Author's Note: A new Girl universe! But it's actually a whole new world so it's not getting an alpha assignment. It's not spinning off of anything. It's starting two years BEFORE Girl did. I'll explain at the end how this verse came to be and where it's going in the future.
If you don't know the Girl'verse, doesn't matter, you don't need to know anything to read this. I just bring it up so you'll be aware that the Girl'verse is kind of become an entity unto itself in my little writing world. It was built as much off of real canon as much was possible when I began posting back in '08, but with the way the show teaspoons out personal life info (and occasionally contradicts itself), some background items changed along the way. Like Emily's whole Interpol history didn't exist for years so that doesn't exist in this world. Basically as it goes with the life factoids, just please go with what you read :)
Things to know for this AU: We're in the way back machine. It is May 1993, and by Girl Canon (which still holds for most points), Hotch is turning 30 in this tale. This whole story came about from this "Aaron's 30th birthday" prompt, and real canon fairly well establishes that date as May 5th. That was the Mexico episode early in the series. Here he is still pre-FBI, married to Haley and working at the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Emily is 22 here, single and she's home for the week before finals begin.
Enter Hotch, or Aaron. He'd still be Aaron back in '93. And going so far back, this Aaron would not be not so heavy hearted or serious as in later days.
Twitter: ffsienna27 – For story announcements, etc. If the alerts, (or the site), are down, this is a backup to find out what's going on for postings. There's also some random randomness that is my brain.
Tumblr: sienna27 – More randomness.
Bonus Challenge #35
Show: The Big Party Plan Off
Title Challenge: Aaron's 30th Birthday
Prompt Set #23 (October)
Show: The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd
Title Challenge: Here's Why You Should Never Wear High Heels to the Bank
Girl Meets Boy In A Bank
Aaron stopped for a moment in front of the revolving door of the bank. There he took a second to slip off his much needed sunglasses . . . the day was ridiculously bright and sunny, blindingly so . . . and tuck them into the front pocket of his dress shirt. Then he took a breath and quickly stepped into the rotating frame that was going by just in front of him.
A second later he found himself inside the cavernous space that was the Bank of America situated in what was essentially the middle of Lafayette Park. Though the bank was a few . . . all right, six . . . blocks out of his way, Aaron always preferred to go to this branch rather than the ones closer to his office over at the DOJ.
This one was surrounded by Secret Service guard posts.
And Aaron was of the mindset that . . . for that fairly obvious reason . . . statistically it was probably the safest bank in the city.
He hoped so anyway.
Today especially. Because today . . . he slipped his hand into his pants pocket to pull out his wallet . . . he had a rather sizable check to deposit.
Fifteen THOUSAND dollars!
That was a new one for him. But earlier that morning he'd received a birthday FedEx from his mother. At first the contents of the package had seemed fairly routine. The requisite . . . expected . . . 'HAPPY 30th' birthday card complete with multiple exclamation points (both on the cover and handwritten inside), a new Izod shirt in dark blue (his favorite color) and a container of his mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies (his favorite cookie).
That's all he was really expecting. After all he was a grown man, and in the Hotchner household birthdays had ceased to be a noteworthy occasion around the point where his father died. And then a year later his stepfather arrived.
From there on out there was little to celebrate.
But thirty was a big number so Aaron had known that his mom would be sending him something. Of course he was not expecting the 'something' to include the large white envelope that he found at the bottom of the shipping box.
The one containing the certified fifteen thousand dollar bank check.
At first he'd thought the envelope was a gift certificate of some kind . . . and then after he opened it, he'd thought it was just a joke of some kind.
But it wasn't.
That was apparent after he'd found the accompanying note from his mother. She explained that Grandpa Alfred had left him the money in his will . . . Grandpa Alfred had died when Aaron was seventeen . . . but with the caveat that it wasn't to be dispersed to him prior to his 30th birthday.
Though Aaron thought the age restriction was a tad bit odd . . . it's not like he'd been slacker pothead during his teen years, he'd obtained early admission to Harvard for Christ's sake . . . he was still of course incredibly grateful for the money. Not just on principle, but more specifically because Haley had been pestering him to buy a house.
Okay . . . he started walking over towards the table of deposit slips . . . perhaps 'pestering' wasn't a very kind word. But . . . his brow wrinkled slightly . . . it was an apt one. Over the last few months she'd just been getting less and less subtle about her dissatisfaction with their one bedroom apartment in Old Town. He personally had no problem with it, but he worked more than she did so he spent less time there.
Plus . . . he rolled his eyes slightly as he stopped at the deposit table . . . he was generally less fussy than she was.
Regardless though, they just were NOT in a position financially to start looking at houses yet. Not with District rent, two car payments and the amount of money he had to put towards his student loans every month. In the last four years he had barely socked away five grand in their savings account.
And half of that was going to be sucked dry if the transmission went on Haley's Mazda.
He was expecting that to happen any day now.
So granted at this rate of save and spend, they wouldn't be able to afford a home in a nice neighborhood until they were well into their 50s. And he wasn't really planning on making his wife wait quite THAT long for the white picket fence. But really he just wanted to keep the apartment in Alexandria for a bit longer. In another year or so he'd be running his fraud unit . . . that wasn't arrogance talking, he had the best conviction rate in the office . . . and then he'd be making management pay. That's when they could get the nice house. After he got his own office.
Right now he was sharing.
But this extra fifteen grand of essentially 'found' money . . . which was way better than finding a sawbuck in the street . . . would at least move up that house timetable by a couple of months.
Still though . . . he gave the crowd a quick once over as pulled out the check . . . it was probably best that he didn't tell Haley about it. She'd just want to spend it on something that they didn't need.
Like a vacation.
No. He'd just deposit the money today, and then write a big check to Sallie Mae tonight.
The money would be gone before Haley even knew it was there.
Yeah that was a little sneaky, but given that it was a birthday present, he didn't feel too badly about it. After all he wasn't feeling obligated to share his new GOLF SHIRT with Haley!
Oh Aaron . . . his conscience tsk'd . . . that was weak. Just admit to yourself that it's wrong to hide the money, but that you're going to do it anyway.
Just as that unwelcome thought popped into his head . . . it made him sound like kind of a heel . . . Aaron's concerns about the morality of lying to his wife suddenly came to a fortunate . . . grinding . . . halt.
Something . . . specifically, someone . . . had just caught his eye.
It was a gorgeous brunette.
She'd just stepped out of the revolving door. But it wasn't just the pretty face . . . he bit his lip . . . or the fabulous red dress she was wearing that had pushed thoughts of whether to tell Haley about the money from his brain. No, it more the collision course that the girl appeared to be on.
The one that was taking her right towards the 'wet floor' sign in the middle of the bank.
He gave her two more steps to notice the little yellow placard, but then he realized that she was too busy digging in her purse to even notice where she was going. And seeing the disaster about to unfold, he did his best to put a stop to it.
Just as she closed in on the patch of what was clearly a freshly waxed floor, he yelled out a, "MISS! WATCH OUT!" as he put his hand up and took a step towards her.
But it was too late.
Or maybe it was even his fault . . . which was so much worse . . . because her eyes shot up to his in surprise when he yelled.
And then she hit the deck.
Aaron shoved the check back into his pocket as he hurried over to where the girl had landed flat on her back. And though he wasn't the only person in the bank to rush over, he was the first one to reach her. And he tentatively reached out, gliding his hand just above her shoulder as he knelt down next to her.
"Miss," he asked worriedly as he leaned over to catch her eyes, "are you all right? Did you hit your head?"
At least her eyes were open . . . that was good. Though . . . his brow darkened . . . now she was rubbing her head.
That wasn't so good.
"Um, uh," Emily could feel the heat crawling up her face as she pressed down on the small egg forming, "just a little bump. But, I'm okay," she awkwardly pushed herself up to a sitting position. "I'm a professional . . ."
Her voice faded as her gaze suddenly locked with the dark . . . worried . . . eyes watching her.
". . . klutz."
She finished on a whisper.
Holy CRAP was this guy hot! So much so that it was actually impeding her ability to think rationally for a second.
Or perhaps that was the minor blow to the head.
Yeah . . . she winced slightly . . . that probably wasn't helping. And just as she opened her mouth to tell him . . . and the small crowd of looky loos that were gathering behind him . . . that she was fine and that they could all go on their merry way, she suddenly took note of the breeze blowing across her thighs.
Emily's knees snapped together with an embarrassingly audible slap of skin. And then she yanked her dress down from where it had flipped nearly up to her waist.
Well . . . her eyes fell shut as her hand came up to cover her face . . . that was a new one. Flashing a half dozen people in a crowded bank.
Good job Em!
And hearing a few snickers from some of the people standing around her, she knew that the flash had most definitely been a good one. Thank GOD she'd just bought new underwear! But seriously . . . her stomach started to twist as she heard somebody else laugh . . . she wanted to go crawl into a hole and die there.
But sadly death did not seem to be forthcoming.
Just as she was debating whether or not to turn tail and run . . . after she'd made an unladylike leap off the floor that is . . . Emily heard a terse voice coming from her side.
It spoke with authority.
"Okay ladies and gentleman, show's over. You can move along now."
And then Emily heard a few grumbles and some clicking of heels and squeaking of tennis shoes moving across the marble floor. Then the same voice came back again, this time the tone softened to just a whisper in her ear.
"Last Thursday I walked around with my fly unzipped for at least three hours."
At that, Emily opened her eyes. And a second later she brought her hand down to see a sympathetic smile on the face of the handsome Samaritan.
"Two of those hours were spent in Federal Appeals Court," he continued softly, "the Chief Justice finally interrupted my fairly impassioned argument about due process, to point at my crotch and drawl, "'son your barn door's open'."
Emily's lips immediately twitched right before a faint giggle slipped out.
She immediately clamped her hand over her mouth again.
"Sorry," she cleared her throat, "I didn't mean to laugh."
The man flashed her with a dimple.
"It's okay," he winked, "you were supposed to. I survived my public humiliation, and," Aaron put his hand out as he pushed back on his knees, "trust me, that was much worse than what had just happened to you."
Hopefully she would agree. Though granted, women did tend to take these things a bit more to heart than men did. Of course they also had a few more areas in need of cover up than men.
And those legs of hers definitely needed to be kept under lock and key! Not that he was looking mind you . . . he was a gentleman . . . but it had been kind of hard not to notice.
He was just relieved for her sake that she was wearing underwear!
For a moment Emily just stared into the soft brown eyes, feeling her stunning humiliation begin to fade slightly at the realization that this man had just offered up his own simply to make her feel better.
That was really very sweet.
And though she wasn't in the habit of trusting her gut when it came to men . . . her gut had let her down time and again in the in the past . . . in this instance she was pretty sure that the sweet wasn't just an act.
He seemed like a good guy.
So as he put his hand out to help her up, she gave him a shy smile as she reached out to accept the outstretched fingers.
Just as the words left her mouth . . . their fingers touched. The result was an unexpected spark of static electricity. It certainly wasn't the first time that had happened to Emily, but for some reason this time it took her slightly aback. And she could see from the faint look of surprise on the man's face . . . she wasn't the only one.
He brushed over it quickly though.
"I'm Aaron by the way," he said gallantly as he pushed himself up off the ground, pulling her along with him. "Aaron Hotchner."
Okay . . . Aaron chastised himself with a faint grinding of his teeth . . . that sounded a bit flirty. And he really wasn't flirting, he was just being friendly. That's all. Friendly.
That cute little giggle and the spark of electricity he'd just felt when they touched had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Nothing at all.
"Um Emily," Emily responded softly as the man let go of her hand and she smoothed down her skirt, "Emily Prentiss. Thank you for uh," she cleared her throat while watching him stoop down to pick up her bag, "helping me up off the floor."
Sadly, not the first time she had uttered these words. Though in her defense, at least the last time she'd been in a bar. And drunk.
Here, she was just an idiot who wasn't looking where she was going.
"Not a problem," Aaron waved his hand dismissively as he came back to his feet, "here you go," he handed over her bag as his brow darkened slightly. "And you're sure your head's okay, right? You don't need a doctor?"
Her pupils seemed clear, but what the hell did he know? Diagnosing brain trauma had not been one of the courses covered in law school.
"No," Emily shook her head with a faint smile, "I'm okay. Thanks. It's not the first time I've bumped my head."
And it wouldn't be the last she thought . . . though she kept that part to herself.
As she slipped her handbag back onto her shoulder, with her free hand, Emily self-consciously smoothed down her hair. Though as her ar fell back to her side, she realized it was a bit silly to worry about her appearance now. Did she really think that she was going to impress this man after just making a complete ASS out of herself in front of him?
Short answer . . . no.
He was just being nice to her because of that pathetic display. Obviously he would have no interest in going out with a Class A Klutz like herself.
That thought undercut whatever small amount of confidence Emily had left after the spill. And then she made matters even worse by just staring blankly at the man's . . . Aaron's . . . chest. She was trying to think of something else to say to him, but she was coming up completely blank.
Because really, there was NO reason at all for them to continue speaking. Clearly they'd both entered the bank to conduct their own . . . separate . . . business.
And now it was time for them to get back to that.
But wait though . . . a thought came to her . . . she wasn't the only one still standing there.
He was too.
So just maybe . . . her gaze slowly lifted from the light blue dress shirt and back up to the dark brown eyes . . . this ridiculously handsome, sweet man with his ridiculously adorable dimples might actually find her attractive too. Otherwise he would have walked away by now, right?
Seemed logical anyway.
So to try and break the ice that was forming . . . it was arriving in the shape of an awkward silence . . . Emily knew that she needed to say something else. Anything really! She ended up going with an explanation as to how she'd ended up on the floor.
"Um," with a nervous clearing of her throat, she pointed to her feet, "in case you're wondering, it wasn't just my innate lack of grace that contributed to my fall. I have these new heels and they're a little slippery."
God she wished she'd worn flats today. Because it was just SO her life that she'd go ass over teakettle in front of the cutest guy she'd seen in well, ever. After all she'd only spent twenty-two years on the planet.
In the big picture, that was no time at all.
Aaron's gaze automatically dropped down to where the girl . . . Emily, he made a mental note . . . was pointing. For a moment he stared down at the polished black heels . . . they were at least three inches tall . . . and then his eyes slowly moved up from her feet to her ankles to her calves.
With each new area of appraisal, his eyebrow rose up incrementally in appreciation.
Married man or not, the girl had some fabulous legs. But then . . . realizing he was maybe staring a bit too intently . . . again married(!), plus he didn't want to look like a creep . . . Aaron's eyes suddenly snapped back up to her face.
She was biting her lip.
"They're uh," he tipped his head slightly, "nice. Though I can see," his gaze shot down again to the wobbly heels and shiny floor beneath them, "how they might be a little slippery on waxed," he pointed to the yellow sign, "wet, marble floors."
Though he didn't know this person from Adam . . . and wasn't generally in the business of making chitchat with anyone period, let alone anyone he'd just met . . . for some reason Aaron felt like talking to this girl that he knew he probably shouldn't be talking too.
Haley wouldn't approve.
Wives didn't generally approve of their husbands chatting up pretty girls they meet in the bank. Especially ones that they met with their dresses flipped half up to their waist.
But for the second time that day, Aaron decided to disregard his wife's . . . more than likely . . . thoughts on the matter at hand.
Maybe it was because of the abject humiliation that this girl had just experienced. Or maybe it was because the nervous biting of her lip was hitting him right in the gut . . . he was married, not dead. Or maybe he was just a male chauvinist who liked to play hero to the occasional, 'nearly down for the count,' damsel.
He couldn't recall the last time that he'd helped a woman beyond holding open the door for her.
Whatever it was, he decided to keep talking to this very beautiful . . . still slightly flushed . . . girl for two more minutes.
What could go wrong with that?
A/N 2: For Girl'verse regulars, this world is spinning off two years BEFORE their established meeting at the Ambassador's house in Girl proper chapters one and two. In this Girl'verse, they meet at an earlier stage . . . and because of that, things went very differently in their lives. Consider this a complete AU of both show canon and Girl, but hopefully keeping all the elements of both that many people have come to enjoy :) I know I could have just written an AU alone, but I've written literally close to a MILLION words in the Girl'verse. That fictional world is as "real" to me as the canon one is, so I just wanted to play in there as opposed to out and out drawing up new characterizations. But you will notice some basic overlaps in their relationship from the other Girl'verse to this. Like Emily's klutziness and Hotch's chivalry, being the conduit to bringing them together. Also you see her self esteem issues (I see them being more pronounced at her age now) and Hotch's need to play hero . . . though he doesn't yet have a real outlet for that ;)
I've been so resisting writing this (the idea's been rolling for months) but you guys who read me regularly know how my postings go in spurts, (with sometimes long gaps) so it just seemed dumb to hold something back that was so insistent on being written. It's something to read, right? :)
I'm not going on a Haley Hating path, but I figure (trying to think like a guy) after a few yrs there are little things that your wife does that will get on your nerves. Even if they aren't BIG things, if you're just talking to yourself, you're going to be more honest about them than you would be if you were speaking to another. And I just see Haley as being an 'upwardly mobile' type house and home wise. If I'm married to a lawyer, why the hell am I living in a tiny apartment?
So aside from the straight up plot based opening here (they meet in a bank and then something happens) the concept of this world is that because of what happens to them here, what would have been a casual nothing encounter, becomes a bond that keeps them connected through the coming years. And that connection builds to a strong friendship . . . and then later more. So even though Hotch will be married for a while yet, he and Emily will (in this AU world) still get together. But because he is married now, and though he might be a bit flirty initially here, he's not going to cheat on Haley. It's not THAT much of an AU. But as time moves forward, the Aaron/Emily bond will strengthen even though he's married. Not an actual 'triangle' but something new. I just liked the idea of it. Hopefully you will too :)
2011 CM Awards: Voting Closes Wednesday!