A month after the vacations, Vinnie gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Tears trailed down Chuck's cheeks as he held the blond haired, blue eyed bundle wrapped in a pink blanket. Cassandra Lee, Cassie, was new love of his life.
Another month after that, Garcia announced that she was pregnant, and everyone was ecstatic for her and Cameron.
Four months after that, Morgan proposed to Mina.
The BAU was solving case after case, and Kahlan and Chuck stayed busy doing whatever it is that they do. Everything was going great for everyone, or so Hotch thought.
One May evening, as soon as Hotch walked into the house, he knew something was wrong. The tension was so thick that he thought for a second about turning around and going back out the door, but he took deep breath and went in. He found Kahlan sitting at the table with a very nervous looking Wyatt. Ut-oh.
"I will apologize to the school, but I will not apologize to him!" Wyatt told her defiantly.
Kahlan looked at her husband and shook her head.
"What's going on?" Hotch asked as he sat his briefcase down in a chair.
Wyatt swallowed hard but didn't look at him.
Kahlan stood up. "It seems Wyatt has gotten into a fight at school."
"What?!" Hotch asked flabbergasted.
"Yeah. He has been suspended for ten days."
"What is this about Wyatt?" Hotch asked him as he sat down at the table. He heard something on the basement steps, but he chose to ignore that.
"I got mad," Wyatt confessed weakly without looking up from his lap.
"Why?" Hotch asked.
He shook his head. "Doesn't matter." He finally looked at his parents. "Just give me my punishment and let me go, please."
"What do you mean it doesn't matter?" Kahlan asked him and they could hear the anger in her tone. "You hit a boy! We want to know why!"
"I only hit him once!" Wyatt defended himself.
Hotch studied him and Wyatt averted his eyes. Hotch huffed. "Jackson Samuel Hotchner! Get in here!" Hotch yelled while still looking at Wyatt.
Wyatt's head snapped to him. "What are you calling Jack for? He doesn't have anything to do with this!"
Kahlan looked at her husband questioningly as Jack sulked into the room way too suddenly to have actually been in his room. Hotch fixed him with a look. "Out with it."
Jack and Wyatt shared a look, Wyatt shook his head slightly, but Jack took a deep breath. Wyatt slumped into his chair as Jack stood up tall, squared his shoulders, and faced his parents. "If anyone should get punished, it is me. This is all my fault."
"No it's not, Jack! You didn't do anything wrong!" Wyatt told him.
Kahlan held up her hand to Wyatt. "You shush!" She turned to Jack. "And you sit!"
Jack sat down next to Wyatt as Wyatt sighed heavily. As Kahlan finally sat back down, Hotch appraised both of his boys. "Who was the fight with?"
"Peter Smith, a sixteen year old eighth grader," Wyatt admitted.
"Sixteen?" Kahlan asked.
"He failed a couple times in elementary," Jack explained.
"And how do you know him?" Hotch asked.
"Because he has been picking on me all year," Jack confessed.
"What?" Kahlan and Hotch asked at the same time.
Wyatt shook his head as Jack sat forward in his seat. "Peter and his friends don't like me."
"Why?" Hotch asked him.
"Cause Jack beat him out for quarterback, and he got mad and quit the team. He's been bullying Jack ever since the first day of school," Wyatt told them.
"Why haven't you told us this?" Kahlan asked Jack.
"Because I didn't care. It made Wyatt mad, but I didn't care. I don't care what Peter and his friends think of me."
Hotch looked at Wyatt. "What kind of bullying are we talking about here?"
"It started with name calling and that type of stuff. He'd never do it in front of the teachers. I told Jack to tell on him but he just ignored Peter and said Peter would get tired of it eventually," Wyatt told him.
"But he didn't?" Kahlan asked them.
Wyatt huffed. "No. He even started a rumor that me and Jack weren't really brothers, that. . ." he stopped as he shook his head.
Hotch looked to Jack. "He said we were a couple," Jack finished for Wyatt.
"Really?" Kahlan asked as she tried to keep the anger out of her voice.
"And what did you do about that?" Hotch asked them.
Wyatt laughed. "You should have seen it. I was walking down the hall and Jack came up and put his arm around me and said, 'Hey, Honey.' Everybody who actually knew us busted out laughing. It was hilarious!"
Jack ducked his head a little. "Peter stopped the name calling then."
Kahlan saw a ghost of a smile cross Hotch's lips. "And it escalated into something else?"
Wyatt shook his head again as his anger made its way back to the surface. "Yeah."
"He'd trip me going down the hall or knock my books out of my hand. You know, stuff that looked like an accident, but I knew it wasn't."
Hotch took a deep breath. "And how did you handle that?"
Wyatt laughed again.
Hotch raised his brows waiting for Jack to answer.
"I learned how to spot what he was going to do and stealthfully avoid it," Jack told him simply.
Hotch noticed Kahlan lick back a smile.
"And after a few times of being the one to fall, Peter stopped that, too," Wyatt told them.
"But he didn't stop there," Hotch offered.
Jack shook his head. "No. Then he tried to hit me, but Wyatt stopped him. I think he actually became afraid of Wyatt and he didn't try anything physical after that."
"So what brought on the fight today?" Hotch asked them.
"About two weeks ago he went back to talking about me, but I didn't let it bother me. He was the one wasting his time," Jack explained.
Hotch looked at Wyatt. "So if it didn't bother Jack, why did you get into it?"
Wyatt looked down at the floor. "Because when he finally realized the attacking Jack personally didn't bother him, he started saying other things."
Hotch and Kahlan shared a look. "What other things?" Kahlan asked them.
Jack shook his head. "It doesn't matter. All that matters is that Wyatt got in the fight because of me, so I should be the one punished."
"It does matter. It must have been pretty bad for Wyatt to actually hit him," Kahlan told him. "What did he say?"
Jack licked his lips. "He said the only reason my real mom was killed is because she. . ." he couldn't finish as Hotch looked at him.
"Jack?" Hotch asked.
"He said she was a whore," Wyatt blurted out. "I never met her, but if she was Jack's mom and married to you then she had to be a great lady! It pissed me off, so I hit him!"
Hotch pinched the bridge of his nose and Kahlan patted his leg under the table.
"But he didn't hit him outright!" Jack defended him. "He got in his face and told him to take it back, but Peter just laughed at him because all of his friends were with him. Then one of Peter's friends shoved Wyatt, and Wyatt got in his face. When Wyatt wasn't looking, Peter swung at him. I yelled to tell Wyatt and he dodged it, but Peter tried to hit him again."
"I dodged about three more blows as I told him to stop, but he wouldn't. He kept getting madder and madder because he couldn't land a punch, and I knew he wasn't going to stop, so I hit him," Wyatt told them.
Kahlan studied him. "How?"
"What do you mean?" Wyatt asked weakly.
"How did you hit him?"
He swallowed hard and looked at the floor.
"Wyatt Christopher, answer me," she told him with force.
"He hit his sternum," Jack told her before Wyatt had the chance.
Her head snapped to him and she could tell by the way they were acting exactly what type of strike was used. Hotch looked at her as his brows furrowed. Her look told him not to ask, so he looked back at the boys. "Was Peter and his friend also suspended?"
"I don't know," Jack told him. "But if you are going to punish Wyatt, you have to punish me, too."
Hotch took a deep breath and let it out through his nose. "Go to your rooms so your mother and I can decide what to do to you," Hotch told them.
They got up and went down to their rooms in silence.
Once they heard two doors shut, Kahlan huffed as she shook her head. "Does it make me a bad mother when instead of wanting to punish them that I want to hug them and tell them how proud I am of them?"
Hotch smiled. "Well, if it does, then I'm a bad father, too."
"Poor Jack. I can't believe they didn't tell us."
"Jack probably wouldn't let Wyatt. He has never let stuff like that bother him."
She smiled. "They really are brothers."
He chuckled. "Yep."
They sat there in silence for a few minutes. "But I guess we still have to punish Wyatt for getting in a fight at school," she told him dejectedly.
"Yeah, and that means punishing Jack, too, since he is taking half of the responsibility."
They both sighed deeply and then chuckled at each other. "One week with no electronics?" Kahlan offered.
He shrugged. "I guess." He fixed her with a look. "Have you been teaching them how to fight?"
She ducked her head sheepishly. "Yes."
She sat up straighter. "Well, which would you prefer: one hit that incapacitates for a brief moment or several brutal hits to try and stop the opponent?" She smiled. "How do you think Jack avoided being tripped and such?"
He ran a hand down his face. "At least they are smart enough and mature enough to handle it."
"Of course they are," she told him with a grin.
"I guess we better call them back up here," he told her as he stood up.
"Can I still tell them I'm proud of them, or will that undermine the punishment?"
"How about punishment tonight and telling them how great of a job they did tomorrow?"
She smiled. "Deal."