Playground Rules

"Now remember to stay where I can see you. Don't talk to strangers, and make sure you play nice with the other kids. Understand?" Aaron Hotchner asked his five-year-old son.

Jack and Hotch were standing by the edge of the sandbox, as Hotch went over the playground rules with his son.

Jack nodded, glancing between his dad and the various play things on the playground.

"Jack, look at me and tell me, do you understand?" Hotch repeated firmly.

Jack looked at his dad. "Yes, Daddy."

Hotch smiled, "All right then, go play. I'll be sitting over here," he told him, pointing to a nearby bench, but as he turned back around, Jack was already across the playground. Hotch laughed. He then crossed to the wooden bench that sat in the shade of a tree. He sat down and pulled his book out of Jack's backpack that he had agreed to carry. Jack had insisted on bringing it to the park after he had loaded it full with toys.

"Just in case." he had told his dad.

Hotch began reading, glancing up to make sure Jack was still behaving every few minutes.

After a few minutes, he glanced up because he heard two children arguing, and one of them was his son. He stood and crossed the playground to where Jack was standing, with another little boy.

"I can too jump farrer than you!" Jack yelled.

"No, you can't. You're too scared to jump off the swings!" the other boy told Jack.

Jack shook his head. "Am not!"

"Jack." Hotch said sternly. Immediately gaining Jack's attention.

"Daddy, Jimmy says I can't jump farrer than him off the swings, but I can. I'm not scared." Jack whined.

"Well, that doesn't matter because you're not going to be jumping off the swings. It's too dangerous. Why don't you go play with something else?" Hotch suggested.

Jack sighed then turned and stomped away. Hotch just shook his head then returned to his bench and his book.

But he only made it through a few more pages before another commotion distracted him.

"My baby! He's gone! My baby's gone!"

Hotch jumped up and ran to where the screaming was coming from. The woman who had been screaming was in hysterics.

Hotch approached her and flashed his badge. "Ma'am, I'm with the FBI, can you tell me what happened?"

The woman nodded. Taking a few deep breaths so she could stop crying. "My son, Mikey, he was playing in sandbox. He's six. And I was watching him but then my business partner called and I had to run back to my car," she pointed to a van that was parked nearby, "and get the file we're working on. I was only gone for a minute and then I looked and he was gone."

Hotch nodded. "Well, let's check the park, he couldn't have gone far."

The woman nodded, and Hotch headed off to look. The other parents in the park began looking for the little boy as well.

Just then, Hotch thought of something. He ran over to the restrooms and entered the men's restroom. "Mikey?" he called.


Once Mikey and his mother were reunited Hotch walked back over to the sandbox where Jack was playing. And the first thing he heard was Jack's screaming.

"I'm dying! I'm dying!" Jack was screaming as he lay curled up on the ground clutching his leg.

Hotch ran over to his son and kneeled down next to him. "What happened?"Jack looked up at his dad with tears in his eyes. "I-I fell down off the swings," he answered slowly.

"Did you fall down? Or did you jump off the swings?" Hotch asked.

Jack whimpered. "I jumped." he answered honestly.

Hotch sighed and then looked at Jack's leg. Across his knee was a small scrape.

"Am I gonna die?" Jack asked.

Hotch shook his head. "You'll be fine. Why don't you come over here and we'll put a band-aid on it?"

Jack nodded and Hotch carried his son over to the bench where he had been sitting before. He opened the pouch on the back of Jack's backpack and pulled out a small first-aid kit.

He quickly cleaned off Jack's cut and put a band-aid on it.

"Now Jack," he began once he was done fixing Jack's leg. "I told you not to jump off the swings, didn't I?"

Jack nodded. "Yes, Daddy."

"And you did it anyway, and you got hurt. This is why you should always listen to me, I know what's best for you Jack. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Daddy. I'm sorry." he answered hugging his dad.

Hotch smiled. "I forgive you. I love you, Jack."

"I love you too, Daddy."