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The Most Wonderful Stories

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It's tradition. After a case, one where they can all stand to be in a room together but can use the reassurance of one another's company, they gather in Hotch's hotel room and watch a movie. Tonight, Rossi picks The Thin Man and the team has pushed the two queen beds together to form a stable platform for popcorn eating, movie watching, and general teasing and poking of one another.

Ever since Prentiss came back, they've needed that extra bit of reassurance. To be able to reach out and know that their team members are safe and present. To know that everything is okay as it gets for them.

They never talk about the case. They don't talk about the losses, and they don't talk about the wins. Movie nights are for reminding each other that they are a family.

Rossi sits back against wall, a pile of pillows behind his back. He'd liberated them from his own room, and dared anyone to laugh at him as he had darted across the hall like a kid going to a sleepover. Prentiss is next to him, stealing popcorn from his stash, eating most of it, but send a few well aimed kernels Morgan's way.

"Hey!" Morgan wrinkles his nose, as a piece of popcorn bounces off his head. "You're gonna get the sheets buttery."

JJ attempts not to laugh, she really does, but the hurt look on Prentiss' face and Reid's snickers do her in.

"The Philistines aren't properly enjoying my movie," Rossi says over Prentiss' head to Hotch.

"Dave, your movie is in black and white. The only person here properly enjoying it was Reid," Hotch says, smiling slyly. It's not true, of course, but this is a safe space to tease.

"I like this movie!" Prentiss says offhandedly, as she pokes Reid in the shoulder, in hopes of getting access to the bag of fun-sized chocolate he is bogarting.

"Of course you've seen it before," Morgan says, and snatches the bag away from both of them. "First person to name the guy starring in the remake gets the chocolate."

"They can't be remaking it," Rossi says, perturbed, just as Hotch adds, "Johnny Depp."

"Blasphemy," Prentiss says in response, and grabs the bag of chocolate as Morgan attempts to pass it to Hotch.

"Why did you know that?" Reid asks Hotch.

"The better question, why didn't you know that?" JJ asks.

"If I knew everything about pop culture my head might explode. Not literally of course, the brain can't produce enough pressure to cause the skull to break with explosive force," Reid replies, and takes the piece of chocolate Prentiss hands him.

"Let's get back to the issue at hand here, people," Rossi says, and snags the bag from Prentiss is pass a piece of chocolate to Hotch. "Johnny Depp cannot be Nick Charles."

They banter through the rest of the movie, arguing about who could actually pick up William Powell's mantle, or if there is another dog as good as Asta. The talk starts to wind down as the credits roll, and people scatter to brush teeth and get more comfortable before Rossi queues up After The Thin Man and turns off the lights.

Before Foyet, they would've gone back to their own rooms, but the second movie had become a staple when no one was willing to leave anyone else alone, and had turned into a giant sleep over not much later. It's easier now that everyone is willing to admit what they are doing, and not just lingering around until they fall asleep with their suit still on. Morgan's never been a fan of sharing his bed for sleep, but here he always takes the side closest to the door. No matter who ends up next to him, he gets to sleep with someone warm curled up next to him, and he's between his team and any danger that might come through the door. He must not be too worried, because he's never managed to stay awake through the first act of the second movie.

Tonight, Reid is the first one to yawn, though Morgan isn't far behind. Reid pulls his blanket up to his chin and wiggles in between Hotch and Prentiss before closing his eyes. Prentiss scoots down and flings an arm around him, eyes still on the television, head on Rossi's thigh.

Morgan just turns on his side, and lets JJ snuggle closer, before relaxing into sleep.

JJ and Hotch are still wrapped up in the movie, carrying on a conversation that lulls Rossi to close his eyes as well. The sound of their voices and Prentiss' warmth leaving him feeling safe and sleepy, and he lets himself drift off to the sound of Hotch and JJ arguing about the golden years of Hollywood.

Prentiss smiles up at Hotch and JJ as Rossi begins to snore softly, and then closes her eyes, too. She doesn't bother opening them when Hotch reaches over Reid and gently touches her hair. He never does it when her eyes are open, but he ruffles Reid's hair too before laying down and pulling a blanket over himself as well. She knows it's easier for him, when he can pretend he's taking care of them, and not of himself, so she doesn't try and catch him at it.

JJ turns off the television, once Hotch has finally closed his eyes. Some nights it a battle to get him to go to sleep. He always wants to be the last awake, to make sure his team to safe and sound, to watch over them. She's trying to break him of the habit, even though she knows it won't change anything. Still, with her team sleeping around her, she knows exactly how Hotch feels. All safe, all accounted for, all within reach, just in chase anything changes.

This is how every night should end, JJ thinks, before closing her eyes and letting her team's warmth lull her to sleep.