Author's Note: My finale fix. Post ep for Hell and Back so spoilers. Big huge honking ones.

Also, conclusion of my Finale Fix trilogy of post eps, which in order goes as follows: The Middle Ground, Ties That Bind, That Which We Must Do. You can read this alone but I'd suggest reading the others first.

Prompt Set #5

Show: Hill Street Blues

Title Challenge: Life, Death, Eternity

That Which We Must Do

To do that which we must do, we must dig down deep. We must believe in things that do not seem possible. We must believe past the point of reason. We have to see an ending, an outcome that is not there. And as Hotch stared down the barrel of that gun, he believed that he would live. There was no other possibility. There was no other outcome. Because he had a son . . . and there would be a baby . . . and there was his Emily. For these reasons he would live, he would do what needed to be done. Endure what needed to be endured.

And come through the other side.

The bullet fired from the chamber, slamming into his thigh, ripping his flesh. His body fell to the ground a moment after the glass fell from his hand. He lay on the floor, watching the pool of amber mix with the pool of crimson. There was no sound but his ragged breath.

There could be no sound if he wanted to live.

Foyet stood over him. Waiting. Watching. Looking for the sign that he needed to pull the trigger again. But there was nothing. Hotch would not give him that. He was beyond that. He was filled with rage. He had things to live for. People that needed him. And this piece of shit had come into his home, and he had thought that he would take those things away from him.

No. It would not happen.

He could feel the life draining out of him, th1e artery was nicked. But still he waited, waited for the moment . . . and then he struck.

Foyet saw the blood spreading across the floor . . . there was too much. It was too soon. He hadn't suffered enough. And he had yet to see his face.

As he put his hand up to pull away the mask, Hotch saw his moment . . . and he took it.

The second weapon. The gun by his ankle.

The trigger was pulled before the barrel was even clear from the holster. But that didn't matter. The first bullet hit Foyet in the ankle, shattering the bone. He screamed . . . and Hotch smiled. It was an ugly thing. But at that moment, ugliness was all that could be found in that room.

And as Foyet fell, Hotch threw himself forward, knocking his would be assassin on his back.

The weapon flew from his hand.

Then he took his own gun and jammed it under Foyet's chin . . . and seeing the terror on his face . . . his lip quirked up again.

"No deals."

The second bullet took the top of his head off.

Hotch fell back, splattered in gore as the gun clattered to the ground. Then he crawled across the kitchen and pulled down a towel from the counter to tie a tourniquet around his leg.

Once the towel was gone, his cell phone was the next thing to appear in his hand. First he called 911, and then he called his girl. Her sleepy voice came on the line and he smiled again. The ugliness was gone. For a moment he just listened to her breathe.

And then he cleared his throat.

"Sweetheart . . . something's happened. I need you to meet me at the hospital."

Emily's soul had been battered from the events of the past couple days. And it took yet another blow as she heard the strain of Hotch's breathing, and the pain in his voice. She closed her eyes.

"Are you all right?" She whispered.

And when he didn't respond, her eyes opened. Darkness surrounded her. She stared into that abyss of nothingness, imagining a life without him. And then an indescribable agony ripped through her chest, breaking her voice . . . breaking her heart.

"Please Aaron . . ." she pleaded, "please answer me. Please tell me that you're all right."

Still, nothing.

The tears began to run down her face. They were a river of fire that burned her skin. Her fingers dug into his pillow as she tried one more time to reach him.

There would be just one more try before she screamed.

"Please . . . honey . . . ANSWER ME!"

Her shrill echo cut through the silence of the house.

But her final plea came to him. Her words finally cutting through the haze that was threatening to overtake him. Hotch's arm slipped, he fell back to the floor. He was watching the pool of crimson grow larger, mixing now with the one spreading from the other side of the room. His eyes fell shut . . . and his words came on a whisper.

"I'm fine . . . I'll be just fine. Please don't cry sweetheart."

And hearing her answering sob of relief, he smiled again.

She never listened.

"Don't leave me Aaron!" Emily cried, "I need you! Jack needs you! We're going to have a baby," she wiped her hand across her face, "we're going to have a happy life," another sob ripped through her chest and her voice shattered, "and I can't be happy if you're not with me."

Hotch's eyes began to pool.

Listening to her suffering was worse than any physical pain that he was enduring. So he dug down, pulling up his last reserves of strength to soothe her fears. His voice came from far away, but it had a timbre of steel.

"I promise you sweetheart, I'm not going anywhere." He heard the sirens in the distance and his words began to fade again, "I'll see you in a little bit . . . I love you."

The phone fell from his hand and he slumped back on the tile. And he thought of his girl, and his boy, and the little one on the way. And he knew . . . things would be okay.

Emily called Hotch's name again, but this time he was gone and she knew all the tears in the world weren't going to get him back. But the vise on her heart had stopped constricting, because she had faith. Faith that he wouldn't leave her alone.

After all, he hadn't broken a promise to her yet.

She frantically wiped the tears from her face as she leapt from the bed. Then she hit the light as she sprinted across the room to grab her sneakers from the closet. She yanked them on, and then she ran for the door with her hand on the slight swell of her belly, murmuring to their child.

"Come on baby, we're gonna go see daddy."

To do that which we must do, we must dig down deep. We must love beyond all reason, beyond all measure . . . and that will be what saves us.

A/N 2: I wasn't planning on writing this today. I woke up with the first line in my head and I had to get it down before I lost it. And I still tried to walk away but then the rest of it came immediately after, it was quite insistent on being told!

And the end bit, that's mine. I know it kind of looks like a quote, but this came to me in an oddly lyrical fashion. Well, odd for me, I don't usually write poetically. But trust me, I even googled my last line just to make sure I didn't subliminally pick it up from something else. I didn't! That's all me :) I also was originally planning on writing my story using the 'something to live for prompt' but this one came to me in a very different style and I knew it was coming from this other one.

Once again, I thank Mr. Gibson's acting as being an inspirational prompt. He and PB are becoming my best prompts! Because what I took from that scene was just the complete defiance on his face. He was pissed. Come on, you have a shit week, you come home, trying to relax with a drink, turn around and there's some asshole in your kitchen shoving a gun in your face. Seriously dude? WTF? Could this NOT have waited until tomorrow! I'd be pretty pissed off too.

Seriously though, there's something about finding someone IN your home that makes it so much worse. It's so much more of a violation than when you're out in the world and bad things happen. At least there you know it's a possibility, in your own home you assume you're safe. As well you can see, he threw his gun down almost immediately after he locked his door.

And I know it's pretty gruesome having him blow Foyet's head off like that, especially when he was unarmed at that point. But, I thought it was very much in character. He has a serial killer that has hunted him down in his own kitchen. What else was he going to do? Arrest him again? He's just going to escape again. And then he'll come after his family. No, as far as I'm concerned, and therefore as far as Hotch is concerned, Foyet had his chance to get away. He forfeited.

I like the ending note here and I don't want to ruin it by adding anything more. That said, I do kind of have an image in my head of a post script. Not sure if I'll write it though, like I said, don't want to mess it up. But I'll keep the story as incomplete for now, just in case.

I also have another idea for a different ending, but I'm not sure if I'll write it. Either way, this is my 'official' entry :) I thought it worked most realistically (as far as realism goes in fake worlds once removed) for how Hotch could get out of it. Even taking all the 'ship stuff out, I can see the scene going down like that.

Little green button folks :)