WORTH EVERY PENNY

PROMPT: Bidding on the Boys (Cheers)

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Emily snorted in amusement. "I'm sorry, you're going to have to repeat that."

The face of Jennifer Jareau mirrored Emily's amusement. "FBI Thanksgiving Charity Gala," she repeated. "To raise money we're not doing donated gift baskets. We're not selling candy or chocolate… We're auctioning off agents."

"How were they picked?" Penelope Garcia breathed, still in shock.

So JJ explained, "The units were picked out of a hat and randomly assigned men and women. They tried to make it even."

Emily shook her head. "Do they know?"

The bullpen's glass door swung open, David Rossi storming in. He was followed by a glowering Aaron Hotchner. Derek Morgan followed, sauntering in with his arm around the shocked shoulders of Spencer Reid.

"Looks like my chocolate honey is the only one amused by the predicament," Penelope said. Both she and JJ were leaning on Emily's desk while the brunette sat in her chair.

"You bet, Baby Girl," the African-American said, accompanying the words with his winning smile. "A bunch of women, one night only…"

All three women rolled their eyes.

"Come on," Derek cajoled. "You can't tell me the idea of oogling some of the Bureau's finest isn't appealing." He shot Penelope a look as they watched Emily and JJ's gazes flit to the offices on the gangway. It really was the perfect opportunity and both JJ and Emily knew it. Plus, it was supporting a charity. The least they could do was attempt to donate to the cause.

Penelope's eyes sparkled as she looked up at Derek. This worked better than anything she could have cooked up for her little chickies. And this had been dropped on their doorstep.

Emily suddenly sighed. "Part of me feels sorry for you guys Meat markets are not my cup of tea." And she'd been subject to many such 'meat markets' while her mother attempted to find her an 'appropriate' husband. As if she was going to just stay barefoot and pregnant for the rest of her life. She would never be comfortable with that idea.

"It's not that bad," Derek argued.

Emily raised her eyebrow. "Talk to someone who hasn't been there."

"Well, let's not tell the elders," Penelope suggested. "But, my pretties, we now have a whole list of things to accomplish! Em, you're in charge of letting the boss man know we're taking the afternoon off. JJ, you need to go pack up. We'll meet by the elevators in fifteen minutes." She looked around with a wide grin. "Break!"


Aaron Hotchner glowered. He was not a slab of beef to be put up for auction! Even for charity on Thanksgiving. He was cranky and irritated. This was just undignified!

"You know," Dave said amicably, "you're really going to have to shed the glower. Unless you're going for the stern headmaster look. That might get you some good bids." He huffed as he tried to adjust his tie. "Where's a woman when you need one?"

Both men heard Derek snort. "The girls are here. Get JJ to come fix it."

Hotch couldn't stop the twitch of his mouth as Dave immediately whipped out his cell phone. They had one of the oddest non-relationships he had ever encountered.

Two minutes later, JJ voice floated over to them. "I'm not a maid at your beck and call, Rossi." She sounded less than impressed.

Dave's smile was unrepentant. "But you are here."

"Can't have you embarrassing the BAU by not looking clean cut," she retorted. She stepped up to Dave fixing his tie. Then she looked over to Hotch.

"That scowl has to go, Hotch. Just think of Emily naked. That should cheer you up."

All three men looked floored. Dave was the first to recover. "Jen, have you been drinking?"

Hotch could feel his cheeks heating while his brain spun. Was his attraction to the brunette agent that obvious?

The blond eyed them. "We have a bet with the ATF that we'll make more money than those boys." She shot them a grin. "No pressure!" Then she was gone.

Derek rested a hand on both Hotch and Dave's shoulders. "You're going to have your hands full with that spitfire," he said to Dave.

The elder's grin was almost dirty. "I'm looking forward to it."


When the BAU men were announced, Hotch took a deep breath and momentarily considered chickening out before he was all but shoved into the spotlight. He absently shot a glare to Dave, who looked utterly unsympathetic and almost triumphant before turning back to the crowd, trying to strain his eyes through the blinding light. But he couldn't see anything.

"All four of our BAU men are attractive specimens aren't they ladies," the auctioneer said, "This is your chance, so let's raise some money!"

Hotch listened while Spencer went first raising almost $150. Dave was up next, and Hotch almost rolled his eyes when Dave stepped forward, confidence in his stance and walk. With his history and reputation, he raised $217 and change. Hotch had shaken his head at that. Derek, naturally, made the most, and Hotch hadn't been able to hear the exact amount over the catfights that had erupted on the floor but he thought it was in the ballpark of $500.

Then, it was his turn.

"Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Aaron Hotchner is a well-decorated Unit Chief. Ladies, if you want a man who is going to protect you and treat you like a real woman, this is your man. Do we have any offers?"

Hotch was absolutely floored to hear the uproar that followed, shouting too many numbers for him to be able to really keep track of. Eventually, as the value increased, the voices tapered off.

"Okay, I have $425 ladies, Going once, going twice… alright Four hundred and twenty-five dollars it is!"

He was guided off the stage by someone, too dazed to think about who it may be, or even look. His eyes tried to adjust to the spots in his vision from the stage lights.

"Okay, Agent Hotchner, just wait here until you're… retrieved."

Hotch shook his head, moving to lean against a nearby wall. As if he was some sort of commodity to be picked up by his owner! No one owned Aaron Hotchner! He closed his eyes, while he waited, not opening them until he felt a presence beside him. He was so aware of her that he knew who it was, knew the fresh smell that floated in his senses.

"Did you win?" he asked, finally looking over at her. His breath caught and he had to force himself to relax and breathe normally. "You clean up nice, Agent Prentiss."

Her laugh was almost throaty. "You didn't do too badly yourself Agent Hotchner."

He took a deep breath, trying to focus on putting together coherent and full sentences. "Did you see who bought me?"

"Mmhmm," she replied.

He found himself actually anxious to know. "Care to share?"

"Sure." She held up a cheque, waving it at him slightly. "$425 is a lot of money. You'd better make my night worth it."

Hotch blinked. "It was you?"

"Well I couldn't just leave you to the Bureau sharks, could I?" Emily replied. Then she shrugged. "The consensus is you'd make a pretty good date."

"Consensus?"

"Informal survey. Now I do believe this makes you my date tonight."

They both winced. It made her sound like some desperate cougar. And he sounded like sex for hire.

She shook her head. "Come on."

He tried to ignore the warm thrill when she actually took his hand to lead him out. Emily dropped her cheque off and signed the relevant papers before they were weeding through the throng of people. Hotch was surprised to find that Emily seemed to know plenty of people in the Bureau, stopping to chat with a number of people on their way back to the team. And the whole time she kept her grip on his hand.

Finally, they made it back to Dave and Morgan, where they stood with Penelope and JJ. Hotch raised an eyebrow. Where had Reid gotten to?

"He's with his date," Dave answered with a smirk. "And she's…. something."

Laughter rang through the team. For the first time in a long time, Hotch actually found himself relaxing. It was a nice atmosphere, no cases and, if he was brutally, down-to-the-bone honest, Emily's warm hand in his own.

Their attention shifted as the auctioneer piped up. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to announce tonight has made $250,000!" A cheer erupted through the room and Emily squeezed Hotch's hand with a small smile. "And, on that note, all talking shall cease. Let the party begin!"

The cheer got louder and FBI agents began flooding the dance floor.

Emily grinned. "And this is what happens when the FBI hosts a party with an open bar."

Hotch returned her broad grin, then, unsure of where his bravery came from, squeezed her hand. "I may not have had nearly as much as those agents, but, Miss Prentiss, may I have this dance?"

And the next one, and the next one if you keep smiling at me like that, Emily thought to herself. Instead, she allowed him to pull her to the floor. He spun her around, twirling her under his arm, and watching her dress rise. Her laughter was happy and carefree and though he may not have had any alcohol in his system, he felt utterly intoxicated by Emily Prentiss.

He sunk into her presence. He'd always kept himself at a distinct length. It was so difficult. She was a gorgeous woman, there was no doubt about it. But she had become a source of his strength too. He'd started partnering them together more and more often, started looking to her when things got harder and harder. There was no reason for him to concern himself with those neuroses tonight. Here, it was different and she'd bought him, hadn't she? There had to be a half decent reason why she would do such a thing.

He smiled gently when the music slowed and he readjusted his grip on her, pulling her close. Emily adjusted with him, easily resting her head against his chest. She breathed deeply, so much so that he heard the intake of air. He found himself unable to stop his hand from rubbing circles on her back.

"Everything okay?"

She lifted her head, smiling gently. "Everything's… great."

He felt his heart stop for a split second, and he knew she could feel it. "Emily?"

"Hotch."

A thread of heat shot through him at the low tone of her voice. There was no doubt in his mind as to what he was going to do next. "I'm going to kiss you."

It was actually her who closed the distance between them, pressing her mouth to his. Hotch leaned into her touch as her small hands rested on his shoulders. One crept behind his neck while his hands slid low on her spine before he dragged his fingers up her back to cup her head.

Eventually, she pulled away. There was a humming sound that floated up to his ears as he looked down at her. His fingers slid down her jaw, taking in the smile on her face. Finally, her dark eyes fluttered open.

"I think that alone was worth the $425," she said quietly.

He couldn't help the grin that lit his entire face, his dimples coming out. "No," he disagreed, his voice low, gravelly and she shivered. "I don't think so."

And he kissed her again.


Much to my own surprise, I actually have nothing to say. I'm exhausted from a mental breakdown, so I wrote stories instead of the paper I really should have worked on.

If you guys get a chance and have an AU story you'd like to see, pop over to the challenge forum. Sienna posted a forum where you can put up your ideas of things you want and someone may pick it up and write it for you! Or, pop over and see all of the prompts to choose from. Maybe something will spark your interest.

Review please. I tried to make this different than the other 'bidding' ones out there.