Epilogue: Two Years Later
A City Is Not A HomeDisclaimer:
I own the idea only. Joss owns Buffy, Criminal Minds is owned by, um...someone not me? CBS! No suing please!Summary:
When Sunnydale turns into a giant crater, Aaron Hotchner panics.Acknowledgement(s):
Thanks to Lulubell, twlight, Caliadragon, FireWolfe, Genuka, AllenPitt, Damia, VillageOrchid, Gideon, emw, SlayersKeeper, MarbleGlove, slmncpm, timepiece, readergirl, AerynSpeedleCaine, KWJordan, mmooch, kayron, Gingiecat, RoseGoddess, wackyninja, Sandi, eriktheviking, TouchoftheWind, & nightshadowlife for the reviews!Warning:
HINTS of slash. And, you know, cannon mentions of slash and femmeslash. Also? Tara totally didn't die in this universe so, you know, kinda AU.A/N 1:
Been a fun ride while it lasted but, ultimately, everyone ends sooner or later. Thanks to everyone who stuck by me. It's been a blast! Enjoy the epilogue.
Epilogue: Two Years Later
“We still on for tonight?”
“Hey Blondie, Blue Eyes, Smartass.”
Smiling wryly at the greetings his nieces were getting as they walked through the bullpen, Aaron went to his door and waved the blonde in. Dawn (or Blue Eyes, as Morgan had taken to calling her), was sitting at Spencer's desk playing around with his rubics cube and completely ignoring the glare she was getting in turn. Molly (Smartass) hopped onto Emily's desk and began chatting with the bemused woman.
“Is everything okay?” he asked, turning and closing the door. Going over to shut the window blinds, he saw Dave come out of his office curiously to study the two young woman in the bullpen. He decided to leave the blinds open, realizing Dave hadn't yet met any of them.
“Yeah,” she agreed. “Though with Dawn visiting, I'm thinking your suggestion of getting a place with three bathrooms was probably a good idea.”
Aaron chuckled. It'd been two and half years since Sunnydale and every time Dawn came to visit, be it summer, winter, or anytime in between, Buffy always had the same complaint. When she and Molly had started looking for a place in DC, he'd suspected this would eventually come up. Buffy, however, decided two and a half bathrooms for the two of them were fine.
She never accounted for Oz and Jordy moving in with them, nor the seven year old slayer who refused to live with anyone but her. Not to mention the various random drop ins of Scoobies who were bored of where they were stationed and wanted a bit of change.
“If everything's okay, why are you not immediately dragging me out of the office?” he asked, going to sit down behind his desk. Buffy sat on the chair across from him, eyes flickering to the picture of himself with Dawn, Molly, and Buffy taken at their last Thanksgiving. It was one of four photos on his desk—the other three contained a picture of Jack and Haley, the last snapshot he had of himself with Joyce, and him and Sean with Buffy and Dawn, taken on the Empire State Building when they'd surprised the younger man.
“I heard from him.”
Aaron froze. There were several people she could be talking about, Spike and Angel being two of them as no one had heard from them since Wolfram and Hart had imploded. Part of Aaron was glad they hadn't been found yet because explaining Spike to his team would not be fun. Somehow, though, he knew it wasn't them.
“He ended up in Cleveland,” she told him, smiling sadly. She, of all people, had understood agents need to get away. And while it had hurt, she knew he wouldn't remain incommunicado forever. She wouldn't let him. If she could get the mini-slayers to hunt down and convince Clem to work with her in DC, she'd told him, she sure as hell could find one wayward former FBI agent.
“He ran into the girls?”
Aaron's lips quirked. For reasons no one could really explain, Gideon had a soft spot for the irritating nerd. They'd exchanged monthly letters and the occasional phone call since their initial meeting in Los Angeles.
“Is he going to be staying there for a while?” he asked, already knowing the answer. Buffy smiled.
“Andrew was in town to help Robin, Willow, and Giles do the interviews for the school,” she explained. “He's been hired as the cook while he deals.”
“That'll be good for him,” Aaron said, knowing it would. Cooking was something Jason had always loved and Slayers, as he'd learned first hand, ate a LOT and were incredibly picky. Since Gideon was a picky cook, the New Council's first boarding school would be a good place for him to semi-retire. “Does he know...?”
“That Elle's officially finished her training and will be dorm mother?” Buffy asked wryly. “Nope, not yet. I have two slayers who are willing to try and take pictures when he finds out.”
Elle's resignation had inadvertently opened the door for the brunette, who'd gone back to New York and had an unfortunate run in with a vampire. She'd been saved by one of the New York based senior slayers and had learned of what Aaron and Gideon had been trying to protect them from in Los Angeles. Two months and several agitated phone calls to Aaron later, she had said goodbye to the States and moved to England to begin training as a watcher. The reason she was only now finishing up was because Giles had insisted she attend therapy for what happened with Garner and Lee, an action fully supported by Aaron and Gideon.
“He gave me this to give to you and the team, when you think they're ready,” she said, handing him a sheet of paper with an address. “He said he's not at a point he can actually speak to anyone, especially Spencer, but letters are okay.”
“Spencer is going to be sending him letters every week,” Aaron sighed. “I hope he realizes that.”
“Oh, he does,” she chirped and handed Aaron a small box. Inside were dozens of stamps. “Courtesy of Gideon, via the Willow express.”
Aaron smiled wryly and looked out the window. Molly was currently playing with Spencer's hair as Dawn doodled on his arm with a purple marker. The first time Dawn had come to visit DC, she and Molly had decided Spencer needed little sisters to torment him and subsequently volunteered themselves to Morgan's amusement. Initially baffled by the girls behavior, Spencer now sent weekly letters to Dawn as well as his mother and had a rather large collection of silly and random postcards from the brunette taped to his desk.
“Also, guess who has a date Friday night?” Buffy asked in an obvious attempt to change the subject so Aaron could deal. Aaron looked at Buffy a minute before turning to stare at the two young women through the glass.
“Dawn's still seeing that Tyler guy, right?”
“The one you thoroughly disapprove of, yes,” she agreed, amused. Aaron frowned and walked out of his office.
He wasn't even down in the bullpen before Molly straightened and stared at him before glaring accusingly at Buffy. “You told him!”
“Of course I told him,” she snorted. “We've all had to deal with it, Molls. Now its your turn.”
“Finally,” Dawn muttered, still doodling on Spencer's arm. Now that he was closer, the section chief could see it was Latin and therefore, most likely dirty limericks. Dawn liked watching Spencer blush as he translated them in his head.
“S'not fair,” Molly grumbled as Aaron came to stand just in front of her. She might not have been his niece legally or biologically, but the curly haired Brit had quickly grown on him to the point where Jack had taken to calling her Aunt Molly. He crossed his arms, aware everyone was watching.
“What's his name?”
“Why, so you can have Garcia do a background check?”
“What's his name?”
“What's his name?”
“What's his name?”
“Rumpelstiltskin.” That got a few chuckles from their audience.
“What's his name?”
“Nice try, Willow sent me the latest movie. What's his name?”
“I've seen the TV show. What's his name?”
“I've seen that movie too. What's his name?”
“You need to stop having late night Flintstones marathons,” he informed her seriously. “What's his name?”
The entire bullpen was now openly laughing at the two of them, leaving Molly flushed in embarrassment. Aaron ignored it. The guy his niece was dating was more important and really, Buffy had endured the same treatment when she went on a date three months beforehand with a guy named Marc because Graham still wasn't sure Buffy would be interested. Dawn herself had thought she'd gotten off since she and Tyler were both in England but Willow and Tara had teleported Aaron overseas to help Rupert. Dawn had not been pleased.
“Fine!” Molly shouted, giving in. “Hunter! Hunter Bradley! He's sweet and hot and brooding and hot and smart and did I mention bloody hot?”
“You did,” he noted as Garcia, Prentiss, and JJ fell over themselves laughing. “He's picking you up at my apartment.”
She scowled but after her pleading looks went ignored by the women in the room, she slumped in resignation.
“What time is he picking you up?” Spencer asked.
“Seven,” she answered mulishly. Secretly, Aaron knew she was pleased by his over protectiveness. He'd overheard her telling Buffy once that she'd never really had a father figure—all the watchers who'd raised her had been women.
“I'll be there with the shovel,” Spencer promised her solemnly. That was it for Buffy and Dawn who fell down laughing. The rest of the team were not doing much better and Molly herself was staring at him wide-eyed and wounded. He gave her an innocent look and Aaron just knew the young agent had been waiting for a moment where he could turn the tables on the young woman who insisted on being his little sister tormentor. “What? Isn't that what big brothers do?”
Chuckling, Aaron left the group joking and teasing on the bullpen as he joined Dave on the landing. “I take it these are the illustrious nieces I've heard about?” he asked and Aaron nodded, pointing and naming each of them. “What did Buffy need?”
“Gideon,” he said very very quietly. Dave nodded. They both knew Gideon had been the one to call Dave, knew that was the major factor in Dave coming out of retirement. Gideon had known Aaron couldn't lead the team alone, not yet, so he'd called. Aaron was technically second generation BAU but most people forgot that because of how long he'd been with the unit. He was, for all intents and purposes, a first generation. And first generation always looked out for each other.
“She's beautiful,” Dave murmured and Aaron winced.
“Please don't try making my niece your fourth wife,” he asked politely but with a hint of steel. Down below, Buffy snapped her attention on him and Dave, a mischievous smile playing on her lips. “Ah hell.”
“She heard us?”
“She has excellent hearing, yes.”
Before Aaron knew what was happening, Dave had wandered down to the bullpen to introduce himself to Buffy personally. Buffy laughed delightedly at whatever Dave said as Morgan moved to his side.
“If Rossi asks Buffy out, are you seriously gonna threaten him with a shovel?”
Aaron was silent a moment as he studied the three woman down below. Molly was arguing with Spencer about whether or not he would be at Aaron's apartment on Friday, Dawn was laughing with Garcia about something, and Buffy was, god almighty, flirting back with Dave. He sighed.
“I might as well,” he grumbled. “Apparently she's done baking.”
“Nevermind. Do you have that profile for Atlanta done?”
“Sent it in an hour ago.”
“Good,” Aaron said. He popped into his office and pulled out four new files. “Since you have nothing better to do, here are some more.”
“And what are you going to do?” Morgan demanded, shifting the files in his hand. Aaron grabbed his keys and closed and locked his office door. Ever since the girls moved to DC, he'd spent more time outside the office than before, mostly because Buffy was very persuasive. It wasn't enough for Haley, though, who'd still left with Jack. It was only Buffy's interference that got him weekend visits with his son—Haley was still miffed his nieces managed to get him out of the office more than she could. The difference between them was that Haley thought he should go to her instead of the other way around. Buffy had no qualms whatsoever about dragging him out of Quantico (often protesting) and to lunch on a random day of the week. In fact, Thursday's had become their tradition when he wasn't out of state and/or on a case.
“I'm taking the girls to lunch,” he reminded Morgan, moving down to where the girls were waiting.
“Can Spencer come?”
“Can Garcia come?”
“Can Rossi come?” All three girls asked at once.
“No,” Aaron replied firmly. They pouted. They weren't the only ones.
“Why not?” Buffy demanded.
“Because I don't feel like sharing you today,” he told her. And like magic, all three girls softened and threw themselves at him. He chuckled, hugged them back, and then led the way outside, leaving behind his bemused team and co-workers. As the trio argued about what they wanted, Aaron could have sworn he heard Joyce.
“I told you, Aaron,” the voice whispered lovingly. “It all worked out. They're home again.”
Smiling slightly, Aaron turned to his girls conversation.“The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us.”
~ Jean Paul Richter ~End Notes:
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