Title: What the BAU gave Jack Hotchner for Christmas

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: FRT, General

Characters/Pairing: Hotch, the BAU

ARCHIVING: my LJ... anyone else? Please ask first.

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.

VERSION: October 2009

TIMELINES/SPOILERS: Season 5x01 through "Slave of Duty".

COMMENTS: One-shot challenge.

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Aaron knew that no one on his team would ever admit to placing the one-foot tall fake Christmas tree, complete with blinking lights, in his office. Nor would anyone admit to the gifts that mysteriously appeared piled next to said tree (and a few down on the floor).

Six in total.

All addressed to Jack.

All from Santa Claus.

All too damn big to fit "under" the pathetic looking tree, which should have had a starring role in the inevitable remake of a Charlie Brown movie.

Hotch blinked.

Blinked again.

Pinched the bridge of his nose.

Cursed his team because, damn it...

It had been a shitty year.

It wouldn't be that hard to figure out which "Santa" was who. He didn't need Reid's expertise to figure out the handwriting. Hell, he didn't even need his profiling license to do so either.

The wrapping paper gave it away. Instinctively, he knew that Penelope's gift would be the one Jack would immediately love the most; Reid's would be the one that Jack wouldn't appreciate until he was at least twenty. JJ's would be the one that Haley appreciated, while the ones from Morgan and Prentiss would be the ones that Hotch could share with his son for a few years.

He wasn't even aware of the tears down his cheeks until Dave's quiet voice broke the silence, "Aaron?"

He gestured helplessly towards the gifts, knowing his friend would understand when he said, "You shouldn't have."

There was a soft snort. "Of course we should have. Christ. With everything you've been through this year?"

"Thank you." And, damn, he hoped his voice didn't do something stupid like crack.

"You're welcome. Now." Dave cleared his throat. "You'd better pull yourself together because, well, we've got something for you in the bullpen."

"But..."

"Yeah, I know." There was a pause then a soft, huffed laugh. "Mom."

/ FINIS /