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How Lovely (To Have Skin You Will Never Touch)

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"I want to call her Maryam Eliana" Haley says to him one day when they are discussing names for their second child and for a moment Hotch can't breathe, is back at his father's house, cowering and scared and hearing the few things of his mother's he had kept being burned in the fireplace. For a moment he is still the teenager who heard his father say "I've tried, heaven knows I've tried but the boy and his brother have bad blood - it was my mistake, marrying their mother" and wanted to pull half of himself out and start again.

(This is a year or two after that first Seder when Hotch gathered around his family - the family he has chosen, whether blood or not. Whether they are in this world or the one beyond (of all the things he has seen, of all the things that have happened Hotch has never been able to believe in hell, even despite himself. He does believe in a world beyond was not that he felt he was made worthy laying on that awful apartment carpet, Foyet inside him and everywhere but that he felt G-d already there - in sorrow and kindness and a kind of love and peace that even now he cannot describe. Perhaps it is wrong, to feel such things - perhaps he has stumbled back to his faith wrong but he cannot but cling to it as he does to his grandparents Torah).

"That would be...that would be amazing Haley" is what he says in the end. And he means it, means it entirely and completely. A new life as he says prayers for the old and Haley smiles, her arms around him and they watch Jack playing in the backyard of a house that Foyet has never and will never touch.

They live.