The plane had barely touched down on the tarmac when Emily was up on her feet, her bag slung over her shoulder. "Prentiss, we can't go anywhere until the pilot finishes taxiing. Sit down and relax for a few more minutes, will ya?"
"Morgan, home is calling me hard today, all right?" she said as she leaned against the wall. The wait began to get to her and she tapped her foot anxiously. Finally, the pilot stopped and opened the door. Emily ran down the steps and got into her car, driving back to the BAU building as fast as she could.
After getting through the security checkpoints, she took the stairs, going up them two at a time until she was on their floor. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm herself as she pulled open the door and stepped into the bullpen. As she walked past her desk, she set her bag on her chair, then continued up to Penelope's office. Knocking twice, she opened the door and entered, shutting the door behind her.
Penelope turned, a smile on her lips. "Hey, A – oh, hi, Emily."
"Hi, Penny. Do you have any idea how hard it's been not to say anything? I mean, it's only been two days, but still, I never thought it would be this difficult to keep a secret."
"I know, I've wanted to tell the others, too. My first appointment is next week, and my doctor will determine how far along I am. Is it wrong to feel this happy this soon?"
"No. You deserve happiness, everyone does. Now get up, you're coming with me and we're going out, my treat."
"All right, um, do you have any place in mind?"
"Let's go where the wind takes us, sound good?"
Penelope nodded and grabbed her purse, following Emily out the door. The rest of the team was settling in the bullpen as they emerged, and she smiled at Aaron. He came up to them, taking Penelope's hand in his. "You're back," she said softly.
"That I am. I'll see you at home later tonight, okay? Have a good time with Emily, and don't keep her out too late. I'm sure Jack will want to read to you tonight before he goes to sleep." She nodded and squeezed his hand.
"Ah, quit being such a wet hen, Hotch. We were born to tear up the town." Emily smirked and made for the exit.
"Until tonight, ma chroí," she whispered, following Emily out. They rode down the elevator to the parking garage and Emily got into her car. Penelope got in the passenger seat and buckled up. "Oh, actually, can we go to this cute little café I noticed the other day?"
"Sure. What's it called?"
"The Neon Zebra. I'll give you directions." After finding a parking spot, they waited for a table. The place was quite busy and they had to wait twenty minutes for a place to sit. While they waited, they continued to chat. "So, does anyone suspect anything?"
"No, though Morgan did keep giving me weird looks. I couldn't stop myself from smiling at the most inopportune times, and he always caught me. He just sees too much at times."
"Okay, this is going to sound out of left field, but have you ever thought about going out with him? You guys share quite a few interests, and all."
Emily gave her a quick double-take. "Really?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.
Penelope nodded. "Uh-huh. You never know unless you try, and besides, everyone deserves to be happy. Though I don't want to seem like a total Emma, trying to set my friends up. I just want everyone to be as jubilant as I am right now. I love you all so much, you know."
The hostess showed them to a table in one of the corners of the room and gave them menus. Penelope soon found what she wanted and set the menu aside, waiting for Emily to make up her mind. The waitress took their order and brought them a basket of long, thin, breadsticks. Emily took one and pointed it at Penelope. "So, Penny, where do you suggest we go for our first date, if I were to ask him out?"
"Anywhere. Dinner, drinks, a movie. So, changing the subject here, was this case a little easier than the last?"
"I thought so. Aaron didn't call home as often as he usually does, which means the case was going well." She sighed, twirling a breadstick between her fingers.
"What is it?"
"So, I made Erin promise and now, I'm going to ask you to promise that you won't treat me any differently. This pregnancy is wonderful, a blessing from God, but if you act like I'm made of spun glass the team will figure out something long before I'm ready to say anything."
"As long as you take it easy, I'll try to act like everything is normal."
"Deal." Their food came shortly thereafter and they ate slowly, lingering over the food as they talked about what was happening in their lives. Both declined desert, and Emily paid the bill before Penelope could begin to get her purse out. "Hey!"
"I said it was my treat. Now, let me get you home to your husband and son. I'm sure Jack will be overjoyed to know that he's going to be a brother again."
Penelope frowned a little. "That's something I hadn't thought of," she said as she stood. "He was so devastated when Mark died. How will he react to this, Em?"
"I don't know, but I do know that you'll be there for him one hundred percent, and so will Hotch. You are a family, and this will bring you closer together."
The ride to the Hotchner residence was relatively silent, with a local radio station playing softly in the background. Penelope stared out the window, trying to stifle her yawns. "Thanks for running me home, Emily."
"No problem." Emily leaned over and gave Penelope a quick hug. "Congratulations."
"Thanks. See you tomorrow." Penelope got out and the moment she stepped foot on the porch, the door opened and Jack flew out. He waved at Emily as she back out of the drive, then he hugged Penelope tightly. "Hey buddy. I tried not to stay out too late. Are you ready to read with me?"
"Kind of. Dad said you had some news for me, first."
She looked down at Jack. "I guess I do. Let's go inside, though." He took her hand and led her into the living room, where Aaron sat, waiting for them. She took a seat next to him and pulled Jack between them. "So, you're not going to be an only anymore. I'm going to have a baby."
"You don't look pregnant."
"I don't know how far along I am. I go see the doctor next Wednesday and she'll tell us more then. Would you like to come with us to see what's going on?" He nodded and placed his head against her shoulder, smiling up at her. "Now, how about that book?" Aaron handed it to Jack and he read to them for a little while before Aaron sent him up to bed.
"What if I'm off on a case Wednesday?"
She shrugged slightly. "Then I'll just take Jack with me. Besides, you saw me through Mark's prenatal development, if you miss a few appointments this time it will be okay, I promise. Catching the bad guys is one of our top priorities, babe. As long as you're there for the delivery, I won't expect anything more."
Aaron kissed her gently. "I love you."
"And I, you. Now this soon to be mama needs to get to sleep. She is exhausted." She stood and held out her hand, looking expectantly at him. He took her hand and they went up to their bedroom. As he shut the door, she began to take off her clothes, putting them in the basket. She stood before him in just her bra and panties. "You know, I should have known something was up – my bras haven't been fitting quite right already."
"That's really the only noticeable change, isn't it? Well, that and you stomach does look a touch more rounded," he said as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close against him.
Penelope rested her head against his chest. "I kind of want a girl this time."
"As long as it's healthy, I'll be happy with whatever it is," he said as he led her over to the bed. "Is it usual for you to get this tired?"
"I don't think so. I wasn't this tired with Mark. But we've been through a lot since then, so that could contribute to the exhaustion. I'll start making a list of questions to ask the doctor when we see her." Penelope stretched as Aaron unhooked her bra, throwing it in the basket with the rest of the clothing. She sat on the bed as he went and grabbed them some pajamas. She pulled on the short nightgown and then crawled beneath the covers, barely able to stay awake long enough to snuggle close to Aaron.
Wednesday morning came and Aaron was out on a case. Fortuitously, the case was close to home, so he was able to duck out a little early for the day, letting Rossi lead the profile meeting with the police. He drove to Jack's school first and picked him up, then swung by and picked Penelope up. She quickly put in the address for the OB/GYN into the GPS and he drove, listening to Penelope and Jack chatter as he made out the directions spoken by the device.
They arrived twenty minutes early for her appointment, and while she filled out the paperwork, he and Jack looked at the fish swimming about in the huge wall tank. From the corner of his eye, he saw Penelope turn the clipboard in and then join them. He slipped an arm around her waist, and she rested against him.
"So, are they going to do an ultrasound today?" he asked.
"Yeah. I want to see what's going on in there, make sure she's developing normally."
"Or he." She turned around and sat down in one of the chairs, crossing her ankles. She opened her purse and pulled out her knitting. "Here, hold me yarn," she said, thrusting a bright green skein at him. He sat and pulled out a line of yarn, keeping the skein in one hand. As he watched, she knitted quickly, counting under her breath as she made what looked like a complicated pattern.
"Penelope Hotchner?" the nurse called several minutes later. Penelope stood and he followed suit, still holding the yarn. She took it from him and shoved it back into her purse. Together, they followed the nurse back into an exam room and she handed Penelope a gown. "Would you like to do the ultrasound now or later?"
"Later, I think. We have a few questions for the doctor first."
"Of course. I'll send Dr. Zyuddyk right in." She left the room and Penelope sat on the exam table while he and Jack sat in the provided chairs. After a few minutes more, a short woman bustled in, holding out her hand to Penelope first, then Jack, then him.
"Hello, it's so nice to meet you at such a wonderful time in your life. Now, you told me over the phone that you had taken two pregnancy tests and they both came back positive, correct?"
"Yes. And I've had other symptoms. This isn't my first pregnancy, but I didn't recognize them right away."
"Well, you're not really showing you, so you're not too far along. How pregnant do you think you are?"
"Maybe nine or ten weeks. I'm starting to get a small bump and that's when I started showing when I was pregnant with Mark."
"Excuse me," Jack interrupted, tugging on Dr. Zyuddyk's coat.
"Yes, dear?" she asked as she knelt down in front of him.
"Can you make certain that my baby brother or sister grows right and doesn't want to come meet us too soon? I know they'd be with Jesus, but I'd rather get to know them first."
Penelope looked over at Aaron, her eyes filling with tears, and he tried to smile at her, but found his eyes watering as well. Dr. Zyuddyk looked between the two of them as if trying to assess what to say to Jack. "I will do everything in my power to make certain that everything goes exactly as it should. Will you promise to look after your mom and make sure she doesn't do too much?" Jack nodded solemnly. "Wonderful. Then, between the two of us, we'll take the best care of her, all right?"
"Now, how would you like to see what your sibling look like?" Jack smiled excitedly and nodded rapidly. "Okay, we need to give your mom some privacy while she changes and then we'll take a look-see. Follow me, and I'll show you some pictures of what other babies have looked like." She held out her hand and he willingly took it, following her outside.
Aaron held out the gown as Penelope undressed. She took the gown and put it on, letting him tie the ribbons to hold it shut. He stood next to her as she sat once more on the exam table. "I don't think I've seen this early an ultrasound before, Penny. I missed Jack's first one while on a case and Mark was further along when we had the first one for him. I wonder how different things will look?"
She shrugged slightly. "More alien-like, actually. I looked up fetal development pictures when I found out about Mark. Dude, be prepared for things to look a little odd. I hope this doesn't scar Jack."
Just then, Jack came running back in the room. "Mom, Dad, Dr. Zyuddyk showed me the coolest pictures! Babies look so weird when they first start out!" He stood next to his father and grinned. "And now we get to see what our baby looks like!"
Dr. Zyuddyk handed Penelope a blanket and had her lie back on the exam table. Penelope pulled the covering up to just under her belly and then pulled up her gown. The doctor rubbed the gel on her stomach and Penelope gasped a little at the coldness. Then the doctor pulled out the wand that would show them what was going on inside. "So, this is the monitor where the picture will show up. I'll point out the head and other features that have developed. You'll be able to see the heartbeat as well." She placed the wand on Penelope's stomach and moved it around until the picture showed up.
"There's the head, and well, now, double congratulations are in order here."
"You're having twins. There's the other head." She pointed out the second head and traced the curve of the spine.
"Two babie?" Jack asked, grinning. "Really and truly?"
"Really and truly," Dr. Zyuddyk replied as she wiped Penelope's belly clean of goo. "Now, you'll have to take things a little more slowly, though not so much as to go on total bed rest at the moment. You will notice the changes in your body happening more rapidly, since there is an extra life in there. Here's a prescription for your prenatal vitamins and I'll want you to come back in four weeks to see me."
"And how far along am I?"
"About seven weeks, which puts your due date, if you carry to term, at July seventeenth. Since these are twins, there is always the chance that you'll deliver a little early, so you could have them as early as the end of June."
"How do I make sure they stay in there the entire time? I do not want to see these babies come early."
"Make certain to rest enough, don't do anything too strenuous. If you can, start your maternity leave two weeks to a month before your due date and keep your feet up as much as possible. Drink plenty of water, eat right, those sort of things. Try not to get into too many stressful situations. I know you line of work brings about stress, but try to relax at the office, to focus on other things when it gets to be too much."
"Just what I thought, the kid glove treatment. Great, now the entire team is going to hover over me." She pursed her lips slightly as she took the prescription slip from Dr. Zyuddyk, and handed it to Aaron. "All right, four weeks from now. Thank you, doctor."
She left the room and Aaron had Jack turn while Penelope shimmied back into her dress. They walked out to the reception desk where Penelope made her next appointment. They then went out to the car and while he drove, Penelope pulled out her phone. "Who are you going to call?"
"Erin. I have to let her know about what the doctor said, so that we can set up when my mat leave will begin." She dialed the number and he listen to her side of the conversation. "Hi, yeah, we just finished at the doctor's. She wants me to go on mat leave two weeks to a month before my due date. About thirty three weeks from now, she figured July seventeenth. She also said I need to take things a little easier than normal, what with my history and that there are two. Yeah, twins. No, two or three weeks early would be fine, and I'd still work from home. Yes, I'm certain, Erin. Everything will go perfectly this time, but no kid gloves, okay? Fine, I promise. I will. Talk to you later."
"My maternity leave begin June first, though I'll be doing consulting work from home. These next few months, I'm going to be living in a fish bowl, aren't I?"
"We did the same to JJ. It comes with the territory; we take care of our own," he responded, reaching out to clasp her hand. She looked over at him and smiled before yawning.
"Okay, so I'm thinking about adding in a nap to my daily routine. This is so ridiculous," she said as he pulled into the driveway. "Oh, what's Emily doing here?"
"I don't know," he said as he opened the garage door and parked.
Penelope got out and made her way over to where Emily was sitting. "Hi. I thought you would still be at work."
"I got out a little early. Brought supper for us as well, hope you don't mind."
"If I don't have to cook, that is a good thing. Come on in." Emily picked up the bags and followed her inside. "Put them down in the kitchen. Jack, will you set the table, please?" He came in and got to work, setting out plates and everything else they would need while she and Emily put the food she'd brought onto serving plates and bowls.
"So, how'd it go today?" Emily asked, looking pointedly at Penelope's stomach.
"It went really well. I'm about seven weeks along, so only a few more to go before they're ready to come out."
"And when can you find out what you're, wait a minute – they?"
Penelope nodded, a wide smile spreading over her face. "We're having twins. And I won't know what sex they are until about twenty weeks, if they cooperate during the ultrasound."
"I still can't say anything to anyone at the office, can I?"
"Nope. Five more weeks until that happens, Em. Especially since there are twins."
"Things get that much riskier?"
"Considering what happened with my first pregnancy, I'm assuming yes. I just don't want to take any chances."
"Which means she's not going out on the field with us until the babies are born. And no, you cannot get me to change my mind on this, Penny. I don't want to take chances, either," Aaron said as he joined them in the kitchen. "Thanks for coming over, Emily."
"You're just glad that I brought food with me."
"Of course," he replied, an easy smile on his face as he took the food from Penelope's hands and moved it to the table. "Did anything new happen with the case?"
"Not really. The unsub's lying low and not giving us any new information to work with. There wouldn't even be something new to search for in your databases, Pen."
"He has to make a move sometime, and we'll be ready for him, after all, aren't we the best at what we do?" Penelope asked as she set the last plate of food down and took a seat.
"Of course we are," Emily and Aaron said at the same time, and they all burst out into laughter.
"Today's the day, right? If I let things slip today, you won't kill me?" Emily asked excitedly as she slipped inside Penelope's office, leaving the door open slightly.
"I'm sure they're already guessing, Em. Look at me."
"You look fine, and not the least bit pregnant unless someone knew you were. And no, no one suspects anything yet. Aaron and I have been keeping them from dancing around that subject. How'd your appointment go?"
"Great. They're growing right on pace and everything looks normal. They still look like little aliens, though. I think it's 'cause there are two in there that they still look weird to me." She touched her stomach lightly. "I won't feel them yet for a few more weeks, though Dr. Zyuddyk thinks I'll feel them sooner since they're twins. Less room plus extra baby equals more baby kicks."
"This is going to sound weird, but when you start to feel them move, may I feel? I thought I'd ask before I did. Some women are kind of touchy about that."
"Of course you can. It's just strangers that will lose a hand if they try it."
Emily laughed and patted Penelope on the shoulder. Soon, Penelope joined in, throwing her head back in glee.
"What's so funny?" JJ asked as she entered the room.
"Just a joke Emily told me, Jayje. What's up?"
"A new case just came up in Oregon. From the looks of things, we're going to have to all go out there. The unsub left behind some heavily encrypted files that no one can break into."
Penelope and Emily shared a look. "We'll have to see what Aaron thinks is best, JJ. Now might not be the best time for me to travel."
"What? You've always come with us when we've needed you. Come on, though, I need to get the team briefed." They stood and followed her out of the room. Emily walked next to Penelope and gently rubbed her shoulder. The last ones in, they sat in the chairs closest to the door. JJ showed the latest crime scene photographs and Penelope found herself wincing and shielding her stomach with one hand as she took notes with the other.
"And that's why we need to have Penelope with us on this case."
"Absolutely not, Agent Jareau. I need her assistance here on a most pressing matter. Overnight the hard drive back to her office and maintain contact via the computer uplink."
"Director Strauss, that just won't –"
"Be a problem, will it?" Strauss stared JJ down until the other woman nodded. "Excellent. Ms. Hotchner?" Penelope stood and followed after her into the hall.
"How did you?"
"Your husband texted me. And you're welcome. I take it you're not ready to tell the rest of your team yet?"
"Kind of. Emily's chomping at the bit to let everyone know and I want to say something, truly I do, but I don't want to jinx anything nor do I want to be in a fish bowl."
"It's your decision to make, but I would tell them soon, lest they figure it out for themselves." She looked down at Penelope's stomach and then back up at her. "Twins tend to show a lot faster, I looked it up."
"Who's having twins?" Reid asked as he stepped inside Penelope's office.
Both women turned to look at him. Penelope sighed, knowing that the time had come. "I am, Reid."
"I wondered if you were pregnant. I just didn't want to say anything."
"Wait, how did you figure it out?"
"Your face is filling out, plus the sickness that was coming at around the same time every day. Frankly, I'm surprised JJ hasn't figured it out yet. She's been pregnant before. Anyway, Hotch wanted me to drop this off before we left. We're going to the airstrip now. So, um, congratulations! Twins, wow."
"Yeah, so that's three of our kids now that you have to help me get into Cal Tech."
"No problem." He reached out and gave her a gentle hug. "I'll try to keep this quiet until we get home."
"Emily knows already, so you can talk to her about it. Actually, you know what? Please don't say anything to the others. I want to tell Derek myself. He deserves to hear it from me this time."
"Of course. See you in a few." Reid left the room, closing the door behind him.
"I know your team will take care of you, my dear. Just let them. It's something that took me years to learn. Now, have a nice day, and be good."
"Thanks Erin, I will." Penelope sat in front of her computer and opened her hand to see what Reid had given her. She smiled as she looked at the double pearl ring, then she slipped it on her right ring finger. It fit perfectly, just as she knew it would. She never heard Erin leave as she began to focus on her work.
"Reid said you wanted to see me once we were home. Here I am. What did you need?"
Penelope turned to look at Morgan, a beautiful smile lighting up her face. "Please, sit, Derek. I have some news to tell you. Aaron and I are going to be parents again come July. We're having twins."
"Uh-huh." She bit her lip as she thought of what to say next. "It's why I couldn't go with you to Oregon, even though I wanted to. My doctor doesn't want me to take too many risks, like flying. My first pregnancy didn't end up all that well, you know."
"I know. And that's my fault."
"What? Derek, no, it wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was. I let you get shot and that ended up costing Mark his life."
"Oh, Baby, is that why you've been so distant? I never blamed you for what happened; I was just so hurt when you pushed me away. I wish you could have been there with me."
"I wish I could have as well." He started to cry a little and she leaned in to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders, resting against him. He reached out and pulled her close to him, tucking her head under his chin. "So, twins, huh?" he asked after he had regained his composure.
"Twice as many to love," she replied. "Though I might end up looking like a blimp by the time I hit forty weeks. You saw how I looked with Mark."
"Baby Girl, you looked nothing short of gorgeous. Pregnancy suits you, it really does. Uh, can I be one of their godfathers this time?"
"Sure," she easily answered. "You know, Derek?"
"Yeah?" he asked, looking down into her upturned face.
"I still love you. I guess I just wasn't meant to be in love with you. In another lifetime, we might not have been ships passing in the night. I do hope you find the one meant just for you."
"And I'll never stop loving you, I promise. I'm going to look after those children, just like I should have looked after you."
"Did I ever show you the pictures they took of us at the hospital? It's really eerie how much we did look like a family. Mark had Aaron's dark hair, and Erin's a blonde, like me, so it was really lovely. If only the doctor really knew how we were connected."
"I'd like to see them. Hotch showed me some of the videos that Rossi took. Was he really that tiny?"
"Yes." She got up and pulled out the digital photo frame from her bag, handing it to him as she took a seat next to him once more. He flipped through the photos, taking time to linger over a few of them.
"I never thought Strauss could look so human," he murmured as he gazed at the picture of the Director holding Mark, Penelope behind them, her hand on Erin's shoulder.
"She does have a heart buried in her chest; you just have to find the key. Things would have turned out much differently had I not been shot. Can you imagine the scandal we would have caused if I had come home with Aaron's child in my arms and a ring from him on my finger? She would have been furious. My getting hurt was truly a blessing in disguise."
"See, that's what I love about you, Penelope. You find the positive in any situation, even one as horrible as that. I wish I had you optimism." He ran his fingers through her hair. "So, who knows about the babies?"
"Well, it's more like who doesn't know at this point. Rossi and JJ still don't know about the pregnancy. But you were the first person besides Erin and Aaron that I deliberately told. It was an accident that Emily and Reid found out when they did. Though I'm expecting Emily to slip up and mention something soon. I just didn't want you to find out second hand this time. It wouldn't have been fair."
"Oh, Mama, ever thinking of others before yourself." He held her tightly for a moment longer before letting her go. "Let's go tell the others now. You should be the one to tell them, not one of us."
She stood up and smoothed her skirt, smiling at him. "I suppose you're right. I wonder if they're still here?"
"JJ mentioned something about her heading out early. I guess Will called when we were about to get on the plane – something about Henry not feeling well. I'm sure Rossi is still here, though."
Penelope leaned down and softly kissed his cheek. "What would I do without my best friend?" He shrugged slightly, grinning up at her. She just shook her head and left her office. Aaron's light was still on, along with Rossi's. She peeked in on her husband and smiled at him when he looked up from his paperwork. "How much longer will you be?"
"Another thirty or so."
"All right. I'll be in Rossi's office, most likely. After him, I just have JJ to tell our good news. She wasn't too upset that I didn't come along, was she?"
"Not after you cracked that hard drive so quickly. That really helped to solve the case."
"Glad I could be of service, my captain. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to tell, what?" she asked, noticing that smile he got on his face when he knew something that she didn't.
"Oh, nothing. I'll see you in a little while." He bent back down over his paperwork and she stuck her tongue at him before leaving the room and going next door to Rossi's office. She knocked softly on the door and listened for him to beckon her inside, her palms sweating slightly.
"Come in." She opened the door and walked inside, pushing the door shut behind her. "Hello, Penelope, take a seat."
She sat down in one of the chairs and looked at him, not knowing where to begin. "I have some really good news. Aaron and I are going…"
"To have a baby or two in a few months."
Penelope felt her jaw drop slightly as she cocked her head in disbelief. "What? How did you know?"
"Aaron let it slip to me, Kitten. It was an accident, and I promised not to say anything until you told me. He knew you were really excited about this news and didn't want to spoil it. So, who do you have left to tell?"
"JJ. Like Reid, I'm surprised she hasn't asked something yet. Though Emily swears I'm not as big as I think I am yet."
"You look fine, you really do. Did you glow this much when you were pregnant with Mark?"
"Yeah. We were so happy, Dave. Though it was a little scary, too." She looked at him and sighed. "Would you have been able to accept us as a family if I hadn't gotten hurt?"
"Of course. The heart never chooses to fall in love with someone, I should know. The job we do, any chance at happiness should be grabbed with both hands and held onto, tightly. What do you call them?"
"We don't know what they are yet, so I've dubbed the larger one Squishy and the smaller one is Squooshy."
"I thought so." She put a hand on her stomach. "I know everyone cares for me, but I really want to be treated as normally as possible. I know this pregnancy will go much better than my first. After all, we don't have to worry about some psycho who wants to bring about the end of the world."
"There is that; however we still worry about you and I have a feeling that you are going to be watched over until the minute you go into labor. Just humor us, will ya, Kitten?"
Penelope nodded. "It will help that you guys will be out in the field for a lot of my pregnancy. No helicopter friends when you're hundreds of miles away." He looked up from his paper, arching an eyebrow. "What?"
"Do you really think that distance will make a difference?"
A hearty laugh began to tumble from her lips and she threw back her head as she let it out. "Oh, you're so right," she said as she wiped away tears. She turned her head as the door opened and smiled at Aaron. "Earlier than I expected."
"Yes, well, I invited JJ and Will over for supper, so I decided to go a little earlier. JJ said she'd stop by and get something from the Chinese food place that we love. So, we only have forty-five minutes to get home. Dave, do you want to join us? There'll be plenty to go around."
"Thanks, sounds good." He gathered up his files and stuck them on the corner of his desk, making everything look neat. "Shall we?" he asked as he stood and Aaron took Penelope's arm, leading her out of the office. About halfway to the car, she stopped and looked at him, her eyes narrowing in confusion.
"What's wrong?" Aaron asked.
"Derek said that JJ had gone home as soon as the plane touched down since Henry wasn't feeling well. How can she be coming over to our house, then?"
"Maybe he wasn't as bad as Will was saying. You know how the slightest cough can be turned into pneumonia with us." He smiled at her until she smiled back.
"You're probably right. Well, let's go, wouldn't want them to be standing on our porch waiting for us." She began to move towards the car once more, missing Aaron's sigh of relief. The drive went smoothly, and they were soon home. Both JJ's van and Rossi's sporty car were in the drive, though she didn't see them waiting for them, nor were any of the lights on in the front of the house.
Aaron pulled into the garage and waited for her to join him before opening the door to their home. As she stepped into darkness, she thought she heard the rustling of paper and shuffling of feet. Reaching out, she grabbed hold of Aaron's hand just as the light flipped on. "Surprise!"
Quick tears came to her eyes as she saw all her friends in their living room. Emily came up to her and hugged her tightly. "I've been planning something like this since I found out about your pregnancy. Erin's helped out a lot, too. I spilled everything to JJ a few days ago and then everything just came together. Come on, guest of honor goes first." She brought her over to the table filled with her favorite foods. Penelope took a plate and filled it, followed by Jack and Aaron. Taking a seat on the couch, she accepted the cup of punch Erin handed her.
"Thank you, for all of this, Erin. You didn't have to," she said softly as the other woman sat primly next to her.
"I know, but I wanted to. That makes all the difference." She took a sip of punch and looked out on the room. "I hope you didn't have your heart set on those traditional baby shower games. I put the kibosh on them the moment Emily brought it up."
"That's fine. I can't really see any of the guys playing guess the baby food, anyway." She smiled at Erin and then went back to eating. Once everyone had finished, Emily and JJ gathered all the plates up and took them into the kitchen.
"Is it time to open the presents now?" Jack asked as he sat down at Penelope's feet, an excited smile on his face.
"You brought gifts?"
"Of course. Now we get to show your children the same generosity you show Henry," JJ replied, handing her a large gift bag. They all gathered around, and Aaron pulled out a camera to take pictures. "I'll write down the gifts and who they came from, so you can send out thank yous."
"Why, aren't they all from you guys?" she asked as she pulled out a card from the bag.
"Not all of them." Aaron said from behind the camera. "Who's the first one from?"
She opened the card. "Emily," she replied with a smile. Taking out the tissue paper, she handed it to Jack, who put it into a trash bag JJ had given him. Penelope reached in and pulled out a beautiful quilt. "Oh, thank you, it's so pretty."
Emily handed her a matching bag. "Here's the twin, pun intended. I couldn't resist when I saw them." Penelope took out the matching quilt and laid it over her legs. Emily kept handing her gifts to open and soon Penelope realized that almost everyone in their office had gotten her something. And then Erin handed her the final gift.
"I had to pull some strings to get ahold of this person, but I think you'll be happy I did," she said as Penelope took the gift from her outstretched hand.
Penelope slid her fingernail underneath the tape, breaking the seals. She handed the rectangle of paper to Jack, then opened the box, finding an envelope addressed to her. The writing looked vaguely familiar, and she set it aside to read later, as the packet was rather thick. Pulling apart the tissue paper, she was instantly brought back to her other life, the one she thought she had left behind.
Emily looked over her shoulder. "Oh, my god, Penelope. Those are absolutely gorgeous. And they look hand made."
"They are. A dear friend of mine made them," she said as she pulled out the first set of pastel booties and hats. "But how did you find her? I couldn't dig up anything in my databases."
"Like I said, I had to pull some strings. You would never have been able to find her on your own, my dear. And I don't think you'll be able to contact her again, at least not until the case comes up before the judge."
Penelope wiped a tear away from her cheek and grabbed Erin's hand, squeezing tightly. "Thank you so much, Erin. You have no idea how much this means to me."
Erin took a deep breath and smiled. "In some way, I think I do know. Now, how about we take these things upstairs to the nursery."
"But we don't have a nursery yet"
"Don't we?" Aaron replied, holding out a hand to her. She took it and let him help her to stand. Erin handed her the things Beth had made and then took some of the other gifts she's received, handing them to Aaron. The rest of the team each took some items from the pile and followed Aaron upstairs. He opened the door at the far end of the hall and flipped the light on.
"How did, when did, oh, this is too much," she sighed as she looked around at the room. There were two cribs set up and a pair of dressers, and next to the window, a rocking chair. She took a seat and looked up at their smiling faces.
"We got back a little earlier than we had expected and decided to do this for you. When else would any of us have the time?" Morgan asked as he put away some clothes in the dresser. The others followed his lead and put the things Penelope had received away. Emily draped the quilts over the cribs and then put one set of knitted clothes on top.
"Is there anything else we can do?" JJ asked as she shut the bottom drawer of a dresser.
"I don't think so. You've all done so much. Thank you for everything." She tried to stifle a yawn, but failed miserably. "Sorry, I just get more tired these days."
"It'll be a busy day tomorrow, anyway. We should all be heading home," Rossi said, bending down to hug Penelope. One by one, they said their good-byes until it was only Erin left. Penelope stood up and bit her lip, trying not to cry.
"Really, Erin, thank you so much for this. I cannot begin to imagine the lengths you went to, to make certain I would receive such a wonderful gift. I don't know how I can ever begin to repay your generosity." She drew in a shuddery breath and the tears began to fall.
"Come here." Erin opened her arms and Penelope gratefully sank into them, resting her head on Erin's shoulder. "You should be happy on today of all days."
"I am," she managed to squeak out. "It's just that the hormones make me cry at the drop of a hat lately. I suppose it will only get worse until they're born." She let Erin go and wiped away the tears, smiling.
"Everything will be okay, that's what tissues are for," Aaron piped up, wrapping his arm around Penelope's waist. "Now, I have to get my wife to bed. Have a good evening, Erin."
"You as well, Be good, Penelope."
"I will, Erin. See you later." Erin left and they went to their bedroom. She quickly changed into a nightgown and climbed into bed. Aaron joined her a minute later and she looked into his face, reaching up to stroke it gently. "I love you."
"I love you, too." He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes, breathing in deeply a few times before his breathing evened out and he was asleep. She turned over and pulled his arm across her middle, resting his hand on her stomach. Her eyes fluttered closed and soon, she too, was asleep.
"Can I get that for you, Penelope?"
She turned slightly to look at Agent Hill, who was smiling at her as he held out his hands to take the light box of folders from her hands. "I may be seven months pregnant, Eli, but I can still carry a three pound box. Thank you for the offer, though." She continued on her way, still feeling his eyes on her. Rossi had been right, even with them in the field, she still had people watching her every move, eager to help her. It was getting a bit wearying on one hand, though she did enjoy the help when she was feeling extra tired.
As soon as she was seated in front of her computer, she received a call. "Speak."
"Hey, Mama. How are you feeling today?"
"Huge. And I still have two months to go. What do you need?"
"Background check, if you would please. The name's Jennifer Barr."
"Do you want standard or full on this woman?"
"Full. We think she's the unsub's accomplice."
"No problem, Hot Stuff." She clicked away on her keyboard. "Oof."
"What's wrong?" Morgan asked, his voice filled with concern.
"Nothing. They're just kicking a little hard right now. Dr. Zyuddyk said it would be happening, since they have less room to move around in. Anyway, here's the info, I'm sending it over to the computer there."
"Thanks. We'll see you in a few days."
"Of course. Talk to you later, Derek." She disconnected the call and went back to her work, trying to ignore her children kicking her as hard as they could. By the end of the day, she was exhausted, even with the nap she took at noon. She drove home on autopilot, and was never more grateful to Jessica than that night, since she had fed Jack before bringing him home.
Penelope grabbed something quick to eat and then passed out on the couch. A few hours later, she woke up to hear Jack talking to someone. "Jack, who's on the phone?"
"Daddy. He was calling to see how you were feeling. Here, he wants to talk to you." Jack thrust the phone at her and she took it, putting it up to her ear.
"Hi, Penny. So, have you thought about going to half days yet?"
"Very funny. I'll get over it, and besides, there's only a month left until my maternity leave begins. I'll be fine until then."
That month passed by quickly, and then it was her last day at the office. Thankfully, the team was home, and Aaron and Morgan brought the things she'd need at home down to the car. The rest of the team followed Penelope down, chatting up a storm in the elevator.
Finally, Penelope stopped them all, turning to look at each in turn. "I'm staying home for two months, and you'll still have me working for you. I'm not going anywhere, I promise. And you all know where I live; you're welcome to come by at any time."
"Within reason, of course," Aaron said, putting his hand on his wife's shoulder. "I don't want to see you on my doorstep at one in the morning unless something is seriously wrong."
One by one, they hugged her and she walked with Aaron to their car. Slowly, she got in, wriggling in the seat and trying to get comfortable. She reclined the seat a little and took a quick catnap as Aaron drove.
"Honey, wake up. We're home," Aaron said as he gently shook her awake. Blinking, she looked up at him and smiled. He held out his hand and she took it, letting him help her out of the car. Jack was standing in the doorway, looking at them. "Jackers, can you help bring some things inside?"
He nodded and clambered down the few steps and over to the car. Aaron handed him a bag and Penelope smiled as she watched him sling the strap over his shoulder and hold onto the handle, just like she often did. They all went inside and Aaron fixed supper while she put her feet up in the living room. Jack handed her the bag he had brought in and she took out her laptop and set up everything she would need to work from home.
"Smells wonderful," she said, not taking her eyes off the screen as Aaron set a plate of food on the table, next to her laptop. "Hey," she said, finally looking up as he shut the lid halfway.
"Eat first. You can do the rest of that later."
"Yes, Aaron." She picked up the plate and ate almost everything he'd given her. Then she handed him a long cable. "Would you plug this into a phone jack? I have to make the line secure so that I can access the databases correctly." He nodded and did as asked. Soon, she was up and running. "Thanks, my love."
As she powered down the laptop, Jack came over to her and held up his book. "I know you've been getting tired lately, but do you have time to listen to me read tonight, Mama?" She nodded and wrapped an arm around his shoulder as he snuggled close to her and began to read. Try as she might to stay awake, she was asleep before he had finished his chapter.
The last month of her pregnancy fell into an easy pattern. Somehow, JJ managed to find cases that needed their attention within driving distance of Quantico, and Aaron was home every night. And then, two weeks before her due date, one of the team began to stay back at the BAU, rotating out every day they worked.
She woke up July seventeenth later than normal. As Penelope got out of bed, she rubbed her back and stretched, feeling achy all over, and more than ready to see her children born. Opening the bedroom door, she could hear Jack playing in the living room and made her way to the bathroom. Pulling off her nightgown, she stepped into the shower and turned the water on, hoping the warmth would soothe her back.
When she got out of the shower, her back still hurt. Drying off, she then pulled on some clothes and went downstairs. She took a seat on the sofa and watched Jack play video games. She tried not to tell him hints on how to get past the level, wanting him to figure it out on his own. As he completed the level, she winced as a sharp, cramp-like, pain went her back. That's when she began to think back to her first pregnancy. Pains like this had come faster and faster before she had given birth. Pulling her laptop off the table, she looked up symptoms of labor to confirm her suspicions. Then she looked at the chart Aaron had given her at the beginning of the week as to who would be in the office on which day.
She smiled when she saw that it would be Emily. She took out her cell phone and dialed Em's number. Within seconds, she picked up "Penelope? Is everything okay?" she asked, a note of panic in her voice.
"For the moment, I'm all right. I just should have someone over here with me."
"Give me fifteen and I'll be there, I promise." Emily hung up the phone and Penelope smiled, knowing it would be closer to ten minutes when she'd be at her door. . Sure enough, ten minutes later Emily was ringing the doorbell and Jack ran to let her in. Emily came into the living room and took a seat next to Penelope. "So how far along is your labor?"
"The pains come and go, about every half hour or so. But I don't know how fast it will progress and wanted someone here with me and Jack just in case we have to go to the hospital before Aaron would get home."
"The babies are going to be here today?" Jack asked, looked up at them from his game. Penelope nodded, a smile on her face. He smiled back at her and then he turned back to her game. Emily and Penelope began to talk about small things that were going on in their lives.
"So, Morgan and I were out for drinks last week."
"We had a pretty good time. I think we might go out again sometime soon."
"Wonderful." Penelope grimaced and touched her stomach. "Just another contraction."
"That one was quicker than the others, wasn't it?"
"Yeah. Maybe we should start timing them," she replied, biting her lip. Almost twelve minutes went by and she had another one and from then out, they began coming ten minutes apart. "Jack, will you up and grab my bag from next to the dresser in my room?" He nodded and turned off his game before running upstairs and dragging down her bag. Both Emily and Penelope laughed as they heard the thumps on the stairs.
Once Jack was back in the living room, Emily helped Penelope to stand and they all went outside to get in Emily's car. As she drove, Penelope pulled out her cell phone and dialed Aaron's number. It went to voicemail, and she said, "Hey, babe, Emily's taking me and Jack to the hospital now. The twins have decided to make their appearance today. I don't know how long it'll take, since there are two of them. Stay safe, and I'll see you soon." She ended the call and then dialed Erin. "Hello, Erin."
"Penelope, is it time?"
"How'd you know?"
"Agent Prentiss has left the office, so I'm assuming she's taking you to hospital, am I right?"
"Yes, we should be there in another ten minutes or so."
"All right, I'll see you there in a little while. I just have to wrap up a few things here."
"Really? Thank you, Erin/"
"Not a problem. See you in a few."
Penelope hung up the phone and put it back in her purse, then put a hand on her stomach as another pain washed over her. Emily took notice and began to drive a little faster, wanting to get to the hospital before she had to deliver the baby on the side of the road. She pulled into the admission's drive and pulled up to the door. An orderly came out and opened the door just as another contraction hit her. He helped her with a chair and Emily went and parked the car before bringing Jack inside.
Penelope was filling out some forms when they took a seat next to her. "They've call Dr. Zyuddyk and we're just waiting for me to finish these before they bring me up to a room." she said, not looking up from the clipboard.
Neither was surprised to see Erin walk in minutes later, looking totally put together. "Aaron called to tell me that they'll be by as soon as they give the profile to the police. He figured it should take another hour of so." Holding out her hand, she asked, "Are you finished with those?" Penelope nodded and handed them over. It was so easy to let her be in control and handle things.
A nurse followed Erin over to them and pushed Penelope over to a bank of elevators. They rode up to the sixth floor and the nurse led them down to a private birthing suite. "If you'll wait outside for a few minutes so I can get her changed and ready for delivery, please," she said before closing the door after them.
Emily leaned back against the wall while Erin talked with Jack about school. He was in the middle of explaining how he'd won the reading contest at school by a landslide when the nurse came back outside and let them go inside. Jack made a beeline for the recliner in the corner, still jabbering on to Erin while Emily sat down next to Penelope's bed.
"I have to wait until my doctor get here before I can talk about getting an epidural," she said, smiling at Emily. "I'm so not going through this without drugs." She rubbed her stomach as another contraction came and went. Emily pushed back the hair from Penelope's face. "Will you grab a headband from my bag? I want my hair out of my face."
Emily nodded and rooted around in the bag until she found a band that had a large purple flower on it. "This one okay?" she asked, holding it up. Penelope nodded and took it from her hand, putting it on. Emily set the bag back on the floor and sat back in the chair, watching the monitors take information in.
There was a knock on the door and then Dr. Zyuddyk came in. "So, you made it to your due date. Congratulations, I was expecting to see these little guys to arrive two weeks ago."
"I did everything you suggested to keep them incubating until it was the best time. My team made certain that everyone at work did everything for me so I wouldn't have to exert myself too much," she replied, laughing slightly.
"Well, they did a good job. Now, let me take a look to see how far along you are." She lifted the blanket and Emily averted her eyes so as not to invade her friend's privacy. "Making good progress, here, Penelope. You're about four centimeters dilated. I'll be by in another hour or so to see how things are going."
"Thank you, Dr. Zyuddyk." The doctor left, and Emily looked at Penelope.
"Aaron will be here soon, right?"
"Why, don't you want to see a baby being born?" she asked teasingly.
"Yes and no. I can stay here and hold your hand while he catches them, I just don't want to be the catcher, you know?"
"Of course, I understand. Listen, would you mind taking Jack for a walk for a few minutes?" Emily nodded and held out her hand. Jack stood up and took her hand and they left the room together. "If Aaron doesn't get here in time, will you stay with me and coach me through this? I know it's a lot to ask…"
"Certainly I will. Do you need anything right now?"
"I'm good," she replied as Erin settled back into the recliner, pulling out her cell phone. She watched her call up an app and asked, "What are you playing?"
"Mah Johng. It's going to be a while before you give birth."
"How do you know?"
"Let's see, my dear. I've had three deliveries, so I know a little of what's going on. Your contractions haven't sped up any, so while you're dilated, you aren't progressing. Has your water broken yet?" Penelope shook her head slowly. "Then you have a ways to go yet."
"Oh." Penelope leaned over and grabbed her bag, pulling out her laptop. She started it up and checked her email, then updated her blog, telling her readers that she was officially in labor. When that was finished, she set in on the chair next to her bed. "Erin, could you help me up? I have to…"
"Of course." Erin jumped up and was at her side in a flash, helping her into the bathroom. Penelope shut the door and got to the toilet just in time before a fast gush of water spilled out. She waited until all the fluid had passed, or so she hoped, before she cleaned herself off and flushed. Opening the door, she took Erin's waiting arm and let her help her back to the bed. "That was your water breaking. Now things should start moving along."
Erin was right, and suddenly the contractions started coming closer together. She was bearing down into another one when it seemed like everyone arrived. "Look who I met in the hall, Penelope," Dr. Zyuddyk said as she opened the door, revealing the team and Jack.
"Aaron!" she cried out, holding her arms up. He stepped forward and into her embrace.
"I made it as soon as I could, Penny. How are you feeling?"
"Better now that you're here." He stroked her hair gently and took a seat in the chair next to her bed, putting her laptop on the floor.
"We're going to get some food. Do you want us to bring something back for you?" JJ asked, taking hold of her hand.
"You'll have to be rather quick if you want time to visit before she delivers," Dr. Zyuddyk piped up. "Her labor is moving faster than it was, and I wouldn't be surprised if we have these babies here in the next three hours."
JJ nodded and took down what Aaron and Penelope wanted and then she, Spencer, and Jack went off to get what everyone wanted. Morgan pulled up another chair and sat on the opposite side of the bed, next to Erin, while Rossi leaned against the wall. Once the doctor had left, Penelope asked, "How's the case going?"
"Well. The police seem confident they'll catch the unsub from our profile. Though all of us, except for Aaron, of course, will be going back tomorrow to help them out," Rossi said.
She nodded and breathed out slowly as she went through another contraction. "Great," she said through gritted teeth, holding tightly on to Aaron's hand. "These are just getting a little stronger now. That's a good sign, we're almost there."
"I'll go get you some ice chips, Penelope. Those will help with the pain and keep you hydrated," Erin said, standing up and smoothing her skirt before she left the room. She came back a few minutes later with a small bucket that she handed to Aaron. "I should be going now, everyone else is he-," she started to say.
"No! Please stay," Penelope interrupted, holding out a hand to her. Morgan got up and moved to the recliner, allowing Erin to take his seat. As soon as she sat, Penelope grabbed her hand. "I know this is silly, but suddenly, I just want you here, in case…" Her voice trailed off as quick tears sprang to her eyes.
"I'll stay, I promise," she quietly replied, squeezing Penelope's hand gently.
Everyone was glad when the others returned moments later with the food. After everyone had eaten, it became apparent that Penelope's labor was really moving into high gear. "Jayje, would you take Jack back to your place? As soon as the babies are here, I'll call. I just don't want him underfoot," he said quietly.
"Of course, Hotch. Come on, Jack, we're going to go see Henry for a little bit and then we'll come back, once the twins are here." Jack looked ready to protest but one look from his father quelled that notion. JJ bent and kissed Penelope's cheek. "We'll be back when you call."
Emily took that as her cue to lead the others out to the waiting room she'd found earlier, leaving Penelope alone with her husband and Erin. Each sat on one side of her, holding her hands as she bore down through the contractions. A little while later, Dr. Zyuddyk and her nurse came in. "Looks like you're just about ready to have those babies. Let's get you wheeled down to your delivery room now." The nurse unhooked the monitors and began to wheel the bed down the hall, while the others followed her into the other room.
"You'll need to put these one," the nurse said to Erin and Aaron, handing them sterile gowns. "Then make certain you wash your hands well and put on gloves." They did as instructed, pulling the gloves carefully. Then they rejoined Penelope, taking the same sides they'd been on in the other room.
The rest of the delivery team filed into the room and got set up, bringing in two bassinets and everything they would need. Her nurse helped Penelope put her feet up in the stirrups and then got her into the birthing position. Penelope held tightly on to Erin's hand as the contractions started to come closer together and last longer. "All right, when I sat push, Penelope, bear down as hard as you can," Dr. Zyuddyk said as she took her spot between Penelope's legs. "Mr. Hotchner, do you want to catch the babies as they come out?" He nodded eagerly and she motioned him down by her.
"And push!" Penelope bore down, holding tightly on to Erin as she did so, groaning loudly. "Great job, now breathe deeply and get ready to push again. Okay, now." Penelope did so, a fine sweat breaking out on her forehead. Erin used her other hand to wipe it away and Penelope smiled weakly.
"I can see the head of baby A, one more good push and they'll be in the world!" She bore down once more, a primal cry erupting from her. Opening her eyes, she saw Aaron hold out his hands, supported by the doctor, and then a gorgeous smile spread over his face.
"It's a boy, Penelope. We have another son!" Aaron exclaimed as the doctor cut the cord. He handed the baby over to one of the others to clean up. Taking their positions once more, she bore down when told to push and soon the other baby was in the world. "This one's a girl, Penny! Our beautiful, perfect girl."
He turned to hand over the baby to one of the technicians and see how their son was doing when they all heard Dr. Zyuddyk say, "Well, hello there. Penelope, I need you to push down again, okay?"
"Aaron?" she asked, squeezing Erin's hand as tightly as she could. He came up to her and took her other hand in his.
"I don't know, my love. Just follow what Dr. Zyuddyk tells you to do."
She pushed when told and all were surprised when the doctor held up a third baby. "And how do we explain that to the team? Sudden baby syndrome?"
"It's another girl. I'm assuming that she hid behind the other two every time we did a sonogram, since she is a touch smaller than the others. It's why I never saw her in there."
One of the delivery team took the third baby while another handed her the first baby born. Penelope held him close, breathing in his scent, a gentle smile on her lips. "Welcome to the world, little one. Soon, we'll name you and bring you home to stay with us forever."
She looked up and saw Erin and Aaron holding each of the girls. "You know, we only picked out names for the first two, not little miss tag-along here."
"I think I can think of a pretty good name," Penelope replied, smiling up at him, then shifting her eyes to Erin.
"We'll need to take the babies back to run a few more tests. We'll bring them to your room when we're finished." Penelope nodded and then an orderly wheeled her back to her room.
"Will one of you grab my nightgown from my bag, please? I want to be out of this hospital gown now."
Erin bent and pulled out a soft linen gown that buttoned up the front. "I'll go tell the team the good news while you get your wife freshened up, Aaron," she said as she gently kissed Penelope's forehead. "You did good, kiddo," she said before she left the room. She walked down the corridor until she found the waiting room. Looking in, she saw that they were all seated in a huddle, talking quietly amongst themselves. She cleared her throat and they all looked up at her.
"How's she doing?" Emily asked, anxiety in her voice.
"Mother and babies came through okay. Aaron's helping her to get cleaned up, and then we can go see them."
"What did they have?" Reid asked.
"A girl, a boy, and a girl."
"Wait, what? You said girl twice. She was having twins, right?" Rossi asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"Hidden triplet. I've heard of it happening before, but this is the first time I've seen it occur in real life," Reid answered before Erin could say anything. "And this means we can all be godparents now. It's actually worked out quite perfectly."
"Must be a God thing," Erin said quietly as she pulled out her phone and checked Penelope's blog. She saw there was a new post up about the triplets and snapped the phone off. "All right, let's go see them." They followed her back to the room and were greeted with the sight of Penelope holding one of the babies, the other two in their bassinets.
They all smiled at Penelope and she beckoned them closer. Emily went right up to her side and without hesitation, Penelope handed her the baby she held. "That's our son, Matthew Edward. Our daughters are still sleeping in their bassinets, so if anyone wants to, they can hold them. Just try not to wake them."
Morgan went over and picked up one. "And who is this princess?"
"Sophia Grace," Aaron replied as he picked up the last baby, holding her out to Erin. "And this is Erin Elizabeth. We hope you don't mind the homage."
To the rest of their surprise, Erin shook her head, taking the baby gently and holding her close to her heart. "No, I don't mind at all," she whispered, a smile on her face. She took the baby over to the recliner and carefully sat down, gently rocking the baby as she cooed to her.
A knock came on the door and Reid opened it, revealing JJ, Will, Henry, and Jack. Jack ran over to his father and hugged him, then hugged Penelope. "Are there really three?" he asked with obvious excitement.
"Yes, there are three. You have a brother and two sisters now, Jack," Penelope said as he climbed up on the bed to sit next to her. She wrapped her arm around his waist and he snuggled close to her. Emily handed Matthew back to Penelope, who gently placed him in Jack's arms. "This is your brother, Matthew," she said. She looked around the room into the happy faces of her friends, and suddenly felt a feeling a complete peace descend upon her. Her family was finally whole again.