I know, I know, another story, and Hotch/Prentiss to boot, when I'm already writing two. But this plot bunny bit me hard in my derriere and the next thing I know, I've got three chapters written and none of the school work done that I'd wanted to do. I figured that meant I literally had to post it, no matter what.
Technically, the idea for a baby deal isn't mine. Stole it from the writers of JAG and tailored it to fit Hotch and Em. This is going to be AU and OOC. We're going to really see the softer side of Hotch and not the case side. Please keep that in mind, I'd really appreciate it. And please, always remember to review!
SSA Emily Prentiss let out a heavy sigh as she watched the local PD load their latest UNSUB into the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs. Eight years in the BAU and she was still torn apart by some of the things she saw. In the long run, she knew it not only made her stronger, but also made her human. However, sometimes she wasn't sure that was justification enough for the way her heart was breaking. This UNSUB made her physically ill.
Twelve families. The man had destroyed twelve families in the span of as many weeks. He'd left behind one lonely six-year-old boy, a boy who now had no family to go home to. Emily couldn't imagine for a second what it would be like at six years old to be the one to find your family slaughtered in their own home. It was cases like these that had her torn between being a mother, something she'd always wanted, and the horror of bringing an innocent child into the world knowing what kind of a world it was.
Emily let out another sigh as she felt his hand flatten against her lower back before dragging around to cup her side. Then they only thing in her vision was SSAIC Aaron Hotchner. She managed a tiny smile.
"Christian has an aunt and an uncle. They're on their way here to get him. He has someone."
She nodded. "That's good."
"He'll have a home."
This time her nod was accompanied by a sigh. There was a beat. "How do you do it?"
She just looked at him. He knew exactly what she was talking about. The last four years had seen a drastic shift in the dynamic of their relationship. The year including and following his divorce from Haley had been a trying one for them all, but no one more so than him. The divorce had been followed by their terrorist case in New York, then the hostage situation with her and Reid in the religious compound, the family that kidnapped young girls after killing their families to create the perfect wives… And he'd opened up to the only person he hadn't hand-picked, the only person he felt had no expectations from him.
They'd developed a close friendship after that, closer than close. There was no one else either of them would rather go to with their issues. Emily couldn't think of anyone who knew her better than Hotch did and she knew there was no one who could read him like she could. The team saw it too, and inevitably pushed them together whenever one of them was struggling. They had helped each other through the bad, and celebrated together when things were good.
She asked him the same question every time they had a child case. He knew all about her yearning for children, but how conflicted she was about the whole situation. Hotch knew Emily asked him the question to understand why she wanted a child, regardless of the things she saw. Emily always appreciated how he humoured her every time.
"Because Jack makes it worth it," he answered, locking his eyes on hers, not allowing her the chance to look at the UNSUB again. "He reminds me why I do this job to begin with. He deserves a safe world to live in and he makes all of the death, all of the brutality, the humiliation, the blood, the gore, disappear."
"His life revolves around the playground and multiplication tables," she said, her mind quieting slightly as she thought about it, discussed the happy innocence that Jack exemplified.
"Come on," he said softly. "Let's go back to the hotel. I'm sure there's some crappy movie on TV."
"I love crappy movies," she murmured, her eyes darting around the scene.
"I know," he replied with a smile as he led her towards the SUVs and the team.
Hours later, Emily and Hotch sat with their backs against the bed in her hotel room. They'd eventually settled on No Reservations, a relatively old movie and not as crappy as she would have liked, but it would have to do.
"She reminds me of you," Hotch said as he tossed a Skittle into his mouth. They were his sugary weakness.
"Who?" Emily asked in confusion.
"Kate," he replied. "Tough exterior but with so much love to give to some lucky kid."
These were the types of conversations she would never admit to having with her Unit Chief. Though, in moments like this, she rarely remembered he was her Unit Chief to begin with. "I doubt it."
She rolled her eyes. They'd had eight million versions of this conversation over their years as friends. "You know every well prospective suitors are non-existent, Hotch" she replied. "If the nerdiness doesn't get them, the job does."
He shook his head, like he did each time. "If there's anyone who should pass on their genes, it's you, Em."
She ignored her heart's flutter at the nickname. It always seemed to do that. "That doesn't make me feel better you know. It makes it all sound so scientific."
"You're reading too far into it," he chastised. "You're beautiful, intelligent, strong, capable, passionate... You deserve a child exactly like you."
"What about you?" she asked, turning her gaze back to the TV. Her stomach was tying itself in knots at his words. "Any plans for giving Jack a sibling?"
He shrugged. "I've always wanted a little girl," he replied.
Emily laughed. "You'd subject a poor little girl to your protective streak? And I can only imagine what Jack would be like with a younger sibling." Emily had met Jack, spent time with Jack on an almost regular basis. In her humble opinion, the now-nine-year-old took after his father in almost every way. It scared her sometimes when she knew how little time the two Hotchners spent together.
He poked her side. She squealed. "You asked."
"I did," she agreed, amusement in her voice. "Still."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Hotch said wryly.
She rolled her eyes. "I know you, Aaron Hotchner. You're the type of father that would be sitting with your gun and badge when your daughter brings her first boy home."
"You can't blame me."
She smiled sadly, knowing what he was referring to. Everything always came back to the job. "No," she agreed. "I can't."
He sighed, "It's not like my prospects are any better. Single father plus workaholic plus BAU doesn't exactly make a desirable man."
Emily rolled her eyes. "Hotch, anyone who knows you, really knows you, is well aware that Haley was an idiot. Your dedication is something to be admired. It's not your fault she couldn't understand how much the Bureau and the BAU mean to you."
There was something lurking in his eyes that made her shiver, but he just shook her head. "You are something else, Emily Prentiss."
"I think that deserves a thank you," she replied primly.
"I did mean it in the most complimentary way," he agreed with a smile.
They fell silent after that, watching as Kate bonded with Zoe thanks to Nick. She found herself sighing in contentment as the movie ended, even though her mind was almost more jumbled.
His voice took her by surprise. "Do you ever feel like you'll never have the time?"
"Having a child," he replied, not looking at her. "Between the society-defined timetable and the job... Do you ever wonder if you'll have the time?"
Emily arched an eyebrow. "Are you serious? Hotch, I'm not getting any younger here, you know that. What do you think?"
"But you've never thought of in vitro? Never thought of using an anonymous sperm donor?"
She was shaking her head before he was half way through the question. "I want my child to know his or her father, no matter what the situation."
Hotch was nodding slowly.
"What is it, Hotch? You've got something on your mind."
He shook his head. "It's an insane idea, never mind."
"Aaron Hotchner has an insane idea? Now I really want to hear it," Emily said grinning. "You rarely have truly insane ideas."
He looked at her, really looked at her and she could see something warring with indecision, discomfort and maybe even fear in his eyes. "How badly do you want a baby, Emily?"
She bit the inside of her lip at the question and the low, vulnerable quality of his voice. Hotch was only ever vulnerable when he was most thoroughly drunk. "Depends on why you're asking," she replied.
He took a deep breath and she knew whatever he was about to say was going to be a doozy of a proposition. "Neither of us are getting younger, Emily. This job, our lives..."
"Spit it out, Hotch," she managed softly.
"If neither of us is in a relationship, neither of us is any closer to a child, we try."
Oh, how right she was. She was glad she was sitting. "What?"
"Let's say three years. If neither of us is any closer to a child in three years, and neither of us is in a relationship, we have a child together."
"You really are insane," she breathed disbelievingly.
"Not really," he replied. "I know you'd make a fantastic mother, Emily. And right now, there's no one in my life I trust more than you."
The idea was exceedingly tempting. He was as smart as she was, if not more so. He was handsome, fit, loyal... A dark-haired, dark-eyed baby floated across her mind's eye. She already knew he'd make a fantastic father because she'd seen him with Jack. She already knew so much about his past, trusted him with everything, trusted him beyond her life. It wouldn't be that far of a stretch to trust him as a father for her child. "Okay."
"In three years, all conditions met, we have a baby."
He held out his hand to shake, a smile growing across his face. "I think we have ourselves a deal, Agent Prentiss."
She mirrored his grin. "Indeed we do, Agent Hotchner. Indeed we do."
They shook on it.