Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds. If I did, JJ would still be a part of the team... simply because she's just plain awesome.
He would be turning five soon, and in the short few years he witnessed things that would bring tears to the BAU team. His father knew that it would be difficult, but he never imagined just how hard it would be.
Jack Hotchner didn't know much about what his father did. He understood that his daddy went on trips to help people by catching "bad guys" who hurt other people. Aaron would never allow Jack to know any of the details of the crimes. Jack didn't know that his mommy and daddy weren't living together because mommy was always afraid daddy would get hurt. He didn't know that his mommy thought that if they didn't live with Daddy then things would be more "normal" if Daddy never came home.
All he knew was that both his mommy and daddy loved him more than anything in the whole world.
He also didn't know why they had to go away. One day, Uncle Derek picked him up from his play date and he and his mommy went to the hospital to say "goodbye" to Daddy. It was like when Daddy went away for work, only this time he and Mommy got to go away.
Jack didn't like it when his mommy cut her hair and colored it brown. He liked Mommy's hair the way it was before the vacation. When they were outside, he and his mommy played a game. He had to pretend he had a different name. His mommy had a pretend name too. It wasn't a very fun game, but he played it anyway.
All he really wanted was to see his daddy. Mommy said he couldn't; they couldn't even talk on the phone.
Until the day he heard they were headed home. His assumption was that he'd finally get to see Daddy again.
He had no idea that it would become the worst day of his short life.
He didn't know why Mommy was crying, and it scared him. So did the man in the kitchen. He had a gun. Guns were not toys. His daddy told him that a long time ago. He knew that police officers had guns, and so did Daddy and Uncle Derek and Uncle Spencer and Aunt Emily and Aunt JJ. They were good guys, but if someone who didn't wear a police uniform or was a stranger had a gun he was supposed to try to get to a safe place and call 9-1-1 because the gun could hurt him.
This scary guy wasn't a police officer.
The last time he saw his mother was when he kissed her goodbye. Then, he ran upstairs to "work the case" like his daddy asked. He thought there was something literal about "working the case," and he assumed it had to do with the chest in his daddy's office. A chest was sort of like a case, right?
Later on, he found out that the scary guy with the gun hurt his mommy, and she was in Heaven.
He also learned that his daddy came and fought the scary man because it was his job to make sure that bad guys were stopped. His daddy made sure the scary man would never hurt anybody's mommy again.
When Halloween came around, Jack thought about being Spiderman. All the other kids in his class were dressing up as Spiderman, Batman, Buzz Lightyear, cats, witches, monsters. Only a couple days before Halloween he decided that the costume was too itchy and that he wanted to be someone else.
All of his friends' daddies had different jobs. Kyle's daddy was a doctor and Sarah's was a house-builder. But only Jack's daddy was called a "chief" and a "special agent" like on the TV shows.
So, he put on his nice suit and did his best to tie his own tie before he came out to show his daddy the costume he chose that year. He didn't want to be Spiderman or Superman or any of the other superheroes his friends were. They were just pretend superheroes.
His daddy was a real superhero.