AN: Here is my submission for the CCOAC April Flowers Challenge! There will be six chapters :) Important note at the bottom!
Aaron Hotchner startled awake at his cellphone ringing. Blearily looking at his alarm clock, he grew concerned when he saw the time. 1:40. The phone rang again. Hotch shook the sleep induced fog from his brain and answered the phone.
There was silence. Just as Hotch was about to hang up the phone, a tiny voice came through the speaker.
"Henry? Henry, is that you?"
"Yeah. Unca Aawon, need help."
"What's wrong?" Hotch asked as he pulled on his pants and shoes.
"Daddy hurting Mommy. She crying. He hitting her."
Hotch's blood ran cold.
"Henry, where are you right now?"
"My room. Unca Aawon hurry. Daddy weally angwy. He dwank beews."
Hotch's blood ran impossibly colder. An angry drunk was extremely dangerous. Thanking whatever deity that had decided to keep Jack at his Aunt Jessica's for the night, Hotch ran to his car and peeled out of the driveway.
"Henry, listen to me. I need you to stay in your room. Can you do that for me?"
"Uh huh. You help?"
"I am buddy. You just stay where you are."
"No let Mommy die, Unca Aawon. Pwease." Henry's terrified voice drove daggers through his heart.
"I won't, buddy. Your Mommy is going to be fine. I promise."
Hotch drove as fast as he dared, knowing that time was of the essence. Finally, after twenty agonizing minutes, he pulled into JJ's driveway. He saw JJ's neighbor, Kate standing on her porch, phone in her hand. Hotch saw the woman relax visibly as she recognized him.
"Agent Hotchner. Thank god. It's getting worse. I've called the police, they should be here soon."
"Thanks, Kate. Let them know I'm here." Hotch said as he ran towards the house. He heart nearly tore in two as he got to the front door and heard JJ sobbing.
"Please, Will. Stop. Please!" her pleas were cut off by a vicious blow from the enraged drunk.
Hotch had heard enough. He kicked the door down on the first try, startling Will.
"Oh looke here! Your boyfriend's here to save you, bitch!"
A bloodied JJ cowered as Will raised his hand once again, and Hotch struck. He tackled Will and his fist hit Will square in the jaw. As the men fell to the ground, Hotch could hear police sirens getting closer. He managed to flip Will onto his stomach, but not before the Cajun landed blows of his own, breaking Hotch's nose with one well-timed blow.
Two armed officers stormed into the house. The first officer quickly restrained Will, and dragged him out of the house in handcuffs. The paramedics entered moments later. Hotch scrambled to JJ's side as the medics tried to treat some of her injuries.
"H-Hotch?" JJ gasped, struggling to stay conscious.
"I'm here, JJ. I'm here."
In all of the chaos, Henry had been nowhere to be found.
"Henry?" the officer asked.
"Go g-get him, H-Hotch. I'll b-be okay." JJ said.
Hotch looked at the paramedic. "Which hospital will you be taking her?"
"St. Peter's" the medic said as they wheeled JJ to the ambulance.
Hotch tore his gaze away from JJ and ran up the stairs. He stopped in front of Henry's door, and he heard sniffling coming from the other side.
"Henry?" Hotch called softly through the door. "Can you open the door please?" He didn't want to scare Henry even more than he already was by bursting through the door. Slowly, the door opened and Henry's tear-stained face appeared. The young boy ran into Hotch's arms.
"Uncle Aawon, you help."
"Of course, Henry. I'll always be there to help you."
"Unca Aawon, you bleeding."
Hotch had been too worried about JJ and Henry to acknowledge the pain radiating from his face.
"I'll be alright. Henry, your mom has to go to the hospital."
"He hurted her weally bad dis time." Henry said in a resigned tone.
"Henry, has he done this before?"
Henry was silent.
"Henry? Has he?"
Henry gave a short nod, proving Hotch's worst fear. This child, this innocent child, had watched his mother go through the same hell that Hotch himself endured while growing up.
"Henry, I need you to look at me. Did he ever hit you?"
Henry looked at Hotch, tears in his eyes, and nodded again.
"Me no tell Mommy. He hitted me when she not home. He saided he huwt her more if I tolded. Me sowwy Unca Aawon."
"Oh, Henry." Hotch said. He held the young boy tightly in his arms. "You have nothing to be sorry for. It wasn't your fault."
The pair was interrupted by one of the officers coming up the stairs.
"Agent Hotchner? Does the son need an ambulance?"
"No, but he does need to get checked out. I'll drive him."
"I'll let them know you're coming."
"Thank you. Could you also call David Rossi? He'll be able to call the rest of my team."
Hotch gave the officer Dave's information, carried Henry out of the house, and strapped him into Jack's car seat. Twenty minutes later, Hotch arrived at St. Peter's ER. A young doctor approached him.
"Agent Hotchner?" she asked
"We have a bed ready for you. I'm guessing you don't want to be separated from-"
"Henry." Hotch said softly.
"Henry." the doctor said, smiling sadly at the pair. "We can check him out, and fix your nose in the process."
"Thank you." Hotch said softly. "Is there any word about his mother's condition?"
"Jennifer Jareau, correct?"
"She is being treated as we speak. Miraculously, it looks like she isn't going to need surgery. She has some serious injuries, but they don't require surgery at the moment."
Hotch sank down onto the hospital bed. "Thank god."
Almost an hour later, Hotch and Henry were both released. Henry, thankfully, had no severe damage. Physically, anyway. Hotch's nose was reset and had a splint on it.
"Can we get Mommy somfing?" Henry asked as he pointed toward the gift shop.
"Sure, buddy." Hotch carried him into the shop and set him down. "Is there anything you see?"
Henry looked around for a few minutes, and finally bolted towards one of the shelves.
"Dis, Unca Aarwon!" In his hand, he held a fake red Tigerlily. It looked like one of the prizes that you won at a carnival.
"Are you sure, Henry?"
"Yes! Tiggerlilies are Mommy's faborite fwower!"
Hotch couldn't help but smile at the young boy's exhuberance.
"Okay, then." They paid for the flower, and finally made their way to JJ's hospital room.
JJ felt like she was floating. The last thing she remembered was seeing Hotch's face, telling him to find her son. Henry! JJ started to panic, Was her son okay? Was he even alive?
"JJ!" she hear her name, but it was muted.
"JJ!" she heard it again. The voice was familiar.
"Jayje, come on. Wake up! Please!"
JJ's eyes opened. Blearily, she blinked, and Emily's form finally came into view.
"Emily?" JJ's voice was scratchy.
"Yeah, Jayje. Here." Emily gave JJ a small amount of water.
"Thanks." she remembered what had caused her panic in the first place. "Where's Henry? Is he okay?"
"Jayje, he's fine." Emily spoke softly "Hotch is bringing him up now."
"Emily, what aren't you telling me?"
Emily looked like a deer caught in headlights. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Emily, don't lie to me. Please."
Emily sighed "Jayje, Henry had bruises."
"He told Hotch that Will said he would hurt you more if Henry said anything."
"Oh, god. My baby. He hurt my baby." JJ started to sob.
"He'll be okay, Jayje."
"How? I'm his mother. I'm supposed to protect him. I failed. Will told me that if I stayed with him, he would leave Henry alone."
"Will was beating you senseless, Jayje. And you took those beatings, believing that you were protecting your son. It's not your fault." She grabbed JJ's hand. "It's not your fault."
There was a knock at the door. JJ hurriedly wiped her eyes.
Hotch entered the room, with Henry on his hip.
"Mommy!" the little boy's squeal made a smile come to JJ's face.
"Hi, little man."
"I got you somfing!" Henry ran toward the bed, and handed his mother the red Tigerlily.
"Oh, Henry, it's my favorite! Thank you!"
"Unca Aarwon helped me. Mommy. Me callded him and he came to save you."
"You did?" JJ looked at Hotch. At his affirmative nod, JJ crushed Henry in a huge hug.
"You were so brave, baby."
"I lub you, Mommy."
"I love you too, Henry. How about you go with Auntie Emily to get some ice cream? I have to talk to Uncle Aaron."
"Okay, Mommy!" Henry grabbed Emily's hand "Come on, Auntie Em! Ice Cream!"
Emily chuckled as she was dragged out the door.
Hotch finally made his way to JJ's bedside.
"JJ, how are you holding up?"
"Better. Thank you for taking care of Henry."
JJ fought off sleep. "Hotch, if you hadn't come when you did, Will would have killed me. Thank you for saving me." And she fell asleep; her body, and soul, trying to heal.
Hotch thought about what JJ had said. His heart hurt at the mere thought of losing the woman next to him. And it became clear instantly. He was hopelessly in love with Jennifer Jareau. He shook off the thought. It would be some time before she was ready for a relationship.
But Aaron Hotchner was a patient man, and he was willing to wait a lifetime for her.
Reviews are welcome! :)
AN: MAJORLY IMPORTANT!
I have updated my author bio with tons of information, including info about the Criminal Minds fan page that I, along with fellow authors Rogue Storm, Classic E. Centric, and Leila Grant, are running on Facebook! There are dozens of us authors over there, so feel free to come and join the fun! All of the information and links are in my profile :)