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Chapter Twelve

It was the headache that woke him. The familiar, dull, repetitive thud of a hangover headache, across his forehead and behind his ears, drumming against his brain and stirring him from his dreamless slumber. The taste of all the alcohol he had recklessly consumed was still all over his mouth. With a groan, he stretched his arms out wide, then wrapped them around the form beside him, pulling her closer and closing his eyes again, tempted to try for another hours sleep. As he pulled her close, she sighed, content and still fast asleep.

Hotch froze.

He knew that sigh. He knew that scent. Shampoo. Her shampoo.

In a beat, it all came back to him. The game, the drinks, the conversation with Dave. It had been Dave who'd told them all to go to bed, and they had listened. Hotch, however, had found himself pacing back and forth across his hotel room. He had to tell her, he had to. Dave had told him to.


"You know, Aaron," Dave said, when they were alone at the table. JJ was up dancing with Reid, who looked both sincerely uncomfortable and as though all of his Christmases had come at once. Morgan had retired earlier, with the pretty blonde whose number JJ had made him get. Dave wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer, possibly a little too close for comfort, but given their inebriated state, neither of them minded. "You give Emily too much of a hard time. She's a bright girl. Brighter than I was at her age. Better profiler too. Intelligent e bello. And you're too tough on her sometimes."

Hotch wasn't about to argue, because he knew Dave was right. He was lingering on the bello part of Dave's short speech. Beautiful.

"Yes, she is," Hotch agreed, nodding, "Better profiler than me, I mean." He covered, too quickly.

He missed the knowing look in Dave's eyes, but the older profiler said nothing. He wasn't about to interfere in anything that may or may not be going on between the two younger agents. They were adults, although sometimes Emily didn't act like it, when she got involved in Morgan and Reid's pranks, or she and JJ fell about giggling like school girls. Maybe Hotch could do with a little of that lightness.

"Tell her," Dave insisted. "Especially this time. You owe her an apology. She was right, after all. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, that woman."

"Brilliant," Hotch was nodding, though he had stopped listening, his mind racing backwards in time, to the elevator. "Just, brilliant."


He didn't need Dave to tell him she was beautiful. He could see it for himself.

The painted red tips of her fingers grazed his shoulder; her bandaged arm was laid across his chest. The pale of her skin contrasted against his own naturally olive complexion, interrupted only by the bandage wrapped tightly around her upper arm. Her dark hair splayed across his back and over his hand, which he had at some point in the night wrapped around her shoulders. Now, he lifted his hand, gently so as not to disturb her, and let the strands of her hair fall through his fingertips, watching as it shone in the glint of the early morning sun and not quite believing he was living in this moment. The scent of it grew stronger as he disturbed her hair. Vanilla. A scent he had come to associate with her. And, like her, it was warm and comforting and sweet.

At some point in the night, probably due to the lack of AC, they had kicked off the covers. Where his arm had ended up behind her back, Emily had wrapped her leg across his waist, pulling them closer still. Hotch wondered which action had happened first. Which of them had needed the closeness in the night, when they both put on such a front of independence in the daylight?

Emily had retained her modesty; the tshirt she was wearing hadn't ridden up too high, although, now, as she shifted, Hotch saw the fabric creep higher still. Slowly stirring, Emily moved. Hotch couldn't not watch as her leg moved down, pressing onto his boxers.

Thank god for hangovers. His body was slow to respond this morning, debilitated as he was by his alcohol consumption from the night before, and, although he felt the stirrings of excitement, as long as Emily stayed still, he thought he could control it. Breathe through it. Make it go away.

Of course, the moment he thought that, every moment they had shared was suddenly flashing through his brain. From the inciting incident in his office, to the dangerous game on the plane, to the way she looked at him from the floor of the car, to the expression on her face as she fell apart over his fingers.

Now, he really had a problem.

It was hardly his fault, he mused, as his erection grew steadily harder. He had woken to find himself in bed with a beautiful, half naked woman. It was a natural response. As long as he could calm down before she woke up, they'd be fine. They could go back to normal, and she need never know. If she woke up now, she would think he was a pervert. She hadn't invited him into her bed for sex. She probably thought he was going to choke on his own tongue in the night. How had he managed to find himself in this situation?

Hotch had always prided himself on his sense of decorum and professionalism. He was professional to a fault, and sometimes to the detriment of his relationships, romantic and platonic. That, however, appeared to have been thrown out of the window over the past couple of days, he thought. She had an affect on him that neither of them could control, and it was the last thing either of them needed to be dealing with while promotions glared at them from the not-so-distant future.

Maybe I should wake her, he thought. That way, she wouldn't think he was some sort of night time pervert, if she woke up to a surprise boner. It would be the first thing she saw, too, given the angle of her head on his chest. What a wake up call that would be.

Discreetly, slowly, silently, Hotch tried to shift himself away from her. No good. Still deep in her slumber, Emily only wrapped her leg tighter around his. This movement finally drew the shirt up high enough that Hotch could just see the rounded orbs of her ass. That didn't help his case at all. Closing his eyes, Hotch raked his free hand (the one not tangled in Emily's hair) down his face. His beard was starting to grow out and would need to be dealt with before the left the hotel today. That, right now, was the least of his problems.

As he considered his options, however, Emily stretched. Her arm stretched out across his chest, then her hand came to rest back on his chest. She was still for a moment, and the next instant, she was tensed like a cat. Hotch didn't say anything. He could feel the stress in her muscles. She was awake, and she was confused. Silently, he gave her the moment to process, to remember, and felt her relax slightly as she turned her head to look at him.

"Good morning?" He asked, uncertainly.

Emily opened her mouth to speak, but was spared the job of doing so when a loud knock came at her bedroom door. They each sprang from the bed like bullets from one of their guns. For a second, they stood, staring at each other, before either of their brains kicked into gear and figured out the next move. Then Hotch was grabbing his clothes from the floor, Emily threw his suit jacket across the room at him, and he disappeared. Into the shared bathroom, and out of the door on the other side, which led to his own hotel room.

It all happened very quickly and, still not fully recovered from the shock of how she had woken up, Emily felt extremely disoriented as she moved to open the door.

"Coffee," JJ groaned, crossing the threshold before Emily had the chance to speak. Rolling her eyes (she was getting a little sick and tired of people not waiting for permission to enter her room), Emily closed the door behind her friend.

"Good morning to you too, Cheeto-breath." Emily greeted, directing JJ towards the kettle and refreshments provided by the hotel. "Make two, while I go and put some clothes on?"

Hotch's door was firmly closed when Emily entered the bathroom, her attire for the day bundled in her arms. That, she thought to herself, was too close of a call. Even JJ, who had a vague idea of something going on between Emily and their boss, would have freaked out, had she walked in on the scene she had interrupted. Emily, herself, was freaking out about it. Setting aside the immediate panic that had gripped her when she woke up and momentarily forgot who she was laying in bed with, the experience had been a rather comfortable one. She vaguely remembered, at some point in the night, rolling over and cuddling up to Hotch. He had gotten rid of the covers, obviously far too warm and, despite the lack of AC, her under-dressed state had left Emily shivering. Hotch was warm, being closer to him made sense. Science.

Her shower was a quick one. Emily kept her hair dry because the thought of having to go through the process of drying it this morning was almost more than she could bear. Instead, once she had climbed out of the shower and dressed, she brushed her hair up into a pony tail. It had curled in the night, but not entirely, so it was a dark, wild mixture of loose waves and bouncy curls, but it was good enough for the plane ride back to Quantico. She couldn't be bothered with make up, either, so that idea was discarded as quickly as it entered her head, and she resigned to do her face on the plane. Or maybe she would sneak into Penelope's den and do it there, whilst hiding from Hotch.

"I hope that coffee's strong, Jayje," Emily announced, as she exited the bathroom and threw her towel and pyjama tshirt onto the bed, "Because I need it."

"Yeah, I'll bet you do." The response confused her and Emily turned to look at JJ.

JJ wasn't at the kettle; the coffee was made and steaming away on the bedside table. The younger agent was standing beside the bed, somewhat near to where Emily remembered picking up Hotch's suit jacket and throwing it to him. She was holding something in her hands. A piece of fabric. A red piece of fabric.

"Oh, fuck."

"Yeah, I guessed as much," JJ said, with an amused and satisfied grin, as she held up Hotch's tie.