In the middle of the night, Jack Hotchner has a bad dream and goes to his father for comfort.
Note: We do not own Criminal Minds or any of its characters. Oneshot set sort of as a prequel to 25 to life, explaining why Aaron decided to take off."Daddy?" A small voice said to his left and a tiny finger poked his cheek. With a yawn, Aaron Hotchner rolled over to face his son, Jack, the owner of said voice and finger.
"Hey, Buddy." Aaron pulled on a tired smile. "You should be in bed. Is everything okay?"
"I had a bad dream. Can I sleeps in your bed?"
"Sure," Aaron replied, scooching over, "Get in." Jack scrambled up under the covers, burying his head into his father's chest. Aaron hesitated a moment. "You want to tell me about it?"
Jack's arms wrapped around him tighter, "It was scary!" He whispered.
"It's okay," Aaron replied, placing a kiss on Jack's head, "I promise I'll keep the monsters away." He lowered his voice into a growl to demonstrate his strength. Jack giggled and then after a moment stopped.
"It was about the Bad Guy!" Jack said in a low tone, clearly still frightened.
Aaron tensed. Jack seldom talked about what had happened (he was still too young to fully understand) but whenever he did talk about things, he always referred to Foyet as "the Bad Guy". "What happened?"
"Me and you and Mommy were at our house and we were watching TV and then the Bad Guy came in and took Mommy away again and she was screaming and you tried to stop him but he took you away too and then there was a loud bang and I was crying but you didn't come back. And then the Bad Guy came back in and said you and Mommy were never coming back!" Jack broke off sobbing into Aaron's chest.
"It's alright, Buddy." Aaron crooned, rubbing his son's back. "It was just a dream. I'm not going anywhere. The Bad Guy can't hurt us anymore."
The sobs slowly died down and Aaron thought that Jack had fallen asleep, when he pulled his head back and looked up at Aaron, "Daddy?"
"The Bad Guy was the one that made Mommy go away, right?"
Aaron grimaced. "Yeah; he was."
"Now that the Bad Guy's gone, will Mommy come back soon?"
Aaron took a deep breath, "No, Buddy. Mommy isn't coming back." He hesitated. "Death means that a person can't come back."
"Oh." Jack said, and Aaron felt small tears leak through his shirt and onto his chest. "Will we ever see her again?"
At this point Aaron had to blink to keep from crying himself. "Someday, Buddy."
"In a very long time." Aaron inhaled deeply. How could he explain this so that a five year-old would understand? "You know how in Church they talk about Heaven?"
"Well, since Mommy believed in Jesus, that's where she is. She's safe with Him so that the Bad Guy can't hurt her either. And she's watching us and missing us too. We need to wait until we go to Heaven and then we'll see her." Aaron finished, emotion choking his voice on the last bit.
"Okay." Jack sighed and lay his head back on Aaron's chest. He was out within minutes. Aaron, however, lay awake wishing he had more to say to comfort his son.
End Note: I know there's not too much of a resolution, but the fact is Haley's still dead so Jack and Aaron still need to wait to see her. I don't think that they'll ever be completely 'over' her death.