Written for the CCOAC gift fic exchange for DreamerBuggy. Emily receives a gift that she doesn't want. She tries to just give it away, but Hotch isn't having any of that. Fluff.
Prompts – Hotch and Prentiss, sleigh ride, Christmas cookies, Santa, mistletoe.
From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other. – Emily Matthews
"A romantic sleigh ride? Really?"
Emily Prentiss rolled her eyes and dropped the small gift bag on her desk. She flopped into her chair and closed her eyes, trying to calm her nerves. Her anger was unneeded, but she couldn't help being mad at the reminder that she had no one to share a sleigh ride with. The gift was one that had been randomly placed on her desk, as is customary in the 'give a gift, get a gift' game every year in the FBI building. It could have been from one of her teammates, or someone she'd never even met twenty floors up. But all the same, it was perhaps the last thing she would have wanted. In an attempt to keep the frustrated tears from rising, she suddenly stood, an idea popping into her head. She gathered the tickets and the bag before proceeding up the catwalk.
Aaron Hotchner looked up from his desk, having to blink a few times before his eyes focused on Emily, who was standing in his doorway, dressed in a simple red blouse and black pants. He smiled briefly and waved her in.
"What can I do for you?"
"Are you doing anything on Christmas Eve?" she asked, fiddling with the small bag.
"Just spending time with Jack, why?" He raised a curious eyebrow at her.
"Well, I got this stupid sleigh ride for two, but I don't… I mean, I thought maybe you'd like to take Jack."
Emily knew that Hotch knew why she was offering it to him, and she dropped her eyes to the floor, embarrassed.
"What are you doing for Christmas, Emily?" he asked, rather than answering her.
"N-Nothing, sir. My parents are going to Bermuda, but I really don't want to go. It wouldn't be the first time so I'm used to it," she added when she noticed the sympathetic look on Hotch's face.
"May I see the tickets?" he asked, holding out his hand as if already knowing the answer. She nodded and pulled the tickets out before placing them in his hand. His eyebrows came together as he read, something that never failed to amuse Emily. "Oh, here, look. It says that any child under ten may accompany the two adults. Jack is only seven." Upon seeing the questioning look in her eyes, he continued. "I'd like Jack and me to go with you, Emily."
She stared at him, her mouth dropping open. "Yes, but Hotch, we…"
"No buts," he interrupted. "I know what it feels like to be alone, too, believe it or not. I'm aware of the fact you're used to it. I'm just not going to let that happen this year. So either you agree to spend Christmas Eve decorating and then going to a sleigh ride and coming back on Christmas Day, or I'm going to pair you with Reid for two months straight."
Emily gaped at him. "You wouldn't dare."
"And I will mention the fact that you have taken a severe interest in Star Wars, quantum physics, and Lord of the Rings."
She glared at him. "You're bluffing."
"Try me," he said seriously, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest.
"I hate you," Emily muttered, finally cracking, causing Hotch to chuckle. She sighed. "Let me guess, seven AM sharp?"
Hotch chuckled again. "Precisely."
Feeling like a child, she stomped out of his office, but couldn't help the smile that finally came to her face. She was glad to know she wouldn't be spending Christmas alone, but also a little weirded out that Hotch had been so adamant. Not to mention the fact that he wanted her to go on a romantic sleigh ride with him and Jack. Admittedly, she wasn't too surprised, as they had become quick friends in the weeks after Haley had died a few years ago. She had thought, for just a moment, that perhaps something more was there, but she had banished the idea every time it popped up. She did enjoy his company, and especially Jack's, but it would be too complicated. And she had only one indication that he might feel the same. It had been almost a year ago, but she remembered it like it was yesterday.
They had gone out Christmas shopping for Jack. They were in the mall and passed by a giant Christmas shop, so they decided to go in, as Hotch still needed a few more ornaments on the tree because he couldn't remember where he'd placed the ones that weren't sentimental. The woman in the shop stopped them just as they were walking in and pointed above their heads. They looked up to see mistletoe. Emily had mentally cursed herself for not noticing it. Hotch had turned to her, but Emily waved the woman off, saying that they worked together, and that it'd be too awkward. She'd done it for his sake, not for hers. Hotch grabbed her arm once they were out of earshot.
"Emily, you didn't have to do that. I would have kissed you," he said is a hushed tone.
"No, really, it's okay," she said with a laugh, although her stomach was suddenly taken over by butterflies. "No pity kisses for me, alright?"
She had caught a look in his eye that she had never seen before, but brushed it off and walked further into the store. Hotch trailed after her, but didn't speak up. He would have kissed her. He wanted to kiss her. But Emily was so unaware it was almost frightening. He wasn't sure if she was standing by their agreement to never profile each other or whether he just did a damn good job at keeping his feelings to himself. He had always found her attractive, but her support and friendship after Haley's death had meant the world to him. He'd developed deeper emotions for her, but didn't want to ruin their friendship or make things awkward between them. To him, her not kissing him beneath the mistletoe had told him all he needed to know.
A few days after Hotch's proposition, Emily found herself wide-awake by six on Christmas Eve. She also found herself smiling while she got ready, something she wasn't quite used to. She dressed in a red turtleneck and jeans, even finding her red flats that she rarely ever wore. Donning a pair of green earrings, she applied a small amount of makeup before heading over to Hotch and Jack's. She was greeted with sleepy smiles and a big hug from Jack, who refused to let go of her until Hotch spoke up. Emily shot him a look, picked up the boy in reindeer pajamas, and cuddled him on the couch for another half an hour while Hotch got the coffee going.
"Seems to remember me," Emily said with a laugh when Hotch finally joined them in the living room.
He handed her a steaming cup and took a seat on the chair rather than the other end of the couch, something that did not go unnoticed by Emily. "He asks about you a lot. Draws pictures of you, too."
"Does he really?" she asked. "I haven't been around in a few months, though."
Hotch shrugged. "You made an impact. I'm not surprised. You always loved on him more than anyone else. Case and point," he said, gesturing towards her.
"Everyone needs a good cuddle now and again," she replied defensively. "I think I enjoy it more than he does."
He smiled at her when Jack whined and snuggled closer to Emily. "Now he's just milking it," he said with a laugh. "Jack, didn't you want to show Miss Emily something?"
"No," he muttered."You have to save it for Christmas, Daddy."
"Oh, right, excuse me," he said with an eye roll. "We need to get dressed soon, Jack. Santa is only in town for a few hours."
At that, Jack perked up, but stayed on Emily's lap for another few minutes before groggily getting up and shuffling to his bedroom to get ready.
"That's what you sleep in?" Emily asked, pointedly looking at Hotch's dark green sweatshirt and blue jeans.
"What? No. I have a bad habit of saying 'we' instead of 'you'. It makes Jack feel like he's not the only one who has to get ready. He hates getting ready in the morning. You look nice, by the way."
Emily blushed slightly. "Thank you. You look nice, too."
It only took another half an hour before Jack was dressed, groomed, and ready to roll. They all piled into Hotch's SUV and sang Christmas carols the whole way to the mall, where they fought with an older van for a parking space near the front. Hotch won.
"I haven't been here since we came last year," Hotch admitted as he unbuckled Jack.
"Me either," she said, smiling a little at the memory of their shopping trip. Hotch returned the smile and set Jack on the ground.
Jack immediately grabbed Hotch's hand and stuck his other one out toward Emily. "Gotta hold hands in the parking lot," Jack reminded her.
"Oh, right, very good, Jack," she complimented before grabbing his little hand.
They walked around the mall for a while, peaking in random stores and listening as Jack rattled on about school and Christmas. Only once they were waiting for Santa did he let go of their hands, his excitement too much for him to remember to hang on. Emily tucked her lips into her mouth to keep from laughing, but couldn't help a wide smile when she realized Hotch was doing the same. They shared a knowing look and both turned away before they were consumed by laughter as Jack literally bounced up and down. Jack practically ran to Santa once it was his turn, and Santa laughed and lifted Jack into his lap. Hotch gently grabbed Emily's arm and directed her over to the area for parents, and they stood quietly as Jack asked for numerous things, all of which Hotch had already purchased and hidden in his closet.
"Crap," he mumbled. "I forgot to get Jack the Transformer he wanted."
"I can watch him if you want to run and get it and put it into the car," Emily replied, her eyes still glued to the chattering child, who looked like he was in Heaven.
"Are you sure?" Hotch asked.
Emily nodded, so Hotch quietly slipped away from the crowd in search of a toy store. Emily had to basically pull Jack away from Santa, but with the promise of a cinnamon pretzel and a lemonade slushie from his favorite place in the Food Court, Jack quickly let go. He waved bye to Santa, who winked and waved back, telling him to keep being a good boy. Emily told Jack that Hotch had to go to the bathroom, and probably got a little lost in the process, but Jack didn't seem to care as Emily handed over his treats. They sat in the Food Court for only twenty minutes before Hotch reappeared and they headed out for what Emily assumed was their next adventure.
Emily was surprised when Hotch returned to his apartment. "Cookies," Hotch explained.
"For Santa," Jack added. "We make them special on Christmas Eve so he leaves lots of presents. Santa said sugar cookies with icing were his favorite, so Dad and I have to make those ones. You can decorate some, too, Miss Emily."
Emily smiled but didn't say anything, rendered speechless by the boy's unfailing kindness. He's just like this father, she thought. Upon entering the apartment, the guys set to work. Hotch gathered the ingredients while Jack got the mixing bowl and the pans.
"Miss Emily, you can make some hot chocolate. Mommy used to do that."
Hotch paused halfway into opening the fridge. He looked from Jack to Emily, one of them rather calm, the other looking mortified. Thankfully, Emily snapped out of it once she saw Hotch's eyes widen slightly, silently telling her to speak because Jack didn't think he had said anything wrong.
"Sure, Jack, I can do that."
"But make sure you use milk, not water like Daddy. His is kind of gross," he informed her in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Hey," Hotch said, batting Jack in the arm.
Jack shrugged and giggled. "It's true, though."
"It is," Hotch conceded. "My hot chocolate tastes like mud."
The three of them laughed and got back to work. Emily carefully read the instructions on how to make hot chocolate, never having actually made it herself. She put the milk on the stove just as the guys started mixing all the ingredients together. She smiled and leaned against the counter to watch them. Hotch added as Jack stirred, both of them making faces at each other and laughing like two kids. Hotch glanced over at Emily, a lingering glow in his eyes from his son's latest silly face. She smiled back at him, thinking that she'd never seen him look better. He held her gaze until she looked away, the tender look in which he had been giving Jack not wavering as he continued to look at her. It confused her and she didn't like that.
Just as Hotch and Jack were putting the cookies into the oven, Emily announced the hot chocolate was ready. She topped each off with a handful of little marshmallows, adding a few extra to Jack's cup before putting it in the freezer as Hotch instructed. She worried the inside of her lip, an odd sense of nervousness taking up residence in her stomach. She wanted Jack to like her hot chocolate. She didn't want to disappoint him, especially after he had told her that his mother used to make it. In no way was she trying to portray a mothering role, but she didn't want it to taste like mud. She watched as Jack carefully took his mug out of the freezer and instantly asked Hotch to test the temperature. Once given the thumbs up, Jack eagerly took a sip. Emily felt like vomiting.
"Miss Emily!" Jack screeched. "This is perfect! Even better than Mom's!"
Without warning, Jack placed his mug on the counter and hugged her around the legs, giving her a good squeeze. She knelt down and gave him a proper hug. She kissed the side of his head and released him, telling him to go take his hot chocolate in the living room, where she and Hotch would soon join him. Hotch gave her a questioning look but didn't dispute what she said as Jack sauntered off. He quickly realized why.
"Emily?" he asked, taking a step closer to her, concern clear on his face.
She batted her hand at him. "I'm fine," she said tightly, wiping her eyes.
"You're crying," he pointed out. "Typically people who are fine don't cry."
"No, really, I'm alright." She sniffled. "It's just stupid."
Ignoring her gestures to keep him away, he closed the space between them and put his arms around her shoulders. She noticeably froze against him for a moment before relaxing into his embrace. He gently stroked her dark hair and closed his eyes, taking in the vanilla and spice smell that was uniquely Emily.
"Why are you crying? Is it because of what Jack said?" he asked quietly.
She nodded against his chest. "I'm just being a silly girl."
He chuckled. "Probably so. Even you are allowed a silly girl moment or two."
"He was just so excited, you know? I was so worried he'd hate my hot chocolate and tell me it tasted like yours."
"Maybe I should be the one crying," Hotch said seriously, even though a smile lit his face.
"Probably," Emily said with a laugh. She pulled away from him slowly, not ready to let him go, but the hug was lasting longer than what was appropriate between friends, which just confused her even more.
"We're going to have to put in The Santa Clause," Hotch said as he allowed her to move away. "It's his favorite movie. And then Elf after that."
Emily nodded. "I have never seen either."
Hotch gaped at her. "Don't tell Jack that, he'll feel the need to tell you the entirety of the movies before we watch them."
Hotch and Emily grabbed their own mugs of hot chocolate and joined Jack in the living room, who had already set up the DVD player with The Santa Clause ready to be played. Jack instructed Emily that she had to sit next to him, and Hotch next to her. Not wanting to argue, Emily took her seat in the middle of the couch and both Hotchner's settled to either side of her. Hotch draped a reindeer blanket across their legs and hit play. Emily was so engrossed in the movie she barely registered Hotch getting up to take the cookies out of the oven. Only once he sat back down, much closer to her than before, did she realized he had left at all. His hand was just beside hers, and she longed to slip her hand into his, to feel their fingers twining. She didn't pay much attention to the rest of the movie.
Between the movies, Jack announced that it was time to frost the cookies. Emily was the first off the couch, not liking how much she was reacting to Hotch sitting next to her. They set up the table with ten different tubes of frosting and Hotch put the shaped cookies in the middle of the table. Jack handed them out, saying each of them got four. Everyone quietly decorated their cookies, Hotch stopping occasionally to comment on how good Jack's cookies looked. Emily looked over and just saw blobs of different colors on the cookie in front of him. She complimented him also and he shot her a very pleased smile. After that, Emily looked over to see Hotch doing the same thing and she made sure not to put too much effort into her cookies.
After decorating, the three trooped back into the living room with more hot chocolate, made by Emily, of course. Hotch let the two settle back in beneath the blanket, tucking one side around Jack, who leaned heavily on Emily, obviously tired. He once again sat directly beside her, the whole of his side pressed against the whole of hers. She could feel a tension growing between them, thickening the air and making her unable to focus on the movie. Something needed to give, but Emily wasn't brave enough to say or do anything. Hotch, on the other hand, was much bolder.
"Do you mind?" he asked, nudging her upper arm with his. She shook her head, not really sure what he was asking, but not really caring, either. He heard her suck in a sharp breath as he slid his arm over her shoulders. He nearly retracted his arm, but she quickly grabbed his hand and pulled his arm around her tighter. He looked at her face to gage her reaction, but she was looking at the TV, a slight smile on her face as she settled against him. Jack groaned sleepily. Emily quickly put her arm around Jack and brushed his hair, silencing him back into a deep sleep.
"He likes you," Hotch whispered.
Emily cleared her throat. "The feeling is mutual."
Not another word was spoken as the movie continued on, Hotch's arm around Emily, and Emily's around a sleeping Jack. Towards the end of the movie, Emily's neck began to cramp and she moved down the couch a little, shifting beneath his arm until she could rest her cheek against his shoulder. This was more than okay by Hotch. He leaned his cheek against the top of her head, and they stayed that way through the rest of the movie and for at least another twenty minutes after the credits rolled. They were both afraid to move.
"The sleigh ride is in about an hour," Hotch said quietly. "We should probably get Jack ready."
Emily pulled away from Hotch for the second time that day. She didn't dare look at him, though. She was worried that he was just needing human contact and that she just happened to be there. She knew she was being ridiculous, and that wasn't the kind of person he was, but the alternative was much worse. It carried more consequences. If she were honest with herself, she was almost hoping it was the first option, just so she wouldn't have to go through the same thing she had last year – serious disappointment.
Hotch was also freaking out a little. He'd put himself out there in a nonverbal manner, and she had responded as he'd hoped she would. Yet somehow, it wasn't good enough. He had watched as she closed herself off again once they were off the couch, and she was very quiet the entire way to the sleigh ride in the park. Last year had been a disaster, and he wasn't about to let that happen again. He felt like the entire year was torture for him, but he refused to allow yet another year pass them by without at least some admission of feelings on his part, the consequences be damned. He resolved himself to telling her after Jack went to bed that evening just as they were pulling into the park for the sleigh ride.
Jack filled in their silences as they waited in line, chattering on about school and how excited he was to see if Santa paid any attention to him earlier. Hotch made a mental note to grab the action figure out of the back of his SUV before Jack woke up in the morning. Emily seemed to be distracted, he noticed, but didn't want to make her anymore uncomfortable by asking her what was wrong, especially in front of Jack. Little did he know, a storm raged inside both her heart and her mind. One telling her that she was being an idiot for not acting on her feelings toward Hotch, and the other screaming at her that he was her boss and nothing could ever come of it while they worked together. Her heart reminded her of the fact that the BAU was not the only place to work, but her brain than supplied her with the fact that she had fought tooth and nail to stay where she was.
Conflicted and lost in thought, neither Hotch nor Emily noticed what they were walking up to. It was a beautiful, white archway strung with Christmas lights and tinsel. It was the entranceway for a trail that the horse-drawn sleighs went down, all the trees decorated differently yet still meshing together to make perhaps the most gorgeous trail anyone had ever seen. But upon that archway was one thing that would change the game for them both. Hotch noticed it just a second too late.
"Mistletoe," he blurted out as a man dressed in a green and red suit stopped them for their tickets.
Emily looked up in slow motion and her mouth fell open. What was she supposed to do? Her heart began racing and she felt Jack's small hand pull out hers so he could take a closer look at the horses. Her brain went into overdrive and she knew she had to make a choice. She could either run from Hotch, claiming once again they were only teammates, and she knew he wouldn't pursue her again that night. But was that what she wanted? Did she want to just stay friends and always wonder what could have been had she just sucked up her worries and kissed him beneath the mistletoe? Or should she just keep up what they were doing and…
Hotch rendered her thoughtless when he grabbed her arm, spun her to him, cupped her jaw in his strong hands and planted his lips firmly against her. She gasped, giving him full access to her mouth, which he took advantage of without a second thought. His body nearly shook with nervousness, but his senses exploded as he finally tasted the inside of Emily's mouth, which was a mixture of hot chocolate and sugar cookies. She tasted like Christmas.
It only took her a second to respond, her hands reaching out and grasping his sides as she fully kissed him back. His hands raked into her hair and she barely contained a moan as he gently nipped her bottom lip. Tilting her head to the side, she kissed him as he was pulling back, not ready for his lips to be away from hers. She felt him smile and she couldn't help but smile back. He gave her another few gentle kisses before forcing her back, holding her face in place with the palms of his hands. She rested her forehead against his, trying to catch her breath.
"Daddy, Miss Emily, stop kissing and let's go! You can kiss on the sleigh!"
Emily and Hotch both laughed loudly, their nerves instantly easing at Jack's nonchalance. He ran back over to them and grabbed a hand from each of them and tugged them along as if nothing was amiss. He climbed in first, saying that Hotch had to sit next to Emily. If Hotch didn't know any better, he'd say that his son was playing matchmaker quite well. The sleigh was more of a horse-drawn carriage painted red to look like a sleigh, but it was a sleigh all the same to Jack, who babbled on as the gentleman guiding the horses took his perch in front of them. He told them there was a blanket tucked behind them, and Hotch instantly reached for it to cover the three of them.
In a move that rendered her speechless, Hotch boldly put his hand on Emily's thigh, leaving no room for question whether it was just an accidental touch or not. It was possessive and commanding, clearly informing her that he knew what he wanted. Emily took a moment before finally mustering up the courage and sliding her hand beneath his, palm up. She saw out of the corner of her eye that Hotch was watching her as he laced their fingers together tightly. Emily nearly jumped out of her skin when Jack grabbed her other hand.
"I'm kind of scared," Jack admitted quietly as the sleigh jerked to a start.
"It's okay, sweetie, just look at the lights."
"Why isn't Santa here?" he asked.
"Santa has lots to do tonight so he sent one of his friends to drive the sleigh," she explained to him, looking down and smiling to show that it really was okay.
Jack thought for a moment and relaxed against her before launching into a hundred questions about Santa to the driver, who turned out to be an extremely friendly man named Frank. Frank came up with a dozen different stories about Santa, the North Pole, and all the elves. While Hotch was focused on how happy his son seemed, Emily was going insane. Hotch kept brushing his thumb over hers, making her lose all coherent thought more times than she would like to admit. There was a heat emanating from him that warmed her on both the outside and the inside of her entire body. She was scared of what this might lead to, but every time he would smile at her, she would forget why she was worried in the first place. Thankfully, the sleigh ride was only about half an hour long, and Emily honestly couldn't remember anything but Hotch.
For not the first time, Jack took over whatever silence there would have been in the car back home, rambling on about Santa and his best friend Frank while clutching the stuffed reindeer Emily bought him at a little stand as they were leaving. She'd been surprised yet pleased when Hotch had helped her out of the sleigh, but did not release her hand. It was exciting yet somehow natural to walk between the Hotchner men. It was a feeling that Emily couldn't quite describe, but wasn't ready to let go of, either. Jack went to bed easily after only two stories; one from Hotch and one from Emily.
After being sure that he was asleep, Hotch and Emily went into Hotch's bedroom closet and grabbed the many wrapped presents to put under the tree from Santa. That was when the awkwardness seeped into the living room. Emily stood by the coffee table as Hotch entered the room after checking to make sure everything was put out. Hotch paused at the mouth of the hallway, not quite sure how to proceed.
"I should probably get going," Emily said, not meeting his eyes.
"Are you sure?" he asked quickly. "It's late. If you want to stay here, I can take the couch. Really."
"I'm not going to win this, am I?" she asked with a sigh. She knew she was right when he smiled. "Alright. But do you have some sweats I can borrow? These jeans are killing me."
"Yeah, of course, I'll go get changed and leave you a pair on the bed."
Before she could say anything else, he was already walking down the hallway. Well that's a change in demeanor, she thought morosely. She shook her head, realizing that she was probably being just as cold, if not colder. She was just so confused! How did they go from being normal friends to this? She felt like they were a couple for a few hours, and that was nice – really, really nice – but what would tomorrow bring? Would things just go back to normal again? Was this some kind of weird dream that she was going to wake up from? Whatever it was, Emily was going to follow Hotch's lead for the time being.
Emily worried the inside of her lip and waited for Hotch to come back. She didn't wait long. He returned wearing blue bottoms and a plain white cotton shirt and she had to forcibly keep her mouth from falling open. His hair was a little disheveled and it made him look more normal than Emily had ever seen him. She liked it. She liked it a whole lot.
"Sweats and a shirt are on the bed for you," he said, going to the closet and grabbing a pillow and another small blanket for himself.
"Thank you," she said before walking down the hall, wanting to put distance between herself and the man that had her stomach in knots. She undressed and slowly put on the clothes he'd laid out for her, wanting to draw out the time before the inevitable goodnight.
"Are you decent?"
Emily started, not expecting him to come to her. She quickly threw the shirt over her head and replied that she was. Hotch walked into the bedroom and smiled at her, tightening those knots in her stomach.
"Everything fit okay?"
She nodded. "Yeah, the pants have a drawstring on them, so everything is good, thanks."
"Are you sure about this, Hotch? I could take the couch. This is your apartment, after all."
"No, really, I don't mind. You're the guest. Unless…"
"Unless?" Emily prompted when he didn't continue.
"I wouldn't take the bed and make you take the couch, Emily. But if you would like company…"
He trailed off, leaving Emily no questions as to what exactly he meant. He was suggesting that they sleep together. In the same bed. Next to each other. What was going on?
Emily snapped, the events happening over the day finally coming to a head at his proposition. "Okay, Hotch… Aaron." His eyebrows shot up at the use of his first name. She noticed. "Aaron, what is this? I don't -"
"Can we not talk about this?" he asked, cutting her off. "Can we not think for a while, Emily?"
She considered this for a moment. "I'm just confused," she admitted quietly. "I don't like that."
"About how you feel?" he asked.
"No, about how you feel. I don't know what the meaning of all this is and I don't know how to take it."
"I don't know how you feel, either," he reminded her. "I don't want to have to dissect it right now, though."
"Aaron, listen," she started, but he cut her off again.
"No, Emily, stop. Look, if this is what you need, then here it is – I've had feelings for you deeper than friendship for a long time. I didn't want to screw up our working relationship or our close friendship, so I never spoke up or acted on it. I can't say I'm in love with you… Yet. But I have a feeling I'm getting there. I don't know what the future holds, or how we would make this work with our jobs but right now I don't particularly care. I don't want to discuss it, I don't want to figure everything out right now. I would just really like to hold you. But if that's not what you want, then I will go back to the couch and forget I ever said a thing. Nothing will change."
"I don't want that," she said after the longest few minutes.
"I understand," he said quietly. "I'll see you in the morning."
Emily stared at him in confusion, but quickly realized her mistake as he was turning around. She ran forward and grabbed his arm. He stood there for a moment before turning back and facing her, his emotions well hidden, even though his heart had broken a little with what she'd said.
"I meant that I didn't want you to leave," she whispered, hesitantly bringing her hand up to brush his hair from his forehead.
"Oh, thank God," he breathed. He didn't give her a chance to say anything else as he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. He briefly deepened the kiss, dipping his tongue into her hot mouth. She barely had time to reciprocate before he pulled back. She made a sound of discontent, which caused him to laugh. "One thing. I don't want this to be about sex. I want something real with you, Emily."
As much as she wanted to rip his clothes off, she nodded her agreement.
"I have a son and I'm not a man who does flings. If this is something you want, I'm in this for the long haul and I will do anything to make a real go of this. Are you alright with that?"
"I wouldn't want anything less," she replied without pause. She tilted her head up and was pleased when Hotch obliged her silent request. He kissed her slowly, his hands cupping her cheeks and his tongue sliding along hers in a way that left her dizzy. Her arms wound around his middle and to his back, where she gently ran her hands up and down his spine. He hummed in approval and slid his hands deep in her hair, brushing his fingers through her silky strands. She leaned against him, and he smiled against her lips, enjoying the weight of her. The kiss eventually ended in a very natural way, never reaching a point where one was forced to pull back from the other.
Hotch reluctantly took his hands from her hair and reached around to grab her hands. He silently led them to bed, gesturing for her to climb in after bringing back the dark blue covers. Emily's heart thumped in her chest as she settled beneath the blankets and sheets, the bed dipping when Hotch slipped in beside her. He turned off the light next to the bed, cloaking the room in complete darkness. Emily held her breath for a moment, unsure how to proceed. Hotch didn't miss a beat, though. He gently nudged her onto her side and scooted right up behind her. She sighed contently as his entire body formed to hers, his knees bending exactly the same way, not leaving an inch of air between them.
"This is nice," she sighed as one of his arms went beneath her pillow and the other wrapped around to her stomach.
"Very nice," he agreed, Emily grasping his arm and hugging it tightly to her chest, the feel of her full breasts not going unnoticed by Hotch. It took all of his willpower to not react, but he managed.
Emily reached over to the table on her side of the bed and turned her phone off, but not before noticing the time. She snuggled deeper into Hotch's embrace, her eyes suddenly begging to close.
"Goodnight, Aaron," she whispered, placing a small kiss on the palm of his hand.
Hotch smiled and closed his eyes, kissing the back of her head in return. "Goodnight, Emily."
Emily was just falling asleep when she heard the sound of light footsteps entering the bedroom.
"Daddy? Is Miss Emily still here?"
"Jack," Hotch whispered, "go back to bed, buddy."
"I want Miss Emily," Jack whined. "I heard some funny noises."
"What kind of noises?" Hotch asked, suddenly more alert.
"I don't know," he said, and Hotch assumed it wasn't anything other than his and Emily's voices. "Where's Miss Emily?"
"Right here, bud," he said, surprising Emily.
"Can I come sleep with you, Miss Emily?" Jack asked sleepily.
Emily felt Hotch sigh and nod behind her. "Of course, Jack. Come on up."
Jack stumbled up to the bed and Emily helped him up and settled him under the covers. He turned toward her and stole her arm that was resting against Hotch's. Jack snuggled up to Emily as much as possible and was out like a light.
"Bed hog," Hotch muttered, but Emily could hear the smile in his voice.
Closing her eyes, she could feel sleep beginning to overtake her again. "Thank you," she whispered with a yawn.
"For what?" he asked, yawning also.
"For what is already the best Christmas I've ever had."
Hotch hugged her tighter against him. "I could thank you for the same thing."
"Merry Christmas, Aaron."
"Merry Christmas, Emily."
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. – Burton Hillis
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