Fandom– Pretty Little Liars with a small appearance by Criminal Minds‘ BAU
Pairings– Aria/Jason, Spencer/Toby, mentions of Hanna/Caleb, Emily/Paige
Summary– Post 5×12, goes AU. Aria reflects on what has happened since Mona’s murder, the fact that Ali is A and no longer a threat, and the changes that happened to her relationships with her friends, especially with Jason. Small appearance by Criminal Minds’ BAU. No need to watch CM to understand anything. This is just a way to put an end to A AND get Aria/Jason together.
Author’s Note– I have had this one-shot wrote since September, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it or not for quite some time. Plus it needed beta’d and the muses weren’t urging me to post it either. Thus I’d like to thank my friend writer/beta meekobb for all her encouragement, and all her and Buggy’s awesome fics(which are great reads to inspire the muses!). Seriously check out meekobb, Buggy, and meekobuggy, where they post the stories that they write together, you just might find a great story in a fandom you love. I’d also like to thank a great writer/beta that served as my beta for this… Tiva Bay Cavanaugh/Shaye1106, check out their works as well, the one’s I’ve read were great!
All references to writers and beta’s are the names they go by on fanfiction.net.
Please review and let me know what you think 🙂
Pretty Little Liars – Aria – Jason – Spencer – Toby
It had been years since we’d heard from A in any way, shape, or form. In fact the last time any of us got a text from A was the night before the joint task force of the Rosewood Police, Pennsylvania State Police, and the FBI arrested Allison with proof that she ordered Mona to be killed, among other things. As it turns out the Rosewood Police were capable of solving crimes involving Allison and A only after they started outsourcing their forensics and lab samples. They finally realized that there was a leak somewhere within their department. It was then that the police realized just how deep Ali’s connections ran.
After Ali was arrested for her crimes, the FBI brought in some of their best profilers to do what they do best, find out the truth. These particular profilers came from Quantico’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and as it turned out they weren’t just a team, but a family as well. The team consisted of Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner, his second in command Derek Morgan, one of the original profilers of the BAU David Rossi, a communications liaison turned profiler Jennifer “JJ” Jareau- LaMontagne, a former Interpol Agent Emily Prentiss, a man who had an eidetic memory Dr. Spencer Reid, and their Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia. I have to admit Agent Morgan was hot, Dr. Reid was adorable, and the bubbly, quirky Penelope had an amazing sense of style!
The profilers talked to Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Caleb, Toby, Ezra, Lucas, Paige, Noel, Jason, and I the most, but they did ask our parents, siblings, classmates, and Ali’s other friends some questions as well. During the BAU’s investigation some shocking truths came to light. First off, Mona and Ali are more alike than any of us had ever thought. Mona has a personality disorder while the profilers and psychiatrists discovered that Ali has Dissociative Identity Disorder. The disorder is the reason she created A to torment us and did all the cruel things she did. In fact the profilers believed that Allison had shown symptoms that went undiagnosed for years, long before she and I ever became friends.
Allison was the puppet master to the whole A game; she had been manipulating and blackmailing people from a very young age. Jason admitted to Agent Morgan that Ali became very jealous of the way their parents treated him when she was four and soon after that she changed drastically, beginning to do whatever it took to get what she wanted. It didn’t matter to her if anyone else suffered from it. He said that she somehow managed to keep their parents from discovering her manipulations until CeCe Drake came into their lives. After a short time of neither trusting the other, CeCe and Ali got along great. So much in fact that at least half the time he was dating her, CeCe could be found with his sister instead of him. They had sleepovers, got fake I.D.’s together, shared clothes, and as he learned after Ali’s “death,” they would actually trade lives.
We never learned who it was that hit Ali over the head the night of her “murder,” the only thing the profilers were able to get out of Ali was that she knew the attacker and that the person was no longer a threat. The gang and I took that to mean that she either killed them herself or sent out a death warrant. In the past, the girls and I would have never thought that Ali could have killed someone but I think it’s pretty obvious that we never really knew her.
Whatever it was that Ali had hoped to gain by doing all the horrible things she did to us, I don’t think she got it. If her plan was to tear us all apart and to sever our ties to one another permanently, she failed horribly. In fact, after everything she put us through we all became closer than ever. And I mean all of us: Spencer, Toby, Jason, Hanna, Caleb, Emily, Paige, and myself. Even though we don’t all live in Rosewood anymore, we’re still close. We keep in touch by emailing, calling, texting, or Skype-ing each other at least once a week. The technology that was once used to hurt us in high school is now the thing helping to keep our relationships strong.
After graduation Spencer went to U-Penn for law in order to stay close to Toby who now worked for the Rosewood Police Department. Emily went to Hollis and eventually opened up a coffee and dessert café where The Brew used to be. As for her relationship with Paige, the two have decided to try again, and when Paige graduated from Stanford she took a job at Rosewood High as the new Freshman History teacher and Head Coach of the Swim Team. Hanna followed her love of fashion to Los Angeles where she attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She was of course joined in her move to the west coast by Caleb, who took classes at various schools in the area to better hone his talent with computers. After her online clothing line took off, Hanna decided to move to Philadelphia where her and Caleb bought a small house, opening up a boutique filled with her designs. She has plans to expand to New York someday if business continues to grow. I ended up going to Temple University in Philadelphia and majored in photography.
During the four years after high school, Spencer, Toby, Emily, and I tried to all get together for dinner at least once a month. Despite all our different schedules we managed to do that most of the months we were in school. After graduating from Temple I moved into the off campus apartment that Spencer kept since the beginning of her fourth year at U-Penn. The only one of us still in college after four years was, of course, Spencer. She was able to cut her undergraduate years down from four to three by taking some of her classes in the summer. After graduating with a degree in pre-law, Spencer took that summer off and began law school the following fall.
While living with Spencer, the friendship that Jason and I had since Ali’s arrest began to change. I had been living with Spencer for a little over two months when Jason decided to move back to Rosewood permanently. He had decided to take the counselor position he was offered at Rosewood High and was soon back to helping students stay on the right path, much like he used to while I was still in high school. As the school year got busier for Spencer, Jason and I started to hang out more often. It was almost Thanksgiving and we decided to go ice skating one Saturday afternoon. What neither of us realized was that that day would mark a change in our relationship.
That Saturday Jason and I not only went ice skating but we also went to dinner afterwards. Right before the waiter brought out our dessert I had gotten up to go to the bathroom and when I was on my way back to the table I saw a woman flirting with him. I didn’t realize it until later, but I felt of pang of longing and jealousy shoot through me at the sight. I continued back to the table like what was going on wasn’t a big deal, and just as I was a few steps away I heard Jason say something that confused me. In all the times we had hung out over the years he’d never said this to anyone that I knew of. Jason said, “I’m on a date with my girl and even if I wasn’t you’re too forward for me, so please go bother some other guy.”
Immediately after that the woman looked up, saw me and glared, “Her? You’re here on a date with her? A man like you can do so much better than a child like that.”
After glancing over at me with a look I couldn’t seem to fully grasp, Jason replied, “Yes, I’m here with her. She is not a child. My girlfriend is older than the legal drinking age in this country. Just because someone looks young does not mean that they are. Look at you for example, you said you were 25 when clearly you look at least 33, and you still look like you buy your clothes from the junior’s department. Even if I was looking for a one night stand I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole. So please get lost before I call my father, who’s a lawyer, and file a restraining order.”
The woman glared at me one more time, called me a bitch and said that she hopes he cheats on me with my best friend before finally storming off. A few moments after that Jason came over and gently led me back to my seat. Once he was seated as well, he began to talk, to try to explain what all of that was about.
“I’m sorry about that. Some people just can’t seem to grasp something when it’s staring them right in the face.”
“It’s fine Jason. I know I’m short and all, but at least I know how to not look like some sleazy hooker…”
Jason let out a big chuckle at that. “You’re right she did look like a sleazy hooker!”
“Now how would you know what one looks like, hmm Jase?” I teased.
Gulp. “Remember that little road-trip I took the summer after you graduated high school? Well there might have been a few nights in some small-town diners where I was hit on by some very questionable looking women. In fact I’m not entirely sure if one woman wasn’t a drag queen.”
“Well you do kind of look a little feminine in the right light. Maybe that drag queen thought you were a coworker?” I trailed off into a fit of laughter with tears in my eyes at the look on Jason’s face.
“Not cool sweetheart. Not cool at all. I’m all man…”
“If you say so. Just know that if you feel the need to come out of the closet, I’m here,” I teased.
“And on that note, why don’t we just take our dessert to go and get out of here before anything else embarrassing happens?”
“Fine by me. We can just eat our cheesecake back at the apartment. Hopefully Spencer’s back and we can talk her into taking a break and watching a movie or something.”
And with that we left the restaurant and headed out to Jason’s car. The ride back to mine and Spencer’s apartment was filled with a comfortable silence only broken by the music that was softly pumping through the car’s speakers.
Once I had unlocked the door, and Jason and I both checked around the apartment for Spencer, we sat down on the couch and started watching a re-run of the season two finale of Arrow. We both made little comments here and there on the episode while we sat there eating our cheesecake, when Oliver Queen told Felicity Smoak that he loved her in the empty entryway of his family’s mansion.
“Aria, about earlier at the restaurant…”
“What about it Jason?”
“How much did you hear?”
“Just before the woman called me a child, why? What’s wrong Jason?” I asked.
Jason ran his fingers through his hair and then asked, “Did you hear me tell her that I was on a date?”
“Yeah, I figured that since it clearly wasn’t getting through the woman’s thick skull that you weren’t interested you just used me as a way to prove it to her. No big deal, it’s what friends are for.”
“I meant it.”
“All of it. I meant every word I said to that woman.”
“But you said I was your girl, and that we were on a date…”
“I chickened out. I wanted today to be a date, but I got scared and just asked you out as friends. The feelings I had for you never really went away, and ever since you moved in here they just kept getting stronger. And since you and Fitz have been over for quite some time, I thought that maybe now I had a chance. That we had a chance.”
I kept trying to say something but no words would come out. I’d imagine that I looked rather fish-like at that moment.
“Aria? Please say something. I thought things have been changing between us these last few months, but did I imagine it? Did I imagine that all those looks and touches meant something that they didn’t?”
I finally managed to shake my head from side to side.
“No, I imagined it all or no, I didn’t?”
“You didn’t.” Finally actual words were coming out of my mouth!
“If I didn’t then where do we go from here? How do you feel about me?”
“When you kissed me back in high school, I felt something. But I wasn’t sure what it was or why. Was it just because Ezra and I were having some problems or did I have actual feelings for you? I can’t deny that before my family and I moved away that I wasn’t attracted to you but you were older and you were also Ali’s brother. The one time I brought up the way I felt about you, Ali went nuts. She started throwing a fit and when she was done she brought up Noel. She was all, ‘But what about Noel? Don’t you like him anymore? Come on he’s so much better for you than my druggie slime ball of a brother.’ Looking back at it I realize that she wanted me away from you and closer to Noel for her own twisted plans. But back then I just figured that it was better not to make Ali mad, so whatever feelings I had for you I just pushed aside and by the time we all moved back to Rosewood I’d moved on. And then Ezra happened.
A part of me thought that since Ezra and I went through so much just to be together that I shouldn’t give up on what we’d had so easily. Especially for something that I wasn’t sure would last. At the time I really felt that Ezra and I would last, that we’d still be together when I went to college. But A changed everything. Sure Ezra and I got back together after Ali revealed to the world that she was never dead, but everything felt different. A part of me felt that I was just with him romantically because he was comfortable to me, that I knew I could survive if he broke my trust and hurt me again. Everything Ali did really messed me up. I knew that I could trust Spencer, Hanna, and Emily, but I wasn’t sure that I could truly trust anyone else. Sure I felt like I could trust Toby and Caleb because the girls did, but I was still somewhat wary. My trust in them wasn’t implicit like it is now. Just like there is no doubt in my mind that I can trust you with anything no matter what.
These last several years has showed me just who I can depend on the most. Sure Ezra and I are still friendly enough whenever we happen to run into each other, but that’s all we will ever be now, just friends. You weren’t wrong Jason; things have been slowly changing between us for years now. Those feelings for you that I thought I’d either forgotten or moved past, started creeping up on me, especially this last year. There were times that I wondered if you had feelings for me, but I would always somehow convince myself that you and I would never happen.”
“Well what about now? Now that you know how I feel about you?”
“I want to give us a chance. That is if you really want to.”
As Jason slowly leaned in towards me he said, “I do. If I kiss you now you won’t run away again will you?”
And with that our lips finally touched. The kiss started out soft and slow but soon grew passionate. As we kissed our hands wandered over arms, backs, necks, and through our hair. But eventually lack of air became an issue and we slowly pulled away from each other.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“Mmhmm,” Jason agreed.
“Why did we wait so long?”
“I don’t know sweetheart. I don’t want to waste any more time, Aria, will you be my girlfriend?”
Instead of telling him, I chose to show him. I cupped the back of Jason’s neck with one hand, gently tugged his face to mine, and met his lips with mine in a kiss filled with promise.
As we broke apart once more I said with a smile, “Yes.”
“Well it’s about time you two!”
“Hush Toby! It’s about damn time those two got their act together!”
At seeing the deer in headlight’s look on our faces, Toby chuckled, “Awkward.”
Breaking out of his shock Jason asked his sister and her boyfriend just how long the two had been standing there.
“Long enough to hear you ask Aria to be your girlfriend,” she replied.
As Jason took my hand and smiled, Toby asked, “You okay over there Aria?”
“I’m fine Toby, just a little shocked that you both walked in on us.”
At that Spencer giggled, “I’m just glad you both were fully clothed, because as much as I love you big brother I don’t want to see your naked ass!”
Simultaneously Toby, Jason, and I groaned, “Spencer!”
“Anyways… I’m happy for you guys, the two of you are perfect for each other,” Spencer exclaimed with a smile.
“Are you sure you’re okay with us being together?” I asked.
“I’m sure! I’m just upset that I lost the bet.”
Clearly reading the explain-now-or-else looks on our faces, Toby explained, “Spencer, Hanna, and Emily were so sure that it would at least be after Christmas before you guys got together and Caleb and I thought it would be before. The rules of the bet were that no one could try to push you guys together until after New Year’s Day was over. After that everything was fair game.”
I just had to ask, “What happens now that you and Caleb got it right?”
Spencer groaned, “Caleb and Toby get to have each of us do one thing for each of them, run errands, clean, whatever.”
“Time limit on all of that?” Jason asked.
Toby smiled and said, “All tasks must be completed within the same week.”
“That’s what you guys get for betting. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m tired and want to go to bed. Jason, do you want to stay or not?”
Tucking a piece of hair behind my ear, Jason replied, “I’ll stay.”
“All right then. Night Toby, night Spencer! I don’t want to hear the headboard hitting the wall!”
Blushing Spencer exclaimed, “Same goes for the two of you!”
That night, Spencer and I slept peacefully in the arms of the men we loved.