Aaron looked at the exterior of New Haven Academy. He’d visited it several times over the summer, but seeing it bustling with teachers and the odd child, Aaron smiled. He could tell that the kids he could see were kids of some of the teachers as they followed said teachers around. He wondered if one of them was going to be the one watching Jack. The last time he’d been at the school to meet with the Headmistress, the teacher in question had been out of town visiting family. Aaron trusted the school, the background checks into the staff had come back clean, even if he hadn’t been given access to it. If it had been another organization running it, Aaron would have demanded to see it, but the DOJ had given the background information to him. Not a single teacher at the school had a questionable thing in their background. He had an inkling the school was a little more than what it seemed, but it would be damned good on Jack’s transcripts when it came time for college. He’d heard what some of the previous kids had gone on to do.
Jessica had heard about the school from a co-worker whose daughter had been turned down on going there. She’d gone on a tour over the summer, and then come back to tell Aaron. Aaron had done his own research on the school and found it to his liking. After taking his own tour, he had asked Jack if it was something that he would like, and the boy had been interested in going to see the school. So a visit for Jack had been planned. It also doubled as Jack’s interview.
Jack had come home from the tour excited. He babbled about one of the science classrooms being filled with models of planes and jets. It had taken some wrangling, but Jack was accepted to the school three weeks before the start of term. There was a dress code, but no uniforms, thankfully, but still it prompted a shopping trip for the boy.
The trip had been hours long, but in the end it was totally worth it. Jack was required to wear ties so they had picked out a good bit of them for him. Including a few for Aaron so on some days, they could wear matching ties. Today was one of those days.
The security of the school was high and it was one of the things Aaron liked about it. Also it was on his way to work. He’d set up something with the school to drop Jack off on his way to work the days he was in town. One of the teachers would watch him. Jack hoped it was the science teacher with the planes. Aaron just hoped it was a teacher who didn’t mind unending questions that his son had. Jack had never grown out of that phase. Aaron indulged him when he could, but he wasn’t Reid, he couldn’t produce answers from off the top of his head like the genius had. The thought of the younger man had him frowning a little. He turned away from Jack so that he wouldn’t see. He thought about the younger man alone on the west coast and it made him sad. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about him much the past four years. That took him down a road that he was loathe to go on. He had made peace with his life and he had to keep that peace.
Aaron knew there was a good chance of a case so Jessica would be picking Jack up when classes let out. Aaron wished that the case went away, but Garcia had been pretty sure of it the night before.
“I hope your day goes well. I’ll text Jessica if a case comes up. But she knows to call when you get out of school so we can talk. I can spare a few minutes for that.”
“It’s okay if you can’t.” Jack smiled at him.
Aaron knew that Jack would understand if he didn’t get to talk for long, but he wanted to be able to talk to Jack about his day. “I can make time. Don’t worry. Have fun, and please Jack, try not to talk off the ear off whatever teacher is kind enough to watch you until school actually starts.” Aaron needed to figure out who it was because he wanted to make sure that the teacher knew how appreciative Aaron was.
“I’ll try dad.” Jack leaned over for a hug and then was scrambling out of the car. Aaron watched as the school doors opened and the Headmistress waved at Aaron.
Even with security checks, Aaron was exiting his car fifteen minutes later. He waved at the guard patrolling the parking area and then started towards the elevator. While he waited for the rest of the team to arrive, he worked on paperwork.
By the time the team met in the round table room, Aaron had pushed Jack from the forefront of his mind. He looked at the team, missing the faces that were gone. Blake had replaced Reid who had been replaced with Tara Lewis a few months earlier. Prentiss was dead over two years now. Her and Reid were his biggest regrets. The team had been just too many steps behind Prentiss in looking for Doyle. Morgan had found her after she had already bled out. Doyle had ended up being caught by MI6 agents. The US would never get their pound of flesh from him for Prentiss’s death. Morgan still hadn’t gotten over it. Too many now had left the team never to be heard of again. Gideon, Elle, Reid, and even Prentiss. Each one was a hole in his armor that he hoped an UnSub never found.
“Hotch, Sir,” Garcia said as she sat down. She slid over a file. “This was just faxed over. The UnSub was killed in a car accident. Drunk driver killed her with the fifth victim in the trunk. He was unharmed other than the knockout blow. So we are not needed.”
“Okay. Then we can have a paperwork catch up day. I’ll take the afternoon off as well.”
“Really?” Dave asked, his eyebrow saying that he didn’t believe him. Even with Jack he rarely took days off.
“Today is Jack’s first day at New Haven.” Aaron had only talked to Dave about the school, not wanting to talk about it before Jack got in. After he’d been accepted, Aaron had been too busy getting him set up and working to even think about telling the team.
“So he did get in?” Dave looked very happy.
“Yes.” Aaron smiled.
“New Haven,” JJ said. She looked a little shocked. “In Dumfries?”
“You know of it?”
“Will and I discussed starting Henry there this past year.” JJ pulled her phone out and texted someone, probably Will. Aaron looked away as she did. He sometimes resented the fact that Will was so accepting of her job. Beth had been accepting, almost to the point that Aaron hadn’t believed her, but she’d never got upset when his plans had changed. But Beth was now in Hong Kong.
“It’s a good school,” Kate said.
“Isn’t that one of the schools that came under fire for allowing the teachers to carry firearms?” Lewis asked as she leaned forward in her chair.
“Yes. All of them are locked in safes under their desks.” It was one of the things he liked about the school, given how Jack could become a target. He didn’t have to worry. “They go to mandatory monthly testing. Most of the kids are military or kids of someone in the alphabet soup that is DC. There are also senator’s kids and the like. Security is top notch.”
“Did Jack want to go there?” Morgan asked.
“We toured it, and he was looking forward to today. I dropped him off on the way to work today, and when we are on cases a teacher there will let him hang out.”
“And Jack is going to talk his or her ear off,” Dave said with a smile. Aaron laughed and nodded. He looked at JJ who was staring at her phone. Aaron wondered if Jack going there would prompt her to send Henry. The two boys were close. He knew that Will and Jessica would sometimes meet up for a day of fun for the boys when they worked cases out of town.