Sick Day


Note: I do not own Criminal Minds or any of its characters.

"Daddy, I'm fine!" Jack whined as Aaron led him into the Doctor's office. He gave a small sniffle. "I just has a cold."

"Yeah, well, we'll let Dr. Stevens be the judge of that." Aaron chuckled. It was a Thursday and normally Aaron would be at work and Jack in preschool. However, Jack had been coughing a lot lately and Hotch wanted to make sure everything was okay.

"I want to go home and watch TV!" Jack frowned.

Aaron picked him up and sat him on the waiting bed. "Tell you what, Buddy. After we get finished, we'll go to McDonalds and you can get a sundae after lunch."

Jack's face immediately brightened. "Okay, Daddy!"

They waited about ten more minutes. A nurse came in for a brief checkup and then moments after she left, Dr. Stevens entered.

"Well, hello again, Jack." Dr. Stevens gave a tired smile. "Mr. Hotchner. I'd say it was nice to see you again but I hope the little guy's okay."

"I'm fine, Dr. Stevens!" Jack answered in an exasperated tone. "I just has a cold!" The doctor looked at Hotch.

"Jack's been coughing and sneezing for over a week and last night his temperature was a bit high. I just want to make sure everything's okay…" He trailed off as the Doctor approached Jack.

"Open wide." He said.

"AAAH!" Jack opened as wide as he possibly could.

"Good." Dr. Stevens felt Jack's neck, checked his breathing, heart, and then his ears.

"Is everything okay?" Aaron asked worriedly.

Dr. Stevens smiled and picked Jack up off the table. Opening the door he called for a nurse. "Why don't you go get a lollipop with Nurse Jackie while your Daddy and I talk?" Jack nodded. "This won't take long; Just bring him back when you're done." He told the nurse who smiled and led Jack away. Sighing, the Doctor turned back to Aaron.

"What is it? What's wrong with him?" Hotch demanded.

"I'm afraid we have a severe case of separation anxiety." Dr. Stevens said with a grin.

"What?" Aaron asked, confused.

"Mr. Hotchner. This is the fourth visit in the past two months, and each previous visit was nothing but simple viruses or growing pains."

"I know I just-"

"If it was anyone else," The Doctor continued as if Aaron hadn't interrupted, "I'd say it was a case of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy." Aaron waited in anxious silence. The last thing he needed was Child Protective Services banging on his door. "But in this case I think the problem's something else." The Doctor paused, then continued in a more gentle tone. "It's been a little less than a year since your wife died." Aaron looked at the ground. "And from what I hear you almost lost your son. I think that the stress of being a single parent who often works away from home, what you see every day, and your natural worry for your son has made you paranoid about every little illness. Jack has a cold. Admittedly, it's lasting longer than most but there's nothing else wrong with him. Besides that, he's as healthy as a horse."

"I'm sorry," Aaron replied, "I guess I just got worried."

The Doctor nodded. "I understand that. But it's not necessary to bring Jack in so often. If the cold doesn't go away in another week or so, come back to see me but in the future I suggest consulting with someone, maybe your sister-in-law before bringing Jack in. We don't want him going through unnecessary doctor visits."

"Of course. I'm sorry to waste your time." Hotch nodded.

"Not at all." At this moment the door opened and Jack came back in, sucking a red lollipop.

"Hi, Daddy, guess what?"

"What, Buddy?" Aaron bent down to scoop Jack up.

"I gots a lollipop and Nurse Jackie gaves me a bouncy balley!"

"Wow, that's really cool!"

"Do I just has a cold?" Jack asked with an impish grin.

"Yeah, Buddy, you were right." Aaron messed up Jack's hair. "How about we go get McDonald's now?"

"Yay!" Jack squealed. Aaron thanked the Doctor one more time and then they left.