Aaron read the letter over, twice. He wasn’t sure what was going on, all he knew was that he needed to fly up to New York and see a lawyer about a delicate matter. It was close to Christmas and Aaron wasn’t sure how soon he could get a flight. Sighing he logged onto his computer and checked to see what was immediately available. When Aaron was finished, he went to go find his partner and let him know what was going on.
“Spencer,” Aaron called out as he made his way through the house. He found his husband in the kitchen doing some finishing touches on the batch of cookies he had made earlier in the day. Jack was sitting on a booster seat helping to decorate his own gingerbread man.
“Well look at you two.” Aaron smiled softly as he pulled Spencer into his arms. He tried to sneak a cookie, but Spencer was fast and smacked his hand before he could grab one.
“Those are for the party tonight, Aaron.”
Aaron fake pouted as he pulled Spencer closer and kissed him soundly.
“I have to go to New York tomorrow. I know this is last minute, but that certified letter I got came from a lawyer. I don’t know what it is or what it’s about, but I was told it’s a delicate matter.”
“Then go. Don’t worry about Jack and me, we will be fine, Aaron.”
Aaron kissed his husband’s forehead before letting him go.
“How’d I get so lucky?”
“Hmm, I don’t know, how did you get so lucky?” Spencer teased making Aaron laugh.
“Yeah, yeah. Go get ready for the party.” Spencer swatted Aaron on the ass as the man walked out of the kitchen chuckling as he went. Aaron was very much looking forward to the party with good friends and their families to kick off the holidays. Rossi was even bringing his daughter and her family, Aaron had a feeling it was going to be a very special Christmas.
“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” Aaron was shocked. Actually, he was more than shocked, he was stunned speechless. The lawyer he had to go see was for his friend Jackson Grimes. Aaron had worried at first, but the lawyer assured him that Jackson was physically okay.
“Mr. Hotchner, you know Mr. Grimes better than anyone else. You also know that his sexual preferences do not usually run to the female persuasion. He understands what has happened, but he admits that he is not in a position to take care of a baby. Paternity tests have been verified, though Jackson cannot remember when the…incident as he calls it, took place.”
Aaron racked his brain and thought about all the times that he had been out with Jackson, or when he and Spencer were out with Jackson and nothing came to mind.
“So he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own child?” Aaron was so very much going to be calling his friend when this meeting was over.
“Mr. Hotchner, be honest, could you see Mr. Grimes with a baby? Oh, he would hire all the right people to take care of the child, but even he sees how cruel and heartless that is. He is giving his parental rights over to you. He just asks that he be included as say an Uncle in the child’s life.”
Aaron stood and rubbed his forehead. This was giving him quite a headache. The lawyer was right, though. Jackson, as incredible of a friend as he is, would end up being a terrible absentee father. Breezing in only when it became convenient and treating the child like a nephew or niece. At least his friend was doing the right thing and thinking about the baby over himself.
“When can I see the baby?”
The lawyer smiled and handed Aaron an address for the children’s home the baby had been taken to after the mother had died. It was a rare brain aneurysm. Aaron was told by the lawyer that the woman had no other family, except a brother who was distant from her. Her parents had died a few years prior, and they had no siblings. The baby would be put into foster care if Aaron didn’t take custody.
After leaving the lawyers, he drove right to the children’s home to see the baby. It was a little girl named Jacquelyn Fae Danvers. When the woman that ran the home brought the baby to him, Aaron could immediately see that she was indeed Jackson’s. He also knew he was going to sign the papers and take her home. Now, he just needs to break it to Spencer.
Aaron was a coward. He knew he was a coward he just hoped that Spencer would forgive him for not calling and warning him. But, there had been so much to do and take care of. He had the papers with him for Spencer to sign as well. That was one stipulation Aaron had. Spencer would be included in the adoption. Now, Aaron just needed to tell Spencer. Or, in this case, show Spencer. He only hoped he wasn’t going to be relegated to the couch for the foreseeable future. Swallowing his fear, Aaron opened the door and went inside.
The house had been transformed while he was gone. The whole place looked bright and festive. The tree that had been there for the party was even more decked out. Ornaments and decorations were everywhere. Aaron smiled as he looked around and hoped that the festive nature of the Reid-Hotchner household would carry over to Aaron’s news.
“Spencer, I’m home,” Aaron called out after he had set the baby carried on the coffee table and picked up little Jackie in his arms. She was amazing on the trip home. Only fussed a couple of times on the plane. The poor baby was exhausted as she slept in Aaron’s arms.
Aaron heard Spencer coming into the living room and stopping short. Aaron looked up to see his husband doing a very looney toons maneuver with his head as he looked between Aaron and the baby in his arms.
“Aaron?” Spencer took a tentative step forward.
“That….that’s a…..that’s a baby. Where did you get a baby?” Spencer looked panicked as he tried to focus on one of them but couldn’t.
“Well…” Aaron let out the breath he had been holding, then little Jackie opened her eyes and smiled up at Aaron, then turned her head and saw Spencer she started to smile and move her arms and legs in excitement.
“That is not fair.” Spencer mock glared at the baby as she smiled even more. “Please, love, explain.”
“She’s Jackson’s. Don’t ask even he doesn’t remember, but there was a paternity test, and it was double verified. Jackson admits to knowing the woman who had been a friend of a client. After she had Jacqueline here, she died a few months later from a rare brain aneurysm. They tracked Jax down, but…well…”
“Jackson would have hired nannies and such to take care of her. Okay, I get that but how does this involve you?”
“Of course, Spencer. Us. Jackson would only give up his parental rights if we took her. He does want to be part of her life but as an Uncle. We both know his lifestyle and that he is very married to his company and as much as he thought about having kids, you and I know that would be a terrible idea.”
Spencer sighed before taking the baby from Aaron’s arms.
“She does look like him, doesn’t she.”
The baby laughed and gurgled at Spencer as he held her in his arms.
“How old is she?”
“Six-months.” Aaron looked at Spencer more hopeful than when he had asked the man out on that first date almost five years prior.
“This is insane, you know that, right?”
Aaron smiled that dimple-popping smile of his and knew that even if he was in trouble for not telling Spencer right away, his husband was already in love with the little girl.
“Jack has been asking about siblings.”
Aaron didn’t even try to hide his excitement as Spencer worked this all out for himself.
“Yes, he has.”
“You know this ruins all our plans.”
Aaron knew all about Spencer and his ten-year plan. They would work a few more years at the Bureau, then Aaron would retire and go either into teaching or opening his own practice. Spencer would go into teaching and pure research. They would sell the house and move into something smaller and travel the world sometimes with Jack, and sometimes not as he went through college.
“Totally out the window.”
Spencer rubbed the little girl’s cheek, making her giggle. Shaking his head, Aaron knew his husband was all in.
“Alright, how can we say no.”
“It was a foregone conclusion that you would say yes.”
“You are terrible.” Spencer pouted as the baby fussed. “And you can change her and talk to Jack. I’m going back to making lunch.” Spencer pretended to stalk off, then ran back and kissed Aaron on the cheek. Aaron knew everything was going to be just fine. Maybe they would be more tired and have more responsibilities, but it felt right like Jackie was the missing link to their little family.
Aaron and Spencer had not told everyone yet about Jackie Fae, as Spencer liked to call her. They wanted her to be a surprise at the Christmas party Rossi was throwing on Christmas Eve.
Aaron was surprised by how quickly the baby fit into their lives. They already had rooms that they weren’t really utilizing, and Aaron had not gotten rid of Jack’s furniture, thinking he might one day gift it to Jessica if that day ever happened. They pulled it out of storage, cleaned it all up and set-up the room right next to Jack’s as Jackie’s room. Spencer had a friend come in a paint playful, bright scenes all over the walls. A new mattress pad for the crib, and some minor repair to the dresser that Aaron stripped down and repainted the frame white, and each of the drawers a different color. A new pad on the top for the changing table as well as a few touches here and there.
Even Jack got in on the decorating, making suggestions as his excitement over having a little sister grew every day. The nine-year-old enthusiastically helped his Dad’s in taking care of her. Aaron couldn’t have been more proud of his son.
Walking hand-in-hand to Rossi’s backyard where it was all set-up with food, decorated trees, a jazz band playing Christmas songs quietly enough that conversation could happen. There were gifts laid out, Spencer having brought their bag of gifts earlier in the day.
When they walked into the party area, everyone looked towards them to greet them. Aaron almost choked on a laugh as he looked at the faces of everyone there.
“You have questions.” Was all Aaron said before everyone descended on them all trying to talk over each other. JJ and Garcia both squealed as Jack and Henry ran off together to go play.
“Okay, okay, guys let us at least put Jackie Fae down, and we’ll answer all your questions.”
“Oh, bossman, can I hold her?” Garcia looked so hopeful Aaron didn’t want to disappoint her.
“Of course.” Aaron smiled as he picked the baby up. Spencer had gone shopping for clothes for her with Jack and Aaron wasn’t allowed to go. Jackie had a Christmas red dress with little ornaments all over it in green, gold, and silver. On each ornament were scientific equations. On her feet were frilled red socks and white buckle shoes. A headband that matched adorned her forehead over a full head of dark hair.
“Ohh, she’s so cute,” Garcia gushed and Aaron and Spencer smiled. “Okay, sit, spill. We wanna know everything.”
“Yes, Aaron,” Rossi growled and lifted a brow at his friend. “We want to know how you kept a baby a secret.”
Aaron laughed as he sat with Spencer right next to him. They told the group how little Jackie Fae came into their lives.
“Okay, that just brings up so many more questions. How do you know Jackson Grimes?”
“Aaron and I went to undergrad together. We were, to put it mildly, terrors on campus. We had to get our own apartment just to get out of everyone’s hair.”
“Uncle Jax!” Jack screamed and came running towards the man.
Jackson picked the boy up and kissed him on his forehead. “Victor is over by the car, why don’t you go help him bring the presents, little man.”
“Okay.” Jack smiled as he ran off.
“I hope I’m not interfering. Aaron said to come if I could find the time.”
“Not at all. You want a drink?”
“Just sparkling water if you have it.”
Rossi nodded and wandered off to go get Jackson a drink.
“You don’t have to ask, Jax.” Aaron smiled wide as his best friend walked over to Garcia who was still holding the baby. With a smile, she handed baby Jackie over. Aaron stood and put a hand on Jackson’s shoulder.
“You know you can still…”
“No, Aaron. She’s yours. I can’t give her what you and Spence can. I love her enough to give her to the people that can take care of her properly. Aren’t you always the one lecturing about nurture and criminals?” Jackson smiled as he kissed the baby who cooed at him.
“Alright. I won’t argue anymore.” Aaron gave the baby a little tickle on her feet, she giggled and let out a happy screech.
“That does not mean I don’t get the right to spoil her.”
“You mean like you do Jack.”
Jackson laughed and bounced Jackie in his arms.
“Well someone has to do it. I’m the eccentric Uncle, remember?”
Jack came running back with a big bag in his hands. Rossi took it and put the presents with the others. Coming up behind was Victor Marks, the famous artist,and gallery owner. The team looked at Aaron with new eyes as they saw him interacting with the two men. Aaron knew they had more questions and they would be answered later. After celebrating with friends and family. After enjoying good food, good drinks, music, and presents. After they had a night just for them to celebrate not only the season but the new addition to the Reid-Hotchner family.
Aaron sat with Jackie Fae in his arms and let himself fall a little more in love with her. He looked up and saw his family, all of his family, celebrating this special time of year. This was one night the nightmares were held at bay, the Unsubs slept, and people wished for a better year. Aaron didn’t need any wishes, he had everything he could ever want right there all in one place, and he thought it was going to be a damned good year.