A/N – Written with the valuable help of my co-author tonnie2001969. Please read & review. I hadn't seen a post ep from Haley's POV, so I decided to remedy that. Hope you all enjoy it.
Go Gently into the Good Night
The light was warm against her chilled skin. It beckoned, the purity in its color enticing her, pulling her from the sudden gray that had enveloped her. But she couldn't go yet. Not until her baby was okay. Not until she saw the man she'd loved for what seemed like her whole life wrap his arms around the miracle that they'd created together. "Come on, Aaron," she urged as she watched his body heave violently above Foyet's. "He's upstairs. Get to our baby," she screamed as she flashed to his side, time and space and the limits of an earthly existence no longer her concern.
She watched as Morgan wrestled him away from the man that had stolen her life. Although, honestly, that hadn't been entirely true. She hadn't fought. She hadn't even flinched as she'd stared into his soulless eyes as he'd pressed the cold steel against her throat. Her sacrifice was more than worth it. Fighting him would have been like trying to stop an avalanche. Pointless and futile.
And, most of all, noisy.
So she'd stayed completely still and waited for that monster to deliver the inevitable. And he had. With a coldly malicious smile, he had pulled the trigger and taken her life away from her. But he hadn't gotten to her baby. And that had been the point, after all. In those seconds, she'd bought Aaron the time he needed to save Jack with her sacrifice. So it had been worth it. Their baby was worth whatever they had to do to protect him.
Even giving up her life.
Now if only Aaron would get out of the damn floor. "Go to him, Aaron. He needs you," she screamed again, knowing even as the words left her lips that he didn't hear her, that she was railing against the wind.
She watched as realization dawned on his face, his eyes flashing in that second. She saw as he pushed away from Morgan, stumbling as he charged toward the stairs. She knew that he knew…knew where to find their brave little boy "working the case". Flashing to the cedar chest that hid her precious angel, she still felt that warm light at her back, calling to her. But not yet…she had to see this reunion. Her job would not, could not end until she knew, until she was absolutely certain that her baby was safe in the arms of his father.
Biting her lip as Aaron tripped into the room, falling to his knees beside the chest, she watched as he closed his eyes and reached for the lid. Her breath was trapped in her chest as she watched the solid wood cover slowly draw back revealing a healthy Jackson Sean Hotchner. She saw the joyful tears pour down her one time husband's face as he enfolded their smiling little boy in trembling arms.
"I worked the case, daddy," Jack said proudly against Aaron's neck, his little boy voice tugging violently at her heartstrings.
Closing her eyes against the joy and the pain, Haley saw their lives together flashing behind her lids. Their wedding day…the night they'd made Jack…the day their baby had arrived…birthdays and Christmases… How could she have ever walked away from this kind of love? How could she have squandered their happiness away because of her own selfish motivations? Shaking her head against the swell of regret and remorse suffusing her, she extended her hand toward them. One last touch…all she wanted was one last touch of her flesh against theirs.
But it wasn't to be. All she could do was watch.
Her time here was done. She'd seen what she needed to see. Her Jack was safe in his father's strong arms. Arms that she yearned to feel around her again…but her time here was done. It had all ended too soon. Much too soon.
She watched as Hotch had Jack taken outside. Frowning, she ignored the bright white light following her, opting instead to follow him back through the house, his steps determined but lagging. "Go to him, Aaron," she begged futilely, watching his tense back as he entered what had once been their bedroom. "What are you doing?"
And then, she gasped as he fell to his knees. Beside her. Beside her body that she had willingly vacated, knowing that she had succeeded in protecting her son. "No, Aaron…no," she moaned as he took her hand in his, tears flooding his cheeks.
"I'm so sorry, Haley," he whispered, bending to brush a kiss against her pale cheek.
"Stop, Aaron. It wasn't your fault," she replied, though somewhere she knew whether he heard her words or not, he wouldn't believe her. As he sobbed brokenly beside her body, she watched as he gathered her against him and shivered as suddenly, she felt his arms around her once more. "One last touch," she murmured with a sad smile, vowing to herself that she would remember this moment, this time, for all of eternity. "Take care of him, Aaron. Love him enough for both of us," Haley whispered as she felt that clean refreshing light surrounding her, wrapping her in its heavenly glow.
With one last loving look at the man that had given her all her hopes and dreams, Haley smiled softly. "I'll wait for you, Aaron. I'll wait for both of you," she promised, finally succumbing and allowing that bright luminous shine to carry her away.
And in the stillness of the bedroom, Aaron Hotchner wept for all that had been and all that could never be again.