Author's Note: The conclusion. So I got TWO stories finished this weekend! All together now, YAY! :)

Also, FYI, we put up new prompts and a new thread to request stories.

Bonus Set #9

Show: Friends

Title Challenge: The One with the Candy Hearts

Love, Actually, Possibly, Maybe . . . Yes

After Emily found the flowers in the supply room, the rest of the morning flew by with paperwork and assisting the boys with the proper wording of their protest letter to Playboy.

They'd needed some tasteful synonyms for 'breasts.'

So by lunch she was very much looking forward to a little time alone to focus on the secret valentine mystery. As soon as the computer clock ticked over to one, she locked her computer, grabbed her coat and a mini notepad and headed out to Starbucks to make her list.

Twenty minutes after she sat down in the corner of the coffee shop she'd finished most of her grande Sumatra and low fat cranberry orange muffin. She'd also given herself a slight headache wracking her brain to come up with a list of suspects.

It ended up being a short list.

Six definitive names on it (the team), plus three additional . . . read really farfetched . . . maybes. All had regular access to the BAU (they wouldn't be noticed as strangers) and they knew (or possibly knew) that her favorite color was purple.

As clues went it wasn't much to go on, but the purple thing was at least fairly unique.

She crossed off the straight women . . . JJ and Garcia . . . then she crossed off the boys . . . Morgan and Reid.

That left five.

Her nose wrinkled as she stared at Dave's name. Then she crossed him off . . . no, just . . . no. Rossi would NOT do anything cute like hide a box of flowers for her in the supply closet. He'd like leave a packet of condoms on her desk or something.

Okay . . . she bobbed her head back and forth . . . perhaps that was a little unfair. It's not like she'd ever seen Dave in 'romance mode' but still, she'd bet a month's pay that it wasn't him.

For one thing he liked blondes . . . and for another, he once, after a shit case got stinking drunk and told her that if he'd ever had a daughter that he would have hoped that she'd come out just like her. And then he said that her father must be so proud.

It was the sweetest thing that anyone had ever said to her. She'd actually cried as she helped him up off the bar room floor. And there was no way that she was reconciling THAT Dave . . . father figure Dave . . . with one that would later have any romantic feelings for her.

So really, just . . . her nose wrinkled distastefully again . . . no.

She went down the list one more time.

Hmmm . . . Special Agents Mundy and Greenwell.

They were only added as maybes because she was getting desperate for names outside the team. She'd dated them two and three years ago respectively, for one and two months respectively. And she figured that it was possible during those cumulative twelve weeks of time that one of them might have learned that her favorite color was purple.

Yes, long shots.

Longer still . . . and rather more embarrassing now that she thought about it . . . both were now happily married.

In fact Mundy just had twins.

Ooookay . . . she slashed two lines across the middle of the page.

Now the list was two.

But only one name intrigued her . . . only one name had she been consciously averting her eyes from during the whole elimination process.


But now it was just down to the last two and given the slim pickings, it was impossible to just dismiss him outright. Was it really possible . . . she chewed her lip nervously . . . could he really be her secret Valentine?

He was a closet sweetie so she could see him doing the scavenger hunt flower thing. So there was that . . . but that wasn't much by itself.

She stared at his name for almost a minute, trying to find some sliver of justification to allow herself to hope that it really was him.

No . . . finally she shook her head sadly as a line slowly went through his name . . . no, she couldn't leave him on the list. So many years had already passed, if he was interested . . . and more importantly if he was inclined to look past the rules that would prohibit their relationship . . . then he would have done something much earlier. And nothing had changed recently in regards to policy or their respective personal lives . . . no great traumas or crises . . . so why would he suddenly be wooing her on Valentine's Day when he had never shown any romantic interest in her before?

Not that he hadn't been somewhat affectionate on occasion, especially when he had a few beers, he'd put his arm around her in the bar, or he'd ask her to dance and hold her a little closer than Morgan or Rossi would. And yes, granted, maybe she'd caught him looking at her for no reason a dozen or so times over the years.

But a few POSSIBLE longing glances or drunken dances, or Christmas hugs that went on a little too long, were nothing to pin her hopes and dreams on.

Even if that was . . . she thought sadly . . . the only place she wanted them pinned.

With a heavy heart her eyes dropped to the page again. And then her heart got even heavier as she stared at the only name left on the list.


Again . . . she bit her lip . . . how the hell had that happened?!

Just then Emily heard a scuff on the floor and her head snapped up to see Hotch holding a cup of coffee looking down worriedly at her.

"What's wrong?"

She looked sad. Why did she look sad?! She was supposed to be having a good, happy day.

Emily quickly tried to paste on a smile but she knew from the look on Hotch's face that it faltered. So she gave it up as she shook her head dismissively, "I'm okay, I'm just . . ."

Feeling her voice about to catch Emily abruptly stopped talking and dropped her eyes down to the white sheet of paper.

'. . . going to die alone,' she finished pathetically in her head. Yes, it was a tad dramatic but sometimes you can't help the stray thoughts that float through your mind.

Hotch stepped closer to the table, curling his fingers around her shoulder as his worried gaze followed hers. He wanted to see what she was looking at that had so upset her.

His brow wrinkled . . . a list of names with lines through them.

Why would a list of names make her . . . his eyes widened . . . oh . . . CRAP!

'NO! NO! NO! Please don't be upset about what I think you're upset about!'

"Emily," trying to delay his rising panic Hotch started softly as he stooped down next to her and put his coffee on the table, "were you making a list to see who sent you the flowers this morning?"

'Please say no! Please say I didn't totally fuck this part of the day up too!'

With a weary nod she whispered back, "yeah. I made a list of everyone who has regular access to the BAU because you know an outsider would have caught the attention of a group of behavioralists, and then I narrowed it down further by anyone who could possibly know my favorite color. And as far as the evidence goes it appears that Agent Crookshanks probably sent them."

She paused for a second, "I mean it's nice if she was just you know, being nice, but," her eyes started to get watery, "I just thought for sure that it was somebody," a tear ran down her face as her voice started to get choked, "somebody that plays on my team. Somebody that liked me and I could go out with and well," another tear fell, "you know."

It was stupid that she was letting this upset her so much. It was just a bouquet of flowers, not an engagement ring. The point was that whoever had sent them had meant well and she should just be grateful for the sentiment. She knew that both of those things were true. But she just couldn't help thinking that this had been some sort of test . . . and that she'd failed.

She was still fairly attractive, basically a nice person and the only one sending her a Valentine's Day present . . . the only one in YEARS to send her a Valentine's Day present . . . was a woman who already knew that she had not a shot in hell with her.

Another tear fell . . . a woman who must have just felt sorry for her because she didn't have anyone.

Emily had never felt more pathetic and alone in her life.

Hotch's chest was aching. Really he couldn't have felt any worse if he'd actually pulled out a gun and shot her. He'd driven her to TEARS! TEARS!!


What the hell was wrong with him?! Did he have some sort of genetic romantic defect?! Yes, he had been out of the dating game for awhile but he was quite sure that making the woman you love cry on the most romantic day of the year was NOT a good move!

And he knew that he had to tell her now RIGHT now! If he didn't fix this HE was going to start crying in the middle of the Starbucks too!

So he took a quick look behind him to see if there was anyone he recognized in the coffee shop . . . no . . . it was after peak time and there were only a few people in there. So he took a deep breath and . . .



Hearing JJ's yell, Hotch whipped his head around to see their blonde media liaison waving frantically from the door . . . holding the cell phone that he'd DELIBERATELY left on his desk so that he could have exactly eight minutes of peace as he walked around the corner to get a cup of coffee!

"WHAT?!" Hotch barked in disgust.

And instantly regretted it when he saw JJ flinch.

He couldn't remember if he'd ever raised his voice to Jennifer Jareau in the entire time that he'd known her.

Probably not.

He adored JJ and even now she hadn't done anything wrong. She just had incredibly bad timing!

As he tried to shield a crying Emily from her, Hotch made a mental note to apologize to his second favorite agent a little later.

"Uh . . . um," feeling a sting at Hotch's uncharacteristic rebuke, JJ stammered for a second. And then she remembered that she was an FBI agent and not a thirteen year old girl. Her voice firmed up as she raised the device in her hand again, "you forgot your cell and I need you! That issue in Ottawa blew up!"

Even if he was in a bad mood they still had an emergency.

Hotch's eyes widened . . . Ottawa! SHIT! WHY in God's name did that have to be RIGHT now?!

He swiveled his head back around to see Emily frantically wiping her face . . . and he felt another kick in the gut.

How was his luck THIS bad?! He makes Emily cry because she thinks her Valentine's Day presents were given out of pity. And JUST as he's about to apologize and spill his guts the FREAKING MOUNTIES call!

Well . . . he grunted in disgust . . . this was clearly NOT the way the day was supposed to go.

He stood up, waving over to JJ in irritation, "yeah, yeah I'm coming! Right behind you!"

As JJ ran back out again Hotch turned back to Emily . . . the irritation immediately fading as he looked down at her trying to fix her face.

God had he made a mess of this day. He held his hand out to her as he said quietly, "come on. You can help me with this one."

That was completely true . . . he always valued her insight . . . but more importantly, he didn't want to let her out of his sight again. As soon as this international crisis was addressed he was handling the more important domestic crisis.

Apologizing to the woman he loved for giving her such a crappy Valentine's Day.

Emily looked at Hotch's outstretched hand for a moment before she slowly extended her own.

On duty hand holding was uncharacteristic behavior from him.

The second Emily's fingers were within reach, Hotch grasped her hand tightly and tugged her to her feet. For a second he almost pulled her into a hug, but they didn't have time for that right now . . . they had to go. So he reluctantly let go of her soft fingers so he could pick up her coat from the back of the chair.

"It's cold out," he said softly as he held it open for her, "have to bundle up."

Though she knew that they had to get moving . . . they'd been monitoring a serial abductor/rapist out in Ottawa for weeks and apparently the shit had just hit the fan . . . Emily still looked at Hotch for a moment as she tried to blink the remaining moisture out of her eyes.

From the look on his face, for a second she almost thought something really important was happening. But then she realized that he was just being nice because she'd been crying. He was always really sweet when she cried.

Not that she did it that often . . . she slid her arm into her left sleeve . . . but they had known each other for a long time. They had gone through a lot of crappy days together and Hotch always had a good shoulder when she had a bad day.

So that's all it was . . . he pulled the coat up around her shoulders . . . he was being sweet because of the crying.

And she told herself that again as he gently ran his fingers under her hair to release it from her collar. Then she said it again to calm the butterflies in her stomach as he brushed his thumb along the corner of her eye to fix her makeup. And then she said it one more time as he took her hand again and started hurrying them out the door.

With her other hand she wiped the last of the moisture from her cheek.

Hotch was being sweet because she was crying . . . he squeezed her fingers and the butterflies came back again . . . that's all it was.


Hotch bit back a grown as Dave asked for the third time if the RCMP wanted one or all of them to fly out to assist.

No. For the third time Dave . . . NO!

The Mounties were adamant that they didn't want anyone to fly out to help them. They just wanted to have access to their expertise and to handle the rest of it on their own. Okay, fine, Hotch certainly wasn't going to belabor the point. They had absolutely no jurisdiction in Canada and plenty of violent crimes to assist with in the U.S of A. so he'd pretty much taken the "thank you, no," for a final answer the first time he heard it. So instead of calling wheels up when he got today's call, Hotch had ended up slowly pulling his entire team into the conference room to provide insight and advice from 600 miles away.

They were now moving into hour three of the call. It was one of the few times in his life that Hotch was truly resentful of his job.

Even when he was getting divorced it wasn't the job that was to blame. After all, he'd chosen the career that he had chosen and he was the one that had decided to stay with the career when his marriage was falling apart and his wife wanted him to transfer.

Still though, he'd stayed. Haley might have resented his job but he never had.

But today all he could think about as he sat next to Emily at the conference table was her crying in Starbucks. The tears were gone, her eyes had cleared, and she was in complete professional mode now, but that didn't matter. Because he knew that she wasn't truly happy. That she believed that the card and the flowers were just pity offerings from a woman who felt sorry for her because she didn't have anyone in her life.

And he was responsible for her coming to that conclusion . . . his gust twisted . . . HE was responsible for making her cry. So he desperately needed to talk to her . . . to let her know that she wasn't alone, that somebody did love her and wanted to be with her.

But he couldn't HAVE that conversation right now!

He couldn't have it because he had to help the fucking Royal Canadian Mounted Police find a rapist and the three college students he'd snatched on their way home from a frat party!

Yes, of course he knew that made him a terrible person to be resentful that the search for these women was fucking up his personal life! But he'd already sacrificed an entire FAMILY for his career and he was trying to not lose his one shot at future happiness, so he felt like he was entitled to a few petty thoughts. But it's not like he wasn't still fully engaged in the conversation on the speakerphone and doing EVERYTHING possible to help these women.

It's just that while he was doing those things, he also had a little voice in the back of his head screaming, 'HANG UP THE PHONE! FOR ONCE LET SOMEBODY ELSE DEAL WITH THE WORLD'S CRISES!'

As long as he continued to ignore the voice . . . his pen began to tap in agitation against his legal pad . . . then he figured he wasn't a complete asshole.

His eyes shifted over to Emily making notes on her own pad of paper. Just a little while longer sweetheart . . . he thought . . . just a little while longer.


A little while longer turned out to be another hour. It was almost five by the time they hit a breakthrough. Reid and his geographical overlays once again were the lynchpin to the case, and Hotch honest to God could have kissed him when he yelled out his standard, "hey, guys," that meant he'd had a light bulb moment.

After they'd passed along their best . . . educated . . . guesses as to where the women would be found, Hotch wished the detectives luck and hung up the call.

He tried not to look too eager.

"Well," he looked over the faces of his team, "good work everyone. Now, I know it's still a little early," he stood up, making sure to put his hand on Emily's shoulder to hold her in place, "but why don't you all get out of here? I'm sure some of you have plans tonight."

In the race for the door . . . all of them had plans so nobody had to be told twice to cut out early on Valentine's Day . . . Hotch didn't miss the flash of pain on Emily's face as she sat next to him.

It's not like he'd wanted to bring up evening plans again before they'd had a chance to talk, but he did need to clear the room and that was the fastest way to do it.

Emily looked up at Hotch with an awkward smile, "well, I guess I should go see if Agent Crookshanks left me anything else."

God . . . Emily had a horrible thought as she stood up and Hotch's hand slipped off her shoulder . . . what if Crookshanks was waiting down there and she had to say thanks in person.

She just might start crying again.

"Uh," Hotch smiled softly as he tried to smooth over that statement without getting into anything yet, "well, maybe that could wait just a couple minutes," he scooped up both of their notepads and started guiding her out of the room with a hand on the small of her back, "come with me for a second please. There's something I wanted to show you in my office."

Emily frowned slightly as they stepped out of the conference room . . . another case. Now? Yes, she was a big loser with no plans for Valentine's Day, but that didn't mean she wanted to stay here half the night. She had big plans with a book, a hot bath and the gigantic tub of cookie dough ice cream she'd bought at Sam's Club last weekend.

But if Hotch needed her she didn't see how she could tell him that her inhaling two gallons of ice cream was more important than his case.

Her eyes shifted over to the man in question . . . the little nerve above his left brow was twitching.

He was agitated about something.

And she was just about to ask him what was wrong when they got to his office and he shuffled her inside. Then to her surprise he locked the door, closed the blinds and went over to his desk.

Her brow wrinkled as she followed him over and sat down in one of the visitor's chairs.

"So what is this," she asked with curiosity, "a Need To Know case or something?"

Well, if she did have to stay late tonight maybe it would at least be for something interesting.

Humph . . . she snorted to herself . . . she'd definitely been doing this job too long if plain old run of the mill serial killers were no longer 'interesting' unto themselves.

Despite his anxiety, Hotch's lip quirked up slightly at her question, "ah yes, I suppose in a way it is a Need To Know situation. But it's not actually a case."

Momentarily ignoring the questioning look on Emily's face, Hotch stooped down to open the bottom drawer of his desk. There were two boxes inside . . . one from a jewelry store he'd stopped at on his way home from work last night. And the other held an Internet printout of his ticket confirmation for next week for two tickets to Giselle at the Kennedy Center.

It was Emily's favorite ballet.

The tickets had only taken two minutes . . . and $300 . . . to purchase. But he didn't want to just give her the tickets. That was personal, and would make her happy, but he also wanted something more romantic.

Something unique to tell her how he felt.

And they'd fortunately landed early enough that he'd been able to go shopping for Valentine's Day presents at some place besides the gas station mini mart.

He picked up the smaller box and circled back around his desk, turning the other visitor's chair so it was facing Emily's. Then he looked up at the woman staring quizzically at him.

"Hotch, what's going on? You're acting funny."

Of course he'd been acting a little funny all day. Maybe the stress had finally gotten to him.

Hotch took her hand as he said apologetically, "I know. I'm sorry, it's just that I've been trying to tell you something all day and things . . . well," he gave her a nervous smile as he rubbed his thumb along the top of her hand, "things just didn't quite go the way I'd planned."

Emily stared at him . . . trying to tell her something. What was he . . . then her eyes dropped down to her hand nestled in his and the black velvet box sitting on his knee.

Her head snapped back up.

Suddenly that little spark of hope that she'd been dousing all day began to fill her heart once more.

She swallowed hard, her fingers tightening around his before she whispered, "what was it that you were trying to tell me?"

'Please, please, please, please, PLEASE let it be that you're my valentine!' she prayed in her head.

His eyes crinkled slightly as he whispered back, "I have let go of your hand for a second,"

As Emily released her grasp, he pulled his hand back to lift the cover on the small black box in his lap. Then he held it up in front of her as he said quietly, "I thought that you might want to add these to your collection."

He knew that she'd had a charm bracelet when was little. Everywhere he traveled her father would buy her a new charm. In fact he still did. And when Emily had gotten older she'd continued the tradition on her own as well. Not for cases of course, she wanted no mementos of cases, but whenever she went on vacation, she'd get a new trinket for her collection.

Her last one was from San Francisco when she went out for her college roommate's engagement party.

Emily's hands were shaking as she took the box from him. And then he saw her eyes start to water as she stared down at the little silver heart shaped charms inside.

Be Mine . . . and . . . she felt a burst of joy . . . I love you.

The words were written like Valentine's Day candy hearts. Her tears began to spill over as she looked up at Hotch. And when she opened her mouth her voice cracked, "really?"

His face softened as he nodded, "really." Then he gave her a sad smile, "and I wanted to give you a good day and tell you tonight. But I kept screwing it up, and then when I saw how upset you were in Starbucks I was going to tell you everything but then JJ came in and . . . well . . ."

He trailed off figuring she knew the rest.

Emily reached over to touch Hotch's cheek as she gave him a watery smile, "I understand. And you were giving me a good day. Truly. It was my best day in years."

When she saw the wary look on his face Emily flashed on how she felt in Starbucks and she tipped her head, "okay, granted I was disappointed when I thought they were just a pity gift from Crookshanks but," her voice caught as her fingers traced over the charms in the box, "I just didn't think . . . I didn't think it could be you because after all these years of just being my friend, I had convinced myself that you didn't care about me that way."

Hotch brushed her hair back as he whispered, "I did," he kissed her softly before adding, "I do. I love you. I just was afraid to say anything. You know the rules prohibit it so I told myself that I needed to let it go," he bit his lip as he looked over sadly, "but I didn't want to let it go. And then yesterday when the girls were talking about their plans for today I saw the look on your face," he took a breath, "it hurts me to see you upset Emily. And I thought, given some things that had happened over the years, that you might feel the same way about me as I do about you."

Hopefully she did. Or else he was making a GIGANTIC ass out of himself right now!

"I do," she nodded vehemently as the tears started to pool again, "I absolutely do. I love you too."

God did it feel weird to finally say it out loud! But he was the brave one, he went first, and really she shouldn't have left him hanging as long as she had

"Good," his eyes crinkled as he sighed in relief, "very good, so I figured that it was time to say screw the rules," he squeezed her hands, "you're more important to me than my job."

Her eyes widened in surprise, "really?"

A faintly bitter smile touched his lips as he pulled away, "am I honestly that bad that you can't believe I could love you more than my job?"

Great, he can't even convince the woman he loves that he ranks her higher than a stack of dead bodies.

"No! No of course not," Emily reached over to rub his knee as she hastened to explain herself, "I just didn't think, well, . . . it's me," she huffed, "Hotch I haven't even gotten flowers on Valentine's day since Gideon was here . . ."

"Gideon bought you VALENTINE'S Day flowers," Hotch repeated in horror.

What the hell?!

"NO!" Emily snorted, "God no! I just meant that's how LONG it's been since anyone's cared enough to even buy me FLOWERS, let alone, you know, risk their CAREER for me," she gave him a soft smile, "it's just unexpected."

Unbelievable, was more like it. This felt like a dream where she was going to wake up and discover a cold empty bed.

Hotch stared at her for a second and then he put her present on his desk and stood up, tugging Emily to her feet as he did so. Then he pulled her into his arms, squeezing tightly as he whispered, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you ever felt that way. Somebody's cared about . . ." his voice got husky as he corrected himself, "somebody's loved you, for a long time. I should have said something months ago."

She rubbed her cheek on his shirt, feeling the warmth of his body enveloping her. Then she tipped her head back and quirked up her lip, "yeah you should have," she teased. "Do you know how many toads I've been kissing all these years? I could have started my own arboretum."

Seeing his lips twitch she smiled as she leaned up on her tiptoes, "but I forgive you," she whispered right before she kissed him. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck and grinned, "so what else do you have planned? I got my card, my pretty flowers, I LOVE my flowers by the way, and these beautiful charms. So am I getting some grub tonight too?"

She decided to have the charms put on a chain so she could wear them as a necklace. They were much too sweet to just put in her jewelry box.

Hotch's mouth quivered, "uh yes, I was planning on getting you some "grub" as well," he rubbed his hand down her back, "I made reservations if you want to go out, and I bought groceries if you want to stay in."

He was okay either way because really he was going to go as slow as she wanted. And just because they had known each other for six years didn't mean that he would expect that they'd go from what they were now to lovers in the span of a few hours.

Emily's eyes popped, "stay in of course! God, if you think I'm going to miss out on the good Valentine's Day sex," she slapped his very fine ass, "you're CRAZY!"

God, she'd known the man for six years! They had passed her four (spaced out) dates rule five years ago. That was about 48 hours after the ink on his divorce papers had dried.

Not that she'd been in love with him that long . . . that would be a tad bit sad. Just that was about the point where she'd started to stop seeing Hotch as her married boss and started seeing him as an extremely fine specimen of the male species.

Of course he'd been that before too but that gold band had indicated he'd been tagged and released back into the wild. Once the band was off he was fair game again. But he'd been a mess for such a long time after Haley left. And of course that's when Emily slowly started to fall for him.

He was like a wounded animal and all she'd wanted to do was to take that thorn out of his paw.

Hotch burst out laughing at her reaction, "all right, all right! I was just checking to make sure that we were on the same page."

Of course he should have known that they would be. Emily pressed against him as he leaned down to kiss her again . . . thank CHRIST he'd remembered to lock the door and pull the shades! Not that he was about to have sex in the office, but . . . but . . . .

The activities of Emily tongue made him lose his train of thought for a second.

What was it?

Oh right . . . his hand slid down to cup her ass and Emily began to moan as she rubbed against him . . . no sex in the office.

After another few minutes of making out and heavy petting to make up for lost time, Hotch steeled his reserve and pulled back, sucking in a breath, "okay, we have to stop now or we're going to have a major problem."

More specifically HE was going to have a major problem . . . how to shield what was shortly going to be a massive erection from the half dozen people probably still working in the bullpen.

There really weren't enough file folders in the world to cover the problem that was going to rise up if they didn't stop right now.

Emily started to giggle as she wiped her hand across his mouth to clean off her lipstick, "right, sorry."

Not that sex in the office didn't have plenty of appeal . . . especially after waiting SO long! But continuing to be gainful employed, paying the rent and putting food on the table had plenty of appeal too.

His eyes crinkled at the giggle . . . so cute . . . and then he brushed her hair back as he said with some amusement, "don't be sorry, just be quick about shutting down your computer and getting your coat." As she started to nod he jerked his thumb over his shoulder, "and while you're doing that I'm just going to grab . . ."

Emily cut in with a scowl, "if you say you're going to grab some work to take home I'm going to knock you to the ground." As his eyebrow rose in amusement she grumbled, "fine, I'd TRY to knock you to the ground, but the point is, I won't be pleased."

Yes, he was a workaholic . . . that she accepted . . . and yes, they had many important cases to monitor . . . that she also accepted . . . but if he thought that he was taking home crime scene photos to look over on Valentine's Day, well, that was just . . . no.

Hotch's mouth quivered, "well, as amusing as it would be to see you," he shot her a look, "TRY to flatten me, I hadn't actually planned to spend my day pursuing you, declare my love and then take you home to do nothing but spend the evening looking over case files. At her sheepish look he continued, "what I was going to say," he rolled his eyes, "was that I'd get my coat and your other present," he trailed off in a sing song voice, "but if you don't want your other present . . ."

"No!" Emily came back immediately as her eyes shot over his shoulder to see if she could tell what he'd bought, "no, I want it! What is it?"

Yes, she was being greedy but hey, drought to flood. She was lapping up whatever she could get.

Trying unsuccessfully to hide his amusement at her excitement, Hotch raised his eyebrow as he asked, "are you sure you want it now? Because aside from your 'grub' this is all I have for you," he shook his head with mock sadness, "no more presents after this one."

Of course if he'd planned this out in his head a little better she wouldn't have even known there was another present until they were home.

Though she knew he was just teasing, Emily realized that in her excitement maybe she was giving him the wrong idea here . . . that the objects were making her happy and not the sentiment behind them.

So she smiled softly at Hotch as her arms slipped around his waist, "the presents are nice but I don't need them," she leaned against his chest, "just you telling me how you felt was enough to make it a perfect day," she tipped her head back to wink at him, "all the rest is just gravy."

Hotch's eyes crinkled as he kissed her forehead, then he huffed and tucked her back against his chest again. He'd been such an idiot for not telling her how he felt a year ago.

And he knew that she was sincere in what she said, but that didn't mean that he didn't want her to have nice things.

As an emotion, love was of course immeasurable, untouchable. But he could buy her things that would give some measure and weight to something so elusive.

They were tangible items to show her how much she meant to him. So he patted her back, "you have more gravy coming, so do you want your other present now or later?"

She leaned back and smiled, "your call, I'll be just as excited either way."

Really, he could have bought her white tube socks and she'd probably be over the moon when she opened them. She was JUST that happy right now!

Hotch chuckled as he stepped away from her, "but you don't know even know what it is yet."

Her brow rose inquisitively, "I'm sorry, what's your point?" As she saw his mouth quiver she grinned and jerked her thumb over her shoulder, "I'll go get my stuff."

"Okay," he stepped around his desk to take the other box from his drawer, "I'll meet you at your desk in a minute." As she started to step out she suddenly turned back, biting her lip, "actually Hotch, maybe I could meet you at your place. I want to get you a present."

Clearly she hadn't anticipated having a Hotch valentine so she hadn't had any gifts for him in reserve.

Hotch stared at her for a moment before he smiled, "you're my Valentine's Day present Emily. I don't need anything else."

He saw eyes start to water right before she rushed back over to kiss him again.

"Thanks," Emily sniffled as she pulled back, rubbing her hand down his chest, "well, then maybe I could get you something later and we'll say it's for Valentine's Day?" Then her nose wrinkled, "because you know I don't want to give you something crappy just for the sake of giving you something."

Like a free oil change from the gas station was about all she could think of getting quickly. That was a suck ass gift. And she knew this from personal experience because she got one on VD for her 28th year on the planet.

His eyes crinkled slightly, "okay, if you want, we can do that. But just know it's not necessary."

Really the thought of a reciprocal gift from her hadn't even crossed his mind until she brought it up. All he'd wanted today was for her to be happy and them to spend the evening together.

"I know," she sniffed as she stepped back from him, "I want to. But I want to think about it first so I guess I'll just have to keep you posted on when the gift's coming."

He winked, "can't wait," then he jerked his chin back towards the door, "okay, now go make like the Gingerbread Man."

Okay . . . he winced . . . clearly it was time to get Jack some new DVDs. Obviously he was watching WAY too much Shrek lately if Hotch was quoting fairy tales mid day in the office.

Seeing Hotch cringe at his own remark, Emily giggled as she backed up wiping the corner of her eye, "I'm going, I'm going."

She turned and hurried out the door and back to her desk. It was now after five so just about everyone else had cleared out.

The guys included.

Morgan was taking Reid on a double date. And Emily was admittedly dying to know who (what) Derek thought would be a suitable blind date for Spencer. Because . . . though she loved him dearly . . . Spencer's intelligence and well . . . she could say it because she was one too . . . geekiness . . . could probably be a little overwhelming for just some random girl Derek picked up in a bar.

Especially given the usually quality of intelligence of Morgan's bar harem.

MIT graduates they were not.

Oh well . . . she quickly shut down her computer and pulled on her coat . . . it's not like she could get a live video stream of their evening so she'll just have to settle for the blow by blow from Morgan tomorrow.

Hearing Hotch coming down the steps behind her Emily scooped up her bag and the vase of flowers. Then she spun around with a big smile, "READY!"

And her own geekiness takes a bow.

Okay . . . she rolled her eyes internally . . . whatever. Hotch had known her long enough to know that she was . . . on the rare occasion . . . a total spaz. And she was taking the "Be Mine" and "I Love You" etched in silver as solid indicators that her spastic geeky tendencies weren't a problem for him.

After all . . . a candy heart hadn't lied to her yet.

Hotch laughed as he put his hand on her back and started guiding her out of the office.

"Excited?" He asked rhetorically.

She was doing a remarkable imitation of Tigger bouncing down the lane.

Okay, that was his second cartoon reference in less than ten minutes. He was definitely getting Jack some new DVDs.

Feeling a slight warmth on her face, Emily gave him a sheepish smile, "yes, yes I am."

Okay, just because she and Hotch had both accepted the fact that she was a total geek didn't mean that she didn't wish that she wasn't. But as he flashed a dimple and patted her back in reassurance, her slight embarrassment faded away.

This is what she always wanted . . . somebody who would accept her . . . love her . . . without judgment.

As they walked across the bullpen, she started to lean into his side and then remembered the cameras . . . and the three agents still working. So she straightened up and sighed . . . this little balancing act was going to take some time to adjust to.

Hotch pushed the glass door open for her and then looked down, "hey on the way to my place would you like to stop at Georgia Brown's?"

Emily stopped on the other side of the door, her brow wrinkling in confusion as she looked up at him, "but Georgia Brown's isn't on the way to your place. That's like fifteen minutes out of the way."

Not to mention, why would they be going to a restaurant before they went home and he made her a home cooked dinner? Yes, she did love to eat. But if he was going to make her scarf down two entrees she was going to be WAY too tired to have the good Valentine's Day sex!

His lips twitched, "oh well, I heard that Morgan and Reid were taking their double dates there this evening and I thought you might like to be nosy," his eyebrow rose up in amusement, "Rossi said they're twins," he cleared his throat, "apparently Morgan met them at Pamela Anderson lookalike contest at Houlihans."

Hotch figured this knowledge would intrigue Emily. Also, he'd probably give a week's salary himself to see Reid conversing with a 36DD bleached blonde.

Times two.

Emily's jaw dropped in astonishment, and then it snapped shut again as she grinned from ear to ear.

"You are the most AWESOME man on the planet! And if not for the eye in the sky I would totally have you against that glass and be making out with you right now!"

She definitely had hit the jackpot! Handsome, smart, strong, funny, sweet and just as deliciously twisted as she was!

Clearly . . . she shifted her flowers as she started hurrying towards the elevator . . . this was a match made in heaven!

Quickening his step to keep up with her, Hotch called out in amusement, "so that's a yes to making a pit stop on the way home!?"

This was about the most excited he'd ever seen her . . . ever. Which worried him slightly because he was very much looking forward to the sex later and now he wasn't quite sure how he was going to top this.

She jammed the elevator button repeatedly as she yelled over her shoulder, "yes, it's a yes! Now come on!"

Hotch caught up with her just as the doors opened and he slipped his arm through hers and tugged her inside.

He looked down to see her eyes sparkling as she asked, "so was this my other present?" And he started to laugh, "uh, no. Spying on your coworkers was not your other Valentine's Day present. Rossi just told me today about the twins, and I know you'd been curious about Morgan's pick for Reid's blind date."

At her slowly rising eyebrow he tipped his head, "okay we were all curious about Morgan's pick for Reid's blind date. So I figured, what the hell, we'll call in a dessert order to go and you can get a little bonus amusement for the day."

And now he knew what to do if he got stuck for a future Valentine's Day gift, plan a little unauthorized surveillance of her family/friends. It was a little unconventional, but . . . his eyes crinkled as he looked down at the happy woman at his side . . . so was his valentine.

Emily smiled at Hotch as she slipped her fingers through his and tucked their hands out of sight from the cameras. It was easy enough given that they were standing by the back wall of the elevator. Unfortunately at the next floor, the car stopped and they had to separate as the doors opened. Three people got on and then two more at the next floor so Hotch and Emily were quiet for the rest of the ride down to the parking garage.

When they finally stepped into the chill of sub level P3 Hotch reached over and took her hand again.

After they had climbed into his car and were waiting for the heat to come on, he shifted his eyes over to look at her worriedly, "so, seriously, barring my screw-ups with forgetting to get you a vase and you nearly breaking your neck getting one down. And then later making you cry in the Starbucks on the corner because you thought nobody cared about you but Morgan's lesbian counterpart, have you otherwise seriously had a good day so far?"

After all that was the whole point here. And regardless of what she might have said earlier, he was a little afraid that he might have fallen short.

Emily's eyes crinkled as she placed her vase on the floor at her feet, "are you kidding me?" She looked back over at him in surprise, "this was my best Valentine's Day ever."

What was he thinking?

His brow rose up, "wow," he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, "that's . . . huh."

He'd nearly maimed her and THEN made her cry in public and this STILL ranked as her best one yet! As many stories as he heard, it never ceased to amaze him just how crappy Emily's love life had been.

Seeing from his reaction that he'd misunderstood her answer, Emily leaned across the seat and kissed him. Then she smiled as she leaned back, running her fingers along his jaw.

"It's the best one because I got you," she said softly.

Silly man.

"Oh," his lip quirked up, "okay then."

Well, that was much better. Then his brow creased . . . or was it?

He looked back over at her worriedly, "what was your second best?"

Maybe she had some fabulous gift in her past that he was going to have to top to maintain dominance as alpha male.

Pretending not to notice Hotch's tone . . . she knew EXACTLY where he was going with this . . . Emily answered nonchalantly, "um, let's see, second best was when I was twenty seven. I had thirteen hours of tantric sex where I had one orgasm alone that lasted forty-five minutes."

Hotch's eyes bugged out as he yelped, "THIRTEEN . . . FORTY . . .!"

WHAT THE FUCK!? A forty five minute orgasm!? Good GOD! He thought that was a myth!!

Seeing that she'd sufficiently scared the crap out of him, a grin slid across Emily's face as she yelled, "KIDDING!" and leaned over to smack another kiss on him.

As she sat back in her seat Hotch sputtered angrily, "that's NOT funny Emily! I'm forty-nine years old! I can't have sex for thirteen hours straight unless you want me to have a HEART attack!"

Christ he didn't even think that he could have gone thirteen hours straight at twenty! That was just not safe!

Emily clamped down on her lip as she tried unsuccessfully to stop laughing at the look of righteous indignation on his face. Finally she swallowed her giggles and tried to make amends.

"I'm sorry honey," she said consolingly . . . if not quite deferentially . . . as she patted his cheek, "it was just a joke."

He harrumphed in response. And noting the residual scowl as he started the car, Emily squeezed his fingers as she gave him a saucy smile, "if you wipe that grumpy look off your face I might be inclined to engage in activities tonight that would otherwise perhaps only be on the agenda for your birthday."

Given how straight laced Hotch was Emily didn't imagine there was anything too kinky even on his birthday list. And if there was, well, she'd just have to take a couple of yoga classes to gear up.

She wasn't quite as bendy as she was in her younger years.

Hotch stared at her for a moment as a number of scenarios ran through his head. Finally he settled on a really good one and he grinned, "what look?" He peeled out backwards, looking over his shoulder as he shook his head dismissively, "there is no look at all."

She clicked her seatbelt with a chuckle, "didn't think so."

As they started down the exit ramp he said casually, "we have to make one more stop after Georgia Brown's."

Emily's eyebrow rose up as she looked over at him, "oh, where?"

"Ben & Jerry's," he shot her a glance, "you know for the other activities that you might be inclined to engage in if I wiped that grumpy look off my face."

Thank God she wasn't allergic to nuts.

Her lips twitched as she reached over and took his hand, "lead on MacDuff."

Ben & Jerry's was her original plan for the evening . . . Emily sighed happily as he tore out of the parking garage and she slumped back against her seat clutching his fingers . . . definitely a match made in heaven.

A/N 2: Done. And it came in WAY longer than I thought it would but they just kept chattering on. Plus, I really liked this version of them. Really, I could have followed them for the rest of the evening but I never would have finished! Though if at all possible I might come back and revisit them again for another one shot or a really short story.

And they really do make those candy heart shaped silver charms. I saw them on google images. They were cute. And I thought it was a unique way to say I love you.