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Title: Five Dinners and a Breakfast
Author: Daylyn
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: NC-17 (FRAO)
Pairing: Hotch/Reid
Word Count: ~ 22,000
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their copyright holders. No profit is intended.

WARNINGS: Implied Foyet and Hotch noncon (takes place prior to the events of this fic).

Summary: “It had all started when Spencer found himself marching to Hotch’s office. Well, really, he awkwardly moved on crutches to Hotch’s office, but he did it with purpose, so it was sort of like marching.” Sometimes, the start of a relationship does not run smoothly.

Author’s Note: Takes place during Season 5 and contains SPOILERS for the season through Episode 5.11 “Retaliation”, including spoilers for Episode 5.09 “100”. This started as a simple idea for a fairly short fic and morphed into a 20,000+ word monster that took me forever to complete. I can’t tell you my excitement now that it’s finally finished! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fabrisse for the beta.



Five Dinners and a Breakfast
By Daylyn


Dinner # 1

The first dinner took Spencer by surprise.

It had all started when Spencer found himself marching to Hotch’s office. Well, really, he awkwardly moved on crutches to Hotch’s office, but he did it with purpose, so it was sort of like marching.

They had just concluded the case concerning the brutal, senseless, random beatings in DC. Spencer had spoken to Morgan, briefly, after it had all gone down. Morgan had sounded pissed. Really pissed. He couldn’t understand why Hotch (and by extension Rossi and Prentiss) had just left the scene. Spencer had thought he understood. There was no reason for them (the FBI, the BAU, Hotch) to be there anymore. The outcome was already inevitable, the suspects committing suicide by cop.

Morgan refused to see the reasonableness of that explanation. “We had a duty to see it through,” he had argued over the phone. “I tell you, man. Hotch is completely off his game right now. I have no idea what the hell he’s thinking.”

Spencer had declined to state that he felt Morgan had gotten too emotionally involved with the case (and with one of the victim’s sister, Tamara Barnes). He knew that such an observation would be less than welcome, especially after Morgan told him that he was stopping by her house to, “Let her know what happened.”

Then Morgan had added. “I know I gave you a ride this morning because of your messed up leg. Do you want to wait for me to get a ride home or…”

Spencer thought that he would be waiting for a long time. A very long time. He declined.

JJ had dropped Spencer off at the FBI offices in Quantico and then headed home to Henry and Will. Spencer wished he had asked her just to give him a ride home, but he didn’t want her to have to go out of her way, especially since she really wanted to be with her family. So he (and his crutches) had made their way back to the BAU offices.

Rossi and Prentiss were getting into the elevator, heading home, as Reid was getting out. They were actually smiling. Obviously they were pleased with Hotch’s decision. Reid checked, but Garcia had left for the night too.

Which left him alone in the office. Well, not exactly alone. He could see that Hotch was still there, in his office, at his desk, going over reports and case files. Spencer knew that one of the files there was on Foyet. Not a day had gone by since Hotch’s attack that he did not review and re-review that file.

Spencer sat at his desk for a few moments and debated his course of action. He had been watching Hotch closely for a long time, years actually, and he had never seen Hotch so lost before, not even when Haley had demanded an uncontested divorce. Spencer knew Hotch had shut down his emotions after the attack by Foyet, although he knew (as did everyone on the team) how upset Hotch was about disrupting Jack and Haley’s lives and the fact that he could not see his son. But Hotch was trying to act as if everything was fine.

Spencer knew that things were not fine.

Although the circumstances were different, Spencer understood what it was like to survive an attack by a psychotic serial killer. Foyet’s attack on Hotch was personal instead of random like Tobias Hankel’s kidnapping of Spencer. Hotch had been Foyet’s target; Spencer had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But both were violent and, Spencer was certain, both were terrifying.

And both left their emotional scars.

Besides, his feelings toward Hotch, which he had tried to suppress for years, were too strong to ignore when Hotch was in so much pain. Spencer found himself heading to Hotch’s door before he was even aware he was moving. He knocked diffidently. Hotch looked up, surprised that someone was there, and even more surprised to see it was Reid. “Come in,” he said softly.

Spencer, with his crutches, made his way slowly into Hotch’s office. “Sit down,” Hotch said gently and waived Spencer to a chair. “You look ready to collapse.”

“Thanks,” Spencer replied. “The healing process is taking forever. It really is a bitch… um… a bit annoying.”

Hotch gave an almost smile at Spencer’s slight indiscretion. “Are you still in much pain?” he asked, his voice concerned.

Spencer wanted to smile himself. Of course Hotch was concerned. He was always concerned about his team. “It’s better. It’s healing. It’s just… slower than I would like.”

Hotch nodded. “What are you still doing here, Reid? You should go home.”

“Yeah, I’m going to take a cab in a little bit. I’m just… finishing a report.”

“A cab?”

“Ah… yeah… Morgan gave me a ride in this morning but he’s… busy. I don’t feel quite up to navigating the VRE tonight, so I’ll just take a cab home.”

Hotch frowned, looking annoyed.

“It’s not a big deal,” Spencer added hurriedly.

“He shouldn’t have deserted you,” Hotch said, his voice icy.

Spencer wanted to curse at himself for the turn of the conversation. Somehow it had become about him when he really needed to concentrate on Hotch. “It’s okay. Really. Besides, it gives me a chance to talk to you.”

Hotch looked slightly curious and far too wary. “About what?”

“I wanted to see how you were doing,” Spencer said cautiously.

“I’m fine, Reid.” Hotch replied, his voice clipped.

Spencer could see all of Hotch’s defenses rising up. He took a deep breath. “I’m just concerned about you. I wanted you to know that I understand. Well, as much as anyone can, I understand. I know what it’s like to go through an attack and the difficulties of the aftermath. I know what it’s like to be terrified and trying to survive and struggling and…”

Hotch’s face was slowly turning to glower mode.

Spencer hurried on, looking down at the floor instead of at his supervisor. “Not that you were terrified or anything. I just don’t want to lose you too, Hotch.”

“Lose me?” Hotch asked, with an edge to his voice.

“I just want you to know that I’m here for you. I know I failed Elle after her attack. I knew something was wrong and did nothing. I failed the team after Hankel. I was weak – struggling and lost. I’m still shocked sometimes at what I did, how I acted, after all of that. I failed Gideon. I couldn’t be what he needed. I know that you’re stronger and braver than I am, but you’re struggling, Hotch. I don’t want to fail you too. I would do anything to help.”

Spencer took another deep breath and whispered, “I would save you, if I could.”

He glanced quickly at Hotch, whose face looked puzzled, his dark eyes scrutinizing Spencer. He looked away, unable to meet that intensity. “God, I couldn’t have messed this up more than if I had written a dissertation on how to mess up. I’m sorry. Really.”

He rose and grabbed his crutches, making his way to the office door. He didn’t look back at Hotch.

“Reid,” Hotch called softly.

Spencer kept going.

“Reid.”

“I’m sorry,” Spencer said again, continuing toward the door.

“Spencer.”

He stopped. Hotch never called him by his first name. He turned around slowly. Hotch had that same intense look in his eyes.

“Sit down,” Hotch said, quietly but firmly.

Spencer didn’t even think about disobeying. He made his way back to the chair. He sat down and looked at the floor, knowing that he was being examined, unable to meet Hotch’s gaze.

“Thank you,” Hotch said.

Spencer looked up in surprise. Hotch’s expression had softened.

“You’re right, you know,” Hotch continued, “I am… having difficulties. But I have to find Foyet. You understand that, don’t you?”

“Yes. We’re here to help you.”

“I know. I appreciate that. But it’s more than just catching a criminal. I have to protect my son and make this up to Haley, whose life I’ve ruined yet again. Everything else has been taken from me, Reid. It’s all I have now and I’ll do anything I have to.”

“It sounds sort of like an addiction.” Spencer then wondered if he had gone too far.

Hotch snorted slightly. “Perhaps it is. But I don’t have much choice.”

They sat there in silence for a moment, Spencer having no idea what to say.

“For the record,” Hotch finally said, “you’re not weak and you’re certainly brave. I’ve trusted you with my life and would have no hesitation to do so again. What you endured in Georgia, and what you struggled with afterwards, shows the strength of your character. You survived, Reid. Both the attack and the aftermath. And yes, while Foyet’s attack on me was far more personal with longer lasting implications, it took much less time, even with him driving me to the emergency room. You spent days with Hankel, and you still had the wits about you to send us—me—that message. Nothing weak there.”

Spencer swallowed. “I did what I had to.”

“I understand that. I’m doing the same.”

Spencer tried to smile, but thought that it probably came out more as a wince of pain. “I should go,” he whispered. He stood up awkwardly, balancing himself on his crutches. He paused. “Hotch, if you… ever need to… I don’t know, talk or something… I’m good at listening.” He gave a half laugh. “Probably not so good at advice, but I can listen.”

Hotch looked at him, his expression slightly softer than usual. “Thanks, Reid. I… thank you.”

Reid gave him a smile and started toward the door.

“You’re really calling a cab?” Hotch asked.

Reid turned around slightly. “Yeah, but it’s not a problem.”

Hotch sighed and stood up. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride.”

Spencer blinked, surprised. “You don’t have to do that.”

Hotch just looked at him in that way that Spencer knew would be foolish to argue with. “Um… thanks…” he said instead.

The ride in Hotch’s car was quiet but not tense. They spoke a bit about the case, but Hotch made it clear that he wasn’t going to explain himself or his decisions. Spencer didn’t really have a problem with that since he pretty much agreed with Hotch, at least most of the time, and the decision to leave the scene seemed like the right one, which he told Hotch.

As they got closer to his apartment, however, Spencer realized that he really didn’t want the evening to end. “Do you want to have dinner?” he blurted out before he could stop himself.

Hotch gave him a strange look and Spencer contemplated hitting his head against the dashboard and trying to feign a concussion. Before he could apologize, Hotch said, “Sure. Where do you want to go?”

Spencer found himself sitting in an Italian restaurant around the corner from his apartment. With Hotch. While they eaten together many, many times when they were on cases, it was usually with other team members or just grabbing something quickly while working in the field office. Spencer could not recall a time when he and Hotch had gone someplace and had a sit-down meal in a restaurant, alone. He sipped his wine and tried to calm his nerves, while at the same time wondering why he felt that dinner was such a momentous occasion.

Hotch watched him for a moment, and then leaned slightly across the table, looking him directly in the eye. “By the way, Reid, you didn’t fail anyone,” Hotch said. Spencer must have blinked in confusion, because Hotch explained, “Before, you said that you had failed Elle, Gideon, the team, yourself. You didn’t, at least not from where I was standing. If anyone failed Elle, it was me. I too knew that she wasn’t doing well and I should have protected her, at least for a bit longer. I should never have put her in that situation. And you certainly didn’t fail after Hankel. Reid, I’m still impressed by your strength after all of that. As for Gideon, well, he was on a downward spiral long before you got here. I think you helped him to stay far longer than he would have if you hadn’t been here.”

Spencer gave a nervous half smile. “Thanks. It just feels like I could have done more.”

Hotch looked at him for a long moment while Reid met his gaze and tried not to squirm. “We all do, from time to time,” Hotch finally said. “I will tell you that, as for me, you were the only one who was brave enough to come through my office door to confront me.”

Spencer looked up, shocked. “I’m not confronting you. I’m… just… worried. Concerned. Besides, I’m sure that Rossi, and Prentiss, and… well, everyone has come to talk to you.”

“No, actually, they haven’t. Dave is operating under an assumption that I’m fine. I’m probably not, but I think he’s biding his time until I have some sort of dramatic breakdown. Emily is hovering like a mother hen. It would be endearing if it wasn’t so annoying. Morgan is pissed off at me for being fallible and for the fact that Foyet used his credentials. He’s taking that guilt out on me and being angry all the time. JJ is scared and doesn’t know how to approach me, much like you, actually. And Garcia is too intimidated to bring me purple fluffy toys, although she really wants to. Her cookies are nice, though.”

Spencer gave out a sort of half laugh. “She wouldn’t let me have any of those cookies, you know. Even though I had been shot.”

Hotch’s eyes lightened slightly, his face taking on an almost amused look. “Do you want one? I think I still have some in my office.”

“I couldn’t take your cookies, Hotch. Garcia would kill me. She’s far more frightening than an unsub with a gun.”

“I believe that.”

Reid took another sip of wine. He glanced around the restaurant. “You know, right before you came back I told Garcia that maybe we shouldn’t talk to you, that we shouldn’t bring it up. I guess I believed that you could handle anything.” He looked Hotch in the eyes. “And I still believe that. But I thought you wouldn’t want our help, at least not my help. After all, no matter how much I tried to emulate you, I could never be like you. I felt I had nothing to offer.”

Their meals arrived, and the conversation broke off for a moment while they were being served. They waited until the waiter walked away.

“You have a lot to offer, Reid,” Hotch said when they were alone again. “An amazing amount to offer, actually. Right now, I could probably use your advice as to how you got coped, how you learned to live knowing just how unsafe you really are in the world. And I’m flattered, but I really don’t think I’m someone you want to emulate. I’m far too emotionally cut-off to make a good role model.”

“I don’t believe that. You have too much passion, Hotch, for both your work and your family, to really be emotionally cut-off. I think you’re repressing your feelings, and probably with good cause, but just because you don’t know what you’re feelings are doesn’t mean you don’t have them.”

“That sounds like something Gideon would say.”

“He did.”

Hotch gave a little snort. He took a bite of his meal and a sip of his wine. “Sometimes Gideon gave good advice.”

Spencer shrugged. “Sometimes. And sometimes his advice, in hindsight, wasn’t that helpful at all. When I admitted to him, at one of my lowest points, that I was struggling, he essentially told me that it comes with the job and that it would make me a better profiler. Perhaps it’s true, but it really didn’t help at the moment.”

Hotch sputtered and looked rather indignant. “He told you that.” Spencer merely nodded. “When was this?” Hotch went on. “Don’t tell me this was after that case in New Orleans.”

“Um… yeah…”

Hotch gave a heavy sigh. “If Gideon was here, I’d kick his ass. We were worried about you, Reid. I told Gideon I wanted to talk to you, but he insisted that he would handle it. That he did handle it. If I had known that was all he had done...”

“How would you have done things differently?”

“I would have at least asked you why you were struggling. Did he even do that?”

“No.”

Hotch made a frustrated noise.

Spencer took a sip of wine and a deep breath. “So, Hotch,” he began, “why are you struggling?”

Hotch looked up at him in surprise and then a small smile appeared on his face. “Well done.” Hotch took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He took another sip of wine and then focused on his wine glass, swirling the red liquid. “I’m struggling because… I just want this to be over. I want things to go back to normal, and I know they never will. And I’m afraid—afraid of what he’ll do to Jack and Haley, afraid of what he’ll do to me, afraid to be in my home.”

“It’s got to be terrifying to have your home, your sanctuary, invaded like that.”

“It is. If Elle could see me now, she’d certainly have her revenge.”

“Hotch.”

“I just think I understand her better now. I don’t feel safe anymore. Anywhere.”

“That I understand,” Reid stated. “After Georgia, I saw myself in every victim, every case. Sometimes that still happens.”

“How did you deal with it?”

“You mean other than shooting up?”

Hotch gave him a reproachful look.

Spencer shrugged. “I guess time really does help with healing. I can still remember the details… that doesn’t go away, especially with my memory. But everything isn’t as immediate anymore. I just kept going on until finally it wasn’t as painful, and I concentrate on better memories.”

“So your advice is ‘give it time’.”

“I suppose. I told you I was better at listening than giving advice.”

“You got through it, Reid. I admire that. Quite a bit, actually.”

Spencer found himself blushing slightly. Hotch gave him a real smile, which made Spencer blush some more.

When they finished their dinner, Spencer stood up awkwardly on his crutches. He didn’t know if it was because of the wine or the conversation, but he found himself a bit unsteady. Hotch, of course, immediately noticed.

“You okay?” Hotch asked.

Reid tried for a quick smile. “Fine. I just need to make it around the corner to get home. I can do that.”

“Your place is that close?”

Spencer nodded.

“I’ll walk you home.”

Spencer began to protest but Hotch cut him off. “I’d like to make sure you’re safe and not about to fall over. I can’t afford to lose one of my best agents.”

Reid gave a quick, astonished smile. “Okay,” he agreed awkwardly.

They walked slowly around the block until they were in front of Spencer’s apartment building. “Would you like some coffee?” Spencer heard himself saying, much to his astonishment.

“Sure,” Hotch agreed, surprising Spencer even more.

They made their way up the stairs, Spencer moving awkwardly with the crutches. He had gotten better at maneuvering, but he still felt off-balance much of the time. He opened the door to his flat and invited Hotch in, following after him. Hotch turned back and was frowning at the door.

“You don’t have an alarm?” Hotch asked, an accusatory tone in his voice.

“Um…” Spencer began.

“You really should get an alarm. You never know what can happen and it’s dangerous and I can’t believe that you don’t have one and what if you get attacked and…”

“Hotch. Hotch. Calm down.”

Hotch abruptly stopped his tirade and then took a deep breath. “Sorry,” he whispered.

“It’s okay. I understand. And you’re probably right—I should be more cautious.”

“I would appreciate it. I don’t want to have to deal with the spilled blood of any of the team in their homes ever again.”

Reid nodded and then reached out, tentatively touching Hotch’s arm. “Are you okay?” Spencer whispered.

“No,” Hotch whispered back. “But maybe I will be someday.”

Reid gripped Hotch’s arm more tightly. “You will be.”

Hotch tried to smile. He didn’t quite succeed.

Spencer took a step closer. Hotch closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. He opened his eyes again; their gazes met. Hotch’s look was filled with apprehension warring with hope, and something that looked like desire. Spencer’s breath caught.

He had known that he had wanted Hotch for years. He just never expected to see such desire mirrored back at him.

Spencer leaned in closer. Hotch didn’t move away. Slowly, carefully Spencer brought his lips to Hotch’s. The kiss was dry, timid. Spencer pulled back slightly; Hotch leaned in. Their lips met again. Spencer gently licked at Hotch’s lips, seeking entrance. Hotch gasped, and then started kissing Spencer hot and hard and wonderfully. It was everything, and more, that Spencer had ever hoped for, fantasized about, longed for.

Then Hotch pulled back abruptly, looking lost, confused. “I’m sorry,” he said with an uneven breath. “I can’t do this.”

Before Spencer could even react, Hotch had opened the door and was gone.


Dinner # 2

The second dinner was even more of a surprise to Spencer than the first.

On the morning after the first dinner, Spencer had gone work, feeling both anxious and bewildered. Hotch essentially ignored him, interacting with him only at the round table and only briefly. It was the reaction that Spencer had expected, but he had to admit, if only to himself, that he was disappointed.

They did not have a case that day, and Spencer found himself getting more and more agitated as Hotch disregarded him. He could see that Emily wanted to ask him what was going on, but didn’t quite dare. Morgan, however, had no such qualms. “What the hell is wrong with you?” he finally blurted out in the afternoon.

Reid jumped slightly. “Um… nothing, really,” he lied. “My… uh… knee is hurting today and I just feel distracted.”

“Look, nothing is happening,” Morgan said, reasonably. “Tell Hotch you need to go home. If something comes up, I’ll get you and take you to the airstrip.”

“Um…”

“Really, Reid,” Prentiss chimed in, “you look like you could use a break. Go talk to Hotch.”

Both of them were looking at him and he really could not come up with an excuse to avoid his supervisor. So he found himself for the second time in as many days marching into Hotch’s office and knocking on the door.

Hotch’s tone was resigned when he told Reid to enter.

“Hi,” Spencer began hesitantly. “Um… my knee is bothering me today and Morgan and Prentiss thought I should leave and…”

“All right.”

“Thanks.” Spencer turned to go and then stopped. “Look, I’m sorry. Really sorry about last night. I know what I did was inappropriate and didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or insult you and I would never—”

“Reid. Stop. I’m the one who should be apologizing. You did nothing wrong.” Hotch wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Okay,” Spencer said. He paused briefly. “You don’t want me to leave the team, do you?”

Hotch looked up at him, startled. “God, Reid, no. I’m doing everything in my power to keep the team together right now. I certainly don’t want you to go anywhere.”

Before Reid could ask what Hotch meant by that remark, Hotch lowered his voice and said, “Besides, I think you misunderstand my reaction. I said I couldn’t do this, not that I didn’t want to.” Hotch’s look was almost shy. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I was kissing you back.”

“I noticed,” Reid whispered.

Hotch’s expression became sad. “But I can’t do this. I’m sorry. I wish I could.”

Spencer wanted to ask more, but Hotch stopped him, slipping back easily into his supervisory role. “Go home, Reid. I hope your knee feels better. ”

Spencer could tell a dismissal when he heard one. “Thank you, sir,” he said quietly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Hotch nodded absently and went back to looking at the files on his desk.

Spencer noted that Hotch was distant with him over the next several days, but then he seemed distant with everyone. No one seemed to notice any tension between them. The next case took them to Albuquerque, where several young, blonde, recently pregnant women had been murdered and their bodies dumped. Spencer wondered if the reason no one could see any problem between him and Hotch was because everyone could see a problem between Morgan and Hotch. They were almost at each other’s throats at times – Hotch seeming to be deliberately pushing Morgan, Morgan arguing back and pushing Hotch. Spencer wondered if it was some sort of alpha male dominance dance, but decided that he really didn’t want to know and he certainly wanted no part of it.

It was a relief when the case was solved, the living kidnapped women rescued, the babies found, and the team was flying back to Virginia. Spencer went home immediately, deciding that he did not want to be anywhere near the office when there was so much tension between Hotch and Morgan.

Spencer spent the evening relaxing as much as possible, playing chess with himself as a challenge to see as many moves ahead as possible, and watching re-runs of Doctor Who in the background. He was surprised when, at around 10pm, there was a knock at his door. He was even more surprised to see Hotch holding a pizza box when he looked through the peephole. Spencer disarmed his new alarm and opened the door.

Hotch looked uncertain as he stood there. “Hi,” he said, “I’d like to talk to you for a moment. May I come in?”

Spencer blinked. “Of course,” he said after a moment, stepping back and allowing Hotch to enter. Spencer then re-set the alarm.

Hotch looked at him. “I decided you were right,” Spencer said, indicating the alarm control panel. “It’s a precaution that we all should take. I should have realized that after Elle.”

“I should have too,” Hotch said quietly. They stood there awkwardly for a moment, Spencer wondering what was happening. “I brought pizza,” Hotch said, holding out the rather obvious box. “In case you’re hungry.”

“I’ll get some plates.” Spencer realized that Hotch probably hadn’t eaten. Besides, Spencer wasn’t going to say no to pizza that miraculously showed up attached to Hotch. Spencer marveled at the idea of having another dinner with Hotch alone, especially considering the way their last evening together had ended. A few moments later he found himself sitting on his sofa, pizza on his plate, casting glances at Hotch, who sat there quietly eating as if gathering his thoughts.

Hotch noticed the chessboard. “Are you in the middle of a game with someone?” he asked curiously.

“I’m actually playing myself. I’m trying to work through all the permutations of different moves in an attempt to reach a greater understanding of strategies and reasoning.”

“I bet that would take a long time.”

“I’ve been at it for a few years now.”

“Since Gideon left?”

“Yes. It’s actually helped me understand his reasoning.”

“What have you found?”

“That he needed a different outcome. And that it had nothing to do with me.”

Hotch nodded, thinking, and quietly ate some pizza.

“Why are you here, Hotch?” Spencer asked.

Hotch swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “I wanted to let you know that I’m stepping down as the Unit Chief, temporarily at least, while Foyet is still out there. Morgan is the new head as of tonight.”

“What? Why?” Spencer exclaimed.

“There are a myriad of reasons, Reid. Director Strauss supports my decision and this is the only way I can think of to keep the team together.”

“They were threatening to separate us?” Reid asked indignantly.

Hotch shrugged. “It was a possibility.”

Spencer was certain that there was something that Hotch wasn’t telling him, but then another thought struck him. “Have you told everyone else?”

Hotch shook his head. “Morgan knows, obviously. I left him in the office struggling through reports. And Dave knows because, well, he suspected and heard the rumors. But you’re the first one I’ve told.”

“Are you going to everyone’s place to tell them tonight?”

Hotch took another bite of pizza and shook his head. “No. They’ll find out tomorrow.”

Spencer looked at Hotch more closely. In all the years he had been watching Hotch, he had never seen him look so exhausted and resigned. He almost longed to reach out and touch his arm, but pulled his hand tighter into his lap instead so as to avoid contact. “Are you okay?” he asked quietly.

“It was the right decision,” Hotch replied.

“That doesn’t really answer the question.”

“Maybe, someday, with time, I will be.” And then Hotch reached out and took Spencer’s hand. Spencer’s fingers clasped around him before he even realized what he was doing.

“Why are you here?” Spencer whispered, still grasping Hotch’s hand.

“Would you believe that I wanted to share my pizza?”

“It’s very good pizza.” Spencer looked at him steadily.

“I enjoyed having dinner with you,” Hotch said.

Spencer continued his steady look.

Hotch sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “I just had to give up something that is very important to me, a part of me, a part of who I am. There are good reasons for what I did. But I still wish I didn’t have to do it. I think I needed someone to talk to.”

Spencer stroked Hotch’s hand with his thumb. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, knowing how difficulty such an admission had been for Hotch.

“I am as well. I’m sorry for this whole damn situation.”

Spencer looked at Hotch’s pain-lined face, he looked at Hotch’s stiff body, he looked at where they were still holding hands. Spencer didn’t stop to think for once; he just acted and pulled Hotch into a hug. It was such an un-Spencer liked move that he actually thought he shocked himself more than he had even surprised Hotch.

He wondered what the hell he was doing when he felt Hotch stiffen, but then suddenly Hotch relaxed and pulled Spencer tight. Spencer stroked his hand down Hotch’s back in what he hoped was a soothing motion. “I wish I could say it was okay,” he murmured, “but I know I can’t. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”

Hotch merely shuddered and held Spencer tighter. Spencer had often wondered at what point Hotch’s façade would crack. He had a bad feeling that their struggle with the Reaper was only the beginning and that Hotch would be pushed again and again beyond his breaking point.

Hotch pulled back slightly. His face was dry, but Spencer had expected nothing less. But his countenance was less tense.

“Thank you,” he said quietly.

Spencer gave a small smile.

They were sitting close to each other, their faces mere inches apart. Spencer could see Hotch’s gaze meet Spencer’s eyes and then flick down to his lips. Spencer’s breath caught as Hotch leaned in, their lips so close that Spencer could feel Hotch’s breath.

“Be sure,” Spencer whispered. “Please.”

Hotch nodded slightly and kissed him. Spencer gave a small whimpering sound as Hotch’s tongue touched his lips. The kiss deepened, and Spencer found himself wanting to pull Hotch tighter. He broke away instead.

Hotch looked at him, his eyes a little wary, a little wild, a little wanting.

“I thought you said you couldn’t do this,” Spencer said. He noticed that his breath was a bit unsteady, but then, so was Hotch’s.

Hotch gave what may have been the saddest smile Spencer had ever seen. “I don’t know if I know how to do this. Not now. Not anymore.”

Spencer licked his lips and he could see Hotch’s gaze watching his mouth. He swallowed. “We could try and figure it out,” Spencer said, his voice trembling with his own desire, his own fear. “If you want to, that is.”

Hotch’s hand was in his hair, almost as if by its own volition, and Spencer was drawn in again for a deeper, wetter kiss. This time he pulled Hotch tightly to him. He heard a moan but was uncertain which one of them had made it.

They broke apart and leaned in so that their foreheads were touching.

“We shouldn’t do this,” Hotch whispered.

“I know.”

“It’s inappropriate.”

“I know.”

“I’ve wanted you for so long.”

Spencer shuddered. “I didn’t know. But I’ve wanted you for years.”

Hotch gave a low groan and cupped Spencer’s face, pulling him in for another kiss. Spencer let his lips trail down Hotch’s jaw, his ear, his neck. Hotch took a shuddering breath as Spencer’s lips explored him, then pulled him back up for another deep, needy kiss.

Spencer didn’t know the last time he had been this aroused, this quickly, this desperate. He withdrew slightly and touched Hotch’s face. Hotch turned his head and kissed Spencer’s palm.

“We need to slow down,” Spencer said, his voice thick. “Or else, I swear, I’ll drag you off to my bedroom.”

Hotch looked at him steadily for a moment. “Show me.”

Spencer blinked. “Are you certain?”

“Yes.”

Spencer knew not to ask again and respected Hotch to make a decision. He nodded, stood, and took Hotch’s hand, using one of his crutches with the other hand. He led the way, giving an apologetic glance over the unmade bed and the general mess about the room. But Hotch grabbed him, almost roughly, and brought him in for a hard kiss.

Spencer moaned, but feared that something was slightly off, a bit wrong. Hotch’s actions were almost frantic, desperate. He pulled back and held Hotch by the shoulders for a moment, and then traced Hotch’s brow. “Shh…” he said. “We have time.”

“Do we ever really have time?”

“Hotch.”

“Aaron.”

“Aaron,” he whispered. “We don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do.” Spencer swallowed. “We can stop anytime you want. I just want to be with you, anyway you’ll allow.”

Aaron took Spencer’s hand and kissed his palm. “I’ve never done this with before. With a man. With anyone other than Haley, actually. I feel a bit lost here.” Hotch gave a sound that would almost have been like a laugh if it wasn’t so pained. “I didn’t even realize you were gay. Some sort of profiler I am.”

“Sexuality is fluid, Hotch. I’m far more interested in someone’s brain than what’s between their legs.”

“So you have experience with both men and women.”

Spencer shrugged. “I would hardly call myself ‘experienced’. I’ve been with a handful of people, yes, both men and women, but not many. I think the only real ‘relationship’ was with a man. Or at least I thought it was a relationship; I guess I found out differently when he just left without any explanation.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It was a long while ago.”

“Still.”

“So you’ve only been with your high school sweetheart?”

Aaron nodded. “I did make out with two guys – one in college, one in law school. Both times Haley and I were having problems. But I was pretty drunk at the time and didn’t get any further than kissing, really. I guess I thought that making out with guys wasn’t really cheating, in some way. It wasn’t ‘real’.”

“And now. Is this also not ‘real’?”

“This isn’t casual. I wouldn’t do that to you. This is as ‘real’ as anything can be for me right now.”

“You’re attracted to me?”

“I think, as you said, sexuality is fluid. I’m certainly attracted to you, Spencer Reid. I have been, for a long time I think, even if I didn’t admit it to anyone, let alone myself.”

Spencer felt a shudder of pleasure at that admission. “We’ll take our time, Aaron” Spencer said. “Whatever you want. Whatever you need.”

“I don’t know if I can be what you need, Spencer, and I can’t make any promises.”

“I understand. I’m willing to take that risk.” He leaned forward and kissed Aaron again.

They got into the bed and kissed, slow and gentle to start, but with a passion simmering between them. Spencer moaned as Aaron’s hands roamed under his shirt, pinching his nipples, stroking his chest. Aaron started kissing his neck, running his lips along Spencer’s adam’s apple. Spencer pulled Aaron’s shirt out from being tucked into his pants, putting his hand under Aaron’s shirt. They both froze when he felt a scar, low on Aaron’s belly.
Aaron pulled back, his breath erratic. He closed his eyes tightly. “I don’t know,” he said, his voice sounding forced. “I don’t know if I can let you see the ugliness—”

Spencer made a low cry and grasped Aaron’s face, pulling him in for a quick, passionate kiss. “You’re beautiful. No matter what he did, no matter what he tried to do, he could never take that from you. Because. You. Are. Beautiful. Aaron. You are the best man I know, and nothing he could do will ever change that.”

Aaron opened his eyes and pulled Spencer close, just holding him. “Thank you.”

“I swear, though, if he came through this door right now I’d kill him myself.”

“I wouldn’t want that for you, Spencer.”

“I would protect you if I could, Aaron.”

“Thank you. I would do the same.”

They started kissing again and Spencer slowly, gently, started unbuttoning Aaron’s shirt, keeping his mind occupied with the kisses. Aaron kissed him almost frantically. Spencer peeled Aaron’s dress shirt off, leaving the undershirt. He then removed his own shirt with Aaron watching his every movement.

“Let’s take this off you,” Spencer said, plucking at the undershirt. “If that’s okay.”

Aaron swallowed hard, but nodded and allowed Spencer to remove the shirt.

Aaron’s scars were red and ragged and nasty. Spencer wanted to hurt Foyet terribly for what he had done, but suppressed that feeling. Now, he knew, he had to focus on Aaron and letting him know how desirable he still was. Spencer realized that this was the first time since the attack that Aaron had been intimate with anyone.

Aaron was breathing heavily, but it seemed both a combination of desire and tension. Spencer moved until he was lying on top of him, relishing the feeling of their bare chests pressed together. He kissed Aaron’s brow, his nose, his lips. “Is this okay?” Spencer asked quietly. Aaron nodded. Spencer kissed him again.

He kissed Aaron’s neck and then moved downward, licking at his collarbone, sucking at a nipple. Then he traced the longest scar on Aaron’s abdomen, planting little kisses as he went, outlining it with his tongue. Aaron shuddered.

“Does that hurt?” Spencer asked, suddenly nervous.

“No,” Aaron said, his voice a bit strangled. “Not now. Not with you. Nothing hurts with you.”

Spencer went back and kissed each scar. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered, not even caring if Aaron heard him, but just wanting to acknowledge that simple fact. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Aaron gave a small whimper and put his hand in Spencer’s hair. Spencer continued to kiss his way downward, tracing each scar, kissing the planes of Aaron’s abdomen, until he reached the edge of Aaron’s trousers. He started playing with the belt buckle, fingering it but not opening it, and looked up into Aaron’s eyes. “Okay?” Spencer asked. He wanted to make sure that Aaron agreed with everything that was happening.

Aaron nodded. “Yes,” he breathed.

Spencer undid the belt and the pants and pushed them and Aaron’s boxers down. Spencer groaned when he saw Aaron’s erection, hot and hard and heavy. Spencer couldn’t help himself – he licked a stripe up Aaron’s cock and then began to suck on the tip. Aaron gave a strangled groan and tightened his grip in Spencer’s hair before forcing himself to release it.

Spencer pulled back a little and then began to remove Aaron’s pants completely. Aaron reached for Spencer’s pants, undid them, and pushed them down. Spencer removed his pants as well.

“Come here,” Aaron demanded and pulled Spencer up to him for a kiss. Spencer lay on top of Aaron, relishing in the feel of their naked bodies sliding together. They kissed, Hotch pulling him tight, Spencer shuddering as their erections aligned. Spencer started to gently thrust and Aaron groaned slightly, pulling back from the kiss. Aaron began to kiss Spencer’s neck and face, meeting Spencer’s thrusts and making low, needy noises.

Spencer pulled back, both of them panting. “I need to taste you again,” Spencer said and slid down Aaron’s body.

Aaron breathing quickened. “Spencer,” he said. “Spence. You don’t have to—” he gave a strangled cry as Spencer sucked in his cock again. “Oh god, yes.”

Spencer smiled around his mouthful but did not stop his movements. As he continued to suck, his hand stroked the base of Aaron’s cock, then moved to his balls. Aaron started to thrust into Spencer’s mouth. Spencer made a pleased sound and continued his suction. Spencer’s hand then stroked Aaron’s perineum and then he moved, just a finger, further back. Aaron froze and tensed so quickly that Spencer knew something was wrong. Spencer removed his hand and looked up to see Aaron’s face not lined with pleasure but looking like an utterly blank mask instead.

“Aaron?” Spencer breathed.

Spencer watched as Aaron forced himself to meet Spencer’s gaze. Aaron tried to smile, but was not able to. “Sorry,” he said instead.

Spencer moved up the bed and lay next to him. “I’m the one who’s sorry. I’ve obviously done something you don’t want. Please, tell me. I don’t want to make mistakes where you’re concerned.”

“It’s fine.”

“Aaron, it obviously isn’t.”

Aaron closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. “I wasn’t entirely honest with you. I’ve only ever been with one person—Haley—willingly. But unwillingly—” Aaron’s speech halted.

“Oh god,” Spencer whispered.

Aaron swallowed. “Foyet, he…” Aaron opened his eyes and looked at Spencer as if pleading that he didn’t have to go on.

Spencer stroked Aaron’s cheek and kissed his brow. Aaron gave a relieved sigh.

“I stand by what I said previously,” Spencer said. “I would kill Foyet myself if he was here.”

“Thank you,” Aaron whispered and pulled Spencer in for a tight hug.

Spencer held him for a moment and then started to kiss his chest, moving to suck on a nipple. Aaron pulled gently on his hair. “Spencer?” he said uncertainly.

Spencer looked up at him and met his gaze. “Let me do this for you. Let me show you how beautiful you are to me. I’ll be careful. Just let me bring you pleasure. Let me help you forget.”

Aaron nodded and closed his eyes. Spencer could tell he was still tense, but less so. Spencer made his way down Aaron’s body and took Aaron’s flagging cock back into his mouth. He moved slowly, but with purpose, sucking and kissing and licking Aaron back to a full erection. Spencer’s hands gently fondled Aaron’s balls, but he was careful to go no lower. Aaron eventually started to moan again, and Spencer took Aaron’s tip in his mouth, sucking firmly, and then bobbing his head, taking Aaron in as deeply as possible.

Aaron started thrusting, gently at first and then more firmly. His hands grasped the sheet, twisting it tightly. “Spencer, I can’t hold on… I’m going to…”

Spencer continued his actions, using firm suction, refusing to let go. Aaron came with a cry and Spencer moaned in joy, thrilled at Aaron’s reaction.

When Aaron was spent, Spencer released him. Aaron pulled him back up and kissed him thoroughly. Both of them groaned. Aaron reached for him, grasping Spencer’s cock for the first time. There was no hesitation on his part. Spencer gave a strangled whimper.

“Is this okay?” Aaron breathed, his rhythm never faltering.

“Yes. Oh yes.”

“Good.”

Aaron continued to stroke him firmly, and then started kissing and sucking on Spencer’s neck. Spencer started to writhe from the onslaught of pleasure.

“I want to watch you come,” Aaron breathed into his ear. Spencer shuddered and thrust into Aaron’s grip.

“Faster,” Spencer croaked.

Aaron complied.

Spencer stilled suddenly and clutched at Aaron’s arm. Then his release pulsed from him, spilling down Aaron’s hand. Aaron drew Spencer to him when he was done, holding him while Spencer’s breathing slowly returned to normal.

“Wow,” Spencer eventually said.

Aaron gave an amused snort and held Spencer closer.

“Thank you,” Aaron said quietly. “That was… enjoyable, which was not something I had expected after… everything.”

Spencer kissed him lightly. “You’re welcome. Any time. I mean that. Really. Any time at all.”

Aaron gave an actual chuckle. Spencer smiled.

Spencer rolled away and found a towel that he had left on the floor from that morning. He cleaned himself quickly and then gave it to Aaron who wiped his hands. Spencer then kissed him again.

“I guess I should get going,” Aaron said drowsily.

“You don’t have to. You could sleep here.”

Aaron thought about it for a moment and then pulled Spencer close to him. “Not this time. Maybe next.”

Spencer smiled a little to himself at the thought that Aaron was already considering a “next” time. He kissed the corner of Aaron’s mouth and then watched as he pulled away and got dressed. Spencer pulled on his boxers and a t-shirt, grabbed his crutches, and walked with Aaron to the door. He disarmed the alarm. Aaron kissed him gently, said, “See you tomorrow,” and left.

Spencer sighed and went to bed.

Part 2
Part 3

Date: 2010-03-21 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jujuberry136.livejournal.com
Spencer swallowed. “I did what I had to.”

*drink*

Lovely part one. I loved the first dinner scenes- the conversations about Gideon and his craptastic advice, Reid's sense of failure regarding Elle, Hotch's attempts to deal with Foyet- all rang perfectly in-character and addressed lingering issues within cannon.

Part one makes me really excited for parts two and three! Thanks so much for posting this whole btw :)

Date: 2010-03-21 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylyn.livejournal.com
Thank you. There are definitely issues that still linger in the canon, and I wanted to at least note them. This is still a fairly new fandom for me (and my first story in it of any real length -- which was not the plan when I started writing this). I'm really happy that you thought any of it was in-character. Woot!

I thought about posting it in parts, but I prefer to read long stories all at once, so I decided to post it whole. I have learned not to post WIP's, since it takes me forever to finish fics. (I still owe the final part in a Sherlock Holmes fic that I started over a year ago -- that has to be the next thing I write).

I'm really glad you liked this.

Date: 2010-03-22 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mombailey.livejournal.com
Girl! This was amazing! Bravo on to part dos...

Date: 2010-03-22 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylyn.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I hope you liked the rest.

Date: 2010-05-13 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rathanylakan.livejournal.com
Great character work. The way Spencer and Hotch start talking in this, when Spenser goes to his office, feels so natural and unforced. I look forward to reading the rest soon :)

Date: 2010-05-13 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylyn.livejournal.com
Thank you! Glad you liked the first bit and hope you like the rest. There are actually two more stories in this 'universe' too (at the moment, and plans for more... someday) that take place after this story concludes. I'm thrilled you liked the characterization; that makes me very happy indeed.

Date: 2010-06-28 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gail19.livejournal.com
You make it feel as if this is the way it is supposed to be.

Traumatic and yet positive.

Date: 2010-06-28 04:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylyn.livejournal.com
Thank you! I think that there is, ultimately, positive out of trauma. Although sometimes it's hard to get to that point.

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