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Here Comes Baby

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Panic (Week 1-4)

                They haven’t used condoms in almost four months. When Emily moved in, they decided that their commitment to each other would be throwing away the condoms. Of course, Emily is on birth control. They haven’t discussed children. The three of them have all assumed on their own that children weren’t really going to happen.

                Emily plops down on their bed; she hears the shower spray start. Derek insists on taking his showers alone and before anything else. Spencer lies next to her and they listen to the shower and Derek humming to himself.

                “He’s missing home,” Spencer says suddenly as they listen to Derek’s off-key rendition of “My Kind of Town.” Emily hums in agreement. She’d been noticing that, too.

                “Missing his family.”

                “We should do something,” Emily says and then shrugs.

                “Make him feel special,” Spencer provides.

                “Yeah, we’re his family, too.”

                Emily and Spencer divest of all their clothing and lay on the bed. They are kissing languidly when Derek returns. Derek chuckles; he throws the towel into the bathroom, slides behind Emily, kisses her shoulder, and caresses Spencer’s hip.

                “No, no, no, mister, get in the middle,” Emily chides and she rolls over him that makes him chuckle, too. 

                Emily gently slots her lips against his; their mouths move slowly against each other, they’re in no hurry, and Emily can taste the toothpaste he used and smell the shaving cream he lathered up with. Their tongues slide against each other in an exploratory manner. It’s not hurried or rushed like the last few times. Derek groans into her mouth, she knows Spencer is doing something, she reaches down, Spencer grabs her hand, he laces their fingers together, and when Derek groans again, she pulls back and glances down at Spencer. Spencer is diligently lapping at Derek.

                “Pretty Boy,” Derek hisses as Spencer swirls his tongue.

Emily kisses down Derek’s body and Spencer meets her with a musky kiss. She kisses Derek’s thigh; then Spencer and she kiss up and down Derek’s cock. She pushes Spencer away, so he can crawl up Derek and plunder his mouth. She can hear their teeth clashing, lips smacking, and deep whimpers. She straddles him and sinks leisurely down; his hips ricochet off the bed, Emily lets out a very unsexy squeal, and both men snort equally un-sexily. Spencer buries his face in Derek’s neck and laughs. Emily slaps Spencer’s thigh.

However, their giggle fest doesn’t stop them from continuing in a very erotic manner. Emily slides against Derek as Spencer caresses them both. Emily relishes in it and draws it out; she suspends herself above him, until he’s groping at her hips to pull her down. They haven’t been able to bring each other to the brink and pull back in weeks, she missed it, and o, she missed the vocal-ness. She missed the pure, pleasurable torture that is a slow ride. She missed watching Derek’s face distort in ecstasy and Spencer’s dexterous fingers crawl across their bodies. She missed the way Derek rambles nonsensically as Spencer uses his vast vocabulary to say the dirtiest things in several different languages. Emily knows he’s close when he flips her onto her back, she just wraps herself around him and soon they’re both crashing in waves. Her body is still fluttering, when Derek rolls off.

“Ride him,” Derek demands softly, watching as Spencer strokes himself languidly.

Emily kisses Derek quickly, before she throws her leg over Spencer’s hips and moves up and down, but not in the torturous pace she had with Derek. This is faster; they’re both desperate.

“Can you feel me inside of her?” Derek murmurs in Spencer’s ear as he tweaks his nipples.

Spencer’s only response is a high-pitched wail. By Spencer’s erratic movements, Derek and Emily know he’s close. Derek sits up, swirls his tongue around Emily’s nipples, and reaches down to tweak her clit. She feels the simmer that was active inside of her begin to boil over. She rolls her hips one more time and the frenzy shoots through her. Her orgasm pulls Spencer’s out of him and he keens loudly, holding onto her hips. She leans down and kisses him sloppily. He rolls them onto their sides still buried inside her. Derek slides up behind her; she can feel that he’s half hard, but he doesn’t say anything. He just spoons up behind her. Spencer gets up and moves to the bathroom. He comes back with a few warm washcloths.

Spencer makes them scoot over and he slides up behind Derek, throwing his hand over Derek’s waist. They slip into sleep tangled together.  

Ten days later, Emily gets slight cramping, but her period doesn’t begin. She kind of forgets about it as they depart for another case. It’s only when Spencer throws her a box of tampons in the hotel room and mentions that she should be getting her period, but she didn’t pack enough that she begins to worry. While her period was usually irregular, the birth control has regulated it. She looks speculatively at her birth control and realizes that she’s over halfway through her placebo pills. She takes the box and thanks him; she’s not sure what’s going on, but she doesn’t want to freak out Spencer. She knows that her period has been late before, but for the last few years it has been pretty regular, starting at the minimum three days into the placebo pills. She focuses on the case, because she’ll fall apart if she doesn’t have something to focus on. 

She knows it’s awful and kind of ridiculous, but she kind of hopes its cancer or early on-set menopause; being a mother is not something she’s planned for. She gave up hope a few years ago and decided she’d get to spoil the rest of the team’s children.

She decides she needs to get a pregnancy test, while they’re still on the case. One, so she can calm the fuck down or freak the fuck out, either one would work right about now than the constant nag that encompasses her. Two, so Derek and Spencer don’t find out. The two are fixated on the case and have their own hotel rooms, and don’t focus on Emily nearly as much as they would at home. She doesn’t want to tell them before she takes the test. She makes an excuse to Hotch about needing to go back to the hotel, sneaks off to the local drugstore, and rushes back to her room to take the test.

 

Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.- Christian Nestell Bovee

Chapter Text

Exhaustion (Week 5-8)

                Emily doesn’t tell them; she’ll admit she’s a little shit for not telling them, but they came home and she hasn’t had time. That’s a lie, of course, but she has to build herself up to it and one last romp between the sheets is exactly what she needed. She wakes up alone and is washed over by momentary panic, until she hears a large crash and Derek’s rumbling laugh. The smell of bacon wafts up the stairs and she’s suddenly craving the crispy deliciousness.

                She throws her legs over the side of the bed and is immediately hit by a wave of nauseous and dizziness. She falls heavily back onto the bed. She can hear Spencer and Clooney plod up the stairs. Clooney leaps onto the bed and burrows into the sheets; he is thankful that the humans have finally decided to get their lazy asses up.  

                “Emily, I’ve brought coffee,” he singsongs; he’s obviously still floating after last night.

 Maybe, one cup of coffee will help. She leans forward to accept the coffee. The rich aroma of Honduran coffee wafts through her nostrils and is immediately rejected. She dry heaves and barely makes it to the en-suite before hurling.

                “Derek,” Spencer yells and Emily wants to knock herself out on the toilet seat. She hears Derek storm the stairs and she knows it’s all going to hell in a hand basket.  She wants to stand up and brush it off, but, right at this minute, she can’t.

                “Emily,” Spencer kneels down beside her and brushes her hair back. His hand is cool and she turns her cheek into it.

Derek skids into the room and assesses the situation; he looks unsurely between the two. She thinks it’s safe to pull away from the toilet and she leans against the vanity. Her eyes close and she contemplates what she is going to say; she doesn’t want to lie, but she can’t imagine telling them as she sits in Derek’s undershirt on the bathroom floor.

“Do you think it’s the flu?” Spencer asks from her side where he is sitting with his legs twisted like a pretzel as he holds a cool washrag against her neck. She shakes her head.

“Food poisoning?”

“No.”

“Sweetheart, what’s going on?” Derek asks as he squats in front of her and grabs her hands. She can feel their eyes on her.

“I’m fine.”

“Emily…” Spencer says gently. Derek’s thumbs are brushing over her hands in a reassuring manner and she wants to cry.

“I’m pregnant,” she replies as she looks at both of them. Derek’s thumbs don’t stutter, Spencer keeps the cloth pressed against her neck, and they gaze back at her with the same look of concern they had before. They’re masking their responses, Emily can tell, and it makes the waterworks start.

When she can’t rein it in and sobs loudly, Spencer pulls her into him and wraps his arms around her shoulders. Derek rubs his hand up and down her back as she buries her face into Spencer’s chest.

“What do you want to do?” Derek questions and his voice is calm and congenial but a little reserved; it’s the same tone he uses on cases and she wants to shriek. Yet, she knows he’s only using that tone so she doesn’t know how he feels, not to treat her like a victim.

She draws in a deep breath, pulls away from them, and crosses her arms over her chest, before she answers.

“I want to keep the baby,” she says, looking at the tile.

“You’re sure?” Spencer asks.

“Yes,” she affirms.

Derek places his hands on either side of her face and kisses her fervidly. When Morgan is done kissing her, Spencer gives her a reassuring peck.

It’s then that Derek’s mask drops; he’s grinning, legitimately grinning. He kisses her hands as he places a hand over Emily’s abdomen. Spencer is more reserved and scared; Emily is thankful for Spencer’s response, because she knows he feels the same trepidation she’s feeling.  Yet, Spencer still laces his fingers through Derek’s. She rests her hands over theirs and they sit there for a minute.

“I love you two,” Derek says, “I guess, you three, now.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says, kissing her cheek.

“Do you think you can eat, or do you want to go lay down?” Derek asks, kissing her forehead.

“The bacon kind of smells super delicious, but keep the coffee away.”

“O, sweetheart, that is gonna suck.”

“Tell me about it. I fucking love coffee.”

~~~***~~~***~~~          

                Emily wants to wait to tell the team; plus, they have to wrap their heads around it better before they tell anyone. Not to mention how risky a pregnancy at her age is... She hopes she’ll get to tell them; she’s worried Derek’s behavior is going to give something away. He hovers way too much, all the time. He’s constantly touching her, asking her how she feels, and catering to her needs. Spencer is a little more surreptitious about his concern. He leaves bottles of water, cans of ginger ale, sleeves of Saltines, and containers of applesauce in her desk drawer.

                They don’t just flutter around her at the office; at home they do, too. She’s kind of thankful, though, because she spends a lot of her time at home resting and wanting to go to sleep. She’s exhausted constantly, and all her energy is used to get herself through the workday. Their concern is palpable and she almost pities them, but, really, right now, she mostly pities herself, because “morning,” or, really, all-fucking day, sickness is awful. Of course, it’s not the worst pain she’s ever felt, but it seems never-ending and it’s highly disconcerting that her body is revolting against her and her off-spring so horribly.

                “A peanut-butter and jelly egg bagel, tortilla chips, and a ginger ale,” Spencer says, handing her a plate and glass as she lays reclined on the couch.

                “My knight in shining armor, I love you.”

                “Love you, too.”

                “What are you two having?”

                “Emily, we’re going to eat with you; Derek is making ours now. I knew you were hungry and needed to eat before you got sick again,” Spencer replies and they sit on the couch eating their morning-sickness approved food.

                “How are you feeling now, sweetheart?” Derek asks as she curls into the couch.

                “Well,” she smiled, patting his leg.

                Spencer turns on MythBusters and Emily can barely keep her eyes open through the experiments. She listens to Spencer explain to Derek why, from a physics perspective, the myth is not possible; while Derek disagrees arguing he’s seen it at some point in his life. She cannot make it to the ten o’clock news and inches up the stairs at half past nine. Derek comes up at ten; he knows how difficult it is for her to fall asleep alone. She likes the feeling of his arm draped over her navel; it grounds her in a way she never expected. Without his arm, she feels like the bed is spinning. For her, having morning sickness is like being perpetually hung-over; she’s dizzy, nauseous, needs grounding, and needs to eat small meals all-day long. She doesn’t get the benefits of a never ending bender but reaps all the nasty effects.

                When she wakes up the next morning, she sits up slowly and leans against the headboard of their massive ultra-king bed. Spencer is still curled up on the other side of the bed. She can hear Derek putter around the bathroom as he gets ready for work. He exits the bathroom; a towel slung around his hips.

                “Hey, what do you want this morning?” He asks softly as he heads to his dresser and pulls on a pair of boxers. 

                “Tea and toast,” she requests; her voice soft and her eyes squeezed against the phenomenon of the bed as a whirligig. She can hear him head downstairs to fix it.

                “Does closing your eyes help?” Spencer asks as he returns from dreamland.

                “It makes the sensation worse, but it’s easier to let it happen this way instead of trying to focus. I’ve always liked the tea cups, anyways; I just pretend I’m on the tea cups,” she responds and Spencer chuckles a little. Then he checks the weather and she tells him what she wants to wear that day. He lays out all the aspects of her clothes; she has to beg him not to mismatch her socks.

                Derek returns with the whole wheat toast and ginger-lemon tea. She eats the toast first and then slowly drinks the tea. Derek grabs a cool towel and presses it to the back of her neck. Spencer gets ready and then she’s next. Their morning routine has gotten much longer since she’s gotten pregnant, but she didn’t even have to ask for their help or hint for it. They fell into their roles easily.

                “I feel like such a burden,” she whispers into Derek’s neck when he sits next to her on the bed.

                “Emily, you’re not a burden, you’re pregnant.”

                “If I could do it for you, I would,” Spencer says as he exits the bathroom fully dressed.

                “Thanks,” she whispers and she’s teary-eyed.

                “Normally, the second trimester is better,” Spencer encourages.

                “I hope so,” Emily whispers as she attempts to climb out of the bed and luckily, today, she isn’t overwhelmed by the violent need to empty her stomach contents. However, she still has to take a lukewarm shower, because a hot one might make her faint and/or vomit.

 

Pregnancy seemed like a tremendous abdication of control. Something growing inside you which would eventually usurp your life.-Erica Jong

Chapter Text

Trust (Week 9-12)

                Her first doctor’s appointment had to be put off for a case. She’s worried about it. She wants to make sure the baby’s fine, of course, but she’s also worried about the questions the doctor is going to ask. She can’t answer the questions about the father’s family history, because she doesn’t know; either one of them could be the baby’s biological father. She knows there’s going to be judgment and while she doesn’t typically care, being pregnant has made her a little more emotional. She’s afraid she’s going to bawl her eyes out, if the doctor looks on her with scorn.

                It’s not to say she doesn’t believe in their lifestyle; in fact, she loves their lifestyle. The three of them meld together better than any married couple she knows; most of the married couples, she knows or has known, are completely dysfunctional or divorced. She doesn’t want to have to deal with someone judging her relationship negatively that means so much to her, but she knows they will.

                She almost tells them not to come that they shouldn’t miss work, but Derek looks crushed and Spencer reads right through her. He graciously makes an excuse and says he won’t go, but he’s too offhanded when he makes the offer. Emily knows it’s a sham and she feels like a big old jerk. “Fuck ‘em all,” she thinks and begs Spencer to come with. His grin, where even his teeth show, makes Emily know that he wants to be there and she wants him there.

                And it is awkward, but her obstetrician is a wonderfully experienced woman named Margaret Howard. Dr. Howard laughs when Emily shrugs her shoulders and tells her she doesn’t know who the father is. Emily is pretty sure she hears “lucky bitch,” muttered as Dr. Howard writes on her pad of paper, but her pregnancy brain has also made her utterly paranoid. However, the rest of the appointment is horribly and ridiculously normal. Emily is surprised everything seems normal; she was expecting awful news, because she doesn’t get this lucky. They even get baby’s first photos, in the form of a few little ultrasound printouts.

She giggles inexplicably when they’re finally in the car and it’s uncontrollable. It’s droves of breathy air and squeals.  Derek reaches over from the driver’s seat and grabs her hand. She squeezes his hand so hard that his bones pop. Spencer moves to the middle of the back, grabs their clasped hands, and kisses both with reverence.

“Thank God.”

~~~***~~~***~~~

                “Rossi, Prentiss, I want you two to flank on this side when we arrive and block the alley,” Derek informs as they look at the schematic of the unsub’s apartment complex.

                “Emily, Derek,” Spencer warns and she sends him a withering look in response, while Derek just dismisses it with a shake of his head. Their exchange is immediately picked up by Hotch who is examining their interchange now more than the diagram and Derek’s tactics.

                “Em,” Spencer says, again, and she shoots spears at him. He only ever uses the shortened version of her name in the bedroom. She cannot believe he is trying to manipulate her this way. She was expecting the overprotective streak from Derek, and while he has certainly been more protective, he still trusts her to do her job. He’s, of course, assigning her the least risky task without telling her to just stay in the SUV and, in turn, pissing her the fuck off.  

                “Prentiss, Reid, I need to speak to you,” Hotch orders. They follow him into the room they’ve sequestered at the precinct. “I know I said I would allow you to stay on this team together, but that was only if you would remain professional in the field and keep your private lives at home. However, it seems that those lines may be blurring.”

                “She’s pregnant,” Spencer blurts and Emily sputters.

                Hotch turns to Emily; his face filled with questions. She feels like she’s been knocked on her ass; they agreed that they wouldn’t tell the team until she was three months pregnant. She didn’t want people to know just yet, and this is definitely not how she wanted to Hotch to find out. She feels betrayed and not trusted.

                “Prentiss, is that true?”

                “Yes, Hotch, it is, but we were merely waiting to tell you until we had gotten through the first few months. We haven’t told anybody else; we were waiting,” she emphasizes as she turns to glare at Spencer.

                “Prentiss, can you still affectively work in the field?”

                “Yes.”

                “Since I have seen no problem with your performance, I do not see an issue with continuing as Morgan has planned. However, we are going to have to discuss this soon.” 

                Spencer sputters, but Hotch and Emily’s contemptuous gazes dare him to speak against Hotch’s orders. They return to where Morgan is still explaining the plan.

                “Reid will remain here,” Hotch tells Derek. Derek looks at the three confusedly but quickly explains to JJ her new position.

                Spencer reaches out to brush his hand along Emily’s arm, but she flinches away. Derek doesn’t miss that and he sends a questioning glance at both of them. Emily’s arm squeeze tells him two things: one, he doesn’t need to worry, and two, she will explain everything to him later.

~~~***~~~***~~~

                Emily waits till they arrive home to explode. She, after all, can still remain professional on a case. Like they always agreed, she can wait till they arrive home to duke it out. But the threshold is the furthest she gets with her anger at bay, her go-bag thunders in the hallway.

                “You had no right,” Emily hisses as she stalks Spencer into the kitchen.

                Spencer whirls in response and they’re facing off in the middle of the kitchen. Both have a look of pure indignation and their fists are resting on their hips. If their fists were up, they’d be ready to spar.

                “What happened?” Derek asks as he leans against the counter, supporting himself with his hands. Emily can tell he’s trying to look his least perturbed and his most neutral to either lover.

                “He told Hotch I was pregnant,” Emily laments and Derek sighs.

                “Pretty Boy,” Derek exhales loudly, Emily looks triumphant, and Spencer looks betrayed. If anyone was going to agree with him, it was going to be Derek.

                “I was worried alright; I’m sorry I was worried,” Spencer shouts; he crosses his arm over his chest and starts pacing.

                “You know the likelihood of something bad happening wasn’t that high; she wasn’t even going into the apartment. I was worried, too, but I tried to make her as safe as possible and she was with Rossi; Rossi would protect her, no matter what.”

                “I said I’m sorry,” Spencer enunciates each word, “I’m sorry that I was worried to lose her. I know you don’t have to have an eidetic memory to remember that we lost her and now… now, she’s pregnant. I’m sorry that I can’t forget everything, but I can’t imagine losing her again, and… and the pregnancy just compounds that fear.”

                During his speech, Emily’s hands have dropped to her side and her fists unclench. Emily and Derek look admonished and regretful. Emily walks purposefully towards him, pulls his head down, and hugs him tightly.

                “Spencer, I didn’t realize… But you have to trust me,” Emily whispers into his ear.

                “I do trust you; I just don’t trust other people,” Spencer gripes and Derek squeezes his shoulder.

                Spencer doesn’t usually sleep in the middle of the bed; it makes him claustrophobic. Plus, he’s sensitive to touch and Emily has the tendency to make sure someone is always in the bed with her by reaching out and touching them. Tonight, though, tonight Spencer falls asleep with Emily curled around his back and Derek around his front. And yeah, Emily does wake him up a few times and Derek is like a heated blanket, but he’s far more relaxed the next morning, if a little bit too tired.

 

“When mistrust comes in, love goes out.”—Irish Saying

Chapter Text

It’s time to tell people their little secret and Emily is actually kind of excited. She’ll always be a little worried about the pregnancy, but she’s kind of come into her own. It’s still weird to feel her body change like this after so many years of being static. She’ll begin to show soon and that’s what’s made this dinner party imperative. They decide not to tell the team at the BAU; they’re more than just a team, they’re friends, a family.

                It’s not like the three haven’t hosted a get-together before; in fact, they’d hosted a Super-Bowl/Living Together Party this year and before that Derek had opened his home on numerous occasions. It wasn’t out of the ordinary, per say, but it felt like a big neon sign above their heads. Maybe, because when they invited everybody, Hotch had grinned, legitimately grinned; he was going to give the whole operation away.

                Hotch, Beth, and Jack show up first. Jack launches himself at Clooney, Hotch grins like a lunatic, and Beth is as pleasant and warm as ever. Spencer grabs Beth a glass of wine, while Derek gets Hotch a beer. Emily offers Jack a juice box, but he’s too busy playing tug of war with Clooney to even acknowledge her until Hotch gives him a light reprimand. Jack turns to Emily grinning and giggles out a “No, thank you, Miss Emily,” before turning back to his game with Clooney.

                Garcia is the next one to knock on the door. She’s all Technicolor and ruffles; she greets them all lovingly, kisses their cheeks, and flirts outrageously. She’s a ball of energy, bouncing from person to person chatting. Derek gets her a glass of wine, while she chats with Beth.

                JJ, Will, and Henry arrive next. Henry hides behind JJ’s legs until he sees Spencer; at which time, he launches himself at Spencer’s knees. Spencer scoops him up, Henry squeezes Spencer’s neck, and Henry starts begging for magic tricks. Spencer appeases his godson with a quick quarter behind the ear. Spencer grabs a juice box for Henry and then sets him down to play with Jack and Clooney, but not before placing a gentle kiss on his godson’s crown.

It warms Emily to see Spencer interact with his godson; Spencer is not a horribly touchy-feely person. Touching, even sometimes, bothers him; Emily usually lets Spencer initiate physical contact between them, because she doesn’t want him to feel uncomfortable or crowded. Derek understands the aversion, and avoids physical displays. She knows Derek respects their boundaries on the physicality of their relationship, but she also knows it’s hard for him. Derek is a tactile person and his family has always been free with their affections; however, Derek would never force someone to touch or be touched. Derek is all too aware of the implications and has been the sufferer before. Emily sometimes sees him reach for one of them, but then step back. She’s gotten better at handholding or quick kisses, but Spencer is much more stringent with his touches. Yet, touches and intimacies mean more from Spencer because they’re infrequent; they have a certain deeper meaning to them. It’s obvious he has to think about the physical displays.

                Rossi arrives last, well after the designated time. Rossi comes whirling in, Italian-kisses all-around, and a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine.

                The group looks expectantly at the three. All, but Jack and Henry, realize that tonight might include a big announcement, especially with how un-Derek-like Derek is acting; he’s been quiet and solemn, nervously sipping beer and not interacting. They ask them all to sit down. Hotch, Beth, and Rossi sit on the couch, JJ sits on Will’s lap on the arm chair, and Garcia cradles Henry and Jack on the loveseat.

                Her anxiety sky-rockets; it’s the same feeling she had when she faced her mother after deciding to join the FBI.  Spencer places his hand on the middle of Emily’s back and moves his hand up and down slowly. Derek stands next to her with his arms crossed over his chest; his ultra-protective stance. Her nervousness must be obvious.

                “We have an announcement to make,” Emily finally breaks the silence.

                “Obviously,” Rossi states and Emily guffaws; his brashness relaxes Emily a little.

                “I’m pregnant,” she finally says after a few beats.  

                The first to react is Garcia, who squalls and flails happily before trying to encompass the three in an intense hug. Emily lets out a hysterical laugh when the woman’s blonde hair almost smothers her. Garcia’s rambling about baby clothes and gadgets. When they extract themselves from Garcia, the spectators are staring at them with all different forms of grins creasing their faces, but one face isn’t directed at them. JJ is looking at Hotch.

                “You knew,” she accuses and whips a pillow at him, “you knew and you didn’t tell anybody.”

                “JJ, it wasn’t my place,” Hotch chuckles and JJ glares daggers at him. JJ gets up and wraps her arms tightly around Emily.

                “I’m so happy for you,” she whispers into Emily’s ear. She shares other whispered thoughts with Derek and Spencer as she squeezes them tightly.

                “It’s going to be one gorgeous and smart bambino, that’s for sure,” Rossi says as he raises his glass in toast.

                “Congratulations,” Beth says, smiling at the three.

                “The third BAU baby, lord have mercy,” Will jokes.

                “I don’t think I said it before, but congratulations and I’m happy for you,” Hotch says.

                “Thank you, you guys; it means so much to us,” Emily finally gets out past welling tears, “Damn, these pregnancy hormones.”

“Miss Emily,” Jack reprimands.

“Sorry, Jack,” she laughs; her eyes bright and glassy with unshed tears.

Tension drops out of their shoulders and dinner goes smoothly from there. Spencer’s lamb chops and Derek’s roasted potatoes are savored and explicated over. The team leaves shortly after Garcia’s cupcake dessert. They all congratulate them again as they say good-bye at the door.

~~~***~~~***~~~***

                “Strauss gave us five days; we’re going to James and Elizabeth’s house for an early dinner today, then taking the evening flight out of Dulles to O’hare. Tomorrow, we’re having brunch at Fran’s with your whole family, and then we’re going to a Blackhawks game with Bobby and Marissa. The next day we’re taking Fran to the Frontera Grill for lunch and then having a barbeque at your sister’s before taking the redeye to Vegas. We’ll try to visit my mother both days before taking the redeye back to Dulles and go back to work the next day,” Spencer lists as he paces around the kitchen with his coffee cup.

                Morgan is scrambling eggs on the stove and smiling indulgently at Spencer; it’s obvious Spencer is flipping out. Morgan has gotten use to Spencer’s tangents; he asks him to stop when it’s obvious he’s never going to. Right now, he knows it’s a way for Spencer to release his nervous energy. Spencer needs to feel in control and reciting their agenda and writing last minute packing lists seems to help. Spencer seems most anxious about seeing Emily’s mother and his own mother. None of them are worried about Fran; she’s been desperate for a grandbaby for so long and has been completely supportive of their relationship. Whatever makes her baby boy happy makes her happy and that’s a relief for all three; unwavering love is incredibly bolstering.

                “Spence, it’s going to be alright, none of their reactions are going to change anything,” Emily says as she spoons cereal into her mouth. He glances at her and tries to smile before getting himself another cup of coffee. After he gets his coffee, he’s back upstairs mumbling to himself about what still needs to be packed and what he thinks they might need.

                “I’m worried his head is going to pop off,” Derek jokes.

                “I wish he wasn’t so anxious.”

                “He always gets like this when we go to visit his mom.”

                “I know; I hope she recognizes us.”

                “It’s heartbreaking when she doesn’t.”

                “It’s heartbreaking to big-bad Derek Morgan,” she teases and he shakes his head amusedly at her.

  1.                 “Anything that hurts my pretty boy or sweetheart, hurts me,” he admits, turning away from her and plating his eggs.    

                She comes up behind him and wraps her arms around his waist. She kisses his neck and squeezes him tightly; he can feel her slight baby bump through their clothes. He turns around in her arms and places a kiss on her forehead. She snuggles into his arms and kisses his chest.

                “Do you think sex would relax Spencer?” She asks, pushing her hands under the hem of his shirt.

                “Probably not, but I’ll definitely take advantage of your second trimester,” he pulls her hands out of his shirt though, “But I need protein before a workout.”

~~~***~~~***~~~***

                Sitting in her mother and stepfather’s overly formal living room is making her horribly uncomfortable. There is nothing here that makes it feel more like a home and less like a showroom. It’s perfectly arranged and impeccably clean. There are no personal touches; there are expensive paintings, but no family pictures. She was thrilled to leave this model house in DC to go to Yale and the cramped but homey dorm room. Whenever she comes back to this cold, Victorian mansion, she always reverts to her rebellious stage. She wants to flip her mother off, swear like a sailor, and wear all black.

Spencer is sitting next to her on the ridiculous settee; his leg is bouncing outrageously. His energy always vibrates out of him. Going against their understood no physical intimacy policy, she places her hand gently above his knee. He looks at her guiltily, but she smiles at him in understanding and squeezes his knee.  Derek is sitting in the wingback chair next to them; his hands are folded between his open knees and he’s staring with a tight expression at the intricate detail of the rococo coffee table.

“Emily,” Elizabeth says as she walks into the room trailed by James, “Agent Morgan, Agent Reid.”

“Darlin’, Spencer, Derek, it’s good to see y’all,” James greets more warmly than his wife; his soft Southern lilt prominent in his words. They all stand to greet Elizabeth and James with handshakes for Derek and Spencer and cheek kisses for Emily.

“To what do we owe the pleasure?” Elizabeth asks, sitting in the wingback chair across from Derek.

“We have an announcement,” Emily says; her voice shakes a little, James reaches out from his spot on the settee next to her, and he squeezes her hand.

“What is it, Emily?” Her mother asks exasperatedly.

“I’m pregnant,” she finally reveals after a few moments.

“And who is the father?”

“There’s no way to know, mother.”

“Aren’t you a little old for this kind of behavior, Emily?”

“Elizabeth,” James rebukes.

“James, this farce of a relationship has gone on far too long; I allowed it when it was only affecting my insolent daughter, but now it’s going to affect my grandchild. This cannot continue. Emily, you need to stop playing pretend, marry the father of your child, and live like an adult.”

“Contrary to popular beliefs, we do live like adults,” Spencer interrupts, “In fact, our relationship is more highly functional than many traditional relationships.”

Elizabeth’s condescending sniff infuriates Emily and she can see Derek and Spencer twitch with anger.

“It doesn’t matter what you think mother; I just thought you’d like to know you were going to be a grandmother. We won’t be staying for dinner,” she states before walking out of the room. She refuses to stomp, no matter how much the urge bubbles in legs.

“Emily, wait,” James calls when they’re nearly at the front door.

“Yes,” she turns suspiciously to her step-father.

“I’m happy for you, dear, and you,” he indicates with a nod to both Spencer and Derek who smile in return, “I’ll work on your mother; you know how she is about decorum.”

“For once, I wished she’d stop thinking like a diplomat and think like a mother.”

“I know, darlin’. I wish the same thing.”

“Bye, James,” she says, kissing his cheek and opening the door to head to the car.

“Wait, Emily,” he calls, “You’ll be a wonderful mother.”

“Thank you,” Emily replies, squeezing her eyes shut to staunch the flow of tears.  

She climbs into the car and leans her head back against the back-seat’s headrest. Derek drives toward the city. Nobody talks for a while; Spencer finally breaks the silence.

“I’m sorry, Emily.”

“I was expecting that, just not as bluntly as she said it.”

“There’s a difference from expecting it and actually hearing it.”

“James is right, though, Em, you will be a magnificent mother.”

“I hope so, but with that as a role model, I might be doomed.”

“Emily, don’t say that.”  

“All right, I won’t say it.”

“Don’t think it, either,” Derek admonishes.

“We don’t have to be our parents,” Spencer reminds with conviction.

“You’re right, Spence.”

Derek pulls up to Emily’s favorite restaurant for dinner. It starts off somewhat somber, but Spencer starts in on the history of the restaurant and it falls back to normal. By the end, Derek is making jokes and planning things to show them in Chicago, Emily is teasing Derek about his obsession with The Bean, and Spencer is explaining the significance of the places Derek wants to take them to.

Their next stop is Dulles. They luckily fly through security and are waiting for their flight patiently with their respective books, Mockingjay, Open Ice, and The War of the End of the World. Derek nearly bounces onto the plane when they call their section number. He sits in the window, Emily in the middle seat, and Spencer in the aisle. Derek lifts up the arm rest between their chairs after take-off and Emily curls into his side. Spencer pulls her legs into his lap and she promptly falls asleep. She wakes up when Derek shakes her awake, because they’re about to land. She smiles sleepily at Spencer when Derek starts pointing at things outside the window. He always gets a little giddy when the Chicago skyline comes into view.

“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” –Edna Buchanan

Chapter Text

Intimacy (Week 17-20)

                “It smells like Chicago,” Derek inhales and smiles.

                “Diesel exhaust and cigarettes,” Spencer laughs.

                Derek inhales, again, and Emily and Spencer laugh at him. They wait to be transported to the rental car lot. Derek is still inhaling the air, like it’s the last breaths of his life. They get a four-door sedan that Derek pulls onto the highway. He heads south and navigates the highways like he never left.

                He pulls into Fran’s driveway and Emily sees Fran in the door, even at the late hour, ready to greet them. She knows it’s well past his momma’s bedtime, but she’s happy to see her; Fran’s an exact opposite of her mother. Fran will be happy about the pregnancy. Derek throws the car into park and is taking the front steps two at a time, before Emily even unbuckles. He wraps his mother in his arms and spins her around in a circle. She’s smacking him to put her down, but her eyes glow with maternal love and happiness. Spencer grabs the luggage and starts lugging it up the stairs. Fran smacks Derek and he sheepishly moves to help Spencer who laughs and tells Derek to not apologize for his exuberance. Spencer and Fran hug quickly.

                “Emily, dear, you’re not getting out of it,” Fran teases as Emily follows more slowly. She grins at the older woman. She leans in to give the woman a quick hug; she doesn’t want Fran to feel the baby bump she knows is growing underneath her blouse. However, Fran has other ideas, and pulls Emily closer. It’s bone crunching and Emily is sure Fran can feel the egg shaped protrusion of her navel. Fran pulls away her face surprised, she looks down at Emily’s abdomen, she glances to Derek and Spencer, then back to Emily, and Emily can’t help but grin at the older woman.

                “Well, my goodness, I knew this visit was for something,” Fran laughs as she pulls them inside, “So you’re pregnant?”

                “Yes, ma’am.”

                “O, a grandbaby,” Fran sighs wistfully, “I never thought I’d get a grandbaby out of this one.”

                “Momma,” Derek moans.

                “What? It’s true; I thought I was going to have to rely on Sarah and Desi,” Fran belabors.

                “Well, momma, it may not be your grandkid,” Derek jokes and Fran cuffs the back of his head.

                “Of course, that’s my grandbaby, it’s your child, Derek; you, three, are in a relationship. The baby is all of yours. I swear, sometimes, I don’t know who raised this boy,” Fran huffs. Emily and Spencer chuckles burst through their pursed mouths at Fran’s taxed expression and Derek’s chagrinned one.

                “You all will be in the guest room,” Fran informs, “I hope that’s okay; it’s only a queen-sized bed.”

                “It’ll be fine, Momma.”

                “Are you sure? I’m not so sure about you staying here now; I want my baby back under my roof, but I don’t want to make you sleep apart. I’m not trying to keep you apart, but I can’t imagine two other people sleeping in a queen-sized bed with this one,” she gestures to Derek as she bites her lip.

                “Fran, we’ll make it work. We’re happy to be here. If we don’t fit, we’ll sleep in different rooms. We do that during cases; sometimes, it’s even nice,” Emily jokes.

                “Maybe…”

                “Honestly, Emily and I don’t take up that much room in the bed, and this one will be on his best behavior,” Spencer adds; his finger landing in the middle of Derek’s chest.

                “Yes, I will,” Derek agrees and starts carrying the luggage up the stairs.

                “Brunch will be at 10:30 tomorrow,” Fran yells after him.

                “Thanks, momma, ‘night.”

                “I look forward to it. Good night, Fran,” Spencer says, before following Derek.

                Emily stays downstairs and Fran gestures for her to follow her into the kitchen where Emily sits at the breakfast bar and Fran putters around the kitchen.

                “Something to drink?”

                “Water would be good, thanks,” Emily responds. She takes a deep breath, before adding, “Thank you.”

                “For what, love bug?”

                “For being you.”

                “I’m not sure that’s it, because I’ve always been me, Emily, and you’ve never thanked me before.”

                “Thank you for being happy for us.”

                “Well, that’s sweet of you to say, but I’m really happy for me. I wanted another grandbaby, especially one from my baby boy.”

                “That’s not true. You wanted your son to be happy,” Emily said; her eyes glassy and a melancholy grin on her face.

                “And you, too, Emily. And Spencer, of course. But I know you don’t want to hear that from me and I wish…I wish you had it, too.”

                “I guess you’ll have to show me how to do this good mother thing.”

                “Emily, it’s not something anyone can teach you. Especially not me,” She bites her lip and closes her eyes for a minute, “God knows I’ve made mistakes as a mother, horrible mistakes and my children, especially Derek, paid for them. But all I can tell you is that you have to keep in mind that what makes them truly happy should make you happy, even if you don’t agree, even if it terrifies you, even if you may not understand it. And you’ll know what makes them happy, you’ll see it in their eyes and their words and their bodies. Happiness is the key to life. Now the things that they think make them happy won’t always be what truly do and you have to guide them through and help them explore the world, but it’s not your job to do it for them.”

                “God, I hope I can figure it out.”

                “You have two men who love you and people who support you, and most importantly, you’re worried and that’s the first part of parenting, the worry. I wouldn’t be so happy, if I knew my grandbaby wasn’t going to be in good arms,” Fran says with a smile.

                Emily returns the smile; Fran rubs soothing circles on Emily’s back before kissing her on the forehead and heading up the stairs to her own room. Emily splashes water on her face and places her cup in the sink before following. Derek and Spencer are both still awake, but clearly only waiting for her to curl up into bed.

                “Everything okay?” Derek asks; he’s sprawled across the bed, while Spencer sits in the rocking chair finishing the final pages of his book.

                “Yeah,” Emily replies softly.

                “You sure?”

                “Yes.”

                “What did you and my momma talk about?”

                “Being a mother.”

                “Did it make you feel better?”

                “A little.”

                “That’s good, sweetheart. Now get in this bed, I’m getting awfully cold here.”

                Emily laughs, puts on her pajamas, heads to the bathroom, and then finally crawls under the covers to shimmy up next to Derek. Spencer finishes the book, drops it on the side table, and goes to the bathroom.  He comes back and slides onto the bed sliver Derek and Emily left him. They quickly fall asleep.

                Emily wakes up, in the middle of the night, to Derek’s lips pressing against her forehead.

                “Sweetheart, you alright?” He asks groggily, and she realizes she has a leg hooked over his hips and had been undulating against him. She would feel slightly ridiculous, if it wasn’t for the fingers traveling over her belly-button and the erection pressed against the inside of her knee. She hums her response.

                “We probably shouldn’t do this in your mother’s house,” she whispers, but she doesn’t stop his hand’s progression under her waistband.

                “Spence is the only one opposed to that; I’m game, if you are.” She recognizes it for what it is: a dare. A Derek Morgan dare. She accepts with a sloppy kiss.

                It’s fast; his fingers flutter against her clit perfectly and he teases just enough to bring her to a quick simmer. When he slides two fingers into her and presses against her clit with his thumb, her muscles quiver around him. He kisses her to keep her moans to a minimum. She moves to slide down his body.

                “Em, you don’t have to,” he whispers tugging on her arm.

                “Shut up,” she hisses back.

                She trails kisses down his navel and laps at the pre-cum that’s pooled there.  It’s warm under the blankets and the muskiness is starting to permeate the air. She swirls her tongue and hollows out her cheeks. This isn’t their usual romance; they’re like ridiculously horny college students, hiding under blankets, sleepy blowjobs, and quick orgasms. She swallows as much as she can, licks up the rest, kisses his thigh, and then moves up to kiss his lips. They fall asleep satiated.

                The next morning she’s woken up with a flick to her upper arm; her limbs still tangled with Derek’s.

                “It smells like a brothel in here; you two are incorrigible,” Spencer hisses; he’s fully-dressed and looking affectionately annoyed.

                “How do you know what a brothel smells like, Pretty Boy?” Derek asks blearily and Emily snickers into his neck.

                “You two need to get up and, I don’t know, maybe, Febreze this room,” Spencer responds.

                “Or you could join us,” Derek says, reaching out suddenly and sprawling Spencer across them.

                “Not in your mother’s house, Derek, she’s downstairs cooking; I already spoke to her when I got a cup of coffee. I couldn’t possibly,” he sputters and they laugh in response, “I’m glad you find my veneration comical.”

                “Spence,” Emily sighs through chortles. 

                Spencer gets up and rubs out his non-existent wrinkles. They’re still laughing and Spencer is now looking more annoyed than affectionate. She pops out of bed and kisses his cheek.

                “Love you,” Emily says as she grabs a change of clothes and head for the shower.

                “Sure you don’t want a good morning blow job?” Derek asks.

                “Shut up, of course, I would, but I am not an obnoxious, lascivious teenager.”

                “Okay, grandpa,” Derek says, kissing the top of Spencer’s head.

 

 

                The brunch goes off without a hitch; Sarah and Desiree are thrilled and squeeze the three close. His family and friends are overwhelmingly accepting. The amount of which his family wants to talk and bring them in engulfs Emily and Spencer. Derek finds them hiding out in the formal dining room an hour and a half in.

                “Too intense out there?” Derek asks as he moves to throw his arm around Emily. She ducks out of it.

                “If somebody else touches my stomach or throws their arms around me, I might snap,” she replies.

                “Spencer, that sounded weird,” Derek replies slightly aggravated, “they’re my family, not strangers, and they’re excited for us. I thought you wanted people to be excited for us.”

                “I just mean that as children, Emily and I were not hugged and touched as much as many; therefore, the physicality is uncomfortable.”

                “I could tell them to stop.”

                “Or you could just let us hide out here for a while,” Emily says.

                “All right, I’ll cover for you for a little bit; how long do you think you’ll need?”

                “Just five more minutes.”

 

 

                Emily stalks Spencer down the upstairs hallway. She grabs him around the waist and slides her hand under his shirt.

                “Emily,” he sighs.

                “Spencer,” she replies, kissing his neck.

                “Not here.”

                “Yes, here, my momma won’t be back for another hour, at the earliest,” Derek says ambushing him from the other side.

                “I hate you two.”

                “Your cock doesn’t,” Emily whispers as she runs her hand down the front of his pants.

                “You sound like a high school student; furthermore, we have to be out of here in two hours to go to the hockey game.”

                “You don’t care about the hockey game.”

                “I do; I’m fascinated by the players’ willingness to partake in the game’s brutality.”

                “Plus, it shouldn’t take you two hours, grandpa,” Derek says, engulfing Spencer in a kiss. Derek pulls away quickly when Spencer bites his lower lip and pouts.

                “Don’t call me that.”

                “What are you going to do about it, Pretty Boy?”

                “This,” Spencer growls as he uses his strength and Derek’s surprise to slam him into the hallway’s wall. He nips at Derek’s jaw; he’s careful to make sure not to leave any visible marks.

                “But it’s my mother’s house,” Derek mocks.

                “Well, I am human, Derek,” Spencer hisses.

                They trip toward the bedroom, their lips seeking each other out.

 

 

                “Derek Morgan, you get your butt over here,” calls a petite brunette with a Jonathan Toews jersey that she could wear as a dress. She launches herself at Derek. He kisses her cheek and sets her down. Bobby and Derek share a man hug that handshake-hug combo.

“Bobby, Mar, this is Emily and Spencer. Emily, Spencer, Bobby and Marissa,” Derek half-yells over the music pumping through The United Center.

                “You can call me Mar,” Marissa says congenially, hugging both of them, while Bobby settles for simple handshakes.

                They move to their seats. Emily moves to sit on the aisle to have easy access to the bathroom, Spencer in between her and Derek.

                “As much as I love those two and hockey; do you mind if I sit down here with you?” Marissa asks Emily, “They ignore me when I sit by them.”

                “Baby girl, I’m hurt,” Derek fake sulks.

                “Shut up, you know it’s true.”

                “Um, I’m gonna, have to get up,” Emily tries to organize an excuse.

                “Oh, I completely forgot, Derek told us you were pregnant. Well, I’ll just sit between you guys. Plus, I hear Dr. Reid here has the best facts.”

                Bobby fills Derek in on the going-ons, the gossip, at his old precinct where Bobby still works.  Marissa is chatting Emily’s ear off with her own pregnancy experiences. Spencer is a little excluded from both conversations, so Derek interlaces his fingers with Spencer’s and gives his hand a light squeeze. Emily doesn’t miss it, when Bobby looks slightly distasteful at their clasped hands. Bobby grabs Marissa and drags her to the concession stand. If questioned, Emily would swear she didn’t get up to spy but got up to use the restroom.

                “He’s holding hands with him,” Bobby seethes.

                “They’ve been together for a long time, Robert, I thought you would’ve gotten over this,” Marissa says, crossing her arms tightly over the 19 on her chest.

                “Derek is not gay.”

                “Clearly, you’re wrong about that.”

                “Clearly, I’m not completely wrong.”

                “I can’t believe you’re going to throw away your friendship with Derek by being a homophobe.”

                “I’m not throwing away the friendship; I just don’t always agree with his choices. And I’m not a homophobe; I’m really nice to the gay guy down at the station; it’s just, he’s Derek.”

                “That’s exactly what a homophobic jackass would say.”

                “It’s clearly a choice for him; Emily is there, hell, Emily is pregnant.”

                “I can’t believe I married a homophobe. Bobby, Derek and Spencer were together long before Emily came along.”

                “But he never flaunted it in my face. He never brought him home; the first time I met Spencer was when Emily was there, too. I just think he’s trying to find a way to dump Spencer, so he and Emily can be a real family.”

                “Bobby, I’m gay,” Derek says, coming up out of nowhere and startling both the couple and Emily. His pain is etched in every line of his body, and Emily wants to rush to him but doesn’t want to admit she’s been spying this whole time.

                “What about Emily?”

                “Bringing Emily into our relationship was not my idea, and if it was anybody else, I would have never agreed. After what happened to me as a kid, I had trouble admitting it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Maybe this was a bad idea.”

                “No, Derek, I was so excited to meet them and your news,” Marissa says and pinches her husband before hugging Derek pulling his head down to her shoulder and rubbing up and down his scalp and neck.

                “I, just, we…we went out all those times and you picked up all those girls and you were a guy’s guy,” Bobby wrestles. 

                “He’s still a guy’s guy,” Spencer says, coming up and resting his hand on Derek’s back. Emily can’t help herself; she walks up next to them.

                “He’s right; Derek is still a guy’s guy,” Emily agrees. 

                “I thought, I thought, you would be supportive,” Derek purses his lips, “We need to go.”

                “No, you two should talk,” Spencer encourages.

                “Yes, you truly are a genius, Spencer,” Marissa agrees.

                “I need to use the restroom,” Emily says, Spencer nods and heads back to their section, while Marissa accompanies her.

                When they exit, Derek and Bobby are talking animatedly. They both still look tense, but Derek doesn’t have his arms crossed over his chest anymore. Emily lets it be and follows Marissa back to their seats.

                “This is a good game and none of us are even watching it,” Marissa comments after a while, “I’m sorry about him.”

                “It’s a typical response to a late ‘coming-out’,” Spencer comments.

                “A response like that should never be typical,” Marissa grouses.

                “I like her,” Emily laughs.

                “Me, too,” Spencer agrees.

                “Right here,” Marissa gripes, but then smiles, “but thanks.”

                Derek and Bobby come back just as the first period ends. Their faces are both tight, but Derek’s body isn’t wrought with pain and anger anymore. He squeezes each of their hands as he passes to get to his seat and throws his arm around Spencer defiantly. Bobby’s mouth turns up on one side.

                “I’m sorry,” he apologizes to Spencer.

                “It’s alright; I understand that it’s difficult to accept something you never knew about someone you’ve known for so long.”

                “Don’t give him an out,” Marissa complains.

                “She’s right,” Bobby agrees and looks at Spencer and Emily, “I’m glad Derek has two people who love him; he deserves it.”

                “You sound like my mother,” Derek teases as he shoves Bobby’s shoulder.

                They all relax a little more.

 

 

                The rest of their trip to Chicago goes well, but Las Vegas is a lot like DC. Yet, Diana isn’t angry or mean, she just doesn’t quite understand and she demands Derek leaves. She’s confident he’s a government agent who is trying to spy on her. She tells Emily that the government is going to monitor her pregnancy and try to take the baby away. She spews facts and paranoia the whole time and Emily watches Spencer crawl into himself. She assures him that they will visit again that their visit hasn’t off-put them; they still love him. She knows he worries about that: that they’ll leave him because he will be her, but they still love her and will him if it ever comes to that. He worries that they’ll be like his father.

                Derek spends his time at the blackjack table, Spencer spends his time agonizing, and Emily spends her time trying to hold the two together. She knows they’re all relieved to be on their way back to their big bed and their normal routine, even if that normal routine includes paperwork and unsubs.

When they’re quiet, like they have been for the last few days, Emily knows she needs to do something. When they get quiet, they also don’t touch. They get home from work a few days after their return trip from Vegas. It’s late; they order Chinese food, while watching The Daily Show. It’s infuriatingly quiet; they might as well be sitting in different rooms.

Derek heads up for a shower. Spencer puts on pajamas and climbs into bed. Emily climbs in next to him naked and starts to strip off his clothes.

“Emily, not tonight,” Spencer says and tries to roll away from her.

“We all need to touch,” Emily says.

“Emily.”

“You know as well as I do that skin-to-skin contact is good for humans.”

“Yes, it is good for stress, anxiety, and even physical pain, but we don’t like to touch.”

“The three of us like to touch each other and that’s all I want to do; we have had a lot of stress and anxiety lately.”

She presses her body into him and he wraps an arm around her. She immediately feels tension leave both of them. His skin is warm and presses against her tender chest. He’s boney and sinewy against her softened curves.

“Your chest is much bigger. An average woman’s breasts can grow two sizes during pregnancy, but will probably go down after weaning.”

“There’s the Spencer I know.”

“What’s going on in here?” Derek asks.

“I think you’d refer to it as cuddling,” Spencer replies sardonically. 

“O, look, Spence is back.”

Emily gets up and pulls off Derek’s boxers. He crawls into his usual space between them. They’re touching each other gently. She throws her arm over Derek’s body, places her hand on his chest, presses her front to his back, and throws her leg over his hip to latch her foot around Spencer’s hip. His body heat relieves some of the tenderness in her chest. Her baby bump fits nicely in the small of his back. They’re all pressed together tightly. She can feel Spencer’s cold feet against her shins and his one hand threads with hers on Derek’s chest. Derek’s body loses its tension as well. They fall asleep quickly tangled together.

Emily wakes up when she hears a whimper close to her. She can see a Spencer shaped blob under the blankets.

“Sorry, Em,” Derek says. She hears a snort from Spencer and smiles at them. It’s not too early; a half an hour before their usual morning routine begins.

“S’okay, best night’s rest I’ve had in weeks, maybe even months.”

Derek hums in agreement and a thumbs-up appears from under the blanket. Emily snorts into Derek’s neck.

“I love you two.”

“Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still.” –Robert Sternberg

Chapter Text

After her morning sickness, Emily had fairly enjoyed being pregnant; she’d enjoyed her twenty-something-like orgasms and missing her horrendous periods. Yet, the pain snuck up and attacked her.  Her back started aching, her stomach got in the way, her feet swelled, and her bladder shrunk. The pregnancy had smacked her in the face. She imagined this was how most women felt during their pregnancies.

                And while she might be in more pain, she starts feeling more and more like she has an actual baby growing inside of her. It’s no longer this parasite that’s using her to grow and causing her to vomit incessantly. She’s started to consider it her baby, her child, their child; she knows it’s dangerous, the pregnancy isn’t even viable, but she somehow can’t stop it.

                She thinks, maybe, that feeling the baby move has solidified this feeling of motherly love within her. She’s sitting on the couch with Sergio curled in her lap the first time she feels fluttering in her navel. At first, she wonders if it’s indigestion, but after a few moments, she realizes it doesn’t feel like any indigestion she’s had before. She lets out a few breathy laughs before she calls for Spencer and Derek.

                “Spencer, Derek, come quick,” she yells. Their feet pounding toward the room makes the house shake. Their worried looks make her feel ashamed and slightly silly.

                “It’s nothing bad; I just felt the baby move.”

Yet when she touches the outside of her stomach she realizes they won’t be able to feel the fluttering that she can. Derek reaches quickly for her stomach, but pulls back at her irked expression.

                “You can’t feel it on the outside,” she sighs, and Derek and Spencer try hard to not look disappointed, “I’m sorry.”

                “It’ll happen sometime,” Spencer assures and they nod in return.

                She can’t wait to share this with them.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

                It’s become a nightly routine; Emily lies with her head propped against the armrest, a book in her lap, and her feet in Spencer’s. Spencer’s fingers have always been pinpointing in their exactness, and foot massages are no different. Her feet have been incredibly dried out, sore, and just recently had been swelling immensely.  She tried to massage her own feet at first, but her aching back and protruding stomach made it difficult. Spencer had seen her cracked heels when he pulled her legs into his lap one evening and had refused to let her refuse. She was glad she hadn’t put up much of a fight, because it led to nightly foot massages that relaxed her enough to fall asleep at night. 

                This evening is no different; Spencer has one of Emily’s feet in his hands, while she peruses Becoming Attached. She’s taken a page out of Spencer’s book and is trying to quell her nervousness by reading as many books about parenting as she can.

                “Your feet have swollen greatly, Emily,” Spencer says matter-of-factly and she kicks him lightly with her other foot.

                “Pretty Boy,” Derek sighs.

                “No, I’m concerned this could be an indication of a more severe condition.”

                His truly perturbed look sends a terrified chill through Emily. Her heart rate leaps and she pulls up her foot to look at it.

                “You really think so?” She asks Spencer nervously.

                “Slow your rolls, he’s just being a worry-wart; you’re both being worry-warts. We went to your last appointment less than two weeks ago and they said everything was fine,” Derek reminds calmingly.

                “He’s probably right, Emily,” Spencer assures as he goes back to rubbing lotion into her foot’s cracked sole. It still sits in Emily’s gut though; the fear begins to fester.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

She doesn’t know if it’s paranoia or an actual complication that’s making her head and stomach ache. She’s pretty sure it’s not her imagination, but she doesn’t want to be a hypochondriac. She’s never been one before, but the worry is really festering.

                It comes to a head when she nearly collapses in the bullpen. She stands up to get a glass of juice from the fridge and she sways violently and her vision blurs. She grips Derek’s shoulder to get her balance back and Derek and Spencer look at her anxiously. She shakes them off, but Spencer follows her into the kitchenette area. She pours herself a glass of pomegranate juice, while Spencer gets a cup of coffee.

                “Emily, I think you need to go to the obstetrician.”

                “Spencer.”

                “I know Derek doesn’t want us to worry and I agree, but I also think we should be cautious. I know you’re worrying anyway; it’ll be better to just make sure.”

                “You’re right; I just... I’ve become attached, Spence.”

                “We all have,” he responds, but she still looks bothered, “Emily, that’s not a bad thing and ignoring complications isn’t going to make it better.”

                “It could be bad to be this attached.”

                “Derek’s right about one thing, you can’t think like that.”

                Her obstetrician tells her it was a good idea to call and the secretary sets her up with a cancellation appointment for the next day.  That evening, unlike their usual sitting positions, Derek pulls her into his side, holds her tightly, and kisses her on the forehead.

                “It’s alright to love the baby,” he whispers into her hair as she unconsciously runs a hand over her stomach.

                “I know.”

                “I know it’s a difficult risk to take.”

                She buries her face into his side and breaths him in; she’s not crying. She’s just thinking, allowing herself to imagine Derek pulling their child into his side and telling the child how proud he is and comforting him or her. Of Spencer watching affectionately, adding a back-pat or a hair-tussle. Of her worrying and she knows the risks she’s taking could be well worth it.

                The sense of doom doesn’t stop though.

 ~~~~~~

 

                They arrive at the doctor’s office and there’s no sense of urgency. The fear and worry rush through their veins, but it doesn’t reverberate on the walls. The nurse calls her back and chats nonchalantly with them. Emily knows it’s ridiculous, but she kind of wants to shake her. This appointment feels like a momentous event. 

                The air of normalcy dips after the nurse takes her blood pressure. The nurse looks a little perturbed, but she doesn’t say anything to Emily. Her pulse races, Spencer’s brow crinkles, and Derek’s jaw clenches.

                Dr. Howard comes in and discusses Emily’s symptoms. She does a full exam. Her usual sunny disposition is not nearly as bright; her face is somber but controlled. Emily has the sudden urge to stick her fingers in her ears and scream lalala. She reaches out for a hand and looks over to see that Derek and Spencer are already clutching each other’s hand, but they both reach out their empty hands to her. She doesn’t know what the grips will do to ward off the bad news, but she clutches desperately at their hands nonetheless.

                “Well, we’ve hit a bump in the road.”

“Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”—Henry David Thoreau

Chapter Text

Restless (Week 25-28)

“According to your symptoms, your blood pressure, and your urine test, you have preeclampsia,” Dr. Howard informs clinically; her usually cheerful voice gone.

                Emily loses the air in her lungs and makes a choked sound, Spencer worries his lip between his teeth, and Derek drops the tough exterior, looking nervous and vulnerable.

                “What does that mean for her and the baby; what can we do?” Derek finally asks; his voice is softer and more unguarded than Emily has ever heard it. Her eyes snap to him and she tries to smile at him. Spencer squeezes his hand.

                “Well, the only cure is the birth of the baby; however, obviously, it’s too early for that. I’d rather not put Emily on medication, though there are medicinal options; I don’t want it to come to that. The best way to proceed from here, I think, would be bed rest. Of course, I understand if you want to get a second opinion.”

                “What was her blood pressure?” Spencer asks softly.

                “147 over 93; at her last appointment it was 125 over 76 and her records show that at her last physical it was 118 over 76. Typically, we consider it preeclampsia when it reaches above 140 over 90.”

                “You’re not a second opinion, Spencer,” Emily tries to joke.

                “I would say the numbers speak for themselves; there’s no need for a second opinion,” Spencer replies with conviction, and Derek and Emily nod their weary agreement.

                “Preeclampsia is dangerous both to the mother and the child; it can cause stroke, issues with the placenta, low birth weight, liver problems, and bleeding. With your active lifestyle, Emily, this is going to be a difficult adjustment. You’re going to have to stay resting in bed or in a reclined position on your left side for most of the day. You’ll have to severely limit activity to only the necessities. I’ll want you here at least once a week, if not more, and you will have to check your blood pressure regularly. If it doesn’t lower a little or there starts to be more complications, we’ll have to admit you and go from there. I’d rather not have it come to that; you have around 12 weeks before I’d feel comfortable delivering the baby and I think that’s far too long for anyone to spend in the hospital. This is serious, though, Emily. I know you’re typically very active, but this is not the time to push through it.”

                “I understand.”

                “You, two, will make sure she stays in bed?”

                “Absolutely,” they respond resolutely.

                “Alright, there’s not much else; I’m going to send you home with a few pamphlets and some instructions, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. It’s a difficult diagnosis to hear, but it is something you can overcome. I want you to be cautious without worrying too much, because worrying will raise your blood pressure and be counterproductive. How about we take a look at the little one?”

                They nod and she moves to get the ultrasound equipment.

                “I usually have the technicians do this, but to ease your mind, I’ll perform the ultrasound.”

                She applies the warm gel to Emily’s protruding stomach and runs the wand over it. The fluttering pounding of the heartbeat fills the room. They let out a collective sigh and Doctor Howard smiles indulgently at them.

                “I know you didn’t want to know last time, but I could tell you the sex if you want to know.” The three look at each other.

                “I do; I want to know…I need to know,” Emily rushes and looks shamefacedly at Derek and Spencer. Spencer squeezes her hand and Derek kisses the top of her head; both accepting her decision.

                “Well, it looks like you’ll be having a little girl,” Dr. Howard informs, “I’ll leave you three for a moment and get that information packet ready for you.”

                “Thank you,” they whisper in unison; it makes Dr. Howard grin as she exits.

                “A little girl,” Emily sighs as she wipes off the gel and pulls down her shirt.

                “My baby girl,” Derek says, resting his hand on the bump.

                “A little girl,” Spencer says apprehensively, “I’ve never been good with girls.”

                “You’ve always been good with me,” Emily replies.

                “You don’t give yourself enough credit,” Derek reminds, patting Spencer’s chest.

                “It’s all become so real, so scary,” Spencer says.

                “We’ve got this,” Derek says with bravado, but the worry is evident. 

~~~~~~                                

                Bed rest is not agreeing with Emily. It makes the days and weeks seem far longer than they are. She’s itching to do something, but Derek’s agitation and Spencer’s anxiety keeps her firmly in their bed. They’re being as accommodating, understanding, and loving as possible, but Emily is still itching to do things for herself. It’s hard to rely on other people; she loves them, but she’s fiercely independent. She wants something to do, but Spencer and Derek have refused to allow Hotch to give her consultations. Her boredom level is killing her. It especially agitates her when Spencer and Derek leave for cases; she wants to be in the field with them and misses their presence at home. Garcia checks on her while they’re out of town, but she’s also working cases and can’t spend a lot of time with her. She’s not sure how the bed rest is helping her blood pressure, since it agitates her so much to be on it. It’s the fifth day Derek has come home from work to find her doing something she shouldn’t be. There’s a bang and a muffled curse; when Derek walks into the kitchen, she’s lifting the heavy stock pot onto the only shelf in the pantry it fits on.

                “Son of a bitch,” he laments and then lifts the pot onto the shelf, “Emily, you need to stay in bed. Do you know what this could do to you or the baby?” His voice is loud, but it quivers ever so slightly, “It could mean death for either or both of you, stroke, placental or liver rupture, low birth weight, and bleeding problems. I’ve read the pamphlets, Emily; this is serious.”  

                She looks at him guiltily and she’s distressed by the tears forming in both of their eyes; she doesn’t want to cry or watch him cry.

                “I can’t do this, Derek, I’m already a shitty mother,” she laughs self-deprecatingly; she shakes with pent-up emotion.

“Fuck, sweetheart, that’s not true.”

“I’m sorry, Derek, I really am; I just can’t do this.”

                “Sweetheart, you can, I know you can,” he sighs and pulls her to him, “I’m sorry I lost it, but I can’t lose you. And you’re not the only one who has fallen in love with our baby girl; I would hate to lose her, too.”

                She buries her face in his collar for a few seconds, regaining her composure. She knows he’s right and it makes her guilt sky-rocket. He helps her back to the bedroom, kissing her forehead after she’s settled under the blankets with remote in hand.

                An hour later, Clooney barks, the front door closes lightly, and she knows Spencer’s home, dinner will be ready soon and she starts to head downstairs. As she walks towards the dining area, she hears them talking in the living room.

                “I yelled at her, Spence, I fucking yelled at her,” he says gravelly.

                “Why? What happened?”

                “She was doing dishes, again, and it scares the shit out of me; I just flipped. I never wanted to yell at her like that. Shit,” he takes a staggering breath, “Shit.”

                “What did you say?”

                “I reminded her of all the things Dr. Howard told us and then I told her that I couldn’t lose them.”

                “Maybe, it’s something she needed to hear; she’s been fighting this and she can’t.”

                “What if I made it worse, Spencer; God, Pretty Boy, what did I do?” Derek whispers and this time his voice is muffled. Emily peers around the corner to see his cheek is pressed into Spencer’s shirtfront. Spencer has Derek’s head cupped in his hand and he kisses the top of his head. Derek’s openness and worry makes Emily’s remorse rise.

                “I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think, Derek,” he says as he kisses his head again, “I’ll go get her for dinner.” Derek nods into his shirt, “Are you going to be all right?”

                “Yeah, yeah, you don’t need to worry about me.”

                “I always worry about you,” Spencer says seriously, pulling Derek back to kiss his mouth gently, “I worry about the ones I love.”

                Spencer gets up to go out and Emily scurries back. He finds her in the hallway and smiles at her softly.

                “Ready for dinner?” He asks and she nods. He places a hand on the small of her back, sighs, and continues, “Emily, I know bed rest is and will be difficult for you; I’ve always loved how autonomous you are, but you have to do this. For my peace of mind, for Derek’s peace of mind, for Penelope’s peace of mind, for everyone’s peace of mind, but especially for yourself and the fetus, you have to do this. If you cannot, we might have to reconsider having you admitted.”

                She looks crossly at him for a second, but his face is somber and not assertive; he truly feels like they’re out of options.

                “’M sorry.”

                “I know, Emily, let’s sit down tonight and reconsider our plan.”

                “Okay.”

~~~~~~

                They can’t come to a decision, other than Emily is going to take bed rest more seriously and allow them to take care of her. They do a fantastic job; the shelves in the kitchen are filled with the strangest ingredients and freezer with tub after tub of ice cream. They make an effort, for at least one of them, to be home every evening early so Emily can avoid the itch of being alone all day. They rotate: Derek goes home for lunch, Spencer comes home early to make dinner, and the next day it’s the opposite; it’s working out well both for the BAU and their relationship. Derek and Spencer also become neurotic about having the chores done, so there’s nothing for Emily to do around the house. They don’t want to give her an excuse to do something, so they finish the dishes, take out the trash, vacuum, and dust regularly. They clean to the point of distraction.

                Emily still wants things to do, but she tries to enjoy the rest and time she’s getting. And when that can’t be accomplished, she thinks about her daughter; the daughter who feels realer every moment. The flutters can be felt now on the outside of her body, it awes Derek, and it kind of still freaks Spencer out. Yet, he’s getting more comfortable. More and more now Spencer can be found with a hand placed over Emily’s protruding stomach; his nimble fingers draw patterns over Emily’s shirts. Emily is already intrigued by their parental interactions; Spencer introduces the baby to classical music and explains development, while Derek croons off-key jazz tunes into her belly-button and narrates hockey games. Spencer recites stories and Derek tells them. And Emily, well, she talks to the baby like she’s her closest friend, because, after all, she is literally the closest person to her. She talks all day about anything and everything. It keeps her sane to remember who she’s doing this for.

She whirls through the library and the Netflix queue which leave her wishing for a hobby. She tries to learn how to knit, but anytime she drops a loop, she pulls the whole thing apart, and she has to start over. The project is futile. She’s absolutely stir-crazy, but the bed rest is helping; her blood pressure is down, but not enough for Dr. Howard to release her from the prison of boredom.

                Derek and Spencer are on another case and that makes her want to climb out of bed even more; the rebellious stage hasn’t ever left her system. She’s surprised when the doorbell rings in the middle of the day; she knows it’s not Garcia who promised to stop by with dinner tonight, if nothing urgent came up. She slowly meanders to the door; she smiles when she sees Fran standing on the doorstep. She throws the door open and is immediately engulfed in a hug.

                “Derek sent you to babysit.”

                “Spencer,” she laughs, “I hope you don’t mind; I thought you might want the company.”

                “Might as well stay, you’re already here.”

                “I would’ve called, but I knew you’d never let me come.”

                “That’s probably true.”

                “You remind me a lot of myself, Emily. Now, let’s go sit down, I brought photo albums.”

“I could not help it: the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Chapter Text

Worry (Week 29-32)

                Fran makes bed rest a million times better for Emily; not only does she provide company, but a million great ideas that Emily should do before the baby comes. Emily starts compiling a scrapbook; she’s not an immensely crafty or sentimental person, but it does occupy her time. She might even understand why some women have a whole room dedicated to such things, not that she would admit it. She also likes telling their story; she’s compiled pages of herself, Derek, and Spencer throughout their lives and the story of how they became a triad.  It’s hard to find pictures of the three of them together, but she manages with the help of Garcia who has scads and scads of photos. Some of them Emily isn’t sure how she got, but she doesn’t want to question Garcia’s powers and be deprived of the photos.

She also spends hours picking out the perfect things to go in the nursery and on the registry. She has Derek pick up paint samples and together they choose, the ridiculous named Tropicana Cabana, a light turquoise. Her shopping is making her feel materialistic, but it’s one of the easiest things to do lying in bed. All she needs is a credit card and click-y fingers, and sometimes, she doesn’t even need the credit card. Her click-y fingers get bored and for the rest of the time she scrapbooks, reads, or writes. She finds the writing therapeutic; she writes about Interpol, Matthew, the BAU, Yale, her mother, moving from place to place, and her relationships. She never imagined enjoying something that was always associated with doing reports and revealing yourself; nevertheless, she finds herself immersed in the world of writing. When she can’t type any longer and her eyes burn or her hand cramps from doing it the old-fashion way, she delves into a new series on Netflix or naps.

Derek and Spencer have both been able to relax more since Fran showed up. Fran takes the reign on many of the domestic things, but she leaves enough for them to do so they don’t get restless. She’s also good about knowing when to give them their space and allow them to enjoy each other. They’re reveling in Emily’s pregnancy and preparing for their daughter. Spencer starts looking for picture books and Derek for baby music. It’s almost too domestic for Emily to handle, FBI agents preparing for a little, tiny, miniscule being.

“I think Derek’s happier, now that you’re here,” Emily tells Fran as they eat lunch one day.

“I think he’s happier, because I’m here to watch you,” Fran responds and Emily snorts in response, “He’s so crazy in love with you two; I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.”

“It takes strong, devout, loving people to participate in the kind of relationship that you three have sustained. It’s not for the faint of heart. I would have never been able to share my Charlie.”

“It kind of just falls into place. We don’t do anything extremely different than other couples and neither was ever mine.”

“And that’s why I know I’ve never seen such a thing before; you make it look easy.”

When Derek and Spencer come home that evening, Emily is especially affectionate and Fran smiles knowingly. She excuses herself to the guestroom right after dinner. Emily is not a cuddle-bug; far from it, in fact, but she finds herself pressing completely into the crook of Derek’s arm. After watching The Hangover on Starz cuddled together, she peppers kisses all over Derek’s neck and he looks at her incredulously.

“Come on, sweetheart, don’t,” he says trying to deflect her kisses.

“Why the hell not, Derek?”

“You’re supposed to be on bed rest; I don’t want to hurt you or the baby.”

“Dr. Howard never limited sexual activity,” Spencer quips, “Obviously, we should avoid anything strenuous, but it’s probably still safe.”

“Probably,” Derek says, repelling another kiss, “I’m not taking chances to get my rocks off.”

“Sex has been known to lower blood pressure and stress levels,” Spencer informs as he traces patterns on the back of Derek’s head and neck. Derek gratifies him with a muffled moan, but is adamant on trying to repel them.  

“Yeah, Derek,” Emily retorts, sucking on his neck, “It lowers blood pressure.”

Emily climbs onto Derek’s lap and grinds down as she pulls with her teeth on his bottom lip. Spencer moves until he’s pressed into Derek’s side and presses open-mouthed kisses to his neck.

“Only, if you let us do all the work,” Derek growls at Emily; his actions the opposite of his growl as he gently lifts her and places her where he was sitting.

“Yes, Agent Morgan,” she replies sarcastically.

“Don’t sass me, pretty girl.”

They kiss for a few feverish minutes, before Derek lifts Emily up.

“Let’s take this upstairs,” he groans into her ear.

“Derek, if you don’t put me down, you won’t be doing anything upstairs, but sleeping in your office,” Emily returns, struggling in his grasp. Spencer’s amused laugh reverberates off the walls and they shush him, for the first time, remembering that Fran is upstairs, but Emily chuckles with him when she looks at Derek’s sullen face.

They climb the stairs. It’s not as easy for Emily to get comfortable and she can never get as comfortable as she would like nowadays; it’s decide that it will be easiest if Emily lies on her side, but the men’s erections have flagged and Emily almost feels guilty. Yet, they rally quickly as they strip off clothes with wandering hands supplemented with warm openmouthed kisses. Derek hesitates too long and too much for Emily who pulls Spencer to her, instead; Derek almost looks too relieved for Emily’s liking. Spencer has no qualms as his attitude is based on facts, while Derek’s are based in his emotionality; however, that doesn’t mean that Spencer isn’t especially gentle and careful as he enters her and rocks his hips. When he gets into a damningly-slow rhythm, he reaches into the night stand over Emily to throw the lube at Derek. Derek’s probing finger presses against his prostate and he thrusts harder into Emily than he intended.

“Shit, Em, ‘M sorry,” he almost squeals as Derek’s finger hits the spongy gland again.

“Again, Spence,” she moans as her hips cant back.

“Come on, Pretty Boy, do what our girl asks,” Derek says as he scissors two fingers inside Spencer, seemingly, forgetting his previous hesitation.

“Fuck, Derek,” Spencer wails and pumps into Emily until she cries out, fluttering around him and drawing him deeper. Emily knows Spencer is close; his movements erratic and needy, but she knows he’ll enjoy it more if he comes when Derek’s inside of him inside of her.

“Hold still,” Emily demands and she knows it takes all of Spencer’s willpower to follow her direction.

“Derek,” Emily prompts.

“Goddamn, Emily. Are you ready? Can I, sweetheart?” Derek asks, running a hand down Spencer’s spine causing Spencer to arch against his hand.

“Yes, Derek,” Spencer replies; Derek presses the tip of his cock in and Spencer gasps, “I’m gonna c….” 

Derek reaches forward and squeezes his index finger and thumb around the base of Spencer’s cock. Derek enters him slowly; when he’s fully seated, he pulls back and thrusts harshly back in. They’re all close, rocking together in a maddening rhythm. The rhythm starts to lose the finesse it had and turns erratic.  Spencer reaches a hand over her hip and slides below her protruding stomach to rub against her clit. She feels the tension building in her abdomen implode, just as Spencer stifles a howl against her neck.

She turns over to watch them. Derek flips Spencer on to his stomach. He reaches up to place his hands on Spencer’s shoulder; he uses his hips and his hands on Spencer to slam their bodies together.

“Come on, Derek,” she urges as she nips the spot below his ear that always sets him off.

He cries out and presses a kiss to Spencer’s shoulder as he plunges into him one last time. His body shudders and he collapses on top of Spencer.

“Derek, roll over,” Spencer demands, smacking Derek’s hip.

He obliges and once his weight is gone, Spencer flips onto his back. His refractory time is amazing and constantly awes his two lovers.

“You will be the death of me, Pretty Boy,” Derek guffaws.

“Well, you’ll die happy; at least, that’s how the phrase usually goes,” Spencer chuckles, stroking himself languidly.

                “Let me,” Derek says reaching out to stroke Spencer. It doesn’t take long before Spencer is tensing and spilling over Derek’s hand and his own stomach. 

“I’ll go get a cloth to clean you up.”

“Derek, it’s not necessary.”

“You have cum all over you, Pretty Boy.”

“I’d like it better, if you cleaned me up.”

“You know how much he loves your tongue on him,” Emily reminds teasingly.

“You two,” Derek mumbles as he moves down Spencer’s body, lapping at his navel and swirling his tongue in his Spencer’s belly button.

                Spencer babbles incoherently, a statistics lost on his lips, and Derek smirks up at him. When he’s removed all the cum from Spencer’s front, he moves down and kisses his puckered entrance. Pushing a tongue into the loosened hole, he swirls his tongue, collecting some of his own semen.

                When Derek finally lifts his head, Spencer is beyond satiated. His eyelids are heavy and he shimmies onto his side to sleep, but accepts the slow kiss from Derek before nuzzling into the pillow.

                “’Night,” Spencer whispers as he curls into Derek’s warmth.

                Derek caresses Spencer’s hair and smiles at Emily who grins in return. She wants to stay curled in the heated warmth of their bed, but the fullness in her bladder won’t allow it. She rolls out of bed, and immediately, her vision starts to fade. She sways but tries to control it; she doesn’t want to alarm Derek. She knows he’s tracking her progress; if not out of concern, then adoration; whatever the case, his eyes are on her.

                “Sweetheart,” Derek gasps, when she sways again and has to reach for the doorframe of the en-suite to stabilize her. He’s out of bed and at her side like a rocket. He mumbles under his breath, “Son of a bitch.” She can hear all the blame he’s adding to himself in that one little utterance; she hates when he does this. Hates when he blames himself for something that she, as a fucking adult, consented to, that she wanted, and that she begged him for. Clearly, this isn’t his fault, but that won’t stop him from blaming himself. And she sends up a silent prayer, to a god she rarely speaks to, that everything is okay, if only to stop Derek’s immense guilt from ruining him.

                “Derek, I’m fine, this happens sometimes. Don’t’ worry until I actually pass out,” she kids.

                “I’d rather not have it come to that, Em.”

                “I know, but I’m fine. I just get a little dizzy sometimes, but that happened even before I was pregnant, remember?”

                “I’d still like you to take your blood pressure.”

                “Only after I relieve the bladder your daughter is dancing on.”

                His lips turn up slightly at the mention of the baby, but it seems that only reminds him more of why he wants her to check her blood pressure. When she returns to bed, she puts the cuff on her bicep, closes her eyes, takes deep breaths, and wills her blood pressure to be low.

                “140 over 87,” he says crossly.

                “That’s fine, Derek, well within the parameters Dr. Howard said were acceptable.”

                “But higher than this morning.”

                “Mine’s always a little higher in the evening.”

                “It wasn’t yesterday.”

                “Stop being contrary just so you can blame yourself,” she sighs as Spencer’s hand gropes out for the warmth that’s missing from around him, “Look, Spence is looking for you.”

                “I’m more worried about you.”

                “I’m fine, now, go curl up with our pretty boy and bask in the post-coital haze.”

                “Em.”

                “Derek.”

                “Thanks for the concern, but I feel fine; I’m merely tired. So let’s sleep,” she says, lying in her usual spot and patting the place between her and Spencer.

                While not his typical modus operandi, post-coital Spencer loves burrowing into someone else’s warmth. When Derek finally deems Emily fine, he climbs between the two. He presses one of his sides next to Spencer who immediately throws a leg and an arm over him that make Derek chuckle; Spencer’s after sex sleepy spider-man moves always startle Derek. Emily lies on her side facing Derek and intertwines her fingers with Spencer’s, letting them rest on Derek’s ribcage. His breathing lulls her to sleep.

                When she wakes up a few hours later, Derek’s running his fingers through her hair. His eyes intently focused on her face. He kisses her gently on the forehead, but can’t move much as Spencer snores lightly on his clavicle.

                “I’m okay, Derek, really,” she kisses his pectoral, “She’s fine; I can feel her kicking and shifting. That’s what woke me up.”

                He reaches down his hand and can feel the baby shifting.

                “I always wanted kids,” Derek says, his voice soft with a slight tremor. Emily doesn’t look up, just murmurs and kisses his chest again to let him know she’s listening, “But I always felt like I couldn’t tell anyone. I could tell people I wanted to be a football player, a hockey player, a hip-hop star, an actor, even a cop, but I could never tell anyone I wanted to be a dad. I couldn’t tell them that sometimes, when I was left home alone, I would go play with my sister’s dolls: rocking them, feeding them, and crooning to them. I wanted, very badly, to create the home life that I remembered before my dad died. I wanted to be an awesome father that you saw on TV who snuck their kids candy bars and talked them through their problems. I wanted to be Bill Cosby more than I ever wanted to be Walter Payton; no matter how awesome he was. I never thought I was going to have that and now that it’s so close, I’m so afraid. I’m scared of losing her, of losing you, of being a horrible parent, but most of all I’m scared of failing Spencer, you, and our little girl. It’s everything I ever wanted and yet I’m completely terrified.”

                “Derek, we’re all worried, but a wise woman told me that worrying was the first step to parenthood.”

                “Was that woman my mother?”

                “As a matter of fact, yes, yes it was.”

                “I never understood why she worried so much.”

                “Now, you know,” Emily laughs.

                “She was just being a good parent.”

DEREK INTERLUDE

The next morning Derek finds his mother in the kitchen making biscuits and sausage gravy. He can smell the coffee brewing in the pot next to the stove and it brings back the childhood memories of home.

“Momma, you didn’t have to.”

“I was hoping it would wake someone up; I’ve been up for hours. I knew you slept late, but…”

“Momma, I’m the rooster in this house.”

“No kidding.”

“So last night, Emily told me you said that worry was the main part of being a parent,” Derek says, and Fran hums in acquiescence, “So this feeling will never go away.”

“No, sorry, darling, but I’d rather have worried than not worried at all.”

“What?”

“When I didn’t worry, those were the times I regretted the most. When I was cautious and worried, I never regretted it.”

“Momma…”

“No, baby boy, I didn’t worry about Carl Buford and look what happened. Look what he did to you, and I had no idea, because I wasn’t cautious, I didn’t worry about you, baby. I didn’t worry and I regret that every day,” she sniffs loudly, but it’s the only sign she’s crying as she stirs the gravy.

“Momma, it wasn’t your fault. I don’t blame you,” he says softly, and she turns to look at him.

“O, baby, I know, and I’m so happy you forgive me. But I’ll never forgive myself,” she touches his cheek and rubs her thumb along his cheekbone where a single tear trails down, “Baby, it’ll be all right; you’ll be good parents and you’ll get use to the worry, because it’s not just worry it’s love. It’ll be hard, but you three will manage it together.”

Emily chooses that moment to shuffle into the kitchen. She’s wearing one of Derek’s Blackhawks t-shirts and a pair of his gym shorts. She leans against him and mumbles something about coffee.

“Not until we take your blood pressure.”

“I’m gonna hurt you, if you don’t give me coffee.”

“That threat gets old, sweetheart, when you say it every day.”

“Hate you.”

“I know,” he hums in response as he grabs the machine they keep in the powder room.

“’Mornin’, Fran,” Emily says.

“’Morning, love bug.”

“Smells good.”

“Thanks.”

Derek takes her blood pressure and deems it low enough for her to have a small cup of coffee. She leans her head over it and savors the aroma. She drinks it with the same reverence as she watches Derek and Fran banter. Fran starts serving up the breakfast and breathes that in with equal vigor.

“Look who’s finally awake,” Derek teases as Spencer shuffles into the room.

“Bed was cold,” he replies tiredly as he rubs his eyes.

“We’ve got breakfast.”

“Smells delicious.”

“As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can.”-Julius  Caesar

Chapter Text

Anger (Week 33-36)

                It’s not that she’s just angry at Derek and Spencer; she’s angry at everything, every fucking thing that exists in the world. She’s not exactly sure why, and she knows it’s completely irrational to be this fucking angry. She can’t stop it; she tries to pull away from the rage that circulates in her blood stream, but it’s encompassing. The best she can do is sequester herself in the basement and wait for the anger to pass. She knows that they’re handling her with kid-gloves which kind of irritates her more, but also satisfies the monster tearing at her. She’s glad Fran’s gone home, because she’s kind of embarrassed, not that she’ll admit it.

                “Emily,” Spencer comes down the stairs slowly.

                “What?”

                “Derek and I painted a wall in the nursery; we wanted to make sure it’s what you want.”

                “Of course, it’s what I want; I spent hours picking it out,” She huffs, and Spencer folds his arms over his chest.

                “I know, but Derek said that sometimes the color isn’t always what people had in mind, even when they spend months picking it out. We wanted to be sure it’s what you… we had in mind.”

                “All right, help me up.”

                He helps her up from the couch, but she pulls away quickly when she’s stabilized. He follows her to his office turned nursery; he’d asserted that he could move his desk into the library where he spent most of his time anyways. Spencer’s office was after all usually very empty. He likes curling up in the recliners in the library more than sitting at the hard-backed desk chair anyways. It would still be the library, but Derek and Emily had moved the books they liked and used the most into the bookshelves in their own offices to allow Spencer his own space.

                She nearly stomps into the nursery; she can feel the anger boiling. It’s like someone turned on the burner without alerting her or gaining her permission. Derek’s crouched over a paint tray, the floor is covered with a tarp, and blue painter’s tape outlines the windows and covers the outlets. Derek looks up and smiles at her hesitantly. His forearm and face are speckled with tiny paint drops, and she glances at Spencer and realizes he’s in a similar state. She finally looks at the wall and it’s perfect which makes her feel like a complete ass.

                “That section’s done,” Derek indicates the left side of the wall.

                “It’s exactly what I want,” she says, but she realizes her voice is still a little harsh and almost too detached.

                “I’m glad, Em,” Derek says as he picks up a roller to finish the rest of the room.

                “You should go rest, maybe, take a nap,” Spencer says as he attempts to kiss her forehead.

                “Reid,” she scolds, and he jolts at the use of his surname. She knows he’s right and following doctor’s orders, but it still grates on her nerves, “Don’t.”

                “Sorry, Emily,” he concedes and moves to help Derek.

                She hurries to the bedroom, before letting out an almost weepy, “Fuck.” 

                They come in an hour later; quietly, they take separate, quick showers and dress. Emily pretends to be asleep and lies curled in the middle of their large bed. She feels the anger start to break, when Derek places a light kiss on her protruding stomach, pushes her hair behind her ear, and kisses her forehead and Spencer strokes her stomach and gently kisses her, now exposed, neck.

                They leave and she lies in bed for a little longer. She closes her eyes and imagines taking a sledge hammer to the cracking façade of her anger. It’s helping and after a while she decides to go downstairs with them. Quite possibly, maybe, apologize for her ridiculous behavior. Maybe, she’ll be demonstrative with kisses or words and tell them how much she truly loves the nursery, all that they’re doing, and the men themselves.

                She finds them in the living room. There’s a movie on, but neither is watching. Spencer is reading a parenting book and Derek is trying to distract him. It’s obvious that Derek’s been at it for quite a while, because he’s kissing his neck and palming Spencer’s growing erection. 

                “Derek,” Spencer moans; it’s half plea, half warning. The moan ignites something in Derek who throws the book on the coffee table and starts unbuttoning Spencer’s shirt.

                Derek pulls off Spencer’s shirt and then his own, before straddling Spencer’s hips. Derek’s holding Spencer’s face in his hands and her stomach coils. Part of her is incredibly turned on and urges her to glide up behind Derek to trace his spin with her lips. The other part is extremely jealous and worries that this is the ultimate betrayal and rejection; their way of saying they don’t want her anymore. She knows she’s crazy to think the second, but it’s off like a wild goose and she can’t catch it.

Spencer’s hands are now down the back of Derek’s pants. Derek’s pushing back against Spencer’s hands and Emily can hear him almost purring. Derek digs through the end table’s drawer and shoves lube at Spencer. Derek shucks his pants and urges Spencer along. Spencer’s cock is barely out of the zipper and his pants only around his thighs when Derek guides him in.

Emily knows if she stays, she’ll do something stupid. She goes to the bedroom and lies in their bed. She knows, rationally, that they’ve never had an “all three must be present for sex” clause in their relationship. She knows she’s taken advantage of both Derek and Spencer without the other. She knows they’re not being covert or rejecting her. She knows they still want her, but it doesn’t stop her from reminding herself that they were a perfectly happy, well-adjusted couple before she came along. They brought her into this relationship, and she’s always felt like she doesn’t have equal footing. They can work without her, but she’s never worked without both of them. She’s always felt like she needs them more than they need her. She rolls onto her other side and ends up with her face in Derek’s pillow. It smells like him, but there’s a whiff of Spencer’s shampoo from their post-coital cuddles and tears well in her eyes.

 As quickly as she can she spills out of the bed and waddles to the guest bedroom. She curls around the pillows that don’t smell like cologne or shampoo but detergent and falls asleep. 

She wakes up the next morning and knows immediately someone’s in the room. She rolls over gently and peers up at Spencer. He’s sitting on the bed, his legs folded under him like a pretzel, his hands holding his ankles, and his face wrinkled in thought.

“Good morning,” she says; her voice gravelly with sleep and emotion.

“Emily, why did you sleep in here last night?” He asks softly.

“I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and I didn’t want to disturb you two.”

“Emily,” he replies; clearly, he doesn’t believe this fabrication.

“Honestly, I just wanted to sleep by myself,” she tries; imitating the tone she used yesterday.

“All right,” he concedes but doesn’t move.

“Spencer?”

“Yeah.”

“If something happens during the delivery and the choice is between me and the baby.”

“We’ll choose you,” he says steadily.

“No, no,” she shakes her head, “I want you to choose her.”

“Emily, no.”

“I want our daughter to have a chance to live, choose her.”

“Emily, what brought this on?” He asks hesitantly, and she thinks of the couple she knew, before they invited her in. They were good together and could be good together after she was gone; they’d take good care of their daughter. She knows if they lost her but had the baby, they could make it. But if the reverse were to happen, she doesn’t know if the three of them could stay together. They’re all so extremely attached to a person they’ve never met before; it’s alarming and frightening. She wouldn’t want to compound her misery by losing the baby and then losing them. 

“Just thinking.”

“Emily, maternal death is highly unlikely. Even with preeclampsia.”

“I know, but I need you to promise me, Spence.”

“Okay, I don’t like it, but I promise. It’s your health and your life, and I’ll always respect your decisions about your body even when I don’t agree.”

“I know.”

 

                It’s three days later when Derek and Spencer drag her to the nursery; accomplishment radiating off them. They lead her upstairs and the room is beautiful; she sees all the wonderful gifts from their baby shower, a day bed that impeccably matches the crib even down to the sheets, a comfy glider, and a dresser that has a changing pad on top. It’s exactly how she imagined it and she doesn’t know she’s crying until Derek’s thumb wipes her tears away.

                “I love it,” she smiles.

                “Good, I have a feeling that we’re going to be spending a lot of time in here.”

                They laugh together and she feels her anxiety wane.

 

                It’s typical for her not to be able to sleep now or only for short periods; she aches constantly and can’t wait for her due date. She shuffles to the nursery and sits in the gilder. She pushes herself back and forth. She’s ready; she knows it’s called nesting for a reason. They’ve set up the nursery and she’s been doing last minute things around the house; at least, she’s been making them do the last minute things, because they won’t let her. She feels nested and ready. She rocks for a little bit longer before heading back to the master bedroom. She slides, as well as a pregnant woman can, through the door. Before she can make it to the bed, her vision darkens, she feels her legs shake and give out, she tries to call out to them, she feels the floor, she tries to ease herself down, and the last thing she hears is the rustling of covers and shouted expletives.

 

SPENCER INTERLUDE

 

                The sounds come through his thick fog of sleep. Emily’s cry and Derek’s curse pierce his relative calm; his arms and legs spasm out reaching for something to leverage him into action. He finds nothing and settles on the jolting presence of the floor beneath his knees as he tumbles out of bed. A bedside lamp has been switched on and Spencer can see Derek crouched over Emily. His heart pounds and deafens him; Derek’s looking at him with urgency, but he’s not sure what he’s saying. Realization dawns, Derek wants him to call 911.

                The phone call is a foggy, mechanical process; he reports the address, symptoms, and circumstances to the, in his mind, incredibly too calm operator. Reality only hits when they’re trying to climb into the ambulance, and the medics refuse, declaring only one person is allowed. Derek pulls the FBI card, something Spencer knows he hates to do, but it works and they’re rushing to the nearest hospital.

                When they arrive Emily is rushed to a room, and Derek and Spencer are left to paperwork. Derek shoves it into Spencer’s hand and he mechanically fills out Emily’s medical history. They won’t let them back into the room and the grip Derek has on his hand is causing his fingers to tingle. But he barely gives it a passing thought, because he returns the intensity of the squeeze; the one thing that continually flashes in Spencer’s mind, though, is he hopes to whatever being that governs earthly miracles that he doesn’t have to fulfill his promise to Emily.

“Anger is a short madness.” -Horace

Chapter Text

Fear

                Emily comes to and the first thing she realizes is she doesn’t feel the baby kicking or shifting; in fact, she doesn’t feel the baby at all. The pressure on her bladder and lungs is gone, the back pain is gone, and the only thing she can feel is a burning pain in her lower abdomen. She scrambles to feel for her stomach and the IVs in her hands burn as they pull from her movements. Her stomach is decidedly deflated and void. It’s then that she finally notices the heavy hand on her thigh. Derek’s arm is curled around his head, his forehead resting on his arm, and his other hand resting gently on her thigh. His face has relaxed somewhat in his sleep, but she can still see the worry lines marring his features.

                “Derek,” she says urgently, but her voice is unused and it comes out as a distorted squawk. His head rockets off his arm and he looks so relieved; she reaches out a hand to comfort him and pulls on her IVs again. She winces, he realizes the strain she’s putting on herself and the machines, and he reaches out to fold her hand into his. His eyes are glassy and she hopes that it’s out of relief that she’s conscious and not because their daughter is gone.

                She’s almost too afraid to ask, but she finally builds her courage with a gentle squeeze to his hand and asks, “Derek, where’s our daughter?”

                He kisses her hand and she steels herself; she feels bile rise in her throat, but there’s nothing in her stomach to vomit up.

                “She’s in the neonatal intensive care unit,” he responds softly, “Spencer’s there now.”

                It’s not the anguish she was expecting, but it’s not relief either; it’s both good and bad news. Their daughter is alive, but she’s still in peril.   

                “Em, she’s so tiny, not even five pounds. They had to do any emergency C-section; both of you were in danger: you’re blood pressure had gone through the roof and her heart-rate had dropped dramatically. They said she didn’t cry right away; she has some respiratory problems. It also looks like she’s a shade too yellow; she might have jaundice. Spencer’s there for the test right now. But god, Em, she’s so beautiful. She has this whirligig hair already and she has your mouth and she has a cute little birthmark on her shoulder that Spencer says looks like a really tiny Nevada,” he takes a deep breath and Emily knows he has more to say, but he’s trying to stave off his tears. Or maybe he’s questioning whatever he’s going to say to her, but he shakes his head and says, “But god, Em, as much as I already love her, what you made Spencer promise you was wrong. I was so angry at you; do you know how close we were to losing you? Do you? And do you know what it did to Spencer to tell the doctors that if worse came to worse they should save her and not you? I’ve never seen him look so wrecked before and it’s been two days of panicking; you’ve been out of it for two days. Two days where we thought our world was going to end. What made you think we were going to be able to do this without you?”

                “I’m sorry, Derek, but I’m here.”

                “Good; god, baby, I’m so glad you’re all right,” he says and kisses her hand. Something dawns on him and he scrambles for the bedside phone.

                “Yes, can you tell Dr. Reid she’s awake?” He waits for the response, “Thank you.”

                “When can I see her?”

                “When the doctor says it’s okay.”

                “Derek Morgan, you’re absolutely unhelpful.”

                He gives her a rueful smile, “I could say the same about you, Emily Prentiss.”

~~~~~~

                It’s a whole twenty-four hours before they let Emily take the trip to the NICU. They bring out a wheelchair and when she moves to protest, Spencer sends her a withering look. She sits gingerly in the chair and lets Derek push her to the elevator. The NICU is only one floor down, near the pediatric wing. They have to be buzzed in and put on gowns. Emily’s so excited and nervous to see her little girl.

                The NICU nurse introduces herself as Sandra, but seems familiar with both Spencer and Derek; she directs them to one of the isolettes. It dwarves the little figure inside. Derek pushes her as close to the isolette as possible. The little girl is attached to a bunch of machines that are monitoring her vitals, providing her oxygen, and a little bit of medication through her IV.  Her skin is a hue only slightly lighter than Derek’s and her hair identical to Derek’s newborn pictures; she’s so obviously his daughter. For a minute, she wonders how Spencer feels, but one look at his face tells her she’s his daughter.

                “Can I hold her?” Emily asks Sandra.

                “Absolutely,” Sandra says, smiling, “Would you like to kangaroo-hold her? We find it to be the most useful for both parents and children.”

                “Whatever you think is best,” Emily says, and Sandra helps her adjust her gown and the clothes Derek brought her from home to slide the baby onto Emily’s bare skin. Sandra places her on Emily’s chest and she wriggles and whimpers a little.

                “She might be hungry; if you want to try breastfeeding, you can or I could get you a bottle.”

                “I’d like to try breastfeeding,” Emily says; Sandra gives her a few tips, tells her she can feel free to ask any questions, and then excuses herself to give the family more privacy.

                Emily holds her daughter to her chest and she roots reflexively, latching onto the nipple.

                “That’s a good sign,” Spencer comments softly as he leans over Emily’s shoulder, “Sometimes it’s difficult for NICU babies to breastfeed.”

                “They say she’s getting much better; hopefully, she’ll be able to go home in the next few days,” Derek says optimistically.

                Emily smiles holds up her little hand and kisses it. She examines her little fingers and kisses each one.

                “What about her jaundice?” Emily questions; she holds up the little hand and looks for the yellow tint.

                “It’s getting much better; her bilirubin levels have gone down, because they’ve been giving her phototherapy. The condition they’re most worried about is her apnea; that’s why she has the nose piece,” Spencer informs.

                “It’s like she just forgets to breathe,” Derek comments.

                “But that is also getting better, previously, she was on a ventilator that was breathing for her, and now, today actually, she’s been moved to C.P.A.P, or continuous positive airway pressure. It keeps her airway from collapsing, but doesn’t breathe for her,” Spencer says clinically but then smiles ruefully, “She’s a fighter, but that’s to be expected.”

                “We have to stop referring to her just by pronouns,” Derek jokes.

                “But we never did come up with a name,” Spencer responds teasingly.

                “I was thinking Charlotte or Diana; for our dads or your mom,” Emily suggests.

                “My mom would think it was some dastardly plot if we named the little one after her,” Spencer laughs cynically.

                “What about Charlotte Diana?” Derek suggests.

                “I like it,” Emily says.

                “Yes, the middle name would, actually, be much better,” Spencer agrees, “She has a name; it’s almost too real now.”

                “Hey, we have to think of our names, too,” Derek says.

                “Derek, she’s only days old,” Emily laughs.

                “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want her calling us Derek, Spencer, and Emily.”

                “I don’t want to be Dad,” Spencer says quickly, “My father was dad and he’s not a good role model; I want to be something else.”

                “You could be papa and I’ll be dad,” Derek suggests.

                “I’ll be momma; I love that you call your mother that,” Emily adds.

                “So she’ll grow up calling us dad, papa, and momma,” Derek says, “Or whatever she wants.”

                Charlotte unlatches as Sandra comes back over; she suggests Derek or Spencer burps Charlotte. Derek takes off his t-shirt and places her gently to his shoulder. Spencer drapes a blanket over them, kissing them both tenderly.

~~~~~~

                Emily goes home the next day, but it’s another week before they let Charlotte leave. She’s sent home with equipment that weighs five times how much she does; it’s just an alarm, just in case. Emily’s not sure how they’ll sleep. They hook up the monitor and place her in her bassinet. Emily doesn’t think sleeping will be easy, it hasn’t been the last few days, but having her whole family in the same room must calm her and she passes out. She wakes up to little baby sniffles and feels Derek stir next to her being pulled out of sleep by the same noise. She looks at the opposite wall where the bassinet is placed next to their recliners. Spencer’s there, though, and lifts Charlotte out of her bassinet. He’s making soothing noises and rocking her back and forth. Emily crawls out of bed, in case, she’s needed.

                “How long have you been up?”

                “Didn’t fall asleep.”

                “Spence,” Emily reprimands.

                “I’ll be all right; I just had to know she would be, too.”

                “Go curl up with Derek; I’ve got this.”

                He smiles, hands Charlotte off, and crawls into bed next to Derek who kisses Spencer lightly on his head. Emily changes Charlotte’s diaper and sits down to feed her. She’s rocking in the chair and she feels herself dozing a little. She moves Charlotte to the other breast and hums to keep herself conscious. She burps her before laying her daughter back into the bassinet.

                When she climbs back into bed, she feels Spencer’s side shift as he gets ready to get up.

                “Spencer Reid, you climb that little bony butt back in here and sleep. Charlotte and I both need you awake tomorrow,” Emily chastises. There’s a tiny rumble from the lump between them when Spencer settles back down.

                “She’ll be all right, Pretty Boy,” Derek whispers, “We’ve gotta believe that.”

                “I’ll try.”

~~~~~~

                A few weeks later, Spencer is holding Charlotte kangaroo-style inside his shirt; he’d buttoned it around her rump and back. The skin-to-skin contact always seems to calm the infant and she’s been fussy all day. Emily can’t believe how awed she still is every time she sees Derek or Spencer with their little girl. She looks so fragile but always protected in her Daddy or Papa’s arms.

                Spencer was dozing; a book on his abdomen, his legs pulled up, and his head perched on a pillow on the arm of the couch.

                “They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” 

                “Definitely,” she agrees with Derek as he kisses her neck.

                “How was training?”

                “The usual: an intense workout that probably earned me a few bruises from some overzealous rooks.”

                “It’s what you deserve for antagonizing them.”

                “I only antagonize them to save them in the field,” he says, and then with a laugh adds, “And maybe because it’s amusing.”

                “And you deserve every bruise you get.”

                “Hurtful, woman, that’s hurtful.”

                She punches him playfully and he scrunches his face in mock pain.

                “But honestly, I do it because they need to know how to hand-to-hand fight in the field and antagonizing the most realistic reaction.”

                “I think I’m done with that.”

                “What’s that exactly, sweetheart?”

                “Field fighting, being in the field.”

                “You’re going to take a desk job; say it ain’t so Prentiss.”

                “No, I think I’m going to quit The Bureau entirely; maybe do a Rossi and write. The writing I did while I was on bed rest made me realize that I don’t actually mind it all that much. And it would be good to be able to stay home with Lottie.”

                “Please tell me you aren’t giving our little girl horrible nicknames already; we’re supposed to protect her from those not dish them out.”

                “I like it,” she says, poking him in the chest.

                “Hopefully, that’s just a phase,” Derek jokes, “But seriously, I want you to know that I’ll support whatever decision you make about work. I’ll always have your back, Prentiss, whether we’re in or out of the field.”

                “I’m just kind of scared I won’t know what to do with myself.”

                “Think it through, and whatever you decide will be the right decision and if it’s not you can always change your mind.”

                “But I’m dealing with an innocent person’s life now.”

                “And as long as you love her and are the authoritative parent I know you can be, it won’t matter because you love her and you’ll give her your best. That’s all that will matter; is that we love her and try.”

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”—Elizabeth Stone

Chapter Text

“Why can’t our girl ever catch a break?” Derek asks as he wipes spit-up off his shoulder and paces with Charlotte cradled in the crook of his arm.

                “She’s a preemie having been born before thirty-seven weeks, unfortunately, these things happen to preemies, 65 to 85 percent of preemies have gastroesophageal reflux disease,” Spencer says.

                Charlotte lets out a particularly loud wail, and Derek grimaces, “Not really making us feel better, Spence.”

                Spencer shrugs and holds out his hands to take her. He holds her vertically against his chest, wipes the tears from her cheeks, and rubs tiny circles on her stomach.

                “Do the tummy rubs help?” Emily asks.

                “Maybe, but keeping her vertical after a feeding definitely does,” Spencer says as Charlotte’s wails turn to softer sobs.

                “I hate this,” Derek grouses.

                “Here, go back to Daddy,” Spencer says, placing Charlotte in Derek’s arms. Derek crooks his arms so her torso’s vertical and he spreads his large hand over her stomach and rubs little circles there. Her sobs die down a little more and they start to relax. The reflux has kept them all up and Emily is pretty sure it might be giving her reflux. She’s so worried that she almost constantly feels bile rise in her esophagus.  

                  She uses the breast pump after feedings now, because shorter more frequent feedings is supposed to help as well. They’re making things work, but it’s running them ragged. Derek and Spencer usually take the night shift, but lately, Derek’s taken to falling asleep in the nursery.  He’s severely missed in the master bedroom but can’t seem to pull himself away from their little girl. It starts affecting his work.

                It’s after a difficult case where things have gone all kinds of wrong when it finally comes to a head. Emily is woken at three in the morning by terse yells. She scurries down the stairs to admonish them; Charlotte’s finally sleeping soundly after weeks of exhaustion.

                “You need to take your leave,” Spencer reasons.

                “I’m not gonna do that,” Derek responds angrily.

                “Derek, the way you were in the field; it’s unacceptable.”

                “Don’t tell me what’s unacceptable, Dr. Reid, you remember that I’ve been doing this longer than you have.”

                “And I am allowed to question you, especially if you are endangering other members of our unit.”

                “I didn’t endanger anybody.”

                “You almost got JJ killed.”

                “You’re exaggerating.”

                “And your near-sightedness is going to get you or someone else on the team killed.”

                “Reid, not another word.”

                “Derek, please, listen to me.”

                Derek crosses his arms over his chest and stares at Spencer. There’s a vein throbbing tightly next to his eye and Emily wonders if they’ve even seen her.

                “Derek, I love you and I know you’re good at your job. But you’ve been too preoccupied with Charlotte to worry about your job.”

                “You’re pushing it Dr. Reid.”

                “Stop it,” Reid replies tersely, “Stop fucking trying to distance yourself from me.”

                “What’s going on?” Emily asks softly as she moves into the kitchen where they’re arguing.

                “He’s saying I can’t do my job,” Derek huffs.

                “That’s not what I’m saying, Derek,” Spencer sighs, “I want him to take leave so he can be with Charlotte and you for a while and come back to the BAU refreshed and not as worried.”

                “I think it’s a good idea Derek,” Emily says, running her hand down Derek’s arm and smiling softly at Spencer.

                Derek and Hotch plan for a three-week leave and it starts after the next case. It’s weird having Derek around all the time, but Emily’s not complaining because now she’s getting enough sleep. While it’s almost all family time, they’re missing Spencer. She knows it’s hard for Spencer to know they’re doing family activities without him. But Hotch can’t be three members down. The only redeeming point is that Charlotte is starting to recognize them and congruently miss them. After a case or a long day at Quantico, Spencer arrives home to baby squeals and grabby fingers reaching for him. As a family, they spend the evening together, but bedtime is Spencer’s.

                The baby monitor wasn’t turned off from Charlotte’s afternoon nap, Emily smiles as Spencer explains why baby pajamas have to be flame retardant to their gurgling little girl, she hears him settle into the rocking chair still talking to Charlotte, and then he starts singing. Emily laughs; she’s never heard him sing before and now his usually analytical is crooning Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

                “Derek,” she calls, and he walks into the living room, drying his hands on a dish towel with his eyebrow arched, “Did you know he could sing like this?”

                “Pretty Boy,” Derek laughs, “He’s always good for a surprise.”

                They trek up the stairs and gently open the door. Spencer stutters, stops singing, and looks at them suspiciously.

                “The monitor was still on,” Emily confesses; Spencer snorts knowingly.

                “Pretty Boy, you were holding out on us,” Derek teases, “I had no idea you could sing like that.”

                “It was one of the only ways to calm my mother,” he admits softly as he runs a slow hand over Charlotte’s back.

                “Continue,” Emily says as she curls up on the daybed; Derek lounges next to her. Spencer tries to start again, but the note catches in his throat. He clears it and starts again. His voice is hesitant at first, but as he hits the chorus, his voice gets stronger. He finishes and lays Charlotte gently in her crib.

                “Come on rock star,” Emily says, dragging Spencer to the bedroom.

                Emily kisses him, rucks up his shirt and over his head, and runs her hands over his torso. Derek is standing behind him; he kisses Spencer’s neck and slides his hand into the front of his pants. Emily pulls off her clothes, leaves just her underwear, and notices that Derek’s down to his boxer-briefs.   Emily drags Spencer to the bed with Derek trailing behind. She falls back, crawls back on the bed, and drags Spencer with her. Spencer kisses down her neck and onto her chest. He unlatches her bra and kisses her breast.

                “I haven’t pumped yet tonight,” Emily whispers and Spencer grins.

                “Can I?” He asks eagerly. She hesitates for a moment before nodding quickly and flames growing in her eyes.  He latches to the nipple, sucks deeply, and her milk fills his mouth. They all moan erotically and Derek reaches down to stroke himself. Spencer pulls back and milk leaks down Emily’s breast.

                “Join me,” Spencer says to Derek. Derek closes his eyes, breaths out a strained exhale, and crawls up to Emily’s other breast. They both latch, Emily thrashes, and her head lolling from side to side.

                “Holy shit,” she groans, holding their heads to her chest.

                Derek reaches down and brings her to the edge with his dexterous fingers on her clit. When her moans get more erratic, he pulls away from her breast, and slides into her. The combination of Derek’s quick rhythm and Spencer’s suckling send her over the edge quickly. Derek follows her with a yelp and leans down to kiss her roughly. Spencer finishes suckling her and falls back onto the bed, his erection throbbing intensely against his stomach.

                Derek reaches for the lube, preps himself efficiently, and crawls on top of Spencer. He guides Spencer into him. He takes his time moving slowly. Spencer reaches for his hips, but he doesn’t have the strength to change Derek movements if Derek doesn’t want to. Derek gives into Spencer’s hands caressing his thighs and increases his movement. Spencer groans Derek’s name, Derek presses down fully, and waits out Spencer’s orgasm.

                Right as Derek pulls off and curls up next to his two exhausted lovers, a tiny wail emits from the monitor on the dresser.

                “Fuck,” Derek chuckles, “I can’t move.”

                “Hope she’s not hungry,” Emily jokes as she smacks both their asses and pulls on her robe.

“Sex is emotion in motion.”—Mae West

Chapter Text

                 They sort of have a routine, but they want Charlotte to sleep better. They want her to have a more regular schedule and Derek and Emily miss Spencer at night when he spends his time rocking Charlotte to sleep. Now with Derek back at work, they have to set up a time just for the three of them. Plus, the schedule needs to be even stricter now that two of them will be leaving interminably. It seems counterintuitive but it’s necessary.  They discuss and discuss and finally Spencer suggests the Ferber method. It is a method many people use and they agree upon it, but that’s before they try to implement it.

                It’s their fifth night and it’s still pure torture; she’s wailing in her crib. Charlotte’s cries are angry, snotty, and heart-wrenching. They’re trying to finish dinner, but her sobs and hiccupping are making them all push their meals around on their plates. It’s hard to not run up there, scoop her up, and murmur consoling words in her ear. Spencer gets up every seven minutes to check on her, while she’s wailing. Through the baby monitor, Emily and Derek can hear Spencer sing Alison Krauss’s “Baby Mine” as he rubs Charlotte’s back.

                Her wails have now turned into little rushes of hiccupped air; she stops crying halfway through the song. It’s not necessarily part of the method, but Spencer has always sung to her and she shushes faster with melodic noise.

                He leaves and almost immediately, she’s howling again. He rubs his temple. Derek and Emily are still sitting at the dinner table, pushing around the same amount of food they had on their plates before he left. He tries to smile at them, but it’s strained and their returning looks are equally tense. 

                They’re five minutes in, when Derek throws down his utensils and walks purposefully up to Charlotte’s room. Spencer follows, because Derek doesn’t do bedtime. It’s not a spoken rule, but it’s kind of always been known. All four spend time together when Derek and Spencer arrive home from work and Derek does her evening feeding before Spencer starts her bedtime routine. It gives Emily a break after all day and gives a very stable routine for Charlotte. They have a routine and Derek is breaking it.

                When Spencer finally gets up to Charlotte’s room, Derek has her cradled in his arms, he’s kissing her, and murmuring how much he loves her.

                “Derek,” Spencer sighs, “I know this is difficult, but we need to follow the plan. We need to show her that merely crying will not get her out of her crib and we all need the routine.”

                “Stop,” Derek says. Spencer’s not quite sure what Derek wants him to stop, so he stands in the doorway, watching Derek cocoon Charlotte.  Finally, he tries to explain it again to Derek.

                “Derek, I know how hard it is to listen to her cry,” Derek scoffs, but Spencer continues, “But this method does work, we just need to give it some time. If she hasn’t gotten used to it in a week, then we’ll consider a different method. We do need to give it a chance to work, even if it is hard.”

                At this point, Emily has reached Charlotte’s room; she doesn’t like the direction this conversation is going. When two out of the three of them get in a fight, the third always tries to be a neutral party. Yet, she can’t help but want to side with Spencer as much as she hates listening to Charlotte cry; she desperately wants adult time after spending all day with her daughter. She places her hand on Spencer’s low back and leans in ever so slightly; she wants to shore up his defenses and give him support.
                “Derek…” Emily says gently and he glances at her, but he doesn’t move toward the crib.

                “Let’s keep trying with the Ferber method and if it still is not working next week, we’ll try something new,” Spencer says to Derek.

                “No, I don’t want to do this anymore,” Derek states firmly.

                “Derek,” Spencer begins, but is cut off by Derek’s arm wave.

                “You’re not her father, I am, and I say we’re done,” Derek replies.

                Spencer and Emily gasp; Spencer is stiff against Emily’s fingers.

                “Derek, you don’t mean that,” Emily says gently.

                “Yes, I do, he doesn’t understand how much I love her, because he’s like a robot. He mechanically checks on her every seven minutes, like it doesn’t hurt for him to listen to her cry. He never picks her up, he just follows the fucking rules like they’re laws, and there’s no way someone who loves her can just listen to her cry like that. It’s killing you and me, but obviously it doesn’t matter to him. He didn’t even care enough to take a few weeks off his precious job to be with her.”

                It’s a distortion of facts and Emily knows Spencer understands that, but it doesn’t stop him from reacting. Spencer removes Emily’s hand from his back and walks purposefully to the master bedroom.

                “Derek, what you said is all in your head. This is killing Spencer I can see it in his eyes. You need to apologize, Spencer loves her as much as you and I do, and you insinuating otherwise is appalling. You know only one of you could have the time off and Spencer thought it was best if you had the chance. He sacrificed for you and look what you’re doing in thanks,” Emily accuses.

                “I think you’re wrong.”

                “I don’t care what you think; what you said was awful and you need to fix this.”

                “No, Emily, I can’t. I’m not going to apologize, when I’m not sorry.”

                When Emily finally follows Spencer to the master bedroom, she’s not exactly expecting to find what she does. Or rather she had hoped it wouldn’t be what she found. She’s always considered it an option, but she always hoped it would never come to this. He’s packing; his hands are shaking as he shoves his wardrobe into his canvas duffel- bag.

                “Spencer, don’t go, not like this. Derek is being ridiculous; he’s upset and exhausted. Returning to work was very hard for him. You know he’s being irrational. You know he didn’t mean what he said.” When rational doesn’t work, she tries plain begging, “Spencer, please don’t go, I need you, Derek needs you, and Charlotte needs you. Please, stay, please.”

                “You don’t need me; I’m just a robot.”

                “That’s preposterous, Spence, you knows that’s preposterous.”

                “I’ll come get the rest of my things later,” he says slinging his bag over his shoulder.

                She makes a last-ditch physical effort as he makes his way down the stairs. She grabs his shoulder and spins him into the wall. She’s kissing him hard, but he doesn’t respond. He keeps his hands at his side and his mouth is slack. She tries valiantly to gain a reaction from him, but she feels like she’s assaulting him, rather she knows she’s assaulting him, but she’s rueful to admit it. She kisses at the spot on his jaw that usually causes the kind of feedback she’s looking for, but the only response is his eyes squeezing shut.

                “Spencer, please,” her voice is barely above a whisper and breaks pathetically, then she goes to her dirtiest card, “Don’t be like your father.”

                He reacts to that, but it’s nothing more than a grimace and a gaping mouth before he’s wearing a blank face again. He marches to the front door. Derek is sitting with Charlotte propped on his chest in the living room and she can see Spencer’s head turn in their direction. When his shoulders slump a little bit further, she throws her dirtiest look at Derek. She catches Spencer at the door putting his shoes on; she grabs his hand and slides their fingers together. He looks down at their interlaced fingers and tries to pull away.

                “Spencer, you can’t tell me this doesn’t mean anything to you,” She emphasizes shaking their clasped hands in his face.

                “Just a robot, Emily.”

                He exits quickly with a miserable last look at them. Emily slams her hand into the front door when it closes behind him.

 

~~~~~~

                Emily is watching Charlotte attempt to crawl across the living room when the doorbell rings. She scoops up the squirming little girl and holds her on her hip. She looks through the peephole and her heart clenches hopefully.

                “Spencer,” she greets happily. His responding grin is hesitant in contrast to the little girl’s excited arm flaps.

                “He’s at class,” he asks hesitantly.

                “Yeah.”

                “I’m here to pick up the rest of my things.”

                “Spence,” she sighs.

                “Emily, this is for the better. You two were better cut out for parenting than me.”

                She shakes her head and gestures for him to come in.

                “We’ve missed you,” her arm tightens around the little girl as she flails toward her papa, “Will you hold her, she misses you.”

                He hesitates for a moment before reaching out for her. She scrabbles at his face and he closes his eye, kissing the little palm.

                “I can’t stay long.”

                “You don’t want to have to see him.”

                “I see him every day, Emily.”

                “But it’s different here, here you’re showing you really do care. Why don’t you want him to know you care?”

                “It wouldn’t matter.”

                “For shit’s sake, Spence, of course, it matters. It’s why he said those stupid ass things to begin with.”

                “It was how he’s always felt about me,” he says as he places the little girl on the floor and lowers himself down next to her.

                “You don’t actually believe that,” she responds nudging his shoulder with her foot. He doesn’t respond and plays with Charlotte for a few moments before looking up into Emily’s face.

                “You all are better off without me.”

                “Bull, fuck Spencer,” Emily barks, “You want to know how better off we are. We haven’t slept in the same bed since you left. We haven’t kissed, haven’t touched, for fuck’s sake, we’ve barely talked. We can barely even look at each other. We only talk to discuss Charlotte. Without you Spence, we’re falling apart.”

                “It will get better,” he begins.

                “Shut up,” Emily whispers as tears form in her eyes.

                “Emily, you don’t need some fucked up ex-junkie with a penchant for schizophrenia.”

                “Spencer, we don’t care about that. You’re just making up excuses.”

                “I’m protecting you and staying out of Derek’s life like he asked.”

                “Stop doing that. I’m a grown-ass woman who can make decisions for myself and I want you. And you know what Derek said wasn’t him. He didn’t mean any of it.”

                “He hasn’t said anything to me.”

                “As much as I love him, you know as well as I do that Derek is worried that you don’t actually love him, and, right now, you’re proving him right.”

                Spencer doesn’t respond. He picks up Charlotte who tugs at his tie and giggles nonsensically. He kisses her affectionately. She belly laughs when he blows raspberries on her stomach.

                “I know it’s weak of me, but I need to see her,” he says to Emily as Charlotte tucks herself under his chin. Emily’s eyes glisten and she nods.

                “She’s your daughter, Spence; I would never keep you from her.”

                “That’s nice of you to say because she’s clearly not mine and I have no rights to her,” he replies and Emily half-snorts, half-sobs. “But I don’t want you to tell him; you can’t tell him.”

                “This would prove that you do care.”

                “He can’t know.”

                “Spencer, this is stupid.”

                “If you tell him, I can’t come anymore.”

                “I don’t like keeping secrets from him.”

                “I know.”

                “Why don’t you just come back?”

                “Emily.”

                “Don’t treat me like a child, Spencer; it’s a perfectly decent question.”

                “I just can’t. Not after finding out how Derek truly feels.”

                “But it’s not how he feels.”

                “It’s what he said.”

                “He didn’t mean it; sometimes, people are just spiteful to be spiteful not because it’s how they actually feel.”

                “He meant it.”

                “No, he didn’t.”

                “Emily, promise me you won’t tell.”

                “I won’t, but I think you should.”

                “Are the days he has class a good day?”

                “Yeah.”

                “Good, as long as we don’t have a case I’ll be here.”

                “Okay.”

                At this point, they’re at the door. Spencer looks around nostalgically, clutches Charlotte to his chest, breathes in her baby smell, and kisses her gently. They approach the door and Emily wants him to stay still. Emily places a hand on his arm and leans forward to kiss him. He turns his head quickly and it lands on his cheek.

                “I will always love you, Spencer.”

                “Me too, Emily, me too.”

                He kisses Charlotte again before giving her back to Emily. Charlotte whimpers softly and grabs for him. He dodges the little arms and squeezes his eyes closed in obvious pain. His smile is watery as he waves from sidewalk outside. After he’s in his car and drives away, Emily presses Charlotte to her shoulder shushing her daughter’s helpless cries. She kisses the curly hair on her daughter’s head as silent tears glide down her cheeks.

                “He left his stuff, little one, he must come back now.”

“Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.” —Andre Gide

Chapter Text

DEREK INTERLUDE

                Waking up in his office is excruciatingly painful, both physically and mentally. The physical is simple; he’s way too fucking large and old to be sleeping on a couch, even an expensive, over-sized leather couch. The mental isn’t nearly as simple. He’s terrified that he’s lost everything precious in his life.

                He slinks into Charlotte’s nursery, caresses her cheek lightly and smiles. He wonders what would have happened if she was Spencer’s. Spencer would have fretted that she was going to end up with schizophrenia. Derek would have loved her. Spencer would have never said what Derek said. Derek said it in a moment of weakness, a moment of exhaustion, a moment of utter anger. It was not fair; he knows that and he is completely aware of the pain it caused. He hasn’t apologized because he gave Spencer the out he obviously wanted. The out he craved. He wouldn’t have left if he hadn’t wanted to. He didn’t even fight back; Spencer wanted to leave him. After all, he knows Spencer is meeting with Emily and Charlotte. Derek’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

SPENCER INTERLUDE

                He’s found an apartment; it’s not big, but he doesn’t need big on his own. He doesn’t sleep much. He misses the warm presence of Derek and Emily’s nose whistle; he sleeps with a heated blanket instead and a fan. It’s not the same. He misses them so goddamn much. The highlights of his weeks are spending the brief time with Charlotte and, to an extent, Emily. He’s shut off all feeling except for Charlotte. He’ll never be able to shut off his love for her, and, honestly, he’s kidding himself if he thinks he can do it with Emily and Derek. He’s trying though, trying to give them up. They don’t want him, but he wants them to be happy. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true.

BREAK

Their routine is to meet twice a week. They meet once during Derek’s class and once at the park on Saturday. Sometimes Emily leaves them alone and runs an errand, but most of the times she sits on the park bench and watches them play together. Spencer usually brings books, a few toys, and a plush blanket to lie in the grass.

                “She’s ten months old today,” Spencer whispers in disbelief.

                “And still missing her papa,” Emily says as she hands over a squirming Charlotte.

                Spencer’s face is a little ashamed and Emily can’t help but feel a little swell of victory. As the months go on, she’s becoming more and more vindictive in their interactions. She knows it makes her a horrible person, but he looks so happy. And she hates that he’s happy without them, when they’re all so miserable. She and Derek dance around each other, passing Charlotte to and fro, and rarely talking. Neither of them sleep in the master bedroom anymore; it lays dormant at the end of the hallway, missing an integral part of its dynamic. Too empty to be livable. She sleeps in the guest room and has moved her clothes into that closet. He usually crashes in his office, the living room, or sprawled on the daybed in Charlotte’s nursery.  She wonders how their misery is affecting their beautiful daughter. They’re selfish, she knows; she just doesn’t know how to stop it.

                Charlotte babbles and Spencer bobs his head animatedly.

                “Really?” He asks incredulously. She giggles, pats his face, and continues jabbering on. He nods enthusiastically and she squeals happily.

                “I’ll leave you two be,” Emily comments and goes to her usual bench and takes out a legal pad she’s been writing her book on. It turned from a BAU inspired work to a piece about threesome relationships. She doesn’t even expect for it to get published, but it is allowing her to vent her frustrations and relive their relationship.

                During these visits, she finds herself wallowing a lot. She watches them play together. Spencer lifts Charlotte in the air, makes airplane noises, and then places her gently in his lap. He pulls out a stack of books from his messenger bag and starts reading to her. Charlotte reaches for the pages and Spencer points to the pictures. Emily has no idea what he’s saying now, but she knows he’s no longer reading. He’s chatting with her and god, Emily misses him.  Every fucking day, she misses him. It’s hard to keep this from Derek. It’s hard to watch her life fall apart and not be able to fucking shut down because she has a beautiful, giggly little girl relying on her.

                She sits for another hour watching them, before Spencer swings Charlotte onto his hip and brings her over. Every time, he holds Charlotte close, takes a deep breath, and kisses the little girl on the head, then he hands her over with a wistful look. Emily grins softly at him and he returns the upturned lips. Emily places Charlotte in her stroller and straps her in.

                “Emily,” Spencer says hesitantly.

                She turns and looks at him. He holds out his arms and she nearly runs to him. She slides her arms around his waist and tucks her face into the hollow at the base of his throat. He rucks up the back of her shirt and places his hands on her lower back. He presses his cheek to the top of her head and holds his hands on her back. They hug for a few minutes before Emily pulls away. The warmness of his hands spread over her and seeps sweetly into her bones.

                “I really needed that,” she chokes out.

                “I know,” he responds.

                “Please, Spence, please.”

                “Emily, don’t, I’m not strong enough.”

                “You started it.”

                “Cause you really needed it.”

                “You care. Why won’t you show him? Just show him you love him,” she pauses, “He misses you, I know he does. Spencer, we weren’t a couple before. He doesn’t want me. He wants Charlotte.”

                “Emily,” Spencer sighs and pulls her into his chest again, “He loves you so much. Go home and try to make it work. Stop holding me against him.”

                “Spencer, I want both of you.”

                “I’ve decided to stay away; you can’t keep blaming him. Love him. If you don’t do it for me, do it for Charlotte. She needs a mom and a dad.”

                “She needs you too.”

                “And as long as you allow me to be in her life I will be. She’ll always have me.”

                “But I want you too.”

                “You’ll always have me.”

                He kisses the top of her head, gives her a quick squeeze, and lets her go. He walks away and she stifles a sob.

BREAK

                She goes home, puts Charlotte down for a nap, and goes downstairs. She finds Derek in the kitchen. She can still feel Spencer’s hands on her back; they urge her forward. She wraps her arms around his waist and he startles.

                “Emily, what’s wrong?”

                “Nothing, you know I love you, right?”

                “Yeah,” he responds; his voice is gravelly and he squeezes her hands, “I love you too.”

                “Will we be okay?”

                “I hope so,” he says turning in her arms to kiss her gently.

                The kiss is warm, gentle, and hesitant. She holds his shoulders and he cups her face in his large hands. She feels tears fall on her face and she pulls away to look into his eyes.

                “Derek, why are you crying?”

                “I thought I’d lost everything.”

                “Derek,” she whispers and swipes at the tears around his eyes.

                “You won’t leave.”

                “O, Derek,” she pulls his head into her shoulder and the sob is wretched and broken. She holds him there for a long while. His tears drench her shoulder and her own tears slide slowly down her face and onto his neck.

                “I’m sorry,” he snuffles.

                “I know,” she assures, “Why can’t you tell him that?”

                “It wouldn’t matter; he wanted to leave anyways.”

                “That’s not true, Derek.”

                “Emily, please,” he pleads. His voice is shattered and it tugs at every part of her.

                “Okay,” she responds.

                He pushes her against the doorframe and kisses her intensely. Their teeth clash and hands scramble. She undulates against him and he draws their hips closer.

                “I missed you,” he whispers as he kisses down the column of her neck.

                “I missed you too.”

                “We can’t have sex right now,” he says, even as he unlatches her bra.

                “You’re right.”

                “We should stop,” and after one more tongue duel they do.

                The rest of their Saturday turns into one big cuddle session. Charlotte is characteristically animated as she watches movies and crawls over her parents. Charlotte lays down to fall asleep with her head in Emily’s lap and her feet drumming a pattern on Derek’s thigh. She coos softly when Derek rubs soft circles on her back and Emily runs her fingers through her curls. She’s laid in her crib well after bedtime.

                After laying Charlotte down, Emily goes to the guest room and curls into the bed. The queen-sized bed that always seemed so small after their massive raft of a bed now feels like an abyss. She lays there for a while feeling incredibly lonely, until there is a soft rapt on the door. She calls out in acquiescence and Derek slides into the room. He stands awkwardly in the entrance. She finally gestures him in and his shoulders slump in relief. He crawls into the bed and pulls her back flush against his chest.

                “We’ll be okay,” Derek whispers into her hair, and she turns to kiss his chest.

                They fall asleep locked in embrace.

                Emily is woken up in the early morning by Derek’s hand subconsciously searching for Spencer. He’s flailing so much he wakes himself up.

                “Missing him.”

                “It’s only because I’m sleeping with you. When I’m alone, it doesn’t happen nearly as much.”

                “Derek, please, just apologize.”

                “In the morning.”

                The morning doesn’t change much. Derek doesn’t say anything, and Emily will admit the relationship with Derek is so tentative that she’s almost scared to say Spencer’s name. Not to mention the fact that he was the one who encouraged Emily to mend her relationship with Derek.

                So she doesn’t say his name. She feeds Charlotte yogurt and eats her waffle. They sit at the dining room table like a family and she can’t bring herself to change it. Spencer’s empty seat is glaringly obvious, but she wonders with time if she’ll be able to ignore it.

                The rest of the day goes by with this charade of domesticity. The charade almost feels real. They curl up on the couch to watch the latest Bourne movie. She’s curled up under Derek’s arm, playing with his broad-tipped fingers.

                “You’ve been seeing him,” he says; it’s just above a whisper, and, at first, she thinks she’s hallucinating.

                “You’ve been seeing him,” he insinuates again. She sits up and looks at him.

                “Yes,” she finally says.

                “It’s nothing you did,” he says bemusedly, “During the last case, his wallet fell open and I saw that picture you took of her boot-scooting it across the living room floor.”

                “I’m not going to say I’m sorry.”

                He waves his hand at her dismissively, “I thought you were going to leave, too. I didn’t know what you were waiting for,” he laughs self-deprecatingly. “I was savoring my time with my baby girl.”

                “Derek, I wouldn’t…”

                Another dismissive hand raise is accompanied by a gruff throat clear, “I’m glad you’re here.”

                She bobs her head and wonders where exactly did the confident loving man go. He was buried under this deprecating self-loather.

                “I don’t know how to make this better, and, goddamn, he’s so fucking happy without us.”

BREAK

                “You’ve made up,” Spencer says matter-of-factly, when he sees Emily and Charlotte next. Emily ducks her head behind Charlotte’s, kissing her daughter in lieu of speaking.

                “It’s okay, Emily. I’m glad you all are happy.”

                “That’s not fair, Spencer.”

                “That’s okay.”

                She hands Charlotte to him and Spencer walks toward the blanket on the other side of the park.

                “Wait, Spencer,” Emily says; Spencer turns toward her, “We still can’t sleep in the master, if that means anything.”

                He smiles softly at her.

“Courage means to keep working a relationship, to continue seeking solutions to difficult problems, and to stay focused during stressful periods.” –Denis Waitley

Chapter Text

SPENCER INTERLUDE

 

A pale chartreuse envelope drops on to Spencer’s desk. He stares at it slack-jawed for a minute.

“You’ll be there,” Derek says; Spencer is not sure whether it’s a question or an order.

Spencer’s head whips up, but Derek isn’t looking at him. He looks at the envelope again and realizes that ‘Spencer Reid’ is scrawled across it. ‘Spencer’ is scrawled in Emily’s confident handwriting and slants slightly to the right and upwards, while the ‘Reid’ slants to the left and downwards. Spencer knows Derek wrote ‘Reid’ but it’s not his usual writing, it’s angry; the ‘d’ that is usually open is completely closed. And while Derek uses a fair amount of pressure on average, the ‘r’ nearly tore through the delicate paper. 

“Of course,” he murmurs.

“Charlotte will be happy,” Derek nods as he walks away. ‘What about you?’ Spencer wants to ask, but he remains quiet. His fingers trace the letters and grimaces when they trail over the R-E-I-D. He slides his index finger under the fold and rips it open.

It’s a first birthday invitation with a picture of Charlotte patting Clooney’s head. The picture is so characteristic of both that Spencer’s heart clenches sharply. There’s a small golden cartoon dog in the opposite corner and accents of blush pink. The ‘When’ is a little ambiguous, but it always is if one of the parents is in the BAU. The ‘Where’ is the house, or rather home, that is so hard for Spencer to be in after unceremoniously being kicked out of it. Spencer wants to tack the invitation to the half-cubicle wall around his desk, but he doesn’t want to cause concern or outrage in any of his colleagues. He knows Derek will be annoyed and he can’t stand the pitying looks he gets from Hotch and Garcia, so he slides it into his desk drawer where he can see it anytime he wants a pen.

 

BREAK

 

                When Emily answers the door, she can barely see Spencer behind the large stack of presents.

                “I couldn’t help myself,” he says sheepishly. She doesn’t know if she should laugh or cry.

                She settles with a soft chuckle and says, “I’m glad you came.”

                “Of course,” he responds and sets his presents on the dining room table with the assortment of other gifts.

                Spencer follows Emily out onto the patio and she cringes when she sees Derek stiffen at the sight. She winces further when her daughter flaps her arms and attempts to toddle to her papa. She’s too excited and leans forward faster than her feet can carry her. She smacks into the ground, begins to wail in earnest, and everyone rushes toward her.  Derek is the first there and scoops her into his arms. She nuzzles under his neck, but when Spencer comes to check on her, she reaches for him. Emily sees Spencer recoil for a second, and she knows it’s not because he’s unwilling to take Charlotte but he’s worried Derek will be offended. Of course, he is and he throws a menacing look at Spencer, but finally Derek gives into her entreaties and hands her to Spencer.

                “Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa” she moans and clenches his shirt in her scuffed little hands.

                “Why doesn’t she want me?” Derek whispers, and Emily wonders if she’s supposed to have heard that. She places her hand on Derek’s forearm, he jolts quickly, and yet he has a soft smile on his lips when he looks down at her.

                “She is just excited to see him,” Emily assures.

                The rest of the day is awkward and stifling for almost everyone there, but they put on their best tolerating faces and proceed. The presents are finally ready to be opened and while Spencer’s stack is the largest, it is followed narrowly by the mailed-in packages from Fran, Desi, and Sarah and the neon-wrapped gifts from Garcia. Dave, on his annual leave, has promised a stack of presents when he gets home.

                With the help of Jack and Henry, Charlotte tears into the wrapping paper, squealing delightedly as the paper flies around her. She pats the box and shakes them if they’re small enough. Hotch and Jack give her a Sophie the Giraffe teether, Winkel toy, and a set of Superhero rubber duckies. The new member of the team, Blake, has brought a few sleepers and a beautifully illustrated book. JJ, Will, and Henry get her a hot pink dress with ruffled bloomers and numerous traveling toys. Garcia buys her a jean jacket, a multi-colored polka-dotted dress, a tutu dress, a baby computer, and a toy that is reminiscent of an iPhone. Fran’s gifts are sweet and practical: a few board books, numerous teethers, a heap of sleepers, and a sorting toy. Sarah and Desi both buy her sweet outfits, a baby doll, and small stacking toys. Spencer lowers his head sheepishly as Charlotte tears into the ride-on wheely mouse, rounded stackers, and a group of picture books. Charlotte immediately picks up a book and toddles to Spencer, smacking his leg lightly with the book.

                The group laughs and shakes their heads.

                “Like father, like daughter,” Garcia jokes before slapping her hand over her mouth, looking around sheepishly. The whole group has gone silent, waiting for one of them to react. Derek gets up and they all wait.

                “Anybody want a beer,” he asks and Emily, Will, and JJ all answer affirmatively.

                Emily rubs her eyes tiredly and smiles weakly at Spencer who has a happy Charlotte on his lap as he reads what a mouse will do when you give him a cookie.

                They have some cake and Blake, Hotch, Jack, JJ, Will, and Henry leave. Garcia and Spencer stay and Emily and Garcia open a bottle of wine. Spencer offers to put Charlotte to bed and Emily understands it as more than an offer but a deep desire. With many knife-glares sent at Derek they agree.

Emily and Garcia drink until they’re too tipsy and Derek shows Garcia to Emily’s office where he pulls out the sofa-bed. Spencer fidgets next to Emily and moves to leave. She can’t let him leave like this, not when the night has gone so well. She kisses him roughly. Her lips press harshly against his.

“Emily,” Derek barks as he walks into the room. Emily moves back and looks into the shocked face under her. It’s not lust-ridden like she hoped. It’s confused and hurt.

“Reid, I’m sorry; she’s drunk,” Derek says gruffly.

“I know,” Spencer responds softly.

“No, say you sorry for before so we can all go upstairs and sleep together.”

“Emily,” Derek and Spencer sigh in unison.

“This is so stupid,” she cries and smacks them both hard on the shoulder.

“I’m sorry for this, Reid,” Derek says as he ushers him toward the door.

“Stop calling him Reid.”

“Don’t apologize, thank you for inviting me.”

“Charlotte was glad you came,” Derek replies as Spencer closes the door behind him.

Emily lets out another indignant squeal.

“Why didn’t you say you were glad he came?”

“Come on, Emily, it’s time to go to bed.”

Emily wakes up with a blistering headache and a stomach that roils from more than her alcohol consumption. She wants to dial Spencer’s number and apologize but still beg him to come back to their home. She hears Derek over the baby monitor and smells bacon frying. She rolls out of bed and shuffles down the stairs looking for coffee and something to make her stomach stop it’s tossing and turning not that she’s sure that’s possible.

“ ‘Morning,” she mutters as she passes Derek in the hallway. He’s holding Charlotte on his shoulder and their daughter is looking at her raptly from her cuddled position on her father’s chest.

“We were just coming to wake you,” he laughs. She glares at him and continues down the stairs. Her pursuit for coffee is her number one goal.

It’s not until Charlotte’s bedtime that she finally feels human again. She lays Charlotte down in her crib; her daughter pops up, looks at her intently, and says, “Pa pa pa.”

“He’s not here, little one.”

“No, pa pa pa pa.”

“Baby, he’s not here.”

Charlotte’s frustration is getting the best of her and she begins to wail earnestly.

“Shit,” she swears and calls Derek.

Derek tramples up the stairs and swoops Charlotte up.

“Dada’s here, baby girl.”

“Pa pa pa pa.”

“No, Dada.”

“Pa pa pa pa.”

“He doesn’t live here anymore, baby girl, but Dada loves you.”

Charlotte doesn’t stop crying, and Emily almost gives in and calls Spencer. She knows that the minute she does that though is the minute that Derek blows up. She sits on the day bed as Derek bounces Charlotte up and down until their daughter is hiccupping in her sleep.

 

BREAK

 

                She never tells Spencer about that night and they keep meeting at regular intervals. She no longer hides the meetings from Derek, but they don’t reference them and they keep living like a small family of three. Emily wonders what this is doing to Charlotte’s psyche, but since that night nothing of that magnitude has happened again.

                The team has been gone for nearly a week on a difficult case, when Emily’s cell phone trills loudly. ‘Garcia’s Lair,’ flashes across the screen and Emily looks at it curiously.

                “Hello?” she answers cautiously.

                “Emily,” Garcia says; her voice cracking loudly on a sniffle.

                “Yeah,” Emily returns hesitantly.

                “They found the unsub,” Garcia begins, but her voice wavers, “And Derek was trying to talk him down. He was trying to make himself seem like less of a threat so he took off his Kevlar and…”

                That’s as far as she gets before she breaks down. Emily’s entire body spasms, she feels her heart clench, and it’s incredibly hard for her to breath.

                “What happened, Garcia?”

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” ― Johnny Depp

Chapter Text

DEREK INTERLUDE

 

                He pulls the vest over his head, and he can see the side glare Spencer is throwing at him as he moves closer to Derek’s side. Spencer thinks the unsub is more dangerous than the rest of the team; he thinks he’s more than capable of killing a BAU agent. The rest of the team disagrees; they think the young man has been pushed into a corner and needs to be talked down.

                He knows he’s challenging Spencer by removing his Kevlar and he can see how weary Spencer looks, but he can see Hotch creeping slowly into the room.

                “I know you’ve been cornered and I know you didn’t mean for all those bad things to happen, so just put your gun down and I can help you,” he cajoles using the voice he usually reserves for calming Charlotte. The unsubs eyes flash dangerously and before Derek can pull his gun, the unsub raises his gun and fires one straight at Derek’s chest. He’s expecting pain, but he doesn’t get it. He opens his eyes to watch Spencer fall before him. Spencer’s shot misses, but Hotch’s doesn’t and the unsub falls loudly to the ground. Derek looks at Hotch who nods as he moves towards the unsub and calls for an ambulance; Derek kneels next to Spencer and can barely hold back a horrified sob. Blood is spurting out of an artery near his clavicle.

                “Reid,” he shouts as he presses his t-shirt against his shoulder and Spencer moans loudly, “Come on, Pretty Boy, stay with me.”

                “Derek,” Reid puffs shallowly, “No narcotic pain killers.”

                “I know,” he responds.

                “Charlotte,” he gasps, “…Love her.”

                “Don’t do that, Spence,” Derek pleads.

 

BREAK

 

                “Garcia, what happened?”

                “Spencer,” Garcia sobs harshly, “jumped in front of Derek. His clavicle, subclavian artery, and sternocleidomastoid muscle were torn through by the bullet. He’s in surgery now.”

                “Can you get me a ticket to Savannah?”

                “Already booked. It leaves in three hours.”

                “You’re an angel you know that.”

                “Go check on the junior G man; we need him.”

                “Garcia, thank you.”

                She goes on a wild rampage, collecting enough things to last them the trip, hopefully. She’s out the door and in a waiting taxi with Charlotte in her baby carrier within forty-five minutes.

                When she arrives at the hospital, JJ is in manager mode talking to nurses, Hotch is pacing, Blake and Rossi look like they’re praying, and Derek’s head is between his arms. Emily removes Charlotte from her carrier and she wiggles out of her grasp. She totters over to Derek and thumps his head.

                “Dada,” she says, and to Emily it sounds like a question.

                “Hey, baby girl,” Derek says, raising his head. She toddles back to Emily to the diaper bag and takes out two board books. She patters back, sets the books on him, and reaches toward him to be picked up. She sits raptly listening to her father. His voice is wrecked and Emily knows it’s from crying. His eyes are puffy and she sits next to him, resting her hand on his thigh. She squeezes firmly and he glances at her. He shifts Charlotte and the book, so he can pull Emily into his side. The minute she’s under his arm and relaxes into his body, she starts crying. Silent, body-wracking tears. When she starts, Derek can’t help it. He finishes the story, places the book down, presses a kiss to the top of Emily’s head, and cries. Charlotte turns around to stand on his leg. She looks confused and touches Derek’s face.

                “Dada,” she says.

                “Baby.”

                She smacks his cheek with her palm. When he keeps crying, she looks more confused, her face crinkles up, and she begins to cry. Her tears aren’t quiet like her parents; she snivels loudly.

                “Baby girl,” Derek whispers into her hair holding her close to his body.

                Emily regains some of her composure and rubs her back softly.

                “Charlotte, honey, don’t cry,” Emily croons, even though her voice is rough and she’s being a hypocrite.

                “Mama,” Charlotte says and grapples for Emily’s face.

                “We’ve gotta pull it together,” Derek whispers down to her.

                “I know.”

                They sit for a long time cuddled together until a doctor comes out of the door to speak to them.

                He assures them that Spencer is out of the woods. They ask to see him and the doctor agrees, but he encourages them to leave once they see him. The doctor will be bringing him out of anesthesia the next afternoon at the earliest, and the doctor is positive they all need their rest. Derek and Emily go in together and leave Charlotte with JJ.

                He’s patched up well but seeing him in a hospital bed still makes Emily’s heart race. She looks at Derek and knows he’s feeling the same way. She squeezes his hand tightly.

                “Fuck, Emily, I was being such an idiot.”

                Emily shushes him and kisses Spencer cheek lightly. Derek kisses his forehead and rubs gentle circles on the hand connected to the uninjured arm.

                “I’m sorry, Pretty Boy, so fucking sorry and I’ll do anything to make it up to you,” Derek promises, “I know you’ll hate that it took this to make me say it, but please, Pretty Boy, I couldn’t stand the thought. I’d spent this whole time just waiting for you to come back. I never imagined a time when you weren’t in our lives and today… Today, when you dropped like that I thought about what it would mean for me, for Emily, but especially for Charlotte. And…And I realized that we’re a family and we’re missing you and that’s my fault. God, Pretty Boy, it’s my fault and I love you.”

                “You’ll say that again when he’s awake,” Emily orders and Derek nods.

                “Just practicing,” Derek reassures.

                They go back to the hotel and while Garcia has called for a crib, they curl around Charlotte and let her sleep between them. They all sleep for hours, waking up ready to see Spencer.

                After lunch, they head to the hospital where Spencer has been taken off anesthesia. They sit by his bedside and wait. It comes slowly and his eyes flutter numerous times before he finally opens his eyes and looks at them.

                “Derek,” Spencer whispers.

                “I’m here,” Derek says.

                “Papa,” Charlotte yells shrilly.

                “So are we,” Emily says; her voice tinted with amusement.

                “Emily,” Spencer gasps, “Hi Charlotte, sweetheart.”

                “Pa pa pa pa,” Charlotte squeals.

                His body stiffens as he comes to some sort of realization, “Why are you here?”

                “Spence,” Emily sighs.

                “Not you, him.”

                “Pretty Boy.”

                “Don’t.”

                “I’m sorry, Pretty Boy, I’m so sorry. For everything, everything I ever said to you. God, I’m sorry.”

                The laugh is weak, but the intention spot on. It hits Derek in the gut and Emily watches him recoil.

                “Spencer, I know what I said and what I did was horrible. I know that I have so much to mend and I know that this is not how you would want me to apologize, but, Jesus, Spencer, I’m sorry. You jumped in front of that gun for me, and damn it, I didn’t want you to because you mean so much to me and this family. We need you Spencer, I need you.”

                Spencer looks at him, exhales slowly, and responds, “I think you should leave, Derek.”

                “Pretty Boy.”

                “Please, Morgan, just go.”

                Derek gets up to leave and as he walks by Emily reaches out to squeeze his hand. His eyes are red-rimmed and Emily wants to jump up and down in frustration.

                “Spencer.”

                “Don’t Emily; he only feels a sense of obligation since I saved his life.”

                “Stop being stupid.”

                “It’s not stupid.”

                “You’re right,” she exhales, “it’s fucking inane.”

                “The likelihood of the same conversation sparking when something happens to Charlotte is high, and I can’t manage that. He’ll never believe I love her as much as he does.”

                “So this is a pride thing?”

                “No, it’s an ‘I can’t have the person I love think I don’t love our child’ thing.”

                “Derek was upset, and he knew exactly what to say to make it hurt.”

                “Emily, I can’t handle it; you need to accept that.”

                “Spencer, I can’t, but I don’t want to fight you, especially right now.”

                “Then don’t.”

                “This isn’t over.”

                “I know.”

                The doctors monitor him for another few days before releasing him; however, they encourage him to stay with someone so he can get adequate care and rest.

                “Spencer, come home with us,” Emily insists, bouncing Charlotte on her hip.

                “I don’t like the idea of being in your house.”

                “Our home, Spencer, it’s our home.”

                “Emily, I haven’t lived there in a long time.”

                “A house is not a home.”

                Spencer’s lips turn up at a reference to one of Derek’s favorite artists.

“All right,” he concedes.

 

SPENCER INTERLUDE

 

The adjustment to this new living arrangement takes a couple of weeks and Derek and Spencer don’t talk. Spencer feels strangely as he goes to bed alone in the master bedroom. Charlotte spends a lot of time with Spencer and Emily gets a lot of her work done. It’s with Spencer that Charlotte says her first phrase.

“Papa,” Charlotte whines, waving a book at him. He’s trying to put his shirt on by himself and it’s a long arduous process.

“Papa, book now,” she demands, and his shirt drops to the floor.

“Charlotte, what did you just say?” He says gleefully.

“Book now, Papa,” she clearly doesn’t understand his glee and throws the book at him, “book now, book now, book now.”

“Emily, Derek,” Spencer yells in a fit of hysterical joy. He hears the rough patter of feet, and Emily and Derek slide into the bedroom.

“Charlotte, what did you say?” Spencer asks excitedly. She scrunches her face and pounds her hands into the bed.

“Book now, Papa.”

“Baby girl, look at you. You’re such a big girl,” Derek says, swinging Charlotte up and tossing her into the air. She giggles manically, but when Derek settles her onto his hip, she demands again.

“Book now, Dada.”

“Okay, darling,” he says, sliding onto the bed and picking up one of her books, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. She listens raptly as he read, “Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me ... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

                He finishes the poem and she smiles at him and then request, “Book, Papa.”

                But she doesn’t crawl into his lap, she cuddles further into Derek and looks fixedly at Spencer.

                “Papa, book now.”

                “All right,” he gingerly sits next to them and opens up Where the Wild Things Are.

                He finishes reading and Emily picks Charlotte up to feed her. It’s just Derek and Spencer in the room now and Spencer is still half-naked from when he dropped his shirt on the ground.

                “Let me help you, Reid,” Derek says softly.

                “I can do it.”

                “I know that, but I want to help.”

                Derek picks up the shirt and gently slides it over the younger man’s head, helping him adjust it and get it over his patched neck and shoulder. Derek’s hands gently brush Spencer’s hips and the slender man squeezes his eyes closed.

                “She really loves you,” Derek concedes softly; his hands shoved into his pockets.

                “I love her,” Spencer returns firmly.

                “I know,” Derek responds emotionally; his voice and eyes are watery, “I’m sorry, Pretty Boy, so sorry.”

                “I know and thank you,” Spencer says.

                “Can we fix this?”

                “I don’t know.”

                “Can we try? Can I try? Please, Spence, just let me try to make this better.”

                “Okay.”

                There’s a long pause where they just look at each other.

                “May I kiss you,” Derek asks; Spencer has always been pleased and a little startled by Derek’s permission seeking. He nods shortly; Derek cups Spencer’s face in both hands and lightly presses their lips together. His lips are plush and warm and everything Spencer missed; he’s so close to giving into the kiss, but he holds back.

                “Thank you,” Derek whispers as he presses another kiss to Spencer’s forehead, “I’ll make this up to you, Spence, I promise.”

                Spencer rushes out of the room as Derek flops onto the bed. He finds Emily and Charlotte in the kitchen. Emily throws him a look of concern but continues feeding Charlotte.

 

BREAK

 

                “What happened?” Emily asks softly; her pulse raising and blood pressure skyrocketing at the caged look on Spencer’s face.

                “He kissed me and I ...”

                “Fuck, Derek, I told him to wait,” Emily groans and Spencer laughs suddenly.

                “You know he asked permission,” Spencer reminds and Emily looks shame-facedly.

                “I thought you were going to say you didn’t want it.”

                “No, I wanted so much more.”

                “Shit,” Emily swears after she drops the spoonful of yogurt at her surprise.

                “You shouldn’t swear in front of a baby just developing her language skills; unless you want her next word to be an expletive,” Spencer lectures, and Emily throws him a dangerous look. “You could also let her start feeding herself.”

                “I’ve missed you,” Emily says as she laughs as she wipes her hands on a kitchen towel. She stands in front of him and looks at him intently. “Can I kiss you too?”

                “Yes.”

                She holds the back of his neck and leans in to kiss him. It’s hesitant at first but with his good arm Spencer draws her closer. When she pulls away, she leans next to his ear and whispers, “God, I’ve missed you,” as she kisses the delicate place right below his ear that always makes him purr.

                “You don’t play fair, Prentiss.”

                “Who said I would?”

                That night, after Charlotte is in her crib, the three of them join in the living room to watch TV.

                “Sit here, Spence,” Derek says slapping the cushion next to him, Spencer throws him an inquisitive look, and he amends with, “Please?”

                Emily smiles from the other side of Derek as Spencer tentatively sits next to him. They don’t touch for a long while; Derek keeps his hand on the back of the couch, so as not to disturb Spencer’s bad shoulder and Spencer sits pole-straight. After an hour of precise movements, Spencer leans into Derek’s side resting a hand on his thigh. Derek’s smile is tiny, but Emily’s takes up her whole face. She leans harder into Derek’s other side and reaches to intertwine her fingers with Spencer’s. As they move to get up and go to bed, Spencer pulls Derek into a kiss, which Derek returns earnestly. Emily can’t contain her joy and caresses both of their necks.

                “Darlin’,” Derek whispers.

                “Thank you,” Spencer says.

                “No, thank you; there’s nothing to thank me for.”   

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”—Kimberly Johnson

Chapter Text

 “Daddy, stop,” Charlotte whines, brushing Derek’s hand away as she ties her sneakers.

                “Derek, let her try,” Emily reprimands softly as they watch Charlotte’s hands try to make loops.

                “You’re so big, baby girl,” Derek says wistfully, as she gets the laces into a semblance of a bow.

                “Stop calling me a baby, Daddy; I’m a big girl.”

                “That’s right, Derek; she’s in kindergarten now,” Spencer comments, walking down the stairs and ruffling her hair.

                “Papa, stop.”

                “I still think we should’ve waited,” Derek comments.

                “We would’ve never sent her if it was up to you,” Spencer jokes.

                “I don’t see why we have to; she could have one of the most brilliant people in the world as her teacher if we homeschooled her.”

                “She needs socialization, Derek.”

                “Socialization is highly overrated.”

                “No, Daddy, I need sobilation.”

                “That’s right, baby,” Emily says, picking up her, almost too big, daughter.

                “Mama,” Charlotte whines exasperatedly, shifting so Emily will put her back on the ground.

                They load into Derek’s SUV; Derek sitting in the back with Charlotte. He holds her close to his side and she gives him an indulgent look. Spencer loves seeing the look when he turns to look at them; it is so clearly Emily. It’s a flurry of kisses and hugs, until Spencer, the most composed of the adults, walks her into the building, kisses her cheek, and sends her into the classroom.

                He has to drive home because Derek and Emily are such emotional wrecks that they’re sniveling all over each other. When they arrive home, they sit together on the couch for a while, not talking. Finally, Derek gets up to go to work and Spencer knows he can’t be late for his first lecture.

               

BREAK

               

                Charlotte sprints from the school doors into Emily’s waiting arms.

                “Mama,” she wails excitedly.

                “How was your day, love-bug?”

                “Good, I had so much fun! We colored and played cooking and ran outside and read books! Mama, there was so many books; Papa would love it!”

                “I’m sure he would,” Emily laughs.

                “I love school,” Charlotte sighs as she wiggles out of Emily’s arms.

                Emily can’t help the little tears that form in her eyes. While this day is filled with joy for her daughter, it means less time with Emily. She knows it’s selfish, but she can’t help sometimes wanting to keep her at home forever.

                “Is Papa home?”

                “He will be soon; I think Daddy is coming home early tonight too.”

                “Really?”

                “Yes, really.”

                “Yippee!”

                Charlotte is at the counter coloring a picture of Big Bird as Emily prepares them a snack of apples and peanut butter, when Derek comes through the garage door.

                “Daddy,” she shouts, and her grin grows wide.

                “Baby girl, how was your first day? Awful? Never want to go back? Want to stay my baby girl forever?” He questions jokingly, having already quelled his fears with a phone call to Emily.

                “Daddy,” she whines and shakes her head, “I love school, Daddy! I had so much fun!”

                “Just like your Papa.”

                “Papa said you would say that.”

                “Papa knows me very well,” Derek admits and asks, “Where is Papa? I thought I would have to wrestle him for cuddle time.”

                “I forgot to pick up bread crumbs for Lottie’s favorite.”

                “Emily.”

                “Mama,” Charlotte and Derek groan together, “No nicknames, Mama.”

                “But I can still call you Charlie, right?” Derek asks as he picks her up and tickles her.

                “Daddy,” she sighs in exasperation, “I’m not a baby anymore; I’m a big girl and my name is Charlotte.”

                “Alright, alright.”

                Spencer walks through the garage door, smiles at the three, and drops a thing of breadcrumbs onto the counter. They take their snack into the family room and watch Arthur on the television.

                They all take their time with arms wrapped around Charlotte and she indulges them for a while before she’s up and running to play outside in the warm September afternoon. They follow her outside because while she’s home, they can’t help stalking her around the place. Emily, Spencer, and Derek sit outside on the outdoor couch as Charlotte chases their new dog, Luther, around the yard. Emily is, maybe, watching her too wistfully because Derek pulls her into his side and kisses her forehead.

                “I know this is hard on you,” he whispers into her hair.

                “It’s hard on all of us,” Spencer says as he buries his face into Derek’s other shoulder.

                “Ah, pretty boy, I always forget your soft spot when it comes to Charlie.”

                “She’s our daughter, Derek.”

                “I know that, but you take emotional turmoil with what seems like such strength and sometimes it is. Yet, I forget that sometimes you just keep it all bottled up.”

                Spencer snorts in return but keeps his face in Derek’s shirt.

                “Don’t do that, Spence. I want you to tell me how you’re feeling.”

                “I feel like I’m grasping at straws and she’ll soon realize that I’m not her biological father and not every child has three bossy parents or parents that are in an unconventional relationship. I don’t think she’ll like that, but most of all, I don’t think other children will like that. I don’t want her to get bullied because of me, and she’ll want to act out against us. It will be excruciating to hear he say that I’m not her Papa.”

                “Spence, don’t think that way,” Emily commands.

                “Pretty boy, whatever happens, the four of us will weather it together,” Derek assures, “For the record, I don’t think our baby girl is going to do that.”

                Derek squeezes his shoulder tightly, but it doesn’t stop the slow stream of tears.

                “Papa, what’s wrong?” Charlotte asks as she skids to a stop in front of her parents. She tugs on his sleeve and then climbs ungracefully into his lap.

                “Papa’s just a little sad about you not being home to play with,” Emily answers for him.

                “Papa, don’t cry,” Charlotte says; she hasn’t grown past the comforting technique of gently patting the person’s cheek, so she does it lightly to Spencer.

                “Thanks, Charlotte,” he says as he pulls her into his body.

                “Don’t be sad, Papa. I can still play with you after school and read books. You know way more about books than Mrs. Barrett and you do better voices.”

                “Thanks.”

                “I love you, Papa.”

                “I love you, too, Charlotte.”

                “Daddy, Mama, tell Papa you love him.”

                “I love you,” Derek says, and the words are heartfelt almost bringing another sob out of Spencer. Derek kisses him chastely to which Charlotte claps. “And I love you, too, baby girl.”

                “I love you three so very much,” Emily asserts, kissing each of them quickly.

                “I love all of you,” Spencer whispers; his voice crackles with emotion.

                “I love my family.” 

                                 “Family is not an important thing, it's everything.”—Michael J. Fox

A/N: Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed! You've been awesome! Look for other little ficlets ahead (suggestions are welcome).