Author's Note:



Don't throw anything at me, but this is an alternate ending to The Hours. The NOT happy ending.

Prompt Set #3

Show: The Golden Girls

Title Challenge: Rites of Spring


He only went once a year. On the anniversary. He didn't feel the need to go there more often. Why would he?

She was with him always.

But on April 15th he always took the day off, and he slept in because that's what she liked to do. And then he got dressed in an old pair of jeans and her favorite t-shirt of his. The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Concert Tour. That tour was in 1995. The summer they met.

Then he packed a lunch, and a thermos of coffee, and he drove out to Arlington.

Section 41, Row 17, Plot 5

And he would put out his folding chair and then place his lunch and his thermos on the ground. Then he would smile as he looked over the things the others had left.

The flowers Garcia planted. Rossi told him that she came ever week and put in new ones. Always bright, always colorful, always something she would have liked.

JJ left pictures of Henry and his little sister. Catherine Emily LaMontagne. She had wanted to name her Emily, but Hotch had asked if she wouldn't mind terribly making that her middle name instead. He had wiped away the tears as he told her it would too hard for him to hear her name all the time. And JJ had cried as she kissed his cheek and told him of course, whatever he wanted.

Dave would leave rosary beads. He picked them up everywhere they went now. He started going to Mass again after she died, and every week he said a rosary for her. He also left a copy of her Mass card on the tombstone, replacing it each time the words wore away.

Haley brought Jack sometimes. He knew because he would find pictures in crayon. Jack with his puppy, Jack on his first day of school. Things that she would have liked to have seen.

One time Hotch found a bullet casing, he knew that was from Derek. As was the sonogram, his wife had lost a baby that fall. Hotch thought maybe that was his way of asking her to look after it. Him.

It was a boy.

And another time there was a book, Star Trek: Why The Next Generation Was Better than the Original. That could only be from Reid. Hotch had laughed and taken that one home with him.

He kept it on her night table. It was still her table. It would always be hers.

There would be no one else.

And every year on that one day, April 15th, he would sit with his lunch and his coffee and he would read her favorite book until the sun went down. And her dad would always come at three, and they would have a shot of whiskey and they would sit for awhile and talk. Hotch liked her father very much. They'd become good friends. She would have been pleased.

And sometimes her mother would come . . . and sometimes not.

Either way, Hotch didn't blame her. As much as he had suffered at her loss, as he continued to suffer at her loss, he was also a parent. And he knew that if he lost Jack . . . he would lose his mind.

So when her mother came he would take a little walk and when he came back she would always be crying. And she would always ask him the same two questions.

Did she hate me? Did she blame me?

And he would give her a hug and tell her no. Never. She loved you, and she was proud of you.

And it was the truth.

On the fifteenth it was always just him, her dad, and sometimes her mom. Nobody from the team came on that day. They knew that was his day. Their day. Their anniversary.

That was the last thing she had asked for from him. His name. So they were married in the hospital by the same priest that gave her last rites. Morgan and Rossi were their witnesses. They both sobbed through the ceremony. But she wiped away her own tears as she told them that she would be fine, and not to worry, and that they needed to take care of him and Jack. And she'd be back to kick their asses if they didn't. And they promised, they swore a blood oath, they wouldn't let her down.

And they hadn't. They were good friends. The best. And he wouldn't have been gotten through any of it without them. Because after she died, he had gotten sloppy at work. Not so careful going through doors. Not so careful going around corners.

Just not so careful.

It wasn't a wish, just a hope. A hope that maybe he could be with her a little sooner. That he wouldn't have to wait so long. And one day his hopes were almost fulfilled. But Derek tackled him, and the bullet went whizzing over his head, shattering the glass behind them. And afterwards Dave had sat him down and told him that she wouldn't want that for him, that she would want him to live and be happy. And she would want that for no other reason than it was what was best for Jack. Because Jack needed his father. And Hotch had cried and said, okay, okay.

So now he was careful, he was careful for Jack, because Jack needed his father. But Jack was ten now, and Hotch could make no promises to himself once Jack turned eighteen. Because as much as he loved his son, he couldn't imagine another thirty or forty years without her. It had already been six years. Six long, agonizing years, and he missed her today as much as he did the day she died.

And if it hadn't gotten any better by now, he didn't see it getting any better down the road. So he told himself, just get through the next eight years, and then one day at a time after that.

That was the best he could do. That was the most he could promise.

So now it was year six, and he looked up as the sun began to go down. It was time to go home. He closed up his book and his thermos, and folded his chair. Then he went over and knelt down on her grave, tracing his fingers over the etchings in the marble.

Emily Rose Hotchner

B. October 12, 1969 D. April 15, 2009

Beloved Wife, Daughter & Friend

We Miss You, Always

Then he stood and pressed his lips to the cold stone. As he pulled back he whispered.

"I love you sweetheart . . . happy anniversary."

A/N 2: Yeah, I know it was really sad, and I had no intention of EVER writing this ending, but the damn prompt got stuck in my head and then the story starting writing itself. And very much like the opening paragraph of The Hours, I just wrote it down to get it out of my head because it was driving me crazy. Because really, would YOU like to have these words running constantly through your brain? No, no, you wouldn't. They were sucking the life out of me.

That said, I thought it actually turned out pretty well, so I thought maybe I should post it. And Arc agreed that I should put it up. But she told me to make sure it had a 'King Kong' size warning banner :) So hopefully that was a big enough banner and nobody accidentally read this not knowing what they were getting into

But just remember, this is not the last note. They live on happily in the main universe.