was the moment she decided to leave.

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“Is this a vacation request form?” Strauss looked up at Hotch like he had grown an extra head.

“Yes Ma’am” he said solemnly “I was hoping to take Jack to Italy for a few weeks over the holidays”

“Oh” Disbelief.

There was an awkward silence. Hotch sighed.

“Hayley and I went there for our honeymoon”

“Oh” Understanding.

“We might do France too” said Hotch with a shrug “Maybe see a few other places”

“Sounds wonderful Aaron”

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The line in the coffee shop was particularly long that day but Spencer didn’t mind. He drummed his fingers against his satchel and watched the people huddled in their booths. 

There was an old man sitting with a little girl who must be his granddaughter. She watching intensely as his fingers moved quickly, twisting something Spencer couldn’t see.

Her eyes lit up as he produced a little paper bird he’s fashioned from a napkin.

“Again again!” she cheered. The man theatrically sighed and feigned being unsure but repeated the trick, ending up with a little pile of paper napkin birds. 

By the time Spencer made it to the counter they were leaving but the little girl insisted on handing a bird to each person in the line with a small wave.

Spencer kept his on his desk.

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This wouldn’t do, this wouldn’t do at all.

Garcia looked around Derek’s old office. The walls were bare and the fun zone drawer had ben relocated to a cabinet in his den at home. 

She knew it was for the best, his baby needed him, Savannah needed him and Garcia was tougher than she seemed. It didn’t stop the dull ache though.

She ran a finger along the desk, clearing a line in the layer of dust that had just begun to settle.

Her phone buzzed, bringing her back to present. There was always another case.

She paused at the door for one last look before heading out.

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No one said anything as Rossi handed out a round of drinks. They’d all been here before. 

A toast for Hayley. A toast for Prentiss. A toast for Gideon. A toast for Hotch. A toast for Walker

Over and over and over.

What was even the point anymore?

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“What are you staring at?” Hotch frowned

“Look” Rossi nodded towards where the others were playing cards on the plane.


“Wait for it”

Hotch looked back and forth between the team and Rossi, his frown deepening.

“I don’t see anything”

“I think I’ve worked out their tells” Rossi’s eyes glinted “I’ve been on this team five years and I’ve finally worked out their tells!”

Before Hotch could say anything Rossi was out of his seat, wallet in his hand and asking to join the game.

Honestly Hotch couldn’t believe it had taken him so long.

Chapter Text

Rome was beautiful, just as Hotch remembered it. The sights, sounds and smells took him back years. It was as if she was right there with them.

Jack sensed it too, he thought, despite never having been here before. There was something so welcoming about being here.

“I’m glad we did this Dad”

“Me too”

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“Come with me” Spencer’s eyes glittered as he grabbed Penelope’s hand.

“Spence it’s been a super long day and-” she stopped when she saw the big bowl of popcorn and the stack of Doctor Who DVDs on her desk.

“Plus I brought hats!” he said gleefully “A fez for you and Tom Baker’s hat for me!”

“Boy wonder you are the best” she said, eyes shining

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The moon was out even though the sun hadn’t fully set yet. It hung in the inky blue sky in front of Rossi’s house while the garden was bathed in red and gold.

Tony Bennett drifted out of the record player and Garcia found herself humming along as she sipped her whiskey. Spencer sat with his eyes closed, fingers drumming lazily against the glass so the ice cubes chinked softly. JJ had her head on his shoulder, her eyelids drooping.

Derek watched them a small smile on his face. He nudged Prentiss who struggled to suppress a giggle. 

Hotch was looking at the stars that were just starting to appear and Rossi was watching them all. 

Chapter Text

Spencer found logic beautiful. The way the world could be ordered so that it was coherent and clean.

Garcia found positivity beautiful. Finding the pinprick of light in the darkest places meant hope was not lost.

Derek found compassion beautiful. Strength was meant to provide protection, shelter.

JJ found resilience beautiful. Each day was another step, never giving up, never giving in.

Rossi found strategy beautiful. Sometimes the most direct path wasn’t a straight line.

Hotch found loyalty beautiful. It meant he was never alone.