All Grown up

The sleek black SUV pulled up outside the school gates watching the older children slowly filter in with a sense of impending doom that another school year was upon them and the joy of the summer was over. The children that stood out most though were the first graders, most showing obvious enthusiasm about a new chapter in the life running in without affording their teary eyed parents a second glance. A few of the first graders hung back, clinging onto there parents the fear in there eyes demonstrated by the tight grip they hold on there parents.

Young Jack Hotchner was in the final group, clinging to his parent's hands not wanting to go in. As he looked around all he could focus on was the boisterous groups of older boys play wrestling with enthusiasm. To a young five year old the scene was terrifying an he gripped his fathers hand even tighter.

"Daddy I don't wanna go in." He looked up Aaron Hotchner with appealing eyes who offered him a reassuring smile before kneeling down to speak to his son.

"I know buddy but you know what? Me and Mommy will watch you go inside and I bet that you make lots of friends and have so much fun you'll wonder what you worrying about."

"I guess so…" Jack shrugged

"Sweetie you really will have lots of fun." Haley smiled putting a hand on her husbands shoulder trying to take some strength from him as she fought to hold back the tears.

"Can you stay?" The hopeful brown eyes looked from one parent to the other.

"We can't sweetie; you have to stay with the teacher. Daddy has work to do."

"But you can stay mommy!"

"I can't." The words were a little choked as the dam threatened to break and she felt Aarons hand rest on top of hers. Jack turned and looked around; the school yard was emptying as the children went in the only children left were those who like Jack were nervous.

"See Buddy your not the only one who's a bit worried. Everyone is, but it gets better…" Aaron spoke with confidence trying to reassure his son. With one last look around Jack hugged both his parents and turned walking in slowly. The other nervous stragglers followed suit and quickly joined in the long walk across the yard to the main door.

Aaron watched his son walking in with his attention only taken by a sob from beside him; he turned to see Haley with a hand over her mouth trying to hold back.

"Hey it's okay..." He pulled his wife in close holding her, hearing her sobs on his shoulder as she cried. "He'll be fine Haley; he'll have a great time." He rubbed her back consoling her.

"Babe the house is going to be so empty all day…" She sobbed.

"I know its going to feel strange of course it is… but you'll get used to it." With a sigh Haley raised her head and wiped her eyes looking at Aaron with a smile and a nod.

"I know… and he will have fun. Wont he?"

"Of course he will. He's going to come home tonight full of stories."

"Do you have to go straight to work babe?" She asked hopefully just needing him to be around a while longer right now. She watched him glance at his cell phone before turning his attention back to her.

"I can stay with you for a while. They know where I am this morning." He smiled and kissed her gently. She blushed a little at the public show of affection before hugging him. He may be gone a lot, and work may take over at times. But she new he loved his family and being together today was perfect. "Come on lets go get a coffee?"

"Yeah… I'd like that." She smiled and pulled free of him glancing back at the school now silent as the occupants started there day. Together they walked back to the SUV, Haley drawing strength from her husband as he kept an arm around her. As they got back in and Aaron started the engine driving to a coffee shop she glanced over at him with a certain love and affection that she'd had for him all her life and could never imagine that fading. Ever.

Fin.