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You're Not Alone

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Nameless Faceless

Emily was in the office when she realised almost all the team had shown up for work that day. Everyone except Hotch that is. Where was their supervisor? He was always the first and the last in the office. In fact since his divorce he'd almost become a borderline workaholic.

She'd asked everyone if they knew where he was and no-one knew. The last they'd seen him he was leaving the office after they'd come home from that horrific case in Canada. Rossi stepped in to assign roles for the team members for the case JJ had come in with this morning. Emily was partnered with Spencer.

She turned to him and said, "You go ahead. I'll catch up with you later. I need to find Hotch. I'm worried about him. It's unlike him not to show up for work."

"Alright, I'm worried about him too but he won't like it if we all descend upon his door," he answered.

"Thanks Reid."

She shrugged on her coat and quickly went over to Hotch's apartment. She frantically hammered on his door but there was no answer. What was going on? Where was he? It really wasn't like him to disappear. She phoned his mobile and she could hear it ringing from the inside but there wasn't any sound or movement. Her heart tightened even more and she kicked the door down pulling her gun out of its holster.

She worked herself around the apartment until she saw a bullet hole in the wall and a large blood stain on the floor. She felt her chest tightening on her and inhaled and exhaled a deep breath trying to keep the tears back. She didn't k now for sure it was his blood but she had a feeling it was.

She rang the only person she knew could help find out where he was. She speed dialled Garcia knowing she couldn't worry the team. Anyway Penelope had the skills to track him down.

"Hello," she asked.

"Garcia, its Emily I'm at Hotch's place. There's blood on the floor and I don't know if it's his but he's missing," she answered trying to sound calm. "I need you to check all the local hospitals and get the CSI on the scene."

"Right on it."

"Oh and Penelope don't tell the rest of the team. I'll call Spencer as I'm meant to be joining him but we can't have them distracted."

"Sure thing, my amigo."

She ended the call and informed Spencer. He currently couldn't get out of the office due to a gunshot wound he'd suffered to his leg that morning. When she'd filled him in he sounded just as worried. She could understand. Hotch was a mentor to the youngest member of their team.

She stood there waiting for Garcia to call back with news of Hotch's whereabouts. The suspense was killing her. She prayed to God she would have a chance to let him know how much he meant to her how much she cared. She'd felt this way ever since New York ever since that fatal explosion which had killed Kate and affected Hotch's hearing.

Finally Garcia called back and Emily quickly answered frantically worried about her boss.

"I found something odd. A John Doe was dropped off at Saint Sebastian Hospital by one Agent Derek Morgan. It doesn't make any sense," she said.

Emily's heart leapt into her mouth as she realised just who had dropped Hotch off at the hospital. "The Reaper," she whispered. "George Foyet he took Morgan's credential when he attacked him."

"Oh my god!"

"Couldn't they tell you what's wrong with him? What happened?"

"They wouldn't tell me anything until someone identified him."

"I'm right on my way."

"Sweetheart, on a personal note, don't leave it too late to tell him how you feel." She hung up leaving Emily in confusion. How did their tech analyst know how she felt about their boss? Though they were close friends she'd never told a soul she loved Hotch. She'd kept it secret afraid a relationship could professionally ruin them. There was a strict rule in the Bureau about fraternisation and he was her boss. Both their jobs meant everything to them and she couldn't risk his job. He was the BAU. Still she couldn't keep it in any longer but she had no idea how he felt about her.

She rushed off to the hospital to find out what was going on with Hotch. How badly hurt was he? Could he die? What had the Reaper done to him?

When she arrived she headed to the reception and flashed her FBI badge. "I'm Agent Emily Prentiss of the FBI. We were informed that a John Doe was brought in here by someone posing as Agent Derek Morgan. We suspect he is our boss Agent Aaron Hotchner."

"Would you like to come and identify him as we need to put a name to his face?" the doctor asked coming up to her.

She nodded and followed the doctor to a private room. In there lay Hotch attached to a number of machines including a bag of blood. Her chest tightened as she saw her strong boss lying there so vulnerable.

She nodded, "Yes, he's my boss, Agent Hotchner. What happened?"

"We don't know but he came in with nine stab wounds to his chest which luckily missed all his main arteries and he'd lost a great deal of blood," he answered.

She could feel tears welling in her eyes at the thought he could have almost died but she couldn't show any of this weakness. She had to be the strong Agent Prentiss not the vulnerable Emily. She had to keep the walls up and not allow them to crumble. She had to be professional to the public.

"May I stay here?" she asked softly.

"Of course," he answered kindly.

She sat down beside him and held his hand stroking her thumb over his skin. She knew he was stabilised for the moment but she prayed she would see those beautiful dark eyes again. She didn't want him to awake alone. She knew though he'd never ask for it he would want a friend to be there when he woke up.

Rossi, Morgan and JJ soon showed up at the hospital. Garcia or Reid must have informed them. She went out to find them as she knew they had to set the wheels in motion to find Foyet. They couldn't allow him to get away with this and he was dangerous.

"He hasn't awoken yet," she said.

"Are we sure it was Foyet who brought him here?" Derek asked.

"Yes, there's footage of him entering with Hotch but there's no footage from the outside," Emily answered.

"Why would he drive him to the hospital? This isn't his style at all," JJ added.

"He likes dominance. He wanted to show that he had Hotch's life in his hands," Rossi answered.

"Agents, he's waking up. Just go easy on him," the doctor informed them.

They nodded and followed Emily into Hotch's private room. His eyes flickered open and he looked around trying to work out where he was. He then saw Emily's face peering down at him. God, she was beautiful! It was then he realised most of his team were here except Reid and Garcia.

"Where am I?" he asked.

"Foyet drove you to the hospital," Morgan told him.

"What did he take? The Reaper always takes."

"There was a page missing from your date planner. The address section. The Bs," Emily answered.

"What did he leave?"

Everyone looked at Emily who didn't remember seeing anything out of place. "I don't know. Nothing seemed to be out of place."

"Where are my clothes?"

Rossi pulled the bag out from the side of the bed and took out Hotch's bloodied shirt. Emily inhaled a breath seeing it. She didn't want to think about Hotch being in that kind of pain. She wanted to protect him as much as he wanted to protect his family.

He fell asleep again and JJ, Rossi and Morgan prepare to leave. JJ put her hand on Emily's shoulder.

"Stay with him," she said. "I know it will relieve you both if you do."

She left before Emily could reply. How did everyone know she had feelings for him? She knew exactly how. Damn profilers! Fear gripped her heart when she started wondering did he know. He was the best of the best! Did he know she was in love with him? Did he feel anything for her beyond friendships?

Suddenly the monitors started beeping and she pressed the panic button in sheer panic. She couldn't lose him! Life would be nothing without him.

Nurses ran in and shook him. "Agent Hotchner," she shouted then turned to Emily and said compassionately, "Get out of here." Emily left while his eyes started flickering open and then fully opened. They checked all his monitors then let Emily back in.

"You said they took the page of Bs from my address book," he said.

"Yes sir," she answered.

Oh how he hated her calling him sir! It reminded him that his love for her was forbidden. At the same time being reminded that that page had gone missing frightened the life out of him. Haley was down as Brooks in his date planner and if Foyet had that page he could get to her and most frightening of all his son, his beloved son.

"Haley! Jack! Emily, Haley is under Brooks in my date planner. Foyet could get to Jack! The Reaper could get to my son! They need to go into protective custody! They need to go into protective custody now!" he panicked.

She understood where his fear was coming from. His son was his life. He was his whole reason that he was doing his job. Something that Haley had never understood. Losing Jack completely would destroy him. She couldn't allow that to happen but she also couldn't allow Hotch to get himself worked up and in serious physical risk.

"Hotch, calm yourself. We'll get it sorted out. I'll call Rossi right away and get on it," she soothed then left to do just that.

When she came back she saw he was in distress again and she prayed they would be able to calm him. He needed to remain calm to recover and help them find Foyet. There was no doubt they would find Foyet and make him pay for his crimes.

"Hotch," she shouted.

"You have to stay back," a doctor told her.

"Aaron," she tried again.

Did she just call him Aaron? His eyes opened fully and though she couldn't believe she'd just called her boss by his name she was relieved it had snapped him out of it. The nurses left them alone.

"You just called me Aaron?" he asked in shock.

"Yes sir," she answered looking down.

"Did you call Rossi?"

"Yes, they're on it."

"Good," he sighed.

It relieved him to know something was being done for their protection but it pained him he wouldn't get to see his son until they had found Foyet and put him behind bars. Emily just wanted to tell him everything was going to be alright but she couldn't prevent him losing contact with his son for a while.

Later Haley arrived with Jack and the FBI agents that would be taking them to the safe house. Sam though was going to be the main bodyguard. She hadn't seen Haley since the Superbowl party at the bar and she'd never met Jack.

"Agent Prentiss," Haley said meeting her with angry but frightened eyes.

"Haley," she answered nervously. They'd never really known each other.

"How is he?"

"He's been stabbed but he's stabilised. He's most anxious about getting you and Jack into protective custody."

She nodded then asked, "Can you look after Jack while I speak to him?"

"Of course," she answered.

Haley went in to speak to Hotch while she tried to keep Jack occupied.

"You work with my daddy?" he asked.

"Yes, I do," she answered.

"Can you do something for me?"

"Anything."

"Look after him, Agent Prentiss. Look after him. I don't want him to get sad."

She smiled at him. It was obvious how much his father meant to him. Also it was clear he realised something bad was happening and he might not get to see his dad for a while.

Haley came back and out and said, "Jack, your daddy wants to see you."

"Okay mummy," he smiled and left for his mum. When he got to the door he turned and smiled at Emily. She smiled back.

She waited outside while they spoke to him. She knew just as much as Haley did that Hotch needed this. He had probably denied it thinking that it would make it hard for Jack but he needed to know he would be safe and with his mother.

When they left with their protection Jack turned and waved at her. Haley turned and headed to Emily. Jack hugged her and Haley said, "Thank you for looking after, Jack. Please look after Aaron."

"I will," she promised.

They left and she fell asleep in the waiting room waiting for Hotch to be discharged. There wasn't anywhere she was going to go until she knew he was completely alright. She didn't know how she was going to look after him but she had every intention to keep her promise to his family.

The next morning a nurse gently shook her. She woke up and saw a nurse so she sat up alert.

"Agent Prentiss, Agent Hotchner is awake and almost ready to be discharged," she said.

"Thank you," she smiled.

She got up and headed to his room. When she entered she saw he was sitting in a chair.

"You were here all night," he said.

"Yes sir," she answered. "I didn't want to go home until I was sure you were alright."

"I'm fine," he replied firmly. She was slightly disappointed he'd put the walls back up. She could see in his eyes he was haunted by what was happening but she knew he wouldn't let down that barrier until he had his son back.

She wanted to kill the Reaper for the pain he was putting Hotch through. First he'd stabbed him nine times. Now he was subjecting him to a pain worse than death. Knowing his son was out there and he couldn't see him was going to torture him. She was determined to find that bastard and make him pay for what he was doing to the man she loved.

He then looked back up at her. "You were at my apartment?" he asked.

"Yes sir," she answered.

"Could you see how he got in?"

"No," she answered at a loss. She wished she was able to but she really didn't. Everything looked untouched; nor breaking and entering anything.

They discharged him and she drove him back to his apartment so he could change into a clean pair of clothes for work. She didn't want to take him back to the scene of his attack but she had to so he could change. They would head straight to work afterwards.

When she arrived at his apartment complex she parked up and he got out.

"I'll be here when you come back out," she said.

"Thanks," he answered.

It was unspoken but she knew he needed some assurance that at least someone was there for him. That everything would be alright. That he wasn't alone.

He came out twenty minutes later changed into a clean suit and tie. It was clear he didn't want to spend too much time in his apartment after being stabbed there. He flashed her look of assurance and they were on their way.

When they got back to the headquarters they walked in and he was welcomed back by the team. They were briefed on the new case and set out on the jet.

Chapter Text

Haunted

When they came down to finally tracking down the UnSub it was clear he'd had trouble sleeping though it hadn't yet affected his way of thinking. They were outside the house that housed both the UnSub and his long term tormenter when she noticed him take off his vest and start walking into the house.

"Hotch," she called. "Hotch." What was going on? He hadn't told them he was going to do this. Emily had just been in the process of talking to the lieutenant into finding a way to get Darrin Call out without more deaths happening. They didn't need this. Sure he was their boss but was he being suicidal? She couldn't bear to think of her supervisor up against a gun with no protection.

"What the hell is he doing?" Morgan asked noticing as well.

"We have to trust him," Rossi answered trying to calm the two of them down.

Ten minutes later they heard gunshots and she tried to keep her composure but her chest tightened and she closed her eyes for a split second hoping hope against hope it wasn't Hotch who had been shot. He came out with Darrin Call handcuffed. She breathed a sigh of relief and restrained herself from running to him. Tommy ran to Darrin.

After they'd got Darrin into the police car Hotch joined his team. Rossi had taken Morgan aside to tell him not to question Hotch's decisions at the moment. It was clear Hotch wasn't doing well after Foyet's attack and they needed to let him get his head back into the game or they'd lose him. They had to support him. She knew her best friend was all up for supporting Hotch through this. They all were.

They climbed back into the SUVs and went to their hotel. There they collected all their GO bags and headed back to the jet. There they said their farewells to the local sheriff and loaded onto the jet.

They mostly fell asleep on the jet apart from Emily and Hotch. She looked at him take a picture out of his wallet and smile at it sadly. "I miss you already, buddy," he whispered.

"Hotch, I'm so sorry, but we will find Foyet. The bastard's going to pay," she answered.

He looked shocked and surprised that she was still awake as he thought no-one else was awake. Also she hardly ever swore.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to alarm you," she said gently.

"I thought everyone was asleep," he answered.

"Why aren't you asleep, Hotch? It looks like you've had trouble sleeping."

"How can I?" he answered. It was scary how quickly their relationship had moved. She'd quickly become his confidante.

"Nightmares."

He nodded.

"Want to talk about it?"

"Not really."

"We all get them in this job."

"These aren't like my usual ones. Not since they started including Jack."

"Hotch, we will find Foyet before anything happens. We won't let it," she said touching his hand. She wasn't going to let anyone give him more pain. She promised Jack and Haley. She only wanted to see him happy.

He knew the team wouldn't let him down but without Jack and Haley he just felt alone. He knew he didn't love her anymore like he had done all those years ago but they were still friends for Jack. He loved Emily now and even more than he ever had Haley but they couldn't be together. She was his subordinate and he her boss. It was forbidden in the FBI.

"You should get some sleep," he answered.

"We should get some sleep."

She stayed there trying to give him some sort of reassurance until she finally felt her eyes close. He watched her sleep and was grateful for her comfort. He knew she would always be there for him. She'd fallen asleep on his shoulder and he didn't want to move her as it actually relieved him a little reminded him someone did still care for him. Someone close by cared for him.

When they deplaned she drove him home. When they arrived back at his apartment he let them both in.

"You know we still left him all on his own," he said.

"He isn't on his own. He has Tommy." She hoped he understood she wasn't just talking about Darrin she was talking about Hotch. He'd never be alone. He always had them; they would always have his back.

She suddenly acted on her urges and kissed him full on the lips. When she realised what she was doing she pulled away apologising, "I'm so sorry, sir."

He couldn't believe it she'd kissed him. The woman he secretly loved had just kissed him and though she seemed embarrassed she didn't seem really all that sorry. In fact she seemed relieved and there was love in her eyes. Did she love him as much as he did her?

She looked shocked and frightened and was backing away from him. He wouldn't let her go not now that there might be a chance of a future. He grabbed her hands.

"Don't be." Don't be sorry did that mean he loved her too? She looked up in his eyes with hope and though she saw that now regular haunted look in his eyes there was love. Love for her? She sure hoped so. "You love me?" he asked.

She nodded a little nervous. It was his turn now. He claimed her lips for his own. This time the kiss was reciprocated. He loved her! She loved him! They loved each other!

No-one would get in the way of them. Not even Foyet. Foyet! He pulled back and she looked at him confused and hurt.

"Foyet," he explained but she still looked at him puzzled. "I can't let him get to you. I can't have you being a target too."

She took his hands and made him look into her eyes. "If we can hide it from the Bureau we can hide it from him. You need this, Aaron, and I'm not going to give up on you."

"I can't lose you."

"You won't lose me," she answered tracing her hand down the side of his face. "I'm trained to protect myself. No-one will have to know about us. Not until we're ready."

"Are you positive?"

"I'm positive. Who's better at hiding our emotions than we are? We have to for our jobs. We can't mix the professional with the personal. We're all good at that," she smiled at him.

He smiled back slightly. She knew he wouldn't smile fully until he had Jack back. She had every intention of reuniting father and son. She didn't want to replace Haley but she hoped that they would have a relationship. She hoped this was what they were entering. She definitely wanted him and he seemed to feel the same way.

"Stay," he asked her. "Stay the night."

"Sure," she smiled. "Anything you want, sir," she added undoing his tie and pulling it from around his neck.

He put his lips back to hers and they started kissing while she removed his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt. She then removed his shirt and he removed her jacket. He pulled back to remove her top. When he had done he finally saw his scars.

He looked down at them nervously. This was the first time anyone had seen them. It showed his vulnerable side. The side he hated showing to anyone.

She just kissed one of them which relaxed him. She then looked back up at him and kissed his neck.

"The bedroom," he sighed. "The bedroom."

She followed him in there and they finished removing each other's clothes and got into the bed.

The next morning she woke up in his bed and they were naked. She looked over to him and saw he was still asleep. Thank god, he was sleeping! She'd worried about his lack of sleep. He didn't need that while searching for Foyet and making sure he could see Jack again.

She stroked the side of his face reminding her this was real. That he was actually lying in bed next to her. He woke up and smiled at her. She was there! She was really there! He had something to live for though he hoped he would get Jack back. He knew he wouldn't stop until he did. Thankfully he wasn't alone anymore. He had his Emily.

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, too," he whispered back.

They had the day off since they got in late last night. She cuddled up into his arms. She just wanted to stay in here all day snuggled up to her boss. He didn't really want her to leave either.

"We'd better get up," he said. "Can't spend all day in bed."

She groaned, "Don't want to move. Don't want to leave."

"You can stay," he answered kissing her hair. "I'd like you to."

They shifted and he got up. "I'll just go make breakfast. Pancakes sound good?"

"Sounds great," she smiled up at him.

He went off to make the pancakes while she used his shower and changed into a pair of clean clothes out of her GO bag. She then went through to his kitchen and sat on the chair near the workplace.

"Hey," he smiled up at her then shifting his eyes back to the pancakes.

"Hey," she smiled back. "I hope you didn't mind me using your shower."

"Not at all."

He dished up the pancakes and put out a range of toppings realising he didn't really know much about her personally. He looked forward to finding out everything about her so did she about him.

She picked up the chocolate sauce and put it on the pancakes while he used maple syrup. They ate in silence but smiling at each other. She knew the haunted look in his eyes wouldn't leave though until he had his little boy back. She stroked his hand reminding him she would always be there. There was no way she would leave Aaron. Not now not ever.

"Thank you," he said.

"Anything," she smiled back slightly. "How do we deal with the Bureau?"

"Just keep our relationship outside of work. We're both good at compartmentalising."

"We can't do anything but try. I'm not giving up on you, Aaron."

He smiled slightly at her.

Chapter Text

The Reckoner

They'd been together for a couple of weeks now. She spent most of her nights at Hotch's apartment. She knew when he didn't sleep as he always slept when they were together. She was his calming influence. She wouldn't lose him to the chase but by God she would get Jack back. They'd managed to keep it out of the office.

He'd been called into Garcia's office this morning. It was Jack's birthday. She knew today was going to be hard for him as he always got to celebrate with him. He would be turning four. She wanted to wait for him outside the office but she knew she couldn't. She couldn't show anything more than he was her supervisor not her lover.

She waited in the bullpen doing her work until he came through. When he did she turned to him.

"Anything we need to know?" she asked.

"Nothing serious. It was a video of Jack." She smiled slightly at him. "They have to be moved to a safe house."

She was shocked. They had to be put into the witness protection programme. He was so young.

"Haley called her mother."

"I'm so sorry."

"As long as they're safe," he sighed.

"They will be and we will find Foyet. Don't give up hope." She whispered, "We'll be a family."

Did she just say 'we'll be a family'? In the weeks they'd been together they'd never talked of a future with Jack. She hardly ever brought him up. Had she only been doing so scared of hurting him by reminding him of the fact he couldn't see or hear his own son?

He nodded and answered, "I won't."

They flew out to Commack that day. They worked on a case that Rossi was personally involved in. Apparently the UnSub's wife had been a childhood love of his.

On the plane she sat opposite Reid while he sat opposite Rossi. She didn't know what they were talking about but he smiled at her.

"You have a family. Don't let the purest thing out of your life," Rossi said.

"I won't," Hotch answered smiling softly at Emily; his Emily. A smile that wasn't lost on Rossi.

"You and Prentiss?"

He looked back at Rossi and Rossi could see his eyes were shining though haunted.

"How long?"

"A couple of weeks. Ever since Louisville."

He must admit he had seen a few changes in Hotch and Prentiss since that case. She seemed to stabilise him. Still at times he appeared unhinged though but he knew this was all a ploy to make Foyet believe he was losing control.

"Good for you," Rossi smiled at him. "You need this."

"Thanks Dave, that's what she says."

"Smart lady."

Hotch just smiled at that. Emily looked over anxious. Did Rossi know about them? She knew he would never tell the Bureau but was he cool with a relationship within the team? A relationship between his supervisor and a fellow team member.

When they got off Hotch joined her. He held her hand. It was just the team so it didn't matter who saw.

"Dave knows," he whispered.

"You told him?" she answered.

"I confirmed it. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all. I don't want to hide it from the team. I love you, Aaron, and I have done since New York. "That was almost a year ago now. "How did he take it?"

"He said it's a good thing."

She smiled at him. They made each other feel safe. They both loved each other's presence. They were right. He needed her especially now.

Chapter Text

Hopeless

They'd been through another case in Washington when he came to his apartment more upset than usual. She'd been at his apartment waiting for him to come home to surprise him. He'd given her a key shortly after they'd come home from the last case. They'd also told the team on the jet while they had cuddled up. At first they had been shocked and a little angry but they supported them once they realised they fully understood the risks of this relationship but that this was a deep relationship not just sex.

When he came in he slammed the door and threw his case on the sofa not noticing that Emily was sat there in a sexy negligee. She flinched when it landed next to her.

"What the hell?" she exclaimed.

He was startled at the sound of her voice and looked to the sofa. Sitting there was Emily and boy did she look amazing. He felt guilty about throwing his briefcase at his girlfriend.

"I'm sorry, I didn't see you there," he answered.

She saw that he was guilty but more upset than he had been lately. She knew something had happened. She just hoped it wasn't too bad.

She got up and placed her hands on his shoulders and made him look at her. "What happened?" she asked.

"They want me to step down," he answered.

She looked at him shocked. Could Strauss really have done this to him; at this time? It was unthinkable. The team without Hotch.

"No, no, they can't take your job from you. It's all you have at the moment," she said hugging him while tears welled in her eyes. She didn't want anything more to hurt him. She wanted to spare him from pain. His job was everything to him just like hers was though she would be willing to give it up for him if the need ever arose.

"Em, they're not taking my job from me. I've agreed to step down to stay within the team. They wanted to take me from the team. Morgan will step into my shoes," he assured her.

She calmed down. "When?"

"After the end of the next case."

She nodded and sighed, "At least you'll still be on the team. We will get Foyet."

"I know."

She lifted her head and kissed his chin. "You look amazing," he smiled at her.

"Thanks," she smiled back. "It's all for you."

"I appreciate it."

He kissed her on the lips and began to feel her beautiful curves while she took off his top, jacket and shirt. He pushed her towards the sofa while she took off his belt. The trousers were off within a second. Soon she was arousing him and he was naked. They began the act of love and he trusted himself against her.

He woke up on the sofa the next morning with her head on his chest. He played with her hair while she woke up.

"Morning," she smiled up at him.

"Morning," he smiled down at her.

She remembered what he told her last night. Why did they do that to him? Did they know they had been seeing each other for a few months now? If they had wouldn't they have called her in? Were they going to do so this morning?

"Do they know?" she asked. "Does Strauss know about us?"

"No or at least she never brought it up."

"And knowing Strauss she would have." Strauss had it in for Aaron.

He just nodded.

"Why did they ask you to step down?"

"They believe I am emotionally compromised in my position by Foyet." She hated Foyet even more. He'd succeeded in taking his position from him; she hoped it would only be temporary. He was so good at being the Unit Chief. Soon he would just be SSA Aaron Hotchner not SSAIC Aaron Hotchner.

"I hate him more and more daily."

"Same here."

"Aaron," she asked stroking his chin.

"Yes Em," he answered taking her hand.

"When the Reaper's gone will you stay with me or will you go back to Haley?"

How could she think he would go back to her? It was Emily who owned his heart. He would want to see Jack as much as possible though and he didn't want Jack to turn Emily away. He just hoped he could have them both. He could just imagine her with his child. They'd be great together. Jack would adore Emily and he hoped Emily would Jack. He could even picture them with their own child. He would love to have a child with her.

"Aaron..." she said vulnerably bringing her back to the present day. "It doesn't matter. What were you thinking about?"

"I was thinking how Jack's going to love you," he answered truthfully. He didn't want to freak her out by telling her he'd already begun imagining their children.

"Oh Aaron," she smiled up at him.

"Well, we'd better get ready for work."

"Of course."

Luckily she'd brought a change of clothes last night but she knew they would have to arrive in their separate cars. Though the team knew they still had to hide it from the Bureau. They always got around it by arriving in separate cars at separate times. It seemed to be working so far. Also to her he was Aaron at home and Hotch at work. To him she was Emily at home and Prentiss at work. They only showed affection on the jet where it was just the team.

They got ready for work and after breakfast she left first. He soon followed. When they got there they were soon called into the conference room.

Chapter Text

Cradle to the Grave

They would be off to New Mexico this time. She knew the case would take a toll on JJ and Hotch. Someone was killing mothers just after they'd given birth by rape. As parents this was bound to affect them. She just wished she could share his room but that was unprofessional. She knew it would affect him more as at the end he still couldn't see Jack.

She did end up creeping into his room some nights. When she saw him go down to the basement with baby Michael she smiled. She could just imagine him holding their baby. Was she already thinking about children with him? She loved the prospect but it was too soon surely to consider such things as their children. She couldn't deny she'd love to have one with him.

When he came back up they prepared to leave. The next day they were flying back into Quantico. She wouldn't share her fantasies of their children just like he wouldn't share his.

"I'll come by yours later," he whispered. "I just need to speak with Morgan at the office."

"Alright. Good luck," she answered kissing his cheek.

"Do you think I'll need it?"

"You might. He's fiercely loyal to you." He smiled at that. She was happy her best friend was still loyal to her boyfriend as his boss. "We all are." He knew that and he was grateful for it but it was still nice to hear it. "He won't lightly step into your position."

"I know," he sighed.

She set off to her apartment and got ready waiting for him to come over. She knew the conversation he was having back at headquarters wasn't going to be an easy one. She was prepared to soothe him afterwards. She knew he was going through hell and she hoped she was helping him through it.

She was curled up on the sofa when she finally heard a knock on the door. She answered and smiled when she saw him there. He looked dejected though. It finally hit her. Her Aaron was no longer Unit Chief. He really was now just one of them. He had been demoted. He and all of them now had to answer to Morgan.

She just hugged him and he hugged her back letting himself sink into her. There was so much on his shoulders at the moment. He was thankful to have her there for him to confide in.

"Come inside," she said.

He did so and sat on the sofa. She made them both cups of coffee. She was here if they wanted to talk.

"How did it go?" she asked sitting next to him handing him his coffee.

"As well as expected I suppose," he answered. "He'll take over until Foyet is found."

"We'll find him soon."

"I hope so. Not for the job but Jack. I miss him so much."

"Of course you do, he's your son. We'll get him back soon, I promise you."

"I hope so."

"We won't give up the fight."

"Em, I'm so thankful you're here. I know when you first joined the BAU I gave you hell but I'm so grateful to have you on the team and in my life."

"That's all in the past, Aaron, and I'm here as long as you want me to be."

She kissed him and he joined in.

At work the other day the others were shocked to see that Hotch and Morgan had switched places. She acted like she'd had no idea either especially as Strauss was speaking with Derek. She couldn't allow her to know anything had changed between them. She tried to be strong when Hotch came down and told Morgan he'd clear out his office by the end of the day and let Morgan have it. His office just wouldn't be the same without him in it. They couldn't take that from him. It was where he belonged. They couldn't humiliate him by putting him in the bullpen. They were both grateful when Morgan refused to take Hotch's office from him. His title was one thing and his office another. It would have been too real.

Chapter Text

The Eyes Have It

They headed off to Oklahoma City that day anyway. On the plane she sat next to him taking his hand.

"You going to be alright?" she asked stroking her thumb over the skin on his hand.

"Yer, I'll be fine," he answered.

"I'm here for you."

"I know."

She kissed his cheek.

When they found the unsub Hotch took him down alone. Morgan gave him a slight talking to and he walked off. She chased after him.

"Hotch," she shouted. When she reached him she grabbed his arm and said, "Aaron."

"What?" he answered looking at her.

"I know you used to be the Unit Chief but Morgan is the boss now. You can't just walk off like that."

"Doesn't he all the time? And don't lecture me Emily."

He just shrugged her hand off his shoulder and walked off. She watched him go feeling guilty. She knew she'd touched a nerve but honestly both of them had acted like children. It was like he'd just gone you do this to me and this is how it feels. She felt bad though as he was still adjusting to no longer being boss and he was going through inner hell. This was his first case with his demotion.

She knew she had to let him steam it off. It would only antagonise him to approach him now but she hoped she would be allowed to apologise. She didn't want to lose or argue with Aaron. He was her world.

On the plane he wouldn't let him near her so she wrote him a note of apology.

'Aaron,

I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier. I shouldn't have done it. You're still adjusting to no longer being boss man and being tormented inside. Every day we don't find Foyet is a day you lose with Jack. We will find Foyet, Aaron, and we will take him down. I won't stop until we do. I love you and I will always be here for you.

Your Emily'

She placed it in his jacket pocket and he just stared at her as she did so.

"What's he doing here so late? He's no longer boss. Shouldn't he be with Emily," Garcia said.

"I believe they had a fight," Morgan answered.

"Oh no, not now. Not while Foyet is still out there and he can't see Jack. He needs her. She's the one holding him back."

"I know. At first I was unsure about their relationship but without her he will descend into despair. Each day we don't find Foyet is a day he loses Jack."

She didn't want her chocolate Adonis to carry on with those gloomy thoughts. They were all worried about Hotch and thankful for the relationship. "I have a present for you."

Hotch looked up and saw Garcia lead Morgan away. He smiled at the quirky relationship. They'd be good for each other but she was with Kevin. He didn't dislike Kevin, he hardly knew him, but Garcia and Morgan were better suited like Emily and he were. Emily! He felt guilty that he hadn't resolved their disagreement.

Suddenly he remembered the note she'd put in his suit jacket so he felt for it. He was relieved to find it still there. He unfolded it and red it. He smiled as he read the words 'Your Emily'. He was most definitely her Aaron.

He left the office and headed over to Emily's. He didn't care how late it was. He had to sort out this argument. He couldn't sleep without her. Apart from the hope of one day seeing Jack again she was his every thought.

The knock on the door awoke her and she got up cursing whoever it was at the door at this time of night. She got up feeling for the light and opened the door. She was shocked to see Aaron there. He looked guilty but she was annoyed he hadn't tried resolving their argument; he hadn't spoken to her.

She just left the door open and walked into the kitchen. He followed her in like he was her puppy dog. For all purposes he felt like he was. He would do absolutely anything for her within reason.

"Emily, I'm so sorry. I should have spoken with you earlier. I shouldn't have acted like that and not speaking with you was childish," he answered.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have shouted at you. It wasn't my place," she replied.

"You're right; I'm not the boss anymore. I'm just a subordinate like everyone else. Everything I've worked for gone."

"It's only temporary," she answered stroking his hand.

"I know," he answered smiling sadly at her. He knew she would never ask her to give the BAU up for her,

Chapter Text

Outfoxed

In the last month they had dealt with a case of someone copying a vampire and killing fans to publicise a rock star's new album. Now they were preparing to fly out to visit the Fox in prison. She would be accompanying Hotch while everyone else dealt with a case in Hampton. He had dealt with Karl Arnold's case four years ago. Karl had told them the UnSub for this case had sent him something.

As he led her down to his cell she shivered to be surrounded by so many serial killers. Especially a particular one whose victims were all women.

"Is that?" she asked.

"Yer, but you're safe. He can't get you in here," he answered.

"Well, it's not like it would affect you. He ripped apart fourteen women."

She felt him tense and regretted saying that. Of course it would affect him. She knew he loved her. He proved it to her nightly. He knew it was a spur of the moment thing. Surely she knew how much he loved her. He'd die for her.

She got nervous as they were just about to enter Karl Arnold's cell. He gave her a look of reassurance and they entered.

"Agent Hotchner," he said.

Hotch acknowledged him and answered, "And this is..."

Before he could finish his sentence Karl finished, "Agent Emily Prentiss." He pronounced every word clearly. It unnerved her that he already knew her name. It unnerved him too. "I know all about you." They both share the same thought. They hoped he didn't know about their relationship. They couldn't be played off each other.

When Hotch left she flirted with Arnold to get information. When they'd got the information he stepped back in as she looked uncomfortable and took her out.

"I flirted with him," she said when he'd sat her down. "Oh god, I flirted with him." he knew she wanted to add 'in front of you' but they couldn't risk their relationship slipping out.

He resisted putting his hand on her shoulder. "You did what you had to and did well," he reassured.

"So why do I feel so dirty?"

He didn't know what he could say to comfort her whilst here. Not while they were working. He was just about to risk it as no-one was around when Karl Arnold called, "Agent Hotchner, I've got something for you."

They both headed back in unsure what it was. She would protect him if anything were to happen to him. He didn't need anything worse to happen to him.

He was given a packet that he opened and began flicking through. She saw his face twist and contort into a range of painful and haunted faces. Oh god no! It couldn't be!

"What did you give him?" she asked concerned.

"Don't you see? It's torturing him," he smiled.

She looked back over in time to see his face on an article and the eye of the Reaper drawn on his face. She exhaled. No! He couldn't have found him. He couldn't have found Jack and Haley! It would destroy him if anything happened to them. It would destroy her if he was destroyed. They were now intrinsically linked.

"The Reaper," she exclaimed.

"He's found you," Arnold laughed.

Hotch stormed out of the cell while Emily followed him. She knew she couldn't do anything until they were out of the prison. He got back in the SUV and just sat there with his hands clasped tight to the wheel. He just stared straight ahead. She was almost a little frightened about getting in beside him. She'd never seen him so angry. He hardly ever lost control.

As soon as she was in and seat belted he drove as fast as he could back to the BAU. It was too fast for her and her stomach churned inside. She felt like she was going to be sick. She hadn't felt well recently but she hadn't wanted to worry him. She knew she was about to throw up so she put her hand on his arm.

"Hotch," she said. "Hotch, please! Can we pull over?" she then shouted, "Aaron." That snapped him to attention.

She never called him Aaron at work. Something must be wrong. He looked at her and saw she looked positively green. He immediately pulled the SUV over so she could be sick. How long had she been sick? Why hadn't she told him? Probably not to add to his worries.

She got out and threw up on the side of the road then got back in trying to clean herself up.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"Yes, you were just going too fast," she answered. She didn't want to worry him with the fact she'd been sick lately. She wondered if she was pregnant because other than the few times she felt sick she was fine.

He nodded slightly and answered, "I'm sorry, I just have to save their lives. I can't let Foyet get there first. He's found them, Emily, he's found them."

"We don't know if he has found their exact location. For all we know he might be messing with you."

"I can't take that risk, Em."

"I know and I'm not asking you to."

"I know. Thanks."

They headed back to the headquarters as quickly as they could without causing Emily any more stomach upset. He wouldn't hurt her for the world. When they got back he ran up to his office and went over the files for the Foyet case to the point of obsession. She fell asleep waiting for him on his couch.

When she woke up she found she had his suit jacket and coat placed over her like a blanket. She smiled at his caring nature even at the worst times. She looked up and saw he was asleep at his desk. She picked up the jacket and coat and placed them over his back. She kissed his hair and ruffled it.

She wrote him a note:

'Aaron,

I've gone back to my apartment to get changed. I'll see you when I get back.

Your Emily.'

She headed off to her apartment, changed then headed to the pharmacy. She had to know whether she was pregnant or not.

Chapter Text

100

While there she bumped into JJ. She was there with her baby son and his father. They were both surprised to see each other.

"What are you doing here? I hope everything's alright with Henry," she smiled stroking his hair.

"We've just come to pick up some prescriptions. What about you?" JJ asked concerned.

"Don't tell anyone but I think I might be pregnant," she answered showing JJ her pregnancy test.

"Does he know?"

"I haven't wanted to add to Aaron's worries. I was sick in front of him yesterday but I shook it off. You might want a heads up, Foyet contact him yesterday."

"Damn," Will and JJ answered.

She brought her test and waited while JJ sorted out her things for little Henry.

"Hey, did you know many over the counter meds can be substituted for some prescription meds?" she asked.

"You think Foyet might be doing that and that's why we haven't been able to find the right combination," Emily replied.

"Exactly."

"We'd better tell Aaron. He's freaking out. We slept last night in his office. I fell asleep on the couch. I don't know when he fell asleep. I just discovered him this morning slumped over the Foyet files."

"I'm so sorry."

"If you need to get to work you can go," Will added.

Emily and JJ smiled at him then JJ kissed his cheek and Henry's hair.

On the way in JJ turned to her and said, "I hope you're pregnant."

"Thanks," she smiled back.

"You'll make a great mother."

"Thanks. I know Aaron will be just as great with our baby as he is with Jack."

"True."

When they got to the office Emily headed off to the toilet while JJ went to Hotch. She took it and waited for JJ. She didn't want to check it alone and she wasn't ready to tell Hotch. Not until they had Foyet. She couldn't distract him from saving his son. The family had to be complete. JJ promised to be there for her. She knew she wouldn't tell anyone until she was ready.

JJ soon came back and said, "So? Are you or aren't you?"

"I don't know. I haven't looked yet. I'm too nervous to. Can you look at it for me?" she answered.

"Sure."

JJ picked up the test and smiled when she saw it was positive. Her best friend was having a baby with their boss who clearly loved her.

"What is it?" Emily asked nervously on seeing her smile.

"There's going to be another BAU baby," she smiled back.

"I'm pregnant?"

JJ nodded. Emily didn't know what to feel. She wanted the child and she knew Hotch would too but it also complicated this relationship tenfold. He would be her boss again after Foyet was found and there were strict rules about fraternisation. A baby was huge, living proof that she had been sleeping with him. Would they even care that this wasn't just sex; it was love?

Almost as if she'd read her thoughts JJ comforted, "It will be alright. We'll all cover your backs. We won't let either of you leave the BAU. You're both great at your job."

"But I'm having Hotch's baby," she answered biting her lip.

"Everything will sort itself out. All that matters is the baby and you have the father. He's not going to leave you. We won't leave you."

"But what about our jobs? The BAU is everything to him. It already caused him his divorce. I can't take it away from him."

"You might not have to."

Garcia came up and said, "Guys, we've been called to the conference room." She then spotted the pregnancy test and looked back to Emily. "You're not, are you?"

She nodded nervously. "Don't tell anyone I want Aaron to be the next to know. He can't be distracted though until we find Foyet."

"Anything you need, Wonder Woman."

Emily smiled at her and they headed to the conference room. They sat down and got given their orders. They all headed off to survey the flat that Foyet had been hiding out in.

She sat in a car with Hotch watching the flat. Sitting them beside him as he used the binoculars to watch for Foyet she subconsciously placed her hand on her stomach. She couldn't quite get over this morning's revelation. She was pregnant! She would be having his child.

Suddenly they decided to head into the flat. Foyet was gone! Garcia handed into his computer and they discovered he'd been stalking Kasselmeyer, the agent assigned to protect Hotch's family.

They seated right over to the safe house. When they arrived they found Sam lying there bleeding. Both Hotch and Emily became frantic inside. They knew it had been Foyet. Had he got to his family? Was it too late? She prayed to God it wasn't. Hotch didn't need this. By God, he didn't deserve it!

"What happened?" Hotch asked. "What the hell happened?"

"Foyet, he broke in here. Demanded to know where Haley and Jack were. I wouldn't tell him, Hotch, I wouldn't," Kasselmeyer answered.

"I know, I know."

The ambulance arrived and they put Sam into it while Hotch joined him. He needed to know more to save his son and his mother. Emily wanted to join them but she couldn't reveal their relationship. It would give Foyet more ammo against him if it was known that Emily and Hotch were a couple. She couldn't do that to him. She loved him too much. She couldn't risk herself and the baby. She couldn't let Foyet take the baby Hotch didn't know about from him. She couldn't let him find out that way.

She joined the rest of the team in the SUV. JJ placed a hand on her shoulder reminding her they were there for her too. She knew no matter what the team had both of their backs.

He sped to the hospital with the Kasselmeyers.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Foyet broke in and stabbed me demanding to know where they were. I wouldn't tell him so he stole my phone. He went through it trying to find them. They're going to him, Hotch," Sam answered just before he drew his last breath.

He felt the anger rise within him. Foyet had tricked his ex-wife in going to him; Haley was unconsciously endangering his son. He wanted to scream but he had to stay calm in order to get his son back safely.

When he got to the hospital he contracted Anderson and asked for a car. Meanwhile the team had worked out that he was making them meet him at Hotch's old house. They informed him and started heading there.

He put a call through to Foyet via Kasselmeyer's phone. He tried to show him he knew all about him. He needed to talk him out of this to save Jack. Emily hoped he could get through. They found out that Foyet was watching them just before he hung up. They both freaked out that he was watching them.

Soon after Haley called Aaron to check he wasn't dead. Emily couldn't believe Foyet had told Haley that Aaron was dead. She was so angry she wanted to kill him. She couldn't bear him being in pain.

"Foyet," Hotch said.

"Aaron," Haley answered shocked. "Aaron, he told me you were dead." The realisation dawned on her as both Hotch's and Emily's chests tightened. "Oh Aaron, I'm so sorry."

"I know you didn't sign on for this," he answered.

"Neither did you."

"Haley, put Jack on. I need him working the case with me." He had to do whatever he could to save his son especially when he knew Foyet was with them.

"Aaron," she answered unsure.

"Please Haley; I need him working the case with me."

"Do you hear that Jack?"

Soon a little voice came on the phone and said, "Hello daddy." Emily smiled slightly at his innocent voice. She placed a hand on her stomach; his baby brother or sister to be. She hardly knew him but knew he'd be good with his sibling. She just hoped he would see it.

"I need you working the case with me."

"Is George a bad guy?"

"Yes, he is. I need you working the case you understand, buddy."

"Yes daddy."

"Hug your mum for me."

"Mummy, you're holding me too tight." He had no idea what was coming and it worried Emily. Haley was going to be harmed there was no doubt about it.

"I just love you so much," Haley answered on the verge of tears.

"Why are you so sad?" tears filled both Hotch's and Emily's eyes. They knew this was probably the last time Jack would see his mum.

"I love you."

"I've got to go, mummy. I'm working a case."

They heard him run off and Foyet called up to him. "I'll be up there later, Jackie boy." He'd better not be Emily thought. There was no way she was going to let Foyet take Hotch or Jack.

"Is he gone?" Hotch asked.

"Yes, Aaron promise me you'll show him you weren't always so serious. He needs to know you weren't always so serious. Promise me, Aaron."

"I promise."

"Show him love because love is the most important thing. Tell him how we met."

Inside Emily promised to help Hotch keep his promises. She would show Jack the love within their relationship and love him like her own son. She would try and bring out the funny side of Hotch. She would never replace Haley though; she didn't want to.

They then heard three gunshots go off. He threw his phone at the windshield while she placed her hand more protectively on her baby while trying her hardest to keep her tears inside. JJ squeezed her hand with tears of her own falling down. What was she going to do now? She couldn't exactly spring the pregnancy on him now he was grieving. It was too soon for Jack to have a sibling. It really wasn't the right time for a baby anymore.

When they arrived at the house they rushed in to find Hotch punching Foyet to death. She couldn't believe her boyfriend could be so violent. She understood though as Foyet had killed his best friend and threatened to kill his son. She was concerned about the blood on his face and his own injuries.

Morgan pulled him away. "Hotch, Hotch, it's over, man, it's over." Hotch fell apart and Emily's heart went out to him. She just wanted to hold him close and cry into her shoulder. She hated to see him in so much pain. He pulled away and ran up the stairs. She knew he was going to get Jack.

She stood there staring at Foyet's dead corpse while they dealt with him. She was numb. She was pregnant with Aaron's child but he was grieving and had to focus on Jack. Jack needed his father now more than ever. She just hoped he wouldn't leave her completely.

She saw JJ walk down the stairs holding Jack. JJ gave her a sad smile and Jack smiled at her. She felt so sorry for him. He'd lost his mother but was too young to truly understand that.

Rossi came in with the coroner and turned to Emily. "Emily, they need to take Haley's body. JJ is still with Jack. Can you get Aaron?" he asked.

She nodded. She knew they thought she was probably the perfect one to help him leave. She led the coroners upstairs and found him cradling Haley's dead body weeping. She placed a hand on his shoulder and he looked at her devastated. It broke her heart to see him in so much pain.

"Aaron they need to take out Haley's body," she said gently.

He nodded and got up. She held him close while they sorted out Haley's body and he wept into her shoulder. She didn't know what to say so she stroked his hair. She finally broke down herself and they cried together. She was at a loss at what to do now she was pregnant and they were grieving. How could today have turned out so awful? It started out with some happy and mixed news and turned out so devastating.

They were called to the office to face Strauss. She pulled herself together and tried to keep her emotions inside. She couldn't let Strauss of all people to see how affected she was over the turnout of events. It could lose them both their careers.

She stood up for him then headed back to the conference room where the rest of the team and Jack were. They were all trying to take care of him for his father. Jack turned to her and looked at her concerned.

"Did you keep your promise? Did you look after my daddy?" he asked.

"Yes, son, I did," she smiled at him sadly stroking his hair.

"She did an absolutely wonderful job," Rossi smiled at her. She smiled back at him sadly.

Jack smiled up at her. She would have to get to know =him but never replace Haley in his heart. She knew Hotch would find a way to help Jack remember his mother. She would help with whatever method he chose upon. She also hoped Jack wouldn't reject her and the baby. She believed he would be a wonderful big brother.

When his father came back in her heart tightened seeing how devastated he was. They all got up as Jack ran to him. It was obvious he'd missed his dad as much as he'd missed him. Hotch picked him up and Jack wrapped his arms around his neck burying his head into his shoulder. He understood that his father had saved him and his mother was gone but not completely.

She stroked his hair and looked into her boyfriend's eyes. He smiled sadly at her and shook his head. He needed time alone right now. Time alone with his son to sort out these changes in their lives. He now had sole custody of his son and his relationship with Emily hadn't moved to a stage where she would be directly involved in his upbringing. He had to get used to this dynamic and then maybe he would introduce Emily fully into Jack's life.

Chapter Text

The Slave of Duty

She hadn't seen him since she died and today was the day of the funeral. It had been a few weeks and she missed him terribly. She became so dependent on crawling into bed with Hotch that it felt empty without him. She sometimes found it hard to sleep without the fell of his arms around her. She didn't know how she would react upon seeing him again. She was scared he would never return to her. They hadn't even been in contact since she died. She really didn't want to go through this pregnancy and raise the child alone.

She prepared for the funeral sadly. She dressed into the black dress and tied her hair back. Rossi would be picking her up and driving her to the cemetery. She knew Rossi was a huge supporter of their relationship and he was like a father to her. He would be here soon.

There was a knock on the door and she answered it. She found Rossi there in a suit and she picked up her bag.

"Ready?" he asked.

She nodded sadly placing a hand on her very small bump. It was nine weeks along now. When she'd seen the doctor the day after Haley's death she'd been informed she was at the six weeks stage when she found out. The placement of her hand wasn't lost on Rossi.

"Are you?" he asked looking at her shock.

She looked down at her baby then back up at Rossi and nodded while a single tear rolled down her cheek. "Aaron doesn't know. I haven't had a chance to tell him. I found out the day Haley died and I haven't heard from him since."

It was evident how much she missed him. Rossi placed a hand on her shoulder and assured her. "He'll come back. Just give him time."

She nodded and followed him to his car.

Hotch got ready to say his final goodbye to his ex-wife. He looked in the mirror as he tied his tie. He could see the cuts that hadn't completely healed yet. He knew he would see Emily today. He missed her more than anything. He didn't realise how dependent he had become on his nights with her. He was having nightmares ever since Haley died and would fall asleep watching Jack who had taken to sleeping in his father's bed with him. Though Jack's presence did console him he missed cuddling up to Emily.

If he admitted it to himself he was scared. Yes he Aaron Hotchner was scared. He was scared he didn't have the skills to be the father his wonderful son needed. He was scared Jack would reject Emily. He was scared Haley's family would give him hell if he introduced another woman into his life so soon after her death. He'd always strived to do what was best for his son. Jack came first in everything. He didn't want to anything that might separate him from Haley's family. He was also terrified that if anything happened to Emily he might not be able to save her like he failed to save Haley.

He turned to his son and Jack looked up at him innocently as he felt him pulling his trouser leg.

"Daddy?" he asked.

"Yes buddy," he answered.

"Can you tie my tie? I want to look just like you."

He smiled sadly and answered, "Come here." He sat down on the sofa and Jack stood in front of him. Aaron draped the tie around his son's neck and tied it for him. He then helped him on with his suit jacket and put on his own.

The funeral car arrived and he helped his son in then climbed in himself. Today was going to be so hard and he just wanted it over. He just wanted it to be him and his son. He knew he was being a coward and shutting out the woman he loved and he had come to understand loved him too but he didn't want anyone to get hurt.

When Emily saw the hearse and funeral car arrive she tried hard not to cry and placed her hand on the only thing she currently had left of Hotch. Luckily Strauss didn't notice how affected she was or her subconscious act. Jessica, Haley's sister, noticed the way Emily looked at Aaron and how he tried to avoid her eyes. Had they been in a relationship? It was clear she adored him and from the way he was acting he was the one who had ended it. She also hadn't missed the way she'd protectively placed her hand over her stomach when she had seen Aaron. Was she carrying his child? He couldn't know because if he did he would be with her. There was no way he would turn away a woman carrying his child.

He saw her as soon as he got out of the car and saw she was looking right at him. He saw the love and felt so guilty he looked away. He'd also seen the pain the pain he knew he'd caused. He'd never meant to hurt her but Jack came first and he was scared of losing her like he had Haley. He got Jack out of the car and hugged him close to him.

The pall bearers got out the coffin and she tried hard not to gush forth with her tears. She didn't want to be selfish but if Haley hadn't died she might still be with Aaron. Rossi put a hand on her shoulder then took the coffin. She would have to follow Aaron and Jack. Morgan, Will, Kevin and Anderson joined Rossi to carry the coffin with her father. She followed the father of her child and his child solemnly. She wanted to place a hand on his back to remind him that she supported him but she feared he would shake it off. She didn't know how to communicate with him anymore and it hurt. Only three weeks ago she had been sleeping in his arms now it was like he had shut her out of his life. The tears begun to roll down her cheeks as she and Aaron split ways.

She stood to one side with Rossi while he stood on the other with Jack and Haley's sister. It was hard to be herself here now as Strauss was standing beside Rossi. She wasn't free to show him any love more than a friend while she was around as one whiff of their relationship and their reputations would be ruined. He would be demoted or even worse fired for sleeping with his subordinate and she would be known as a slut. It wouldn't matter that it wasn't just sex. At this moment the only support she had that knew the full truth was Rossi. JJ and Garcia only knew about the pregnant and they were with Hotch anyway. They had no idea how he'd pulled away. That for all purposes their relationship was at a standstill. Were they a couple or not?

He wouldn't look at her once during the ceremony. He knew one look at her would make him lose his cool. He couldn't bear to look at the woman he loved and be reminded of how he had hurt her. He was here to say goodbye to his first wife, his high school sweetheart, best friend and mother of his child and to support his young son not to reunite with Emily. He didn't know how his son would take to another woman so soon and he had sincerely loved Haley. He would miss them both severely and he knew he could never see Haley again. He had to keep Emily away as he couldn't go through the loss of another woman he loved deeply. His heart wouldn't be able to handle it. He wasn't good enough for her.

As he read out the eulogy she tried to focus on the coffin but glanced to him and his son every now and again. She tried to compose herself when she heard the tears in his voice. All she wanted was to hold him and tell him she was here for him but she couldn't. She wanted to tell him everything would be alright and he would be having a baby in just less than seven months but she couldn't not now that they were grieving. She understood the complications. It was too soon after her death for him to have a baby but she would never get rid of this child. She couldn't do that to herself and most especially not Aaron. She couldn't go through another abortion and he would never forgive her if she did.

On their way out she laid a rose on Haley's coffin. "I promise I'll still look after him," she whispered. "Even when he tries to pull away," she whispered looking at him. He looked up at her for a moment then picked up Jack and hugged him close. He knew he was hiding behind his son but that was where he was needed right now. Rossi put a hand on her shoulder and led her away while Hotch looked down feeling even guiltier than before.

When everyone had gone onto the wake he carried Jack to his mother's coffin. He laid a rose on her grave and then Jack threw his down. "Give her a kiss," he told him. Jack blew Haley a kiss and they then headed off to the wake. If he ever decided to carry on the relationship would Jack accept Emily in his life? He was positive while Haley was around that he would have loved Emily but now the dynamic had changed. He was all Jack had now. His son had no mother and no-one could replace her. He knew Emily would never try to but it was just wasn't the right time.

At the wake Emily sat with the rest of the team. She tried to avoid the pitying glances of the team. They knew no-one else knew how much it affected her to see Hotch grieving and not be able to comfort him the way she wished. They were the only ones who had known that they were a couple. Rossi, Garcia and JJ even more so as they knew the secret she didn't know how to reveal to Hotch. She guessed Will probably knew to as he'd seen her purchase the pregnancy test. Every now and again she would glance over at the father.

He knew she was watching him but he refused to look at her. He just looked straight ahead at the people who came to condole with him. Though he knew his mind should be on Haley and Jack he couldn't get Emily out of his head. Would she ever forgive him? Would she understand why he'd pulled away? Would she understand his side?

She wanted to tell him tonight that he was going to have a baby but she wanted to when there weren't too many people around. She wanted to tell him privately and she didn't know when her next chance would be if he wasn't picking up her calls. Also she would prefer to tell him face to face that she was carrying his child.

Soon Rossi and Hotch passed by her back. She looked up and while Hotch looked down Rossi shook his head at her. It wasn't the right time to tell Aaron he was to be a father again. She looked down and played with her fingers.

"What are we going to do?" she asked looking down at her bump. She didn't know how she was going to go through pregnancy and a baby without Aaron. She hoped she would have the opportunity to tell them about this child, his child. She knew if he knew he would care for it he would do the right thing.

"He'll come back but when he does I don't know how it will look like," Morgan answered. They all worried not only about how he would be when he came back but how his relationship with Emily would be. They'd all noticed it was going through a rough patch and tonight they knew he'd pulled away. They didn't need the relationship to break up the BAU. If they never made up or came to an understanding they knew one of them would end up leaving.

She looked out to the balcony where Rossi and Hotch stood.

"I meant what I said today things have changed," Hotch said. Rossi nodded. "I have the skills to do this job but I don't know if I have the skills to help my son." They looked at Jack and Aaron felt so alone again. How was he to raise Jack without Haley? He'd never been without her when it came to his son. He could always rely on Haley to help.

"You'll work it out and when you do you'll be a great one," Dave answered. He wanted to add that he'd be a great dad to them both but he knew he didn't know about his unborn baby.

"Thanks."

"You know you're not alone." He closed his eyes and nodded. "You don't have to be a single father."

"I failed to save Haley."

"It won't happen with Emily."

Hotch's heart tightened when he thought of her. He was scared of letting himself get serious with another woman. He didn't want to be hurt again. Morgan joined them and he hoped he wasn't going to try and have a go at him over Emily. He really didn't need that right now. He'd only just said goodbye to his best friend and ex-wife; the woman who'd given him the most precious thing in his life, his son.

"We got a case. We have to go," he said.

Rossi nodded and Hotch answered, "Call me if you need me."

"I'm sorry, man," Morgan answered.

He nodded and they left for the jet. He watched Emily leave with them and felt like she was watching him walk out of his life. If he ever came back would they be able to maintain a professional relationship? He hoped so as he'd never meant to hurt her.

She watched him as they left feeling like he was leaving her life. She had no idea if she'd ever see him again; she had no idea if he would stay with the BAU. She knew this case had lost her the opportunity to tell him about his other child tonight. She just hoped there would be another opportunity before it was too late.

JJ squeezed her hand on the way out as she understood what was running through Emily's mind. They watched Jack run out to his father and Hotch pick him up and hold him close trying to keep himself from breaking down. A few tears inadvertently ran down his face as she watched them hoping one day it would be her child running up to Hotch, their father, like that and him holding their child.

"He'll be there for the child," she whispered.

"I hope I get the opportunity to tell him," Emily answered.

"You will, have faith."

"Thanks JJ."

On the plane she sat looking at Morgan rather pissed off. She knew it wasn't his fault but this damn case had lost her the chance of speaking with Aaron. She knew she had to tell him before it was too late. He, Jack and the baby deserved that.

After he gave the orders he added, "I know all our thoughts are with Hotch but we need to solve this case." Damn right, her thoughts were with Aaron he was the father of her baby! She wondered if perhaps she'd try to come by his apartment when Jack was settled in and try to maintain some sort of relationship with him even if it was just friendship. She needed to maintain anything for their kid.

Hotch meanwhile sorted out his apartment to help carry on moving in Jack and all his stuff. He knew he had to help Jack get used to his new home. He knew he had to help Jack with his new life. Jack was his first priority even if he couldn't stop thinking about Emily.

Emily hated when they weren't working on the case as she couldn't sleep. It gave her too much time to remember Aaron's caresses and the way he'd been with Jack. Most of her spare time she found herself fantasising about Aaron and their child. When she was with the team they often had to bring her back to the present. They worried about her and just hoped that everything was resolved soon so they could not only have Hotch back but Emily too. She wasn't herself and they partially understood why.

Jack was unpacking his toys when Strauss popped by. He knew she wanted to speak to him about his future with the BAU but he couldn't leave Jack not right now so asked her to talk with him in the apartment. Before he answered the door he laid the photo from near his window sill flat on its frame. It was a picture of him and Emily that Garcia had taken a few months ago. Emily was cuddled up close to him and leaning her head on his shoulder while he had his arms wrapped around her. A photograph that if Strauss saw it would reveal their relationship within a second.

He opened the door and welcomed her into his home. He then asked Jack to say hello so he did with a wave. He knew he would now have to mix his son more with his colleagues but he wouldn't let work come near him. He wouldn't let Jack hear or see anything to do with the cases as he didn't want his son to be disturbed. Lord knows what Jack must have heard while he was hiding from Foyet. He was having nightmares and preferred to sleep cuddled up to him in his bed. He knew it couldn't last forever but for the moment it worked.

He sat both himself and Strauss on the sofa while he could hear his son sorting out his toys in the background. She gave him some papers.

"What's this?" he asked.

"It's a full retirement package," she answered.

"Are you asking me to leave the BAU?"

"SS Agent Morgan has proved a capable Unit Chief. We can make this a permanent position and you can be with your son."

"When do you want a decision?" he admitted it sounded good being with his son but he loved his job. Apart from Jack the BAU was his life. Jack needed him now but he knew he wouldn't be able to rest without making the world a better place for him. Also he couldn't walk away from his team and he didn't want to never see Emily again.

"I thought I would be leaving with one. What's the hesitation?"

"I would just like to weigh up my options."

She nodded and gathered her things together. "I'll see you out," he added.

"Thank you," she answered.

He saw her out then turned back to his son. He noticed that Jack was still deciding where to put his toys. Jack noticed the picture frame and picked it up curious to why his dad had put it down. Was it a picture of mummy? No, it was a picture of daddy with that nice lady who kept her promise to Jack. The nice woman who had looked after daddy. They looked happy together,

"Daddy, she works with you, doesn't she?" he asked.

"Yes buddy," he answered stroking his hair.

"Does she make you happy?"

He knew he couldn't lie to him. He was a smart kid and Aaron was proud of it. "Yes," he smiled sadly.

"Do you love her?"

He looked at his son and wondered how to answer such an innocent question. Yes, he did love her. She was his soul mate but how could he tell that to his grieving son. He decided to go with a simple yes.

He wasn't prepared for the next question. "Then why aren't you with her?" he didn't have an answer for that. How could he tell his son he was scared and expect him to understand? How was he to explain how he was scared Jack would reject her thinking she was trying to take the place of mummy? Jack looked up at his daddy's face. Was daddy scared? Daddy never got scared; he fought the bad guys like he fought the one that killed mummy. He missed mummy but he wanted daddy to be happy. "I like her," he smiled up at him. "She kept her promise."

He smiled at that then furrowed his brow. What did he mean Emily had kept her promise? "What promise is that, buddy?"

"To look after you," Jack beamed up at him.

He smiled back and kissed his hair. She sure did that he smiled to himself. Boy, he missed her! He couldn't even contact her at the moment as she was on a case in Nashville. He couldn't distract her while trying to find this current UnSub. Also they hadn't been in contact for just over three weeks would she take him back?

They'd discovered Joe Bilson's house and were searching for him. She found a picture of a bride and groom and rose petals down the aisle. How romantic! She'd love her wedding to have this. She could just imagine Aaron at the altar. Oh god, was she really fantasising about him on the job? She shook her head and got back to the job in hand.

"I've found the importance of the rose petals," she announced to her teammates.

Aaron came into his kitchen to smell the smell of pancakes. He looked up and saw his former sister-in-law was cooking for them.

"What's better than pancakes?" he asked smiling at his son who smiled back while play fighting with two of his toys. He went over to his son and asked, "What have you got there, Jack?"

"This is the bad guy," he answered showing one of his toys then adding, "and this is daddy."

"Who wins, Jack?" Jessica asked.

"Daddy, no-one beats daddy," he declared and to him it was true and Aaron didn't want to tell him otherwise. He smiled at his son's idolisation of him.

"Jack, I just remembered Aunt Jessica's cooking and what do we do before we eat?"

"Wash our hands," he exclaimed running to the bathroom to do so while Aaron sat on the chair by the workplace in front of Jessica.

"I'm sorry, he made those himself," she said.

"Its fine..." he wanted someone to discuss what happened this afternoon with and he'd known her since high school. "The Bureau came over today offering me full retirement."

"Will you take it?" she asked worried. She knew the BAU was everything to him apart from Jack. Jack loved that his father went away to fight the monsters for him though he also missed him. Aaron was torn in two different directions.

"I don't know. Jack needs me now. When I was out there working I could rely on the fact that Haley was here looking after Jack but Jack needs me more than ever now."

"Yes, he needs you but so did the team and I doubt that's changed. We knew you didn't break up because you stopped loving each other. Your job just got in the way. The team need you and I sincerely doubt it's changed." She knew he was worried about who would look after Jack. "Let me help you look after Jack."

"Jessica, I appreciate all you've done for us this week..."

"Please let me do this. I want to do this for Haley. He's my nephew and you're my family."

He smiled and nodded.

"What's been going on with you and that brunette agent of yours?" she asked trepiditiously. She knew she had to know and if he loved her encourage him to carry on with her. Haley would want him to be happy and Jack to not only feel loved but see love.

Aaron looked down as he didn't know quite how to tell her. She deserved the truth. "We were in a relationship while Haley and Jack were in protective custody." She nodded as she'd guessed they had been but how serious. "It started shortly after a kiss when she kissed me but it was a long time coming. I fell for her about a year ago when she was taken hostage in a case in Colorado. I never thought about acting on my feelings as I was her boss until she kissed me that night." She smiled at the thought he'd had someone there for him. "We spent every night together and she held me back from staring into the abyss."

"What happened?" she asked tenderly.

"When Haley died I pulled away. I was scared Jack would reject her as it was too soon to be with another woman. I was scared everyone would just think it was too soon. Also I was frightened that if anything happened to Emily I wouldn't be able to save her like I failed Haley."

"Aaron, your divorce happened over a year ago. No-one would blame you if you'd moved on. Yes, Haley only recently died but you could never have planned this and you can't help falling in love. You can't think like that. No-one blames you for what happened with Haley and Emily's an agent. She's trained to protect herself. You're the best agent I know."

"I'm possibly the only agent you know."

"You've done this job for over four years and you still come home in one piece." He smiled at that answer. "Haley would want you to be happy and for Jack not only to be loved but also to see you in a loving relationship. Jack wants his daddy to be happy and if that's with Emily so be it. I could see that she loves you and needs you." She couldn't voice her suspicions of a pregnancy as that was between the two of them. She just hoped Emily would tell him soon. He deserved the happiness a new baby could bring so did Jack.

"How did you know?" he asked with a slight smile. "How did you know there was something between me and Emily?"

"I saw it at the funeral. The way she looked at you and the way you kept avoiding her gaze and looking down."

"You could be a profiler," he smiled.

"Must have picked up a few tips here and there from you but professionally I'll leave that to you," she smiled back.

"I love my job but I wouldn't wish it on you."

She smiled back just as Jack came running back in.

"Washed my hands, daddy," he exclaimed.

"Good, buddy," he answered sitting them both down at the kitchen table just as Jessica started up serving their pancakes.

Joe Bilson had just pushed his latest victim down the stairs when Emily and the rest of team smashed down the doors. She tackled Joe to the ground and confronted him. She was so angry at this bastard. Not only had he been getting these women to play in his sick delusion he'd killed them and his last murder had been brutal due to the fact her boyfriend came in while he was there he'd prolonged her chance of telling Aaron about their baby. All she wanted to do was make up with him and get on with the pregnancy. Also he'd denied her being there for Aaron when he needed her.

When he was taken out and she made sure the victim was okay she was thankful it was all over. Maybe now she could get things sorted out with Aaron. Could they just move on and have this baby together? She didn't want to raise it alone. She put her hand in her pocket and felt the key that she still kept there. The key to the apartment.

On the plane she got it out and idly rubbed her fingers along it while looking out the window. Rossi came up to her and sat down in front of her.

"He'll come back," he reassured. "Maybe you should go over there and try talking to him."

"If the mountain won't come to you go to it," she smiled slightly.

"Exactly."

"I miss him, Dave."

"Everything will work itself out. You kids are good together."

"Thanks. I hope he still wants to be in a relationship. I don't want to raise this child alone."

"You won't. You'll always have us and Aaron won't turn away his child."

"! I know," she answered then turned to look out the window. He just patted her shoulder and went back to his seat. He really hoped they sorted out this rough patch between them. They deserved each other and he'd never seen them happier than when they were together. He just hoped they'd be even happier now Jack was back and they had one on the way.

He found Aaron at Haley's gravesite sitting on a bench just thinking. Aaron knew he should get back with Emily and he hoped Haley would forgive him. Jessica was right Haley would want him to be happy but so soon. He'd never forget Haley but he was head over heels for Emily. He was going back to the BAU as well so the secrecy would have to continue.

"I knew I'd find you here," Rossi said. Aaron just looked up at him. "So have you told her?"

"Told her what?" he asked. About returning to the BAU or Emily?

"That you're retiring to the BAU."

"I don't need to. She already knows."

Rossi started to walk away but then Aaron got up. "I also told her about me and Emily."

Dave just nodded. "I hope you're going back to her. She loves you and you love her. From what I've seen Jack likes her and she's fond of him. Don't screw it up."

"I'm worried I may already have done."

"She still loves you, Aaron. While we were in Nashville the only thing keeping you off her mind was the case. Talk to her."

Aaron nodded and promised he would.

There was a knock on the door that night so he answered it to find Emily on the doorstep. His chest tightened and he felt knots in his stomach. My god, she was beautiful but would he forgive him. He was shocked to find her on his doorstep. He was thankful he'd just put Jack to bed as this was a conversation they had to have in private.

He let her in and sat her down on the sofa. She took this to be a good sign. He hadn't turned her away or avoided her like the last few weeks. She looked around and saw signs of Jack but she couldn't see him.

"Where's Jack?" she asked.

"Asleep; just put him to bed," he smiled nervously.

"I hear you're coming back to the BAU." She was nervous about how to approach the subject of her pregnancy. She was ten weeks now and she didn't know whether he'd want her and the baby or just the baby. She hoped he would want them both.

He nodded nervously. He didn't know what to say to Emily anymore. He wanted her back but he wasn't sure if she'd forgive him. He took her hand and he smiled when she didn't snatch it back. She wasn't mad at him that had to be a good sign.

At the same time they said, "I need to tell you something." They smiled slightly at that and he added, "You go first."

"No, you," she answered. He was about to argue that she should go first when she put her finger on his lips and added, "Please, I'd rather you go first."

"Emily, I'm so sorry, for the last few weeks. I was scared. I was scared Jack would reject you and everyone would think it was too soon for me to be with another woman."

"I understand."

"I was scared that if anything ever happened to you I'd never be able to save you like I failed Haley."

She took his face in her hands and answered, "You never failed Haley. You can't blame yourself for her death. You did your best and you saved Jack. I know the team and you will always have my back and I'm trained to protect myself."

"I'm so sorry, Emily," he said while looking down. "I love you and I only hurt you. I've been head over heels since Colorado and all I did was pull away and make you feel like you weren't anything to me. Would you ever forgive me?"

"Aaron, I love you too and yes I must admit it did hurt but I understood you were grieving and Jack was your priority. There's nothing to forgive."

He smiled softly at her and added, "I don't deserve you."

"Yes, you do. It's I who don't deserve you. Aaron," she said looking down then added, "I've kept something from you."

His chest tightened at her last sentence. What could she be keeping from him that had obviously happened in the last month? Was she sick? Dear god, now that they'd reunited please don't let him lose her too. He wouldn't be able to bear it.

Noticing where his mind was going she said, "No, don't go there. This isn't bad it's just unexpected unplanned." What was she going on about? She placed his hands on her small bump then looked into his eyes. "I'm pregnant, Aaron."

What? Was she sure? She was right this was unexpected. He didn't know what to say. They were having a baby; a beautiful innocent little baby. "We're having a baby?" he asked.

"Yer. I've known for a month. I've wanted to tell you ever since but I didn't know how. At first I was waiting until Foyet was out of the picture."

"But he killed Haley and I wouldn't communicate with you."

"I wanted to tell you privately at the wake."

"But you were pulled away by the case."

"Since we came home I've wanted to come up but been so scared. I didn't know how you'd react and I still don't. Aaron, I'm going to have this baby. I want you to be in its life as I don't want to raise it alone. I'm scare but I can't let go of this child."

"You won't have to. It is a shock but I want you and this baby," he said placing both hands on her small bump. He couldn't believe it! He was having a baby! Another baby! This time with Emily; his soul mate! He just hated the fact that she'd had to go through this alone so far. He didn't even know how far along she was.

"How far along?"

"Ten weeks."

"I'm so sorry..."

"None of this is your fault."

"I'm so sorry for leaving you to deal with this alone."

"I wasn't alone..." she knew she had to tell him. "Rossi, Garcia and JJ have been there for me."

Aaron shot up off the sofa. "Am I the last to know?"

"No, Morgan and Reid don't. Only Dave, Penelope and JJ. I planned for you to be the second to know but Pen saw the pregnancy test and Dave worked it out. Aaron, I'm so sorry. I want this baby to have a father like I never had. He was always too busy and then he just left one day. I don't want this baby to have the lonely childhood I had."

"It won't," he answered coming back to her. "We'll both be there for our child." She smiled at the way he'd said our child. She'd been so used to my child or your child that it relieved her to hear her Aaron claiming his child. He kissed her bump as he did so. She smiled at him and laughed as it tickled.

He then hugged her close to him as he sat back down on the sofa. He kissed her hair and whispered, "I missed you."

"I've missed you, too," she smiled up at him.

Suddenly they heard footsteps run into the room. "Daddy," a little voice shouted. He didn't bother to move out of his embrace as Jack had encouraged the relationship and he wasn't going to lie to his son.

"Here buddy," he answered.

He ran over and saw his daddy with the nice lady from the picture. He smiled at her and she smiled back then ran to his daddy. "Jack, this is Emily, your member. I told you about her," Aaron explained and Jack nodded.

"Hello Jack," she smiled.

"Hi," he smiled at her. "You make my daddy happy."

She smiled up at Aaron and answered, "He makes me happy too." She was touched he'd spoken to his son about her.

"Do you love him?"

That was a loaded question and she knew she did but how was she going to tell his son. She feared he might think she was trying to replace Haley but he had told her she made him happy. "Who couldn't love your dad?" she asked.

He beamed and surprised her with a hug which she returned. "I like you," he said.

"I like you, too," she smiled back.

"Be with daddy. He deserves to be happy."

"I plan to be with him."

He smiled. "Why are you up, buddy?" Aaron asked.

"I had a bad dream," he answered looking down.

Aaron removed his arms from Emily and sat up to tend to his son. He hugged him close and answered, "It's alright, buddy. We all get bad dreams. Don't we, Emily?" she was touched he was trying to involve her in his family life but then again in seven months there would be no denying they were a family.

"Yes, we all do," she answered stroking Jack's arm.

"Can you tell me a story so I can go back to sleep?" Jack asked.

"Sure."

"Can Emily stay?"

"That's up to her," he smiled at her begging with his eyes for her stay. He didn't want to let her go again especially when she was carrying his child.

"I'd love to," she smiled at them. She was just as reluctant to leave. She didn't want to lose him again.

He smiled back at her and they headed to Jack's room. Jack climbed onto his bed as did Aaron and Emily. Aaron was trying to get him used to his own bed again. He curled into his dad and held Emily's hand. She loved the fact Jack had seemingly accepted her already. As Aaron told him the story he fell asleep on his dad's chest.

"I'm reluctant to leave him," Aaron admitted. "He's been having nightmares since Haley died," he answered looking at Emily sadly. "I don't know what he must have seen or heard."

She smiled sadly up at him stroking his hair. "We can stay here if you want to. I know you'll help him through it as you already are doing a great job. You're a great father."

He smiled back slightly and answered, "You'll be a great mum."

"Thanks," she smiled down at her bump.

"Would you like to stay over?"

"I'd love to."

They lay there reluctant to leave Jack in case of another nightmare. He looked down at Jack ready to leave when Jack grasped his shirt and pulled him close. He looked down guiltily and then at her. She nodded and got up to leave.

"I remember where everything is. I'll sort everything out while you stay with him. Can I borrow one of your t-shirts?" she said.

"Sure," he smiled. "I'll wear this one but could you get me my pyjama bottoms?"

"Sure."

"And Emily thank you."

She smiled and left for his room. She picked out a t-shirt of his and his pyjama trousers. She popped into Jack's room and gave Aaron his trousers and then changed in the bathroom. She felt uncomfortable about changing in his room and in front of a little boy even if he was asleep. He could always wake up.

After she'd neatly folded her clothes and put them on Aaron's bed she joined both Hotchners again. He smiled when he saw her and they lay against Jack.

"I'm sorry about this," he said.

"I understand," she answered stroking Jack's hair while he smiled.

"He'll want you to be here in the morning."

"Good."

She woke up the next morning to find herself alone in Jack's bed. She sat up looking around her alarmed then heard noises coming from the kitchen. She smiled and stretched getting up. She headed towards the noises and smiled when she saw Jack playing with his toys at the table while his father was making pancakes. He looked up and smiled when he saw her as Jack.

"Hey sleepyhead," he smiled. He knew it was too early to move in but he loved having her around. He hoped in seven months they would be living together so they could both always be there for their baby. He didn't quite know how to broach the subject to his son though. He was sure Jack would love to be a big brother but he'd just lost his mummy.

"Hey," she smiled at him. "What's that delicious smell?" she asked smiling at Jack.

"Daddy's making pancakes," he beamed. "He makes the best pancakes in the whole wide world." She smiled at his idolisation of his father,

"I bet he does," she smiled at him.

It had been a few days since then and Hotch was preparing for his first day of work. It was also Jack's first day back at school. He'd been given time off to deal with the loss of his mother. He'd promised to take his son and had made arrangements with the Bureau to be in a little later than usual to do so. Emily had spent almost every day here or they'd been over at hers. He loved the fact that Emily and Jack got on so well.

They'd decided to tell him before the team about the baby. It was only right that he should know first. He was going to be the big brother after all and it would affect his life most. They'd decided to take him to his favourite restaurant this weekend and tell him. They had to tell him somewhere he loved. They just hoped he'd be happy to be a big brother.

"Daddy, will you pick me up?" he asked as Aaron helped him get ready then got his briefcase and guns in his holsters. He always kept his guns locked away unless he was getting ready to work. He wouldn't let the slightest thing hurt his son.

"I'll try," he answered stroking his hair. It was all he could promise him and Jack knew it. He didn't know if he would be pulled away on a case but luckily he had Jessica to help.

"Will Emily be there?"

"I don't know but she will be here later."

Jack smiled up at him. Apart from daddy and Auntie Jessica Emily was his favourite person in the world. He loved that they were so close already.

He got them into his car and drove off to Jack's school. When they got there he got him out and took him to his classroom.

"Good morning, Mr Hotchner," his teacher said.

"Good morning, Miss Clarke," he smiled back. It was good to drop his son off at school. Having Jack and Emily back in his life made him smile and take him away from the darkness he saw in his job. It reminded him he had something good to go home too.

"It's great to see you back, Jack," she said crouching down to greet his child.

"Thank you, Miss Clarke," he beamed. He loved spending time with his daddy but he was happy to be back with his friends.

"Why don't you go in? Alex is already here." She'd noticed that he and Alex were very close. Alex was his best friend.

"Okay." He was about to run in when he remembered he'd almost forgotten to say goodbye to his father. He hugged his legs and Aaron crouched down hugging him close. "See you later, daddy."

"See you later, buddy," he answered. "You be a good boy for Miss Clarke, you hear."

He beamed nodding then ran into class while Aaron got back up brushing his knees. He was so happy to see his son smile again. He'd been smiling a lot more since Emily had entered his life. It was a wrench though to leave again he thought as he watched him. At least this time he'd be at home when he got there or he could take him home. He'd be there daily.

"We'll look after him." he nodded as he knew they would.

"Either my sister-in-law or I will be here to pick him up."

She nodded and he left for work.

When he got there he headed up to his office not forgetting to acknowledge everyone. He couldn't help the slight smile that spread on his face when he saw his girlfriend. She smiled back and they got to work. Every now and again they would glance at each other.

There was a knock on the door and he said, "Come in."

Rossi walked in with a smile on his face. "Welcome back," he said.

"Thank you." He knew Rossi was in here not to welcome him back but to discuss Emily.

"You and Emily?" he asked.

"Back together," he smiled.

"Good," he smiled back. "And you know about her condition?"

"Yes," he beamed. He still couldn't get over the fact they were having a baby. Emily was carrying his child.

"Congratulations."

"Thanks. It hasn't quite sunken in yet."

"Just a piece of advice, Aaron..." his smile dropped. "Treat Emily just like you did JJ otherwise you know you'll have a battle on your hands even if it is your baby." He nodded as he knew he could be slightly overprotective especially with those he loved. "You'll be great parents." He smiled again. "Does Jack know yet?"

"We're going to tell him this weekend. Hopefully everything will be fine. He's crazy about Emily."

"I'm glad," Rossi smiled. "You two deserve each other." Hotch smiled. "Well, I'd better get back to work."

"See you later, Dave."

Rossi smiled as he left the office. Things were looking up. Hotch was back at the BAU and with Emily and they were adding to their family. Jack was going to be a big brother and Emily was going to be a mother. Good for her! He'd seen the regret and pain in her eyes when she'd told him about her abortion.

JJ came up to Emily smiling. "Hey, can I talk to you in my office?" she asked.

"Sure," she answered concerned. She wondered what was up.

She followed her back to her office and sat down opposite her.

"What's up?" she asked.

"You and Hotch? You both look happy?"

She smiled daydreaming about her sweet Aaron. "Yer, we got back together a few days ago and it's been fantastic. Him, me and Jack."

Jack? She'd been spending time with Jack! Well, of course she had if she'd been spending almost every day with Hotch. "How is little man?"

"He's great," she smiled, "really great. He's such a wonderful kid. He'll be such a great brother."

"Does he know yet?"

"Aaron knows and we're planning to tell Jack this weekend. We wanted him to get used to me first."

"Good luck."

"Thanks."

"Do you think it would be helpful if Henry and Jack had play dates? It might get him used to having another kid around."

"It's not my call but I'm sure Hotch would accept it."

"I'll ask him," she smiled. "We'd better get back to work."

She nodded and they went back to work.

He looked up at the clock and saw it was 4.30pm. Damn! Jack would have finished school an hour and a half ago. He hadn't even called Jessica to pick him up. He threw on his suit jacket and packed up in a hurry. The rest of the files could wait for tomorrow as they didn't have a case. He would just check on how Emily was doing. Hopefully she could finish up and they could go pick up Jack together. He called up the school to apologise for being late and they assured him Jack was still with his teacher.

"Hey Emily, would you like to go out for a coffee?" he asked.

She looked up and saw he was ready to leave and looked rather anxious. She looked up at the clock and realised he was late to pick up Jack. He didn't want to go for a coffee with her he wanted them to go pick up Jack together.

She smiled, "Sure, I'm done for the day." She was touched he wanted her to join him in a normal parental task. She got her things together and they left for his car. She'd pick hers up in the morning.

He drove as quickly as he could feeling guilty about forgetting Jack. She placed a hand on his arm and said, "It'll be alright. I'm sure he understands."

He smiled at her slightly. She always knew the right thing to say and tried to cheer him up. "He's going to love you picking him up. He asked this morning if you could."

She smiled at him. "He's such a sweet kid."

"He is," he smiled. Jack was the best son he could wish for.

When they got there they got out and rushed to Jack's classroom. When Jack saw them he ran up shouting, "Daddy! Emily!" miss Clarke followed him. They both crouched down and hugged him. They looked like such a nice family thought Miss Clarke. Jack had been telling her about his daddy's girlfriend, Emily, while they were waiting for him. If she made Jack happy she was happy. He was one of her favourite students; always willing to help and so sweet. She'd really worried about him when he had to be put into protective custody and when she heard about his mother's death.

"Hey buddy," Aaron said hugging him back. "I'm so sorry for being late but I hope I'm forgiven since I brought Emily." He smiled at her and she smiled back.

"I understand. You're forgiven," he smiled at him. He'd forgive his dad anything.

"Hey sweetheart," Emily said stroking his arm.

"Hey Emily," he beamed hugging him.

Aaron got back up to speak to Miss Clarke while Emily dealt with his son. She was one of a select few he trusted with his precious little boy. While he spoke with her Emily helped him get his bag and coat.

"I'm so sorry for being late," Aaron said.

"Its fine, Mr Hotchner," she smiled. "Jack and I had a wonderful time."

He smiled and answered, "Thank you."

"Any time."

Luckily there had been no case that week so they were able to keep their weekend plans. They took Jack to Chuck E Cheese. He loved going there and he was thrilled to be going there with Emily as well as his daddy.

They were in the middle of the meal when Aaron placed his hand over Emily's and looked at Jack.

"Jack, Emily and I have something to tell you," he smiled at her.

"Are you two getting married?" he asked excitedly. "Is Emily going to live with us?"

"Not yet, buddy, but maybe sometime soon." He smiled at Emily. It was definitely something they had to think about with a baby on the way. He was determined to do it right and always be there for their child. "We're having a baby. You're going to be a big brother."

He beamed. "Can I have a little sister? Alex has got a little sister."

"We'll wait and see," Aaron beamed while Emily did. They were so thankful Jack was excited about the baby. They hoped he would be but hadn't been sure. She guessed Aaron wanted a daughter but she didn't mind.

"How long do we have to wait?"

"Six months."

"That's a long time," he answered disappointed.

"Sometimes we have to wait for the good things. It teaches us to look forward to things," Emily answered.

He nodded with a smile on his face. "I can't wait."

"Neither can we," they smiled at each other then back at Jack. She was so happy; she had her own little family. Nothing was better than having her boyfriend, his son and their child on the way. Apart from the team it was her first loving family. Her mother had never really had time for her. Her father hadn't had time for her either. She'd spent most of her upbringing with bodyguards wishing for a younger sibling.

He was happy to be here with his little family too. Everything was perfect. He had his soul mate by his side who was carrying his baby and his son back and with him. He vowed never to be the father his had been. He would never lay a hand on his children. He knew the pain firsthand.

They were glad this had gone well. Next up was the team. At least JJ, Garcia and Rossi already knew. It was only really Morgan and Reid. Then they would have to face the music but they would face it together. The Bureau would have to know Emily was pregnant as arrangements would have to be made for her maternity leave.

They were going out with the team tonight and Jessica would be babysitting Jack. They just wanted it over and done with then they could focus on the pregnancy and their baby. There was only six months and they had a lot to do. There was a house to buy and a nursery to create while attending all the check-ups. He would make sure he was at all check-ups. He didn't want to miss anything this time. He'd missed too much with Jack.

When they got back to his apartment they spent the afternoon with him. Jessica then came over and they got ready for drinks with the team. Thankfully Jessica had guessed she was pregnant and they'd already confirmed it. Also fortunately to Hotch's delight both women got along.

This was the first time they'd all been out for drinks since Haley's death. She hadn't felt like going out if he wasn't there and he was understandably spending all his time with Jack. Now that he was back at the helm they felt like it was time to celebrate. There was more than Hotch's return to celebrate tonight.

"You look gorgeous," he said smiling at her.

"Thanks. You don't look too bad yourself, handsome," she answered.

She'd changed into a black strapless dress that went to her knees while he'd changed into a navy shirt and black trousers. They went to Jack's room to say goodnight before they left. It was highly probable he wouldn't be up when they got home. They would both be coming back here. Home wasn't without him. Home was where the heart is.

Jack jumped up when he saw them and Jessica smiled. He ran to them and hugged them. They wished him goodnight then set out to the bar. They were the last to arrive and sat side by side at the table the rest of them had taken.

"Your usual?" Morgan asked them both.

"No, I'll have an orange juice," she answered placing a hand on her bump. Morgan looked at her surprised.

"You're yanking my chain, right?"

"Nope, an orange juice please," Aaron smiled at her and she'd fought off temptations.

"I'll have the usual though," he piped up placing his hand over hers on their child. She smiled at him and placed her other on top of his.

Morgan went off to get the drinks. He wondered at Emily's change of drink. She always had a beer. What would change that? He looked over and noticed Emily and Hotch's hands were on her stomach and they were smiling at each other. Was she pregnant? That would explain everything. Why she'd been so tired lately, been having mood swings, distracted when Hotch was away? She was carrying his child. He was genuinely happy for them both. The Hotchners deserved something happy to look forward to and Emily deserved all the happiness in the world.

Who'd have thought it? Emily and Hotch! He wouldn't have thought about it when she started but it was clear now they belonged together. There was no denying how much they loved each other. It was in every look every gesture. He admired how they kept it out of the office but I guess they couldn't for much longer if she was pregnant. He hoped they'd be able to stay in the BAU as their relationship had only made them stronger.

He got their drinks then headed back to the table. He gave them to them and sat back down next to Garcia.

"Well, this is nice. All of us being back together," JJ said.

"Yer," they all agreed.

Emily put her hand over Aaron's as they'd decided she would tell the team while Hotch would tell Jack. She looked at him for reassurance and he nodded.

"Guys, Aaron and I have something to tell you," she said. They all smiled at her apart from Reid who looked completely clueless. He may be a genius but he really didn't know the first thing about relationships. She smiled at Aaron then turned back to the relationship. "We're having a baby."

"You're adopting?" Reid asked confused. "Isn't that a little soon?"

"She's three months pregnant, Spence," JJ said.

"Wait! How long have you know?" Morgan exclaimed.

"Ever since the day Haley died. Sorry Hotch."

"No, it's fine. Thanks for being there for her. All three of you. I really appreciate it."

"Wait! All three of you?"

"JJ, Dave and Penelope," Emily sighed. She hadn't wanted to hurt Derek but she wanted Aaron to know first. He was after all the father.

"You told them and not me? Not me and Reid too?"

"Derek, I wanted Aaron to be the first to know. He's after all the father," she explained.

"So how did they know?"

"I saw her buying the pregnancy test," JJ defended.

"I saw them with the positive pregnancy test," Garcia added.

"I worked it out when I picked her up for the funeral," Rossi added.

Morgan sighed resigned but added, "I am happy for you, guys. Congratulations." He smiled at them to reassure them.

"Yer, congratulations," they all added toasting their glasses.

"Thank you," Emily and Aaron beamed smiling at each other.

"It's going to be the most beautiful baby," Garcia exclaimed excitedly.

"Thank you."

Chapter Text

Retaliation

They were off on a case a few days later leaving Jack with Jessica. She couldn't believe a father could kidnap his own daughter. She was thankful that the father of her child would never do anything like that. They spent the nights apart though which was hard on them both. When they finally reunited their family and Emily carried the little boy back to his mother she couldn't help thinking about their baby and Jack. Aaron wanted to smile when he saw her carrying the young boy. She would be such a great mother but she'd better not strain herself much longer.

On the plane they sat opposite each other. He put his hand over hers on the table.

"Move in with me," he said. "Let's not wait until we have a house. You're over almost every night anyway. It would just be simpler if your things were at my apartment. Jack loves you being there."

She smiled at him excited at the prospect of moving in with him. She agreed it made more sense to live with him than rush home early every morning to change. "Makes sense," she smiled excitedly moving to sit next to him. He held her close to him and kissed her hair.

"How about we move you in this weekend? I could get the guys to help. I don't want you straining yourself."

"Aaron, I'm only three months pregnant not nine," she answered a little frustrated. "You can't wrap me in cotton wool."

"Fine," he answered.

When they told the team they agreed to help and were happy for them. They informed the FBI the next day that Emily was pregnant with Hotch's baby. Though they were nervous as they being interrogated how their relationship had affected the team and how long they were relieved to finally have it out in the open. Members of the team were called in to be questioned about the relationship and they all backed up the both of them. They were later called back in to tell them what their future held.

"Agent Prentiss and Agent Hotchner?" the director said.

"Yes sir," they answered.

"We thank you for alerting us to your relationship and condition. We have spoken to members of your team and have come to a decision."

They nodded nervously looking at each other. Whatever happened they would stay together. Nothing would break them up again and they would raise this child together.

"As long as this relationship carries on not affecting your work you may keep your jobs but you won't be getting any promotions for the rest of your career."

They nodded in understanding. "Thank you."

"You are dismissed."

They nodded and left. They didn't look at each other until they get back to his office. They hugged each other and she rested her hand on his chest.

"Thank god that's over," she said.

"I have to agree," he answered.

"We can love in the open without fear of them disciplining us. We've already proven we can do our jobs without our relationship affecting it."

"I love you, Emily," he said tracing his hand down the side of her face.

"I love you too, Aaron," she smiled up at him.

They kissed and then she pulled back. He looked at her confused.

"What is it?" he asked.

"What's the time?" she answered.

"Three thirty," he replied. Then it hit him. "Jack."

She nodded and they left to pick him up.

That weekend she moved into the apartment though she knew they would move again in a month or two. She hoped they would move before the bump got too big. She just didn't want the hassle when she got too pregnant and found that the baby would come at any moment.

She carried a few light boxes herself but Aaron, Derek and Dave wouldn't let her carry any of the heavier boxes. She was a little frustrated that they didn't want her to strain her pregnancy bump but she understood that they just wanted to look after her and the baby. She just sighed that there was still five months to go. She wondered how long he'd allow her to carry on working but she wanted to do it till the end even if near the end she had to work victimology only.

She loved it when she snuggled up to Aaron in his bed that night knowing it was now their bed. She now had her own family to live with and it was her dream come true. He loved holding her in his arms and knowing she was there permanently; she lived with him.

Jack was sleeping well in his own bed now. Ever since Emily had entered his life really but tonight he came running in.

"Daddy! Emily!" he shouted.

"Yes buddy," they answered.

"Can I sleep with you tonight? I'm just so excited."

"Sure buddy. We're excited too."

He beamed and jumped on the bed crawling in between them. He was so happy that Emily was living with them. He would always remember his mummy but he loved Emily. Emily made his daddy happy and if his daddy was happy so was he. She was nice and loved spending time with him as well as daddy. He cuddled up close to them both. This was his family; his daddy and his step mummy. He was going to be a big brother soon too and he couldn't wait. He'd be the bestest big brother in the world.

"What is it, buddy?" Aaron asked.

"I'm going to be the bestest big brother in the world," Jack answered.

They chuckled and he hugged him while Emily stroked his hair. "Yes you are," they answered.

He beamed at them.

Chapter Text

The Uncanny Valley

A few days' later daddy and Emily were off on another case. Now they were after a disturbed woman who was turning women into living dolls. As Emily dealt with sets of dolls trying to work out who this UnSub was she was pretty sure she couldn't give as daughter of hers dolls like these. It would remind her of this case.

She had a new reason for doing her job. Before it was so no child would ever end up as lonely as she had been. Now it was to make the world a safer place for her children; Jack and the baby. She loved Jack as her own already. She would never let anything harm him or the baby. She had also begun to hope it was a girl. It would complete the picture. Aaron, Emily, Jack and a little girl.

A few days after they got home her mother invited her to a political gala and wouldn't take no for an answer. While she was on the phone and becoming increasingly frustrated Aaron had whispered to tell her she had a date to take to the gala. She smiled at the thought of taking her boss and father of her baby so did so. She could just imagine her mother's face as she informed her mother that her boss was her boyfriend that she was pregnant by and living with. She'd have a heart attack.

"Just imagine her face when I bring my boyfriend, my boss, and show my baby bump," she smiled.

He smiled at her as he knew she and her mother had never been on good terms. Emily had told him she'd mostly been left on her own with bodyguards. She'd hardly ever spent time with her mother when she grew up but was always expected to be the perfect Ambassador's daughter. She was supposed to be seen and not heard. It was why she had rebelled when she was a teenager and became a Goth. He never wanted her to feel lonely and unloved again.

"It will also stop all these politicians trying to get their hands on me. Having my severe boss scowling at them all," she teased but truly thankful she didn't have to face this alone. She really did hate them all trying to get their grimy paws on her. She hated politics.

"I'm sure the pregnancy bump will help too," he smiled wrapping his arms around her and placing his hands on her bump.

She smiled up at him. "You know I love you, don't you Aaron?" she smiled.

"I gathered and you know I love you back, right?" he answered placing a kiss on the top of her head.

"Absolutely."

"You sure you want to go to this gala."

"If you can't get out of it I'm going with you."

She smiled at him again. She was happy to have someone to share her life with now.

"Have you got a suitable suit? I know you have hundreds of suits but have you got a suit suitable for a gala? I need to get a dress. None of mine will fit me now," she said placing her hands over his on her bump.

"So a shopping trip is in order?"

She brought her right arm up and curled it around his neck. "Aaron?" she asked.

"Mmmhmm," he murmured into her hair.

"Can we go house hunting next weekend? We're due to have this baby in four months and I'd rather move into a house sooner than late."

"Sure and we'll take Jack."

"Of course."

It was vital Jack came too. He was important in the decision making process. They needed a house with three bedrooms that Jack would be happy in. They would also like to have a sizable garden for Jack and his sibling to play in.

First things first though they made arrangements with an estate realtor. Next on the agenda they set out on separate shopping trips for outfits for the gala. She found the perfect dress while out with JJ and Garcia while he found a tux with Dave and Jack.

"Couldn't get yourself out of this one, huh?" JJ asked.

"Mother wouldn't take no for an answer," she sighed then smiled, "Thank god Aarons coming with me!"

"Does she know?" JJ smiled.

"She knows nothing. She doesn't know about Aaron and she sure to hell doesn't know about the baby."

"Why haven't you told her?"

"Can you imagine her face if I told her Aaron and I were a couple?"

They beamed remembering how foreboding her mother was for the case they worked on. "Yer. We can imagine," they answered. "But why not your pregnancy?"

She looked down into her juice and played with her muffin. She knew she had to explain the history but it wasn't pretty and she hadn't even told Aaron yet. "This isn't my first pregnancy. I got pregnant when I was fifteen. Scandal for an Ambassador's daughter, right? I was lost didn't know what to do. Before I knew it she'd talked me into an abortion and Matthew was helping me. Changes our lives forever. Started his questioning his faith, turned him into drugs and we all know what happened to him. That's why this child means to me. It's my second shot my redemption and I'm going to love this baby with all my heart."

Penelope and JJ both had tears in their eyes.

Suddenly she heard a voice from behind her shouting angrily, "She what?" she looked back and saw Aaron with a crushed coffee cup in his hand and she hung her head even lower. He couldn't believe it! Her mother had talked her into aborting her first child. Yes she was only fifteen but the decision had been made for her when she was vulnerable. It had left her blaming herself for Matthew Benneton's death. She had done nothing to blame herself for.

Dave handed him napkins to wipe clean his hand. He thanked him and Dave went back to the end of the queue to get him another one. "You join her with Jack," he said. He nodded and Jack ran over.

"Emily," Jack shouted.

She smiled a little as he ran into her arms and she closed them around him saying, "Hey buddy."

Aaron came up and kissed her cheek. He wouldn't mention the abortion if she didn't want to. He could see the pain and tears in her eyes. He didn't want to cause her anymore; he wanted her to be happy. Also this wasn't the sort of topic to bring up in front of Jack.

Jack sat down next to Emily and Aaron next to him. Jack cuddled up close to Emily and his father smiled at them both. He loved watching them together. They were what made his life worth living and the reason he did his job.

Garcia smiled recovering her tears. "You make sure a cute family," she smiled.

They smiled down at Jack then at each other then Garcia. "Thanks," Aaron and Emily replied.

Emily then giggled at a thought and they all looked puzzled. "What is it?" they asked.

"How on earth did my mother become more frightening than the FBI?" she answered. "I stare down one of the most hardened serial killers yet it's my mother that scares me."

Aaron laid his hand over hers being careful of Jack and assured her, "It'll be alright. You have me there with you this time."

She smiled at him and then her smile dropped again. "Oh god, she's going to ask us when the wedding is."

He smiled at her slightly. There was no denying that one day he wanted her to be Emily Hotchner but it wasn't the right time. It was too soon after Haley's death. He couldn't believe it had only been four months. He still missed her but he was happy with Emily and couldn't wait for their child to be born. "Then we tell her the truth," he said. "We'll get married after the baby."

She smiled at him. She hoped that a wedding would be in their future too.

"You're not the only one who can be diplomatic," he whispered.

She smiled up at him. She had no doubt of it. She knew politics was part of his job. She may have been raised an Ambassador's daughter but not only was he now Unit Chief he had previously been a law prosecutor.

The moment was broken by Rossi placing a coffee cup in front of Aaron. It reminded them they weren't alone.

"Emily?" Jack asked.

"Yes buddy," she answered.

"Can I sit on your lap?"

"Sorry buddy but baby would get in the way of that," she said stroking her pregnancy bump. She was getting a little too big and she'd only get larger. He nodded in understanding. She then smiled at Aaron and asked, "Why don't you ask daddy?"

"Daddy?"

"Sure buddy," he answered patting his lap then Jack climbed in and Aaron placed his arms around him while Emily subconsciously shifted even closer to him.

Rossi smiled at them as did JJ and Garcia. This was the first time they'd seen them as a family. They looked so happy and well suited. It was hard to believe that Emily had only been in Jack's life for three months they were already so close and she was making a great stepmother. She was making such a great stepmother they knew she would make an excellent mother.

"You're bigger than I was at your stage," JJ said.

"Gee thanks," Emily answered. "I already feel like a bleached whale."

"No, you look beautiful," Aaron smiled at her. She just rolled her eyes in answer. She knew he was only saying that to make her happy. She would always be beautiful to him. She was even more beautiful now she was carrying his baby.

"He's right. You look positively glowing," Dave added.

She smiled back at him.

"So what are you guys doing this weekend?" JJ asked.

"House hunting," Emily answered smiling at her boyfriend and his son.

"We want to get it over and done with sooner rather than later. We have a ticking time bomb here," he teased stroking her bump.

They all smiled in understanding. They all couldn't wait to see baby Hotchner in four months time. They also understood the importance of finding a house soon.

"Why what were you thinking?" Emily asked.

"Will and I were wondering if Jack would like to come over and play with Henry."

"That would be nice. How about after we've house hunted? Does that sound good, buddy? Would you like to spend time with Henry?" Aaron asked his son.

Jack nodded enthusiastically. Even though Henry was three years younger than him he loved to spend time with him. Since Haley's death they had spent a lot of time together even when Aaron, JJ and Emily were off on a case. Being a child of the BAU helped them form a bond.

"How about you join us for dinner? We know how tiring house hunting can be especially when you're pregnant." JJ and Will had done the same when she was pregnant with Henry. At least Aaron wasn't moving state like Will did.

"Sure."

On Wednesday night they got ready to go to this political gala. They were both nervous as it was their first public appearance even though the Bureau knew about them. Also they had her mother to deal with but they weren't going to let her get in their way. No-one was going to get in the way of their happiness.

He was in the living room sitting on the sofa watching television with his son waiting for Emily to finish getting ready with Jessica. Jessica had come over early to help her. He was trying to keep his tux from creasing while waiting for her. She'd shooed him out before she changed telling him he wanted it to be a surprise.

He heard movement from behind him and stood up off the sofa and turned around with a smile. What he saw took his breath away. She stood there biting her lips nervously in a jaw dropping black low cut silk dress. There was a gold locket around her neck that he'd given her and her beautiful, long, dark brown hair was in a bulldog clip. She looked absolutely gorgeous.

Jack jumped up and ran to her with his arms open. He hugged her legs and she enclosed her arms around his shoulders. She was a little too big to bend down and hug him.

"You look pretty, Emily," he beamed.

"Thanks buddy," she smiled down at him. She then raised an eyebrow looking at Aaron and asked, "What does your father think?"

"Wow, you look gorgeous," he smiled kissing her cheek.

"Don't look too bad yourself, handsome," she smiled back.

He was in a traditional black tuxedo and bowtie. He was also wearing a black cumberband. He'd also put on a pair of black suit shoes. His eyes were shining with desire looking at her.

He then looked at his watch and said, "We'd better get going.

"Fine" she answered disappointed. She really wished she could spend more time here and miss the gala.

"You promised your mother you'd attend. We'll just make an appearance."

"Fine," she smiled slightly at him.

Jack hugged his father and he picked him up. "Bye daddy," he said kissing his cheek.

"Bye buddy," he smiled back at him kissing his hair.

He then turned to Emily and hugged her saying, "Bye Emily." He kissed her cheek.

She kissed his hair and answered, "Bye sweetie."

They then left for the gala and he assured her once again they could leave whenever she wanted. He wasn't going to keep her there against her will. No way would he do that especially when she was pregnant with his child. He hoped she didn't know she had him wrapped around her finger; it would be most inconvenient at work.

When they got to the venue he took her arm and escorted her in while everyone looked to see who was on the Ambassador's daughter's arm. Was that Agent Hotchner; the head of the BAU? Since when were they a couple? Wasn't he her boss? From the looks of her bump it had been a while.

She looked around nervously and then saw two women she was more than happy to see. She started running over to them as fast as her added weight would carry her while Aaron tried to slow her down but he ended up being dragged along. He didn't mind as long as she was careful and didn't end up hurting herself or the baby.

"Alexia, Eliza," she exclaimed.

"Emily," they smiled upon seeing her. Alexia almost had to laugh seeing her long-time childhood best friend dragging Agent Hotchner across the floor.

Alexia Di Ginatto was the daughter of the Spanish Ambassador. She'd grown up alongside Emily and they had become very close friends over the years. They ended up attending York together. Now they were both in the FBI just different departments. Alexia worked counterterrorism but she had heart about the fearless leader of the BAU, Agent Aaron Hotchner. She'd also heard the rumours going around that him and Emily were in a relationship and she was pregnant with his kid. I guess this confirmed it was true.

Well if he made her happy she was happy and from the looks of it he did. She hadn't missed the look of love between the two when they entered the room and it was obvious he cared deeply about her. She was also happy they were having a baby remembering how devastated she was when she aborted her first.

Eliza Zanetti was the daughter of the Italian Ambassador and had grown up with Emily and Alexia. She'd also attended York with them. Now she worked for Interpol. She had worked alongside Emily until she returned back to Washington. She hadn't seen Emily in ages as work had tied them both up. Now seeing that she was pregnant and had a strong, protective man by her side she was happy for her.

They all hugged each other and she introduced Aaron. "Allie, Ellie, this is Agent Hotchner. I'm sure you remember him, Allie. Aaron, these are Alexia Di Ginatto and Eliza Zanetti, two of my longest friends. Allie works in counterterrorism at the FBI and Ellie at Interpol."!

"Pleased to make your acquaintance," he said shaking their hands.

"Pleasure is all ours," they answered.

"Ems, look how big you've gotten," Eliza said while Emily looked down at her bump. "So who's the father?"

"Who do you think?" she asked smiling up at Aaron. He smiled back at her and placed a hand protectively on his unborn child.

They had smug smiles on their faces then asked, "Have you seen the Gorgon?" she smiled at the nickname they'd given her mother.

She shook her head and they placed a hand on her arm each. "We're here for you," they said then added, "both."

"Thank you," he answered. He was pleased to be so well accepted by her friends. It was obvious Alexia at least knew the risks they'd taken to be together.

Her mother finally saw them and came with her. When she saw Agent Hotchner's hand on her stomach and that she was pregnant she was angry. Was she really going to bring scandal back into this family? She was pregnant with her boss' child! Of all the scandals to bring into her career why this one?

She headed over to her daughter and said, "Emily Jane Prentiss, may we speak privately?"

"Yes mother," she answered rolling her eyes.

"I'll hover nearby," Aaron whispered assuring her. He knew she didn't really want to be alone with her mother and he needed to protect her as much as he could. He would protect Jack, Emily and the baby to the death even from relatives.

She nodded and went with her mother. He followed a few minutes later with Alexia and Eliza. They also wanted to protect Emily and they knew how scary her mother could be.

"What's the meaning of this?" her mother snapped at her.

"The meaning of what?" she answered trying to play innocent.

"Showing up with Agent Hotchner pregnant!"

"I told you I was bringing a date."

"Your boss?!"

"He's not just my boss, mother."

"How long? How long has this been going on?"

"About a year."

Elizabeth Prentiss' eyes popped out of her head. Her daughter had been dating her boss for nearly a year and she knew nothing about it. Did the FBI know about it? Did they know what risks they were taking? Did they know how this could potentially ruin her career?

"Are you insane? He's your boss!"

"Don't you think I know that? Don't you think I know he's my boss? Don't you think we've already gone through all the risks? He's worth it all though. For the first time in my life I have a family."

"You always had a family."

"Only if you could call the bodyguards that."

"And you're pregnant!"

"Well, duh?" she answered angrily. "I haven't stuffed a bloody cushion up my dress and I'm going to keep this baby. I'm not going to let you talk me into aborting this one like last time. I won't do that to Jack and Aaron."

"Are you even going to get married?"

"After the baby," she answered remembering what he said.

"How soon?"

"I don't know. It isn't the right time. Jack's mother only died four months ago."

"And you just weaselled your way in?"

Emily glared at her mother's insinuation. How dare she? How dare she insinuate she was that kind of girl? It just showed how much her father didn't know her own daughter.

Aaron had had enough and his eyes filled with rage. How dare she? How fucking dare she? Emily would never weasel her way into his bed sheets to promote herself. Emily was the kindest, most compassionate and loving woman he'd ever met. He could see tears filling her eyes so walked out.

"For your information, Ambassador Prentiss, Emily did not weasel her way in. She was there for me at one of the hardest times of my life and every day I am thankful she did," he smiled at her as she edged closer to him. He pulled her into a hug and carried on," she was there for me while I couldn't see my son for his own safety. She'd also been there for me when I had problems with my hearing. She kept me from staring into the abyss while I tried to save my son. When his mother died I regrettably pulled away but she has made my family a whole. Emily is the most wonderful woman I have the pleasure to know. She is so loving, caring, compassionate and selfless. She makes so many people's lives better and she is not only a credit to the team but to you. If only you had taken time to get to know her you would know that. We have already faced the FBI and they know about us. You can choose to be in your grandchild's life but it's up to you to accept not only our child but us too as I am never going to leave your daughter." He kissed Emily's hair while she smiled up at him. "Would you like to go home?" he whispered in her ear.

She nodded looking up at him with love and gratitude in her eyes. That was the sweetest thing she'd ever heard him say. She was surprised by how romantic he'd just been.

They walked out past Alexia and Eliza. They each put a hand on her arm and said, "We'll call later."

"Use the mobile. I live with Aaron now. I'll give you our number later," she answered.

They just nodded and she left on Aaron's arm. She just sighed and laid her hand in his shoulder. He stroked her hair with his free hand. She breathed a sigh of relief. She was so thankful he'd been there to support her.

"Thank you," she sighed as they got back into his car.

"I meant every word," he answered getting in himself.

She smiled at him. She just fell apart and tears started rolling down her cheeks some time later while they were on the way home. He pulled over and undid their seatbelts holding her in his arms as she cried it out. They were both glad she hadn't broken down at the gala but he was so thankful she didn't bottle it up.

When she recovered her tears she smiled slightly, "Damn hormones."

He smiled at her and after belting up drove they back to their apartment. When they got back she just sunk into the sofa while Jessica made her goodbyes.

"Thank god, that's over," she sighed.

He gave her a bag of apple chunks, her craving, and pulled her close to him while she snuggled up to him. "It wasn't that bad," he answered.

"Which part? Being called a slut by my mother or being called insane?"

"You got to see your friends again," he soothed.

"Yer, i guess I did," she smiled up at him.

"Also Em, you got to admit this was kind of insane in the beginning."

"Yer, I guess, but I wouldn't regret it. Would you?" she smiled at him.

"Never," he answered kissing her neck.

Just then her mobile rang and she rolled her eyes. She picked it up answering it with a, "hello."

"Em, it's us," Alexia and Eliza answered.

She sat up straight and mouthed who it was while he smiled. "Oh hi guys."

"Hey, it was great seeing you tonight."

"You too."

"And wow! I never knew Agent Hotchner was such a sweet guy. You've got to keep him, babe. He's clearly head over heels for you," Alexia added.

She smiled at him. "I am for him too."

"We are so happy for you," Eliza said.

"Thanks. I am too."

"Forget about the Gorgon and don't let her ruin your happiness."

"I won't," she smiled.

"You deserve this."

"Thanks. Allie, can you make sure tonight doesn't go around the Bureau? I don't want them knowing that my own mother thinks I'm a slut. Also I don't think Aaron would like them to know about his sweet side. That's Aaron not Hotch. He likes to keep the two separate."

"I understand and Em, no-one thinks you're a slut."

"Thanks."

"I'll see you guys around."

"Of course."

"Bye. I'd better get back to Aaron. I'm getting tired."

"We understand. Look after yourself and the baby."

"I will."

"Bye Em."

They ended the call and she snuggled up to her lover.

On Saturday they went house hunting with Jack. She'd thankfully gotten over her fight with her mother though it hadn't been resolved. It had just gone back to how it had always been with them not communicating. As long as she had Aaron she didn't give a hoot what her mother thought. She knew he would always stand by her. He'd made his point to her mother.

They set out in his car and he drove them round to the houses. She was too big to drive anymore so she always let him drive. At least now the Bureau knew it was much easier for him to drive her to work every day. They were both so thankful that the FBI had allowed them to keep their jobs. Jack was sat in the back excited about all the houses. They would be looking at three they had handpicked and had Garcia check out privately over the week. They'd had to check the history of all of the houses they'd been asked if they wanted to see just in case. They'd chosen on exploring the three houses that didn't have some kind of history and were the most secure. They just wanted Jack and the baby to have the best and safest home.

They looked at all three and Jack and Emily fell in love with the last. It was a largish and spacious house with a good-sized garden. There were three rooms; one for themselves, one for Jack and a nursery for the baby. There was a well-sized living room, kitchen and bathroom. There was also a good-sized study that they decided they would share. Looking at their faces Aaron immediately put down a deposit. If they loved the house then so did he. They'd move in as soon as possible.

They then headed off to dinner at JJ and Will's. Jack had forgotten about his play date with Henry so he wondered where they were going.

"Daddy, where are we going?" he asked.

"We're going to have dinner with Auntie JJ and Uncle Will, remember," he answered.

"Oh yer and I get to play with Henry," he beamed.

"Sure thing buddy," Emily smiled. She loved the close bond Jack had with Henry and hoped it would be the same with his baby brother or sister. They still didn't quite know what the sex of the baby was though they both hoped for a girl.

When they arrived he was a bundle of energy ready to play with Henry. He was really looking forward to being a big brother. Aaron knocked on the door and JJ answered smiling at all three of them.

"Hey," she smiled at them especially down at the little boy who was bouncing up and down.

"Hey," they smiled while Jack hugged her shouting, "Hey Auntie JJ. Where's Henry?"

"In the living room, sweetie."

Jack looked up to Emily and Aaron for permission and when they nodded he ran into the living room and they could hear him greeting not only Henry but also Will. They followed with JJ then greeted them both and found Henry and Jack already playing. Emily smiled at the sight.

Chapter Text

Risky Business

They were off on another case a few days later and they would move in a couple of days after returning home. This time it was a case where teenagers had apparently been committing suicide but there was more to it than meets the eye. It turned out a father had orchestrated it and abused his own son.

As Emily lay sleeping on the plane he watched her for a short while. She was getting a lot more tired as the pregnancy progressed but she was stubbornly refusing to take maternity leave at the moment. It had caused a few arguments but he always let her win and she knew it. She was proving stubborn but was also taking care for her baby so he trusted her to care for herself and the baby on the job. He also trusted the team to make sure the baby would be alright.

He got up to get a coffee and found JJ by the machine.

"JJ, thanks for pushing this case. If you hadn't we wouldn't have gone," he said. She was playing with her necklace and was about to open her mouth when he added, "You don't have to explain."

"No, I want to. One night my sister came in and gave me this necklace. I told her I couldn't take it as it was her favourite but I was secretly glad she had as I loved it. It was the last time I..." he nodded in understanding. "Hotch, grief does go away." He nodded and looked back at the woman he loved that was helping him and Jack through their grief and giving him a future. "It's alright to grieve and be happy at the same time. You're getting a future." He smiled.

As decided a couple of days later they moved into their new house with the help of the team. The whole team were looking forward to the baby and willing to help Emily and Aaron to prepare for its arrival.

That night Jack went to bed in his bed and so did they. Halfway through the night he ran into their bedroom.

"Daddy, Emily," he said nervously.

"Yes buddy," they answered.

"I can't sleep. Can I sleep in your bed?"

"Nightmare?"

He nodded. "So can I?"

They nodded. "Sure buddy," Aaron answered.

"But you have to be careful about the baby, okay," Emily answered.

Jack nodded and then crawled in between them. In the morning they found Jack with his arm protectively over the bump and his head on his father's chest. She smiled on at the little boy's arm protecting his sibling.

A few days later they attended the six month scan. Aaron had attended every appointment to do with the baby since he found out.

The radiologist ran the sensor over her bump and they saw the picture come up on the screen. Both their eyes widened when they saw two bodies on the screen. Two bodies meant two babies! They were having twins? Aaron was speechless. Within a year he'd lost Jack's mother and was going to become a father of three.

"Twins?" Emily asked shocked.

"Yes, you're carrying twins," the radiologist confirmed.

Tears of joy filled both their eyes. They were having two babies. They couldn't be happier with the fact they were having twins. One baby was wonderful but two were amazing.

"Would you like to know the sex of the babies?"

She looked at Aaron and he nodded. She wanted to know too so she looked back at the radiologist and nodded.

"They're both girls," he said looking at them.

They looked at each other and beamed. It was exactly what they wanted and more. They'd both wanted a daughter and now they were getting two. Jack was going to be so happy as he had wanted a sister. They couldn't wait to tell him and the rest of the team. She also knew that with double the babies came double the everything; double the protection, double the joy etc.

When they got to work they headed to their paperwork. JJ came to sit on her desk expectedly. They all knew where they'd been that morning. Garcia also joined them. She looked up to see Dace had come out of his office and seeing them gathering to get the information out of Emily Hotch joined them to tell them the big news.

"So how did it go?" JJ asked.

"It went well," she answered smiling at him.

"How's the baby developing? Were there any complications?"

"They're both developing very well and both healthy," she smiled smugly while he put his arm around her.

"What? They?" Morgan asked.

"You're having twins," Reid added.

They smiled even bigger smiles to confirm it and they smiled back. They were so happy for the two of them. They deserved this happiness especially Hotch after such a hard year.

"Did you find out the gender?" Rossi asked.

"They're both girls," Aaron smiled.

"Oh my god! Baby Wonder Women!" Garcia beamed.

They just smiled at each other and laughed. The team congratulated them on the news of the second baby then got back to work.

When they went to pick up Jack he came running up and hugged them both.

"How's the baby?" he asked concerned.

"Jack, we have something to tell you," they answered once they were seated in the car.

"What is it? Is the baby okay? Is there something wrong with the baby?" he asked concerned.

"There's nothing wrong..." they answered assuring him. He smiled at that. "Jack, you're going to have two sisters." He looked confused.

"Two sisters?" he asked. "Emily, are you pregnant with two babies?"

"Yes sweetie I am," she smiled.

He grinned a really wide smile at that and looked so excited. They beamed at that. They were both so happy Jack was so excited at the prospect of being a big brother to two sisters. They knew he would be a great big brother and protector of their two little girls. He was just like his daddy.

When they got home and had put Jack to bed they sat on theirs discussing names.

"Aaron?" she asked lying in his arms.

"Yes Em," he answered holding her close to him.

"I have a request," she replied biting her lip nervously.

"What is it?"

"Can we call our girls Alexia and Eliza after those two friends of mine you met at the gala? For years they were the closest friends I had and the closest I had to sisters."

"Absolutely. I forgot to mention I loved those names."

"I have something else to ask about their names."

"What?"

"Can they just have your surname? I've had to live with the curse of being Ambassador Prentiss' daughter I don't want ours to live with the curse."

"Wouldn't that hurt your mother?"

"Since when does she care? In fact I think she'd be happier to keep her name out of theirs."

"Then sure. Alexia and Eliza Hotchner it is."

She smiled up at him then felt some movement in her stomach. She looked terribly excited at him and placed his hands on their daughters. He felt it too and smiled at her. They were kicking. They kicked their daddy's hands again and he kissed her.

"Well hello too Alexia and Eliza," she said.

"Daddy can't wait to meet you," he added laying his head on her bump.

"Neither can mummy," she answered running her fingers through his dark hair.

He smiled up at her and the babies kicked again. They smiled at each other. She was excited to be having twins with Aaron. Never in a million years would she have believed the father of her children would be her boss but now there was no-one else she would want to be. She knew Aaron would be such a good father to them as he was to Jack.

When they got home the next night Jack and Emily were sat on the sofa while Aaron was cooking. He wouldn't let her now that she was six months pregnant. She did find it frustrating sometimes that he wouldn't really let her do much because she was pregnant. At least he still let her do her job. She knew it was just his way of showing he loved and cared about her and their children but she did sometimes feel like he was being overprotective.

Jack laid his head on Emily's bump and the babies kicked. It felt so weird he giggled.

"What was that, Emily?" he asked.

"That was your little sisters saying hello," she smiled running her fingers through his fair hair.

He smiled then spoke to her bump. "Hi, I'm your big brother, Jack. I can't wait to meet you. I hope you'll like me."

"They will, sweetie," she smiled down at him.

He smiled up at her. He just couldn't wait for them. Emily and daddy said it wouldn't be long now. Only another three months but they would fly by.

Chapter Text

Parasite

A few days later they were off to Miami with an FBI agent in the White Collar Division in San Diego. For the first time in months they didn't sit next to each other on the plane. They didn't feel comfortable showing their relationship in front of him as he was another agent from another branch of the Bureau. They sat opposite each other though as he still wanted to keep his eyes on her and the babies. She had a set of headphones over the bump to play music to the twins. Apparently having the babies listen to music calmed them and increased their intelligence.

As they walked through the case they found this UnSub was a very disturbed individual with several aliases which were making him crack. When she found out one of the women he'd been conning was pregnant she couldn't help but empathise due to her own pregnant state. She was thankful Aaron wasn't like this scumbag. She felt terrible for the young boy who saw his father shot in front of him though. She was grateful Aaron had saved Jack from seeing Haley shot in front of him. She would have hated that to have happened to her sweet, little stepson. Jack brightened up both Aaron's and her day.

When they got off the plane and headed for the office in his car she breathed a sigh of relief and looked over to him.

"I've missed you," she smiled.

"I've missed you too," he smiled back.

She laughed and he looked puzzled and a little hurt.

"I can't believe we've been with each other daily and still missed each other," she smiled.

"It just isn't the same when we're not sharing a bed," he agreed.

She nodded. "Let's go home."

He nodded and put the car in gear then drove off home.

That weekend the guys came over to help decorate the nursery. Jack was even included in helping out as he'd begged to. He really wanted to help get his sisters' nursery ready for them when they arrived. There would be two months till they came but they wanted to get the nursery ready as soon as possible.

Emily was currently taking a nap in their bedroom as the pregnancy was making her more and more tired as the months went by. He would just let her sleep. She was cranky if anyone tried to wake her up early. Poor Jack had found out early on. He'd come in all excited during one of her naps and she'd snapped at him. It took him a few days to warm back up to her but he never interrupted a nap since. Aaron knew firsthand for Haley's pregnancy not to wake her up when she was sleeping.

While decorating they tried to be as quiet as they could. Dave and Reid were painting the walls with Jack while Morgan was helping Aaron set up the two cots. They were painting the walls lilac; the colour that Aaron and Emily had both decided on for their little girls. Since they found out they were having twins they'd doubled up on everything for. They hoped they were fully prepared for their arrival; all that was left was creating the nursery.

Jack was really enjoying helping Uncle Dave and Uncle Spencer paint his sister's nursery. There was a noise from behind him and he looked to see daddy and Uncle Derek erecting his sisters' beds. He accidentally got a smudge of purple paint on his nose in the process.

"You seem to have some paint on your nose, son?" Dave said.

Jack rubbed his nose nervously and Dave took the opportunity to run his paintbrush up Jack's hand causing Jack to giggle. Jack attacked him with his paintbrush and Dave laughed in return. Dave then put down their paintbrushes and started tickling him causing Jack to giggle even harder. Aaron looked back and smiled. It brought joy to his heart to see his little boy laughing with Dave and to hear his laughter. There was no sound better than Jack's laughter.

"As much as I love hearing my son laugh we do have a nursery to prepare for his sisters," he smiled.

"Righto boss," Dave replied giving him a salute making Jack giggle again. Jack copied him laughing and Aaron scooped him up tickling him too while Jack giggled even more kicking his legs.

"I thought we had a room to paint," Reid said.

"Of course," he answered putting his son back on the ground kissing his hair. "Go back to painting, buddy. You're doing a great job."

He beamed up at his dad. Aaron returned to setting up his little girls' cots which he had almost finished. Derek had already finished her sister's and was proud of his work.

"Good job," Aaron said.

"Thanks man," he answered. "Got another paintbrush?"

Dave gave him the extra paintbrush and he joined the others painting the nursery.

Emily found them all painting the nursery lilac with it almost finished. They'd had the floor carpeted when they'd moved in with a nice cream carpet and were going to put in a soft sheepskin rug on the floor so they couldn't get hurt on the floor. She was pleased to see both cots had also been erected. They just needed to put something on the walls otherwise it would look too plain and not very homely.

"Do you guys mind if I paint their names on their headboards?" Spencer asked. They'd already told the team they'd decided on names.

They smiled at each other and nodded. "That would be a really nice touch, Spencer," Emily said.

He smiled and picked up the paintbrush and using the lilac paint painted on the names Alexia and Eliza in a flourish. He was the artist of the group.

Emily could feel tears welling in her eyes. "It's beautiful," she smiled.

"I agree," Aaron added. "Thanks Spencer."

"Anytime."

Chapter Text

Public Enemy

A few days later they were off to Providence, Rhode Island on another case. He was annoyed that she was still refusing to take time off but she compromised that she would work victimology to protect their babies.

She felt immediately sorry for Meg and hoped she would never lose Aaron from their daughters' and Jack's lives. She was impressed by this woman's strength as she helped find the UnSub. She didn't know what she would be like in her situation. She would probably be a mess. She also admired her daughter Sophie's strength and hoped Alexia and Eliza would be just like her at her age. Aaron hoped the same.

On the flight home they all signed a card for Sophie's confirmation. She'd touched each one of the team's hearts. Especially Rossi who inserted a cheque for $500. Emily was touched by Dave's generosity and knew he would be great with the twins. The whole team would be great with them and a big part of their lives. They'd been her first family.

When they were home and she was lying in his arms he said, "Can you please consider taking time off now for the girls? You're due in a month and they could come any time now."

"Allow me one more case, Aaron, that's all I ask," she answered.

"You're going to be the death of me."

"You worry too much."

"It's because you're everything to me, Em. You and the girls are giving me and Jack something to look forward to after such a hard time."

"I'm glad and I love you too, Aaron."

He kissed her hair.

Chapter Text

Mosley Lane

Reluctantly he allowed her that last case before she gave birth. He just couldn't deny her. Luckily this time they could work out for Quantico which relieved him some. He tried not to be too far away from her though she stayed at the office so he could be on hand just in case she went into labour. She couldn't help but feel guilty as the parents filed in hoping to hear news about their missing child and there she was heavily pregnant with her own. She felt terrible but relieved when three of the children came back including the latest kidnap victim. She felt terrible that the multitude had lost her children and felt a few tears roll down her cheeks while JJ hugged her to support her. Damn hormones!

When Sarah Hildrige came to thank them she smiled through the pain she'd been feeling on and off again for some hours.

"You'll make a great mother," she added.

"Thanks," she smiled then a shooting pain shot through her abdomen and she felt liquid coming out of her.

Oh god! It was happening! She was going into labour.

"Aaron, Aaron," she murmured as she gripped the table. JJ's eyes widened and she turned to Garcia.

"Get Hotch!" she ordered Garcia while escorting Emily out of the building. Garcia didn't need to be asked twice as she sped off to get the father. She'd been the first to notice when JJ had gone into labour with Henry so knew the twins were on their way.

Hotch looked up when he heard Garcia come in and after glancing at her face he exclaimed, "Its Emily, isn't it?"

"Yes, she's gone into labour, sir," she answered.

He didn't need to think twice. Within a second he threw on his jacket and rushed out. He then realised he didn't know where she was. Garcia saw that and assured him, "JJ's escorting her out of the office and to the hospital."

He ran out and managed to intercept them exiting the building. He took Emily's other arm and they got her back in the car and sped her off to the hospital. JJ alerted the others that the twins were on the way.

At the hospital they were rushed into the maternity ward. They were soon in the birthing room and he was comforting her through it. He was so happy to be here at the birth of his twins. He hadn't been able to be at Jack's.

"Come on, Em, you can do it," he encouraged.

"I want to kill you, Aaron," she shouted from the pain. "You put them in here now get them out."

"You can do whatever you want, darling. I know you can do this."

She scrunched up her eyes and kept pushing. She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard her baby crying but then remembered she was having twins so went back to pushing. She squeezed his hand tighter and carried on pushing.

"Remember breath in slowly and out slowly," he soothed. "Our first baby is fine and so beautiful." He'd seen her briefly as they took her to clean her of blood and cut her umbilical cord.

She carried on pushing and lay back when she heard her second baby's cries. She felt her eyelids close for the effort and he looked down at her in worry.

"She's just sleeping, Mr Hotchner," the midwife answered him. "There were no complications."

"Thank you," he nodded breathing a sigh of relief. He just couldn't lose Emily. That would destroy him.

"Would you like to hold your daughters?" a nurse asked him.

He nodded and they were handed to him carefully. He took one in each arm and smiled down at them. They were the most beautiful girls he'd ever seen bar their mother. They looked just like her. They really made up for this hard year. He'd never have thought when Emily Prentiss appeared in his office and he'd found her sleeping there that they would end up having twins together. Also never would he have thought when he was lying there on the floor being stabbed by Foyet that just over a year later he'd be here holding two beautiful baby girls. He'd never have thought as he was fighting Foyet to save his son that he would have three children.

He kissed both their heads and whispered, "Hello Alexia and Eliza. It's nice to finally meet you. We've been waiting a long time."

"Aaron?" Emily asked. He looked over to see she'd woken up and he smiled back at her.

"Hey," he smiled softly.

"How are they?"

"Healthy and so so beautiful," he smiled at her with tears in his eyes. He was so happy. This time over a year ago he was lying in a hospital fighting for his life now he had a wonderful son, two beautiful daughters and the woman he loved most of all by his side.

"May I see them?" she asked gently.

"Of course you can," he answered sitting down on the bed while she shifted into a sitting position. He turned to her being careful of them both. "Would you like to hold one or both?"

"Give me one for the moment then maybe later we can swap," she smiled.

"Good idea." She carefully took the baby in his right arm and placed her in her own cradling her head and legs. She remembered how to properly hold a baby from when Henry was born.

She looked down at the one in her arms then her sister preciously held in Aaron's strong arms. They were the most beautiful people she'd seen in the world; her babies, her precious daughters. She ran her thumb over her little girl's dark hair. They'd both been born with dark hair obviously since both their parents were dark. Tears welled up in her eyes as she had more than everything she'd ever wanted. Two beautiful babies, a delightful stepson and her soul mate. Never would she have thought the boss who at first had turned away would turn out to be her soul mate and the father of her children.

"They're beautiful," she smiled at him. "I can't believe they're mine."

"Neither can I. Which one's which?"

"How about this one be Alexia and this one Eliza?"

"Perfect."

Garcia popped her head around the door. "Could we come in? The nurse said we could and we have a little man here wanting very much to meet his sisters," she said.

They both smiled at the thought of an excited little Jack desperate to meet his sisters. Aaron looked to Emily for permission and she nodded. "Sure," he smiled.

The next thing they knew Jack was running into the room and over to them while the team and Jessica followed. Jessica and Emily over the last seven months had become as close as sisters. Jessica and Aaron had already been as close as brother and sister. They'd both decided to make her an honorary aunt of the twins alongside JJ and Garcia. Morgan, Rossi and Reid would also be honourable uncles. They only had a biological uncle, Aaron's brother, Sean.

"Daddy, Emily," he shouted. "Can I see them? Can I see them?"

"Ssh, you've got to be quiet or you'll scare them," JJ informed him gently while Aaron nodded to him and he sat on the bed.

Unfortunately the girls did start crying so they rocked them gently while soothing them. They quietened down and the team smiled at them then noticed their brother had a trembling lip and tears in his eyes.

He tried biting back his tears determined to show his daddy he was strong. He didn't want to upset his daddy. "I scared them. I made them cry."

Aaron gently shifted Eliza into one arm and out his other around Jack. "It's alright, buddy. You didn't mean to. It was an accident. It takes some getting used to having a baby sibling. It took me some getting used to your Uncle Sean and I was even older than you."

Jack smiled up at him. "You're still going to be a really good brother," Emily assured him.

He beamed up at her. "Everyone," Aaron smiled standing up smiling at everyone. "Meet Eliza Lauren Hotchner," he smiled down at his daughter than at the baby in Emily's arms he added, "and Alexia Haley Hotchner." Tears filled Jessica's, Jack's, JJ's and Garcia's eyes at her name. They were all touched that they'd named Alexia after Haley. Haley's memory was going to live on in his son's sister.

They crowded around them and looked down at the new BAU babies smiling. They fell in love instantly and all agreed they were beautiful with their dark hair and eyes. They slept on in their parents' arms. They were brightening up everyone's day. They saw so much death in their jobs that seeing new life was a wonderful thing. They'd found out today that so many children had died they were delighted to welcome these new babies into their lives. They all vowed to protect them. This was a happy day for them all.

Emily smiled up at them as they gazed at her daughters. She didn't think she could be happier than today. She was even more part of a family. She had her own children as well as a stepson. She couldn't believe she was now a mother herself. All the hardships she'd suffered were worth these precious little girls in her and Aaron's arms.

"Dave, JJ, we'd like you to be Eliza's godparents. Derek, Jessica, we'd like you to be Alexia's," Emily said.

"We'd love to be," they smiled at them. Emily and Aaron smiled back at them both. They knew Penelope and Spencer would understand they weren't chosen as they were Henry's and they wanted it to be equal but they would be greatly involved in the girls' lives.

Emily would be staying overnight with the girls to make sure there were no complications. Everyone left gradually and Jessica took Jack home after Aaron made sure it was alright with his son. He would go home later when Emily was asleep. He just wanted to stay with his girlfriend and twins to keep her company. He just couldn't believe he had two daughters now. He was sure he would never have any more children after Haley walked out but here he was with his soul mate and two more children.

He just couldn't put Alexia down and neither could Emily with Eliza. They'd passed their daughters around among their family and ended up holding the other daughter to the one they had been with when their team came in. They both considered their daughters miracles. They'd both had their near death experiences and here they were with twin daughters. They would cherish every day with them. They would protect them from all that was bad in this world.

She laughed at the picture of him when they brought a boyfriend home. He looked over with a raised eyebrow.

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"Nothing," she smiled. "Just imagining you when the girls bring their first boyfriend home. Standing there with your arms folded both guns in their holsters staring them down in your best interrogative pose."

He smiled slightly. "You won't be too far behind with yours. Also we'll have run them by Garcia."

"The only ones suitable would be those cleared by her," she laughed.

He smiled at her. "If they're as beautiful as you."

"Oh Aaron." Tears welled in her eyes again and she smiled. "They have a very handsome father." He smiled. "You know you really should go home. You've got a son to care for though I know you'll never neglect him."

"I just don't want to leave the girls."

"They'll be here in the morning, Aaron," she laughed.

He just shot her a look and smiled. He got up and put Alexia into the incubator after placing a kiss on her forehead. He then placed one on Eliza's and kissed her mother's cheek.

"I'll see you in the morning," he smiled.

She nodded and he left for home and Jack. She knew he had to go home and still father his son that she loved as her own but she now felt terribly lonely. Now her daughters were actually here she was scared. Would she be a good mother? Would she be the mother they needed? They were her first and apart from Jack she didn't really have much experience in childcare. She was just thankful they had a great father and brother and for Jessica.

She went to sleep crying and feeling out of her depth. She was so scared she was going to fuck up on her babies. What if she became her mother? No, she would never put her career before them. She would do her job for them. Also she was hurt she could only ever give them one grandmother. Though her mother had hurt her and they'd never been on good terms she was still her mother and she wanted nothing to do with her granddaughters. She just saw them as a scandal; her beautiful baby girls. Who could ever have thought her daughters were just a scandal? Their father may be her boss but she knew he was her soul mate. No-one made her feel the way he did; so loved, happy and safe.

He came to pick all three of them up in the morning. It didn't pass his notice that she had been crying. He sat on her bed carefully and held her hand.

"What is it, Em?" he asked.

"I'm sorry, it's a mix of things," she answered. "What if I'm a bad mum? What if I can't be the mother they deserve? What if I turn into my mother? She doesn't even want to know about them. I feel out of my depth. I've never raised a baby, Aaron. The closest I've ever come is Jack and he's five," she answered.

He understood the problem. He'd had the same doubts when Jack was born. Those doubts had come back when Haley had died and he was beginning to having niggling doubts now he was a father of three. Would he be able to cope being a father of three? Would he be able to raise twins? He'd hardly been around when Jack was a baby which he regretted and now he had two babies and a five year old. Since Haley died he'd tried his best to put his son first now he had two little girls as well.

"Em, it's alright. All first-time parents have the same doubts and worries. I know I did when Jack was born," he comforted.

"Really?" she asked looking up to him.

"Yes, I even have some of my own doubts now about my abilities of being a father of three. I don't know if I'm going to be a great dad to all of them but I'm willing to try. I know you're going to be a great mother and they're going to love you."

"How do you know?"

"Because I've seen you with Jack and Henry and I know you. You are such a compassionate, loving woman and I know you will show that with our children just like you have done Jack. You are not your mother. You've put Jack before the job even when he isn't biologically your son. I know you will Allie and Ellie." He didn't know whether to share one of his biggest worries with her but then he decided he should. She was his soul mate and mother of his youngest children. "When Jack was born I was scared I was going to be like my father. I was scared that when I got angry I would lash out and hit him."

She looked at him shocked and tears welled her eyes. He'd been abused as a child. He'd never told her that. He'd never told anyone that apart from implying it once to an UnSub. He looked down at the floor. She stroked her thumb over her hand. "He abused you?" she asked.

"Whenever he got mad he'd hit me sometimes they'd rain down on me. He would just hit me, punch me and if I fell he'd tell me to get up and when I didn't he'd kick me. He told me it would make a man out of me. Once I was a teenager he tried to do it to Sean but I would stand in the way. I just wouldn't let him do that to my brother. Is it bad that I was actually relieved when he had cancer? He turned into a different man that last year. Started apologising to me, spending more time with me trying to be a good father, out of guilt. I began to look up to him then and his job."

"It isn't bad that you were relieved when he had cancer. Like you said he became a different man and it gave you a better relationship with him. That is what made you the father you are today. I've never seen you lay a hand on Jack. You're not your father."

He smiled at her gently then went over to the incubators holding his daughters. He picked up Alexia and held her in his arms then Eliza. He kissed both their foreheads and smiled down at them. They already had him wrapped around their tiny little fingers. There was nothing he wouldn't do for them.

"You ready?" he asked Emily.

She nodded and got up. She'd already dressed and had just been waiting for Aaron. He handed her Alexia and led her out of the hospital to the car.

"I hope you're going to take time off now," he smiled.

"Of course. They need me," she smiled back at him knowing he was only teasing. He turned round and kissed her hair. They'd gotten to the car so he opened the back to reveal the baby carriers were already in there. He placed the babies in those carriers and then she got in with them.

"I'd rather stay here with the girls if you don't mind," she said.

"Understandable," he smiled getting in the driver's seat.

He drove them off home informing her that Jack had been taken to school. He also informed her he'd taken a few days off to spend with her and the girls. The team understood he wanted to take time off to adapt to his daughters. They would have encouraged him to anyway.

When Jack got home that day he ran up to his sisters. He found Emily and daddy in the living room but no babies. He was concerned and worried. Where were the babies? Was something wrong with his sisters? Did they have to stay at the hospital?

"Where are they?" he asked.

"They're just asleep, buddy. They're in the nursery," Aaron answered.

He smiled. "Can I see them?"

"Sure," they smiled, "but remember you've got to be quiet."

"I promise."

They smiled and led him up the stairs. They tried to suppress their laughter when they saw he was tiptoeing up the stairs. It was so cute!

"It's alright, honey. You can walk up the stairs normally. It won't wake them," Emily assured. "You're wearing socks not shoes."

He smiled and walked up the stairs joining them. They took him into the nursery and he smiled even more when he saw his sleeping sisters. They were both in their own cot clutching onto their blankets loosely. There were now glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. There was a teddy bear in each of their cots. When they'd bought toys for the twins they bought a teddy bear for Jack just like theirs.

"They're beautiful," he smiled.

"We know," they smiled.

Chapter Text

Solitary Man

A few days later the team were off on their first case without Emily. They were off to New Mexico to deal with a man who had been kidnapping women to find a mother for his daughter. She missed him while he was away and also missed the excitement of the case. That's how she knew though she loved her daughters she could never leave the BAU and stop fighting monsters for them and Jack. He phoned daily to check on Jack and his girls. He had his head in the game but when they weren't working he missed Emily and the children. They cut him some slack as they missed Emily too and it was his first case away from his daughters. He missed them. It had been a wrench to leave his twin girls so soon after their birth.

Upon landing he went straight home. He was desperate to see his little girls again and his partner and son. He didn't really like the term girlfriend. It seemed to undermine how much Emily meant to him. She was more than just his girlfriend but he wasn't ready for marriage yet. He'd been hurt by his first marriage and was scared about being hurt again. Luckily she understood that under his strong, fearless, intimidating front he was a fragile soul.

When he opened the door Jack came running with Jessica and Emily following holding the babies. Jessica was currently staying over to help Emily get used to being a mother. She would leave in a week or so and go back to helping them when they were away. She'd really taken to Aaron's and Emily's daughters and loved them like her own nieces.

Jack hugged his legs and he picked him up. It always made him smile that after every case Jack still came running up to give him a hug when he got home from a case.

"Hey buddy," he said.

"Hey daddy. Missed you," he answered.

"I missed you, too."

He then went over to the women that he also called family. He kissed Jessica's cheek then Alexia's forehead greeting them both. He then kissed Eliza's forehead and Emily's neck greeting them.

"We all missed you, sweetheart," he said.

She smiled up at him. "I missed you all too but the kids need me now," she answered.

"Who did you miss most?" he asked seductively.

"You of course," she smiled kissing his neck.

Jessica smiled at their display of affection. Aaron had felt like a brother for years and she was glad to see him happy again and in a loving relationship. Haley would have wanted this. She would have wanted him to be happy and in a loving relationship for him and Jack. She'd also fallen for their daughters. She knew they hadn't been planned but they'd brought so much joy to the family.

Chapter Text

The Fight

A month later he was off again taking the team to San Francisco. He'd gone off with another team led by a former BAU member, Sam Cooper. They were working on two different parts of the case which hadn't been sanctioned by Strauss. Hotch and the team would be focussing on the murders of the homeless men while Sam would focus on the deaths of the father and daughter. When they found out what had been going on he hoped nothing like that would happen to him and Alexia or Eliza. He would do his best to keep Jack, Allie and Ellie from his world of work.

At the end of the case the team celebrated with Sam's. He felt again that there was someone missing, his Emily. They all felt the same way. They all missed Emily again on this case and couldn't wait for her to come back though understood she was putting new motherhood first at the moment. They all loved Lexi and Lizzie as the team called them and had even come over to visit every now and again. Emily was reluctant to leave them at the moment. JJ understood as she'd felt the same when she'd had Henry.

Sam received a call from Strauss saying she wanted to see him and Hotch when he came back but they were off the hook.

"So what did she say?" Hotch asked.

"She wants to take us for a steak dinner," Sam joked.

He smiled and then sighed. So he had to see Strauss when he got back when he'd rather go straight home to Emily and the children. He'd missed them terribly while they were away and the girls were just over a month old. He wanted to spend every moment he could with them and Strauss was going to get in the way of going straight to them. He knew he had to go anyway.

"What is it?" Sam asked.

"Alexia and Eliza were only born just over a month ago," he answered. Upon seeing Sam's look of confusion he added, "My daughters."

"Congratulations," he smiled. "Didn't know you were in a relationship."

"It started off secret but we had to come out when she was pregnant," he explained. "Some still frown upon it but she's the most wonderful woman I've ever met," he smiled.

Sam smiled as he saw his old pal's face light up at the thought of her. "So who is she?" he smiled. "Who's this wonderful woman that's made the great Agent Aaron Hotchner fall so far he'd enter a taboo relationship?"

"Emily Prentiss, Agent Emily Prentiss."

"Which department?" he guessed she was an FBI Agent if he'd been frowned upon.

"BAU," he smiled. Sam's eyes widened. He knew she was FBI but never thought it would be one of Aaron's own agents. So that was why they were down a profiler? She was at home nursing Aaron's daughters that she'd mothered. Upon seeing Sam's face he defended, "She's one of the damn finest profilers we've ever had. You can't help who you fall for. She was there when I needed her."

He nodded in understanding. "I'm glad for you, mate," he said clapping a hand on his back. "I've never seen you so happy."

"Thanks," he answered looking down. He then walked out to give her a call.

"Aaron," she asked. "Is something wrong? Do you have to stay another day? I thought you were closing in on the UnSub."

"We've got him, Em," he assured.

"Then what is it?"

"Does there have to be something wrong for a man to call the woman he loves?"

"No but I know you, Aaron."

"Alright," he sighed. "I'll be late home. Strauss wants to see me and Cooper as soon as we get home."

She sighed. "Doesn't she know you're a new father?"

"Does she care?" he had a point there. She was what he used to be. Someone who put her job first. She wouldn't care if he had very young babies to go home to.

"Just hurry home," she answered gently.

"You know I will."

"Love you Aaron."

"Love you too, Em."

They then made their goodbyes and ended the call. Rossi came up behind him.

"So you got to see Strauss when you get home?" he asked.

"Yes," he answered.

He put a hand on Hotch's shoulder. "Lexi and Lizzie are going to be fine. So's Jack. Emily's a great mother."

"Yes she is," he smiled. "She sure is."

"Come on; let's go back to the party."

He smiled and returned.

The next night Emily had put Alexia and Eliza to bed and was putting Jack to bed now. She sat on his bed and he looked nervously at her.

"Emily, I want to stay up till daddy comes home," he said.

"Jack, how about I make a deal with you?" she asked stroking his small hand.

"What deal?"

"If you go to bed now and close your eyes I'll send daddy up when he comes home. Can you do that for me?"

He nodded and smiled. "Can we read the story?"

"Of course."

They read together James and the Giant Peach. They'd begun to teach Jack how to read and he was a fan of Roald Dahl. He loved reading with daddy and Emily if daddy wasn't home. He'd never forget his mummy but Emily felt like one to him. He hoped she'd never go away. She watched as his eyes fell closed with sleep. She kissed his forehead and went downstairs to wait for her partner.

She was curled up on the sofa when she was woken up by the sound of his key in the door.

"Em," he said.

"In the living room, Aaron," she answered.

He came in and smiled when he saw her while she smiled back. She jumped up and ran to him wrapped her arms around his neck. He smiled down and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"I missed you, too," he smiled down at her.

"I promised Jack you'd go up and see him when you got home."

He nodded and took away his arms. "I'll just go right up then."

She smiled and he ran up to Jack's room. He found Jack fast asleep lying on his side. He smiled and crouched down beside him. He brushed his hair away from his forehead and kissed it.

"Daddy," Jack whispered.

"Hey buddy. I'm sorry I was late," he answered.

"It's ok, daddy. I know you didn't want to be."

"What did I do to deserve you?" he asked stroking his hair.

"I love you, daddy."

"I love you too, buddy."

He then went up to see his daughters. When he got into the nursery he saw they were both asleep. He went over to their cots. First he went over to Alexia.

He looked down at her and ran his hand over the side of her face lovingly.

"Sweet dreams, sunshine," he said softly. "I love you." He melted as a smile spread on her adorable baby features.

He then went over to Eliza's and stroked her dark hairs tenderly. "Sweet dreams, princess," he smiled gently. "I love you, too." He melted again as a smile spread over her features.

It was so nice to come home to a family again. He'd really missed that after Haley left. Now it gave him something to look forward to while he was away on a case; coming home to Emily and his three children.

Emily came up from behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He turned around and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Seeing he was all misty-eyed she asked, "What were you thinking about?"

"How nice it is to come home to a family again," he smiled. "I really missed it after Haley left."

"Well, I'm here as long as you want me to be," she answered stroking his shoulder. "It's nice to have a family to come home to for once."

"Well, I'll never leave you."

She looked up and they shared a kiss.

Two weeks later they had a surprise visit. She was just curled up next to Aaron while watching cartoons. Jack was sat on the carpet while the twins were in their Moses baskets.

He got up saying, "I'll get it." She nodded and let him go.

He opened the door to see Sean there. He smiled and looked a bit confused as he hadn't expected to see his brother. He hadn't informed them he was coming.

"Sean," he cracked a smile. "What are you doing here?"

"I thought I'd pop by to see my nieces and my favourite nephew," he answered.

"Pop by?" he questioned raising his eyebrow. "This isn't New York, Sean."

"I thought it should be time that I hauled my ass over here to see my nieces and meet them."

"It's great to see you." They hugged each other and he added, "Come in."

"Thanks bro."

As soon as he stepped into his brother's new house his nephew came running up shouting, "Uncle Sean."

"Hey buddy," he answered hugging him. "I missed you."

"I missed you too, Uncle Sean. Come meet the babies and Emily."

He smiled and followed his nephew holding his hand after Aaron nodded. Jack pulled him into the living room to meet Emily and his sisters. He smiled at Jack's exuberance. He was happy to see he was happy with his stepmom and sisters. Aaron followed them smiling.

"Emily, Emily," Jack shouted when they came in the living room. She smiled when he came in but a little nervous when she saw Sean. They'd never met before.

"This is Sean," Aaron informed her. "Sean, this is Emily," he smiled at her.

"Pleasure to meet you, Sean," she said.

"Pleased to meet you too, Emily," he answered.

Aaron picked up Alexia carefully in his arms and stroking her hairs he smiled down at his daughter, "This is Alexia. Allie, this is your Uncle Sean," he smiled up at him.

Sean smiled down at his nice and melted upon seeing her smile. "May I?" he asked. Aaron and Emily nodded then gave her to Sean.

Her uncle smiled down at her and said, "Hello Alexia, I'm your uncle." She clutched his finger and he smiled up at them. "She's beautiful."

"Thank you," they smiled back.

Aaron then picked up Eliza and held her in his arms stroking her dark hairs. Smiling down at his daughter he added, "And this is Eliza." He then smiled up at his brother. "Ellie, this is your Uncle Sean."

Sean smiled at his other niece and melted when she held out her hand to him. "May I?" he asked. Aaron and Emily nodded then Emily took Alexia and Aaron handed him Eliza.

Her uncle smiled down at her as well and said, "Hello Ellie, I'm your Uncle." She clutched his finger and he smiled at them. "She's just as beautiful."

"Thank you," they smiled.

As Emily was putting the twins to bed Aaron sat on the sofa drinking a beer with his brother. Jack was watching cartoons again and immersed in them.

"I've never seen you so happy, Aaron," he said.

"I don't think I've ever been this happy, Sean. I love her even more than I ever did Haley," he answered.

"I can see that. I'm happy for you."

"Thanks. What do you think of her?"

"She's great, bro, and your perfect match."

"Thanks," he beamed.

"You smile more."

"I have more to smile about."

"I'm glad and your daughters are absolute beauties."

"Thank you. They get it from their mother."

"They get what from their mother?" Emily asked coming and kissing his hair. He smiled up at her as she slid in beside him on the couch.

"Their beauty," he smiled at her.

"Oh Aaron, they have a handsome father," she kissed his nose.

Sean smiled at them. He was more than happy to see his brother so happy. Emily was perfect for him and he found himself loving her already as she made his brother the happiest he'd ever seen him. He'd never seen him that happy with Haley. Emily was obviously the one for him.

Chapter Text

A Rite of Passage

Some days later Hotch was off on another case. He was taking the team to Terlingua. Three decapitated heads had been found outside the sheriff's office. They had to deal with drug cartels but in the end it turned out to be the deputy sheriff.

As they were closing in on the UnSub he came out driving a quad bike in a blaze of bullets. They ducked for cover. There was no way he was going to die on Emily and the kids. They were far too young; only two months. Rossi was going to make damn sure that Hotch came home to Emily and his children. He was his best friend and Emily was like a daughter to him. There was no way he was going to let her get hurt and lose the love of her life. Finally they managed to shoot the UnSub down. He breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't know what he'd do if Emily had been here. How would he be when Emily was back in the field? He couldn't let his feelings get in the way.

Two weeks later Emily left the girls for the first time. It was only a girls' night out though. Aaron had talked them into taking her out. He knew it wasn't healthy to be with them every moment of the day. It would cause her separation issues when she came back to work. He told JJ and Garcia not to tell her it was his idea though and they'd kept their word. They assured him they were only taking her out for a drink.

JJ met her at the house. They knew it was likely she wouldn't leave on her own. JJ was the best choice to get her as she understood due to Henry. Aaron answered the door.

"Hey, she's just getting ready," he informed her.

"Thanks," she answered. "Can I come in and wait?"

"Sure."

Emily found her playing with Jack and the twins when she came down ready to head out for the night. She'd only changed into a tight fitting black top and tight denim jeans. She looked so sexy he wanted to keep her indoors but he knew it wasn't healthy.

"Wow!" he said. "Try not to catch anybody's eye."

"I'll try," she laughed picking up her bag and placing in her gun and badge. They always took their guns and badges just in case. They knew how an evening out could turn into something bad. She'd taken her gun out of the case where they kept them locked up. They wouldn't let Jack near them.

"Well, we'd better get going," JJ said.

She nodded and turned back to her family. She kissed her daughter's forehead, Jack's hair and Aaron full on the lips.

"There's no other man for me," she whispered, "and I have a gun."

He laughed and kissed her cheek. Yes life was great with Emily by his side. He sure hoped no-one crossed her path though. She was a good shot and no-one should mess with Agent Emily Prentiss. She was glad he wasn't coming. One look from another guy and they would receive the famous Hotchner stare. If one touched her or even talked to her they'd end up in the hospital. He was over-protective over her and even a little possessive which wound her up though she loved him. She knew though that tonight had been his idea. They didn't need to tell her it was within their behaviour.

Once she left and was in JJ's car she started to cry. She already missed her daughters and she'd only just left the house. JJ squeezed her hand.

"It's alright. I was the same when I first left Henry. Believe me it gets better over time. Lexie and Lizzie are in good hands with their dad and brother," JJ assured.

"I know. I just miss them already," she answered.

"It is a wrench the first time out without your child. Hotch felt it on his first case after their birth."

"Really?"

"Yes. He itched to call you a lot more than he did."

She smiled at that and JJ drove off to the bar where they would be meeting Garcia. Penelope was single again having broken up with Kevin three months ago. They'd decided to go their separate ways amicably. Their hearts just weren't in there. She realised she was actually in love with Derek and was waiting for him.

They had a good evening though. Penelope did feel like the odd one out a little though while JJ and Emily talked about their children. She was the only woman on the team now without their own child even though she adored her godson, Jack and the twins. They shared baby photos but also tried to include Garcia in the conversation. They didn't want their close friend to feel the odd one out.

When she got home she found he'd already put the kids to bed. She kissed him, went up to see him then joined him on the sofa and snuggled up to him.

"Thanks for tonight," she said.

"That's fine," he smiled back at her. "I knew you needed it."

"You should go out for a drink with Dave or something."

"I'm fine."

"Don't be hypocritical," she teased caressing his cheek. In return he kissed her full on the mouth.

They were soon in the bedroom making out. It was hard finding time for sex at the moment having three month old babies. Sure enough soon after beginning they heard cries and she got up to tend to them while he lay back on the bed frustrated. He loved every hair on their heads but he couldn't wait for them to sleep through the night. They would take it in turns to tend to them. He didn't want to wake her if she was asleep so he'd get up and tend to them for her. There were always two bottles of milk on the side just in case. He knew he wouldn't let her back in the field until they were sleeping through the night.

Chapter Text

A Thousand Words

Some days later he was off to Tallahassee with the team. She was getting used to staying behind as they went off but she knew she wanted to return to the BAU. She wanted to make the world a safer place for her daughters as well as Jack. She missed the excitement of taking down an UnSub. She missed making sure the bitch or bastard got what they deserved. She hoped they could stay professional at work whilst having children together.

They skyped every day when they could like they'd done the last three cases. It was usually the last thing the children would do before bed. It reminded him why he did this job and drove him to find the UnSub as quickly as he could so he could get back to his family. It also allowed him to take a brief break from the darkness and produce him a smile.

They were trying to find the latest victim of a tattooed murderer who had tattooed all his victim's faces on his body before committing suicide. When they found the victim and the UnSub's accomplice/ lover they found the lover had died in childbirth and the traumatised victim holding the newborn baby boy. When he saw the newborn he couldn't help but see Jack's face when he was born. He was thankful even more that he had been there to see Eliza and Alexia enters the world. He'd tried his hardest to be at Jack's but missed it by bare minutes. He was also thankful for this system that Emily had set up to show him his children daily. He hoped that it would carry on when they were both here on a case. This way he wouldn't miss a landmark of their lives.

When he got home the next day he saw they were all up. Just as he was locking the door Jack ran up while Emily followed holding their daughters.

"Daddy, you're home," he shouted.

"Yes buddy, I am," he answered ruffling his hair and giving him a hug.

"Missed you."

"Missed you, too."

"I helped Emily look after the babies."

"I know you did."

He was proud of the way Jack had adapted to his sisters. He loved to help as much as he could with them. He would pass them nappies, help put them to bed etc as much as he could for his age. They often found him just before bedtime sitting watching his sleeping sisters and he always wanted to see them before school. Whenever they cried he was concerned and they tried to assure him it wasn't serious. He was protective over the twins and greatly loved his sisters.

He then got up to greet his lover and their girls. He kissed the twins' foreheads and her cheeks.

"Welcome home," she said.

"It's great to be home," he smiled.

The next morning he woke up to see Emily still asleep. He hadn't heard a single baby cry during the night. It worried him. They always cried.

He rose to get up when she said, "I checked half an hour ago. They're still sleeping."

"I'll just go check again," he answered.

"Aaron," she said touching his hand. "They're fine."

"Em, for my piece of mind."

She nodded as she understood. All the stuff they'd seen made them worry if there was silence when they weren't used to it. Aaron even more so after being attacked in his own home. She was grateful they'd been sleeping through the night. She had been worried herself until she checked.

He got up and went to the nursery. He saw they were sleeping but as soon as they saw daddy they woke up with a smile. He smiled back at them and thought again what did I do to deserve you? When he went over to them he went to Alexia's cot. He tickled her tummy and she giggled. He then went over and did the same with Eliza who laughed as well.

Emily came beside him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He looked to the side of him and smiled snaking an arm around her shoulders. He looked at her with love and she returned the look. She ruffled his bed hair and he placed a kiss on her cheek stroking her hair.

"I heard them laughing," Emily said.

"They woke up when I came in. It's the most beautiful sound, isn't?" he answered.

"It sure is."

Jack ran in and said, "Allie and Ellie are up?"

"Yes they are, buddy," he answered.

"Can I hold them?"

"Ina minute, sweetie," she answered as Aaron and Emily picked up their daughters. Jack had been too scared to hold them before.

They headed to their bedroom. Once they sat down on their bed with Jack sat in between them they gave him Alexia. He smiled down at his little sister. He was very careful with her but when she got too heavy he gave her back to daddy. Emily gave him Eliza and again he gazed down at Ellie. Again he was very careful not to hurt his sister and when his arms couldn't take it anymore she gave her back to her mummy. He loved being a big brother more than anything.

Chapter Text

Exit Wounds

A month later she was out shopping with the girls. He'd managed to curb how much stuff she'd bought their daughters in the last four months. At first she'd pampered them with clothes and toys while he would try and buy things for Jack so he wouldn't feel left out. They'd even had to try and keep the team from buying things for the girls.

When Garcia came up laden with bags both JJ and Emily sighed.

"Don't tell me all those are for Henry?" JJ said.

"No, this one's for Eliza," she said showing one small bag, "this one's for Alexia," another small bag, "and this for Jack," she added showing another small bag. The other three big bags were for Henry which made Emily laugh. JJ just rolled her eyes. "What? It's my job as a godmother to pamper him. He's at the age where it's fun." God forbid, when the twins were old enough Emily thought! Aaron and Emily would probably have to fight harder for them not to be pampered. Jack could never be made to feel the odd one out. Sometimes he already dud being the only son.

JJ's phone went off so they looked to her. "Sorry guys, we have a case," she said.

They rolled their eyes and headed off to work. Emily had gone back to work a week ago. Jessica now looked after the children while they were at work. It had been a massive wrench the first time but coming home to them made it worth it. She didn't know what it would be like now they had a case. Part of her hoped it was here in Virginia.

As they went to the office she worried about her daughters. She'd left them with Aaron. Aaron obviously must have been the one to alert them as it couldn't be JJ.

When they arrived he saw her anxious face and whispered, "Jessica has them." She nodded and they headed to the conference room. They sat together and they started being informed about the case. It appeared they would be heading out to Alaska that night. They would be going to a small-town called Franklin. Due to its size there was a danger the town could turn to vigilantism. They all understood the danger.

He called Jessica to inform them they had a case and she agreed to look after all thereof them. They worked on the profile on the plane then fell asleep. She fell asleep on his shoulder while he wrapped his arms around her. It was where she felt comfortable. It was going to be a long flight so having worked on the profile they had ample time to work on the profile and have sufficient sleep. She did wish though that she had been able to see the kids before bed but there hadn't been time. How would she cope not being in the same State as her children for the first time? They weren't even in the same time zone. They were even four hours apart.

When they reached Alaska they woke up and deplaned. They then boarded another plane that would fly across the water. It was a small plane and they were closely packed in. She tried to curb her desire as she felt Hotch close to her. They weren't at home now; this was work. They weren't Emily and Aaron now they were Agents Prentiss and Hotchner. They had to stay professional in the field.

When they landed they carefully got off while they went to meet Deputy Flack. Hotch introduced them all and they climbed into the bright yellow car. A far cry from their SUVs almost made her laugh at the contrast. Here was the great BAU arriving at the police station in a small yellow car rather than a blacked out SUV. When they got out they met the local sheriff and were sent off on their missions. Hotch partnered her again with Morgan to conduct interviews. She was relieved he did as it meant he wasn't watching her all the time.

When they regrouped they found they were working out of the tavern. They sat around the fireplace talking about the case. Hotch was sat on the armchair while she was sat on the couch with Garcia and JJ. Dave stood by the fireplace with Morgan behind the couch and Reid on the other armchair. They were going over today's findings with the sheriff who was standing the other side of the fireplace.

"Alright, we'll call it a night," Hotch commanded.

"We only have 5 rooms available for you, sorry. You have more people in your team than we have working in our police station," Sheriff Rhodes informed them.

"I'm not sharing with Reid," Morgan declared.

"I call dibs," Garcia answered grabbing his hand. JJ and Emily tried to stifle a giggle. What a way to get your man, Garcia!

"I think we don't have to worry about the other pairing," Dave said looking between Emily and Hotch. They looked at each other and nodded. Though they wanted to remain professional while on a case they were a couple with children. If there weren't enough rooms to sleep separately they would sleep together. They could sleep together and remain professional.

They all headed up to their bedrooms. They changed into their pyjamas and cuddled up in bed. She smiled at him and him back at her.

"I'm glad to be back," she said.

"We're glad to have you back," he answered. "The team just didn't work the same without you."

She smiled at him and laid her head back down on his chest. They were just drifting off when they got called. A body had been found. They threw on their clothes and coats. He was wearing a puff jacket not his usual long coat. She was wearing a similar jacket.

When they got downstairs they found who'd found the body. It was none other than their own Garcia. Hotch ordered Morgan to stay with her while the rest of them went out to see the body.

Garcia had been in the foyer playing some online game when the power went out. She went to check what the matter was and fixed it. While there she heard a noise and ran to find out what it was. She heard a hacking sound and a muffled cry. She saw a shadowy figure run off as she ran towards the victim. She remembered how it had been to be shot and she wanted her face to be the last thing they saw. She screamed for help but no-one came. She called Hotch after seeing the life leave this man's body and headed back to the hotel traumatised. She was glad he left her Morgan while they all headed out to see the body.

Morgan sat with her asking what had happened. He asked her why she had headed towards the killer. He was concerned and scared that she had done that. Didn't she know how he felt for her? He'd tried to show her so many times through his flirting. He hadn't been ready to settle before but after almost losing her again he was.

"I remembered what it was like when I got shot. I wanted my face to be the last thing he saw before he died as I didn't want him to be alone," she answered.

"You could have got yourself killed?"

"I was just thinking about the last thing he would see."

"Garcia, can you go through everything you saw? There might be something that might help us catch him."

She shook her head while the tears fell down her cheeks. "No, I'm not going to let you break down this man's death for science." She headed upstairs.

"Garcia," he said as JJ came in.

"I'll help you my way not yours."

After she'd gone upstairs and he was about to go after her JJ put her hand on his shoulder. "She'll come around," she assured.

He nodded and headed back to the others. She shook her head reassigned.

The next day after presenting the profile and Garcia discovered a potential victim Morgan headed over there with Emily. The potential was a woman who had just accepted a summer job away from Franklin, Kat Allen.

When they got there they found out she was pregnant Morgan Turned to her.

"You'd better take this one. You understand her situation better." he said. She knew he was referring to the fact the twins were only four months.

She nodded and took it. She found out the father was someone she met on a cruise and informed her they were putting her into protective custody for the night. She wondered what it would have been like if it had been her in the situation. She shuddered to think it could have been. If Foyet...no she won't going to go down that road.

In bed that night he turned to her and asked, "What is it?"

"It's nothing," she answered.

He propped himself up on his elbow and stared at her. It sure didn't look like nothing. Didn't she know she could tell him anything? They had twins for Christ's sake! "Is it the case?"

"Yes and no," she sighed. He quirked an eyebrow in a 'tell me more' fashion. "I was thinking about that girl we put into protective custody today. She was pregnant, Aaron. What if I had been in her situation? What if Foyet hadn't been found and you hadn't killed him when you did?

Ah, now he understood. She'd seen herself in Kat Allen, a vulnerable pregnant woman. They couldn't keep thinking about the past. It would just chew them up. "But you weren't and we did, I did. Would you have told me if Foyet had still been out there?"

"I don't know but I would have shown soon enough."

"True," he answered stroking her beautiful stomach.

"Would you have put me into protective custody?"

"Yes," he answered looking down. "I wouldn't have been able to endanger you and the twins too. It would have killed me."

"Oh Aaron," she answered tracing her hand down the side of his face.

"I love you, Em."

"I love you too, handsome."

They were about to kiss when they heard a knock on the door. They rolled their eyes and he got up to answer it. He got up and answered.

Dave was there. "There's been another body," he said.

"We'll get there as soon as possible. Wake up the others," he answered.

He nodded and went to do so. Aaron turned back to Emily and saw she was already changing out of her pyjamas.

"Sorry sweetheart," he said.

"It's fine. I do understand the job. I've been doing it for three years," she answered as they both changed.

When they were dressed and about to leave he kissed her on the lips. "Thank god, you're a profiler!"

She smiled a brief smile and then they went off to check this body. It was Carol Beardsley, the owner of this hotel they were staying in. They all felt guilty. They'd arrested her son only yesterday now his mother was dead. He'd matched the profile though.

Hotch was at the UnSub's house when he got a call. Josh had turned to vigilantism with a team. He closed his eyes for a split second knowing Emily would be on their tail. He had to save Owen Porter so he could pay for his crimes and he couldn't let anything happen to her; she was everything to him.

He asked for where he was likely to go while trying to keep his cool. Finally his mum told them he would go to Lake Fayette. They would have to get to a boat so they rushed there. Finally Reid, the Sheriff and he spotted him jumping on a boat so they drew their guns. They were ready for their showdown.

They had a standoff with the search party assuring them Owen would pay for his crimes. As they declared this they had no jurisdiction here Emily, Morgan and Dave ran up behind.

"We do," Dave declared.

He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Emily unharmed. They arrested Owen Porter and prepared to leave. They would be going home. She was returning to her babies. She'd missed them so much but she knew she was back in the right place. The twins and Jack were now the reason for her job.

Later they were preparing to leave when Morgan went to find Garcia. He found her in one of the fields. She looked so sad he went up to her.

"Baby doll, you know we couldn't have done this without you. I'm proud of you," he said.

"I know what the job entails. I just don't want to lose who I am so I can do this job," she answered sadly.

"Garcia, we are in one of the beautiful cities in the world. Can't you see the beauty?" she nodded. "That's who you are, Pen. It won't ever change which I love; I love all that about you." Her eyes widened as she realised he might just love her like she did him. "Yes, I love you, Penelope." He'd never called her by her given name before.

"I love you too, Derek," she smiled up at him.

He placed his lips on hers and they kissed.

Hotch and Emily smiled on while on a walk. Now the case was over they'd decided to take the time to actually have a look around Franklin. They had to admit it was a beautiful area now they had time to look around.

They smiled to each other upon seeing Morgan and Garcia kiss and walked on. It was about time they thought. They'd been avoiding their feelings for each other for years. This case had affected Garcia they saw that. Now it had finally brought her Morgan. They were well-suited like they themselves were.

They later on flew back to Quantico. When they got there they rushed home to see their children. Jack ran up while Jessica was holding the twins. They hugged them and kissed all three of their heads. They were home now and back with the children. They'd both missed them while they were in Alaska.

They were at home a few weeks later when they saw the twins about to put Jack crayons in their mouth. They rushed to them and took them away while they cried. They'd gotten to the stage where they'd begun to put things in their mouth. They had to watch them closely and they trusted Jessica was doing so while they were at work. They'd seen Jack had taken up doing it too. JJ gave them tips on how to deal with it since she'd gone through it with Henry. Morgan and Garcia meanwhile had begun dating. They had yet to tell the team though as the relationship was too new. They needed time to sort out what they wanted before they came out.

Chapter Text

The Internet Is Forever

A week later they were off to Boise, Idaho on another case. Three young women had gone missing in the last six months, each taken from their homes with no signs of forced entry. They assumed the women were dead and knew they had used social networking sites. Due to that they would take Garcia with them.

On the plane Rossi asked, "Can somebody explain to me the appeal of these sites?" no-one could explain the appeal. They were all private people due to the very nature of their job that they didn't really use facebook, twitter etc. Morgan said the UnSub had probably talked themselves into these women's homes before he took them in order to discover security details.

When they reached the local police station they met Detective Fadha. Hotch ordered them to conduct interviews of those close to the missing women.

Emily was interviewing one of their boyfriends and showed him pictures taken from his girlfriend's home. They were informed the pictures had been switched around. Emily and Morgan went over to the house to discover the reason. They stepped up to see and saw equipment that bad been there to hang something. "Cameras," Emily said. "He put up video cameras."

"Damn," Morgan answered while she sped dialled the boss. She filled him in on what they found. From that they learn the knew everything about them and their daily routine. Garcia discovered there were live videos during the murders of these victims. He wants an audience Dave stated so why did he take the bodies when he left.

Garcia got to work on tracing the post back to the murderer. Unfortunately he left a paper trail that leapfrogged continents he must be some sort of computer specialist. Reid discovered there is a visual connection to these women. They all reflected the UnSub.

They went through the profile with the police. She stayed close to Morgan. While working she preferred to stay close to her professional partner rather than her boss. It helped control her desire for her life partner. Him at work really turned heron and she couldn't have that when they were working o job and there were innocent women to save. Her love for him couldn't get in the way.

Garcia later noticed another leapfrogging video similar to the previous one. They tuned in to watch and as they saw the UnSub storm into a woman's house and strangle her in front of her eyes Emily stepped closed to her lover in horror who put his hand on her shoulder. They tried to keep their intimate touches to the bare minimum while on a case. That didn't cancel out when they were out at the hotel though. They would sneak into each other's rooms. It would remind them of the excitement of their relationship before they had babies together. They wanted to keep the spark alive. He didn't want to wake up one day and find her gone with the twins like Haley had done. That was his greatest fear. Haley had really done a number on his heart and over the past year he'd been trying to open up again to Emily as he loved her more than anything. She also had trust issues that she'd been dealing with during their relationship. Now they had a bond that could never be severed; Alexia and Eliza.

While his Penelope freaked out Morgan tried to calm her.

"I want to see him suffer!" Garcia screamed in frustration.

"He wills, I promise you that, baby doll, "he answered assuring her. No-one made his sweet, innocent girl watch that. He just wanted to get this bastard and take her home as soon as possible. They'd been sneaking around like Emily and Hotch. Everyone knew Emily and Hotch were doing so while on cases even if they were settled with children at home.

Emily and Morgan headed over to the home of the latest victim. They were trying to look for cameras. They found a fibre optic cable. They worked out the UnSub had brought his own cord into her home because he needed bandwidth to stream his video. Where were the bodies though? Could he work in internet installation? Could he be installing his own cable while casing their homes Emily thought?

Reid and JJ went off to the cable company for a name. They discovered one Matt Jones had been hoarding cable and making unauthorised calls when he worked there. Garcia also went about doing a search and pulled out one Robert Johnson who had spent time inside for producing torture videos. Since he wasn't using his real name she set about finding his hacker handle. She claimed that's how the FBI found her and promised she would find him. It turned out to be Watcher 89. Having discovered it she pulled up the online profiles he was watching. Spencer worked out the only one that matched was a Lucy Masters.

Emily and Derek headed to the woman's house. Hotch trusted Morgan with his partner but he hoped to God she came back unharmed. As soon as they stepped in a computer monitor snapped on showing Lucy hanging from a meat hook. He noticed a camera on the wall.

"He's recording us," he whispered to Emily and into his wrist walkie-talkie. Hotch had to admit he did get jealous whenever men were close to her but he trusted them both. She would never do anything to hurt him or be unfaithful to him and Morgan was undoubtedly Garcia's. He wondered when they would tell the team. They probably all guessed anyway. Only he and Emily had seen their kiss.

Garcia magnified the wall behind Lucy. Oh my god! Was that what she thought it was? What a sicko!

"It's a walk-in freezer," Rossi stated. He had a feeling where it was. One of the men who was suspected of watching the murder video was a grandfather who owned a store which sold such equipment. Unfortunately he claimed he had done nothing wrong and the only way to gain the information was to threaten to publicise his arrest and his grandkids would search Google only to hear horrible things about Grandpa.

Garcia blocked the video feed in time to save Lucy's life. Emily and Rossi heard him scream in anger and charged into the freezer. She recoiled inside when she saw all the other women on meat hooks. How could he do that to these poor women? She was even more thankful that she'd lied to the Viper about owning a facebook page.

"What do you see when you look at them?" Emily asked.

"My followers?" he answered.

Rossi led him out handcuffed and she escorted out Lucy. After checking out how Lucy was she headed back to Hotch. She headed back to her Aaron. Now the case was over they could be Aaron and Emily again rather than Hotch and Prentiss. The way they preferred. Tomorrow they would go back to the children. She sure missed the twins and Jack. Allie and Ellie would be six months old soon. She couldn't believe she'd spent half a year a mother.

She joined him that night in his hotel room. She moved her stuff from her room that night and into his. As they lay in each other's arms he turned to her.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Can you believe they're nearly six months already?" she answered stroking his chest.

"No, I can't. Thank you, Emily."

She looked up at him confused. "For?"

"Saving my life." She looked even more puzzled. He loved the look on her face. She looked so dam cute. "If you hadn't pulled me back from the abyss I don't know if I would be here now..." he gulped. "And lord knows if Jack would be."

She tried to control the tears that were welling up behind her eyes. She just didn't want to think of a world without Hotch. "We would have saved him, Aaron."

"I have no doubt of it."

"But?"

"But how would he have been? He could have been an orphan or fatherless!"

"Aaron," she said looking up at him. "Don't go there. You're still here and he isn't. Thank god you are! A world without Agent Aaron Hotchner is unthinkable."

He smiled softly at her and she crawled up him to claim his lips for her own. He kissed her back. They were soon making love. They woke up the next morning in each other's arms. They had to get up for the flight back to Quantico.

"Do you think they'll come out when we get home?" she asked.

"Who?" he answered confused.

"Garcia and Morgan. They've been dating for what a month now."

"We didn't tell the team for two months."

"True but it's not like people won't see them coming. They've been flirting from when I first knew them."

"Even before then."

"Did anyone see us coming?"

"Who knows," he shrugged.

"I don't know if I want to find out."

He smiled at her and they headed down to join the team. They headed out to the jet and on there the recognised couple snuggled up to each other. Meanwhile Morgan was sitting with Garcia. Everything was right in the world. He couldn't ever lose Emily; she was the half that made him whole.

When they got home they found their children coming up to greet them. The twins smiled when they saw him just like Jack. They loved that their little girls recognised them and it melted their hearts. There would never be a day when they didn't recognise them; they promised each other. She still owned the flat though just rented it out. A young couple currently lived there as their first home. They paid a good amount of money to stay there.

A few weeks later they were at home when the twins turned to them. They were cuddled up to see each other while Jack was sitting on the floor drawing.

Suddenly Alexia said, "Dada." A split second Eliza copied her sister. Alexia was definitely the most dominant twin. Eliza always copied her. Emily smiled at their father as their first word was for him. He beamed back with pride then turned to his daughters.

Jack looked up and said, "Daddy, they said your name."

"Yes, they did, buddy," he smiled at him.

Jack knew that though he was now a big brother daddy still loved him very much and he was still very important to him and his happiness. He knew he was also very important to Emily even if she wasn't his real mummy. He wondered if he could call her mummy. Would she like that? Would it upset mummy?

"What is it, buddy?" Aaron asked noticing Jack had gone quiet.

"Nothing," he answered looking down. He didn't want to bring his mummy up in front of hi m and Emily.

Aaron worried about him as he knew it wasn't nothing. He got out of his comfortable position with Emily and moved to the armchair putting Jack on his lap. Jack buried his head into his dad's chest and Aaron wrapped his arms around him.

"Now, what is it, buddy?"He whispered. "Remember you can tell me anything."

"If I called Emily mummy would it hurt mummy," he answered playing with his fingers. Aaron's heart swelled at those words. Jack wanted to call Emily mummy and was worried it would upset Haley even though she was dead. He would never forget Haley Aaron made sure of that. He'd told him that mummy had gone away but would be watching over him from above.

"You want to call Emily mummy?" he whispered smiling.

He nodded looking up at his daddy. "But I don't want to upset mummy. Will I forget her if I call Emily mummy? I don't want her to look down and be sad."

He hugged him even closer. "Jack, it won't upset mummy if you call Emily mummy it will make her happy. It will show her that you have a new mother figure in your life; that you love my girlfriend like a mummy. You'll never forget her Jack." He added stroking his hair, "I'll make sure of that."

"Really?" he smiled up at him.

"Really," Aaron answered kissing his hair.

"So can I call Emily mummy?"

"Why don't you ask her, buddy?" Aaron asked smiling up at her. She smiled back at them. Jack got up jumped off his daddy's lap and jumped onto the couch next to Emily.

"Emily?"He asked.

"Yes sweetie," she answered.

"Can I call you mummy? Daddy says I can but I have to ask you."

Tear swelled up in her eyes and she smiled at him. She was so touched he wanted to call her mummy after being in his life for a year. She knew she loved him like her own son. "I'd love that, sweetie..." she nodded. "Yes, you can call me mummy." He beamed at her and Aaron gave her the dimples. Oh man, was he gorgeous when he did that? She kissed Jack's hair then tickled him causing him to giggle.

She heard the twins giggling and saw that Aaron was now on the floor tickling them too. They smiled at each other while continuing to tickle the children. There was no sound better than their laughter. They couldn't contain their laughter anymore and joined in with their children.

Soon Jack was kicking his legs and pleading, "Stop it, mummy. Stop it or I'll need the little boy's room."

She let go and he ran to the bathroom while they laughed.

"How are their nappies?" Emily asked

He took a whiff and looked up at Emily like he'd smelled something unpleasant. "In need of a change," he answered while she laughed.

They picked one of them up each and placed them on their baby mats on the table. They took off their trousers; luckily they didn't have skirts to deal with. They undid their nappies and threw them away. While they were wiping their bottoms Jack ran in and giggled. Served them right for tickling them so bad.

"Are you laughing at us, buddy?" Aaron asked.

"No, "he answered holding his hands behind his back and shifting his feet.

"Tickled you a little too hard, didn't we, sweetie?" Emily defended.

He nodded enthusiastically and smiled at her. He then looked at his daddy and looked down. He didn't know whether he was mad at him for laughing at them and lying to their faces. Daddy knew he was lying; he always did. Was he in trouble?

Aaron left Eliza to deal with his son who he knew was worried whether he was in trouble. He crouched down and put his hands on his shoulders. He bent down to look up into Jack's face. Jack tried to avoid his father's eyes scared of what he'd see there.

"Jack, look at me," he said gently.

Jack looked at him with worry and sadness in his eyes. He hated to disappoint his daddy or make him mad at him. He wanted to be the best son his dad could have. Little did he know Aaron already felt he was and nothing was going to change that?

"I'm not mad at you ok. Emily and I are the naughty ones here..."

"Mummy, "Jack corrected and Aaron smiled up at Emily who smiled back.

"Mummy and I are the naughty ones. We shouldn't have tickled you lot that much..."

"Yer, you shouldn't have," he smiled cheekily then looked down and added, "We wet ourselves." He looked down embarrassed and disappointed. He'd missed the bathroom on his way there and he was very upset about it. He was a big boy and big boys didn't wet themselves. He'd disappointed his daddy; his superhero.

"Jack?" he asked gently. He nodded while tears welled his eyes. He was angry at himself and disappointed in himself too. Only his sisters wet themselves and they were babies. He wasn't a baby!

"Yes daddy," he answered quietly.

"Did you make it to the bathroom in time?"

He shook his head and started crying while Aaron hugged him even tighter. "I'm so sorry, daddy," he cried trying to repress his tears. Big boys didn't cry either. Aaron pitied his son while Emily felt guilty. She hadn't meant for him to miss the bathroom. He was obviously very upset about it and thought it was his fault. It wasn't his fault it was hers! If she hadn't tickled him so hard he wouldn't have been so desperate. "I'm a big boy I swear."

"Hey, hey, buddy, we know you're big boy. It's not your fault. It was an accident."Aaron assured him.

"But only babies wet themselves. I'm not a baby."

"We know you're not a baby, buddy. It was just an accident. You were so desperate you missed that's all. It happens to the best of us."

"Has it ever happened to you, daddy?" if it had happened to daddy maybe it was ok. Anything that happened to daddy could happen to him.

Aaron understood the reasoning behind it but hoped that not all that had happened to him would happen to Jack. He didn't want anything to harm him and certainly didn't want to pass on his nightmares. He didn't want Jack's first wife to walk out on him, for him to be held at gunpoint shortly before his first child's birth or to be strangled soon after that child was born for example.

"Yes buddy, it did a few times," he answered. He would never tell him how his father reacted and neither would he show him. He shuddered inwardly at the memory of the whacks he would get and subconsciously touched his ear. He knew from his tone that daddy wasn't lying to make him feel better. He even looked sad but he could see he didn't want to talk about it so he hugged his daddy tighter. "I don't want you to be sad," Jack whispered. Aaron smiled up at him.

"As long as you're around I won't be sad," he assured him.

"I'm not going anywhere, daddy."

"I know, buddy...Now, let's get you cleaned up ok."

He nodded and took his father's hand. Aaron took him to the bathroom and they washed his legs while throwing his trousers and underpants in the laundry bin. Emily meanwhile had put the girls back on the floor and went to clear the puddle he'd created. She felt guilty for Jack wetting himself. She'd also noticed the sadness and subconscious way Aaron had touched his ear during his confession. She knew it had something to do with his father. She knew he'd been an abused child.

When he came out he let Jack change his bottoms while he stayed with him. He was not going to let Jack think he was disappointed in him. It was a pure and simple accident. Jack needed his assurance right now; his comfort. Jack needed to know his dad wasn't mad at him.

When he'd changed he asked, "Daddy?"

"Yes Jack," he answered.

"Can I go back to my sisters now?"

"Of course," he smiled.

He smiled and ran back to care for them. On his way out Aaron found Emily mopping the floor looking guilty. He knew she felt responsible for Jack's mishap.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her neck. "It's not your fault, either," he said.

"I shouldn't have tickled him so hard," she answered.

"Then we're both at fault...i tickled the twins just as hard. Em, it was an accident. It wasn't intentional. You'd never do that to him on purpose."

She smiled softly at him then whispered, "You touched your ear." He looked at her confused. "While confessing to Jack you used to wet yourself you touched your ear." He looked down and she felt guilty. "You don't have to tell me," she assured kissing his dark hair.

"My father used to hit me around the head whenever I did it," he explained shuddering.

"Oh Aaron," she answered hugging him while he laid his head on her shoulder. "I won't let anyone hurt you ever again."

"I trust you."

"I know."

They kissed then rejoined the children. They soon discovered another BAU baby was to be born this year. JJ was expecting her second child in seven and a half months. Everyone was excited for her, Will and Henry. Garcia did feel slightly jealous but Morgan assured her they would have a baby in time. They both wanted children but their relationship was still relatively new. They would come out after the next case.

Chapter Text

They were off on that case a few days later. This time they headed off to Los Angeles to solve a case where husbands had been killed and their wives left alive but the victims of multiple rapes. Once again Jessica came over to look after the children. Emily had gotten used to leaving her children behind to work a case as she knew she did it for them. It was all about them now; she would never be her mother. She knew Jack told them mummy and daddy were fighting monsters and they were the best at it. They were saving the world for them; they were their superheroes.

They called him the Prince of Darkness and discovered he had attacked in every state for the last thirty years. They also discovered one of the first victims was Detective Spicer's parents. Detective Spicer being the one who had brought them here. He agreed to have his memory jogged by Morgan. He couldn't see the UnSub's face. They did theorise though that the UnSub believed he'd turned the boy into a hero and would target his daughter, Ellie.

They stormed into his home to find them gone. Spicer realised he had probably taken them to his childhood home. Unfortunately cell phone service was down and traffic was jammed. Only Spicer and Morgan got there in time. They found the current occupant dead and Ellie and her aunt tied to the bed. The UnSub came up from behind and Morgan fell to the ground having been hit by him. Spicer was forced down onto his knees to try and prevent his daughter from being shot. He was shot mercilessly in front of them and Ellie was taken while he tried to prevent it from his position on the floor. He was told Ellie was special while he threatened they would catch him.

Hotch and Emily soon arrived and Hotch told him he had to be checked over at a hospital but he refused to go. He let a medic look over him instead. Soon after JJ and Reid arrived and Morgan called up his baby girl with a potential licence plate for the killer's RV. When getting off the phone Morgan looked down in defeat.

"Morgan, none of this is your fault. Don't blame yourself," Hotch said.

"This guy is a pure psychopath. I want this guy. She's just a baby, Hotch. Sooner or later she's going to show him some fear," he answered.

Back at the police headquarters Garcia called and they put her onto intercom. Unfortunately she had bad news. There were no matches in California to that partial licence plate. She apologised for letting down her boyfriend.

"Sorry isn't helping anybody" he yelled before hanging up and then immediately regretted it. Shit! He really hadn't meant to take his anger at the UnSub out on his girlfriend. He loved Penelope and he knew that she was only trying to help. He just hoped she knew that. Sometimes she could be a little insecure about herself. He'd have to call her as soon as he could but he currently had a job to do.

Emily informed them he'd listened to the radio especially any news on the Prince of Darkness. Maybe they could use the radio waves to reach him. JJ suggested using the emergency alert system to broadcast on all stations at once to speak to the killer. Sometime later she managed to get through to someone powerful enough to use it. When Hotch told her he told her he had to do it but promised he would talk her through it. She was scared but trusted he would. He was like a big brother to her and always would be. He was there for them all not just Emily; that's why the team worked so well.

When she reached the radio station Hotch called up to advice. He told her that she had to show she cared for him to make him care for Ellie. She had to make him understand he was putting Ellie through the same pain he went through as a child but it had to be his decision to let her go. He understood it was going to be hard to sympathise with him but he trusted she could do it. He had the utmost faith in her. His faith in her worked as she did it by using her knowledge of what a mother should be from her experience with Henry.

The team got told Ellie had been let go. The killer was in a house just up the road. The only agent he would allow in though once they all had their bulletproof vests on and surrounded the residence was Morgan. He headed in there with his gun and searched for him in the house. When he came face to face with the killer he ended up shooting him dead.

He came out, took off his vest and hugged Ellie while the medics dealt with the dead body. He would keep his promise to her father and protect her. He would protect her just like he would one of the BAU children.

It had felt like such a long case and he was glad to be going home. He just wanted to get home and cuddle in Penelope's arms. He then remembered he hadn't yet called and apologised. He hated arguing with her. He would be going home tomorrow. He was considering asking her to move in with him.

They all went home the next day and Emily and Hotch were over the moon to see their children again as was JJ with Henry.

Derek was glad to go home to Clooney, his dog. When he opened the door he was surprised to see Penelope on his sofa. She got up when she saw him and hugged him.

"Aren't you happy to see me?" she asked.

"Of course I am. I'm just surprised, mama," he answered hugging her. "I snapped at you the last time you spoke."

"I understood you'd become emotionally involved and who could blame you."

"I was worried I'd upset you."

"I must admit it did sting at first but I had enough time to process it."

"I do love you, Pen."

"I love you too, Derek."

He placed his lips on hers and they kissed while cuddling each other. She really did make him happy. She was the only woman who could make him settle. He was all she'd wanted ever since she'd started working for the BAU; ever since she'd first laid eyes on him. If Emily and Hotch could be together they could be.

While they were sitting next to each other watching television he turned to her. "Penelope, I think it's time," he said.

"Time for what?"She answered.

"To come out to the team. I want them to know you're mine, baby doll."

"I want them to know you're mine too, hot stuff."

They kissed and talked about how to come out. They wanted to come out before the next case. Could they get Hotch and Emily to leave the twins for an evening? While not on a case they hated to be away from the children especially the girls. They were only seven months.

"Maybe we could have a team picnic. That way the children can be involved," she piped up.

"Great idea, gorgeous," he answered.

With the twins there were now four BAU children; three Hotch's. A five year old boy, a two year old boy and the baby girls. A picnic would be the perfect idea for everyone especially Hotch and Emily and Will and JJ.

They planned with the team to have a picnic that weekend at the local park. They all agreed it was a great idea. Jack was really looking forward to spending time with Henry. Before his sisters came along Henry was the closest he had to a little brother. He still felt like a little brother to him but he hadn't seen him that much lately. He kind of missed him.

That morning Morgan picked up his girl and she was incredibly nervous. She didn't know how they would take her and Morgan as a couple. Emily and Hotch had had to do quite a bit of reassuring that they were serious before the team came around. Would it be the same with them? They'd been flirting for years but now they were the real deal. He was a known ladies man but she knew he was serious about her.

"It's going to be fine, mama, it's just the team. They'll be happy for us," he soothed.

"I guess you're right," she sighed. Emily and JJ had encouraged her to go after him. What would the others think?

"It doesn't matter what anyone thinks anyway. I love you; no-one's going to change that. They're our friends, baby."

"They're our family."

She smiled up at him and they set off with their picnic stuff. She had packed a blanket big enough for all eleven of them. It had been hard to find but she'd found it. This was the first picnic they'd had since the girls had been born. They also brought a basket with some sandwiches and chocolate. Each team member was bringing something for the picnic.

They were the first there and set up the blanket and their basket. They chose to sit by a tree with the duck pond nearby. The duck pond could amuse the boys. The girls were too young to really play at the moment. They couldn't wait until they were old enough.

Reid was the second to arrive. He brought tomatoes and some salads. Soon after JJ arrived with Will and their son. They brought a ball for the boys to play with and some sausages that Henry liked. Next up was the biggest family. Emily, Hotch and their three children. With them they bought some of the things that Jack liked like chicken nuggets and crisps. They also brought baby food for the girls. They all greeted each other and sat down.

"Henry," Jack shouted when he saw him.

"Jack," he called back with a wide smile on his face.

They hugged each other while everyone smiled on. They loved that all the children got along. It made them even more of a family that even the children were close. Henry even kissed both the twins cheeks which produced aws all around. He'd met them a few times already. Both boys were already turning into young gentlemen. Henry would-be a great big brother just like Jack. Hotch and Emily were already thinking about setting up more play dates to prepare him for his upcoming role as a big brother. It had really worked for Jack.

Soon Rossi joined them with homemade pasta salads. He was the chef of the group so they knew he was bound to bring them something he'd made himself. They all sat down and served out the food. The boys ate some food then wanted to play soccer.

"Mummy, daddy," they both said to their respective parents.

"Yes Jack," Emily and Aaron answered.

"Yes Henry," Will and JJ replied.

"Can we play soccer now?"

"If you promise to not go out of our sight."

They nodded and JJ handed Jack the ball as he was the eldest. They went off to play soccer by the tree. Soon Aaron, Will and Derek had joined them in a game. Emily was meanwhile spoon feeding her daughters.

"Jack called you mummy," Penelope smiled.

"Yes," she smiled.

"How long's he been doing it?"

"About a month now. He was worried at first he would hurt Haley if he did so. Aaron assured him he would be happy if he did so."

"Of course she would. You've been a great mother to him, Em, just like you are to the twins."

"Thanks," she smiled. The girls smiled back at her and she stroked their hair. She loved them with all her heart and couldn't believe it had been seven months already. It felt like only yesterday that they'd been born. They'd brought so much joy in their lives and made them even more of a family.

They suddenly heard someone tackled down to the ground behind them. They looked to see Derek had been tackled down by both dads making them all laugh. Jack was holding Henry's hand by the tree trying to protector them from their dads. Emily smiled at Jack's protective side.

"Jack," she called noticing he was scared of what Will and Aaron were doing.

"Mummy," he answered anxiously.

"Are the boys not behaving themselves?"

"Daddy and Uncle Will are hurting Uncle Derek."

"They've just tackled him, buddy."

"I'm fine, buddy," Derek assured him as they got off him laughing and Derek shook his head smiling.

Jack still looked slightly unsure so his father went over to him. He crouched down by him and gave him a big hug.

"Jack, you know I'd never hurt anyone on purpose, don't you?" he asked. Jack nodded. "So you know I wasn't really hurting Uncle Derek right?"

"But you jumped on him," he answered looking down.

"That was just us playing, buddy. You heard Uncle Derek. He's fine." Jack nodded at that. "Want to go see the ducks?"

He nodded. He then turned to his friend. "Want to go Henry?"

Henry nodded then turned to Will. "Daddy?"

"Sure Henry," Will answer.

As Aaron and Will passed their girlfriends Aaron crouched down and asked, "Girls would you like to go see the ducks?" they smiled back at their father and he looked at their mother. She nodded.

"We'll clear up while you guys take the children down to the ducks," Garcia and Rossi said.

"Thanks," Emily answered. Aaron took one of the buggies while Emily took the other. Aaron was holding Jack's hand as well as Allie's buggy. They walked down to the pond with Will and Henry.

They parked the buggies near the pond. While Emily crouched down by them Aaron and Will took their sons closer to the water. They crouched down by them and gave them bread. They showed them what to do by ripping bits off the bread and threw it to the ducks. Jack and Henry soon copied their fathers smiling. The twins giggled as the ducks quacked and clapped their hands. Their parents both smiled at them as did Jack whose smile got wider. The team were touched by the way Jack was with his sisters. The team soon joined them and joined in the fun.

When the boys got bored they asked, "Playground?" their parents looked at the most of their family and they nodded so they followed down to the playground. Morgan and Garcia made their excuses to put all the picnic stuff in the car.

Most of them sat down with the twins while the kids were on the swings. Both sets of parents kept their eyes on the boys. The girls stayed in their buggies next to Emily. Morgan and Garcia arrived some time later looking slightly ruffled. Everyone but Reid had smirk son their faces.

"About time," Rossi smiled.

Garcia looked embarrassed while Morgan smiled then turned to her and drew her in for another kiss. Everyone smiled and when they drew back congratulated the new couple. They'd all had an inkling but now they'd come out the team couldn't be happier. They supported Garcia and Morgan all the way. They were the best suited.

Suddenly they heard a thud and a cry. Both parents looked behind them to the swings. Jack had fallen off. Henry was about to jump off so JJ screamed at him not to whilst running to catch him if he disobeyed. He did and jumped into his mother's arms while she told him off.

Emily and Aaron meanwhile ran to Jack while Rossi kept an eye on their babies. It turned out that Jack had jumped off to join them. They took a look at his injuries and saw he'd scraped his knee and hands. As he was having trouble getting up and his wrists were very painful they decided to take him to the emergency room. They helped them go and said they'd call later to check up on Jack.

"Good luck, buddy," Dave said. "You be good for Emily and daddy."

He nodded while trying to hold back his tears. "I will, Uncle Dave," he answered in a small voice on the verge of tears. "I'll try. It really hurts though."

"You're a brave boy and I know you can do this for them."

He smiled at him and nodded. Aaron drove his family away carefully to the local hospital. Allie and Ellie held their hands out trying to comfort their brother in their limited understanding. They just knew something was wrong with him.

He smiled trying to keep his tears at bay that his sisters were trying to reach out to him but he couldn't hold their hands. It hurt too much. He wanted to cry but also be a big boy. He didn't want to make his daddy and mummy sad or disappoint them. He wanted to show them he could be brave just like daddy.

When they got to the hospital they booked him in. They found a place for the three of them to seat with the buggies without obstructing anything. It was sometimes hard having baby twins that were unable to sit on their own yet. Suddenly Emily decided to take the twins out of their buggies and gave them to Aaron while she collapsed the buggies. When she sat back down he gave her Eliza. They attempted to entertain their twins while looking after their son as well. He tried to grin and bear his pain even though he was only five years old.

Soon enough a nurse came out and shouted, "Jack Hotchner." Aaron gave Emily Alexia as well as he picked up his injured son who was currently having trouble walking. While Emily turned to the buggies the nurse said, "You can leave them here while we tend to young Jack here if it helps," as Jack was about to start crying for her to come with them.

"Thank you," she answered carrying both daughters with her.

After Aaron put Jack on the bed they examined him. They soon sent him off to x-ray. Aaron picked up his son again and carried him down there with Emily following carrying the girls. They waited to be called for the x-ray. They helped him change into the hospital gown.

Sometime later a radiologist came out calling, "Jack Hotchner." Aaron took him up to the radiologist while Emily followed.

"I'm sorry, you won't be able to go in with him as the radiology might affect you and we have nowhere safe you can stay," she said.

He nodded then turned to his son. "Buddy, can you be brave for daddy and go in there without me."

"Why can't you go in there with me?" he pouted.

"I'm not allowed so can you be brave for me? This nice lady will look after you and you'll be alright. Do you trust me, buddy?"

He nodded and was handed over to the radiologist while Aaron tried to keep a smile on his face assuring him he would be alright. He didn't want to let Jack go as much as he didn't want to leave his dad. He trusted them though with his son; they were only doing their job. Jack smiled back at him trying to show a brave front.

The radiologist took poor Jack inside while Aaron slumped against the wall. This was his entire fault! If only he hadn't turned his eyes away from his son he wouldn't have fallen off the swing. He didn't even know if he had fallen or jumped. Part of him hoped he'd fallen as after all this he didn't want to have to tell him off.

"It's not your fault," Emily said. "He's going to be alright."

"I should have been watching him," he answered running his hand through his hair. "I should have been watching him."

"We both should have been. You can't blame yourself for this. It was an accident." He just kept running his hand through his hair until she said, "Can you take Allie?"

He nodded and held her close to him while they waited for Jack to be brought back out. Soon enough he was and Aaron gave his daughter back to her mother so he could carry his wounded son. Jack was given back to him and they were told to go back to the doctor to wait for the results. He nodded and led his family back there.

They waited patiently until the doctor came back to them.

"Daddy, will they stop it from hurting soon?"He asked.

"They'll try, buddy," he answered smoothing his hair down. He smiled up at him through his pain. "But you're being really brave, kiddo, and I'm proud of you." He smiled even wider at him though he was obviously still in pain. Aaron kissed his son's hair and gave him a little cuddle.

"I love you, daddy," he answered.

"I love you too, buddy."

The doctor soon came back and smiled at the family scene.

"Mr and Mrs Hotchner?"He asked.

"Yes," they answered. They couldn't be bothered to correct him. They were practically married anyway bar the paperwork.

"Your son has broken his leg and wrists. We'll have to put casts on all three of his breaks. We'll put him in a wheelchair so he can get around...May I ask for our records how he got these injuries?"

They looked at each other. What if they thought they were neglectful parents? They hadn't had their eyes on him at that time. They'd looked away briefly then found him off the swing.

"He fell of a swing," they said.

"I jumped off," he answered looking down. "I'm sorry, daddy."

"We'll talk about this later, buddy," he answered placing a hand gently on his shoulders. He nodded looking up then down again. He'd wanted to join them as soon as possible and had gotten himself hurt in the process. He hadn't thought Henry would copy him. He was to blame for Henry getting in trouble too.

They put the casts on him and put him in the wheelchair. Aaron wheeled him back out to the emergency room while they retrieved the buggies placing his sisters back in them. They then got them back in the car and drove home.

When they got home they got the twins out and put them in their buggies. Emily then got out the collapsed wheelchair opened it up and Aaron put Jack in. Jack looked down at his broken leg sadly. He had to rest a lot daddy told him that and he definitely couldn't play right now. He was glad though that his friend didn't get hurt.

When they got inside Aaron turned to him.

"Why did you jump off the swing?" he asked.

"I thought it would be fun," he answered looking down.

"Now you see it isn't," he answered firmly. "I hope you won't be doing that again."

"No, daddy. I've learned my lesson."

"Good... I'll be taking the week off to look after you."

He smiled. He loved to spend time with daddy and daddy didn't usually take time off work. Now daddy was taking time off for him. It made him smile.

"Will I have to miss school?"

"For a few days yes. You won't be able to do anything for yourself until the casts are off."

"When will they come off?"

"Next week."

He nodded resigned and disappointed with his injuries.

They later got calls for the tea masking how Jack was. They all condoled with him over his broken bones. He was allowed to speak to JJ since he had kindly asked. He wanted to apologise for giving Henry a bad example. He felt guilty that Henry had copied him and got told off without him owning up. It had been his entire fault. It had been his idea.

JJ assured him that she forgave him and knew he wouldn't do it again but to remember because Henry was younger he looked up to Jack and liked to copy him. He promised he would and knew his sisters would soon enough. They were too little at the moment but when they got older they would copy him; he was the big brother.

Dave agreed to take over for the week so Aaron could be there for Jack. Emily would be going in as usual. He'd managed to convince her to. They couldn't be down two agents and he was Jack's biological parent. He could look after his son and their twins by himself while she was at work. When Jack was hurt or upset he still preferred to have his father even though he loved Emily as a mother.

His injuries healed pretty quickly and Aaron was back to work on Monday and Jack was back at school. His wrists were the quickest to heal and he had to use crutches for his leg for another week. He'd learned his lesson; not to jump from a swing when it hadn't stopped.

Chapter Text

JJ

Two weeks later they were off on another case. Just before they headed off to Atlantic City, Maryland Hotch had had a meeting with JJ and Strauss. Turned out JJ had turned down a position to work for the Ministry of Defence at the Pentagon which she had turned down twice. She felt she belonged at the BAU. Strauss, much to Hotch's dismay, encouraged her to consider the position as it required less travel and would give her more time to spend with Henry and the baby she was expecting. They needed their media liaison.

They soon headed off to Maryland to help find a missing woman, Kate Joyce. They encouraged the local police force to keep the suspects in custody. They wanted to question them themselves to do what they did best study their behaviour. Emily hoped this meant that this case would be over soon. They had a time scale in which to find this girl. Also she loved her job but hated to be away from the children. She also noticed something was off with her boyfriend and best friend. She knew they wouldn't cheat on her together but she wasn't able to even ask what was going on. They were working. They had to keep their personal lives out of the job but due to the craziness of the job it was understandable sometimes they got mixed.

Hotch got the call halfway through the case. They would be losing JJ. They'd gone above their heads and made it official she would be working for the Ministry of Defence. He'd tried to get through to Strauss they needed her but he was told it was fixed. He tried to channel his anger into finding the girl. They really didn't need this right now. He would tell JJ after the case. They needed to be focussed. When he went back in Emily looked up to see how he was. She couldn't just switch off her feelings for him. He shook his head and she nodded in response. She understood he didn't want to talk about it right now. As soon as she could she'd get him to speak with the children. That always put a smile on his face. He'd tell her in time what was bothering him; he always did.

Finally they found the girl on a buoy. They reunited her with her family. On the plane Emily set up her laptop while he wondered what she was doing. As soon as Jack's face popped up on the laptop with his sisters and Jessica in the background he smiled.

"Hi mummy, hi daddy," Jack beamed when he saw their faces.

"Hey buddy," they smiled while the others crowded around as well upon hearing his voice. They all loved to see Jack too. It also lifted JJ's spirits who was still unaware she'd just finished her last case.

"Are you on your way home now?"

"Yes, we are, buddy. Have you been good for Auntie Jessica?"

"Yes," he smiled. I helped with my sisters. They said Dack."

"He buddy, that's like your name," Morgan smiled.

"Yer," he nodded enthusiastically while they grinned at his enthusiasm of being an older brother. They loved how much pleasure he had with being a brother. He was excited with every new development. "Aunt Jessica says I have to go now as its teatime."

"Alright, we'll be home tonight, sweetie," Emily said.

He nodded and told them all he'd see them later. He hated to use the word goodbye. Goodbye to him meant he wasn't going to see them for a long time. They chorused back that they'd see him later too. He loved each and every one of them like uncles and aunts.

"Thank you," Hotch whispered to Emily as they all went back to their places.

"I thought you needed it."

"I did."

"But there's something still on your mind."

"I'll tell you later."

She nodded.

Later at the office he found JJ in the conference room. He took in a deep breath. He really didn't want to do this but he had to. He had no choice. The choice had been made for him. They had to lose JJ.

She looked up at his face and with one glance asked, "When do they want me?" sadly. She knew she'd got the job even though she didn't want it. She had to leave all her friends here at the BAU and a job that she loved. It wasn't fair but she had to accept it.

"They actually wanted you to start today," he answered looking down.

"So tomorrow," she answered sadly.

He nodded. "I was hoping I could do something about this and I'm sorry I didn't, the decision was made before I had the chance and I was told I had no say. I hope to get you back." he was about to leave when he added, "I'll miss you."

She walked up to him and gave him a hug while he wrapped his arms around her. "I'll miss you too but we'll still have play dates. I won't separate Jack and Henry. I'll see you and Emily around."

He nodded and gave her a bunch of papers. "Strauss wants you to fill these in."

She nodded rolling her eyes. "Resignation papers. I don't even want to go. What do I tell the others?"

"Tell them the truth," he answered then as he walked out added, "I haven't told Emily. I thought you might like to."

"Thank you, "she mouthed and he left defeated. That must have been hard JJ thought. Since they'd gotten together almost two years ago he'd confided everything in Emily. She was the rock for their rock. That's why there were so thankful for their relationship. When he had a bad day it was Emily who would sort him out. They were grateful the FBI hadn't broken them up. They were one and needed each other.

Emily saw Hotch hand something to JJ then leave. What was going on? They both looked upset about something. It couldn't be could it? They couldn't be forcing JJ out.

She soon came to them and said, "I'm sorry."It was obvious she didn't want to leave. "The Ministry of Defence want me." Emily looked to her boyfriend's office. JJ didn't want to cause any disturbance in their relationship. "It's not his fault. He couldn't stop it."

"Why are they doing this?" Spencer asked anxiously.

"It's just one more nail in the coffin," Emily answered.

"I'm going to say my goodbyes now," JJ answered trying to keep the tears at bay. They all nodded seeing how hard it was for her.

"Emily, you're my best mate. I hope we will still have girls' nights out. I've told Aaron we'll still have play dates so I'll see you then as well. I promise I won't be a stranger," she said hugging her.

"We will and I'll make sure of it. I'll miss you around here too," she answered.

"Spence, you're like my little brother and Henry's godfather. I'll always let you see him and you're welcome to come over to the house whenever you want," she said hugging him.

"I'll take you up on it," he answered.

"Dave, you're like the father of us all. Like Spence you're always welcome to pop by. Will, Henry and I would love to see your face," she said hugging him.

"I'll also take you up on it. You look after that baby of yours," he answered looking down at her stomach.

"I will," she smiled. It's what she needed. To be reminded of what she had to look forward to; her second baby. "I'll just go and say goodbye to Derek and Penelope."

They nodded and she left. She headed to Morgan's office while Emily headed to Hotch's. JJ found them both in his office. She went in swallowing the lump that was forming in her throat to face the couple before she left the BAU without knowing when or if she'd be back. She knew Hotch would fight for her but he would be fighting the Pentagon.

When they saw her come in they knew something was up and it was bad news not just to their friend but to the BAU. She was being forced out. No, Garcia shook her head. No, she couldn't be leaving she thought as she could feel her tears welling up. JJ had been her first friend here and she hadn't had many friends since her parents' death. She'd always been a bit of a loner. Now they were taking JJ from her. They knew not working together would limit their time.

"They want me at the Pentagon," she said. "I start tomorrow,"

"No," Penelope cried. "They can't be doing us to us. It's going to become fewer and fewer times we'll see each other."

"I promise I won't be a stranger to either of you. Pen, you're Henry's godmother. Look after her, Derek," JJ answered on the verge of tears.

"I will," he answered holding his girlfriend close. Penelope was having a hard time with her tears. She nodded and went back to her office to fill in the forms.

While she did so she tried to keep her tears inside. Soon Rossi came in and asked, "Want some help clearing up your office?"

"Thanks Dave," she answered smiling slightly.

"We'll get you back, don't worry. Aaron and I won't stop till we do."

She smiled at him as she knew they wouldn't give up. They cleared up her office in no time and he walked her out to her car. She broke down when she got home in Will's arms.

After JJ had left them Emily's gone into Hotch's office. He looked up to see what he expected. Emily was pacing backwards and forwards barely containing her anger. He sighed resigned. What did she expect him to do about it? The decision had been taken out of his hands. He was going to fight to get her back.

"Emily," he said quietly. She just glared at him. "I don't want her to go as much as you don't want to see her go. I didn't get a say. They went over my head! That doesn't mean I'm going to stop fighting. We'll get her back even if it's the last thing I do."

She nodded. She knew he would and she'd be right behind him as always. She wanted to rip Strauss apart for doing this to them. She had it in for him and would do anything in her power to bring down the BAU single-handedly. She had no doubt it was Strauss that had orchestrated it. Hotch saw the look in Emily's eyes.

"Emily, we have no proof it was Strauss," he said.

"Of course it's her," she spat pacing. "She's always had it in for you. She'll do anything to destroy you and this team..." especially since he'd gotten with her she thought.

"Don't blame yourself. None of this is your fault. The Ministry of Defence wanted her so they're having her..." He then added firmly, "for the time-being."

She nodded. "Are you going to replace her?"

"Not when I have every intention of bringing her back."

"Strauss might plant another mole."

"Well I like how her last one turned out," he smiled getting up.

"I don't want a rival," she laughed back.

"There'll never be a rival you know that," he replied gazing lovingly at her wrapping his arms around her.

"I love you too, Aaron," she smiled up at him. "Let's go home."

They got their stuff together and headed for the children.

After JJ left Garcia and Morgan he tried comforting her while placing his head on her hair. He knew it was time to ask her. He'd been thinking about it for some time.

"Move in with me, mama," he said.

She looked up at him. Did he just ask what she thought he did? Was he serious? They'd only been together for three months but he was her dreamboat.

"I know it's sudden but I've been thinking about it for some time. I want to come home nightly to you, baby doll."

"Yes," she answered on the verge of tears. "Yes, I'll move in with you," she smiled at him while a few tears rolled down her cheeks.

He beamed at her and hugged her even tighter.

This day had been mixed but provided a great outcome. One of her best friends had been forced out of her job and into another she didn't want but Derek had asked her to move in. They were taking the next step.

When Emily and Aaron got home they saw Jack was still asleep but the twins in bed. He ran up to them and gave them a huge hug as he could see they were sad.

"Mummy, daddy, why are you so sad?" he asked.

"Your Auntie JJ's no longer working with us," Emily answered.

Jack's bottom lip trembled. "Will I still get to see Henry?" they could understand the little boy's worry. Henry beside Alex was his greatest friend. Now their parents didn't work together did that mean they weren't going to see each other anymore?

"Yes, buddy, you will. Auntie JJ wants to make sure of it. They're not moving. She's just going to be working elsewhere," Aaron answered crouching down to speak to him.

"But you'll miss fighting the monsters with her."

They nodded and he hugged them tighter. He wanted to cheer them up. He then had a brainwave. He'd show them his picture; the one he drew while waiting for them. "Want to see my picture?"

"Sure," they smiled at him while he led them off to his picture.

He sat them down by the coffee table. There on the table was a picture of two figures with capes holding mini figures and a little figure in between them. They smiled at the picture working out it was them but wanted Jack to point it out.

"What is it of?"They asked.

"Well, this little figure is me," he pointed out. "That superhero figure is you, daddy," he said pointing to the one with spiky hair. "That other superhero figure is you, mummy," he added pointing to the one with long hair.

"That's a great picture, Jack. Who are the mini figures?" Emily smiled.

"They're my sisters, of course," he beamed. "You're holding Alexia, daddy, and you're holding Eliza, mummy."

"It's a beautiful picture, buddy," Aaron smiled. "We'll put it up after you go to bed."

He smiled then yawned. It was time to put the little boy to bed.

"Who would you like to take you to bed?" his father asked.

"Both of you," he answered. He hoped that would make them happier. They both liked to put him to bed. When one of them put him to bed he noticed the other usually watched from the doorway and gave him a goodnight kiss when they thought he was asleep.

"Sure," they smiled at him and took him upstairs to bed.

They helped him change into his teddy bear pyjamas then he climbed into his bed. They sat by him with his favourite book. Aaron started reading it and Jack read along with him. He'd begun to do that lately. He was beginning to read himself now. He was a very clever boy. He was soon closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep. They kissed his cheek and forehead then went back down to the couch.

They were cuddled up when the phone went so Emily jumped at it. She picked it up and answered it.

"Hello Hotchner residence," she said. They both answered like that even if her surname wasn't technically his. It felt like it should be. They just weren't prepared to marry yet. She'd never been the marrying kind and he'd been hurt by his first marriage. He was scared to remarry.

"It's me," Penelope answered excited.

"Hey, what is it?" she asked catching her excitement. When Penelope was excited it was slightly contiguous. You couldn't help but get caught up init.

"Derek asked me to move in with him." she couldn't help but smile for her friend and Aaron looked over and smiled. Her smile was so beautiful he thought. Wow, the dimples she thought. She really was happy for her friends. They were a great couple and it was the right time they moved up the next step. It had felt like they'd been together much longer than they'd been dating.

"That's great, Penelope. We're both so happy for you guys." Aaron looked puzzled. What were they really happy about for Penelope and Derek? Were they moving in together? He took her in his arms and pulled her closer to his chest. She just melted into his arms.

"We're moving in next weekend. Would you like to help?"

"We'd love to."

She could hear Derek in the background and Penelope said, "Id' better go, Emily. Derek's calling me."

"Sure. Go to that hunk of yours."

"And you to yours."

"See you at work, Pen."

"Yes."

They hung up and she handed Aaron the phone. He placed it back then ran his fingers through her hair while she sighed. He just smiled on.

"So what's up with our friends?" he asked.

"They're moving in together," she smiled up at him.

"That's fantastic," he smiled back. He was genuinely happy for their friends. It was the best thing to happen to them. They really deserved to be living together.

"We're moving them in this weekend."

"That's fine with me."

She smiled up at him and he placed his lips on hers kissing her. They were so happy together. They couldn't see themselves breaking up anytime soon. It'd be them against the world.

That weekend they helped Penelope move her stuff into Derek's. JJ was even helping out with Will. They might not be working together anymore but that didn't make them any less of a family. The guys were moving in Penelope's stuff while Emily and JJ were in the bedroom looking after their children. Penelope was sorting out where she wanted things to go in her boyfriend's house.

"I hope we won't have to move you again as soon as we did Aaron and Emily," Dave joked while everyone laughed. Aaron knew they were only teasing about how soon after Emily had moved in with him and Jack they'd moved into the house for the twins.

"It wasn't like we had a choice. Allie and Ellie were on the way," Aaron defended.

"We know, man. No-one's blaming you. You two were getting what you needed. A family," Derek answered.

He nodded smiling looking towards the bedroom. Emily and the twins really had been a blessing. Emily's pregnancy had come at a time that was so hard for Jack and him and gave them something to hope for to look forward to. They'd just made them a happier family.

Later Derek and Penelope were curled up on their sofa when Aaron and Emily were bathing the girls. They loved the time they spent bonding with their daughters. When they were home it was mostly spending time with the children. Their children were their first priority.

They were washing their babies in their arms. Their sleeves were rolled up so they wouldn't get wet. They carefully splashed water on their babies and used the baby soap while they smiled sleepily. It would soon be time to put them down for the night. They also washed their hair carefully. Once they'd finished they dried them as gently as they could then put them in their babygros.

Jack ran up and asked, "Is it their bedtime now?"

They nodded and he followed them up to the nursery. Once they got up there they put them into their cots and tucked them in after kissing their foreheads. They'd lowered them down to Jack's level so he could kiss them too. They then put them into their cots and pulled their blankets up.

Aaron then took Jack for his bath. He'd be staying up a little longer but they wanted to get his bath out of the way. Emily went to put away the baby baths. Jack stripped for his father and got in his bath. He gave him the flannel with soap and he ran it over his little body. He then gently put the water over Jack's head to wash his hair. Aaron rubbed the shampoo into his son's hair and washed his hair for him while he smiled. He loved bath time as it was time with daddy. Daddy rubbed him dry with a towel then they changed into his pyjamas.

They soon went to bed themselves after tucking Jack in.

Chapter Text

Remembrance of Things Past

A few weeks later they were off to Bristol, Virginia. This time they were working on a case of what they assumed at the start was a copycat killer. Young blonde women were being abducted from public places tortured and forced to perform anal sex before being murdered by electrocution. Beforehand they were forced to phone a loved one to tell them of their impending death. It affected Rossi as it was exactly like a case he'd worked on sixteen years ago that had never been solved.

While working on the case there was at first a little friction between Hotch and Rossi. Rossi was convinced it was the original killer but Hotch was convinced it was a copycat. It turned out they were both right. The original killer had been working with his son. Emily had encouraged him to let Rossi work out his beliefs.

As they confronted the killer in his home guns drawn Hotch had to calm Rossi when they noticed he'd wet himself. Rossi sat with him in the living room while they investigated where his son could have been taking the victims. Hotch looked in from the kitchen.

They discovered he was at a rundown mental hospital. They high toed over there. They managed to get there in time to save Anna, the latest victim. As they handed her off to the medics they prepared to go home.

They were at home having a play date with Henry a few days later. Jack and Henry were playing with a jigsaw when the twins crawled over. They'd begun to crawl recently which pleased them. What they did next didn't please them. They each picked up a puzzle piece and clasped tightly. Henry went to hit them when JJ swooped in. Jack looked incredibly annoyed and the parents went to the twins to sort out the problem.

"Allie, Ellie, can you give back the boys the puzzle pieces so they can finish?" Emily asked gently.

They just smiled up at them still grasping the pieces. They would have to do something they didn't really want to do. They each took one of their hands and uncurled their fingers while they tried to fight them as much as babies could. They succeeded and gave the pieces back to their brother and friend's son while the girls cried. They scooped them up into their arms and rocked them gently until they stopped while Jack and Henry carried on with the puzzle.

When it was time to leave Henry kissed both their cheeks to show there were no hard feelings. He did really care for the girls as much as a two year old could. They'd made Uncle Aaron and Jack really happy when they were going through a really sad time; when Jack's mummy had gone away. Now Auntie Emily was Jack's mummy.

Chapter Text

Compromising Positions

Some weeks later Jack's parents were off to Ohio on another case. This time someone had been murdering married couples. Before they set out Garcia had come to Hotch's office. She was asking for JJ's job saying their jobs had crossed over a lot. He decided to give her a chance when she said she'd tone down her wardrobe choices. That was a huge sacrifice for her as she wore her individuality like a shield. To willingly tone down her wardrobe meant she was willing to give everything to the job.

That she did until Hotch saw the cracks in her behaviour. She was taking on too much and she felt it. She'd never realised before how much JJ had had to do and combined with doing her normal job on top it was too stressful. She finally snapped and asked if she could bring in Kevin Lunch to help on this case.

He raised an eyebrow at the mention of her ex. He had no idea they were still on good terms. No-one really knew anything about the break-up but didn't regret it as she and Derek were perfect together.

"He's a great technical analyst, sir, and I think it would really help the case if he's brought in," she defended.

He nodded and left.

When Emily got back with Morgan after Morgan told Hotch his theory he told him that Garcia might need help as she was taking too much on. He nodded and went to see the woman he loved.

"Derek, I really don't have the time," she snapped.

"Baby girl, you're trying to replace JJ. No-one can replace JJ. Think about what she'd want you to do," he answered.

"She'd want me to do the job right," she replied.

"It's time to go OG." She looked at him confused. "Original Garcia so take out these contacts." She took them out and he placed her glasses back on her face. He smiled, "there she is."

She smiled back at him and playfully swatted him away. She felt so lucky to have Derek. He always knew the right thing to say and made her feel so loved. She thanked Hotch for sending Morgan into her. He'd known he was the right one to send in to sort out Garcia. It was like when they sent Emily or Hotch to each other.

When they discovered where the UnSub was they went to the club. They found the UnSub was glaring at the crowd but they couldn't risk collateral damage. Hotch's eyes widened as Emily took out her earplug and off her Kevlar vest to look less FBI.

"I'll go in as a swinger and speak to him," she said looking down. She really didn't want to look in Hotch's eyes at the moment. He was probably having a fit but this was the only way of getting their UnSub.

He closed his eyes for a minute trying to regain his composure. He knew this was the only way to get their UnSub but if anything happened to Emily it would break him. Keep it together, Aaron! She's an FBI agent trained to protect herself. She'd proven herself time and time again she could. Also he could have Morgan and himself guarding the exits.

"Alright," he answered pleasing Emily. "You get him talking and we'll guard the doors."

She nodded summoning up the courage. She walked in and headed over to James Thomas and took on her undercover persona.

"Hey James, right?" she said pretending she knew him.

"Do I know you?" he answered.

"It's Emily. We met at a party a few months ago," she explained.

"So where is..."

"Aaron," she answered glancing over to see him by the entrance. He wasn't taking his eyes off them for a second. Good god, did the man even blink? "We broke up," she added turning back to James. "He couldn't handle the lifestyle."

"Yes, that sometimes happens...me and Marianne; we had a system...want to know what it is?" She nodded. "She'd come here, her favourite bar, by herself and I'd come to pick her up like we were total strangers fighting off other men." He then realised something was off. "We've never met have we," he said reaching for his gun and pointing it at her.

Hotch and Morgan put their fingers on the triggers off their guns as did Emily on the one in her handbag. Hotch's eyes darkened as he saw James pointing the gun at his girlfriend. No-one dared touch her and get away with it. A gun went off and James' body slumped to the floor. Hotch looked up to see Emily had shot him through her handbag. He was so proud of her keeping a cool head when a gun was pointed at her.

They dealt with the dead body and at the hotel he hugged her and she sunk into his embrace. He stroked her hair and she held him closer. He was so thankful she was still alive. Thank god she was!

"I was so scared," he whispered.

"I'm sorry," she answered stroking his face.

"You were doing your job and as you unit chief, you've done a wonderful job. As your lover I've never been so scared apart from..." she knew he was going to say when Haley died. She hadn't wanted to cause him any repercussions. She just had her eyes on the job, she'd never meant to scare him, and as he'd said as Hotch she'd done a great job.

"Aaron," she said stroking his face, "don't go there. I'm not going to leave you. I'm not going to die on you. You won't be burying me."

He took her hand into his and held it close to his cheek. "I want to believe you but you can't promise me that. We knew the risks of the job when we begun this. No-one knows or can help when they're going to die."

"I will never leave you willingly."

"I know. Neither will I. I love you, Em."

"I love you too, Aaron."

They kissed while running their fingers through each other's hair. They were there to live another day by each other's side.

They got home the next night to the children. They would never tell them how close they were to losing Emily on this case. Though the girls wouldn't understand it was bound to give Jack nightmares. He'd only recently in the last six months got over the ones left by Foyet.

They were off to the park a week later with Henry. They were spending a lot of time with Henry lately preparing for the birth of his sibling in four months. JJ had tried to keep up with the others but found she was spending more and more time with Emily and Hotch as the birth grew closer. There had been nights when she'd see Penelope and Derek and Spencer being Henry's godparents.

Will and JJ were keeping an eye on the boys while Emily and Aaron were swinging the girls. They were old enough to sit on their own now. They'd have their first birthday in two months time. They were already preparing the party for it. The girls were giggling on the swings while the boys took to the slide. They would try to go to the park as often as they could especially now the twins were old enough to enjoy it.

Chapter Text

Safe Haven

Three weeks later Morgan got a visit for Ellie Spicer at the BAU. He brought her into his office to talk about why she'd run away from her foster home. She informed him they'd abused her. They'd neglected her as they had too many and one twelve year old had been watching her in the bathroom. He was angered that she could have been treated like this. He wanted to stay with her but they were off to Iowa on another case.

He turned to his girlfriend who was also in the room. She nodded and he turned back to Ellie. "Ellie, this is my good friend, Penelope. She'll look after you while I'm away on a case, alright?" Elli just nodded. They were soon off to Iowa to solve this new case. Someone had murdering two parented families with two children. Emily was almost thankful they had three.

While working on this case Morgan's head wasn't completely in it. He was worrying about Ellie. He couldn't let her go back there. He was trying to move her to Virginia. Maybe if he could have her close he could make sure she was well. Perhaps even adopt her after talking it through with Garcia.

"What are you doing?" Hotch asked while Morgan was on the phone.

"Trying to get Ellie's case moved to Virginia," he answered. At Hotch's annoyance he added, "What if it were Jack or Lexie or Lizzie? They were neglecting her, Hotch."

"I trust that you would do the best for them," he answered allowing Morgan his point. He did trust that if anything were to happen to Emily and him the team would do what was best for the three of them.

Meanwhile back in Quantico Garcia was attempting to entertain Ellie whilst doing her job. She had her drawing in the bullpen and was working off her laptop in there. It felt weird to be working in the bullpen without the others round. She'd really warmed up to this young teenager. She knew what it was like to have no parents as a teenager. She would do everything she could to save this girl and give her a good life. Even if it meant adopting her. She knew Derek would want to.

"Penelope?" Ellie asked.

"Yes sweetie," she answered.

"Are you Derek's girlfriend?"

"How perceptive you are, chickadee. Yes the sexy Morgan is my partner."

"You'll look after him, right, if something happens to me."

"Course I will," she smiled at her. She was glad he had this connection. It showed when the time came for their baby he'd make a great father.

She found her her mother who flew into Quantico. When they saw each other it was frosty. Penelope watched from the sidelines. She waited for Derek to get back as they had found the Unsub. Soon he was coming in with Hotch and Emily. Hotch and Emily headed to his office while Derek greeted his Penelope.

When he saw the woman with Ellie he looked to Penelope. "Mama?" he whispered.

"Her mother," she answered.

Derek went over to them. He didn't want anyone to hurt Ellie. He loved her like a daughter but he knew her mother had legal rights.

"Ellie, you need to give her a chance. She's your mother," he said putting his hands on the table over her. She just looked up at him unsure.

Her mother handed him a book. "I knew she was better off with her father but I never forgot her." He looked through the pictures and saw photos upon photos of when Ellie was younger and he smiled. "I'm prepared to do whatever it takes now." She said it with such conviction he believed her.

"Look at this Ellie," he said opening the book in front of her. "Give her a shot. I know what it's like to grow up without a father and I'm so grateful for my mother." She nodded and silently agreed to give her a shot. Her mother mouthed thank you and they walked out.

"You'll make a great father," Penelope said.

"You'll make a great mother, mama," he answered.

A week later everyone was at Emily and Aaron's to celebrate the first of two Hotchner birthdays in two months. Jack was six today a month before his sisters turned one. He'd invited over the team and his best friend from school. Alex was really his only friend at school. Most of his friends had left due to him spending a lot of time away from them. Since his mummy died he'd found it hard to make new friends. It worried Aaron but Emily was sure it would happen in time. She had and she wasn't even in the same place for a lot of time. As the ambassador's daughter she'd had to move from place to place.

They were playing musical chairs. Derek, Penelope, Dave, Aaron, Spencer and Will had joined in to enlarge the group playing. Otherwise it would have just been Jack, Henry and Alex playing. JJ and Emily were both judging. Emily was judging standing up while JJ was from the sofa in between the twins who were too young to play. JJ was now six months pregnant with Henry's sibling. The rest of the team had been so happy to see her again.

"Daddy, I was here first," she heard her son say and looked to see Aaron trying to nudge Jack off his chair playfully.

"Aaron," she laughed wondering how many children she actually had. "Come help me judge. Jack was there first and he's the birthday boy."

He nodded reluctantly kissing his son's hair then joining his Emily. Jack beamed and thanked her. She smiled back at the boy she'd come to love as her own while Aaron wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

Later they were sorting out the cake. It was a TARDIS cake as Spencer had got Jack into Doctor Who. He'd mentioned it to him a few times and Jack had wanted to see it. Now he was almost as big a fan as Spencer.

Jack beamed when they brought it in with six candles. It was the best cake he'd ever seen. He hoped it was chocolate; he loved chocolate cake. Spencer also couldn't believe his eyes when he saw his boss' son's cake and wore an almost bigger grin.

They placed it down in front of them and Emily turned out the lights. They all sang happy birthday to him. He had the biggest smile on his face and it made everyone else smile. It was the first birthday without Haley that he'd actually been truly happy.

Just before everyone decided to go home JJ and Will made an announcement.

"Everyone we found out the sex of the baby a few days ago," JJ said.

"What is it, what is it?" Penelope asked excited.

"It's a girl," JJ smiled at Will then at her former team.

"Yay, now you'll both have sons and daughters," Penelope squealed. They just laughed and congratulated the expecting couple.

Chapter Text

Devil's Night

Three weeks later it was Halloween weekend. They were at home baking cookies for Halloween. The twins were napping so Emily was in the kitchen helping her boys. They made cookies in the shape of cats and pumpkins. When they were made they iced them all together. It reminded her of when she used to bake with her nanny. She really missed Marguerita. She'd been the closest she'd had to a mother until she was killed and raped the night she slept with her first baby's father. Her death was one of the reasons she'd gone into law enforcement.

She smiled sadly as Jack got a smudge of icing on his nose. Jack put his hand over hers and kissed her cheek. She smiled at him and kissed his hair. Aaron watched her questioningly.

"My nanny used to bake with me," she answered. He nodded knowing she'd explain the sadness later when Jack wasn't around. They knew what they could bring up in front of him. Marguerita's death wasn't one of them.

They left the cookies to cool while Jack went to check on his sisters. She leaned into him and he ran his fingers through her hair.

"She was the closest thing I had to a mother until I was fifteen," she explained.

"What happened?" he asked gently.

"She was stabbed fifteen times after being raped."She could feel the tears well up and he shuddered involuntarily. He wished he could have kept her from those crimes until she had joined the BAU but nothing could change the past. She'd just been a vulnerable teenager not the strong woman he loved today. It was the first close death she'd suffered and partly why she'd been so easily talked into the abortion. She'd been grieving."One of the reasons why I got into law enforcement."He hugged her close to him while she leaned in closer.

Jack came running out and stopped when he saw the tears in her eyes.

"Mummy, why are you sad?" he asked.

"I'm not sad, buddy," she answered smiling at him.

"Then why do you have tears in your eyes?"

"I'm happy, buddy how are your sisters?"

"Still sleeping," he answered looking down.

"They'll wake up when they're ready."

He nodded. He found it boring when they were asleep and he was at home though his parents tried to entertain him. He was definitely a devoted and dedicated brother.

"The cookies look great, buddy," Aaron said crouching down by him.

"Teamwork, right?"He smiled at him.

"Teamwork right," his father answered high-fiving him then Jack high-fived his mummy and so did daddy.

"Why aren't you in your Spiderman costume?" he asked. As well as checking on his sisters he was meant to try on his costume with the long sleeves underneath.

"It's itchy," he answered.

"Did you try it with the long sleeves?"

He nodded. "I don't want to be Spiderman anymore."

"What do you want to be?"

"I don't know."

"You've got to decide by tomorrow night, ok."

He nodded. "Can I have a cookie?"

"I don't know. Can I have a cookie?"

He nodded enthusiastically. He picked up a black cat. "Great choice," Aaron smiled and went for one too.

"Mummy, you have one too," Jack said and Emily smiled picking up a pumpkin cookie.

"To try and even it out," she explained while her son smiled nodding.

The next morning Emily rolled her eyes as Spencer went off on one about Halloween. Giving her the whole history when all she'd asked was what he was doing for the holiday. Jack would go trick-or-treating fir the first time and Aaron was taking him while Emily would stay with the twins.

That day they were off to Detroit on the case of someone who was burning people alive. Emily interviewed the victim's wife.

"Are you married?"She asked.

"No but I am in a long-term relationship. I can imagine what you are feeling," she answered then carried on the interview. She didn't know what she'd do if someone took to burning Aaron alive. It was something he couldn't or been trained to fight against but she knew she'd love him even if he got badly burned as it was his heart she adored.

Later that day they heard the UnSub Kaman had already set a restaurant on fire looking for his ex-girlfriend, Tracy. Hotch ran into the burning building without a second thought while Emily tried to keep herself from freaking out. If he didn't make it out of there in one piece she'd kill him. He could suffer burns that could kill him.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw him come out holding up the owner but her heart tightened as the restaurant blew up behind them knocking them to the ground. It reminded her of when his SUV had blown up in New York. That was the night she realised she was in love with him. She'd been so scared she'd lose him that she realised how much he meant to her. She hadn't understood her jealousy of Kate before that. Now he'd narrowly missed being blown up again she wanted to wring his neck for scaring her shitless. She'd wring his neck later as they currently had a job to do.

They were soon off to Tracy's aunts and uncle's. Hotch talked Kaman down by informing him the truth about Daniel, Tracy's son. He didn't want to murder his son's family in front of him so allowed them to arrest him. As the little boy leaned against the window to look at his father one last time Emily went up to Hotch. He could see the anger in her eyes left from the fear.

"Dave, Emily and I are going to go in one SUV on the way back to the airstrip. Would it be possible if you and the others go in the other?" he asked.

"Sure," he answered noticing the tension between the two. He couldn't really blame Emily though. It must have given her a great fright to see Hotch go into that burning building. He would give them the chance to fight in private. They never let themselves fight in front of the team and when they got home there was young boy to take trick-or-treating.

The other agents filed into the SUV while Emily and Hotch took the other.

"You scared me, you bastard," she shouted at him. "I was terrified when I saw you go in there. You went into a burning building, for Christ's sake! We have three children at home. What if I didn't bring you home? Those kids rely on me bringing home daddy just like they do you mummy. You could have got yourself killed, Aaron."

"Emily, I'm unharmed and I saved a man's life," he answered putting his hand on her arm.

"At what price, Aaron?!" she could feel the tears welling in her eyes. Didn't he know how much she loved him? He and the children gave her life meaning. What meaning was there without the man she loved? How would she raise them if she ever lost him even though she would for him as he'd never want her to give up her life because he'd given his in the line of duty? It hadn't been his duty to run into that building it had been his decision. "You could have died. We could have lost you. Did you even think about us when you ran in there? Did you once think about the children and the woman you'd leave behind if something went wrong? I love you, god damn it," she shouted pounding her fists on his chest while the tears rolled down her cheeks.

He could feel her anger weakening. He felt so guilty for causing her fear. He'd frightened her by running into that building. He hadn't thought about who he'd be leaving behind he just had adrenaline pumping through him and wanted to save his life. He never meant to cause her that much pain. He loved her more than any other woman he'd loved in his whole life. He looked down at the floor of the SUV.

"Em, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare or hurt you. I love you, too. I'm sorry, I only thought of saving that man's life. I had so much adrenaline running through me."

"Do we really mean that little to you?" she regretted it as soon as she said it. She knew they were everything to him.

"Good god, Emily, you know you lot are everything to me. You lot are the reason I do this job, that I get up in the morning. I'm sorry I scared you and caused you pain but I'm not sorry for saving that man's life. That's another family who hasn't lost a loved one. Isn't that why we do this job? To save lives, to reunite families. To not let the bad guys win. I know you would have done just the same." She nodded knowing it was true. They were just as bad as each other.

"You still scared me," she whispered.

"I know and I'm sorry. That I never meant to happen. Believe me, I love you, Emily."

"I know you do and I know you're sorry."

He hugged her close to him and she laid her head on his chest. After a few minutes he said, "We'd better get going. Otherwise the team will send out a search party."

She laughed at that and they headed to the airstrip. When they got there they found the team waiting for them bored. Rossi was tapping his pen while Morgan had on his headphones and Reid was looking out of the window propping his head up with his hand. Emily was now the only woman who worked in the field. She really missed JJ sometimes when she was surrounded by all the boys. It was nice to turn to another woman sometimes for a girly chat. Sometimes she found herself calling Garcia or JJ to unwind.

"So I see the two of you made up," Rossi smiled.

"Yes everything's sorted out," Emily smiled up at Aaron. Aaron looked down and kissed her lips.

They sat down in their seats and prepared for take-off.

"Aaron," she asked.

"Mmmhmm," he answered.

"As well as scaring me that stunt reminded me of the night I realised I was in love with you..." he looked interested and curious. "It was the night your SUV blew up. I was so scared I'd never see you again or tell you how much you meant to me. I never realised why I was jealous of Kate until then. It was the same when I went to the flat after you were stabbed. I was scared I would never get the chance to tell you that I'm in love with you. I was just too scared to tell you till that night as you're my boss."

"So New York?" he smiled at her pulling her to nestle her head on his chest.

"Aha," she answered curling into him. "How about you?"

"How about I what?" he replied playing dumb.

"When did you know you were in love with me?"

"Cyrus. When he was beating you it ripped me apart. I didn't know what I'd do if you didn't make it out of there. It would have destroyed me and the guilt would have tortured me."

She looked up at him worried. It was the first time he'd ever admitted to feeling guilty over her beating in that compound. He'd sent her there so it was his entire fault.

"Aaron, look at me," she said. "None of that was your fault."

"I sent you there," he whispered.

"On an undercover operation as a social worker. We didn't expect the media and district attorneys ending in a SWAT team complicating the mission. It was my choice to take that beating. I couldn't see Reid go through that. It was my decision. My decision, Aaron, not yours." He nodded but she knew he still felt the guilt. She decided to change the subject. "I was thinking of dressing up the girls."

"As what?" he smiled at the idea of the girls dressed up for Halloween.

"Black cats, devils or pumpkins?"

"I think pumpkins," he smiled imagining how cute they'd look.

"I'll give Penelope a call. She's bound to know somewhere that sells baby pumpkin costumes."

"Tell her I'll pay her back."

"We'll pay her back, "she answered putting a hand over his.

She speed-dialled Garcia. "Hey, my raven-haired beauty," she answered.

"Hey Pen," she smiled into the phone. "Aaron and I were wondering if you could do us a favour."

"Anything for my favourite dark-haired couple. Ask away."

"Could you get us some pumpkin costumes for the twins?"

"Oh my god, they'll look so cute!" she exclaimed while Emily laughed smiling. Aaron had heard the squeal and couldn't help smiling himself.

"I know. So can you?"

"You can count on it."

"Thanks Pen. We'll pop by the office when we get back."

"I'll have the costumes ready."

"Thanks for this, you're a lifesaver."

"You owe me."

"I sure do."

"Bye Emmy."

"Bye Pen."

She ended the call and Morgan turned to them.

"I hope you're not using my girl as an errand-girl," he joked.

"We'll pay her back. It's just something we need for tonight," Emily answered.

"Pumpkin suits?" Rossi asked with a raised eyebrow.

"There's no reason the twins should miss out on all the fun. They're not old enough for trick-or-treating like Jack but that's no reason for them not to dress up," Aaron defended.

"99% of children don't have memories of before they're one," Reid stated.

"They turn one next week," Emily answered.

"I can't believe a year's passed already," Rossi replied.

"Neither can we," the proud parents smiled at each other.

When they got back to the office Garcia came running up with a bag in her hand.

"Two pumpkin suits for two adorable baby girls," she announced.

"Cheers Garcia. How much do we owe you?" Emily smiled taking the bag while Hotch prepared his cheque book.

"You don't need to pay me."

"I insist," Aaron declared.

"Pay me with pictures."

They smiled and nodded while he put away his cheque book. Of course she would ask for photos. She always wanted photos of them on the holidays.

"Jack trick-or-treating this year?"They nodded. "What's he dressing up as?"

"We don't know yet. Up until before we left for the case he was going to be Spiderman."

"Whatever it is I bet the little g-man's going to be cute."

They smiled said their goodbyes and left for home.

When they got there Jack ran up to Emily excited. She picked him up and he whispered in her ear,"I know what I want to be but I want it to be a surprise from daddy."

"Want me to help?" she whispered.

He nodded and they headed up to his room while Aaron took the bag and headed to his daughters. He changed them into the outfits Garcia had got while Emily helped Jack. They looked so adorable he kissed them.

Meanwhile Emily was helping Jack in his room. When she'd seen what was laid out on his bed she couldn't help but smile. He put on his white shirt and black suit trousers. She helped him put on his red tie and black suit jacket.

When they were done he smiled at her, "How do I look?"

"Perfect, buddy," she smiled up at him. He threw herself into her arms and wrapped his arms around her neck while she returned the hug. "You're going to make your dad very happy." He smiled at her as she got up. "Are you ready?" he nodded.

"Jack, are you ready?" they heard Aaron call. "We got to go."

"Don't look at me," Jack answered.

"I'm not looking," he promised.

Jack looked at her and she nodded. He stepped out and headed down the stairs while she followed at distance. She stayed at the top of the3 stairs while he neared the bottom. She saw Aaron standing profile at the bottom of the stairs looking into the living room.

"You can look now, daddy," his son said.

Aaron turned to look at him and looked surprised. "That is definitely not Spiderman," he said.

"He's not a real superhero," he answered shuffling his feet.

"He's not," Aaron answered pretending to play dumb. He pretended he was thinking really hard about who his son could be. "I give up. Who are you meant to be?"

"I'm you, daddy," he answered looking down then smiling up at him. A huge smile spread across Aaron's face and Emily could see tears fill his eyes. She felt her own filling hers as she smiled at them both. She joined them as he picked up his son.

"Come on, my little g-man," he said picking him up. He kissed Emily's cheek and she kissed his. She then kissed her son's hair and he smiled up at her.

"Well, I'll see you boys later," she smiled. "Go get lots of candy." Jack beamed at her and they left and she headed to her daughters.

She smiled when she saw them as they looked so adorable. Aaron had obviously changed them into the pumpkin costumes. They smiled when they saw her. Some of their dark hair showed out of the costume. They were watching Nick Kids TV. She'd guessed Aaron had sat them in front of the television. They would never show them horror movies though. As long as they couldn't damage their innocence they were happy. They still worried about what Jack had heard that day. They hardly ever spoke of that day now.

In the beginning they had used candles to remember Haley. Aaron would light the candle and give it to Jack then they would talk to her. They would pray for Haley to take care of them all. They hardly did that now. It wasn't that they wanted to forget her it's just life had moved on.

"Mama," they said.

"Hey sweetie," she answered stroking both their hair. She sat in between them and they cuddled up close to her. She put her arms around them and sank back into the sofa. Life was perfect! She had a loving boyfriend she'd been dating for over two years and three wonderful children. It had been something she never thought she'd have even in her wildest dreams. She hoped the boys were ok. She knew Aaron had probably taken his gun with him. He was still that bit overprotective of his shoulder. She couldn't blame him after the horrors they'd seen and the danger Jack had been in.

She took the pictures Penelope wanted of the twins in their pumpkin costumes. She'd even take some of Jack when they got home. Soon she heard the door go and looked up to see Aaron and Jack enter. Jack had lots of candy in his arms and was beaming. His father had his hand on his son's shoulder smiling.

Emily got up from the sofa and the sleeping babes to join her boyfriend and son in the kitchen where Jack put his candy on the table. He started sorting them in three piles.

"Who are the other two piles for, buddy?" they asked.

"Allie and Ellie," he answered.

"Sweetie, that's really good of you but they're a little too young to eat this candy. Maybe when they're older." Jack pouted.

"But I want to share," he answered.

"You could share with us if you want to."

"Yay!"He exclaimed nodding vigorously and carried on with his piles while they smiled on. He really was a sweet boy.

After he'd sorted out the piles they took it in the living room and ate while the girls slept on.

"Jack?"Emily asked.

"Yes mummy," he answered.

"Did you have a good time?" he nodded vigorously. "Can I take a picture of you for Auntie Pen?" he smiled and nodded. He stood up to get his photo taken and smiled for the camera. Penelope was going to love this. Jack Jack dressed up as his father.

"Will she want one of me and my sisters?"

"I'm sure she'd love one but they're asleep."

"We could still take one then maybe put them to bed," he suggested shuffling his feet. They smiled as he was trying to do what was best for them. He always wanted to help.

"That's great idea." He smiled and sat in between his sisters. They took the photo and he went to try and pick up Alexia but she was too heavy. "Don't worry, buddy, we'll carry them." He nodded and they each took a twin. Aaron and Emily carried them carefully to their room while Jack followed.

Alexia had her head laid on her dad's shoulder sleeping while Eliza's was on her mother's snoring away. When they reached the nursery they put them in their cots after kissing them goodnight. They smoothed down their dark brown hair then left the nursery.

Soon enough they were putting Jack to bed too. When they'd go downstairs to watch Nightmare before Christmas he'd begun yawning through Jack Skellington singing What's This? He'd moaned that he hadn't finished it so they promised they would tomorrow after work which made him smile.

Aaron carried him to his bedroom while Jack laid his head sleepily on his shoulder. The excitement of Halloween had really tired him out. When they got him to his room Aaron changed him into his pyjamas as he was too tired to do so himself. They sat either side of him while they read his bedtime story. He was soon sleeping curled up to his father.

They got up and kissed his hair wishing him a good night and sweet dreams.

They headed downstairs to watch a movie by themselves. She snuggled into him while they watched Sleepy Hollow. They tried not to watch movies that were too scary when the kids were about. They saved the real scary stuff for the hotel rooms. She snuggled into him while he put an arm protectively over her. They loved their children but they also loved the time they got to spend alone.

The next day Garcia came running up to Emily and sat herself on her desk. It was lunch hour so she was happy to see her and knew what she was after.

"Ok I want pictures. Did Jack enjoy trick-or-treating? Did he get lots of candy? What did he dress up as?" she bombarded.

"Hey, hey, one at a time. Yes, he enjoyed trick-or-treating and got lots of candy which he wanted to share with the twins."

"Bless him," Garcia smiled.

"But as they're too young and he was desperate to share he shared with us."

"So sweet. He's such a sweet kid."

"He is," she smiled remembering his costume. "As for his costume I'll show you." She then flicked through her phone showing photos of the children last night.

Garcia smiled as she saw photos upon photos of the Hotchner children. Emily sure was a proud mother; not just to her twins but to Jack who she had taken as her own. The twins looked so cute in their orange pumpkin costumes she'd bought them. She felt tears in her eyes when she saw Jack's costume and put her hand to her mouth. It was so adorable. The little boy had dressed up as his father.

"That is too cute," she smiled with tears in her eyes.

"I know," she smiled back. "He told him Spiderman wasn't a real superhero and he wanted to dress up as a real one."

"Can he get any sweeter?"

"I hope not or I'll be in need of a feeling," she laughed. "And I have a real sweet tooth."

Garcia smiled at her laughing. Emily then showed the last photo. There was young Jack in his Hotch costume sitting in between two sleeping angels in pumpkin costumes.

"Aw, the night must have really tuckered out the little tykes," she smiled.

"It did," Emily smiled back. "They were asleep before the boys were even home."

"Sweet." Emily smiled back. "I can't believe they're one next week."

"Neither am I, "she smiled."I can't believe I've been a mother for a year though Jack had felt like a son before then."

Garcia smiled back at her best friend. Her best friend had changed in the last year. She'd been a little shut off, lonely and cynical. Now she was really happy, open and enjoying life. They hadn't just saved Hotch and Jack they'd saved Emily.

Hotch came down smiling when he saw Emily showing Garcia photos.

"Shown the one of Jack yet?" he asked.

She nodded while Garcia answered, "Bossman, your son is too cute."

"He is," he smiled back.

"You're all our superhero."

He blushed while Emily smiled. He was too damn cute when he did that. She wanted to kiss him right now but they were at the office.

She busied herself by texting the picture of all three of her kids to JJ.

"Want to go for lunch?" Hotch asked.

She nodded and answered, "Sure." He helped her with her coat and they left for lunch while Garcia went back to work. Her phone went and she picked it up to find a text from JJ.

'Too cute' she'd answered.

'Tell me about it' she replied.

'See you Saturday'.

'Sure.'

Saturday was the day of the twins 'party. They'd been delighted that even though she was due to have her baby into months time she had agreed to come to the party. The girls and Jack were thrilled Henry was coming. He'd managed to form a bond with the twins already.

Emily's stepfather came to stay for the party a few days later. She hadn't seen him in three years so it was the first time he was meeting her family. His marriage with her mother had ended when she was in her early twenties and she'd finished studying criminology and law at Yale. He was now remarried with a teenage daughter and young son but had moved to London to live with his wife. They'd been able to see each other a lot when she was with Interpol but when she joined the FBI it had resulted in whenever they could see each other.

"Dad," she exclaimed when she saw him.

"Em," he smiled hugging her. Aaron and Andrew had been the only people to ever call her Em. She'd loved it when Aaron called her Em as it reminded her of the closest thing she'd had to a father. The only man she called father.

She hugged him back so happy to see him again. "It's good to see you."

"It's good to see you, too," he smiled.

"Come in. Aaron and the children are waiting in the living room."

He nodded and she greeted Julie, his wife, Katie, his daughter, and Michael, his son. She hugged both Julie and Katie while Michael had run up to give her a hug. She loved them as if they were her siblings. Andrew had always made her feel safe and loved as she grew up after her mother withdrew from her when she was ten. For the few years from that moment till when he entered her life she'd felt incredibly alone.

She ushered them into the living room and Aaron got up as did Jack. The twins still sat on the sofa.

"Agent Hotchner," Andrew smiled acknowledging her boyfriend. They'd met while Aaron had been security detailing Ambassador Prentiss' staff. He'd got the impression that not only was he a good agent but a good man. He'd been anxious when Emily had told him they were a couple but he had also been happy. He knew that he would be good for her.

"Mr Prentiss," he smiled. He'd adopted Emily when he'd married her mother. She'd taken his name too. They'd wanted to stamp out every trace of her real father. She almost couldn't remember him. The team had always assumed Andrew was her real father.

"Please call me Andy."

"Only if you'll call me Aaron."

"Aaron it is then."

"Andy," he nodded. "This is my son, Jack."

"Hi Jack, I'm Andy, Emily's father," he greeted. From the moment he'd adopted her they'd considered each other father and daughter.

"Hi," he answered shyly.

"How old are you?"

"I just turned six last month."

"That's a big age." Jack beamed and nodded. What a cute kid! He later felt sorry for him that he had lost his mother in such a way but was glad Emily was there. She was great with kids.

Aaron and Emily had meanwhile picked up their daughters. They were sitting on their hips smiling at their guests. Andrew smiled at them. There was no denying they were Emily's even if one had Aaron's eyes. They were delighted for Emily.

"Dad, these are my daughters, Alexia," she said nodding to the little girl with her father's eyes in his arms, "and Eliza," she answered kissing the one in her arms' hair.

"Hello Alexia," he said chucking her chin while she giggled.

"Hi," she smiled at him.

"I'm your grandpa." She smiled back at him and he moved to her twin. "Hello Eliza."

"Hi,"she answered shyly.

"I'm your grandpa." She smiled shyly at him then hid her head in her mother's arm. Emily stroked her hair. Ellie was definitely the shyer twin.

Aaron, Jack and the twins were then introduced to Julie. She was a sweet brunette woman who clearly cared for her children and husband. While her husband was a government translator she was an interpreter. In between them they could speak eight languages fluently. It was clear she and Emily were close friends though she was only ten years older.

Next they were introduced to Katie. She was a sweet, compassionate but shy fifteen years old with long, dark hair and brown eyes. She was clearly a devoted daughter and sister. Like Emily she wasn't biologically Andrew's and had been adopted by him when he married Julie. She looked up to Emily and loved her like a sister. She was studying several GCSEs including three languages.

Finally they were introduced to Michael. He was a sweet, happy eight year old boy who looked like his sister but had Andy's blue eyes. He obviously loved his family very dearly. He was Andy's only biological child though he loved Emily and Katie like they were. He obviously looked up to both his sisters and idolised them. He was a clever kid and could almost give Spencer a run for his money. He already spoke three languages and was ahead of everyone in his class. He still acted like a boy of his age though. Jack was fascinated by him.

They played most of the day all five of them while Emily caught up with Julie and Andrew with Aaron. Things got a bit quiet after Aaron explained what had happened to Jack's mother while Emily held his hand to support him. He silently thanked her for her comfort and Julie and Andy condoled with him. He thanked them and hoped they wouldn't treat Jack any differently. He had a mother in his life, thank you very much!

Jack really enjoyed interacting with Michael and vice versa. They got along really well and Jack enjoyed what the slightly older boy could teach him and was excited now he would be sharing his room with him. As they only had one guest room Katie would have it while Julie and Andy would take Aaron and Emily's room and Michael would be sharing with Jack. Aaron and Emily themselves would take the couch.

Katie meanwhile was playing with the twins. She thought they were incredibly sweet and they were enjoying her company. Emily thought looking at her she'd make a great mother but she wouldn't let what had happened to her happen to Katie. She would protect her extended family.

"Emily," Katie said later on.

"Yes Katie," she answered looking over only to see the bemused teenager with sleeping babies in her lap. She smiled at her sleeping angels.

"I think it's time for the twins to go to bed."

She nodded and their parents went over to them. Emily picked up Alexia who rested her head on her mum's shoulder while Aaron took Eliza into his arms and she did the same on her father's shoulder. Julie and Andy smiled as Jack joined them carrying their daughters upstairs to the nursery. Andy followed soon after as he wanted to see the family dynamic. He watched as they each kissed the twins foreheads then laid them in their cots and brought up their blankets. He saw them all wish them sweet dreams.

He hid in the next room as they came out and Emily smiled in that direction but went down with her boys. She joined her stepmother, sister and brother in the living room.

"How about we finish Nightmare before Christmas?" Emily asked.

Jack nodded enthusiastically while Michael shrugged. Katie laughed at the little boy's enthusiasm and smiled while Julie said, "Sure." They found themselves really warming up to the little boy. He was such a sweet kid with a love of life seemingly unaffected by his mother's death.

They put the DVD in and Jack cuddled up to Emily while watching. Aaron settled in beside his son holding Emily's hand.

Andrew was still up in the nursery. He looked down at the little girls and couldn't believe he was a grandfather. They were so incredibly beautiful. He stroked their heads and said, "I love you." They smiled in their sleep and he went down to join the family.

He found them watching some Tim Burton film. Emily was on the sofa with Aaron and his sweet little boy cuddled up to her. She had her hand protectively on his head while her lover had his arm around them both and holding Emily's hand. Julie was sat in an armchair with Michael sat in front of her and Katie on the arm. He decided to sit on the arm of the sofa near Emily.

She smiled up at him and he smiled back. "You have a wonderful family, Emily," he smiled.

"Thanks dad, "she answered.

"This little boy's lucky to have you," he smiled down at Jack.

"Thanks. I'm lucky to have him," she answered playing with his hair. Jack smiled up at her and she kissed his forehead.

"You're a wonderful mother."

"I agree," Julie and Aaron added.

"Thank you," she smiled.

"Andy?" Jack asked.

"Yes kiddo," he smiled at her.

"If my sisters can call you grandpa can I do so too? Emily's my mummy too."

He smiled and answered, "Sure. I'd like that." Jack smiled back up at him.

Soon enough it was the day of the party. Sean, Alexia and Eliza was there along with the team, Jessica and Emily's family. She was thrilled Sean had made it from New York and Eliza from London. This was the first time Alexia and Eliza would be meeting the little girls named after them.

"They're delightful, Emily," they said when they got the chance.

"Thanks," she smiled.

They were currently standing holding onto the sofa. They'd recently begun standing and soon enough they would try walking. Each new development brought a smile to her and Aaron's faces. They along with Jack were the lights of their life.

"They're beautiful."

"Just like their mother," Aaron answered coming up from behind.

Emily blushed and he kissed her cheek. He really couldn't imagine his life without this woman now he had her and had for the last two years. He'd even started considering proposing. He would love to lead Emily down the aisle one day. He wrapped his arms around her while they watched everyone enjoying the party.

Spencer was giving out statistics as usual enthralling Michael and Jack. Emily smiled at them. She was glad her friend got along so well with her son and brother. Spencer felt like a younger brother to her while she looked up to her and Aaron almost like they were parents even though they were far too young.

"Can we adopt him?" she asked nodding towards Spencer.

"He's a little too old to be adopted," he laughed,

She smiled up at him. "It's great to see Michael and Jack get on so well."

"It is," he smiled back. "I just hope we can sort something out before they leave. I wouldn't want to see their friendship break up."

"Neither do I. I'll speak to dad before they leave. They need each other."

He nodded. She knew Michael didn't make friends very easy just like Jack. Sometimes his intelligence stood in the way. They were good for each other. The only problem was an ocean in the way of their homes and time zones Jack wouldn't understand.

Katie also was getting close to her family. Emily watched her help Alexia stand while her father helped Eliza stand. She smiled as her family mingled. Julie was sitting with JJ entertaining Henry and asking her questions about the baby she was expecting. Morgan and Garcia were by the drinks table talking with Rossi and Will.

Andrew suddenly ran over to Jack and picked him up tickling him when conversation had lapsed between Reid and the boys. He laughed and kicked his legs in the air.

"Grandpa, grandpa, please stop," he said. Andrew put Jack down and he smiled, "I love you."

"I love you too, little one," he smiled. It had only been a few days but he'd grown to love his grandchildren dearly. He would do anything for them.

"Time for cake," Emily said bringing out the twin's birthday cake. They all smiled up at her. The cake was shaped like a bunny. They both loved rabbits. It was a white rabbit with A and E in the ears. There was one candle for the both of them. As they got older they would get a cake each.

Andrew and Aaron brought the girls to their cake and sat them in front of it. Aaron and Emily stood over their daughters after Andrew stepped back while they sang happy birthday. When everyone had finished the song they helped their twins blow out the candles. They giggled when the flame went out while everyone smiled at the youngest BAU family members.

A few days later her family returned to London. They organised that Michael and Jack would keep in touch over Skype. They would also all keep in touch and hoped to see each other much sooner than three years time.

Chapter Text

Middle Man

In three weeks time they were off on another case. They were off to Johnson County, Indiana. Three exotic dancers had been found dead in corn fields there. They had been abducted after work on a Friday and killed on a Sunday. When they found Meredith Joy she had DNA of two people under her nails meaning at least two killers. When they went to the site Morgan and Rossi determined that there were probably three killers; two submissives and one leader. They each held a rank within the group. They later found the lowest ranking member killed by a combine harvester.

They had taken another victim though, Stephanie Wilson. They had less than two days to find her before they found her dead body. They soon found out the second in command was actually the Sheriff's son.

When Hotch confronted him he asked, "Have you got a son, Agent Hotchner?"

"Yes," he answered.

"Wouldn't you do anything to protect him?"

"Yes, I would but I wouldn't cover up for him and I would never lay a hand on him."

"I was trying to make a man out of him."

"Making a man out of your son is not about hitting him. It's about showing him an example. You turned him into a killer," he answered walking out. He shook his head trying to shake off his childhood memories of his own father.

They meanwhile found out the true relationship of the two of the killers. They ended up saving Stephanie and confronting the two of them. After finding out the leader had done it before the Sheriff's son put a gun to his head. The Sheriff shot his son in the arm to prevent him.

Hotch went to speak with the Sheriff at the end of the case. He looked defeated as his son was in custody.

"We're on our way out," he said.

He nodded and answered, "What do I do?"

"He can go to jail but you have to be there for him. It's not your fault he was easily influenced by him. Just be there for him and he'll be fine."

He nodded, stood up offering his hand and replied, "Thank you."

"Was just doing my job," he answered shaking his hand. He then went to join his team and put his arm around Emily's shoulder. "Come on, let's go home."

She nodded and answered, "Let's."

A few days later they saw their daughters were trying to walk but fell down every few steps onto their bums. They just kept trying again. They were pleased with their determination. They still went over to help them walk while Jack looked on amazed. He couldn't remember what it was like when he first walked. Did this mean that they would be soon running around and playing with him?

They started receiving Christmas cards a week later. Emily sat down one night and wrote their cards with Jack's help. This was the first Christmas the twins might remember so they wanted to make it special. Last time they were only two months. Jack had still insisted they get presents from Santa last year. He helped open them for them. This time they would be helping them open them for themselves.

The next day they went out to get their tree. Jack wanted his sisters to help him and their parents find their tree. Last year they were too young to do so. He wanted to find the perfect tree for their Christmas. This Christmas had to be the best.

Aaron and Emily got them into the car then headed out to a Christmas tree farm. When they got there they got out and went to the passenger doors. They let their daughters out of their car seats and Jack jumped out.

"Ready to find a tree, buddy?" they asked while the twins sat on their hips.

He nodded enthusiastically then asked; "Are you ready, Allie and Ellie?" they nodded and smiled. "They're going to help this time as they're not so little anymore." Their parents smiled at him and Emily ruffled his hair.

"Yes, they are, yes they are."

They walked around the trees while Jack held his dad's hand. They bumped into Morgan and Garcia on their way round.

"Auntie Penelope, Uncle Derek," Jack exclaimed running up to them.

They hugged him and answered, "Hey Jack Jack. You finding your tree too?" he nodded enthusiastically.

"Yer and my sisters are helping. They're big enough to now."

"They sure are."

They greeted the twins ruffling their hair then their two friends. They went tree hunting all together. Jack soon found a big tree and one almost the same size next to it. He clearly loved the big tree and couldn't take his eyes off it.

"Is that our tree?" Emily asked the little boy.

He nodded and then asked, "What do you think, Allie and Ellie?" they smiled and nodded.

"Tree," they answered clapping. They all smiled at them and their parents kissed their hair.

"Alright buddy, princess and sunshine, this is our tree," Aaron said smiling at all his children. Emily loved how he differentiated between their girls. They were both their princesses and their rays of sunshine.

Penelope turned to him and said, "I'll take Lexi for you."

"Thanks," he answered handing her over. Aaron and Derek then picked up the tree after Aaron had paid for it. They then carried it to their car and strapped it onto the roof.

They then went and got the tree next to it for Derek and Penelope's apartment. Emily and Penelope had meanwhile taken the children to the camp fire where they drinking cocoa. They were carefully sharing their cocoa with the twins.

When they'd strapped the second tree on Derek's car roof they went and joined their women and the kids. Jack handed them both a cocoa and they thanked the little boy.

"Thanks guys," they answered as they sat beside their girlfriends. They kissed their cheeks and settled in.

Derek had to admit he loved the image of his baby girl with their boss' daughter on her lap. He would love for it to be their own child one day. Derek stroked his hand over Alexia's hair and she smiled up at him.

"He sweet girl," he smiled back. Aaron and Emily smiled at the way their friends interacted with their little girl. They hoped a child was in their future. They would be great parents and deserved a child of their own. Emily meanwhile laid her head on Aaron's shoulder and he kissed her hair then stroked his hand over Eliza's dark brown hair.

"Dada," she smiled looking up at him.

"Hey sunshine," he smiled down at her.

She held his hand. Emily kissed his cheek. Sometimes she felt like she was in a dream world and wondered when it would all end. She was sometimes scared to close her eyes and wake up to find this was all a dream. She didn't deserve the man beside her, his son that she loved as her own or their two daughters she'd dreamt of since she was fifteen. He felt the same and feared for the day she would leave him.

He'd only ever had one relationship before and that had ended with Haley walking out on him. What if it happened again with Emily? He was damaged goods. Would she be able to keep up with him forever? He certainly didn't want her to leave. He wanted to marry her. He was even considering looking for the ring in the New-year.

That evening they were decorating the tree. Jack was helping his parents decorate and wanted his sisters to join in. They picked them up and handed them a bauble each. They helped them put the bauble on the tree and Jack smiled. His sisters were partaking in Christmas.

Chapter Text

Reflections of Desire

Some weeks later they were off on another case. This time they were staying in Washington. That meant they could go home each night and help prepare for Christmas. This Hotch and Emily were thankful for.

When they went into the office the first morning of the case Hotch saw a pamphlet for a play Garcia was in.

"Is that you?" he asked.

She quickly hid it and answered, "Please don't tell anyone." She'd only wanted Derek to know. He'd been worried about the content of the play when she first told him.

They were briefed on the case then got working on it. When they found out another victim, had been taken they went to the train station to work out how he took her. This UnSub had left the last body with her lips cut off and text left at the scene of the crime from some old movie.

"So how did he get her without attracting anyone else's attention?" Reid asked gawping at all the pretty ladies that went past.

"Well, not by gawping at all the attractive women that walked by," Hotch answered then added, "like you're doing."

Reid looked stunned and answered, "What?" while Emily tried to keep herself from laughing. Hotch raised an eyebrow at her and she tried even harder. Man she loved him!

"And just like that an IQ of 187 is brought down to 67," she quipped raising an eyebrow at her boss. He smiled back at her. He loved that they shared the same dry wit.

When it came time for the press conference they used Garcia. They'd determined the UnSub was going after blondes. She also had acting experiences. Emily had the wig he'd bought for Garcia to wear since she was now a redhead.

Hotch tried to calm down Garcia's nerves and accidentally slipped out, "What about your theatre thing?" she came up behind her.

"Being onstage is not the same as doing a press conference," she answered.

"What theatre thing?" Emily asked confused. Was Garcia involved in some sort of amateur dramatics that her boyfriend had neglected to tell her about? Well, it wasn't really any of her business what Garcia did in her own time, was it?

"You suck," Garcia spat looking at her boss. She realised she was talking to her boss but she was angry he broke a confidence between them.

He felt guilty but he didn't know they'd show up when he did. "I'm sorry," he answered.

She just glared and went to prepare for the press conference after Emily gave her the wig. Morgan and Garcia stood by her side during the whole conference. There was nowhere else he wanted to be but protecting his baby girl. No-one would ever hurt her again while he was around.

Hotch ended up shooting the killer, Rhett, and saving Penny but he got away. They managed to catch him at his house. Emily's eyes widened as he brought out his mother's skeleton wrapped in a fur coat.

As he was arrested she walked off with her boyfriend. He wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled her into him.

"How do you feel about going to the theatre tomorrow?" he asked.

"To see Penelope's played," she answered smiling up at him. He nodded and she added, "I would love to." He smiled down and kissed her.

The next night they prepared to go to Penelope's play. They knew that Derek would be there as well. He'd been there every night to support his girlfriend.

She changed into a black blouse with the top button undone and a pair of skinny jeans. He'd changed into a blue shirt and a pair of jeans. They hated being in suits outside of work. They also put on their matching fleece jackets that Penelope had bought them last Christmas. They slipped on their sneakers and headed to the children.

Jessica would be staying the night to care for them. They kissed them goodnight then headed out to the theatre. They met Derek in the foyer.

"Show starts in ten minutes," he said.

"Let's go to our seats then," Emily answered while Aaron nodded. They all headed to the front row. They wanted Penelope to see they supported her.

Derek sat on the end while Emily and Aaron sat beside him. Aaron was sandwiched between the two of them. Emily had laid her head on his shoulder and they held hands in his lap. She loved being able to snuggle up to him in public since the FBI had granted them their blessing. She wanted the world to know she loved Aaron Hotchner. He wanted the world to know he was hers and she was his.

They watched the play in this position. Penelope was fantastic. Acting was a talent she'd well-hidden from them. She'd managed to blur the line between reality and illusion. She'd totally taken over the character. They were all proud of her.

After the show they went to meet her. Derek greeted her with a kiss and put his hands on her hips.

"Hey sexy mama. You were fantastic tonight," he smiled.

"Thanks hot stuff," she smiled up at him wrapping her arms around his neck. He bent down and kissed her on the lips and she returned it. Aaron and Emily smiled on at their friends then Emily cleared her throat. They looked at the embarrassed while they chuckled. They'd completely forgotten everyone else. They'd been caught up in their own little world for those brief few moments.

"It's not like we don't know you guys kiss," Emily said raising her eyebrow and then gave a quick kiss to Aaron's chin. "See I kiss my boyfriend too," she smiled. Everyone fell about laughing and Aaron kissed her nose. She smiled back up at him. Damn they were cute!

"You were great, Penelope," Aaron said.

"Thanks, boss man," she smiled up at him.

"I agree," Emily added.

"Thanks, my raven haired beauty."

A week later they received a call from Will asking them to look after Henry as JJ was about to have their second child. They agreed and scooted over with their three children. They also alerted the rest of the team that the new baby was making its entrance. They all rushed to the hospital to welcome her.

Emily and Aaron bundled their children into their car and rushed over to JJ and Will's. They picked up Henry then headed to the hospital.

"Uncle Aaron, Auntie Emily," Henry asked concerned.

"Yes Henry," they answered.

"Is mummy going to be ok?"

"Yes sweetie, she'll be fine. She's just having the baby."

"So my sister is finally arriving?"

"Yes sweetheart."

He smiled at them. They soon arrived at the hospital and found everyone was already there. They greeted them and the excited little boy. He was going to meet his sister soon. Everyone had told them all about her now he was going to finally meet her. He'd waited a really long time. He hoped he would be a great big brother like Jack was. He loved spending time with the twins.

The team attempted to keep all the children especially Henry entertained while JJ's daughter was born. They knew he was going to be great with her as he was with the twins. They were also excited about meeting her. She may not be part of their team anymore but she was part of their family.

The nurse soon came to them.

"Are you here for Jennifer Jareau and William Le Montagne Jnr?" she asked.

"Yes," they answered.

"Mother and daughter are fine and healthy."

"May we see them?" Emily asked resting a hand on Henry's long, blonde hair who was bouncing up and down.

The nurse smiled at the little boy and answered, "Sure."

Henry tried to run ahead but they managed to walk in all together. JJ and Will looked up and smiled when they entered. The new mother was proudly holding her daughter. They smiled when they saw her.

"Everyone we would like you to meet Sophie Louise Le Montagne," JJ smiled.

They all smiled and she was handed round the family. When she came close to Henry he kissed her forehead.

"Hi Sophie, I'm your big brother, Henry. I'm going to help look after you and protect you. I love you," he smiled. She smiled up at him. They all smiled at him. He was a really sweet boy. "She's beautiful." He smiled up at his parents.

"She is," they all agreed. "Congratulations."

"Thanks. Aaron and Emily?" they said turning to them.

"Yes," they answered.

"We would like you to be Sophie's godparents," JJ said nervously. "We're all godparents apart for you too."

"As long as that's not the reason," Emily and Aaron joked.

"Of course not. You're great parents so we know you'll be great with Sophie."

"Thank you."

Aaron was handed Sophie and he looked down at her. He gazed down at her and fell in love with her. She had the most beautiful dark blue eyes like JJ and blonde hairs. She smiled sweetly up at him and his heart melted. Emily's did the same.

"Hey Sophie," they smiled down at her. "We're going to take real good care of you."

Only a week later it was Christmas. Aaron and Emily were sleeping in their bed when Jack ran in. Christmas always excited him as it did young children.

"Mummy, daddy, Santa came, Santa came," he shouted jumping onto their bed. They opened their eyes groggily and smiled at the young boy when the mist cleared. Suddenly they heard their daughters crying for them from the nursery.

They got out of their bed and headed for them only to be beaten by Jack who had sprinted to the nursery at the end of the first cry. They found him talking to them and trying to soothe their tears.

"Hey, you can't cry today. It's Christmas!" Jack said excitedly with his eyes full of the wonder of Christmas.

Meanwhile their parents went over to their cots.

"Hey, hey, hey, Ssh, what's the matter?" they asked simultaneously lifting them from their cots. Their sobs decreased as they rubbed their backs gently. "Let's go see what Santa got you all for Christmas." The twins rested their heads on their shoulder.

They carried them down to their stockings and the little girls eyes widened in amazement as they saw their stockings.

"See Santa came for you too," Jack smiled at them. They smiled at him and they all sat on the floor. Alexia was on her father's lap while Eliza was on her mother's. They helped them undo all their stocking presents while they smiled and giggled. Jack showed them all his stocking fillers too. Aaron and Emily smiled at each other. This was all they really wanted for Christmas. To be at home with their children and for them to be enjoying themselves.

"Where are your stockings, mummy and daddy? You're the good guys. Santa should have come see you," Jack said innocently. He looked behind the chair and went, "Oh, here's daddy's. That's weird. Where's mummy's?" Aaron quirked an eyebrow at him accepting his stocking. Jack went to look for it while Aaron went through his stocking.

Emily saw that Jack was about to go behind the tree. "Jack, be careful," she said.

"I found your stocking, mummy," he answered showing it. Emily looked at Aaron who tried to keep back a smile. She raised an eyebrow and he chuckled. Jack pouted and gave her stocking to him and she gave him a hug. He kissed her cheek back.

She dealt with her stocking carefully while her daughter was still on her lap. Ellie clapped as Emily went through her stocking.

After they'd dealt with their stockings they made Christmas tree shaped pancakes. The children were captivated by them. They couldn't believe you could make pancakes that shape. After breakfast they went to Dave's cabin. The whole team including JJ would be spending Christmas together as they always did. Everyone couldn't wait to see Sophie again. She was only a week old though.

When they got there Jack ran up to his Uncle Dave and hugged him while Emily and Aaron followed him holding his sisters.

"Merry Christmas, Uncle Dave," he smiled.

"Merry Christmas, buddy," he answered. He smiled back at him. Dave greeted the girls and Merry Christmas to you two He then smiled up to his best friend and thewoman he loved like a daughter after the twins smiled back. "Merry Christmas, Aaron and Emily."

"Merry Christmas, Dave," they smiled back. They went into the living room which was lit up like a Christmas tree. The actual Christmas tree was in the corner with presents around it. All the presents from the team. They'd all brought them over earlier that week especially Aaron and Will.

Morgan and Garcia soon arrived then Reid, JJ and Will soon arrived with their two children. JJ was holding her newborn daughter while Will had his hand on their young son. They all gushed round to see the newest addition of the family. She smiled up at them all again especially at her godparents.

"Merry Christmas, everyone," Henry smiled.

"Merry Christmas, Henry," they smiled back.

"Mummy, daddy, can I join Jack?"

"Sure," they smiled. He ran to his friend and cousin and they hugged each other.

They sat JJ and Sophie down while some of them helped with the Christmas dinner and others were entertaining the children. JJ allowed her daughter to be passed around.

They were soon all sat around Dave's dining table. Sophie was sleeping in her baby carrier on the sofa. The twins were sat in high chairs next to their parents. Jack was sat next to his favourite Uncle Dave. They helped serve out the dinner. They filled out their glasses with wine while the boys and girls got apple juices.

They all raised their glasses at the same time and said, "We may not all work together anymore but we will always be a family. Christmas is a time for family. As well as catching many UnSubs this year we have also had things to celebrate. A new relationship," he said nodding to Derek and Penelope. "A first birthday," headed nodding to the twins. They all smiled at the twins and their parents kissed them. "And finally the safe and healthy delivery of the newest member of our family, Sophie Louise LeMontagne." They all smiled over at Sophie then back at her mother. "To family."

"To family, "they answered toasting.

"Merry Christmas everyone."

"Merry Christmas."

They clinked their glasses and even Henry and Jack joined in smiling. They felt like grown-ups at that moment. These people were their superheroes. They wanted to be just like them.

After dinner they asked for presents.

"Soon," they chuckled. They just ran to the Christmas tree. Unfortunately their excitement woke Sophie and she started crying.

JJ ran to her daughter and picked her up. She rocked her gently in her arms sshing her. She soon fell back asleep and she sat down holding her. She ran her thumb over her daughter's head while she slept. Boy, she was so beautiful!

"Sorry mummy," Henry said quietly.

"Sorry Auntie JJ," Jack added.

"It's fine. I know you boys are excited it's Christmas but Sophie is still very tiny so you can't be too loud around her."

They nodded and the rest of the team came over.

"Present time," Dave said rubbing his hands together. The boys beamed up at him.

They went over to the presents and started to hand them out. Naturally the five children had the biggest piles. In the last week everyone had done a panic rush to get a present for Sophie even though JJ had asked them not to as she's only week old and couldn't really enjoy anything they got her until she was older.

They let the older children go in age order. The twins didn't mind Henry and Jack going first as they still didn't understand Christmas completely. The boys ripped into their presents excitedly and thanked every one of their aunts and uncles for their presents. They then went off to play with their toys with their parents' permission.

It was now the twins' turn and their parents had them on their laps again while they sat on the floor. They helped them tear off the wrapping paper while they giggled and everyone smiled. They each hugged their presents to them one at a time and Aaron and Emily thanked their family for each of their daughter's presents.

Soon the whole team had gone through their presents and it was Sophie's turn with JJ. She decided to share the present unwrapping duties with her boyfriend while Emily held onto the little girl.

"Look, all these are for you, Soph," she smiled. Sophie smiled back up at her godmother. Emily kissed her forehead. She had always loved children and was so happy she now had three of her own. Never in a million years would she have imagined they would be with her boss.

Chapter Text

Into the Woods

Two weeks later the team were off to Harwood State Park in Pennsylvania to solve the case of a murdered boy being discovered buried in the park. The main suspect was the boy's father, Joseph. Hotch interviewed him while his team set about finding the murderer. They were soon on the case of trying to find a brother or sister who was taken on a similar camping trip. He sent out his team while he stayed at the ranger's station.

Emily and Hotch sympathised with the parents as they knew they would feel the same way if their children had been taken. Sometimes it helped them with the parents that they were parents themselves but they still saw Jack's face on any of the boy victims and Alexia's and Eliza's faces on the little girls. They still managed to keep up with skyping the kids while they were away, Jessica had taken over the system when Emily had returned to work.

Emily soon found Anna but her brother, Robert, was still missing. She was pleased to reunite her with her family and they thanked her while she assured them they would find Robert. Eventually they did while taking down a paedophile. Unfortunately the murderer got away but they'd catch him someday.

At home they started discussing day-care for their twins. It wasn't fair to rely on Jessica to look after their children during the day when she had a job of her own. Also it would help their girls socialise more with other children and gain friends of their own. They discussed it with JJ and were put in touch with Henry's day-care. They were soon told the twins had got a place starting the next month.

Chapter Text

What Happens At Home...

They were soon off on another case. This time they were heading to Las Cruces, New Mexico. They were heading off to a closed community called Oak Tree Hills. Before they headed out Hotch and Rossi met with an FBI cadet, Agent Ashley Seaver, as they needed her consultation on this UnSub being the daughter of a serial killer they had caught years ago. They needed inside information to help catch this killer. She told them it would be easier to consult them if she was actually there with them. Hotch made her understand she was only being taken out as a consultant and in no way was she to take action without the approval of someone on the team.

She was introduced to the team and she admitted her name had been changed to protect her from the stigma of her father's actions. They caught the jet and Hotch soon drove them into the gated community.

Ashley near the end of the case was cornered by the UnSub who turned out to be the husband of one of the victims. She'd gone off to apologise to him as she had felt guilty that she'd never got the chance to do so to one of her father's victims. Hotch ended up shooting him dead as he advanced towards her.

Rossi got her into the car and they headed home. On the jet they confronted her over her actions.

"I told you not to take any action without the approval of the team," Hotch said firmly.

"I know, sir," she answered looking down.

"Why did you do it, Ashley? You're smarter than that," Rossi said gently.

"As I grew up I felt guilty that I never got the chance to apologise to the families of my father's victims. I thought just maybe if I apologised to one of the families..."

"That's not good enough," Hotch answered. "You won't do it again, you hear."

"Yes sir, I won't do it again."

He nodded and left to sit next to Emily. He sunk into the seat and she cuddled into him while he held her hand. Ashley was shocked by such an action. She'd never be comfortable with Hotch or act that way with a boss. It was clear to her though that they loved each other. They actually made a cute couple she thought as they closed their eyes.

"Are Agent Hotchner and Agent Prentiss a couple?"she asked Morgan.

"Yes, have been for three years. You wouldn't imagine that they've been together so long and have children the way they act," he smiled.

"They've got children? What about the Bureau?"

"Yes, they've got a six year old son and fifteen month old daughters."When her eyes widened at the mention of a son he smiled."Jack's actually Hotch's Emily's sort of adopted him. The Bureau gave their blessing while she was pregnant as long as the relationship doesn't affect the work."

"I never imagined he could be so gentle, loving and caring. He's so severe and serious."

"Ah, that was Hotch you were seeing. Now you're seeing Aaron. Isn't that right, Aaron?"

"Whatever you say, Derek," he muttered.

"They look so cute together," Ashley added.

"Thanks Seaver. Just don't say that to Hotch," Aaron smiled causing them to giggle. "He doesn't want to be known as cute at work."

"Yes sir," she smiled.

"Oh I don't know. I find you get me rather hot under the collar while working on profiles and talking down UnSubs," Emily smiled curling further into him.

"Oh god, how am I going to carry on my job when I know my subordinate wants to jump me at any moment," he joked.

"As you've always done, Aaron, as you've always done," she answered patting his chest. She snuggled further into him and he kissed her hair.

"Love's middle-aged dream," Derek teased then felt Emily kick his leg. "Hey."

"Sorry, foot slipped," she smiled.

"Yer right."

"Called Penelope yet and told her we're on our way home."

He brought out his cell phone and speed dialled his baby doll. "Hey baby girl...we're on our way home. Want to pick me up at the airstrip?...i love you too, baby...can't wait to get my hands on some of that arse...bye gorgeous."

Ashley smiled at the thought of meeting Derek's girlfriend. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw their technical analyst run up to him and them share a lingering kiss. This team were full of surprises and she couldn't help but like it. They certainly were a family. She hoped they would allow her to complete her remedial training with them. She found she really liked them. Hotch had shown her on the jet he wasn't really as scary as he seemed. Emily already felt like a mother to her.

The next day Emily and Aaron would be coming in late as it was their daughters' first day at childcare. They both wanted to take them on the first day. They dropped Jack off at school then set out to the day-care centre. They met Will there dropping off Henry.

"Hey, is it your first day, little ones?" he smiled in his New Orleans drawl.

"It sure is," Emily smiled nervously. The girls nodded while Eliza turned her head into her father's chest. Alexia was meanwhile wearing a huge smile on her face. Eliza was scared to be coming here while her sister just couldn't wait to make new friends. Ellie wanted to go back to Auntie Jessica or stay with mummy and daddy.

Emily and Aaron were nervous about leaving their daughters with strangers but if JJ and Will trusted them they knew it would be ok. Leaving the twins with Jessica was one thing but leaving them here was another.

Will noticed the looks on their faces and assured them, "They'll be fine. We were the same when Henry started but he loves it here. He's made quite a few friends."

They smiled slightly at him. Henry ran back out to them. "Uncle Aaron, Auntie Emily?" he said.

"Hey Henry," they smiled.

"I'll look after the twins for you."

"Thanks, kiddo. We knew you would."

He beamed up at them and the nursery leaders came over.

"Mr and Mrs Hotchner," they asked while Will smiled. They'd made the same mistake when JJ and Will first brought Henry here.

"Yes," they answered.

"We're Alaine and Jane, the nursery leaders here." They nodded. They then smiled at the girls. "Are these your daughters?"

"Yes, Alexia and Eliza Hotchner," they answered handing over their daughters. Eliza clung onto her father's neck and he felt guilty as he unwrapped her hands from his neck and watched them take her in. Emily slipped her hand into his feeling just as guilty.

"She'll be fine," Will assured them. They nodded and headed to the BAU.

He found a request on his desk for Seaver to finish her remedial training at the BAU. He would allow her to do so and atone for her mistake but she had to be assigned to one of his agents. There was only one agent he trusted with her that he knew she'd already made a connection with. His Emily. He'd discuss it with her when they left to pick up the twins.

Emily looked up to see Hotch coming down the stairs and picked up her things. It was time to pick up the children. They left and got into his car. He drove them over to day-care to pick up their daughters.

When they came Alaine and Jane smiled up at them. Alexia was playing with other girls her age and Eliza was playing with toy bricks. They smiled at them until they turned around. As soon as their dark eyes saw their parents they shouted, "Mama, dada," and held their arms out. They walked over to them and picked them up into their arms. They rested their heads on their shoulders.

"Did you have fun?"They asked. They nodded and were kissed on their heads."Let's go pick up your brother."

They headed out to the car. They buckled the twins into the car seats then got in themselves. They then drove over to Jack's school and picked him up.

When he got in he asked, "Did you enjoy day-care?"

"Yes," Alexia exclaimed while Eliza just nodded. She was always quiet.

"How was school?" Emily asked.

"Great," he exclaimed. "We did art."

"That's great, buddy."

He smiled at them.

When they got home Aaron turned to her. "Em," he said.

"Yes Aaron," she answered.

"Ashley Seaver wants to do her remedial training with the BAU..." she smiled.

"That's great. Are you going to let her?"

"Yes." She smiled. "I want her to be your responsibility. I'm assigning her to you. She's a young agent intent on proving herself. I know you'll understand her. You already have a connection."

I'll do it. Thanks for trusting me."

He chuckled. "I trust you with everything, Em, you know that."

"I know," she kissed his cheek. He played with her hair.

ALEXIA AND Eliza began to really enjoy day-care. Jack meanwhile started having problems. He was having nightmares again and pushing Emily away. He was worried he'd replaced Haley. He was scared he was forgetting her. Aaron took time off for Jack but encouraged Emily not to.

Chapter Text

25 To Life

He was still on leave when the next case came up. They were asked to do a risk assessment on Don Sanderson. He'd served a minimum of twenty-five years of life sentence for killing his wife and daughter. He'd always claimed he was innocent. Two men and a woman had committed it in front of him. Rossi sent Morgan to do it. He spoke up for him and he was let free.

Soon after he killed a man in supposed self-defence. They found out one of the men was running for Senate and the other victims. They provoked him into confessing. He was arrested and Emily went home to her family.

She shut the door and sunk into the sofa. She turned to Aaron who looked bemused.

"Did I ever tell you I hate politics?" she said.

"You might have told me once or twice," he chuckled. "What happened today?" he asked playing with her hair. He could see she was about to pace.

"Some guy running for the Senate used his politics to hide he killed Don Sanderson's wife and daughter twenty-five years ago. He's been serving time in prison missing out on seeing his son grow up because of this jerk."

"I'm sure you guys have given him a happy ending."

"We reunited him with his son and Morgan got him out of jail."

"Did Strauss give you any trouble?"

"Well you know Strauss..." he rolled his eyes but saw the twinkle in her eye. "And you know Dave." He laughed and buried his nose in her hair.

"I sure do," he answered.

"How were the children?"

"Fine. Jack seems to be getting better."

"That's great," she smiled at him. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

Chapter Text

Corazon

He was soon back to work which the team were thankful for. They understood Jack had needed him but the team didn't work well without him. Some weeks later they were off to Miami. Three people had been murdered in what looked like some kind of Afro-Caribbean religious ritual. Emily noticed that Reid was having problems.

"Hey, you ok?" she asked.

"I've been getting these headaches," he answered sitting on the desk. "They'll last for days."

She was worried about him and she knew there was more. "Have you seen a doctor?"She asked.

He nodded. "I'm waiting upon the results. I saw him before we came out here. But Emily I'm also having hallucinations. This is the time you start getting schizophrenia."

"Spencer, we don't know for sure. It might be a worry over nothing," she assured.

"I hope so," he sighed unconvinced.

Later on they were at the house of a possible suspect when Reid left to be alone. He'd been gone for a while so they went looking for him. They found his vest in one of the bedrooms and they discovered the place of the next murder. They headed over there to find him talking down the killer. They could see he was clearly having problems with his head.

After they took down the UnSub Hotch asked, "Are you alright?"

"Yer just a slight headache," he answered.

He nodded unconvinced but let it go. He knew he'd come to him in time. If it didn't affect the job he didn't really need to know but it didn't stop him worrying about him. He was like a son to him. Emily didn't wasn't to break Spencer's confidence.

On the jet home he looked over at Emily. He knew what he wanted to get soon. This was the woman he wanted to marry. He was ready to get married again. Jack and he would take a little shopping trip. He wanted to take Jack as he wanted to be sure he was alright with him marrying Emily. There was nothing more he wanted to do. He smiled yes he was going to get an engagement ring. He would keep it a secret though until he found the perfect moment. He wanted his proposal to be romantic and catch her off-guard.

A few days later Emily wanted some time by herself. She had a headache and just needed some peace and quiet.

"Darling, are you going to be alright?" he asked.

"Yes just please take the kids out. I just need some quiet," she answered. "I'll be fine, sweetheart. I assure you."

He nodded and answered, "Alright, I'll take them to the park. I'll see you later. Take an aspirin."

"I will," she smiled. She loved how much he cared for her.

He went out with the children. He wasn't going to take them to the park. He was going to use this as the perfect excuse to get her the ring. He'd wanted the children to help him find the perfect ring. He also knew another person who could help him. He gave her a call and asked her to meet him at the jewellers.

Alexia and Eliza were now walking by themselves. He still bundled them into the car as they headed to the jewellery store.

"Daddy?" Jack asked.

"Yes buddy," he answered.

"Where we going?"

"We're going to buy Emily a ring."

"Are you going to marry her?"

"I want to."

"Yay!" he cheered while the girls giggled.

"Would you like me to marry her, Jack?"

He nodded enthusiastically. "How about you, girls?" they nodded widely. "Alright then let's go to the jewellery store." They all beamed.

Aaron drove them to the best jewellery store in Washington. He waited outside with his children. Soon enough his friend turned up.

"Auntie Penelope," Jack called while he ran up to her and the girls stood holding their dad's hands.

"Hey Jack Jack," she answered ruffling his hair.

"Hey Pen," Aaron smiled at her.

"Hey Aaron," she answered. "So you're getting Emily a ring?"

"I think it's time, don't you?"

"Yes it is," she smiled. "I'm glad you're ready to remarry."

"Emily makes me want to."

She smiled at him. She really would love to see her two friends married. No-one could imagine them splitting up. They belonged to each other. It was about time they got married. Aaron had made Emily into the marrying kind. Emily had been the one to make Aaron throw the rulebook out of the window.

"Are you ready to help daddy find the perfect ring for mummy?" she asked the children. They nodded wildly. She adored her boss' children.

"I have a request," Aaron asked.

"What?" they answered.

"Can we please keep the ring secret until I find the right moment to propose?"

"Righto boss," Penelope said while the kids nodded smiling. They couldn't wait for them to get engaged.

They went in and looked for the rings. They looked through the cabinet and Jack saw one.

"Daddy, Auntie Penelope, I found one," he exclaimed. They went over to the ring he'd found. It was beautiful. It was gold with a ruby encased in a circle of diamonds. They fell for it. It would look so beautiful on Emily's finger.

"It's perfect," Penelope said.

"I agree," Aaron smiled. He bought it for her. He'd spend as much money as he could on the perfect ring for his Emily. Nothing wasn't too good for her. The children all smiled up at him.

Chapter Text

The Thirteenth Step

Four weeks later they were off to Montana on a case. They were here to investigate a mass shooting in a gas station. A young couple were the shooters. To please each other after getting married they had shot people. Shooting people was actually giving them a high and a turn on. They ended up taking her little sister hostage and killing each other. They saved the little girl.

When they got home she let Aaron go back to the children while she went to see an old friend, Sean McAllister. They'd worked together on an Interpol mission that had affected her greatly.

"Emily," he said greeting her.

"Sean," she answered back.

They sat down in the booth. She wondered what Sean had wanted to see her about. From his behaviour she knew it was serious. Were they in danger? Had something happened with Doyle? If she was in danger what about Aaron and her children? She couldn't let anything hurt them.

"So what have you been up to?"

"Emily, I'm no there for a catch up," he said looking down then back up at her. "Doyle's vanished from prison."

"Do you think he's heading here?"

Sean didn't answer and she felt like the ground had been taken from under her. Doyle was coming after her. She was now a changed woman with things to live for and now this bastard was after her. She had to stay to protect her family. Id she ran he'd harm them to destroy her. She couldn't tell Aaron either. He would either go after him or put her under security. That would only antagonise Doyle. She needed to protect her family.

That night she climbed into her bed and held onto her boyfriend tightly. He turned over to her and saw she looked distressed.

"What is it?"He asked gently though worried. What could have affected Emily so much? She wasn't herself. What had her so worried? Was she in danger? He sure hoped not. He would do anything to protect her but it would kill him to give her up.

"Nothing," she answered shaking her head. He looked unconvinced. She knew he wasn't going to by it. "Just a nightmare," she replied. He nodded and hoped she would tell him before it was too late. Didn't she know he would help her? By god, he'd give up his life for her.

Over the week she thought about getting the children a puppy. She didn't know if this mess would end pretty and she wanted them to have a friend. Maybe it did come from guilt but she thought it would make them happy. They could afford one. The children loved animals. They could care for it. She just needed to convince Aaron.

She sat him down one night when their children were in bed.

"Aaron," she asked looking over.

"Yes Emily," he answered hoping she'd finally tell him what was going on.

"Can we get a puppy?" he certainly wasn't expecting that. A puppy! Really? Had she really thought about this? Why did she want a puppy? It was pretty sudden. He would give her anything within reason but this was a living, breathing animal.

"You want a puppy?" She nodded.

"For Jack and the girls. It will give them company when we're away. They love animals. They're great with Jessica's dog and want one of their own. We could train it to be a guard dog. We can afford one and while we're away it will be in good hands. Jessica already has a dog. Why can't we let the kids have one?"

She'd really thought about this. The arguments were very strong ones but he wanted time to consider it himself. "Can I have some time?" he asked.

"Time for what?"

"To consider this."

"Sure." He then looked towards her and into her eyes. He could see her eyes were haunted. What was haunting her? What was she not telling him? It scared him that she might be in danger.

"Em, what's going on? You've been quiet lately, not sleeping well and biting your nails again."

"Aaron, you're my friend, my lover, my soul mate. Please don't ask me." He nodded sadly. He wouldn't push her. She hated hurting him but she had to deal with this alone. She couldn't endanger him and their children. She loved him too much to hurt him. She hugged him and added, "I do love you."

"I know," he replied. "I love you, too."

"I know."

Chapter Text

Sense Memory

Three weeks later they were off on another case. They were off to Los Angeles again. A guy was drowning women in chloroform and taking pieces of skin from their feet post-mortem.

The night before they left Emily had found a window open in her living room while the children were asleep. She believed Aaron had been in the office ever since they'd put Jack to bed. It hadn't been open before they tucked them in for the night. Who'd opened the window? Was one of Doyle's men already in the house?

She picked up her gun and checked every room. She wasn't going to let anyone touch her babies. She wasn't going to let anyone hurt her family. She opened each door silently not to wake the children. She couldn't scare them. Aaron and Emily had made a promise to keep the darkness out of their lives. She couldn't let Jack go through another living nightmare. He had to keep his innocence.

She came to the office last and put down her gun. If she was just being paranoid she didn't want to worry him. She went in and saw him alone working on some consults. She breathed a sigh of relief and put the gun in their cabinet. He looked up concerned especially when he saw her putting away the gun.

"Sorry, forgot to put it away earlier," she put on a fake smile. He nodded knowing if there had been some real trouble he would have heard her gun go off. She knew she had to ask him. "Aaron, did you open the window in the living room?"

"Yes, just after putting Jack to sleep. I thought it was a little too hot in there." She closed her eyes and breathed another sigh of relief. Part of her was unreasonably angry at him for scaring her but he had no idea a terrorist was after her and he wasn't going to know. Most of her was just relieved her family weren't in danger.

What was going on? Why was she so paranoid? He wished she would just open up to him. She knew he would help her. He'd help her through anything. He just wished he knew what the hell was going on. She'd helped him through Foyet why couldn't he help her through this. That was how their relationship had damn well begun. He wouldn't push her though as that would-be disastrous. She'd just retract further from him. He wouldn't handle losing her. She was infuriating him but he still loved her. He still wanted to marry her. He knew now wasn't the best time though. He'd propose when all this trouble was over. He just hoped for her sake it was over soon. He hated to see her tormented.

Emily really didn't want to be alone right now while she was calming her breathing and slowing her heart rate to healthy standards. "Can I stay here until you turn in for the night? I just don't want to be alone right now."

He packed up his stuff. "Actually, let's turn in now. I've done everything I needed to." She smiled slightly knowing he was finishing for her. She just wanted to remind herself she had someone. Someone here to love her. Someone to look after her. She was scared he might lose her at the end of this for not letting him know how seriously in danger she was. She could understand his frustration at her but she was protecting him. She just hoped he would see it that way in the end.

They headed off to bed and changed. Once they changed they went under the sheets. She couldn't sleep that night scared someone would break in. She was in his arms but still couldn't get to sleep. She was scared if she did someone would break in and hurt her family. She spent the night watching him sleep. He looked so handsome and peaceful.

"Aaron, I'm so sorry," she whispered when she was sure he was asleep. "I hope you'll forgive me when this is all over. I really don't want to hurt you but I have to protect you. I know I'm putting you through a lot and I just hope you'll understand."

She kissed his forehead and he murmured in his sleep. Watching him she knew she had to protect him. He might be the head of the BAU and the rest of the team but he still needed protecting; he was only a human. He was her love.

The next morning they went into work and she was bleary-eyed.

"Long night?" Morgan asked.

"You wouldn't know," she answered sinking into her seat grumpily. She just wanted her life back. Her dream come true had turned into a nightmare.

He came in and slammed the case files on the table causing everyone to jump. He really needed to find a way to vent his frustration. They sat down and went through the case. They soon flew out to Los Angeles to deal with this weirdo. They found he was attracting his victims with the use of a taxi.

Morgan and Emily were sent to find out how the victims were willingly taken. They were sat in the taxi working it out when talk turned personal.

"Emily, what's going on?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" she answered.

"You haven't been yourself lately and you've been biting your nails. Is everything alright with you and Aaron?"

"It's none of Aaron's fault. Like I said to him please don't ask me."

Morgan sighed, "Fine." He hoped they would get their Emily back soon. What was going on? Something was clearly bothering Hotch and Emily. Morgan understood now that something was bothering Emily and not knowing was bothering Hotch. Everyone knew they were besotted with each other and Hotch had trusted her with his all. Now she was keeping something from him.

They found the guy and went home. When she got home she found the window of her car was rolled down. She went over to it and found a wrapped gift box in there. She unwrapped it, took off the lid and found a purple tulip inside. She threw it down like it was poison. The last time she'd smelled a purple tulip was when she and Doyle were arrested. From then on they had reminded her of him as she had grown them at their home.

Aaron grabbed her and put his arms around her waist. She jumped away from him and elbowed him hard in his stomach. She turned around holding her gun and shouted, "I'm not scared of you."

"Emily, it's me," Aaron said doubled over but holding his hands in surrender. He headed towards her to try and reassure her he was her boyfriend and he wasn't going to harm her. She put her finger on the trigger. Her behaviour was really scaring him. Where was she? She was clearly not here with him or she'd know he'd never hurt her. It pained him to see her like this and he wanted to kill whoever was doing this to her.

"Don't come any closer," she shouted. If the man came any closer she was going to shoot him. She would do anything to protect her family. This bastard may have put the flower in her car but he wasn't going to take her and her family. Where was Aaron when she needed him?

"Alright," he said standing still trying to swallow the lump in his throat. "Alright."

"On your knees."

He got on his knees and a few tears rolled down his cheeks threatening to burst the dam. "Emily, it's me," he pleaded. He was speaking and she tried to focus on what he was saying while working out his face in the moonlight. "Em please put down the gun and come back to me. Come on, honey, it's Aaron. You know I'd never hurt you. I love you so much." Suddenly her vision became clear and she collapsed when she saw it was Aaron she had been aiming her gun at. Oh god, what did she just do? She was a monster. She was no better than the people they chased.

She dropped her gun and fell apart. He got up and curled his arms around her but she shook him off. She didn't deserve him. She'd almost just shot him.

"Emily, it's not your fault. You weren't yourself," he said trying to take her back.

"I almost shot you," she cried.

"You didn't mean to. You weren't mentally or emotionally here, Em. Your mind was elsewhere. You didn't realise it was me. Em, I know you'd never hurt me intentionally."

"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. I love you, Aaron, I love you so much."

"I know. It was partially my fault. I shouldn't have come up from behind. Not when you were so obviously shaken. Who gave you that flower?"

"I can't tell you," she answered. He sighed then nodded. She hated to see him so dejected but he had to be protected.

That night she realised she couldn't let it happen again. If she lost control of her emotions again it would be letting Doyle win. She couldn't let that happen. She couldn't let that dark, sadistic bastard ruin their lives. She put up the walls again. He hated it when she wouldn't let him in. He hated it when she wouldn't let him in. He didn't know how to handle being shut out of his girlfriend's life.

A week later they were taking the kids to a dog shelter. They had wanted to get a poor puppy to love. They wanted an abandoned or abused puppy they could give a good home to. Why take a brand new puppy if there are disadvantaged puppies that need a good home? They could give them that. The children had such big hearts.

They looked through all the cages. Jack led his sisters to each cage. They watched closely to find the right one. A small, black Labrador puppy came up barking at them excitedly.

Alexia patted his hand. "Jack dog," she squealed. He smiled and nodded to their parents.

"We've found our dog, mummy, daddy," he answered.

They walked over and smiled. A Labrador puppy was perfect. This puppy was obviously playful enough to be their friend and companion but also Labradors could be trained to protect.

"It sure is, buddy," they smiled ruffling his hair.

"Our dog," Alexia smiled jumping up and down while her sister smiled. They smiled back at their daughters. Though they were going through a tough time their children still made them smile. They were so innocent and happy and they were determined to keep it that way. Even if things turned for the worse. She hoped she wouldn't have to leave them but she'd do whatever she had to to protect them.

They turned to the guide and said, "We'd like that one, please."

They nodded and smiled. "He's a good 'un," he answered. "Came to us a few days ago."

"We want him."

"We'll just get the paperwork."

"Can we wait here while my partner signs?" Emily asked. "I think the children would like to hold him,"

"Sure." He let the dog out of his cage and Emily picked him up handing him to Jack. He held him and the girls stroked him. Aaron smiled as he headed to sign the paperwork. Emily smiled as the children tended to their new dog.

"What are you going to call him?" she asked.

"Milo," Eliza answered shyly. Alexia nodded.

"Yer Milo," Jack affirmed.

"Milo it is then," Emily smiled.

"Milo eh?" Aaron asked coming up to them again.

"Yer Milo." Alexia exclaimed.

"Let's take Milo home."

"But buy him some stuff at the pet store first," Emily added.

"Of course," he smiled at her. She was back to herself for the moment. The mother and girlfriend he had loved for the last three years. Even before the twins she had been a born mother.

They headed off to the pet store. There they bought everything they needed including a few toys. They then headed home with their new puppy. When he got home he scampered around making himself know this place.

She leant her head on Aaron's shoulder. He ran his fingers through her hair. The children had gone after Milo. It was clear how much they loved their dog already. Jack then came back with him in his arms licking his face while the six year old giggled and so did his little sisters. They smiled at them then each other.

"They already love him," she smiled.

"That they do," he smiled back. "It was a great idea of yours, Em," he answered burying his nose in her hair. He loved the smell of her shampoo. She felt guilty remembering why she originally wanted one. "What is it?"

"I used to be scared of dogs," she admitted.

"What changed?"

"Pippi," she smiled slightly. Pippi was Jessica's Sealyham terrier. She regularly brought him over when she cared for the kids. They were good with Pippi so they knew they would be good with Milo. They played with Milo for the rest of the day.

That night she sat on their bed. She was only in his t-shirt and a pair of panties. She looked at the scar on her inside thigh. She'd been attacked by a dog when she was a little girl. It had been so bad she'd needed a skin graft.

"What is it?" he asked.

"That was caused by a dog. I was attacked when I was little. Needed a skin graft."

"I'm so sorry. I won't let anyone hurt you again."

She smiled slightly. She knew she was going to get hurt and there was nothing he could do about it. At the showdown with Doyle she knew she'd get hurt.

They climbed into bed and she curled up laying her head on his chest. She loved him but he didn't completely make her feel safe anymore. Not now with her big, dark secret. She'd let him know when there was no other choice. When she had to face him.

The next day she was at work when she called an old friend and colleague, Tzia. She had to check she was in the know.

"Emily," she said surprised. They hadn't talked since they were arrested.

"Has Sean called you?" she answered.

"He left dozens of messages. I don't work for him anymore. I'm out."

"So's Doyle." She answered nervously.

"What?"She answered concerned.

"He escaped prison. Sean thinks we're all in danger. Where are you?"

"Paris. Jeremy and I are engaged."

"Congratulations."

"Emily as far as Doyle is concerned Lauren Reynolds is dead. Lauren Reynolds died in a car crash. Jeremy and I made sure of that. Say it."

"Lauren Reynolds is dead," she tried to convince herself. "Killed in a car crash."

She ended the call as she saw Spencer come in.

"Who's Lauren Reynolds?" he asked.

"An old friend of mine," she answered. She couldn't let them know she'd been Lauren Reynolds. She had to protect them from her past. Especially the baby of the group. Everyone knew he was sensitive when it came to their family.

Soon the rest of the team came in and she kept quiet about the call. She'd definitely not tell Aaron about her past. She didn't want to let him know how in danger she was. She couldn't let him go through what he did with Haley. This time it would be even worse. She knew he loved her more than he did Haley. Not that she was in competition with his dead ex-wife.

Chapter Text

Today I Do

They were soon off to Syracuse, New York. Molly Grandin had been missing for twenty-four hours and they believed her disappearance mirrored that of Gail Langston who had been found dead four months earlier. Besides the fact that they were both mature students at Syracuse University, petite females and both from blue collar backgrounds their actual disappearances were the same due to their abandoned car being found with an overnight bag packed for a several day excursion. If it was the same kidnapper they had thirty-six hours to find her alive. They initially thought it was a male UnSub intimate with them both until evidence pointed to the UnSub being a trusted female friend. They worked out she was a motivational speaker they had gone to for separate problems.

While she was in New York Tzia called her up. She informed her Jeremy had been killed. He'd come home early from his jog claiming he wasn't feeling well and had a heart attack later on. Emily knew it had been induced after being bumped into someone on the way home. Emily knew it had been induced after being bumped into someone on the way home. She now feared for Tzia's life. If Doyle had got to Jeremy Zia was next.

"Get out of there and get back to the States!"She urged. "Cash transactions only from here on out!" she couldn't help but worry. They had been friends for over ten years and a murderous sociopath was after them. They were in this together. They were in the same boat. Sometimes it made her feel not so alone.

"I will," she assured her.

She ended the call and got back to work. They soon found the location of the motivational speaker. They went after her. They found her about to stab Molly in the lake. They distracted her in time for Molly to get away. They arrested Jane, the UnSub and saved Molly reuniting her with her father.

They all flew home and went to the bullpen. She was just on her way to join Hotch when she received a text message. She hoped it was from Tzia telling her she was safe. No such luck! It said unknown number but she knew it was Doyle. 'See you soon' it said. She shuddered inside. She knew it would come to this but she wasn't ready. She wasn't prepared to see him face to face.

Hotch came out to join her and she smiled at him slightly. He didn't bother to ask. He knew she wouldn't tell him the truth. He'd resigned himself to that now. He hoped he didn't find out too late. He really did love her. He pulled her close to him and they went home.

She went upstairs to see the children. She kissed their heads and stroked the side of their faces. She knew she had to leave them sometime soon but she would always love them. She vowed again she would die protecting her children. She wouldn't let that bastard touch her babies. She vowed to make the most of the time she had left though she didn't know how long she would have. Aaron had to know how much she loved him.

She was at home one night daydreaming out the window all the memories that she shared with Aaron. Their first meeting at the BAU, when he'd accepted her on the team, when she first realised she loved him and their time together. One memory stuck out. How they'd first met. She was on vacation and preparing to go to Yale while he was working for her mother.

She was relaxing by the pool watching him go through files in the library. She will freely admit she was ogling him. He was a fine specimen of man even then. He'd come out for a breath of fresh air as it was a hot day. He soon noticed he wasn't alone. He was so cute she decided to try her luck.

"I'm so sorry, Miss Prentiss," he said.

"Agent Hotchner isn't it?" she smiled at him.

"Yes," he replied stiffly.

"Don't be so formal. Call me Emily, sugar."

"I'm sorry I'M MARRIED."

"Oh too bad, too bad. Maybe next time we meet. Who knows what the future holds, right?"

She giggled remembering what she'd said. Had she known then she would actually have him? Did she know he would be hers? Had she really been that wise?

"What?"Aaron asked looking over. He couldn't believe she was laughing. He hadn't heard her laugh in months. What out of the window had made her giggle? He walked over and looked out of the window. He couldn't see anything apart from the streetlights and people walking down the sidewalk. "What's so funny?"

She turned round and smiled up at him. She loved these moments when she could just forget what was going on around them. "Nothing out there, sweetheart. I was remembering when we first met, sugar."

He laughed at that. She hadn't called him that since then. Boy, she'd been cocky then. She'd openly shown she wanted him. It had scared him. He'd felt like he was her prey. He felt like she was going to hunt him down relentless. When she'd first arrived at the BAU he thought she'd done just that. That was why he'd tried to hold her at arm's length and turned her away at first. Unprofessional yes but he'd learnt later that wasn't the real her. She'd changed for the better.

"You scared me," he admitted.

"I scared the great Aaron Hotchner," she teased.

"Is that so hard to believe? You were quite the formidable young woman back then. Knew what you wanted and weren't afraid to get it."

"And I wanted you," she answered understanding. "Yet you were still married. I guess I always wanted you on some level. You're just so god damn handsome."

"And you my dear are just as beautiful as you were then," he answered wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her neck.

"You thought I was beautiful."

"Still do. Grown even more beautiful I'd say."

"Well you're more handsome than you were then."

"I love you, Em."

"I know. I love you too, Aaron," she smiled up at him placing her hand on his chest. "Always will," she stated firmly. "I'll never stop loving you no matter what happens." Tear-filled her eyes. He had to know. He had to know before she was reunited with Doyle. It was Aaron she loved and would always love not Ian. That relationship was firmly in the past.

"What's going on, Emily?" he asked in one last ditch attempt. "What are you keeping from me?"

"Aaron if I could tell you I would but I'm afraid you'll find out soon," she answered walking off. He watched her sadly. If anyone was hurting his woman he'd destroy them.

A month later he was getting the children ready for school while Emily was at a secret meeting. He had no idea who she was meeting or what it was about but he trusted her. He trusted her with every fibre of his being.

Emily had used her car. She'd used her key fob far enough from the car in case Doyle had booby trapped it. To her relief it didn't blow up. She felt wary sitting backing her car after having found the flowers there. They'd always used his car since then as she'd felt safer there but he couldn't know about this meeting. She was meeting Tzia and Clyde Easter, her previous boss. They had to discuss Doyle. Everyone else was still in the dark.

They discussed where Doyle's location could be. Emily informed them she'd been sent flowers so he was definitely coming to Washington. She received a text message to be at the BAU in ten minutes.

"Don't even think about it," Clyde said. "You can't let your team in."

"They could help us find him."

"It's too risky."

She nodded and they threw their disposable phones away. She headed off to the office for another case wondering how many more she had left before Doyle got her. She smiled weakly at Aaron trying to make him believe everything was alright. He couldn't know she was doing her own investigation and why.

Chapter Text

Coda

They were off to Lafayette Parish, Louisiana for this case. Sammy Sparks, an autistic ten year old boy arrived at school splattered with blood. His parents were missing. Reid and Rossi stayed with Sammy. Hotch and Morgan went off to the Sparks household.

Morgan picked up one of Sammy's pictures. He couldn't work out what it was.

"What's this?" Morgan asked.

"A dog," Hotch answered then examined the toys on the floor looking for something to help Reid connect with Sammy.

"How could you possibly know that's a dog?"

"Perhaps a dad knows." He had nearly five and a half years of detecting what children's pictures meant. Jack's pictures still weren't distinguishable to anyone but loved ones. The twins' drawings were just scribbles. They liked to do arts and crafts with Jack. They regularly come home to be shown what they'd made.

The next day Emily got a call from Clyde. They'd been sent a video showing Doyle arriving in Washington DC. "He's taunting us," Emily said shuddering inside. She wasn't prepared to see him but he was back home in Washington. She would have to meet him again soon. If he touched her family she'd kill him.

They soon found the UnSub AND Sammy's parents. Unfortunately his father and the UnSub were dead before he could deal with them.

They headed home but there was something she had to do first. She went to the fountain she'd met Clyde and Zia the other day. She bought two coffees; one for her and one for Doyle. She had to finally meet Doyle again. She placed one coffee down in front of her and one opposite her.

She waited there for two hours biting her nails and drumming them on the table. Her phone vibrated twice while she was waiting for him. She knew it was Aaron checking when she was coming home.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and shuddered inwardly. She knew it was Doyle. "I saw you waiting," he said.

"I've been waiting two hours," she answered. "You should know better than to keeps a lady waiting."

"I wouldn't call you a lady," he replied sitting down across her. She wasn't in the mood to play games.

"What do you want, Ian?"

"You took the most precious thing from me so I'm going to take the thing that matters most to you..." please not my children, she thought, please not my children! I can't subject Aaron to that. He doesn't deserve it. He was innocent of all this. "Your life...not now...but soon." Though she tensed she was relieved that he thought she was a selfish mother. Did he even know she was now a mother? "And what about your team? Young Spencer out buying a keyboard, the couple Penelope and Derek at home watching a movie, David and Ashley playing video games and your boyfriend Aaron tucking in the kids." She gasped and anger coursed through her veins. He'd been watching her team. If he hurt them she'd kill him.

"Come near my team and I'll end you," she said.

"Is that a promise?" he smiled.

She got her things together and left. She just drove herself home then let herself in. She was numb from the information she'd been given tonight. Ian Doyle was out for her blood. He wanted to kill her at some point but she had no idea when. She would stand up and fight.

Aaron came up concerned. She'd arrived home two hours late devoid of emotion. What had happened? Why was Emily in this state? What was tormenting her? If she didn't tell him or he didn't find out he couldn't help her. He hated seeing her like this. He just wanted his Em back again. So did the children who had noticed mummy had changed. Jack had asked him what was going on. He'd just told him she was having nightmares.

He went over to her and took her in his arms. While she didn't reciprocate she didn't shake him off either.

"Em, you alright?" he asked.

She nodded and answered blankly, "I'm fine. Kids asleep?"

"Tucked them in about half an hour ago."

"I'll go and see them."

He nodded and let her go. He watched her walk up the stairs sadly. He felt the tears rise in his eyes and he tried to shake them away. It was breaking him to see her like this. He didn't know if he could cope losing her. He was scared she would shut them out.

She went into the nursery to see her twins. They were sleeping in their cots. She bent down and stroked her finger down Alexia's cheek through the bars. She could feel the tears well in her eyes. "I love you so much, Allie," she whispered. She murmured in her sleep that she headed over to Eliza and did the same while on the verge of tears.

She then headed into her stepson's bedroom. She saw he wasn't fully asleep. He woke up as he saw Emily enter and offered her his arms noticing she was sad. She sat on his bed and hugged him.

"I love you so much, Jack," she cried.

"Mummy, why are you so sad?"He answered.

"Nothing. I just love you so much."

"No, that's what mummy said when she went away. Don't go away, mummy Emmy, don't go away," he cried.

"I won't ever leave you, buddy. Even if I'm not here physically I will never leave you."

He nodded trying to recover his tears. "Just don't join the angels."

"I'll try not to, sweetie."

He smiled. "I love you too, mummy Emmy."

She kissed his hair and whispered, "Now go back to sleep. You've got school in the morning."

"Will you take me?"

"I don't know if it's a wise idea, buddy."

"Why not?" he pouted.

"I have to be at work early."

He just nodded. She felt guilty lying to him but it was for his sake. Since she didn't know when Doyle would try and kill her she didn't want to be seen out with her children. She didn't want them to see him try and kill her in front of them. They had to be kept away from stuff like that.

She held him until he fell asleep again then joined his father. She found him in the kitchen downing a glass of whisky then pouring another. She could see he was fighting back tears. She knew she'd done this to him and it would only get worse. This was only the beginning of the end. She needed him to be strong through this.

She placed her hand on Aaron's back. "Please I need you to be strong for the children. I don't want any of this to happen but I need you to be strong. I love you, Aaron. I love you so much," she cried.

He turned to face her while the tears stayed in his eyes. "I'll try for you and them. I want to be the father they need. I love you too, Em. I love you so much," he answered shakily pressing his forehead against hers. She wrapped her arms around his waist and he hugged her back kissing her nose.

She quickly started shutting herself off. She shut herself of from them scared Doyle would try and kill her in front of them. She couldn't let them see that. It was like she was running as a machine not a human, mother, friend, and girlfriend. He tried to stay strong but it was killing him. The team noticed the changes in their behaviour but didn't comment. They just hoped everything would reveal itself soon. Garcia felt sorry for her boss remembering the ring she'd helped him get. There was no way they'd be getting engaged at the moment.

A month later Emily travelled to work on the subway. She looked around her to check Doyle wasn't there. She tensed up as she felt two people come up to her and was relieved when she looked up to see Tzia and Clyde.

"Doyle's here in Washington," she said.

"How do you know?" Tzia asked.

"I've spoken to him. He's not working alone."

"Have you told your team?" Clyde asked.

"I can't risk telling them. DC is my comfort zone not Doyle's. This ends here." If Doyle wanted to take her down she'd go down fighting. There was no way she'd willingly let him take her life. She now had things to live for; her man and their children.

Chapter Text

Valhalla

She soon headed into work. For this case they would be staying here. Two families had been killed in house fires. They were murdered; one by gas leak explosion. They went about investigating who was behind this. Emily had a bad feeling going into this. She was scared Doyle was now beginning his mission. She knew at some point she would be the next victim. Aaron looked at her concerned and tried to shake it off. He now had a feeling this case was going to affect his team a lot more than the usual. He had no idea though of how much he'd lose.

Reid discovered that both dead men called one Byron Delaney before they were killed. Emily and Morgan headed over there. They were about to enter when two men in white masks appeared guns blazing. They used cars as shields as another masked man appeared and opened fire.

Emily managed to shoot one of them in the leg. The others of his team shot him in the wrist and in the head before leaping into their van and escaping. They'd both feared their lives during the shoot-out. Morgan was relieved he would get to see his Garcia again while Emily was glad to live another day to fight Doyle and protect her family. They went over to examine the body. Though the tattoo on his wrist had a bullet hole through it she knew it was the four leafed clover of Doyle's gang. She felt her chest tighten up but she knew if she told her team the whole story he would come after them and kill them. She had to protect them at all costs. She knew her days were numbered though.

When Hotch rejoined them she looked up sadly. Soon enough she would have to take on Doyle herself. She had to say her goodbyes tonight for tomorrow she might have to leave. She knew though he was still here he would want their final showdown to be in Boston where he believed his son had been killed. She knew he blamed her for the death but she had a secret from him. His son was alive and living the life he deserved. She blinked back the tears as she wouldn't let herself break.

When Reid's drawing clarified that she was right she went white. It was definitely Doyle. He'd started killing the people on his list and she knew she was on it. She had to warn Tzia. She went into the bathroom to call her. Unfortunately just as she picked up Garcia came in. She hung up on Zia and turned to Garcia.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

"I'm going to be alright," Emily answered not completely believing it herself. She didn't believe she would survive the showdown unscathed.

"What's going on?"

"I've just been having this recurring nightmare..." she described her nightmare then left. Garcia watched her leave worried. What was it that Emily was keeping from them? She knew it was serious but she just wouldn't open up to any of them let alone Hotch. She feared for her friend.

Hotch called it a night without realising that his girlfriend was in danger. She prepared herself for the inevitable that night.

She went up to the nursery and saw the twins were sleeping. She crouched down by them crying stroking first Alexia's face then Eliza's. "I love you both so much but mummy has to go away for a while. If I don't come back please know that I loved you with all my heart and would do anything to protect you."

She then had to say goodbye to her son. this was going to be one of the hardest to make not that it was hard to say goodbye to the children she'd actually given birth to. He would be turning seven soon and he'd already gone through so much. He didn't deserve to lose another mother. She hoped to God he wouldn't lose her.

Jack looked up when he saw her and looked worried. He was scared something bad was about to happen. "What is it, mummy?" he asked.

She sat down and hugged him letting her tears fall. "I need you to keep a secret from your dad for me," she said gently.

"What, mummy?"He asked concerned.

"I'm going to have to go away and I don't know when I'll be back."

"Why? Why do you have to go away?"

"I have to fight a bad guy alone."

"But no-one beats daddy."

"Daddy can't know about this one, alright." He nodded. "I love you, Jack, I love you so much. No matter what anyone says you are my son. Look after your daddy for me."

"I love you too mummy and you are my mummy though I'll never forget my other mummy."

"I know you won't, buddy," she answered pushing his hair away from his eyes.

"I'll look after daddy and my sisters for you," he cried.

"You'll do a great job," she answered kissing his forehead choking back the tears.

"You'll come home, right? I don't want you joining the angels. They've already taken one of my mummies. I won't let them take the other."

"I'll do my very best to."

He nodded and they hugged. She kissed his forehead again then headed back to Aaron. She curled into him on the sofa watching her film but her mind wasn't really on it. She wouldn't take her eyes off him. She was trying to study his face so she'd never forget it. She knew she would have to go away and she never wanted to forget the only man she'd ever truly loved and had honestly loved her back.

He felt uncomfortable with her intense stare o on his face and squirmed. Did he have something on his face? "What is it? Why are you staring at me intently?" he asked.

"You're just so beautiful," she answered. He knew it wasn't the truth but he was grateful for the compliment.

"SO are you," he smiled at her hollowly. He knew something wasn't right.

"I love you, Aaron."

"I love you too, Em."

She ran her fingers through his hair while she did the same and they kissed passionately while she tried to keep her tears inside. She didn't know if there would be a relationship after he found out about Doyle. She knew with this case it was only a matter of days. She just hoped he would understand. She'd done this for all of them. It was only ever for their protection.

"I'm going to bed," he shortly said.

"I'll be up soon. I just want to do something first," she answered.

He nodded and went upstairs while she headed to Milo's bed. She would now say goodbye to their dog. She'd grown to love Milo since they got him. The children couldn't get enough of the adorable Labrador.

She stroked his fur and said, "I love you, Milo. Look after my family when I'm gone." He wagged his tail once and she kissed his fur. "Good night."

She then went up and joined Aaron. She had a shower then got ready for bed. She climbed in beside him and held him close to her. "I love you, Aaron," she said kissing his shoulder. She didn't care how often she said it tonight. He had to know before she left how much she loved him.

"What's going on, Em?" he answered.

"I can't tell you but you'll find out very soon. When you do know that I truly do love you and did it all to protect you and the children."

"I'll try and remember that," he replied and turned over. This secrecy from Emily was really bugging him. Sometimes he wanted to grab her by the shoulders and force her to tell him but he loved her too much to hurt her. He hoped he wasn't going to lose her and everything would just go back to normal soon.

He soon fell asleep and so did she but her sleep was far from peaceful. She was having a nightmare and kicked him. She was murmuring in her sleep and the kicking woke him up.

"No, Ian, you can't have them. Don't take Aaron and my children. They're innocent. They know nothing of this. Take me in their place. It's me you want anyway," she screamed so Aaron shook her. She woke up fighting and punched him. He grabbed her wrists to stop her.

"Emily, it's me. It's Aaron. This Ian doesn't have me or the children. We're safe in our home. No-one's going to take our lives. No-one wants to take yours either. They only want to spend theirs with you. It was just a nightmare," he soothed.

"Yes, just a nightmare," she replied unconvinced. She knew Ian Doyle wanted to kill her but she didn't want to scare Aaron. "I want to spend my life with you too. I love you." She kissed his cheek and they went back to sleep with him holding her. She rested her head on his chest.

The next day they were back to work on the case. She learned that Doyle had been in a North Korean prison. She decided to call in Tzia and Clyde to help her team with this case. She found out Clyde had known he'd been in North Korea but had decided not to tell anyone else. She found he was no longer to be trusted so she told Tzia he couldn't be trusted and to get out of there.

When she got back to headquarters Reid revealed that he could bring up surveillance videos of Doyle's residence in Tuscany. The rest of the team had learnt that morning that the tattoo belongs to members of Doyle's gang from a Geneva based group. As she'd sat there next to Hotch she'd felt uneasy when they brought up Doyle's name. Soon they would learn about her connection to him. She'd lied to Hotch when he asked her if she'd heard of him while she was working at Interpol by telling him she'd heard of him but never had any direct contact.

When Reid said they could bring up the surveillance she felt even more uncomfortable. It would reveal her true connection to Doyle. She'd gone undercover as his lover. She'd been just his type. Unfortunately they'd fallen in love while she was undercover. He'd given her a ring to wear around her neck to reveal her commitment to him. She'd thrown it away when she realised she was in love with Hotch a year before they actually got together. She was scared what he would think when it was revealed. She couldn't cope losing Aaron. He was the love of her life.

She went with Morgan to the scene of the new victim. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw it was Zia. Oh god, had she sent her to her death? She never planned that. She would never have planned that in a million years. She'd told Tzia to leave Clyde to be murdered. Was this her fault? Had she done this to her? She knew she was next.

"I need some air," she told Morgan and he nodded.

She ran outside and threw up. She was in shock over seeing Tzia's body. She was next and she couldn't warn anyone let alone Hotch what was about to go down. She had to get out of here. She had to go to Boston and face her fate head on. Tonight she would leave with no idea if she was going to return home to her beloved boyfriend and their three wonderful kids.

Morgan came out to check her out. He was really concerned about her when he saw she'd thrown up. This wasn't usual behaviour for her and she'd worked this job for years. This wasn't the worst thing they'd seen yet she'd obviously been really affected over that woman's body. She looked like she felt guilty. Had she known this woman?

"You alright?" he asked.

"Yer just something I ate," she lied. "Do you mind if we pop by my house? It's on the way back to the office. I need a change of clothes."

"Sure," he nodded.

They headed to her home. Luckily the twins were at day-care and Jack at school. Alexia and Eliza loved day-care and had made a few friends. Eliza was slower than Alexia to make friends but they were happy for her that she now had a few. They didn't need to be here for this as she knew this was the last time she'd come home before facing Doyle.

She changed and flushed the toilet keeping her tears inside. She stroked Milo one last time they left for the office. She was mentally saying goodbye to everyone.

When she got back Hotch pulled them all into a meeting in the bullpen. As she looked around she realised just how in danger her team now were. She put them all in grave peril. Doyle was annihilating families and here was her family. She couldn't let them die. She couldn't just stand around and watch them be killed especially Hotch. She loved him too much to be the reason he was killed. She had to kill him before he killed them.

"You alright?" Morgan asked.

"Yer," she answered looking at him then back at Hotch. She tried to memorise his face then slowly backed out and left the room. She felt the tears rise in her eyes knowing things weren't going to be the same when she got back. She didn't even know if Aaron would still want her.

Once she left the room she took a breather. She let the tears fall while she recomposed herself.

"I love you, Aaron, please never doubt that. I have to do this for you. I can't just stand around and watch you guys die. You mean far too much to me for that." She then gritted her teeth and added, "I'm coming to get you, Doyle. You won't touch my family."

Chapter Text

Lauren

She then left and caught a flight to Boston to find Doyle. She knew he'd already left for Boston. She had no idea how this would end but she knew she had to fight him for the protection of her family. She couldn't get their faces out of her head hoping she would see them again really soon. She loved them so much and would miss them dearly. She just hoped they know that and understood this was all for them.

While looking at a list of spies that Doyle had been killing they found one LR had been eliminated from the list. They tried to work out who it was until Reid blurted out, "Lauren Reynolds." They all looked at her hoping he'd divulge more. "Emily told someone two months ago that a Lauren Reynolds was dead. It wasn't like she was receiving bad news. It was almost like she was chanting it. Like she was trying to convince herself of it."

Hotch felt angry remembering he'd never questioned Eliza's middle name. "Eliza?" he exclaimed.

"What about her?"Morgan asked confused. What did his daughter have to do with any of this?

"What's her middle name?" he hoped they would remember and he didn't have to come out and say it. He'd already put two and two together and was s bubbling volcano of emotions. He didn't know if he wanted to scream or cry. His Emily was in danger from Doyle; a dangerous psychopath with a vendetta. He wanted to kill her. She probably had been for months but had never told him. Why? Why did she keep all this to herself? She was in fatal peril. He could lose his girlfriend at the hands of this psychopath; the woman he loved most.

"Lauren," Reid exclaimed realising why his boss had asked that. The coincidence was too strong to be just that. Had she really been sending them a message about her past? From the changes in her behaviour she couldn't have known back then Doyle would come for her. It did highlight though that Lauren Reynolds had been her.

Hotch meanwhile called her phone to find out where she was. He hadn't seen her in this room. She'd obviously slopped out while he was doing his briefing. She wasn't picking up and he heard her phone go off nearby. He headed to her desk and opened her drawer. He found her phone, badge and gun in there. He closed his eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath and ended the call.

He then headed back to his team holding them. "She's left her gun and badge behind," he said. Everyone looked at him with pity and worry. They knew if anything happened to her it would kill him. Why had she gone after him alone? Didn't she know they would help her?

"Why did she do this? Why did she never tell us? I was shot at and she still didn't tell me," Morgan said angrily.

"She wanted to protect us," Rossi answered. "Doyle is going after families. We're the only family she really has. Apart from the girls she'd not very close to her relatives." Though he was deeply concerned he was the one with the clearest head.

He would have to talk to Hotch before they did anything. They needed a leader with a clear head. He couldn't blame him for being affected though. Emily was clearly everything to him. He'd never seen his best friend love anyone as much as Emily not even Haley. To help Emily though he needed to have a clear head or it could all go horribly wrong? He would be his pillar of support if he needed it.

"What are we going to do?" Reid asked.

"What we always do," Hotch answered firmly trying to keep his composure. "This time Doyle is our UnSub and Emily our victim." He hated referring to his Emily as a victim but that's what she was. He knew he would have to have a clear head but he'd be destroyed if he lost her. She was his hope for the future. He knew he'd never be able to love anyone else. If he lost her he lost himself.

They nodded knowing there was no other way to save her. They had to save her. She was so important to them and it would break Hotch if anything were to happen to her. They were meant to be together till the day they died. They were one.

He went off to phone JJ for her help. She was an expert in finding a trained spy who didn't want to be found after joining the Pentagon. She was also one of Emily's best friends. She needed to know about what was going on. She was as much Emily's family as they were.

When she heard she said she would be right over. She would do anything to save Emily just like they would. She couldn't lose one friend and watch another fall apart. Jack, Alexia and Eliza didn't deserve that. They deserved both their parents.

Meanwhile Emily arrived at The Shamrock pub in Boston. She waited for Doyle to arrive. She thought about what she'd left behind hoping she'd see them again. She wanted to see her children grow up. She sincerely hoped she could kiss Aaron's lips again, sleep with him even marry him. They were the reason she had to fight.

Back in Quantico Morgan said, "Emily knows all our tricks but we know none of hers. How are we to find her?"

"I know that. That's why I've called in an expert," Hotch answered.

Everyone looked up as JJ walked in. They smiled slightly when they saw her and she smiled back. They had missed working together. Maybe having JJ back on this case could bring them out of their despair. Their family was back together apart from the member they needed to save. She could see Hotch was trying to stay strong but inside he was breaking.

Rossi had pulled him aside earlier. He wanted to help him clear his head. He advised him to channel his anger and desperation into determination to find Doyle and save Emily. He agreed he would try to do so. His goal was Emily. JJ couldn't help but feel sorry for him and worry about him. He must be suffering flashbacks to Haley's death but this time more painful.

Emily climbed into the back of Fahey's car. He was an Irish mobster with connections to Doyle. She would get the information she needed from him she thought as she held a gun to the back of his head. He squirmed while she did. He was just a hood rat.

"How many people are working for Doyle?"She asked. She had to know what she was coming up against. She had to prepare for it.

"About 15 to 20men are at his disposal," he answered. Shit! How was she to come up against that many alone? She was in deeper than she'd thought.

"Will you rat me out to Doyle?"

"Why would I be loyal to a spy?"

Wrong answer! She shot him in the ear.

"Aaron, do we have permission to look over your house to see if there is any evidence of her connection to Doyle?"Rossi asked.

He nodded knowing they'd have to. Had Emily kept things from him there? He still couldn't believe she hadn't told him this about her past. She'd lied to him about their connection. She'd kept information back from this case. Now she had gone off to face Doyle alone. She could die and he didn't even know where she was. He would be lost without her. He already felt a little lost.

Emily sat in a car watching the pub when she decided to check her voicemail. She found one from Garcia. She must have been checking her old cell phone numbers. "Emily, what did you think you were doing?"Garcia cried. "Did you think we wouldn't help you? Come home please! We're in that dark place with you, waving flashlights...we're coming!" she fell apart thinking about her extended family she had left behind.

Her beloved Aaron who had already been through so much and was the first man who had loved her so deeply and she'd truly loved. Losing her would destroy him. She hoped she would be able to go back and marry him when this was all over.

Her wonderful stepson Jack that she loved as her own and had already lost his mother at such a young age. He couldn't lose another mother; he didn't deserve it. She hoped one day he would legally be hers though she'd never let him forget Haley.

Alexia, her confident little daughter who looked up at her with so much love. She couldn't lose her mother. It would take away her confidence. She wanted to see her baby girl grow up to be confident enough to go after her dreams.

Her shy baby daughter, Eliza, who looked to her to keep her safe. She didn't deserve to lose her mother at such a young age. Losing her would retreat her further into herself. She wanted to see Ellie grow into a confident young woman.

JJ, her best friend and sister, who had already lost so much to the BAU including her job at the BAU. She didn't deserve to lose another sister. She hoped she would get to see her, Will and their two beautiful children again.

Garcia, her other best friend and sister, who tried to brighten her life with colourful things to keep her mind off the things that she sees on her screens. Losing Emily would greatly affect her as it already did. She hoped she would live to see her marry Morgan.

Seaver, her charge who felt like a daughter to her, who would make an accomplished agent and be a great asset. She looked up to Emily and losing her she would feel insecure about her place on the team. She hoped she would see her achieve everything she knew she could.

Morgan, one of her best friends and brother, the macho athletic member of their family who played baseball and was in a serious relationship with Garcia. He was bound to be angry she kept this from them especially while they were shot at. He was protective of all of them he would make a great father one day and hoped she would see him father Garcia's child.

Reid, her friend and little brother, who was socially awkward but a genius. He looked up to her like a mother and losing her would hurt him deeply. He'd already lost Gideon he couldn't lose her. She would miss his statistics and cute little ticks.

Rossi, her love's best friend and the man who felt like a father to her, who was like their wise mentor. She knew he loved her like a daughter so losing her would kill him almost as much as it would Aaron. She would miss his advice.

They were her family and she sincerely hoped she would see them again but before then she would do her damn hardest to protect them. She didn't want to but was willing to die for them. She would do absolutely anything for them. That's what you did for those you loved.

She looked up to see men gathering outside the pub. She saw one of the men get into an SUV while she composed herself then got out with her gun. She knew they were Doyle's men. She shot at them shouting, "Where's Doyle?" some of them were shot.

"Right here, sweetheart," Doyle said from behind her. She turned round to be shot in the chest by her ex. She fell to the ground from the force of the bullets hitting her Kevlar vest. She looked up to Doyle from the ground and his men helped get her into his van while she was temporarily weakened. They drove off to the warehouse.

The team watched a video of her actions on their way to Boston. They'd solved that was where she'd gone. Where she and Doyle had first met. Hotch had been upset when he discovered they'd been in a relationship. How could she have been involved with that psychopath? She'd gone undercover as his lover but there had been evidence they'd been involved. Why had she never told him her past lovers?

They briefed the case on the plane as they knew it. They were all carrying emotions over this case. It was personal. It was Emily! Not only was she their friend she was Hotch's soul mate. Hotch needed her to make his life worth living. They would try their damn hardest to bring her back alive. If they didn't they would lose two of their members. They knew if something happened to Emily it wouldn't just break his heart it would shatter it. They needed their strong, fearless leader not a broken shell of a man.

Morgan was angry at how unprofessional her actions were. Hotch was angry that she hadn't told him she was in so much danger. He'd already had to make the tough phone call trying to pick up the pieces she'd left behind. He'd had to call Jessica.

It was one of the hardest phone calls he'd ever had to make. He had to inform her that Emily was the victim. They were like sisters. How could he tell her that she was in danger? As expected Jessica had taken it hard though tried to comfort and support her brother-in-law. He could hear Jack in the background pleading him to bring his mummy back alive. He was such a perceptive boy and there was nothing more he wanted to do. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life a single parent.

Everyone tried to offer his support in their own way seeing he wanted to break. His family was in danger again. It was how it had been with Haley only this time his soul mate; the woman he deserved. They just prayed for a different outcome. For him and the children.

When they landed they called in Clyde Easter who they now also suspected as being involved with Doyle. The evidence wasn't hard to deny when they opened his suitcase. It was full of money he'd picked up when he arrived in Boston. Hoch felt even angrier that he had betrayed his girlfriend putting her in danger.

Emily was tied to a chair in a dark room in the warehouse. Doyle approached her and slowly began to unbutton her shirt while she revolted inside. Only Aaron could sexually arouse her now by doing that. Doyle then stopped away.

He headed over to the branding iron. "A four-leafed clover should be a nice addition to your other tattoos," he said. She tried to get out of her bonds. There was no way she would let him bond her as his when she was undoubtedly Aaron's. He came over with his iron and started tattooing her while she struggled harder.

Meanwhile Rossi and Reid were interrogating Fahey. Hotch watched from outside. He wanted to rip him apart when he heard Emily would be in pieces when they got to her. He tried to keep control of his emotions while his chest tightened. She just couldn't be. They couldn't let that happen.

Emily tried to be Lauren for Doyle so he would free her. She would do anything to protect her family. He came back in with a laptop and opened it in front of her. There she saw Rossi, Seaver and Fahey on the roof of the police headquarters.

"Now, which one should I shoot?" he asked.

"You said this was about you and me. You said you'd leave my team alone," she answered.

"I said I would if you didn't bring them into this."

"I didn't...shoot Fahey. Without him my team have nothing," she cried. She couldn't choose to kill one of her family. She had to keep them alive. She was sacrificing herself for them.

She watched them shoot him. Hotch felt even more desperate when he heard that Fahey had. What were they going to do now? They had no leads. How were they going to find his Emily now? He had to find her. He couldn't give up. He had three children depending on him. He couldn't let them down. He couldn't fail Jack again. He couldn't let his biggest fear happen. He couldn't fail to save Emily.

He turned to the only hope he had left. He went into the room they were holding Easter. He had to get information from him they could use. He couldn't show desperate he was for it.

He did what he had to. Earlier Easter had told him Emily had told him he was the best but he was yet to be impressed. He felt pride knowing his girlfriend believed in him. He didn't care what Clyde thought. It was Emily's belief he needed. He believed in her too.

"How do we stop Doyle?" he asked.

"The only way to stop him is to put a bullet between his eyes yourself." he insisted. "Can you do that?"

"I will do whatever I have to to save her," he said firmly and by god, he meant it! He just had to! He couldn't lose her; he just couldn't!

"Can you break your oath Agent Hotchner?"

There was only one answer he could give. His true love's life was hanging in the balance. "Yes," he said firmly.

"Then I will break mine."

"We need to profile Doyle with the terrorist he was then and the serial killer he is now." Clyde nodded. "But if anything happens to her I will destroy you." He knew a man in love when he saw one. He knew not to mess with lovers.

Easter gave them a full profile of Doyle.

Emily was about to be shot in the head by Doyle when she begged him to take her where Declan had died. He untied her and pushed her along with the gun still at her head.

"You told them, didn't you? You sold my son to them in your profile. They used the information and they killed him. They sent me the pictures. They shot my innocent, little boy and sent me the pictures," he shouted taking her into the room she'd last seen Declan in before he boarded the plane.

"They were fake," she answered.

"How do you know that?" he shouted.

"Because I was the one with my finger on the trigger."

He smacked her onto the floor with his gun. "He's alive?" he shouted.

"I wouldn't let them use him as a pawn. If I had the things they would do to get to you. I couldn't let him go through that so I had to end it for him so I took those photos and boarded him onto a plane."

Doyle glared at her and went to hit her again.

Garcia brought up a bunch of photos of Declan Jones, Doyle's son, and gasped when she saw them. This couldn't have happened to him. The poor boy couldn't have been shot. The team gathered around to see what she'd found.

"Look at the fingers," Reid said noticing it was Emily's. She wouldn't have done this. She wasn't capable of murdering children. That's how they knew they had to be faked. Emily was great with kids not just her own.

"Where were they taken? That's got to be where he's holding her," Hotch demanded. They had to find her soon. Her life was hanging in the balance. They had to get there before anything happened.

She typed something in and they got the place. They rushed there with the local SWAT team. He hoped to God they'd got it right. He needed her to be alive. He cut the power to the warehouse. He hoped the darkness would help her.

"Where's my son? I will find him," Doyle said kicking her in the stomach as she got up.

Suddenly the lights went out and she smacked him in the face with a piece of wood declaring, "I will keep him from you. He will get the childhood he deserves."

He grabbed the broken piece of wood and stabbed her in the stomach with it. Just as Morgan ran into the room Doyle made a run for it hearing his team get gunned down. Morgan fell to his knees when he saw the wood spearing Emily's stomach. He screamed for a medic. He wasn't going to lose his sister on his watch and by god Hotch wouldn't lose another lover.

"We know what you did for Declan. Come on, Emily, you've got to make it. You have so much to live for. Aaron loves you, Emily. I've never seen him love anyone more than you. Come on, Emily, you have to make it," he said when he saw she was fading. "Where's the damn medic?" he shouted in desperation. Hearing him must be killing Hotch. "Emily, please Aaron needs you. I am so proud of you as your partner, your friend." He felt her go and the tears fell down his cheeks.

Just then Hotch ran in with the medics. When he saw with Emily his chest constricted and he found it hard to breathe. The medics ran to her with the deregulators and placed them on her chest while he fell apart. He prayed to God in desperation for him to bring back his Emily. He just couldn't lose her.

Morgan got up and placed his hands on his boss' shoulders while Hotch fell to his knees in grief. He'd never seen his boss fall apart so far but he understood. He would have been the same if it was Penelope.

"Hotch, you know, she's a fighter. She's gonna pull through. She has to," Morgan soothed while trying to calm himself.

"We have a heartbeat," a medic shouted and Hotch felt thankful though he knew she still wasn't in the clear. Morgan wanted to rip Doyle apart for the pain he was causing his friends. "We need to get her to the hospital as soon as we can. Who's coming in the ambulance?" they asked the two men.

"He is. He's her boyfriend," Morgan said indicating Hotch. There was no doubt Hotch would accompany her to hospital. It wasn't Hotch their boss though it was Aaron her lover. He ran along the gurney once they helped Emily on it. He held her hand to assure himself she was currently here. They couldn't take the wood out until she was in surgery.

Everyone couldn't believe it when she came out. Their hearts clenched as they saw Hotch come out with Emily and Morgan walking after looking defeated. There was no missing the wood stabbed into Emily. The women tried to keep their tears inside while Rossi and Reid tried to stay strong.

They climbed into the SUVs and followed the ambulance. Rossi went into one with JJ, Seaver and Reid. Morgan would take the other. He would pick up Garcia. He was thankful she wouldn't see what the bastard had done to their Emily. She was too sensitive for that. He still called her.

"Hello my chocolate Adonis," she said chirpy hoping they'd saved Emily.

"Baby girl," he said seriously. She could feel the tears rise in her eyes. She knew something was wrong; that something had gone wrong. "Emily's been rushed to hospital."

"Oh god!"

"I'm coming to pick you up."

Hotch sat in the ambulance with Emily holding her hand. He allowed the tears to fall down his face. He couldn't lose her again. She was his life.

"Emily, you've got to hold on. I love you, Em, I love you so much. The children need you. Think of Jack and our girls. I need you too, Em. Jack can't lose another mother. Allie and Elli can't lose their mother. I can't lose you, Em, you're my life. You're everything to me. Please, Em, pull through," he cried.

They soon arrived at the hospital and were rushed in. When they got to the waiting room he was held back.

"I'm sorry, sir, but you can't go in there," he was told.

He nodded running his fingers through his hair. Soon JJ joined him and told him Rossi, Reid and Seaver were just parking the car and waiting for Morgan and Garcia.

After they'd filled in her forms a doctor came out to them. "Are you Agent Aaron Hotchner and Agent Jennifer Jareau?"

"Yes," he answered looking up with hope. She placed her hand on his arm to show she supported him.

"May I have a word?"

They nodded and followed him to a room. They sat down behind the desk.

"Agent Prentiss is in a critical condition. Her lung has been punctured and there's internal bleeding. We've managed to stabilise her but she needs a lifesaving operation that we can only give her in Washington. We need your permission to transport her to Washington to give her operation," he informed them.

"Do it, give her the operation," he exclaimed with tears running down his face. "Save her life!" he shouted slamming his hands on the table. JJ nodded. She couldn't let him lose the love of his life. She wouldn't let her best friend die but she knew Doyle needed to believe he'd killed her otherwise he'd come after them again.

The doctor handed them the papers and they signed them. He then left the room leaving them alone. He knew they needed to talk. They knew that Doyle was still out there and her life was in danger even if she survived. The only way was to kill Emily Prentiss and give her another life. It was the most painful decision he'd have to make but this was for Emily. If he didn't his children and Emily would be in danger. He had to break his heart and hers to keep her safe. He couldn't afford to be selfish. The lives of those most precious to him depended on it.

"Aaron," she said gently.

"I know," he answered with tears in his eyes. "We have to kill Emily. I have to let my girlfriend go. I can't even tell my innocent children the truth."

She placed her hand over his. "It's the only way to keep them safe, Aaron. If there was another way I would do it in a heartbeat. You and Emily are like siblings to me and are made for each other. This way when Doyle is found you two can reunite." He nodded. "She'll understand. She knows you love her."

"I'd better get back out there to start this off. Can you tell them? I don't think I could."

She nodded. "Anything. I'm here for you, Aaron."

"Thanks. I really appreciate it."

They smiled at each other sadly and he went out to the waiting room. He sat down on one of the chairs and put his hands together looking down at the floor. He'd just had to make the hardest and most painful decision he'd had to make and he had to see it through. He loved her so much and he didn't know if he'd ever see her again after sending her away.

The others soon joined him and tried to comfort him but he knew the lie they would be telling them. He'd just kept looking down keeping his eyes ahead of him not really seeing; his head was too wrapped up in Emily. Not too long ago he had been considering marrying her now he had to send her away but he would do anything to keep his family safe.

Soon enough JJ came out with tears running down her face. Everyone looked up and their hearts clenched.

"She didn't make it off the table," she said looking at Hotch with tears in her eyes. Everyone looked at him and he banged his fist on the table next to him trying to keep his tears inside. Meanwhile Seaver let the tears roll down her face, Garcia turned into Morgan and cried into his shoulder while he held her close, Rossi was even crying and Reid got up and gave JJ a hug swallowing tears.

"I didn't get to say goodbye," he croaked.

Garcia looked at Hotch pityingly. She was the only one who knew that he'd been considering marriage. They didn't know how to deal with their grieving boss, the mourning boyfriend. He got up and left. He looked through the glass doors and saw JJ coming after him.

He whipped out his phone knowing he had to inform Jessica of Emily's death. His children had to know their mother wasn't coming home.

"Aaron," she said when she picked up.

"Jessica," he answered on the verge of tears.

"Oh no! Emily..."

"She didn't make it off the table, Jess."

"Oh Aaron, I'm so sorry..." she answered crying.

Suddenly a little voice came on the phone. "Daddy, are you bringing mummy home?" he didn't know how to answer his little boy. How was he to tell him he'd lost another mother? "Daddy..." he couldn't keep his tears back any longer. He'd failed him yet again and this time his little girls as well. "Daddy, is mummy coming home?" he slid down the wall wracked with sobs.

"Jack..."

"No, daddy, no," he cried.

"Emily's gone to join mummy and the angels."

"Daddy, no," he screamed. "The angels can't have her."

His tears overcame his words and he didn't know what else to say. He wanted to be there and hold his children. They were all he had left now.

JJ came up to him. "Can I?" she mouthed. He nodded and gave her the phone.

"Jack, its Auntie JJ. I'm so sorry for your loss but can you do something for me?...Daddy will be on his way home soon and needs you to look after Auntie Jessica and your sisters for him until he gets there, ok...Sure, I'll tell him that, Jessica...We will." She ended the call and handed the phone back to Hotch.

As she helped him back up she said hugging him, "They'll be at the airfield when we get there."

He nodded hugging her back. He needed the strength his friends gave him right now. His heart was broken again and he couldn't shut himself from the world again. His children needed him as he was the only parent they now had. They needed him to help them through losing her.

"Let's go home," she said.

He nodded and they headed back to the others after she'd notified their pilot they needed to fly home as soon as possible with the same number of passengers as they flew out with. They said they would have the jet ready in thirty minutes.

"Wheels up in thirty," he said hollowly.

They just nodded. "What's happening with Emily's body?" Reid asked. Everyone shot him a glare while Hotch tried to keep himself composed while the tears threatened to rain down again.

"She's being airlifted back to Washington." Hotch thanked here with his eyes for being diplomatic with the truth. They couldn't know it would-be her alive body and they would be burying a crash dummy of Emily's height and stature. They had to make it believable so had to go through a funeral, coffin and all. They had to make Emily's death believable. When they got back home they'd organise everything for Emily's protection.

They all got back in the SUVs and drove to the airstrip to pick up the jet. When they got there they all climbed on grieving and shocked. They couldn't believe they'd lost Emily and the bastard who had done it had got away. He'd pay!

Hotch sat by the window alone looking out of the window dreaming of his Emily. He couldn't believe he'd be coming home without her. How was he to raise the kids alone? He'd never raised a child on his own for more than a few weeks. How was he to help them through their grief? The twins wouldn't understand. They were barely even two. How would he help Jack losing another mother? He would miss her so much. He depended so much on her. Now he was without the woman he loved. All he had was broken dreams. He would never get to marry her! Boy was he a fool! Why had he opened up again and let her in? He should have kept his distance and loved her from a distance then it wouldn't hurt so much.

Rossi sat down opposite him. "I don't need a minder," Hotch snapped looking at him.

"We're sorry for your loss, Aaron," he answered.

"Sorry doesn't bring her back."

"You're not the only one grieving, Aaron."

"I'm sorry, Dave."

"We understand."

"Why did she never tell me?"

"She wanted to protect you. She wanted to protect all of us from Doyle you and the children especially."

"Did she really love me?"

"Aaron, don't you ever doubt her love for you. She wouldn't have done this if she didn't love you. Anyone who saw you two together knows you were both very much in love with each other."

"Why did I ever let her in?"

"Aaron, it's better to have loved and lost than not loved at all." Hotch rolled his eyes. "Do you regret the twins?"

"I will never regret my daughters," he said fiercely.

"Then you should never regret being with Emily. If it wasn't for her you wouldn't have them."

"I guess..." he then looked down and back up again. "How am I meant to do this, Dave? The longest I raised Jack alone was a few weeks until Emily and I decided to get back together. Now I 'm all they've got and I have triple the children. The twins aren't even two yet. How am I meant to make them understand that she's gone? It's Jack's birthday next week. He'll be seven and lost two mothers. I should have just a huge sign on me saying don't date Aaron Hotchner you're bound to be chased down by a serial killer." He knew he was rambling but he needed to vent. Now Rossi was getting what he wanted Hotch to do let it all go. He had to let go of some of his anger before he saw his children and from what JJ had told him it would be when they landed. He was here to listen and comfort his best friend.

"Aaron, you're a great father and you'll cope. You'll still have Jessica and us. We're not going anywhere. I'm not saying it's not going to be hard but it'll ease up and we'll help you through it. They'll grow to understand. Jack's been through so much in his young life and it's not fair but he still has a father that would do anything for him. Don't let him lose that..."

"I won't," he answered looking out the window.

"Aaron, you're the victim here. Doyle was after Emily because he thought she'd killed his son. Something we know she was incapable of. He was out for revenge on her. He scarcely had a thought about those she'd leave behind."

"He's still out there, Dave."

"We'll catch him, Aaron. He was after Emily and now he has her he won't come after your family. He only wanted to hurt us all to hurt Emily. He'll let his guard drop."

"When will that be?"

He didn't know how to answer him. He didn't have the answer; none of them did. He just wanted to put this all to rest and see his best friend who felt like a little brother move on. He knew though he'd never be completely happy without Emily. She was his Emma Schuller but at least Aaron had had a life with her. He was glad he'd taken his advice.

JJ sat with the others taking the time to get to know Ashley. Ashley had become one of the family now even though Reid had to admit he had a bit of crush on her.

"So have you ever met the children?" she asked.

"Who's children?" she answered.

"Aaron's." She couldn't bring herself to bring up Emily. It hurt too much. It had been a painful decision for her too.

"No," she answered shaking her head.

"Well, this will be your first time," she smiled slightly. She looked up confused. "They'll be meeting us when we land. He called them in the hospital."

She smiled slightly. "I'd loved to have met them on better circumstances. I do look forward to meeting them though."

"They are sweet children. Have you heard about what happened with Jack's mother?"

"Yes," she answered softly. Reid had filled her in shortly after she'd started when he took her out to a movie. They had tried dating but it didn't work.

"Good." At least there wouldn't be too much awkwardness though the young soon-to-be graduate agent would be meeting the children for the first time they were all on the same page. They would be there for all of them though.

When they reached Quantico they all got out feeling defeated. They all smiled sympathetically when they saw Jessica and the children. Jessica gave a wobbly smile when she saw them. Jack ran up and Aaron crouched down while his daughters walked as fast as they could to him. When they all reached him they hugged while the children cried into him. Jessica then joined him and they hugged as well.

He got up holding Eliza while she held Alexia. Jack held onto Aaron's leg trying to keep his tears inside as they faced the team. They came over to them and condoled with them. Jessica smiled slightly happy to have been welcomed into this family. Aaron also introduced Ashley who also condoled with them.

"Daddy, where's mummy?"Allie asked.

He tried to compose himself but tears fell down. Jack seeing his dad cry cried too. She looked up with innocent eyes. She didn't understand she wasn't coming home. She was too young. The team looked at him with sympathy.

"Allie, she's not coming home. She's with the angels," he said sadly.

She cried into Jessica's shoulder.

Ashley felt sorry for the family. They were such cute kids. Jack was a boy who had obviously gone through much and idolised his father. His daughters were adorable and looked so much like Emily but obviously didn't understand she was gone.

Rossi went up to him.

"Aaron, go home and take the month off. Everyone will understand. We'll be fine. Your children need you now," he said.

He nodded and they left for home. Jessica drove them as Aaron was too shattered. She'd never seen him so devastated and guilty. She would be staying a while to help them. They needed looking after.

When she got them home she tended to them all. He didn't know what to do; he felt so helpless and lost. She put them all to bed and he followed her orders numbly. She'd never seen him like this; like he'd lost all hope and purpose.

He lay down on his bed for the first time without her. He'd never slept in this bed without Emily even in the last few months. He couldn't even sleep now. The tears just fell from his eyes and he cried himself to sleep holding the pillow close to him.

Jack came in and tugged his sleeve. He opened his eyes and saw Jack there with tears running down his face.

"Want to sleep in my bed tonight?" he asked.

Jack nodded and Aaron lifted up the blanket so Jack could climb in. Jack climbed in and hugged his dad close to him crying into his shirt.

"Why did she have to go away?"He cried.

"She was protecting us, buddy. She gave her life protecting us just like your mummy did you. I'm so sorry, it's happened again, so sorry," he answered while tears fell down.

"Daddy, it's not your fault..." he smiled slightly at him trying to wipe away the boy's tears. "Did you get the bad guy?"

How could he tell them the truth? How could he tell them they'd failed? "We will find him, buddy, but we're safe now. Emily made sure of that."

"I miss her," he answered sadly snuggling into him.

"I miss her too," he answered holding his son close to him.

Jessica found them like that the next morning. She smiled sadly at the sight. She knew though he was broken he wasn't going to distance himself from his kids. They were his lifeline.

Jack woke up and smiled sadly at his aunt.

"You've got the day off school," she informed him. "They know Emily died." He nodded sadly. "Want breakfast?"

"I'm not hungry," he answered.

"You've got to eat something, buddy."

"I don't want to leave daddy."

"Buddy, go get breakfast. Aunt Jessica's right you need to eat something. I'll be alright," Aaron said without opening his eyes. Opening his eyes would remind him Emily had gone. Reality was too painful right now.

"Ok daddy," he answered kissing his cheek. He didn't really want to leave him. He wanted to keep his promise to Emily to look after him for her. He hoped his daddy knew Emily had loved him.

He went off with his aunt who had already been up and called Sean. That had been a tough call to make. She'd always had a thing for him and she knew he agreed Emily was Aaron's perfect match. He said he would catch the next flight out.

Aaron meanwhile turned his head into his pillow hoping the next time he opened his eyes Emily would be there and it was all a dream. A nightmare just like all the rest.

He heard his daughter's cries and woke up knowing he couldn't delude himself. She was gone; he was on his own. He was a single parent; his three children had lost their mother. He had to deal with all this alone but he also knew he couldn't leave the BAU. They were his family. He'd already promised Jack they would get Doyle.

He went into the nursery to see them. Tears streamed down their faces and they cried for their mummy. They kept crying for her even when they came in and it caused a wrench in his heart. They wanted the one person he couldn't give them and they didn't understand.

"Allie, Ellie, I'm so sorry but mummy can't come. She's no longer with us," he said sadly. They just kept crying for her not understanding and the dam broke. He just fell to his knees sobbing. Every cry reminded him his love was gone and he couldn't give them who they wanted. It wasn't possible anymore. They were too young to understand though he was trying to explain. Right now they weren't listening and it pained him though he didn't blame them. They were only twenty-two months.

Jack heard his sisters' cries and ran up to tend to them. Where was daddy? Shouldn't he be there? When he came into the nursery he was shocked to see him crouched down crying. His daddy never cried; he didn't even cry like this when his mummy died. He really really loved Emily.

He went over to him and hugged him letting him cry into his little body. Aaron didn't even realise who he was holding he just needed the strength.

"Allie, Ellie, mummy can't come. She's gone to join the angels. We only have daddy now and he's hurting. He doesn't want us to forget her but he can't give her to us. Please understand," he said.

They kept crying but they stopped calling for Emily. Aaron was thankful for that but felt guilty he'd broken down in front of his young children. They needed him to be strong. He composed himself and got up off his knees.

"Daddy, it's ok. You loved mummy and I know you hurt," Jack assured him innocently.

"Thanks buddy," he smiled slightly. He was even more proud of his son now but he was hoping Jack wouldn't lose his childhood. He didn't want his only son to grow up too fast like he'd had to.

They wiped the girls 'tears from them and Aaron lifted them both out of the cot. They carried them down the stairs.

Two hours later there was a knock on the door. He answered it to find Strauss. Great! Just what he needed! Strauss to pop by the day after his girlfriend had 'died'. From the looks of it she wasn't even going to be sympathetic. He knew Rossi had put in his compassionate leave last night when they landed.

Without even being invited in she stormed in. Jesus! His grieving children were in the next room.

"Why didn't you turn up to work today, Agent Hotchner? We had no notice," she hissed.

What?! He knew for certain Dave had filed his compassionate leave starting today. Rossi had never failed him. Strauss had simply overlooked it. He knew she had. He also knew she knew Emily had died yesterday. She'd very much been out for their blood when they went over her head for approval on the relationship.

"As you well know Emily died yesterday. My children need me at the moment. Dave put in for my compassionate leave last night," he answered.

"I didn't receive it." He knew she must have. He really didn't have time for this shit. His children needed him for Christ's sake! They'd just lost their mother.

"Dave put it in last night."

"It hasn't come through and you don't have permission to not be at work today."

"With all due respect, m'am, my girlfriend and daughters' mother died yesterday. They need me most right now."

"You are in direct in dereliction of your duty...oh and don't expect the FBI to pay for Agent Prentiss' funeral. She was a disgrace to the Bureau. She was a slut who slept her way into staying in the BAU and if it had been up to me I would never have allowed the relationship..."

He was now seething with anger. How dare she? How fucking dare she? He only lost her yesterday and everyone knew he was in love with her. Emily had died in the line of duty. She may not have always followed protocol but she did her job. Their relationship was based on love.

"How dare you? Emily died in the line of duty. She may have not always followed protocol but she got the job done keeping her oath. She died serving this country. She was an asset to the BAU and to the FBI. She was a damn fine agent which your insecurity blindsided. You've had it in for me since god knows when and Emily since she wouldn't be your mole. She didn't sleep with me to stay in the unit or to further herself up the chain. We were in love. A feeling I'm sure you've never felt..." he seethed. She looked at him in absolute shock, horror and anger. "Now you can kindly leave my home."

She picked up her stuff and looked up at him angrily. "Agent Hotchner, this isn't over," she shouted.

"You're damn right this isn't over," he answered unlocking his door and ushering her out giving her one of his hardest glares. That had been the last straw. He'd had enough of her unprofessional behaviour and vendetta against him. He would file an official complaint with the director.

He then noticed Jessica in the doorway looking shocked and angry with an upset Jack. He closed his eyes trying to keep his tears and concern back. How long had they been there? How much had he heard?

He opened his eyes back up and looked at them. "How much did you hear?" he asked.

"Daddy, why did she say all those mean things about mummy?" he asked running to him.

He crouched down and gave him a hug. "She's a very mean lady who doesn't like daddy or mummy."

"But why?"

"She thinks daddy's going to take her job."

"Would you?"

"I gave up any chance of having her job when I got with Emily but everything is worth giving up for those you love. Doing so I kept your mother's promise of showing you that love is the most important thing."

He smiled slightly and Aaron went to change after calling up the director. He knew he had to make an appointment with him to file the complaint. He even knew he had more than his team behind him. There were at least two agents in counterterrorism that would be outraged. Jordan Todd had formed a friendship with Emily while they worked together and Alexia di Ginatto was Emily's childhood friend. Also JJ was bound to back them up as well from the Pentagon. They had powerful friends Strauss had underestimated. She even had a friend in power at Interpol.

When he got in Rossi caught him on the way into the bullpen. He wanted to get back up from him and Morgan when he went to meet the director. Rossi was his number two and Morgan was his equal. He needed support right now; he was vulnerable. Rossi couldn't believe his eyes when he saw him. What the hell was Hotch doing here? He should be at home with his children. By the looks of it something had happened. He was sure it was Strauss. Everyone had moved out of the way of Hotch on the warpath.

"Aaron, what is it?" he asked when he met him on the catwalk.

"Can we go in your office?" he answered with tears in his eyes. He was still in angry shock over what Strauss had said.

"Sure, "he answered.

They went in and sat down. Rossi could see the tears in Hotch's eyes and he was shaking in anger.

"Aaron, what happened? Why are you here?" he asked concerned.

He filled Rossi in on what happened with Strauss. By the end of it he was also seething with anger. He emailed the team, Jordan Todd and Alexia di Ginatto. They all quickly replied that they would join them for the appointment.

They headed off to see the director.

"Agent Hotchner, I was only expecting you," he said.

"We all wish to file the same complaint," he answered.

He nodded. "I'm all ears."

They filled him in and he looked in shock and anger as they did so. He couldn't believe Strauss could act like this and say that about his girlfriend's daughter. She was a damn fine agent and had been an asset to the Bureau. How callous could Strauss be to say that to her boyfriend's face the day after her death? He'd had to hold his girlfriend as she sobbed this morning. She regretted that they had had a bad relationship and what she'd last said to her.

"I will investigate into this. Agent Hotchner, you're right. You should be with your children. Go home and be with them. We'll tell you the result later," he said.

"Thank you, sir," he answered nodding his head.

"And of course you will be granted compassionate leave and Agent Prentiss a government funeral."

"Thank you."

They all left the room. He already knew what he wanted to do but protocol called for him to investigate. He had another complaint come in from Eliza Zanetti of Interpol. Once he'd informed his girlfriend she urged him to sack Strauss or at least get her reassigned. He found all the evidence stacking up against her and called her in.

Aaron got a call that night with all his family around him including Sean. Strauss was being reassigned to Alaska and he was being offered her previous position. He turned it down but agreed to help find a suitable replacement. Eliza Zanetti moved from England to Virginia and was given the job.

Five days after Strauss was fired Emily was buried three days before Jack's birthday. They prepared for the funeral at home with Jessica and Sean's help. Aaron changed his daughters into black dresses with Sean's help while Jessica changed Jack into the suit he'd worn at Haley's funeral. Once they were all in their funeral clothes they waited for the funeral car. Only Aaron knew the coffin held a crash dummy and Emily was actually lying in a hospital bed nearby. He couldn't bring himself to see her. He knew she was on breathing apparatus. It would be too painful to see her like that.

Soon after the funeral car arrived holding the coffin and the car behind. Sean got in the back with Jack while Aaron and Jessica got in the middle with the girls sat on their laps. He hugged Alexia to him and stroked her hair trying to keep the tears inside. Yes he knew Emily wasn't truly dead but he had to live without her. It was the worst pain he'd ever felt. It was like someone put a wrench in his heart that he couldn't take out. He hated the idea of doing this to his family but he had to protect them.

When they arrived they got out and met the team. The director was even there with her mother. What was her mother doing with the director? Were they dating? If she was prepared to make it up to him and her grandchildren he wasn't one to dissuade her but why did it have to be when Emily was gone he thought as he got out holding his daughter.

Elizabeth saw them get out. She couldn't believe how much the girls looked like her daughter. There was no denying they were her grandchildren. One was on her father's hips while the other had her head turned into the woman, who she knew to be his former sister-in-law. His son was holding who she knew to be his uncle's hand. She'd kept on top of them from afar. She'd wanted to know what was going on with her daughter but knew she probably wouldn't forgive her. Seeing how much they looked like Emily brought tears to her eyes. She couldn't believe her daughter was gone. Seeing Aaron Hotchner so broken she knew he'd been in love with her daughter. She was thankful Emily had found someone who could give her the love she deserved. She hadn't meant to pull away but she could never forgive herself for the incident. She'd nearly died and it was all her fault. Now she really was dead and her twins would never remember her. They were just toddlers.

The pall bearers got the coffin out. Aaron was about to take it along with Dave, Spencer, Derek, the director and Anderson when Sean took it for him. There was no way he would be letting his brother hold her coffin. Everyone breathed a collective sigh. No way would they let Aaron carry his girlfriend's coffin. They knew she had been his life; his lifeline. Apart from this past week Seaver had never seen her boss so broken before. She almost envied Emily. She hoped one day she would feel that love.

Aaron followed holding Alexia in his arms and Jack's hand while Eliza was being held by Jessica. Elizabeth followed being with JJ, Penelope, Ashley, Jordan and the older Eliza and Alexia. She saw for the first time how the team was a family. She regretted never being able to give her that. The closest relationships she'd had growing up were Alexia, Eliza and Andrew. She could understand why she'd give her daughters those names. Andrew couldn't make it today though he had wanted to.

They laid the coffin to rest and stood to the side. He continued holding his son's hand as Jessica and Sean joined him. He wouldn't let go. He needed his children as much as they needed him right now. He stood there as the funeral dragged on. He just wanted everything back to normal. He wanted his Emily back. How was he meant to live without her? He just felt numb at the moment.

He made his eulogy trying hard not to let his tears fall. He felt his brother place a hand on his back to support him and internally thanked him. He knew though they lived in two different states his brother was always there for him. He was there for his nephew and nieces too. Jessica as well. He wasn't blind to their connection. He wondered when they would even get their act together. He'd never felt anything so painful before but he was thankful for the family he had around him.

The coffin was lowered with the American flag on it as he ushered out his children. They headed off to the wake at Dave's cabin. There Ambassador Prentiss went up to Aaron and the children. She wanted to make it up to them especially when she saw how much Emily had meant to him. She'd seen he was the one she wanted her to have been with. She apologised heartfelt about what she had last said and he could see she meant it so forgave her. He introduced her to the children.

Unbeknownst to him an old friend watched the funeral from afar. Jason saw how devastated his old friend was. He was holding a little girl along with his sister-in-law. He guessed the little boy whose hand he was holding was Jack. He hadn't seen the boy since he was a toddler. At first he though the funeral was for Haley until he saw the flag on the coffin. This was a state funeral. Had Aaron been in a relationship with a fellow agent? What had happened to Haley?

He noticed the twins' resemblance to his old colleague Emily Prentiss. Oh my god! Aaron and Emily! It was clear those girls were his daughters by the way he was treating them. Since when did Aaron Hotchner break the rules? Last he'd seen him he was happily married to Haley. He couldn't see Haley anywhere yet Jack was here and so was her sister. Had she died? He felt sorry for their loss. She was a damn fine agent and a great woman. He was sure she had been a great mother. She had been great with children.

He wouldn't approach them. He'd spent too many years away to intrude. He didn't think he would be welcome anymore. He hadn't left them in a good way. He'd basically deserted them even though he had left a note for Spencer. He headed off.

Three days later the director and Elizabeth came OVER. They said they were taking them to the zoo for Jack's birthdays no objections. Aaron was touched that they wanted to make sure it wasn't forgotten. They wanted to spoil him.

They took them round the zoo while the girls were entranced. Jack smiled sadly as they went round. Aaron hugged him close to him understanding. He missed Emily terribly and had wanted to spend his birthday with her. He appreciated their attempts though. He knew they were trying to make him feel special.

When they got back from the zoo they found the team had set up a party. Aaron smiled as did Jack. They were really putting in an effort to celebrate Jack's seventh birthday with him. They were both happy and mingled. Jack spent most of his time playing with Henry. The girls played alone. They later found that JJ had made him a birthday cake. Aaron was pretty sure Dave, Penelope and JJ were behind the celebrations.

As he watched Jack play happily with Henry he smiled with tears in his eyes and thanked them.

"It's alright, boss. Little man shouldn't miss his birthday. You only turn seven once," Penelope smiled.

"I appreciate it," he smiled sadly.

"How are you holding up?" Dave asked.

"We have our bad days we have our good days. The twins have stopped crying for her in the morning. Jack still misses her. So do I," he answered.

JJ looked at him guiltily. She didn't know how she'd be if they'd had to send Will away. It was clear Aaron was heartbroken and lost but he was children needed him.

"It'll ease up but you're doing well."

"Thanks. Thank you for your help."

"Always here for you, boss," Penelope smiled sadly. They all really missed Emily. It was weird being at the office without Hotch and Emily. They knew Hotch would be back in a few weeks but it still wouldn't be the same without Emily.

Aaron took JJ aside. He'd seen she looked guilty. This wasn't her fault. They'd made the decision together. He knew what he was doing when he did it. He knew he was breaking his heart but he had to sacrifice himself for his family's protection.

"JJ, this isn't your fault," he said.

"But only if I hadn't..." she answered.

"We had to. We had to protect Emily and the children."

"But she would have been here and you wouldn't feel this pain..."

"I knew I would be breaking my heart going into this. I had to sacrifice it for my family's protection. You would have done the same..."

"I only worry about you, Aaron."

"I'll live. This had to be done..." she nodded. "Have you arranged the identities and bank accounts yet?"

"I'm working on it." He nodded. "What was the latest on her recovery?"

"They think she'll be out in seven weeks...I'll hand her the plane ticket then."

"Where are we going?"

"Paris."

She nodded.

A few weeks later he returned to work leaving Jessica and Sean with the children. Sean had told him he was staying until the twins had turned two. He wanted to help celebrate their birthday too.

It was hard looking out of his office to Emily's empty desk. He was helping look for a replacement but it would always be her desk. Though he had the children life felt empty without her. He was trying hard not to close up.

Chapter Text

With Friends Like These

Sometime later he was off on his first case without her. It was hard leaving his children for the first time since her death but he promised Jack he would try and come home in one piece. They were his first priority.

Meanwhile Seaver graduated into the BAU. She dedicated her graduate speech to Emily for all the help she'd given her. She came in the day after for her first day as a full agent. Garcia had baked her cakes for the occasion.

It was painful to see the plaque with Emily on it among the fallen agents. Garcia would sometimes visit it to remind her Emily was gone. Hotch couldn't even look at it. If he did tears came to his eyes. He loved and missed her so much.

For this case they were off to Portland, Oregon. Two murders had happened where the victim was bludgeoned to death then stabbed multiple times. It turned out to be a schizophrenic who believed in exorcisms and killed in order to cure his insomnia. This case affected both Hotch and Reid in different ways. Hotch couldn't help trying to look for Emily only to be reminded she was gone. Reid became defensive about schizophrenia. He also revealed he was worried about getting it himself.

They were both glad to be home. Hotch rushed home to be with the children. When he got home Jack ran up to him and the girls walked up with their arms open.

"Daddy," he shouted.

"Hey buddy," he smiled.

"I missed you."

"I missed you too," he answered hugging him.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

He then put Jack down and turned to his daughters. He hugged them close to him and kissed their cheeks. They were all he now had left of Emily. He wasn't letting them go anytime soon. He didn't care if he socially isolated himself. He now only lived through his children.

A week later the twins turned two. They celebrated with a modest party. Sean baked them both a cake. Aaron couldn't believe his little girls were two already. He was so proud of them. He only wished Emily was here too.

Sean went back to New York a few days later. Aaron thanked him for all the support he'd given him.

Chapter Text

Hanley Waters

Some weeks later he was off to Tampa, Florida on another case that hit home. Cases involving children always hit home. The UnSub had lost her son a year to the day before and was suffering a psychotic break shooting anyone who got in her way.

When they found her he told his team he was going in while taking off his vest.

They were all concerned. The twins and Jack couldn't lose another parent and this woman was having a psychotic break. They couldn't lose him too. What did he think he was doing? They had expected him to break at some point but not like this.

"She's at the end of a psychotic break, Hotch. We don't know what she's going to do," Morgan said.

"I'll keep my mike on," he answered then headed into the restaurant. Everyone prayed to God nothing would happen but knew he knew what he was doing.

He managed to talk down the UnSub whilst taking control as well using his experience as a father. He told her what her son last heard was her regret and he'd have died the confident little boy he'd been in life. Those who had failed to save him wouldn't forget the day they failed. It would have killed him too to lose one of his children. As he talked about some children hiding behind their parent she couldn't help but think of his Eliza. She was even shyer now Emily was gone. Alexia had even turned shy. Jack was determined to help care for them now Jessica had gone home.

When they landed he led the psychiatric evaluations. He'd managed to twist Zanetti's arm into letting him do them as she trusted him having known each other before she got the job. She'd told him she wanted them done so she knew what she was dealing with as she got used to the new position. He understood. She was taking on a lot but he believed in her.

He understood how they were all feeling as he felt the same. Reid and Garcia were still deeply upset about it. Morgan was justifiably angry. He wanted to get Doyle. He nodded his approval at going after him. There was nothing more he wanted to do but hunt down the bastard who had ruined his life but he had to be with his children.

"We're all talking to you but where do you go, Hotch? You're the most affected," he answered.

He was right. He was the most affected. Emily had been their friend but his partner, the mother of his children. He was bottling it all up and he needed an outlet. He sure as hell didn't want to take it out on the kids.

The last person was Dave.

"How are you holding up, Aaron?" he asked.

"Everyone's feeling it but no-one wants to talk about it," he answered.

"It's too soon. Isn't Zanetti meant to do these sorts of things?"

"She isn't prepared yet and thought it best for me to do it."

"You twisted her arm, didn't you?" his silence told it all. "You've been through a lot these past few years. How are you doing?"

"This is meant to be your evaluation not mine."

"To Emily and Haley," he answered toasting his glass of scotch.

"To Emily and Haley," he answered sadly. He missed them both.

A few days later he visited the hospital with the plane ticket and everything she needed for her new life. She couldn't come home no matter how it pained them. She was dead to everyone but him and. She'd have to leave from the hospital. He had to explain to her what had happened.

When he got there he asked for her room. He headed there and she smiled when she saw him. She looked concerned when he didn't smile back. He sat on her bed and held her hand stroking his thumb over her hand. How could he tell her all this? How was he to tell her only he and JJ knew she was alive and they'd already held her funeral? He didn't want to send her away he had to. He hoped she'd understand.

He placed her bag down and got out the ticket to Paris. She looked at it then back up at him and could see the tears in his eyes. No, he couldn't be sending her away.

"Emily, I'm so sorry, I failed you," he said. "We weren't able to catch Doyle. He fled before we could..." she understood they were sending her away to protect her. "Everyone believes you died; that he killed you. It was the only way JJ and I could protect you." She nodded. "You're going you Paris," he added giving her the ticket. She took it trying to keep her tears back. "JJ will meet you out there in a few days," he said on the verge of tears.

He got up to leave. He knew he was about to break and he didn't want to make it any harder for her. "Aaron," she called on the verge of tears herself. He looked back at her. "I'm so sorry..." he nodded biting back his tears. "Remind the kids I love them."

"I will."

"I love you."

"I love you, too," he answered then left.

She fell apart and whispered, "Goodbye Aaron." She cursed Doyle even more. He'd ruined their lives. She knew Aaron hadn't wanted to send her away but he had to. To protect him and their kids she had to comply. It was the hardest thing to leave him and their children not knowing when she'd ever see them again. She loved them so much and it was breaking her heart but if Doyle hadn't been found there was no other way. She knew her team would find him but she didn't know when.

When Aaron got to his car he fell apart/. He'd really lost her. He'd actually sent her away not knowing when or if he'd ever see her again. He couldn't even contact her as it would endanger everyone he loved. The love of his life was gone. He had to raise the three children on his own. He was a lone parent. He was just thankful for the team and Jessica who was currently looking after them.

When he'd recomposed his tears he called JJ and when she answered he asked, "Can I come over? I've just given Emily her ticket."

"Sure. I'm always here for you," she answered.

"Thanks,"

He drove over there and she took him aside.

"How did it go?" she asked.

"As well as it could I guess," he answered.

"She understood almost immediately."

"I'm so sorry about all this."

"It's not your fault. It's Doyle's...Here's your ticket," he answered handing her the ticket.

"Thanks," she smiled sadly.

"I'd better go and get my children."

She nodded. He left for Jessica's.

Two days later JJ was in Paris. She headed to the restaurant where she was to meet Emily. Aaron had arranged the meeting but had already said his goodbye. She had the papers Emily needed. She'd set up several accounts in different countries alongside aliases so Emily could go to different countries if she wanted to. She just couldn't return to America. Aaron had also put in a family photo to comfort her. Her family would always be with her.

She smiled slightly while she sat in front of Emily. She got out the envelope and placed it on the table. Emily looked down at it sadly.

"There's seven different aliases with bank accounts," she said.

"Thank you," she answered then lifted her eyes. "How is he?"

"Good."

"Don't lie to me, JJ. I saw him two days ago and he was trying to fight the tears. I broke him, didn't I?"

"He's heartbroken but he doesn't blame you. He'll always love you."

"Please may you give him this letter?"

"Sure."

She took it and put it in her bag while Emily headed off to her apartment and her new life without the man of her dreams and her children. She loved and would miss them so much but trusted Aaron would give them what they needed. She got herself a disposable phone just so she could safely hear his voice.

Meanwhile the children were in bed and Aaron was cuddled up to their dog stroking his fur. He couldn't sleep. Whenever he closed his eyes he saw her and it hurt too much.

"Were you adopted out of guilt?" he asked Milo. "She changed shortly before we got you and it was her idea." He carried on stroking him hoping he could get back to sleep. "I'm losing my mind, aren't I? You can't talk back to me." Milo cuddled up close to his master wanting to give him comfort. "How am I meant to live without her? I gave her all I had."

Chapter Text

The Stranger

Some weeks later he was off on another case. This time they were off to San Diego, California. Three murders had occurred in five days. They were all brunette female college students majoring in education or some aspect of childcare killed in their homes. They were all repeatedly stabbed. They found his final target was his stepmother. They managed to arrest him.

Zanetti meanwhile looked over the evaluations. She noticed Hotch's wasn't there but she'd expected that. She'd gotten that the only person he really talked to was Emily. She greatly missed her friend and envied the love Hotch had for her. She thanked him for the evaluations later. She really wanted to get to know her agents.

A week later Sophie Le Montagne turned one. The team went to JJ's to celebrate. Aaron couldn't believe his goddaughter had turned one already. She was really happy to be the centre of attention. The twins happily played with her while Jack played with Henry.

The twins were getting used to not having their mother around. Their father was worried they'd forget her but just like with Jack and Haley he would do his hardest to help them know her. Jack was also getting used to being without Emily. He was moving on as he knew he'd never get her back as she was dead just like his mum.

Aaron was sleeping again and attempting to move on but his hear wouldn't let him. His heart was wholly Emily's and would always be. He was getting these odd phone calls almost daily as well where the caller would hang up just after he answered. Part of him hoped it was Emily. He knew Doyle would actually talk to him if he had the number and taunt him. Seeing the twins hurt him though as no matter how much he loved them they were the spitting image of their mother.

Chapter Text

Out of the Light

Some weeks later they were off on another case. Beforehand though Aaron attended one of Jack's soccer matches. He tried to attend every single one. Jessica would take the twins while he did so. She was being a great pillar of support while they grieved Emily. Part of him worried though that the twins would think she was mum.

The person in charge of the soccer team turned to Aaron that day. "We were wondering if you'd coach the team?" they asked.

"Why me?" he answered.

"We think you would be best to bring focus to the team."

"Can I get back to you after my next case?"

"Sure."

He smiled back and took Jack home to Aunt Jessica and the girls.

He was soon off to Lake Worth, North Carolina. A Jane Doe had been found stabbed and having jumped off a cliff similar to an incident that happened three years before. They found that asexual sadist/ predator was working as an Art teacher. Evidence piled up against him until they found a list of people that worked with him in photography.

They found the UnSub was a man who believed Marcy Owens, his latest victim, was his stepdaughter Rose who he had a sexual relationship with. When they got to his barn they found he was planning to drown them both. They chased after him.

When he drove his van into the lake Morgan and Hotch dove in after him. Morgan tried to unbuckle Marcy and get her to safety when the killer tried to pull her back. Hotch came up from below and shot him dead allowing Morgan to get Marcy out. They both swam up to the surface. Morgan got out with Marcy shortly after Hotch. He laid her on the bank and tried desperately to perform CPR. Thankfully she soon regained consciousness. They got her off to hospital and went home.

On the plane Rossi came up to him holding his tablet. "I know you're going to do this coaching thing so I thought this might help," he said.

He looked down at it and saw soccer formations. "Soccer formations?" he smiled. "You've been holding out on me."

"I'm Italian."

He smiled. He needed someone to help him coach the team. He knew Rossi was the perfect choice. "I need someone to help me coach."

"How early do they start?"

"Early," he smiled.

The next Saturday they were coaching the team. They encouraged Jack to score a goal as they saw him nearing the net with the ball. When he scored they cheered his name.

Aaron got down on one knee and high-five both Jack's hands while Dave celebrated with the other boys. Aaron smiled at them. It was times like this he forgot his broken heart.

He then went over to Dave and they formed an arch with their hands for the boys to run through.

When soccer practice was over they headed home to find the twins were sick. They hadn't been holding anything down and had coughs. They tried to do everything they could for them but a few days later they took them to the hospital. They just weren't getting any better. In fact they were getting worse. They had high fevers and weren't holding anything down still. Aaron was really worried and scared. He couldn't lose his twin daughters.

Jessica agreed to look after Jack while Aaron rushed his girls to the hospital. He waited in the ER for them to be seen worrying himself sick. He held their hands scared he'd lose them. He wanted Emily badly now but he couldn't have her. He couldn't even tell her their daughters were ill.

The doctors soon came to see them and examined them. They looked at him gravely.

"Mr Hotchner," they said.

"Yes," he answered concerned.

"Your daughters are seriously ill...Their temperatures are way too high. We have to keep them in."

He nodded. "Can I stay?"

"Of course. It's better that you do."

He couldn't leave his babies but he had to tell Jessica. He had to ask her to look after Jack while he was with the twins. There was no way he'd leave his daughters in this state though he loved his son. He just hoped Jack knew he wasn't favouritising. The twins needed him as they were so ill.

He went out and called Jessica once they were put into a ward.

"Aaron, how are they?" she asked.

"Not good, Jess, not well," he answered. He filled her in on what the doctor had said.

"Oh god, Aaron! Of course I'll stay with Jack. There's no question you should stay with the girls. They'll pull through Aaron."

"Thanks Jess."

He ended the call and called Zanetti. He knew he had to explain why he wouldn't be in work tomorrow. She'd understand as she'd been there ever since they were born.

"Aaron, what is it?" she asked.

"I won't be coming into work tomorrow," he answered sadly.

"Why not? Is everything alright?"

"The girls are in hospital."

"Oh god! Why?"

"They're sick."

"How bad is it?"

He wasn't going to mince his words. She was family and this was serious. "If their temperatures get any higher I could lose them."

"Oh Aaron, they'll pull through."

"Thanks."

He ended the call and headed back to his baby girls. He held both their hands and let tears fall. He couldn't lose his children. He needed them and he couldn't live through losing his girl and their daughters. They were far too young.

"Come on, Alexia and Eliza, you have to pull through. Daddy needs you. I love you, girls, so much and I can't lose you. You're everything to me. You're the reason I'm still living. Please pull through. You can do it," he pleaded.

He looked up letting the tears fall down his face to see Elizabeth. What was she doing here? He'd only told Jessica and Eliza.

"Eliza told me," she said. "I thought you'd need the support."

"Thanks," he answered sadly.

"They'll fight, Aaron. They're Emily's daughters and from what I've seen and heard you're quite the fighter too."

He smiled sadly.

The team came to visit over the next few days and thankfully their temperatures went down. Two days later Alexia opened her eyes.

"Daddy, "she asked frightened.

"I'm here, princess," he smiled with tears in his eyes. "You're in hospital. You were sick but you're getting better," he added stroking a finger over her cheek.

"Love you, daddy."

"I love you too, Allie and I'm always going to be here for you."

She smiled at him and he smiled back. He kissed her forehead and she kissed his cheek softly.

Eliza then opened her eyes.

"Daddy," she asked scared.

"Baby, I'm here," he smiled at her happy to see her beautiful brown eyes again. "You're in hospital with Allie. You were both sick but now you're getting better," he added stroking a finger over her cheek.

"Love you, daddy."

"I love you too, Ellie, and I'm always going to be here for you."

She smiled up at him and he smiled back kissing her forehead while she kissed his cheek softly. He was so happy both his little girls had gained consciousness. They were going to get better. They'd survive. His angels would live.

Soon Jack came to visit. He'd been visiting everyday with Jessica. He'd been staying over at hers. He hoped his daddy and sisters would come home soon. He missed them like crazy. He hoped they would get better soon. Daddy was so worried. He didn't want to lose his sisters too.

"Jack," they said weakly when they saw him producing a big smile on his face.

"Allie, Ellie," he beamed. They smiled back at him and he kissed them both. He was so so happy his sisters were going to live.

"Love you, Jack," they smiled.

"I love you too," he smiled back. "I miss you." They smiled at him as they worshipped their big brother.

A few days later they were able to leave hospital. He was so happy to bring his twin daughters home and he hadn't lost them. His daughters would carry on growing up.

Chapter Text

The Big Sea

Some weeks later he was off on another case. They were off to Jacksonville, Florida. A pumping crew had found a mass grave off shore. As they went about investigating the skeletons it affected Morgan. His cousin Cindy had gone missing some years ago and there was a possibility she could be one of the victims. When they found the UnSub though there was no conclusive proof he decided to tell his aunt she was one of the victims.

He wanted to give his family closure. This had haunted them for years and if it had closure maybe they could all move on. He held his aunt as she cried.

On the plane he got out the ring in his pocket and looked at it. Yes now was the time. He would propose to his Penelope when they got back to the office. There was nothing more he wanted to do than marry his baby girl. Until they got together he was never really the marrying type. He had no idea though how it would affect his boss.

When they touched down and reached the bullpen they found everyone but Garcia had gone. Derek pulled Penelope into his office then got down on one knee producing the ring. She couldn't believe her eyes and teared up when she saw the ring. Her Derek wanted to marry her. There was nothing more she wanted to do but be his wife. It was all she dreamed of apart from a baby but they'd get there in time.

"Pen, you're my life, will you be my wife?" he asked. He looked up nervously expecting his answer.

"Yes," she cried. "Of course I will." She hugged him and when she pulled back he slipped the ring on her finger.

"I love you, baby girl."

"I love you too, hot stuff..." she then looked down at her ring and asked, "moonstone?"

"I can always tell your mood then. Plus it's unique like you. No-one else can find anyone like my baby girl."

She smiled and kissed him. She was over the moon she was going to marry the man of her dreams.

"Let's go tell the others," she exclaimed dragging him into the bullpen while he laughed. He was thrilled to be marrying his baby doll. He wanted the whole world to know Penelope Garcia was going to be officially his.

They came into the bullpen gleaming to find the whole team there. They looked up expectedly when they came in.

"We're going to get married," she squealed waving her ring in their faces. They all smiled.

"Congratulations," Hotch smiled sadly then headed up to his office. He opened up the drawer and got out the ring he'd once bought for Emily. He played with it in his fingers looking at the picture he had of her in his drawer.

He was really happy for his friends but it reminded him of what he'd lost. He wanted to marry Emily now she lived in Paris and they couldn't be together. He was never going to marry again. He felt so lonely but he knew he would always love her. There was no chance of moving on.

Rossi came in to see if his best friend was alright. He'd noticed the way he'd reacted. They were all concerned about him. They could see his loneliness and sadness as he walked away from them.

Rossi found him in his office playing with an engagement ring and realised why he hadn't hung around. Poor Aaron! He'd had no idea his friend had contemplated marriage before he lost Emily. They would have married he knew that. Emily would have accepted him.

"Oh Aaron! She would have said yes," he said.

The one thing Aaron couldn't stand was pity. He didn't want anyone's pity. He was doing just fine without Emily. He didn't need her. He and the children were doing just fine without her.

"It doesn't matter now, does it?" he snapped. He packed up his stuff and answered, "I'm going home." Rossi just nodded.

When Hotch had left for his office Morgan looked puzzled. Why was Hotch that upset about their engagement? Garcia remembered the day they got the ring. Poor Hotch! He must have been reminded how he was going to marry Emily.

"Derek," she said making him look down at her. "You remember when I went out that day with Hotch and his kids." He nodded. "He told me not to tell anyone until they were engaged..."

He cottoned on to what was going on. Hotch was going to propose then all the crap with Doyle happened. He'd lost his opportunity. Their engagement only reminded him of how he didn't get his. If it hadn't been for that bastard they'd have married.

They'd lost two people that day. Emily had died and Hotch had never been the same. He didn't talk to anyone; he'd closed himself off. He only lived through his children. They were his only hope for the future but they knew he wouldn't move on from Emily. They knew he was lonely but he wouldn't let anyone in. He was scared of getting hurt again. He didn't know who to trust anymore. He'd trusted Emily. Look at how that turned out.

"He was going to propose to Emily," Derek answered. She nodded. "Damn!"

The last thing he'd wanted to do was hurt anyone. He'd just wanted to make Penelope his wife. He hadn't wanted to remind Hotch of what he'd lost.

When he saw him come out of his office he called for him. "Hotch! Hotch! I'm so sorry. I didn't know."

Hotch looked at Garcia who looked guilty. He knew she'd told him he had planned to propose to Emily. Why couldn't it have stayed a secret? He really didn't want pity. Neither did he want Morgan to feel guilty or for anyone to believe he was upset about the engagement. He was truly happy for them.

"It's fine. You two deserve this happiness," he smiled weakly.

"So you, Hotch," he answered.

"Maybe one day I will but for now the children make me happy."

He smiled and patted his shoulder then he went home to his three children. Jack ran up as did his sisters. He smiled sadly back at them. The engagement served to remind him he could never give them a mum. He was all they were ever going to have.

"What is it, daddy?" he asked.

"Auntie Penelope and Uncle Derek are going to get married," he answered.

"That's great news," Jack smiled then remembered them getting the ring for Emily. "Oh," he answered letting his smile fall and hugging him. He crouched down and hugged him back.

They were the only ones keeping him from drowning into the abyss. If he hadn't got them he didn't know what to do. Emily had been the love of his life and he had to live without her. He had to carry on for his kids. They needed their father.

"We love you, daddy," they all said.

"I love you too," he answered hugging them all.

He was doing great with them and just trying to help them move on. He tried to keep life normal for them. He hadn't wanted their lives to change with the loss of their mother. The things that had changed were the loss of Emily and Uncle Sean was moving to Washington. He was setting up a restaurant here so he could be there more for his brother, nephew and nieces.

Some weeks later Eliza called him into her office. He was informed the FBI was downsizing and the BAU were in danger. Some of them would be offered positions elsewhere. He thanked her for informing him and called his team in for an early meeting.

They were all worried and confused when they came in. What was going on? Why had Hotch called them in so early? The last time they had a meeting like this Gideon had left. Garcia was worried someone was leaving. When he filled them in they told him they'd stay.

"What about you?" Seaver asked. "Will you stay?"

"It's my intention," he answered.

Chapter Text

Supply and Demand

They also had a case that day. They were called in to assist in the investigation of a local car accident. An unidentified male driver careened over a cliff and died of his injuries. They were called in because two murdered bodies were found in his trunk. Their injuries led them to believe there were many UnSubs. SSA Andi Swan, the head of the Domestic Trafficking Task Force, worked with Hotch after receiving notification of the bodies as she believed that the deaths were tied to an organisation she had been tracking for three years that kidnaps college students for torturous white slavery which ends in a high turnover rate of victims. She currently had a team of undercover agents working as potential victims. The case took a greater urgency for Swan when she learnt that one of her agents, Rene Matlin, had missed two reporting in periods. They ultimately found the location and victims arresting seventeen UnSubs in the process.

The ringleader lied to pass herself off as a victim and almost convinced Rossi. When it clicked in Morgan and Hotch's heads that Rossi had unwittingly led her to safety they got out their guns and aimed at her. Morgan's went off and hit the woman just before she could shoot Rossi. He nodded his gratitude.

They headed home soon after. He went home to his kids.

A few days later he was given a call. His aunt was informing him his mother had had a heart attack that morning. He didn't know how to take the news. He couldn't believe it. His mother had died that morning. He'd lost his mother six months after Emily. Why couldn't something go right in his life? He'd lost Emily then almost lost his daughters now lost his mother. He assured his aunt he'd let Sean know.

Sean came around to the house that afternoon. He had the kids in the nursery as he talked to Sean. They would then let the children know. There was no question they would go out to New York to attend the funeral. He would take his children with them.

Sean looked concerned when he found them alone and Aaron sat them down.

"Aaron, what is it?"He asked.

"Sean, Auntie Rosemary called me this morning," he answered. "Mother had a heart attack and died peacefully in her sleep."

"No! Aaron, mum's dead?"

"I'm sorry, Sean, but yes."

"When's the funeral?"

"Next Wednesday. I've told her we'll all be there."

He nodded. "Of course. Have you told the children yet?"

"I was hoping you'd help me. How do I tell them? We only lost Emily six months ago."

"You can do it. Are we taking them with us or leaving them with the team?"

"We'll be taking them to New York. She was their grandmother after all."

He nodded. It was Aaron's decision at the end of the day after all. He was their only parent. He had no-one to discuss it with anymore.

Aaron headed to the bottom of the stairs. "Jack, Alexia and Eliza, can you come down now?"He shouted.

"Ok daddy," Jack yelled back leading down his sisters.

They followed him into the living room. They saw their Uncle Sean there and hugged him. Both daddy and Uncle Sean looked sad. What had happened? Had someone else died?

They all sat down on the sofa. Aaron sat on the sofa with Alexia on his lap while Eliza sat on Sean's and Jack was in the middle. He looked up at his dad expectantly.

"What's wrong, daddy?" he asked.

"Jack," he answered stroking his daughter's hair while looking at his son. "Do you remember grandma?"

"Your mummy?"

"Yes buddy...Well; grandma joined the angels this morning."

Jack hugged his dad close as did Alexia while Eliza hugged Sean. They hugged them all back. "We'll be going to New York next week to say goodbye..." They nodded.

They got them ready to fly to New York a few days later. This was the first time the twins had flown. They'd never taken them out of Virginia or DC. It wasn't that they didn't want to. It was just with only two weeks off a year they only really wanted to spend time with the children.

They headed off to the airport and when they got there got them on the plane they buckled them in. They had Jack seated nearby so they could keep an eye on him. Being an odd number they couldn't all sit together. Each of the Hotchner brothers had taken a twin with them only being two. They cared for them through the flight as did Jack. He'd flown a few times already.

When they landed they got them through arrivals and went to Sean's New York home. He'd kept hold of it while he was setting up the restaurant. Luckily there was enough room for all of them. He'd thought of having them stay over before under better circumstances and with Emily.

On the day of the funeral they got up and prepared. He got his children into the same outfits they'd worn to Emily's funeral six months ago. He'd hoped he wouldn't have to send them to another funeral so soon. He'd wanted to keep death away from them. Jack was only seven and the girls only two.

He got into a suit as well as Sean. They then waited for the funeral car with their mother's coffin. They would be going in the car and it would be a smaller car than they had used with Emily's. They had one less person. When it arrived they all got in. The twins were on Sean's and Aaron's laps. This was the first time they would be meeting this part of their family.

When they arrived they got Jack and the girls out.

Aaron looked up to see his aunt and nodded sadly. He took both Alexia's and Jack's hands while Sean took Eliza's. She thought they were adorable girls. She was happy to be finally meeting them she just wished it was better circumstances. She felt sorry for them for also having lost their mother six months ago. She'd been concerned about her nephew. He'd gone through a lot in the last few years. She was glad Sean had moved to Washington to be near him. The boys had always been close.

They all stood around the coffin as the funeral happened. Sean read the eulogy this time. Aaron felt like he'd said too many in the last few years so handed it to his brother. He was proud of his younger brother as he made it. He knew he wouldn't let him down.

At the wake he watched his children play sadly while sitting on a bench. He didn't want anyone not even his family to feel sorry for him. He knew they'd only talk about Haley and Emily even though it was his mother's funeral. He'd come out to say goodbye to his mum not to talk about his exes.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see his aunt. "May I sit here?" she asked.

"Sure," he smiled sadly then looked back at his son and daughters.

"They're beautiful, Aaron."

"Thanks. Just like their mother."

She smiled weakly. "I wish I'd known her."

"She was an amazing woman. She made me throw out the rulebook just to be with her."

"I heard she'd been one of your agents."

"One of the best. She died serving her country."

"You must be proud."

"I am but it doesn't stop me missing her."

"You loved her, Aaron. Of course you miss her but it will ease up. You're doing a great job with your children."

"Thanks."

"We're here for you."

"I know."

Meanwhile in Paris Emily was out on the streets buying her groceries. She'd been living under Clair Dufont for four months now. She really missed her family. She hoped they were doing alright. She trusted Aaron was doing what he felt was right by them. He was a great father.

She bumped into someone and picked up her bags saying, "Je suis désolé." Jason helped the woman he'd just bumped into up. When he looked in her eyes he saw fear, shock and familiarity. He recognised her eyes but didn't know why.

"Merci," she answered after helping her up. Though she was speaking French she definitely wasn't French. She in fact had an American accent. Her accent also sounded so familiar. It couldn't be could it? She was dead! He'd witnessed the funeral. What was going on? Had they faked her death?

"Emily," he muttered.

"Je m'appelle Clair," she answered scared. Seeing Gideon worried her that her cover would be blown. The lives of those dear to her depended on her identity staying secret. She really hadn't expected to see him and was worried he would unintentionally blow it. She didn't know who could be listening. Doyle's spies could be anywhere.

"Emily Prentiss?"

"Je m'appelle Clair Dufont," she insisted then walked away looking around her. She had to be sure no-one had witnessed the interaction. Till Doyle was captured Emily Prentiss couldn't be uttered around her. She was Clair Dufont for the time being. A single, middle-aged Frenchwoman who had recently come back from spending many years in the States hence her accent. To go along with her outlook she'd just broken up with her fiancé.

She had a scrabble game to get back to with cheeto breath. When she got back she knew there was only one way to calm her down from her surprise which had both shocked and scared her. She got out her disposable phone and dialled his number. She had to be sure he was safe.

"Hotchner," he picked up. He didn't sound distressed or concerned. He just sounded as sad as he had been since she'd started. She knew he missed her as much as she did him. She breathed a sigh of relief and hung up. She hadn't spoken to him since she got here. She knew they couldn't have proper conversations nor that this number could be detected as hers.

He sighed as he ended the call after she hung up. He knew it was Emily and he knew though he wanted to she couldn't let her voice be heard. It couldn't be known this washer and she was alive. He was thankful there was still a connection. He'd begun to look forward to these calls. It showed she still thought of him.

He suddenly got another call from an unknown number. "Hotchner," he answered.

"Aaron," Jason replied. He wanted answers. Emily wasn't saying anything so he guessed this was the only way to get the answers.

"Jason," he answered surprised. He was the last person he expected to hear from. He hadn't heard from him in years. Why was he getting in touch now? What did he want?

"I bumped into Clair Dufont today..."

Aaron panicked when he heard that. He knew Jason would have recognised Emily and she would have vehemently denied her true identity. It had probably scared her. It sure scared him. What if he accidentally blew her cover? Her life was in danger here as was her children's.

"Please don't blow her cover! If you value our friendship don't blow her cover!" he answered slightly afraid.

"I'm not going to blow her cover. I just want answers. Is she Emily? If so why don't you bury her and why was she so scared?"

Aaron breathed out a sigh. Where did he begin? "Yes, she's Emily. She's under the witness protection programme. We had to kill her for her protection. If she wasn't dead Doyle would come after her and us. As a father I had no other choice. I had to protect her and the children."

"I knew you had children with her..."

He realised he hadn't ever been with Emily when Gideon left. He'd been happily married to Haley. "How did you know? Last we saw each other I was married to Haley. How did you know we buried Emily?"

"I witnessed the funeral."

Aaron was completely taken aback. Jason had witnessed the funeral and never made his presence known. Did he really think they would turn him away after so many years? He'd seen him with his children and knew they were Emily's. Well, there was no denying they were hers. What must have he thought? "You witnessed the funeral?"

"Yes. Must be serious if you had to bury her."

"It was. Doyle believes he killed her and I'd like to keep it that way. If he knew he'd come after the children. He wanted to destroy her."

"I will keep it hidden."

"Thanks..." he answered calming down then asked, "How is she?" he really hoped he'd see her again. He still and always would love her. He never stopped thinking about her.

"She looked physically alright but I could see she was lonely."

He sighed. He knew she was probably lonely but he wanted her to have at least some company even if it couldn't be him. Maybe he could ask Jason to be a friend to her and watch out for her. Doyle didn't know about him so it would be safer and he had promised to keep her true identity secret. "Jason, I have a favour to ask you," he said.

"Of course I'll be a friend for her," he answered.

"Thank you."

"You really do love her, don't you, Aaron?"

"Jason, you know me. I wouldn't just throw the rulebook out for just anyone."

"Your children are beautiful."

"Thank you."

They then ended the call. Aaron was glad he'd given Emily a friend. He really wanted her to have one as he hated the idea of her being all alone without family or friends. He trusted Jason with her. He at least had JJ to turn to. He turned to her now to inform her of the new development.

Little did he know Rossi had overheard his phone call. He understood though why his best friend had lied. He knew it had been the only way to protect her and the children. He wouldn't worry him by letting him know he knew. Though he knew he could trust him he didn't want to hurt their friendship or let him know he'd eavesdropped.

Emily came home one night to find a note on her doormat. She picked it up puzzled. She was thankful Clair Dufont was written on it. She opened it and read it.

'Clair,

Aaron told me what's going on and I promise to keep your true identity a secret like I told him I would. If you ever need a friend I'm here for you. I'll stay in Paris till you leave so you have a friend to talk to.

JG.'

She smiled at the sweet note. She knew Aaron had to be behind Jason reaching out to her again. She smiled as it was just like his sweet side. She'd wanted a friend as she had felt lonely for so long. She went over and picked up the picture of her family she had underneath the pillow. She always kept it there just in case anyone came over. She had to keep her old life secret.

Chapter Text

In Between Seasons

Back in Quantico they were preparing for the wedding. Derek and Penelope would be getting married in a few weeks. Spencer was to be his best man and JJ, Eliza, Sophie, Lexi and Lizzie would be bridesmaids. Aaron was happy that his daughters would be bridesmaids and they were very excited to be so. They'd already attended fittings with Auntie Penelope for their dresses. They were very close to both Auntie Penelope and Auntie JJ. Auntie Penelope since daddy bought the ring and Auntie JJ since mummy died.

On the day of the wedding the twins would be brought to the venue with their dad and brother to join the wedding party. Jack changed into his suit while Aaron got the girls changed into their dresses then himself into his tux. Their dresses were purple silk with pink sashes around their waists. He had tied the sashes into big bows behind their backs. They were also wearing white ballet pumps.

"How do we look, daddy?" they asked.

"Beautiful," he smiled at them taking photos. "Ready, Jack?" he asked picking up their flower garlands and flower bouquets.

"Yes daddy," he answered running in. He was excited about Auntie Penelope and Uncle Derek getting married. While the wedding happened he would look after daddy. It wasn't easy on daddy as he could have married Emily he thought sadly. He smiled at his sisters, "Allie, Ellie, you look lovely."

They smiled back at him. He was glad his children got on so well. Jack never felt the odd one out. He felt it was up to him to protect his little sisters. While his dad was away fighting the monsters he was to protect them and he always did to the best of his ability. After losing his mummies he wasn't going to let anything happen to them.

Aaron got them into the car then drove to the registry office. When they reached the venue he got out all his children. He smiled when he saw JJ, Sophie and Eliza already there. They smiled back and he put the garlands of yellow roses on their heads and handed them their bouquets of Mona Lisa lilies. He saw his goddaughter was fully dressed too though she held a basket of butterflies and had multicoloured butterflies in her hair.

"Go, find a seat Aaron. The girls will be alright with us," Eliza said.

He was reluctant to leave his daughters. He really didn't want too much time to sit and reflect today. It would only serve him to remind him that he could have been in Derek's place marrying Emily. He was thrilled for his friends but he couldn't help himself thinking about the love he lost. She was gone. Doyle had stolen his opportunity of marrying his soul mate.

When he saw Penelope arrive he smiled. She arrived on Rossi's arm who would be leading her down to her groom. She was wearing a big white dress with silver glittery butterflies on the skirt. It was quirky and light like her.

"You look beautiful," Aaron smiled kissing her cheek.

"Thank you, Aaron," she smiled back.

"Come on; let's go get a seat Jack." He kissed his daughters' hair wished them all luck and went inside to sit with his son. He also kissed his goddaughter's cheek before heading in. She was going to be carried down the aisle by her mother. They were some of the few people he trusted with his twin daughters.

When he got in he gave Derek a smile of reassurance. He smiled back as you didn't get many smiles for Aaron nowadays since Emily left. He knew even if there were moments when Aaron looked sad today he was happy for him and Penelope. Derek felt butterflies in his stomach as Aaron and Jack sat down on Penelope's side with Ashley, Will and Henry. She didn't really have much family. Derek's sisters, mother and aunt had come to witness the wedding as well. They'd met her a few times already and she was well-accepted into the Morgan family already. They could see why Derek loved her so much.

Spencer stood by Derek. The music started and JJ carried Sophie down the aisle while she smiled at everyone. She was a happy joyful little girl even when her mother rejoined the BAU. Next up was Eliza holding the Hotchner twins' hands. They both smiled shyly at their dad and he smiled back proud of them. Finally Penelope was led down the aisle by Rossi.

She smiled at Derek while he smiled back. She couldn't believe she was marrying her chocolate Adonis. This was the subject of her dreams. She smiled at Dave then he led her down the aisle. He smiled back so happy for his two friends. Jack held his dad's hand to support him. He smiled sadly down at his son so thankful for his understanding.

The girls parted to the side and sat near the front. While Alexia sat with Eliza and her sister ran to join her dad. Ellie was still the shyer one though Emily's death had made Alexia shyer than she was. JJ was sitting with Sophie on her lap and at the front.

Dave handed Penelope to Derek and they kissed each other's cheeks. They were both nervous but knew this was so right. They were made for each other. They were both surprised though that they'd gotten married before JJ and Will. They'd always thought they would be the first married as they were the first together.

They'd written their own vows as they wanted it to mean more. Derek went first. "Hot mama, I love you. I never thought I'd ever get married and you're the only one who could get me to do so. I've loved you for so many years but never thought I'd be good enough for you. When I could have lost you for the second time in Alaska it made me confess my love for you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, baby doll, and maybe one day have a child with you. I love you. With this ring I make you my wife." He slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her hand.

Penelope then took his hand and put the ring on his finger while tears filled her eyes. "Hot stuff, since I joined the FBI I've only ever really wanted one man and that's you. I never thought I'd get you as I didn't think I was pretty enough. When Lexi and Lizzie were born I knew I had to try and get you as were all I wanted. I wanted what Emily and Aaron had but I knew I wasn't going to get that with Kevin as I wanted it with you. I want to share my life with you and some day have your kid. Today I am so happy to make you my husband."

Aaron smiled sadly when Penelope mentioned she'd wanted what he'd had with Emily. He was never going to have that again. Even if she came back it would take time to build it up again. He didn't even know if he wanted her back. He didn't know if he could deal with the pain of losing her again if anything was ever to happen to her again. He understood more so why she'd asked for his daughters to be bridesmaids.

Later the registrar said, "With the power invested in me by the state of Virginia I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

He drew Penelope into him and dipped her while giving her a mind-blowing kiss while everyone cheered. They were so happy for the newly married couple. The marriage was so right. She couldn't believe she was now Mrs Penelope Morgan. She'd just married the man of her dreams. Her tough guy action man who would always protect her. He'd married the girl of his dreams. His quirky computer nerd who always brought light into his life. They made each other forget the horrors they saw in their job and gave them hope for the future.

They all headed off to Dave's cabin for the reception. He'd laid out a great wedding feast. You could always trust Dave for a good shindig. They all feasted and conversed apart from Aaron who tried to talk a little but couldn't stop thinking about what if this had been his and Emily's wedding.

When the dancing started after having her first dance with her groom Penelope turned to Aaron. "Can I have this dance, Aaron?" she asked.

"Sure," he smiled weakly.

He allowed her to lead him onto the dance floor. He wanted to be happy for them and he was but how could he forget Emily. He'd really wanted to take Emily as his date but ever since Doyle stabbed her there'd been no chance. He could see her face everywhere. She'd have been so happy for them. He danced with everyone but he was empty inside.

Emily looked out of the window sitting on the bench by the window. Her thoughts weren't here though. They were back in Quantico with Aaron. She wondered if they had actually got together when they first met would any of this have happened. She'd never have met Doyle that's for sure. But then she'd never have been able to protect Declan as they'd have never met. Also there would be no Jack. How she missed that sweet, little boy.

Zanetti came to Hotch's office one day. "Come in," he said when he heard the knock. When Zanetti came in he stood up. He greeted her and they sat down.

"How can I help, m'am?" he asked.

"Aaron, the board want you to head an investigative task force in Pakistan," she answered unsurely.

He nodded. "How soon?" he didn't quite know how to take this news. It would mean leaving his children. On the other hand it would limit the time he found himself reflecting. He wanted to busy himself more so he could stop thinking about Emily all the time. It hurt to think of her and he wanted to move on with his life. He loved his children but maybe this was what he needed. A break away from everything that reminded him of what once was. He could Skype them daily. He would never neglect them. Sean and Jessica could look after them with the team's help. He would take the position. He couldn't stay moping around here and he might do some good there.

"Next week," she answered concerned.

"I'll take it," he answered firmly. He saw the shock appear on her face. She probably thought he was going to turn it down for the children but he wanted to take it for them. He wasn't doing them any good moping around here. It was for their benefit he should go away but he would never cut himself off from them. He would never lose contact with them.

He filled her in on the reasons behind his decision and she nodded. She understood. He only wanted his children to be happy. He didn't want to pass on his melancholy to them. Maybe it was best he went away for a while.

"I'll help look after them."

"Thank you."

"One of them is named after me. It's the least I can do."

He smiled weakly and prepared for his mission. In the week he got to know the case he would be leading and his new team. The agents left in the BAU understood his actions after he sat them down and explained them. He would always be their leader no matter what. Morgan and Rossi agreed to take over while he was gone. They only had four agents now. Seaver had already transferred out to the human trafficking division. They never thought they'd see the day when Hotch would leave even if it was temporary. They were all going to look after his kids while he was away.

He went to the airport with his family when he went to fly out to Pakistan. His children knew he was going and he loved them. He promised them he'd keep in touch. When they got there they looked up to him innocently. They didn't really want him to go but knew he had to. Jack knew he wasn't going to see his dad for months. The twins didn't fully understand; they just knew daddy was going away. He smiled at them sadly. He was going to miss them but this was the right thing.

He turned first to his daughters who hugged him with tears in their eyes. He crouched down and hugged them both. "I love you," he said trying to wipe their tears away. He hated leaving them like this.

"Love too, daddy," they cried. "Gonna miss you."

"I'm going to miss you too but we'll Skype every day."

They nodded and he turned to his son. Jack ran into his arms and he hugged him back. "I love you, buddy," he said.

"I love you too, daddy," he answered trying to be strong. "I'll look after my sisters for you."

"I know you will," he smiled at him weakly. "You always do and you do a great job."

He smiled back at his dad sadly. "I'm going to miss you."

"I'm going to miss you too but you know we have Skype."

He nodded sadly. "It won't be the same though."

Aaron looked guilty and concerned. He really didn't want to leave them like this but he had to. He had a job to do. He had to clear his head. This was the right thing to do, wasn't it? Sean and Jessica saw his expression.

"It'll be alright, Aaron. They'll be in our care. They'll be safe," they said.

"I know," he answered then left to catch his plane. He sat back closing his eyes. Though he was going to keep in touch daily he'd just left everything behind. Jack was right it wasn't going to be the same as being able to hold them daily.

He kept his promise though. He skyped them whenever he could. He had also kept receiving those phone calls. One night one of his team asked him if he had a girl

"I did. She passed away months ago in the line of duty," he answered gruffly. He'd come out here to forget her. He really didn't want to remember.

They just nodded. There was something off about this guy. His girl had died yet he received calls that made him smile yet he didn't talk with the person. Hotch had tried to keep the calls away from his team but it was hard when they all lived in close quarters. He shared a tent with two other male agents and the team medic. He also had two female agents on his team that shared another tent. Women and men weren't meant to share tents out here in case of fraternisation. He was getting used to the desert heat and the sand. It was a far cry from Quantico and the BAU.

He found the nights and early mornings peaceful. He'd sometimes stay outside the tent watching the sunrises and sunsets. They were beautiful and peaceful. It was amazing to watch the sunrise and sunset on this expanse of desert sand. Some might find it lonely out here but he just found it relaxing and kept him calm. He hardly found himself thinking of her nowadays and when he did it would make him smile. It didn't hurt anymore. Maybe there was hope for him after all. He knew he would always love her but maybe he could move on. He smiled as he watched the sunrise.

Agent Coxton came up to him. "Hey, I heard you'd be out here," she smiled.

"Hi," he smiled back at his number 2. She was a highly intelligent and attractive woman with short, dark hair and dark eyes. She reminded him quite a bit of Emily. She was a born leader. He returned to watching the sunrise through his sunglasses and said, "Beautiful isn't it?"

"Yes sir," she smiled.

"Anything up?" he asked stroking his bearded chin. His old team wouldn't recognise him now. He'd grown a beard in the last three months he'd been here and his hair was a little tousled. He dressed a lot more casually opting for t-shirts and light trousers to a suit due to the heat.

"Just couldn't sleep anymore. What are you doing out here, Hotch? You're a single father of three young children yet you're out here in the Pakistani desert."

"I just needed to get away. I lost my partner almost a year ago..."

"I'm sorry."

"It's fine. I'm thankful for the time I spent with her. She was an amazing woman. She was a fine agent and at home a wonderful mother to my son and our two little girls. I was blessed to have her."

! She was blessed to have you too," she whispered. She couldn't deny she had feelings for him. He was a wonderful man. He was a strong, compassionate leader and a loving father who spared time for his young children. "They were wrong about you, sir." He turned to her. "You have a large heart."

He smiled at her raising an eyebrow. "Just don't tell anyone," he quipped.

She smirked. "It won't leave my lips."

"Thank you. We'd better head back."

She nodded.

Emily was playing chess with Jason in her Parisian apartment. It's how she spent most of the times he came over to visit. They always met at the apartment. It was the only place she could safely be herself rather than Clair.

She let him checkmate her looking off in the distance. Jason looked at her concerned.

"What is it?" he asked.

"It's been eleven months since Emily Prentiss died. Nine since I last saw Aaron. What if I never see him again? What if I never get to see my children grow up?" she answered.

"Don't give up hope, Emily. They'll find Doyle."

"What if he's moved on? It's been eleven months, Jason. I can't expect him to wait for me forever."

"You're the mother of his twin daughters. You're always going to mean something to him."

She smiled weakly.

"I've got to go. Will you be alright?"

"Yer, I've got a game of online scrabble to get to."

He nodded, placed a hand on her shoulder then left. She double-locked her front door. She made sure she had top security to her apartment just in case her cover was blown. She always kept the curtains drawn too just in case she was seen. Doyle still haunted her and always would until he was caught.

Chapter Text

It Takes A Village

Hotch got a call a few days later from Morgan. He hadn't heard from him since he came to Pakistan but he knew he was looking for Doyle. The BAU just wasn't the same without Hotch and he knew there was only one way to bring him back. They had to catch Doyle. It would give him closure. To get Doyle they had to find Declan. They knew Doyle would be looking for him. They'd found him and saw Doyle had too. Hotch had given him his permission for the hunt soon after losing Emily.

"Hotch, it's Morgan. We've found them. Declan's going to a school nearby and Doyle's watching him," he said.

"You sure?" he answered.

"I caught him on the surveillance camera, Hotch. I couldn't be surer."

"Fine. I'm coming back."

"What about Doyle, Hotch? He's not going to wait around."

"If you find him take the shot," he answered then hung up. He wanted this guy behind bars. He'd ruined his family. There was nothing more he wanted than for him to pay. It had to happen, didn't it? Justas he was moving on Doyle had to reappear bringing it all back up.

He turned to Agent Coxton. She looked concerned as he looked angry and determined. She knew something was up.

"Coxton?" he said.

"Yes sir," she answered.

"I'm going back to Virginia. The BAU need me. They've found Doyle. This unit is now yours."

"Yes sir. Good luck."She hoped her new former boss caught the SOB that had 'killed' his partner. He'd told her what had happened the sunrise after he told her of his loss. This guy had been merciless and gone after his partner with only one goal in sight; her death. From the way he was talking about it and the way he looked like he had the world on his shoulders as he did so she knew she was alive. He must have put her into witness protection to save his family. When he told her she knew she didn't have a flying chance in hope of having him. She didn't begrudge this woman though as she only wanted him to be happy. "Oh and by the way I hope you two reunite and be happy." He was taken aback. How did she know Emily was still alive? Had he really slipped up at some point? "Don't worry; I won't let it get out to the higher authorities."

"Thank you, I really appreciate it."

"It was a pleasure working with you, sir."

"It was a pleasure working with you too, Coxton," he smiled slightly then got ready to leave.

Emily was at her apartment when she received a call from her friend, Tom, who she had assigned to care for Declan, She knew something was up when she got the call. Declan was in trouble!

"What is it, Tom?" she asked concerned.

"Declan tried to make a call. I think he's in trouble, Emmy. I heard crashing in the background," he answered worried.

"Where are you?"

She then heard a gunshot and the phone went dead. Suddenly a voice came on the phone, "He's dead. Oh god, he's dead!"

"What happened?"

"He shot himself. Please find Declan."

"I will."

She couldn't make sense of his suicide but knew she had to save Declan. She'd give up her life protecting him. She loved him like her own just like she did Jack. She prepared to leave Paris and head back to America. She'd call Aaron when she touched down. Only then he could brook no argument about her going as it would be too late.

She heard a knock on the door and answered while getting her stuff ready. Jason came in and opened his eyes shocked when he saw her packing.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"Home," she answered firmly. "Declan needs me. Doyle's found him! I have to save him!"

"Emily, it's dangerous. You're blowing your own cover," he said worried. Had she lost her mind? He could kill her again and this time he'd be angrier. He would be livid Emily had lived. He could come after her children. He really didn't miss his job. Taking a serial killer after serial killer took a toll on you.

"I'm going back, Jason. Declan tried to make a call. He's in trouble."

He could see there was no talking her out of it. She was going back and brooking no argument. "Good luck, Emily. I wish you well. Stay safe and save Declan. I hope you get back together with Aaron."

"Thank you, Jason. Will you go back?"

"I don't think my place is there anymore."

"You're always welcome to visit."

"Thanks."

She then headed back to America. She was nervous about seeing her friends and family again who believed she was dead. She was scared of seeing Aaron again. She knew she'd hurt him and he'd had to take all this on himself. It was the consequences of her actions he'd had to deal with. It hadn't been fair on him. He'd had to lose another partner to his job. He'd suffered too much and so had Jack.

She closed her eyes on the plane and prayed for Declan to survive. She knew this wasn't going to be easy. She was returning to the BAU who believed she was dead. According to the team she'd left behind only her Aaron knew she was still alive. She didn't even know what changes she had to face or their reactions. She didn't even know if Aaron knew those anonymous calls were her.

When Hotch landed he changed quickly into a pair of jeans, t-shirt and shirt out of his bag without even bothering to button it. He headed up to the conference room to look up the victimology they'd already done. He wanted to fill himself in on the case before he joined them. He knew they already had Doyle in an interrogation room.

"Welcome back, sir," Garcia said.

"Thank you, Garcia or is it Morgan?" he answered turning to look at her.

"Garcia still. We decided using my married name would be too confusing with us both working in the BAU."

He nodded and smiled slightly, "Doyle's here?"

"Yes Zanetti and Rossi are currently with him. Morgan's already interviewed him."

Zanetti and Rossi were looking through the glass at Doyle. They'd worked out he didn't know who had taken Declan. He'd had no part in his abduction. He was even concerned and scared about who'd taken him.

"Has Aaron landed?" she asked.

"He's in the conference room with Garcia," Rossi answered.

She nodded and headed out. On his way to the cell she bumped into him. He looked very different to the Hotch she'd dealt with before. He was bearded and not as sharply dressed as before.

"Welcome back, Aaron," she smiled slightly.

"Thank you, Chief Zanetti," he nodded heading to the cell.

She knew this was going to be hard. He was about to see the man who had ruined his life even if there was a shard of glass between them. He had righteous anger boiling inside of him. This man had killed his partner and the mother of his children knowingly. She hoped he could keep his feeling in check or at least Rossi could restrain him.

"Great look," Rossi said when he saw him.

"Thanks," he answered looking to him.

"Seen the kids yet?"

"Jessica took them to see her parents..." ever since they'd been born the girls had thought of her parents as their grandparents. Jack had made sure of that. They loved the girls as their granddaughters.

"They'll like the beard."

"We skyped every day. They're not fans." He was told Richard Gerace was a prime suspect. Hotch texted Morgan his name and Morgan said to Doyle he was the suspect.

"He couldn't do this," Doyle answered.

"Why not?" he answered.

"I can't tell you."

"Then who can?"

"Only one person can tell you but she's dead."

The anger boiled inside him. He hated being reminded that this SOB had killed one of his best friends. He knew Hotch was watching through the window. He didn't know what must be going through his mind seeing the man who'd killed his girlfriend and destroyed his life.

Hotch closed his eyes and left when he received a call. "Hotchner," he picked up.

"I'm coming back," Emily answered.

"You're what?" he answered concerned. This was the first time they'd spoken in nearly a year and she was telling him she was coming back when it still wasn't safe. Was she crazy? Yes they had her in custody but they didn't have him handcuffed to the table.

"I'm coming back, Hotch."

"Emily, it's not safe."

"Declan tried to make a call and the agent assigned to his care committed suicide. I need to find him, Hotch, I need to find him."

It hurt to not hear her call him Aaron. It was the first time he'd heard from her in months thanks to Doyle and she was calling him Hotch. Why wouldn't she call him Aaron? They'd been together for three years goddamn it! They had two little girls and she'd practically adopted his son but she couldn't even call him Aaron. What the hell?

What was she thinking coming back home? It wasn't safe. Yes they had Doyle in custody but he wasn't handcuffed. Someone was using Declan as a pawn and they could use Emily too. He couldn't let that happen.

"Where are you?"

"Quantico..."

He sighed. He really wanted to smack his hand to his face. She was already here; he should have known. He should have known she wouldn't really have given him the chance to argue. She could be obstinate like that.

"Fine," he growled. "Come to the BAU. We can at least keep you safe there. We're already looking for Declan."

"Hotch..."

"I'm in charge of this case, Emily."

"Fine."

They hung up and she headed to the office. She knew this wasn't going to be easy. She had no idea how they'd react to her really being alive. Aaron was obviously angry with her/ she knew he would be. She knew she couldn't approach him about them either. It was too soon.

He meanwhile bumped into JJ who had been coming towards the interrogation room.

"We have to tell them," he said.

"We might be able to break Doyle without her," she answered concerned.

"She's on her way home. Declan tried to make a call," he explained.

She nodded. This wasn't going to be easy for him. He'd lost his lover to the man they currently had in custody and now he had to face her again. He also had to come out that another lover hadn't really died on him. He had to explain to them and his family she wasn't dead. He'd lied to his own children for her safety.

She nervously entered the building and everyone looked like they'd seen a ghost. She understood. Emily Prentiss was meant to be dead but here she was. There was no denying she was Emily. She walked over to the reception.
"I'm here to see Aaron Hotchner of the BAU. He knows I'm coming," she said.

She nodded not even looking up from the computer. "Name?" she asked.

"Emily Prentiss." She looked up and couldn't believe her eyes. There standing in the flesh was indeed Agent Prentiss. Wasn't she meant to be dead? Hadn't they buried her eleven months ago?

"Yes, of course," she answered making her a visitor's pass.

Once she had it she headed to the lift. She rode the lift up to the floor she used to work on. It felt strange returning to her past. She wasn't the same anymore. She'd lost everything she'd held dear. She knew nothing would be the same. She just hoped she'd regain them but she knew it would take time.

When he knew everyone was gathered in the conference room Hotch entered. It was the first time Morgan had seen him since he arrived back on American soil. He looked quite different.

"Welcome back," he said.

"Thank you," he answered then stood there with his arms crossed looking down.

"What is it?"

"Eleven months ago I made a decision that affected this team..." Everyone looked at him expectantly. Here it goes he thought. He had to tell them all she was alive and didn't know how they'd react. "As you know Emily had lost a lot of blood but they managed to stabilise her on the operating table. She was airlifted from Boston and kept in hospital on a strictly need to know business until she recovered. When she did she was reassigned to Paris where she was given several aliases that we weren't to know." He wouldn't admit they had known and sometime ago he'd even looked out for her. "If anyone has any issues refer them to me." He didn't want anyone to unleash their anger and frustrations on JJ. He could take it.

"Any issues? Yer I got issues," Morgan exclaimed.

"She's alive," Penelope answered in disbelief.

He looked to the doorway to see Emily. He didn't know what to feel. Part of him just wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her face off. Yet another part of him was furious for everything she'd put him through. He still had unanswered questions. She could have told him what was going on. She'd kept him in the dark only for him to find out when she was Doyle's victim.

Emily looked up at him and gulped. He looked so angry she decided to keep her distance. She understood she'd hurt him. He'd loved her so much and she'd been the one he opened up to the most but she'd left him long before Doyle had actually got to her. She'd withdrawn from him without ever explaining why. She'd only wanted to protect him and the children and explained that in the letter. She doubted he'd read it but knew JJ had given it to him. She had the utmost faith she had. Her actions must have seemed selfish and unfeeling but it was all for them. She hoped they would understand one day.

He stayed there glaring at her while the rest of them greeted her. She hugged them telling them she was sorry for what she'd put them through.

They then got back to work. She told them everything she knew concerning the case. They filled her in on the rest. She couldn't believe the UnSub could be Richard Gerace. He didn't have the balls for it. There had also been a woman seen outside of Declan's home. Unfortunately he had a long list of female enemies Emily, JJ and Penelope included. Reid noted that the nanny had been particularly brutalised. Could the killer have been Declan's birth mother? Doyle had always told Emily she was dead yet she knew for a fact Louise had delivered him.

"Let me ask him. It'll throw him off his game if I do so," she said. She was nervous but she knew it would get answers. It would throw him off his game as he believed her to be dead like the rest of them had.

They all looked at her like she was mad at first then understood it was the only way. Hotch wanted to punch something. His anger was increasing by the minute. He really didn't want Emily anywhere near that bastard. He'd ruined their lives. If it hadn't been for Doyle he and Emily would have been happy. They wouldn't have gone through hell. He wanted to rip Doyle apart. He sure as hell didn't want Emily near him. Yet he also saw it was probably the only way. He had to stay professional. That was really hard to do on this case as it was personal.

He clenched his fists, closed his eyes then reopened them. "Fine but I'll be watching from the other side of the glass," he said.

She nodded while her heart skipped a beat. He may be furious with her but this showed he still loved her. Maybe this could all work out. Maybe she hadn't lost him. Bridges just had to be rebuilt.

She went in to see Doyle. "Of course," he sneered when he saw her.

"Who's Declan's mother?" she asked throwing photos of possible suspects down on the table one by one.

"Did your precious Aaron save you?" she carried on throwing the pictures down while trying to keep her composure. She hated this arsehole trying to manipulate her over her relationship. She wouldn't let him use Aaron like that. She could stop it by not listening.

"Declan's missing, Ian. Tell me who his mother is."

"Chloe Donaghy," he answered pointing at her. "But she couldn't have done it."

"Why not? Did you kill her too?" she sneered.

"Because she never wanted Declan. She tried to kill him before he was even born."

"You bound her to give birth to him."

"She was paid for it."

"You tortured her, Ian. Now she's getting back at you."

She left and didn't even look up at Hotch. She knew he'd heard everything. He hated how Doyle had tried to manipulate her and was proud of the way Emily had dealt with it. He just wasn't ready to get back together with her.

"We have our UnSub," she said.

"I know," he answered.

They found out she was planning to hand him over to another of Doyle's enemies, Lachlan McDermott, for money or weapons. He owned a warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland. They flew over there without Reid and Prentiss. Hotch didn't want her in any more danger and he trusted Reid. He also trusted Zanetti could watch over her.

When they got there they found Richard Gerace dead and Donaghy and Declan gone. Reid knew they had to bring in Doyle. He talked Emily into it though she wasn't keen on the idea. She headed to Strauss 'office to get permission.

She nervously knocked on her door. She could just imagine how she would react to her being alive. It could land Hotch in a lot of hot water.

"Come in," she heard a voice that didn't sound like Strauss but a lot more familiar answer. It couldn't be Eliza, could it?

"Chief Strauss," she said firmly coming in. She stood frozen when she looked up. There was one of her best friends looking pale and like she'd seen a ghost. "Eliza."

"Emily," she answered in disbelief. "You're meant to be dead."

"I'm so sorry, Ellie," she said guiltily. "I promise I'll explain later but right now we have to save Declan. We have to take Doyle to Baltimore..."

"Are you crazy? Let Doyle out! He nearly killed one of my best friends! What if he got free?"

"W e won't let him. Reid and I could take him handcuffed. I'm not keen on the idea either but I am certain that without this move there is a very good chance Declan is going to die."

"Fine," she relented, "but I want to see you and Agent Hotchner when you get back."

She nodded. She knew she had to explain to Eliza why they had pretended she was dead. She felt they also had to explain to her why her childhood best friend was where Strauss should have been. What had happened to Strauss?

They handcuffed Doyle and got him into a helicopter. He tried to wind Emily up by taunting her over her past and her having to leave Aaron. She wouldn't give him the pleasure of responding. When they landed though she grabbed him and dragged him out of the helicopter looking at Hotch all the time. Doyle wore a smirk on his face when he saw him. Hotch just glared back.

He hated seeing Emily with Doyle. It reminded him of everything that had been taken from them. He'd snatched their relationship from them. He clearly knew what he'd done by the smirk on his face. He just wanted to slap it off his face. If he was in Emily's place he would be rough handling him like she was doing.

He picked up the megaphone. "Chloe Donaghy, Lachlan McDermott, we have the plane surrounded. We have a trade. We will give you Ian Doyle and you send out the boy!" he said.

They heard a gunshot and Emily's heart tightened. Please let it not be Declan she thought. She wouldn't handle him being shot. Not after everything she'd been through to protect him. She was so relieved when she saw him leave unharmed but he was still being rough handled by McDermott. Chloe came out with a gun and shot at him and several guns went off. Donaghy and Lachlan were shot dead with Doyle shot in the neck.

As McDermott was falling Emily jumped to Declan's aid holding him in her arms as he held Doyle's dying hand.

"I remember you," Declan said as Doyle died.

Hotch watched Emily with Declan. It was quite clear she loved this boy as a mother. She'd protected him for eight years. She'd never lost her objective as she had been personally involved all along. She was more of a mother to Declan than Chloe had been. She was the last adult acquaintance he had. He wanted her to adopt Declan but he wasn't ready to be with her again. He'd happily adopt Declan when the time came. He just needed time to sort out what he wanted and to heal.

He went over and checked for Doyle's pulse. He had to check to make sure he was dead. He was so he looked up at Emily. He felt a weight removed from his shoulders.

"It's over," he said gently.

"But we still have to pick up the pieces. I'm so sorry," she answered gently looking up to him while tears filled her eyes. She knew she'd lost him even if it wasn't forever. She'd miss him. She also didn't have a home. With him not wanting her right now she had nowhere to go. Her flat still had tenants and she wouldn't evict them.

"Take care of him," he said indicating Declan with his head who was now holding tightly to Emily. He remembered her slightly as someone who had once cared for him. She was all he had left now.

"I will," she answered holding him close to her. She'd missed the boy she'd vowed to protect since she met him and found out how Doyle had wanted to raise him. "You're coming with me, Declan," she said gently. He smiled up at her. He was glad he would be going home w someone who knew him and loved him already. He wouldn't end up being shipped from home to home.

"Come on, let's get the jet," he smiled sadly. He would miss her too but he knew this was the right thing to do. Losing her had almost killed him and he needed time to clean up the mess. His trust had been broken. He'd need time to let her back in. He knew he would always love her though.

She got up and placed a hand on Declan's shoulder. She would help him through the after effects of this and his multiple losses. Though she had her own problems she would help him; she would help her son. Once they got back to Virginia she'd sort out adopting him legally.

"Come on, let's go back to Virginia," she smiled sadly.

He nodded smiling sadly. They got into the SUV along with Hotch and he drove them back to the airstrip while the others followed. When they got there they all climbed onto the jet. Declan was too dazed to even take in his surroundings. He'd seen things today a boy his age should not have seen. He'd lost so much.

On the plane he sat next to her and rested his head on her arm. Apart from his friends she was the only one he had left. He didn't even know if he still had them. Would he be going to the same school when they got back? How much would change? He didn't even really remember her name which made him feel uncomfortable.

"What is it?" she asked stroking his arm.

"I remember you but I don't remember your name," he answered meekly looking down. He felt almost ashamed of himself. She clearly loved him and he remembered her but not her name.

"It's alright, buddy. It's been eight years. You can call me whatever you want but my name's Emily," she smiled slightly.

He nodded. "Can I call you Emily for the moment until I feel ready to call you mum? I found out today who my mum was and she wanted to kill me."

"Its fine," she answered stroking his blonde hair.

Everyone smiled at them. They were glad the poor boy had somewhere to go that he felt safe. She clearly loved him like one of her own. It was clear how much she felt for him. They were happy to welcome another child to the family. Morgan knew his wife would too. She loved children and they were trying for their own ever since they married four months ago.

The team was introduced to him. They were almost all introduced as uncle and aunt. When it came to Hotch it was tense.

"What do I call you, sir?" Declan asked nervously looking up at the man who had driven them to the jet. He was slightly scared by him. He was angry and sad. There was obviously something between him and Emily but it had ended.

Hotch looked at him in the eyes. He saw a frightened young boy but he couldn't quell his anger though he tried. He was prepared to father this boy when the time came but right now he saw Doyle in his kid. He knew he'd have to get over it and he wanted to. Declan didn't deserve it.

He also didn't know how to answer the question. Uncle Aaron would be complicate when they got back together. Dad just wasn't right right now. They didn't want him to forget whoever he called father. He knew Emily would be grieving Tom.

"You can call me Aaron," he answered after a few moments causing Emily to smile slightly at him. He wasn't locking the door on them just keeping it ajar for the moment.

"Will you be rejoining the BAU?" JJ asked.

"I hope so but I'll need a few days to be with Declan," she answered looking at Hotch who nodded. He wanted her back on the team. She was an excellent agent and at least he'd see her daily. At least he'd be able to see her at work. He just needed to make sure he could cope if anything happened. He'd lost her once he couldn't lose her again. Of course she had to be with Declan though to help him grieve. He'd done the same for their children. It was only right she did so with Declan.

When they got back they headed to Zanetti's office. Emily'd informed him they had a meeting with her. Morgan had taken Declan down to Garcia's lair to meet his wife. He didn't need to be in the meeting.

The meeting went well but was a little tense. Luckily she understood why they had faked her death but the team were to face the board on Monday. She was also explained why Zanetti was now section chief. She was touched that he'd defended her honour again.

Soon after she headed to Garcia's office to get Declan. He grabbed her arm. "Emily," he said.

"I know. Don't plan on coming home," she answered looking down. She really didn't want to meet his eyes right now.

"I'm sorry," he answered sadly then headed to his office. She watched him go then headed down to Declan.

When she got to the office she saw he was sitting looking at the computer screens while they sat close by. He smiled at her slightly when he saw her arrive.

"Ready, Declan? Want to get some food?" she asked.

"Sure," he shrugged.

"Thanks for looking after him," she said to the two of them.

"It was a pleasure. He's a great lad," they smiled.

"He is," she smiled at them ruffling his hair. He smiled up at her slightly. She knew he was traumatised and she'd help him through it. "I can't believe you guys are married..." They smiled at each other so happy to be husband and wife. "Hotch told me." They looked disappointed. It didn't feel right hearing Hotch come out of Emily's lips especially off the clock. They hoped they would sort out their relationship soon. They needed each other.

"If we'd known you were alive we'd have waited for the wedding."

"Thanks for the thought and I wish I'd been there but I'm glad you didn't. We had no idea when Doyle would be caught and it'd be safe for me to come back..." she felt bad bringing Doyle up in front of Declan but it was the truth.

"Emily, it's ok. I know Doyle is my father but Tom is more of a dad tome. I hardly remember him," he said sadly.

"It's alright, buddy. He was a lot of things but he loved you very much." He nodded in response.

They said goodbye and headed out. She took him to a local diner where they had dinner. After she took him back to the office. They'd stay there tonight until she found a better solution to her problem. Right now they needed somewhere to sleep.

She found Hotch's office was open but the light was off and there was no movement. He had a couch which Declan could sleep on. She could sleep on the floor. As long as Declan was comfortable she'd be fine.

She took him in there while he looked wary. Were they really allowed to sleep in here? Didn't they have a home to go? Was she homeless? If she didn't have a home would the social services separate them? He needed her!

"Are we allowed to be here?" he asked.

"Don't worry, this is Hotch's office. We can sleep here tonight. I won't let you go. I'm sorry I can't give you anything better. I've been away eleven months," she answered. She tried to explain to him as best as she could why she didn't have a home. He just nodded in understanding.

"Everything will perk up."

"I hope so," she smiled slightly at him.

"You can have the couch if you like."

"No, you must take it after everything you've been through today." She was happy though that he was turning into a young gentleman. He was a gentleman already at the age of twelve.

He got onto the couch and laid himself out. She meanwhile laid herself out on the floor.

When Hotch came home Milo came bounding up and jumped onto him. He started licking his face while he laughed. He played with his head stroking behind his ears.

"It's good to see you too, Milo," he said.

He saw Sean coming out of the living room smiling at them both. He'd stayed behind as Jessica wasn't ready to introduce him as her boyfriend. They'd only started dating a month ago. They'd grown closer while caring for their nieces and nephew. He hadn't expected his brother to be home so soon. He was surprised by his beard.

"Great look, bro," he smiled crossing his arms and leaning against the doorframe.

Aaron smiled up at him surprised to see him. He thought he'd gone with Jessica and the children. He then got up knowing he had to tell Sean Emily was alive. How could he tell his brother he had lied to him? That the mother of his children was alive and back in Virginia. They were going to bump into her.

He sat him down and talked about it. Sean couldn't believe his brother had done that but also understood. He felt betrayed though that he hadn't let him in. He'd taken all this on himself.

Rossi was looking in his office for his phone when he heard a scream come from the next room; Aaron's office. It didn't sound like Aaron though. He wouldn't scream. He always tried to stifle it. It sounded like a woman anyway.

He went to investigate and found Emily and Declan sleeping in there. Well, Declan wasn't sleeping anymore. He'd clearly been awoken by Emily's scream. He was looking at her helpless. He didn't know what to do in this situation. Emily was thrashing about in her sleep on the floor.

"It's alright, buddy," he said. "I'll wake her." He got down and crouched shaking her. She put her hands out trying to get him. "Emily, it's me, Dave." He could see her eyes were opening though they were still bleary-eyed. "Emily, you're safe/. You're back in Quantico. No-one's going to harm you. He's gone."

She saw Dave and started to cry. "He was trying to get Alexia and Eliza. I got there too late. I tried; I tried to get from Paris in time. They were lying there with bullet holes in their heads. He was laughing at me."

He didn't even need to ask that it was Doyle she was talking about. "Emily, they're safe. Doyle is dead. He was shot earlier today. The twins are at their grandparents with Jessica and Jack. It's over, Emmy."

She nodded trying to keep her tears back knowing it was true. "So are Aaron and I," she answered sadly.

"He'll come back. Just give him time. He needs to heal as do you..." she nodded. "Is that why you're here?"

"I don't have a home anymore, Dave," she answered sadly.

"Stay at mine. I have enough room for you and Declan." He thought it was a great idea having them stay with him until Aaron was ready to let her move back in. Sometimes he felt lonely being in that big house by himself. He'd enjoyed Emily's company and it would be fun having a pre-teen boy around. He'd always wanted a son and sometimes wished James had lived.

"I wouldn't want to inconvenience you." She was grateful for the offer but he was used to living alone. Would he really be alriught with having a woman who suffered nightmares on a nightly basis and screamed herself awake and a teenage boy? Wouldn't they be in the way?

"Come on, Emily, I have the space. I love your company and it would be nice having a kid around..."he smiled at Declan who smiled shyly back. "I think even Aaron would like you living at his best friend's house..." she could feel her resolve weakening. "If you don't I'll throw you over my shoulder and carry you." He winked at Declan who laughed.

She laughed too. "Fine."He smiled at her and led them out. "Wouldn't want you to put your back out," she quipped.

He turned and glared at her smiling. "Hey, I just gave you a home."

She smiled and he got them into his car driving them home. When he got home he gave Aaron a call. He knew that even though he wasn't ready to take her back home he'd be worrying about her. No-one was blind to how much he loved her. It had shattered him to lose her.

"Hotchner," he said tired.

"Aaron, it's me, Dave. Just to let you know I have Emily. She and Declan will be staying with me 'til you're ready," he answered.

Aaron breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn't been able to sleep fretting over what could be happening to them. He felt guilty for not letting her home but he couldn't handle it just yet. He'd seen various scenarios as he closed his eyes. Each getting worse by the minute. He was relieved now to know she was with Dave. At least they were with a friend who understood.

"Thank you, Dave. Look after them."

"I will."

"I'm sorry; I can't let her back just yet. I need time."

"We understand. Take as much time as you need."

"Thank you."

They ended the call and Aaron was thankful for an understanding best mate. He really needed that right now.

The next day Jessica and the kids came home. They were delighted to see Aaron home. He sat them down with the rest of the family to tell them the truth. They obviously felt betrayed but understood. They were mad at him for not telling the truth. The children didn't really understand. Jack wanted his mummy to come back. If Emily could come back why couldn't his mummy. The twins just wanted mummy here now.

They faced the board on Monday. They defended all their actions on this case. While they were being questioned Declan waited outside with Zanetti. He didn't trust many people at the moment so Emily hadn't wanted to leave him at home.

"Are they going to be alright? I don't want them in trouble over me," he said. He knew the case had been to save him. They'd all tried to help Emily save him. All Emily had ever done was for him. He was the cause of this.

"They'll be fine, kiddo. It's none of your fault. It's your father who was the psychopath," she answered rubbing his arm. She was going to love his boy as a nephew. He was a really great, sweet kid even though he was Doyle's son.

He nodded and smiled slightly up at her. He noticed almost everyone come out. Everyone except Emily that was. Declan was worried. Was she in trouble? Were they going to be alright?

They came over when they saw Declan's worried face. They wanted to look after him for Emily. They already considered him Emily's son. She'd been a mother to him much longer than she had custody of him. They'd allowed her to foster him for the moment. She could adopt him next year.

"Hey," Hotch said looking at him.

"Hi," he answered looking up at him a little intimidated.

He sat down next to him placing his hand on his shoulder. He wanted to form some sort of bond with this kid. He was Emily's son so would be at some point his stepson. Declan looked at him feeling less intimidated. He knew he was trying to form a bond and he wouldn't reject him. He could see he and Emily loved each other.

"None of this is your fault. Emily would have done and will do anything to protect you. We'll always stand beside you both," he soothed.

"Will she be alright?" he asked.

"She'll be fine. The director's her mum's boyfriend. He knows she's a great agent," he answered rubbing his back.

He smiled at him.

"Why don't you guys head to the office? I'll wait for Emily and bring both Emily and Declan with me," Zanetti said. "There's a picture to be taken off the wall."

They nodded and left. Before he did Aaron patted Declan on the back again. He wanted to let Declan know he was here for him. They all were. Declan was glad to have a family. It was only a few days but he accepted them as his family. They'd look out for him.

They wanted there for Emily to come out. He twiddled his thumbs waiting in anxiety. Finally Emily came out and took her son with her.

"I just need to speak with Kirk to find out the outcome," Zanetti said.

Emily nodded and smiled, "Thanks for looking after Declan, Ellie."

"It's fine. He's a great kid," she smiled at him while he smiled shyly back.

"Yes he is," she beamed cuddling him close to her. At the moment he was her ray of sunshine. She was still having nightmares and found herself more than once roaming around Dave's home trying to get peace of mind. She was glad he was happily putting up with them. He'd told them to make themselves at home. He was great with them. He'd taken Declan under his wing and would sometimes listen and talk Emily through her nightmares.

They headed back to the offices. She promised him they wouldn't be there long. The school was giving him a few days off considering what had happened. He was relieved to know he would be going to the same school. There was no way Emily was going to separate him from his friends. She knew just how hard it was to make new friends. She would never let her kids have the lonely life she had as a child.

When she got to the office she saw them at the plaques of the fallen agents. Morgan smiled when she saw him.

"Didn't think we'd be ever taking one of these off," he said.

"Yer sorry," she answered. She would feel the guilt for a long time of what she'd put them through. If she'd had a choice she would never have subjected them to that but Doyle had taken it from them.

Garcia came up with a screwdriver to take it off smiling at Emily. They took off her picture while Hotch came up to Morgan.

"Please understand this was never intended to hurt you. It was only ever done to protect Emily," he said.

Emily looked over at him guiltily and felt tears rise in her eyes. She'd always feel guilty about the pain she put him through. She'd never wanted to hurt the man she loved. He hadn't deserved it. She'd only ever wanted to protect him now everything lay in tatters. It was obvious it had taken a toll on him in his weight loss and sad demeanour.

Zanetti then came out and said, "I need to speak with you." They nodded and followed whilst leaving Declan at Emily's old desk. They were told Emily had saved the team from losing their jobs but they would be watched closely for the time-being.

"And you're offered your job back if you still want it," Zanetti added looking at her childhood best friend.

"Let me think about it," she answered then after a minute added, "I'd love it."

Hotch smiled slightly at her. He was happy to have her back. They'd sort out their issues in time. They just needed to pick up the pieces.

Two weeks later she still hadn't seen her children. The nightmares concerning them carried on. Rossi was keeping them secret but advising her to go see the FBI psychiatrist. She had feeling they'd ease up only if she saw them. She was hurt her hadn't yet let her see them but she understood it was complicated.

She was jogging in the park one Saturday after leaving Declan with Dave when she saw the playground. She saw Aaron with their kids and her heart leapt into her chest. She felt butterflies in her stomach. She hadn't seen her children in almost a year.

Aaron looked up and when he met her eyes he gathered the children together. Her heart lifted and she felt tears in her eyes believing maybe he was bringing them out to reunite with her. Her heart plummeted when she saw him lead them away. She wanted to cry and ran off. She tried to keep the tears away from her eyes. How could he do this to her? She thought he loved her. Had she ever shown him she was a bad mother?

When she got home she threw herself onto the couch looking at the wall. She just wanted to be left alone and keep her tears inside. She wasn't weak.

"What happened?" Dave asked seeing her.

When she filled him in he felt like punching Aaron. Emily didn't deserve this. He understood he needed time to sort out the mess but they were still Emily's kid. She had a right to see them. She noticed the expression on his face.

"Please don't hurt him." he'd hurt her but she couldn't bring herself to see him hurt. She also didn't want Dave to lose his job for hitting his boss at work.

He smiled at her a cunning smile. "Oh no, I have something better." She raised an eyebrow as he filled her in her smile grew wider. She couldn't wait for Monday. Bring it on!

On Monday they got ready for work as usual. She put on a short pencil skirt that would show off her long legs and a red blouse that accented her breasts. The top few buttons were done to show them off more. She also put on a black suit jacket. She then joined Dave as Declan would be driven to school by his driver.

"You'll knock them dead, sunshine," he smiled.

"Thanks Dave," she smiled back.

"Ready?"

"Ready."

They then got in his car and he drove them to work. Luckily it was known she was currently living with Rossi. There had been rumours they were sleeping together. At first they laughed them off then Zanetti quashed them. She could see how they had riled up Aaron and she didn't want any more tension to be produced between them. There was already tension caused by them being separated but she understood they needed time to heal.

When they got there he ran up to his office. He wanted to watch the spectacle. She was going to give one hell of a show. He was almost jealous that she only wanted one man, Aaron. He loved her like a daughter though and was one of their biggest supporters.

She took in a breath then sucked it up. She walked to the lift and waited for it to get to her floor. She then took another deep breath when it got there.

She threw off her jacket and slung it over her shoulder then proceeded to walk swaying her hips in a sexy way into the bullpen. All heads turned to her and the men's mouths dropped giving her more confidence. She could feel his eyes watching and glaring at her. Good! He deserved it! When she got to her desk she gave flicked her hair like in a L'Oreal advert and sat down looking up at his office with a wicked smile on her face licking her lips.

He got back to his files but he was mad and het up over Emily's actions. What did she think she was doing? She said she'd give him time. Now she walks in sexy and drives him wild. He knew she was getting back at him for Saturday but he was doing what he thought was right. The kids weren't ready to see her. Especially Jack. He was still demanding answers to why he couldn't have his mum back if Emily was back. He also knew Rossi was behind this. He was always meddling.

Chapter Text

Proof

A few weeks later they had another case. They were off to Durant, Oklahoma and Declan was going to be left with Garcia. One day she would leave him with Jessica and his siblings. She hoped he would get to meet them soon but it was really up to Aaron. He'd always been there for them unlike her regrettably.

They went up to Garcia when they got to work. Emily filled her in on Declan while Rossi gave her back the pasta that she'd cooked according to his recipe. It had tasted rather weird and not like his recipe. She admitted she'd made it with tofu.

"Tofu?!You took my recipe and used tofu," he said.

"We have to make food of his home country. Derek won't cook," she answered.

"Why don't you give her a cookery lesson? Make sure she gets it right!" Morgan winked causing his wife to playfully hit him.

"That's a great idea," Emily added causing Rossi to roll his eyes.

They soon got to work on the case. They would be going after a killer who had sexually assaulted then murdered two women in a three day span. They found he was using acid on the victims. The first victim had been blinded by it and the other blinded and her nose had been affected by the acid. While they were out there they had another victim. She'd had acid poured down her throat.

One night Hotch was woken up by a scream coming from the room next to his. His heart froze as he realised it was Emily. He picked up his gun and pushed open the door. If anyone was hurting his Emily he would kill them. There was no-one there but his heart tightened as he saw her thrashing about in her bed.

"No Ian, please," she shouted. "Please take me. They're just children. They're just children...Allie, Ellie, Jack, oh god I'm so sorry," she cried.

Hotch couldn't take anymore. What was he doing keeping the children from her? If he'd known she was dreaming of them murdered he would never have kept them away. He didn't want to lead her on but he still loved her so he kissed her forehead and whispered, "They're safe, Emily, as are you."

Thankfully she didn't wake up but it seemed to soothe her. He hadn't wanted to wake her up and make her believe he was ready because he wasn't. He still needed time and he wanted to take it slow. He wanted to do it right this time.

The next day he went up to Reid as he'd been giving JJ problems. He'd quarrelled with her in front of them. He'd even implied he had thought about going back on the diludin.

"I told you if you had any issues to come to me," he said.

"I'm sorry, sir, but it wasn't you I came crying to for ten weeks. I thought you had enough on your plate," he answered walking off.

He really had to think of a way to bring his team back together. They really needed to sort out their issues. He was ready to sort out his but not for a relationship. He didn't want to give them all psychiatric evaluations again. Maybe they could do something as a team like a cooking lesson.

He was later walking with Rossi when he asked, "How's Reid doing?"

"He's feeling it. I'm a bit surprised not everyone's feeling it," he answered.

"Some of us had inkling..." Hotch raised an eyebrow. "I overheard your conversation with Gideon." He just nodded. "So what are you planning to do? Psych evaluations?"

"No. I was thinking that a cookery lesson with one of our founding fathers might do the trick." He hoped flattery was the way of talking him into it.

He rolled his eyes in answer. "Not you as well. He could see Hotch wasn't taking no for an answer. "Fine, the night after we get back." he let the corner of his lips go up in a satisfied smile.

They were all told about it. They soon found the UnSub and his niece, the latest victim. They didn't get there in time to save her fingers from being burned with the acid though. She had reminded him of her mother who he'd been obsessed with.

On the plane home Emily went over to Reid. She needed him to see they hadn't done it to hurt him. She never wished that pain on him after all he'd been through. She wanted to get him to understand.

"We're all going to have a cookery class at Rossi's tomorrow night. Are you coming?"She asked.

"I don't think so," he answered not even lifting his eyes to hers.

"Reid, I'm really sorry about what we did but it was never to hurt you. I had an ulcer keeping it from you. You grieved the loss of a friend. I grieved the loss of everyone I ever cared about; five friends, my soul mate and three children. I still have nightmares concerning them."

He looked up and sighed feeling like a right arsehole. All this time he'd been thinking about the pain this had caused him he'd never once thought about what she had had to leave behind. She saw his guilty expression and added, "Don't. This is none of your fault. I only came to explain."

He nodded.

The next night she was at home getting ready for the cookery lesson. Declan agreed to do his homework while they were doing the lesson. He knew it was to get the team back together. He hoped it would work. It was clear they'd once been close. He wanted Emily to get her family back. He knew she was lonely even though she had him.

Morgan and Garcia arrived then JJ. Soon there was a knock on the door and she answered. Once she opened the door she froze. There were her children with their father. She felt tears rise in her eyes as she was completely off-guard. He'd never warned her he was bringing the children.

"Mummy," the twins shouted hugging her and she hugged them close to them trying to keep her tears back.

"Allie, Ellie," she answered on the verge of tears. "I missed you so so much."

"Missed you," they replied.

She looked up at Jack who was glaring at her. "Emily," he sneered. She gulped her tears back. It hurt to hear him call her Emily and not mummy anymore. She knew it was her fault for leaving. He then turned to his dad and spat, "You didn't tell me she'd be here."

"She lives here, buddy," he answered. He just glared back.

"Jack, please don't be mad at your dad. He loves you so much and is always protecting you. It was my fault. I left and he had to lie to you. It was all my fault," she defended.

He just ignored her and walked in with the others while she tried to keep her tears inside. Hotch patted her shoulder as they came in.

"Introduce them to Declan," she said. He nodded in response and did so.

He soon joined them and they started their lesson on pasta Carbonara. Reid joined them shortly after and Emily and JJ smiled to see him. Maybe their friendship could be rebuilt. There was hope finally. They could hear the children playing in the next room.

When it came time they joined them to test the food. They smiled and laughed as they tasted it but every now and again Jack would glare at Emily. She knew there was a lot of fixing to do. It was a wonderful evening despite his behaviour. Maybe things would get better.

One night Aaron stumbled upon the letter. He hadn't seen it since JJ had given it to him. He'd never even opened it. He hadn't been able to bring himself to. Now things were looking up maybe he could. Maybe he'd get the answers he needed.

He put his thumb under the seal and opened it. He then pulled out the letter. Luckily the children were in bed so he had time to read it. He opened it up and read it.

'Dear Aaron,

I am so so sorry for all of this. Please don't ever doubt my love for you. I love you so much. I've realised I fell in love with you a lot earlier than I thought I did. When I first met you I knew I was attracted to you but what I didn't realise was I was comparing every man I dated to you. It's why I could never settle. I was always trying to find someone like you. Then one day I got you and though it wasn't the best of circumstances it was a dream come true. I know this doesn't excuse keeping you in the dark and shutting you out lately but my love for you is part of it. I know if I told you you'd put me under surveillance or even in protection and while he was hunting me it was unimaginable. It would only have antagonised him. He'd had have gone after you or the kids. I had to stay and protect you, guys. I am so sorry for all of this. I never ever wanted to hurt you, you mean so much to me, and I just wanted to keep you safe. You didn't deserve this and neither did our children. If there had been another way if there had been any other way I would have chosen it. I know you'll do your best for the children and let them know I will always love them. I will always love you and miss you.

Yours forever,

Emily.'

He felt the tears rise in his eyes over the time they'd lost. If only he'd read the letter earlier. He could have spared himself a lot of pain. She'd given him the answers he needed. It really did relieve the pain he'd been feeling for a year. Maybe they could move on now. He knew he wanted to move on with her. He smiled touching her name.

He then heard little footsteps coming down the stairs. He looked to the stairs and saw Jack. He walked over to him and asked, "What's up, buddy?" crouching down.

"I couldn't sleep," he answered rubbing his eyes.

"Nightmare?"He nodded. "Want to talk about it?"

"Okay."

He picked him up and sat him down on his lap on the couch. He rubbed his arm. "I'm listening," he assured him.

"Mummy and Emily were there..." Aaron tensed up but carried on rubbing his arm. He'd been having dreams involving them since he saw Emily. It had really affected him. He was still trying to come to terms with why she was here and Haley wasn't. "The bad guy killed them. Emily came back but mummy didn't. I tried to bring her back but she wouldn't come back," he added with tears rolling down his cheeks.

He hugged him close feeling guilty. "Buddy, I'm so sorry for all this. I never meant to hurt or confuse you. We just wanted to protect you. I'm so sorry I can't BRING YOUR MOTHER BACK. I WISH i COULD. I'M ALSO SO SORRY WE LIED TO YOU ABOUT Emily. It was the only way to protect you guys," he said stroking his hair.

He nodded. "Can I sleep in your bed tonight?"

"Sure."

He smiled at him. He wanted his daddy to be happy but he wasn't ready to have Emily back yet. Aaron would wait until he was. He loved Emily still but Jack was one of his top priorities. Alexia and Eliza his others.

Rossi knew it was time to tell her. She had to understand it wasn't just what had happened with her that had closed Aaron off and made it hard to let anyone in. It was what had happened afterward too.

"Emily, can you sit down?" he asked.

"What is it?" she asked confused. She was worried about what he had to tell her. Was he going to kick them out? Had he had enough? She sat down next to him.

"There are some things I have to tell you to understand Aaron..." her chest tightened. Had she lost him completely? Was she going to lose him? Was he sick? "He went through a lot more than losing you..." she felt for him. What else had he been through? What had she not been there for? "He lost his mother six months ago."

Oh god, no! She really should have been there for him. He shouldn't have gone through that alone. She should have been there. "No..." she exclaimed in a whisper. "I should have been there for him."

"You would have been if you could have been."

She could sense he was holding something else back. What was it? She knew it was even worse. What had happened while she was away? What else had Aaron suffered? "What is it?"She asked slightly afraid.

"Emily..." he said taking her hand. "Alexia and Eliza were very sick eight months ago..." her chest tightened. How sick? Had she nearly lost them? How serious had it been? "He stayed in hospital with them until they came out." She tried to keep her tears inside. She hadn't been around when her daughters were in hospital. She'd failed them. She should have been there. It must have been terrifying for them. She knew why he hadn't told her. She'd have come straight out of hiding putting them in danger. Nothing would have held her back from being at her daughters' bedside.

"Emily, they're alright now. You saw them the other night. They survived. They pulled through because they're fighters like you and Aaron."

"I should have been there. They needed me. I'm their mother," she answered.

"Emily, you were protecting them. You know if you came back before we found Doyle it wouldn't have been safe. That's why he didn't tell you. You know that."

She nodded. "It doesn't make it any easier. They're my little girls. I should have been there for them. What if I lost them?"

"Emily, you didn't. They're still here."

She nodded taking in a deep breath. "I know."

Declan then came in in his pyjamas. He'd gone to bed about an hour before as he had school the next day.

"Alright, buddy?" she asked.

"Just hungry," he answered.

"Nightmare?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

She just nodded. He was still quiet about what he'd suffered that day but over the month they'd grown into a family. They'd really been able to build a mother son relationship. He was glad to have a mother at last. She was glad to finally be able to raise Declan as he deserved. He was doing well at school. He was trying to bottle up his nightmares. She'd give him time if he needed it.

It was Jack's eighth birthday. He wanted Declan there but he didn't want Emily there. Aaron talked him into letting her be there so that she wasn't the odd one out. She tried during the party to make it up to him but he tried to avoid her. He saw how it hurt his father but she'd hurt him. He didn't want to get hurt again.

Chapter Text

Dorado Falls

A few weeks later they were on another case. On that morning though Emily met Morgan at the Academy. She bought coffee for them both.

"What are we doing here?" she asked.

"You've got some training to do," he answered.

"What all of us?" she could see from his face she was wrong as he looked apprehensive. "Why only me?"

"You've been out for a long time, Emily..." she nodded acknowledging the reasoning behind it. "But I have good news. I k now who your teacher is."

"You," she exclaimed excitedly and he nodded.

They were soon called to help with a case. This case wouldn't require them leaving town. It was happening in a nearby suburb. Five people had been shot and three stabbed at an internet security company. They found out the UnSub was suffering from a severe delusional break due to a head injury in a car crash. He'd been a blacktop and they'd had to convince them to give the information on a particular mission named Dorado Falls. He'd shot his parents believing they had been replaced. He was suffering a form of post traumatic stress that caused him to believe his loved ones had been replaced as soon as he saw them. They took his wife and daughter into custody. The only way to secure them was for Luke to hear their voices first.

He ended up in the bullpen. As the wife spoke to him over the tannoy Emily and Hotch were with them. Hotch coached her through it as Emily looked after the daughter. He crouched down to give her advice on how to assure Luke she was the real deal. He then looked up at Emily and she smiled slightly. This compassion was one of the reasons she loved him and her maternal side was one of the reasons he did her. They kept their feelings under wraps as usual. They were getting quite good at hiding the fact they were still in love.

The wife joined Luke while he was blindfolded. As he was taking it off the daughter pulled at the door handles calling for him. He was about to go for his gun when he was apprehended and Emily pulled her away. It broke her heart to do so thinking about what it would have been if it had been the twins. They escorted the family out and Luke to a jail cell.

When Hotch came back he said, "Prentiss, can I talk with you for a moment?"

"Sure," she answered looking at him. She wondered what she'd done wrong. She followed him into his office.

When they got in there he sat behind his desk taking off his tie while she sat in front.

"What is it, Hotch? Is this about the remedial training?" she asked. "Did you command it?"

"Officially no." She looked at him confused. He hadn't officially. That meant Hotch hadn't but Aaron had. What had she done to make her ex think she was incapable of her job? Had he been conflicted these last two months? He'd never shown it. He saw the expression on her face. "Morgan and I both trust you. You have to understand seeing you like that severely affected us. It's not you we don't trust it's ourselves. If anything were to happen to you again we don't know what we'd do," he added looking down trying to bite his tears back.

She nodded placing her hand over his hearing the tears in his voice. "I'm here, I'm alive. I understand." He nodded then looked back up. "You wanted to talk to me about something."

He nodded smiling. "We have a birthday to celebrate soon."

She Beamed. "I can't believe they're going to be three."

"Neither can I. They're growing up so fast. Shall we get down and organise this party?"

"Absolutely." She was touched he was including her into organising their daughters' birthday party. She'd missed their second birthday. They weren't even a couple again yet. He was letting her see them but nothing was back to normal yet. He still had sole custody of them and since they hadn't been married it was his decision when she saw the kids.

They got to work organising the party for the next week. He informed her Sean was in Washington now and would most definitely be making the cake. Sean hadn't been able to go to Jack's party last month but had taken him out the day after to make it up to him.

She could see afterwards something was troubling him. "What is it?" she asked.

He sighed then fixed his eyes on hers never turning them away. "If I ever get like Luke Doran promise me you'll shoot me," he said seriously. What? No! She couldn't do that! She loved him too much to ever shoot him. "I don't want to ever be unable to recognise any of you and aim a gun at you. I don't want to ever get to that point. I couldn't ever hurt you. I know what it's like..."

She tried to keep her tears inside remembering that night. The night she pulled a gun on Aaron. She really wanted to take that night back. She wished it had never happened. "I'm sorry," she answered getting up to leave.

"No, Emily, I'm sorry. It was unfair of me," he answered.

She nodded slightly and left for home.

A week later they were celebrating the twins' third birthday. They were happy to see their mum at the party. Sean had made them both birthday cakes in squares and with teddy bears on top. The teddy bears were made out of icing and the cakes were covered in white icing.

They played games suitable for three year olds.

When it came time for their cakes the girls ran up to the table. They'd learnt what to do. Emily and Aaron came out with their birthday cakes and placed them in front of them. Sean had lit three candles on each cake. The girls smiled up at their parents as they put them down in front of them.

They all sang happy birthday to them while they beamed. When they finished they blew out the candles with their help and giggled as everyone congratulated them. They were three today. They'd got through their illness months ago and lived to be three.

At first Aaron had felt like he'd failed every time he saw them but hadn't wanted to leave them. Overtime he'd loosened up and become less overprotective especially when he was in Pakistan. After Emily had found out she'd wanted to see them even more just to remind herself they were still here. He allowed her to call them every night to comfort her.

Emily, Dave and Declan were the last to leave. It still and always hurt her to leave her children. She knew it would only ease up when they were all living together again. Only then would she truly be home.

She crouched down to hug the birthday girls, her twins. She kissed both their cheeks and they kissed her cheek then hugged her back.

"We love you," they chorused.

"I love you too, so much," she answered. "I love you to the moon."

"And back again," they smiled then they looked down. "Bye bye mummy."

"Bye, my darlings. I'll see you soon and call you later. I'm proud of you." They looked up and nodded.

Jack seeing how sad his sisters were he wanted to rebuild bridges between him and Emily. He wanted to make them and his dad happy again. Daddy said they made him happy but he wasn't completely happy. He could see that. He also really missed Emily. He still loved her as a mummy he just hadn't wanted to get hurt again. She'd proved to him she didn't want to hurt him and had never meant to.

He walked up to her and stood looking down at his feet. "Emily," he said shuffling his feet.

"Yes Jack," she answered concerned looking at him.

"Can I have a hug?" she smiled widely at him as it was the first time he'd wanted her to touch him since she came back. He ran into her arms and hugged her. She hugged him close to her biting back her tears. She'd missed him so much. He kissed her cheek and he smiled back kissing his.

"I love you, Emmy," he whispered.

"I love you too, Jack Jack," she answered.

"I missed you."

"I missed you, too."

"See you later, Emmy."

"See you later, buddy."

He still really didn't like saying goodbye. It was too painful too sad. Goodbye was too final. It meant you might never see them again.

Dave and Aaron smiled down at their exchange. It was wonderful to see him open up to Emily again. Maybe everything would be alright. Maybe he could take her back without feeling guilty. Maybe they could now be together again.

Chapter Text

Painless

A few weeks later they had another case and he still hadn't done anything to make them a couple again. They were off to Boise, Idaho. On this case they had to revisit a case Hotch and Rossi worked on ten years ago. A killer was killing survivors of a school shooting and bombing. While they were talking to reporters Morgan started a prank war by getting them all to call Reid if they had any questions.

During the case they found the previous killer Randy Slade had had a hit list of people he'd wanted to kill. The latest killings though had nothing to do with the list. They found out the killer had been the true hero of the previous incident whose moment of glory had been taken by an imposter.

Shortly before they took him down Reid had lost it while he answered his phone for the hundredth time. He was about to swear at the caller when Hotch reeled him in so he ended the call. It was hinted though to him what had really been going on by Rossi and Morgan.

When they finally faced the UnSub Hotch and Emily found him. The killer aimed his gun at him and they both brought up their guns. Hotch shot a warning shot. He was just about to shoot Hotch when Emily put her finger on the trigger. No way was she going to let this arsehole kill her man. Before she could though she heard Hotch's gun go off and the UnSub fell down dead.

Soon they were back on the jet. She was sitting opposite Rossi and Morgan while Spencer slept beside her. Morgan put on his iPod only to receive a bulletin.

"We interrupt your music selection with an important bulletin. Never pick a prank war with a military school graduate we have a tendency to go nuclear. So lean back and listen to the dulcet tones of me screaming in your ear," Spence said through the iPod. He then started doing so and Morgan took off his headphones.

"Real cute kid," he answered while Spencer pretended to be in a deeper sleep.

Morgan's phone went off and he saw it was his wife. "Hey babe," he said only to get Reid screaming in his ear again so he hung up.

Rossi handed him a tissue and Emily got up. She headed to her ex as she'd seen he'd been troubled during the case. She wondered if it was Jack as she knew he'd had a parent teacher conference beforehand. She knew it had to be something that came out then.

She sat opposite him while he dealt with some files. "Hey," she said.

"Hey," he answered back looking up and putting the file down.

"How's Jack?" he looked confused. How did she know something was wrong with Jack? "I'm sorry I guessed..."

He nodded. Maternal instinct! She'd had it since before the twins. "There's a boy at school who's being mean to him. His solution is to invite him over and try to make friends with him. The twins took an instant disliking but I thought it was because of their shyness."

She smiled slightly though she hated the fact she'd made Alexia shy when she used to be confident. "That is the sweetest and saddest thing I've ever heard. Jack didn't tell you, huh?"

"No, his teacher," he answered looking down.

"Ouch, that's got to hurt. He wants to deal with it himself and you want to let him but part of him wishes you could protect him."

"I want to protect him from the evil of the world but I know I can't."

"You can be there for him. You can show him you're not alone."

He nodded. "How did you survive in Paris?" he'd wanted to know ever since she came back.

"Well I spent a lot of time playing online scrabble with a cheetobreath..." they looked at JJ and smiled. "I also played a lot of chess with Jason..."

"I'm glad he looked out for you."

"Thanks for giving me a friend."

"Anytime. I didn't want you to get lonely."

She smiled at his care for her. It showed he never stopped caring even when she'd wronged him. She knew she also had to confess about the calls. "I also called someone every day just to hear his voice. Guess I'm crazy in love."

He beamed. "I knew it was you."

"I just needed to make sure you were alright."

"They were the highlight of my day and helped me through."

"I'm glad," she answered putting her hand over his. He smiled back. "How did you get by in Pakistan?"

"I had a job to do but I managed to Skype the children daily." She smiled. "What are you doing tomorrow night?"

"I got to go to mother's Christmas ball," she rolled her eyes.

"Have fun," he smirked.

"Thanks." She'd expected him to offer to go with her. She hadn't been to one of these events since she was pregnant and her mother had implied she was a slut. Now she had to go as a single woman again. Last time she'd had Aaron to defend her and scare off other guys. Now she was on her own. Damn him! She got up to leave annoyed and disappointed. It had seemed at first like he'd wanted to spend tomorrow evening with her now this. "Thanks for feeding me to the lions."

He followed her with his eyes feeling guilty. He knew how much she hated going to these things alone. He just didn't feel ready to go to one of those again when they weren't even a couple yet. He slammed his hand down and went back to the file. He'd screwed up again but he was scared.

The next day at work didn't go well either. There was absolutely no interaction between them two. It was obvious she was trying to avoid him. When she handed her files to him at the end of the day she wouldn't even look him in the eye. Oh man, he'd fucked up royally.

He felt like such a jerk. He'd raised her hopes up and crushed them in the same breath. He had asked her what she was doing tonight then blew her off when she told him about the event. He was such a fool.

She left and headed home to change. She changed into a jaw dropping black dress and black high heels. She let her shoulder-length brown hair hang out and onto her shoulders.

"You look beautiful," Dave said.

"Thanks Dave," she answered playing with the locket Aaron had once given her. She now wore two. One which held pictures of the twins the other a picture of Aaron and another of Jack. She had been given them back at the hospital a year ago.

Eliza and Alexia then came over to pick her up. They'd been talked into going by their parents. They would be accompanying her to the ball.

When Aaron got home he put the twins to bed then Jack. He took a candle and lit it.

"Why are we doing this again, daddy?" he asked.

"We haven't done it for a while and I thought it might help," he answered.

"Help with what?"

"I don't know...like if you've had a bad day...Mrs Collins told me Paul's being mean to you."

"He's not being mean to me..." He didn't want his daddy to worry about him. He'd sorted out the problem this morning. They'd been mean to him about the situation with his mummies. He'd stood up for himself by telling him he had two actually. One who looked over him from above and another who was FBI and protected him fighting monsters.

"He's not..." Jack shook his head. "Well maybe we can ask mummy to look after you."

"And my sisters..."

"Yes and them."

"And daddy."

"Ah, yes him too," he smiled at his son. He was proud he looked out for others and didn't resort to violence.

Soon after JACK blew out the flame and Aaron took it placing it on his bedside table. He kissed his forehead and tucked him in.

"Love you, daddy," he said.

"I love you too, buddy," he answered.

"Daddy," he said turning to look at him seriously.

"Yes Jack," he answered concerned.

"Go get Emily. She makes you happy. She loves you and you love her. I want her back, daddy," he smiled slightly.

"So do I, buddy," he smiled down at him stroking his hair.

"Go get her, daddy."

How did his son get to be smarter than him? He was right he had to go get her. They'd been tiptoeing around their feelings again since she came back. They couldn't carry on like this. It was time to end this now. He needed her and he was sure she needed him too. It was time to stop being a coward and pluck up his courage. He had to get her back by his side.

He also needed someone to look after his children though. He also needed to know where to find her. He didn't know if she was at her mother's ball or at Dave's house. Only Dave could give him that answer. He dialled his number.

Dave informed him she was still at the ball and he'd bring Declan over to babysit the other children. There was no way he would leave the pre-teenage boy on his own. He was only twelve and still recovering from his incident. Emily would kill him if he left him alone.

He got the boy ready to go over to the Hotchner residence. Some day he'd live there and Aaron would be his father. The twins and Jack already were his siblings and he treated them as such. He was glad that Aaron was about to put the wheels in motion finally. About time!

Meanwhile Aaron was changing into his tux. He knew he couldn't wear his work suit to this political ball. It was a pretty formal event. The last time he'd worn a tux was at the last gala they'd attended. He smiled at the memory and all that had happened since then. He and her mother had even become close over his daughters. She'd turned into a fantastic, loving grandmother.

When the door knocked he answered apprehensively but was relieved when none of the children woke up. He answered to find Dave and Declan on his doorstep. He smiled when he saw them and ushered them in.

"The kids are in bed," he said.

They nodded and then he led Declan aside. Declan had had Emily to himself for a few months now. He wanted to make sure her son was alright with what he was about to do. That he was alright with Emily and him being a couple.

"What is it, Aaron?" he asked worried. He was scared Aaron was going to hurt Emily by chickening out. He'd seen how upset Emily was that Aaron wasn't coming so he almost leapt for joy when Aaron changed his mind. He just wanted his foster mother to be happy and she loved Aaron.

"Are you ok with this? I don't want to be stepping on your toes if Emily and I get together," he said concerned.

He smiled up at him. He was just concerned about causing friction between them. He was worried he would come between the two of them but he liked him. "I like you, Aaron. You love Emily and she loves you. I want you to be together."

"Thanks kiddo," he answered ruffling his hair. Declan smiled up at him. He hoped he would be his father some day.

"How are you going to get in?" Dave asked coming up.

"I'll use my badge if I have to," he answered.

"Good luck,"

"Thanks," he answered after taking in a big breath. He had to admit he was nervous. He was about to take one of the biggest gambles of his life. He had no idea if it was too late. He had no idea if he'd already blown it for good. "Since Declan has school in the morning you can stay over, remember."

"Thanks mate." He really didn't want to split Emily and Aaron tonight. Now when they were about to get back together. They needed to talk things through. He was pretty sure they were going to get back together. Emily had just been waiting for him to come back.

"Right," he said mustering up his courage and leaving home. He drove off to the venue he'd found out from Eliza it was at. He'd called Eliza shortly after Dave. She promised to keep his attendance secret and gave him instructions.

When he got there and a valet took his car he took another gulp looking up at the imposing state building. He hadn't been this nervous since he joined the FBI all those years ago. He straightened up his stance, pulled himself together and texted Eliza.

'I'm outside' he said waiting for her to come to the entrance. When he saw her he smiled slightly and she waved him up. He walked up the steps nervously and she talked them into letting them in.

"Where is she?" he asked.

"Over there," she answered pointing her out.

He looked to where she was pointing and found her with some sleezeball feeling her up while they danced. He saw red and green and walked over to her. She tried to keep this man's hands off her body wishing her Aaron was here to save her. Not that she was a damsel in distress. This guy just wasn't taking no for an answer.

Suddenly she felt someone tap her shoulder. She looked round and couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the very man she'd just been thinking about. He was here! It lifted her spirits so she smiled up at him.

She pushed the other man away from her but he wouldn't take no for an answer. He grabbed her arm and Aaron yanked it off. He tried to pull her back.

"I believe the woman said no," he said trying to grab the guy's hand off of Emily's arm.

"If you don't get your hand off her I will have you arrested for sexually harassing a federal agent," Aaron threatened showing his badge. The man gulped and let go leaving her to Aaron.

She just sunk into Aaron's embrace and he held her close. He was never going to let her go again. She smiled up at him and he smiled down kissing her forehead.

"I've missed you," she whispered.

"I've missed you too," he whispered. "Can we go for a walk?"

She knew they had to talk about them but she wanted to delay it a little longer to relax her nerves. "Might I have the dance first?"

"Sure." They had a whole evening to talk about them.

He took her hand and led her into a waltz. His mother had taught him how to when he was a child. She'd wanted to help her boys become gentleman rather than the drunken cheating abuser that his father had been for most of their lives. They'd always been close to her. He still missed her but he knew he would visit her grave once a year.

"You look beautiful," he whispered taking in her scent.

"So do you," she smiled up at him.

"I love you, Emily Prentiss."

"I love you too, Aaron Hotchner."

They touched their foreheads together and completely relaxed. They were finally together again. They were complete again. They were one and without each other they were broken.

"That's the first time you've called me Aaron for over a year," he smiled.

They smiled at each other. They then looked towards her mother who was smiling at her as was the FBI director standing next to her with his arm around her shoulder. They were happy they were back where they belonged. He knew they could do their jobs staying objective and be together. They worked better that way. Emily smiled at her mother's approval and rested her head on his chest closing her eyes. She was so happy again. She was back with her soul mate.

After the dance he escorted her to her coat for their walk. It was November. He didn't want her to get cold as they had this important conversation. She smiled as he helped her into her coat while she put on her gloves. Always the gentleman!

He took her hand and led her out to the gardens. They held hands walking through then sat down when they found a bench. He looked her right in the eye to show he wasn't going to chicken out and held her hands.

"Emily, I want to be with you..." he said.

"I want to be with you too, Aaron," she answered looking him in the eye.

"Please hear me out..." she nodded and he smiled though they were both nervous. "I still love you, Emily, always have always will but I want to take it slow this time..." she looked at him confused. What did he want? Did he just want them to be friends? She had promised to hear him out though. "We didn't date last time. I want us to have dinner next week. Will you be free next Thursday if we don't have a case?"

"Even if we do have a case I'll go out to dinner with you..." he smiled showing his dimples. "I love you, Aaron, always and forever."

He smiled even more and then claimed her lips for his own. She kissed him back with even more passion while he placed her hands on her cheeks as she did his.

"Let's go home," he said/ even though he was only ready to date her at the moment he would always consider the house as their home. They'd bought it together for their children.

She nodded. There was nothing more she wanted to do than go to his house. "What about Dave and Declan?"

"They're already there... He's been babysitting."

She nodded. Even better she thought.

He took her home after she made her goodbyes to her family who understood she needed some time with Aaron as they'd just got back together.

When they got there Dave smiled when he saw them both walk in hand in hand. Obviously things had gone well. He turned off the TV and got up when they came in smiling at them both.

"So I see things went well?" he said.

"Very," she answered smiling up at him while he smiled down at her kissing her nose. "So where's Declan?"

"Asleep in the spare room. He wanted to take the couch first instead of me but I talked him into taking the spare room."

Emily smiled about her son. He was definitely a gentleman already at the age of twelve. He would be turning thirteen in two months time. "Sounds just like him. When I slept in Aaron's office he wanted to take the floor instead of the couch."

Aaron looked at her confused and concerned. "You slept in my office?" he asked.

"The night we returned...I couldn't come home and I didn't wan to evict my tenants. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone so I took your office," she defended.

"I offered to carry her out when she tried turning down my offer," Dave added.

"I can imagine that," Aaron smirked. "Well if you're to sleep on the couch we might as well turn it into the sofa bed," he added.

Emily nodded heading up to get the spare bedding.

Wh9ile she was out of the room Dave asked, "So what have you decided? Am I to lose them?" He'd gotten used to having their company and couldn't imagine living alone again.

Aaron smiled at him slightly. He could see his friend had got used to living with Emily and Declan. He was glad that they had a loving home until he was ready for her to move back in. "We're going on a date next Thursday and taking things slowly. Even if they were to move out you'd never lose them."

"That's probably the best way. You're both carrying so much baggage."

He nodded and brought out the sofa bed while Emily came back with the bedding. She gave it to Dave and he wished them a good night.

As they were going up the stairs she asked, "So where will I be staying tonight? I can go sleep on the floor in Declan's room." She hoped one day it would be his room.

"No way, you'll be lying by my side tonight," he answered. "I may want to take it slowly but I also don't want to ever let you go again."

She smiled up at him. "I'm never going to let you."

He smiled back down at her when they got to the top of the stairs and hugged her. "I love you, Em."

She beamed up at him and hugged him closer. "You know that's the first time you've called me Em in a really long time."

"Well now I get to, don't I?"

"Of course you do." She then kissed his chin and he led her into the bedroom with her bag. They'd picked it up on the way home.

In there they changed out of their clothes. He just changed into a t-shirt and boxers while she changed into a pair of pyjama bottoms and the t-shirt of his she'd kept as a comfort blanket. He smiled at that.

He then climbed into bed while she climbed into the side that was once hers. Once she was under the sheets he pulled her into his and she cuddled into him. She understood he wasn't ready for sex just yet but she was more than happy for this intimacy.

They woke up in the morning in the same position though his arm felt dead. She smiled up at him while he smiled back.

"Morning beautiful," he said kissing her forehead.

"Morning handsome," she answered kissing his cheek.

"I've missed this."

"So have I."

"Want to wake up the kids together?"

"I'd love to."

They got up and he went to wake Jack while she went to wake up Declan. After doing so they went to the twins together.

They already were awake when they got there and talking to each other. When they turned two and a half Aaron had converted their cots into beds.

When they heard them come in the room they looked up and jumped out of bed excitedly when they saw her.

"Mummy," they shouted.

"Hey," she smiled back hugging them.

Jack came in like usual to help his dad with his sisters. He beamed when he saw Emily. This clearly meant she was back with his daddy. Everything might go back to normal again. Everyone might be happy again. He hugged her and she hugged him back.

"Emmy," he exclaimed.

"Hey buddy," she smiled down at him.

"You and daddy are back together?"

"Yes we are," she smiled down at him causing him to smile even more.

Declan then came in. He smiled when he saw them all together but also felt a little on the outside.

"Uncle Dave tells me to tell you that pancakes are ready," he said.

Jack ran up to Declan along with their sisters and hugged him. He smiled feeling more like part of the family now. They'd made him feel almost welcome from the moment they met him especially the twins. Jack had taken some warming up to him.

"Alright, let's go downstairs," Aaron said while Emily nodded. The children followed their parents down the stairs and smiled when they saw Uncle Dave. Dave smiled when he saw the family enter while he was flipping pancakes. He was so happy to see the family again back together. This is where Emily and even Declan belonged. Declan belonged with a family and definitely this one. He seemed happy with the family. That's what this kid deserved. Love and happiness!

"You didn't have to, Dave," Aaron smiled when he saw the pancakes.

"I wanted to for one of my favourite families," Dave smiled while the others smiled back. Aaron placed his hand on Declan's shoulder and pulled him close while Declan smiled up at him. Emily smiled at them both. Things were going to be just fine between them all.

Later JJ came and sat on Emily's desk and Garcia came too. It hadn't escaped their notice that when Emily came in she had a spring in her step and Hotch couldn't help smiling. Two things they hadn't seen in so long. Maybe things were working out now. Obviously they'd got back together.

"So?" JJ asked.

"So what?" Emily answered pretending to act dumb.

"You and Hotch seem happy."

"We've reached an understanding," she smiled. She was going to make them drag it out of her. She wasn't going to make it easy for them. She was so happy she wanted to play. She knew she couldn't keep them secret or at least they would work it out even if she did.

"You're moving back in together? You're getting married?" Garcia asked.

"Hey, hey, hold your horses," Emily laughed. "It's only a date."

Penelope was now almost jumping in excitement. "Oh my god, oh my god," she exclaimed then quietened when she looked up at Hotch's office.

Emily looked up to see Hotch standing in his doorway with his eyebrow raised. She looked down feeling ashamed as she hadn't talked to him about coming out straight away. She soon felt his presence beside her so she looked up at him.

"What do we have to hide? We already have permission," he smiled down at her.

She nodded smiling up at him.

On Thursday JJ came over to help her get ready for her date with Aaron. She was so excited but nervous at the same time. They were starting all over again and what if things went wrong again? She wouldn't be able to cope losing him a second time. He was all she wanted in this world and the father of her children.

They chose to change her into a blood red dress with slits up the side, a black shawl and black high heels. They decided to leave her shoulder length hair out touching her shoulders. She would wear her long black coat to keep her warm in the cold November air.

"You look gorgeous," she said.

"Thanks JJ," she answered.

"I'd better go. Don't want to be here when Hotch arrives." Emily nodded in response. "I don't need to wish you luck as I know it'll work out." Emily smiled back at her and they made their goodbyes.

Half an hour later there was a knock on Dave's front door so he answered to see Aaron there ready to pick up Emily for their first date. He almost felt like the father of the girlfriend. He knew Aaron would never hurt her but he felt protective over her. He would harm him if he ever hurt her. Emily had been to hell and back.

He let him in and shouted for Emily who was upstairs getting her last things ready. He wanted everything to be perfect for Emily. He really didn't want to screw up again. Emily was everything to him and it would kill him to lose her again.

She came down the stairs and smiled when she saw him. He looked so handsome in his suit and red shirt with his top buttons undone and no tie around his neck. He smiled back up at her. She looked amazing. When she got downstairs they greeted each other.

She went to grab her coat when he took it off her and said, "Allow me." He helped her into it and left telling Dave when to expect them back.

"So where are we going?" she asked as he led her to his car.

"It's a surprise," he answered increasing her anxiety. Where was he taking her? She sure hoped their first date would go well. She wanted to see how Aaron dated. She'd never had that pleasure before. That had been taken from them by Foyet.

He got them into the car and he drove them off to a fancy restaurant. He parked the car outside and took her in. She found the restaurant was completely empty apart from a candlelit table. He took her over, pulled out her chair and she sat down. He pushed her in then sat across from her pouring the wine.

"How did you get this all to ourselves?" he asked.

"It's a secret," he smiled with a glint of mischief in his eyes.

The waitress then came and placed the starters on the table in front of them. It was a night full of surprises as the courses turned into all her favourites and his favourites.

The chef then came out and said, "I hope you enjoyed the meal." The voice was familiar and she looked up to see Sean. No wonder the chef had known all their favourites. It was his brother.

"It was a fantastic meal. Thanks Sean," she smiled at him.

"Yer, thanks Sean," his brother answered.

"Anything to make sure you two have a special night."

"It's much appreciated. How much did it cost?" Aaron asked.

"It was a favour for a brother," he smiled back. "Don't think about money."

He nodded and then led Emily out. He took her for a walk in the park then back to Dave's. It hurt to say goodbye to her but he wasn't ready for them to live together yet and he had to get back to Jack and the twins. He also wanted to date her properly so sex was off limits for the moment. Maybe after the third date he knew there was some sort of unwritten rule that you did it then.

Chapter Text

From Childhood's Hour

A few weeks later they were off on another case. They were off to St Louis, Missouri. They'd been called in two days after a nine year old boy, Bobby Smith, had gone missing which wasn't protocol. You were meant to be called in much earlier if a child had been taken. This case affected both of them especially as one mother was killed and another little boy taken. She knew just what it was like to have your children taken from you though it was herself that actually had to be taken away.

One night she found herself trying very hard not to break down over her memories of not being able to see her children when there was a knock on the door. She opened it and smiled slightly when she saw her boyfriend of the last three weeks holding his laptop.

"I was about to talk to the children and thought you might like to join me. I've seen how hard it's been for you on this case," he said.

"Though I'm trying to do my job I can't stop thinking about what it was like to be in Paris without them," she admitted.

"I understand. It's the same with me about when Jack was in protective custody."

She nodded taking his hand and leading him to her bed. They sat on the bed and he opened up the laptop. He hit Skype and soon after their faces appeared on the screen. She'd already phoned Declan to check on him. He was still currently staying with Garcia while they were away.

"Mummy," the twins exclaimed while Jack screamed, "Emmy."

"Hey," she smiled back then they greeted Aaron. They got chatting with them and he saw how it visibly relaxed her and improved her psyche as he also rubbed circles into her back. It hurt him to see her hurting.

After they ended the call he put the laptop to the side when she pulled him back. "Please stay," she said. He nodded in response.

Early next morning she woke up in his arms and she looked over to him and saw he was still sleeping. She smiled thinking about last night's activities. She must have really tired him out. They'd finally made out again. It had really helped her calm down and become focussed. They'd been celibate for so long.

Soon they'd solved the case saving a mother, daughter and both boys restored to their families. The UnSub had been working for the emergency operator. They were relieved to finally be going home to their children.

When they landed she headed to Aaron's house after picking up Declan. Dave had told her he was going to be seeing his first wife tonight so she arranged to spend the evening with her boyfriend and children. Aaron decided it would be a sleepover. Sleepovers with Declan and nights on cases were really going to be the only time they were going to be able to have sex due to the fact they both had children living with them.

She stopped by the house briefly to pick up her and Declan's stuff apologising to Carolyn for the intrusion. She then gathered her son and their stuff together and got into Aaron's car. He drove them back to the house.

"I hope it really is a date," she said.

"So do I," he answered.

"Thanks for taking us tonight."

"You're my girlfriend, Em, and Declan's my son." she beamed as did her son.

"You know that's the first time you've called Declan your son."

"Well he is my son. He feels like my son and when you adopt him I want to be his father." He then looked at Declan in his mirror and asked, "Is that alright with you, son?"

"I'd love you to be my dad, Aaron," he said causing him to smile even more.

"Thanks kiddo."

Meanwhile back at the house Carolyn said, "She seems nice."

"Yer she is," Dave smiled affectionately.

"I'm glad..." he knew she was going to say she was glad he had someone so he wanted to put her straight.

"She's Aaron's..." she looked confused. "It's a long story." He really didn't want to get into the whole story about Doyle right now. She nodded in response. He got them two glasses of wine. "Who'd have thought we'd find ourselves back together?"

"Dave..." she interrupted solemnly. She really didn't want him to think this was a date. She needed him to help her with something and she really wanted him to listen. "You know we made vows when we divorced."

"We always joked we would be the only couple that had both marriage and divorce vows."

"Dave, now I need your help..." She took his hand. Part of her still cared about him. "I was diagnosed last year with ALS."

"Lou Gehrig's disease," he answered in disbelief. Why hadn't she told him earlier? They could have spent more time together.

"I don't have much longer. I'm not going to be able to walk or talk. I want to leave this world on my terms and I want you to help..."

He couldn't believe his ears. What he thought was going to be a date was his first wife asking him to help her kill himself. He didn't know what to say. He was conflicted. He still loved her and didn't want to lose her but neither did he want her to end up completely paralysed unable to do anything for herself. It would be too painful.

"I need time..."

She nodded.

When Emily got home the next day Carolyn was gone and Dave looked troubled. She wondered what the hell had happened. What was troubling him? What had gone on?

"You alright?" she asked.

"Yes," he answered trying to shirk her off. He didn't know how to broach this with anyone. How was he to tell someone his ex-wife wanted to kill herself and for him to help?

She sent Declan out of the room and sat next to Dave. "Tell me the truth, Dave. I can see right through you."

"Did you tell Aaron the truth when you were troubled?" he retorted.

She tried to bit back her tears remembering that time. She really didn't want to remember what Doyle had put her through. She wished she could just forget it all. She'd never meant to put Aaron through that pain and wished she could take it all back. She got up to leave when he grabbed her arm.

"Emily, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. Carolyn has Lou Gehrig's disease."

Oh god! Poor Dave! What a dreadful date! "I'm so sorry," she answered.

"She wants me to help her die on her own terms."

Oh god! She couldn't help but empathise with him. She knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of that sort of request. Aaron had tried to get a promise that she would kill him if things ever got really bad and he didn't recognise their family weeks ago. It was clear Dave still had feelings for her so he must be torn up over the request.

"I understand. You won't believe it but Aaron asked me the same thing of me if ever things got so bad he didn't recognise us..." his eyes widened. How could a healthy middle-aged family man ask that of his lover? "I'll give you whatever you need."

"I need space and time..." She nodded. "Can you please keep this secret from everyone else?"

"Sure," she said gently. "How long's she got?"

"Six months."

"I'm here for you."

"Thanks Emily."

A couple of weeks later it was Sophie's second birthday so they threw a party for her. Emily was so happy to be able to celebrate her goddaughter's birthday with her as she'd missed her first birthday. Sophie was so happy to see her godmother.

It was the first time she'd been able to bring herself to see Henry and Sophie since she came back. She'd felt guilty about messing with their heads. They instantly forgave her though and were happy to see her. They hugged her and she smiled back. Will even smiled to see her. JJ had filled him in on what she and Aaron had had to do and thankfully he'd understood.

They played party games suitable for two year olds while the twins and Jack smiled happy to be playing with their unofficial cousins. Declan was also welcomed by Henry and Sophie and she was happy to see him smile. He had recovered from his trauma and settled into his new life. She couldn't wait for the day he was officially her son.

Everyone enjoyed themselves while the little girl celebrated her birthday. She was so happy to be turning two. For her she was becoming a big girl. Henry tried to protect her all the while. He was a great big brother like Jack and Declan were. He was really trying to follow their example.

JJ had made her birthday cake in the standard round shape and had painted Sophie's name in icing. She'd also put chocolate stars and wafer daisies on the cake. She placed two candles on the cake and lit them then took it into the living room.

Emily carried Sophie to the cake while she smiled at her. She placed her down and they started singing happy birthday then Sophie blew out her candles with her mother's help. After JJ kissed her daughter's long, blonde hair. "Happy birthday, sweetie," she whispered. She beamed back.

When it was time to go Emily hugged Sophie and she hugged her back. "Bye Soph," she said.

"Bye," she answered innocently.

"I hope you had a great birthday."

She nodded wildly and Emily smiled at her. She was glad her goddaughter had enjoyed herself on her birthday. She kissed her hair then left after saying goodbye to Henry too.

A week later it was Christmas. She woke up to hear noise coming from the kitchen. She smiled sadly at another Christmas without being woken up by the children. Declan was too old to run in waking her up in the early hours of the morning.

She got up and went down to the kitchen to find Declan eating pancakes while Dave was making some more. They both smiled up when they saw her.

"Pancakes?" Dave asked.

"Please," she answered sadly.

He could see she wasn't completely happy it was Christmas. He knew it had to be about Jack and the twins. It was her second Christmas waking up without the excitement young children bring on Christmas Day. At least this time she wouldn't be spending it alone in fear.

"They'll be over later," he smiled slightly.

"I know. I can't believe how used to Jack waking me up on Christmas morning I got after only two Christmases with him. I didn't even celebrate last year," she answered.

"It's understandable. He is a bundle of energy."

She smiled slightly. She wished she was spending all day with them but she and Aaron had only been dating for almost two months. It was too soon to be celebrating together alone. At least they would be over later as the whole family celebrated together like every year.

Later they started coming over and Aaron was the first with the three children. When they got there they hugged her.

"Merry Christmas, mummy," the twins said.

"Merry Christmas, sunshine," she answered hugging them close.

"Merry Christmas, Emmy," Jack added.

"Merry Christmas, Jack Jack," she answered then turned to their father smiling at him, "and Merry Christmas to you, Aaron."

"Merry Christmas, Em," he smiled back pushing a lock of her hair behind her ear then she took his hand and kissed it looking lovingly into his eyes. He smiled back lost in her eyes until they heard the children running up to Declan.

They tore away their eyes and smiled as the children greeted each other. He pulled her close and they smiled at their kids happy that Declan had been so welcomed into the family. He kissed her hair and she smiled up at him resting her hand on his chest.

"I love you, Em," he smiled at her.

"I love you too, Aaron," she smiled back.

"I'm glad you're back."

"I'm glad to be back."

Soon after the others arrived and smiled to see Emily in Aaron's arms. Apart from the fact they weren't living together yet everything was back to normal and they even had an addition to the family in the form of Declan. After greeting his siblings Declan had spent the rest of the time in the kitchen with Dave. In the past few months they'd become as thick as thieves. He was a paternal figure to him.

Soon Christmas dinner was served up and Declan smiled happy to have been allowed to help the chef while the rest of them had looked after the other five children. They all sat around and poured themselves drinks.

Dave then got up to make a toast. "I believe we have a few things to celebrate other than clearing this country of a few more monsters. We've had a marriage," he said as everyone smiled at Penelope who snuggled into Derek and smiled up at him. "We've had one of our family restored to us..." They all smiled at Emily. "We've had an addition to the family in the shape of Emily's son, Declan..."

They all smiled at Declan who added, "And Aaron's." Aaron smiled at him and nodded while everyone beamed. They were all pleased he'd agreed to adopt the almost teenage boy like Emily had adopted Jack. He would provide the boy with the father he deserved.

"And Aaron's son," Dave added. "Which brings me to finally a restored relationship. Here to Emily and Aaron. May we hear wedding bells this time?" They all smiled at the reunited couple as Emily smiled up at Aaron who kissed her hair. They were never going to let go again and weather every storm together. Dave then extended his glass and finished, "To family."

"To family," they all answered clinking their glasses.

The afternoon was full of presents and enjoyment.

Even Dave managed to forget Carolyn's request for a while and take joy in his family's Christmas. For that's what they were. One big, happy family.

That night Aaron and the children were staying over so Emily could have more time with her family. She happily put the kids to sleep with her boyfriend. Declan went to bed by himself after wishing them all a good night. He was so happy to be part of a big, happy family and that Emily had won them back.

Emily soon found herself falling asleep on Aaron's shoulder and he smiled down at her then at Dave. "I think we'll be turning in too," he said.

Dave nodded. "It's been an emotional day."

He nodded and added, "Come on, Em. Let's get to bed. You can hardly keep your eyes open."

"But I'm so comfortable here," she whined.

"You'll be more comfortable in bed I assure you. I'll carry you if I have to."

She rolled her eyes and muttered, "Men," causing them both to chuckle but she agreed to go up to bed with him.

"Night," Aaron mouthed to Dave who mouthed the same back and smiled as he saw his best friend going up the stairs with his sleepy girlfriend leaning on him. She was asleep from the moment she touched the bed. Aaron changed her carefully into her pyjamas then got in his own and climbed in beside her cuddling her close to him watching her until he too gave into sleep.

Chapter Text

Epilogue

They were soon on another case. They were called to Angeles National Forest in California where three bodies had been recovered from the Ridge Canyon Lake. As the case progressed they realised he was resuscitating his victims. He wanted to know what people saw just before they died.

It got Reid and Emily talking about what they had seen right before they died. While Spencer had seen a light and a presence Emily had only seen dark and cold. Hotch tried to bite back his emotions as he heard this. He really didn't want to remember he'd almost lost Emily. He left the room and she followed.

She placed a hand on his arm as he looked away and said gently, "Aaron, look at me. I'm still alive. I'm not dead."

He looked into her eyes and answered, "I know. It's just too painful to remember how I nearly lost you, Em. You're my world."

"I know and they saved me. I'm not going anywhere."

He nodded touching his forehead to hers for a minute then pulled away calming himself. "Let's get back to work."

"And get this all over as quickly as a Hotch rocket." They both laughed remembering Garcia's comment on the plane. It was good to see him laugh and he thought the same about seeing her laugh too.

They soon found the UnSub chasing down his latest victim after abandoning his mother. They saved the boy and prevented the UnSub from attempting to drown himself and put him over into the local authority's custody.

On the plane she curled up into Hotch's side. She wanted to remind him she was actually still alive. Doyle hadn't succeeded in killing her. He'd lost and she'd won. She'd even been awarded with the best prize, her almost thirteen year old son. She'd lived to see another day with him and all their children.

When they landed Dave went over to Carolyn's while Emily headed home with Declan. She was aware he would be spending the night at Carolyn's so she ordered a pizza for her and her son.

Meanwhile Dave was at Carolyn's when she said he didn't have to make the choice anymore. He knew instantly she'd done something to end this decision for him her way. She'd taken an overdose. He didn't want to believe it but knew it.

"Carolyn, what have you done?" he asked biting back his tears.

"I'm sorry, Dave, I just couldn't wait any longer," she answered guiltily.

"No, Carolyn, don't you dare die," he said on the verge of tears.

She faltered and he ran to catch her and he laid her down on the bed feeling the life ebb out of her. He tried to call 911 but she prevented him pleading with him to let her die. He honoured her dying wish and watched as the life drained out of her trying to stay strong.

When she was dead he finally let the tears flow out of him. He stayed there crying for minutes and then tried to compose himself and deal with the business of her death. She didn't really have any family so it was left to him. He would miss her more than anything. He couldn't believe she was actually gone.

He saw the body taken off by the coroners then went home. Emily was really worried when she saw him look so dejected. She got up and went over to him.

"What is it?" she asked concerned.

"Carolyn's dead," he answered numbly.

"Oh god! I'm so sorry. What happened?"

"She took an overdose."

"I'll give you whatever you need."

"As before time and space. I'm going to call Aaron to ask for time off."

She nodded.

A few days later Emily and Aaron attended Carolyn's funeral with him while Sean and Jessica looked after the children. She'd wanted to support Dave on this terrible day and Aaron hadn't wanted them to go alone. He would follow Emily to the ends of the earth but wouldn't admit that. Aaron would follow her to the ends of the earth but she had to follow Hotch on the job.

They all agreed to come together and donate money to an ALS charity. It was Emily's idea and everyone agreed with it. She wanted to do all she could to help as she helped Dave through the grieving process. She would always be there for him. He felt like a second father to her. Dave was thankful for the face he had her support. It was nice to have someone he could turn to whenever he wanted. He'd miss them when they moved in with Aaron.

Shortly after Declan turned thirteen. It was a relatively quiet affair as he felt too old for a big party like his siblings had. It was just a dinner out at Sean's restaurant with the family.

Chapter Text

There's No Place Like Home

A week later they were off to Wichita, Kansas to solve another case the day Rossi came back from his compassionate leave. Hotch and Emily were both worried he'd come back too early but he said he needed to keep busy. He'd had too much time missing Carolyn and he missed her more than he ever had. She wasn't coming back.

He wasn't the only one having problems though. Henry was ill and JJ had felt unsure about leaving Will alone with their son and daughter. He'd told her she was needed and persuaded her to go. It didn't get any better though while they dealt with this Frankenstein like case. Henry was taken to hospital as he had a fever but she was told it had gone down and everything was alright.

"How can everything be alright? They told us it would blow over. He wasn't meant to have a fever and be taken to hospital," she said. She couldn't help thinking about what had happened with Alexia and Eliza. She was scared it might happen again this time with her son.

"JJ, its fine. The fever went down. He'll be alright," Will answered.

"Where is he?" she asked trying to wipe away a tear.

"They're just discharging him...Sophie's with Penelope."

"I'm coming home."

"They need you."

"Henry needs me more," she answered hanging up.

Hotch came in and saw something was wrong. She looked concerned and worried so naturally so was he. She was like a little sister to him.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Henry's got a fever. Will had to take him to hospital..." she answered.

His chest tightened remembering what had happened with his twins. He hoped JJ and Will wouldn't go through the same as he had. He surely hoped his nephew wasn't as seriously ill as his daughters had been. JJ saw he was thinking about his own daughters so added, "They say he'll be alright and discharging him but..."

He nodded. He understood she had to go home. She had to make sure her son was going to be alright. He would want to do the same in her position. It was why he had stayed with the twins when they were so unwell. If he had known before they came out into this storm and onto this case he would have made her stay home. "You can go home. If there's anything we can to help..." he answered.

"I don't suppose I could use the jet," she answered hopefully knowing she'd get a no.

"I'm sorry I wouldn't be able to justify it. Though Eliza is Emily's childhood best friend and Kirk her stepfather we do have to stay professional."

"Worth a try, right?"

He smiled slightly and she got to work trying to find commercial flight that would get her back to Virginia while all these tornadoes were happening in Kansas while the others were trying to find out who this guy was that was mutilating his victims in order to remake his brother who he had lost when he was a child in a tornado. She really couldn't find a plane that was going anywhere even if she had to get a connecting flight.

She ended up rejoining the case so she could keep busy while there was no way she would be able to make it out of Kansas. She joined Morgan and Rossi in one SUV while Hotch went in another with Emily and Reid. JJ, Morgan and Rossi ended up being the lucky ones in finding the UnSub but the tornado was coming their way.

They were able to save the latest victim but the killer and his patched up body was blown away by the tornado just before they hid themselves underground to save themselves calling Hotch to save them from being whisked away by the other tornado. They still had to get under cover though as there was no way they'd be able to get to safety in time.

They later met up with each other at the station. JJ took the time to call and tell her son his favourite bedtime story which she had memorised because it was his favourite. He read along with the words and then she asked how Sophie was. Will assured her their daughter was fine too.

Hotch and Emily also called home to check on their children. Finding out about Henry's illness only served to remind them of the twins' illness. They had to check their children were also alright. They'd be going home the next day.

When they landed in Virginia they all separated ways apart from Emily and Dave who went home to declan as the others went home to their families too.

As soon as JJ got home she ran up to see Henry. He beamed when he saw his mother. He'd wanted her while she was away because he was sick. He always wanted his mummy when he was sick. Sophie'd been good while she was away too and not causing any trouble. She knew something was wrong with her big brother and wanted to comfort him.

"Mummy," he beamed when he saw her and sat up in bed.

"Hey buddy," she answered sitting next to him stroking his hair. "How are you feeling?"

"A little better."

"You'll get better and better, my brave soldier."

He smiled and nodded. "I love you, mummy."

"I love you too, pumpkin," she smiled kissing his nose. "We'll get you better in no time," she told her five year old boy. He nodded and cuddled closer to her. Sophie soon ran in and hugged her mum too. JJ kissed her hair and she smiled up at him.

Sometime later they had a play date with Jack and the twins. Emily and Aaron were meanwhile on a date leaving Declan with Dave. They were thankful the team would willingly agree to babysit while they went off on dates. They tried to fit in at least one date a week and also spent time as a family. They were both trying to take it slowly while working as a family. He was never going to keep Jack and the twins from her again. They couldn't wait though for the moment they were ready to move in together but it was too soon for the moment.

Chapter Text

Hope

Sometime later Garcia was at her counselling session when she noticed her friend Monica had left her car abandoned which wasn't like her. She did this grief counselling sessions to deal with the guilt she had over the death of her mum and stepdad when she was a teenager who died in a car accident while looking for her when she was late past her curfew. Monica had just hit the seventh anniversary of her daughter Hope's abduction who she believed was still alive.

She tried to get the police involved but they wouldn't take up the case as there was no indication of foul play. She was absolutely certain that something had happened to Monica so she called up Derek for his and their family's help. They had to find Monica as she knew she must have been abducted. When her husband arrived he assured her he believed her and they would help. If anyone knew Monica it was his wife. He'd support her through anything as she would him. He also knew the BAU would. He comforted her all the way through the case.

When they eventually found Monica Garcia tried to talk the abductor down and when he did Monica shot him declaring he'd killed her daughter. Morgan's chest had tightened as he heard the gun go off hoping to God it hadn't been his wife that had been hit. He hoped they would forgive him for going in and checking on his baby girl as this wasn't in her job specification. He was relieved when he found the man dead and his wife unharmed.

"She's dead, my daughter's dead," Monica cried as Garcia held her after Morgan had taken the gun out of Monica's hand. The team soon filed in with the medics and got them out while they looked for the body. Emily felt incredibly sick when she saw the dust that was once the body of Hope Kingston. She was now long dead. Hotch allowed her to have a moment and placed a hand on her shoulder as they got the body sorted out.

Garcia attended the memorial for Hope supporting Monica alongside her husband. Derek stood there giving his silent support while rubbing his wife's arm. She smiled up at him sadly then turned her attention back to Monica who let loose some butterflies in Hope's memory. One stayed on the rim before flying away. They smiled sadly believing it to be a sign that Hope would always be there for Monica. Hope would never truly leave.

Sometime later Aaron was having dinner with Emily at Sean's restaurant when he had something to tell her. He was thinking about taking part in the FBI triathlon. It was a fundraising event that the FBI held every year. This time he wanted to take part for the love of the challenge and raise money for the hospital that had dealt with Alexia and Eliza to thank them for saving their lives.

"Hey, what is it? You look like you need to tell me something," she said taking his hand.

"I'm thinking of taking part in the triathlon," he answered. "And raise money for the George Washington Children's Ward in thanks for them saving our twins."

"That's a great idea. I'll support you and if you need me to help train with you I will." She was so proud of him that he wanted to do this in thanks for the nurses saving their children. She smiled thinking it was just like him. It was one of the reasons she loved him.

"Thanks honey."

"I support you in whatever endeavour so will the rest of us."

"I know," he smiled at her. She knew it would involve a lot of hard work and she'd be there all the way. If anyone could put the hard work in he could. He was one of the hardest working men she knew. It was one of the flaws they shared; they were workaholics. She could care for the children while he trained. She'd support him through the whole thing. She was already contemplating living together again.

Chapter Text

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A few weeks later they were off to a military school, Somerville Academy with Zanetti. This would be her first time out on the field with the FBI. She was going to ensure that the investigation went smoothly and that there was as little media attention as possible. At first they believed the five students had committed suicide then they thought Josh had killed them. They later found he'd been framed by the head of the military school and arrested the right man.

Back home Aaron signed his name up for the triathlon. Now he would have to start training. He let everyone know that he was taking part in the challenge and started up the fundraising. Emily offered to take over the fundraising so he could completely focus on the training. She knew he would have to train as hard as he could so that he wouldn't cause himself injury on the day of the event. She never wanted anything to hurt him.

He smiled at her when she offered to do so though it took some persuading to let her help him out. He was trying to let her completely back in as he did love her but he still sometimes didn't completely knock down his walls though he was trying. He knew she never would but he was scared of being hurt again. He did feel though that they were in this together. To have her complete faith and support in him did lift his spirits.

One day he was out running for his training when a woman ran up to him wearing a woolly cap. She asked if he was training for the triathlon and he asked if she was training for surveillance. Emily was out jogging when she saw the interaction and Aaron becoming uncomfortable while this woman was trying to flirt with him. She ran up to him and he lit up when he saw her. He was so thankful she'd come to save him.

"Hey," she smiled up at him.

"Hey," he smiled back. "What you doing here?"

"I was jogging when I saw you and ran up to see if you wanted me to help you train, honey," she added placing a hand on his chest while looking at the other jogger. "After all you are my boyfriend and girlfriends should help their boyfriends." She wanted to make it completely clear to this woman he was hers; he was her man. No-one was going to take Aaron from her again though she trusted him.

"Thanks sweetheart," he answered kissing her forehead and holding her close to him. He was so thankful she'd just appeared as he hadn't known how to throw this woman off. He didn't have many women throwing themselves at him so he didn't have the experience Morgan had.

"Um, I'll just head off," the woman answered feeling uncomfortable. It was just her luck that the handsome FBI agent was already taken. She ran off feeling completely embarrassed and disappointed. He was the first man she'd approached since her father died and he was already in a relationship. She really knew how to pick her man she thought.

"Jealous much?" he teased murmuring into her hair.

"Shut up," she answered playfully hitting him. "And I didn't see you turning her away."

"Thanks Em," he answered kissing g her hair.

Chapter Text

The Bittersweet Science

They were soon heading out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where two men had been violently bludgeoned to death within minutes of each other on the some night close to a hospital. The way they'd been places showed he felt remorse over their murders. As the investigation progressed they discovered he was a boxer whose son was dying. When they finally got him he'd allowed himself to be so beaten he needed to be taken to hospital so he could see his son.

Hotch went to visit his room and talk him into seeing his son and letting him go. There was no chance his son would survive. Though the man had killed several people now he still felt sorry for him to be losing a child. He didn't know what he'd do if he'd lost the twins when they were so ill.

"Ryan's dying, Jimmy. Now he's not afraid of dying but he's afraid of disappointing you. He's afraid that you'll see him as weak when he has been so strong holding on and fighting but he's losing his battle and he thinks it's all his fault," Hotch said.

Jimmy nodded and answered, "I want to see him."

He took him to see his son and ex-wife. When Jimmy saw his son he went over to him while Hotch stood to the side as he was still in their custody. He felt the tears falling down his cheeks as they made their goodbye to Ryan and he died. He then composed himself and handed him over to the local authority so he could take everyone home.

Emily went to him as soon as he joined them all. She could see he was affected. She placed her hand on his chest and her other on his cheek.

"Hey, what is it?" she asked concerned.

"Watching Ryan die I couldn't help but think back to when the twins were in hospital. What if they had died," he answered honestly.

"Aaron, they fought and pulled through. They're still here and you did a great job of looking after them alone. I just wish I'd been there for you."

"So do I but we knew you couldn't be. That's why I never told you but you're here now...Move in."

"What?" she asked off guard. Was he serious? He wanted her to move back in after six months of being in a new relationship. He'd been affected over seeing a young boy die now he was asking her to move in.

"Move in with me," he smiled slightly. "Come home to us."

"You serious?"

"Absolutely. I want you back home with us. I want to wake up by your side every night and to care for our children together. It hurts to say goodbye and I don't want to have to anymore. Don't you feel the same way?"

She brought her other hand up and ran it through his hair. "Of course I do, darling. I've just waited for so long to be able to come home. I love you, Aaron, and want to spend the rest of my life with you. You're my dream come true."

"You are my life along with all four of our children. Maybe it's time for Declan to join our family completely and to take his room permanently."

She smiled up at him and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear kissing her forehead.

"Hey, come on, you two lovebirds time to head home," Morgan smiled.

They nodded and headed back to the jet. On the way back Hotch and Emily sat opposite Rossi. They needed to tell him Emily and Declan were moving back in with their family. She really appreciated and had loved staying with him but it was time to really go home. All that time she'd still considered their house as her home.

"What is it, you two?" he asked.

"Dave, I've really loved living with you and I really appreciate you taking Declan and I in..." she answered gently.

"But you two are moving back in together," he finished.

"Yes," she answered looking into her lover's beautiful brown eyes that made her melt every time she did. "We've decided to live together again and finally bring the family back together completely."

He smiled softly at them both. He'd miss her and Declan's company but he was so happy for them. It was about time. They were perfect for each other and he knew they'd never break up this time. They wouldn't have broken up before if it hadn't been a matter of life and death. "I will miss you and Declan, Emily dear, but this is where you belong. You belong with your Aaron and the children."

"Thank you, Dave. That means everything to us." she'd never been so happy than by Aaron's side. He was her one true love and she knew she had him heart and soul till the end of time.

"We'll all help you move back in."

"Thanks."

"I bet the kids will be over the moon when they hear mummy and daddy are going to live together."

They smiled back just imagining their children jumping with joy at them living together again. Jack would be so excited as would their twins. Declan would be happy for them and to be finally live as part of the family. He already felt like a Hotchner at heart. He wouldn't mind taking the name even though he'd never forget the adopted parents that had raised him for the first twelve years of his life. He'd never really been raised by his own parents. Now he was with another set of adopted parents.

A few days later everyone was moving Emily back into the Hotchner residence and Declan into their home. The children were so happy they were finally moving in and Jack even helped. The twins tried but at three years old they were too young so JJ and Penelope looked after them along with Henry and Sophie while Emily and Declan indicated where they wanted their things to go.

They all congratulated them on their move then went after having toasted the new development in the relationship. Emily snuggled into him and smiled up at him blissfully happy. She was finally home after so long. Shred was finally back where she belonged. She now felt finally at home.

"What is it?" he smiled at her wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

"I finally feel at home," she smiled up at him.

"I'm glad."

She woke up next to him the next morning and looked over to see he was still fast asleep. She smiled and stroked the side of his face and he woke up smiling at her taking her hand.

"Morning," he smiled at her.

"Morning," she smiled back.

He then flipped her over and claimed her lips for his own. They were feeling each other's bodies up with their hands when suddenly there was a knock on the door.

"Mummy, daddy," Jack said from the other side of the door. She melted at the fact he was calling her mummy again. They got their hands off each other thanking he was only topless while she put the t-shirt back on.

"You can come in now, sweetie," they answered. He opened the door and ran in with his sisters. They jumped on the bed and they held them close so happy to finally be living together again.

Declan loitered around the bedroom doorway when Aaron said, "Declan, you don't need to feel on the outside. You can always come in if you want."

"As long as the door isn't locked," Emily added then they said together, "You're our son."

"Thanks mum and dad," he smiled walking in while they smiled back at him calling them mum and dad.

Chapter Text

True Genius

A few weeks later they were called out to San Francisco where a copycat killer of the Zodiac killer was killing people. Emily and Reid didn't travel out with them as they had been at a violent crimes seminar where Reid had met a fellow prodigy who was now the head of his own company.

The meeting greatly affected him as it started him questioning himself about whether he'd achieved enough in his life now he was thirty. Emily sat down with him at one point while he was trying to break the new code. He'd already received a message from the UnSub telling her he wasn't as clever as he thought he was.

"Hey, what's the matter?" she asked.

"I've just been questioning some of my decisions lately. I just didn't imagine my life would be like this. I'm a genius but I thought I would have achieved more by now," he answered.

"You're what twenty-nine?"

"Thirty."

"We missed your birthday," Emily answered in disbelief. How could they have missed his birthday? He nodded and she decided to change tactics. "You know what you're right. You're just an FBI agent like the rest of us. Most childhood geniuses aren't heard of once they hit adulthood."

"Are you trying reverse psychology on me?" he asked off-guard.

"You know what give me that," she said taking the piece of paper and started trying to work it out herself.

"Hey don't do that," he answered. "You'll mess it up," he added taking it from her. He looked at the paper and couldn't believe it. She'd done it. She'd worked it out. "You worked it out."

She shrugged. "When I grew up I wanted to be a socialite married to a wealthy husband. I wouldn't change what I have now for that life any day," she said tenderly.

"I wanted to cure schizophrenia."

She put her hand over his and patted it tenderly.

They soon found the killer threatening to kill his best friend's fiancée. They talked him down while revealing how his best friend had betrayed him though they had covered the fact they had killed a boy many years earlier.

On the plane while Reid was in the toilet they hatched a plan to celebrate his birthday. When they got home they put the plan into action the next day. Emily greeted Reid coming in.

"Hotch wants to talk to you," she said keeping her face neutral.

"He's probably wondering why I've been a little off recently," he answered slightly worried. He really didn't want to have to go into it with his boss. Emily was one thing but Hotch another even though they were one.

She led him to the conference room which confused him. Why were they going there and not to his office? Surely if Hotch wanted to see him it would be in his office not in the conference room.

He smiled when he got in there and saw the surprise party they were throwing for him. He was so touched and felt so special. He was reminded why he was here they were the first family he'd really had and he wouldn't give them up for anything. They all smiled back and wished him a happy birthday. They celebrated his birthday and even the kids were there to wish their beloved Uncle Spencer a happy birthday. Sean had even made him a cake. Sean and Jessica were happy to have become extensions of this family.

Meanwhile in London Andy and Julie were preparing to move to Virginia with their kids. After having found out that Emily was still alive they'd been considering moving closer to her family and they'd recently found a house nearby for them all to move into and schools. Katie would soon be finishing school anyway and was trying to get into the FBI Academy. Michael would be closer to Jack who he already had a close friendship with.

They'd already told Emily who was planning on meeting them when they arrived in Washington. Tonight would be their last night in England. Julie didn't really have much family in London anyway so was looking forward to living close to Aaron and Emily. It would be great to see them more on a regular basis. She was so happy they were back together and she'd moved back in to their home. At first it had taken some time to get over the fact she was still alive and they'd been living a lie for almost a year. Now they were ready to see her again.

The next day Emily and Aaron headed to the airport with their children. This was the first time Declan would be meeting his grandfather. He was nervous but looking forward to it. He'd never really had a granddad before. He was also going to meet his aunt and uncle who were around his age so the possibility of more friends.

When they got to the airport they waited patiently for her family to arrive. When they came through Katie and Michael ran up to her. They were so so happy to see their older sister alive.

She hugged them when they reached her equally happy to see them again. She'd missed them so much and had wanted to reach out while she was in Paris but she knew she couldn't. She was delighted that they would now be living in Virginia nearby. It would bring the family closer and allow them to see each other more often.

"Emily," Julie and Andy smiled when they reached her.

"Dad, Julie," she answered hugging them. "I'm so sorry," she added guiltily over all the hurt they must have suffered over what had to happen since Doyle.

"No, princess, we understand. It was the only way. It wasn't your fault and we're just glad you're still here," Andy answered trying to reassure his daughter there were no hard feelings. He was so relieved Aaron had sent her away and faked her death to save her life. He was forever in his debt.

She nodded and then pulled her away so they could greet her family. Andy even took Aaron off-guard by hugging him. He was so proud of him for what he'd done and thankful he'd saved his daughter. He could never repay him for keeping his little girl alive.

Emily then pushed Declan forward. "Dad, Julie, Katie, Michael, this is Aaron's and my son, Declan. We adopted him ten months ago and make it official in two months time. This is the boy I spent so many years protecting," Emily said kissing the top of her son's head while he smiled shyly at him. Thankfully they immediately welcomed him into the family. They'd heard all about this boy and were more than glad to have finally met the kid Emily was more than happy to risk her life for. Declan felt very welcomed into the Prentiss family.

One night Aaron called Emily into his home office so she came in and he pulled her onto his lap holding her close to him while she rested her head on his shoulder. "What is it, Aaron?" she asked.

"I know we promised to keep work away from home but I've just reviewed the notes from your in-house therapy and I want you to promise me something, Em," he answered.

"You know I'd promise you anything, darling."

"Let me know if you have a bad day. I don't want you bottling it up. I'm here for you."

"Is that all?" he nodded and she kissed his cheek. "Of course I will. I want to share everything with you now."

He smiled and kissed her nose. "So do I."

Chapter Text

Unknown Subject

They were off on a case the next day in Houston, Texas. A serial rapist, the Piano Man, had come back to torture his victims. This time round he was abducting his victims and killing them. They eventually found him in the house of one of his previous victims at gunpoint.

To take him into custody Emily talked her into believing he was the wrong guy only for her guy to arrest him shortly after. The woman felt betrayed as Emily took her in for her statement.

"Do you know what it's like for the man haunting your dreams to come back for you?" she asked. Emily inwardly shivered thinking about Doyle. She knew exactly what it was like. "Oh my god, something did happen to you, didn't it?" Emily wouldn't answer as she really didn't want to talk about Doyle. She was happy now with her boyfriend and didn't want to remember her past. "Tell me did you arrest him or..."

"I didn't shoot the bullet," she answered.

"But he's still dead."

She tried to carry on her job but she was still on edge. Though she had adopted his son she really wanted to forget Ian Doyle had ever existed. The only good thing that had come from him was Declan.

She went to her boyfriend's hotel room that night and when he saw her face he let her in immediately closing the door and hugging her close to him. She clung onto him and he kissed her hair.

"What is it, Em?" he asked.

"I'm having a bad day," she answered.

He led her to his bed and sat back down while she climbed into his lap resting her head on his shoulder. "Want to talk about it?" he asked.

"It was while I was taking Regina Lampert's statement. She asked me if I knew what it was like for the man haunting my dreams t come back for me," she answered vulnerably.

"Oh Em," he answered pulling her closer knowing she was thinking about Doyle. "He's gone. Doyle's never going to come back. You're safe now, honey. I'm not going to let anything happen to you again."

"I know, darling. I feel safest in your arms."

"I love you, Emily."

"I love you too, Aaron."

She never made it back to her hotel room that night. They only kept separate rooms while on a case to keep professional. She was already questioning whether she'd made the right choice returning to the BAU. She loved her job but the job had already taken her from her family once before. She didn't want it to take her from them again.

When they got home she started having nightmares of the only other monster that could come after them. A man she hadn't even thought about since Andrew Prentiss had entered her life. She shivered in his arms remembering her early years and all the scars her father had left on her.

One night she was in bed thrashing about when she screamed, "No, daddy, please. Please. I'll be a good girl. Please daddy love me." He turned to her worried as what had his Emily been through. She'd only ever told him that she could hardly remember her real father. Obviously repressed memories were coming to the front.

She was trying to run from the whip when her father let the dogs on her. They finally caught up with her and latched on her little legs terrifying the life out of her when her father pulled them off. She was thankful for her dad saving her when he started hitting her again though this time with a baseball bat instead of the whip and she started crying for her mother. Suddenly everything went black and she woke up with a start.

She looked around her and when she saw Aaron she curled into his arms trying to calm her breathing. He was scared about what could affect her so much.

"Emily, what is it?" he asked stroking her hair.

"Daddy," she wept.

"Em, talk to me...Tell me about him so I can know what's going on in your dreams and help you."

"Aaron, it's too painful to remember."

"Please tell me so I can help you." The last time she'd had dreams this bad she was being persecuted by Doyle.

"Aaron, my biological father tortured me for years whenever my mother was out physically..." he looked at her concerned. What had this bastard done to his beautiful daughter? "Never sexually but I wasn't a stranger to his fists, whips and blunt weapons. The last time I ever saw him I tried to run away from his whip when he let the dogs on me. He pulled them off when they got to me only to beat me with a baseball bat. That day he very nearly killed me and it changed my relationship with my mother forever," she wept shivering in his arms.

Aaron wanted to beat the living daylights out of this scumbag who never deserved to have the title of father. What father could do that to his child? And it wasn't just any father it was his Emily's. This man had tortured his soul mate for the first ten years of her life. He held her close to him trying to remind her he was never going to let anything happen to her again. He'd protect her till the day he died. There was no way he'd let this psychopath hurt her ever again.

"What happened to him, Emily?" he asked.

"He served time for thirty years and currently has an indefinite restraining order on him that my mother slapped on him at the same time so he could never get his hands on me again," she answered.

"I'll make my damn well hardest that he won't."

"I know," she answered wiping her tears away. "I'm so glad you're the father of my children. While I was growing up I was scared I'd end up with someone like him when I really wanted someone like dad. I'm glad I got what I wanted."

"Emily, you are Andrew Prentiss' daughter. Your birth father never deserved someone as good as you or even to have ever held the title of father."

She smiled up at him. "For so many years I thought I deserved that treatment. I believed I'd been born bad."

"You're the best woman I've ever met. You're so compassionate, caring, kind and all you want is to make the world a better place. I love you, Emily Prentiss."

"I love you too, Aaron Hotchner, and you're the best man I've ever known. You're compassionate, kind, caring, a great father and lover. You rid the world of psychopaths and sociopaths one by one."

He kissed her hair and she smiled up at him.

The nightmare kept coming and she wanted answers. She wanted to know what his stressor had been and why he had done that to her, his only daughter. She knew the only one who could possibly help her resolve her issues was her mother. She wanted to be able to put all this past her. She now had a loving boyfriend and four fantastic kids but all she could think about was Jonathan Jackson-Waters, the man who had donated his sperm so she could exist.

She headed over to her mum and Kirk's one day with her family wanting a private conversation with her mother. She really needed some help. She was even considering going through psychiatric help again but first she wanted answers to help her understand. She'd become clingy to Aaron when she'd once been independent. She had to be able to do her job without the constant fear her father would find her.

Aaron spent time with Kirk and the children while her mother pulled her into the study. Since she came back her mother and her had been building a better relationship.

"Emily, what is it? You look like something's bothering you though it seems you and Aaron are doing just fine," she said.

"Mum, since the last case I've been getting nightmares about my birth father. It's so bad I can't even sleep without Aaron. I've become completely dependent on him," Emily answered bowing her head. She hated the fact she wasn't herself anymore.

"Oh Emily dear," her mother replied taking her hand.

"Mum, I want answers. Why did he do that to me? What did I ever do to deserve that?"

"Emily, you never did anything to deserve your father's torture and I am so sorry I never took you away sooner and that it only ever took the first day I nearly lost you to do so. If I'd seen that in him sooner I'd never have been with him. The only thing I don't regret about being with him is you...and your sister."

"Oh mum..." Wait! What? Her sister? From what she knew she was their only child. "My sister?"

"Emily, you had a twin sister, Emma. She died when you were only babies."

"Is that when he started to hurt me?"

"Nothing excuses his behaviour but yes. You reminded us so much of her. I loved that you did but he couldn't stand it."

She nodded beginning to understand a little but as her mother and lover had said she'd never deserved that treatment. She wanted to see her sister's grave. She believed her mum but wanted to resolve this issue by seeing her grave.

"I want to see Emma's grave."

She nodded and took the family to it. On the way Emily explained to Aaron what she'd found out. He had a right to know the answers too after she'd told him about her birth father. She'd never consider that psycho her father. That title belonged to Andrew Prentiss.

When they got there she went over to it and knelt down by her sister's grave running a hand over the stone plaque that bore her name. Emma Catherine Jackson-Waters.

"Hi Emma, I'm your sister, Emily. Sorry I haven't visited you before but I only just found out about you. I am so sorry you didn't survive to grow up with me. I always wanted a sister. We'd have had so much fun," she said on the verge of tears whilst Aaron placed a hand on her shoulder.

A few days later she got told she could start the process to officially adopt Declan so she did and made them aware that Aaron had every intention of joining her him adopting their teenage son too. The social services acknowledged it and put their names down on the paperwork. Soon enough Declan would officially be their son. Emily had started seeing a psychiatrist like she had made Declan see one after his dad had been killed in front of him.

Chapter Text

Snake Eyes

A few weeks later they were off on another case. They were off to Atlantic City, New Jersey to investigate the death of a casino floor manager who had suffered a severe beating. Whilst there a high-end prostitute and another man had been beaten to death. They discovered their UnSub, Curtis, a Superman lookalike, trying to kill his wife to get his luck back at gambling. He believed killing was his good luck charm. He ended up killing himself instead.

One night Emily sat bolt upright screaming in bed over a nightmare of her father coming to get her. It had been the first night she'd slept in a bed without Aaron since the nightmares had started so she wondered if she just couldn't sleep alone anymore. Apart from cases she was so used to sleeping in his bed.

Aaron upon hearing her screams rushed from his hotel room to hers. He cursed himself for leaving her alone when she knew she was suffering terrible memories of her birth father. Hearing her scream she wanted to kill her father even more for leaving her with such psychological damage.

As soon as he saw her tears he rushed to her side and pulled her into his arms stroking her hair like he did their daughters when they were in need of comforting.

"Oh Emily, it's ok, it's alright. He can't get you. I will never let him near you again," he soothed.

"Stay with me tonight, Aaron," she answered trying to compose herself. "I don't want to sleep alone."

"I'll stay with you as long as you want me to, sweetheart."

"I know."

A few days later they were told the paperwork had gone through uncontested and Declan was now officially their son. He asked if now that he was their son he could take the Hotchner name. Aaron was so touched he agreed after Emily made sure Declan was absolutely certain he wanted to change his name. She knew exactly what it entailed when changing your name as she had when she was only a year younger than Declan. They got the paperwork to change his name legally to Declan Hotchner.

When the paperwork had gone through they all had a party to celebrate and welcome him officially into the family. They were all so happy to have Declan in the family. He was an absolutely great kid. He'd become a fantastic big brother that Jack really looked up to. He'd touched all their hearts and even made friends with Michael. Katie had meanwhile gotten into and started at the FBI Academy. She wanted to follow her sister's footsteps and become a profiler.

Chapter Text

Closing Time

Sometime later they were off to Los Angeles to solve the crime of three men found dead in a lifeguard station. They'd all died from a single gunshot wound to the head and castrated post-mortem. Turned out the only thing that linked the men were they'd suffered a personal loss. They discovered the killer had lost his wife to his best friend who turned out to be his son's real father. He had ended killing him in a car crushing machine. When Emily saw the dead body she'd wanted to throw up so Hotch gave her a moment.

In the final showdown JJ got into a fight with the killer but managed to talk down him and his son who had tried to kill him for killing his real father. When JJ came out Reid went over to her concerned but she assured him she was fine just a few bruises.

When they finally got home Jessica and Sean came over together with news to tell their family. Though they had been together for a year they still hadn't moved in together but they were moving a step. Jessica was nervous as she stood in their living room with Sean's arm around her. The whole family smiled to see them.

"What's up?" Aaron asked.

"You're going to be an uncle," Sean answered while Jessica smiled up at him and nodded.

"Oh my god! That's great. Congratulations," Emily exclaimed. Sean and Jessica were going to make such great parents. They already had all the experience from looking after their children while they were away. Now Declan lived with them they also looked after him instead of Garcia.

"Thanks," they smiled.

"How far gone are you?" Aaron smiled.

"Three weeks," she smiled placing a hand on her unborn child. She was so happy to finally be having a baby of her own. She adored looking after her nieces and nephews but had always wanted her own child. Now she was with the man she'd loved for so long she was over the moon she was expecting the new Hotchner baby.

They hugged the happy couple over the moon they were to receive a biological niece and nephew though they would always count Henry their nephew and Sophie their niece. Sean and Jessica deserved a baby after looking after their children for so long. They would help them through every step as Jessica had Emily.

"We're also moving in together," Sean added, "finally."

"We'll help you," Aaron answered. "We'll all help you."

"I know just how exhausting it is to move in pregnant though thank god you're at the first trimester not your third like I was, " Emily added while Aaron smiled at her remembering the good days they'd managed to recapture though she was still being haunted by her birth father.

Alexia and Eliza had been worth all the palaver and problems of her pregnancy though just like Jack had been worth Haley's bed rest. Allie and Ellie would always be their youngest since Doyle had made it impossible for her to get pregnant ever again. That injury to her abdomen had done damage to her reproductive system. She was fine with four children and hoped he was too. She'd never been able to find the right way to tell him that she couldn't get pregnant again; that the attack had made her infertile.

That night in bed he decided to talk to her. He'd seen how happy she was for Sean and Jessica yet that she also felt guilty over something. He couldn't work out what she felt guilty about except that it might be something about them. Did Doyle leave her with no chance of having more children? If he had he didn't care. All he wanted was her and their children. They had four already anyway. He was positive they probably wouldn't even cope with more.

"What is it?" he asked tucking a lock behind her ear.

"Aaron, I can't have any more children," she answered bowing her head. He lifted her head up with his finger to try and assure her everything was alright. He loved children but he didn't care if they couldn't have more. "The 4x4 wrecked my reproductive system."

"Em, I don't care unless you do. We have four beautiful children already. That's enough for me..." he then added, "Is that enough for you?" while running his hand down the side of her face.

She smiled at him taking his hand. He always knew the right thing to say. He was right; they did have four beautiful children. What more could she want? If he was satisfied so was she. She just hadn't wanted to disappoint him.

"I'm so relieved I didn't disappoint you," she smiled slightly.

"You could never disappoint me," he answered kissing her neck.

The next week they moved Jessica into Sean's place. From the moment he moved to Washington he'd had a house so that he could let his nieces and nephew stay over. Now it was perfect for the family they were beginning to have. He couldn't wait to have his child and hoped for more in the future. He was finally with the woman he'd loved for so long. Once they'd moved her completely in they toasted the new development.

A few days later it was Jack's ninth birthday. They celebrated with the team and some of Jack's friends at school. He was becoming quite popular at school with his stories of the superheroes who were fighting monsters to protect them and that his parents were two of them.

When they got to his party they were so excited to meet the superheroes. They believed they were superheroes but they seemed to act just like any other adult they'd come across. Maybe these were just their alter-egos. They weren't meant to know about their powers.

Sean gave him a cake with a superhero on it and nine candles on the cake. He was so happy when he saw the cake. He loved that his uncle made their birthday cakes every year. He hoped it wouldn't end with the new baby.

Chapter Text

A Thin Line

Sometime later they were off on another case in San Bernardino, California. Two home invasions had occurred within four days of each other with family members all killed by gunshot. Black members of the community were being killed and framed for the murders. It turned out a local mayoral candidate, Clark Preston, had been orchestrating these murders to further his chance in becoming the mayor but covering his tracks by getting a young man who believed he was indebted to him to carry them out.

When they finally went after him Emily got shot in the arm while the boy was shot dead declaring to the end that Preston hadn't manipulated him. That he hadn't set him up to take the fall. She was taken to the hospital while Rossi and Morgan brought in Clark Preston. Hotch would have done it but there was no way he was going to let Emily go without him.

She was taken to have the bullet taken out of her arm and a bandage put around it before placing it in a sling. He stood by her worrying the whole time.

"Aaron, I'm fine. It'll heal," she said grabbing his hand with her good arm. He took her hand and smiled at her. It was just like her to think of others before herself. "I really do hate politics."

He chuckled and kissed her hair. It was also like her to try and lighten the air.

When they were on the phone Morgan apologised for her getting hurt but she assured him it wasn't his fault. She just looked a little disappointed that for about two weeks there was no chance she could help Aaron with his training. Ever since she'd chased that woman off she'd been helping him train for the triathlon next month.

A week later they were celebrating the twins' fourth birthday. They couldn't believe their little girls were four. The years had flown by so quickly. Even the year she'd been kept away didn't feel so long now that she'd been back home a long time. Soon they'd be attending elementary school. They hoped very much and would try their hardest to get the twins into the same school as Jack. It would make it easier for them.

This year's birthday cakes were done in the shape of their favourite animals. Alexia's was in the shape of a horse while Eliza's was in the shape of a monkey. Emily vowed to take Allie horse riding when she could. She'd ridden horses at her mother's houses when she was younger. When her birth father was around she used to try and escape at times via horseback. One of Ellie's favourite places to go was the zoo.

Sean and Aaron placed the cakes in front of them as Emily still had her arm in a sling due to the bullet having embedded itself in her humerus. She knew she'd need physiotherapy when the sling came off and she was still on painkillers. She couldn't wait for it to come off and be able to hug her children properly again.

A fortnight later they took the kids swimming while he trained for the swimming part of the triathlon. The physiotherapy had been working and her arm was still recovering from her gunshot. She would help her twins learn how to swim with Declan's help and she knew Jack would try too. Their father needed to focus on his training.

When they got to the pool Emily headed off with the twins to the women's changing room while Aaron headed off with the boys. They changed then met each other by the side of the pool.

"You're going to be alright without me, right?" he asked concerned. He had to do his training but he was a little worried he would be leaving Emily overwhelmed.

"I'll be fine, Aaron. It's not like Declan and Jack aren't going to help me. Go train," she answered putting a hand on his shoulder while letting her eye roam over the finely-toned muscles that had only become more toned over the past months with his training.

Emily definitely enjoyed the fact he was even fitter and stronger than he used to be. Not saying he wasn't before. Just over his training his muscles had increased and it gave her a lot of pleasure in bed. She'd always loved having sex with him but it was even more enjoyable now.

He nodded and headed off to the training pool while Emily and the boys climbed into the family pool then helped their sisters in. They spent the afternoon teaching them to swim while Aaron trained. Every now and again he'd look over and smile to see his family enjoying themselves.

They all got out at the same time and headed to the changing rooms again. Emily towel dried her daughters and made sure their hair was as dry as possible then turned to herself. She then helped them get dressed and herself underneath the towel.

Meanwhile Aaron and Jack were in the same changing room while Declan was in another. He tended to getting Jack dry and dressed then he sent him out to wait with Declan while he tended to himself. Soon he was out and they were heading to join the girls.

Afterwards they headed up to the restaurant and had lunch. A week later he finished his training as it was only a week before the triathlon and he'd heard that it was best not to train right up till the day otherwise there was a large risk of injury.

Chapter Text

A Family Affair

They were soon off on another case in Atlanta, Georgia. Two prostitutes had been stabbed repeatedly but their bodies had been placed carefully in different places on the outskirts of town. As the case progressed they found out it was a family doing this while the son was trying to bring back his sex drive after having been paralysed in an accident. When they finally reached them the mother still tried to blame the father who had killed himself while the son admitted his guilt.

When Aaron and Emily finally got home they were happy to see their children in bed as they had to wake early for the triathlon. They both decided to call it a night when they got home since they had to wake so early. They had to leave home about 6am to get there and for him to sign in.

As soon as they touched the bed they fell asleep in their favourite position her lying with his arms around her waist. She'd found it safer to sleep like this and the nightmares were beginning to fade. Her birth father couldn't come back. He couldn't get to her. There was nothing to be afraid of.

They woke up early the next morning and got the kids ready. He would have to leave before her and the children so Dave came over to help Emily with the children. Having four children she was still considering leaving the BAU. She loved her job but she loved her children more. She knew she was blessed that if she left she would still get to see her family regularly thanks to falling for and being with their leader.

Aaron was just about to leave when she kissed him and said, "Good luck, honey."

"Thanks sweetheart," he answered kissing her forehead.

"Yer good luck, daddy," the kids said hugging him.

"Thanks," he smiled back at them then left to get ready.

Soon after Dave and Emily took the kids to the park where they were to hold the triathlon. They decided to wait near the finish line for Aaron to come through. Soon the rest of the team joined them along with Sean and Jessica. They were all there to support AARON in this endeavour. They were pleased that he'd managed to raise about $10,000 for the children's ward.

Alexia went on Derek's shoulders with Eliza on Sean's while Henry with on Will's shoulders and Sophie on JJ's. The guys formed a close circle around Jessica subconsciously protecting her and her unborn child. She was three months gone and had already begun to show a little. Emily kept an eye on Declan and Jack who were standing at the front along with Penelope and JJ. The light in the lives were being brought by these six children and they looked forward to baby Brooks Hotchner.

They waited for the participants to come through while the twins held the banner all four of his children had made together. They'd made it while they were away on the last case. Declan enjoyed arts and crafts as much as the twins though he also enjoyed the academic subjects. He was an honours student and took part in science fairs.

"Jack, Declan, can you see daddy?" the girls later asked after watching some hours for him. They were getting bored now.

"Yer, we see him, Allie, Ellie," they answered making all of them turn to face the runners. Emily's heart swelled with pride as she saw her Aaron run past smiling at them then cross the finish line.

"Come on, guys, let's join daddy," she exclaimed. In response they nodded wildly and ran to join Aaron except for Declan who walked with the team. He loved his parents and was so proud of his dad but he was also trying to be a man.

When Emily reached her boyfriend she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. "I am so so proud of you," she said.

"Thanks honey," he smiled back at her then took his medal off and placed it around her neck. "This is for you for supporting me and helping me from the beginning."

"Always," she answered playing with the medal. He was the only one who could turn her into a giddy teenager.

"Did you see our sign, daddy?" the twins and Jack asked.

"Yes I did. It was absolutely fantastic," he said ruffling their hair.

"Declan helped too," Jack added.

"Thanks buddy," he answered hugging his eldest son.

"I'm glad you liked it," he answered.

"How are you feeling?" Emily asked placing a hand on his racing heartbeat.

"Still alive," he answered smiling down at his girl.

"And I was betting the swim was going to kill you," she joked. He chuckled and kissed her hair.

"Come on; let's go get something to eat."

"At my restaurant," Sean added.

"Of course." It had turned into a regular haunt of theirs. It helped a lot that it was Sean's.

A few days later the Hotchner family were out at her mother's. Elizabeth had asked them to come over as she had something to tell them and she didn't have much longer to tell them. She'd kept it away from them while he was training as she hadn't wanted to depress them and place another thing on their shoulders when he had to focus on training and raising all that money.

While Kirk played with the children she took Aaron and Emily into the study. She sat them down and placed herself opposite. She suddenly wished she'd allowed Kirk to be with her while they talked about this but the children had to be cared for and it was important for Aaron to be there while she told Emily this.

Aaron could feel the nerves radiating of Emily so as Elizabeth stayed silent and solemn he placed his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Elizabeth took her hand and began, "Emily."

"Yes," she answered feeling her heartbeat race.

"This isn't easy for me to tell you..." how could she break it to her only daughter that she was going to lose her in less than a year? Their relationship had improved so much in the last year and now she was going to lose her and there was nothing she could do about it. She'd been given her diagnosis.

"What is it, mother?" she asked frightened that she was going to lose her again. They'd spent the year repairing the relationship that had collapsed so many years ago.

"I have cancer...its terminal."

Emily could feel the tears welling in her eyes as she asked, "How long have you got?"

"Six months," she answered.

"No! No!" she broke down into her lover's arms who held her close. She was going to lose her mother in six months after only spending a year with her repairing their relationship.

"How long have you known?" Aaron asked as his girlfriend was so overcome with emotion.

"I've been battling it for four and a half years and got told seven months ago that there was nothing more they could do," she answered looking down.

"Four and a half years?" Emily exclaimed. "Why did you never tell me?"

"When I first found out I wanted to push you away so you wouldn't get hurt and that was the stupidest thing I've ever done. I am so sorry for the pain I caused you that night..."

"It's water under the bridge, mother."

"When I realised I wanted to tell you the truth and make it up to you you were dead so I tried to make it up to your family and I am so thankful to have been in all four of my grandchildren's lives since then..." Emily smiled slightly at the fact her mother also considered Jack her grandson though Emily had no legal ties to him. She hoped one day she would. She would love to legally be his stepmother and marry the man of her dreams. "When you come back I was trying so hard to make it up to you too...i found out shortly before the training and didn't want to sidetrack you guys."

She nodded understanding. Until now there had never really been the right time to tell her of her mother's cancer. She still couldn't believe she was going to lose her mother so soon. That her mother wouldn't be there for her anymore. They'd lost so much time and she was going to lose her. She vowed she was going to be there for her from now on. She'd done so much to try and make it up to her daughter. She knew Aaron would be too.

"We'll be here for you, mother," she said then looked at her lover who nodded. Elizabeth looked relieved that her daughter hadn't left over her not having told her before about her cancer.

"Thank you," she answered.

That night Emily broke down again in his arms whilst in bed. He hugged her close to him letting her cry it out. He was so thankful that his girlfriend wasn't bottling it up like she used to. Emily had become independent again now that the nightmares were fading but she was about to lose everything her and her mother had regained after over twenty years. She couldn't help but think about the lost time and how little she had left.

He rubbed circles on her back trying to soothe her. Being an orphan he completely understood what she was going through. Just under two years ago he'd lost his own mother.

"It's going to be alright," he soothed.

"How's it going to be alright? We've only just rekindled the relationship we had when I was a little girl now I'm going to lose my mother," she cried.

"You've still got some time left and you'll always have us," he answered kissing her temple.

She snuggled up to him and added vulnerably, "Never leave me."

"You know I'll never leave you willingly," he replied holding her close to him.

A few days later JJ came up and sat on her desk and Garcia joined them too. They'd both been worried about her as she came in everyday depressed and devastated. Hotch had tried his best to pull her up though they couldn't escape the fact her mother was dying. Emily knew she should be helping her mother enjoy the time she had left but she couldn't help thinking about what she was set to lose.

"Come out with us this evening," JJ said.

"I don't think I'll be much of good company," she answered but thankful they'd offered.

"Come on, you need to get out. You're becoming a recluse."

She looked up to his office and saw him looking at them then quickly get back to work as soon as he saw Emily looking at him. "He put you up to it, didn't he?"

"He's worried about you, my fine furry friend," Penelope said.

"Plus we really think you need this," JJ added.

"Mmmhmm," Penelope agreed.

"Fine," Emily answered making them smile. She smiled slightly just to see them smile.

That night they were out at a bar when Emily was downing vodka shots. She just wanted to forget her mother was dying. She didn't want to remember the news. She knew it wasn't fair on any of them but tonight she just wanted to forget.

When Emily was about to pick up her ninth or tenth, she'd forgotten how many, Penelope put her hand on Emily's trying to stop more. "No more," she said. Emily looked up at JJ and she nodded. "What's wrong with you? This isn't like you. You've got a wonderful family with the man of your dreams. Are you willing to throw all that away?"

"Why should you care?" she answered staring at the glass.

"You're our friend, Emily," JJ defended, "and we're worried about you."

"My mother has terminal cancer." They didn't quite know how to react to the news. No wonder she'd been the way she was recently. They knew they'd only just reconciled the last twenty years and now her mother was dying. How long did she have? Did Aaron know? "She has six months left and only told me this weekend. There was never a right moment to tell me till then. She wanted to push me away then there was Doyle then we were trying to rekindle our relationship then there was the training. Aaron was there when I was told."

"Oh Emily," they answered gently.

"I don't want anyone's pity," she spat.

Penelope made her look at her. "Emily, do you want to throw away the time you have left with her and undo all the hard work you've done to repair the relationship or do you want to get your miserable head out of your arse and enjoy the time you have left with her making her die happy?" trust Penelope to always give her the harsh truth.

"What do you think?" she answered.

"Then suck it up and be a big girl and make your mum feel appreciated. For now put down that vodka shot and don't drink yourself into a stupor."

She nodded and placed it down. Though it took time after that she tried to make the best of the time they had left.

Chapter Text

I Love You, Tommy Brown

Sometime later they were off on another case. This time they were in Seattle, Washington. Two couples had been murdered execution style in their own homes. As the case progressed they found out it was a female teacher who had just come out of a correctional institute after raping one of her own students, she was trying to rebuild her family and killing anyone who got in the way. This case affected Emily as she'd tried to rebuild her family. She just wouldn't have killed anyone that got in the way. If Aaron had moved on she would have accepted it.

It was soon Sophie's third birthday. They were celebrating it at their home and everyone was invited even Sean and Jessica who brought the cake. Sean had taken to baking all their cakes for special occasions. It was something he just loved to do. This time it was in the shape of a teddy bear. He'd in fact made it look like Sophie's favourite teddy bear. JJ had given Sean photos to work off.

When they placed the cake in front of Sophie her eyes widened in wonder. How did Uncle Sean make her cake look just like Bobo? It looked so much like Bobo how was that possible?

"Thanks Uncle Sean," she smiled sweetly.

"You deserve it, princess," he answered ruffling her hair.

They then lit the three candles on the cake and sang happy birthday to her while she smiled at them all. She really looked forward to her birthday when she was the centre of attention. JJ and Will tried their hardest to make sure neither she or Henry felt the odd one out or that one was loved more than the other. They always tried to treat them both equally but today was her day. She knew though her mum went away to fight monsters she was her little princess.

That night when her parents put her to bed they stroked her hair and said, "We hope you enjoyed your day..." She nodded wildly making them both smile. "You deserved it, princess." She smiled at them. "Good night, Sophie."

"Night, night, mummy, daddy," she smiled.

"Sweet dreams."

She smiled closing her eyes and nodding off. Soon after they put her brother to bed then turned themselves in for the night. They weren't sure if they wanted more children but the two they had already were enough for them currently. Will was considering asking her to marry him again. He'd already asked twice each time their children were born but JJ hadn't felt ready for marriage. She was now considering marriage herself and felt she might be ready.

They weren't the only ones considering marriage. Emily felt ready for marriage and would love for Aaron to propose. He had found himself playing with the ring in his drawer and thinking about finally proposing. He was positive nothing would go wrong this time now they'd both fought off their nemeses. He was just waiting for the right time to propose. Right now with Elizabeth's terminal cancer it wasn't the right time. They had to focus on spending their time with Elizabeth and making her happy. He knew their engagement would probably make her happy but he didn't want Emily to think he was only doing it because her mum was dying.

A week later it was Elizabeth's last Christmas so Emily really wanted to make it special for her. They were staying at the Ambassador's this Christmas and the team would be coming to them as Elizabeth didn't want to take away their Christmas tradition. Dave had agreed to let it be at her house this year as he understood the gravity of the situation.

Emily woke up in the bed they were sharing at the sound of their children's excitement and smiled with tears in her eyes. It was the first complete Christmas she'd had with her family since Doyle returned and destroyed them.

"Morning," he smiled stroking his finger down her cheek.

"Morning," she smiled back.

"Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you too."

"I'm so happy I get to be with you guys all day this year."

"You'll be here all day every day for many years to come," he kissed her hair.

"I'm so happy...I love you," she smiled at him.

"I love you too," he answered kissing her nose. They just couldn't get their hands off each other when they were just Aaron and Emily due to the fact it was deprived of them when they were at work. "1," they could hear the footsteps of their children, "2," they heard them fiddling with the doorknob to their room, "3," Jack and the twins ran in and the twins jumped onto their bed.

"Mummy, daddy, its Christmas," they exclaimed excitedly.

"Yes it is," they smiled at them. "Where's Declan?" they asked noticing he wasn't with them.

"He's helping granddad get breakfast ready," Jack informed them. They smiled. He was turning into quite the little chef and already had his career paved out. He wanted to help out at his uncle's restaurant then work his way through the ranks.

They all headed down to the kitchen and found Kirk and Declan making pancakes while Elizabeth was sat at the table smiling at them. She was beginning to look weak and frail but was trying to appear happy for the family. Aaron and Emily both admired her strength and Emily was trying to stay happy though she knew she was going to lose her in a few months.

After breakfast the children opened their stockings and showed all their toys while Elizabeth smiled sadly. She was fully aware this was to be her last Christmas and she fully intended to enjoy the time she had with her family. Even the Prentiss' were coming over as she'd been trying to rebuild a friendship with Andrew since they moved to Washington.

Shortly afterwards everyone started coming over and Elizabeth tried to act like the perfect hostess almost causing an argument with her daughter who wanted her to rest. She really didn't want her mother overworking herself but as long as she'd known her mother had tried to be the perfect hostess. Everyone understood Emily's side and tried to get her mother to rest as much as possible. They admired Elizabeth's strength though.

Kirk and Declan threw a large Christmas dinner with Dave and Sean's help. They were feeding twenty-two in the banqueting hall and one was eating for two. Jessica was now four months along and they were getting more excited as every month passed. Sean and Jessica just couldn't wait for their child to be born.

Aaron caught up with Emily's sister. "How's it going at the Academy, Katie?" he asked while Emily curled up in his arms.

"Great thanks. I'm doing really well," she smiled.

"She's being modest. She's top of her class in everything," Julie added proudly while Katie looked embarrassed. She knew she should be proud of her achievements but it was always embarrassing when your parent gushed over a year.

Aaron smiled slightly understanding just want it was like. His mother had been the same when he was at law school and then again when he was in the Academy. "Decided what department you want to work in?"

"I've been doing profiling classes. It's always been the BAU," she smiled shyly.

"You'd be an asset to the team. Do you mind if I start reviewing your results?"

"Sure." She wanted to impress her brother-in-law. She admired the great and fearless leader of the BAU who also just happened to be family.

"We're proud of you and support any decision you make."

"Always," Emily answered placing her hand on her lover's heartbeat. It made her feel safe and relieved to feel his heartbeat. He was her dream come true. She'd loved him for so so many years and never wanted to see her life without him again.

Chapter Text

Foundation

Sometime after they were off to Crawford, Arizona on a case. A Latino boy in his early to mid teens had been found wandering in the middle of the desert. He had ankle chain scars, was extremely emaciated from starving, no light and mobility and had cuts on the bottom of his feet from running through cactuses. He wasn't speaking so Hotch left him with JJ and Morgan to try and build up some sort of trust with the boy so they could get information to find another boy who had gone missing and return him to his family. Thankfully they were successful in both finding the boy and returning the Latino to his family.

When they got home it was Declan's fourteenth birthday so they headed off to Sean's restaurant to celebrate. It was their tradition with Declan as he was a teenager. He felt too old for kids' parties and they understood. He wasn't a young child like his siblings he was a teenager.

"Uncle Sean," he asked.

"Yes kiddo," he answered ruffling his blonde hair.

"When can I start helping out here?"

"Maybe in another two years if you work hard enough."

"What are you talking about, Seano? I don't know any teenage boy who works half as hard as he does," Emily defended while Declan blushed and started playing with his napkin.

"What are you guys doing this weekend?"

"Nothing planned. Why?"

"I was just thinking of doing up the nursery. Jess is due in four months time and she wants to be able to oversee it."

"I understand that," Emily answered. "I would have done so if I hadn't been due in three months."

"So will you help me?"

"Sure," Aaron smiled at him.

"I'd like to help too, Uncle Sean," Jack said. "I helped with my sisters' nursery."

"Sure buddy," Sean smiled at him while Emily smiled at the memory. He'd been a great big brother since the moment he found out about his sisters and the girls both looked up to him. Jack beamed back.

That weekend they headed over to Sean and Jessica's. It would just be them helping Sean out with the nursery. It just needed painting and for them to set up the cot. It was going to be an androgynous colour as they still weren't aware of what the sex of the baby was. They painted the walls sunshine yellow and set up the cot. They put in some of the furniture they would need and a mobile above the bed for the child to look at while they were in the cot.

Chapter Text

Heathridge Manor

Some time afterwards Emily and Hotch were in Salem, Oregon on a case. They left the children this time with the Prentiss'. As Jessica's pregnancy progressed they hadn't wanted to put the stress on her of dealing with four children while heavily pregnant. This time they were dealing with a strange case of women being found dressed in Renaissance clothing and their faces powdered white while having been poisoned and submerged in water. They discovered a brother and his younger sister were committing this. They believed they were brides of the devil.

Hotch and Emily broke ways when they got to the house. Emily found the sister suffering from the poisoned dress and ran to get it off her. Before thinking she touched it with one ungloved hand and snatched her hand away feeling it burning. She placed the gloves on her hands and quickly got to ripping the dress off her then escorting her to the ambulance to have it checked out. When she took her gloves off her hand still stung and she saw it was blistering.

A medic quickly saw it and asked, "Did you touch the dress ungloved?"

"Yes but only with the one hand," she answered trying to look for Hotch amongst the crowd. The medics started treating her hand while she started protesting.

Dave rolled his eyes and came over. Trust Emily to try and avoid being a patient at all costs. "Come on, Emily, the less you protest the quicker it will take," he said.

She rolled her eyes still looking for her boyfriend. "Dave, have you seen Aaron?" she asked trying to keep the fear out of her voice. What if the brother had overtaken him? What if he was in trouble? She couldn't lose him.

"Last I saw he was taking off downstairs," he answered beginning to worry himself.

She took off almost before he'd even finished his sentence. There was no way she was going to lose her man as well as her mum. She knew she couldn't live without him.

When Hotch had come down the stairs James had hit him in the knee knocking him down the stairs. A fight had immediately ensued with him trying to tackle the younger man so he could have him arrested when suddenly James went over the top and fell into the well. Hotch looked down at him grabbing the walls for dear life when suddenly he felt incredible pain in his knee and fell to the ground. He hadn't noticed the pain before due to the adrenaline. He tried to get back up but the pain was almost paralysing.

Emily ran down the stairs and when she saw him on the floor she ran to him. He looked up at her and they were both relieved. He was alive his Emily had found him. He looked up in pain and she noticed he was on his knees.

"Can you get up?" she asked.

"I've already tried," he answered. Did she really think he was down here for the fun of it?

"What about with my help? Can you try for me, honey?"

"I'll try," he answered though he didn't believe it was possible. He was pretty sure he'd broken his knee.

She crouched down and he snaked his arm around her shoulder while she tried to support his weight but he was in too much pain so she called for the medics. He looked at the well blankly.

"I killed him, Em, I killed him," he said numbly.

"I know you, Aaron. It had to have been an accident," she answered crouching down next to him but he wouldn't look at her. "You're not a killer."

"He hit me in the knee knocking me down the stairs. We fought and he fell down the well."

She took his face in her hands and said, "Aaron, you're not a killer."

"What about Foyet?" every time he fought with an UnSub Foyet haunted him. He wished he could just forget the bastard who killed his ex-wife.

"You did what you had to. He killed Haley and threatened to kill your son. Like Doyle he was better off dead." She then felt the pain in her right hand and took it off shaking it in pain.

That was when he noticed the bandage on her right hand. He took her fingers and asked, "What happened?"

"I touched the poisoned dress before glowing it up," she answered, "but I'm fine. It's you I'm worried about."

The medics rushed in and put him on a stretcher then took him to the ambulance. When the team saw them she said whilst running beside him, "He's taken a nasty fall. I'll be going with him."

They all nodded and got in the SUVs following them. She held his hand with her good hand while he rolled his eyes.

"All this over a broken knee," he said slightly annoyed. He hated people fussing over him. He always wanted to grin and bear it but this time he couldn't.

When they got there it was diagnosed that the fall had indeed broken his knee. It was decided the team would fly home while Emily would drive him home. There was no way Aaron could fly at the moment and they decided it was probably best his girlfriend drove him home. She called up her father and he agreed to look after the children for two more days so she could drive him home as he had broken his knee. He understood perfectly and told her to take as much time as she and Aaron needed to get home without any further injury.

When they got home two days later she picked up the children leaving Aaron in the car. She really didn't want him overworking himself while he was on crutches. They were told he would be on them for a month but on a stick for three. Andrew nodded when he saw him and he nodded back.

The children smiled when they saw him and he smiled back. They then headed home. When they got there the kids got out by themselves while Emily went round to the front passenger's door and opened it for him. She helped him get out with his crutches and got him into their home. As soon as they were inside she got him onto the couch and ordered him to rest. He smiled up at her as only she could order him around off the clock.

Sean took Jessica off to her six months scan. Today they would find out what they were having. He already had a name in mind if it was a girl.

The radiologist put the gel on her stomach once she was in a recliner and moved the sensor over her bump while Sean held her hand as they smiled at the monitor. On the screen they saw their baby and were so excited. They couldn't believe that in three months they would have their own precious, little baby.

"Do you want to know what you're having?" she asked.

He smiled at her then she nodded and he answered, "Yes please."

"You'll be having a girl."

He beamed up at her and explained, "I want to call her Caroline." She nodded her consent and smiled at him slightly. It had been the name of Sean's and Aaron's mother. He smiled back at her grateful for understanding. "I just wish she was still here to meet her."

"As we tell Jack about Haley you know she's watching over us and will be watching over our little girl."

He smiled at her as she always knew the right thing to say. "And how about Emma after Emily's twin sister?"

"Sure," she smiled. "Caroline Emma Hotchner it is then."

He smiled back at her. It was the perfect name for their baby girl. They couldn't wait to hold her and raise her. They also couldn't wait to see her grow up with her cousins,

When she'd been dismissed they headed over to Aaron and Emily's to inform them they would be having a niece and her name that they'd decided.

When he heard the knock on his door Aaron got up using his crutches. He hobbled towards the door and while trying to rest on his crutches open the front door. Emily came down the stairs and shook her head. He was always too stubborn to ask for help even when he was physically incapacitated.

"Aaron, didn't I tell you to wait for me while you were on the crutches," she said.

"And have you using your injured hand," he answered quirking his eyebrow.

"Nice to see you two are getting along," Sean quipped leading Jessica in. They smiled back at the happy couple.

"You should be resting with that knee, Aaron," Jessica said firmly.

"As long as Emily doesn't aggravate her burn," he answered.

Sean took the keys and locked the door while Emily rolled her eyes. She was perfectly capable of locking and unlocking her front door. More capable than Aaron was. Aaron hobbled his way back to the couch while Emily followed with the other Hotchner couple. The children were on a play date with Michael. They really loved spending time with their young uncle.

Aaron took the sofa resting up his leg while Emily took an armchair and Sean took the other pulling his pregnant girlfriend down onto his lap. She cuddled up close to him while he wrapped his arm protectively around their unborn child.

"So what's up?" Emily asked. "Do you know what it is yet?" she was really looking forward to the arrival of her niece or nephew.

"It's a girl," Jessica smiled then looked at Sean who nodded. "We're going to call her Caroline Emma Hotchner."

Both Aaron and Emily smiled sadly at the name. "She would have loved to have her granddaughter named after her." They smiled at him.

"Thanks for picking Emma," Emily smiled.

"Anything," she answered.

Chapter Text

The Company

Sometime later Derek was sleeping in bed with his wife when his mobile rang. Penelope groaned hoping to God it wasn't another case. He kissed her temple and picked up the phone. It was Sarah so he picked up immediately. His oldest sister would only call if there was an emergency. He dearly hoped he hadn't lost one of his family.

He swung his legs out of the bed and answered the phone while Penelope sat up and placed a hand on his shoulder. She tensed as she heard get agitated. She felt something was wrong. She just knew something wasn't right.

When he ended the call he turned to her. "What is it?" she asked concerned.

"Desiree's in the hospital. There was a car accident," he answered. She gasped but then composed herself. Her sister-in-law was in hospital having been in a car accident. She hoped to God her sister-in-law was going to be alright. Her Derek really didn't need to lose any more people.

"Go! Go! I'll hold down the fort. I'll explain to boss man where you've gone." She wanted to go with him but she had a doctor's appointment to meet and someone had to deal with the practicalities. Her husband had to go though to be with his sister.

He nodded and booked his ticket. He was gone by the time she had to wake up for work. She'd gone back to sleep after seeing him off. She knew she had to see the doctor this morning. She'd been sick in the mornings lately and had to know why. She sure hoped she was pregnant. They'd tried so long to have their own baby.

While she was there the doctors took various tests to check and told her they'd be ready by the next morning. When she got to work she found most of the team were about to leave and Hotch was looking pissed off. They obviously had a case and Emily had had a fight over his crutches. It would have been just like him to insist on going despite him being declared physically unfit and Emily would have stubbornly and rightly put her foot down. Everyone knew but never spoke it out loud but Emily always won their fights. She had him wrapped round her finger.

She also knew if he wasn't going wherever they were heading he'd be in her lair. Great! While she waited to find out if she was pregnant she would have to be dealing with an irate, fidgety boss in her office. It wasn't like she could turn round and snap at him due to ranks.

"We're heading off to Chicago," Emily informed her.

"There's a chance Morgan's cousin Cindi might still be alive. His sister says she saw her," JJ added.

"Oh god! Poor Derek," she answered feeling sorry for her husband. She knew he'd told them that she had been killed by the UnSub who had dumped all his bodies in the sea. It couldn't have been easy to confess he'd lied to give them closure. She wanted even more to be with him now but she had to wait for the results. Hopefully when she finally got there she'd be able to give him good news. "Give him my love."

They nodded and Emily added, "Make sure Aaron doesn't get himself into trouble. We don't need him aggravating his knee." Penelope nodded that she would and before they left Emily placed a hand on her shoulder and whispered looking at Hotch, "Good luck."

She nodded and then they left leaving Hotch and Garcia behind. She took him to his office and he sorted out his crutches.

In Chicago when they arrested Malcolm Ford and held him in an investigative cell Emily and JJ went in chatting about their families. After they tried to investigate him he tried to manipulate them with facts about their families. He asked them how they could live with themselves while they were away leaving their children with their fathers. Emily was happy Aaron wasn't here. She didn't know how she'd have handled having him the other side of the glass while Malcolm had done that.

Malcolm tried to get in Morgan's head so Rossi had left him at the supermarket to go over the crime scene. He called up his wife complaining about the fact he wasn't back trying to break the bastard who had enslaved his cousin for the last eight years.

"Oh, oh," Garcia answered annoyed. "You think that because he called you by name you should take him out. Did it ever occur to you he was trying to get under your skin? Why don't you be the hero I know you can be and that Cindi is waiting for?" she added before hanging up.

He looked at his phone in shock. Had his wife just said that to him? He knew she was right but damn they hardly ever fought. He hated it when they did. Also it wasn't like her to snap at him when he was in emotional turmoil. He had to find his cousin.

Hotch looked at her with surprise. "Remind me not to get on your bad side," he quipped.

"Sorry you had to hear that, boss man," she answered blushing.

"All couples argue but it might just work," he smiled causing her to smile back.

She made sure he got home that night while she went back to her own home. Emily would have killed her if she'd left him at work knowing he wouldn't have gone home while working a case unless she was there. As Emily had trouble sleeping she made sure to check in with him and the sound of his voice sent her back to sleep.

Some time before she had to wake up to get to the police station she found herself tossing and turning remembering her birth father and the tortures he'd submitted her to. She was glad she was one of the ones who chased down men like her father not one of the psychopaths. She felt it was all down to Andrew Prentiss.

Penelope woke up the next morning and called for the results. Her smile grew as she was told the results and she placed a hand on her stomach. She was having their baby. In nine months time she and Derek would have their own beautiful child.

She picked up Hotch and drove them both to work. There she looked for the next flight to Chicago. She had to tell her husband to his face that she was pregnant; that they would be having their own baby after trying so long. She'd leave Hotch in Zanetti's care. She knew he hated being treated as an invalid and having a fuss made over him but she didn't quite relish the idea of Emily killing her and her unborn child. She knew not to mess with a woman with a gun.

She left without taking any crap from Hotch as she left their boss with his superior. She waited anxiously for the plane to land in Chicago.

As they took down the UnSub Cindi was relieved. The nightmare of her last eight years was over. Now she could raise her son instead of leaving him in someone else's care and reunite with her family. Malcolm Ford was in custody and could never get to her again.

At the police station she reunited with her mother while her cousin Sarah looked on in shocked disbelief then hugged her baby brother. His aunt hugged her grandson and he hugged her back. Derek than felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see his wife causing him to grin widely. His family had been reunited after so long and his wife was finally here.

"Boss man says we can have the week off," she said.

He nodded and smiled kissing her forehead. Cindi looked over with surprise. Who was this brightly attired woman who was obviously so important to her cousin Derek?

"Cindi, I'd like you to meet my wife, Penelope," he introduced smiling proudly at his baby girl.

"Wife?" she answered in shock. "Derek Morgan has a wife."

He pulled Penelope close to him though they understood how Cindi could be shocked. Four years ago he was a ladies' man now he was a happily married man for the last two years. Sarah smiled at them both as did his Aunt Gloria. They loved Penelope and felt she was a great fit for Derek.

"Yes, his wife. He's been married for the last two years," Sarah defended rubbing her baby brother's bald head.

"Let's go home. There's a lot of catching up to do," Garcia instructed and they nodded. Before they did he said goodbye to their other family.

The rest of the team headed to the hotel as they would fly out the next morning. They had a meal there and she phoned home to check in. Eliza had taken Aaron home when it was time.

Back at the Morgan household everyone was catching up and Cindi was finding out everything she could about Penelope while Penelope was cuddled up in her husband's arms. Cindi wanted to know everything about the woman who'd made her cousin finally settle down.

That night Rossi got hungry so went down to the hotel lobby to get something from one of the vending machines. When he got down there he found Emily sitting in one of the window seats with her back to the wall and her legs up bent in front of her looking off into the distance out of the window.

"Everything alright?" he asked.

She looked up startled. She'd been so lost in her thoughts she hadn't heard him enter. Lying in bed alone she couldn't shake off the memories of her birth father. She only really forgot about him when she was lying in bed with Aaron.

"Just memories," she answered.

"Of Doyle?" he asked.

She shook her head and answered, "Jonathan Jackson-Waters, my birth father..." he looked confused. "Andrew Prentiss adopted me when I was twelve." He nodded in understanding. "I haven't seen him since I was ten but he used to torture me. It's where I get most of my scars. I hadn't thought of him in years until Houston and the dreams were fading with Aaron sleeping next to me..."

"But without him here they're coming back," he finished.

She nodded and carried on looking out the window. "He's not coming back, Emily. They're just memories that have made you the strong fighter you are today. You put away psychopaths because of him and he can never hurt you again," he soothed. She nodded. "Ready to go back to bed?"

"Why did you come down here, Dave? I'm sure it wasn't to talk to me."

"I was hungry," he admitted.

She nodded and waited for him to get his bar and then they headed back off to their bedrooms. Thankfully the talk with Rossi had worked its magic. She found herself drifting off to sleep that night with no more thoughts of Jonathan.

Meanwhile Penelope was lying in bed when she turned to her husband and smiled at him. "Derek, I have some great news," she said.

"What is it, Pen?" he asked smiling at her.

"I found out this morning I was pregnant. That's why I went to see the doctor. We're going to have a baby."

"Oh my god! Are you sure?"

"Positive. It was confirmed by the doctor this morning. I'm eight weeks pregnant."

"Oh Pen, that's fantastic. I can't wait to have a baby with you."

"Neither can I, Derek. We've tried for so long and now it's happening. I can't wait."

When they told his family the next morning they were over the moon. Derek Morgan certainly had grown up now he was to be a father. They couldn't wait to see the latest addition to the Morgan family. They knew they were going to be great parents.

When the jet landed she saw Aaron was waiting for them. As soon as they got off she ran to him and hugged him being careful of his crutches. She didn't know how much longer she could take this job though she felt good for putting the UnSubs behind bars she wasn't feeling much satisfaction in her job anymore.

"I missed you," she whispered kissing his cheek.

"I missed you too," he whispered back kissing her nose.

Soon after Penelope and Derek landed back in Virginia the team had a night out at the local bar. They still tried to do this every now and again though three of them now had more than one child.

When she ordered an orange juice instead of a sex on the beach cocktail Emily quirked an eyebrow. The only time she'd never had the occasional alcoholic drink was when she was pregnant. Could Penelope and Derek be possibly expecting their own little bundle of joy?

Penelope grinned at her and said, "It's alright, my raven haired beauty. You can ask." She knew Emily was bursting wanting to ask if she was pregnant or not.

"How far along?" she asked.

"Eight weeks," she smiled up at Derek.

"Congratulations," everyone but Reid smiled.

"Eight weeks what?" he asked.

"Eight weeks pregnant, dumbass," Morgan said playfully hitting his head.

"Oh," he answered looking down then looked up and added, "Congratulations guys."

"Thanks everyone," they smiled.

Rossi lifted his glass while everyone followed his lead. "Here's to Penelope, Derek and their unborn baby," he said.

"To Penelope, Derek and their unborn baby," they answered clinking their glasses while Penelope and Derek shared smiles at each other. They couldn't believe that in seven months they would have their own child.

Chapter Text

Divining Rod

Sometime later the whole team apart from Garcia were headed to Enid, Oklahoma. Hotch was no longer on crutches but he was now using a walking stick until his knee was completely healed. He was considering proposing to Emily once he was able to get down on one knee. He was traditional when it came to weddings and proposals. You could call him old-fashioned but he didn't care. He wasn't old-fashioned when it came to raising his children.

A copycat killer of Rod Garrett had been killing young, pretty, blonde girls with a single stab to the heart. He was taking pieces of their hair and scalped the last one to make a wig for Garrett's widow. It was a prison guard who declared he'd fallen in love with her and wanted to help her cover her bald head which she'd gained during an illness years before.

On the day they were flying home Kirk went to see Garcia. He needed her to pass on a message to Hotch and Emily. Elizabeth didn't have very long now and the doctors had told him to prepare to say goodbye.

"Technical Analyst Garcia," he said sadly. He just wanted to be with Elizabeth.

"Yes sir," she answered picking up on his solemn mood. She knew instantly something was wrong with Emily's mother. They all knew the director Kirk Brewster was in a relationship with Elizabeth Prentiss.

"Can you tell Agent Hotchner to head straight to the hospital? The doctors have diagnosed it's time to say goodbye to Agent Prentiss' mother."

She nodded and put through the call.

"What is it, Garcia?" he asked when he picked up the phone.

"Aaron, Emily's mother's in the hospital. The doctors have told Director Brewster that the family need to prepare to say goodbye," Garcia filled him in. "He's asked if you and Emily can head straight to the hospital."

"Noted, thank you, Penelope," he answered hanging up and turning to Emily. Thankfully she was sat right next to him so he pulled her close. It was time to say goodbye to her mother. She didn't have much longer to live. "When we land we have to head to the hospital," he said into her hair.

She understood immediately. Her mother was on her last legs. It was time to say goodbye. She knew she was going to lose her but it was too soon. They could never make up for their lost time all those lost years. She felt tears rise in her eyes and seeing them appear Hotch pulled her close to him and she snuggled up to him.

Dave had overheard and asked, "Is she going to be alright?"

"She will be" he answered stroking her hair. "We've been told to prepare to say goodbye to the Ambassador."

He nodded. "Would you like me to drive you?" he could see Aaron was going to turn down his offer. He understood it was a private moment but neither of them was up to driving. "I won't hang around." He could see he was loosening up so he decided to throw in the last proverbial bullet. "You can't drive with that stick and Emily's in no fit state too."

He nodded reluctantly agreeing it was the only way. He couldn't drive at the moment though he wanted to. He hated being invalid. He was also right there was no way Emily could drive to her mother's deathbed. He would never let her drive so emotional anyway.

When they got off the plane Dave got them into his car and drove them to the hospital to say goodbye to her mother. He felt sorry for them that there was another death in their family. There had been so much death in Jack's young life.

When they got there they rushed to the desk though Aaron was hobbling. They asked for the room Elizabeth Prentiss was in then headed up there. When they got there they saw Kirk by her bedside.

Emily tried even harder to keep her tears inside when she saw her mother looking so weak and frail. Her mother had always been so strong-willed. She got Aaron to sit the other side of her mother while she took the other seat after Kirk sat on the side of the bed holding her hand. Emily held her other hand.

"No tears," Elizabeth insisted.

"I know we haven't always had a great relationship but I love you, mother," she answered on the verge of tears.

"I love you too, Emmy."

"I just wish we didn't have all that los t time."

"Never regret the past. It's made you who you are and I'm so proud of you. You're a wonderful mother, partner and daughter."

"Thank you, mother."

Aaron then made his goodbye and after she asked him to she leant her his ear to whisper into.

"Marry my daughter," she whispered.

"I have every intention of doing so," he whispered back smiling sadly at his girlfriend. Once his knee was healed he planned to get down on one knee. He was just sad only Andrew Prentiss would be the living parent to see it.

She then closed her eyes and her breathing slowed down as did her heart beat. It didn't take long for her breathing to slow right down and her heart beat. Emily tried hard to keep her tears inside. When she finally drew her last breath Emily burst into tears and Aaron rushed to her with his stick and hugged her close to him while tears filled his own eyes. She just couldn't believe her mother was gone. That she could never turn to her mum again and be able to hear her answer.

Kirk had tears fall down his cheeks. He couldn't believe the love of his life was gone after he'd only found her almost two years ago. He had never even got round to marrying her though he'd wanted to. How was he to live without her? He hoped Emily and Aaron wouldn't abandon him. They and their children were all he had left of his Elizabeth.

"Let's get a cab here," Aaron said. Emily nodded up at him and he added, "Kirk, would you like to share it?"

He just nodded thankful. Kirk was family and always would be. He was great with the children and they would never separate them. They couldn't do that to Kirk. They couldn't take everything he had from him. He didn't have any children of his own. Aaron knew exactly what it was like to have everything taken from him. He was just thankful he got to see Jack after the separation and when he had to put them into witness protection he had Emily.

They all went back to their place as there was no way they were going to let Kirk stay alone tonight. His partner had only just died. Aaron was glad he'd had the kids when Emily 'died'. Unfortunately Kirk could never get her back.

A week later they held Elizabeth's funeral. As Elizabeth had always tried to be the perfect Ambassador they held a state funeral. Kirk had gone home a few days after but was there to attend the funeral with them.

Jack and Declan wore similar suits to their father while the twins both wore black dresses similar to their mother. Jack tied his own tie as he had been practicing all week. When he was older he wanted to be an FBI agent just like his father and wear ties too. The day he learnt of his grandmother's death he asked his dad to teach him how to and Aaron had happily taught him.

Soon the funeral cars arrived with the hearse. They all climbed into the two cars that had come to pick them up. Declan and Jack went in the car with Kirk while Aaron and Emily travelled with their four year old twin daughters. Emily snuggled into Aaron on the way to the cemetery trying to keep her tears back. She couldn't believe she was saying goodbye to her mother today. She never thought she would see this day. For so many years she'd seemed impervious, immortal even though obviously no human was immortal but she had thought her mother was going to live well into old age.

When they arrived he got them out and was proud to see Declan helping a grief-stricken Kirk out. He didn't even want to think about what he'd be like if he'd actually lost Emily. He'd had a preview but always had the hope they would be together again.

Emily was happy to see the team here to say goodbye to Elizabeth Prentiss. It showed how much they supported her as she made her final goodbye to her mother. Andy, Sean, Dave, Derek, Spencer and Emily's Uncle Edward carried the coffin as there was no way they would let Kirk carry the coffin and Aaron was unable to. Instead he led the family to the gravesite.

An American flag was laid over Elizabeth's coffin while a couple of soldiers stood by with their guns and a couple of the President's envoy attended in respect for her work for the country. Emily later made a eulogy on the verge of tears while Aaron placed a hand on her back to show her his support. Having made two of his own he knew just how hard it was to make a eulogy. He was always going to be there for him as he knew she would be for him.

At the end of the ceremony the guns fired shots in the air in a mark of respect for Elizabeth while her daughter's chest tightened and she felt the tears falling down her cheeks. She cuddled closer to Aaron and placed a hand on Alexia's shoulder. The twins didn't really understand what was going on; didn't really understand their grandmother was gone.

They held the wake at Kirk's place though Emily had inherited her childhood home. She hadn't yet gone back there to sort things out. She couldn't believe her mother had kept hold of the house all these years. She almost felt betrayed. This was the house she'd been tortured in. She couldn't ever face going back there.

A few days later she put it up for sale and into the hands of an estate realtor. She really didn't want anything more to do with that house. She was relieved when someone bought the house a few weeks later. She didn't find out who as she just didn't care.

Chapter Text

Profiling 101

Sometime later the team attended a lecture Rossi had to give on his birthday. They all stood on the stage apart from Hotch who sat down in a chair at the front of the stage with his stick. He was thankful he wouldn't need his stick pretty soon. Pretty soon he would be healed and able to propose to his girlfriend. They gave the class a lecture about one of their most prolific serial killers. During the class Rossi and Hotch tried and succeeded to get Rossi to be able to see that very same serial killer that day.

As they left they tried to encourage Rossi to celebrate his birthday but he turned down every offer. They watched him leave worrying about him but also knowing he'd be alright. After they saw him leave Katie ran up. She'd been at her profiling classes.

"Aaron, Emily, I heard you were lecturing a class. Want to hang for lunch?" she asked smiling. They both smiled at her exuberance and Aaron worried about it disappearing while in her dream career. Emily knew it was just a front. Sadly Katie was almost as broken as Emily. Her father had abused her. Julie had informed her when the nightmares began and she told Julie all about what her own father had done to her. All three of them had more in common than Aaron knew.

"Sure," they smiled then turned to the rest of them. "Want to join us?"

"Love to."

Katie just smiled wider. They all already felt like a family which made Katie sure that she would be welcomed into the team when she finally joined. It also made her aware they would perhaps be a little over-protective.

They headed off to a local cafe and had their lunch as a family. JJ enquired about how her profiling classes were going and offered to help. She was the most recent profiling graduate after all. Katie gladly accepted her help. They were like sisters.

Soon after Aaron was able to lose his stick though he still had to attend physiotherapy so it could heal completely and because it had been a bit stiff from the crutches. He also had pins in his knee that had affected him when he flew to Oklahoma last month.

A week later Sean called them up telling them Jessica's waters had broken. They headed over to the hospital waiting to meet their niece. They couldn't believe she was finally arriving. The twins were excited about seeing their baby cousin. They already loved playing with Sophie.

They were worried though when they heard Auntie Jessica's cries and screams. Jack and Declan understood it was only labour. Alexia tried running down the corridor when Aaron scooped her up and took her back to the family stroking her hair.

"It's alright, princess. Auntie Jessica is just having the baby," he soothed.

"But she's screaming," she answered innocently.

"She's screaming because she's happy."

Luckily she took that answer and he sat them down with her on his lap. She was happy there for a while just sitting on her daddy's lap. She'd missed being able to due to his injury. Sometime later she looked up at her daddy when she heard her Auntie stop screaming.

"Is it over now? Is Auntie Jessica still alive?" she asked concerned.

"She's fine, sunshine, I'm sure of it," he answered stroking her long dark brown hair.

She smiled up at him and Sean soon joined them with a baby in his arms. Allie and Ellie's eyes widened and Alexia tried to get off her father's lap accidentally kicking his knee in the process. He grimaced inwardly while trying to put a smile on his face at the sight of his first biological niece. She looked around and saw daddy limping more than usual. She knew instantly what she'd done and looked at him guiltily.

"Daddy, I'm so sorry; I didn't mean to hurt you. I love you, she said biting her lip. A habit she'd picked up from her mother.

"I know you didn't, sunshine," he answered crouching down trying to keep the pain from his face while trying to comfort his daughter by running a finger down her little cheek. "I love you, Alexia."

She smiled up at him and then he looked up at Sean to see him looking nervous, scared but also absolutely elated to be a father himself now. He was totally wrapped up in the life he was holding in his arms; the little bundle of life he and Jessica had created. He smiled at him knowing exactly how that wonder felt now he'd had three babies himself. "Want to meet your cousin?" she nodded wildly and he smiled while Emily helped him back up.

When he was back up he kissed his girlfriend a thank you and took Alexia's hand in his leading her over to Sean.

"Come on then, baby brother, introduce us," Aaron smiled teasing Sean. He might have a baby himself now but he'd never stop being Aaron's baby brother.

Sean smiled at him then down at his little girl. He couldn't believe Carrie was now here. She was ever so beautiful. She had fair hairs and deep brown eyes just like the two of them. He hoped she would grow up to be just as beautiful as her mother.

"Aaron, Emily, meet your niece Caroline Emma Hotchner. Carrie, these are your Uncle Aaron and Auntie Emily," Sean smiled down at his daughter.

They smiled down at her and then at Sean. They fell for her instantly. They would protect her from the monsters just like they did their own children. Emily was still contemplating leaving the BAU though. She started to consider which department she might transfer into. It was the one thing she hadn't discussed with Aaron though. She didn't know how to tell him; how he'd react. She'd missed eleven months of her children's lives and didn't want to miss much more. She wanted to be able to see the children daily. She wanted to be able to take them to school and pick them up. The twins would be going to elementary school soon and she didn't want to miss a day.

A nurse came up and said, "Mr Hotchner." Aaron and Sean both turned their heads and Emily wanted to laugh. Why would she mean Aaron? "Your wife's woken up."

"Thank you," Sean answered. Emily wanted to giggle. It was another case of people assuming the two were married because there was a baby.

They followed him into the room with Carrie. Jessica smiled up when she saw them. She just couldn't believe she was a mother herself now. She had her own little baby with the man she'd dreamed of being with since high school. She knew now exactly what it had felt like for Emily when she had the twins. Emily had recently confided in her how long she had loved Aaron.

"May I hold her, Sean?" she asked.

"Of course," he answered handing her their precious little daughter.

"Hello Carrie," she smiled down at her. "I'm your mummy." Her daughter smiled back up at her sweetly causing her heart to melt and to kiss her little forehead.

Chapter Text

Hit

Sometime later Aaron and Emily were playing with their kids in their make-shift den.

JJ got up early groaning to play soccer with her two children while her boyfriend headed off to work. She really wanted a day off but being a mother you never got one.

"Come on, mummy," Henry and Sophie exclaimed. "It's eight thirty."

She got up and soon enough they were outside saying goodbye to Will as he joined his partner DI Lewis.

"I love you," he said kissing her.

"I love you, too," she answered kissing him back.

"I love you three," Henry shouted jumping off the stairs and into his arms. Will kissed his long, blonde hair then placed him down as his sister did the same.

"I love you four," Sophie exclaimed jumping into his arms. Will kissed her hair then handed her to her mother who placed her down. They started playing soccer as Will left with his partner.

Derek, Penelope and Spencer meanwhile though were heading to Comic Con. Derek had only agreed to come along dressed up as Black Panther because out of work he never really wanted to let his pregnant wife out of his sight. Even at work he had to check on her. Their child was due in four months time. Sometimes it irritated Penelope but most of the time she liked that her god of Thunder was there to protect her and their child.

Dave was leaving the hotel after a night spent with Eliza. He and Ellie had been secretly dating for a few weeks now. They didn't care what the FBI thought about them. After all two of the couples in the BAU were both working for the BAU. They cared about what Emily thought. Emily felt like a daughter to Dave and she was the closest thing Eliza had to a sister. He knew his reputation but he was serious about Eliza. She was clever, caring, beautiful and intelligent as well as a damn fine Section Chief. Dave gave Eliza tingles down her spine and she always felt like a giddy teenager around him. He was smart, nurturing, and compassionate and to her that was more of a turn-on than appearance.

They soon all got the call back to action. Hotch and Emily left the children with her father while they headed to a local bank where the people inside were being held hostage; workers and customers alike. Will's partner had also been shot in the head so he shot back. He'd hit the jack. They were called the face cards and wore jack, king and queen masks.

When the jack died the king started shooting hostages saying he was only going to stop when Will came in. They did their best to keep Will from going in but he ended up walking in of his own accord while JJ had to be restrained by Morgan. Everyone could understand JJ's reaction but they couldn't lose her either. They were thankful he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

When he went in he got shot three times. Luckily they mostly hit him in the vest but he fell back bruised and he also got shot in the shoulder so a former marine tried to stop his blood. Everyone else was shocked and headed back to the command unit.

JJ just looked blankly ahead shell-shocked. She just couldn't believe her boyfriend had been shot. She had no idea if he was severely injured or dead or what. She couldn't have lost her boyfriend. They had two children together and she couldn't see her world without him. He had to be alive.

"Garcia, did you see where he was shot?" she asked.

"The cameras cut out before I could," she answered.

"He might not have been shot dead. He was wearing a vest," Emily offered.

"Might? Might?" JJ answered annoyed trying to bite back her anger and tears. "Aaron, can we go in?"

He looked up off the floor and nodded. They all started heading in with separate SWAT teams. Emily went in the back way and JJ and Morgan were about to head in with SWAT. Hotch crouched down by one of the cars.

Reid realised the bank was going to blow up so ran out warning them. Rossi started racing out after getting the news telling the team frantically to abort. The bank blew up after Emily had gone in the back way and JJ and Morgan were near the bank. They fell to the ground and Hotch could hear the ringing in his ears increase.

Chapter Text

Run

JJ and Morgan got themselves up soon after and went in to find Emily and Will. JJ had to know her boyfriend was alive. Morgan had to make sure Emily was okay. It would kill Aaron if he lost her again and Penelope would kill him for not checking.

Garcia ran up after Hotch had spoken to every team working on this case. "JJ and Morgan have been accounted for..." she said then looked down. She really didn't want to meet his eyes as she told him. "Emily Hasn't though."

His chest tightened as he was scared he'd lost Emily. He just couldn't have lost his girlfriend. He talked into his walkie talkie.

"Emily, Emily, check in. Em, please check in," he said trying to keep calm.

He was relieved when after minutes that felt like an eternity she answered, "Check in." He whispered his thank you. He was so relieved that he hadn't lost his girlfriend. He would get to live another day with Emily by his side. She hadn't been blown up.

In fact she soon joined him and he had to control his urge to grab her in his arms and hold her close to him. They still had a job to do and find the UnSubs and Will. JJ needed her happy ending too on this case.

She'd found Will's wallet in the alleyway meaning the face cards had taken him. It was a breadcrumb he'd left behind. They'd agreed that if anything happened to one of them they'd leave a breadcrumb. She also knew from his wallet where they were heading and it scared the bejeezus out of her. They knew where she lived and they were going there. Her children were in danger.

Rossi and JJ headed there while Hotch, Emily and Morgan headed to a local train station.

Will had already had to leave Izzy with his children. When he did he hugged them both and told Izzy if she did anything to them he would kill her but he was interrupted. He was told if he laid one hand on her the former marine would kill JJ and then him leaving Henry and Sophie orphans. He was told by the marine if he didn't do what he was told Izzy would kill the kids. He had no choice. It was the only way to protect his family.

Soon enough he found himself tied to a pole and two bomb devices. The former marine left and was soon chased by Morgan. Emily found Will attached to the bombs.

"Hotch, I've found Will. He has several bomb devices attached to him," she informed her boss.

"I'm coming," he answered immediately. There was no way he was going to leave his girlfriend alone with a bomb. He couldn't let his girlfriend sacrifice herself. His heart had begun racing as she said bomb.

"No, Hotch. You need to evacuate the building. We have five minutes," she answered. There was no way she was going to let him anywhere near the bomb. If she didn't make it out on time her children would need their father. Also she wasn't going to sit by and see him die too. "Aaron, I'll make it out."

He started evacuating people and ran after the former marine who was being chased by Morgan. He ended up shooting him to save Morgan. He couldn't let Garcia lose her husband when they were due to have a baby in four months time.

They headed back to retrieve Emily and Will.

The adrenaline had pumped through Emily and d Will's veins as they tried to stop the bombs. The first needed a four letter word numbered code to open it. At first she tried Chad then she tried love and finally she tried Izzy and it worked but another device opened. It had blue, yellow and red wires and she had to know which one to cut to end the bomb. She worked out it was the colours of the Chad flag and that yellow was the colour to cut. She cut it with a second to spare and when the bomb deactivated they breathed a sigh of relief.

They'd lived to see another day. Will and Emily both knew they didn't want to waste any more time and marry their lovers. Will was forever thankful to Emily for saving his life and felt indebted to her.

When Hotch found them he breathed a sigh of relief and his heart rate slowed down to a healthier pace. Today had been hell. His Emily had almost been blown up twice. He didn't know if he could do this anymore. He didn't know if he could keep putting her in harm's way. Today had really tested him and his heart.

She looked up at him and saw this and said softly, "No more. I can't keep doing this to you."

"We'll talk about it later," he answered.

She nodded and they left the train station taking Will to the hospital.

When JJ got to her house Rossi made a distraction so she could get into her house without disturbing Izzy. Disturbing Izzy she could endanger her children and that was the last thing she wanted to do. She had to protect her children. It was a matter of life and death.

Thankfully she succeeded in hiding her son and daughter quietly. Izzy started looking for them and looked into the wardrobe when JJ started the fight. During the fight she managed to take the cartridge out of Izzy's gun. There was a close shave when Izzy saw the children but JJ managed to defeat her and leave her to Rossi to arrest.

She hugged Henry and Sophie to her relieved they weren't in danger anymore. She hoped to God nothing like this ever happened again. Knowing her children had been threatened had been the worst feeling in the world.

Rossi was soon informed that Will had been found and was currently in hospital due to the gunshot wound in his shoulder. Whilst there Hotch's ears Garcia's pregnancy were also checked they had bandaged Will's shoulder and put his arm in a sling. Luckily there wasn't too much damage done to Hotch's ears if any and neither Garcia or the baby had been affected.

After being checked they all headed to the office to fill in their reports.

JJ, Rossi and the children soon joined Will. Rossi waited outside with Henry and Sophie while JJ went in to Will. Upon seeing his girlfriend he threw his sling off and hugged her carefully with his good arm.

"Ask me again," she said with tears filling her eyes. There was nothing she wanted to do more than marry her boyfriend. Today had only shown her that life was too short to waste it not being legally the love of her life's.

"Jennifer Jareau, will you marry me?" he asked looking at her with a smile on his face confident that this time she was going to say yes. She was going to be his wife. She would be Mrs LeMontagne.

She nodded with tears in her eyes and answered, "Yer. There's a chapel down the hall."

"Hell no, I'm not getting married in this hospital gown. We'll go down to the courthouse first thing on Monday morning," he answered. He was just so happy he was going to marry his Jennifer at last. It had taken seven years to get here.

Rossi smiled on as the children smiled up holding his hands. He let Henry's go in order to phone Hotch. He informed Hotch of his plans and he replied he'd rally the troops.

Hotch came out and told Zanetti to stay.

"Dave wants to know if we're free for drinks tomorrow night," he said coming out while still on the phone with him.

"If he's paying then I'm up for it," Morgan answered.

"Me too," Emily answered and everyone else agreed. Hotch then filled them in on the plans telling them to keep it secret from JJ. This was going to be a secret wedding for JJ.

The next afternoon they all got the garden ready while JJ was out with the girls. They all set up the garden as the perfect venue for the wedding.

While they were setting up the decorations Aaron asked, "Will?"

"Yes Aaron," he answered.

"Would it be possible to ask Emily to marry me tonight?"

Will beamed at him. He was thrilled Aaron was planning to propose to Emily. They were perfect for each other and needed each other. They were not complete without each other.

"Of course you can, Aaron. How long have you been considering marriage?"

"I bought the ring three years ago," he answered quietly. He really didn't want to remember what had prevented him from doing it before. Will saw this and didn't mention it.

"Her mother's come with the dress."

Aaron smiled back at Will silently thankful he'd changed the subject.

Later Aaron was at home getting ready with his family for the wedding. He put on a nice suit with a purple buttoned up shirt and Emily put a flowery top and black skirt plus green shawl. The boys wore variations of their father's suit while the girls changed into blue summer dresses.

"Aaron," she said seriously.

"Yes Em," he answered placing his hands on her arms.

"I want to leave..."

He felt his chest tighten and it felt like the ground was falling from beneath him. What! Everything was going so well. Why would she want to leave? Had he done something wrong? He gulped. He was going to propose tonight and she wanted to leave. Had they really got their wires crossed?

She smiled, "Not you, silly." He smiled a little feeling like a fool. Why did he always think the worst? "I love you, Aaron."

"I love you too, Em," he answered resting his forehead on hers.

"I want to leave the BAU. It just hasn't felt right since I came back. I know it's been a long time but it finally reached a head. I nearly got blown up twice yesterday..."

"You don't need to remind me that," he answered sadly. If he'd lost her again it would have killed him.

"I want to see the kids grow up," she said placing her hand on his chest. "I want to be there every day. I want to take our kids to school and pick them up."

He nodded. He sometimes wanted that too but he loved his job and he was doing it for them. If she really felt that way he'd let her go. It would mean the loss of a great agent but it would stop his worries over her safety but would she be happy with a desk job? Ever since he'd reunited with her the first time she'd been an active fighter. A desk job would restrain her.

"If this is what you want I support you wholeheartedly," he said softly.

"It is, Aaron. I want to be there daily for our children. I don't want to keep leaving them. I want the bad guys fought to make the world a safer place for our children but I want to do it here in Virginia."

He nodded. "We'll sort out everything in the morning."

She nodded. "I'll miss working with you guys but this is for the best."

THEY WERE SOON AT JJ AND Will's house preparing for the wedding. When they got there they found Derek and Penelope already there along with Dave. She was already showing and Derek had his hands on their first child. They just couldn't wait to have their own child. They adored the BAU children but had wanted their own for so long. Reid soon joined them as well.

Derek smiled when he saw the kids.

"Hey guys," he smiled at them.

"Hey Uncle Derek," they smiled back.

"I saw that they have a fountain. Want to see it?"

The youngest three nodded wildly while Declan decided to help him with his siblings. He was trying to make the change from childhood to adulthood. The others smiled watching them leave.

"He's going to be such a great dad to this little one," Emily said.

"I know," Penelope smiled stroking her bump. She just couldn't wait for her much anticipated baby. She couldn't believe she was having it with the man she'd loved ever since she started working at the FBI.

"Let's go out," Aaron added.

They all headed out to the garden and carried on socialising. Eliza soon joined her boyfriend and kissed his bearded cheek. It was the night they were going to come out as a couple. Emily's eyes widened when she saw her childhood best friend kiss Dave and him pull her into his side. They then looked to Emily and Aaron nervously.

"How long?" Emily asked.

"A few weeks," Eliza answered looking to her boyfriend. She didn't want Emily to look down on their relationship. She was aware of their age gap and Dave's reputation but she knew they were serious about each other. She loved him and she knew he loved her. That's all that mattered wasn't it? If anyone knew the ups and downs and struggles of being in a relationship it was Aaron and Emily. They'd suffered their share of struggles and even faced the government to be together. They'd even had to lose each other to protect their children. Everyone was over the moon they'd been back together for almost two years.

Emily was happy to see her best friend and Aaron's the happiest she'd ever seen them. If Dave made Eliza this happy she was happy for them though he felt like a father to her.

"If you do anything to hurt her I will hurt you," she whispered in Dave's ear.

"I won't," he promised patting her on the back.

He then noticed Will and JJ come out holding their kids' hands. They were dressed smart casual apart from JJ.

"You really know how to throw a party," JJ smiled at him.

"I may have overheard something about a proposal yesterday," he admitted.

"So that's why you're so dressed up, huh?" she asked her family while her son and daughter nodded.

Her mother then stopped forward and said, "And so will you be," showing her the dress. JJ just couldn't believe it. Was that her mother's wedding dress? She'd wanted to wear it since she was a little girl and would play weddings. She would sometimes want to dress up in it but her mother wouldn't let her. Now she was going to wear it on her wedding day. She felt so special.

They headed up to JJ's room and changed her into it.

"It's about time you two got married," her mother said.

JJ rolled her eyes and smiled, "You've been pushing us to get married since you first met Will."

"Glad it's gotten through finally," she teased.

JJ just laughed in response. She was just so happy to finally be marrying Will. They'd spent seven years together now and they hadn't always been easy but they had been worth it.

Once she was changed into her dress her mother asked, "Ready?"

"Ready," she nodded smiling. She was more than ready. She was positive it was time to marry her William La Montagne Jnr and become a La Montagne herself finally.

They headed back downstairs. When Rossi saw them he got everyone to get into place. Will stood by the registrar with Henry while Sophie went to join her mother and grandmother. The others stood to the side of the make-shift aisle. Spencer and Declan brought his siblings as he'd been entertaining them all with his science magic. The Hotchner kids joined their parents.

Aaron laid his hands on Alexia's shoulders while Emily had hers on Eliza's. Declan stood beside his father while Jack stood beside his stepmother.

The violins then started playing and everyone turned to JJ. Emily and Penelope felt tears in their eyes as they saw her being led up by her mother and her daughter holding the hem of her dress. Everyone knew this was right and were so happy for the couple. They were perfect for each other. They all knew that from the day they had met Will back in New Orleans.

She soon joined her fiancé and son. Her mother stepped to the side as she kissed her son who was holding the rings and Will kissed his daughter. They then smiled at each other and turned to the registrar.

"Friends and family, we are gathered here today to witness the union of William La Montagne Jnr and Jennifer Jareau," he said.

Everyone smiled at the happy couple. This was one of the happiest days of all their lives. Declan, Jack and the twins wondered when their own parents would marry. They hoped it would be soon especially now they were so happy together again.

Soon enough JJ was Mrs La Montagne but she would carry on working under her maiden name. It was easier that way as she didn't want anything to change. She just wanted to be Will's wife. She was over the moon she now was.

Everyone sat around the tables for the wedding feast. Rossi as usual; made a toast.

"Good things happen to good people and this is one those days and these are two of those people. Congratulations Will and JJ," he smiled raising his glass.

"Thank you," JJ smiled up at him then back at her husband. She couldn't believe she could actually call him her husband now. They were really married. They were finally husband and wife.

After they finished eating they took to the dance floor. Everyone was dancing when Aaron whisked Emily off to the side confusing her. What was going on? What did Aaron want that couldn't wait?

He looked over to Will and nodded causing Will to smile and nod back. It was time. He felt his stomach turn somersaults and his chest tighten. He was nervous he had to admit. The last time he'd proposed was over twenty years ago. Of course he thought that would be the only time he would but he loved Emily with every fibre of his being and wanted her for his wife.

He got down on one knee and took her hand in his. Tears filled her eyes as she realised what he was about to do. She couldn't believe he wanted to marry her after everything they'd been through. She still had the fear that someday he'd up and leave. She didn't deserve him.

"Em, I never thought I'd love anyone as much as I loved Haley let alone more. Losing you makes me fall apart and I am only complete with you. You make me happier than I ever thought I could be. Emily Prentiss, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?" he asked with tears in his voice.

A tear threatened to escape as she nodded and wiped away the tear. "Yes, oh yes, Aaron, I'll be your wife. Of course I will. You're my one dream come true. I love you more than I have loved any man. I've loved you sine I was eighteen," she beamed.

He got the jewellery box out of his pocket and slipped the ring he'd bought so long ago onto her finger finally. She was his. She was going to be his wife. They were going to get married. He got up and hugged her close to him kissing her forehead and brushing her hair behind her ear.

"I love you so much, you know that," he smiled at her.

"I do and the feeling's mutual," she smiled up at him.

Will came up beside them as JJ was now dancing with Dave and asked, "So?"

"She said yes," Aaron smiled at him.

"I knew it," he smiled shaking his hand. "Congratulations you two."

"Thanks," they smiled back.

Will walked back to the tables and clinked his glass. Everyone looked at him wondering what was going on. No-one noticed the blissful couple coming up to stand next to him except Penelope who noticed the ring shining in the light on Emily's ring finger.

She ran up to them as usual as she could with her baby bump and exclaimed, "Oh my god, oh my god, Bossman finally popped the question, didn't he?"

Emily nodded with tears in her eyes. She just couldn't believe she was finally getting married. To the man of her dreams no less. She smiled up at him and he smiled back she might be leaving the BAU but she was getting married. She'd never leave the family. She would be marrying the BAU.

"Can I see the ring?" she asked. She nodded and showed it to her. It was so beautiful. It was gold with a ruby encased in a circle of diamonds. She's fallen for it but it could have been a hula hoop and she'd still have accepted it. All that mattered was she was marrying her soul mate, her Aaron.

Penelope saw the ring and smiled while tears filled her eyes. She then smiled back up at Aaron and he nodded. It was the ring he'd bought before everything had gone wrong. The ring they'd picked out together with the children. She wouldn't mention that though. It would only upset Emily to think what might have been. What might have been was now what would be.

Emily noticed the exchange though and wondered what was going on. There was something they weren't telling her. They knew something she didn't. "What?" she asked looking confused between the two.

Aaron looked down and Penelope looked away. He then looked back up at Emily with sad eyes. "I bought the rings three years ago," he admitted. "Just after that ritualistic murder case in Miami."

She looked down and felt the tears build up in her eyes. Now she understood why they'd kept it away from her. He was going to propose before Doyle returned. Oh her poor Aaron!

"No, don't even go there. We're back together and we're going to get married."

She looked up at him, smiled slightly and nodded. "Yer, yer, we are. I love you, Aaron," she answered.

"I love you too, Em, and can't wait to make you my wife," he replied touching her forehead with his.

"I can't wait to be your wife," she replied placing her hands on his cheeks then kissing him. This was home. This was where she belonged. With Aaron, her wonderful, loving fiancé and their four beautiful children.

Everyone congratulated them. They were so happy the couple were getting married at last. They deserved this happiness after everything they'd been through. They couldn't wait for their wedding. They hoped it was soon. They really needed to celebrate their union after all the hell they'd been through to be here.

The children ran up and hugged their parents. They were so so happy their mum and dad were getting married finally.

"I know we just got engaged but let's get back to celebrating JJ and Will's wedding," Aaron said smiling at the newly wedded couple.

JJ mouthed 'thank you and congratulations'. She was so so happy for her best friend and boss. They really deserved to be engaged and happy. She knew they would be next to marry.

Dancing commenced again and Aaron had her fiancée onto the dance floor. He whisked her close and they danced. He even dipped her at one point while they laughed. They were just so happy together and for their two friends. JJ and Will were married and they would be marrying themselves.

After two or three dances Emily smiled, "Aaron, you can't monopolise me. We have just got engaged but let others have a dance."

"Fine," he smiled back but not letting go.

"You have me for the rest of your life, darling. Let the others have me for a little while."

"Fine," he answered finally letting go.

She went over to dance with Spencer while he went to dance with Penelope. They managed to dance themselves around everyone until they reunited. They looked to their kids and saw they were about to drop.

Mostly everyone had gone so JJ and Will came up to them seeing all their exhausted children and put their hands on their shoulders.

"You can stay here tonight. There's no point taking them home when they're falling asleep," Will said.

"Thanks," they smiled back.

Chapter Text

New Job

The next morning they sorted out her leaving the BAU. She explained her departure to everyone and they understood. At least this time she was marrying into the BAU so they weren't losing her from their lives.

For the first week or so she stayed at home looking after her children and helping raise Carrie. She was paying Jessica back for helping her with the twins and she adored her baby niece. She brought so much joy to all their lives. Jessica and Sean were turning out to be great parents due to caring for their nieces and nephews for so long.

Dave and Eliza came round one night for dinner. They were becoming quite serious about each other and a great couple. They often had dinner together.

"So are you planning to go back to the FBI?" she asked.

"I did want a desk job if there was an opening," she admitted.

"How does counterterrorism sound? An opening has opened there since Agent Martin has swapped into the Interpol to take over the London office." Emily smiled as someone else had taken that opening.

Clyde Easter had offered it to her after her last case but she turned it down saying she'd received a better offer. He knew instantly Hotch had proposed. He knew she wasn't going to take it but no-one could blame him for trying.

"I'd love to take it," she smiled while Aaron kissed her temple. He was happy she would be returning to Quantico. He knew she loved working for the FBI and was happy Eliza had found her an opening. She loved being home for her children and she wanted it to stay that way.

"Great. We'll sort out the paperwork on Monday."

"Great," she smiled back. She had herself the new desk job she wanted. She'd loved staying home but had felt pretty bored during school hours. Now she was back to what she liked best making the world a safer place for her children.

Dave smiled as well. He missed working with her at the BAU but had understood her reasons for leaving. It couldn't have been easy to lose eleven months of her children's lives. She was a great mother and seemed much happier to be home caring for her children than off on cases.

ON Monday they did that and she went to meet her new boss, Agent Todd. Jordan had managed to work herself up to running one of the counterterrorism units. Luckily she'd been told a long time ago that Emily was still alive.

When she got to the floor she knocked on her new boss' door and she answered, "Come in."

She went in and smiled only when Jordan smiled back. She got up from her desk and greeted Emily. She was so happy to see her old friend alive and well. She was so happy she hadn't actually died.

"Emily," she smiled taking her hand.

"Hey Jordan," she smiled back hugging her.

"It's great to see you again and alive."

"It's great to see you again, too, and I'm so sorry about all that."

"It's fine. I understand...So you and Agent Hotchner?"

She beamed thinking about her fiancé and smiled, "Yer, we're engaged."

"So when will the wedding be?"

"We hope in a few months after Penelope and Derek have had their baby."

"I'm so happy for you all."

"So how have things been with you?"

"Great thanks. I'm in a great relationship with an accountant and we moved in a little while back."

"Great," she smiled.

"So how can I help you?" Jordan finally asked.

"I was hoping you can show me to my desk."

"Sure."

Jordan showed her to her desk and introduced her to everyone. They all helped her get to grips with her new job and at lunchtime she willingly went out with a few. She'd never forget her old team but she knew she had to make friends with her new team.

The day went by pretty fast but it was pleasant. She soon left to pick up the children from school then went back to pop in and see Aaron. He smiled when he saw his fiancé and youngest three children come in.

"What brings you guys here?" he smiled.

"We were just wondering if you were ready to come home," she smiled.

"I have quite a bit to still do here." She batted her eyelids and gave him the puppy dog eyes. She knew he always fell for it. There was no chance he could resist it. "Fine. There's nothing that can't wait till tomorrow."

She smiled and scooted out the office saying over her shoulder, "I'll wait for you in the bullpen."

"Sure."

She went out and stood at the bottom of the stairs waiting for her fiancé to join her with her children. When Derek, JJ and Dave saw her on their way to hand Hotch their reports they smiled and went over to her.

"Hey, heard it was your first day at counterterrorism. How did it go?" JJ asked.

"Great thanks. I think I'm going to like it there though I will miss working with you guys," she smiled slightly.

"We'll miss working with you, too, but at least you're in the same building," Derek added.

"Yer and I get to spend more time with these guys," she smiled ruffling her son's hair.

"I'm sure," Dave smiled at them. He knew just how much her family meant to her especially since she came back from hiding. He was happy to see she'd put her family first. It was the right choice for her. Hotch made a good compromise and though he was dedicated and loyal to the job he did it for his family.

When Hotch joined them Derek said, "Guys, can we get together for a drink tomorrow? Penelope and I have something we want to announce."

"Sure," they all smiled at him then Hotch took Alexia's hand and they walked out of the headquarters while he smiled at his family. This was where he belonged. This was his family and he never wanted to lose them again. The only one missing was his teenage son who was already home from high school.

Chapter Text

Developments

The next night they were out at the bar as promised. They were all sat around the one table including Alex, the agent that had replaced Emily, and Katie. Katie was soon to join the BAU as an agent in training. This was the first time Emily was meeting Alex so as she arrived she made sure to give a smile to start them off on good terms.

Luckily Alex smiled back.

"Emily," she smiled offering her hand.

"Ah, you're my predecessor and Aaron's fiancée," she smiled back accepting her hand.

"Yes, I am," she smiled. "How are you getting on in the BAU?"

They started getting to know each other while out of the corner of her eye she could see Spencer and Katie giving each other shy smiles. It was clearly obvious they were attracted to each other. She wasn't the only one to notice the connection.

Hotch smiled at them both. The two young agents would make a great couple. She might be only nearly twenty but she was very mature for her age so the age gap wouldn't matter. If Eliza and Dave could be together so could Spencer and Katie. They were obviously attracted to each other. They enjoyed spouting off statistics with each other. She couldn't just stand his statistics she enjoyed them and they could converse about them. They were perfect for each other.

Derek and Penelope soon arrived with him protecting their baby. She was six months pregnant and they'd recently learnt the sex of their child. Now they were prepared to tell their family.

Everyone stopped when they saw them arrive. They had after all come to hear what they had to announce. They knew it was something about the baby. They must know what the sex was as it was at that stage.

They stood by the table and said, "We know what we're having." They then smiled down at the bump; their unborn baby.

"What is it?" Emily smiled. She was so excited for her best friends. If anyone deserved a baby it was Derek and Penelope. They'd waited so long to have their own child and in three months they would have a baby.

"We're having a son. We're going to have a little boy," Penelope smiled at her husband. She really hoped her son would turn out to be just like her husband.

"Congratulations," they all smiled and congratulated the happy couple. They were happy to have another little boy join the fold. They were outnumbered by little girls; their little boy would equal it out.

"Thank you," they smiled.

It turned into a really great night. Everyone was catching up with each other especially Emily. They missed working with her but were happy to see her so happy. They were also happy to see her snuggled up to her fiancé. They couldn't wait for Aaron and Emily's wedding day. They hadn't yet started preparing for their wedding or even planning it but everyone understood silently that they would after Penelope and Derek's baby boy was born. They knew she would want both Penelope and JJ as bridesmaids.

When they got home she kissed Jack's and the twins' temples. She loved Declan just as much but she knew at his age he wouldn't appreciate it. Though she would tuck her ten year old son and four year old daughters into bed with their father they would get hugs from their teenage son. He joined her too. Their children were everything to them.

That weekend they all went to Penelope and Derek's house to set up the nursery. Their son was due in three months so the nursery had to be created as soon as possible. They had waited until they knew what gender their baby was before working on the nursery.

When they got there Emily looked after Penelope and the children while the guys worked on the nursery. She'd only tagged along as Aaron had agreed to help. They painted the nursery a baby blue and set up a mobile above his cot and set up the brand new cot that he'd been bought for their precious baby boy. No matter how many children came along they would always come together to work on the nurseries. They hoped there were children in Dave and Eliza's and Spencer and Katie's futures.

Spencer and Katie had still not got together though the attraction was so strong and Katie had started her training at the BAU. He and Emily were encouraging them but they were proving too shy to make that first move. They hoped they would get there at some point and Katie wouldn't be Spencer's Emma Schuller.

Chapter Text

Halloween

Emily found herself in the bullpen one day after work when JJ came in to make an announcement. She knew Henry and Sophie had been nervous about going out on their first trick-or-treating as JJ had told her. JJ and Will had decided to wait until Sophie was old enough to take their kids trick-or-treating. She was almost four years old now and her brother seven years old.

Emily was sat on her old desk which was currently occupied by her sister. Blake had taken another desk when she joined the team. She had been checking in on her friends and up on her baby sister.

"Everyone as you know Henry and Sophie were nervous about going out trick-or-treating but..." she said holding her hands together. "They're going to go out anyway."

"Great. What changed their minds?" Blake and Emily asked together then smiled at each other while Hotch came up behind his fiancée and placed his hand on her shoulder. He'd just finished his last file of the day and was prepared to prepare their kids for trick-or-treating. It was the twins' first time too.

"The BAU did. I saw that they could try and work out which monsters were real and which were fake...so they've decided to dress up as their favourite profiler."

Penelope then walked in with both children and they all smiled wide grins. It was just too cute! Henry was dressed up as Spencer along with the satchel while Sophie was dressed up as her mother. Everyone smiled at his godfather as he smiled at Henry in pride.

"Tell them what we told you to say," Penelope whispered to Henry.

He leant his head onto his shoulder and answered shyly, "E = MC²." They all oohed and aahed after that. They didn't just do this job for their own kids but each others. They were one big family.

"The monsters don't stand a chance," Blake smiled as Spencer bent down to attach his FBI credentials onto Henry's sweater vest.

"Now you're official," he smiled at his godson then up at Katie who smiled back.

He'd make a great father she thought. She'd love to mother his kids but she was too shy to even make the first move. What if Spencer didn't love her back? She wouldn't be able to handle that. She guessed she'd loved him since the first time they met at her nieces' first birthday party and it had just built up since she moved to Virginia. Emily had been pushing her to get together with him and she knew her brother-in-law had been doing so with Spencer but what if it didn't work out. She couldn't lose him; she loved him far too much. He was the first outside her family to make her feel like a social pariah for spouting off statistics.

Little did she know Spencer felt the same way? He thought she was beautiful and so intelligent. He was happiest with her but he didn't have much experience asking girls out. He'd only ever had two girls in his life and neither of them had he asked out. They'd both been victims and it hadn't worked out. He was only really good with the people he knew. What if he wasn't worth Katie and she was nineteen while he was thirty-two? What if she didn't love him back? He couldn't lose her; he just loved her way too much. Hotch was trying to push them together but he was too shy to make the first move. Hotch had even been pairing them up to try and encourage them to become a couple. As they had so much in common Hotch had made Spencer her supervisor.

Aaron and Emily then headed out with JJ and her children to find Will waiting outside. They parted ways and Aaron and Emily got home to take their own kids out trick-or-treating. The twins would be five next week.

They were already in their costumes. Jack had his usual Hotch costume on while the girls were dressed in little suits like their mother wore for work which touched her and brought tears to her eyes. It showed so much how they idolised her and she felt unworthy.

If any parent was worthy of being idolised it was her fiancé. He had raised them single-handedly while his heart was broken and had done everything in his power to protect them from her mistakes. The mistakes of her past that had greatly affected her family.

Declan was dressed in a Victorian costume. His blonde hair was brushed back.

"Dorian Gray?" Emily asked.

"Exactly," Declan beamed.

She was proud of him as he was a well-read scholar even if he was interested in being a chef at his uncle's restaurant. Every Saturday he'd cook them a dinner with his parents' supervision. He always tried a new dish in the hope to build up his repertoire. He really wanted to be a skilled chef. Though he wanted to do his best at school since meeting Dave and Sean cooking had been his passion. He also spent a lot of time reading though while they encouraged him to socialise as they didn't want their son to be a recluse.

"Can we go now?" Allie asked excitedly.

"Just let daddy and I get out of our suits and leave our credentials then we'll go ok," Emily answered ruffling her hair.

"But I want to go now," she whined.

"We'll only take a minute, promise," Aaron replied kissing her hair.

"Ok daddy," she smiled at him. She was such a daddy's girl that Aaron was the only one who could make her behave. No matter how hard Emily tried her daughter would only listen to her father. Usually she was well-behaved it was only when she got excited that she needed her father's calming hand.

Soon enough they had changed out of their suits and were ready to take their children trick-or-treating. They headed out to take their kids trick-or-treating and went round the neighbourhood. She knew Aaron was carrying his gun in his ankle holster just in case. He would always carry his gun to protect his children. All these years on the job had taught him to be prepared.

Luckily they came home with an equal amount of candy and they got to eat some before bed. They couldn't eat all of it otherwise they'd be staying up all night. Alexia hadn't wanted to leave some of her candy but Aaron got her too.

Chapter Text

Christmas

Soon after they'd cleaned up after Halloween it was time to prepare for Christmas. They got their tree one day with Sean and Jessica. Carrie was now two months old and though she wouldn't remember it they wanted to make this Christmas special. It was the first Christmas they would be spending as a family.

When they got the trees they helped put them both up. The twins also helped look after their cousin who they always wanted to spend time with. Whenever their dad was home they would always insist on going to see Cousin Caroline. When they were told they couldn't they would sulk but soon come around at the promise they would see her soon.

One weekend they all wrapped up warm and headed to the graveyard. Jessica wanted to introduce Caroline to her aunt. Aaron had taken Jack to see his mother's grave every Mother's Day to pay his respects even though he had Emily. He never wanted his son to forget the mother that had died protecting him. Jack felt privileged now with his mothers. They had fought to protect him though his real mother had died.

When they arrived Emily and Aaron held their daughter's hands while Sean held his girlfriend's hand and held his daughter as they made their way through the graveyard to Haley's grave. Aaron was proud of the kind of father his brother was turning out to be. He was such a gentle, caring father to little Carrie and a great boyfriend to Jessica. He made sure he shared parental duties with his partner.

They headed over to the grave and Aaron bent down first. He placed his hand on his ex-wife's grave and said, "Hi Haley, it's me and Jack. I've brought some more people to see you this time. I've brought Emily, my fiancée. I think you may remember her from when she was my agent. She's left the BAU now. I've brought Declan, our teenage son, and our twins, Alexia and Eliza. Miss you all the time but everything's going well and I'm getting remarried."

Jack bent down and said, "Hey mummy, it's me Jack. I miss you and I love you but I love Emily too. I'll never forget you but she's my mummy now. She's really cool and I can't wait for her to marry daddy. I also really love my brother and sisters and love being a brother and not on my own anymore. Love you, mummy."

Emily then got down and added, "Hey Haley, its Emily. I know we didn't really get to know each other but I promise I'll carry on looking after Aaron for you and of course Jack. I love him like he were my own son. I'll pass you over to your sister now."

Jessica then stepped forward and said, "Hey sis, Jessica here. I've got some big news. I'm a mother now. Sean and I had a daughter two months ago. She's absolutely beautiful. I wish you could see her. We called her Caroline after Sean and Aaron's mother. I hope you'll look after her from heaven. I don't even have to hope I know you will."

Sean then placed a hand on the gravestone while carefully holding his daughter. "Haley, its Sean here. I know we didn't really see each other that much after you and Aaron moved here but I want you to know I love your sister more than I've ever loved anyone and I vow to protect her. I hope one day to make her my wife but for the moment we're happy to raise our little girl. Thanks for introducing us all those years ago..." he then brought Caroline closer to the grave and added, "Haley; this is your niece, Caroline Emma Hotchner." He then stroked her dark hairs and kissed her forehead. He was mad about his daughter and apart from Jessica she was the very reason he was living.

They'd all agreed that they would travel out to New York for New Year's to introduce Carrie and Emily to Sean and Aaron's family. Aaron had already explained to his Aunt Rosemary about Emily actually being alive and why they had faked her death.

On Christmas Day they all woke up at Aaron and Emily's as Sean and Jessica had stayed over. They wanted to spend the whole of Carrie's first Christmas Day together. Emily woke up beside her fiancé and turned over to him to find he was still asleep.

She decided to wake him up so they could have that small amount of alone time before the children ran in to tell them it was Christmas. He woke up and smiled at her.

"Morning," he smiled.

"Morning," she smiled back kissing his lips.

"Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you too," he smiled running his hand through her hair. "Spending my Christmas with you is the best present I can have."

"Same here."

They then heard a knock on the door and Sean say, "Come on, lovebirds. The kids are downstairs waiting for mummy and daddy to join them."

"We're coming," Aaron answered as he and Emily got out of bed chuckling. That's why they hadn't been woken up by their children like every Christmas. Jack and the twins usually woken up about 7am. When they looked at the clock it was 9am. Wow, Sean had bought them two hours.

They left the room and found Sean and Jessica with the children in the kitchen. Carrie was in her Moses basket while the kids were at the table eating pancakes. They smiled at their parents as they came in.

"I thought you two would need more rest due to your jobs. You hardly take a day off," Jessica smiled.

"Thanks Jess," they smiled back. "Opened your stockings?"

The kids nodded but added, "Will you open yours now?"

"After we've had our pancakes," they smiled sitting down and Jessica served them pancakes.

"No now," Alexia answered.

"Allie, we will eat our pancakes and then we will open our stockings," Aaron answered picking up a forkful of pancakes.

She looked down sullenly but smiled when they finished and ran out the room. They followed their young daughter laughing and went to get their own stockings. They opened them and smiled at each other. They always did each other's stockings. The only times they'd missed was when they weren't living together.

Soon afterwards they headed over to Dave's for the family Christmas. It was a tradition now and always would be no matter what. This time Alex and her husband had been invited to celebrate Christmas with them. They wanted to make them as much a part of their family as possible. They worked best when they were a family so wanted to make her part of their lives.

At the dinner Dave as usual made a toast. "As well as clearing the streets of more monsters we have more things to celebrate. A baby," everyone looked to Sean and Jessica and smiled while they smiled at the baby carrier. "A pregnancy," everyone looked to Penelope and Derek and smiled as they looked down at her heavily pregnant bump. "A wedding," everyone smiled at JJ and Will while they smiled at each other. "An engagement," everyone smiled at Aaron and Emily while they smiled at one another. "Finally three new family members." They all smiled at Alex and James, her husband, and Katie who smiled back. "To family."

"To family," they answered clinking each other's glasses.

They soon found themselves unwrapping their presents with Penelope sat on the sofa nursing her eight month pregnant bump and Sean unwrapped Carrie's presents for his baby daughter while Jessica held her. She was three months old now and loved to be around people.

All in all it turned out to be a good day and Alex and James were becoming more a part of their family. Katie and Spencer spent most of their time together but still didn't pluck up the courage to ask each other out. They knew they'd get there eventually especially as there was no denying that they were crazy about each other.

Chapter Text

Meet the In-Laws

A few days later the Hotchner family were off to New York to spend New Year's with Aaron and Sean's family. Even though he was settled in Washington now Sean still had his house in New York for whenever they visited the family. The Brooks' were still out there and they were also going to be introduced to Carrie as they had a right to be introduced to the newest member of their family.

When they landed they sorted themselves out at the house then visited their mother. Aaron wanted to explain to his mother why they had faked Emily's death. He wished she'd lived to meet his wonderful fiancée. He was sure they would have gotten along. His mother would have loved Emily.

They then wrapped up warm and headed to the grave. Aaron and Emily held each other's hands and their twins' while heading to the grave and Sean held Jessica's and his baby daughter. She was finally going to meet her grandmother and Emily her mother-in-law. They were due to see their aunt the next day. They could only stay a long weekend. Emily and Aaron had to be back at the FBI next Tuesday.

When they got to her grave Aaron bent down and said, "Hello mother, it's Aaron. There are some things I never got to tell you. Emily didn't die, mother. We had to fake her death to save her and the children from a terrorist with a vendetta against her. She's now been back home for two years and we're engaged. I wish you'd had the chance to meet her. I'm sure you would got along. I know you'd have loved her." He smiled at his fiancée sadly and she smiled back placing a hand on her gravestone.

"Mrs Hotchner, I'm your son's fiancée, Emily Prentiss. I want you to know I love your son so very much and I vow to look after him. I'm sorry about all the pain I caused your family. I never meant to cause any. I just wanted to protect your son and our children. You did an amazing job with your sons. Aaron is my dream come true," she added smiling at him while he smiled back.

Sean then stepped forward and placed a hand on the gravestone. "Mother. It's Sean. I love you and still miss you. I'm a father now. Jessica and I had a daughter three months ago..." he smiled sadly with tears in his eyes as he added, "We named her Caroline after you. I know you'll look after her but I wish you could have met her. She's beautiful, mother." He then placed a kiss on his daughter's forehead and got up smiling sadly at his girlfriend who placed her hand on his arm.

The next day they headed over to their Aunt Rosemary's. Emily felt nervous due to the fact she hadn't been able to attend her mother-in-law's funeral as she was in hiding. Apart from Sean this was the first time she was meeting Aaron's family. Aaron held her hand to give her support as he could see how nervous she was as Sean knocked on their aunt's door while holding his daughter's baby carrier. She answered and smiled at her nephews as they ushered in their families. Emily smiled shyly at her as Aaron ushered her forward.

"Aunt Rosemary, this is my fiancée, Emily Prentiss. Em, this is my aunt Rosemary Montgomery," he said smiling at her and kissing her temple. Rosemary smiled tenderly at them as she saw how besotted his nephew was with his fiancée and how much she loved him as she smiled up at him.

"Mrs Montgomery," Emily said offering her hand nervously. She didn't know how she would be treated as she knew his aunt knew their back story. Aaron was everything to her so she wanted his family to like her. She was already almost like a sister to Sean. She was surprised by Rosemary pulling her in for a hug.

"Welcome to the family, Emily. Call me Aunt Rosemary especially as you'll be one of the family."

"Aunt Rosemary," she smiled hugging her back.

"I can see you'd never intentionally hurt my boy and understand why you had to leave. The family's blessed to have you," she whispered causing tears to come to Emily's eyes. She was so glad she'd understood why she'd done everything she did. She'd been worried they would be against her for what she did to her Aaron.

It turned out to be a great dinner and Emily and Rosemary got along. While being entranced by little Carrie, who she was so happy was named after her sister, she also made sure to get to know Emily before she married into the family. His aunt thought she was a great girl and the perfect match for her oldest nephew. She still missed her sister dearly but she was thankful to have her nephews and their families.

She started considering moving to Washington. There was nothing really still holding her back. Her daughter was serving overseas and her husband had left her several years ago trading her in for a younger model. The only thing holding her here had been her sister and now she was gone too. She lived for the calls her nephews gave her. Caroline had always been the outgoing one.

The next day they were off to the Brooks' to introduce Carrie. It was the first time Aaron had seen them since the funeral. Usually Jessica took Jack and the twins to see them. He'd felt too guilty to visit them over Haley's death. Now he knew Emily would be going and wanted to support her. It wouldn't be easy to meet the parents of the woman she had succeeded. She'd agreed to go to help Jessica and Sean with all five children. When they got there they followed a little nervously.

Aaron was caught off guard though by Haley and Jessica's parents hugging him and telling him they had missed him. He'd always felt like a son to them and they knew it hadn't been his fault that Foyet had hunted him down and killed Haley. Haley had died protecting her son and Aaron had tried to get there in time to save her. He just hadn't made it in time.

"And who's this young lady?" they asked smiling at Emily. Aaron wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple.

"Robert and Diana, this is my fiancée, Emily. She's the twins' mother. Em, these are Jessica's parents, Robert and Diana."

"Hello Mr and Mrs Brooks," she smiled nervously. She really didn't know what to expect or what they must think of her. They were Jack's grandparents and here she was going to marry his father. She didn't want them to think she was trying to replace Haley. She was in love with Aaron and had been since she was eighteen and she loved Jack as her own but she wasn't trying to be Haley. No-one could be Haley.

Robert took her hand and smiled. "Hello Emily dear, it's nice to finally meet you. Jack and Jessica have told us so much about you. We're glad Jack has such a great stepmother to take care of him."

"Thank you," she smiled back.

Diana pulled her into a hug and said, "Welcome to the family, Emily. We're blessed to have you and we know you'll never try to take the place of our daughter. Just carry on being yourself and doing such a great job with Jack and Aaron."

"I will. I've loved Aaron for many many years and I love Jack like he was my own son," she replied honestly.

"We're glad."

She smiled back at them. She was so touched they'd welcomed her into their family when the only connection they had was that she was Jack's stepmother. They'd already adopted her children as their grandchildren due to being Jack's sisters. She really enjoyed her time with the family. They were a great family and really made her feel part of the family.

They told her and Aaron how great they thought their daughters and adopted son were and they smiled proudly. They knew they already thought Jack was great as he was their grandson after all. They also fell for little Carrie. They thought all five children were absolute angels.

The last night they were in New York Aunt Rosemary came round to have dinner with them. She'd really been thinking about the possibility of moving to Washington and closer to them. She'd decided it was what she really wanted. She was alone here and she would be happier closer to her family. Her daughter, Jenna, was serving overseas and hardly came to visit. In Washington she would have two nephews and their families close by. She hoped she could move before the wedding.

She knew they were planning to plan the wedding next month after their friends' son was born. She was proud of both of her nephews and daughter. Her oldest nephew an FBI agent leading the country's top profilers and her other nephew owned his own successful restaurant. Her daughter was a sergeant working to keep America safe from war.

The boys were delighted to hear she would be moving to Washington and they all agreed to help her find a place and move in. Rosemary asked Emily to promise to look after Aaron and she happily did. She also extracted the same promise from Jessica over Sean.

Chapter Text

Baby Morgan

They were soon back in Quantico and it was time for baby Morgan to be born. They were at work when Penelope got the contractions while working on her computers. Luckily they were ending the case and all in Washington DC. JJ was with her at the time.

Suddenly Garcia gripped the table hard as the pain shot through her abdomen. JJ looked at her and knew instantly from experience that their son was about to arrive so she called Emily as the boys and Blake were out in the field. They all had to help Penelope get to the hospital and safely deliver their baby boy.

On the way to the hospital Emily let the guys know what was going on. When Derek found out his baby was on the way he got so worried about his Penelope and their baby that Aaron had to try and calm him down as the only father on the team. It was too long ago for Dave to remember how it felt as a new father and his had been a stillborn anyway.

When they got to the hospital he rushed to his wife's side to help her deliver their child. The team waited outside for news of the new baby. They hoped he would be born healthily and safely as they knew how much he meant to his parents. They'd waited so long to have a child of their own. Now they were so close to having a son.

Sometime later Derek came out holding a baby in his arms smiling at the little bundle in his arms. He couldn't believe he was a father himself. He just felt so much love for this little boy in his arms. He was so beautiful. He had tanned skin with big brown eyes and dark black curls on his little head.

"Everybody meet Damian Theodore Morgan," he smiled up at them then back down at his little one.

They all crowded round and smiled at little Damian. They all fell for him instantly. He was such a beautiful, precious little boy. He wasn't going to lack love. Derek kept smiling down at his and Penelope's miracle that they had tried for so many years to have. They had spent five years trying to have a baby now here was Damian named after the boy Derek had been accused of killing all those years ago and Theodore after his father who had been shot in the line of duty.

The nurse then came up and said, "Mr Morgan."

"Yes," he answered looking up at her.

"Your wife's woken up."

"Thank you," he smiled then led everyone back to Penelope who smiled at her husband and son with tears in her eyes. She was so happy to finally be a mother. All the pain and effort she'd just gone through was worth this little boy, her little boy.

She smiled as Derek handed Damian over to her and she cradled her precious baby close to her watching him in awe. She couldn't believe they'd created this little bundle of life. He was the most beautiful boy she'd ever seen. She then smiled back up at their family.

Everyone smiled back as she was finally able to play the role she was born to play; a mother. She'd been so great to everyone else's children and looked after them so well it was only right to give them children of their own. Penelope stroked her son's head smiling watching him with so much motherly love.

"Did you tell them who the godparents are?" she asked her husband.

"No, I thought you would want to," he smiled at her.

"Katie, we would like you to be Damian's godmother and Spencer, you to be his godfather," she smiled at them.

"We'd be honoured," they smiled at each other then at Penelope and their godson.

Emily was so thankful to Penelope and Derek for making the couple who weren't yet together godparents of their child. Everyone was gently nudging the couple together. It was only a matter of time that they would actually get together.

Damian was carefully passed to Katie who smiled down at the beautiful baby boy in her arms. She smiled down at him then up at Spencer. She wondered what her child would look like and hoped Spencer would be the father. She knew he worried about passing schizophrenia onto his children but she knew he would make a great father. He was great with all six of the BAU children and would be great with Damian too. He was even great with her baby brother.

Spencer smiled back at Katie. He thought she looked so beautiful with a child on her arms. He hoped one day she would have one but he was scared he might pass his mother's condition onto his own children. It had been a great fear of his about himself when he turned thirty a year ago but he wasn't showing any of it yet. He hoped it would stay that way.

Emily helped Penelope with the baby while they started planning the wedding. They decided to marry in two months time in March. They started planning their wedding with Dave's help. He'd organised such a beautiful wedding for Will and JJ they wanted him to organise theirs.

Chapter Text

Baseball

Whilst they were preparing the wedding they attended the FBI baseball game. Derek regularly played for the team but this time Spencer could be playing too. He was trying to learn so he could socialise more and he wanted to learn another skill to impress Katie. She was the closest he had to a confidante but he never thought he was worth her. He hoped one day she would find the man for her.

He'd just been told he was playing when the whole team arrived with their families. Jack was wearing a baseball cap just like his sisters. Declan had opted out and still kept his hair long like Henry. Henry in fact looked up to his cousin Declan as well as his Uncle Spencer.

Spencer was even more nervous when he saw all his family come to support them. What if he screwed up? He wasn't any good at baseball though he tried. He just didn't want to make a fool of himself in front of them especially Katie who had come with Aaron and Emily and their children.

"What are you all doing here?" he asked.

"Well, we came to support you of course," JJ answered ruffling his hair. Spencer had always felt like a brother. That was why the date hadn't gone well all those years ago. They had realised they felt like brother and sister.

"Come on, pretty boy. Time to play," Morgan added leading Spencer out onto the field with an almost terrified look on his face while everyone went to seat on the benches. Penelope had even brought Damian along to support his daddy and Uncle Spencer. He was about a month old now and looking more and more like a lighter version of his daddy every day.

While everyone cheered them both on Penelope and Katie were the loudest. They gave it six months tops that the last two single members of the team would get together and become a couple if not Emily would knock their heads together. Her sister and friend deserved to be happy and at the moment they were just too blind to see how perfect they were for one another.

They were down to one last round when if Spencer hit and scored they would win the match. He missed twice and felt ashamed when Derek called for a time out which he was granted. He ran up to Spencer and took him by the shoulders causing him to spout some statistics about his baseball swing in defence.

"Kid, you have to get out of your head. You need to feel it," Derek advised.

"But how can I feel it?" he asked then spouted another statistic.

"Just don't think about it and feel it. Believe in yourself. I know you can do this, kid. If you get this we win. I know you can do this. Just feel it," Derek advised patting him on the chest.

He then ran back to be catcher and the bowler threw the ball. Everyone watched in anticipation as Spencer hit the ball way out of field and ran round the circuit. He was about to be knocked out when he threw himself and skidded to the last post.

The game was declared over and they were the winners. The FBI had won against the local CSI. The other agents picked Spencer up in celebration and they all cheered then he ran to the fence and started climbing it while everyone tried to touch him. He was cheering along with everyone. He just couldn't believe he'd hit the winning ball. He'd never been good at sports now he had won them the game all thanks to Derek.

He managed to climb over the fence and back down the other side to grab Katie around the waist and twirl her in his arms while she laughed. This was the happiest moment they'd ever had in their lives so far. They forgot everyone else around them as they spun round together. He placed her down and then he drew his face down to hers while she tilted her head up to him. She closed her eyes preparing for him to kiss her on the lips when he kissed her on the nose instead. She opened her eyes in surprise and he looked away guiltily. He really had meant to kiss her on the lips but he found he couldn't pluck up the courage. Now he saw his feelings were mutual as he saw the hurt in her eyes.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

She nodded and patted his chest adding, "It's okay."

Everyone smiled at them knowing they were a step closer to being a couple. They'd get there soon enough and they should know they had everyone's support. They all agreed Spencer and Katie were perfect for each other like they were with their partners. Dave and Eliza had already moved in with each other and were getting quite serious. He wasn't ready for his fourth marriage yet but he was positive he'd finally found the one.

Chapter Text

The Dress

The next week JJ, Eliza, Alex and Penelope found time to go with Emily, her daughters and sister wedding dress shopping. The wedding was in three weeks and she had to find the perfect dress. Everything had to be perfect. She just wanted everything to go well and beautifully for Aaron and the children. They deserved this. After all the pain she'd put them through they deserved a beautiful wedding.

She tried on dozens of dresses in several shops when she stumbled upon the perfect dress. It was just right and Aaron was going to love it. It was white silk without sleeves or straps and pushed up her breasts and a long, flowing skirt just like the wedding dress she dreamed of when she was a kid. It was simple and perfect.

"You look amazing," JJ smiled with happy tears in her eyes.

"Thanks," she smiled back.

"I just can't believe you're getting married," Katie smiled.

"Neither can I. It's just such a dream," she smiled on the verge of tears.

"And you even got your dream guy," Eliza beamed. "You talked about him like crazy at Yale." JJ and Penelope snickered while Alex looked astounded.

"You know Aaron at college?" she asked.

"He did the security detailing for my mother," Emily explained. "It was one of his first commands."

Alex nodded understanding but Emily sat down in the dress placing her head in her hands. She really wished her mother had lived to see her get married. She hadn't accepted her fiancé at first but before she did she thought he was the best man for her. Penelope went over to her and gave her a hug as she understood. She'd wanted her mother at her own wedding.

"It's alright, hon. like Frances told me when I married Derek she's watching over you. She won't be physically but she will be there," Penelope comforted.

She nodded whilst hugging her close and taking her comfort. She then looked up and smiled at everyone sadly. "If I'm like this now I'm going to be a total mess at the wedding," she joked.

"Weddings are meant to be emotional events," JJ answered. "Trust me, Alex and Penelope. Eliza and Katie will understand soon too."

"What do you mean soon?" Katie exclaimed.

"Oh we know you and genius boy are going to get together soon, chickadee," Penelope replied.

Katie blushed and asked looking down at her shoes, "Really?"

"Absolutely. It's only a matter of time," Emily smiled slightly at her sister. "You love each other like me and Aaron."

"So where will you be the night before the wedding?" Alex asked.

"She'll be with us," Katie informed smiling at her sister. It had been arranged that Emily was staying the night at the Prentiss' with her daughters as they were to be bridesmaids. The boys were staying with their father to help him. She would legally adopt Jack on their wedding day finally.

The Brooks wholeheartedly approved. They knew she was never going to let him forget Haley but had loved her like her own son for the last six years. It was about time she officially became one of the family. They saw how good she was with Jack when they were in New York. It was about time she was recognised as Jack's mother.

"Excuse me but will you be buying the dress?" the shop assistant asked.

"Yes," Emily smiled at her then changed back into her own clothes. She then came back out and bought it giving it to Katie. "Can you look after it? It will reduce the risk of Aaron seeing it if it's where I will be changing for the wedding anyway."

"It would be an honour," Katie beamed taking the dress.

Chapter Text

The Venue

The next weekend found Emily and Aaron in an old chapel on the outskirts of Washington with Dave. He'd taken them here as he thought it was the perfect place for them to marry and he was their wedding planner he needed to negotiate it with them. He just thought it was the perfect place along with his own ideas of how to decorate it.

"Why are we here?" Aaron asked. "We still don't have a venue and we're to be married in two weeks."

"Just imagine it," Dave said showing them the inside. "Lilies at the start and end of the aisle with candles on the window sills. Your chosen song plays. You're standing at the altar, Aaron..." They looked towards the altar. "Emily walks down the aisle. You' look back and we're all smiling."

Emily smiled up at Aaron. It was so beautiful. It was perfect. This was their wedding. He nodded misting up. He had to agree. There was no other way he wanted to marry his fiancée. It was just perfect.

She cuddled up to him and he put his arm around her shoulders. "We love it," he smiled at his best friend.

"Good. I'll get on it," he smiled back overjoyed for the couple. If anyone deserved to be married it was these two after all they'd been through. "Thank you so much for doing this for us."

"You're my best friend and Emily is like a daughter to me. It's the least I can do. If I wasn't your wedding planner I'd be running the shots behind the scenes."

They smiled knowing he was being deadly serious. It was just like Dave to do that but it also showed how much he cared about their relationship. How much he approved of them getting married.

"Thank you, Dave," she smiled then up at the man she was to marry in two weeks.

"Anything for you two. If anyone deserves a wedding it's you."

Aaron kissed her nose and she kissed his chin while Dave smiled on. He was just so happy for the couple. Anyone could see just how much these two were in love. They were just so perfect for each other.

They were later sat at home trying to work out which songs were going to be played at their wedding. They went through all their albums and spotify looking for their songs; the songs they wanted to play at the wedding and reception. After some hours they found the songs they wanted and turned in for the night as it was so late. They'd started after putting their kids to bed. The children were so excited about the fact their parents would be getting married in two weeks.

Chapter Text

Hen Night/ Bachelor Party

Soon enough the hen night and bachelor party arrived. It was two days before the wedding so they would be still returning to each other at the end of the night. It was only tomorrow night the night before their wedding they would spend apart. After that the future would be theirs and they would be together for the rest of their lives. She would be Mrs Hotchner.

The girls were organising the hen night while the boys were organising the bachelor's party. Emily and Aaron had no idea what was planned for them. They were both quite nervous about what had been planned for them. They hoped to God there were no strippers. Strippers just weren't their scene.

The children were going to be looked after by Andrew and Julie Prentiss. Andy would be walking her down the aisle and Julie would be doing mother of the bride duties in Elizabeth's place. Once they'd arrived they left for the separate parties.

Emily set off to JJ's house to meet Eliza, Katie, Alex and Penelope while Aaron went to Dave's to meet Derek and Spencer. The hen night and bachelor's party were only going to be there for the team. They'd already celebrated with all their friends and family.

When she got there they took her out for a dinner at a local high-class restaurant. Penelope and Derek had left Damian with Frances who had come to visit her grandson. It was the first time she'd ever met him as he was only two months old. Emily and Aaron had extended an invitation to Frances to come to the wedding as the rest of the family would be anyway.

Eliza clinked her glass and lifted it up. "I would like to make a toast to the bride and our friend, Emily. We are so happy you will be getting married in two days to the man of your dreams. You've taught us all a valuable lesson to never give in and follow your heart. To Emily," she said smiling at her childhood best friend.

"To Emily," they all answered clinking their glasses smiling at her while she smiled back. She really couldn't believe that she was to be married in two days to her Aaron. She'd waited for so long for this and it was nearly here.

After they'd finished their dinner Penelope said, "Alright, off to the last part of the hen night. We are all totally going to love this."

Emily's eyes widened in alarm. "Oh god no! Please tell me not a stripper."

"Wait and see, wait and see, my raven haired beauty," she smiled patting her nose with her finger.

Emily just rolled her eyes and partly hoped Aaron was getting the same treatment. They all headed to a local strip club to see The Hunky Hunks. Emily just rolled her eyes when she saw them. This was so cliché and not her scene.

They all got seated in the club and soon enough the show started. They went through all their routines and the girls hooted. At one point one of them gave Emily a lap dance and she looked away incredibly embarrassed. She was going to kill Penelope later for this especially as the man took her hand and placed it on his pecs.

Penelope might like a muscly man like her husband Derek but Emily preferred a man who was just well-toned like her Aaron. In their line of work you couldn't help but be toned. An overweight or underweight agent just wouldn't cut it in the field. That was why it was a relief that though he was skinny Spencer was at a healthy weight for their job. If he wasn't Aaron would never let him out in the field.

As Emily was about to head home with everyone she wondered how her fiancé's bachelor party had gone. She hoped Derek hadn't subjected him to a stripper as well. It would seriously embarrass him. She had no idea how his original bachelor party had gone with his college buddies.

They headed out to the bowling alley and Aaron smiled to see where they were going. He hadn't expected them to go bowling for his bachelor's party. When they got there they changed into their special shoes and got a lane. They played about two games before they went off for dinner.

They had dinner at Sean's restaurant and Sean sat down with them. Dave informed Aaron that once they had decided to come to this restaurant for the party they had invited Sean to join them. He was more than happy to share his bachelor party with his brother. They'd become even closer since he moved to Washington. He tried to be the uncle that was always there too to Carrie who was now seven months old. Carrie always smiled when he and Emily came over with their children.

Dave clinked his glass and raised a toast along with the others. "To Aaron our friend and brother who will marry on Saturday. We are so so happy for you that you are finally marrying your soulmate after so long. If anyone deserves this happiness it's you," he said. "To Aaron."

"To Aaron," they all answered clinking their glasses smiling at him while he smiled back. He was so happy to be marrying his Emily at last. There was one time when he thought he never would reunite with her but now they were to be husband and wife.

They then headed out and Aaron was about to go home when Derek said, "No, no, Bossman. We have one last thing to do for your bachelor party," leading everyone to what used to be his favourite strip club before he finally got together with his wife. With Penelope he hadn't really wanted to go and see these kinds of girls. Sure they were sorry but they weren't the kind of girl he fell for.

Aaron rolled his eyes when he got there and said, "No, no way, are you getting me in there."

"If you don't go in there willingly I'll carry you," Dave answered with a straight face.

"Fine," he answered cocking an eyebrow, "but I think Derek would have more of a chance carrying me." He cracked a smirk.

Derek started laughing then everyone else joined it. It was just like Aaron to take it on the chin and crack a joke at the same time. They all headed in to see The Sexy Sluts.

"The Sexy Sluts?" Dace asked cocking his eyebrow. "They don't have much esteem about themselves."

"It's just a name, granddad," Derek jibed. Dave slapped him on the back of the head playfully.

"Hey. No fighting on my brother's bachelor party," Sean said.

"Fine," they answered and the boys sat down for the show. Soon enough the girls came on and started doing their routines.

Just like with Emily one of the strippers gave Aaron a lap dance while he tried to look everywhere but her. Yes she was beautiful but she was a little too skinny and definitely not his Emily. She was invading his space but he didn't want to appear a jerk so didn't push her off. He was going to kill Derek after this. He hoped to God Emily hadn't been subjected to the same thing.

When he got home he found Emily in bed already reading a book. He changed down into his boxers and t-shirt and climbed into bed lying back with a groan. He couldn't believe he'd been subjected to a lap dance and the others had just laughed at his discomfort.

"Stripper?" she asked putting her book down and cuddling up to him running her fingers through his hair.

"How did you know?" he answered smiling at her and running his hand through hers.

"I was a profiler, darling," she answered kissing his lips while he cocked an eyebrow. She knew he didn't believe it was her profiling skills that had led her to that conclusion. "I got a lap dance too," she admitted rolling her eyes.

He smiled. "She wasn't half as beautiful as you."

"He wasn't my type," she smiled back. She got up and out of bed and threw the duvet off Aaron's legs while he looked shocked and alarmed.

"What are you doing?" he yelped as she pushed his legs out of bed and started shaking her bottom in his face.

"Giving you a lap dance you might actually enjoy," she smiled back cheekily.

He laughed and grabbed her round the waist pulling her on top of him then rolling her underneath him as they laughed. When they stopped he stroked her hair off her face and smiled down at her.

"My god, you're beautiful," he smiled at her.

"So are you," she smiled back stroking her hand down the side of his face.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

They then kissed and started possibly the last lovemaking session before they were husband and wife.

Chapter Text

Wedding

The next night she was over at the Prentiss' with the girls. They stayed up a little watching a Disney film until she put the girls to bed in the sleeping bags on the floor of the guest room she would be using.

She found herself sitting in the living room around midnight just going over tomorrow's events in her head. She couldn't believe she was going to marry the agent who had done the security detailing for her mother all those years ago. The man she had spent over half her life loving even though she only realised that three years ago.

Julie came up and sat beside her. "Hey, you alright, Emmy?" she asked.

"Yer I was just going over tomorrow's events in my head," she admitted. "I can't believe I'm marrying Aaron tomorrow. It's been so long that I've loved him and now within some hours I'll be his wife."

"Nervous?"

"I guess but why? We've been together for five years..."

"It's alright to be nervous. You're making a huge step in your life."

"Yes I guess."

"Emmy, I've never seen anyone love each other as much or defy all the odd like you two. You belong together and you two marrying is just right. You two deserve this. I can't promise you that nothing's going to go wrong but what I do know is that you two will make it through anything together. You're a lucky woman, Emily. You've found your soul mate."

Emily smiled back and nodded. She was right. If she knew anything it was that no matter what life threw at them they would make it through together. They'd already proven that over the last six years.

"Thanks Julie," she answered patting her hand. "I'm going to turn in now."

"Good idea. Big day tomorrow," Julie smiled, "but you deserve it, honey."

She smiled back and headed up to the guest room. She smiled as she saw her daughters sleeping soundly on their sides side by side. They were just so beautiful and the greatest gift Aaron had ever given her. She stroked their dark hair off their faces and kissed their temples then climbed into the bed pulling the blanket up over her.

She missed Aaron's strong arms around her as she slept but from tomorrow onwards she would always be by his side physically when he was home emotionally when he was out in the field. She still missed him when he went out to the field to work but she'd gotten used to it. She lived for the phone calls at the end of each case to tell her he was coming home and she feared for the day she got the call telling her he no longer was. He was everything to her along with their four children.

Early the next morning the twins jumped on the bed exclaiming, "Mummy, you're marrying daddy today. Wake up."

She woke up groggily and smiled at her two five year old daughters. "Good morning to you, too, my little darlings," she smiled then started tickling them while they kicked their little legs giggling. Every time she heard their laughter she knew she'd made the right choice. Leaving the BAU for her children hadn't been easy but they were worth it. It had been her dream job; one she'd worked so hard for but it had also blessed her with her groom and all four of her children.

Andy stood in the doorway smiling at his daughter playing with his granddaughters. He'd never seen her so happy than with her family and today he would be symbolically handing her over to the man who had provided her with all this happiness. He'd loved Aaron like a son since he reunited with him four years ago. He'd even seen all those years ago when they first met the attraction between the two that had become one of the greatest love stories he'd ever witnessed.

Emily saw her father in the doorway and smiled at him then turned to her girls saying, "Say hello to granddad."

They ran up to Andy and hugged him shouting, "Morning granddad." He smiled down at them and lifted Alexia up, hugged her and kissed her hair saying, "I love you, Alexia," then he did the same with Eliza. They adored their grandfather and he couldn't get enough of them.

Emily then came up and smiled at her father and kissed his cheek. "Morning dad," she beamed.

"Morning darling," he smiled back at her kissing her forehead. "How are you feeling?"

"A little tired but great thanks," she smiled at him. "I'm going to marry the man I've loved since I was eighteen. I am finally going to marry the father of my children."

"I know and I am so happy for you. There's no other man I would gladly pass you over too. I love Aaron like a son."

"Thanks dad. That means the world to me."

They then went downstairs and had breakfast. It would soon be very busy preparing for the wedding in a couple of hours. She couldn't b believe the wedding actually was so soon. It felt like it had crept up on her. Within a few hours she would be Mrs Hotchner though she would stay Agent Prentiss to make it less confusing.

Eliza had allowed him to schedule himself a week off and Jordan had scheduled Emily a week off so they could go on honeymoon. Everyone agreed they deserved it. Everyone agreed they deserved a honeymoon and to have some alone time. They were booked to go to London for the week. It was one of the places she'd loved living in and Aaron had hardly stepped out of America.

After breakfast Julie ran up with Emily to get her ready for her wedding. JJ, Katie, Eliza, Alexia, Penelope, Jessica, Jordan and Alex had arrived to help het her and the twins ready. She couldn't decide who to have as her bridesmaids so she chose them all. Luckily Aaron had allowed it. They all got busy with her hair and make-up and helping the girls into their dresses and do their hair.

Meanwhile Milo ran into Aaron's bedroom and jumped on the bed licking his face waking him up. Aaron turned his face to the side and woke up grabbing Milo behind the ears and playing with his head causing him to stop licking him.

"Alright Milo, enough's enough. I'm up, buddy," he said causing Milo to bark.

Declan ran in and gently tugged at Milo's collar attempting to get him off the bed. "Alright buddy, time to leave dad alone. Sorry dad Jack and I were playing with him when he ran off." Milo got off the bed and Aaron got out of it.

"It's ok, buddy. It was time for me to get up and ready anyway," Aaron answered smiling at his eldest son.

"Uncle Dave's already here," Declan notified him.

"Thanks kiddo. Just let me get a pair of pants on and I'll join you."

"Sure," he smiled leaving with their dog while Aaron threw a pair of pyjama pants then headed downstairs after them.

When he got into the kitchen he found Dave and his sons in there with Milo. Dave had been making them pancakes.

"Hey sleepyhead," he smiled at Aaron as his best friend entered and sat at the table.

"Hi Dave," he answered rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

Jack looked up and ran to his dad hugging him. "Morning daddy," he smiled at him.

"Morning buddy," he smiled back hugging him.

"I'm so excited you and mummy are getting married today." he smiled down at his ten year old boy delighted he was so excited he was marrying Emily. Over the years he'd loved seeing how his first child and his partner had become so close. Though they would never let him forget Haley Jack and Emily really were mother and son in every way but biologically.

"I'm very happy myself," he smiled back while Dave smiled at them. He was delighted for his best friend that he was finally marrying his soul mate. Aaron smiled back at how his dress suit with his sleeves rolled up and his suit jacket on the back of the chair.

After they ate they headed up to their room to change into their suits. Jack and Declan had been given new suits for the wedding. The only suits they'd had he been worn at funerals so Emily and Aaron had felt like they should have new suits for the wedding. It was a happy occasion and they didn't want them remembering sadness.

Meanwhile back at the Prentiss' the twins had been changed into their bridesmaid's dresses and Emily's hair had been done and her make-up. They'd decided to leave her make-up basically natural and they'd put her hair down flowing over her shoulders in waves. It was now time to help her into the dress which she got into and Katie zipped up the back of the dress and made sure everything looked right.

Emily then sat back down and they sorted out the veil. They held it in place with a small tiara.

Julie came in smiling. She thought Emily looked positively beautiful. She had a gift for her from Aaron that she had to hand over before they got to the wedding. Soon enough she would be leaving for the wedding with the bridesmaids. It was Julie's job to get them there on time while it was Andy's to get Emily on time.

"This is for you," Julie said offering her the gift.

"Thank you," Emily smiled taking it then looking at the card and read it.

'My Emily.

This used to be my mother's and I want you to have it. It was passed down through the generations and today I would love it if you would wear it at our wedding. I can't wait to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you.

Your Aaron.'

She smiled touched at his generosity and the fact he had given her something so special. Something that had belonged to his family for so many years. She opened the box and gasped as she saw a gold locket inside.

It was an oval shape with intricate designs on it. It looked like it had been made in the 19th century. She opened it up to find pictures of her family inside. One photo was of her children and the other was of Aaron. She smiled and traced her finger over the photos. They would always be there no matter where she or they went. She would always have her family.

"It's beautiful," Julie smiled.

"I know," she smiled back. "Please may you put on for me?"

"Of course."

Julie took the locket and placed it around her neck closing it up. Emily played with it in the mirror and looked up and smiled with tears in her eyes. It was really happening. Within a few hours they would really be husband and wife. It had finally come. Until Aaron had become hers she'd never imagined herself getting married. She just wished her mother was here to see this.

"Well I have to go now and take the bridesmaids with me," Julie said.

Emily nodded and smiled. She was to leave ten minutes after them all with her father. As Julie left she waited for her father to call her down. She tried to give herself a pep talk. Though she was incredibly nervous she was marrying the man she loved most. The man she considered her soul mate. The man she would gladly die again for.

Soon enough her father was calling for her so she headed down the stairs being careful of her dress to hm. He beamed with tears in his eyes as he saw her. She looked absolutely beautiful. He just couldn't believe the woman he'd counted his daughter for the last thirty years was getting married today. She smiled back down at him and he helped her out and into the car. They were soon driving out of Washington and to the chapel.

When they arrived he helped her get out and she joined all her bridesmaids who smiled at her especially her daughters. They were so so happy mummy and daddy were getting married and they loved their little lilac dresses. They already had their flower bouquets.

Julie smiled, wished her luck and went in to notify Aaron and everyone else Emily was here. She went into the alcove where Aaron was waiting and smiled when she saw him and the boys in there. He looked up and butterflies flew into his stomach. He was getting remarried. He loved Emily with everything but what if it all went wrong again? What if he was a lousy husband?

"She's here?" he asked.

"Yes Andy and Emily have just arrived," she smiled.

Dave patted his hand and said, "Alright Showtime, groom." Aaron smiled back nervously and went to stand at the altar. He looked to the back of the church as 'beautiful in White' started playing on violins.

The bridesmaids started walking down with his groomsmen. He'd chosen to have Sean, Spencer, Derek, Declan, Jack and Michael as his groomsmen. Dave was his best man which was only right. The chapel looked so beautiful with the candles around and the lilacs at the back of the chapel.

Dave's heart leapt into his mouth as he saw Eliza come down in her bridesmaid's dress. She looked absolutely beautiful in the simple, lilac, sleeveless dress. He hoped one day they would be getting married too. He had seriously begun to think of making Eliza his wife number 4 and hopefully his last wife.

Aaron's heart leapt completely into his mouth and he could feel tears welling up in his eyes as he saw his bride. The same happened with Emily as she saw him at the altar. After everything they'd been through they were finally getting married. They were celebrating their love today and making their relationship official. After today they would be husband and wife. Andy smiled proudly at his daughter.

When they reached the altar he gave Aaron her hand and he kissed it smiling at her. By god, he was so madly in love with her. He knew he couldn't live without her. She smiled up at the man she thought the world of. She was so happy to be becoming officially his. Everyone thought it was about time.

"You look beautiful," he smiled.

"So do you," she smiled back.

They then turned to the priest and he said, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Emily Jane Prentiss and Aaron Thomas Hotchner." Everyone smiled at them as they smiled at each other.

Soon enough it was time for their vows. They had chosen the traditional vows and smiled at each other as they said them slipping the matching wedding rings onto their fingers. They were white gold with their wedding date engraved inside. He kissed her hand and she did his. They knew they would make it together.

Later the priest said after they'd signed the record book, "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

They beamed at each other and he took up her veil then placed his hands on her cheeks then kissed her on the lips and asked for entrance with his tongue which she allowed. They kissed a mind-blowing kiss overjoyed to be finally husband and wife. Emily was now Mrs Hotchner. There was nothing more they could ask for them to belong with each other and to keep their four wonderful children.

Everyone cheered the kiss and their wedded union. There wasn't a couple they couldn't be happier for after everything they'd gone through to be here at the altar. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Emily was finally Mrs Hotchner after so long and even a fake death to protect their family. They had sacrificed so much and now gained so much. There wasn't a couple who deserved some happiness and to be married than these two.

After they stopped the kiss he lifted her into his arms and walked down the aisle laughing and beaming at each other. They'd never been so happy than this moment. Everyone laughed along with them at him carrying her bridal style out of the church. They soon followed out the happy couple.

They heard the beeping of a camera and when they looked in the direction of the camera they saw a car speeding off. Emily felt a bit creeped out by this but tried to shake off the feeling. This was her wedding day and that's what she was going to focus on. She smiled up at her husband who smiled back down at her. Oh did it feel great to call him her husband.

They headed off to the wedding reception at Dave's cabin. He'd had it set out while they were at the wedding. It had a decking area with tables and chairs and a dance floor. There were coloured fairy lights all around both areas.

When everyone arrived they sat at the tables which Emily and Aaron at the centre. The children were sat around them as were their bridesmaids and groomsmen. They are the wedding feast the toasts were made.

Dave went first as best man. "I would like to make a toast to my best friend and his new wife. I have noticed your love grow in the last six years into something so beautiful. If anyone deserves this wedded bliss it's you two after everything you've been through. I wish you a long, happy, healthy marriage. To Emily and Aaron," he said toasting his glass.

"To Emily and Aaron," everyone answered while toasting their glasses. Eliza, Andy and Sean followed suit then Aaron got up.

"Everybody I would like to make a toast to my beautiful beautiful wife, Emily. We have had our fair share of troubles but we've always been there for each other even if we couldn't be physically. I have loved you for so many years and I know I will never stop. I can't see my world without you. You were there for me through Foyet and tried to protect me from Doyle. You have taken on my son as your own and given me another wonderful son and two beautiful daughters. Today is the happiest day of my life having you here as my newly-wed wife. To my wife, to my Emily," Aaron said raising his glass.

"To Emily," everyone answered toasting their glasses while she smiled at him as he sat back down.

She then stood up and said, "I would like to make a toast to my wonderful husband, Aaron. We have been through so much together but here we are on our wedding day. We are strong together and can make it through anything. I have loved you since I was eighteen and I always will. Though you didn't know what was going on you helped me through Doyle and need up sending me away to protect me. You took on my son and adopted him with me and given me another amazing son and two beautiful daughters. I am so glad that from today I can call you my husband and I hope I always will. To my husband, to my Aaron," Emily said raising her glass.

"To Aaron," everyone answered toasting their glasses while he smiled at her as she sat back down. While she did he kissed her temple.

Soon came the first dance as a married couple. He took her onto the dance floor and they danced to 'Three Times a Lady'. She cuddled up to him and laid her head on his chest while he held her close to him and they danced. They were so happy to finally be married.

The dancing went on for ages and during they gathered the children together and made them promise to behave for Granddad and Grandma while they were in London on their honeymoon. They were given a great send off when they left to catch their plane to spend their wedding night in a different country, a different city, a different time zone.

Chapter Text

Honeymoon

When they reached the Thistle hotel just over Charing Cross station they booked into their room and just fell asleep. They were jetlagged and had to adjust to the five hour time difference between London and Washington. They cuddled up to each other as they slept. It had been a long time now since they had shared a hotel room together.

The next morning they woke up together side by side. He smiled at her and kissed her temple while she smiled back.

"Good morning, husband," she smiled.

"Good morning, wife," he smiled back.

"So what do you want to do today? There's museums, parks, galleries," she asked turning to him and propping herself up with her elbow.

"I wouldn't mind visiting the British museum," he smiled back at her turning towards her. "I've always wanted to go there."

"Sure. It's not too far from here. We can just hop on a bus and be there in five minutes."

"Great."

They got up and headed out to the museum. They ended up spending about five hours in there looking at all the exhibits from Ancient Rome to Japan. She'd forgotten just how fascinating this museum was with the Smithsonian so nearby. She was over the moon to be finally getting the chance to show Aaron around one of her favourite cities in the world. A city she hadn't seen in several years. The city her sister and brother were from. Another thing Spencer loved about Katie was her British accent. He thought it sounded sexy.

Over the next few days they saw several of the museums, galleries and parks but they still hadn't seen as many as they would have liked. He especially liked The Wallace Collection, John Soames Museum, Natural History Museum and National Gallery. He hoped one day they would be able to take the kids to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Hyde Park one day.

They were packing their bags ready to leave London to go home that afternoon. They would have one more night alone then pick up the kids tomorrow due to the change in time zones.

She sat on her suitcase and smiled sadly at him, "I miss the children but I'm also going to miss this."

"We'll come back," he assured.

"I don't mean London. I mean you when you're not home. I understand you're trying to save us from the UnSubs but I still miss you."

"Don't think I don't miss you when I'm gone but I hope the phone calls and Skype are enough."

"I know you will always do your best and you're here for us but it gets kind of lonely."

"Why don't you spend more time with Penelope? She says she doesn't get to see much of you since you left the BAU. I mean you're in the same boat with Derek coming out on field with me and maybe she could do with some help with Damian and then why not hang out with Jordan? I thought you two had got along when she was on our team."

"You're right," she smiled at him. "I do miss spending time with Penelope and Nathan is such a sweet little boy. I do like Jordan. It just hasn't really been the same since joining counter-terrorism. I'm trying to fit in but I'm back to square one and you know what I do when I am. I over compensate."

"Just be yourself; your lovely, caring, wonderful self. They'll love you. I mean you won us over."

"Yes and you especially were the hardest."

He smiled and kissed her temple. "See I know you can do it."

They were soon back in Washington and picking up their children to take them home. They were so excited to see their parents after a week away. They fitted each other in on their adventures and the children asked to see the photos they took so they happily showed it to them. The photos circulated around both counter-terrorism and the BAU.

Chapter Text

Flowers

A few weeks later Emily received a bouquet of lilies just like the ones used in her wedding. She immediately thought they must be from Aaron so ran up to see her husband.

When she arrived she knocked on his door and he said, "Come in." She entered with the lilies and he looked confused but smiled anyway.

"Thanks for the lilies, darling," she smiled at him. He looked worried. He hadn't given her any flowers. Noticing his reaction she threw them down on the floor like they were poison. "Oh god, they're not from you."

He got up to comfort her and held her in his arms. "Emmy, it's going to be alright. Did you look at the card?" he asked. As she shook her head he picked them up and read it. "Zugzwang?"

Emily looked a little frightened. "Zugzwang it's a situation in a chess game where a player is forced to make an undesirable move. It means whoever sent me these believes a move will be made that will affect us all and that he will win," she shuddered.

"Em, it's going to be ok. We'll get to the bottom of this and whoever is at the end won't win, I promise you," he soothed.

Chapter Text

Abduction

That evening they'd found where to find the man who had sent the flowers. It was some guy called Adam Sanders but they didn't believe he was behind this operation. They stepped into the darkened room and saw photos of themselves covering the walls but mostly of Aaron and his family.

They were stunned looking around them when someone suddenly came up from behind Hotch and whipped a cloth over his mouth. He felt the world revolving around him and then he collapsed into the person's arms and was dragged out.

A few minutes later Katie looked around and noticed her boss was gone. "Guys, Hotch's gone," she said unsteadily. She was trying to remain professional but she was scared about what was going on and what could be happening to her brother-in-law. She also felt guilty as she should have been looking after him and now he was gone.

Reid looked to where Hotch had been standing and saw a cloth on the floor. He picked it up and smelled it then dropped it down again. "Chloroform! Hotch's been taken," he informed them then went to stand by Katie taking her into his arms. "It's going to be alright, Katie, we'll find him," he soothed.

"What are we going to tell Emily?" she answered with tears in her eyes. "How are we going to tell my sister her husband's been taken? How are we going to tell Emily?"

"I'll do it," Rossi informed them pulling out his phone. "Emily, its Dave...I have some bad news. Are you sitting down?"

"Yes," Emily answered sitting at her desk with a nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew it had to be about Aaron. As she was told he'd been abducted her hand went to her mouth and tears filled her eyes. "Oh god! No, no, not Aaron. Dave, you have to find him. We've only been married three weeks. Find my husband. Please, please return him to us."

"Emily, we are going to do everything in our power to save Aaron, you know we are. Do you want someone to stay with you tonight?" he asked concerned.

"No, I'll be ok. I know you are all here for me but at the moment I just want to be alone with the children. Thank you for informing me."

She just felt numb as she ended the call. Someone had kidnapped her Aaron. They didn't know where he was or what was happening to him. They'd only been married three weeks. She couldn't lose him. He couldn't die on her. Would she ever see him again? She had all faith in the team but what if they didn't find him? What if they found him too late?

She sat the children down and told them what was going on. Only Jack and Declan understood but the twins kept asking questions not able to understand why daddy wasn't coming home for the moment. She cried herself to sleep that night looking at the empty side of the bed. It was a cold reminder of what had happened.

Chapter Text

Waking Up

Aaron woke up groggily then when he didn't recognise his surroundings he opened his eyes alert and tried to take them in. Where the hell was he? He remembered entering that room and the cloth covering his mouth but nothing much after. He could feel that his arms were chained above his head and he tried to move them but he couldn't. He looked up to see he was right and down to see his ankles chained too. He was in the middle of a room and there was a mirror in front of him.

He looked up to see his hair had gone. Whoever took him must have shaved his head while he was out and he was topless. He rattled his chains and tried to scan the room for the key but he couldn't see it. Someone had already shaved his hair off. Who the hell had him and what did he want from him? He had a wife and kids at home.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes thinking about his wife. They'd only been married for three weeks and now some bastard had him chained in here. He heard the door creak from behind him and he looked up to see a man twenty years older with dark hair but a fit physical build. The man was holding a whip. Jesus! He shook the tears from his eyes determined to be strong. He wouldn't let him win.

"Ah, I see sleeping beauty's awake," the man smiled creepily.

"What do you want from me?" he growled.

"Oh I want nothing from you, Aaron," he answered cracking the whip against his bare back for the first time while Aaron gritted his teeth. He wasn't going to let this man have the pleasure of seeing him in pain but wait how did he know his first name. He didn't recognise this guy. He'd never seen him before.

"Who are you?" he hissed. "Why did you take me?"

"My daughter never told you about me? She doesn't share everything with you?" Another crack of the whip hit his back and he hissed in pain. The anger boiled inside of him as he realised this was the son of a bitch who had tortured his wife for the first ten years of her life. He now knew that his captivity was to inflict psychological torture on Emily. He wouldn't let this bastard win and torment Emily. She was his life and this son of a bitch never deserved to have a daughter like her.

"You son of a bitch," he shouted as the whip smacked down hard on his back again and he could see Jonathan smiling in the mirror at his realisation.

"Want to kill me, superman?" he taunted whipping him again as Aaron could feel his strength weakening but he wasn't going to give this bastard the satisfaction of seeing it. Showing pain would only let this jerk win.

He whipped him at least two times more before his body finally gave in though his mind had tried to fight it. Jonathan left him alone and Aaron breathed a sigh of relief though vowed to himself that he'd fight for Emily and the children and wouldn't show any weakness. The only thing letting him down was his body. He could only take as much as any human. He hoped to God the team would find him soon. He trusted they would find him.

Chapter Text

Routine

It had been three days since he woke up, was whipped and found out the man who had taken him hostage was Emily's biological father. Jonathan had come back and dealt with the wounds left by the whips telling him there was no use in letting him get infected when he didn't want to kill him well not yet anyway. Aaron had flinched ass each scar was touched with the antiseptic cream. Jonathan had fed him and given him water.

Every time he was provided with food and water Jonathan let his wrists out of the chains but left his ankle chains on so he couldn't escape. He vowed to himself that he also wouldn't let himself develop Stockholm syndrome. There was no way he was going to warm up to this bastard. He beat his daughter for years and Aaron had had to deal with the nightmares. This man had ruined Emily's life when she was just a child and he thanked god for Andy entering her life two years later. He robbed her off her mother for so many years.

The team were trying their hardest to find him but they were finding no leads. There had been no cameras showing what sort of vehicle he'd been taken in, which direction it was headed. All they had was the cloth and the chloroform. Apparently quite a few people had bought chloroform in the past few months and none of them seemed to have any connection or motive to take Hotch and hold him hostage. They were just hoping for a lead to appear before Hotch was too badly hurt. They just hoped they wouldn't find his dead body.

They repeatedly tried to offer Emily support but she'd closed herself off. She was only focussing on the children and hardly processing the fact he'd been taken. That was only on the surface though. At night she was crying herself to sleep and nightmares plagued her. She dreamed of all the things that could be happening to Aaron and hoped to God they weren't. Her father kept turning up in the nightmares and once again she hoped to God he wasn't his captor.

Aaron looked up and saw in the mirror Jonathan was entering the room again after hearing his footsteps. He was holding a knife this time and juggling it in his hand. Aaron stiffened himself ready to take whatever stabbings his father-in-law would inflict on him. He started into the mirror with determination and fire in his eyes. He would never let Jackson-Waters win.

Jonathan came around in front of him and traced his fingers lightly over the scars Foyet had left on him over six years ago.

"I see someone got here first," he smiled playing with the knife. Aaron wouldn't answer him. "Did you hear me? I didn't think I'd whipped you in the ears." He still wouldn't respond and just stared ahead. Jonathan stabbed him in the stomach and he almost doubled over but wouldn't give him the satisfaction. He kept stabbing him in search of a response until finally he hung his head and his body went limp but thankfully not lifeless.

Jonathan took him out of his chains while he looked at him blankly. He sat down with him and started shaving the three day stubble having made sure he wouldn't fight. Once he'd done it he dealt with the wounds bandaging them and then hung him back up again.

Chapter Text

The Tape

It had been twelve days now almost two weeks when the team received a tape. They were becoming increasingly frustrated finding no leads so hoped maybe the tape would produce something. They stood all around Garcia's monitors as they watched a man obviously in his 60s but still with dark hair come down the stairs.

They were shocked as the camera showed a bald Hotch hung from the ceiling and his ankles in chains staring at the cameras blankly with sheer determination in his eyes. They were proud and glad he was still holding strong after almost two weeks. They watched in horror as the man brought out a prong attached to an electrical current and proceed to press it to Hotch's chest repeatedly. They kept hoping Hotch would just give in lessening his pain until finally his head dropped.

Garcia was in tears as she screamed, "No, god no, tell me he's still alive. Tell me we didn't just witness his murder. Tell me we're going to bring him home to Emily and the kids. Please someone tell me."

Morgan took her in his arms and comforted, "Ssh, baby girl. Look he's dealing with his electrical burns. Why would he do that if he was dead?"

She nodded in his arms. Sure they had seen tortures before but it always brought it home when it was one of their own being tortured especially their newly married fearless leader. They weren't the only couple in each other's arms. As soon as they'd seen Hotch Spencer had taken Katie into his arms. They'd been spending a lot more time together since their boss was abducted and had finally decided to make their relationship official.

The tape stopped after they saw Hotch get strung up again.

"No-one is showing this to Emily, you hear. She can't see this..." Rossi said. They nodded knowing Hotch would never want her to. He'd never want her to see him being tortured. He'd want to protect her and they knew she was already suffering nightmares. Though she was still a friend and member of the family she had to be treated as the wife of a victim. They hated treating Hotch as a victim but that's what he was.

Garcia tried to trace the video but it still came up with no leads which frustrated them even more. They needed a bloody break in this case. They couldn't handle seeing Hotch like that. They had to end his pain and suffering as quickly as they could. He already had bandages on when he'd been electrocuted.

Chapter Text

Finally A Name

Six days later they received a live link to the cell so Garcia pressed record so she could analyse it to get information. They hoped something might crop up in the dialogue.

Aaron stared right ahead and steeled himself for yet another beating as he saw the whip. He felt weak from the three weeks of captivity and torture but he would still not let Jonathan win. He'd never give in to this bastard. He would fight to his dying day. He just hoped the team would find him soon. Every day hope was dwindling.

"I will break you," Jonathan said then cracked the whip against his back again.

"You'll never break me or my wife," he answered. The whip slapped his back again and as the pain shot through him he tried his best not to show it.

"Oh I'm sure Emily's already broken."

"Then you highly underestimate her strength. She's strong and she beat you once and we'll beat you again." He hissed as the whip hit his back again.

"I made her who she is," Jonathan said bringing the whip down hard again on Aaron's back.

"You closed her off, you ruined her life. I brought her out and so did Andy. Thank god he's her father. You were just the sperm donor. Because of you my wife is strong and she takes down bad guys and psychopaths just like you."

The whip came down even harder and he found it hard to talk anymore. He let his head drop and he was taken out of the chains. Jonathan sat him down and shaved his head once again then dealt with the wounds left by the whip. He was soon strung back up again. In his weakened state he wondered how much more of this he could take.

When Jonathan had left the room he let the tears fall. He hated this feeling of helplessness. He was the one who rescued victims now he was the victim and there was nothing he could do about it. He was chained up in this cold, empty room and there was no chance of escape. He just had to wait to be rescued and he hated it. It made him so angry.

He thought about his new wife and four wonderful children and just wanted to cry. He was trying so hard to be a better husband than he had been with Haley and now he was here and had missed the last three weeks of their lives. Was he ever going to see them again? He missed them like hell.

Back at headquarters they asked, "Reid, what did they say?" Reid recited it off and Morgan looked like he had an idea.

"I know we agreed not to show Emily the tape but I really think she needs to see this. She could be the key we've been looking for. This guy obviously has some sort of past with her," Morgan declared.

"No," Rossi answered.

"Come on, man. They were talking about Emily. We've been getting no leads and now they're talking about Emily like that son of a bitch knows her. We have to get Hotch. I mean look at him. He could die if he stays there any longer, man," he answered slamming his hands on the table.

"Fine."

They called Emily out of counter-terrorism and into Garcia's lair. She looked like she hadn't slept since he'd been taken but she looked at them with hope.

"Have you got a lead?" she asked. "Will you be bringing my husband home?"

"We think we might have a lead but we need you to watch this video," Morgan answered.

"Remember we're here for you," Rossi added placing a hand on her shoulder.

She nodded and took a seat while Garcia held her hand. She had a nervous feeling in her stomach knowing this wasn't going to be good. They had already profiled the man who had kidnapped her husband as intelligent, having a good knowledge of the area, someone who had a personal vendetta against Hotch and a sadist who didn't want to kill him just to torture him.

They began the video and she shuddered as soon as she saw the man coming down the stairs. She now had a feeling her father really was her husband's captor. Tears filled her eyes as she saw her husband and her hand went to her mouth. She couldn't believe he was so injured and he looked so awful.

"Stop the video," she said after she saw his head drop. "Please stop the video."

Garcia stopped the video and turned to Emily. "Emily Jane Hotchner, who is he? You shuddered before you even saw Aaron. You know who this guy is," she said.

Emily hung her head feeling so guilty but she never thought he'd come back and do this to her. "My father," she said on the verge of tears.

"Your father? I thought Andrew Prentiss was your father," JJ answered confused.

"I was adopted by him when I was twelve and he is the man I call dad but Jonathan Jackson-Waters is the father on my birth certificate. He used to torture me as a child and when I was ten he nearly killed me so mother had him arrested and given a restraining order. I heard he came out of jail two years ago but nothing since," she answered while Rossi had his hand on her shoulder. He was the only one who already knew this.

"So he wants to take revenge on the jail sentence and restraining order?" Morgan asked. She nodded.

"I think so. I think he wants to psychologically torture me and I'm ashamed to say it worked," she answered on the verge.

"Emmy, it's ok. Now we have a name we'll find him and this son of a bitch won't win. It's only understandable that you've been having nightmares. You two are so in love it was bound to happen but we're here for you two," Katie assured while Garcia searched up Jonathan Jackson-Waters.

She soon had an address and gave it out while Emily shuddered even further. Everyone looked at her expectantly. "It was my childhood home. The one I sold after my mother died," she answered with tears in her eyes. "Please save him. Bring him home to us."

"We will," they answered strapping on their vests. They knew he was dangerous but they were going to do everything in their power to bring Hotch home alive. Emily and the children needed him.

"Katie, you stay with Emily. She needs you right now," Reid said looking up at Rossi who nodded. "We'll bring him home."

"Alive," Morgan promised causing Emily to smile slightly at him. She was so worried about her husband. Now she'd seen him she wanted to cry. He was in such a bad shape. She missed him so much and just wanted him home again so he could recover and they could move on.

Spencer kissed Katie and Derek kissed Penelope then they were off. Katie hugged her sister close to her and soothed, "They'll save him, you know they will."

Emily nodded back. "I know they will but what state will he be in?"

"He'll pull through. He's a fighter you know he is."

She nodded.

Chapter Text

The Rescue

Jonathan saw from his computer they'd found out where he was so he growled and picked up the ammo and went down to the dungeon. There was no way he was going to let them take Aaron. He'd kill him if he had to. There was no way he would let them and Emily win.

"They've found you," he informed Aaron stabbing him in the stomach. Aaron almost doubled over but hope suddenly filled him again. His team had found him which meant they were on their way. The fight came back to him knowing he would be reunited with his family soon.

"I told you you wouldn't win," he replied while Jonathan went behind him and began to whip him again while Aaron hissed.

He shook his chains as hard as he could to notify them where he was when he heard his team calling for him.

"Stop that," Jonathan demanded. When he carried on he hit him so hard the wind was knocked out of his sails and he fought to breath. As he lost consciousness he was so relieved to hear their voices coming closer and he felt the chains loosening around his ankles and wrists.

"Wait, did you hear that?" Morgan asked hearing the rattle of chains. "It came from this way," he shouted running to the basement knowing it had been Hotch's sign. He was the only victim they knew Jackson-Waters had. They followed him as he opened the door.

He was right. There was Jonathan Jackson-Waters holding Hotch's body to his chest. Seeing Morgan and his gun he brought the knife to Hotch's throat. There was no way he was going to let him go.

"Come on, Jonathan, its over. We know you're intelligent. The rest of my team is on the way. SWAT is outside. There is no way you'll be getting out here alive. Just drop the knife and let him go," Morgan said trying to stay calm though the anger boiled inside him.

Jonathan stared straight at him and just brought the knife closer breaking the skin while Hotch came out of unconsciousness but was still having trouble breathing. He looked at Morgan and nodded with his eyes whispering whilst struggling, "Shoot him, please."

Morgan shot Jonathan in the head and he fell back with Hotch falling back on top of him. JJ and Rossi ran in and as Morgan saw the extent of Hotch's injuries while moving him off Jonathan he saw red. There were bloody and big whip lashes right across his back. Some were red and raw. The bandages had come off so he could do this beating. He saw he'd been whipped more than once and some of the marks had reopened and they criss-crossed his back. There were stab wounds on his stomach some healing but deep and another one that was currently bleeding. They could also see the burns on his chest. It was obvious he was having trouble breathing. The extent of his injuries angered him so much he kept shooting Jackson-Waters. He was going to make sure this son of bitch was dead. No-one did that to his friend and got away with it.

JJ UPON SEEING Hotch in such distress and struggling for breath ran to him and held his hand. "Aaron, come on you can pull through. Emily's home waiting for you. You have to fight, Aaron. We know you can do this. We are so proud of you never letting Jackson-Waters win. He's dead, it's over. We need you. Your wife needs you. Your children need you. Come on, Aaron." She looked up to Rossi and saw he'd managed to calm down Morgan.

The medics came running in after with Spencer but Hotch's eyes had closed and he'd stopped breathing devastating everyone. The medics pulled out the defibrillators and placed them on his chest until they had a heartbeat back.

"We have a heartbeat," they announced then put him on the stretcher carefully placing a breathing mask over his mouth and nose as he was brought back still struggling to breathe. They quickly got him into the ambulance while he passed out again from the pain. The last whip lash had been so hard it had gone through the skin and that was why it had knocked the breath out of him. The fact that he was wounded both sides of his body made it difficult for him to rest without pain and he had to use the breathing mask but they continued to try and keep the wound uninfected. It was obvious he would need surgery.

As Rossi climbed in with him he ordered, "Call Emily."

Spencer quickly dialled Garcia's number and when she heard the news she turned to Emily with a smile taking her hand. Katie looked up hopefully too.

"Emmy, they've got Hotch..." Garcia smiled with tears in her eyes. Emily's heart soared at the news. They'd got him; he was coming home. She was going to see him again. "He's alive and being taken to hospital." She nodded and Katie quickly gathered her up along with Garcia.

On the way out they called Zanetti, Sean and Jessica and Julie and Andy who currently had the children. Her husband was out of that hell hole. Soon enough she'd be able to touch him again. God, she'd missed him. The only thing worrying her was the extent of the physical and psychological damage. She then thought about the son of a bitch who did all this; the bastard she hadn't seen in thirty-two years. What happened to him?

"What about Jackson-Waters?" she asked unsteadily while they were heading to the hospital.

"My husband shot him dead. Bullet to the head," Garcia answered. She couldn't help but feel proud of him. He'd given the bastard what he deserved for all the torture he'd put Emily and Hotch through.

Emily smiled though part of her was disappointed she didn't get to do it herself. She would have loved to have put the bullet between his eyes. Call it undaughter-like but he was never really fatherly to her and he'd just spent the last three weeks torturing and keeping her husband hostage.

When she got to the hospital they were told to wait in the waiting area as he was in surgery but they wouldn't tell her what surgery he was needing even when she tried to threaten it out of them with her FBI badge. Rossi defended her informing them they'd only been married for six weeks and three before he was kidnapped. Of course she was in emotional distress.

Her father, stepfather and in-laws soon arrived along with the children. They hugged Emily as soon as they saw her and she hugged her children close to her.

"He's in surgery," Rossi informed them.

"Mummy?" Alexia asked concerned.

"Yes sunshine," she answered stroking her daughter's dark hair absent-mindedly.

"Is daddy going to be ok?" she asked looking up with sad eyes. She'd missed him dreadfully. She was always a daddy's girl and he'd never been away for so long.

"He'll fight, sweetie, you know he will. We've just got to be there for him ok," she smiled sadly running her fingers through her hair.

She nodded. Soon a dark haired doctor with short hair who looked like he could be Hotch's twin came in holding a chart that they presumed was Hotch's.

Chapter Text

Family Reunion

"Anyone here for SSA Aaron Hotchner?" he asked looking up and smiled when he saw Emily. Man she was beautiful. He wouldn't mind getting some action with her. There was just something about a woman with kids.

They all stood up and his eyes widened. "I'm Dr Daniel Nyland, the surgeon who operated on Aaron Hotchner..." he informed then smiled at Emily, "but you can call me Danny." Emily rolled her eyes. Was this guy really hitting on her? She was Aaron's wife.

Rossi coughed and Danny added, "Yes, we needed to graft skin onto his back to heal the wounds left on his back, we had to stitch up his stab wounds and he was in need of a lung transplant. He's in recovery but with the extent of the damage he'll have to stay a couple of weeks. Also he has sensitivity to light so we're going to gradually brighten his room over his stay to get his eyes adapted to light again."

He saw how affected Emily was and he wanted to console her in his own way until Rossi fixed him with a hard stare placing a hand on Emily's shoulder. "Can we see my husband?" she asked.

"Your husband?" he asked disappointed.

"Yes Aaron Hotchner," she smiled. "Well, can we?"

He hung his head and answered, "Of course I'll take you." He may have gotten off with a patient's fiancé but he wasn't going to try with an FBI agent's wife. They were trained to kill and everyone had heard about the great Aaron Hotchner. He was a good shot.

When she saw Aaron she did her best not to run in but she sat on the bed and held his hand. They smiled at each other with tears in their eyes so happy to see each other again. She then threw her arms around his neck and cried, "I've missed you so much."

"Honey, I've missed you too but you're pulling on the tubes," he answered feeling the tugs on his nose and arm. He was attached to morphine, a blood drip and extra oxygen to help his body adapt to his new lung. He was also attached to a catheter while his wounds healed.

She got up apologising and had a really good look at him. He looked fine apart from the tubes but she knew the damage was under the sheets. She couldn't dare herself to pick up the sheet to look at the bandages underneath it would be too much. She would ask about his injuries later. Right now she just wanted to be with him. He was her soul mate and they'd been apart the last three weeks due to him being a hostage.

"Hey Bossman," Derek smiled at her.

"Hey," he smiled back trying to grin and bear his pain. His back, chest and stomach killed but he'd never show it. Showing his pain was weakness. Emily decided to not interfere for the moment knowing how stubborn her husband could be.

"It's great to see you. Gave us a bit of a scare back there," Dave smiled putting his arm.

"Sorry about that and thank you for rescuing me. I knew I could count on you guys."

"We're sorry it took so long but Derek and Emily came through in the end. We're just sorry we tried to keep the tapes from Emily." His chest tightened when he heard there'd been tapes and his heart rate went up so Emily stroked his hand trying to keep him calm as he had to remain so especially when he was still recovering from lung transplant surgery.

"Tapes?" he asked trying to keep calm knowing it wouldn't do any good to get het up right now. She shot Spencer a look for bringing up the tapes. He really hadn't needed to hear that right now while he'd only just had surgery. Though he'd hate to admit it he was in a vulnerable state and situation.

Katie hit Spencer on the head saying, "You idiot, why'd you have to bring that up for? He really doesn't need to know about that right now. He's just had surgery for Christ's sake." Spencer looked down ashamed that yet again he'd spoken without thinking. She played with his hair and added, "I do love you, you know." He nodded.

"What tapes?" Aaron asked trying to calm his breathing and slow down his heart rate under the watchful eye of his doctor that he was a little disturbed looked a lot like him. He looked at his wife wanting answers.

She stroked her thumb in circles over his hand with tears in her eyes answering, "I'm so sorry, honey, my father taped it and sent it to the team. I'm so sorry. Oh god if I could take away the last three weeks I would. Why didn't they just put him on death row after what he did to me then he could never have hurt you? I'm so sorry for what my father did to you."

He was concerned to hear about the tapes but what worried him most was his wife's guilt. She had nothing to feel guilty about. She never asked her father to be a psychopath and he knew she would never have wished this upon him. He knew she loved him.

He stroked her hand back and soothed, "Em, none of this is your fault. You didn't know your father would ever come back. You never asked for this. You love me."

"I do, I do so much. If we hadn't arrested him and given him a restraining order he wouldn't have come looking for revenge," she answered looking down.

"If he hadn't he'd have killed you long before I met you and I wouldn't be as happy as I am with you in my life."

"Oh Aaron, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me."

She leaned in carefully and kissed his lips lightly while he took her hand. They knew they would make it through this together. They were reunited and he would be getting better. She hadn't lost her husband. Her father hadn't won and he was dead.

Sean popped his head round the doorway and said, "There are four young people out here who want to see daddy and one little person who wants to see her uncle."

Aaron smiled and nodded. He wanted to see his children and niece so much. He'd missed Carrie as much as he'd missed his children and had hoped he would see her again. She must be nearly one. Sean smiled back and ushered them in holding his daughter.

Aaron smiled at them all as his twin daughters ran up to give him a hug. They'd missed their father so much and were so happy to see him. He didn't look too hurt so how hurt was he really?

"Daddy," they exclaimed.

"Hello darlings," he smiled back at them.

"Missed you."

"I missed you, too."

They then let go and let their older brothers greet him. They'd also missed their father so much. Though Declan was adopted and his real father had been a terrorist and his real mother also a criminal he felt that Aaron and Emily were his parents and he'd really missed his father. Jack had also missed his superhero, the father he worshipped and hoped someone would save his hero. He'd missed each and every one of his children while he was left hanging there and it had made him reflect on the kind of father he was. The BAU was his life but he wanted to be there for his children more and fight each and every psychopath out there to save them and keep them safe just like before. This time they'd find him even more determined and hard lined to take these bastards down and at home he would try even harder to be involved in Emily and their children's lives.

"Great haircut, bro," Sean teased holding his daughter on his hip.

"Thanks," Aaron answered rolling his eyes. He really wanted to grow his hair back and just move on from this. The shaved head would only remind him of the hell he'd just gone through. He didn't like the look anyway. It just wasn't him.

"It is nice to see you again," Sean smiled.

"You too," Aaron smiled back. "Carrie's getting big," he smiled at her. Sean smiled at her and nodded.

Chapter Text

Daddy Dearest

While everyone was gathered around Aaron Emily stood up. She needed to see her father and make sure he was dead. She knew Aaron would understand. She had to do this to end her nightmares to assure her he really could never come back. She also wanted to see his face and tell him they'd won. He'd lost. He couldn't torture them ever again.

She turned to Dr Nyland and asked showing her badge, "Can I please see Jonathan Jackson-Waters? The dead man who was brought in presumably with my husband as he was his captor," she asked. He looked at her badge and gulped then her husband who nodded. Aaron knew she had to do this. It would ease her nightmares which must have re-risen after she found out he was his abductor. When Danny had seen her badge he'd thought oh great not only was her husband an FBI agent but so was she.

"Right, this way," he answered leading her to the mortuary. When they got there the drawer was opened and there for the first time in thirty-two years she saw her father. The man who had tortured her for the first ten years of her life and just done the same with her husband for three weeks. She thought she'd be as afraid as she was when she was ten but seeing him there cold and lifeless the fear disappeared. He was dead and she was married. She could now move on with the love of her life and their four children. Though there was always the risk he might not come back from a case they had a bright future ahead of them.

Chapter Text

Going Home

She stayed by his bedside while he recovered enough to be able to go home. She just didn't want to leave him after having been separated the longest they'd ever been since moving back in together. Staying at the hospital by his side helped assure her he was going to live. It also helped him recover remembering he wasn't alone and that he had his wife.

It took several weeks for him to recover and Danny never tried flirting with her again. Flirting with an FBI agent married to a fellow FBI agent just wasn't worth the risk. His eyes soon adjusted to light again. His body adapted to his new lung. Though he would always have the scars the wounds healed. He'd also come off all the tubes he was attached to. He was physically fit enough to go home. The bruises had even healed though they healed first.

The children had stayed with Julie and Andy with the help of Katie and Spencer. He was over the moon to hear that they'd finally got together. They'd also got even more good news. Eliza and Dave were going to have a baby and Sean and Jessica had gotten engaged the night Aaron had been rescued and reunited with the family.

He'd be going home today and Emily would be taking him. Julie and Andy had decided to give them another night off so he could settle back in before having to be a father again. It wasn't a moment too soon for him to be going home. He'd been getting testy lately. He hated hospitals and he'd been in this one far too long. Emily could tell when he was better due to the fact he started to complain and attempt to get out of the hospital. She'd had to yell at him to take his painkillers more than once. He'd tried to hide how much pain he was actually in which only served to bug her as it made her feel guilty and she hated to see the man she loved in pain.

"Ready?" she asked after he came back to her from the toilets changed out of his hospital gown and into his own clothes. Sean had bought him a shirt and a pair of denim pants.

"I've been ready for a week," he answered annoyed. He really hadn't appreciated having to stay here after he felt better. It had made him angst and produced a few problems with his wife. They'd had a few rows about his hospital stay and recovery. He'd had to stay in to recover from his wounds.

"Stop your whining," she said taking his head into her hands. "We're going hone now and have the night to ourselves," she added stroking her finger down his cheek.

"Can't wait," he smiled back. After having spent so long in hospital and three weeks in captivity he was really looking forward to having some alone time with his wife. Since they'd come back from their honeymoon it was hard to come by.

Just before they headed home Emily thanked Dr Nyland for the excellent care he provided for Hotch and apologised for him being such a difficult patient in the last few days. Though he'd tried to flirt with her at first she'd come to see his sweet and compassionate side while tending to her husband as a patient though he still had a bit of a thing for nurses.

Soon enough they were home wanting an intimate connection. Apart from the odd kiss they hadn't touched each other intimately in two and a half months and they hadn't even been married for six months yet.

She tried seducing him but he would take off everything but his shirt. She started unbuttoning it but he tensed up. He really didn't want Emily to see his scars. He hated seeing them himself and it would only make her feel guilty.

She touched his cheek gently with her hand and said, "Honey, I know you're more scarred than before but I've spent almost twenty-five years loving you. I'm not going to stop now."

He smiled and took off his shirt to reveal the electrical burns and stab wounds on his front and skin graft on his back that now covered most of his whip scars. She traced her finger down them with tears in her eyes feeling so guilty over his scars once again given by her father.

"I'm so sorry," she cried.

He grabbed his shirt and threw it back on. "I knew this was a bad idea," he snarled more annoyed at how he hadn't prevented this mutilation.

Emily went into a drawer and found the envelope she was looking for. Maybe this would help.

"I don't know why these were ever kept but these might help," she said handing it to him then sat on the edge of the couch looking away.

"What are they?" he asked accepting the envelope.

"The photos taken before and after my surgery when I was ten," she answered biting back the tears. This was what had started all this mess. Her father had almost killed her when she was little and now her husband had been tortured due to the consequences.

He sat down and sifted through them horrified this had happened to his wife. She'd never deserved it. She'd just been a child. He understood why she was letting him see them. It was to show him her scars had been similar to his they'd just stretched or faded over the years. He was even more thankful that he was dead now or he'd kill him all over again. It was obvious how it still greatly affected her especially due to the incidents of the last two and a half months.

He took out the shredder and she looked up confused when he turned it on. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"We don't need these lying around anymore. He's gone and you don't need this. It's only going to affect you moiré," he explained stroking her back. If he'd known she had these photos he would have shredded them long ago. She really didn't need any reminders of that day. Unfortunately there was one reminder he couldn't get rid of; his own scars.

"May I join you?" she smiled sadly. He nodded and they halved the photos then shredded the evidence that hadn't been needed for thirty-two years.

After they put the shredder away they sat back down on the couch and she stripped down to her underwear then leaned over to her husband. She started unbuttoning his shirt again and this time she kissed his scars causing him to finally be in the mood.

The next morning they found themselves lying on each other naked just like the day after Emily had been told Morgan would temporarily be running the BAU all those years ago. Now here they were married he was once again running the BAU and she was in counter-terrorism

Chapter Text

Epilogue

She walked through the cemetery holding a bunch of lilies and once she found the grave she placed them down in front of him and placed a hand on the grave letting the tears fall down her cheeks. Dear god, how she missed him.

Three months before

It had been three years since Hotch was brought home and returned to the team. They now found themselves in a face to face with Luke Rotha, who had shot five young brunette women that looked just like Katie. They were in Charleston, South Carolina, and had been for a few days now.

Luke had his gun aimed at Katie when Hotch jumped in front of her as the bullet came out of the gun and hit him in the chest as Reid shot Luke in the head for attempting to kill his wife. Katie jumped down beside Hotch and tried to stop the blood as he was losing consciousness and telling her to tell Emily to be strong and he would never leave her.

"Aaron, Aaron, don't you dare. Aaron, you have to fight. You can't die on my sister. Come on, Aaron. Remember it's the twins' dance show tonight. You promised to be there. Come on, they can't lose their father. They're only eight. Jack and Declan also need their father. Come on, Aaron," she said trying to stop the blood and keep him alive. Finally his eyes closed and his hand dropped down. They watched as he took his last breath and his chest stop.

Emily was sat at her desk when Zanetti came in and asked to speak to her in her office. She knew it was nothing good as otherwise Emily would have just been told at her desk. She had a sinking feeling in her stomach and hoped she hadn't lost Aaron.

"Emily, please sit down," she said.

She sat on the couch and Eliza sat next to her holding her hand. How was she going to break this to her childhood best friend? She'd just got off the phone with her husband and father of her two and a half year old daughter Amelia.

"Emmy," she said gently and Emily could feel her feet go from underneath her. Her chest tightened and her throat felt dry. She couldn't have lost him. Her husband had to be alive. He just had to be. "Oh god, I'm so sorry. I just got off the phone with Dave. There was an incident where they were taking down Luke Rotha. The gun was aimed at Katie but Aaron jumped in front of the bullet. I'm so sorry the medics didn't make it in time. Aaron died within five minutes of the bullet hitting his chest."

Her heart broke into a million pieces and she felt her world fall apart around her. She knew there was always the risk he'd die on the job but she hoped it never would happen. She couldn't be a widow. Even though Declan was now seventeen she was still now a single mother to four and her other son had now lost both his birth parents.

"No, no, no, please tell me you're joking. Please tell me my husband is alive. Please tell me he hasn't been killed," she said on the verge of tears.

"Oh Emily, I wish so much it wasn't true but Aaron died half an hour ago. He was declared dead on scene," she confirmed with the tears running down her face. Yes it was her job as section chief to confirm the families of fallen agents they were dead but she never thought there'd be the day when she would have to tell her best friend her soul mate had passed on.

Emily fell apart in Eliza's arms and couldn't stop crying. What was she going to do? Her Aaron was dead. She'd be living the rest of her life a single mother. She would never be able to love anyone as much as she did him and now he was gone.

"If you want us to we'll come to the dance show tonight," she added

"Thank you," she answered trying to compose her tears. "It would mean the world to me. How am I going to tell them? How am I going to tell the children they lost their father? The twins are only eight, Jack's now had both his birth parents shot and Aaron was the first father Declan really had. Allie as you know is the biggest daddy's girl."

"We'll help you and we'll help you raise them too."

"Thank you. I appreciate it..." she didn't want to think of her husband as dead but she had to know in order to get the preparations started on the funeral. "When is his body coming back?"

"It's coming back as we speak and don't you worry about the funeral. You know the FBI will pay for it and he'll be given a government funeral. Just like he deserves."

"I want to see his body."

"Are you sure? Will you be able to handle it?" she asked stroking her back.

"I have to. To remind myself he really is gone. I need to say goodbye. I've loved him for twenty-eight years," she cried again.

"When they land I'll take you to see him."

"Thank you."

"I also don't think you should go back to work. I'll have a word with Jordan." Emily nodded feeling on the verge of tears. She just couldn't speak right now. She was trying to let it sink in. Her husband was dead. He'd died saving her little sister's life. "You can lie on the couch if you want."

"Thank you," she answered bursting into tears again and lying on the couch. Eliza wished there was something she could do for her best friend but the one thing she wanted most she couldn't do. She couldn't bring her husband back from the dead.

Sometime later she'd got the call from her own husband to tell her they'd landed. Seeing her best friend sleeping peacefully on her couch she really didn't want to do this but Emily wouldn't thank her if she didn't. She just wished they could sleep away the fact Aaron was dead. She went over and shook Emily awake.

"What?" she asked groggily feeling a little disorientated.

"They've landed," Emily answered gently and Emily nodded numbly. Now was the time to go and say goodbye to her husband and for reality to sink in. She'd lost the man she'd loved for so many years. She had to live the rest of her life without her.

She nodded and they headed to the mortuary that Aaron's body had been taken to when they landed. Dave was already there to support his wife and Emily. He couldn't believe his best friend was gone! The man he coached into being the head of the BAU had been shot dead this morning in front of them all! He was proud of him though that he had lost his life saving Katie's.

When they got there he just took Emily into his arms. He just didn't know what to say. The woman he loved as his daughter had just lost her husband who had been her perfect match. Here she was to say goodbye to him.

They ushered her in to see his body and it was harsh to see him lying there on the table slab with the blanket drawn over his head. The mortician drew back the blanket to reveal Aaron's head and Emily broke down gripping the table while Eliza tried to hold her up keeping her tears inside.

Emily felt like the ground had slipped out from underneath her feet. There was her beautiful, loving husband dead as a dodo lying on the mortuary slab. What had they ever done to deserve this? They'd been having such a wonderful marriage and now some bastard had taken it away from them. She had to live without the man she had loved for so long; the man she considered her soul mate.

She got back onto her feet composing herself and kissed his cold forehead. "Aaron," she said. "What am I going to do without you? I love you so much; I have for so many years. No man ever compared to you. I'm going to miss you so much but I'll try and stay strong for the children. There'll never be anyone but you for me. I never got to say this enough but I'm so proud of you. You gave everything to our kids and your job. I'm going to miss you like hell but thank you so much for saving my sister's life. You are and always will be my hero." She then placed the sheet over his head after giving it one more kiss. There would be no more gentle caresses for her anymore. She felt part of her had died with him. She'd never be the same again.

She left the room to try and compose herself then looked up at the Rossis. "Time to head for the dance show," she said trying to be strong. They still had to attend to support her two little girls but Julie and Andy had taken them so she could see Aaron's body. They were clearly devastated to hear their son-in-law had been killed but vowed to keep it from the twins till after the show. She wasn't going to let this ruin the show.

They'd been practicing for weeks and she wasn't going to ruin it for by telling them their father had been killed on the job. She would let them have some pleasure out of their dancing before they found out they'd lost their father. She knew Aaron would want that for them. He wanted so badly to have seen them dance this time as he'd never seen them dance in the three years they'd been at the dance school. He'd tried so hard to be here and at the last moment he'd been shot dead.

When she got there she joined her father and stepmother sadly noticing her in-laws and sons had also arrived. When they saw their daughter so heartbroken they didn't know what to say. They couldn't believe Aaron was dead and they would soon be attending an FBI funeral for him. They would always be there for her as she raised her children alone. They knew she would never be able to love anyone as much as she did Aaron.

Declan and Jack knew instantly and stood close to Emily as the team filed in to honour the memory of their dear friend and fearless leader and to support his wife, another dear friend. A lump formed in all their throats as they watched the girls dance knowing Aaron had never been able to fulfil his wish of seeing his daughters dance and would never see them grow up. He was lying in that mortuary a fallen agent.

Jack put his hand on his stepmother's shoulder as did Declan. They would help raise their sisters for their father's memory and because they were their sisters and she their mother. They had been raised to put family first and now their father was gone they would stay true to it. Every time he went away he'd always told them he loved them, was proud of them and to look after each other. Now the worst scenario had happened they would carry on doing as he said. They were going to miss him like hell. He'd been the best father they could wish for and he'd always been Jack's idol.

After the show the twins ran up excitedly but their faces fell when they looked around everyone's faces and couldn't see the one they'd been most excited to see. Where was he? He promised to come and he wasn't here but the rest of his team were. Why wasn't he? Where was daddy?

"Where's daddy?" they asked. "He promised he'd come! Why didn't he come? He's never seen us dance!"

Looking At their disappointed faces Emily felt the tears bubbling under the surface and looked away. Eliza hugged her and Katie felt guilty all over again. If her life hadn't been in danger Aaron wouldn't have got shot. If Aaron hadn't got shot he wouldn't have died. If he hadn't died he would have been here as he'd tried his hardest to.

JJ got down to talk to the twins at their level. She couldn't believe what she had to tell these two little girls she'd seen grow up. It hadn't fully sunk in the events of this morning. She just couldn't believe the man she'd always felt was like an older brother had been killed this morning and they'd had to fly back with his body. Their brave and fearless leader had given up his life to save his sister-in-law/youngest agent's.

"Lexi, Lizzie," she said gently but sadly.

"Yes Auntie JJ," they answered biting their lip knowing something was wrong.

"Your father would have made it if he could but he's with the angels now," she explained with a lump in her throat.

"What?" they answered feeling tears rise in their eyes.

"Girls, your father died this morning saving your aunt's lives, I'm so sorry."

They fell apart in her arms and she tried to keep her tears inside for them while Andy and Sean hugged their brothers knowing they also needed support during this hard time. Sean also held his wife close to him as tears rolled down her cheeks and she rubbed her heavily pregnant bump. She was due in two months to have a son.

Emily broke away from Eliza and hugged Katie knowing she was feeling guilty. "Katie, it's not your fault. If my husband had to die I'm glad it was saving your life. He died a hero."

"I'm so sorry," she cried. She couldn't believe her brother-in-law and mentor was gone. He'd watched over her from the moment he heard she wanted to be in the BAU.

"I heard you tried to save him so you have nothing to be sorry for. Thank you for attempting to Dave his life."

"I couldn't let him die on you...Emily, he told me to tell you to be strong and that he would always be there."

She smiled slightly and promised herself she would promise Aaron she would do that. It was true. He would always be part of her. He had been ever since they'd first got together nine years ago.

A couple of days later she was getting her children ready for their father's funeral. She still couldn't believe her husband was gone. It felt like just a dream and she wanted badly to wake up and find him sleeping beside her having never gone to South Carolina. Why couldn't he be dead like she'd been? That way he could come home at some point but this way he never could. She'd never be able to feel him touching her ever again and she had to raise the children alone till they were old enough to leave the nest. Even then she hoped they would never leave her.

She got her daughters ready while her sons sorted themselves out. Though they were teenagers they were both mature enough to sort themselves out and ever since their father died they'd grown up even quicker. Declan had even got a girlfriend, Saoirse, for the last year. She was over to help take his family to the funeral. He was now helping out at his uncle's restaurant and she was a waitress.

The funeral car then pulled up and they got in following the hearse that held Aaron's coffin. Emily broke down and Declan hugged her close to him trying to support his mother over the death of his father. It still hadn't sunk in fully that his father had been killed in the line of duty. In that dark oak coffin lay the man who adopted him even though his father had ruined his life and the former head of the BAU. Morgan had taken over in his stead and given the team a week off to cope with their grief over losing Hotch. He would have given them longer time off if their jobs weren't so important to the running of this country.

When they arrived at the cemetery Derek, Dave Spencer, Will, Sean and Declan picked up the coffin by its handles while Jack followed with the rest of his family and Saoirse. Saoirse placed her hand on Emily's shoulder as they led Hotch's body to its final resting place. She really loved Emily and was so heartbroken herself that Declan's father had passed on. No-one had a dry eye as Hotch had meant so much to everyone and they were all going to miss him greatly.

They placed the coffin down and went to either side. Emily held both her daughters' hands as the ceremony begun. The tears rolled down her face as she looked at the coffin that held her loving husband of the last three years. She couldn't believe she only had three years of being his wife. She had hoped she would spend the rest of their lives together.

She stepped forward with Sean to read the eulogy she'd created for her husband. "Aaron was my best friend, the father of my children and my dream come true. Being with Aaron I felt safe and loved and I will forever miss him. We met nearly thirty years ago while he was working for my mother and I knew then I was attracted to him. When I saw him fall apart after he had to send Haley and Jack into protective custody I knew I had to finally act on my feelings and though it wasn't an easy ride we spent eight beautiful years together. Now we are here to say goodbye to him. If he taught us anything it was to make sure you knew where your priorities lie. He gave the children and me all the time and commitment he had and when he was off on a case he was fighting the bad guys for us. He died a hero saving my sister's life and I will make sure that my children remember him as a hero," she said trying to bite back the tears. This was the saddest day of her life.

Katie was crying into her husband's shoulder feeling guilty that Aaron was no longer here and her sister was destined to be a lone parent because he saved her life. They'd left their son at home with a sitter. In fact apart from Declan, Jack and the twins all the BAU children had been left with sitters.

Soon enough the guns rang out in honour of the service Aaron had served his country and it felt like a bullet to Emily's heart. She couldn't believe her dearly beloved husband was gone. She couldn't keep back the tears this time as the floodgates opened. Declan hugged her close to him as she fell apart.

The ceremony was over and it was time for everyone to say goodbye. Katie put her hand on the coffin and the tears fell down from her eyes. "Aaron, you were the best brother-in-law a girl could wish for. You never dashed my dreamed you did all in your power to make them come true. You set me up with my husband. You saved my life. I'm really going to miss you. I love you."

Spencer came up behind her and snaked his arm around her shoulders kissing her temple then placed his other hand on his brother-in-law's coffin. "Aaron, you were the best mentor and brother-in-law I could wish for. After Jason left you took over the paternal role for me and were always there for me during all the mishaps that happened to me and my drug addiction. You set me up with my wife and saved her life allowing out one year old son to grow up with a mother. I will be forever grateful and make sure Jason grows up hearing about you. Goodbye my friend," he said on the verge of his own tears.

They then walked away giving Emily a hug and the Rossis stepped up to say goodbye. Eliza then put her hand on Aaron's coffin and said, "Aaron, you were such a great friend and the perfect mate for my best friend. You gave her so many happy years and I am so thankful for that. You got me the position of section chief allowing me to meet my husband. You named your daughter after me which was the greatest honour. I'll miss you, friend, and I promise to take care of Emmy and the kids for you."

Dave wrapped his arm around her shoulders and placed his other hand on the coffin. "Aaron, you were my best friend and my protégée. I was proud that when I came out of retirement you were the head of the BAU and I am proud of you giving up your life for Katie's. You talked Eliza into becoming section chief ending up my wife and mother of my daughter. I'm going to miss you, friend."

They walked away after giving Emily a hug when Derek and Penelope stood up to make their goodbyes. Penelope placed her hand on his coffin and said, "Aaron, you were always such a good friend. You were possibly the only boss who would take me on with all my quirkiness and history. You in fact encouraged me to carry on being an individual. I will carry on with my husband's help. Goodbye superman." She burst into tears and Derek hugged her close to him then turned to his friend and former boss.

He placed his hand on the coffin and looked down. He was so angry and wanted to smash Luke Rotha's face in for causing his best friend so much pain and making her live the rest of her life a widow. He just couldn't believe the rock of the team was gone and he had to take his place.

"Aaron, I know we didn't always see eye to eye but I respected you and you were a great friend. You did everything to clear my name and I'm eternally grateful. You gave me the courage to ask out my baby girl and here we are married with two beautiful children. I'll try and run the team as well as you did. Goodbye man."

He ushered his wife away after giving his best friend a hug while JJ and Will stepped forward. JJ laid her lily on his coffin just like all the others and said, "Aaron, you were like the brother I never had. You were always there for me and believed in me. You were the best godfather we could wish for for Sophie. We'll miss you and it was a pleasure to have had you not just as my boss but as our friend. Goodbye dear friend. May you rest in peace like you deserve."

Will put his arm around his wife then placed a hand on his coffin and said, "Aaron, I know we didn't really know each other as you did JJJ but you were a really swell guy and friend. I always trusted you to look after my wife when you went on cases as I knew you always did. I will miss you. Goodbye friend."

He then led his wife away after giving her best friend a reassuring hug. They'd always be there for her. Julie and Andy then stepped forward to bid their last farewells to their son-in-law. Julie made a small speech then Andy put his hand on the coffin.

"Aaron, you were the best husband I could have wanted for my daughter and father of my grandchildren. I knew from the day I met you you were a good man and I wanted a man like you to marry her. You protected her when she was threatened and though I'm glad you saved my daughter's life you'll be dearly missed. Goodbye son," he said.

Michael then stepped up and placed his hand on the coffin and said, "Aaron, you were the best older brother I could wish for other than Spencer of course. You were a really great role model and I hope to be like you when I'm older." Julie and Andy then left with their fifteen year old son after Julie and Michael had given Emily a hug and Andy had kissed her forehead.

Sean and Jessica then stepped forward to lay lilies on the coffin. Jessica said, "Aaron, you were the best brother-in-law I could have had. We knew each other for so long you felt like a brother even between your and Haley's divorce and me getting together with Sean. You showed us what it was to be a parent and we saw you as a role model. Goodbye Aaron."

Sean put his hand on the coffin and his other around her waist placed on her bump. "Aaron, you were the best brother I could wish for. You protected me from the moment I was born from our father and your own fatherhood inspired me with Carrie. For all you did for me I had to come to Washington and help you raise your kids which only led to me becoming a married father owning the best restaurant in town. Also just want you to know we've decided to name our son after you. I just hope he'll be like you. I'll miss you, bro," he said.

They then stepped back to support Emily while her children stepped forward to say their goodbyes to their father. Declan went first and laid a lily on his coffin. "Dad, you were the best father I could wish for. You adopted me though you knew who my parents were and my father had even destroyed your relationship with mum. You always made me feel like I was really your son and had been all my life. I'll look after my siblings and mum for you. I'll miss you, dad."

Jack then stepped forward and said placing a hand on his coffin, "Dad, you were always my superhero. You always looked out for me and protected me from the bad guys. Even when my sisters were born you never made me feel left out. When I grow up I want to be just like you and don't worry I'll look after my sisters. Bye dad." He could feel the tears rise in his eyes as he was presented with the reality his dad was now dead as well as his mum. He decided there was one more thing he had to do.

Declan then led Alexia forward and she placed her young hand on her father's coffin. "Daddy, I'm going to miss you. I know you really wanted to come to my dance show but now you can always see me dance. I just can't see your reaction. I'll really miss you, daddy," she cried kissing the coffin.

Jack then led Eliza to the coffin and she placed her little hand on the coffin that now held her father. "Daddy, I love you. You always helped me with my homework and tried to help me make friends. I'll try to be as confident and sociable as you want me to be. Going to really miss you, daddy, but you're with the angels now," she cried.

Emily stepped up and hugged her children then Jessica took them aside to let her say her final goodbye to the man she loved more than any other. Jack turned to his uncle and asked, "Uncle Sean, can I visit my mother's grave? There's something I want to ask from her."

Sean nodded smiling at him sadly, "Sure."

Emily laid the lily on her husband's coffin and cried, "Aaron, I love you, always did always will. Death will never part us but I'm going to miss you so much. You were my everything. I'll raise the kids to never forget you. Rest in peace, my darling."

Declan came up and hugged her close to him saying, "It'll be okay, mum. We have each other we always will."

She looked at him and nodded smiling slightly as the girls hugged her too. She was so proud of them and how they were coping losing their father.

Jack knelt down in front of his mother's grave while Sean stood a little behind. Dad had always taken him to see her grave every Mother's Day and Haley's birthday. He put his hand on her gravestone.

"Mum, it's me, Jack. Dad died a few days ago. I know he's up there now with you and I want to ask if you can look after him. Please do mum. I'm going to look after Emily and my sisters just like you'd want me to," he said on the verge of tears.

Sean stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder feeling a lump forming in his throat. He was so proud of his sweet nephew. He'd only just turned into a teenager and lost his father but he was fully prepared to help raise his sisters for Emily.

Chapter Text

Footnote

Spencer and Katie carried on raising their son, Jason, while remaining in the BAU. Jason's favourite story while he was growing up was the story of his Uncle Aaron that he hardly remembered meeting as he'd only been one when he died. He knew his Uncle Aaron had died saving his mother and he was thankful for it. He became a law professor.

Eliza carried on being section chief while Dave retired some years later to focus on raising Amelia. Amelia spent a lot of time with the twins and they grew up to be great friends even though she was so much younger. She became an author just like her father.

Morgan managed to become a fearless leader like Hotch and the rock of the team. Garcia carried on being the technical analyst of the group while raising their son, Nathan, and daughter, Charlotte. Nathan would play in American football games and Charlotte attended ballet lessons. Nathan became an American football player just like his father had wanted to be before his injury and Charlotte grew up to be a professional ballerina.

JJ also carried on raising her two children while in the BAU and Will being a cop with the Washington police. Henry and Sophie grew up happy with their parents trying to be there as much as they could for them. Henry followed his father's footsteps and became a cop while Sophie followed her mother's and became a media liaison.

Sean and Jessica had a baby boy who they named Aaron Michael. He grew up fascinated with the stories his Cousin Jack would tell him about the real superhero he was named after. Carrie and Aaron were as close as siblings could be. She grew up to own her own cafe while Aaron grew up to be a soldier.

Declan grew up to marry Saoirse and became head chef at Sean's restaurant. Jack did follow his father's footsteps and joined the BAU when Rossi retired. Alexia became a professional contemporary dancer and never lost her belief that her father was watching her dance and she would dedicate every performance to him. Eliza whilst growing up spent a lot of time with Auntie Penelope and became a technical analyst like her.

Emily retired from the FBI to focus on being a full-time parent to her children. She never remarried or even dated anyone but the team helped her raise her children. She would visit Aaron's grave everyday to talk to him and update him on how life was going. He was her forever soul mate but with her family and friends around she was hardly ever lonely.