Author's Note: This is a companion to Elegy, the alternate ending of The Hours.
CHARACTER DEATH – SUPER HUGE ANGST WARNING
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
I figured I should put the same warning I did on this one that I did the last one. It felt like leaving Hotch suffering like that was kind of cruel. This one is told from Jack's point of view. He's about 18. And I actually wrote this shortly after I wrote Elegy but they both were just really sad and I didn't want to deal with cleaning this one up after I'd done the other one. But I was going through the prompts folder today and realized it was basically done so I might as well put it up.
Bonus Challenge #1
Title Challenge: Dear Dad
The call finally came. He had always thought it would be Rossi, that he would be the one that found him. But it was his mother. She was crying.
Something's happened, you need to come home. There's been an accident.
Jack didn't call her on the lie.
They both knew it was no accident.
His only surprise was how long it had taken. He had been waiting for this call for years. So he quickly packed his bags and left his dorm room, running down the halls decorated in crimson and gold.
He got on a plane and then he went straight to the hospital and up to the room.
Rossi was the only one there. He was the only one left.
After his father had left the team he had drifted away from the others. Even after he pulled away they tried to keep in touch, sending him cards at Christmas and on his birthday. But his father knew they all had pictures in them, so they were never opened. They just sat in a neat pile in a basket where she had once kept potpourri. Jack knew it was just too hard for him to see them moving on. Starting families, being happy, putting the past behind them.
Those weren't things his father was capable of doing.
But Rossi never did marry again, so he never started his own family. And after he retired he made his father a fulltime project. Getting him out of the house, making sure he didn't spend all of his time alone. But as hard as he had tried, it was never going to be enough. Because Rossi could never give him back what had been taken.
Rossi gave Jack a hug and told him it wouldn't be long. And then said he was going to the cafeteria to find his mother and then he was going to make some phone calls. But before he left, he turned back, walking over to whisper something in his father's ear and then he touched the bandages and kissed his forehead. He took a shuddering breath, and as the tears started to fall he walked over and patted Jack on the shoulder before he left the room.
And now Jack was alone. Alone with his father, a man who had been an FBI agent for twenty-nine years, on SWAT for four of them, and he had an accident that morning when he was cleaning his gun. But God was cruel, and he didn't die right away.
Jack was filled with grief.
He had hoped it would happen quickly . . . his father had already suffered enough.
Jack pulled a chair up to the bed and took out his wallet, slipping a picture from the fold. The tears running down his face as he stared at it. It was old, and starting to fade. He'd been meaning to print out a new copy. But this was the original, this was the one she had held . . . and it seemed wrong to throw it away. He traced the image with his fingers. Her pretty smile, his father's dimples, both of them young and happy.
Emily died three months later.
She would be young forever. And his father . . . he would never be happy again.
A piece of him died with her. Most of him . . . died with her. When Jack was little he would hear him crying in his room. Horrible, wrenching sobs. And he would take his stuffed bear, Mr. Bobo, and he would go and climb into bed with him. Patting his father's hand as he told him not to be sad, Miss Emily would be back soon. She never went away for long.
He was too little to understand about death. About its finality. And the gaping holes it leaves in the universe. The person that's lost. The person that's left. And later Jack would wonder, if he had hurt him more with his childlike attempts at comfort. Because his father would always cry harder but then he would wipe his face and he would try to smile. But he could never quite manage it. And he would have to turn away. But then he would pull Jack into his lap and tell him stories. Things the three of them had done, places they had gone, trying to make sure that Jack knew. That he would always remember . . . that she had loved him like he was her own.
Jack took the photo, tucking it into his father's hand as he whispered.
"It's okay dad, I don't blame you. I understand. I know how much you missed her. I did too. And I know that you worried that I didn't remember her. But I did . . . I do. Picnics in the park, watching movies, baking cookies, kisses, hugs. I remember all those things. Just in bits and pieces, but the memories are there. Flashes of her eyes, her hair . . . her smile. I remember.
She loved me.
And I promise you, I loved her too. But I know . . . not like you. I know her death took something from you. Stole something away. And I just want you to be happy again. I know you tried for so long, that you only stayed for me. But I'm grown now. And I love you, and I'll miss you," his voice broke, "I'll miss you so much, but I'll be okay. I promise. You can go find her now."
The tears ran down his face as he watched the monitors slow, and the doctors came in and Jack put his hand up telling them no, just . . . let him go.
And as the beeping stopped Jack leaned over and whispered in his father's ear.
"You say hi for me, tell her Jack in the Box says he misses her."
He kissed his father's cheek, pulling back as a sob ripped through his chest.
A/N 2: So yeah, another sad one. But again, it came to me, it kept bugging me and I figured I'd get it out and move on. And I didn't think it sucked so there wasn't any reason to leave it in the folder. I think I like the first one better but, either way, I thought the first story needed some closure. And though I don't see Hotch as the type to actually commit suicide, an 'accident' with his gun would just fall back into his 'not being careful' mode he'd been in before. And now that Jack was older he'd start thinking that way again. Especially because you figure, he's all alone, Jack doesn't need him anymore, well, obviously he does, but not in the same way. Plus Hotch would be coming up on retirement and she'd still be gone so there wouldn't be anything to look forward to but another twenty years or so all alone. And now as I think about this poor fictional character's life I feel really bad for him.
Personally, now that I've written even more of the 'falling in love' part of their relationship, I feel even worse killing them off! But I'd already killed Emily and I just felt bad leaving Hotch.
So what do you think?