So, I've had a couple of people ask about this year's Christmas fic. It's in Castle, unfortunately, but I had this little idea float into my head a while back and it's a good way to get to use the prompts so...

It'll be about 6 chapters. One for each of the Christmases that don't happen and one for the Christmas that does. I'm thinking I might make that Christmas the "real" Christmas in the same universe as His Christmas Wish and Something More, but I haven't decided that yet. We'll see.


Blended Family Christmas

Taxi - A Full House for Christmas

The Reaper never gets to Haley.

Haley's bitterness has faded by the time Jack turns eight and it only means good things for Aaron because he can see Jack whenever he wants, simply by making a call to his ex-wife. He sees Jack as often as his schedule will allow and for a while, Haley even keeps a guest room for him for the times he comes in late. When she starts seeing someone, she tells him quietly that its serious and it's time to change.

But that's okay, because Aaron knows that she's not the only one considering someone else. In her time at the BAU, Emily's been nothing but supportive of everyone. She's fiercely loyal and even, on a few occasions, sympathized with him over Haley's unreasonableness about the divorce. Their friendship has blossomed and he finds himself doing things for her he'd never even considered with the rest of the team.

He knows they're exploiting it. It's always Emily that comes to ask him to get a drink with the team after a hard case and she always seems to know just how far to poke before backing off. Sometimes, all he wants to do is see his son and Emily seems to understand that just as often as she seems to know just when to push him to have some fun. The shift from friends to more was terrifying and a big jump on his part, but Emily is patient and understands just how terrifying it is.

He's surprised at how much he didn't know about her as they start sharing deeper, darker secrets. He holds her when she cries over the baby she had to give up and he apologizes for his inability to be there for her after Matthew's death. She's who she is because of so much and he never ceases to be surprised about how a girl who had grown up so lonely can turn into the compassionate woman he knows.

He's been dating Emily eighteen months before he introduces her to Jack. It's deliberate on his part and yes, she's met him before, but not like that. Jack seems perfectly okay with the idea when it happens and only asks a few questions about step-parents and Haley's new man. Other than that, nothing really changes. Now, he spends more time with both of them rather than one or the other, but he makes sure to keep time for just Jack and just Emily.

He doesn't move within the Bureau. Strauss' threat is solid, but he doesn't care. He works with Emily and a team that's like family and he's still on amicable terms with Haley. But it still surprises him when Haley calls to ask if he and Emily would like to spend Christmas with them. In the same phone call she tells him she's engaged and he's genuinely happy for her. He wants her to be happy and though there's a little ache in his chest at the idea that she couldn't be happy with him, it fades when he realizes he's pretty happy now too.

Emily seems worried about going to Haley's for Christmas, but he soothes her concerns. The four of them, Haley, Aaron, Emily and Haley's fiancée Jasper, just so they can get over the initial awkwardness. It's like Emily and Jasper have extrasensory perception with the way they smooth over awkward silences and keep things moving. When they leave, they're both happy and they're both much more comfortable with the idea of spending Christmas at Haley's.

Emily and Aaron spend Christmas Eve with the team at JJ and Will's. It's the only balance they can find because Haley always celebrates on Christmas Day. The team seems fine with it since they're off rotation for a little while. It's good to see JJ again, though Aaron knows she and Emily talk constantly. With the work they do, the friendships they forge are that much stronger, so it's not much of a surprise that Emily's girl's nights are always with JJ and Garcia. Aaron misses JJ because they had a close friendship, so it's twice as good to be able to spend Christmas Eve laughing with the people who were family when his family was falling apart.

Jessica's there when Aaron and Emily arrive and Aaron is shocked and touched when he sees that Haley also invited Sean. It's a Christmas he's never anticipated, but it's warm and full and he gets to watch his son open all of his presents with utter glee. He and Emily take Jack home with them that night and curl up on the couch with How the Grinch Stole Christmas and cookies. Jack falls asleep against Emily, who is leaning back against his chest and Aaron can't think of a Christmas that would be any better.

But that's not really how it happens.