The family is one of nature's masterpieces." - George Santayana

It was before lunchtime on a Sunday, and the park had already been crowded when they'd arrived. Emily didn't mind, as she's quickly gotten to speaking to some other moms, while Addy and Nate went to play. It was a new park that her mother had suggested, a place many of her circle took their children. Emily had only bothered going, because it was actually within walking distance from their home.

The playground had a swing set, sandbox, teeter-totters (for big kids and the little ones), and climbing structure with slides, tunnels and whatever else. Addy had looked positively gleeful at the sight, but Nate had been more subdued. He had turned two barely a week ago, and was still very attached to his Mommy, Daddy, and Aunt Penelope, who babysat frequently.

Emily glanced toward where the kids were playing in the sandbox, and then tuned back into the conversation. She almost winced as the topic changed to politics.

She was almost thankful minutes later when she heard a soft cry followed quickly by an ear-drum shattering screech. The group of four mothers all turned immediately to the sound, which came from the sandbox. Emily took off toward it.

Addy had her arms around Nate, who was crying quietly, but with big tears sliding down his cheeks. Next to them, a little boy around Addy's age was screaming and crying on the ground. Addy was actually glaring at him. One of the other mothers quickly scooped the boy up.

Emily had a hand on each child, gently stroking Nate's face, when the other little boy spoke.

"Mommy, she punched me!" He was holding his head, crying hysterically, and pointing at Addy.

She looked at her four year-old pointedly. "Addy, is that true?" She nodded, but didn't speak. "Adelyn Morgan, we do not hurt other children, you know better than that!"

"But he was mean, Mommy!"

"It doesn't matter, you do not hit people. Ever. It's not nice. You have to say you're sorry. Now."

Addy screwed up her face. "But he pushed Nate first!"

"Chad, is that true?" The other mother asked her boy.

He was still crying, and nodded through his tears. His mother sighed. "You do not push other children, especially babies. Say you're sorry."

The boy continued to cry, so Emily nudged Addy. "You go first."

"I don't want to." She thrust her little arms over her chest.

Emily stared at her daughter with wide eyes. So strong-willed, and so young. She and Derek were in for one hellish ride. "Addy, why are you behaving like this? You always get along with other kids."

Suddenly, the four year-old let go of her brother, and threw her arms around Emily, who nearly lost her balance and fell back. "Addy? Sweetie, what happened?"

Addy pulled away, and there were no tears, but her eyes were reddening like she was fighting them. "He said that Nate isn't my brother, cause he's brown and I'm not. And, he said Daddy isn't my daddy if he's brown, and that mommies and daddies are supposed to be the same color. He said brown daddies always go away, and that brown kids are stupid. Is Daddy going away, Mommy?"

"No, of course he isn't, sweetie." She held Addy tight against her body, and looked over at the other mother. "I'm not sure where you're son picked that up, but you might want to have a talk with him."

The mother looked miffed. "He's allowed to have his opinions."

"Are you kidding? You're kid's a budding racist, and that doesn't trouble you?"

"And, yours solves problems with violence. Frankly, I think you have the bigger problem, and you know what they say about glass houses."

Emily bit her lip, and amassed a year's worth of patience. "Addy's never hit another kid before today. How many toddlers has your son pushed to the ground? Or perhaps I should rephrase, how many dark-skinned toddlers has your son pushed?"

Before the woman could answer, Emily scooped up Nate, grabbed Addy's hand, and headed back to where she'd parked the stroller. But not before Addy turned back to the boy, and yelled at him. "Nate isn't stupid!"

Emily tugged her along, ignoring the people in the park. She buckled Nate in, and snapped Addy into her cat backpack. The tail was a leash, which Emily had tied around the stroller. Last year, Addy had gotten into a habit of running off, and she and Derek couldn't take anymore of the inevitable panic attacks when the girl disappeared.

Without looking back, they headed straight out of the park, and back home.

Morgan was at the house getting ready for the barbeque they were hosting in the evening. It was part Nate's Birthday party, and part celebrating the last barbeque of the year with the team. He'd pulled hot dogs, hamburgers, shrimp and pineapple kabobs from the refrigerator in their basement to defrost. He'd also grabbed a bag of tater tots for the kids, and was still shucking the corn for the adults. The team was bringing side dishes, and some deserts, and they had an ice cream cake for Nate downstairs.

Domestic life had taken root quickly, and he hadn't really had the time to stop and notice since. What Derek Morgan did know, was that he was a very happy man who loved his family more than anything in the world. Six months ago, they'd put Clooney to sleep, and that was the first time he'd slowed down and really thought about his life. Clooney had been his roommate and pal for so many years, it had hurt like hell to let him go. Addy had cried and clung to Emily. She'd also had tears hanging in her eyes.

That had surprised him a little. He hadn't really expected there to be anyone else to cry over Clooney when he died. But then Addy had happened, and then…god, he still wasn't sure how to explain the trajectory of their relationship.

"Hey, hey!" He yelped, swatting the black cat off the counter. "Those aren't even cooked. Aren't cats supposed to be smart?"

Sergio looked at him, licked his chops, and then swished his tail. Morgan rolled his eyes. "You do not need a snack, glutton."

They'd decided to get a cat as a way to distract Addy from Clooney's loss. Nate didn't really get the old dog, but Addy had loved him. And Clooney had loved her too. He'd gotten into a habit of sleeping on her bed, at least until the end, when it was harder for him to get around, let alone jump on her bed. So, they got Sergio, because a cat would be easier than a dog, and Emily had just liked him.

She'd said he seemed smart. Morgan wasn't so sure about that.

His head bobbed up when the door opened, surprised to see Emily and the kids coming in the door. "Hey," he said. "That was kind of short…"

Emily looked pissed. Addy looked red-eyed. Even Nate looked unhappy.

"Alright, I'll bite. What happened?" He asked.

"Can you put Nate in the living room, and make sure the gate is closed?" She asked.

"Sure." He took his little boy, and bounced him gently to get a smile out of him. Emily was behind him with Addy, making for the attached dining room, as he set Nate by his toys. "Alright buddy, you hang out here a bit while I talk to Mommy."

"Go Mommy," Nate said.

"Yep, that's right. I'm going to talk to Mommy." Then Derek did just that. Emily had Addy on her lap, and the girl was being surprisingly clingy. "You want to fill me in?"

"Our daughter slugged a kid at the park today."

"You did what?" He demanded, looking at the four year-old.

"In her defense, the kid deserved it."

"Emily!" He admonished.

"He did, trust me." So Emily launched into a detailed account of their morning at the park. Morgan grew angry, but though not explosively so. He'd heard worse when he was a kid.

He sighed. "First thing. Adelyn Rose Morgan, you cannot hit other kids. I don't care what the reason is, you don't ever hit anyone. Do you understand me?"

She nodded, and continued to cling to Emily. "I'm sorry, Daddy."

"I know you are, I just need you to know that you can't do that."

"Daddy is right. If another kid if being mean to you or Nate, you need to come and tell Daddy, me, a teacher, or whatever adult is with you. Okay?"

"I promise."

"Good," he said. "Now, as to what that boy said. Kids can be really mean, but that doesn't mean what they say is true. Most mommies and daddies are the same color, but not all. You know Grandma Fran is white, and you've see pictures of Grandpa Joseph, and he's darker than me, right?"

Addy nodded.

"And, even though Grandma Fran is white, both your aunts and I are all dark-skinned, just like Nate is, even though Mommy is white."

"Why don't I have dark-skin?" She asked.

"Well, because you look like Mommy." And, she did too, more and more everyday.

"And Nate looks like Daddy," Emily added.

Addy looked thoughtful, and then turned to him. "And you aren't going away, Daddy?"

That made his chest hurt. He opened his arms, and waved his little girl over into his arms. Addy cuddled close to him, and Derek held her tight. "I'll never, ever leave you, Little Princess."

"I love you, Daddy."

"I love you too, angel." He kissed her and then sent her to play with Nate. He turned to Emily. "Well, this day is starting off well."

Morgan could feel the warmth of the sun against his head as he stood manning the grill, beer in one hand, spatula in the other. His backyard was filled with happy chatter and the squeals of young children. Five years ago, though it may have sounded nice, this scenario wasn't something he considered a possibility. Not when there were always killers to catch, rapists to chase down, and pedophiles to lock behind bars. Not when a very similar job had left him fatherless at ten, and his mother a grieving, struggling widow.

Some days worrying about that still got to him. He wanted to watch Nate graduate college, and walk Addy down the aisle at her wedding. Derek had walked Sarah down himself at her wedding three years ago, and he figured he'd do the same for Desi. He didn't want Nate to have to walk Addy, to have to be the man of the house way too young. He didn't want to leave Emily to care for the kids alone and cry herself to sleep, like his mother had done nearly every night for a year.

But looking at the three of them now, despite those risks, he wouldn't change anything.

"Make sure those burgers are cooked through, undercooked meat is responsible for 60% of food poisoning cases."

He turned to find Reid beside him, sipping a cocktail in a tumbler. "Thank you, genius."

"You're welcome," he said, smirking. Morgan rolled his eyes.

"So, this is where all the testosterone is." Rossi appeared, Hotch beside him, both carrying beers.

"It's a cookout, man. Where else would the guys be?"

"I half expected Prentiss to be grilling," Hotch said.

"Hey hey now, we may wear the pants equally, but I am still the man of the house." Morgan shot him a look and flipped a burger.

"I still can't believe how much Addy looks like Emily," Rossi, though now Grandpa Dave to the kids.

"Oh believe it. More everyday. And not just in the coloring and her face, she's tall and thin like her mama too."

Reid squinted and studied the little girl, who was running around with Jack and Henry. "Actually…how tall is she?"

Morgan raised his eyebrows. "41 inches last time we took her to the doctor."

"When was that?"

"Just after her birthday."

Reid scratched his chin, and Morgan exchanged looks with their amused colleagues. Then the genius spoke. "Assuming she grew a half an inch in the last month, Addy is only in the 83rd percentile for a girl her age, Emily is in the 92nd for an adult female. Addy could make that up by the time that she's an adult, but at the moment, she doesn't quite have her mother's build. Although…she probably does for weight. What's—"

"Oh, no. No, Reid. Emily hears you talking about her weight, and I'll be roasting our testicles on this grill." Derek Morgan was raised with ladies, and he knew his girl. You do not talk about a woman's weight unless you are a masochist.

Rossi chuckled. "The fact still remains, she looks like her mother. You'll have your hands full, Derek."

He nodded. "Yeah, tell me about it. Beautiful and curvy, that's what she's going to be."

"I think about high school, and I'm grateful Jack is a boy." Hotch shook his head.

"Oh don't worry. I've got that taken care of."

Rossi cocked his head nervously. "What did you do? You didn't pre-order a chastity belt or something did you?"

"Of course not. I just went down to the local Sports Authority, and picked myself up a brand new, 34 inch, maple Louisville Slugger." He'd stashed it in the attic the day he'd realized just how much his little girl looked like Emily.

Reid frowned. "What are you going to do with a baseball bat?"

Morgan looked over his sunglasses at the younger man. "Any teenage boy puts his penis anywhere near my daughter, and I will make sure he becomes intimately acquainted with my brand new Slugger."

Hotch smiled and Rossi chuckled. The older man looked at the Unit Chief. "Keep your law license active, you may be providing a criminal defense in ten years."

"Ten? If it's only ten years, you better believe that kid is ending up in the hospital." He knew kids were having sex younger and younger, but not his, certainly not a 14.

"Like I said, keep it active." Rossi smirked.

"Grateful I have a boy," Hotch repeated.

Emily appeared then. "Hey guys. Derek, how's the food coming?"

"Burgers and hot dogs are done. We can start the kids eating, while I finish up with the shrimp kabobs."

"Okay good, Nate is starting to whine, and I'm starting to sympathize with your mother."

"I was a growing boy. No matter what my sisters tell you."

"Of course you were, dear," she teased, pecking him on the cheek. She turned to Hotch. "Can you help me with these plates?"

He nodded and helped her carry the food toward the tables.

Morgan turned to Rossi. "Can you check the cooler for me, see if we need to put more drinks in it?"

"Sure, beer and juice inside?" Morgan nodded. Emily was adamant about not giving the kids soda. When they went out, sure, but never at the house.

"Reid, you want to try and get your Goddaughter to eat?" Addy was the exact opposite of her brother. While he gobbled food like he hadn't seen it in days, Addy was always too busy with something to sit long enough to finish a full meal.

"What makes you think I can get her to eat?"

"Well, Em, Rossi and I have all failed. I figure you're worth a shot, besides, she likes you." Emily had told her once that Uncle Spencer had saved both their lives, so now she had a special affection for her Godfather, her hero.

"I guess I can try…" Reid walked away then, face screwed up with uncertainty.

Morgan chuckled to himself. The kid had his work cut out for him.

Emily had fastened a bib around Nate's neck, hoping to protect his clothes as he ate. He had a habit of eating quickly and because of that, somewhat clumsily. She adored her son, but as easy as Addy had been, he was turning out to be that much harder. At the moment, he was shoveling a forkful of pasta salad in his mouth, while the other hand stood at the ready with a piece of hotdog.

Garcia chuckled. "Is there anything he doesn't like, Em?"

She thought about that. "Tofu. I gave it to him once, and he spit it out like it was poison."

"That's because it practically is poison." She looked up to find Derek with the shrimp kabobs and a cheeky grin.

Emily rolled her eyes, and looked at her son. "Yep, just like your Daddy."

Nate shoved another piece of hotdog in his mouth. He put away a lot of food, but it didn't show. He burnt it all off trying to keep up with Addy.

For the next several minutes they settled into a quiet hum as food was passed around, and the adults began eating. The four kids continued nibbling their food, oblivious to the action around them.

"Oh god, Emily, these shrimp kabobs are amazing." JJ said, holding up the kabob she was working on.

"Yes, they are. Even Jack likes them," Hotch nodded to his son.

"Oh, I didn't make them." Emily smiled.

The whole table turned to look at Derek.

"What?" He demanded. "My sister gave me the recipe."

"Is domestic life turning you into Martha Stewart?" Rossi asked, smirking so hard it must have hurt.

Derek sighed. "I have two kids to feed, and we share the cooking. When I run out of ideas, I call Sarah. The woman is an encyclopedia for food."

"He's right," Emily came to his rescue. "She has saved us many times."

"Well, pass this recipe onto me, Morgan." JJ had nearly finished her kabob.

Will smiled at her and drawled. "I see a lot of shrimp and pineapple in my future."

"If you prefer, I could feed you chicken nuggets or spaghetti and meatballs, like Henry." Will chuckled and kissed her on the cheek.

"Oh Morgan, I wanted to ask you," Rossi began. "I heard a rumor the other day about your unit doing regional trainings for local police departments?"

"Yeah, they're going to be sending us around the country to explain HSKs."

He used the abbreviation, as they'd gotten into the habit of doing around the children, and he used it unenthusiastically. That project would force him to be away for weeks at a time. Emily was stressed at just the thought of handling the kids by herself.

"Do they really need all of you? Can't they send your team without you?" Garcia asked.

"There's four of us, and we'll be traveling in pairs. So yeah, they need me," he said.

The tech turned to her then. "Then what happens if you get called out on a case?"

Emily sighed. "We're still trying to figure that out. I might ask Fran to come stay while he's away."

"Oh, bet she'd love that, seeing so much of her little grandbabies."

She nodded. That was part of the reason Emily was leaning toward the idea, that and it would mean she didn't have to stress about if they got a case or not. It still needed a bit of discussion though, and firm dates for when he'd be out of town.

"Reid, did she actually eat all of that?" Derek suddenly asked. Emily looked first to him, then to Reid and Addy. Her daughter's burger and sides were mostly gone, and she was gulping the last of her juice.

Reid nodded. "She seems to like everything."

"How did you do that?" Emily asked. The genius offered only a bewildered shrug. Emily glanced at Derek with raised eyebrows, before turning back to Reid and smiling. "You have a standing invite to dinner here. Anytime."

After dinner was cleaned up, and everything had died down a bit, Emily found herself being dragged away by Derek. Everyone else was occupied and didn't notice him leading her toward around the side of the house. Emily gave a little gasp when he pushed her up against the wood siding of their house, and pressed his mouth against hers in a breath-stealing kiss. She reciprocated, her tongue running over his bottom lip, and sliding between his lips. Derek tangled one hand up in her hair, and held her close with the other.

When he finally broke away, Emily offered him a dimpled grin. "Did we just sneak away to make out?"

He smiled back, charm oozing from every pore. "Not quite, though I won't say I didn't want to do that all day."

"How's that different from any other day?" Maybe it was because they hadn't been together long, but even with two kids, their libidos were healthy and active.

He pecked her on the lips. "I actually brought you over here for the peace and quiet. There's something I've been trying to do, trying to say for a couple months now."

"Oh, am I going to like it?"

"I sure hope so." He cleared his throat though, and she noticed how his blink rate suddenly increased and a thin sheen of sweat appeared on his forehead. Emily went to open her mouth to ask him what he was so nervous about, but found a fingertip pressed a against her lips.

"Let me get this out before you say anything, okay?" Emily nodded, and watched him swallow.

"Eight years ago you walked into my life. And one morning you spilled coffee all over yourself, and told me you were a nerd. I realized at that moment that I could fall in love with you." Her mouth opened slightly, but he shook his head. "And don't give me that "'I'm about to run for the hills' look, Emily. I said I could, I didn't say I did, so relax." He cleared his throat again. "Now, after I had that thought, I immediately squashed it. You were my partner, and honestly, I knew you could do a whole lot better than me. But then, a few years later something so amazing happened."

She raised her eyebrows, and he grinned. "You popped out our daughter on the jet. She was so tiny, and you were so scared, but you were both so beautiful. And, when I held her that first night in the NICU," he paused, and she'd swear she saw tears in his eyes. "I knew that I was meant to be her father. I don't know how, I just felt it." Derek inhaled. "And after that, those old feelings they started coming back, and it was harder to ignore them. I couldn't tell you when it happened, it might have even been before Addy was born, in fact, it probably was, but I fell in love with you. And, I'll tell you, I'm the luckiest bastard in the world, because you fell for me too. Then two years ago this past Wednesday, you gave me a son."

He stopped again, turning his head away, and this time she was sure he was blinking away tears. She was struggling to keep it together too.

Derek moved the arm he'd had around her waist, and when he looked back at her, there was a velvet box in his hand. He opened it to show her a diamond on a white gold band, flanked on either side by small sapphires. "Eight years ago, I knew I could fall in love with you, but I never imagined how happy I would be. If I had known, I'd have said to hell with it all, and swept you off your feet years ago. That's why today, I want to tell you that I want this forever. I want to everyday for the rest of my life to be spent with you. So Emily, will you marry me?"

Instead of trying to answer around the tears caught in her throat, Emily threw her arms around him, and held him tightly. She managed to whisper a choked "Yes," between breaths.

After she'd gotten herself together, she pulled away, and allowed him to slip the ring on her finger. He held her hands, and Emily smiled at him through the tears still in her eyes. "Do you remember that case we had in Kansas City several years ago, a bunch of homeless people went missing, it turned out that some guy had an H.H. Holmes inspired death house?"

He nodded, but his eyebrows were arched in confusion. "Yeah, that one was pretty sick."

Emily nodded. "We went out canvassing together, and ran into this old woman. She was dragging around a shopping cart, and smelled like she hadn't bathed in months. You told her to be careful." She smiled. "You said that God needs all of his beautiful ladies. That was the moment I realized I could fall in love with you. You are the kindest, sweetest guy I know, and you'll do just about anything to protect anyone, no matter who they are. And sometimes, that scares the hell out of me, because I'm afraid it's going to get you killed one day." She stopped and wiped tears from her eyes.

"But, that's so much of why I love you. You challenge me and you inspire me, and I never imagined the fulfillment I'd find in our life together, or the comfort I'd find being with you. I never had anyone to depend on growing up, and I spent most of my life that way, but with you, I can be in your arms and just breathe, and for that moment, everything will be okay. I never knew what 'safe' really meant until I met you, I'm not even sure I really knew what 'love' meant either. And, I can't even imagine saying 'yes' to anyone but you."

Derek captured her lips again, this kiss even more passionate than the first. His arms wound around her hips and upper back, and Emily had one arm around his shoulders and her opposite hand touching his face. She felt her back hit the house as he backed her into it, and couldn't find the will to care. His groin was pressed up against hers, and she could feel her body growing hot. She had the fleeting thought about yanking her pants down there and then, but they were fortunately interrupted by a chuckle.

They broke apart, and when Derek moved more toward her side, she saw Rossi standing there, smirking at them. "So this is where you two got off to. Snuck away to make out like a couple of teenagers?"

"Not quite," she said.

"That part was definitely fun though," Derek added. Emily rolled her eyes at him. He shrugged, and she met his eyes for a seconds-long silent conversation. Then she held up her left hand so Dave could see the ring.

His smirk turned to a wide smile, and he soon pulled Derek into a hug, patting his back, before moving onto Emily, hugging her tightly and kissing her cheek. Then he stepped back and looked at them happily. "Avere una famiglia significa avere qualcuno da amare, avere una casa significa avere un posto dove andare, averli entrambi è una benedizione."

Derek leaned close to her. "Uh, what did he say?"

"It's a proverb. Someone to love is family, somewhere to go is home, and both is a blessing."

They took it for what it was, part "congratulations" and "don't fuck it up", and intertwined their hands. Emily was only a tinge nervous. This was big, but it was right. They hadn't screwed up yet at least.

"We should get back," Rossi said. "People are looking for you guys. The birthday boy is starting to nod off on his favorite aunt's lap, we think it might be time for the cake."

"Right, we should do that." Then she turned to Derek. "You are responsible for keeping Garcia reigned in on wedding plans."

He gaped. "No one can keep that woman reigned in on anything, except maybe Hotch."

They shared a look, and a grin. Dave chuckled. "Poor Aaron."

Derek Morgan was feeling happy and a little lighter as he held his fiancé's hand when they rejoined the group. It took less than a minute for Garcia to see them, and spot the ring. Her eyes widened, and her mouth erupted in a squeal that jolted Nate awake with a startled cry.

He saw Emily and wiggled his arms. "Mommy! Mommy!"

She picked him up and kissed his head. Garcia was cringing. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare him, but oh my god! Is that why you guys disappeared?"

"Oh my god what?" JJ demanded. "What's going on?"

Garcia pointed to Emily's left hand, which was running over Nate's curly hair. Then she squealed again, though this one far more subdued.

JJ chuckled at Garcia, and moved from her spot leaning against Will to hug both her friends. "Congratulations, guys. And Derek, nice job with the ring. It's gorgeous."

He smiled. "Thank you."

After everyone offered their congratulations, the party became more subdued again as he and Garcia went to get the cake. He'd pulled it out of the freezer, and was removing it from the box when Garcia suddenly touched his arm. He set the cake on the counter and turned to her.

"God Derek, I'm so happy for you. I'm so happy that you and Emily found each other, and that you let yourself fall for her. I know it isn't easy for you to trust anyone, so I know what it means that you let someone into your heart." She paused and touched his face, her voice trembling with emotion. "You, my brave, strong knight, who will never admit to being the hero you are, I always knew you needed someone who could be the hero when you weren't feeling strong enough. I might be your solace, but Emily is your rock, she is your place to be vulnerable, and your port when the waters get too rough to sail. I think you guys were already sort of that before you got together, and it makes me so happy that you've finally gotten to this point." She wiped away tears and sobered up a bit, and smiled. "I know she'll take good care of my dark knight."

Derek smiled at her and took her hands. "Thank you, babygirl. That means a lot." He glanced behind him, satisfied that everyone was still busy. "Now, I'm going to tell you right now, the ceremony is going to be small—" He held a finger up when she went to speak. "Small, Garcia. But, I'm pretty sure I'm still going to need a Best Man. I was thinking of switching that to be a Best Woman though."

He watched her mouth open and eyes widen as she caught his meaning, and then her tears started again. She waved her hands at her face, as if that would stop the tears. "Oh, of course, I will!"

He barely stayed upright as she leapt at him, and hugged him. Derek chuckled to himself, and patted her back. "I think we better be getting this cake out there before it melts."

"Oh right, of course. Let me get the candles set up." She pulled away and stuck two candles on the cake, lighting them with a kitchen lighter.

Derek carried it out, and put it in front of where Emily was sitting holding Nate. He looked wide-eyed at the flames, and when he reached a hand out, Emily quickly pulled it back.

"No fire, Nate." She helped him to stand on her legs. "Okay, you need to blow out your candles now. Like this." She imitated blowing.

Nate watched his mother with a blank face, but then turned to the cake, and offered a blow heavily laced with spit. The candles were still lit.

"Nice," Kevin said, who was standing with his arms around Garcia. "Spit cake."

Morgan chuckled, while Emily winced. She spoke to Nate. "How about Mommy helps you? Is that okay?"

His little head went up and down, so Emily leaned forward and blew out the two candles. Everyone clapped, and Emily handed him the knife.

"Cake," Nate said. "Want cake."

"Yeah Buddy, this is your cake, so you get the first piece." He cut his son a slice that was reasonable for a two year-old, and handed it to Emily with a spoon.

She had Nate sit down again, and then held the plate for him, while giving him the spoon. Morgan had gone back to cutting when he heard her sigh. "Oh, Nate…"

The team all started laughing, and he turned to see Nate had dove into his piece of cake with a hand, and shoved a chunk messily into his mouth. He stuck his hand in his cake again, and stuffed it into his mouth, smearing chocolate all over his face.

Emily dropped the spoon back on the table, and shook her head with a laugh. Derek met her eyes, and grinned.

Everyone had gone home, the backyard and kitchen were cleaned, the kids were bathed and in bed, and Emily was so damn tired she could collapse right there and then. Derek came into the bedroom from their bathroom, walking stiffly.

"God, let's not do that again for a few months. Sometimes all this is harder than a case."

She nodded. "I would rather bust into the house of another delusional, cannibalistic serial killer than try to get Nate in a bath, or Addy out of one."

Derek chuckled. "Yeah, but this is more fun."

"True." She smiled.

He came around to where she was sitting on the bed, putting lotion on her arms, sat beside her, and wrapped his arms around her. "You know coming up in a couple weeks, we've got another important date."

She frowned, and tried to think. "I'm at a loss, unless we've got a third kid no one told me about."

He laughed. "No, two is plenty. Two Saturdays from now, four years ago, you asked me to officially adopt our daughter."

"Huh, I guess so." She leaned into him.

"That was the first commitment I made to our family. You and Addy."


"Yeah you. We can kid ourselves about it, Em, but there was more between us than Addy even then. I think we were the only who didn't see it."

She sighed. "We were figuring things out the best we could."

"We were, and I think we did pretty well at that. I have no regrets, and I can't imagine I ever will."

She tilted her head and kissed him. "Neither do I. We probably could have done things more easily, though."

Derek laughed. "Yeah, definitely. I overheard some cadet talking the other day about the woman who went into labor on the BAU jet. He said the story had to be complete bullshit."

"Pssh, shows what he knows."

He kissed her head. "I want to do something special that Saturday. A new tradition, maybe."

Emily looked at him. "You have something in mind?"

"I was thinking a nice dinner, but I don't imagine that will work with a two year-old and a four year-old in tow. Maybe, we can take the kids to a zoo or museum?"

She thought about that. "Or…we could take the kids out during the day, and then leave them with their Auntie Penelope, while we go to a nice dinner. They'd be in bed by the time we got home."

Derek smiled and swallowed, as she rubbed his thigh suggestively. "Hmm, that sounds like a very good plan."

She kissed him softly on the lips, and all the heat from earlier rekindled like it had never been put out. Within minutes, she was straddling him as he lay on the bed, working the button out of his jeans. Derek's hands were underneath her shirt, slowly traveling the expanse of her back. When his fingers hit her bra, he let out a frustrated sigh.

"You're wearing one of those front closing ones again."

Emily stopped working on his pants, and quickly unhooked her bra. "I don't know why they annoy you so much."

"They trip up my moves."

She chuckled. "I already know all your moves."

His eyes twinkled at the challenge. "Oh, you think so do you?"

Suddenly, they were rolling and she was pinned beneath him. He wiggled his pants off, and then tugged hers down, as his lips found her neck. She inhaled sharply, and his lips moved only long enough to get his shirt over his head. He kissed over her throat and collarbone, hands running over her legs, fingertips barely brushing the fabric of her panties. She was soaking wet already.

When her top and bra were out of the way, his lips moved to her breasts, and her back arched into his touch. She was already breathing heavily, and not to be outdone, reached a hand into his boxers. His breath in was sharp, and his movements over her froze. Her fingers gently teased his tip, and ran along his shaft.

"God woman," he muttered.

She smiled and kissed him, continuing her ministrations until his fingers slipped into her panties. Her body tensed and flushed with heat as he stroked her, and she set her hand to go to work again, but this time a bit faster. It was only minutes until they reached their limit, and underwear came off. She gasped as he slid inside her, and wrapped her legs around his back, linking her ankles.

Hands on his back and shoulders, she rocked with his rhythm and kiss his mouth as they built intensity. He quickened his pace, and she made hers match, breaking the kiss to breathe. Emily pulled him close, and flicked her tongue over his collarbone. He moaned. His pace grew even faster, pushing her body closer and closer, pushing his own body closer. His timing was always good, she hit her peak when he hit his, their bodies tensing with their climax.

They flopped together in a mess on the bed, his body partially covering hers. After a few minutes of catching their breath, he rolled off her, and she rolled onto him, curling up against him.

"I love you," she said.

He kissed her head. "I love you too."

Okay here it is, the last Addy story. I'm happy, relieved and a bit sad all at the same time. I've been writing this series for almost two years, so it feels a bit odd to let it go. But, it's good. I can move on to write other things now. I really enjoyed taking this little journey with you all, and want to thank everyone who read, favorited or reviewed any of the stories in the series. Without that, it wouldn't have gotten this far. I hope this rather long epilogue didn't disappoint.

The Addy Series is officially complete.