Author: charmony PM
LW11 - One year on from the Christmas Eve party that changed her life forever, Emily reflects on the year just passed, and the future to come.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Friendship - A. Hotchner/Hotch & E. Prentiss - Words: 2,438 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 07-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8349086
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Please don't hate me, but this is the VERY LAST PIECE in this series. I don't intend to do any more pieces here, no matter how beautifully you all may plead with me.
You guys have been so amazing through all of this and I feel so totally blessed by your support and how clearly you have enjoyed this series so far. Your reviews kept me going long past the point where I would have ended things and I am pleased to know that I was entertaining enough to keep you all with me. Thanks so much to Hazmatt, megameighteen, Anonymous (actually, my research says it is rare, but possible to have three identical triplets), Wtiger5, HPforever-after (ch 1 & 2), HGRHfan35, mummy2triplets, greengirl82, inheritancedrottningu (When You Wish Upon A Star, A Christmas Wish Fulfilled, The Innocence of the Child and Fulfilling A Little Boy's Wish), Amanda Duran and x-MJ-x (Fits, Giggles & Invitations, Life Ain't Always Fun & Games 1, 2, 3 and The Joy of Life 1, 2). Any reviews for this chapter will be replied to personally as long as you are logged in when you leave them. And even if you haven't reviewed as yet, maybe leave me a short something to let me know what you thought of the series as a whole.
Special thanks go out to the gorgeous x-MJ-x, who was my original inspiration for this piece. Thanks so much for giving me something so wonderful to work with.
And additional special thanks to my wonderful beta, the gorgeous Wtiger5, who keeps me on track and up-to-date with all the accurate medical information I could possibly need. I totally could not have embarked on this journey without you honey; thanks so much for joining me on this crazy ride.
And if you haven't already, check out my author page for more stories in the series The Natural Progression of the Heart, or NPH. I've been informed you won't be disappointed if you like your drama. :p
This is Life's Wishes 11 (last one) and is rated K+, as it is full of Christmas cheer and family.
Aaron Hotchner walked into the meeting room at the end of the walkway and stopped.
Overrun by females. Oh well, I could think of worse ways to spend the afternoon.
"Right, someone tell me what's going on here and someone hand me a princess."
Emily looked up from the baby she was feeding and smiled warmly at him as Jack raced to him for a hug.
Not quite a princess, but hugs with Jack are still the best.
Penelope and JJ looked far too pleased about not having to hand over the babies in their arms as Jack snuggled into his embrace, so he pulled a face at them and made his way to the spare seat beside his wife.
"Now that everyone is here, it is time to choose your victim for the Secret Santa presents for dinner on Christmas Eve. Know that the three little ones have been included also."
Emily raised an eyebrow. "You do realise how much money we've already spent this season, right? And now you're asking us to spend more?"
Seeing the teasing twinkle in her eyes, everyone laughed and turned to Penelope as she walked around with a hat. He pulled his bit of paper out and opened it as Jack made a big deal about swishing his hand around to find the right one. Seeing the name on the paper in his hand, Aaron grinned happily.
YES! This year I pulled the right name out of the hat.
Jack crowed out loud and bounced happily. "Yay! I've got..."
Aaron slipped a hand over his son's mouth. "Remember we talked about actually keeping it a secret this year."
He shifted his hand and Jack shot him a sheepish look. "Sorry Dad."
Aaron grinned and tickled him until he was nearly boneless and twitching on the floor at his feet. Beside him, Emily was smiling dreamily and he leaned over in an attempt to figure out who she had to buy for. Proving that she certainly hadn't lost her edge, she closed her hand over the paper at the last moment and shot him a conspiratorial smile. Leaning closer to him, she whispered huskily, "That's cheating Aaron."
He claimed a quick kiss before pulling back and looking down at Jack. Jack smiled back at him but stayed where he was and Aaron turned to tune back in to the conversation around him.
Emily shifted Catherine to her shoulder to burp as she slipped her bit of paper in her pocket. She was positively pleased with the name on the slip of paper.
Right, last year I got him a book. Appealing clearly, since he's always pulling it out when he needs to smile about something, but not very personal. Hmm, I wonder what I could get him this year.
A slow smile grew on her face as she thought about her shopping trip over the weekend.
Yes, that will be perfect.
Feeling a yawn building, she checked her watch and figured they'd visited for long enough.
"Alright, if your surname is Hotchner and you are less than five feet tall, it's time to go."
Everyone groaned, but she held firm and got everyone bundled up and ready to go. Jack ran around dishing out goodbye hugs and then they were heading off to have their afternoon naps for as long as the girls continued to sleep.
Approaching the same restaurant they had used for their team Christmas dinner last year, Emily felt a strange sense of déjà vu as she spotted Morgan standing out front and leaning against the wall.
"You guys are very late, but considering you have four children, three of them under one, we are all feeling very forgiving."
"Thanks," Aaron said dryly as Morgan pulled the door to the restaurant open and held it there as he manoeuvred the large pram into the heat inside. Jack followed them in, but Emily stalled, looking up at the sky she could see in between the clouds.
"It's a lovely night and you, Emily Hotchner, look even more stunning than you did last year, particularly for a woman who had triplets just two months ago. Aaron's a lucky man."
"Thank you," she said softly as she spotted a shooting star, just as Morgan offered her his arm.
The déjà vu is out in force tonight. Must make a wish. Hmmm...maybe later though; don't want to make anyone have to wait for dinner any longer than they already have.
They made their way through to the private room, where she was thoroughly amused to see that it had taken all of a minute for the girls to be lifted out of the pram for cuddles. Jack was kneeling on his chair, resting against Dave's shoulder as the older man held Lily, who was currently Jack's 'special sister' because the boy had named her. Penelope was cooing happily at Sophia, who was wide awake and cooing back, and JJ held Catherine where Henry could see her and gently stroke her tiny head.
She moved to her husband's side and slipped under the arm he held up. "Remind me to check the pram when we leave to make sure all the girls are where they're meant to be."
Aaron chuckled softly and lightly kissed the side of her head. Morgan suggested they all sit and figure out what they wanted to eat so they could order. Emily made everyone put the babies back in their pram while dinner was on the table, though there was a lot of grumbling because they were all insisting they could multitask. Aaron asked what would happen if hot food fell on the baby in their arms and the grumbling ceased.
Dinner started out as a quiet affair and very quickly got noisier as Jack and Henry chattered and giggled their way through their meals. Despite this, and the noise the adults made as they conversed with each other, the babies slept through dinner as Emily had hoped they would.
Jack begged for the Secret Santas to be given out before dinner finished, but Emily settled him firmly and suggested he eat while the food was hot. Amused looks were shared around the table, but conversation picked up again quickly before Emily excused herself to take the babies off to be fed once she'd finished eating. So they all enjoyed dessert and coffee, neither of which she was partaking in – for reasons of weight-loss and that coffee still turned her stomach a bit – while they waited for her to return.
Then the presents were pulled out as she set the pram back against the side wall and fended off the pleas for cuddles stating that all hands were needed for present opening.
"Me first!" Jack shouted, before settling under the look Aaron levelled at him. When he was still once again, they resigned themselves to the knowledge that at least one of them was going to know what they had received. Jack got the nod, and he dove into the pile, found the present Emily had helped him wrap because he just couldn't get it right by himself, and raced around the table to Penelope, who squealed softly in delight as she pulled him close to her side.
"For me? Ooh, this is very exciting." She pulled the paper off the flat box and beamed a smile at Jack as she held up replicas of last year's candy cane reindeer. This year though, they already had little loops attached for hanging from a tree.
Or from the ears. Only Penelope could pull off that look.
"How do they look?"
Jack shot her a pleased smile as everyone admired the candy canes she now had hanging from her ears like earrings, having taken off the fairly large ones she was wearing for the first part of the dinner. Aaron proceeded to hand out everyone's gifts and they were all opened for the most part simultaneously, though Emily didn't get to open the girls until she'd opened hers and discovered a book of funny anecdotes titled, 'How to Survive the Early Years of First-time Motherhood'. She opened it up randomly, read one of the little stories, and burst out laughing.
"I am very excited about this, so whoever gave it to me; thank you from the bottom of my heart."
She set it to the side and opened up the first of the three presents that had been set in front of her just as Aaron made a funny choking sound beside her.
"You okay Hotch?" Derek asked mildly.
"Fine," he said in a strangled voice as he set the present he'd just opened carefully down out of sight. Emily hid a smile.
Good thing he knows how to follow instructions. I imagine he'd be red in the face instead of white if he hadn't.
"Witch. Wicked, wicked little witch."
She turned her head and kissed him quickly while he was close, then settled back with a serene smile as she nudged the last unopened present towards him. "Distract yourself by opening this for me."
"What'd you do to your husband?" Dave asked curiously.
She smiled mischievously. "I got him a gift that is for us only. But I think he might be anxious now to get home. And I think we might need to anyway."
Everyone looked in the direction of her hand gesture and smothered laughter. Jack had draped himself on Penelope and had fallen asleep once he opened his present.
They all agreed and so while Emily assured herself that the girls were well snugged in to the pram and covered to protect them from the cold for the short walk to the car park, Aaron rescued Penelope and everyone gathered up their things. They thanked the owners on their way out the door and then exchanged season's greetings before splitting up to head home. Aaron headed off, with Jack in his arms and Penelope at his side pushing the pram she'd swiped while Emily was hugging JJ.
Derek chuckled as he hugged her. "Never-ending babysitters," he remarked with a nod towards the bubbly blonde walking away from them.
She grinned back. "That's what I was thinking." She looked up at the sky, surprised to see so much sky through the clouds. "Didn't the forecaster predict a snowstorm tonight?"
Derek shrugged. "If Reid were still here, we could get him to quote a statistic on how often they get it wrong. I'm sure he has a few. But I'm glad they got it wrong since I need to be on a plane in just under two hours to make it home to Chicago in time."
They both laughed as Emily spotted a shooting star.
Should I make a wish?
"Do you know, it's funny; this time last year I wished upon a shooting star that I wouldn't be lonely anymore."
Morgan looked at her blankly for a moment, and then howled with laughter until he cried. Emily waited, smiling because he had reacted exactly as she had intended. Looking up, she spotted another star and made her wish for the night, then smiled and made her wish for the year as she spotted yet another star.
"So what was this year's wish?" Morgan asked with warm amusement when he could speak without stuttering.
"Since I saw two stars while I was waiting for you to calm down, I made a wish for tonight and a wish for the year."
"For tonight, I wish that the children would sleep through the night so that Aaron and I can make good use of my gift to him." When he looked at her curiously, she shook her head. "Not on your life."
"And the wish for the year?"
She smiled softly as her husband's laughter came back to her mingled with Penelope's. "I wished that my family would grow stronger together in love and harmony."
Derek tipped his head to the side and nodded slowly. "That sounds just about perfect Em. Merry Christmas."
She hugged him again and whispered softly, "Merry Christmas," before walking off to watch all her dreams come true.
A/N: I hope you all liked my ending it as it started. I thought it was appropriate to bring things full circle.
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