Disclaimer: I don't own anything connected to Criminal Minds. CBS owns Criminal Minds.
Summary: Everyone has fights, right? What happens when a couple has one epic battle, will everything be ok?
Timeline: Alternate Universe, Present Day
Happy Birthday To: SolveARiddle Enjoy your story.
A/N: I have no idea why this hit me, but I couldn't resist.
Enjoy and don't toss tomatoes until after you finish reading.
Thanks for reading, I really hope you leave a review.
"A final comfort that is small, but not cold: the heart is the only broken instrument that works." T.E. Kalem
Emily stood in the kitchen, cleaning off the counter and placing the last plate into the dishwasher. She was relieved that she had finally finished cleaning when she heard the front door open.
"I'm home" Hotch called out, making the brunette roll her eyes, cringing at the behavior, how very 1950s him.
She was trying to be more open and understanding, but little by little Hotch had been grating on her nerves.
She didn't know when things had gotten so bad between them. It wasn't that she still didn't love him but they were stuck in a rut of some kind.
"Emily?" Hotch called out, taking a deep breath.
"Kitchen" Emily replied, she could hear the tense hesitation in his footsteps as he walked in, "Hey, did you finish up all your paperwork?"
"Most of it" Hotch told her, "Still waiting on Morgan and JJ's case files."
"Ah" Emily said, "Dinner's on the stove..."
"Thanks" Hotch said dropping his briefcase on the floor and tossing his suit jacket on the back of the kitchen chair.
Emily briefly closed her eyes, she hated it when after cleaning the house, he'd come in only to wreck it.
Grabbing his warm plate, Hotch winced when the heat from the plate hit his finger tips.
"Ah" Hotch hissed out, his eyes going to Emily who chuckled, "What's so funny?"
"Well if you had bothered to let me finish a sentence, I would of told you that the plate was hot and to be careful." Emily told him, "But since you bothered to cut me off again, that's all on you."
Hotch narrowed his eyes, "Are we really going to have this fight again?"
"Hey, I didn't start it." Emily muttered tossing the dish towel on the counter, "But by all means, go ahead and blame me. It's what you seem to do best."
Hotch snorted, "Glad you find this all amusing, look it's been a long day, I'm tired. I just want to eat my dinner in peace and relax for a change."
Raising an eyebrow at him, "What? Like I haven't had a long day to? Add on to that, cooking and cleaning too? Sometimes, I think you only think of me here as some kind of maid. Not even a partner in life."
"I've never said that" Hotch said rubbing the back of his head as he walked over to the refrigerator, "Quit putting words into my mouth and thinking up these weird scenarios."
"Aaron, I'm not making up weird scenarios, sometimes it's like you're not even listening to me." Emily said, "I get that you have a stressful life, but guess what? I do to, I work the same job as you, and have the same pain as you do. But you seem to forget that I do a lot here, and I never feel appreciated."
Hotch turned to look at her, "Feel appreciated? Emily, this is our life together, one person does one thing and the other does something else. It's called partnership. It's not like your my wife..."
Emily's jaw dropped when he said that, she pointed her finger at him, "You know you've never made me feel as badly as you did just right now."
Hotch clenched his jaw, trying not to get verbal with her, but for him sometimes it was just too hard not to start screaming at her, not because he was angry but because she made him feel horrible for his words.
"Aaron" Emily said, "Are you even going to say anything?"
Hotch just popped the lid on his beer can, causing Emily to huff, "Of course, do the silent routine. Classic, Hotch."
"Excuse me?" Hotch replied, "What was that?"
"Classic Aaron Hotchner mode" Emily repeated, losing her temper, "Whenever life gets too hard, you shut down. Well guess what, I'm not like you. I can't just shut off my feelings."
"And what did I do this time?" Hotch said seething, his normal stoic self was itching for a fight.
"I never say anything when you come in late, because I understand the job, and all the hours." Emily told him, "And I can live with the sullen and unprecedented mood swings, but you know the one thing that I just can't stand? The one thing that really eats away at me?"
"What?" Hotch asked, raising an eyebrow to him.
Walking towards the couch, she picked up the suit coat, "Is this fucking thing. You see how hard I worked to keep this house nice and clean for you? Is it really too hard to walk towards the closet and hang it up?"
Emily tossed the jacket at him, "That's the only thing that really eats away at me, is how someone whose so in control and anal about every little detail at work can be such a slob in their own home."
Hotch picked the jacket off the table, "You're calling me anal? I don't know how the hell you've managed to stay off of prescription medication for the OCD freak in you. Your whole world falls apart if even a pillow is out of place. Seriously go see a shrink."
Emily's eyes glowered as he tossed in, "Sometimes people need to unwind but I don't think you know how to even relax."
"Hello, pot this is the kettle calling" Emily said, "I do know how to relax you're the one with the permanent stick up your ass. Sometimes I wonder how the hell you made it through life without ever cracking a smile, because that frown is permanently glued to your face. Oh but don't strain yourself, we wouldn't want you to have to do something that might be considered fun."
Hearing her words, made him flinch. He wanted nothing more then to get away from her right now, but instead he just turned back to his now cold chicken and picked at the food.
"Fine, whatever" Emily said, "Go into the little world of yours, see how well that works out for you."
Hotch stood up, leaving the plate on the table and walked slowly to the living room.
"Of course" Emily muttered, "It would be nice, if for once you helped with the dishes."
Turning around, Hotch said, "You want me to help with the dishes? Here."
Hotch grabbed the plate and fork, marching straight to the sink threw them in there. "There, all done."
"Thanks a lot" Emily shouted, "Not like I didn't bust my ass around all day at work and here, but I'm sorry if my asking anything of you..."
"More like nag" Hotch countered, "You act like if someone doesn't do something the way you want, the second you want it, that they're all lazy or inconveniencing you."
"Oh, I'm sorry" Emily said sarcastically, "I didn't know you wanted to live in a messy pigsty. Well please forgive me then, I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"I don't want to live in a pigsty" Hotch told her, "Fine, you want help with the cleaning, I'll help."
"I don't want you to help" Emily told him, "I want you to appreciate what I do around here. I want you to want to help, not just expect everything to be taken care of. I'm not a maid."
"I never said you were." Hotch told her.
"There, there's your problem." Emily said walking out of the kitchen.
"What problem?" Hotch asked, "I just offered to help you clean up."
"It wasn't a real offer, Aaron" Emily told him, "You never say anything but I know you don't want this."
"Want what?" Hotch asked her, "I don't know what the hell you want from me?"
"How the hell am I suppose to know what you're thinking if you don't tell me what you want?" Emily pleaded with him.
"What I want after days like this, is to be left the hell alone" Hotch screamed, "How hard is to see when someone wants alone time? Why the hell are you acting so crazy?"
"I'm not acting crazy" Emily told him, "Is it crazy to want to know why someone looks like they're in a dark hole and wants to know why?"
"I don't even know how the hell we got here" Hotch said more to himself then to her, "When the hell does a fight over a hot plate turn into a fight?"
"You're not getting it. This isn't about the damn plate, Aaron" Emily told him sitting on the couch, "This about us, communication. We're not communicating with each other."
"I'm getting a fucking headache" Hotch muttered, "Why can't you just leave me alone?"
"Because this has been festering" Emily told him pulling a pillow against her chest, "We need to talk about this..."
"All I want when I get home is a chance to relax, away from the BAU and the team" Hotch told her, "I get that we need to do more things together but it's not like we get to do a lot of things together. All I want is a little appreciation and not someone nagging at me. You're here going at me like I've done something when all I want is to be left the hell alone, Emily. Why can't you just do that for me?"
Emily dropped the cushion she had been holding, she never felt so unloved or hurt by him, then she did right now.
"If that's what you really want, Aaron" Emily said walking up the stairs, "You won't have to deal with me anymore."
Hotch grabbed his coat and walked out the front door.
Emily grabbed her purse and go bag, walking out of the apartment and them in the back of her car.
She paused, she couldn't go to either of her friends because they had their own lives, that left only one choice.
Pulling out her cell phone, "It's Emily, can we talk?"
Hotch didn't bother to look up when his two friends slid into the booth from across him. He just focused on his beer.
"Well?" Dave asked, "What the hell happened? I get this s.o.s message so what is it?"
"Emily and I had a fight" Hotch told him, "A pretty nasty one too."
"What the hell did you do?" Morgan asked, "Because Em's a pretty easy going person and it would take a whole hell of a lot to piss her off."
"Just the usual stuff but there's been issues lying under the surface for awhile." Hotch told him, "It's been building up for awhile."
"Well what precipitated it?" Dave asked, his own three failed marriages turned him into the marriage counselor of the group and could usually spot trouble on the horizon.
"It started all over a hot plate." Hotch told them, seeing both men look puzzled, "And it ended with me telling her that I just wanted to be left the hell alone."
"Well what did she say to that?" Morgan asked, his spine stiffened as Hotch explained the latest fight.
"She told me, if that's what I really wanted, then I won't have to deal with her anymore and stormed upstairs." Hotch told both men.
"She left you?" Dave asked surprised.
Hotch frowned at that, "No, she just went upstairs. Probably to cool off."
Morgan frowned at that, "No that sounds alot like she was planning to leave you."
Dave nodded, "Hate to say it pal, but you screwed up big time. Saying a lot of spiteful words in the heat of the moment is one thing, but you hurt her by telling her you wanted to be left alone. I'd be surprised if she even talked to you on Monday morning."
Morgan snorted as he gave Dave a look, "I'd be surprise if she didn't track him down and kick his ass." Morgan said, "And he'd deserve it, too."
Hotch sighed as he pushed the beer away from him, "I don't know what the hell is wrong with me."
"I do" Dave told him, "You're burned out. Have you two ever thought about taking a break from each other? You're not married but you live together, work together. You're around each other twenty-four seven. Haven't either of you spent time away from each other?"
"No" Hotch said narrowing his eyes at that, "Why would we?"
"To give each other breathing room" Morgan told him, "You can't be around someone all the time without losing your temper. Its bound to happen that you'd lose your temper and snap at them. You just need some space."
Hotch bit his lip, they were right. He and Emily had been cross with each other for the last few weeks, he knew that.
But it wasn't like it was intentional. He loves her, and didn't want to lose her.
He just didn't know how to fix this, how to fix them.
"Look man, you need to do what's right for you" Morgan told him, "Either you try and salvage your relationship or you let it go."
Hotch got up from the booth, Morgan and Dave giving him peculiar look, "What are you going to do?"
"Something" Hotch said tossing money on the table and walking away from them.
Hotch walked into his apartment, looking around at the silence.
A wave of panic hit him, no Emily and no Jack. He felt his chest constrict at that, just like it had years ago when Haley left.
Pulling out his cell phone, "It's me, is Jack there?"
"I'm about to put him in the bath, do you want to tell him goodnight?" Jessica asked.
"No, that's ok" Hotch said relieved, "I thought Emily was going to pick him up."
"She called earlier" Jessica told him, "She said you both needed a few days to figure something out. What's wrong, Aaron?"
"We had a fight" Hotch said, "It got intense."
"Sorry to hear that" Jessica told him, "Look, I don't mind watching Jack, but Aaron you need to work on your relationship. Emily's good for you and Jack, and you both are good for her."
"Jess, I don't know what to do, I screwed up big time" Hotch admitted.
"I've got an idea." Jessica told Hotch.
Emily opened the front door to her apartment, expecting to find the pizza man on the other side.
She didn't care that she had already had dinner a few hours earlier. When she got angry she got hungry.
"Emily" Hotch said standing at the door, hand placed on the door in case she decided to slam it in his face, "We need to talk."
"About what?" Emily asked blocking his entrance, "We've already hashed out everything that we needed to, what more do you want from me?"
"To apologize" Hotch told her, "I don't know why we've been fighting these last few weeks. But when I talked to the guys earlier, they said it had to do with the fact that we've been together nonstop, not taking a break from each other."
"So what are you saying you want to take a break?" Emily asked him.
"I wanted you to see something" Hotch told her, "And I was wondering if you'd come with me?"
"Well..." Emily said slowly, "I don't think that, that's such a good idea."
"Please?" Hotch pleaded, "If you feel uncomfortable or anything, then you can go."
"All right." Emily said closing the door behind her.
Emily felt hesitant standing outside Hotch's apartment, what use to be her apartment until a few hours ago.
She kept her eyes on the ground when she noticed a few petals on the ground, usually this would be annoying to her, but she was too focused on the flickering of a candle to her left.
"Emily" Hotch said, quietly, "Please look at me."
Lifting her head, she felt tears fall down her cheeks when Hotch got down on one knee in the middle of the living room, right where they had their epic battle.
Reaching into his coat, "Emily, I love you more then I could of imagined, in this life or in any other life. When I stormed out of here, I didn't know what to do but all I knew was that when I came back here I felt the emptiness of not only the house but my heart."
Emily bit her lip to keep the sob in, she knew how much it hurt him to come home and see the place empty of his family.
"When I called Jessica she told me that you called to ask her to watch Jack for a few days for us to cool off" Hotch said, "I know how much my son means to you and how much you enjoy spending time with him, and that must have hurt not being able to get him."
"It was." Emily whispered.
Lifting up the box, "I don't want you to be separated from us again, you're already a member of this family, please marry me?" Hotch asked.
Emily got down next to him, wrapping her arms around his next, "Yes, yes, yes. I love you Aaron."
Hotch slipped the ring on her finger, and pulled her into a kiss, "I love you, Emily. Always."
Hotch held her close to him, now knowing that whatever they go through, they'll go through it together.
An Irish Proverb said, "Bad as I like ye, it's worst without ye."
Well I hope you all liked it, leave a review and let me know.