Traditions

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Spoiler: Set in Season 6

o0o

"The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender."

Emil Ludwig

o0o

There are two popular traditions involving a kiss: Kissing somebody under the mistletoe and the New Year's Eve kiss. Sometimes she enjoyed these two traditions and sometimes she didn't. Depending on whom she had to kiss because of them. Normally Emily never spent a lot of time thinking about that. For sure she never obsessed about it. But that was before she found herself under a mistletoe with Aaron Hotchner.

They stood in front of her apartment in the house-floor under the mistletoe Emily's neighbor had hung up. He had driven her home after she had enjoyed one cup of Egg Nogg at the FBI-Christmas-party. She wasn't drunk but he offered her a lift and she wasn't able to decline. Letting him drive her home meant more time she could spent with him. Being the gentleman he is, he accompanied her to her door and now they were here. Standing directly under a mistletoe.

"You don't have to," he said frowning.

If she would be a more impulsive person, she would shake her head in disagreement. She had to kiss him. She wanted to kiss him. She probably wanted it too much. If he'd know that, he'd be running for the hills right now. She clenched her hands into fists and the keys in her right hand dug painfully in her flesh.

"It's tradition." That were the most neutral words her mind could come up with. Not very eloquent but still better than urging him on to kiss her already, damn it!

He just looked at her further. Stern faced, frown and all. Damn him and his poker face. And his eyes that made her say stupid things. Especially his eyes.

She shrugged her shoulders. "Ask Reid if you don't trust me."

Finally his frown faded and the left corner of his mouth twitched upwards. "Stand still, then."

With pleasure. She smiled as she felt his hands on her forearms, making contact. Her eyes fell shut as he leaned forward. The warmth of his palms crept through the thick material of her coat. Her left hand moved to his elbow, while she was holding on to her door keys with her right. She nearly dropped them as his lips touched hers.

Two seconds. He kissed her for two seconds. Then they were looking at each other while Emily fought the urge to kiss him again. He was her boss, kissing him again would be inappropriate. If it hadn't been for the mistletoe, he would've probably never kissed her the first place. She loved this tradition. Loved it. She was in love with her boss. She should let go of his right elbow and open her door. The keys pressed into the flesh of her palm.

Instead of moving she just looked at him further. She loved his face, especially now. He didn't look so stern, his brows weren't drawn together in a scowl like usual. The right corner of his mouth twitched into a smile and she licked her lips, wondering how his smile would feel against her mouth. Maybe she should hang up mistletoes all over their office. – She was in so much trouble.

Clearing his throat Hotch looked down and took a step back. "I'm your boss," he said.

So much trouble. She didn't want to hear the next words he was going to say to her. She had a feeling, she wouldn't like them. Some kind of 'I like you but more as a friend'-speech, probably. Her hand let go of his elbow. "I know."

His hands were still resting on her arms. Before it felt like he was holding her to him, like he was assuring himself that she would be there, waiting for his kiss. Now she felt like he was securing the distance between them.

"I'm a single father." He sounded like he tried to convince her of something.

"I know." Emily frowned. "Why are you telling me that?" What about the 'Let's stay friends'-speech?

"Because of this, Prentiss." His hands squeezed her arms.

"How does any of that matter?"

"Because it does." He shrugged. "I can't do that; I'm your boss–"

"…and a single father," she continued for him. "I know." He was right. All of that did matter. Issues they would've to deal with if they would pursuit this thing between them any further. The more interesting question was, why was he talking about that? Why didn't he just leave after kissing her? Because he could have. He could've kissed her and then go home, leaving that little incident just as what it started: A tradition. But instead he had stayed. And he still was holding on to her. He was still touching her. Maybe he wasn't giving her the speech, because he didn't want them to be just friends.

"Why are you smiling?" Hotch interrupted her musings.

Emily nibbled on her bottom lip. "Maybe it's just wishful thinking but…"

"But what?"

"I noticed something."

He frowned. "Do you really want me to turn this into an interrogation?"

She grinned. He had a sense of humor. He normally was just very good at hiding it. "Not for once you said that you didn't want to kiss me," she said. "Are you trying to let me down gently or are you trying to convince yourself that kissing me would be a bad idea?" Her hand rose to touch his arm again.

"You don't want this." He shook his head. His arm tensed under her grip.

She stepped further into him. He smelled good. Honest, integer and serious. Like Hotch. Now they were as close as when they kissed. A dip of his head and they could be kissing again. "I wanted to kiss you since you told me not to ask Reid any unnecessary questions."

"That was after the first week you worked in our unit." His frown deepened. His gaze wandered from her eyes to her lips and back.

"Yes." Maybe today. Maybe now something would change. She licked her lips.

"I …" Hotch gulped. "I don't know…" He stared at her mouth. "I am…" And he let go of her arms. "I should go." He took a step back. Her left hand dropped down to her side.

So not tonight. Emily's heart sunk. He needed more time. But maybe that was good. Maybe she needed more time too. No, that was bullshit. She was ready. She had been ready for this since she had found him in that hospital after Foyet had stabbed him. "Good night, Hotch." She forced herself to smile, reminding herself of what she had gained today. He may needed more time, but he was feeling something for her. And she could wait. "Thanks for the ride."

"You're welcome, Emily." He smiled too. They were okay. "Good night."

Emily looked after him as he walked down the floor before she turned around to open her apartment door.

Traditions… Maybe New Year's Eve.

o0o

"Kissing is like drinking salted water. You drink, and your thirst increases."

Chinese Proverb

o0o

A/N: I had this on my hard drive for a while and thought now would be the perfect season to polish it up and actually post it! Please be kind and let me know what you thought in the reviews.