Emily loved the rain.
Aaron never understood why. It was wet and it made everything outside wet. The ground became muddy, sand on the sidewalks rushed into puddles by the sewers, only to be splashed up by cars racing down the street.
He'd been conditioned to hate the rain. Anything that got him dirty got him punished and he didn't much enjoy punishment. The Hotchner family was perfect and their children would be too. He never played in the rain, never so much as set foot outside in the rain unless he had to. He was always prepared with an umbrella for days like that, and took a cab rather than walking and risking getting himself dirty.
But Emily… Emily loved the rain. She could watch it for hours as it poured down, watch it splash in the puddles. He'd heard her admit to JJ that she loved being in the rain. She would stand outside head tilted up to the sky as the rain fell. It was refreshing to her, even if he didn't understand it. He'd seen her watch the rain before. She was always distracted in briefings when it was raining out and often took her work into the conference room when they were sequestered in the BAU.
Even now, as it poured outside, instead of curling up in bed with him, she was seated on the window, eyes transfixed to the world outside as his were fixed on her.
"Em, come to bed." It wouldn't do her any good to be up so late.
"I can't," she answered, voice soft.
He sighed, dragging himself out of bed to sit with her on the windowsill. His hands settled her feet in his lap, his fingers seeking out the sore muscles. "Why not?"
She'd never told him why she loved the rain so much. And maybe that was why he didn't understand. To him, rain was largely an inconvenience, something Mother Nature had to do, but he could more than live without.
Emily chuckled. "Because it's raining."
"I can see that," Aaron replied, digging his thumb into a particularly stiff part of her foot. He held in a smug grin when she let out a happy groan. "What I don't understand is why that stops you from coming back to bed."
Emily regarded him carefully. "Have I ever told you why I love the rain?"
He shook his head.
"Because my father loved the rain." Her eyes were back out the window, watching the water fall in streams.
Aaron knew better than to try and push. There was more to the story, but she was taking her time. He contented himself with stroking up and down her shins, waiting.
"We were in Washington," she finally began, resting her hands on her stomach. "Some function or another. My sister and I were dressed up, my mother off doing the socializing she had to as a politician. My dad knew Allison and I hated these things, but Mother insisted we go as a family. This time though," she said and began to chuckle. "Alli was sick with the flu. Since I would never leave her, Daddy was stuck with both of us. Alli didn't want to risk going too far from the bathroom, but Daddy made Mother promise that after we made our appearance, we'd be allowed to go home, so Alli could get better. It left Daddy and I up when Alli was fast asleep."
He had a guess as to where this was going.
"It was raining, pouring. Mother hated the rain. Daddy loved it," she continued, lost in the world of her memory. "When we were sure Alli was asleep, he turned to me and said 'Bunny, get your bathing suit. We're going out to play in the rain'." She was smiling now, real and genuine. "And sure enough, he and I went out and played in the backyard in the rain. Then he plunked me in the bathtub and cleaned me up and sent me to bed." Her smile grew wider. "We spent the next week huddle in bed together with matching cold and we didn't tell Mother a thing. I've loved the rain ever since."
Aaron watched Emily watch the rain for another minute. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you hate the rain," Emily said with an indulgent smile. "And it doesn't matter."
He squeezed her ankle to get her attention. "But it matters to you."
"It was something that was just me and Daddy," she said. "It doesn't matter now."
Aaron made up his mind. Standing, he tugged her up with him and guided her out the door and down the steps, his hands on her hips.
"What are you doing?" she asked with a laugh.
He unlocked the deadbolt on the front door and gently pushed her outside, following behind her.
"Aaron, it's one in the morning and it's pouring rain," she said through her laughter.
He pulled her out into the downpour, watching as the rain soaked her pyjamas, trying not to drool as the fabric clung to her more generous curves. "It's one in the morning, it's pouring rain, and you love the rain," he said, just loud enough to hear over the water cascading down around him.
Emily smiled, tilting her head up to the spray, reaching her hands out to hold his. "I can't play in it, you know," she said. "The doctor said I should be resting. Anymore stress on my body isn't good for the baby."
"I'll make sure you don't catch a cold," he promised, resting his hand over his son. She'd been antsy for weeks after finding out the job had left her with serious health problems to contemplate. High blood pressure from her high stress jobs had her on bed rest and no stress for the rest of her pregnancy. "And this isn't stressful at all."
She had to give him that.
Half an hour later, their original pyjamas in a heap in the bathtub, both of them warmed by the shower, Aaron considered the rain again as he cradled his wife in his arms. Emily had changed his outlook on many things after his first marriage fell apart. She'd changed his outlook on the job, changed his outlook on the perfect illusion, and she'd just completely altered his opinion of the rain.
Maybe when his son was born, when Emily was busy, he'd be the father his hadn't been. He'd take his second boy into the rain and they'd start the same ritual Emily's dad had started with her. He'd give his son the same love of the rain that his mother had.
Because it mattered to her.
I have no idea where this came from. It's what happens when you sit in your living room at 11 at night watching a thunderstorm, I guess.
And yes, I know I should be writing my other stories and not a new one, but this is a oneshot. That's it. JUST ONE! And I'm on a Criminal Minds bender. Maybe, at this rate, I'll finally finish Losing Everything.