hurry | spencer reid x reader
word count: 1885
pairing: spencer reid x fem!reader
summary: in which you disappeared and spencer is going insane trying to find you
warnings: mentions of kidnapping/death, mention of relapse/drugs, implied sexual assault, blood, angst, fluff
notes: based off this request from @illuxions-x i’m sorry it took so long!! i got really busy but i hope its to your satisfaction, i did choose to make his s/o a female so i hope you don’t mind. i also did rewrite this a couple times and im still not completely sure about it but i hope you like it!
She was gone. She had disappeared and there was no trace left behind, nothing was out of the ordinary when they searched her apartment. Everything was the same but also different. Spencer has been to her apartment so many times since he’s known her but walking around it— searching it, looking for something that could tell him where she is or what happened was different and he hated it.
He hated walking around her apartment like it was a victim’s place and they were trying to get a feel of her life and how she lived. They already knew her life and how she lived which put everybody on edge because they knew she kept secrets— secrets she wasn’t weren’t ready to share and they didn’t want to uncover them.
Spencer was the only member on the team that really knew her— knew the woman that she hid from the team. They respected her choices so having to invade her privacy and search through her stuff put them even more on edge.
“I’ll… I will search her room.” Spencer muttered before disappearing down the hall to where her room is.
He slowly opened the door, fear creeping up his back. The door opened and at first glance nothing seemed out of place, it was perfectly clean and the bed was made but something was off.
Spencer knew something was off but he didn’t know just what it was which drove him insane.
For weeks he went back to analyze the room and nothing was standing out even though he knew— he knew something was wrong in the room.
“Spence, you’re driving yourself insane by coming here all the time.” JJ had said to him once when he went back for the fourth time that week. “You searched every inch of the room,”
“No, no, no, something in here is wrong, JJ, I know it. I… I can feel it but I can’t find it.” He responded, his eyes scanning over the dresser for what was probably the hundredth time. His eyes always felt drawn to the dresser but nothing was there that showed foul play or any hints of it.
“No! I know something is wrong! She wouldn’t just— she wouldn’t just disappear like this.” He was panicking at this point.
It had been weeks since anyone heard from her and his mind kept going to the worst-case scenario. He needed to know what happened and he wouldn’t stop until he found out.
He was going insane not knowing where his best friend was. He never felt so useless then he did during this case— he barely eats, barely sleeps. If he does sleep its only for a few minutes maybe once a day and only a single bite of something before he dove right back into searching.
He wished he could take some edge off and forget just for a while but he knew that he couldn’t— he shouldn’t.
Things would feel so much better… for a while at least. He had thought but quickly dismissed it knowing how long it took him just to get clean and how much work she had put in to help him get clean.
He felt guilty for even thinking those thoughts.
“Reid, come on.” Derek had tried a few days later as he stood at the round table with pictures of the apartment laid out in front of him. “You need a break, kid.” The tall genius only shook his head, not breaking his gaze from the photo of the dresser. He knew something was off in that area but it was so minuscule that he couldn’t see it.
“Something- something is wrong in this area, Morgan, there’s something… I know there is.” He muttered, picking up the photo and handing it to Derek. “There’s something there that’s wrong but I can’t figure it out and if I can’t figure it out then- then she might be dead by the time we find her.” He choked on his words terrified that he- they are out of time to find her.
“We’ll find her but we can’t do that if you’re driving yourself insane.” Derek said, staring at the photo in hand. “There’s nothing wrong here.”
“There is. I have been to her place so many times, I have seen how everything is organized. She’s very particular about where things go and something is there that shouldn’t be but I can’t… I can’t see it. I need- I need to go back to the apartment and I need you or somebody else to help me look because I know something is off.”
Derek handed the photo back to the rambling genius and walked to the door of the conference room and yelled, “JJ, come here for a second!”
It took a lot of convincing for JJ to step into the apartment again. She didn’t know if she could stomach going back there knowing that they searched everything nook and cranny of that place. “Spence, this is the last time we’re looking here.” She told him when she finally agreed.
He had only nodded in reply to her words.
“Okay, so think, kid, think about what was here or where it was before Y/N disappeared.”
Spencer scanned over the dresser a few times, recalling how it’s normally organized. He recalled how she had told him that she liked things in a specific way and only ever changed it when she redid her bedroom but she hadn’t done that in months.
“It’s not over here.” He spoke after minutes of silence and quickly walked over to the bedside table. “Well, I mean it is but it’s not. I- I don’t know how I didn’t realize this before. Y/N is very meticulous on where things go and she used to tell me how if something was wrong, she would move the picture frame just a little bit over so it faces this table. It’s such a tiny adjustment that anyone who doesn’t know her or has never been here won’t notice.” He crouched down and ran his fingers on the underside of the table looking for a bump on the wood. The room fell silent— their hearts beating rapidly in their chests. “Got it.”
“Got what, kid? What is going on?”
“It’s a bug. She has them all over the apartment, hidden in places she knows our guys are too lazy to check.” He moved to start clearing off the table so they could lift it when his phone began to ring. “Hello?”
“Spence?” Her voice came through the other side of the line and the genius felt his heart stop for a single moment. “Are you there?”
“I… I’m here. Where are you?”
“I don’t… I don’t know. I’m in a basement but I managed to steal his phone when he… when he was— anyway that… it doesn’t matter. I wanna come home, Spence, but I- fuck, I can’t find a way.” He could tell she was choking back tears by how hoarse her voice was getting.
It took a few moments for most of her words to set in and he felt his stomach drop. He felt sick at hearing the implication of something happening. He looked over at Derek and JJ— JJ already holding her phone to her ear talking to somebody, most likely Garcia, on the other end.
“Did… did he—?” He couldn’t finish as bile had risen in his throat just thinking about it.
“Spence, this- please, this isn’t the time.”
“We got her.” JJ said with urgency and all three agents rushed to get out of the apartment. “Thanks, Garica. Let the rest of the team know and that we’re heading there.”
“We’re coming to you, baby.”
“Hurry, please, before he comes back.” She whimpered.
Spencer watched from afar as they led the man who took you into the car, hands cuffed tightly behind his back, his face beaten and bruised probably from Hotch when the man resisted arrest. Spencer wished he was the one who did that but Hotch wouldn’t let him anywhere near the house. He understood why but that didn’t help because he needed to be there—he needed to be with her.
“Reid, we need you over here!” He heard a voice call out from near the house.
He turned his head and searched for the voice when he saw Emily and JJ coming out of the house with his best friend— the only girl he’s ever really loved, on a gurney, almost as badly beaten bruised as the man Hotch beat. His blood boiled at the sight.
“Y/N, hey, hey.” He whispered when he reached the gurney. He took hold of her hand and leaned down pressing a long, soft kiss on her forehead.
“You… you found me.” She whimpered, her voice hoarse and laced with joy upon seeing him. They lifted her into the back of the ambulance and the lanky genius climbed in not long after, retaking her hand in his. “I knew you… you would.”
She was exhausted and it showed the more she tried to speak so Spencer told her to close her eyes and rest and that he would be there when she woke up. She was hesitant about closing her eyes, scared that when she opened them she would be back in that basement.
“I promise I’ll be right by your side, okay? I’m not going anywhere.” He assured her multiple times until she finally gave in and let sleep consume her.
True to his word, when she woke up he was sitting in one of those uncomfortable hospital chairs, his hand gripping hers as he slept. She squeezed his hand which prompted him to wake with a jolt and look around confused for a moment before his eyes landed on her.
He smiled and released a sigh of relief.
“H-he-“ She tried to speak but her dry throat prevented that. Knowing what she needed, he stood up from the chair and reached for the cup of water that was placed on the table at the end of the bed.
“Drink.” He placed the straw in front of her lips, and waited as she opened her mouth and put her chapped lips around the straw to bring the water in her mouth. He saw her face relax the more she drank and he leaned forward placing a delicate kiss on her head.
Sitting back down he mumbled, “your welcome.”
“Did… did you get him?”
“We got him, baby.”
It was silent for a few moments, the two of them just staring at each other, relishing in each other’s presence. Wordlessly she scooted over in the bed, patted the open spot and said quietly, “come here.”
Spencer carefully climbed into the bed and let her curl into his side, her head resting on his chest and he was sure that she could hear his heart speed up.
“Don’t go anywhere.” She murmured softly, exhaustion laced in her tone.
After a few minutes of silence, he heard her soft snores and felt her hand grip his shirt tightly— even in her sleep she was scared and he felt his heart break.
“I love you and I’m never gonna leave you.” He said and held her closer.
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so why can’t you see (you belong with... each other?)
@whoreforthebauteam I don’t know if you want to be tagged in every chapter, but it was your present, so I am, I hope that’s okay!!
I take back what I said last time, this is my favourite scenario.
This is stupid, wildly inaccurate, probably an insult to every dance teacher that has ever walked the planet and also... just really stupid. But I had fun writing it, it’s almost 11:30pm, I’m tired and yeah.
We’re going with it. Ignore any errors and lack of continuity, I wrote most of this whilst fasting and literally just wanted to get it done so I can work on mr scratch
Erm, updates will probably be even worse after this because I have exams coming up and the next thing is completely... I don’t have any ideas, but yeah- just a heads up
previously: part one , part two , part three
read on ao3!
Chapter Four: Attempt Three- Penelope Garcia
Penelope Garcia loved love, in every single one of its forms. Her unfailing belief in love and its goodness was one of the things that defined who she was. It let her look at screens filled with horrors and was one of the biggest reasons for her to smile.
She loved the romantic love she had for Marissa. She loved the way Derek looked at Spencer when he thought nobody was watching him. She loved the platonic love JJ had for Hotch, and the way she would slip him chocolates when he seemed more pale than usual. She loved the love of a father Aaron had for Spencer, even though neither had experienced it properly.
She loved the ways in which people found love, and how they clung to it. She loved the way it made people smile and the things they were willing to do for it.
Which was why breaking up with Kevin had been the best decision about love she ever made. Because Kevin did not love her in the way that she deserved. And when she walked away from him one last time, she had felt relieved. Not sad, or angry. Relieved.
JJ and Emily had been ecstatic when she'd turned up at their apartment with a bottle of wine. They hadn't liked Kevin much, they thought he was a bit dodgy and not worth her time, but because she had seemed happy and it was easy to keep an eye on him to make sure he wasn't being a creep, they'd refrained from saying anything too obvious.
That same evening, she had phoned Derek and Spencer, who also then dropped their plans and they ended up having an impromptu party on a work night because she was finally free of Kevin and his existence.
When they turned up the next day, slightly hungover, Hotch had seemed like a disapproving parent- they'd exited the elevator with groans and complaints, Penelope massaging her forehead- and immediately gone silent when they realised he was standing there, holding a file, scowl looking slightly harsher than usual.
"It's lovely of you to join us. In the future, if you're going to be running three hours late, please inform either me or Rossi. Hell, tell Strauss. We've had people trying to track you down for the past hour and a half. Poor Anderson looked like he was going to resign from the FBI, and his face is never going to be the same after the frown lines you gave him," he had said, voice completely even.
"Hotch we're really sorry, we genuinely did not mean to cause such a big problem-" JJ had started, the first to recover.
He gave them one of his small, secretive smiles that seemed to light up his entire face and soften his eyes. "I'm joking. Everyone's fine. But seriously, please do tell us, we were beginning to worry. Is everyone okay though? It's not like you five to all be late on the same day."
Spencer looked between Penelope and Emily, who were smirking at each other, whilst JJ and Derek sighed but glared at the two mischief causers, warning them to not give away too much.
"I broke up with Kevin," Penelope blurted out.
Hotch's smile faded, and a look of concern settled over his features. "Oh, Penelope. Are you okay? Do you need some time off? You have lots of leave, I can clear it now if you'd like me to, there's no problem."
She started laughing. "Sir, we were having a party. I was never fully happy with him and breaking up with him was like- it was like coming into the office after a very annoying person was stuck with me during a case and finding that my handsome Unit Chief has sent me flowers."
Hotch seemed secretly proud that Penelope had broken up with Kevin because he had also never been a big fan of him, a fact that he had never really kept secret. When she mentioned the flowers he had sent her, many years ago, his jaw dropped.
"I wanted to let you think I didn't know. Now, shall we go?"
"Of course. Dave will probably want to hear about your reactions to my speech." When he saw how shocked they all looked, he continued. "It wasn't my idea!"
And Kevin had been completely forgotten by all of them.
Three months later, Penelope had met Marissa. As cliche as it was, they met a coffee shop. Their orders had been mixed up- she'd ended up with a flat white instead of the new toffee flavoured latte she had wanted to try- and neither had realised until it was too late.
When she'd gone back the next day, the barista had handed her a coffee without her even placing an order. She'd tried to tell them that she hadn't asked for it, but they had simply smiled at her, then pointed at Marissa, who had waved her over. Said that she wasn't a big fan of toffee, but she thought the pretty woman's boldness was something she wanted to be too, and if Penelope was willing to go on a walk with her.
One thing led to another, and a month later, they were officially dating. Penelope had never been happier in a relationship. Marissa's sarcasm and dry sense of humour balanced out her brightness and inappropriate jokes, but it wasn't just that made them compatible. It was everything else too. They just fit. And when Penelope stared into her eyes, still so mesmerised by them almost seven months later, she could see a future that would've never been able to have with Kevin.
Marissa was a dance teacher. Primarily contemporary and ballet, but she was thinking about branching into ballroom dancing, and it was exactly that fact that sparked Penelope's idea. Her original idea had involved flash mobs and individual confessions of love, but she also wanted to respect that Hotch enjoyed his privacy. And that he didn't like a fuss to be made of him, ever, even when it really was needed.
She didn't tell the others that she was planning anything, otherwise they would've started asking and it was such a good idea that she just wouldn't have been able to keep the knowledge to herself. It wasn't anything bad, she just didn't want to tell them and have it fall through because Marissa wasn't able or comfortable with doing it.
It was date night when her plan began. She had taken Marissa ice-skating, which had been an incredible experience and something that always made her feel like she was flying. Apparently some of the other people had taken some photos of them, holding each other and laughing at their own antics, so she was waiting for them to download. Marissa was laughing at something a child was doing, sipping her hot chocolate as she tried to warm herself up.
And Penelope knew, it was then or never.
"Sweetness, remember when you said you wanted to start teaching ballroom?" she asked suddenly.
Marissa tucked her hair behind her ear. "Yeah, but I still think it might be risky, because I've never been taught how to teach it and I don't want to mess it up."
Penelope took her hands and Marissa smiled. In some way, it reminded her of the way Hotch smiled- small and subtle, but absolutely everything to witness.
"If you want to do it, then you should. And I've seen you teach before, there's no way you could mess this up. But, and this is completely up to you, I have an idea. It could benefit both of us."
“Both of us? What is this plan?”
“You need to practice on someone to gain some confidence. So practice on my team. They’ll be delighted to help you, and then we can all spend more time together. They really like you. Much more than anyone else I’ve introduced them to. They’ll say yes.”
“Would they? It would be amazing if they did.”
“Of course they will.”
“Penelope, I love you so much. Thank you for doing this. I’m confused though. What do you get out of this?”
“The opportunity to go down in history as the best Cupid the world has ever seen.”
"What on earth- actually don't tell me now, I'll end up spilling your plan to the people involved," Marissa said, snuggling closer. Penelope pressed a kiss to her hair, smiling at the thought of spending more time with her girlfriend and winning the bet.
The next day, she went and sat with everyone in the bullpen, balancing her laptop on her knees as she worked. The rest of the team were working on individual consults, but Derek and JJ had decided to spend some time with their partners instead of just sitting in their offices. Rossi was doing his work from his office, and Hotch was in a meeting with Strauss and the Director. He hadn't seemed happy about it.
"Guys, what would you do if I said I can get Hotch and Rossi together but I need you to come to Marissa's practice run of a ballroom dancing lesson in order for it to work?" she asked, not even looking up from her screen.
"Start from the beginning," JJ said.
"Nope, because that will ruin my plan. Would you?"
“I mean, if Spencer didn’t mind, I would go. Any excuse to dance with the prettiest boy I know,” Derek said, a small and loving smile plastered across his face.
Spencer looked down slightly, cheeks tinged with a blush. “If it’ll help the two of them be happy, then fine, yes. But only if you promise to not make any comments if I’m not good at it.”
“Spencer, of course we won’t judge, dancing can be quite hard. And it’s not going to be a super serious session, it’s a trial run for Marissa and my attempt at getting them together, so it’s not the end of the world. JJ? Emily?”
“If Will can take Henry for the day, then sure, otherwise I don’t think I’ll be able to make it, is that okay?” JJ said, already pulling her phone out to see whether or not he was available. He responded moments later, saying it would be fine, and Penelope smiled.
“Sure. I’m excited to see whether your plan can top mine,” Emily said.
Penelope grinned. “Great! I’ll see you all at ten on Saturday then. Now I just need to get the two of them to agree…”
As she headed up to Rossi’s office, the four remaining team members all gave each other identical looks of fear. They knew that, realistically, Penelope’s plan couldn’t be that wild or dangerous, but they also knew how fiercely determined she could be when there was something she wanted to achieve. They also knew how adamant she was that everybody would find love, they just needed to be ready and willing. So they really had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
They assured themselves they would be fine, because they weren’t the ones being set up. And then they immediately felt extreme amounts of relief at the fact that Penelope had never once turned her match-making skills to them.
Rossi was working on the paperwork he’d stolen from Hotch’s office when Penelope knocked, popping her head around the door. The open blinds meant the team were able to watch through the window, and they did. They weren’t profiling, they were just observing for a bit of fun and to try and see whether or not they’d be able to get any more information from their exchange.
“Sir, what are your opinions on ballroom dancing?” she asked, not even bothering with hello.
“It’s okay. I don’t have particularly strong opinions on it either way. Why?” Rossi responded.
“Because Marissa would like to find out whether or not she would be able to teach ballroom dancing, so I have offered us up as guinea pigs for her to test on but she obviously can’t just do it with two couples, so I was wondering whether you’d be willing to come or if I needed to ask Anderson,” she said, tone not indicating any sort of ulterior motive whatsoever.
“If she’s teaching, you would need to be her partner so she could demonstrate. Who exactly is my partner?”
“Hotch of course. Sir, he could never say no to you. He loves you too much- us. He loves us too much. To say no. Or to deny us something small like this,” she said, realising as she spoke that it was too much, too soon.
Rossi went to deny that Hotch loved him- in any way, not just the one he’d found himself thinking about as he’d washed the singular plate and singular wine glass the previous night- but found that he couldn’t. Because Penelope was right. In some way, Hotch loved every single member of the team, in a way that Max Ryan and Jason Gideon would never have been brave enough to do.
It filled him with pride, a little sadness, and something close to admiration that he was too much of a coward to properly define. And then he realised that he had gone too long without speaking, because Penelope was beginning to shift uncomfortably.
“Sir? Are you okay? You kinda… disappeared for a moment there,” she said.
“I’m okay, just thinking. Of course I’ll tag along to the dance lesson, if only to give Morgan a few funnier nightmares. When is it?”
Penelope grinned, so wide and so beautifully, it almost hurt. He pushed the thought from his head. She was never going to lose her faith in the beauty of people. Not whilst she was able to find the beauty in everything, and not whilst she smiled without any shame or hesitance.
“Saturday and ten, unless we get a case, and if we do, we’ll sort it out after. Does that work for you?”
Even if hadn’t, he would’ve completely rearranged his career to make it. He didn’t just want to give Derek some funny nightmares. He also wanted to spend time with the team, and watch Hotch morph into Aaron as he smiled unabashedly and was dressed in casual clothes- he needed to get a grip.
“Of course it does. Thank you for inviting me,” he said, hoping that would end the conversation.
It did. When Garcia closed the door behind her, he groaned, then buried himself in the paperwork. Nothing would distract him more than trying to come up with a real justification for the BAU technology budget (Aaron’s preliminary notes just said: they don’t have to deal with a pouting Penelope.)
She just gave a thumbs up to the team, then went back into the bullpen. As she set about making her own tea, she realised that Hotch had returned from his meeting. It hurt a bit, to see him look so exhausted and disheartened. He always was, when he returned from those meetings with the Director, even with Strauss acting as a buffer between the two of them. So she made him one of her special coffees- with the added caramel and hazelnut milk- before heading up to his office, not bothering to knock because he had spent so long trying to convince them all it was fine to not knock that she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“Oh hello Garcia. Did you need something?” he asked.
She set the coffee down and took the seat opposite. “Not in the conventional way.”
He smiled at the drink, taking a single sip, and some of the light returned to his eyes. “Oh? What do you mean?”
“Well you know Marissa right?”
“Of course I do, she’s lovely. Penelope, I really don’t think I’m the best person to come to if you need advice. Surely Derek or JJ would be better?”
“I don’t need advice silly,” she said with a smile, because her boss was just so good to all of them. “I need you to come to the dance studio on Saturday at ten because she wants to start teaching ballroom dancing and I’ve offered us up as test subjects.”
He blinked, and she realised how rude her demand had sounded.
“Only if you and Jack didn’t have plans and if you’re willing and actually able to of course,” she added hastily.
“Are you sure you want me there? I’m not… the best dancer, and I don’t want Marissa to be discouraged just because I have two left feet,” he said, looking slightly hesitant, but like he would say yes with a bit of encouragement.
“Sir, the worst of a dancer you are, the better. But I’ve saw you with Haley. You could give Derek a run for his money. There’s no pressure. I just wanted to ask because Derek, Spencer, Emily and JJ are acting as the other two couples. Rossi said he would come, but if you can’t make it-”
“Dave agreed?” Aaron cut in, meeting her eyes properly for the first time since they started talking. There was something behind the shock and slight glee that made her feel warm inside. She had been right- they both just needed a push.
“Yeah, he said the timing works for him. If it doesn’t for you-”
“No, it’s perfect. Jack doesn’t need to spend every waking moment with me, and he’s actually got a soccer camp that weekend, so I would’ve been in the apartment alone anyways. Of course I’ll come. It’s for you and Marissa after all,” he said, giving her the same smile usually reserved for Jack.
“Oh sir, thank you, thank you, thank you! Marissa is going to be so excited when I tell her! I promise you, even if it’s a disaster, you’ll have fun, and she will appreciate it more than you could ever imagine!”
“Penelope, it’s okay,” Hotch said with a slight laugh. “I’m not doing anything that out there.”
“I know that. But you’re just a good boss. You always have been,” she said, getting up and going to the door.
Hotch blushed and looked down. “Penelope…”
“Yes?” she asked, turning back.
“What does- what should I wear?”
She had to bite back a laugh, because there was her fierce Unit Chief, who had barely blinked when a gun was fired just to the left of his good ear, staring at her like she carried all the answers, with flushed cheeks, asking what he should wear to a dance lesson where the ulterior motive was to get him with his best friend. Not that he knew about that.
“Anything that’s comfortable,” she said, then left.
Marissa was indeed very happy when she found out, and when Penelope watched her face break into a grin as she processed the knowledge, she realised that happiness didn’t come from a relationship, but sharing it was amazing.
By some miracle, no out of town cases crossed their desks, which meant Saturday morning saw them all at the dance studio, dressed in t-shirts and sweatpants, stretching so they didn’t pull a muscle.
Hotch had paled slightly as Marissa explained that one.
“Okay, so what I’m going to have you do is pair up, and face each other. First I’ll describe how you’re meant to position your arms, then you’ll try and do it, and I’ll correct you if you’re wrong. Then I’ll just need you to follow my lead- I’ll demonstrate with Penelope. We’ll go from there. Is that good with everyone?” she said, after everyone had stretched for an adequate amount of time.
“Of course,” Derek said. Spencer nodded, looking slightly nervous, but Derek noticed and immediately placed a hand on his back to try and soothe him. It worked. JJ and Emily also nodded. Rossi grinned, and Hotch seemed hesitant, but stood up nonetheless.
“Great, so if you could all just turn and face your partners,” Marissa said, grinning when she took Penelope’s hands to press a kiss to them.
Derek and Spencer snickered at each other, which set off JJ and Emily, but Dave wouldn’t quite meet Aaron’s eyes. He was too afraid of meeting his eyes. Those beautiful and caring brown eyes that always sparkled with love whenever he saw his son, or his former sister-in-law that had really been his sister ever since Haley first confessed to her about her crush on him, all those years ago.
“Dave, are you okay to lead?” Marissa asked, pulling him from his thoughts.
“Hmm? Oh yeah, sure. Aaron is that okay?” he asked.
Aaron nodded, cheeks slightly flushed. “Course it is.”
“Great, so just place your arms… like this,” Marissa said, moving him slightly. It meant he was close enough to hear Aaron’s heartbeat. It was slightly erratic, and he frowned, wondering why. It wasn’t like him to be nervous about something like this.
“Okay, so ballroom dancing obviously covers a wide range of dance styles, so to keep things simple, we’re just going to a waltz. So hands where I’ve told you to put them- Spencer and Derek I am looking at you, and follow my instructions as best you can. We’ll go from there.”
Spencer laughed, whilst Derek pretended to be scandalised. Emily gagged, and Aaron couldn’t contain his laugh at their antics. It was the most beautiful thing Dave had ever heard, so fearless and carefree that it physically hurt him, and he was well and truly screwed. To try and move past the feeling in his stomach that he most certainly was not going to name, he placed his hands exactly where Marissa had told him, noting that Aaron’s breath seemed to catch in his throat. He told himself to not to read into it.
Which was funny, because Aaron was telling himself that he needed to get his heartbeat under control. That there was no deeper reason behind Dave’s refusal to meet his eyes. There was a completely reasonable explanation for the goosebumps that seemed to be spreading under his shirt, and there was no way he had been holding his breath without realising, only releasing it when Dave ran his hands down his arms.
“Okay, so person that’s leading, step this way,” Marissa instructed.
Dave did exactly as she said with no hesitation. Aaron flushed as the realisation that they were about to be dancing together, with all of their subordinates there to witness any failures. It was strange, but he felt like both Marissa and Penelope were watching him more intently than the others.
Dave had said everything would be fine, that there was nothing going on, but he couldn’t help the uneasy feeling forming in his stomach. The same feeling he instinctively got every time Jack appeared with glitter in his hands. He wondered when he started seeing the members of his team as children.
He also wondered how soon he’d be able to retire, now that more and more parallels between the qualified FBI agents who were trusted to carry weapons and talk down killers and his seven-year-old son were becoming clear.
“Where’s your mind gone?” Rossi asked, pulling him back into the moment.
Hotch stumbled slightly, but Dave’s arms were solid and firm around him, keeping him upright and leading him around their little area as though it was the most natural thing in the world to him.
“Nowhere interesting,” he said. Dave was always so smart, and everything he said had a purpose. If he knew Aaron was thinking about the younger members of the team as children, he’d never hear the end of it.
Dave stepped back, pulling Aaron flush against him as Marissa demonstrated exactly what they were meant to be doing. Aaron turned so Dave wouldn’t see the colour rise to his cheeks. It was beautiful to see the other members of his team, just having fun and enjoying themselves like there was nothing wrong in the world.
“You don’t give yourself enough credit. Even if nobody else does, I find that brain of yours fascinating, no matter what it is you’re coming out with.”
“I was just thinking about the team. And how far they’ve come. And how I have no idea when I became their pseudo-parent, but that it doesn’t fill me with fear anymore,” he confessed.
“You’ve come so far too. And you’ve always been like family to them,” Dave said. Family. Nothing more. Certainly not anything romantic.
Hotch couldn’t help but laugh. “If Max heard you say we were like a family-”
“He’d murder me and they’d never catch him. I know.”
“Guys you’ve done really well, and this has really helped me, so I think we’re good to call it a day now. We’ll just do some cool-down stretches and then you can all go back to normal and pretend this never happened. Unless you want to go for lunch. That’s also an option,” Marissa said with a slight laugh.
“Lunch would be amazing, I’m starving,” JJ said.
Derek shrugged. “We don’t have any plans, do we, pretty boy?”
Spencer shook his head. “Also Marissa said she would try and show me that new magic trick, and lunch would be the perfect time to try and understand how it works.”
“Aaron?” Marissa asked.
From behind her, Emily and Derek cringed. It was stupid, but hearing Hotch be referred to as Aaron always felt weird. It didn’t matter whether it was Jessica, Erin, Marissa or Dave doing it, there was just something about their boss being known as anything but his nickname that felt like calling a parent their first name.
“If I won’t be intruding,” he said.
“Never!” Penelope exclaimed, grinning even wider when she realised that Dave’s hands were still on Hotch’s waist. She tapped Marissa on the shoulder, subtly gesturing to the sight. Marissa had very quickly realised what was going on, so a lot of what she had done was to try and aid the attempt.
“But before we do, Dave, do you mind if I use you and Aaron to demonstrate one last thing? It won’t take long, I just want to do it before we go,” she said.
Derek frowned, and Penelope let out a quiet gasp when she realised that Marissa didn’t really want to demonstrate something, she wanted to push them even closer than the morning already had.
She was going to win the bet!
“Oh sure. Aaron, you mind being my partner one last time?” Dave teased.
“Never,” Aaron said, voice strangely vulnerable. Something flashed across Dave’s face, before he smirked and adjusted the way his hands were positioned.
Marissa led them through a different type of waltz. Aaron stumbled and missed the steps a few times, but Dave carried him through flawlessly, and was so confident as he glided around the small studio, Aaron following him without a shadow of doubt because of the trust between them, that it was almost impossible to pick up on.
“And Aaron, twirl into his arms!” Marissa shouted, as the music reached a climax and Dave let go of his one of his hands, forcing him to spin outwards. Her plan was for them to meet the others eyes, and see the love that everyone else had apparently picked up on, and do something about it.
What happened was slightly different.
Aaron overbalanced as he turned into Dave’s arms, which wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Unfortunately for everyone, at some point during the final dance, his laces had come undone. So not only did he overbalance, he stepped on the aforementioned undone lace. Which also would have been fine, if it had just been that, and that alone. But because it was combined with the overbalancing, he did not manage to meet Dave’s eyes and see something more than friendship reflected in them.
He did however, manage to make an absolute fool of himself as he fell to the ground, reflexes too slow to stop himself from hitting it face-first. The noise of pain he let out was enough to make Emily stop laughing at his misfortune.
Dave immediately crouched down next to him, gently turning him and shifting him into a sitting up position so they could check that he didn’t have a concussion or any other injuries.
“My face really hurts,” Aaron whined after blinking a few times, feeling more oriented.
“I mean you did hit the floor pretty hard,” Emily teased. When Penelope hit her arm, she pretended to look completely innocent.
“Aaron, I’m so sorry-” Marissa started.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, don’t feel guilty. Besides, that was the most fun I’ve had without Jack in a while. I would definitely do it again, just with my laces actually tied properly. Dave, why are you looking at me like that?” he rambled.
“I think you’ve broken your nose,” Dave said, sounding nonchalant but panicking because he had no idea what he was meant to do in this situation.
“Oh,” was all Aaron said.
Morgan leapt into action the moment he processed the words. “Dave, get him to the hospital. They can make sure that nothing else is wrong and fix his face properly, without causing more damage. And you’re his proxy. Because it’s just a minor thing, the rest of us don’t need to be there, but we will all go for lunch so that we’re together if there’s any news. Okay?”
Everyone nodded, quickly gathering their things and departing. Before she left, Garcia gave her boss a kiss on the forehead, feeling terrible that things had gone downhill, but also grateful that he wasn’t mad, had ended up having fun, and that Marissa’s confidence didn’t seem too shaken.
Derek shook his head as he watched the women argue over something, whilst Marissa showed Spencer the magic trick she had promised him. How the bet had gone from the joke it had started as to this was beyond him, but he wasn’t blind. He had seen them dancing. They loved each other. It was just a matter of making them realise that it was romantic, not platonic.
An idea was forming, but until they got confirmation that Hotch- not Aaron because that was weird, no matter what Marissa said- was fine, he would put any and all thoughts about it to one side. He was a bit annoyed at himself for being such a romantic though. It meant he needed to actually come up with a decent plan.
Hotch did end up being fun. The doctors were- in Morgan’s words- fix his face without causing more damage. And whilst he passed their tests without any issues, they did decide to keep him in overnight, just to make sure he didn’t have any sort of delayed confusion or injuries.
Dave stayed until visiting hours ended. A fact that was not lost on the rest of the team.
Before he left, Aaron called out his name, and he turned.
“Thank you for staying,” Aaron whispered.
“It wasn’t difficult to. It’s never been difficult with you,” he replied, wishing he could put it more eloquently, but he had no idea how to.
Aaron just smiled, wishing he could say something intelligent too, but he was tired and his head was killing him. “Have a nice evening Dave,” he settled on in the end. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
“Sweet dreams Aaron,” Dave said. It didn’t sound sarcastic, so Aaron smiled.
He dreamt of dances and double beds and drenched shirts, but throughout all of it, Dave seemed to be watching over him like a guardian angel, so the sleep he had was peaceful. Strange, but peaceful.
He would cling to that feeling of peace when he entered the office on Monday, because something was definitely going on.
Only it seemed like Derek was plotting. Aaron wasn’t sure how he felt about that. All Derek knew was that soon, the other members of the BAU would be buying him coffee and deeming him the best matchmaker of all time.
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