A/N: Many, many thanks to everyone who nominated and then voted for my stories in the Profiler's Choice CM Awards! My story "The Boys of Fall" tied for best Rossi/Morgan! *happy dance*
Finally, this is the last chapter to this story. My original idea for this was a two- or a three-shot at most, but then the whole thing developed into so much more. And I still have ideas to continue it, which I will do with a couple of one-shots.
Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and for all of those wonderful reviews! I'm glad so many of you enjoyed this story!
Let Me Give You A Hand
Dave and Aaron jerked apart at the sudden intrusion.
"Jack!" Aaron exclaimed out of breath while Dave bit his lip, partly from the embarrassment of having been busted, partly to keep from grinning too obviously at the way Jack was standing there.
Glaring at them intensely, hands in his pockets, the younger Hotchner was the spitting image of his father.
"There's no doubt this is your son, Aaron," Dave couldn't stop himself from mumbling under his breath, barely able to hide his amusement.
"Why are you and Uncle Dave kissing, Dad?" Jack demanded to know.
"Well... you see...," Aaron started and shot Dave a helpless look. Jack's sudden appearance had made him speechless for a moment.
He took a deep breath and cleared his throat.
"Jack, buddy, why don't we sit back down in the living room and then Uncle Dave and I will answer all of your questions."
"Okay," Jack nodded.
As his eyes noticed the untouched sandwiches on the table, however, he scolded them in a tone that would make Dave's mother very proud. "You haven't eaten yet!"
As soon as the words were out, Dave couldn't hold back anymore. To his credit, he turned away as his body shook with laughter.
And even Aaron couldn't keep from chuckling.
Jack looked from his dad to his Uncle Dave, confused as to what was going on. First they were mad at each other and now they were making fun of him? He pouted and stood with his hands on his hips.
"Why are you laughing at me?"
"Buddy, we're not laughing at you," Aaron told him and scooped him up, hugging him tightly. "Come on, let's go over. Dave, will you bring the sandwiches, please?"
He pressed a kiss into Jack's hair and walked them into the den.
Dave followed with the plates and sat down on the edge of the table, facing Jack and Aaron who had taken a seat on the couch. Aaron could only pause the DVD that was still running, before Jack started to question him again.
"So, why were you and Uncle Dave kissing like you used to do with Mommy?"
"You remember me and your Mom kissing?" Aaron was surprised about that, since he and Haley had separated when Jack was only two years old.
Jack nodded, then thought for a moment and shook his head.
"No, I don't 'member," he said sadly. "But I have a picture of you and Mommy kissing in my photo album Aunt Jessie made for me for my birthday."
"Of course," Aaron said, remembering the picture he was talking about. He had given Jessica a selection of photographs of their family when she'd approached him with the idea of an album for Jack, and was very grateful for her thoughtful present that Jack kept like a treasure.
"You know, buddy, I kissed Uncle Dave, because I like him very much. Just like I liked you mom. It's what adults do when they care about each other."
"I know. Aunt Jessie and Uncle Pete are kissing, too. All the time," Jack replied, rolling his eyes.
He thought for another second before asking another question.
"Do you love Uncle Dave?"
Aaron looked to Dave and smiled before turning back to his son.
"I do. Very much," he answered truthfully.
"More than Mom?" Jack's voice was suddenly very small, as if he was afraid of the answer.
Aaron exchanged another glance with Dave, who gave him a reassuring nod that told him he would understand, no matter how he'd answer that question.
"Different," Aaron started to explain after a moment's contemplation. "Come here, buddy."
Pulling his boy into his laps, he made sure he had Jack's full attention before continuing with his explanation.
"Jack, I loved your mom very much. I still love her and nothing could ever make me stop loving her. You wanna know why?"
"Because she gave me you. Without her I wouldn't have you and that would make me really, really sad. Your mom was a very special person and I know we both will never forget that, right?"
"Right," Jack replied with a smile.
"But when you're grown up, you will find out that you can love more than one person."
"And you love Uncle Dave because he makes you happy, right?"
Aaron smiled widely at Jack and Dave.
Turning his head, Jack looked Dave straight in the eyes. "Do you love my dad, too, Uncle Dave?"
"Yes. I do. I love your dad just as much as he loves me," Dave answered. "And you know who else I love, too?"
Jack waited expectantly for his answer.
"You, champ." He stroked gently over Jack's light brown hair. "You and your dad make me happy like no one else does."
When he saw how Jack's and Aaron's faces lit up at his words, Dave knew he would never be able to let any of them go again.
"Really?" Jack asked, just to make sure.
"Absolutely positive, champ," he confirmed.
Jack reached out his hands to Dave, who readily accepted him in his arms.
"I love you, too, Uncle Dave," the boy told him sincerely, wrapping his arms around his neck.
Touched by his confession, Dave felt tears form in his eyes as he held Jack close for a little while.
"So, is it okay for you if I come visit you and your dad more often from now on?" He wanted to know when Jack released him again.
"Yeah!" He grinned excitedly. "Are we gonna come here again, too?"
"Of course. As often as you want."
"There's one more thing, buddy," Aaron then took over again.
This whole conversation had been going far better than he would have thought, and they could easily have stopped it for the time being, but he knew he'd promised Jack some answers about what had happened the previous night.
"What is it?"
"Well, we will have to set a new rule for when Uncle Dave is over."
"New rule?" Jack repeated skeptically, a slight frown appearing on his face.
"About our sleeping arrangements when Uncle Dave stays overnight."
"Do I have to give up my room?" Jack asked worried, his frown growing.
"No, of course not," Aaron quickly assured him. "Uncle Dave and I will share a room."
"Like last night?"
"Can I share a room with you, too, then?"
Aaron hesitated for a second. He was a bit worried that Jack would misunderstand what he was about to say and would feel excluded, so he knew he had to choose his next words carefully.
"You see, buddy, that's the new rule. Uncle Dave and I are going to want some privacy when we're sharing a bedroom."
"So you can do what you did last night, before I came to sleep with you?" Jack asked innocently.
Dave almost choked trying to stifle a laugh, blushing just as deeply as Aaron.
"Yes." Aaron tired to sound as calm as possible. "You know, sometimes grown ups want to spend some time alone together."
"To do what?" Jack questioned further.
"Well, to talk...things like that... things grown ups do," Aaron answered, struggling to find the right words that were appropriate for a five-year-old, while Dave only sat and snickered in amusement. He shot him a dark glare before turning back to Jack.
"But you weren't talking last night, Daddy! You were screamin'!" Jack declared.
Dave began to shake with quiet laughter.
"Yes, and I promise you that won't happen again," Aaron responded immediately.
Looking at his son, he hoped the boy didn't want to have any further details of what he and Dave were doing. Not that he would give him any.
"Look, buddy, all I'm asking you is that from now on, you always knock first, before you come into my room, okay?"
"You can always come and snuggle with me. That will never change," Aaron added.
"And with you, Uncle Dave?"
"And with me," Dave confirmed.
Before either of them could say anything else, Aaron's stomach indicated that it was time to finally get something to eat.
"Dad, Uncle Dave, you should really eat your sandwiches now!" Jack immediately reminded him.
"We will. Do you want one more?" Aaron offered.
When Jack shook his head, Dave asked.
"Have you thought about what you want to do this afternoon?"
"Can I finish watching 'The Lion King'?"
Glad that the talk with Jack had gone so well, and that Jack had so readily accepted Dave, Aaron would have agreed to almost anything Jack could have suggested.
"Sure, buddy. And after that? More soccer?"
"Yeah! I'm goin' to score lots of goals with all the extra training!" Jack called out in excitement.
They all settled back on the couch, Jack between his dad and Dave, and Aaron turned the film back on. Putting his arm behind Jack and Aaron on the backrest, Dave gently began to stroke through Aaron's hair.
They looked at each other and smiled, and both knew that from now on their new life together would be at least as colorful as the film currently playing on the big flat screen on the wall. Who would have thought that giving someone a quick hand in the middle of the night would turn out as something so wonderful?
~. The End .~