A/N: This is the conclusion of "Friends, Family, and Fear". I hope you've all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you to all who sent reviews, and a very special thanks to Brummie10 (my newest Hotch sis!), Nexis44, Mandy543, Maleshka, and especially WrenWing (TN - My Hotch Twin, I owe you some major presents! Watch your PM box carefully! LOL!) And also a special thanks to my CM Board family (TN, Falc, Sparks, FX, Red, Doc, Bleu, Cinny, Trips, Lady, Zoni, the 4-H Club, etc.) for encouraging me to post this story here! This has been an incredibly rewarding experience! Thank you all again!
"You look terrible," said Hotch. "Are you okay?"
"Me! I should be asking you that question."
Hotch chuckled, then grimaced. Morgan looked pained.
"I'm sorry," Hotch began. "I should have told you guys about that a lot sooner."
"Why didn't you?" Morgan sat on the side of the bed to listen.
"I didn't want you guys worrying about him any more than you already were. I saw what that case did to you. I saw how you beat yourself up for not being able to stop him. I saw how hard it was for you to put Foyet on the backburner and move on, and not let him cloud your judgment on other cases. I couldn't put that on you, too."
He closed his eyes for a moment. He was still groggy and extremely sore. He returned his attention to Morgan.
"I knew after I turned him down that this could be the result. If we caught him, great. But if not, at least I knew he'd come after me and not you, or any of the others. At least, for the most part, I knew you were all protected."
Morgan began to giggle. Hotch looked confused. This made Morgan laugh harder.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh, man, Rossi was right."
"Oh, no." Hotch rolled his eyes. "He told the 'dad' story, didn't he?"
Just then, Rossi came back in along with the rest of the team.
"You told them the 'dad' story?" Hotch incredulously inquired.
"Yes, I did!"
Hotch giggled and grimaced again.
"Please, don't make me laugh," he said through clenched teeth, yet still giggling.
"And let me tell you something else while we're at it!"
Hotch looked at Rossi with a mixed look of humor and pain on his face. The rest of the team was giggling behind him.
"You scared the hell out of me, kid!" Rossi exclaimed. "Don't you ever do that to me again!"
The team burst into laughter. Rossi walked up to Hotch and tousled his hair like a little boy. Hotch was okay. Foyet was in custody. And sooner rather than later, the team…the whole team…would be back in action. And Morgan smiled.