Author's Note: Got the new PC. Wa Hooh! It's so nice, but of course getting it all set up has been a chunk of my time this weekend, hence the posting delay. And here I have to give Chiroho another shout for technical assistance. Honestly, everyone should send him thanks because there would be NO posting for days if not for him. I had an issue with my wireless adaptor and good man that he is, he sent me the the actual link off the manufacturer's website so I knew exactly what I needed to download to fix it. If he hadn't done that then I would be on the Comcast waiting list for a service call. As Oliver already has dibs on my first born, Chiroho gets naming rights for the second. Though saddling the kid with the name "Chiroho" is rather cruel ;)

Okay, this would be a continuation of the same evening. And as these Universe C stories are not intended to be epic, we'll be wrapping this one at the end of this chapter.

Little Old Ladies and Handsome Man Servants

Hearing the key in the lock, Emily grabbed the remote and put the television on mute.

Thank God!

The door opened, then Emily heard the rustling of bags and Hotch calling softly, "sweetheart, are you awake?"

Her eyes crinkled . . . as many times as he'd called her sweetheart over the past four weeks it still tickled her. She rolled over onto her back as she called back, "yup, what took so long honey? Did you have trouble finding something?"

As much as she appreciated him going shopping for her, she really didn't want to put him out. And he'd been gone for so long that she'd started to get a little concerned. So much so that if he hadn't come home within the next ten minutes she would have called his cell.

There was no immediate response to her question beyond silence and then more rustling as she heard him in the kitchen, then footsteps as he crossed the room. And then he was leaning over the end of the couch to give her a kiss.

With his lips barely an inch away she smiled, "am I getting this kiss in addition to, or in lieu of, an answer to my question?"

Still hovering over her, Hotch's mouth quivered, "well it was going to be in addition to, but if you don't want it . . ."

He started to pull away and she reached out to put her hands on either side of his face.

"HEY!" she tugged him back down, "where do you think you're going?"

His eyes crinkled as he murmured against her lips, "off to find a girl that's interested obviously."

She shot him a scowl as she gently nipped his lower lip.

"Ow!" He laughed at the love bite as he leaned in closer to give her a proper kiss hello.

When he pulled back, Emily smirked as she patted the couch cushion by her head, "sit down and show me what the great hunter brought back to the cave."

Though this was probably the first time she had asked Hotch to go shopping for her, Emily had no concerns in this department. Hotch was so spit and polished about everything that she knew that if anybody would follow the list to a T, it would be him.

Hotch snorted as he pushed the bags around the couch with his foot, "well they were out of saber tooth so I guess you'll need to figure out something else for dinner this weekend."

With a chuckle, Emily pushed herself up so Hotch could sit down at the end of the couch. Once he was settled with the throw pillow in his lap, she put her head back down and he ran his fingers through her hair for a moment. It was nice. Enough that she started to forget about the shopping purchases completely and just wanted to close her eyes.

Hotch's fingers stilled as he asked softly, "are you feeling any better?"

Her brow was still a bit pinched so he knew that she wasn't 100%.

Emily shrugged one shoulder slightly, "eh, same old, same old. I'll live."

Though she'd probably live as a happier woman if the damn Motrin would kick in!

Hotch frowned at her, "you'd better. What would I do without you?"

Though he knew that was just an expression, for some reason today that genuinely bothered him.

At his response, Emily's rollercoaster hormones made her eyes burn and she tugged him down for another kiss.

Sometimes he was so sweet that she didn't know what she'd done to deserve him. She was very happy though that she didn't have to share this part of him with the world at large.

"So," she blinked away the moisture in her eyes as her voice brightened, "what did you buy me?"

Hotch started opening bags and his eyes crinkled as she squealed in delight at the googly eyed rubber spiders.

"Oh honey these are perfect!"

She wanted things that were "child friendly" scary and this was exactly it.

As he went along she kept ooing and aahing and he was inordinately pleased with himself for (thus far) hitting all tens with his purchases. But then he got to the last bag, the one filled with her personal items and a little of his anxiety came back.

"Hopefully these were the right ones," he said cautiously.

Never be cocky when it comes to tampon purchases.

Emily peeked into the bag and then smiled at him, "yep," she placed it back on the table before pushing herself up to a sitting position and giving him a quick buss on the lips, "you did good."

The last man to buy her a box of tampons was her father when she was sixteen. That was an emergency situation but still, he was her dad, and that came with the dad territory. It had happened a few times over her formative years and they'd both gotten through it with minimal scarring.

As to the other men in her life. The idea was laughable.

She'd once asked Sully . . . after six MONTHS of dating . . . if he could pick up a box of Tampax for her and he'd nearly had a stroke. To this day she still wasn't sure if he was embarrassed about purchasing them or was terrified of some sort of emotional commitment he thought they implied.

Either way though, that was the point where she'd known for sure that things were only going to go so far with him.

But things with Hotch were already more permanent, more real, more . . . mature, than any previous romantic relationship she'd ever had. He sat down and she moved into his lap . . . he was the one who was going to go the distance.

Hotch loosely wrapped his arm around Emily's waist before reaching down to pick up her heating pad off the couch, "here you go sweetheart."

She smiled as she took it from his hand and placed it back on her abdomen . . . yep, definitely going the distance.

As Emily cuddled in closer to him, Hotch slowly rubbed his hand up and down her back, praying that she wasn't going to be upset about what he was going to tell her. He'd been upset initially but the more time passed, the more Hotch was adjusting to the idea of Dave knowing.

Not only did Hotch trust him to keep his mouth shut, but he also trusted him to watch their backs.

If anyone up . . . or down . . . the chain started to speculate, Hotch knew that Rossi could be relied upon to shut down that line of inquiry pretty ruthlessly.

And for Hotch, ruthless was a good quality in a friend.

So there was a definite upside here, and if need be he'd make that argument to Emily as well. Still though, he knew it would be best to start slow, maybe arguments wouldn't be necessary.

He cleared his throat and said brightly, "so I ran into Dave when I was out."

Okay, that was a little too bright. Dial it down Aaron, you didn't run into Santa Claus.

Furrowing her brow in confusion, Emily picked her head up to look at Hotch, "Dave? But he lives in Mclean. What was he doing at a CVS in Rosslyn?"

That's weird.

"Actually," Hotch clarified in a more normal tone of voice, "I went to the CVS in Georgetown. The one on Wisconsin is bigger so I thought it was more likely to have everything that you wanted. And apparently Dave has a," Hotch raised his brow in amusement, "'lady friend,' in the area."

This part of the story was easy. If only he could just stay with the amusing little anecdote portion of the evening all would be good.

But he couldn't. And the amusing little anecdote portion was going to be shot to shit in about thirty seconds.

Emily chuckled, "only Dave would drive thirty miles this late on a weeknight just to get laid." Then she pictured another face and she snorted, "well, Dave or Morgan."

When it came to women and sex the two were practically interchangeable in their actions and viewpoints. Though Dave was slightly more discrete, that was just due to having a few more years on the planet.

"Right," Hotch chuckled nervously, "Dave and Morgan. But speaking of Dave for just a minute, uh . . . uh . . ."

He tripped up for a second. As hard as he tried, he just couldn't think of a way to casually work it into the conversation. So he just blurted it out, "he knows about us."

'Please don't be mad! Please don't be mad! Please don't be mad!'

Over and over Hotch chanted in his head as he saw Emily's eyes go from amusement to confusion to shock all in the space of ten seconds.

"WHAT?! HOW?!" She sputtered in a panic as she sat up.

They didn't want to tell anyone yet! It was too SOON!

As much as Hotch hated that he was upsetting her, he couldn't stop the eye roll as he thought back on that moment.

"He saw me buying tampons asked me if I had my period," he said in disgust.

For a second Emily just stared at him, and then she burst out laughing, "oh my God, I would have paid money to see that!"

At her reaction, Hotch huffed in slightly annoyed amusement, "well, I'm glad you find it so amusing."

Though he was relieved that she wasn't angry, she was also LAUGHING at him!

Seeing the look he was shooting in her direction, Emily immediately sobered up . . . after all the tampon purchase was for her . . . as she said consolingly, "I'm sorry Aaron, you just caught me by surprise," then she pouted as the more pressing concern came back to her.

Their secret was no longer a secret.

"So what did Dave say about us?" She asked worriedly.

Though the opinion of the whole team was important, Dave was the one that they were both closest to overall.

If he didn't approve that would be devastating.

That was the other reason she wanted to keep things to themselves for now. What if their relationship caused a strain with the others? She couldn't bear it if her new found happiness ruined the other relationships in her life.

Hotch picked up her hand, "he was happy for us and he's promised not to say anything to anyone," his nose wrinkled slightly, "I know you had wanted to wait until after the holidays but the cat's kind of out of the bag now. And aside from my minor public humiliation, it didn't go badly at all."

The tampon thing wasn't really that embarrassing. He was just trying to keep things light.

At Hotch's joke Emily's lip quirked up slightly . . . yeah, definitely would have paid money to see that conversation.

Then she was quiet for a moment before she spoke again. "Well," she sighed, "ideally I'd have preferred that our private lives stay completely private, but if it had to be anyone I suppose it is best that it was Dave," her eyes crinkled slightly, "he gossips like an old lady but only with the two of us."

As adamant as she'd been about not telling anyone, it was out now so there was no point in getting upset about it.

Hotch huffed in agreement, "yes, that was the defense he used as well," he tipped his head, "though I don't believe he referred to himself as an old lady."

Emily chuckled, "well, I don't care what he calls himself, that's what he is."

Fortunately he was a little old lady always on their side though.

Now that the matter of their "outing" had been addressed she gave Hotch a quick kiss before she dropped her head back in the crook of his neck. For a second she was quiet before she murmured sadly, "I really wish I'd remembered to put salsa on the list."

What had she been thinking? That was a necessity this time of month.

Hotch lightly squeezed her thigh, "actually I bought you salsa, tortilla chips, and ice cream," his lip quirked up, "all I ask is that you not mix the three together."

This would be one of those moments where he was grateful for how much time they'd spent together before they became a couple. So often they could anticipate each other's wants or needs . . . and salsa fell into both categories for Emily . . . before they were ever uttered aloud by the other.

Emily grinned against his neck, "you're the best." She leaned up to give him another kiss before she whispered against his lips, "and in three to five days I will definitely give you a better thank you for being such a sweet man."

His eyebrow rose in amusement as he looked at her, "wow, sexual favors for chips and salsa," he kissed the tip of her nose, "you've really lowered your standards Agent Prentiss."

A chuckled escaped Emily's lips as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "yeah, well, girl's gotta eat sir."

She felt more than heard the responding huff from Hotch. Then he whispered against her ear, "you wait here and I'll go get you a snack." And as he started to slide to slide her to the couch she shook her head and squeezed him slightly, "wait honey, I want to sit for a minute," she closed her eyes, breathing him in as she pressed her lips to his ear, "I missed you."

They worked so much, and with the case out of town the last few days, and the nine hours they'd put in at the office today, she hadn't had nearly enough Hotchtime.

Nachos could wait . . . she felt him pull her in closer . . . this couldn't.

"Okay," Hotch leaned back against the couch, holding her close as he said quietly, "we'll sit for a minute."

After she settled against his chest he rubbed her back as he said softly, "I missed you too sweetheart."

As far as he was concerned, Emilytime now ranked . . . and had ranked for awhile now . . . as being on par with Jacktime. In that both were the reason he got up every morning.

And as he thought of Emilytime he was reminded of something that he'd forgotten to tell her yesterday.

"Hey," he gently patted her back, "I forgot to tell you that the realtor said she thinks my apartment will go quickly," then he added jokingly, "so basically this is your last chance to change your mind before you get stuck with me for good."

Of course getting stuck together for good was the big picture plan.

"Well," she sighed dramatically, "you're cute and you smell good so I guess if I have to get stuck with you I can deal."

YAY! Full time Hotch!

He smirked, "funny, that's the same reason I keep you around."

She laughed, "well then clearly we're a match made in heaven."

It was a joke, but she did believe that Hotch was sent to her by an angel. And hopefully Clarence . . . or Clarice, Heaven was probably fully integrated now . . . got a set of wings out of the transaction.

"I concur," he kissed her temple, "and given the circumstances under which we met I'd say that was a very apt description."

He had decided that meeting at her mother's house was fated. If not for Haley then perhaps he and Emily would have fallen in love years ago. Not that he resented his marriage to his ex-wife. Not at all. He had loved her, they had been happy for a long time, and she gave him Jack.

For Jack alone there would be no regrets.

Still . . . he intertwined Emily's fingers with his . . . sometimes he woke in the middle of the night, feeling Emily in his arms, and he'd wonder what might have been. If not for circumstances of fate, maybe Emily would have been Jack's mother.

It was a thought that intrigued him.

Then he would think that perhaps they needed to become the people that they were today, to feel what they did today.

But when he thought back on that moment when they first met . . . the moment where an apple cheeked Emily in all her graceless glory, fell through the front door in that red sundress . . . he would know in his heart that even the people that they were then . . . they were also meant to be.

Emily felt Hotch's warm breath on her ear right before he whispered, "I love you pretty girl."

She smiled as she kissed his neck, "I love you too." They sat quietly for another beat before she whispered, "but I'd probably love you even more if you'd go get me those nachos now."

Cravings could only be denied for so long.

Hotch barked a laugh . . . nobody could break a tender moment so perfectly as his girl . . . and then slid her over to the cushion. As he stood up she gave him a beatific smile, "thanks honey!" Then a thought came to her and she pouted, "you think maybe I could get some of the ice cream too?"

Yes, she was capable of getting off her ass and going over to the kitchen herself. But he had already offered to play handsome manservant so who was she to deny him this great honor?

Shooting her a dimple, Hotch leaned down to brush her hair back behind her ear before he whispered.

"As you wish."

A/N 2: If you're reading this story then presumably you're familiar with Girl and already had your brains refreshed on "as you wish," as it related to Princess Bride and the Mandy Patinkin CM connection. I've said many times before, the fun part of these spinoffs is to do something that's already been done in the main 'verse, but in a new way. Here we're addressing how quickly they move in together, the "as you wish" being code for I love you and Emily's ex boyfriend Sully and how she knew that he wasn't the one.

The next one I started writing for this world is entitle "Drop a House on Her Aaron," and it's a new take on Jack's birthday party. This time with Emily showing up with Hotch as his girlfriend. Though, I really do like writing them all couple up and happy here. I can't do that in the main verse right now because I'm avoiding Life & Such like it had the plague. I don't want to get sucked into that world when I haven't finished the prequel. And I still need to put the Hours back up. So I might do a Vegas chapter with this version of H/P. I have a vague idea for it, if it solidifies I'll whip it up.

Emily will get cancer in this world as well, at least I think so, therefore Hotch's unease with her "I'll live" comment was a bit of foreshadowing. Of course it could just also be foreshadowing for the Great Falls incident. Which would also happen in this world. If I can think of a way to tell that event in a completely different fashion, I might do a version here. Maybe she wouldn't be paired with Morgan . . .

If you're interested, I have put All the King's Horses and Second Chances back on my radar. As I was installing programs getting my computer set up, I was reading over those posted chapters to get back into the style and rhythm of what was happening in those worlds. I've also been cleaning up some stuff as I went along so if you read something over and it's not quite how you remember it, you're not going crazy. My writing is better now and I've been trying to tidy up any prior awkwardness as I come across it. Not sure if mentioned this before, but I've discovered (with Kavi's assistance at playing guinea pig) that you can export a chapter and it pops back into the Document Manager queue so you can easily clean up over there. So if I decide to read an older story over, I've started doing it that way, then if I notice something I don't care for, I can fix it as I read along. In some places I've added in more internal thoughts or scenes. The goal is to have the best version of the story up.

And to that end, I'd like to say, if you're linking to my stories for anything, please do use the link and DON'T copy paste. I just want to have the one version of my stuff out in the world. I know that with cyberspace that's probably not very realistic but again, the point is to have a "good" story out there. And if I'm making them better, then hopefully you can see how if I read an older version of my work and I no longer consider it up to par, that it would bother me to know that somebody was continuing to post that work even after I had taken it down. They're my thoughts and I'd like to maintain a bit of control over them :) Of course people will do what they want to do, all I can do is ask. But as I am asking nicely, and I'm telling you that this is something I feel strongly about, I would appreciate it if you would please honor my wishes here. Thanks :)

All right, off that, it's a long weekend here so I'm hoping to get one or two more chapters up. I have a couple things working towards completion. I'd REALLY like to get the Morgan returns to work chapter up but it's nowhere near complete. It's become rather hefty and I'm switching viewpoints. But if I cut it up then maybe you'll get some of it tomorrow.

As I once again have a nicely working, conveniently situated computer, I should be able to get on top of my feedback responses again. So in between postings you might be hearing from me in your inbox :)