XLV. Hotch

It's been almost a week since she miscarried, and she still seems rather down. You're not surprised. You know how long she's wanted this. You know the trials and tribulations she's been through to make it to this point. And now, it's back to square one.

The team is coming around for dinner tonight. It's an event that's been postponed so many times, that you were afraid that it was never going to happen. That the familial relationship would be destroyed by your stupid mistake. You almost postponed it again, for a time when she is in a better mood. For a time when she is more receptive to company.

She vetoes you, without explanation. You get the feeling that she needs cheering up, even if she doesn't want to admit it.

So now you're both in the kitchen, cooking for seven. There's a smile on her face, but you know it's mostly to appease you.

You know that recovery will take time. You're in the best of moods yourself, but that's nowhere near comparable to her depression.

You're going to do whatever it takes to help her through this.

XLVI. Emily

Morgan's the first to ring the doorbell. A case called the rest of the team away the day you went into hospital, so you haven't seen any of them since before the miscarriage. You suppress a tear, simply thinking about it. Hormones, it seems, trump compartmentalization.

He hugs you silently, a greeting as much as it is an expression of his sympathies. He brought flowers and wine, a theme that you're certain will be replicated by others. They're sympathising.

Part of you is grateful that they care, and part of you is irritated that you're getting all this attention. You'd much prefer that they accept your circumstances, and move on. You've always loathed being the center of attention. That stems back to your days at Ambassadorial functions when you really, reallyhad to restrain yourself from punching a drunken Senator when he grabbed your ass.

Sometimes you'd just prefer to sit in the corner and watch the world go by.

But that's not happening now. Things are moving forward whether you like it or not.

And, you're finding that, in spite of yourself, you do like it. You like it a lot.

XLVII. Hotch

The rest of the team are noticeably surprised at the fact that you can cook. They rarely see this side of you, and you wonder if this is a sign of personal growth – that you're actually merging your work life and your home life beyond your relationship with Emily.

It's the kind of thing you need to be careful about. You need to find the right balance; too much work, and you'll be the sullen workaholic that you were before you took a positive step forward in your life. Too much home, and you'll be an ineffective profiler.

The time for turning back has long since past; you stopped being all work and no play that night in the woods. The night she opened up to you. You stopped being the closed off Unit Chief. You're still dedicated to your work, you can't deny that. But now, it feels as though there's something to come home to beyond the barely hidden scowl you'd always get from Haley.

You don't think Haley was entirely wrong though; reconnecting with your son is another thing to do on that unwritten list.

You think about all the things that have happened over the past few months. Some have been undesirable at first, but looking back, they were necessary to define what you are now.

And what are you now?

You're in love.


He's got a smile on his face, and that, more than anything, is instrumental in cheering you up. You'll still be a little upset for a while, you know, but that's understandable. What makes you smile on the inside is knowing that without obligation, he's still willing to stay with you. To make it work.

He could have broken it off with you any time since then, citing the complications of juggling work and a relationship, but he hasn't. He's not that guy. He had tried to make it work with Haley – you know that – but ultimately, Haley had wanted what Aaron couldn't give her. She had wanted a dedicated family man. Hotch loves Jack, but he also loves his job; he's fooling himself if he thinks that he can survive without either half of the self. It's why he almost burnt out. Why that only now, you're starting to see the smile on his face as he regains that balance.

His hand grasps yours under the table.

He's laughing at something Garcia said. You look sideways, and see the twinkle in his eye, and then you know.

This is what having a family is.