[3x06 – About Face]
"I'm not afraid of heights I'm afraid of falling. I'm not scared of the dark, I'm scared of what's in it. I'm not afraid to love, I'm afraid of not being loved back."
- Anonymous -
The case had been a long one. The BAU team had barely slept in their race against time to find the missing woman so once they landed just as the sun was setting on Halloween night, the team was anxious to retrieve their things and go. But Morgan was hoping his partner was still in the mood for the movie night they had planned. Bonding over their shared love of books had lead to discovering just how many things they had in common. So, they had been spending more and more time with one another. Of course he had invited everyone on the team but Reid and Garcia were far more excited about Halloween than those two and therefore, had other plans. Hotch had planned to take Jack trick-or-treating and JJ had plans to attend a party. Rossi was the newest team member and no one really knew what he was doing.
Emily Prentiss was one of the last agents left in the building. She was retrieving all of the candy off of her desk that Halloween enthusiast Dr. Reid had placed there when she suddenly felt a familiar presence behind her. As if on cue, Emily turned around with a broad smile, expecting to see her partner standing before her. However, she was faced with a disturbing sight that caused her to scream and jump backward in a startled manner.
"Morgan!" she screamed angrily as he removed the mask with laughter.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't help it," he chuckled, unable to contain himself. "Reid left it and I just had to."
"I hate Halloween," she muttered. "This is far from over. This means war," Emily glared at him pointedly with a smirk on her face, attempting to hold in her own giggles.
"Oh bring it on," he teased. "So are we still on for our scary movie night since it's just you and me? Or have I scared you enough already Princess?"
"Don't you mean Halloween Honey?" Emily mocked with a raised eyebrow.
"That too." he winked to which she merely rolled her eyes. "Unless you're too creeped out that is," he added jokingly, remembering her comment from earlier.
"With this job? Not a chance. I'm definitely still up for it!" Prentiss said enthusiastically. "Just don't expect me to cuddle with you when you get scared," she pointed at him as she laughed and they made their way toward the elevators.
"Oh no, that's your job remember?" Derek countered.
They made their way to Derek's home after picking up Chinese at their usual restaurant. As they drove into the development, they each carefully maneuvered their cars through the neighborhood streets as various little characters had begun to emerge from the many houses with their trick-or-treat bags in hand. It may not have been their favorite holiday, far from it for that matter; but both agents couldn't help but smile at the children's obvious excitement in dressing up as their favorite superhero or princess.
"I hope you have lots of candy for all these little munchkins," Emily commented as Derek held the door open for her that lead into his house.
"Bags and bags of it," he replied as he pointed to the kitchen table. "This neighborhood is full of families with kids so holidays are always a big deal around here." Prentiss made her way over to sneak a piece of her favorite candy but stopped short as she noticed one of the bags of packs of sour gummies was almost empty.
"Umm, I think the store ripped you off," she smiled and held up the bag.
"Yeah, well a man can get hungry with all of that sugar staring you in the face for a week," he tried to defend himself, to which she only laughed and threw him a bag of the gummies.
Derek and Emily moved from the kitchen into his spacious living room. After much discussion, they both decided on watching a comedy rather than a scary film they were both clearly not interested in. On many movie nights with Reid and Garcia, they were forced to watch movies they would never have chosen themselves, so they relished in the freedom and similar taste they both shared.
"We may get interrupted by trick-or-treaters you know," Morgan said as he reached for the remote.
"That's okay, we can take turns giving out the candy. Or we can always pause the movie. I don't mind. I honestly love seeing the little kids in their costumes," Emily smiled before she continued. "I never got to dress up for Halloween. I guess that's why I don't really care for it too much. But I do love seeing the kids in their costumes and imagining what I would have been."
"I started off being superheroes or sports stars I admired. But after my dad died, I always dressed up as a police officer. He was always who I wanted to be when I grew up so Halloween was the perfect excuse to keep the dream alive."
"I'm sure he would have been proud of you. Then, and now," Emily responded genuinely.
"Thanks," he smiled appreciatively. "So tell me, what would you have been?"
"What?" Emily asked in confusion.
"What would you have dressed up as for Halloween, or anytime for that matter? If you would be anyone when you were younger, who would you be?" Derek prodded
"You know I'm a nerd," Emily began sheepishly. "I was always pretty shy so when I read books always wanted to be the heroine from the books. Josephine March or Elizabeth Bennett or even Nancy Drew." she stopped herself. "It's stupid."
"No it isn't; not at all. I could see it though," he smiled.
"Little bookworm Prentiss all dressed up. You really should have gotten the chance to experience Halloween as a kid." Just as he finished speaking, the doorbell rang. "Now's your chance to make up for it," he motioned as they both stood up and grabbed the bowl of candy to take to the children waiting outside.
Emily watched intently as Derek gave the candy to the children in the doorway. He knelt down, commenting on each of their costumes in order to make them all feel special. As she looked on, Emily couldn't help but smile as she remembered him doing the exact same thing only hours earlier as he passed out the candy Reid had provided to the children at the crime scene. The same warm feeling crept up within her as it had then. Emily had always been scared to have kids of her own. She knew how emotionally damaged and detached she was, but as she watched her partner interact with the children at the house, she couldn't help but remember the dreams she had once held as a child when life was simple and she longed for a husband and children of her own. But she immediately pushed those thoughts into the back of her mind and into the depths of her heart.
However, she wasn't the only one with the same idea. "Why aren't you and your wife dressed up for Halloween?" A little girl said as she stood in the doorway looking between Derek and Emily. She was dressed as a princess and looked to be about four or five years old. She seemed rather shy but was still thoroughly confused as to why everyone wasn't dressed up like her and her friends.
Before a startled Derek could answer the question, Emily made her way over to the little girl and knelt down so she was at eye level with her. "Well we just thought we should leave dressing up for you. I know I could never be as pretty of a princess as you are," Emily said with a smile as the little girl blushed at the compliment. Derek looked at his partner with a wide, admiring smile. Thoughts of his conversation with Reid long ago crept into his mind. He had always been content to just live his life for him and only him. Yet he was realizing that, slowly but surely, just as his mom and even Reid's had said, his desires were changing.
He pulled himself out of his thoughts before they became too dangerous and he and Emily said goodbye to the children and went back in front of the TV. The movie played but, as usual, they weren't paying attention. Despite the immense amount of time they spent together, Morgan and Prentiss never seemed to run out of things to talk about with each other.
"So what do you think about Agent Rossi?" Emily asked as she turned to face him.
"Well…" Derek began with a guarded expression. "He is incredibly smart. I think he's just used to being in charge so it might take some adjusting. What did you think?"
"I think you're right. He's trying a bit too hard. But I have to say I like him a lot more considering he saved your life by stopping that man from shooting you," Prentiss responded genuinely.
"I'm a little thankful for that too." Derek grinned.
"Just answer me this," Emily began. "Did I try that hard on my first case? Well, I guess what I mean is, was I that annoying?"
"Oh Princess you were anything but annoying. Honestly, at first I thought you were just a pretty, young agent but I didn't know if you would make it. It's a tough job. But then you came right out with your six languages, your tough girl skills and your incredible instincts. I was in awe of you. You made me want to try harder. " he smiled.
"My tough girl skills?" Emily joked, trying to ignore the fact he had called her 'pretty' so her soon to be blushing cheeks would not betray her.
"You know what I mean," he smirked in explanation.
With another ring of the doorbell and a chorus of "Trick or Treat" that followed, Derek made his way to the door while Emily excused herself to go to the restroom. However, just as Derek turned the corner toward the doorway, Emily turned the light on and closed the door of the restroom from the outside. But rather than go in herself, she slipped quietly into the kitchen with a devious plan to get back at her partner for scaring her earlier. She found Reid's mask in Derek's bag where she knew he had placed it, put it on and tiptoed back into the living room. She heard Derek telling the trick-or-treaters goodbye and rushed to crouch down behind the couch. Prentiss faced intense situations nearly every day in her line of work, nevertheless her heart still pounded with an excited nervousness as she prayed her plan would work.
Suddenly, she heard his heavy footsteps coming closer and closer and she readied herself for the attack. However, the startling ringing of Derek's cell phone interrupted her plan. Out of her hiding spot, she could see him reach for his phone and put the device to his ear. "Hey Eric," he said enthusiastically. "What's up?"
Although Emily couldn't make out the conversation on the other end of the line, she could fairly well deduce what was being said. "No man, I know I haven't been hitting the clubs lately. It's just been pretty busy at work you know," Derek tried to lie. Emily knew that wasn't true. Sure they had had a few cases here and there but most of their work lately had been consulting. They all had been home before six o'clock in the past weeks.
Emily thought back to Derek's workload and realized that he had in fact been busy, not with work but with her. If the team wasn't out to dinner or a movie, the two partners were at least. The more they had worked together, the more Emily realized just how much time she had enjoyed spending with her partner, not just in the office.
She turned her attention back to the conversation. "Sorry, I can't be your wing man tonight. Yeah, maybe some other time I guess," he added nonchalantly. "Oh don't worry about me. I made plans with my partner," he was cut off. "Yes, the pretty one," he rolled his eyes with a grin after an obvious interruption. "Thanks for the offer but trust me, I'm good. I'm not missing out on the clubs. I'd really just rather be here. I'll have plenty of fun tonight," he smiled, thinking back to how he really was changing after all. Emily told herself not to read too much into Derek's comments, but she was thankful the mask that covered her smiling face due to her flattered feeling within.
Goodbyes were exchanged and Derek sat back down on the couch. He looked towards the television and then turned back towards the closed bathroom door. It had been a while since Emily had excused herself and his usual protective side took over. "Emily?" he called out, head turned in the opposite direction as she crawled out quietly, placing her masked face beside his.
When she didn't answer, Derek turned his head back, unprepared and unawares of Emily's prank. The moment he saw the mask before him, he jumped back with a gasp. Prentiss couldn't help but double over in laughter after removing the mask as Derek attempted to recover from the fright. "Okay Princess, you win."
"And balance is finally restored," Emily grinned as she sat down beside her partner. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself."
"Yeah, yeah," Derek grinned, knowing he deserved it. "Can we just create a standing truce that we will never scare each other again? You know I hate Halloween."
"You know I do too. Deal. And I'm pretty sure we've both had enough scares for one day. Especially you almost getting shot," she nodded.
"Yes, I think I'm set on my amount of scares for every Halloween for the rest of my life. But on the flip side, I get to spend it with you and that certainly makes it better."
"Really?" she smiled gratefully.
"Well, I guess if I couldn't have my Halloween Honey then…" he began chuckling as he raised his hands, only to deserve a sharp slap on the shoulder by a laughing Emily.
They continued handing out the candy, talking and laughing while the movie played through the night. Derek may have joked about his supposed 'Halloween Honey' but in reality, there was nothing he enjoyed more than spending time with his partner: his partner who was quickly becoming his best friend, but eventually something even more. And she felt the same way. As they both thought of all the things they could be doing at that very moment, they each knew that there was nowhere they would rather be. It was that, the thought of changing, of opening themselves up so freely, that scared them more than anything the night of Halloween might bring.