A Night That Changed Them Forever

Title: A Night That Changed Them Forever
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Category: Angst, Romance, Slice of Life
Ratings: R
Pairings: Spencer Reid/Aaron Hotchner, Emily Prentiss/Will LaMontagne/Jennifer Jareau
Characters: Spencer Reid, Emily Prentiss, Aaron Hotchner, Will LaMontagne, Jennifer Jareau, OMC, OFC
Spoilers: none
Summary: It’s the night of JJ and Will’s surprise wedding. Everyone for the most part is happy for them. Spencer is still nursing a broken heart over Aaron and Emily still can’t believe that Will and JJ have excluded her from their lives. What happens when the two heartbroken come together for one night? Something that will change them all.
Words: 10, 309
Warnings: Implied self-harm, discussion of self-harm
Tags: Unexpected pregnancy, angst
Beta: DarkJediQueen

Emily stood off to the side of the dance floor as she watched JJ and Will sway to the music of the customary wedding dance. Her heart was breaking as she watched the two people she loved exclude her from their lives. She wished that things could be different but she knew that life wasn’t always fair. That night she made a decision, a decision that would change her life forever.

She dances with Rossi and whispers in his ear what he means to her. She does the same with Hotch, and he knows she made a decision and it was one he wasn’t going to like. Morgan was next and he could tell something was wrong. She only tells him that he is important to her and always will be. She talks and laughs with Garcia and makes a promise to herself that she will always keep in touch with the bubbly analyst. She saves Reid for last. She was watching him off and on all night and saw the heartbreak in his eyes as Aaron danced with Beth. The team knew about the relationship between the two men, but no one outright asked them. It went unspoken but they were profilers, they weren’t stupid. Emily feels guilty about their break-up and she knows that Reid hasn’t gotten over Aaron. She was living proof of how hard it was to work with the person you love and can’t be with them. She walks over to him and asks him to dance. He is reluctant, but she smiles charmingly and is able to coax him out on the dance floor.

“I’m so sorry Reid,” She whispers in his ear.

“For what Emily?” He asks with confusion in his voice.

“I feel responsible for what happened with you and Aaron,” She feels him stiffen, “Come on Spencer, we all knew we just respected both of your privacy.” She smiles at the young genius.

“It wasn’t your fault Emily, I understand they wanted to protect you, but Aaron he,” He closes his eyes as they sway together. When he looks up again he saw Aaron looking at him the way that he used to and it breaks his heart all over again. Reid looks back at Emily and he saw her watching him.

“I love you, you know that right?” Emily smiles sadly.

“You’re leaving aren’t you?” He wasn’t a genius for nothing, thought Emily.

“I have to Reid. There are too many memories here. It doesn’t mean I won’t keep in touch, I will.” She reaches up and cups his cheek then kisses it softly.

“I’ll hold you to that,” He grabs her hand and kisses her palm. He has gotten better about the team touching him over the years, Emily being one of the one’s he was most affectionate with besides JJ.

“Do you want to get out of here?” She asks.

Reid looks over at Aaron again his heart ached and he didn’t really want to be there anymore. It’s not that he wasn’t happy for JJ and Will he was but it was difficult for him to watch the intimate display between Aaron and Beth. He looks at Emily as she kept watching Will and JJ and knew that she somehow was hurting also.

“Sure, let me just get my bag.” He grabs his bag and they both walk over to the dancing newlyweds.

“Congratulations Jayje, Will,” Reid hugs both people.

“Are you leaving?” JJ asks her blue eyes bright as she watches the brother of her heart look towards Aaron and Beth.

“I’m sorry Jayje, it’s been a long night. I’m really happy for you guys though,” He walks off towards the cars and waits for Emily.

“Em,” JJ starts to say something but Emily cuts her off.

“No don’t JJ, Will. Just know that I will always love you both but I guess we just couldn’t have our happy ending. I hope you guys made the right decision. I’ll miss you.” Emily turns around before JJ can respond and leaves with Reid in tow.

“What did she mean by that Will? What have we done?” She knows she should be happy, and for the most part, she is, but watching the woman she loves walk out the door is breaking her heart at the same time.

“I don’t know cher, I don’t know” Will was feeling the same thing. He regrets the decision he and JJ made to break things off with Emily and now they have to live with the consequences.
“Would you like to go back to my place? We can put on a bad movie and indulge in some rocky road ice cream I have for occasions such as this.” Emily asks hoping that he’d say yes. She didn’t want to be alone tonight for once.

Reid contemplates for a moment, “Sure, I’d like that.” He smiles his boyish smile and it touches something in Emily.

They go back to her apartment and watch Rocky Horror, throw popcorn at the screen, which Sergio, Emily’s cat, happily eats off the floor. They polish off a half-gallon of ice cream and talk. She tells him of her decision and though it saddens him he understands.

“So, Reid before I go off to England, tell me.” She looked at him with a crooked smile on her face.

“Tell you what?” He asks confusion showing on his face.

“About you and Hotch silly, how, when,  you know all the details.”

“Oh, um it kind of started after Georgia.” He gives her a sad smile.

“Oh, Reid you don’t have to tal-“

“No, it’s okay. I was having problems, as you pointed out to me in Texas,” He laughs at the look on her face. “You totally didn’t deserve that from me and I’m sorry. But he came by one night and I ah, I’d taken too much. He took care of me and helped me through it. I was in withdrawal in New Orleans and you probably guessed I missed the plane on purpose,” She nods her head yes. “It wasn’t until after Evan Abby, though, that I really got the help I needed. Aaron came to check on me again, but this time it wasn’t the drugs.” He looks down as shame fills his eyes.

She frowns, “Reid, what happened?”

He pulls up the sleeves of his dress shirt and shows her the scars on his arms. They went from just below his elbow to his wrists. “I was trying not to take anymore Dilaudid. I was in one of the worst withdrawal periods yet and in a lot of pain. So I had started doing this. I started just after New Orleans and when Aaron found me he got me help. Those three weeks I was ‘sick’ I was in a program.”

“Wow, Reid.” Her eyes fill with tears because she has a similar secret. “I guess we are too much alike after all.” She says quietly.

“Emily, please tell me you didn’t?” Reid’s eyes shone brightly as he took her hand.

“After Doyle, it was so hard Spencer. Coming back trying to pick up my life again and I think I understand what you went through, why the drugs called to you. But I didn’t want drugs I just needed relief. The first time was just an accident. I had dropped a glass in the sink and I cut my hand on one of the shards, but instead of feeling the pain, I felt this sense of I don’t know,” Her eyes cloud over as she remembers the things she’s done to try to find herself again.

“Euphoria? Relief from the thoughts in your head, relief from the pain of moving on, of pretending everything was all right when it wasn’t. Hoping beyond hope that somebody would notice what you’re going through and reach out?” He asks as his eyes fill with unshed tears.

“Yes, that’s exactly it.” She took a chance and snuggles in close to Reid. After a minute his arms come around her and he pulls her in tight.

“I left so many clues for Gideon hoping that he’d understand, but he didn’t. I think he and Aaron fought over it and in the end, it was Aaron that helped me through everything. He stayed with me for a few days, that was when he and Haley were fighting the most. Nothing happened between us though until he was served the papers and we just well we found comfort with each other.”

“I was in a relationship with JJ and Will. Everything was going so well then Doyle happened. They were angry I didn’t tell them and I guess that was my fault. We tried to make it work after I came back, but they didn’t know how to help and I didn’t know how to ask. I could talk about it with Hotch he listened and didn’t judge. I appreciated that.” She sits up but stays close to Reid, “I need distance, Reid. I need to figure things out away from everyone.” She snuggles in closer thankful for the contact.

He leans down and kisses the top of her head, “I get it, but I’ll miss you.” He lays his head on top of her as his arms tighten around her. He couldn’t ever say why he felt such a connection with Emily. It was different than anyone else on the team. She understood him as Aaron understood him. She liked a lot of the same nerdy things he liked and they just clicked somehow.

“Why’d you break up?” Emily asks as she lays her head on his chest.

Spencer took a deep breath, “It wasn’t that they hid you, I get that part, it was that he lied to me for months. That was the one thing I asked from our relationship, never lie to me, but he did. I can’t understand why he didn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth when he knew I would never betray you, that I could keep your secret. I can understand Morgan, his temper he might blurt out something he shouldn’t. Garcia, she’s good, but she’d be tempted to find you. But he knows me, he knew I’d never out you.”

“Spencer, I think he thought he was doing the right thing. I’m sorry you got so hurt and I’m sorry I was the one that caused that hurt.” She felt the guilt over Doyle and all the aftermath all over again. She looks up when she feels a hand on her cheek, a thumb softly stroking, then soft lips connecting with hers. She doesn’t think for once she just lets herself feel.

They find themselves naked and tumbling together trying to find comfort in the face of such emotional loss. Spencer was kissing her deeply, stroking her softly making her feel something other than this crushing pain in her heart.

“Emily, if you don’t-“ He starts to say, but she cuts him off with a kiss. They spent the night touching, tasting, stroking, and finally feeling the ecstasy of relief. Reid collapsed next to her and pulls her in tight and she cries in his arms finally letting out all of the emotional pain she has been holding in for so long. He whispers words of love and friendship hoping it will help.

When morning comes and they are still wrapped up together she smiles a real smile for the first time in months. She was happy that she experienced the prior evening with Reid. He’s the only one she truly trusts with all of the secrets of her heart. She had told him how she and JJ had become a couple and how after they met Will they let him into both their hearts. She told him how they had been so happy together until her mistakes with Doyle had hurt them so deeply they felt they couldn’t trust her.

She sits up and smiles down at the genius having no regrets over what happened. The sheets move down when he turns towards her and she notices the scars on his legs.

“Oh, Reid” She reached out and ghosted her hand over them.

He felt her hand lightly on his legs and opens his eyes to see her sitting up watching him. He looks down at her hand and smiles sadly.

“I did that when I thought you were dead. I wasn’t lying when I told JJ I almost took Dilaudid again. Aaron caught me again and got me to stop. I haven’t since, not even when you came back, though I was tempted.”

He traced the remains of her own scars when he grabs her arm and kisses them tenderly, “If I promise you I’ll never do it again, you have to promise me you’ll never do it again.” He looks at her so earnestly that it broke her heart just a little.

She smiles at him, “Okay I promise.” She just hopes she can keep that promise.

He pulls her down and kisses her again, stroking her back, kissing her neck, and nipping at her shoulders. “I’ll always remember last night Emily. And I love you too.” And it was a love born of friendship. They had given to each other at a time when they both were hurting and searching neither one was expecting anything else in return.
Emily tells Aaron about the offer from Clyde Easter about her running the London office of Interpol and that she was going to take it. He tries to talk her out of it but she was adamant. She tells him that she needs distance that too much has happened and she was having trouble getting perspective.

“Can I just say one thing Hotch?” She wasn’t sure if it was her place but she went ahead anyway. She felt she owed Spencer something and if she could make Aaron see reason, then she would feel some sense of accomplishment.

“What is it, Prentiss?” Aaron quirked up his brow in confusion not knowing what the normally sarcastic and abrasive agent he had come to highly respect was going to say.

“It may not be my place to say anything, but seeing as you are technically not my superior anymore I am going to say this. You are letting the best thing to ever happen to you get away. You smiled more and you were happier. Even after Haley, we saw how he cared for you. We all knew Hotch but we just respected your privacy enough to not bring it up. He still loves you very deeply but he’s too stubborn to say anything. He’s just accepting the situation like he does everything else in his life and it’s hurting him more than you are willing to admit. You were an idiot not to fight harder. Sir.” She looks at Hotch expecting him to get angry or yell but he doesn’t.

“You’re right.” Is all he says.

“Excuse me, did you, did you just say that I was right?” Emily teases him.

“Prentiss don’t let it go to your head.” He teases back with a tight smile on his face.

“Well, I said my peace and I hope you consider it. I will miss you Hotch.” She got up and shook his hand before she heads out the door. She has already cleaned out her desk and left cards for both Reid and Morgan trying to put into words what she felt for each man. She stops by Garcia’s lair and says her tearful goodbyes with lots of pleading to stay from the perky blonde. It’s when she stops by JJ’s office when the reality of what she was doing hits. She left the letter in the middle of her desk hoping that JJ would find it easily when she returns from her honeymoon.

“I love you Jayje,” Emily says into the empty office. She heads out the doors of the BAU for the last time and her heart breaks. She doesn’t want to leave but knew if she didn’t she wouldn’t survive the pain of staying.
JJ was back after a week with Will at a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains courtesy of Rossi and the team. Her mother had watched Henry and they had a wonderful time. She hadn’t heard about Emily yet and when she enters her office and sees the letter her heart stutters. With shaking hands, she opened it and read. By the time she is done, she can’t help the tears. She never knew the depths of depression Emily was in and she was feeling guilty for being part of the cause of it.

Reid had been watching for her and saw when she entered her office. He made the decision to go see if she was okay. When he got to her office he saw she was crying.

“JJ,” He quietly says with raised brows.

“Spence, um, just give me a second.” She turns around and dries her eyes. She doesn’t want to appear weak in front of him.

Spencer comes into the office, closes the door, and sits down. “I know JJ. Emily told me everything.”

JJ frowns, “When?”

“You’re wedding night. I went back to her place and she told me. JJ why didn’t you trust her? She loves you and now because you didn’t trust her enough, she’s gone” He looks at her with such sadness in his eyes that the feelings of guilt just deepens.

“Why didn’t you forgive Hotch?” JJ knew she was delivering a low blow, but Spencer hadn’t exactly forgiven her yet. She forgot just how long Spencer could hold onto hurt when he thought people who cared about him betrayed him.

“You’re right I haven’t forgiven him. I haven’t forgiven you either and I know that’s not fair but neither of you understands what it’s like to be held captive, tortured, and hope beyond hope for someone to find you.”

“Spence,” She didn’t know what to say because she knew it was true. “No, I don’t but I had to watch.” Her blue eyes shone with tears that she doesn’t want to let fall.

“I understand why Emily did what she did. It’s why I could forgive her easier. She did it to protect you, the ones she loves. You can’t know what it did to me when Raphael asked me to choose one of you.” He bit back what he wants to say.

“Spence, you’re right none of us can know what that did to you. But Emily had a choice-“

“Did she JJ? The circumstances may have been different, but she was forced to choose too. She chose to keep us in the dark, to keep us safe. I chose Hotch because I knew he would understand and I wanted to keep you all safe.” His eyes bore into her trying to make her understand. “You and Hotch knew that I would never betray Emily. Even when Hankel was at his worst I never betrayed anyone though he tried.”

“It wasn’t that we didn’t trust you-“

“Wasn’t it JJ?” He was trying to get her to see just how much not only he was hurting but Emily as well.

“Did she tell you everything as I told her she should?” He nods towards the letter.

Her face darkens as she looks at Reid, “Yes, she told me everything.” JJ bows her head, “I didn’t know it got that bad for her.” She quietly says.

“Yeah well, I know some of what she’s feeling.” JJ’s head shot up and she tries to read the expression on his face. “JJ if you and Will really do care about her as much as you claim you do then you fight, you fight to let her know what you feel, you fight to get her back.” He got up and left. The conversation was getting too deep into territory he didn’t want to bring up.

JJ sat there stunned. She hadn’t realized how much she hurt the two people she loves most in the world besides Will and Henry. She had let Reid twist in the wind because of her own guilt over what happened in Georgia, but her anger at Emily was uncalled for. Emily had tried to keep them safe and she and Will threw it in her face. JJ didn’t know what to do, especially after Emily risked her life to save Will from the bomb that had been strapped to his chest. For now though she ends up doing what she always did, bury herself in her work. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Three Months Later:
Emily was feeling sick in the mornings and she wasn’t sure what was going on. When she misses her monthly cycle she finally realizes what is happening and that knowledge scares her. She goes out and buys a couple of pregnancy kits and sure enough, they both came back positive. She sits back in her chair stunned. Immediately she makes an appointment with her doctor for the following day just so she can be sure.

“Miss Prentiss, I can say without a doubt that you are pregnant. And it looks to be about 13 weeks but you’ll need to have that confirmed by a gynecologist.” She looks at the man standing before her speechless.

“Um, so you’re absolutely sure?” She knew he was, but she wants to hear it from him again.

The doctor smiles at her “Yes, we ran the test twice. You are pregnant. Now here is a list of good gynecologists in the area any one of them will take wonderful care of you. Do you have a partner that will help you?”

“Um, yes, yes there’s someone,” She lies to the doctor not wanting to get into the complications of her situation.

He smiles again, “Okay good. I wish you luck, Miss Prentiss.” He shakes her hand as he leaves ready to see the next patient.

She takes a few days to contemplate what she’s going to do next and what she does surprises even her.

“Reid,” She hears on the other end of the line. She calls Spencer before she realizes what she’s doing.

“Hey Reid, do you have a minute?” She asks the young agent.

“Emily, hey how are you? Yes, I have a minute.” He ignores the look from Morgan as he walks away from him so he can get some privacy.

“I’m good. But Spencer,” She looks down at her desk schooling her emotions, “Spence, I’m pregnant.”

He stops dead in his tracks, “What?”He says dumbly.

She laughs at the obviously clueless question, “I said I’m pregnant.” She braces herself for the next question.

“Okay, who, who’s the father?” He squeaks, though he has a gut feeling as he paces frantically.

“Spencer I think you know. I’m thirteen weeks according to the doctor.” She grows silent again.

He stops dead in his tracks again, “Emily, what are you going to do?” He quickly figured out the timeline and it didn’t take a genius to figure out he was the father.

“I want to keep it, Spencer. I saw the OB/GYN and they were realistic with me. This may be my only chance, they want to monitor me closely because of the scarring left behind from Doyle’s attack.” She got silent as she waited to see what Spencer would say.

“Okay.” He rubs his forehead as he tries to figure out what he wants to do. “Look we’re on a case in North Dakota, it’s going to be a few days, can you wait for me to call you back? I promise Emily I will call you back once we get home.” He stares off into the distant skyline his thoughts going a million miles a minute. He’s trying to formulate a plan but his mind goes blank and he’s not sure what he’s going to do.

“Of course, I’m sorry I didn’t realize-“ She knew it was a possibility but she wasn’t sure.

“It’s okay, it’s just been a really tough case. I will call you back, okay?” His breathing is shallow because he’s not really sure what to do.

“Okay Reid, I’ll hold you to your promise.” She smiles into the phone knowing that her friend would be good as his word.

“Emily, I’m not going to run away,” He says before hanging up.

She hangs up not knowing what the young genius meant. Clyde was waiting outside her office door when she hung up with Spencer.

“Everything okay darling?” He asks as he enters.

She puts on a false smile, “Yes Clyde everything is fine. Ready for lunch?” She gets up and takes his arm. She knows she’s going to have to tell him but she wants to wait till she hears back from Spencer. She knows that somehow this pregnancy is going to change them all.
One Week Later

The team was back in Quantico and Spencer hadn’t had a chance to call Emily back, but he had made a decision. He needed to talk to Aaron but away from the office because he knew this might get ugly.

“Reid!” Hotch was surprised to see Spencer at his door.

“Hotch, can I come in? We need to talk.” Spencer was nervous but he knew what he wanted to do and he knew Aaron was going to try to talk him out of it.

“Of course, come in.” Hotch moves away for Spencer to enter.

“I’m not going to take up much of your time Hotch. Here.” He hands him a letter. It was the most difficult thing he has ever done, but someone needs him and he was determined to be there for her.

“What’s this?” Hotch’s heart beat hard in his chest and he didn’t want to read it didn’t want to know his youngest agent’s intentions.

“Aaron,” Reid’s eyes filled with pain as his heart was breaking, “Please, just read it.” He moves off towards the living room and waits.

With a frown on his face, he opens the letter and reads. “Reid, you can’t mean this,” He stares at the genius, breath shallow, and heart racing.

“I do Aaron. I just can’t anymore. I need to move on.” He stares at his unit chief waiting to see what he was going to say.

“Please Reid, don’t do this,” Aaron fears what he’s feeling, but he fears moving forward as well.

“I have to Hotch. You won’t acknowledge what’s between us anymore, you chose someone else and I can’t be here. I need to get some distance from you and a friend needs me right now.” He sheds silent tears while standing there, his heart breaking, “I love you Aaron but you want someone else and I can’t watch it anymore. Please don’t look for me.” He says as he walks out. He doesn’t look back to see how Aaron’s heart shatters but the older man is too stubborn to go after what it is he really wants.

A few days later there’s a knock on Emily’s door, when she opens it she’s surprised, “I thought you were just going to call me,” She opens her door wide to let Reid in.

“I’m not going to let you go through this alone Emily. I’m just as responsible. I won’t lie to you I’m terrified, but you’re important to me. What kind of person would I be if I wasn’t there for you or for our child.” He walks in and engulfs her in a hug, holding on tightly to her.

“What about the team? You love your job.” She reaches up and cups his cheek, “You love Henry, Reid what about him?”

“There’s always Skype, letters, and phone calls. I won’t lose him, but right now you are more important. This,” He lays a hand on her stomach, “Is important. And statistically speaking children being raised by both Mother and Father do better in school, social settings and typically have a better sense of self-worth than those who are raised in single-parent households. It’s interesting to note that-“ Emily starts laughing out loud, tears of happiness flow down her cheeks.

Reid frowns at her, “What?!” He asks incredulously.

She calms down after a minute, takes his hand in hers, “I have missed you, Dr. Spencer Reid.” She smiles and is happier than she’s been in a long time.

“Emily, I know it’s not ideal, I love you like a friend-“

“Spencer, I’m not stupid. I know what we are to each other and I love you like a friend too. Let’s just take this slowly, okay?” She smiles at him and wonders what life is going to be like with Spencer as a father. She’s surprised that she’s excited to find out.
One Year Later

“Come on Emily we’ve got to go if we’re going to be on time,” Reid yells as he lifts the squirming seven-month-old little boy in his arms.

“Alright Spencer I’m coming already.” She runs out into the living room with a little girl curled up in her arms, the twin to the boy Reid is holding.

Reid smiles looking at his daughter, “You two ready?”

“So impatient. You know that’s where this one gets it don’t you?” She openly mocks her best friend.

He just smiles as he slings his messenger bag around his neck and a diaper bag over his shoulder. Just then there is a knock at their door.

Reid frowns because he knows they aren’t expecting anyone. “Are you expecting Clyde?” Reid asks Emily.

“No are you expecting Blake?” She asks Reid.

“No.” They hear the knock again, but more insistent this time.

Reid sighs as he opens the door and is shocked to see the two people he least expects to see.

“Aaron, JJ what are you guys doing here?”

“We ah came to bring you home. What’s going on Spencer?” Aaron asks.

“Look we have somewhere we have to be. You guys are welcome to stay here till we get back.” He looks to Emily to make sure that was okay. She nods her head yes.

“You can’t just leave. We just got here and you need to explain this,” JJ points to the babies in their arms.

“Actually JJ we don’t owe you any explanation. Now we really do have to leave. If you want to stay feel free but we’re going to be back late.” Emily says as she shoves past Hotch and JJ.

JJ starts to go after Emily but Hotch lays a hand on her arm and shakes his head. He knew now was not the time to press their luck.

“Look,” Reid looks at the two people who he hasn’t seen for over a year, “Just come back tomorrow we have no plans and we can talk, if that’s what you want. But not now we have to be somewhere and we’re already late.” He says just as the little boy in his arms starts crying.

“Hey Nate buddy, it’s okay.” He shifts the infant in his arms and the boy quickly settles back down.

Aaron watches Reid with the baby and it does something to his heart. He realizes then just how badly he messed up by not fighting for what he really wanted and it broke something in him.

“Spencer,” He wants to say so many things but he could see the impatience on the younger man’s face. “We’ll come back tomorrow.” He says instead and steers an angry JJ out of the building.

When Spencer finally gets to the car and puts Nate in the car seat his emotions settle. “Well, that was unexpected.” He tells Emily as he slides in the passenger seat. He still hadn’t gotten the hang of driving in England so he usually let Emily take control.

“I thought you told them not to look for you,” Emily asks.

“I did, damn stubborn profilers.” He grumbles next to Emily and she laughs at him.

“I bet it was Garcia.” Emily smiles fondly thinking about the perky analyst. She has kept her promise to keep in touch and she was glad that she had.

“I wouldn’t take that bet.” He looks to see the amusement on Emily’s face, “What? The odds are totally in the house’s favor.” He says playfully. “A Vegas boy never bets against the house.” He smiles.

A few minutes later they arrive at Tsia and Jeremy’s house. Everyone thought that the couple had been killed by Doyle, but when they found out he had escaped prison they quickly made a plan to fake their own deaths not even telling Emily till Doyle was dead. They had moved to England to get a fresh start and to be closer to their friend.

Reid and Emily got the twins and made their way inside the house. They had a play date with Tsia’s little girl Amber. There were hugs all around, Reid still a little tense with the couple but they had gotten used to it, they knew about his phobia but they have come to like the young genius so they just took it in stride .

“You guys are late, what happened?”

Emily sighs deeply, “Hotch and JJ showed up at the flat.” She looks at her friend with sadness in her eyes.

“Oh, are you guys okay?” Tsia asks as she grabs Emily in a tight embrace. One night the two couples has stayed up late talking, Reid and Emily told their friends everything and it had felt so good for them to share, to let someone else know what they were going through. Especially people who would understand like Tsia and Jeremy did.

“Yeah, it was just quite a shock and to be honest I’m surprised it took them this long to make a move. I suspect that they’ve been looking for me for a while. I didn’t make it easy for them.” He thinks back to the convoluted trail that he created to throw his team off if they ever decided to look for him. He knew, however, that Hotch would be the one to eventually figure it out.

“Emily, do you need to talk about it?” Tsia saw the pain in her friend’s eyes. She still hasn’t gotten over JJ and Will but Tsia didn’t want to push her to talk if she didn’t want to.

“No, it’s fine. We’ll see what they want tomorrow, but now let’s just enjoy the kids and have a nice day.”

Reid could see that Emily was putting on a false smile. He knew her so well by now. He just put an arm around her and watched as the twins crawled on the floor and played with the soft baby toys strewn around. She laid her head on his shoulder and was grateful, not for the first time, that he had come to help her and take responsibility for his children. She didn’t think in that moment she wanted it any other way.
Spencer called Hotch the next day and they made plans to have him and JJ come over. Both he and Emily were nervous, they weren’t sure how this was going to go.

This time the knock at the door was expected and Emily went to answer it.

“Hotch, JJ come in.” Emily tried not to look at JJ as she entered the flat, but she couldn’t help it.

“Emily, we’ve missed you,” Hotch gives her a smile and pulls her in for a hug.

“I’ve missed you Em.” JJ stands aside not know what to do or what to say.

Emily moves up to her and pulls the blonde in for a hug and holds her close for a couple of minutes. Just then Spencer comes in to the room and he was wearing a t-shirt. Emily knew what he was doing and she wondered if Hotch did too.

“Spence,” JJ runs to him and barrels into him as she wraps her arms around him. His arms come around her and he pulls her in tight. “I’ve missed you so much Spence. Henry keeps asking when you’re coming home.”

“JJ,” He doesn’t know how to tell her that he’s not. He could never leave his children now. “Let’s sit down.”

They all move to the living room where the twins were playing in their playpen.

Hotch watches Reid’s face as he looks over at the babies and again he’s struck. “So, Emily, Spencer do one of you want to tell us about them?” Hotch points to the playpen.

Reid’s face splits into a wide grin as he watches the babies, “The boy is Nathaniel Cole Reid-Prentiss and the girl is Serenity Paige Reid-Prentiss. They’re twins and they’re ours.” Spencer looks to both Hotch and JJ.

“Spence,” JJ looks shocked “But,” She looks at Hotch who she could see is fighting his emotions, “When?”

“When what JJ?” Emily stares at JJ daring her to ask the question.

“When did you two,” JJ was trying to be tactful, but was falling short.

“When did we have sex?” Reid watched both Hotch and JJ when he said it. He could see Hotch’s eyes cloud over in pain, but he didn’t say anything. JJ was sitting there dumbstruck.

Hotch cleared his throat, “Yes Spencer, when did you guys have sex?” He knew he had no right to be angry. He didn’t take Emily’s advice to fight for Spencer, he had made the unconscious decision to let him go.

“It was the night of your wedding.” Spencer stares at Hotch hoping to make him understand just how hurt he had been watching him with Beth.

“Oh,” JJ’s eyes filled with tears as she bent her head slightly. She wiped them away so they didn’t see what this was doing to her.

“So there’s no talking you into coming home is there?” Hotch’s heart was breaking, he had pinned so many hopes on this visit. He had wanted to woo Spencer back, but seeing the family he had made for himself he knew there was no going back.

“No Aaron. I would never leave my children, just like you would never leave Jack.”

“What are you doing now? I mean for work,” Hotch hadn’t ever been this uncomfortable in his life. He was nervous and it seems that everything was coming out wrong.

“I’m teaching at King’s College, Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. Seems my degrees and my time at the FBI have opened a lot of doors here. I also do some consulting with SOCA the Serious and Organized Crime Agency, and sometimes Interpol. I don’t have to travel as much, but we did have quite an exciting unsub just recently,” His eyes sparkled as he told JJ and Hotch about the recent serial killer that was stalking London and how he was called in to help.

Hotch watched his face light up and thought how could I have let him go. He didn’t know what to say, so he stayed silent.

“So, did you guys get married?” JJ wasn’t sure what the relationship was between Emily and Spencer and she wanted to try to understand.

Emily laughed slightly, “No JJ, we’re not married. We do live together but we’re not together. I’ve been seeing Clyde.” She watches for a reaction from JJ and sees in her eyes how much pain this has caused her. Emily doesn’t feel good about it, but she didn’t want to lie to JJ.

“And you Spencer?” Hotch asks in a broken voice.

“His name is Blake. He adores the twins and understands about Emily and I. That we’re just friends who want to do right by the babies that we’ve created.”

“Oh, I see.” Spencer sees the hurt in Hotch’s eyes but doesn’t move to comfort him.

“How’d you find me anyway?” Spencer tries to lighten the mood a little at least.

“Garcia tried to follow the rather convoluted trail that you left. It was Amsterdam that I finally understood.” Hotch gives him a knowing look. “You made me think,” His voice cracked with emotion.

“But I didn’t. I wouldn’t not now. I love them too much to hurt them or Emily. I wouldn’t put her through that. We’ve been through enough and well, life feels good for once.” Hotch’s eyes had wandered over Reid’s arms hoping that Reid hadn’t started cutting again.

“No Aaron, I haven’t done that either. Emily and I made a promise to each other that we would stop. For the babies we’ve been ‘sober’ so to speak.”

“Emily?” Hotch looks over at her, “Don’t tell me-“

“It was after Doyle, after JJ and Will broke things off with me. I was in a deep depression and at the time it was the only thing that helped. I appreciated our talks Hotch, but some days it wasn’t enough. After the bank heist and almost being blown up again, things were just getting to be too much.” She looked over at JJ wanting to cry, “Seeing you and Will so happy, it was all I could do to keep it together Jayje. If Reid hadn’t been there that night I don’t know what I would have done.”

The conversation had turned heavy to things that still went unspoken and neither Reid nor Emily knew if they would ever truly know if they would utter them. They spent a couple of hours more with JJ and Hotch but when it was becoming evident that the babies were tired and cranky they knew it was their time to leave.

They sat in their rental car not moving. JJ had her head back, eyes closed as she tried not to cry. It was then that her phone rang.

“Hey Will,” She answers the pain and sadness evident in her voice.

“Did you find them cher?” He asks hopeful.

“Yes, but they aren’t coming home Will.”

“What, why not?”

“I can’t explain right now. I will when we get home.” She hangs up and wraps her arms around herself and cries. Hotch reaches over and pulls her into a hug, his own eyes wet with unshed tears.

“We have to let them go JJ. They’ve made something here, but we-“ He wants to let it out, but his stoic nature takes over. He clears his throat, “Let’s go home Jayje.” She buckles back in her seat and they drive away, again neither one trying to fight for what they really want, too much in their own pain to see past it and make the first steps to forgiveness.
Another year later

The phone rings while Reid is trying to get Serenity dressed. The twins have officially entered the terrible two’s and she was in that stage where she didn’t want to wear clothes. Reid was frustrated with her so instead of getting angry he let her go for the moment.

“Dr. Spencer Reid,” He answers.

“Spencer, it’s Dr. Norman,” He clears his throat not knowing how to tell the young man, “Spencer, Diana has had a stroke. Its pretty severe.”

Spencer’s legs give out, but luckily the chair is there next to the phone, “What, what are you saying Dr. Norman?”

“Spencer, I’m afraid you’re mother doesn’t have long. I think you need to get here as soon as you can.”

“Yeah, yeah okay.” The Dr. is still talking but Spencer doesn’t hear as he hangs up the phone. He just sits there devastated tears silently flowing.

“Spence? Who was on the phone.” Emily calls out. When she doesn’t hear anything from him she asks again, “Spencer, who called?” She makes her way into the front room to
see him sitting there.

“Spence, honey, what, what’s wrong?” She sits in front of him cupping his cheek.

“Em, I, I, I need to go, I need to go home,” He looks in her face and the devastation he is feeling is clearly evident.

“Spencer, what’s wrong?”

“My Mom Emily. She, she had a stroke, oh god what am I going to do. I can’t lose her Em.”

“I’ll make arrangements. Do you want me to call the University for you?” He nods his head yes. He can’t think and he’s more than grateful that Emily is there. Before he
knows it Emily, he and the children are on a plane back to the US, back to Las Vegas.

“Do you want me to call anyone? Maybe let the old team know?” She asks him, not really knowing what to do for him.

“No, maybe, I don’t know. I just want to see my mom Em.” He looks out the window as he holds tight to his daughter Serenity.

When they get to Bennington Sanitarium Dr. Norman immediately takes Spencer to see his mother. She’s in a coma and he could tell they had been keeping her on life support. He sits in a chair and takes hold of her hand.

“Mom, I’m here mom.” He strokes the back of her hand, willing her to wake up. “Emily and the kids are here too. You should wake-up so you can see them.” But, he knows in his heart that there is nothing that can be done.

Dr. Norman comes in to see Spencer and tells him the situation with his mother, that without life support she’s not going to make it. Spencer spends the day with her, reading to her and slowly saying his goodbye.

Emily comes to sit with him for a while, holding him close as he cries on her shoulder. She doesn’t know what to do for him. She’s always known how close he was to her, always feeling responsible for her. All Emily wants to do is wrap up her friend and stop all of the hurt this world keeps throwing at him.

That night he signs the papers that will take her off life support. He doesn’t let anyone else do it, she was his mom and he was the one to flip the switch. He doesn’t leave right away and he doesn’t let them take her yet. It wasn’t until morning when Emily came back to him.

She kneels next to Spencer, “Spence, come on. You have to let go now, you have to let them take care of her.” He looks at his best friend, the mother of his children and lets himself breakdown.

The funeral was a simple affair. His father was there, they had been talking trying to repair their relationship. William was exceptionally wonderful with the twins and Spencer was grateful.

It was a few days later and Spencer hadn’t left his bedroom when Emily was starting to get really worried.

The most he did was get up to take a shower and then lay back down. She did the one thing that she didn’t think she would ever do, she called Hotch.

He of course dropped everything. He has Jessica look after Jack and he makes his way to Las Vegas. By the time he got to the hotel Emily was frantic.

“He hasn’t come out of there. Not even the twins have helped. I’ve never seen him like this Hotch.”

“He was like this just after Hankel. Give us a little while Emily?”

“Sure, take all the time you need. Will Reid is keeping the kids while I’ve been trying to help him. I don’t know what to do”

Hotch rubs her arms and tells her everything will be okay.

“Okay, I’ll be downstairs.”

Hotch makes his way to the room and sees Spencer on the bed, eyes staring but not really seeing. At first he’s afraid that Spencer was high on dilauded, but quickly put that thought out of his head. He makes his way inside the room and sits down on the bed and takes Spencer’s hand in his.

“Spencer, you can’t do this. You can’t retreat like this. There are people who care about you. Your mother wouldn’t want you to retreat. What about Nathanial and Serenity? They need you Spence.”

Spencer turns his head and looks at Hotch and there is such longing in his eyes that it breaks Hotch’s heart. All of a sudden Spencer pushes Hotch down on the bed and kisses him. The kisses are deep and passionate and they tell Hotch everything. They don’t say anything as they tear clothes to get at the skin beneath them. Their love making is frantic and emotional and everything Spencer has been missing. When he collapses next to Hotch he curls up in his arms and cries for the first time since the funeral. He lets go of everything he’s been feeling and it breaks Hotch a little bit more.

“I’m so sorry Spencer. I know what she meant to you.” Aaron holds the younger man close not knowing what their future was going to bring.

Emily was in the casino bar nursing a beer when two people come to sit on either side of her.

“Emily,” JJ touches her arm, “How is he Emily?”

“He’s not doing good JJ.” It takes her a minute to realize what she said, “JJ,” She then looks to her other side, “Will, what are you guys doing here?”

“We came with Hotch. You didn’t think we’d let you and him go through this alone did you?” JJ asks with eyes bright.

Emily closes her eyes, “What do you want JJ?”

Will was the one who spoke up, “You Emily. We’ve been fools and we’ve missed you so much Emily. Henry misses his mama. I know you’ve tried by keeping in touch, but it’s not the same Em. We made so many mistakes and we want you to come home.” Will pleads with her.

“Will, so much has changed.” She thinks of Reid and their children.

“We know Em, but we want a chance to show you how much we love you. We’ve never stopped loving you.” JJ leans over and kisses Emily trying to show her just how much she was missed.

Emily pulls back and her heart stutters. She’s not sure what she wants.

Will cups her cheek and turns her head so that they are looking at each other and he gently kisses her also. “I love you Emily Prentiss. I’ve never stopped loving you cher. Please, please come home.”

She looks between them and frowns. She suddenly gets up and runs to the elevators and makes her way to her room. When she enters she hears sounds coming from Reid’s side of the room. She creeps closer and listens for a moment.

“God, Spence, I’ve missed this, missed you,” She hears moaning, “Don’t stop, please.” And she recognizes Hotch’s voice.

She moves to the other side where her bedroom is and sits in the middle of the bed contemplating what to do. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to let Will and JJ in, the hurt had gone too deep. Living with Reid and the twins these last two years has been a balm to her soul. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to rip off the band aid and feel all of those old feelings again. She could understand Reid, he was in so much pain losing his mother that the only thing that was going to help was Hotch and if he found comfort in her old bosses arms, for a while at least she didn’t begrudge him.

She heard the quiet knock on the door and went to go answer it.

“JJ, Will seriously guys,” She says warily.

“We are not letting you go without a fight this time Emily.” JJ pushes past the door and makes her way inside. Will following right behind.

“I have a life, back in England with Reid, our children and Clyde.”

“But do you love Clyde? Do you love him like I know you still love me,” Will walks up to her pulls her in close and kisses her again. She moans into the kiss, as her arms wrap around Will. She wasn’t quite sure what she was doing but she knew she wanted to feel this again. JJ was right there next to them stroking Emily’s hair and whispering words of love. The three moved into Emily’s room and spent the time loving each other, talking through the hurt and the pain trying to find words of apology from each of them.

The next morning there was a knock on the door to the suite that Emily and Reid were sharing. Reid grabbed his sweats and went to go answer it. When he did he was quite shocked at who was standing there.

“Derek! Garcia! Rossi! What, what are you guys doing here?” Just then Hotch comes out of the room, only partially dressed.

“Oh, oh goodness,” Garcia rushes at Reid and grabs him in a bear hug, “You guys made up,” She pulls away from Reid, “Please tell me my young genius that you guys have made up.” She looks at him hopeful

Just then Emily runs out of her room, wrapping a robe around herself as she goes. She had been startled by the squealing and wanted to know what was going on.

“Holy shit, what are you guys doing here?”

“Aaron said something about your Mom Spencer and we wanted to see if you were alright. He just sort of took off and didn’t let us know what was going on.” Rossi looked over as JJ and Will also emerged from Emily’s side of the room, “Okay what is going on might I ask?” He just finished speaking when they all heard the crying of babies.

Reid took a deep breath, “You get Nathanial, I’ll get Serenity,” And movements born out of practice and living together the parents went to work getting their children out of bed, cleaned up and ready for breakfast.

“Uhhh, Reid there something you want to tell us pretty boy?” Morgan looks at Reid holding his daughter.

“This is Serenity Paige Reid-Prentiss, and that is Nathanial Cole Reid-Prentiss.” Emily moves next to Reid, “Our twins.” He waits to see what the three newcomers are going to do.

“You didn’t tell them Aaron?” Reid never thought Hotch would hide this from the team.

“It wasn’t my story to tell Spencer.” He was now fully clothed. “I figured if you wanted to tell them you would, in your own time.” He walked over and stood behind Reid holding him close. Reid closed his eyes and leaned into the older man relishing his touch.

“Hotch, you didn’t have to keep it secret.” Emily said from where she was standing. JJ and Will were standing close not knowing what to do.

“Look why don’t we sit down and we’ll try to explain everything to you guys,” She looks at everyone.

Together Reid and Emily tell the team their whole story. Reid talks about his and Hotch’s relationship and why they broke-up, Emily tells them about her JJ and Will and how Doyle had come between them. They talk about the emotional pain they had been in and showed them all their scars.

They talked about JJ and Will’s wedding and how the two of them were hurting and found comfort in each other for that one night. Emily explained her phone call to Reid and he confessed that was one of the reasons he had left. They passed the toddlers around and everyone was charmed by the twins.

“Reid, your Mom?”

Reid’s eyes cloud with the fresh pain of losing his mother, “She’s gone Morgan,” He says quietly while holding his daughter tighter to him. Hotch pulls them into his arms, not letting go.

“Reid, I’m so sorry man, I know how close you were.” Morgan holds back his emotions.

“Thank you Morgan, that does mean a lot.” Reid lays his head on top of his daughters, kissing her and cuddling trying to stem the tide of emotions at losing his mother.

“What are you guys going to do now? Are you going back to England?” Rossi looks at the two at the center of all this.

“We haven’t discussed it yet Rossi. Things just sort of happened yesterday.”

“Spencer, you can’t go back, not now,” Hotch pleads with the younger man.

“Hotch I can’t leave my children. Nate and Serenity need me, need us.” His breath is shallow and his heart races as he tries to figure out what he wants to do.

“What if we stayed?” Emily says looking at the two men and seeing the love and hope in Reid’s eyes.

“Emily what about your job? What about Clyde?” Reid furrows his brow.

“Well I could as you the same thing. What about Blake, you still haven’t given him an answer.”

“Emily!” Spencer looks at her with a shocked look.

“What about Blake, Spence?” Hotch glares at the younger man.

“He sort of, well, he had asked me to marry him.” Spencer waited to see if Hotch was going to get angry that he hadn’t said anything.

“So you haven’t given him an answer?” Hotch asks apprehensively.

“No, I haven’t. I care about him, a lot but,” He closes his eyes to stem the tide of emotions. Old wounds have been opened, but old loves as well. “Look Emily and I need to talk about all of this. Can you guys give us some time?”

“Sure, we can do that.” Hotch tries to not look heartbroken and Spencer feels guilty for putting that look on his face.

“Will, Jayje, give us some time here?” Emily asks the couple that she was trying to reconcile with. She had made a decision the night before she just wanted to see where Spencer stood.

“Yeah, yeah we can cher. Just let us know when you want to talk, Okay?” Will ushered JJ back to the bedroom to get dressed. The rest of their friends left wonder just what the couple was going to do.

As soon as everyone left Reid and Emily collapsed on the couch together and neither one spoke for a long moment.

“I think we should come home,” They both say at the same time. They look at each other and though Reid is still in mourning over his mother’s death, he was smiling also.

“Emily, Aaron and I talked a lot last night. He wants to try and well, so do I.”

“Yeah, JJ and Will want to work things out also. So should we give them a chance?”

He looks at her and smiles, “I think we should”

Emily and Reid had bought the house across from Will and JJ. They were still living together with the twins for a while until they were sure of their partners. It took Emily a while to forgive Will and JJ, but they talked everyday and they both worked on wooing her. Then one day it just all clicked and Emily moved back in with the LaMontange’s.

Aaron was doing the same with Spencer telling him that he had broken up with Beth just before he had gone to Vegas. Reid was cautious as they both worked to repair their relationship. When Aaron and Jack started spending weekends with him he knew it was time. Since the house was bigger Aaron and Jack moved in with him.

Jack and Henry gained a little brother and sister with the twins and they spent time so much time in each other’s houses they didn’t even need to knock.

Alex Blake had left the team and that left an opening back at the BAU. Aaron asked Spencer if he wanted to come back and he wanted that more than anything. The re-instatement took no time at all and it was as if he had never left. Emily came back also, but in a consulting position. When the team had consults she took care of the majority of them, only asking input when she needed help. This not only kept her busy, but it helped the team immensely. Since they didn’t have to worry so much about consults it cut down on the amount of paperwork and everyone was able to go home a little earlier each time. It worked perfectly because she didn’t want to travel, not with the twins still so young. One day when everyone was at JJ’s for a barbeque Hotch stood at the head of the table wanting to make an announcement.

“It took me two years to figure out what and idiot I was being,” The table laughed at the self-deprication, “But I can say that the wait and the pursuit of the person I love was well worth it. I will always love you Spencer and I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out.” He cleared his throat before speaking again, “Dr. Spencer Reid, will you marry me?”

The whole table waited with baited breath, “Yes Aaron Hotchner I will marry you.” Everyone cheered as the two men embraced.

JJ then stood, “I know that Emily, Will and I are unconventional and I want to say thank you all for your support. You’re our friends and you’re the ones that matter the most. Emily I know we can’t do the conventional marriage, but would you agree to a hand fasting ritual binding yourself to us as our partner and lover?”

Emily stood and grabbed JJ in a hug, “Of course JJ, Will. I love you both so very much.” The table cheered that their two favorite people had finally healed and that they let those that love them the most back into their lives.

So it went that the Reid-Hotchner family lived across from the LaMontagne family, their children raised as siblings as their lives were so intertwined. The love that was shared between the two families was deep and binding and it was born from one night, years prior that had changed them forever.