Disclaimer: Not Mine
A/N – Happy Easter Monday. I planned to have this up for Easter but just ran out of time. All mistakes are my own.
"Momma, momma, momma, hurry up!"
JJ could hear the excited chants from her son as she exited her bedroom. "What are you doing little man? Did you find your Easter basket?" She could see that something had her boy overstimulated.
"Momma I helped hided your Easser present. Me and Jack and Hotch played the Easser Bunny. Go find it!" He placed his chubby little hands on her behind to get her moving.
"I'm too old for presents from the Easter Bunny." JJ said, she noticed that Hotch was studiously avoiding eye contact while Jack had a grin big enough to split his face.
"It wasn't the real Easter Bunny, JJ. Daddy played pretend. Me and Henry helped him hide it now you have to find it!"
JJ looked down at their grinning faces and turned to Hotch. "Why didn't I know that we were exchanging presents on Easter morning?" She asked a little perturbed at being caught empty handed.
He finally glanced over at her. "Don't worry, we can consider last night my present." He remarked with a wink.
JJ was about to reply when Henry started tugging her arm. "Momma you better find your present for it gets loose." She whipped her head back towards Hotch.
"Is that my phone?" Hotch hightailed it out of the room before she could question Henry's comment.
She turned back to the boys. "Don't you want to find your baskets?" She questioned again only to be met with resistance. "Okay, I guess we need to find what the Easter Bunny brought me." She smiled down at the happy boys. "Where do you think I should look?"
"Not in the family room!" Henry yelled causing Jack to groan and Hotch to chuckle. He stood at the entrance to the kitchen with a camera in his hand.
Her eyes narrowed. "What's the camera for?"
"I promised Sean and Will that I would send them pictures of Easter morning." He grinned cheekily at her. "I'm just keeping my promise." He told her even as he snapped a picture.
She raised a brow but didn't say anything. "I guess we should start looking in the living room." She reached for a hand from both boys and started towards the room. "Are you going to give me any clues?"
"Don't say nothing Henry, it's a trick!" Jack looked up at JJ. "You hafta find it all by yourself."
"Yeah, momma." Henry dropped her hand and raced back to Hotch. "I'm not gonna tell."
"That's my boy." Hotch scooped him up in his arms and settled him on his hip.
JJ pouted. "I'm not sure that I like all of you plotting against me." She turned to Jack. "Can we at least play hot and cold?"
He gave her a missing toothed smile. "You're very cold."
"I'm cold?" She asked as she walked over to the set of chairs by the fireplace then towards the book shelf as Henry and Jack continued singing a chorus of brrr's.
Having completed her inspection of the living room she walked towards the dining room. She walked around the table, looked on both sides of the china cabinet, and under the buffet. "What happens if I come across a basket filled with stuff for a little boy? Do I get to keep that too?"
At that comment Henry scampered down from his perch in Hotch's arms and raced towards her. "Did you find my basket?"
JJ leaned down and kissed his nose. "No, I was just wondering how I would know that what I found was mine."
"Quit trying to weasel the boys into giving you information and just look for your gift. You'll know it when you see it." Hotch scolded her.
"Someone's grumpy." She muttered under her breath when she heard an odd sound. She cocked her head. "What is that?"
Hotch kept his face blank. "We didn't hear anything, did we boys."
JJ's eyes narrowed as she heard the sound again. Jack covered his mouth to hide a giggle and Henry was quick to emulate the move. "I know that you heard that." She moved quickly walking through the kitchen towards the family room.
"You're getting really warm." Jack advised, following rapidly behind her.
She paused at the front of the room, scanning it quickly and listening intently. The sound she had heard seconds earlier had ceased. She looked at the sofa; Jack's Gameboy sat unattended but other than that nothing. Hotch's chair was empty. She stepped further into the room, looking under the coffee table, then at the entertainment center before turning back to the sofa and the end tables beside it. She went to the left and bent down low to see if there was anything underneath. Then standing she made her way towards the other side.
"You're getting hot!" Jack announced.
The boys' excitement level had ricocheted through the roof at this point. She saw the basket and saw the soft fur and groaned internally. She turned and looked at her partner pointedly.
"The boys picked her out." Hotch warned softly, wanting to make sure she didn't say the wrong thing.
JJ gritted her teeth. "Aaron." His name came out on a moan.
"I know what you're thinking." He moved closer to where she stood staring transfixed down at the basket and placed a hand on the small of her back.
"Oh I doubt it." She warned.
"Momma do you see the puppy?" Henry asked pulling on her arm. "You need to pick her up."
"Yeah, JJ, you need to hold her." Jack agreed. "Her ears are so soft and she's real tiny she fits right in my hands and Uncle Dave said she wouldn't get bigger than fifty pounds."
"Fifteen buddy." Hotch corrected when JJ's eyes went wide. "She'll be small I promise."
"Uncle Dave, huh? That explains a lot." She mumbled as she shot an aggravated look towards Hotch. "I don't know guys she looks like she's pretty sleepy. We should probably just let her sleep while your dad and I go into the kitchen to talk."
"But you haven't checked out your whole basket, momma!" Henry told her.
"There's more?" Her face showed her fear. "Please tell me there is nothing else alive in that basket."
Jack shook his head. "Sit down JJ and I'll bring her to you."
"Yeah momma, sit!" Henry parroted as he continued to dance around her legs.
"I'm not sure…"
Hotch laid his hand on her shoulder. "Why don't you sit down, Jay?"
"Why don't you keep your opinion to yourself? I'm still trying to figure out a way to take back your gift from last night." She growled as she dropped cross legged to the floor. How in the world was she supposed to say no to an animal that her boys were already so enamored with she thought with a heavy sigh?
"Can I get her now daddy?" Jack asked, his eyes shining brightly.
"Okay. Henry, why don't you sit down beside your mom like we talked about okay?" Hotch winked down at the smaller boy.
JJ watched as Jack lifted the basket out from its resting place and sat it down before reaching in and gently picking up the small dog. She tried to keep a smile on her face as he brought the animal closer.
"Hold your hands like this." Henry demonstrated to her how she should position her hands.
Jack loomed close. "You have to be real gentle because she's just a baby."
She did as instructed and held her hands out, not wanting to hurt the boy's feelings. The dog was watching her warily with big brown eyes, most likely sensing her reluctance. "She is pretty cute." JJ reluctantly admitted. She was a tiny little thing with a bow around her neck that was almost as big as she was.
"Do you like her bow, Momma?" Henry asked, bouncing on his knees beside her.
"Yeah, JJ," Jack said, dropping to his knees in front of her. "Daddy tied it special all by himself."
Obviously there was something about the bow. "Did he? Isn't he…" She twisted the bow and her mouth dropped in surprise, there tied to the decoration, was a diamond solitaire, "What?" Her head swung to where Hotch was bent down on one knee beside her. "What are you doing?" She sputtered out.
"The boys and I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to get you for Easter. It is technically our first official Easter as a family so we wanted it to be special. We wanted to do something to celebrate it. We decided that we needed to have a wedding." He told her with a wink.
"Did we?" JJ asked tearily.
Hotch shrugged. "We figured most families start with a wedding, and we are a family."
"That's why we got Daisy." Jack told her proudly. "Uncle Dave says every family needs a dog."
JJ shook her head she couldn't wait to get her hands on Uncle Dave. "Daisy?"
"Yeah, Aunt Penny helped us come up with that name, we liked Tulip too but we think she looks more like a Daisy. Don't we Henry?" Jack asked the younger boy.
JJ digested that bit of news. "So Penny was in on this too?"
"She comed up with some silly names, Momma." Henry told her.
Hotch smiled down at the boy that he loved every bit as much as his own son. "Hey buddy, do you want to tell mom why we decided to get a ring?"
"Because we're a family and we love each other." He answered as it if were the simplest thing in the world and maybe it was considering they had finally admitted their feeling for one another when Kevin and Pen got married. "Aunt Penny has a ring from Uncle Kevin and she told us it was because they loved each other. And Uncle Derek bought a ring for Aunt Emily..."
"What!" JJ's head whipped around to Hotch. "When did that happen?"
He cringed as he realized he probably should have filled her in on that tidbit. "Oh, it's been happening. They've been dating since your almost first wedding." He told her.
"You're kidding?" She asked incredulous at the news.
Hotch shook his head. "Derek hasn't been visiting London to go sight-seeing."
"Unbelievable." JJ muttered indignantly. "How is it that my kids know stuff before I do?"
Hotch laughed. "Do you think we can get back to the business at hand instead of worrying about what you do and do not know? In case you haven't noticed I'm on my knee in front of you. Our children think we should get married because we love each other." He smiled as her eyes misted. "I've decided I like the idea. I know that I don't need a piece of paper to define our relationship but I want you to be my wife. I want Henry to be my stepson and Jack's brother. I want you to be Jack's stepmom."
"Me too." The just mentioned boy concurred.
"Me too!" Henry yelled, startling the puppy who responded by letting out a sharp yelp.
"Look mom, Daisy wants it too." Jack giggled as he reached out to pet the puppy.
Hotch's breath caught at Jack's easy slip of the tongue and he watched as a lone tear slid down JJ's cheek.
"You sad Momma?" Henry questioned, wiping at her cheek and looking to Hotch in obvious confusion.
JJ smiled and shook her head. "No, no baby, I'm not sad. I don't think I could possibly be happier." She held Daisy back out for Jack to take then with shaking hands removed the bow. Turning to Hotch she held the ribbon upright and let the ring slide down into his waiting palm then held her left hand forward.
"Marry me, let's be a family."
Hotch moved to stand behind her as she watched the boys from the sliding glass door. He couldn't help the grin that split his face as he watched the boys' race around the back yard with the little dog.
"You ready to explain to me why we needed a dog to complete our family?" JJ asked.
Not answering the question Hotch just stated. "Look how happy your boys are."
"Quit stalling." JJ grumbled, well used to his tactics.
Hotch wrapped his arms around her waist. "I just want them to have a normal, happy, safe childhood."
JJ leaned back into him. "I want that too. But I think I need you to explain to me how having a dog accomplishes that?"
Hotch took a deep breath. "I applied for the Section Chief's position." Strauss was still on her way up the ladder with her sights set on the Director's position. Hotch preferred to stay close to the team and organization he still strongly believed in.
JJ broke out of his hold to turn and face him, needing to see his expression. "You're ready to give up travel to all the exotic locals you get to visit?" She questioned jokingly. They might get to fly on a fancy plane but most of their trips were to less than desirable places.
He gave her a crooked smile. "I figure that I might still get to visit a few places if necessary but there is no place in the world I'd rather be than right here." He chuckled as an exhausted Henry flopped down on the grass. "Besides, I have two boys that like to play soccer and need a coach, a dog that needs walked, and a hot, very soon to be wife to go to bed with every night. I don't want to miss any of it. I don't want to wake up in ten years and realize that I don't know my teenage boys and they don't want anything to do with me."
JJ lifted up on her toes and placed a soft kiss on his mouth. "That will never happen."
"You're right. I'm not going to let it." He reached for the door handle. "Are you coming?"
JJ looked out skeptically. "You know I'm not really a dog person."
Hotch reached for her hand, clasping the smaller one in his. "Don't be silly, she's a sweetheart. Do you know that dogs add value to your life? It's said owning a dog can increase your life by up to ten years."
She raised a brow. "Is that right?"
"Yep, and kids with dogs have a better immune system." He told her opening the door.
"Huh." She wondered how many facts he memorized in an attempt to win her over.
"And it helps teach them responsibility."
"Whew, that was one that I was worried about." JJ remarked with an eye roll.
"It also helps with self-esteem and loneliness. There are all kind of benefits for owning a pet." He informed her smugly.
"You're about to step in one of those benefits," She told him with a grin.
He quickly stepped to the side. "Fine. I was never allowed to have a dog growing up. I know that I should have talked to you about it before I did it, but they asked and I just couldn't say no." He finally confessed.
JJ pursed her lips in an attempt to hide her smile. She had expected something along those lines. "So what I'm hearing is you're a pushover."
"When it comes to you and the boys? Guilty as charged." He replied honestly.
JJ laughed. "Well, I guess it's a good thing they didn't ask for a pony."
Thanks for reading! While it is true that I love beagles I have never met a dog that I didn't like.