Author's Note: Okay, readers, I think (and that's a big word for me these days) that I'm back. I'm sorry if I've disappointed anyone with my lack of updates. Real life (deployments, children, my health, etc.) have taken a huge toll on me these days. But I'm going to make every effort to become more dependable.
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Again, thanks for bearing with me, my fanfic friends!
She was not sure if she had ever tasted this exact combination of flavors before - chicory, chocolate, and, if she wasn't mistaken, just the hint of mint. And if she also wasn't mistaken, she could taste just the slightest hint of whiskey.
"Mmmm," she hummed against warm lips as her eyes opened, slowly focusing on his handsome face. "I think I like waking up like that," she whispered, her body still tangled in the sheets as she stared up at him, his muscular chest bare, his shoulders strong with sinews pulling tightly. Scraping her nails through the hair on his chest, she smiled sleepily. "I could get used to it."
"I've definitely grown fond of seeing you in my bed," he smiled back, brushing his lips against hers again, the barest breath exchanged between them.
"Well," JJ grinned slyly, lifting her torso to slide against his, her naked breasts rubbing against him, "it's not exactly your bed, now is it? It's sort of rented by the night," she pointed out with a wink.
"Ah," he chided, tapping a forefinger against her pink lips, grinning as the tip of her tongue flicked against his fingertip, "but this time when we leave those doors, neither one of us have to feel ashamed, do we?"
That was true, JJ reminded herself happily as she sighed. No more secret interludes...no more subterfuge. Her relationship with Will had been on a downward spiral before she and the man beside her had ever began. In truth, hindsight had shown her that she'd entered into a life with Will for all the wrong reasons. At first, he'd been a welcome distraction from a man that she'd never thought she could have. Then, of course, Henry had been created and she'd stayed with the wrong man out of a sense of obligation and duty. Not exactly her smartest or proudest moments, but it was the truth.
The truth was, she'd never loved him. He'd been a diversion. And, then, a burden; his ardent demands that she change who she was...who she'd always been…hardening her heart against him. It was then that she knew that she'd never be what he wanted...and he certainly had never been the man she'd needed.
Haley Hotchner's death had been the catalyst that had changed everything. When Aaron had finally broken...his walls crumbling in the face of terrible tragedy… he'd reached for JJ. And she'd gone willingly into his arms.
She wasn't proud of the affair. Neither of them were. They were both principled people of character who had young children to raise, their examples closely watched and guarded.
But destiny had deigned that he was her soul mate. He'd owned her heart for years; every other man she'd been with paling in comparison to the reality that was Aaron Hotchner.
And Will had known it.
Oh, he'd been angry...citing her fall from grace as a betrayal of Biblical proportion. Right up until she'd informed him that she knew about the rookie cop he'd been seeing on the side for over a year.
She simply hadn't cared. Henry had been able to have his father...and she'd been able to sleep in her bed alone.
But when Aaron had reached for her in that nameless hotel all those months ago, nothing else had mattered. Nothing but them.
Slowly one stolen night on a case had evolved into a full scale affair. And each of them had been helpless to resist temptation. Especially her.
After years of lusting after the dark, broody man, having him in her arms, in her body...it was heaven. So heavenly, that four months after their liaisons began, she left Will.
She told him the truth. About everything she'd done...and when he'd threatened to fight her for her son, she informed him of everything she knew. He'd returned to New Orleans and his contact with Henry had been minimal at best. Which, all things considered, was probably easiest. Henry had adjusted to a new schedule...a new environment within a new home...and because she was now happy, he flourished.
She'd waited two months to tell Aaron that she and Will had ended their relationship, afraid that he'd see her decision as a push for something more...permanent. And in that time, she'd felt more dishonest than she ever had during the course of her actual affair. Because Aaron Hotchner mattered. His thoughts...his opinions...they counted. They counted in a way no other man's opinion ever had or would.
But her indecision and fears had been groundless. When she'd finally found the courage last night to bear her soul, instead of the anger she had expected, there'd been only elation.
"You left him?" Hotch had breathed, his eyes widening as he faced JJ across the king sized bed, his hands freezing on the buttons of his shirt.
"Actually, I threw him out," JJ had corrected, swallowing past the fear clogging her throat as she met his dark eyes.
"Did you tell him..."
"About us?" JJ had supplied. Nervously nodding, she admitted, "I did. But what I've never told you, Aaron, is that Will was cheating on me long before you and I ever...," she said, making a weak gesture toward the bed. "I didn't love him. I never loved him. Staying with him for Henry's sake...it was never going to work. He wanted me to be a different person. His demands that I change...knowing that he was betraying me...knowing that I didn't care...And then we happened. And I got lost. But I finally figured out what I wanted. And it wasn't him. It never was."
"You're sure?" Hotch had whispered.
"I've never been more positive of anything in my life," she had told him, her words clear and honest.
Hotch had licked his lips then, studying her closely. "You said you had figured out what you DID want. What was it?"
"Are you sure you're prepared to hear that answer, Aaron?" she'd asked him softly, her gaze falling to the generic comforter on the bed. She'd known the moment of truth was upon her then. That point where either she'd have everything she wanted or he'd balk and everything she'd had with him these last months would dissolve around her.
"I want to know, JJ," Aaron had replied, his voice equally soft in the still room.
"I knew I wanted to be with you. Only you. I didn't want to go out on cases and have you sneak into my room. I didn't want to meet you for a few stolen hours in whatever hotel we could book on short notice here in the city. I wanted the freedom to be with you without guilt or shame or..."
Aaron crossed the room so quickly, JJ barely saw him move, but she'd felt his very real finger press against her lips. And she'd certainly heard his next words clearly.
"Thank God," he had breathed before dropping his hand away and covering her lips in a violently passionate kiss.
"A-aron," she had panted against his lips, overwhelmed by his familiar scent, his strong arms encompassing her.
Resting his forehead against hers, he shook his head. "I'd hoped...maybe someday, it would be me. Only me. Every time you left me to go back to him...even though I knew there was nothing romantic happening between you, it killed me. Sharing you with him...even platonically, shredded me, JJ. But I couldn't push you. I couldn't risk losing you altogether. I loved you so much," he had whispered against her cheek.
"What?" she had almost whimpered, sagging against him.
"I love you," he'd repeated, frowning as he had stared down into her bright tear filled eyes. "You had to know I loved you, didn't you?"
"I...I'd hoped...prayed. But you never said the words."
"I never said the words because if I had, I wouldn't have been able to let you go back to him," he'd explained raggedly.
"Aaron," JJ had breathed, pressing her body against his. "I've always loved you. Always."
Shaken, Hotch could only stare back at her. Framing her face with shaking hands, he'd whispered, "So much wasted time. So much," he murmured between kisses, "So much."
"No more," JJ had soothed him, her fingers feathering through his silky hair as they'd fallen across the bed.
Clothing had dissolved and soon bare flesh was pressed against bare flesh. Hands clasped, he'd entered her, setting an almost frantic pace as they'd met each other with kiss after passionate kiss.
"Love you," he'd panted as he'd thrust into her welcoming body. "Love you!" he'd groaned as pleasure clawed its way up his spine.
"Yes!" she'd cried out, lifting her hips to receive each heavy stroke of his body, desperate to be as close to him as humanly possible. "Don't let go!" she'd begged, her nails digging into his hands as passion surged in one furious wave of love and desire, surrounding her from all sides and threatening to drown her within its depths.
"Never," he'd growled, his fingers tightening around hers as his own pinnacle seized him, rocking him to his core.
And as she'd heard his harsh groan, she knew that one word was his vow, sacred, solemn and true.
She'd believed his words last night, and staring into his dark contented eyes this morning as he pressed another flavored kiss to her lips, she was even more certain of it now.
Somewhere in the chaos that went with life, they'd found each other.
And neither of them was ever going to release the other again.
Dedicated To My Hero