Author's Note: Okay, so I know that this chapter has been ridiculously long in coming, but better late than never, eh?
JJ paced nervously in her hotel room, completely floored by everything that had just happened.
Hotch had practically begged her to give up on her rock-solid future with Will and take a chance on him.
If she thought she had a tough decision to make before, now she was completely stumped.
Even if this magical future that Hotch described existed, Will was the father of her child. She knew Will, she lov—liked Will. She liked him a lot.
But Hotch could be the father of her future children. A future with Hotch seemed unsure.
Will had always accused her of having feelings for Hotch, and truthfully-though she'd never admit it to Will-she had at one time found her dark haired boss appealling. But that was a long time ago. Even if Will maintained that Hotch treated her like more than a trusted colleague, she knew that he was just talking out of jealousy.
But then she remembered the look of betrayal on Hotch's face when he found out she was pregnant.
She wasn't sure she had ever felt so lost.
Sitting down on the bed, she allowed herself to flop down on the lumpy mattress. Staring up at the ceiling, she willed a massive lighting bolt to come down and strike her with enlightenment.
Why does life have to be so hard?
She didn't realize how tired she was until she felt her entire body blissfully relax before she immediately fell asleep.
"Jayje, wake up." A deep Southern drawl prodded her out of sleep.
"Will?" She asked, blinking away the vestiges of sleep. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here." He chuckled good-naturedly. "I've got to get off to work, so I thought I'd make sure you were awake before I left. Henry-"
"No, Will, you can't leave me with Henry, I'm on a case!" She exclaimed, rubbing her brow in annoyance.
"A case?" Will laughed heartily, "Chere, you haven't worked a case in years. That must have been some dream you were having."
An awkward sense that she was missing something settled in her stomach. Looking around at her surroundings, she winced at the ornate gaudy decorations. "Where am I?" She asked, not recognizing the bed she was lying in.
Will looked at her intently. "At home? JJ, are you okay?"
She waved him off instinctively, feeling awkward at his sudden overprotectiveness. "I'm fine. I'm just not firing on all cylinders yet—it's early." She hedged.
"Alright." He relented, his eyes still questioning her. "I started a fresh batch of coffee and Henry's already had breakfast, but there's still food waiting for you. He'll need you to take him to school."
"I know." JJ rolled her eyes at his tone before stopping. "Wait, school?"
"Chere, I'm worried about you." Will sat down on the bed next to her and placed his hand on her forehead. "You don't have a fever, is everything alright?"
"I'm fine. Just—tired." She settled on, feeling incredibly foolish that she had no idea what was going on.
"Well, don't forget the PTA meeting, and signups for football are today too. Henry needs his perfect mother." Will smiled and bent down to kiss her chastely on the lips before walking out the bedroom door.
Slightly perplexed, JJ grabbed a nightgown that was draped along the back of a chair near the bed. She winced as the pristine home in perfect order screamed at her that she didn't belong.
Somehow, she found herself at a large dining room table with a plate filled with food conspicuously next to a chair slightly distanced from the table. "Eat up." Will turned and smiled from behind a large stainless steel refrigerator door. "You wouldn't want your breakfast to get cold."
Still trying to figure out what was going on, JJ made quick work of the fruit and omelet in front of her. "Well, I've got to go to work Chere, I love you."
"Yeah." JJ smiled, masking her confusion as he kissed her goodbye.
When she heard the front door close, she wandered through the house blindly. Every room was in immaculate shape, something that had never been a trait of any home she had ever lived. In fact, this house could easily be photographed in its current state for "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine.
Looking across a desk, she sighed happily at the sight of papers strewn about in an organized disaster—her organized disaster. She looked at the papers strewn along the desk, notes and various bright pads of paper suggested different appointments that governed her day. Her interest was piqued at a small understated notebook tucked away from view in an obscure corner.
Picking up the notebook that felt important, she smiled as she realized it must be some sort of diary. Smirking, she flipped open to a random page and began to read the entry.
I don't think I can take it anymore. I hate New Orleans. I hate feeling like I don't matter. Today, I cleaned out my Tupperware drawer and organized it—that's how bored I was. Can you imagine that at one point I worked for the greatest unit in the FBI? I can't. Yesterday, I was at PTA meeting and some of the other mothers got in an argument about centerpieces. That's when I knew that I had lost it. When I had to try to mediate between women who wanted fresh flowers and women who wanted fake flowers for the Annual Recognition Ceremony—I, Jennifer Jareau, am completely an urban housewife.
I thought I wanted this. I thought I wanted the perfect life. But I hate being perfect. I love Will, I love Henry, but I feel like there should be something more….
JJ winced as she flipped the book to another page. That must not have been a good day.
…and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had listened to Hotch, if I had made another choice…
Flipping the page again quickly, she looked around if she had been seen. This wasn't what she wanted to focus on. She needed to know where she was at, not think about Will's ultimatum and Hotch's offer.
Focusing on another page, she read the next entry quickly.
I've always wanted a daughter. As you can guess, I'm still not pregnant. I thought it'd be easy to get pregnant again; Henry was such a surprise that I thought the next one would be just as easy. Dr. Facillier says that nothing's wrong with Will, so the problem must be with me. It's been three years that we've been trying. Will wants to try fertility treatments—but I just don't know that I can handle that—
JJ shut the book quietly, oddly feeling as if she were prying in someone else's personal affairs.
"Mom?" A young voice asked hesitatingly. "We need to go if I'm not going to be late for school."
JJ turned and tried to hide her shock at the adorable seven year old boy standing in the doorway. His sandy blond hair was just long enough that it was beginning to curl at the edges and his dark blue eyes peered at her questioningly. "Henry?"
The boy rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Yeah, who else would it be? C'mon mom, we've got to go."
She gasped as she sat up in a cold sweat, shocked and relieved to find herself in a cold Ohio hotel room.
It was only a dream!
Lying back down on the bed, she startled for a moment. "Why do I feel so relieved?" She asked herself. There hadn't been anything wrong with the future she and Will held in her dream. Although the diary she had come across seemed to suggest that not everything was perfect, from the outside looking in,
But something was missing.
And she hated feeling like she had to be perfect all the time—something she felt weighing on her during her entire dream.
It was just a dream.
She shook her head, "This is ridiculous!" She thought. There was no way she was going to let a dream decide the most important thing in her life.
Why is this so hard?
Her face fell as she was struck with a sudden realization—it shouldn't be hard.
This decision was only hard because she kept trying to force herself to make a decision that she didn't want. And she had seen firsthand how her life would turn out if she followed down that road.
Sure, it wasn't a horrible path.
But was she willing to take a chance that there could be something better out there?
Especially if that something better had only hours earlier knocked literally at her door.
Picking up her phone, she dialed a number quickly, not wanting to give herself time to change her mind.
She knew what she had to do, it was just a matter of doing it.
"Will, we need to talk."
A sharp knock at the door startled Hotch from his restless slumber. He had been anxiously agonizing over what JJ would decide to do. In his flash to the future, JJ had told him that she chose him because he asked her to.
He hoped that he had done enough.
Because after the snapshot into the future, he couldn't help but feel like JJ was the missing piece that would fill a void he hadn't known he had.
The knock sounded again and Hotch jumped to his feet. He didn't bother to check the peephole as he yanked the door open quickly. "JJ." He sighed, unsure of what his future held.
One thing was likely for certain: She had made a decision.
"No," He stopped her, knowing what she was going to say. He had been too forward-and too late. It was only a hallucination. He couldn't believe that he had been brazen enough to pour out his feelings to JJ. Seeing her blonde hair cascading along her shoulders made him gulp involuntarily as he continued, "JJ, I'm sorry if I put you in an awkward situation, I don't know what came over me..." He stopped as he felt her soft plush lips crash into his.
Momentarily stunned, he melted as his body responded to her immediately. Draping his arm around her, he pulled her in closer, hungrily drawing her in as if she might slip through his fingers.
"I choose you." JJ gasped as she pulled away slightly.
"You do?" He took a step back, smiling though he couldn't comprehend this was really happening.
JJ nodded, "Hotch, with Will everything was certain and I knew how my life was going to turn out. I'm not one to take risks, or take chances. But, I want this. I want this with you. I want to try."
"Are you sure?" He asked lamely.
She chuckled nervously, "Hotch, I saw my future with Will." She winced as she hoped he didn't think her odd, but pressed forward, "And I don't want that future. I want to take a chance-I want to take a risk with you."
Hotch smirked happily. Hopefully, not everything would follow his earlier vision. He still had time to help his friends make changes before it was too late.
Hopefully, they would all be able to rewrite the future for the better.