A/N: Special thanks my three betas, allthatisevil, SussiRay, and sarramaks. Especially to allthatisevil and SussiRay for betaing this chapter! And of course, thanks for all the love so far from you, readers. Enjoy the final installment.
"I'm here I'm here I'm here!" Garcia shouted in one breath, almost passing right by Emily's hospital room in heels only she herself would wear. "Oh my gosh!" she gasped when she saw the sight before her. Her best friend lay back in a hospital bed, hands upon her belly. "It's all so real now…"
Emily laughed softly, rolling her head back on her pillows to look up at Hotch, who stood to greet their friend.
"How are you feeling?" Garcia asked Emily, hardly paying Hotch any attention for the time being.
"Like I'm about to push two bowling balls out—"
"Silly question," Garcia said, smiling as she took Hotch's chair. He said nothing about her taking his seat, instead leaving the room to find more ice chips. "So the boys are in the right position to come out the hard way?"
Emily nodded. "They said I could have a cesarean if I wanted, but there's really no reason, and that would involve a longer recovery and I'm so sick of our bed I could cry."
"Understandable. So..." Garcia reached on top of Emily's stomach and squeezed both her hands, which had rested there, feeling one of the babies kicking. "How does it feel? I mean, besides so painful that you want to kill Hotch for making that deposit nine months ago?"
"Ha. Actually, it's not too bad. Yet, anyway."
"Good, I'm glad you're comfortable. But seriously…you're about to become a mother. How does that feel?"
Emily's chin fell to her chest, then she rolled her head back again into the pillows. "I can't even put it into words."
"I know, right? I'm right there with you, except for, you know, being pregnant. The auntie thing feels similar though I'm sure not nearly as amazing. By the way, I totally almost ran a small child over in a pedestrian crosswalk on the way here. He'll be okay, but he's probably a little shaken."
"Garcia, I love you. I can't say it enough. Excuse me while I try not to flash you." Emily pulled her sheet and blanket back, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "God, sitting feels so good."
"Then why were you lying down, silly?"
Emily heard Hotch's footsteps come down the otherwise quiet hallway. "Him," she replied, holding onto Garcia's arm.
"Come on, Em, lie down and relax," Hotch said.
Emily glared at him. "I've been lying down for the better part of two months," she snapped. "Sitting feels good right now, and it's speeding things along. So I'm going to sit."
"Oh, this is so not how I imagined it would be," Garcia murmured, staring straight ahead at the wall. "Awkward City…"
"Eh, we're fine," Emily said. "I'm just giving him as hard a time as I can. I'm pre-gaming for the ultimate revenge, when I push these babies out and squeeze his hands until I hear bones crack."
"This is why I wanted you to get an epidural," Hotch said, holding out the cup of ice chips he'd gotten for Emily.
"If I can do this without the drugs, why not? I want to." No sooner had the words come out of Emily's mouth than she clenched her eyes shut and gritted her teeth. Without consideration for Garcia's personal space, Hotch immediately placed himself between her and Emily, stealing away the latter's hands.
"I'm right here, it's all right." Hotch repeated his gentle reassurances until the contraction was over. "You can't keep holding your breath like that," he chided.
"I can't help it," Emily said, panting.
"Hotch, I think you just ruined me for all men, boyfriend of five years included." Garcia stood up and offered him his chair back. "You are too incredibly sweet. I don't feel like I can stay."
"No, no, stay. I mean, if you want to," Emily said. "You're welcome to. But if you're uncomfortable—"
"Not with the whole sweating, screaming, cursing, and legs-spread-open thing. That I can handle," Garcia clarified. "Just with the whole…well, you guys are going to be mommy and daddy together soon. Biologically speaking, if my memory serves me correctly I had absolutely nothing to do with that."
"Well, you did in just about every other way," Emily pointed out.
"Garcia, we'd love for you to stay," Hotch said with finality.
"What about everyone else?"
"Sean's been in and out," Emily said. "Jessica's at home with the kids, and my parents are on the way. Where's the rest of the team?" she asked both Hotch and Garcia.
"Reid got here the same time I did," Garcia said. "The rest are on their way."
"Oh, good," Emily said more to Hotch than to Garcia. "You want to now, before everyone else gets here?" she asked him in a hushed tone.
"Want to what?" Garcia asked.
"I'll go get him," Hotch said, leaving.
"What's going on?" Garcia continued.
"Hold your horses. You'll find out."
"I can't wait to see the look on Reid's face when he comes in here and can totally see up your hospital gown."
Emily swore, immediately pushing her knees together, as comfortable as it was to have them apart, and pulled the hem of her gown down.
"I was kidding. Anyway, it's Reid, so it'll still be awkward because the big girls aren't in a bra and—"
"Okay, if you don't stop," Emily said, laughing a bit, "then you don't get to be the first non-blood-related baby holder."
"Consider my mouth shut."
"Don't worry about humiliating Reid, anyway—I've got that covered," Emily said under her breath.
"Hi, Emily," Reid said as he followed Hotch into the room. Emily's female obstetrician came in right behind them.
"Hey," Emily said to Reid with a giant smile, glancing knowingly up at Hotch.
"All right, hon, let's check your cervix," the doctor said.
"Oh, uh, I can come back," Reid stammered.
Emily grinned wickedly. "No, no, I want you to stay, it's good to see you," she said as Hotch helped her back up into the bed and onto her back. "Can you please explain exactly what it is you're doing down there again? It's so fascinating," Emily said to her doctor.
"Of course. Right now, I'm using my fingers to check how dilated you are," the doctor said, lifting the sheet up, prompting Reid to back up against the wall behind Emily's bed, putting Emily's bottom end as far out of view as he could. "Two fingers with a little wiggle room, so you're about five centimeters."
"Hey, umm, while you're down there, you know, while we're on the topic of my reproductive system…how long will it be before Aaron and I can have sex again?"
"Well, that depends on how delivery goes. Tearing isn't uncommon, which would extend your bout of celibacy," the doctor said from behind the sheet. "Speaking of which, did you keep that up?"
Emily memorized the look on Reid's face, almost unable to hold in her laughter any longer. "Well, mostly," she said.
Garcia jumped in on the game. "You said you did go down on Super Hubby that one time he came home with a dozen roses, right?"
"Okay, enough," Hotch said, thinking the planned bit had been funny, but that Emily and Garcia had taken things a little too far. Not only did he not need to know that Garcia knew that little detail, but the rest of the world didn't need to know either, and he felt that Reid had been punished more than enough. "In case you're wondering, that was for you telling Jack where babies come from. Let that be a lesson to you not to talk birds and bees with other people's kids."
"Payback's a bitch, isn't it?" Emily said, grinning at Reid's pale face.
"Things are looking good," the doctor said, reminding everyone of her presence. "Lively bunch you've got here."
"Did you actually go ask her to come in and check me right now?" Emily asked Hotch in wonderment once the doctor was gone. "That was a good idea. I didn't know we were doing that now. I thought we were doing the other thing."
"No, that was just good timing," Hotch said. "All right, now that Reid is thoroughly embarrassed, should we tell him and Garcia why they're really here?"
Emily cleared her throat and went for it. "We wanted to ask you this before the babies come just because we didn't know how hectic things would be right after. Anyway, Aaron and I were wondering if you two would be godparents to one of the boys. Jessica and Sean are taking the other."
"Are you serious?" Garcia whispered; Reid just looked at her with an uncomfortable grin on his face. "I mean, I knew if you were going to give the twins separate godparents, I was in easily, but I was worried you'd have one set of godparents for both of them and it would be family only, so it would be Sean and Jessica—I need to stop talking. Yes, I would be honored."
"Reid?" Emily asked, holding out a hand. He warmed up to her, taking her hand. "You guys both did what was best for Henry, even though you didn't have to. I think it kind of brings things full circle, you know? And we're not asking you two just because it sounds nice. You did perfectly with Henry. We really trust you."
Reid laughed softly, looking around at his friends in disbelief. "You didn't need to sell it to me. What, did you think I was going to say no?"
"I think Garcia's comment about the…roses…might've hurt our chances a little," Emily admitted with a twinkling eye.
"Maybe a little. But luckily I'm a good sport."
"Jessica's on her way," Sean informed Hotch as the medical staff prepared for delivery in the wee hours of the morning. Emily's mother sat at the edge of the bed, repeatedly combing Emily's dampening hair away from her face as Emily came off of her most recent contraction.
"What?" Hotch said. "It's four in the morning. What's—"
"When I went back to pick up the receiving blankets that you said forty times that you packed, Jessica seemed kinda bummed that we were all here and she wasn't, so I called your babysitter."
"Our eighteen-year-old babysitter answered her phone at four in the morning?"
"It sounded like she hadn't even gone to sleep yet, actually. And I told her it paid twenty bucks an hour. She's yours as long as you need her, and it's on me," Sean said, shoving his hands in his pants pockets.
"That's so sweet," Emily said, wiping a bit of sweat from her brow. "I feel like such a schmuck for even accepting Jessica's offer. I thought she didn't want to be here and was looking for a way out of it, so I jumped at the chance to keep her from feeling uncomfortable. What did she say? Did you guys talk? You know, she's not much older than you…have you ever—"
"Hey, I know the godparent-matchmaking thing worked out that way for you guys, but I'd like to stick with godparent, if that's okay," Sean said. "Besides, family trees are supposed to branch out, not in."
"God, Sean, I was teasing. I'm hysterical right now, and not necessarily in a good way. How are you single, though, seriously?" Emily inquired dreamily.
"I dunno," Sean said, scratching his head, "My family lives a few hours away from me and every time I turn around, there's a holiday, or a birthday party, or a wedding, or in this case some kids popping out…I'm not really home a whole lot anymore outside of work. Which I love," he said hastily, holding up both hands.
Emily pouted. "We do kind of hog you, don't we?"
"It's all good. Hey, um, do you think it's okay if I change my mind about being in here for the delivery? Would that be too weird?" Sean asked Hotch more than he asked Emily.
"That wouldn't be weird at all. I would love that," Emily answered.
Hotch gave his brother a look. "You sure?"
"What? They're my nephews. And it's not like I'm gonna go, you know, look. I'll stay back here till they're out."
Hotch just gave his brother a look of amusement mixed with gratitude.
"Only two people in the delivery room with you," a nurse said apologetically to Emily, whose smile melted.
"What? Please, can you make an exception?" she pleaded, tears rushing to her eyes right away.
"We won't move a muscle, we swear," Garcia said, grabbing Sean by the arm and pulling him flat against the wall with her.
"Sorry, two is our absolute maximum. No more."
Emily squeezed her mother's hand and looked longingly at Sean and Garcia. "I'm sorry, guys."
"Oh, please, a U.S. Ambassador and soon-to-be grandma trumps all, we understand," Garcia said, obviously disappointed but not angry for not being given priority. "As long as I can wait out in the hallway and hold one as soon as humanly possible."
"Of course." Emily hugged Garcia and only let go when another contraction came. Hotch reclaimed his position by her, sacrificing his remaining good hand. Garcia and Sean lingered in silence, waiting for Emily to come around again.
"It means so much to me that you wanted to stay, though," Emily said as if their conversation hadn't been interrupted by the worst pain she'd ever experienced. "It really does. I'll see you guys soon, hopefully." She took a hug from Sean as well before he and Garcia were ushered out of the room by some impatient stares from medical staff.
Hotch stood closer to Emily, gathering her hands and kissing them. The hustle and bustle in the room, the readying for the arrival of his and Emily's children, had his spine tingling, his head swimming, and his hazing with a thin layer of tears. Emily hadn't seen him crying yet when she asked her mother if she could get a minute alone with him.
Emily had stopped caring long ago about her lower half being exposed to the world, so as her doctor and nurses milled about near her feet, all she really sensed was Hotch, looking ready to burst into tears. "Can you believe this?" she asked in awe, tears mixing with the couple of beads of sweat that had dripped from her forehead and down her cheeks. "It's really happening."
Hotch's breath quavered as he nodded, feeling himself lose a little color. Even if Jack had just been born, Hotch didn't think that could have prepared him a bit for this. He remembered every second of Jack's birth, but that didn't make this any less life-changing. "I love you. More than anything."
"I love you, too," she said, drawing in as deep of breaths as she could. "I can't believe everything's come to this, you know? With every milestone we've hit, I say it again, I know, but it still blows my mind that we're here."
"Trust me, I know." Hotch kissed her gently, stroking her damp cheek with his thumb.
"All right, mommy, time to start pushing," the doctor said from Emily's feet.
"Quick, go get my mom for me," Emily said, watching Hotch rush off.
Elizabeth took her seat again on Emily's other side. "I'd ask you how you're feeling, but that's kind of a silly question, isn't it?"
"I knew it was a possibility, but who ever thought you and I would have a blonde baby?" Emily joked quietly to Hotch, playing with the fine, light hair that graced the younger boy's head.
"It'll darken up, probably. At least it's obvious they aren't identical, right? A little less work for Mommy and Daddy," Hotch said, holding the dark-haired boy close to his chest. Both of them slept soundly after their first feeding, which had been a fiasco.
"We need to decide on names before we introduce them," Emily said, butterflies fluttering in her stomach as the blonde baby squirmed in his sleep. "I think Benjamin should be the brunette. And I don't know why, it's just a feeling."
"I was going to say the same. I think Ryan goes better with blonde hair."
"Blonde for now," Emily corrected. "You're right, chances are they'll both end up with dark hair. They at least got the dimples for sure. They're gonna be heart breakers, I'm telling you."
"Dimples are dominant. Reid told me when we had everyone over for Christmas and Garcia was going on about how the babies would have them. You could've had anyone's babies and they would've had them."
"Seriously? Way to rain on my parade. Okay, well, the dimples are still going to win awards. Just look at them."
"I think someone's at the door," Hotch said, cocking his head. A nurse had just exited, leaving the door open. Garcia stood across the hall, waiting to be let in. When Emily waved and nodded, Garcia beckoned to a waiting room full of people who followed her in. Nobody stopped them from crowding the room this time.
"Oh, by the way, I'm sorry I called you an asshole during that one push," Emily said quickly with a light chuckle before anyone else entered the room.
"I think I'll get over it," Hotch said, preparing for Benjamin to be taken from him by Garcia, whose eyes swam in tears that threatened to take makeup down with them as they fell. Sean stepped aside to let Emily's father pass by and hold his other grandson.
"Sweetheart, they're beautiful. Did you decide on names yet?" George asked. The congratulations and expressions of awe came to a halt at the mention of names.
"Yes, names!" Garcia whispered.
"Garcia is holding Benjamin, and Grandpa's got Ryan," Emily announced. "Not identical, clearly, so no need for name tags."
"Nice names, very very nice," Morgan said. "Middle names are Derek and David, right?" he cracked, winking at Rossi, who rolled his eyes up to the ceiling.
"Sorry, middle names went to the dearly departed only," Hotch said. "Oh, sorry," he said when he realized everyone was staring at him, still waiting for an actual answer. "Um, Benjamin William and Ryan Matthew."
"Only twelve minutes and two ounces apart," Garcia reported, seemingly proud to have been privy to at least that much information.
"You done good, kid," Rossi said to Hotch while the babies were passed carefully from person to person.
"Thanks." Hotch smirked at Rossi for a moment, then caught Emily's eye from across the room as she fawned over Benjamin with Jessica.
"Get in some good alone time with just Emily and the babies? Because you won't have that again for a while. You have too many annoying friends and family who will be swarming your place whenever they can, and three other kids who will all be curious and jealous as hell."
"We got some quality time in, yeah. It was a little stressful with the breastfeeding, though," Hotch said before remembering he was talking to Rossi.
"Well, apparently it's not as easy as it sounds. Getting them to latch was tricky."
"Latch?" Rossi asked, one eye growing wide.
Hotch sighed in frustration with himself for opening his mouth. "You know…latching on…"
"Oh, that?" Rossi shrugged. "If they don't get the hang of it now, they'll get it when they grow up. It's a pretty simple concept."
"Thank you for that, Dave," Hotch said flatly, crossing his arms.
"What? I wouldn't be doing my job if everyone left the room comfortable."
"Truer words have never been spoken," Hotch said with a shake of his head.
"Hey," Rossi said, seeing to have just remembered something. "Want a smoke?" He opened his jacket pocket and flashed a few cigars.
"You are joking, right?"
"I don't joke about cigars."
"I didn't have a cigar last time you offered me one. What makes you think I'd leave my wife and two newborns to go outside, smoke a cigar, and come back in smelling like that?"
"What? Come on, they're the 'It's a boy!' kind…" Rossi said enticingly.
"Cubans with blue paper taped around the middle?"
"Only because I couldn't find the real kind. They must've stopped selling them in hospital gift shops when people got this whacky idea that smoking isn't healthy."
"All right," Jessica whispered, "we have to be very quiet. The babies are probably sleeping. Ready?" She held Charlotte in her arms and looked down at Henry and Jack, who nodded.
"Auntie Jessie?" Henry asked just before she led them to Emily's hospital room. It wasn't the first time Henry had said that, but the effect was still enough to make her smile, no matter what the context happened to be.
"Pick me up." He held his arms out.
"I can try. I don't know, though, you're such a big boy."
"Henry," Emily called from her bed. "I hear you…come see me!"
"Mommy!" he cried, running with Jack to the room from which Emily's voice had sounded. She sat up in bed, one sleeping baby in each arm.
"Not so fast," Hotch said, playing bodyguard. "You can sit next to Mommy, but you can't climb all over her, okay? And you need to be quiet," he said to the boys. He lifted Henry up into the space on one side while Jack got up on the other side by himself.
"Those were in your belly?" Jack asked.
"Yup," Emily said with a soft laugh. "That's why it was so big."
"Which one's Ben?" Jack asked, pulling on the edge of one of the receiving caps.
"The other one," Emily said. "This one's Ryan."
Hotch looked on with loving pride as the Jack and Henry familiarized themselves with their new brothers. So keen was his focus that he'd forgotten about the other two people in the room until Charlotte spoke up. "Daddy," she whined, throwing out her arms, requesting a transfer.
Hotch's eyes lit up even brighter at his favorite sound. "Charlie, hey, princess," he said, taking her from Jessica. "Thanks for going to get them. I thought that's what Sean was going to do, though. You didn't have to."
"He's, uh, busy," Jessica said cryptically, adjusting her purse on her shoulder. "But it's no problem, I wanted to see them again anyway. They're absolutely adorable. I know where William came from, but who was Matthew, if you don't mind me asking?"
"He was an old friend of Emily's who passed away a few years ago. How'd the kids do today?"
"We were good, Daddy," Jack informed him, hopping down off the bed. "Uncle Sean's at home putting the crib together!"
"Something tells me that was supposed to be a surprise," Hotch said, crouching down to give Jack a one-armed hug. "I missed you, buddy."
"I missed you, too. When are you coming home?"
"When Mommy and the babies do. Probably in a couple of days."
"Babies," Charlotte echoed, pointing to the bed. Hotch grinned and brought her there, holding her over the new additions.
"Hey, sweetie," Emily said, reaching up to cup Charlotte's cheek. "Are you having fun with Uncle Sean and Auntie Jessie?"
Charlotte nodded fervently and tried to wiggle free. Hotch set her down in the spot that Jack had left open, and she clutched onto Emily's shoulder, peering over it to get a look at Ryan. "Ben," she said, pointing.
"Nope, the other one is Ben," Emily corrected. She looked at Hotch in mild exasperation. "I thought the fraternal thing was supposed to be easier."
Three Days Later
Emily almost let out a triumphant cry from the middle of the bed. Hotch was putting Ryan down in his bassinet and when he turned, he saw Benjamin nursing for the first time since they'd gotten home from the hospital the day before. "Look, look, he's doing it," Emily whispered, not wanting to startle the baby. "Oh my God, what a relief."
Snaking an arm behind Emily, Hotch reclined next to her and could feel the anxiety leaving her body in smooth, relaxed breaths. Interacting with the newborns had been nothing short of magical until it came time to feed Benjamin, who had only taken bottles until now. It had bothered both of them far more than the sleep deprivation. "All's right in the world again," he said.
"Until next time, anyway. Let's hope it's like riding a bike."
Emily felt Hotch's lips on her temple and his hand gently gripping her shoulder. "If it's not, then we have to stay patient. We can call a lactation—"
"No way, I'll get it on my own," Emily said sternly.
"I thought for sure that having your own baby in your arms might make you a little less like yourself, but I don't think you've ever been more in character."
"Are you saying I'm…stubborn?" Emily asked, turning her head and feigning utter shock.
"That would be the very nice way of putting it," Hotch answered with a laugh and a kiss.
"Can perfect get more than perfect?" Emily wondered aloud.
"What do you mean? What's missing?"
"More like who. I love that we got to honor Will, but I still miss him and obviously JJ."
"They're here in spirit," Hotch said, not trying to be trite at all.
"Oh, I know. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to complain. I just…really miss them."
"Me too. It's getting late," Hotch noted after a few moments' respectful silence. "I need to get the kids to bed, but I think we should have a little family time up here first. What do you say?"
"All seven of us in one bed?"
"Just this once?" Hotch almost begged, having been waiting for this moment since the children had come to visit the babies and Emily in the hospital.
"Oh, trust me, I wasn't objecting," Emily said. "Just give me fifteen minutes. I don't want to distract him." Benjamin was finished within the promised time frame, and still awake when Jack, Henry, and Charlotte were finally permitted to climb into bed all at once. Hotch took Ryan, still asleep, into bed with him.
"It's a little crowded," Emily said, raising her eyebrows as she noticed that the family covered almost every square inch of the bed, the way they were arranged.
"That's what Uncle Sean said when he and Daddy moved the big bed out of the guest room so they could put the baby stuff in it," Jack interjected. "He said he was being da-victed from his own room."
"Evicted?" Emily asked; Jack nodded. "I guess that had kind of become his room. I think we need to upgrade soon. As many good memories as this house holds, I think we've outgrown it." She knew full well that if she mentioned this in front of the children, she and Hotch would never hear the end of it, and he would eventually relent.
"A new house?" Jack asked. "Cool! Can we get one with a pool?"
"Why'd you have to go and do that?" Hotch asked Emily quietly, but not without a smile to his voice. He had absolutely nothing to complain about at this moment in time.
"Maybe soon, but absolutely no pool," Emily said to Jack.
"Daddy says you'll give me anything I want as long as I smile big. Can I hold Ryan?" he asked, looking to Emily and touching the baby's miniscule fingers.
"It's Ben," Emily and Hotch said together.
"Ben's the one with the brown hair," Emily continued. "But yes, you can hold him," she said. "Sit back against me, okay?"
Jack nodded and sat between Emily's knees, letting her lift the baby carefully over his head and lay him across his lap. "I gotta hold his head up."
"That's right," Emily said, kissing Jack on the back of the head and peeking over his shoulder at Ben's dark brown wandering eyes.
"How come Ben looks like you and Daddy but Ryan doesn't? He's got blonde hair and blue eyes like Charlie," Jack said.
"Lots of babies are born with blue eyes and they change later on, and his hair might get darker, but it's still possible for me and Daddy to have made a baby that will stay looking like Charlie. Kinda crazy, huh?"
"Daddy," Charlotte said for no reason other than to hear her own voice. Hotch grinned and opened up an arm for her to cozy up to. Henry maneuvered his way behind Emily, standing on the pillows and using her head to balance as he scrutinized his new competition.
"There's actually room for Sean down there," Hotch noted. "Jack, why don't you go tell Uncle Sean that I said to take a break from cooking and come up here?"
"But I'm holding Ryan, I mean Ben," Jack protested.
"All right, I'll go," Hotch said, sidling out of bed with Ryan in his arms and Charlotte following right behind him. He let her go down the stairs first, following behind her so she didn't trip him. "Hey, Sean," he said. He was answered by a loud, ugly snore from the couch. Hotch surmised that he must have passed out sometime in the last few minutes, because he had been wide awake preparing yet another meal to freeze for later when Hotch had come down to relieve him from his supervisory duties. "I think you guys wore him right out," he told Charlotte, who walked over to the couch and got right in Sean's face, smiling at the funny noises he made. A knock sounded at the front door. "I think I know who that is," Hotch said to Charlotte. "Come on."
"Hello, Father Abraham!" Garcia said cheerfully when Hotch opened up the door. "I have come to relieve you of sixty percent of your parental duties and give the singletons their baths and read them bedtime stories. But first, I'm sure you're aware of the new rule I just made up where you must surrender the first newborn I see upon my entering the room." She removed her coat and shoes, then held her arms out. "Okay, now we're good. Hello, Charlotte," she cooed when Hotch picked up Charlotte now that his arms were available.
"You didn't have to come help," Hotch said, though grateful beyond words for the outpouring of support from all of their friends and family over the last few days.
"Oh, yes, I did. I called your brother—I hope you're not silly enough to ask how I got his number—to see if everything was hunky dory over here, and he didn't answer, so I figured he was either at a strip club or passed out cold somewhere from all the uncle-ing. And even if he had answered, I would have come over anyway. Don't tell me you weren't wondering when I'd grace you with my baby blue presence," she quipped, moving her hips to bring notice to her appropriately colored dress. "Where is my if-only-I-were-batting-for-the-other-team-and-she-weren't-madly-in-love-with-you soul mate?"
"Up in bed with the others. Just for the record, your second guess was correct. Sean's out cold. And he's actually never been to a strip club, at least that's what he once told me."
"Would you please stop trying to sell me your brother? I'm happily swept off my feet every time I see me bespectacled super hero."
Hotch chuckled. "Come on upstairs. We have room for one more."
"This isn't a whirl, Agent Hotchner. I don't know how the paperwork got screwed up, or maybe you believe my parents pulled some strings, which they didn't, by the way," Emily said to Hotch with a biting tone and fierce eyes. "I belong in this unit, and all I'm asking for is the chance to show you that." Her last words came out less steadily than her first.
Hotch examined Emily closely, could see her swallow anxiously. He couldn't put a finger on it, but something—maybe her forwardness, maybe his knowledge of her experience being suited for the job, or maybe just his gut—told him that he would be foolish to turn her away.
"I still need to look into this. I'm not promising anything," he replied, not wanting to relinquish his upper hand completely. He watched her wide eyes grow wider in surprise that her speech had worked.
"Understood," she said without a thought.
"We brief new cases every morning at ten a.m. You can see Facilities Management about a desk."
"You won't be sorry," Emily said certainly but quietly, her lips breaking into a smile as she turned to pick up her box of belongings, perhaps thinking that if she didn't leave soon enough, he would change his mind.
As Hotch watched Emily exit his office with a new spring in her step, something told him she was probably right.
A/N: First, as always, I would love to hear what you think! Please come out of hiding and leave a review, if you'd be so kind. No account needed :)
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