An/ This is *gulp* the last chapter of Fate and Choices. My intention was to show that they all would come together in the end. This has been a fun story and truthfully has been one of the few that I haven't grown absolutely sick of in the end. Its been a fun little ride, but now I have other things to write. Thanks for reading, reviewing, favoriting and alerting this story. You my friends are in one word, AWESOME!
Without further ado...
"You can do this Aaron." Hotch said, giving himself a little pep talk. It had been way too long since he had last gone on a date. He was now waiting outside of JJ's house, trying to decide whether he arrived too early. The last thing he wanted was to seem desperate. "This is going to be great."
Truth be told, he was terrified. Coffee with JJ had been fun and easy, but it had been unplanned. They were forced together and were surprised to find that they had a lot in common, that was all. This however, was different. There was risk involved, and if Hotch knew anything it was that when you risked, you could get hurt. Luckily, he knew the only other secret of risking things. He knew that anything worth having involved a risk. So climbing out of his car, he marched straight to her door, ready to take this challenge head on.
He knocked three times and paused, trying to act cool. He had been out of the dating game for a while and it was time that he got back on the horse.
"Hey Aaron." JJ said as she opened the door, adjusting the hem of her skirt unconsciously. Her heart fluttered a little, true she had been dating here and there, but he was the first guy who had this effect on her. For once there was a man that she wasn't just tolerating.
"Hey JJ." Hotch blurted, his eyes threatening to bulge out of his head at the sight of her. "You look beautiful."
"Thanks." JJ said tight-lipped, trying to keep from blushing. "Uh...erm...should we go?"
Hotch nodded happily, taking her by the hand. He could tell that he was in for an excellent evening.
"Emily, I just think if you gave John one more chance than you would be pleasantly satisfied with the growth he's making." Elizabeth Prentiss reasoned.
"I don't care about his growth." Emily exasperated in return. "I don't want anything to do with him."
"I just think you're taking a ridiculous stand on this." Her mother sighed.
"Ridiculous? He slept with someone else." She would have screamed if they weren't in a public place, but Elizabeth Prentiss had a knack for knowing how to keep the peace in difficult situations. That was what made her a good ambassador.
"We all make bad decisions--" Her mother began but Emily sharply cut her off.
"Yeah and I made mine when I was fifteen, but Mom, he's almost forty, he should know better."
"Emily, are really going to turn your back on happiness?"
"John never made me happy." Emily admitted. "If anything, I'm finally being honest with myself."
"Sometimes I just don't understand you." Her mother whispered.
"No, you don't." Emily shrugged, getting up. "I have to go to the ladies room."
"You sit back down." Her mother hissed. "We aren't done with this discussion."
"Mom, its not a discussion. I've made my decision. Now make your peace with it or we have nothing else to say." Emily said firmly.
"Here's your table." The host said, ushering JJ and Hotch to a swanky booth near a window.
"Thank you." JJ said mindlessly, dealing with the butterflies that she didn't know could really exist. She hadn't felt like this ever. Wherever Aaron Hotchner learned romance, they taught it well.
"Would you like at the wine list?" The man asked but something caught JJ's eye.
"Oh man." She mumbled, staring at a shaking man and woman who had the 'reporter' face on.
"Is everything alright?" Hotch asked, his voice full of concern.
"Yeah, things are great I just--" She trailed off. "He's getting massacred over there."
"Huh?" Hotch asked, waving to the waiter to come back in a minute.
"That woman is out for blood and he just isn't going to survive." She mused.
"Go help him." Hotch smiled.
"I can tell you want to." He said kindly, knowing that JJ could be someone he could end up loving. "Just go and help him and then come back."
"Really?" She asked sheepishly.
"Go before I change my mind."
"So you'd say that your mother's schizophrenia may or may not have helped you in your triumphs of modern science?" The reporter asked interestedly.
"Well...I guess..well no..." Reid stammered, remembering that this was why he didn't do interviews. "Its complicated."
"Please Dr. Reid, stuttering is hard to quote." The reporter interrupted, practically giving him the blitzkrieg. "Yes or no."
"My mother is a good person, she's just sick." Reid sputtered. He loved his mom and this woman was going to ruin her.
"That's not an answer." Megan Durbano pressed.
"That's a no." A blonde woman said coming and sitting right next to Spencer, who he stared at in appreciation. "His mother never gave him anything but love and support and without that love and support, he would have never accomplished what he had but her illness had nothing to do with her ability to parent."
"What she said." Reid nodded, his mouth wide open with wonder.
"Who are you?" The reporter sneered.
"Jennifer Jareau." She said, extending her hand to the reporter. "I'm his PR Rep."
"He doesn't have PR Rep." Megan said, rolling her eyes.
"He does now." JJ corrected in mock politeness. "Now I'm going to see that article before you post it to make sure that our camp can confirm all the details."
"Dr. Reid's camp?" The heartless reporter scoffed.
"Dr. Reid gets nervous in the sight of people trying to land blast him. We can't promise that how things came out was how he meant them." JJ informed, looking at the man who she assumed to be Dr. Reid. "Isn't that right?"
"Yes..." He stammered. "Yes it is."
"On second thought, maybe this interview wasn't the best idea." Megan Durbano said, getting up from her seat. "I'm sorry Dr. Reid but--"
"Good bye Ma'am" JJ said finally, causing the woman to leave in a huff.
"You are an answer to my prayers." Reid said seriously, staring at the woman gratefully.
"Its not a problem, I just heard her go off and I thought I should intervene." JJ deflected, smiling in return. "Looks like I was right."
"How can I ever thank you?" Reid stammered.
"Its really no problem." JJ said seriously. "I do this sort of stuff everyday. Trust me, you weren't even in that deep."
"When you are in a sex scandal with a fifteen year old maid from Peru, give me a call for sure, but you could've handled this." JJ laughed. "I should get back to my date." She mused, smiling broadly at Aaron Hotchner. He was like an answer to her prayers.
"I'm Spencer Reid." Reid stammered, extending his hand.
"I figured." She nodded. "Jennifer Jareau, PR extraordinaire." She announced, handing him her card. "You ever need more help, you just let me know."
"Will do." Reid nodded appreciatively as the attractive blonde extracted herself and returned to her table.
Watching her return to the dark haired man, he smiled in appreciation as he returned to his own meal.
"I think its going well." Garcia said happily, feeling rather encouraged in her meddling.
"I know, he looks like he's into her." Morgan agreed. They had a few rough moments, particularly when JJ left Hotch to go interrupt another couple, but other than that--smooth sailing.
"I think by the end of the month we could become friends by marriage." She smiled, raising her glass in a toast.
He, about to say something, noticed a dark haired woman lurking behind the curtain. "Can we help you?"
"Um..." She began. "Yeah, if you could tell me if a very angry looking brunette woman is still sitting at the table next to the corner, I would really appreciate it." She whispered.
He glanced over, the table was now empty. "Nope, you're clear."
"Thanks." She smiled, about to leave.
"Hold up Sweet thing." Garcia began worriedly. "Is there anything we can do for you? You look like you could use a drink."
"That's really nice of you." She said, about to excuse herself.
"Alright, I'm not asking, I'm telling. Sit down and have a drink." Garcia commanded, and something strong in her tone told Emily that she wasn't kidding.
"Okay." She said, plopping down nervously. "Sorry to interrupt your date."
"We're not on a date." Morgan informed her, tilting his head towards JJ and Hotch's table. "But we are watching one."
"Really?" Emily laughed. "So your spying?"
"Those two crazy kids getting married is the only way either one of us is going to get a day off." Garcia said, handing Emily a glass of wine.
"They make a cute couple." Emily mused.
"You don't know the half of it. They are perfect for each other." Garcia gushed. "Just think of the baby Hotchners."
The three of them watched the couple anxiously for the next twenty minutes, unable to refrain from cheering.
"That is so sweet." Emily smiled as Hotch shrugged of his suit coat and handed it to JJ.
"Yeah, it---ack." Garcia yelped as a scrawny, brown haired man fell right into her lap.
"I'm so sorry." Reid said immediately, blushing furiously.
"Hey, you're the guy JJ talked to." Garcia pointed, Morgan squinting to get a better look. "What was she doing?"
"Saving me from a reporter." Reid quipped nervously, looking at the two before glancing at their company. "Emily?"
"Reid?" She laughed in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Its a long story." He stammered, not liking the sight of the big man with her. He looked as though he could pummel him and Reid was not going to take any chances.
"Well, pop a squat, you can spy with us." Garcia bade, pointing to an empty chair at the table next to them.
"Spying?" Reid sputtered in confusion.
"If those two hook up, Garcia and Derek here get a day off." Emily explained, cauing Reid to jump in surprise. "By the way this is Penelope Garcia and Derek Morgan. They saved me from my mom."
"Oh, nice to meet you." Reid smiled, extending a hand to Garcia who shook it firmly. He was a little resistant to reach it out to Morgan, but after doing so, his fears of the man quickly disolved.
"Now the name of the game is just keep watching and note any detail that implies future matrimony." Garcia explained excitedly. "Once you see anything, call it out and we'll all squeal together."
"Hey Baby girl, I have not been squealing." Morgan said with his chest puffed out, attempting to salvage his manhood.
"Its more a matter of semantics." She responded kindly. "While I say squeal, you say manly cheering. Tomato, tomahto."
"How long have they been seeing each other?" Emily asked after watching JJ laugh at one of Hotch's jokes. "They seem well in tune with one another."
"Actually..." Garcia began delicately, not knowing how her meddling would look to the outside world. "They've only known each other for about a week."
"A week?" Spencer quipped. "And we're seeing if they look like Soul mates?"
"Hey, you can pick those things out soon in a relationship." Garcia defended.
"You don't know what its like going six months without a weekend." Morgan joined in seriously, nodding at Reid and Emily who looked at them in disbelief gravely.
"I just--" Emily was soon interrupted by a small shrimp that hit her in the head. "What in the world?" She looked around, using her menu as a small shield to protect her from other projectiles.
"Where did it come from?" Reid asked worriedly, only for the answer to come from a woman shouting at a nearby table.
"DAVID ROSSI! I said I was sorry!" She fumed, pelting her dinner companion with a shrimp just like the one that had assailed Emily.
"And I said I didn't care." The man shrugged. "How am I the one who's wrong?"
"It was a one time thing." She countered, her voice livid and fiery. She grabbed another shrimp and lobbed it straight at his head.
"Diane, you're making a scene." David said softly. "I think you should leave."
"Me? Leave?" She laughed derisively. "Fine, walk away Dave, that's what we all know you do best! Five marriages should prove that one, no wouldn't it?"
"Its three and this is definitely the last." Rossi retorted coolly.
"Fine." She screeched shrilly, grabbing her coat and her purse in a huff. "My lawyers will definitely be contacting you."
"Glad to hear it." He said snidely as she stormed away. He looked down at his shirt and the random spots of coctail sauce that had stained it. Groaning loudly, he shook his fist in the air, calling on the powers that be. David Rossi tended to shy away from absolutes, but he could safely say that this was one of the worst nights of his life.
"I've got 'tide to go' if you want some." Garcia called over at him, not really knowing why she had done it. Tonight she had banded together with a bunch of people who were strangers to her just days or even hours before. Knowing that she had found some people that she would readily call friends, she thought she could broaden the circle just a little wider.
Rossi stared at her in confusion, before finally conceding. "That would be nice."
"Come take a seat." She smiled, pointing to an empty spot at the table.
Rossi nodded, pulling his chair over and plopping down, unsure of why he felt compelled to do this. "I'm David Rossi by the way."
"Penelope Garcia." Garcia smiled broadly, before readying her pointer finger. "And this is Derek Morgan, Emily Prentiss, and Spencer Reid."
"Nice to meet you." Rossi muttered, reaching out a waiting hand to Garcia who plopped the small stain blotting pen in it. "What brings you all here tonight?"
"We're just watching a date." Emily blushed a little at the confession. "Over there, the blonde in the gray dress, not that I know her at all."
"She's my PR Rep." Rossi blurted out after getting a good look at the woman.
"Mine too." Reid said excitedly. "Well, as of tonight."
"She's my best friend." Garcia announced proudly.
"And she's with my boss." Morgan added.
"And I don't know either one of them." Emily said, her face flushing further.
"Well, isn't it a small world." Rossi mused, putting his profiling skills to the test. He stared at the couple, noting an undeniable chemistry between them. If only he had been able to find that in his own marriage.
"Aaron." JJ said halfway through dessert, having looked around her for the first time in this magical evening. "I think we're being watched." She tilted her head, indicating for him to check over his left shoulder.
Hotch complied, eyes wide with confusion. As he noted the table, he instantly noticed Morgan sitting there along with JJ's friend Garcia who waved excitedly at him. The others with them were a mystery, but he had a feeling that Garcia would introduce them soon enough. "We sure bring out quite the following."
"Yes we do." JJ smiled, waving back at her friend. She wasn't sure if she had ever been in a situation this awkward before, but she had faith that if not, this must have come close.
"After this," Hotch whispered softly. "Do you want to get ice cream? Get away from the crowd."
"I would love to." JJ nodded decisively, feeling as though this situation was meant to happen. She looked over at the people sitting with Garcia and Morgan. Little did she know, that the next day she would meet them all and that they would soon become some of her best friends. She had no idea that Emily would end up being one of her bridesmaids along with Garcia at her and Aaron's wedding; or that Reid would be the god father of her and Hotch's daughter--named Harmony from the website where they met. Or even that she would get to know David Rossi on a personal level, though he had been one of her clients for years. No, this all came as a surprise to the young blonde woman, but one thing was for certain. She was finding that through life, no matter your choices, there was always something that fate had intended. That in any universe, there were people she was bound to find and connect with, and that was something she could definitely live with.
An/ So this is the long and the short of it. Shoot me a review and let me know what you thought of this story. Thanks for reading :)