Disclaimer time – I do not own the characters of Criminal Minds, they belong to others who get paid to play with them I only do this for fun.
Aaron Hotchner packed the last of the things he needed in his overnight bag preparing to go consult on another out of town case with his team. Glancing around to make sure he remembered everything he saw a picture of his family on the bedside table and suddenly felt so old. Picking it up he stared at his wife and child. The team often wondered how he and Hayley stayed so steady with his having a job that had ended many a marriage before, the truth, he and his wife were together but separate.
When he’d met Hayley in high school he had been a shy boy, the son of a conservative republican prosecuting attorney, trying so hard not to make waves and embarrass the family name. Hayley had been a liberal woman’s rights activist in the making trapped in a family as conservative as his own. They had become fast friends he’d even used getting close to her as an excuse to join the school play that year. It hadn’t taken her long to learn his deepest darkest secret and once she had instead of scorn he found a partner in crime. Whenever he wanted to go out and meet people he would tell his family he was going out with her and vice versa at first it was supposed to be just until they finished high school and moved out of their parents homes, like somehow being on their own would finally give them the courage to be true to themselves. Then once they’d gotten into the same colleges senior year they decided to go together. Half way through sophomore year at Stanford Hayley decided she wasn’t cut out to be a career woman that for all her liberal ideas and fights for equality all she really wanted was a child and that’s when it happened.
Hayley had wanted a child not a husband, she was independently wealthy and didn’t really need any help from a man, who according to her would try to run her life, and so she proposed a deal to help them both. For years their respective families had been waiting for Aaron to pop the question, but he’d kept saying he wanted to wait until after graduation so he would be better equipped to support a family and a household on his own. She suggested they get married for real and he give her a child, in exchange for this marriage of convenience he would get as much freedom as he was ever going to have. She said she only wanted the one child and they could go the artificial insemination route because she did want the child to be his for legal reasons, and they would live separate lives under one roof.
They were still best friends of course; they still talked about their day and the men they’d met; only now they were connected to each other and free of their families. He made sure she always understood that if she ever met someone she truly wanted to make a life with he would give her a divorce and would take all the blame with the families saying his job made their relationship crumble like it had so many others in his line of work. Every time he brought it up she would smile and say she already had the perfect life, why would she want to ruin it with icky complications when she already had both her boys to keep her company.
Thinking of Jack always brought a smile to his face. At first he hadn’t thought he would be a good father and he was sure he was failing miserably at parts of it. One thing would never change though; he loved his son more than anything else in his life. He wasn’t old enough yet to truly understand his parent’s relationship, for the moment he simply thought all families were like his. One day that would change and he would start asking questions and he already knew he would never lie to his son. One day he would tell Jack the truth about himself and his mother and hope he would understand.
Placing the photo back on the table he picked up his bag and headed for the plane. Time to catch another killer, in another place, with his team. Always different yet somehow always the same.