Another year had gone by and while perhaps a little worse for the wear, most of the BAUs members had managed to go unscathed. Determined to spend a Holiday together to celebrate this, Garcia had invited everybody to her apartment to celebrate the New Year. The problem however, was that everybody turned into everybody she'd ever met and they didn't exactly fit in her apartment. Nevertheless, eager to be the hostess with the mostest she passed around drinks and wiggled her way in between couples and friends thanking everyone for coming to the party of the year.
For every straight-laced FBI agent was an eccentric friend of Garcia's, which made for some pretty interesting connections. Hotch in particular was cornered by a short woman with long blonde hair wearing a dress she had likely made herself, a love of glitter no doubt being one of her and Garcia's shared interest. She seemed nice and might have been Hotch's type if you considered his track record and looked past her crafty exterior. Within minutes of meeting she had divulged that she was an actor who worked part-time as a nanny and Hotch was absolutely certain their meeting was not-so-subtlety orchestrated by either Garcia or Dave. Or perhaps both. Little did either of them know he had wildly diverted from his previous "type".
Across the living room Spencer watched as the woman put her hand on his partner's arm. Hotch didn't immediately pull away, but it did look like he was shaking something off his sleeve as she withdrew. He'd be worried if he didn't know him so well. Despite the cordial mask in place Spencer could see his eyebrows threatening to furrow further. He and Hotch had been secretly seeing each other for months now, but still weren't open in front of the team. Because of this they'd grown very adapt at interpreting a lot out of a little, the nature of their arrangement not exactly lending itself for big declarations of love. His boss caught eyes with him across the room, pleading for his lover to come relieve him. For someone so intimidating and imposing at work he was entirely too kind sometimes. Spencer smiled but let him hang for a minute longer. A sigh escaped him as he slumped back into his thoughts.
"It's almost midnight!" JJ appeared, bubbly and blonde and certainly a few drinks in. Garcia had deemed this a kid free party and JJ had relaxed into that freedom after the third or fourth beer.
"Woo hoo." Spencer said significantly less enthusiastically.
"Spence, what's wrong?" JJ said, trying to sober herself to properly worry. Spencer shook his hand at her as if he could wave away his mood before it contaminated her.
"Nothing, nothing. I'm fine." He wined. JJ wasn't the only one drinking. Spencer could feel his face not cooperating after the glass of scotch Hotch and Rossi had convinced him to drink. It was easy enough for JJ to see through him even when he could control his micro expressions. In fact she was the only one who noticed when he and Hotch had gotten together. He was in awe of how perceptive she was to notice something was going on after only a few weeks of them dating. It wasn't until later that she admitted she had walked in on a particular late night in the office when the couple had thought no one else was around.
"I wanna kiss Hotch at midnight, but nobody else is going to be kissing, you know?"
JJ stood a little straighter and looked her friend dead in the eye. "I'm on it."
Before he could say anything she disappeared into the fray of partygoers with a determination he only saw in the field. "JJ! Wait! Midnight is in 36 seconds! What are you doing?"
"Trust me!" JJ called out, barely heard over the excitement brewing around the television. Scenes from Times Square flashed on the screen as the team and friends watched along in the warmth of Garcia's apartment. Rossi was particularly warm, hovering by the fireplace with a cigar that Garcia had long since given up on trying to get him to take outside.
"73! 72! 71!" Rossi counted in between puffs. JJ didn't know how accurate his countdown was but was glad he seemed to be well into enjoying himself. Everyone's alcohol levels would no doubt ease her plan.
"Dave! Who are you kissing at midnight? Emily or Garcia?"
"What?" The older man lost count at the thought of a little New Years romance. However the option of his two coworkers confused him.
"Well you gotta kiss someone. You can't kiss Hotch." JJ offered.
Rossi made a face confirming that he would not be kissing Hotch. "Well, whose gonna kiss Hotch?"
"I dunno," JJ said, a laugh behind her smile. "Maybe Reid?"
Rossi didn't hide his laugh, a puff of smoke exiting with it. "Really? Meglio poco che niente."
"Well who do you think he'd rather kiss? Him or Morgan?"
"Fair point." Rossi chuckled.
Rossi mulled it over. "Well, Emily is still mad at me for flirting with her mother the last time she was in town and I'm not entirely sure she left her gun at home. I guess Penelope."
"Great!" JJ said and was gone before he could change his mind. "Garcia!"
She made her way back towards the kitchen, flagging the eccentric life of the party just before she began another round of Auld Lang Syne on the recorder.
"Penelope! Rossi wants to kiss you at midnight!"
The analyst flipped her hair, which may or may not have left a cloud of glitter in its wake. "It's so obvious, why doesn't he just ask?"
As she started towards Rossi, JJ rounded on her next target - who happened to be a lot closer than she anticipated.
JJ quite literally ran into Emily as the latter rounded the island, just barely catching the nearby glass of champagne threatening to spill.
"Sorry Jaje, these glasses make everything so hard to do things." Emily was indeed wearing glasses that said the year on them, their lenses a bit too dark for indoors and the "1" between the two 00s made them sit so only half of one eye could see out of one. She tossed back the flute she had saved while steadying herself, keeping a hand on JJ's arm for support.
"Yeah, ok, Em do me a favor?"
"Anything!" Prentiss swung her arm aside for emphasis, sprinkling a passing Anderson with the remnants of her glass.
"Kiss Morgan at midnight."
"What?" Emily look scandalized before turning to catch a glimpse of Morgan sitting on the back of the couch, flexing for some of Garcia's friends while telling a story which no doubt existed solely so he could flex in front of whoever he was telling it to. "Actually.... I've had worse. I gotta whiz first. I have time right?"
JJ was pretty sure she didn't but Emily was gone before she could reply and she hoped that meant she'd be quick enough to get back in time for JJ's plan to work. Morgan was no doubt the most important one to distract. In her last few moments she ran at him, scattering the partiers who no doubt were waiting to see if one of them would be lucky enough to get a kiss.
"Emily is going to kiss you at midnight!" JJ blurt out, the ball on the TV threateningly close to dropping. Sure enough she could hear one of the women "aww" at hearing the news.
"Everyone has to kiss someone. You can't kiss Garcia, Rossi called dibs."
"Dibs? On my woman?" Morgan looked scandalized but luckily was in too good a mood to really get down about it. "So?"
"Who would you rather have kiss you, Emily or Hotch?"
JJ was relieved to see Emily maneuvering her way towards them through the crowd just as the television prompted: "This is it! Five! Four!..."
Before she could rest easy there was one more kiss she had to secure.
"There you are. Thought you were gonna miss it." Will drawled as she slumped onto his lap in the chair he was sitting in. Almost out of breath she wrapped her arms around his neck and breathed out a sigh of relief feeling her job had been done.
"Not a chance."
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
The room exploded with energy and confetti and soon pairs all around the room were shouting and embracing, the team among them. JJ leaned in to kiss her man, both of them grinning though it happy for another year together. By the fireplace Rossi and Garcia hollered at the television before Garcia grabbed his face and planted one on him. Morgan and Emily wished each other a happy new year, a little less enthusiastically but both leaned in nonetheless, their awkward dance somehow becoming less awkward as they kissed.
In the kitchen Spencer cleared his throat.
The woman who had cornered Hotch turned at the intrusion, clearly about to wish scowling Hotch a happy new year. How she didn't get a clue Spencer didn't know, then again who was he to talk? It took him almost a year before he realized why Aaron drove 15 minutes out of the way each morning to get a subordinate his favorite coffee. Neither of them were that great at being direct.
Spencer was definitely going to be direct now. Witnessing his teammates turn their attention to each other, he was determined to have his moment. "Excuse me-"
Pushing past the objecting woman he grabbed his boss by the tie - a festive tie, but a tie nonetheless - and pulled him in for his New Years kiss. It was rare that Spencer surprised him like this and it took him a second for the shock to melt into excitement. Hotch responded with enthusiasm wrapping his arms around Spencer's waist, his irritation evaporating as he relished being claimed in the middle of Garcia's kitchen. He heard a scoff of indignation and imagined the surprise on the woman's face but didn't get a chance to look. As the kiss ended and he withdrew from his lover he couldn't possibly look away. Not while Spencer was looking at him like that. The younger agent laughed with crinkled eyes looking at him with absolute glee and Hotch matched his smile feeling like a kid who just got away with something.
"Happy New Year Hotch!" Spencer said, keeping his hands on Hotch's chest for just a moment longer.
"Happy New Year Reid." The man replied. Looking beyond them into the living room he saw the rest of his team preoccupied. JJ and Will were cuddling in a chair, already looking like they were ready to call it a night, though maybe not ready to sleep just yet. Morgan and Emily were teasing each other behind the couch, the buff agent playfully pushing her shoulder then catching her when she looked in danger of actually following over. Most surprising however, were Garcia and Rossi who were still going at it by the fireplace. For a minute Hotch was worried, both for the potential drama and the proximity of Garcia's wild, flowing skirt so dangerously close to flames.
Spencer's hands had found themselves back to Hotch's tie and suddenly Hotch was the one distracted. He let out a breath as he turned his attention back to the younger man. "How'd you manage this?"
"I have my ways." Spencer said playfully. Hotch would be sure to get it out of him but for now he settled for stealing one more kiss before returning to secrecy, promising himself that it wouldn't be this way for much longer. Mirroring his desire, Spencer kissed back with very high hopes for the upcoming year.
From his perch on the couch Morgan tested the waters. "So, did that do anything for ya?"
Emily looked needles into his's cocky smirk and rolled her eyes before wobbily - but confidently - walking away.