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The Sweetest Thing

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October 10, 1997

Jason asked the DJ to turn down the music. He didn’t want any of the neighbors to call the police because then he would’ve been in more trouble than he could ever get himself out of. Still, everyone around him was having a good time and he didn’t want to be a Deputy Downer either. He didn’t want this to get too much out of control…Jason knew that was possible. There were only about 30 people there but he didn’t know Emily knew that many people.

Maybe she didn’t; parties always had a way of becoming public knowledge. This particular party was months in the making. Lindsay started planning as soon as the family moved into the new house. She came to Jason on the second day of school with her plan and he nipped it in the bud. It was a nice gesture but a bad idea. They would do something quiet for Emily; small, family-oriented.

He hated the way Lindsay turned up her nose at that. Emily was turning 16, not 6 she said. This was the time for something out of a John Hughes flick. That was exactly what Jason did not want. So he once again politely declined and made his way to campus for his early morning class.

Imagine his surprise when a week later, Hotch came to him with the same thing. He said he and Lindsay were running it. Gideon was peeved but not surprised. She’d gone around him…knew he wasn’t going to be able to say no to Hotch. Hotch was doing it for a different reason; he wanted to do something special for his ‘twin’.

Jason finally relented and said it would be OK. He had two rules. No more than 20 people, which was broken, and no hard liquor. These were teenagers and even he was too young to purchase spirits. He wasn’t going to have them in his house, plow them with substances, and then send them out into the streets of DC unattended. So Hotch got the OK on a couple of cases of beer and a couple of cases of wine coolers.

When it ran out, the party was over. Jason went to Dave and Erin and asked them to watch the little ones for the weekend while Hotch went to Anderson to ask for a hookup with some beer. Erin didn’t want to do it…she was suspicious of a teenage sex fest. Jason told her his rules, minus the beer of course, and said Emily deserved a party. She’d never had one before and deserved a sweet 16.

Erin finally caved but she told her husband he was going to be on stakeout duty that night. This didn’t surprise Dave in the least. He would do it but Jason was right. Emily deserved her time to be young and carefree. He thought the party, as long as it was controlled, was a great idea.

Morgan insisted that he be able to stay for the festivities. All three of the older kids weren't fond of the idea; he was only 14. He was in high school now though. His life was about to become a succession of parties and good times. That was if he kept his grades up. Emily finally said it was fine but if she caught him with anything resembling an alcoholic beverage in his hand she was breaking all of his fingers. Morgan didn’t care about beer, he cared about babes. He was hoping to meet some older girls at the party.

The party was in full swing now. Lindsay got one of the seniors to DJ and everyone was dancing to the Psychedelic Furs. There was lots of conversation and the beer was flowing. It was hard for Anderson not to approach any of the girls. They were jailbait, Jason told him as much, but they were looking good tonight.

He’d come through with the spirits, as promised and paid for. Because he liked Emily, he got a hookup on something extra special for the birthday girl. She couldn’t believe when he presented her with a bottle of Cristal. He told her she could be as hot as all the girls in the music videos.

Leaning on the wall in the dining room, Jason thought about how good Emily looked tonight. He told her that he was taking her out for her birthday since the big day was Sunday. He wanted her to dress her casual best and Emily dug right into her closet. She looked amazing in a pair of blue jeans and a burnt orange long sleeved v-neck. Her black hair was pulled back in a ponytail while she wore her favorite combat boots on her feet.

She was shocked when she came downstairs and everyone shouted SURPRISE! She couldn’t believe it; had never seen something like that in her life. Her best friend jumped on her before her boyfriend could and Lindsay had basically taken her attention for most of the evening. The party had been going on for over an hour and Jason was still watching them work the room. Not everyone there was a close friend of Emily but she knew most of them.

She was cordial, witty, appreciative, and just knew how to be a social butterfly. He thought the champagne might be helping in that area, she and Lindsay put a hurting on it. There was buffet food in the dining room and everyone took advantage. Jason made winglets, pierogies, and mini-burgers. He hoped that soaked up some of the beer.

Another rule was no driving. All the guests had come on the train and they would be walking in groups back to it when the party was over. It was Friday night so Jason said nine to one was OK. Anything after that might get them a visit from the boys in blue.

“You're not having any fun, are you?” Hotch came and stood next to him.

“I didn’t say that.” Jason sipped his Coke.

“I've known you forever…you didn’t have to say anything.”

“Emily’s having fun.”

He’d just watched her shake and swivel her hips as she danced with Eric Cooper to Roll with It. He said ‘baby, they’re playing our song’ and Jason didn’t like that at all. Still, he wasn’t going to be a jealous caveman tonight. This was a special time for Emily and she deserved all the good times she was having. Jason would watch over her to make sure nothing too insane happened.

“I know, look at her out there.” Hotch watched her giggle with Zoë Hawkes and Bethany Wallace. “She’s the belle of the ball.”

“Do you think she’s drinking too much?” Jason asked. The Cristal was gone; she’d moved on to wine coolers.

“I've been keeping an eye on her.” Hotch replied. “She’s OK.”

“Are you sure?”

“You can go up and ask her for yourself. Why don’t you dance with her, Jason? Look, I'm never gonna butt into your relationship, I promise, but she wants to be with you tonight. She always wants to be with you.” he tried not to let the jealousy creep into his voice.

Hotch didn’t want Jason thinking the wrong thing. He wasn’t jealous of the two of them being together and in love. Maybe he had been in the beginning but not anymore. These days he was more envious; envious that two people could find each other in this world the way they did and feel the things they did. He wanted that too, wanted that love and desire. It also scared him witless. “It’s Emily’s night…make sure she knows how much she means to you.”

Jason looked at his best friend. Hotch was right. If this party wasn’t going on, Jason would’ve definitely planned something special for the two of them. He would’ve showed Emily just how much he cared. This was a milestone birthday; a very big day for her.

And the boy who loved her more than he could ever express was holed up in a corner. It was easy for Lindsay to take all of her attention; Jason handed it right over. It was time to get it back. A little smile on his face, he patted Hotch’s back and walked over to the DJ table in his living room. He whispered something to the DJ, who interrupted Wonderwall to play another song.

“Happy birthday Emily,” the DJ said. “This is from the one who loves you.”

The music began for As Long as it Matters and Emily couldn’t help but smile. She ran into Jason’s arms and everyone around them did a nice chorus of ‘awws'. She loved the way he held onto her as they swayed across the carpet. It was like the prom all over again. When they danced this way there was no one in the room but the two of them. Someone was even taking pictures but Jason could care less.

“Happy birthday Emily.” He whispered.

“This is the sweetest 16 ever. Lindsay told me this was all your idea.”

“Well...not exactly.” Jason wondered why she did that; he didn’t need to lie to impress his girlfriend. “It was mostly Hotch but I'm so glad that you're enjoying yourself.”

“I’ll be even happier when I get you alone later on.”

“Em…”

She took his words, and his breath, away with a kiss. Warmth rose all the way to the tips of Jason’s ears. He couldn’t believe he was thinking about anything but the two of them but he felt all those people watching them. As the song ended, she caressed his face.

“I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Katya. I’ll always love you.”

He barely got a chance to hug her when Lindsay was back, invading their space. She grabbed Emily’s hand, declaring a smoke break. She shrugged but Jason just smiled. He watched as Emily, Lindsay, and their other friend Zoë Hawkes, went out to the back porch. Everyone was dancing again as the DJ played The Sugarcubes. He wondered where Lindsay found this guy; he seemed to have all the music Emily loved. While Jason didn’t want the music to be too loud he hoped she could hear Leash Called Love from outside.

“Have a beer, Jason.” Morgan came over with the bottle of Rolling Rock.

“No thanks.” He took the bottle. “And you don’t want it either.” He passed it off to someone walking by and they thanked him.

“I wasn’t gonna drink a thing. I promised and a man doesn’t break his promises. Also, between you and me,” Morgan lowered his voice to a whisper. “I'm kinda afraid Prentiss might make good on the breaking of the fingers thing. I need these to grip a football.”

Jason smiled. If there was one thing Derek Morgan was above all else, it was practical. He could appreciate that since he was raising him.

***

“5-0 is outside.” Lindsay said, looking out the window as the last guests left the party. It was starting to rain.

“We just refer to him as Uncle Dave.” Hotch replied smirking. He was helping Jason clean up.

“You think he stayed the whole time?” Zoë asked.

“Yes.” Jason nodded. “Zoë, do you mind taking him a cup of coffee? He’ll need a boost to get him home.”

“Sure.” she went into the kitchen where the pot was brewing.

Lindsay sank onto the couch with Emily, who was quite tipsy. She was mumble singing Don’t Look Back in Anger and Lindsay joined her best friend.

“Do you mind if I ravage your brother’s body?” she asked, leaning her head on Emily’s shoulder. They were watching the boys clean. Morgan waved the white flag of defeat almost an hour before and went off to bed. “I’ll return him just like I found him when I'm done.”

“He's all yours…take him.” Emily giggled.

“Famous last words.”

“You guys aren’t gonna be miffed if I spend the night in Jason’s room, are you?” Emily asked, lowering her voice to a whisper.

“Hell no. Firstly, three’s a crowd, even in a big bed. Secondly, if you don’t get a little sumthin sumthin on your Sweet 16, I’ll kill Jason Gideon myself. Fight for your rights, girlfriend…second base here you come.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Emily replied.

Zoë walked by again with the coffee and headed out the front door. Lindsay watched her go and then looked back at her best friend.

“She’s wet right now.” Lindsay spoke loudly but didn’t seem to notice.

“Yeah, its raining.” Hotch replied.

“That’s not the kinda wet I was talking about, cowboy.” She winked and then laughed. It was maniacal but she wasn’t exactly sober.

“That was really uncalled for.” Jason rolled his eyes.

“I can't help it if Porthos has a crush on Rossi.” She said.

“Porthos?” Jason raised an eyebrow.

“We’re the Three Musketeers. No way in hell am I gonna be Porthos.” She focused on Hotch again. “Hey, Superman, we throw a hell of a party. We could start a business or something. This thing tonight went beautifully. And I'm happy to report that Emily made out like a bandit in the gift department.”

“We should probably send thank you cards.” Jason said as Zoë came back in. She closed and locked the door behind her.

“Dave said thanks.” She said. It was obvious she was blushing.

“We would do thank you cards if this was a wedding shower or a tea party.” Lindsay said. “Those kids got their thanks tonight…free beer, good music, and good times. We need to do this again.”

“My birthday is in December.” Zoë crashed on the couch beside Emily too. “I'm not opposed to a massive party.

“Sweet.” Lindsay grinned. “Hotch, are you in?”

“I think my life as an event coordinator was short-lived but adventurous.” He replied. “Thanks though.”

“Its all good…Coop will wanna play.”

“Ooh, ooh, I love this song.” Emily sat up some.

The boys had the radio playing as they cleaned. The opening chords to Levon started and Emily got a dreamy look on her face.

“Levon wears his war wound like a crown.” She sang. “He calls his child Jesus.”

“Cuz he likes the name.” Lindsay picked up. “And he sends him to the finest school in town.”

“Levon, Levon likes his money.” Zoë sang. “He makes a lot they say.”

“Spends his days counting,” now all three girls sang on unison. “In a garage by the motorway.”

Hotch looked at Jason as he wiped down the dining room table.

“Do you have a feeling they’ve done this before?” he asked.

“Once or twice.” Jason smiled.

“Drunk girls singing is a very interesting phenomenon.”

“I just hope it’s not something we have to get used to.”

“And he shall be Levon! And he shall be a good man.” Their voices got louder. “And he shall be Levon; in tradition with the family plan.”

“Woo!” Zoë exclaimed.

“An interesting phenomenon.” Hotch repeated, quietly shaking his head.

***

“Don’t be alarmed,” Emily slipped under Jason’s blanket, curling her body around his. “It’s only the birthday girl.”

Jason smiled at first but stiffened when he realized that she was nearly naked. He’d only dealt with an intoxicated Emily once, and she spent most of that night with her head in a bucket. He had no idea if she was funny, randy, angry, weepy, or insane drunk. All he knew so far was that she loved to sing. Emily did that sober so it surely didn’t count.

“Hey there.” Jason found his voice as he stroked her back. A quick touch test revealed she wore a bra and panties. That was enough to breathe a little sigh of relief. He didn’t want to admit how great it felt to have her wrapped around him like a snake.

“I thought about coming to bed naked but,” Emily laughed. “I didn’t want to scare the pants off of you. There are much more awesome ways to get you out of your pants.”

“Emily, Emily,” Jason tried to keep her quick hands from pulling down his pajama pants or something. “Katya, I don’t think…”

“Good, don’t think.” She kissed him passionately, triumphant when he moaned into her mouth and gripped her tighter.

“Emily…” Jason whimpered when she sucked his earlobe. He felt his body going against his mind. He wanted her so much; he always wanted her. “We’re not going to do this while you're drunk.”

“I'm not drunk.”

“You drank a bottle of Cristal and at least four wine coolers.” He reasoned.

“Were you counting?” she asked, something resembling anger creeping into her voice.

“I was looking out for you.”

“Oh God,” Emily groaned and moved out of his arms. “I hate when you police me, Jason. I know my limits.”

She actually didn’t know them yet; that was something Emily was still working on. But she knew that getting trashed in front of Jason, Hotch, and especially Morgan was a big fat no-no. That much she knew for sure.

“That wasn’t what I was doing.” Jason replied.

“Then what were you doing?” She demanded.

“Here’s what I'm not going to do right now; I'm not going to fight with you. What the hell are we fighting about? Tonight was fantastic and we had fun. I don’t police you, Emily, I love you. I know you want to test, push, and experiment. I do my best to let you be you as much as I can. But it’s a bad idea to make out while you're intoxicated and it’s not fair that you won't respect my wishes when I've never done anything but respect yours.”

There was a long silence and then Emily sighed.

“I'm making an ass of myself, aren’t I?”

“A little bit…alcohol has a tendency to bring that out in people.”

“I'm sorry Jason.”

“It’s OK.” He pulled her close again. Then he took off his tee shirt and handed it to her. “You should probably just put this on.”

She nodded, doing it without question. This led to another awkward silence.

“Was that our first fight?” she finally asked.

“No, our first fight was about that underground club and The Smiths cover band.” He replied.

“Oh yeah, I remember that. I won that fight.”

“Well I won this one.” Jason smiled. “So I think we’re even.”

“What about the Sarah Bickle thing?” she asked.

“Hmm, let’s call that one a draw.”

“You know I would never be disrespectful of your thoughts and feelings, right?” Emily asked. “I just…well I want you. There’s no reason to be bashful about it.”

“The feeling has always been mutual, Katya.” He kissed her. “I'm just not comfortable because you’ve been drinking. I hope you understand that.”

She nodded, truly meaning it. Then she curled around Jason again. Emily was able to exhale when Jason held her close. She hated that he was now bare-chested. It was her birthday; she should at least be able to feel his skin on hers. Emily told him so.

“No monkey business?” he asked, trying not to smile and failing.

“Cross my heart and all that stuff. If you don’t believe me, you can bind my hands. Ooh,” she laughed. “That might be a whole lotta fun.”

“Katya…”

“I'm just goofing around.”

She took the shirt off and threw it on the floor. Then she was back in his arms.

“Jace?”

“Yes?” he felt the same butterflies he always did when she called him that.

“This was the best birthday ever.” Emily said. “I'm so glad I got to spend it with you. I had so much fun.”

“So did I. I bet those pictures are going to be insane.”

“Oh my God, I know. I can't wait to see them though. Did Hotch take pictures of us on the couch? I seem to remember a flash in my eyes.”

“I'm afraid so.” Jason replied.

“I really can't wait to see those.” She laughed. “I love you so much, Jason.”

“I love you too.”

“Will you make me pancakes in the morning?”

“We’ll call it the late morning.” he replied. It was already after 3am. Jason couldn’t believe he was still awake. “I’ll make you anything you want.”

“Mmm, you're so good to me.”

“I'm smitten.”

“I like smitten; it feels nice.”

“It definitely has its advantages.”

“So um, maybe in the morning, before anyone wakes up…”

“You're insatiable.” He laughed.

“I'm just…”

“Insatiable. Say it with me.”

“Shut up.” She gave him a friendly poke in the ribs. “I'm just crazy about you. Most guys I know wouldn’t complain about that.”

“I'm not going to either.” Jason said. “It’s late though, and we both need to sleep. Morning will be here before we know it.”

“I can't sleep without a goodnight kiss.”

Jason smiled, taking her face in his hands. There were so many things he wanted to say; words on the tip of his tongue. Factoring in the time and intoxication levels, it was probably best to stay quiet. He sighed, kissing her nose and then her lips.

Emily’s tongue danced across his lips and he allowed her to deepen the kiss. When they had their fill, Emily turned over and Jason spooned behind her. He kissed the nape of her neck. Emily took his hand, lacing their fingers.

“Goodnight, Jason.”

“Sweet dreams, Katya.”

They were gonna be sweet alright. Emily’s head was in that nice, swimmy place that Coop called buzzed. She could’ve done for some fun times with Jason but there was time for that. She was 16 now…second base was waiting. He’d probably forgotten he said it; threw it out in a moment of panic and anxiety. Emily hadn't though and it was time to pay the piper. The piper was eager to move on to the next level of her teenage life and her relationship with the most awesome boy in the world.

***