December 25, 2013

Aaron wakes way too early on Christmas morning. It's not that it's technically early, but with how late they'd been up the night before, his body is certainly telling him he could do with a few more hours. He has every intention of getting them, he thinks, and rolls over with every intention of snuggling up to his bedmate. Except, she's not there.

It puts him on edge. Given their discussion over the previous night's candlelight vigil, he can't help it. Sure, they'd walked out of Rossi's house obviously a little lighter than they'd entered, but honestly, he can't be sure about which way that positivity goes. And, more importantly, what that means for them.

So, he pulls himself from bed. If she's struggling, he doesn't want her to do it alone. Well, and he wants to spend as much time with her as he can. It doesn't take long to find her, of course. His apartment isn't particularly large and it's not like she would just walk out. Instead, she's curled up in the corner of his couch.


She jumps, tearing her eyes from the winter wonderland outside. "Aaron. You should be asleep."

"So should you," he replies. She'd done as much of the Santa-related last minute preparation as he had.

"I'm good."

She's not, and he just arches an eyebrow to let her know there's no way he believes her. He settles on the couch, close, but not touching. He doesn't know if she's welcome it, as independent as she is when she's dealing with her own issues. She doesn't curl immediately into his side, of course, but she does shift entirely to face him.

"When Clyde first told me he was giving me the forced month off, I wasn't entirely impressed." She rolls her eyes, but he knows it's at herself. She's never been good at taking time off.

"I mean, what the hell was I going to do? Then JJ and Garcia got involved, and well."

Well, indeed. JJ, Aaron knows, is hard to say 'no' to on her own, Garcia even harder, but both of them? He's smart enough to know it's a useless battle.

"Plus, I've missed you all. Dearly. London's not the same without you all."

Washington isn't the same without her either.

She reaches out then, grasping his hands. "And then there was you, and I couldn't say 'no', not after how long I'd waited. The distance didn't seem to matter to you, and neither did the idea of a test-"

He cuts her off because he has to, because he has to kiss her and because what else is he supposed to do? What other choice had he had when presented with the idea of having her? She'd been right in front of him, single and no longer her subordinate and while he doesn't generally believe in fate, he isn't an idiot.

She's moved closer by the time they separate, her leg pressing against his. "Aaron, I want to come home."

It takes him a moment to understand what she's saying, both because they both give their all to every physical expression of emotion and because it's a phrase that he absolutely had not anticipated.


Emily laughs a little, just quietly because Jack is still sleeping just down the hall. Her hand comes up to his cheek. "I want to come home."

Her face is soft, relaxed, but. "If this is about us-"

"No," she cuts him off. "This is about me."

And, true, she's not exactly in the habit of making these big decisions for anyone else.

"What about your job?"

She turns her cheek into the hand he can't help using to reach for her. "It's just a job."

"It's not," he answers, her hair tickling his fingertips. It's a gateway office, a prestigious job, with an extremely prestigious organization.

"It's just a job," she repeats. "A phenomenal job, but there are other options. Options here, that are not with the BAU or the Bureau." She smiles. "I took the time, I took the space. But Aaron, it's really time to come home."

"Emily." He takes her mouth, because he has to, because he has no other way of expressing the tumultuous emotions racing through him. "Sweetheart."

She laughs into the kiss, her fingers dancing across his jaw, his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Aaron."

His hand slides into his hair and he tugs as he topples backwards, yanking her with him and relishing the little surprised squeak she emits. His mind trips ahead of him, scenes of having her stateside forever, scenes of never having to let her go.

She wants to come home.

He couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift.

And there you have it folks!

I know it's short, but it's hard to balance that and not want to take away from the emotions and everything that goes with it.

Unlike other years, I will not even be proposing to write the next six days. Usually I do, but there are a few reasons for this. One, this is already three months late! Two, I never had any intention of actually writing Emily's return. It's too difficult for the given parameters and I don't think, even for a moment, that Emily would make the decision lightly. She'd take the time to ensure her return had everything she'd wanted. I don't think she'd just up and move back to the US, no matter how much she wanted to be with Hotch or her family.

I have the utmost adoration for those of you who stayed with me through this whole process. I know it's late and I'm sorry for all of the waiting between everything. It means so very much to me to have people who are so loyal that they read about Christmas long after the season's passed. I don't have words and unfortunately the best I can give you is my most sincere written thank you.

Lea… To you I owe the world. All of the poking and the prodding and the encouraging… I wouldn't have written this near as fast if it hadn't been for you. Gracias amiga. Love.