This was the day that everyone had hoped would never come. Even after the Prentiss charade, after Foyett, and a few other injuries, everyone thought that Aaron Hotchner was invincible. Yet, here they were gathering, for his funeral. Does it really matter now, how the end came? Emily thought to herself. Dave thought that this was just like Erin’s death, a waste because of a stupid unsub, who in the long run wasn’t worth it. Not even someone he would want to put in one of his books. The only justice the team did feel was that it was Spencer had put a bullet through the unsub’s head, just like he had done years ago with Philip Dowd. Spencer had felt, like it took their relationship full circle. When Aaron had been helping him with his gun qualification, stood behind him, and stated “sight, trigger press, and follow through” Spencer felt a chill run through his spine. It was what ignited Spencer’s feelings for Aaron.
Aaron Hotchner was already a man that Spencer held in high regard, but now he also felt affection for him too. As things changed in Aaron’s life, Aaron not only became Spencer’s Hero, but also eventually his lover. Everyone in their lives that matter knew the story, today was not a day to relive it. Rossi had wanted to focus on the good things in Aaron’s lives, but Spencer said to keep it about work and Jack mostly. Spencer didn’t want the focus off of Aaron in any way. Even so, Rossi insisted that part of what made Aaron, Aaron was his relationship with Spencer. Through the years before and after the two men were in love with each other, they pushed each other to be better at their jobs. Spencer recalled when he had been taken hostage by Tobias Hankel. He sent a message to Aaron, with the hopes that he would understand and be able to rescue him. Aaron understood completely, led the team to find Spencer, just in the nick of time, but Spencer really hadn’t needed them in the end. Many times in their lives that seemed to be the way it worked out, Spencer recalled with a small smile.
The limo arrived at the cemetery. Garcia took Spencer’s arm to urge him out of the car. She gave him a sad smile. One he knew well from her through the years. It was the come on, you know you can do this, even though you don’t want to. He slid out with her. She accompanied him to his seat. Jack sat down on the right. The two quickly embraced in a shower of tears. Jack had been away at college, when Aaron was shot. Spencer went there to tell him. He was not going to allow Jack to be notified over a phone call, even if it was video chat. Jack had decided to go to Columbia’s Law school. Which made Aaron proud, even though there was a week long debate about what was wrong with Georgetown. Spencer would leave notes with positive things about Columbia in Jack’s bedroom to assist in the argument. Aaron had suspected that Jack was getting help, but in the end gave him credit for finding a good researcher to help him with his case. When the two finally let go, Garcia handed them tissues from her bag. They wiped their faces. People from the bureau came by and offered their condolences until things were ready to start. The rest of the team had filled in the seats on the front row. Spencer’s eyes became fixed on the black shiny coffin in front of him. Jack put his arm around Spencer.
A man Spencer didn’t recognize walked up to a podium. The people hushed.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been brought here today to remember and celebrate the life of Aaron Michael Hotchner. A husband, A father, An FBI agent, A man, A friend, A hero and more.
I have been told that Mr. Hotchner did not want us to spend this time crying for our loss, but remembering what we had with him.
He told Mr. Rossi one time, that “I finally understand what Haley was trying to tell me, before Foyet killed her. The seriousness of the job, the worry of the world, whatever problems are out there, have to be left at the doorstep at night. Our children will face them soon enough. Right now, in this time, they need to know, we weren’t always so serious.”
Mr. Rossi said, “After that night, if you caught Aaron at Jack’s soccer games, or at home with him, he was a different man. The house was always filled with laughter.”
I am sure many of you have memories, when you saw that rare smile, heard that laugh, and knew that he wasn’t always so serious. Aaron knew and heard the office jokes about how serious he was. He could even laugh about them. Yet, he knew there was a time and place for every emotion, expression, and touch. The firm stoic look at the Colorado attorney general Jim Wells, when he ordered him off his crime scene, in order to safely rescue as many people and Agents Prentiss and Reid from a cult leader. One of his worst, since the attorney general had put everyone endanger in the first place.
Agent Hotchner was a prosecutor for a few years after graduating Georgetown law school, like his father a private lawyer. He found that by the time the cases reached him, flaws, errors, evidence deterioration and witness deaths, often let criminals get lesser sentences than they deserved. Being the strong, driven, hero, determined to stop these wrongdoers, he changed his profession and was off to the FBI. This is where he found his life’s calling. Aaron discovered he was a profiler and a good one. He and his then wife Haley Brooks Hotchner moved to the Quantico/ DC area to allow him to join the BAU. This is where the best thing to ever happen for Aaron, Jack, his son was born. From when he was little and decided that he wanted to be a real superhero for Halloween, his costume was to dress in a suit just like his father. To working the case with him, to save his life from Foyet, Jack has always been an obedient son, well except for the Columbia thing.
The speaker waited for the laughter to subside. Jack you wanted to say a few things about your father. Jack stood up, gave Spencer a kiss to the forehead, and walked to the podium. There were sniffles heard throughout the crowd. Jack stood tall. He looked out over the people. He saw friends, he saw family, he saw people he didn’t know, but that didn’t matter. He locked eyes with his friend Henry.
“Dad worked hard at keeping the horror of his work away from his homelife. I remember the day SWAT came through the front door. He worried that not only had my image of him been ruined, but that the safe place we called home been shattered and polluted with the nastiness of his job. Yet, the next evening our family, met at Uncle Rossi’s to spend time with his second wife Hayden. Spencer had us rolling in the grass at his magic tricks. The laughter safe and sound, intact. I know Aunt Jennifer told me later, that dad had been worried that I was growing up too quick, and he wouldn’t be my hero much longer. I can honestly say with no shadow of doubt, before this honored group here. Up to this day and to infinity and beyond, Aaron Hotchner is the closest thing to a superhero this world has.”
Jack returned to his seat, with tears trickling down his cheek. Spencer leaned over and whispered something to him, no one heard what it was. The man returned to the podium.
“I don’t think many here would disagree with you nor the people that he rescued. It was during one of those rescues, that final brought Aaron Hotchner’s life to an end, unfortunately. The bad guy did not win that day, because Aaron has had for many years two families. His family with Spencer and Jack, and his BAU family. Members have come and gone over the years, some on good terms and some on bad, but each one a part of the family. From Gideon to Morgan, the reasons have varied, but in the end each person had to do what was right for them. For Aaron what was right for him was still fighting bad guys. Although, I am sure if you asked him, how or when he would want to die, it would be an old man in Spencer’s arms. The love he found later on with Dr. Spencer Reid was a love that would amaze everyone who knew him. They went on to wed and live happily til now. Spencer asks that we say no more about them, because today is about Aaron. Aaron the man who could console a victim that wasn’t going to make it, sit with her until the end and make her feel whole, instead of a victim. He could feed into a narcissistic unsubs need for attention, in moments, next thing the unsub would realize is that he had released his hostage. He could aim and steady a shot from yards away, and shoot it with accuracy, then come home and cook dinner, help with homework, and read a good night story. He wasn’t one of a kind. He was just a man who loved his work, his family, and his friends.”
He nodded to Garcia who stood up. There was some noise behind everyone, but no one looked as it would be disrespectful. Penelope, her most unique self as always, was dressed in black, but it had lace around the skirt, her traditional high heels, with her bosom hugging top, with white polka dots about two inches each. She topped her look off with lace black gloves and small top hat tilted to one side. Her hat had the same lace as her skirt and gloves. Spencer almost missed the big bow, that tied her altogether in the back. She smiled at the crowd.
“Hotch told me once, that when I gave him my resume to him for my job on homemade pink paper, he knew I was unique, and that I could in no way ever let him down. I think that’s the day, he stole my heart. Sorry Spencer. (she chuckled) No, I understood that he understood who I was, and what I needed. It made me want to do my job one hundred percent better. With that being said, and with the permission of David Rossi, there are tv screens lowering behind you. We have a tribute to Aaron Michael Hotchner, that we believe visually says it best and tears don’t have to be shed but this once. When it is complete, if you want to place anything on top of his coffin, please file by and do so. This presentation’s end will conclude the services. If you want to stand up and turn your chairs around that would work, also.”
She waited for everyone to settle, then clicked her clicker.
Jack leaned over to Spencer and whispered, “Is this where we regret letting Uncle Dave handle this?”
Spencer let out an airy laugh, “Yes, very much yes.”
Spencer instantly recognized the music that played behind the slides, video bits, and pictures. A video tidbit popped up of someone asking what his favorite broadway show was.
“There are so many good ones, but I personally relate to an older one the Man of La Mancha.”
“You like to tilt at windmills? Rescue damsels in distress? Slay the black knight?” the person asked?
“My mother loved the theatre. She took me to see La Mancha, at an important age for me. It gave me the courage to become who I am.”
The video clicked away to show pictures of Aaron in his military school uniform, and other pictures from before he joined the FBI. Most were college, meeting Haley, wedding pictures. While those played, Spencer leaned to Jack.
“Had you seen that before?”
Jack shook his head.
A picture of Aaron in his traditional suit appeared on the screen as the music started, in earnest. His chocolate eyes and stoic look pierced the crowd, straight to Spencer’s heart.
“To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe”
The picture changes to show Aaron in his SWAT uniform. He held a large caliber gun, at his hip. He looked so young.
“To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where
The brave dare not go”
Then a picture of him being sworn in to the FBI, his first day at the BAU, and a team picture with Gideon and Elle.
“To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar”
A picture of the team, asleep on the jet, with Aaron awake as he watched over them.
“To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star”
Pictures of Aaron, as he coached Jack’s soccer team, of him, Jack and Haley, of Spencer, Jack and him, a couple of team outings, and other family photos.
“This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far”
Then there was a picture of the team with Rossi, the team that always felt like family, the one that was always there for Spencer and Aaron.
“To fight for the right
Without question or pause”
A list of all the serial killers, they had caught. A list of the victims, that they had saved. Followed by photos of the families, that they now had. Spencer smiled.
“To be willing to march,
March into hell
For that heavenly cause”
Jack wiped a tear from his cheek. He leaned his head over on Spencer’s shoulder. He looked back up at the screen. Spencer scanned the crowd. He noticed that no one could take their eyes from the presentation.
“And I know
If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest”
The music paused. The video from the beginning played again.
Aaron spoke, “The end of the play, where Cervantes has convinced his fellow prisoners that the dream of an old man, is more valuable than the reality in which he and his friends live. In other words, if you have the power to change someone’s life, to better it, even for a short time, then you must be true to who you are, and make it better.”
“And the world will be
Better for this”
“It may only be your small corner of the world. Your street, your block, your neighborhood, or it could be to influence well past your corner and on out into time. I hope that I will be found to have reached out further and with much compassion, because I dreamed.”
The song continued, “That one man, scorned
And covered with scars,
Still strove with his last
Ounce of courage”
The picture changed to Aaron in his FBI vest, gun drawn, pointed out towards the camera, his serious face, ready to fire if need be. His birthdate to his date of death on the bottom.
“To reach the unreachable,
The unreachable star”
The music ended. David moved to the podium. There wasn’t a dry eye there.
“Thank you for coming today, to help us remember our friend, Aaron Hotchner. Have a good day.”
Spencer waved for Garcia to come over to him. She hugged him.
“That was amazing. Thank you. Please send me a copy.”
“It’s in your email. You’re welcome.”
Jack asked, “Where did you get those young pictures of dad? I’ve never seen them.”
“You’ll have to ask Rossi, he gave them to me.” She answered.
“The video too?”
She nodded. Rossi came over, led his friends to the limos. Spencer paused, touched the casket, whispered goodbye, then walked away. The ride to Rossi’s was quiet. No one wanted to speak first, they had spent days together already. The words had been said, hugs given, tears shed. They all were used up. Everyone had a broken heart. Shattered for their friend left behind, and broken for the friend they wouldn’t see again. The car came to a stop. They stepped out.
“Before we go in. I have dinner catered. Everyone needs to eat. There are extra rooms for those who want to stay. My wine cellar is open. As always, you are my family. If you need anything, just ask.”
The team walked into the house. Spencer stopped just inside the door. He waited for Dave.
“Dave, where did you get that video and those early pictures of Aaron? It was incredible.” He asked?
“Let me check with the caterer.” Dave said, as he walked off.
Spencer looked puzzled. He didn’t understand, how Dave could have misheard him. He joined the rest of the team in the dining room. He sat down, away from the kitchen. Spencer heard Garcia gasp. He looked up at her. Servers brought plates out. They placed them in front of everyone. When Spencer looked up at his server, he scooted back in his chair.
“Spencer. Sorry to see you under these circumstances.” Sean answered, as Spencer stood and hugged him.
Jack spoke, “You gave those pictures and video.”
“Yes, I did. There were a few things missing in Aaron’s story. “
Sean sat down with the team. “Eat, enjoy.”
Emily asked, “How long have you been catering?”
“Since, my parole. I got with Dave. He helped set me up in New York. I have been diligent to stay clean and work hard. I had met with Aaron, the weekend before...so that he could see the results of him not giving up on me. Then, I heard, so I wanted to make sure, his entire dream was told. With Dave’s help, it was. And Penelope.”
“He only has six more months of parole, then he his free.” Garcia chirped.
“Then she can add to his stats, one brother rehabilitated.” Sean said.