A/N: Here's my story for the Christmas Gift Exchange on CCOAC for the lovely Thn0715. Her prompts for Hotch/Rossi were: 'Ornament' by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a decorated city park, fresh snowfall, and a chalet in the woods. I managed to write in all of them (in case of the song prompt, it might feel a bit forced though ;)). And yes, this is slash! Not too explicit, though.
The story will be three chapters.
Hope you like it, Thn! I literally squeed when I saw that I'd be writing your story :)! Have a wonderful Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone else, too! Enjoy reading!
Disclaimer: The usual...
Happy With Me
Chapter 1: A Decorated City Park
It was the 21st of December and Aaron Hotchner's team was once again out of town for a case. They had been called to New York City this time, when two young boys, five and six years old, were found murdered in Central Park within 10 days of each other. Victimology and the way the bodies were posed post mortem made it clear that the police were looking for the same killer.
The team was barely set up in the precinct when the call came that a third boy had been found dead, not too far from where the other two boys had been discovered.
While the others stayed back interviewing the victims' families and friends, Hotch and Rossi accompanied the lead detective to the crime scene.
"God, he can't be more than five years old," the detective said, looking down at the small body. "Who does that?
Hotch took one glance at the dead boy and quickly turned away again. He was used to seeing the most horrific crimes, they all were, but this he could barely stand. Crimes against children were always the worst, but those boys...
Hotch didn't even want to think about it. Yet, he couldn't get the image out of his head, the image that replaced this little boy laying on the icy ground with his son Jack.
He ran a cold hand through his hair as he tried to regain his composure.
The gently inquiring voice of his best friend came promptly, just like his warm, comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Did you see his eyes and his hair?" Hotch whispered.
"No victim has ever resembled Jack that much," Hotch went on.
"Do you need a break, Aaron?" Dave wanted to know, studying Hotch's face closely.
Hotch shook his head.
"No, it's okay. Just give me a second."
He took a deep breath and they proceeded to do their work. Thankfully, the crime scene investigators were quickly done processing the body and covered it up. Hotch wasn't sure if he were able to stomach seeing the boy's big brown eyes and light brown hair for much longer.
"Come on, Aaron, let's take a walk," Dave suggested once they were done as well.
"Dave, we have to go back to the others," Hotch tried to protest.
"They can wait for half an hour," Dave brushed his objection away.
He told the detective to go ahead, they would be following soon, and gently tucked on Hotch's arm to lead him away from the crime scene.
Walking along a small path and over a little bridge, they didn't have to go far to feel like they entered a whole different world. Nothing would suggest that a horrible crime had taken place just around the corner in the very same park.
"Look around," Dave prompted, seeing Hotch ignoring everything around him in his usual stoic demeanor.
"Just do it, Aaron."
Hotch's eyes followed Dave's gestures and he couldn't stop his lips from twitching into something that almost resembled a smile. Jack would love this.
A thin layer of snow covered the grass, the trees and the bushes, and with the thousands of little white lamps from the light strings that were fixed to the plants everywhere, the place looked like a perfect winter wonderland.
"I know we're here to do our job and catch a killer, Aaron," Dave said. "But you might want to remember this for Jack."
"Jack loves Christmas decorations. Especially outside."
"Wasn't that the main reason you moved from your apartment into a house?" Dave grinned.
"Apparently, if you ask Jack." A warm, genuine smile formed on his face, showing his dimples. "I spent 200 $ on decorations and light strings this year. And I even had someone trim the small tree between the house and the garage to look like Rudolph. You should see our front yard now."
"That's how it's supposed to be, Aaron," Dave smirked.
Their eyes met, and Hotch nodded thankfully.
Once again, his best friend had found a way to make him feel better. And not for the first time, Hotch felt himself drawn to him on a much deeper level. One day soon he would have to clear the confusion his emotions left in his head every time he so much as thought of the older man. And then he would have to find out about Dave's feelings.
For some reason, he had an inkling that they weren't so much different from his.
"Come on, let's go back to the precinct," Dave said after they had stood and enjoyed the quiet winter scene in companionable silence for a few more minutes.
"The faster we solve this case, the faster we'll be home."