Written by montiese@lairofthemuses on LJ.
Note: Emily is in her 50's, Hotch in his 60's, they have 4 kids:
- Jack (Hotch's Son, Haley died)
- Alexandra and Dylan (Twins)
They are all teenagers.
- Gregory Prentiss(Emily's Dad)
- Natalie (Emily's Stpmother)
- Alexander, Tug Hotchner (Aaron's Dad)
- Amelia (Hotch's mother)
- Cece (Derek's Daughter)
Emily leaned on the doorframe of the study wearing a pleasant smile.
“Hey, Mr. Deputy Director, it’s bedtime.”
“Hmm?” Hotch looked up from nothing particular and saw the fuzzy image of his wife. “Hello.”
“Hi there. It’s getting late so I came down to check on you. I thought you'd want to go to bed.”
“Yeah, OK.” He didn’t move from his chair.
“I think I'm a little inebriated. Just a little bit, baby.”
Emily nodded, trying to keep her face neutral. She walked over to his desk and shut down the computer. She could smell the Maker’s Mark…this was more than a little bit. Emily sighed but could not get angry.
“C'mon, we’ll go to bed.” She said, taking his arm.
“I'm not sure if…maybe I…if…” Hotch got a little tongue-tied so he stopped trying to make sense.
Emily got him to his feet but she surely didn’t think she could get him upstairs. The last thing that needed to happen was for her to suffer an injury dragging him to their bedroom. Hotch would never forgive himself and he had enough to deal with right now.
“OK,” Emily took a deep breath as she sat him back in his chair. “I'm not sure I can do this. I'm going to get Jack and…”
“No!” Hotch exclaimed, his voice going up two or three octaves. “No, no, Jack can't see me like this.” Tears pooled in his eyes. “Don’t let him see me like this, baby.”
“Alright, calm down.” She put her hands on his shoulders, her eyes bearing into him. “It’s alright. I'm not going to get him but you’ve got to help me help you. Can you do that?”
Hotch nodded. He kept nodding and his wife had to make him stop. Emily took another breath, helping him stand. Hotch put his arm around her waist, gripping the side of her tank top. He didn’t put all of his weight on her; didn’t want to hurt her. Even with his head swimming like a goldfish in a very large bowl, Hotch had the presence of mind to know that she was carrying a heavy burden.
They took it slow, walking from his study to the kitchen. Hotch didn’t want to go up the back stairs, didn’t want to run into one of the kids. Emily quieted him; they had to go this way. It was slow, one step at a time, but they made it. When she finally got him down the hall and onto the bed, Emily did a little victory dance. Hotch tried to join in but it made him dizzy.
“No dancing for you tonight.” Emily kissed his forehead.
She started to undress him…leave it to Hotch to still be fully dressed at almost eleven at night. Emily got down on her knees to take off his shoes and socks. Then his tie, dress shirt and slacks. It took time but he managed to stand and get them off his feet.
“I'm sorry Emily.”
“Don’t…” she stopped walking to the hamper and turned around. She saw the tears sliding down his cheeks. Emily dropped the clothes on the chair, going to sit with him on the bed.
Her arms around him, Hotch dropped his forehead on her shoulder. He didn’t want to cry, hated to cry, but there was nothing else left to do. It hurt so much and every time he opened his mouth to express it, nothing came out.
“I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry baby. Forgive me.” He sobbed.
“Shh,” Emily stroked the back of his head. “you have nothing to apologize for.”
“I'm drunk.” Hotch moaned.
“I know that honey. We should get you into bed now. You must be tired.”
Emily was treading lightly. She was sure there was rage and pain underneath his tears and if he thought she was being condescending he could get upset and possibly angry. Pulling his face up, she caressed his cheeks and wiped his tears. The kisses she sprinkled across his face were warm.
“I love you, Aaron Hotchner, and we’re going to get through this.”
“I need to talk to someone.” He whispered.
“Yeah.” she nodded.
“How can I when I can't find the words? I can't find the feelings…I'm stumbling in the dark, Emily.”
“We’ll talk about it tomorrow, I promise you. Right now I want you to get some sleep.” She helped Hotch up from the bed, pulled back the blankets, and he got in.
“I love you too;” he said. “with all my heart.”
“Sleep.” Emily sat on the edge of the bed and kissed his lips. “I'm going to check on the kids and then come back.”
“Sweet dreams.” Hotch replied.
“I'm supposed to say that.” She couldn’t help but smile at him.
“You will…when you come back.”
Emily nodded, getting up and walking out of the room. She got herself together as she walked down the hall to knock on Jack’s door.
“Hey sweetie, I…oh my God, Beowulf. That’s bringing back some bad memories.”
“The test is Tuesday,” Jack said. “I'm almost done. Then I'm going to tackle the Cliff’s Notes for an extra boost.
“Sit down, mom.”
Emily smiled and sat in his leather computer chair. Jack was definitely his father’s son. Nothing was out of place in his bedroom. Books, DVDs, even video games were stacked neatly. No clothes hung out of drawers; no posters or pictures askew.
“Is Dad alright?” he asked.
“He won't talk about it much.”
“I'm sure he doesn’t want to burden you Jack. Your father wants you to lean on him, not the other way around.”
“I've been through this.” Jack replied.
The statement made Emily pause. She had never thought of it that way but it was true. Ten years ago, Jack lost his mother. Three weeks ago, Hotch lost his. Amelia had a massive stroke and died in her sleep. Hotch had been nothing but stoic as they planned the funeral.
He read the eulogy, enduring all the hugs and pep talks. He was inundated with talk of his late father…he was the image of the Alexander Hotchner. He and Natalie even convinced Tug that moving closer to them was the best thing. In a few weeks she and Tug would be roommates in the retirement condo she and Gregory purchased a year ago. They never spent a day in it as a married couple. The widow and widower would be good company for each other. Emily couldn’t believe Tug actually agreed to it, but she knew how lonely he would be without Amelia in that big house. The lure of being closer to his grandchildren, 25 minutes instead of two hours, probably helped in the decision-making process.
“I’ll talk to him.”
“He’s my father; I know all of his quirks and traits. I share most of them. He might push but I can push back.”
“I don’t want him to get upset with you.” Emily replied. “Please honey, you don’t know the whole story.”
“I know a lot of it, mom.” Jack said. “Nana loved to tell me stories about Dad. She never prettied up the ugly stuff about Dad’s dad.”
“No, she didn’t. If you want to try I won't stop you. But don’t push him too hard…he’s hurting.”
“I know.” Jack nodded. “Cross my heart.”
Emily nodded. She wasn’t sure that it was the best idea but Jack was his father’s son. He was headstrong and determined just like Hotch.
“Alright. Get back to your studies and make sure you get in bed at a decent hour.”
Emily nodded. She stood, went over to the bed and kissed the top of his head.
“I love you, John Bradshaw Hotchner.”
“I love you too, mom.”
Her next stop was Sabrina’s room. She knocked and walked into the room.
“Ten more minutes, sweetie.”
“I know; I'm just cleaning some stuff up.”
“Is Daddy going to be OK?” she asked. “He drank a lot tonight. He drank a lot the night before last too. He drank a lot last Saturday.”
“I didn’t realize you were keeping track.” Emily replied.
“He’s in mourning. What he’s going through right now is hard to put into words.
“He and Nana had a strange relationship.” Bree said.
“Being a mother is a very tricky thing. Not that being a kid is a picnic in the park. Sometimes mothers want to be the best but they fall short. I wish I could explain it better but words can be overly simplistic. Nana loved Dad with all of her heart. She made mistakes in her past and even lots of love couldn’t change it.”
“Like you and grandma?” Bree asked.
“Sort of. Mothers and their children are complicated, sweetheart. We try to learn from all the mistakes and do it just a little better with each generation.”
“I understand. Its going to be hard to be as good a mother as you are.” She said.
Emily smiled, pulling her daughter into a hug.
“I love you, Sabrina, so so much.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
“Before you were born,” Emily let her go. “I thought I would fail miserably at motherhood. Grandma taught me how to be a strong woman but I was lacking on mother skills.”
“You had Natty for that though, right?” Bree asked, climbing under her comforter. “You had two moms who filled in the gaps, right?”
“We’ll talk tomorrow, I promise, but now you need to sleep.” She kissed Sabrina’s cheek. “Sweet dreams, love.”
Emily left, closing the door behind her. She passed by Alexandra’s room; she and CeCe were spending the weekend with Aunt Penelope and Uncle Kevin. Emily didn’t know where the tech analysts found the energy. They didn’t have any children of their own but rarely had an empty house. Emily knew having the kids around made Garcia happy…she was always willing to let her borrow hers.
Dylan was sound asleep, arm hanging over the side of the bed. Jake lay at his feet. He looked at Emily when she came into the room but didn’t bark or growl. She petted his head, kissed the back of her son’s head, and went into the master bedroom. Hotch snored lightly; that was a good sign. The room was dark except for the moonlight coming through the blinds.
Emily usually did yoga stretches before bed but didn’t want to turn on any lights. Instead, she sat at the end of their bed and practiced her breathing. It never failed to help her relax. She definitely needed to relax tonight. It was Friday and the Hotchners had made plans for the three-day President’s Day weekend. That probably wouldn’t happen now. There was a good chance for peace though, and Emily would take what she could get.
With one last deep breath, she slid to the top of the bed and ducked her legs under the comforter. It would probably be easier to sleep lying on her side. Emily was so mentally and physically exhausted she was positive she could sleep standing up. A smile tickled her lips when she felt her husband spoon behind her. Hotch was a notoriously randy drunk…Emily hoped that wasn’t the case tonight.
“Sweet dreams baby.” He murmured, brushing her strap aside to kiss her bare shoulder. “Love you.”
“I love you too. Goodnight.”
The bourbon helped him sleep. It didn’t help enough and Hotch still lingered in the gray purgatory between sleep and awake. He had been there since his stepfather called and told Emily that Amelia was dead. His mother was 82 years old…she had lived a fascinating, colorful life.
Hotch was alright with letting go of her physically but psychologically was agony. Parts of him felt as if he would mourn for the rest of his life. Still, drinking himself numb would solve nothing. He couldn’t do that to Emily and the kids. He couldn’t do it to himself.
At 60, his liver surely would never bounce back from the beating. Hotch watched his father drink himself into oblivion and now was a bad time to pick up Alexander Hotchner’s dirty habits. On Tuesday after the holiday he would return to work and start the process of moving on. There was still so much to do, to live for…this tragedy couldn’t knock him out. He knew he had to talk to someone but wasn’t sure how to do it just yet.
This time of confusion and doubt had to be normal after the loss of a beloved but complicated parent. Gray would have to be good enough for now and Hotch would make up the rest. There was nothing wrong with ‘fake it till you make it’. It had gotten his family through some tough times and it would get them through this.