Lemon Squares

Rossi knocked on Hotch's office door and then let himself in. Hotch was buried in the usual three feet of paperwork.

"Are you ready?" Rossi rattled the box he had, and the contents shifted laboriously.

Hotch blinked up at the Italian. "For what?"

Rossi sighed. "You forgot."

Hotch got the slightly panicked look that was the territory of forgotten anniversaries. "What did I forget?"

"JJ and Will's anniversary."

Hotch relaxed. "I thought I'd forgotten ours."

"If you had forgotten ours I'd skin you myself. There is a party that Garcia organized, and we're going to be late."

Hotch glared at the paperwork.

"Forget it," Rossi advised. "Garcia can make the need for all that paperwork disappear. Or she can make you disappear. Personally, I'd take my chances with Strauss."

Hotch snorted. "Good point. I didn't buy a gift."

Rossi held up the box. "Covered. Now come on before I drag you out."

"I might like that."

"I know I would."

Impatiently tapping his foot as Hotch located his jacket, Rossi had a hand on one hip and was biting his cheek. Hotch had been through the wringer since Haley left. He needed to be nice. Nicer. Something.

Once Hotch was together and they were leaving the BAU offices, he had the presence of mind to ask what their gift was.

"Lemon squares."

Hotch leaned over, interested, as Rossi lifted the lid on the box. Inside were beautiful gourmet pastries he'd ordered from a bakery on New York City. "Different."

"Well. We're very different people."

They got into Rossi's SUV. Hotch had sold his car since moving into downtown Quantico, taking to bus to work every day until Rossi had caught him. Now Rossi drove him everywhere.

"You okay with this?" Rossi asked as they pulled out of the lot. "JJ and Will's party?"

Hotch shrugged. "I fear the wrath of Garcia."

"Don't we all!" Rossi kept one hand on the wheel and slung the other over Hotch's shoulder. "But if it makes you uncomfortable we can skip out early on the ground of being old fuddy-duddy bachelors who need their rest."

Hotch shook his head, hair drooping into his face. "It would be rude."

Rossi snorted. "I'm Italian. Rude is normal."

"Hence why you have three ex-wives.'

"I ought to beat your ass, Aaron Hotchner."

Hotch flashed him a grin.

"And," Rossi added. "Quit trying to change the subject."

Hotch sighed as they sped along. "Haley and I would've been married seven years this summer."

Rossi nodded, keeping quiet, letting Hotch talk at his own speed.

"And she always got along with JJ. In a formal way, but they seemed to like each other, and I asked Garcia if Haley had gotten an invite. I guess Haley refused on grounds that I would be there, and she and Garcia and JJ had a spat over it."

"So you think showing up will somehow ruin the evening?"

Rossi saw Hotch look up, a young old man. The last few years had added lines and subtracted pounds from him. "I don't want anything to ruin JJ's evening. Whenever I suggested inviting the team for anything, Haley got a very stormy look on her face and-I just never followed through on any of it. If we all descend on them-"

"Would it help if I told you JJ and Will were both looking forward to this? Or would you shake your head and assume they were being polite?"

"Option two."

"That's it," Rossi decided. "Tonight you're coming home with me, getting drunk, and letting me analyze you."

"Why do I have to be drunk?"

"So you'll talk."

"Not fair. You'll be sober."

"So I can analyze you. It's hard to do drunk. And have you been surviving off coffee again?"

He playfully poked Hotch in the ribs and was surprised to actually feel the bones, slippery edged and evenly spaced.

Hotch leaned in the seatbelt closer to Rossi, eyes drooping and catlike. "A bit," he confessed.

Rossi sighed. "After, or better yet while I pick your brains, I'm fattening you up, too. Do you even have food at home? Don't answer that," he added.

Hotch gave a ghostly smile. "You have food at home."

"Keep it up. I'll make you move in."

"Twist my arm."

"Consider it twisted."

"I'll pack up as soon as I escape the paperwork avalanche."

"You'll pack tomorrow. That's Saturday, by the way. A day off from work. And I'll help you, too."


Rossi made a last turn. "And we're here. Grab the squares, would you?"

Hotch picked them up as they went toward JJ and Will's house, lit from within by a hundred happy lights.

Author's Note: Just a slice of life that turned out way more slash then I intended. I swear I don't do this on purpose, they just start moving furniture around and the next thing I know I have a slash fic!