Years Go By - Interlude

Mommy Dearest

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Emily sighed and shifted, trying not to jostle the small body beside her while simultaneously attempting to find a comfortable position to lay in. She and Aaron had finally agreed and convinced AJ, Jack and Seth to go back to the hotel with JJ and Reid, but Kate had flat out refused to leave her mother's side, going as far as to essentially threaten to throw a temper tantrum. So Aaron and Emily had tacitly agreed to allow her to stay. Upon entering the room, Kate had immediately climbed up on the bed and with some help from her father and some adjusting on her mother's part, she'd snuggled down and almost promptly fallen asleep.

"I'll move her."

Emily sighed. "I don't want to risk waking her," she admitted. "And she's as much a comfort to me as I'm sure I am to her."

Aaron smoothed his hand over her head. "You couldn't have known it was going to happen."

"That doesn't mean I don't feel guilty for what she heard. She shouldn't have to bear that burden Aaron. She shouldn't have to see me all beaten and broken in here."

"It's part of the job, sweetheart. The kids just don't understand that," he tried to explain.

Emily was already shaking her head before resting it on Kate's. "They shouldn't have to understand, Aaron."

"Emily?"

"The Bureau offered me an interesting job."

Aaron raised an eyebrow.

"It's a trial position. They've never done it before. They want to start a new unit that specializes in international profiling."

"And they like your experience?"

Emily nodded. "They want to bring people in from as many units as possible. Aaron, they've offered me the unit chief job."

He blinked. "I don't..."

"It means no travel, or substantially less travel. It means a desk job where I'm still challenged and I'm still using my skills. It's a fantastic opportunity and it limits the amount of time I'll be out in the field."

"Is this because of the injury?" he asked.

"In a way, yes," she replied, knowing there was no reason to lie. "But it's also about the kids." She looked down at Kate. "They deserve a mother who isn't putting herself in the line of fire all the time. I love my job, but I think this is a very important unit to start and get off the ground. And my language skills are going to come in handy if the unit ends up picking up international cases."

Aaron was quiet for a few moments and Emily could tell her husband was weighing pros and cons. So she put the nail in the coffin.

"Dale told me why he did it," she said softly. "When he was a kid, his mother was never around and he resented her for it, hated her for it. She missed all of his major events, all of his school projects, after she promised time and time again she wouldn't. We promised ourselves and each other when AJ was born that we wouldn't let that happen to us."

He reached out and took her hand, holding it between both of his. "I want you to be sure this is what you want to do," he told her softly. "I don't want this to be a decision you make without thinking about giving up the job you love."

She smiled. "I like the opportunity," she admitted. "And it'll be a good chance for me to pick up a few more languages. I'd be two bullpens over and a floor down if anyone needed me, and it's not like we don't call you now when we're completely stumped. Derek could always put in a call if he wanted. Heck, Derek and I would probably be working together, debriefing and catching up."

Derek had taken over the BAU after Aaron had left and Dave had turned down the position. Emily was sure Dave's retirement eighteen months later had everything to do with it. And she didn't mind being passed over. Technically, Derek was the more senior agent of both of them, and she'd gotten Dave's office when he left anyway. They made the changes with it, understanding exactly why Aaron needed to leave.

He brushed at her bangs. "You're sure you want to do this?"

"I wanted to talk to you about it first," she replied, her eyes drifting closed.

"I think you'll make a spectacular unit chief," he told her. "I think if you really want this job, and you're making it because you think it'll be a good change for you that you should take it. I just don't want you to regret it."

"I don't think I will. I think this will be a good change, for all of us."

"Then it's settled." He kissed her forehead.

Emily blew out a breath, wincing at the pain in her ribs. She looked up at him hopefully. "When are they going to let me out of here?"

Aaron laughed.


And this lovely little interlude in the Years Verse is done!

Big thanks to everyone who followed, especially when I dropped off the face of the planet on this one. Thanks!