Author's Note: Thanks so much to Kavi Leighanna and Sienna27 for their Television Prompt Challenge.
And please, check out our writing challenge on our forum on "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" (you can find the link on my profile page.) In order to expand our horizons and stretch our writing wings, everyone who joins the challenge will be writing an exciting new pairing. By signing up, you'll get to suggest a pairing for someone else to write in addition to agreeing to write yourself. The story can be a drabble or an epic, romantic or friendship, AU or canon, angst or comedy…or anything in between. As the author, it is your choice to determine the direction and plot…we'll just be providing the pairing. Thanks to everyone who has signed up so far….and it's not too late for YOU, too! Feel free to email, PM or post to the forum thread if you'd be interested in participating.
And please, check out our newest interview with the incredible CMali over on "Chit Chat", too.
The Best Gift
Prompt: The Cosby Show – "Father's Day"
Watching the little boy standing in front of him with the barely contained enthusiasm only a five year old could muster, Hotch had to smile at his son. In his small hands he clutched a badly wrapped gift, its edges already crinkled by the sturdy little fingers clutching it excitedly.
"Daddy! I gots you a pwesent," Jack Hotchner announced proudly, his little blue eyes twinkling so much like his mother's in the early morning sunlight streaming through his father's living room window.
Glancing toward his lover sitting quietly on the sofa, Hotch winked. "You did! And what did I do to earn such a gorgeous gift?" Hotch asked, crouching in front of his little boy and taking the package from his hands. "Is it my birthday?" he asked, widening his eyes for effect.
"Nope!" the littlest Hotchner shook his head, his own eyes imitating his father's as he waited impatiently for the great unveiling.
"Christmas?" Hotch asked, gently shaking the gift in his hand as his son bounced on the balls of his feet.
"Nuh uh. Silly daddy," Jack giggled, reaching forward to pat his father's cheek sympathetically, his pudgy palm warm. "It's summer time," he said with a roll of his eyes. "Chwistmas comes in da winter. 'Member? We made snow angels!"
"Ah…I forgot about that," Hotch said with a dramatic sigh as he leaned back on his haunches. "So what day is it then that I get a gift?"
"It's Father's Day, Daddy," Jack shouted enthusiastically. "And me and Uncle Spence thinks that you is the best daddy ever. Open it, Daddy! Open it!" Jack ordered excitedly, once again patting the package in Hotch's hands.
"Why don't you help me?" Hotch suggested. Watching his son's face as his quick hands made short work of the bright paper covering his gift, he was amazed at the resilience of his little boy. Losing his mother had been harder than any child should have to face. But with his and Spencer's constant support, Jack appeared to be moving past his grief, slowly returning to the active, happy little man he'd once been. And with any luck, their small family could grow stronger with each passing day.
Dropping his eyes to the unwrapped package, Aaron's eyes suddenly watered for a moment. Blinking rapidly as he stared down into the smiling photograph of a happy Haley Hotchner holding their son, he felt his heart clench.
"It was Uncle Spence's idea, Daddy. It's sos mommy can watch over us both ev'ry day!" Jack explained happily, tapping his finger against the glass in the wooden frame. "Do you like it?"
Swallowing past the sizeable lump in his throat, Hotch nodded quickly, not trusting his voice to speak yet. "You and Uncle Spencer have the best ideas, Buddy," Hotch finally said huskily, lifting his eyes to his son and enveloping his sturdy body in a tight embrace. "The very best," he whispered, his eyes shifting quickly to include a faintly smiling Spencer Reid.
And in that moment, he knew that his small family was the best gift of all.