#aaron hotchner fic
Sean becoming an unsub to taunt Hotch and Hotch doesn't have the strength to arrest him so Morgan does for him but he watches as Sean gets cuffed and taken away.
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Part 16 of my Floriography series.
Iris - Wisdom
Aaron needs advice and guidance from Garcia. He might, might, have feelings for a certain team member but he had absolutely no idea what to do about it.
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Hotch with fem!reader and Jack! A day of just family 😍 Fluffy and lovey, please? ☺️
i love fluffy time with the Hotchner boys 🥺 i hope this is what you were looking for!! 💗 you can find it here
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Summary: On medical leave from an injury on the job, the reader spends time with her boyfriend's son when they find an abandoned dog at the park. The reader has to figure out a way to tell Aaron that she and Jack adopted a dog while he was on a case.
Pairing: Aaron Hotchner x (female) Reader!
Warning: Fully SFW, just some fun fluff!!
Includes: Fluff, love, flirting, soft boy Hotch, Jack being the sweetest kid around, a dog named Jellybean!
Word Count: 2.2k
A/N: This is posted on my ao3 (ssahotchswife)! Happy Soft Hotch Saturday, y’all! This was the fic I was trying to get up on Wednesday, but you get it today instead! I hope you like it!! AO3 Link
Being on medical leave was never dull for a day in the Hotchner household. Your boyfriend and his son had been absolute saints to you ever since you took a stray bullet in the side and ended up benched for at least eight weeks, taking you into their house and making you their patient. Aaron had tried to insist that you needed at least three months, but you were already going stir crazy only a couple of days in and he knew you needed to be back at work, even if you weren’t returned to full-active-duty right away. Still, being on leave meant that you got to hang out with Jack during the day and that you were here for him when Aaron went on a case with the team, giving Jessica a much-deserved vacation.
You had been nervous at first, you’d never spent much time alone with Jack and you weren’t all that comfortable with children, but even from the very first day that it was just the two of you, you knew that this kid was special. He was smart, and kind, and funny, and you loved hanging out with him.
“I’m serious, Aaron,” You said as you were getting ready for bed. “He told me I was his best friend today.”
“Really,” Aaron said, strolling out of the bathroom without a shirt on and his toothbrush dangling from his lips. “His best friend?” The smile on his face was nothing but pride as he looked at you.
“BFFs,” You grinned. “I’m so glad, I was worried he would – I don’t know, that he wasn’t going to like me, and then we’d be stuck together for eight weeks.”
“How could he not like you?” Aaron asked, giving you a minty kiss. When you shrugged, slipping into bed under the covers, Aaron frowned and climbed in after you. “Sweetheart, Jack has talked of nothing but you since I first had him meet you. When I was helping him get ready for bed tonight all he wanted to talk about was all the fun things you two have done all day.”
“Well, we did have a pretty fun day,” You smiled at him. “I missed you today.”
“I missed you too,” Aaron murmured, leaning in to kiss you deeply. “The office was empty without you at your desk.”
“It won’t be too much longer,” You whispered, running a finger down his nose.
“You’re not stepping foot in that office until I’m sure you’re one hundred percent healed,” Aaron said. “How did you feel today?”
“Fine,” You said. “Good.”
“Promise,” You said. “We didn’t do anything strenuous; Jack even held the laundry basket for me today because he didn’t want me to strain myself.”
“My boy’s a gentleman,” Aaron grinned.
“Mm, like father like son.”
“Go to bed,” He laughed. “C’mere.” Aaron pulled you into his arms and held you tightly in his grasp. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Aaron,” You said, kissing his cheek. “Get some sleep.”
Like most nights these days, you fell asleep in Aaron’s arms. He kept you closer than usual since you’d been shot, the fear in his eyes as you’d lain bleeding on the ground was an image you weren’t likely to soon forget. This man you loved so much, the one that you squeezed just a little bit tighter in your sleep to reassure him and yourself that you were there.
The next couple of weeks passed relatively quickly, with you spending most of your time with Jack. Aaron had only been called on a couple of cases with the team, so there weren’t too many nights where you and Jack were home alone all night. One of the nights you were, however, you had helped him set up a fort in the living room where you watched movies and ate popcorn together until you fell asleep cuddled up on the floor.
In the third week of your medical leave, Aaron was on a case when you and Jack decided to walk to the park near the Hotchner household. No one else was there so you both raced to the swings and tried to get higher than the other.
“Jack!” You exclaimed with a laugh. “You’re going to touch the sky if you go any higher than this!”
“Do you think I could touch the moon?” Jack asked with a giggle.
“Absolutely,” You grinned at him as you both returned to Earth.
Twenty minutes later you decided to head back to the house for lunch when you came across a scrawny, hungry-looking dog. She was dirty and clearly, in need of love, and after some puppy dog eyes from her and Jack, you loaded her up in your car and brought her to the vet.
“She looks to be about three years old, healthy, though a little malnourished,” The vet said after running some tests. “There’s no chip in her, and I’m guessing she was abandoned, and she’s probably been out there for a while.”
“Really?” You asked, looking at the cute little dog. “So, what do we do?”
“Well,” The vet said. “If you don’t take her home with you, we can call the shelter to come and pick her up and try to get her adopted.”
“What happens if she doesn’t get adopted?” The vet eyed Jack after your question. The little boy was petting the dog and making silly faces at her. “Oh.”
“(Y/n), we can keep her right?” Jack asked with big eyes. “Jellybean needs us to help her.”
“I named her,” He said proudly. You gave him a helpless smile.
“Oh, Jackers, your dad is not going to like this,” You said, scratching the cute puppy behind the ears.
“What if he doesn’t know?”
“Jack, we can’t keep a dog hidden from him,” You said, exasperatedly.
“Why not?” He shrugged in that little kid way.
“Well for starters, he’s a profiler and we’re both terrible at keeping secrets,” You laughed. “And second of all, it’s a dog, I think he’ll notice that there’s a dog roaming the house.”
“I can be good at hiding.”
“How about this,” You said. “We let them take her to the shelter, and then we tell your dad that we found a dog we want?”
“No!” Jack exclaimed, tugging on your sleeve. “(Y/n), what if someone takes Jellybean before we come back for her and then they’re mean to her? We have to take her home.”
Now you were getting puppy dog eyes from two sweet little faces. Aaron couldn’t possibly be that mad that you were bringing home a dog, right? It’s not like you were bringing home some insane animal, she’s a dog for crying out loud.
“Okay,” You relented. “We’ll just explain the situation to your dad when he gets home from his work trip tomorrow.”
Jack cheered loudly, throwing his arms around Jellybean and telling her that she could sleep in his bed. It was good the dog would be sleeping with Jack since you’d likely end up in the dog’s bed when Aaron came home to see you took in a dog without even talking to him first. And sure, maybe you went a little overboard getting stuff from the local pet store for her, but one look at her eyes and the way Jack loved her so much already and you were ready to drop a fortune on this dog.
See, the plan had been to tell Aaron as soon as he got home from the case the next day, but he got home so late that there wasn’t time and the dog was sleeping in Jack’s room, so you resolved to tell him the next morning. Then he left before you could even scrape yourself out of bed, clearly, he didn’t see the dog curled up in Jack’s room because he didn’t ask you anything about the mangy animal when he kissed you goodbye. It was much later in the morning that Aaron’s bedroom door pushed open, and Jack and Jellybean scampered up into the bed with you and curled up.
“Good morning, kids,” You yawned, scratching the dog’s head and kissing Jack’s cheek.
“Morning,” Jack giggled. “Can we play with Jellybean in the backyard?”
“I think we should probably wait until we can get it fenced in, right?”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed. “I want to teach her tricks.”
“What do you think, Jellybean?” You asked, smooshing the dog’s face. “Do you want to learn some tricks?”
The two of you spent all day playing with the dog, she was a pretty quick learner and was picking up the tricks quite easily. It was only around six that you realized Aaron was soon to come home and you had yet to warn him about the surprise waiting for him when he opened the door.
There were days where you were positive that Aaron was going to come home and shower you in kisses and love and praise, and then were days like today. Days in which your boyfriend came home from work to find you and his son playing in the living room with the dog he didn’t know he had.
“(Y/n),” He said, dropping his briefcase on the table next to the door. “Who is this?”
“Daddy!” Jack yelled excitedly, jumping all around with the dog. “This is our new dog!”
“Our what?” Aaron asked you with wide eyes.
“Um, she’s our dog,” You said with a sheepish smile. “Remember how I told you that I had something I needed to discuss with you?”
“Yeah,” He said walking towards the dog. “I take it this something was this little mutt?”
“You can’t say she’s not cute,” You said nervously, biting your lip. “Right?”
“And the vet said she’s healthy,” Jack grinned. “Can we keep her dad? Please please please?”
“Jack, I –” Aaron started. “I think you’ve already decided that she’s staying.”
“Yay!” Jack shouted. “Come on, Jellybean, let’s go play in my room!”
Aaron turned to watch his son disappear down the hallway with the dog. The silence between you was deafening, and you wished you could see his face to know just how angry he was. But, as much as you felt bad about not saying anything to Aaron about the dog before he could find out about her, the sounds of joy coming from Jack’s room were enough to make up for the annoyance you were sure was on your boyfriends face.
“You’re mad,” You said, biting your lip. Even with his back to you, you could see him sigh, the fall of his shoulders with the deep breath being his tell.
“I’m not mad,” He breathed, turning to face you with a little smile. “I wish you had told me about this, but I’m not mad.”
“Did you see his face?” Aaron asked. “This dog is making him so happy. You’ve made him so happy, and I could never be mad about that.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything,” You said quietly. “I wanted to, but things just kind of got away from me and then you got home so late and left so early –”
“It’s okay, sweetheart,” Aaron said. “I mean it, I’m not angry. Just – next time even a text would be nice.”
“You got it,” You grinned. “You’re amazing. The most understanding and amazing man I’ve ever met.” Aaron grinned, moving to kiss your forehead.
“How did you end up with the dog anyway?”
“It just – it all happened so fast. Jack and I found this stray and the vet said she’d have no place to go but the shelter, and Jack’s eyes were so big – you know the look he gets – and then before I knew it I’d bought a bed and the best food from the pet store for Jellybean –”
“You’re telling me I now have a dog named Jellybean?” Aaron asked with a bemused smile. “Oh, I’m sorry, we now have a dog named Jellybean. You can’t bring this mutt into my house and then abandon her.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” You grinned, then froze. “Wait, Aaron, are you –”
“That was me asking you to move in,” Aaron said. “Officially. Jack wants you here all the time – and so do I.”
“Aaron,” You smiled, grabbing his hand tugging him closer to you. “I would love to live with you guys.”
“You mean it?”
“Of course,” You said. “Although I might need some time before I can move my boxes in here, what with the whole having recently been shot thing.”
“As if I would let you lift a single box, not when you’re hurt, sweetheart,” Aaron scoffed, pulling you in for a kiss.
“You, me, Jack, and Jellybean,” You grinned. “Our little family.”
“I love you,” He whispered.
“I love you, too.”
Amid the shouts of joy and barking of your new dog, Aaron kissed you in the living room. The living room you now shared with him and his son and your dog, your family. You were pretty sure you had never been this happy in your life, and you were surrounded by joy on all sides as you and Aaron went to play with Jack and Jellybean.
Taglist: @xstaywildmoonchild @stiles-argent24 @chelseyjoyce @torykjamie @wonderousnerd @doctorstethoscope @gspenc @geeky-daughter @aaronhotchie @enilledam @joyclubie @txtdreamss @madamsnape921 @hotchologyy @anxiousblanketqueen @scolgin1993 @art-and-thoughts @rubym13 @anxious-enby @willowrose99 @themoontoyourshine @averyhotchner My taglist is 18+, if you want to be added you’ll need to confirm that you are 18+ or have it in your bio. Thanks for understanding! (This is also a different taglist than the one for my series To Have and To Hold, if you want to be added to either one, just shoot me a message)
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young heart (part one)
hello everyone!!! i'm very excited for you all to read this, i feel like it's my baby. this is sort of AU in the sense that Haley and Jack never happened, Hotch has never been married in this setting. Everything else is the same though! OC's name is Ava Wilmington, she went to law school with Hotch and they dated for a while, but then things got messy, they broke up, and now they haven't spoken for fifteen years until Ava needs his help with a case.
i hope you like it (: i listened to a lot of the album young heart by birdy while writing this and it's heavily influenced by it if you're interested
pairing: oc x hotch
warnings: rape/murder mention in context of a case, some cursing
questions, comments, concerns
She hadn’t talked to Aaron Hotchner since she had graduated law school two years after him. She certainly hadn’t thought about him much in the fifteen years since and she was sure he hadn’t thought about her much, either. But now he was an FBI Profiler, no longer practicing, and she needed him for this case. Unfortunately, there was only one BAU and she knew a jury would look favorably on his testimony as the Unit Chief. It was the best chance her client had. But, fuck, if she wasn’t dreading making the call.
Aaron had been her TA in her first year of law school. He had been incredibly charming back then, funny, even. His smile lit up the whole room and those dimples would have her fantasizing for days. She had never imagined he thought of her in the same way until he handed back her last paper that semester with his phone number scribbled in the margins. She remembered staring at the phone for what felt like hours that night, willing herself to pick it up and call him. After much coaxing and teasing from her roommate she finally had, twirling her finger around the wire as it rang.
“Hello?” He had picked up just before the machine did. She wondered then if he had assumed it was her calling and had waited just to make her sweat.
It had worked. She swallowed, “Hi, Aaron. It’s Ava.”
He chuckled, “Ava, I was wondering if you’d call.”
She smirks, “I’m sure all the girls you give your number to call eventually.”
“Well, I guess technically you would be correct, given you’re the only girl I’ve ever slipped my number to.”
She laughs then, “No way. Come on, I’m not that stupid.”
“I don’t think you’re stupid,” He said sincerely, “Judging by your papers you’re wildly intelligent, smarter than me for sure.”
Her face flushed and she was grateful he couldn’t see her, “So why’d you slip me your number, Aaron? Most men don’t like women who are smarter than them, they’re threatened by them.”
Ava swore she could hear him smile then, “Lucky for you, Ava, it would appear that I’m not most men.”
After that he had asked her out for drinks, one thing had led to another and he had woken up in her bed. He made coffee and breakfast for Ava in her own apartment, something her roommate watched over gleefully.
She fell in love with him. He was so easy to love, gentle, kind. He had this drive to make the world a better place, it was what they both had in common. Ava watched him graduate, get a job as a federal prosecutor, moved in with him a year later. They talked about getting married, having children. And then Ava interned for a criminal defense lawyer in her last year and everything changed.
“I’m sorry you got stuck with her, babe.” Aaron said one night over takeout.
She stole a piece of chicken off his plate, “I’m not. She’s brilliant. I’ve already learned more from her than I have in the last two years of law school.”
He frowned, “Doesn’t it bother you that her whole career is letting murderers and rapists get away with it?”
“You misunderstand,” She said, shaking her head, “She only takes cases of people she knows are innocent.”
“You can never know for sure--”
“She does. A lot of the time the police departments rush to make arrests based on race, history of petty crime, wrong place wrong time without solid evidence. They’ve put away people who have proven alibis. The system is broken and she’s doing her best to fix it.” Ava still remembered the way his jaw had set when she said this.
“You don’t know what goes on in those courtrooms. The defense lawyers are just as bad, if not worse, than the criminals.”
She looked at him then, really looked at him, and saw distaste in his eyes. Distaste towards her. Here was this man that she loved, wanting nothing more than justice for victims the same way she did, and yet he was looking at her with distaste. He couldn’t see that they both wanted the same thing, just different paths. “And what if I wanted to be a defense lawyer?” Ava asked softly.
“Then I would say that you’re not who I thought you were.”
There was no changing either of their minds. Ava tried to pretend like something between them hadn’t broken irreparably that night. She didn’t talk to him about her dreams of getting innocent men and women off of death row. He didn’t talk to her about how the cases that he took were eating him alive because he always felt it was too late to make a difference. Ava had known it was over, but when he didn’t show up to her graduation, she really felt her heart break. She knew what a good man Aaron was, but he always thought there was only one path to be a good person. After this, he would only think of her as a slimy defense lawyer and she had to just accept that.
It was harder than she thought. Years later, she could still recall the way he looked at her during that conversation. On her worst days, Ava wondered if maybe he was right about her. After all, there had been a few cases in her career that she had been wrong about someone being innocent. Those cases and that look on his face haunted her now as she stared blankly at the phone on her desk. Finally, in quite the same way she had called him that first time, she dialed his office number that she had found on the internet and twirled the wire around her finger.
“Hotchner.” No more ‘hello’. The usual lilt to his voice was absent. He was all business now. An FBI agent.
“Aaron. It’s Ava. Ava Wilmington.”
She hears the sound of a chair creaking and wonders if his eyebrows are furrowed in confusion. “Hi.” He says hesitantly, “Uh,” He clears his throat, “It’s been a long time. How are you?”
“I’m good. I see you don’t practice anymore.”
“Yes, and I see you became exactly what you wanted.” She thinks there’s a bitterness in his tone. Unsurprising. She can’t tell if it makes her more sad or annoyed that his opinion of her hasn’t seemed to budge in all the years since. He was still the righteous, arrogant Aaron she remembered. “Can I… help you with something?” He asks after she’s silent for a few moments.
“Um,” She takes a deep breath, “I know what you think of me, of my profession, but I really need your help. My client needs your help.” She rephrases. “I have a client who’s been convicted of the rapes and murders of four women--”
“Please just listen--”
“I won’t help you release a man that a jury has deemed guilty of horrific crimes, if they found him guilty, they did so for a reason. You should’ve known better than to call me.”
She sighs, “Believe me, Aaron, this is the last conversation I want to be having. All I’m asking is that you just hear me out first.”
For a few moments, Ava hears nothing but his breathing. “Fine. You have two minutes.”
She breathes out a sigh of relief and launches into the briefest explanation she could. The fact that her client was a brown man living in an all white neighborhood post 9/11. The police had a history of arresting him for petty crimes he didn’t commit. He had dated the last victim and they had broken up months before her murder, but that hadn’t stopped them from arresting him for all four murders. The judge had prohibited him from choosing his own lawyer, assigning him a terrible one from the state. Any evidence, like his mother’s confirmation of his alibi, were tossed out and not allowed in court for various reasons.
“Just because he had an unfair trial doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.” Aaron said finally when she had finished, but his confidence seemed to waver.
“That’s why I need you.” She swallows, “I’ve read the profiling books, I know that the evidence they do have, the crime scene, the victimology all point away from my client.”
He sighs, “You want me to build a profile and then testify that it doesn’t match your client.”
He pauses, “If I do this I want your word that if it does lead back to your client that you’ll drop the case.”
She hesitates, “If you build a profile that leads to my client I won’t ask you to testify.”
“No,” He says, “If you trust me and you trust my profile and I say that your client is the killer, I want your word that you will drop the case and let him rot.”
She tilts her head back in her chair and rubs at her forehead. She didn’t think Aaron would purposely build a profile that led to her client just to prove her wrong if the evidence pointed elsewhere. The BAU was good. She almost never got a case with someone who had wrongfully been put behind bars from them. Though Ava knew his opinion of her, she knew Aaron wouldn’t do that to an innocent man just to prove a point to her. “Fine.” She says eventually, “You have my word.”
“Fax the case files over.” He says and then hangs up without another word.
He calls her back at 2AM that night, “Aaron, do you have any idea what time it is?” She asks when she answers the phone.
“What? It’s not like you were sleeping.” They both had had a bad habit of working through the night, he remembered that. She rolls her eyes. “I called you because this case doesn’t make any sense.” He continues.
“Yeah, I know.”
“It was all white women, he’s a brown man. Sexual crimes rarely, if ever cross racial lines.”
“Yeah, I know.” She repeats.
“Not to mention he had no prior history of violence on this scale, no fires, no dead animals, no rape charges, no pedophilia, no domestic violence, nothing. This was the work of an organized psychopath, the unsub would’ve had priors and these weren’t his first kills.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“And his call logs show that he hadn’t tried to contact his ex girlfriend since they broke up, nearly a year before her murder. If he was going to kill her, he wouldn’t have waited a year to do it. And he has no connection to the previous three victims.”
“So you’ll testify?”
He’s quiet on the other line, “How many cases are there like this in this country?” He asks quietly.
“Hundreds,” She says, “Most of the time, someone like me doesn’t get there in time.”
“Did the killings stop after they arrested your client?”
She hesitates, unsure whether he’ll just laugh at her for doing her own detective work, but then goes ahead anyway, “I found three similar killings across the border in North Carolina that look similar to me, but the police think it’s a whole different serial killer and they don’t listen to me, they don’t like me. They think I hate cops.”
Aaron nearly chuckles at that, “Well, you do, don’t you?”
She sighs, “The system is corrupt, Aaron. State and local police don’t have even close to the training you and your men have, yet they’re expected to handle similar cases. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Do you know who the real killer is?”
“No, I don’t have the time or resources to do that.”
“Let me and my team find the real killer.”
“I don’t have the authorization to—”
“I know that.”
“Then why are you asking my permission?”
“Because it’s your case and I don’t want to upset you.”
She scoffs, “Aaron, you left me because you thought I was an immoral sellout and now you’re concerned about my feelings?”
He’s quiet again. Ava gets the sense that he thinks more about his words now and how they affect other people. “Can we have coffee in the morning? To talk about the case.” He added quickly.
“Do you still go to that same bagel place?”
She laughs, “Yeah, they have the best bagels in DC.”
“See you at 9 then, Ava.” He says, and she swears she hears a smile in his voice.
“Goodnight.” She says softly and hangs up before he can say anything else.
When Ava walks into the café, she notices her usual order on the table before she notices Aaron. An everything bagel toasted with cream cheese on the side and two black espresso shots.
When she raises her eyes, Aaron’s sitting there, hands wrapped around a mug in front of him. She already knows it’s full of coffee and a drop of milk. She used to make fun of him, asking him why he even bothered putting in the milk and he always insisted that one drop made a difference.
“You didn’t have to order for me.” She says when she gets to the table. It was the table they always used to sit at by the window and she hates the way it makes her heart ache seeing him sit there. Couldn’t he have picked a different table?
He shrugs, “Figured you haven’t eaten since…” He trails off looking at his watch, “Maybe 5pm yesterday and judging by the… everything about you, you were up all night.”
Rolling her eyes, Ava sits down, “Is this what it’s like talking to a profiler? You all must be insufferable.”
“No,” He says, looking down at his coffee, “I wasn’t profiling you, that was just based on past knowledge.”
She can’t look at him, not after he’s said that. She wordlessly takes a bite of her bagel and drains her first shot of espresso. He was right about both things: she was starving and she hadn’t slept last night. She couldn’t stop thinking about seeing him this morning.
Ava clears her throat, “I brought the three additional murder files.” She pokes in her bag next to her until she has them out and hands them over to him and he immediately begins flipping through them. “I also have a scheduled meeting with Jason, my client, later today if you wanted to join me.”
He nods, “That would be helpful, yes.”
“So what do you think?”
He closes the files, “I’d like to consult with my team first, but they do look similar to me at a first glance. Would you like to come along?”
She spreads the cream cheese on her bagel, “Sure, if you think it would help.”
He holds the door open for her as he enters the bullpen and she nods her thanks as she walks in. Immediately, eyes follow her as she walks in and especially as a few of them seem to notice Aaron trailing behind her, coming up to her side as they walk through, “I’ll explain to them when they come in the conference room, but they might be a little freaked out that you’re here.”
She frowns, “Why would they be--”
Ava whirls to see a woman with blonde hair, big glasses, and hot pink stockings, “Hello--”
“You’re like, a legend. You’ve saved hundreds of inmates from death row, you--”
“Ava, this is our technical analyst, Penelope. Penelope, I see you already know who she is.” Aaron interrupts.
Ava reaches her hand out to the other woman, “Happy to meet you Penelope.”
Penelope gulps and slowly grasps Ava’s hand before looking to him, “You’re on a first name basis with her?”
Ava’s smile grows, “Aaron and I went to law school together, he was actually my TA one year.”
And you were the love of my life. He thinks to himself. Instead, he says nothing.
“It’s an honor to meet you, ma’am, truly.” Penelope says, still firmly shaking Ava’s hand as she looks up at Aaron and mouths, “Why is she here?”
“Uh, we’ll be consulting with Ava on a new case. Garcia, can you actually go gather everyone in the conference room?”
Penelope nods eagerly and disappears and Ava turns back to Aaron and smiles, “She seems fun.”
Aaron smiles at the woman who now descended the stairs from his office into the bullpen, “She definitely keeps things light around here. But I wouldn’t expect that sort of reaction from anyone else in there.”
“Don’t worry, Aaron, I’ve had people I love look at me with disgust because of my career, not much hurts me anymore.” She says and hurries out of the room before he can reply.
He sighs and looks down at his desk. He knows he deserves every comment like that that she throws his way. He knew when he had left you he had made you feel that way, like you were a bad person. But he was arrogant then, self serving, thought he always did the right thing, that he was always right. He remembered thinking that his views made him a better person than Ava, her superior instead of his equal. It was stupid, it was the kind of thing you thought when you were in your early twenties and thought you were invincible. Leaving you was probably his biggest regret, though he could see now that you were better off without him. Eventually, he follows you into the conference room.
“Wilmington?” He could hear Morgan’s skeptical voice before he entered the conference room, “Hotch, you’re buddy buddy with the woman who got Sam Wilson off?”
She looked down at the floor and he thinks he sees shame there, “I got Sam Wilson a new trial because the police beat a confession out of him and the judge let that be submitted in court as evidence. But he was prosecuted again and still found guilty.”
“After you fought to get him out on bail he killed two more women before they brought him back in.” Morgan said, “How do you live with that on your conscience?”
Ava lifts her head and glares at Morgan, “If the police had followed protocol, I never would have been called in at all, so now who’s fault is it really, agent?”
Morgan looks like he’s going to speak again, but Aaron cuts him off, “Morgan, that’s enough. Ava and I went to law school together and we’re consulting with her on a case.”
“You’re looking to catch a guy this time and not let a guilty man go free?” Rossi asked.
Ava’s eyes shifted until they landed on David Rossi, profiling legend, “Actually, Agent Rossi, it was your books that made me realize that I needed your help. All of you.” She gestured to the whole table, “My client, Jason Bajaj, was convicted five years ago for the rapes and murders of four white women and he’s been on Death Row ever since. He had no history of violence and he had a solid alibi from his mother that the courts tossed out simply because they felt like it. I also have reason to believe that the killings continued in North Carolina after my client was arrested.”
“And you want us to find who you think is the real killer?” Prentiss asks her.
Ava gives her a small smile, “Yes, I was hopeful that you would all help me get an innocent man off of Death Row.”
“And we’re sure this man, Jason Bajaj, isn’t our guy?” Reid directs the question to Aaron.
“I’ve looked over the files and it seems highly unlikely, but I’ll be going to the prison later with Ava to speak with him and then I’ll know for sure.” Aaron answers, “But I want all of you to tell me what you think first.”
“Did they ever link him to any of the victims?” Reid asked.
“The last murder, Chloe Langley, was his ex girlfriend but they hadn’t spoken in nearly a year.” Ava said, “He didn’t know the others.”
“Why did they break up? Did she break up with him?” Rossi asked.
“From what I understand it was mutual, Jason said they wanted different lifestyles.”
“He could be lying.” Morgan says, flipping through the files.
Ava shrugs, “Of course he could be, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no evidence of them being in contact at all, no evidence that Chloe was afraid of Jason, no evidence of prior domestic violence. If this guy was going to kill his girlfriend, why wait a whole year?”
“He could have been building up to his endgame.” Prentiss says, “The other girls were just surrogates for Chloe.”
She sighs, but doesn’t say anything, stepping back beside Aaron instead. “It’s not personal,” He says softly, as the rest of his team considers the scenario, “They’re just trying to talk out every possibility so they can be sure.” She just nods and as he looks at her, her eyebrows furrowed, he remembered the way he used to smooth them out with his thumb, reminding her to keep an open mind. Take a break from a case even if it was just to walk to the grocery store with him. He clasps his hands together in front of him to keep himself from doing just that.
Eventually, they arrive at the same conclusion Aaron had and he watches her shoulders droop with relief. “Having Hotch testify at the hearing would be more than enough evidence for a new trial.” Rossi says.
“Yes,” Aaron says before she can interject, “And I’ll do that, but if we can prove that it was someone else entirely, no jury would put him back in there.”
Ava looks at him, “Aaron, you’re talking about remaining involved all the way through to the end. The new trial might not happen for at least a couple of years.”
“Okay,” He shrugs, “I want to make sure Jason gets out.”
“The only problem is we can’t arrest someone right now for crimes that someone else has already been convicted of.” Reid says.
She nods and finally looks away from Aaron, “The hearing is next week. If you all put together a solid profile that obviously contradicts Jason, I can ask the judge to give you guys permission to investigate and make an arrest if necessary.” She looks at her watch, “It was nice meeting you all, but I have to head out now if I want to make it to the prison in time. Aaron?”
He nods and walks out with her, fighting every instinct to reach over and touch her.
“Can I ask you a question?” She asks him as they settle into the car.
“Sure.” He leans back in the passenger seat, sunglasses perched on his nose.
Ava had always loved the way he looked in sunglasses. She swallows past the lump in her throat, “Why did you stop prosecuting? What made you decide to join the FBI?” She’s sure he hears the unasked question there: Why didn’t you tell me?
He clears his throat, “I wanted to save people. Putting bad people in jail didn’t feel like enough, I wanted to make more of a difference. Stop the killers at victim two instead of victim five. Being the prosecutor, it always felt too late for that.”
“Well, you look good with a gun, Hotch,” She teases.
He frowns, “Don’t call me that.”
“Why not?” She chuckles, “It looks like all your friends do.”
“I’m sorry about them, by the way.”
Ava shakes her head, “Don’t be. I’ve heard worse.”
“And you just take it?”
“Most of those people are strangers, I don’t expect them to understand or know where my heart’s at.” She pauses, “What really hurt was when people I loved who I thought knew my heart began saying the same things strangers did.”
“It’s fine, Aaron. I’ve moved on, I’m sure you have too. Bet you have a pretty wife and a carload of kids, just like you always wanted.”
“No.” He says quietly.
She frowns, “You never got married?”
“Once,” She sighs, “Divorced within a year. It was about ten years ago.”
“Why’d you divorce?”
“Oh, he was sweet, just too needy,” She waves a hand dismissively and Aaron laughs, “What?”
“You used to like needy.”
Ava feels the flush creeping up her neck and she coughs as if to dispel it, “Well I guess I just didn’t like him very much then.”
He laughs again and she feels herself smile at the sound. It still sounds the same and her eyes tear up a little at that. She didn’t expect to feel this way when she saw him again, but she could feel herself losing control of her emotions. It had been fifteen years since he left her and she had spent them bouncing around from man to man, always making sure she was the one to leave first. In her mind Ava left first to make sure they didn’t get the chance to leave her the way Aaron had. They didn’t get the chance to decide that she was a terrible person after all, undeserving of love. She liked to think that what Aaron had done and her current romantic life weren’t correlated, but it was getting harder and harder to believe, even for her.
“I am sorry for how I ended things,” He said seriously, “I was young and stupid.”
Not sorry for implying that he was too good for her by leaving. Just sorry he had left suddenly. “It’s fine.” She says, keeping her eyes on the road.
“I left you without a word the night before your graduation and ignored all of your calls, you’re not even a little bit angry with me?”
Slowly, she exhaled, “I knew you were leaving me, Aaron, I just didn’t know when. Truth was you had left me months before that.” She indicates left and pulls into the prison compound. “We’re here.” The truth was it hadn’t really bothered her how or when he left, what bothered her was that he had ended it at all and for something so stupid.
That still didn’t seem to bother him. He still saw her the same way he had before, lesser than him, immoral. She flexed her fingers on the steering wheel.
“Well, something I’ve said has upset you, so out with it.”
She glances over at him frowning, “No, I’m fine.”
“You just flexed your fingers on the steering wheel.”
“So that’s a common sign of frustration.”
She pulls into a parking spot and puts the car in park, “We’re not here to rehash our past, Aaron, we’re here to save a man’s life, alright?”
He scans her storm gray eyes and she wonders what he’s looking for. But then he turns away, “Alright, let’s go then.”
Ava was upset with him and while he deserved that it bothered him more that she was acting like she wasn’t bothered. That being near him didn’t affect her in the slightest, he knew it did because it was driving him crazy being around her and he couldn’t accept that he was the only one feeling it.
He followed her from behind into the prison, flashing his badge when needed. Watching her hips sway when he wasn’t. It was clearer to him now than ever before all that he’d lost when he left her. It was also clear he had fucked with her head, even if she wasn’t admitting it. Dating men she didn’t particularly care about so that no one could hurt her again. It was textbook. In his young naivety he never imagined he’d be the one to cause something like that.
But he was thoughtless and he guessed he assumed she was unbreakable. That she certainly would never have broken over someone like him. He was nothing compared to her and he knew it. He thought for sure she had known it as well. It was why he had grasped so firmly on her career choice. Finally, something that proved to him she wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t all knowing. He had taken this knowledge and used it to break her, break them both.
And then he spent the next fifteen years of his life comparing every woman he met to her. It was why he was still single, no one could ever hope to live up to her.
“He might have trouble trusting you at first,” She says over her shoulder, drawing him back to the present, “I’ll try and calm his nerves, if he thinks I trust you he’ll be more willing to open up.”
She turns back to him, “What?”
She stares at him, blinking a few times, “Yes.” She says eventually.
“Good.” He says and then walks past her into the cell.
He feels her stare after him as he walks through and then she jumps into action, “Jason, this is Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, he’s with the FBI--”
“You brought a fed to see me?” He scoffs, “Ava, I know you’re good, but what the hell are you doing bringing a fed here?”
She smiles at Jason, “Agent Hotchner works for the Behavioral Analysis Unit, he studies serial killers for a living. I asked him to look over your case for you and he’s fairly confident he could convince a judge that you couldn’t have murdered those women.”
“Of course I couldn’t have killed them, I have an alibi.” He crosses his arms over his chest, “Did you get the judge to let you include that?”
She sighs, “No, the prosecutor won’t allow it. But him?” She gestures to Aaron, “There’s no prosecutor in D.C. that would outright tell a federal agent he can’t testify.”
Jason seems to consider it and looks over at Aaron, “I thought you hated feds.” He’s still looking at Aaron, but the question is obviously intended for Ava.
“I never said that.” Ava says, affronted.
“It’s okay, Ava.” Aaron says, “She doesn’t hate federal agents, just me.” He directs his attention to Jason now.
“I do not–” Ava starts, but Aaron holds up a hand to silence her and despite herself, she closes her mouth.
Jason smiles, “Now what could you have done to make our sweet Ava over here hate you?”
“Sweet?” Aaron raises his eyebrows, “Are we talking about the same woman?” Ava’s behind him, but he’s sure she’s rolling her eyes.
“She’s trying everything she can to save my life. She visits me more often than my family. She’s made those prison guards over there stop treating me like shit. If that’s not sweet, what is?”
Aaron’s heart aches at his words. That was the Ava he knew, always looking out for the underdog. At that moment, he thinks that she’s probably an even better person than he is. “Jason, I’d like to ask you some questions, would that be alright? Ava will stay.” He says when he notices Jason looking over his shoulder at her.
Jason nods so Aaron begins, placing the pictures of the four women’s bodies in front of Jason. He immediately reaches out and flips Chloe’s picture over. Aaron looks at him pointedly. “I’ve seen that picture too many times, man. I loved Chloe. Now that picture’s the first thing I think of when I hear her name. I’m tired of looking at it.”
“Why did you and Chloe break up?”
Jason sighs, “Didn’t Ava tell you?”
“She did, I want to hear it from you.”
“Why, so you can decide if I’m lying?” Aaron stays quiet and Jason sighs again, “Chloe was an all around country girl. She wanted to take over her daddy’s farm one day. I wanted to live in the city. We loved each other, but neither of us was willing to budge on that so we ended it amicably.”
“And that didn’t upset you? That she wouldn’t bend to your wants?”
“Of course I was upset, I told you I loved her. But did I blame her for not bending to me? No.”
He seemed genuine. “Why doesn’t your family visit you?”
“You said Ava’s the only one who visits you--”
“I said she visits more often.”
“Why is that?”
He shakes his head, “I don’t see how this is relevant.”
“Do they think you did it?”
Jason scoffs and then leans forward on the table, chains jingling from where he’s cuffed to the table, “Let me tell you something about being brown in America after 9/11. It doesn't matter if you were born here. It doesn't matter if you showed up at the airport for the first time today. They’re gonna hate you just the same. And after I was arrested, that gave them the excuse they needed to harass and threaten my mama. She had to move three states over and tell anyone that asked that her son was dead so that they wouldn’t bother her.” He leans back, “She comes when she can, but the drive is long.”
Aaron nods, “Your father left when you were young and you became your mother’s protector.”
Jason’s eyebrows furrow and he looks up at Ava, “I didn’t tell him that.” She says immediately.
“You only spoke about your mother when I asked you about your family which suggests you don’t have anyone else. It was a lucky guess.” Aaron says, he carefully watches Jason, “You love your mother though.”
Jason shrugs, “So what? Doesn’t every boy love his mama?”
Aaron shakes his head, “Not the one who did this–” He gestures to the pictures, “To seven women. Only his mother could make him hate women this much.”
Jason looks at the pictures in front of him and frowns, “Seven?”
“I hadn’t told him about that yet.” Ava says, glaring at Aaron.
“Told me what? There are more women?”
She makes a frustrated noise, “They were killed after you were arrested, but it’s possible all seven of the women, including the four in front of you were killed by the same person.” Ava says.
Jason directs his attention back to Aaron, “And that’s what you think, isn’t it? You don’t believe I did this either. You think there’s a serial killer still on the loose.”
Aaron nods, “I think I can find him and clear your name.”
“Don’t give him false hope.” Ava said sharply.
“It’s not false. My team is the best in the world. If anyone can find the real killer, it’s us.”
Ava shakes her head, still glaring at him, “Jason, I’m going to do my very best to help Agent Hotchner and his team, at the very least he’ll give a profile at the hearing for the judge and I believe that’ll be more than enough to get you a new trial. I don’t know if the judge will allow him or his team to find the real killer. I don’t want you to think this is a done deal, there’s still a long fight ahead.”
“I understand.” Jason says, “Still feels nice to hear Mr. FBI here say he believes me.”
“What happened to you?” Aaron asks, trailing behind Ava again as they left the cell.
“You don’t believe in the justice system anymore.”
She glances back over her shoulder at him, “If you saw what I see everyday, you wouldn’t either.”
“I’ve seen serial killers walk away free.”
She rounds on him suddenly, forcing him to almost walk into her, “Do you ever see them walk away while an innocent man gets put behind bars and rots for years in the hopes that someone will listen to them? I’m not haunted by the cases I take, Aaron. I’m haunted by the cases I’ll never get to.”
Ava brought Aaron back to Quantico to brief the team once more on what he’d learned before they called it a night. He walked her back to her car when he was done, “You’ll call me when you’ve found something?” Ava asks, opening her car door and climbing in, “And we’ll have to meet again soon, to go over your testimony.”
He nods, “Sure.” He goes to close the car door, but Ava reaches out and puts a hand on his forearm. He stills. “Thank you.” She says, “For doing this, I know you’re very busy as Unit Chief,” She gives a smile, “And I know how you feel about what I do.”
He smiles back at her, “I believe in justice, Ava. No matter what it looks like.” His eyes search her face, “I think maybe I was too hard on you. Back then.”
She thinks it’s the closest he’ll ever get to apologizing to her with that inflated ego of his, but it doesn’t mean she has to forgive him. She only nods and pulls the door closed. From her peripheral, Ava sees him turn and begin to walk away from her peripheral vision and she allows herself to look fully at his receding form. Then she clears her throat and puts the keys in the ignition. However, when she turns the keys, the motor makes a nasty sound. “Oh, no.” She sighs and tries turning it again, but the motor won’t start. The third time she tries there’s a tap at her window and she jumps, but when she looks over it’s Aaron who’s standing there. Ava opens the door, sighing.
“You gave me a heart attack.”
“Car won’t start?”
“Come on, I’ll take you home. We’ll have someone tow your car tomorrow.”
“Oh, I can just get an Uber--”
“Ava,” He says, silencing her, “It’s just a ride, don’t make it a big deal.”
She bites her lip, “Fine.” Reluctantly, she slides out of her car and follows him through the parking lot to his own where he opens the passenger door for her.
Ava remembers how she used to find that charming when they dated. He always opened the door for her. It annoyed her now. They drive in silence, Ava offering directions only when necessary until they pull up to her little blue house. “Thank you.” She says, gathering her things.
She goes to open the door, but hesitates, “Do you… Would you like to come in for a drink?”
He’s frowning and she’s beginning to realize that his face is just always like that now. “Sure.” He says finally and cuts the engine.
“Light blue.” He muses behind her as she walks to the door.
“Your house,” He says as she turns the key to open the door, “It’s your favorite color.”
Ava smirks a bit, pleased he’s remembered another thing about her, “Yes, I know.”
She puts her jacket and purse on the hangers beside the door and gestures for Aaron to do the same with his suit jacket. When she slips off her heels, he bends over to untie his shoes. “Oh, no, that’s okay Aaron, you can keep them on.” She walks over to her bar cart without waiting to see if he follows, “Bourbon?”
He clears his throat, “Neat, please.”
Walking the drink back to him, she remembers how much taller he is than her now that her heels are off. When she hands him the drink, their hands brush and it takes everything in her not to recoil. They drink in silence for a moment and he looks around the house.
“Are you profiling me based on my living space?” Ava asks eventually.
His eyes slowly drift back to hers, “I’m just surprised at how small it is. I know you make a lot of money.”
She chokes on her drink, “How do you know how much I make?”
He shrugs, “I know you’ve had more than a few high profile cases. You don’t have any kids to spend it on, no siblings or nieces or nephews. I suppose maybe you bought your parents a house–”
“No.” She says, looking into her glass, “I didn’t buy them anything.”
Aaron’s quiet and she knows he’s watching her carefully, “Did something happen? You were really close to your parents I thought.”
“They were killed in a car accident a year after I graduated.” She clears her throat, “They were driving home from a friend’s late at night, I guess my dad had had a few drinks. He fell asleep at the wheel and swerved into oncoming traffic.”
“Jesus, Ava. I’m so sorry.”
She shrugs, “It’s alright, it was over a decade ago now.” She continues quickly, uncomfortable sitting in his pity, “Anyway, the house is small because I think spending money on a huge house when I’m all by myself is a waste of money. I invest and donate to charity instead.” He nods and sips his drink, still looking around. “What else has my home told you?”
He actually smirks at her and maybe it’s the alcohol, but she feels a warmth spread through her, “You really want to know?” She nods wordlessly. “You obviously live alone. There’s plants everywhere and they don’t look fake so I can only assume you enjoy taking care of them. This, coupled with the fact that you don’t appear to have any friends or family, tells me the plants give you purpose. Someone concerned about your mental health might wonder if they are the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.” He pauses here, waiting for her to laugh or tell him he’s wrong, but she doesn’t. He makes a mental note of that.
“The lack of groceries and clean stove suggest you order takeout pretty frequently which means you spend too much time working. And then the worn Scrabble game under the TV that’s clearly the same edition I gave you as a birthday present one year says that you’re more sentimental than I thought.” Her face flushes instantly and she looks away from him. “Is that enough or should I continue?”
“No, I think you’ve done enough.”
Despite himself, he smirks into his drink, “You still play scrabble?”
“Well, like you said, I live alone and don’t have any friends or family, so no. I just play myself occasionally.”
“But you still kept it?”
Ava looks at him and then quickly away, “Do you want to play? Like we used to?”
He frowns just slightly, “We used to play for hours, you really want to?”
The alcohol is absolutely getting to her because she nods and walks over to grab the game, opening it on the coffee table that she was now kneeling in front of while Aaron remained standing. She looked up and tilted her head slightly, “Please?” She asked. She wasn’t above pouting or begging. He had always liked that.
He sighs, “Alright.”
She hums, smiling in victory as the tiles fall onto the table. And when he sees the backs of some of the tiles, with seemingly random numbers drawn on them in permanent marker, he freezes.
“Oh!” Ava said, “That’s right, I never thought I’d see you again, but if I did I always wanted to ask what these numbers were. I noticed them about a year after you left.”
When she looks at him, he’s staring down at the tiles with what can only be described as horror. “Aaron?” She asks, frowning.
“I’m sorry,” He says quietly and quickly rises to his feet, “I should go, I’m sorry.”
Her frown deepens as he backs away, going to retrieve his jacket, “Aaron, what the hell?” She looks down at the tiles and then back to him, “Aaron.” She says firmer this time and he freezes, back still to her, “Why are there numbers on the tiles?”
Slowly, he turns back to her and she swears his eyes are rimmed red with tears, “You never thought to put the numbers in order?”
Even more confused, she shook her head, “Why would I do that?”
He huffed a laugh through his nose, but the smile that accompanies it is sad, “For someone who’s so smart, you have always had a terrible habit of missing the obvious.” He slides on his suit jacket, “Goodnight, Ava.” And then he’s out the door.
She fights off the disappointment she feels at his absence as she looks around her empty house. Sniffling, Ava looks down at the Scrabble tiles on the coffee table. You never thought to put the numbers in order? Scowling through her tears, she looks for a tile with the number one drawn on the back.
One– W. Two– I. Three– L. She does this until she has fourteen tiles lined up next to each other. WILLYOUMARRYME. Ava falls back and pushes away from the table, stunned. Will you marry me? He was going to propose. When? Before her internship? He thought he wanted to marry her and then realized he was too good for her. But he left the tiles.
In a fit of anger she shoved all the tiles to the floor, displacing the message he’d left. Fumbling with her phone she calls him and he picks up on the second ring, “You’re a coward.” She says through her tears before he can say anything.
He sighs on the other end, “I know.”
“When were you going to ask?”
“I had it planned for months, I wanted to ask you the night of your graduation. I was going to ask your father for permission that day, show your mom the ring.”
“But you left.”
“How could you be so sure and then abandon me so quickly?” He’s silent on the other end. “Aaron?”
“I can’t do this, Ava.”
“I deserve answers.”
“I know you do. I know. I just, it’s been a long day, I can’t.”
“I’m sorry.” The line goes dead before she can say anything else.
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The Right (Excerpt) || Aaron Hotchner x Reader
Hello fellow boss-babes, it is @ssahotchswife soft hotch saturday again! I’m trying something a little different this week-- I hope y’all don’t mind! This week’s fic is an excerpt from a multichapter I’ve been working on for a couple months. It’s a bit of a slow burn, so this is their first date, roughly a quarter through the fic.
As I’m sure you all know, your kind words always mean so much to authors, but on this fic in particular I’m looking to hear from you all! I want to know if there’s interest in me posting more chapters of this fic. Please let me know!!
contains: first date shenanigans, brief, non graphic description of violence, alcohol consumption, aaron hotchner being soft, no gendered pronouns but reader wears a dress
It was stupid to be nervous for a date with a man who already had feelings for you. You knew that, yet you still couldn’t tame the anxiety that had settled in the pit of your stomach as you did your makeup. Jess had kept Jack for dinner tonight to give you and Aaron the evening to yourselves, but you almost wished he was here begging you to play legos and superheroes with him. Blocks and make-believe, you were good at. Relationships? Not so much.
You shook away that train of thought as you pulled a blue dress out of your closet-- a little satin blue number that hit below the knee and had a slit up the thigh. You slipped it over your head and checked yourself in the mirror.
You’re suddenly brought back to a different date night, one that had ended with you crying in the shower because Josh had insisted that the dress you’d picked out was too low cut. You looked down at your forearm as if the bruises from where he had gripped you might have reappeared-- they hadn’t. You can feel your breath catching as the memory of his hand around your throat creeps up from somewhere deep inside you. Aaron’s gentle knock on your door pulled you out of your train of thought.
“You almost ready, dear?” He called through the door.
“One sec! I just need shoes,” you said, grabbing a small black purse and slipping on a matching pair of strappy heels. You swung the door open and found him standing in the doorway, looking absolutely delicious in one of his black suits with a blue shirt underneath, no tie and the top two buttons of his shirt undone. Fighting against the urge to lick your lips, you fuss with his collar.
“We match,” you tell him, gesturing to his blue shirt and your blue dress.
“You look absolutely stunning,” he tells you, and you feel the heat rise to your cheeks.
“You don’t think it’s too much? I can change if--”
“It’s perfect. If you’re comfortable, it’s perfect,” he said, leaning in to kiss your cheek.
“Aaron Hotchner, and you haven’t even bought me dinner yet! I’ll have you know I don’t dare kiss on the first date,” You teased him, and he treated you to one of those smiles where the dimples popped up on both sides of his face.
“Maybe I’m a bad influence on you, then,” he smirked, placing a hand on the small of your back as he led you out the door and to the car.
You shrugged. “Or maybe I’m just very willing to be influenced.”
Aaron quirked an eyebrow as he opened the passenger door of his car for you, and you bit your lip as you climbed inside. He took your hand and drove the two of you into downtown Alexandria, Virginia, pulling expertly into a street spot on the cobblestone road in front of Nobu.
“Sushi?” You asked when Aaron opened your car door.
“Yeah, I thought you liked sushi. We can find something else if—“
“Sushi’s great, Aaron. Stop stressing,” you told him, wrapping your arm around his as the two of you made your way into the restaurant. Aaron had made reservations, of course, so you were swiftly taken to a back corner of the restaurant, tucked away in a private little booth. Aaron ordered a bottle of wine for you to share when the waiter came by to introduce yourself, and he looked at you with a fond smile as soon as the two of you were left alone again.
“What?” You asked after a moment, feeling suddenly insecure under his scrutiny.
“Nothing,” he told you. “I’m just thinking, is all.”
You rolled your eyes. “Come on, Hotchner. Thinking about what?”
“I’m just really happy to be here with you. I didn’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do this.”
“You’re the bravest man I know.” You tell him, genuinely.
“That’s what they think, isn’t it? All these people we meet on cases. They see us put on our vests and break down doors and think we’re the bravest people they’ve ever known. They don’t know how scared we really are at all. How brave can I be when it took me this long to tell you how strong my feelings are for you?”
“Aaron—“ you start, but he suddenly realizes how vulnerable he sounds.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—“
“How long?” You asked.
“I’m sorry?” He asked in response.
“How long have you known you had feelings for me?”
“I figured it out pretty early on. Sometime in between your first day and the day you ran into a house without a vest to save a kid from an unsub.”
“You were so pissed. I thought for sure you were going to fire me.”
“I probably should’ve. But that was also the moment that I realized I didn’t want to go back to work if you weren’t going to be there.”
You smiled into your wine glass as you took a sip. “You’ve been very patient.” You remarked.
“I think you were worth the wait,” he responds with a shrug, but there’s nothing casual about it. You smile.
Dinner passes easily, the two of you laughing and smiling and eating and sneaking in a game of footsie just so that a moment didn’t pass where you weren’t touching each other. You settle the tab and Aaron leads you out of the restaurant with the now-familiar weight of his hand on the small of your back anchoring you.
“I thought we could head down to the boardwalk if you’re not too tired?” He asked as you exited into the street.
“Lead the way,” you told him, taking his hand in your own as he led you down the sidewalk. You ended up at the edge of the boardwalk, leaning against the rail and watching the sun set over the Potomac. Aaron stood behind you, his arms on either side of you and your back pressed into his chest. You settled into the warmth of him and neither one of you needed to speak, content in the presence of one another as the sun dipped over the horizon. You craned your neck to look at Aaron as the sun disappeared.
“I could stay here forever, but I imagine it’s about time for us to get home.”
“Unless I can convince you to call out tomorrow, you’re probably right.” He agrees, stepping back to allow you away from the rail.
“Sure, because that wouldn’t be conspicuous at all,” you laughed as the two of you headed back towards the car. With the sun now gone, goosebumps appeared across your arms as a breeze picked up. Aaron slipped his jacket off of and wrapped it around your shoulders in an instant, warning you with a glance the moment you opened your mouth not to protest his chivalry. You didn’t.
You realize how tired you are the moment you sink into the passenger seat of Aaron’s car, but it’s the kind of tired you feel after a day at the amusement park as a kid— you’re totally spent, but you wouldn’t change a thing and you’d do it all again in an instant. Aaron has a Beatles album playing quietly in the background of your drive and suddenly you’re wishing that he’d never pull the car back into the driveway.
Of course, he does eventually, and the two of you clumsily make your way back into the house.
“Thank you, Aaron. I had a really great time tonight.” You tell him, handing him back his suit coat.
“Can I have ten more minutes? I’m not ready for tonight to be over just yet.” He asks of you, his dark eyes shining in the low light, and you’re helpless.
“Of course,” you tell him, and he smiles, pulling his phone out of his pocket and fiddling with it for a moment before setting it on the counter. Some Ella Fitzgerald song is playing. You don’t recognize it, but it doesn’t really matter, because he has one hand wrapped around your waist and the other is holding yours and resting over his heart, and you’re placing your head on his chest as he gently sways you around the kitchen and you realize that everything is perfect. He’s holding you, and you’re safe in his arms, and it’s perfect. Your feet are killing you, and you can barely keep your eyes open, and it’s perfect. You’re picturing a life with him and it’s perfect.
All too soon, the music fades away, and you’re swaying in his arms in the silence, refusing to accept that your evening may truly be over. Aaron kisses your temple and moves to whisper in your ear.
“Good night, sweetheart. Get some rest.”
You pushed yourself up on your tiptoes to meet his lips, one of your hands wrapping around the back of his head while his hand on your back pulled you impossibly closer.
“Good night, Aaron.” You told him.
“I thought you didn’t kiss on the first date?” He teases you, smiling.
You shrugged. “I’m easily influenced.”
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i know you are as much as a slut for hotch as much as i am so i present you this, a completed wattpad fic about hotch
yes i am a slut for hotch thank you
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pairing ╏ aaron hotchner x female!reader
word count ╏ 2.4k
summary ╏ a couple years have passed, and aaron and reader begin to question their status
warnings ╏ none (?) please tell me if i missed anything x
note ╏ guys. i haven't written fanfics for like three years!1!!1!1! so i apologize in advance for any mistakes and grammar errors! i do hope you enjoy though! and also for the sake of the fic, jack and haley don't exist sorry guys lol and the ending is kind of bonk bonk but leave a like, comment, or reblog if you want! <3
I couldn’t pick up the phone. I sat back on the chair in the apartment we bought a couple years ago. But it tasted bittersweet just thinking about it; something I was supposed to cherish but couldn’t. The two plates of food on the table were now dull. What was once smoking and bled with heat was now encrusted in a dry film; unappetizing.
The phone continued to ring. Once. Twice. A pause. Once. Twice. Three times. But after the eleventh call, I figured he stopped. Aaron had forgotten his key that morning. It's almost humorous how he could tell the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath in his sleep but forgot the simplest things like our house key. And our fifth anniversary.
Earlier today, I had asked Aaron to go home early. But even after five years of marriage, eight of living together, and ten of dating, he couldn’t seem to care less of my whereabouts lately. Distracted, distant, and rigid.
“Hotch,” I swung into his dimly lit office earlier that day, “I'm going to be headed home early tonight. I-“
“Alright, see you at home,” Aaron continued writing his paperwork and took half a second to glance up at me. It’s unclear if he meant to cut me off or not but it didn’t matter because it would’ve hurt either way. Distant, I thought. A quick look at his office and nothing would’ve seemed different but I thought I saw more clutter than usual.
“Okay, well... I’ll see you tonight. Don’t be late!” I tried to look past it, for now. I blew a kiss his way and he looked up to smile at me briefly. The smile reached his eyes but I couldn't tell if it was genuine. His pen didn’t stop writing. Distracted, I thought. “Bye, I love you,” I breathed out and quickly shut the door, walking out to gather my stuff. I didn’t wait for his reply; unsure if he even had one. I wondered what he’d say. And if it’d hurt more than what his words didn’t say.
Looking at my watch on the way to my desk, it was half past four and it was clear to say that no one was done with paperwork yet.
“Where are you going?” Spencer questions, catching Emily’s attention. She looks up from her pile of work as well.
“Well, things to do and places to be,” I smiled at the two, putting my tablet into my bag. I grabbed my gun from my drawer and put it to my holster. Emily smiled knowingly. She knew it was me and Aaron’s fifth anniversary. Emily even helped pick out the perfect outfit for tonight’s homemade dinner. She also knew about Aaron’s behavior lately. We both thought of it and we discussed every scenario except the worst one yet. He wouldn’t do that to me, I would think to myself, not after what Haley did to him. It was the unspoken what if that I wasn't ready to swallow yet.
Emily and Spencer waved me goodbye and she wished me good luck, along with a smile that was poisoned in pity. I was almost entirely sure it wasn’t on purpose but I wasn’t sure of anything at that point. I walked out the door, into the elevator, and it felt so repetitive. The same elevator every day, the same building every day, living the same life every single day. I’d casually mention to Aaron how the repetition felt like a lot sometimes over paperwork in our office at home and he’d hum quietly. Maybe in agreement. We both loved our job. The same thing every time; but we were saving lives. Maybe it was the effect of his changed behavior. Maybe he felt it because he thought my behavior changed as well.
The same thing every time; coming home separately, even though we used to come back together. We were drifting and although it wasn’t the first time, we always resolved it. Things happen and we’d come out stronger and I had never had a doubt. Sometimes the job was hard and I was there for him, and he was there for me but it was different this time. He'd come home late and I'd be asleep by the time he got back. Then, I started to do paperwork at the local coffee shop and he’d be sitting in our office, waiting for me to get back.
No words would be exchanged once we were together for the night. Maybe a ‘hey’ or ‘how was your day?’ and then a simple ‘good.’ We’d both change our clothes and get into the bed. We were getting further and further away every night in bed. Too exhausted to think of words for this odd place we were in. Sometimes he'd hug me and take a deep breath and I'd release a breath I didn't know I was holding. Something was just not working this time. Trust your gut, Aaron used to say to me when I first joined the BAU. My gut told me that this couldn’t keep on going at the rate this seemed to be deteriorating.
All these moments led to right now. The phone rings beside me as Aaron waits outside in the drizzling rain at eight o’clock, without the key that he forgot this morning. I unlocked my phone to read the messages exchanged earlier tonight.
are you still at the office?
Yes, is there something going on?
you forgot, didn’t you?
aaron, it’s our anniversary?
I purse my lips and wonder if he still loves me. Of course, he does, my mind wanders, would he have been with you for ten years if he didn’t? I chuckle sadly. The food on the table now cold, the outfit Emily and I chose doesn’t seem so perfect anymore. The candles on the tables nearly half melted. The dining room looked eerie now, sitting by myself on a Thursday night with two uneaten plates of food with candles nearly burnt out.
That’s when I hear him knocking on the door gently.
“Y/N? Please let me in. I didn't forget, I just,” Aaron’s sigh is muffled by the door but I hear it clear as day when I get out of my seat and walk up to the door. I think he hears me walking to the front and continues. “I was distracted. Something isn’t right between us right now and we should talk about it. I’m sorry, Y/N, please let me in so we can talk.” I sigh in defeat and unlock the door, slowly. The door opens and his hair is flat from the rain, briefcase tucked under his arm with his phone in the other hand. But his posture isn’t as upright as it usually is – he probably knows he fucked up. I wonder if he’s been profiling me from my texts, or my current body language even though we promised we wouldn’t do that to each other.
He walks through the threshold of this house but his eyes don’t waver from mine as he sets his stuff down and puts his gun away in the drawer. A glimmer of his keys reflects the light in the drawer. It’s almost funny, how he remembers his gun but not his keys even though they were in the exact same place. It makes me wonder about the integrity of our situation and if he had left the keys on purpose.
I walk to the dining table with the food I made and turn away from Aaron. I’m not sure about what to say. I've obviously been avoiding this conversation for quite some time and even after all this procrastination; I still don’t even know what to say. I hear Aaron's footsteps from behind me and I wait to see if he has anything to say. After I'm sure that he doesn’t, I begin.
“Aaron,” I turn around to face him. I smile grimly, feeling tears prickle at the back of my eyes and it hurts to swallow, “What the hell happened to us?” Aaron stands there, arms crossed and a hand on his chin. Crossing arms suggests closing yourself off and is a gesture of defensiveness. “What happened to our Thursday night dates? Aaron- I don’t- I mean,” I struggle to complete a sentence when millions of thoughts are racing through my head, “I know you’re not happy. Sure, maybe everyone thinks that you don’t show a lot of emotion but I know you and you have a tell for specific things. When was the last time we really talked about how we felt about us? C’mon, Aaron, who are we bullshitting? We weren’t communicating and you know that it’s one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship.”
“Why are you using past tense?” Aaron asks and he’s doing the face he only gives to people he thinks are suspicious.
“What are you talking about? And why are you giving me that face?” I pause and Aaron tries to cut in but I get to it first. I make a face and pull my eyebrows together. “Are you profiling me right now?”
Aaron looks taken aback at my comment. “Are you?” Oh. When I don’t say anything he continues, “You’re using past tense when you mention our… marriage and relationship. If you have anything you want to say you should say it now. There really isn’t a better time,” His voice grows cold on me, the same way he does to unsubs we interrogate. I don’t think the ice in his tone is intentional but he probably can’t help it. He’s right though, should I confirm my suspicions? I don’t want to hear his answer to my question in fear that it might be the wrong one. But he is right, this conversation is long overdue.
“Are you cheating on me?” I breathe out at once. “Are you?” The tears are getting harder and harder to hold back and time seems to move slower by the second.
“Y/N, what? No, I'm not! Why would you think that? I could never do that to you. You know about Haley and how she cheated! And you think I'd do that to you?”
“You were just distant lately and-“
“Distant?” He pauses, I know he wouldn’t interrupt me if not necessary so I let him go on, “Y/N, so are you. I didn't think you were cheating. I thought you needed time and that I needed mine. I had thought about what you had said a couple weeks ago about how repetitive life felt.” I nodded at his words. “You’re not the only one who thinks that.” A pang of guilt radiates in my chest, because I think we both know how this was going to end.
“Okay,” I say.
“Okay.” I walk a little closer to him and cradle his face in my hands. He rubs circles on my wrists, caressing me and I do the same to his face. Tears are spilling from my eyes, down my cheeks, “Aaron Hotchner, I love you more than anything in this whole entire fucking world. I know you love me and that I love you but you’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life and we both know what’s coming. It’s been unspoken for too long, I know that. But whatever happens, you have to know that I love you. We had our good days,” I look around to see picture frames on the walls of our relationship in earlier stages. Smiling, dancing, laughing. I remember each and every one of the pictures and thinking that this would be the man I would love for the rest of my days. “And we had bad days. There will never come a day that I forget all the wonderful things that we had. I’m using past tense now because I think-“
“I think you’re right,” Aaron quietly cuts me off. “We’re not the people we used to be. We’ve changed but we can’t grow like this. I love you too, more than words will ever be able to encompass but maybe we’re feeling stuck, not bored or repetitive.” I want to say something for the hell of being a couple for probably the last moments but I don’t want to stray far from the truth. Aaron’s eyebrows turn downwards a bit and his eyes are glimmering with tears. He envelopes my body in his and leaves a quiet kiss on my hairline.
I take a deep breath of air, trying to savor this moment for the rest of my life. My face is wet from tears and they won’t stop falling. I hiccup from the crying in his grasp so he plays with my hair fondly and almost inaudibly hums to me.
“Will we be okay? I mean,” A hiccup, or three. “I don’t want either of us to leave the BAU because of this but also will we be okay? In terms of feelings and… well, more feelings.”
“Of course,” Aaron begins. “I don’t love you any less but we both agree that things will be better this way. We just... go back to how it used to be before you asked me to a drink for the first time,” I can feel his small grin as he leans against my head. Being reminded of that day hurts now, but it has for a while anyway. I wonder if I hadn’t asked him to that drink one night after a local case, if we’d be where we are now. But I know everything here was nothing less than fate itself and that I probably shouldn’t dwell on what if’s.
And so after some moments of silence for something that would soon be gone, we stand underneath the dim lights of the dining room. Aaron holds me against his chest as we look at the candles on the table. They’re both burnt out. There’s no light there anymore. The candle has melted onto the chamberstick, leaving long trails of wax.
I hold him a little tighter and he does the same to me. I don’t know what the future holds but our two halves have drifted too far to come back together and that’s okay. I know things will be weird for a while but it’ll be okay.
“It’ll be okay,” I whisper under my breath. For the sake of us, we'd leave it here. Once upon a time, we were younger and more naive, better for each other then. But we're older now but we're stuck. Just two ghosts standing in the place of him and me.
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Please write a little blurb about playful kisses with Hotch 💙💙
"aaron, i need motivation," you groan out. your forehead lands on his shoulder, and you feel his hum rather than hear it.
"what kind of motivation?" he asks. his eyes are on his book, and you shrug your shoulders helplessly.
"i don't know. something."
while you appreciate the internet age, it's a fact of life that everything sitting on your laptop an easily be pushed off another day. and while you'd love to push your computer off your lap and sit on aaron's lap instead, the fact was that sooner or later, it needed to be done.
you feel his hum again. considering. you feel his arm wrap around you, hands trailing lightly over your shoulder.
and then he's kissing you.
it's firm, insistent, and you sigh into it, tension gone. it's easy to melt into the way one hand moves to cup your face, and when he pulls away you feel the way his teeth nip your bottom lip.
"sweetheart?" he whispers against your cheek, another kiss there before he moves to your jaw.
"yeah?" you say, smiling at him, eyes still closed.
"finish a thing on your to-do list," he murmurs, "and you get another one of those."
your eyes shoot open, and then he's dropping his hand and pulling away. you can't help your groan of frustration, but his smirk tells you all you need to know.
he's won this round. because there's no way you're not getting at least three things done today with a reward like that.
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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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Part 15 in the Floriography series
Plumbago - Wishes
At a team barbecue at Rossi’s, Hotch finds Emily and Jack making wishes on stars and he thinks he might just do the same. Everyone knows that when you make a wish on a star, it always comes true.
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Ashes to Ashes
summary: Emily thought this was enough. It’s not, and there’s no one to blame but herself.
word count: 1.2k
content warning: smoking and some language.
dt: @yourlocalheartbreaker cause this was one hundred percent going to stay in my google docs forever until she asked about it.
a/n: this is barely hotchniss. it’s more of an emily gen fic where she’s married to hotch if anything. and i never realized how difficult it is to fit in an Aaron somewhere instead of having her call him Hotch. not my best work but it’s all i have had any inspiration for.
She quit smoking over a twenty years ago.
It wasn’t even quitting, she wasn’t addicted. Just stupid teenage fun that got her knocked up at fifteen and exiled from the catholic church.
Desperate times call for a couple cigarettes.
Especially when your husband, the one you waited for, who you nursed and cared for for years before the two of you pulled your heads out of your asses and started dating, is late again.
And that nagging voice that’s been bouncing in your skull since you got married reminding you of that one cruel fact.
This is what happened to his last marriage. This exact same. fucking. thing.
She thought, no she hoped, in her deepest most embarrassing and shameful part of her- cause she really did like Haley, the woman who gave Emily the best son one could ever have- that he loved her more. That maybe he didn’t love Haley enough to change, but he would be here for her. That they were just so perfect for each other, understood each other better than anybody, that he wanted to be home, and he would make sure he made this work between them.
Emily could almost hear the apology, hear him rush by her with nothing but a chaste kiss to go say goodnight to Jack. His coat hung up neatly on the rack but his shoes array.
Her eyes sting, a prickly burning sensation clouding her vision. It’s so stupid, because she knew. She had always known and he hadn’t ever lied to her or said he would change. That he would step down, be home more. He never made another promise he couldn’t keep after how that destroyed him and Haley. She never asked him to change and up until now she never wanted him to.
That doesn’t comfort her in the slightest, and Emily’s still warm with something akin to anger when the car pulls into the driveway.
The door swings open as she’s blowing smoke out, the kitchen window cracked open just enough so that Jack wouldn’t smell it in the morning.
“Hello,” he belts out. She doesn’t hear his shoes hitting the wall, meaning he knows how late it is. Knows that he’s doing too much and working too hard and coming home too late to a family that’s peeling apart.
His footsteps are coming. She turns towards the window, leaning on the counter and taking a slow deep breath.
She hates how much she knows him sometimes, hates how just the way he said that one word makes her feel every single emotion of his, without even glancing at his face. That exhausted and breathless tone, with every apology and sorrow from the work they do, the work that chips away at them endlessly, seeping into his voice. She used to love it, love how it meant he was vulnerable, opening up himself and letting her in. That voice meant he was there and he trusted her.
Now, all it’s doing is grating against her ears, because it’s not enough and she’s starting to think she was just that desperate for him, for a family, for someone who already knew everything, just every piece of her and loved her anyway.
Emily wonders how many times Haley heard the voice. How many times she fell for it, gave into him even when they had too many underlying issues to keep shoving under the mat.
“It’s 2 am.” Another slow stream of air escapes her, cigarette smoke evaporating in the night. She’s a shit cook, and they both know it, or else she would have tacked on ‘and your dinner’s getting cold’ just to hurt him.
Haley cooked. and cleaned. and got the lead role in the school play and gave birth to Jack and probably saved Hotch a million and a half times from his asshat father. And Emily liked her when she was alive and has never felt anything but utter gratitude for the woman’s presence in Hotch's life, but since the day Hotch revealed the divorce papers till just this morning, she never once understood how Haley could leave.
Her mind could never comprehend giving someone like him up, especially given their history and how that Hotch, pre-foyet Hotch, had a happiness and charisma and disposition that diminished when The Reaper was on the loose. That funny and guarded but willing to open up Hotch that shriveled up and sunk into the ground along with Haley Brooks Hotchner’s body December 9, 2009.
Haley had that version of him, and still decided to leave. And Emily gets his coldness, his aloof demeanor that refuses to accept help from anyone. She got those parts of him for years just for the rare moments where he shows her the love, the acceptance in who she is and will always be, that she had wanted for so long she almost closed herself off from ever receiving it. The moments that she greedily latched onto, that carried her through them dating and walked her up to the judge in the courthouse when they got married.The angry and bitter thought that she doesn’t deserve this, that she should matter enough to someone that they come home on time and open up to her and express their love to her seeps into her brain. She’s surprised by how hard she has to bite her tongue to keep it in.
Then the depressing idea that this is what she deserves, this glass half empty and bed always cold and feeling never enough for her family is all she will ever be allowed. Comeuppance for all that she’s hurt in her life, everything she’s ruined. This is what Emily Prentiss must lay in, the damaged ruins of the bed she made.
She can’t handle that, and she lifts the cig to her mouth to distract her.
He’s a good guy, Aaron. He’s one of the best, and there’s so much about him that she couldn’t imagine living without. He loves her, not who she could be, but who she is. Now. He knows her, understands her in a way nobody else does, and it would be unfair to him to forget that. And Jack. Her sweet Jack who called her momma once the other week and had her crying for a good three hours afterward. Their family, her everything. Everything she ever wanted, what she had closed herself off to for so long, right in her grasp.
But it’s hard. That type of achy-hard where you need it to end and you think it will just pass but it always ends up getting worse and worse until years have passed and there’s too much damage to salvage anything.
Smushing the remnants of her cigarette into the tray next to her, she pads over to their bedroom, knowing the bed’s empty after hearing the shower turn on.
Emily is barely conscious when she finally feels him slide in behind her, Aaron’s arm coming in around her waist underneath the blankets. He’s warm, while she’s shivering herself to sleep.
His arm, usually comforting in its heaviness against her, feels like a stone weighing her down the entire night.
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Version of You (Hotch x Fem!Reader) — one shot
Call 1-800-799-7233 if you think you are in danger/a victim of domestic violence, or visit this website for resources, live chat, and more (for the USA). This is a link to the wikipedia page that has international resources.
(I wanted to put that first because this fic deals with an abusive relationship and some scenes show the abuse. If you relate to any this, please seek help via the resources above. I want desperately to say my DMs are open, but for my own mental wellbeing, I have to let you know that the resources that I give above are about all I can do to help. You’re welcome to DM me if needed, but please know that it might take me a minute to reply, and I still will point you in the direction of resources that can better help you. I love and support and am with every single one of you, but I can only do so much through a screen xx.)
This is 100% a comfort fic, but I am safe and okay, I promise 💛 (Truthfully, this was really therapeutic to write.)
Small note: mental and verbal abuse is depicted here, not physical (though it does come close), but I wanted to remind you that just because abuse isn’t physical doesn’t mean it’s not harmful or real. Mental and verbal abuse is still abuse.
Summary: Hotch helps you find the courage within you to end your abusive relationship for good.
Warnings: depiction of an abusive relationship, verbal/mental abuse, violence (domestic and otherwise), angst, happy ending
Aaron is stunned and disappointed to find you’re still at your desk when he walks out of his office at the grand hour of 8 p.m.
You don’t even hear his office door open or close, but you do hear his footsteps on the stairs. By the time he reaches your desk to say goodnight, you’re already attempting to cover up any traces of emotion on your cheeks.
But Aaron is a profiler. On top of that, though, he’s one of your best friends. He’s known you for six years now, and given how much time the BAU members spend together on cases, he’d argue he knows every single person here better than they know themselves.
You’d agree. You hardly know who you are anymore. But somehow, Aaron knows. Aaron can see.
“What’s wrong?” He asks, already setting his bag down, already pulling a chair over, already sitting next to you.
You’re ready to tell him it’s nothing, to tell him to get home to Jack, that it isn’t important — but it is.
You’ve been with your current partner for almost eight years. Anyone would hear that and ask if marriage is on the horizon, or children, or something of the sort. But not Aaron. Because Aaron can see the pain in your eyes.
Truthfully, he’s seen that pain in your eyes for the past two years. Maybe more.
But recently, it’s gotten worse. A lot worse.
You’re on a “break” with your partner. Whatever a “break” even means, because you still receive phone calls and texts from them all day. You send the calls to voicemail unless you absolutely aren’t doing anything, and the texts you reply to with one word.
Going home is fine because your partner is gone — for now. Work called them away, so you’re home alone for at least another three days, but you expect they’ll want you to pick them up from the airport.
You’ve never longed for a case the way you’re longing for one right now.
This “break” has been easiest because your partner has been gone. You know if they were here, it wouldn’t have been a break at all.
“It’s made me realize that I...I want a break. A real break.”
“You want to break up,” Aaron says it for you, knowing you’re too afraid.
Your hesitant nod confirms this for him. “I do. I think I really do.”
Aaron has known the relationship hasn’t been the healthiest. You don’t open up about your personal life that much at work — you never have — but it has always been telling that you never go out for drinks with the team. And when you did, you’d have to answer texts every ten minutes. Your partner never accepted an invite to join the team for drinks or dinner, but would often get angry at you for being out, as if you hadn’t tried to invite them.
Raised voices, broken glass. Not a single hand was ever laid on you. No, instead, it was a wine glass your mom gifted to you when you graduated college when your partner was angry that you had gone out for drinks with the team after a difficult case. A coffee mug you gifted your partner for their birthday faced the brunt of their anger when you didn’t reply to a text message fast enough — because you were parking your car in the garage. Plates, picture frames. A coffee table once, three years ago. It had been a house warming present.
But they’ve never hurt me, you always argue — only with yourself. No one knows the truth, that you clean up after their outbursts, that you’re grateful to have some knowledge of first aid so you can tend to your cuts from the broken glass, or so that you could stitch up your partner’s hand with ease, because hospitals are expensive and the excuses you’d have to fabricate even more so.
They always apologize. Which is true. Apologies are frequent in your house. Sometimes verbal, sometimes in the form of flowers either on your desk at the BAU (that only Hotch seems to notice with a sad smile) or left on the counter at home. Sometimes, rarely, a fancy dinner and some gift, usually a necklace.
“If you need any help at all,” Aaron says, looking you in your eyes, carefully, intently. “I’m here. For anything.”
“Thanks,” you murmur. Your stomach rumbles loudly in the silence, making you chuckle awkwardly.
“Hungry?” He jokes, but is half serious. “I was planning to get something on the way home, if you’d like to join.”
You think it over for a moment. Your mind immediately jumps to say no because you think your partner is home...but they aren’t.
“Sure,” you say. “Why not. What’s on the menu?”
You gather your things and Hotch waits patiently, rattling off some ideas for food to eat until one grabs your attention.
Your phone buzzes with a text. Where are you?
Aaron notices your change in posture with a sigh. “Is that them?”
You nod slowly. “Asking where I am.” You quickly type back, Still at the BAU.
The reply is almost immediate, as always. Just checking. Love you.
Relief washes over you as you type back, Love you too.
Aaron doesn’t like what he sees. The panic that surges through you just from a text message, making you stand up straight, hold your breath, clench your jaw. Then the relief that relinquishes you when a reply comes and it isn’t negative for once. The sudden changes, the way your emotions are yanked back and forth. He hates it.
But he doesn’t mention it. Instead, he says, “Ready?” And waits for you to smile.
Hotch really doesn’t mean for dinner with you to turn into somewhat of a routine. But it does.
It’s brought more smiles to your face than Hotch thinks he has ever seen in the past six years. And for that, he doesn’t regret the dinners.
Neither do you, until the worst thing that could possibly happen ends up happening one night, three weeks since the first dinner.
Your partner is going out with friends, so you think you’re in the clear to get dinner with Aaron. And when your partner asks where you are again, you say you’re still at the BAU. You were, but you and Aaron were in the elevator to leave when you sent that message.
The two of you grab dinner at one of your favorite spots, at a table outside because the weather is perfect, the sky is clear, and stars are beginning to show. It’s magical. Until it’s a nightmare.
“Well, well, well.”
The voice sends shivers down your spine. They’re supposed to be out with friends.
Aaron automatically stands, shoulders squared and face set. He’s wearing his gun, and you are, too, but you’d never use it on your partner. You can’t say the same about Hotch, though, and that terrifies you.
“Babe,” you say with a smile, and Hotch tenses, hearing the pet name fall so easily form your lips. “What are you doing here? I thought you were going out with your friends?”
Your partner crosses their arms over their chest. “And I thought you were still at work.”
“We are,” Hotch speaks up, startling you. “We’re discussing a case.”
Your partner looks around, raising their eyebrows. “I don’t see any papers.”
“Because we went digital five years ago,” Hotch replies coolly. “But aside from that, a federal investigation is none of your business.”
You swallow thickly, waiting for your partner’s reply.
But to your surprise, they only nod. “I understand, sir. I was only checking.”
Hotch holds back a scoff, but instead returns the nod. “If you’ll excuse us.”
Your partner holds their hands up in surrender. “Of course.”
“I’ll see you at home,” you say quickly. “Love you.”
“See you at home,” they reply, making you frown as they turn and walk away.
When you look back at Hotch, you nearly scream. It takes everything in you not to make the hugest scene right there, outside this nice restaurant, underneath these stars.
Your phone buzzes. One hour. Do not be late.
“Don’t,” you say quietly. “Just. Don’t, Hotch.”
The next day, you knock on Hotch’s office door, twenty dollar bill in hand to pay him back for your dinner last night. You left in a hurry and didn’t get to pay. Thankfully, at least, arriving home with forty minutes to spare saved you from an even worse reaction from your partner.
“For dinner last night,” you mumble, sliding the twenty across Hotch’s desk. “Thank you.”
As you turn on your heel to leave, Hotch calls out to you. “I’m sorry.”
You sigh. “It’s okay.”
“It’s not,” Aaron says, making you turn back around. “I hope you’re...alright.”
You’re so very far from being “alright” that you almost laugh. Instead, you shrug. “It’s been worse.”
“Did they hit you?”
You’re too shocked to move. “What? No! Why the hell would you even say that?”
“Because I’ve been worried about you.”
“They have never laid a hand on me,” you snap. “Ever.”
“But they’ve come close,” Aaron says gently. “You know they have.”
You only scoff. You feel hurt. Insulted, even, that he would assume something like that. Your relationship with your partner is rocky, of course, but never physical abuse rocky. Never that bad.
But has it come close?
Sure, maybe you’ve felt the wind off a beer bottle when it grazed by your head on its way to the wall. Maybe you have had to duck to avoid getting glass to the face. Maybe.
Maybe they have come close. Closer than you want to admit.
But they’ve also loved you. Held you while you cried. Rewarded you after you cleaned up the broken glass. Left you flowers and jewelry and love notes.
They love you. Don’t they?
“It’s fine,” you whisper, blinking back the stubborn tears that have jumped to the front of your eyes. “They love me.”
“Love isn’t violent,” Aaron replies gently. “Love shouldn’t make you as terrified as I saw you when you left last night.”
“I know,” you choke out. “But I don’t know what to do.”
Hotch is rounding his desk and gathering you in his arms before the first tear slips down your cheeks. He holds you while you cry, letting you get it all out.
“We’ll figure it out,” he whispers, resting his chin on top of your head. “Don’t worry.”
It all comes to a head a few nights later when your partner springs a question on you. The question.
There, standing in the bathroom, you’re too stunned to speak.
“What d’you say, baby? Let’s get married, you and me.”
You don’t reply. You toss the makeup wipe in your trash can, flick the light in the bathroom off, and walk out into the bedroom.
“Baby?” They ask.
You’re facing the dresser, halfway to setting out a pair of pants for work tomorrow. “I...I can’t.”
“What?” Their reply is immediate and angry. “What are you talking about?”
“I can’t,” you repeat, refusing to change your answer. “No.”
By the time you turn around, they’re standing up from the bed, arms crossed over their chest. “What did you just say to me?”
“I said no,” you say firmly. “I’m not marrying you.”
“And why not?”
“Are you seeing someone else?”
“Your boss? Are you fuckin’ him?”
“Then why won’t you marry me?”
“Because I don’t want to!”
You’ve never raised your voice back at your partner. They’ve always been the one to raise their voice, and you stayed silent, tried to talk them down, be the quiet voice of reason.
But not anymore. You’ve had enough.
“You don’t want to?” They scream. “It’s been eight years and now you don’t want to. You’re fucking him, aren’t you?”
“I’m not,” you say through gritted teeth. “But I don’t want to be with you anymore.”
“Baby…” They sigh, stepping closer, lowering their arms. “Why not?”
“Because,” you reply slowly, backing up. “Just because.”
“That’s not a good enough reason and you know it.”
“It’s good enough for me,” you say. You step to the side and keep backing out into the hallway, getting ready to run if need be.
“Where are you going?” They all but growl. “What’s wrong with you?”
You’re scaring me, you want to scream, but you don’t. “I’m fine.”
“You’re fine? Well I’m for damn sure not fine, I’m heartbroken,” they seethe. You see the tell-tale signs that they’re about to get angry — angry enough to start throwing things. You realize in a moment of horror that a paperweight is within their reach.
And they reach for it.
“Don’t,” you murmur, freezing when their fingers wrap around the glass. “Put it down.”
“Why?” They ask, calm as ever. “Don’t you want to see what you’ve just done to my heart?”
You shake your head slowly. “No. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, no!” Your reflexes have gotten better since being at the FBI, and you duck right in time. The paperweight crashes against the wall behind you, shattering, denting the wall, and covering the couch in fine pieces of broken glass.
“See what you’ve done!” Your partner screams. “This could’ve been easy! You could’ve said yes!”
You spot your car keys on the counter next to you, and when they turn their back to you to grip at their hair, you slide the keys off and into your pocket.
I have to get out of here. It’s a thought that you never have. Normally by now you’d be vacuuming up the glass on the couch, apologizing every five seconds, pouring them a glass of whiskey or a beer or something. But not now. Not anymore.
You’re a few steps from the door when your partner notices. “Where the fuck are you going?”
“Nowhere,” you freeze. “Go take a shower. Cool off. I’ll clean up this mess and then we can talk about this again, okay?”
They almost don’t accept your offer, but after a second, they nod. “There better be a beer waiting on me when I get out.”
“Of course,” you smile.
Your smile makes them suspicious, but they turn and head into the bedroom without another word.
Shaking, you turn to the closet to grab the vacuum, turning it on and beginning to suck up the glass off the couch.
But when you hear the shower curtain pull closed, you escape, leaving the vacuum running.
It’s pouring down rain, you aren’t wearing any shoes, and you’re knocking on your boss’s front door. Can your life get any more pathetic?
When Aaron opens the door, he’s practically hauling you inside and out of the rain.
“What’s wrong?” Aaron asks, already leading you down the hall toward the bathroom. “You’re shivering, we need to get you out of these clothes — you aren’t wearing shoes, fuck, Y/N, what happened?”
“They asked me to marry them,” you choke out. You aren’t even crying. You haven’t cried yet at all. “I said no. They almost hit me.”
Aaron feels a dangerous surge of anger course through his body. “Did they hit you?”
You shake your head, and it turns into a full-body shiver.
“Okay,” Aaron says, taking a deep breath to ground himself. “Okay, let me get some clothes for you. Do you want to take a shower?”
You shake your head again.
“Okay, that’s okay. I’ll be right back.”
You sit, shivering, on your boss’s toilet for a few minutes before he returns with clothes. A t-shirt and pair of sweatpants of his. Old ones, he says, they don’t fit him anymore. You smile slightly when you realize the shirt is from his college, the sweatpants from his law school. No wonder they don’t fit him anymore.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call,” you say. “I—I think I left my phone there.”
“It’s okay,” Aaron shakes his head. “Don’t worry about that. Just get changed and get warm. Do you want some tea? Anything?”
“Just some water, please,” you murmur. “Thank you.”
“No problem,” he smiles.
After he leaves, you change out of your wet clothes and into his shirt and sweatpants. You carefully hang your wet shirt and shorts over the edge of the bathtub, hoping that’s okay.
You venture out of the bathroom and follow the noise into the kitchen where you find Aaron putting up dishes.
“Hey,” he murmurs, straightening up. “Do you want ice with your water?”
The sound of ice clinking into the glass makes you flinch, and you’re grateful Aaron’s back is turned away from you.
“There you go,” he hands you the glass.
You sip it quietly while he goes back to putting up the rest of the clean dishes in the dishwasher. Once he finishes, your heart is still racing, now with guilt from coming here unannounced. What if he was on a date? What if Jack was here?
“The guest room is all yours,” Aaron says softly. “If you want to talk about it, I’m here.”
You nod slowly. “I don’t know what to do.” You pause, rubbing your thumb over the condensation on the glass. “But I told them I’m not marrying them. But I...I didn’t tell them I was leaving. Or where I was going.”
“Good, that’s good.”
“No,” you shake your head. “It’s not. They’re gonna be mad. I can’t— Oh my god, I can’t go back. Not alone, they’ll—”
“Hey,” Aaron shushes you, walking around the counter to get to you. “Don’t worry about it right now. We’ll figure it out. I’ll go with you. You won’t be alone.”
The next morning, you and Aaron head into the office early so you have time to grab your go-bag and change into your work clothes that you left in there.
Thank God for having a job like this where it’s normal to have a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush, deodorant, and anything else you need in a duffle bag under your desk.
You and Aaron are the first people in the BAU, so you’re able to grab your bag and head to the bathroom to change without any questions. Once you return, you stuff the bag back under your desk and sit down, ready to bury yourself in reports for the day.
But before you can, Hotch calls you into his office.
“What’s up?” You ask when you step into the doorway.
“We didn’t eat breakfast,” he says, and that’s when you notice the two coffees and muffins sitting on his desk.
“Oh,” you chuckle. “I completely forgot.”
“Me too,” he smiles. “Here, sit.”
The two of you eat the breakfast in silence, but somehow you don’t mind it. You’re not in much of a talking mood, anyway.
Rossi arrives next and stops by Hotch’s office, not at all surprised to find the two of you eating together, though he does join with his coffee a few minutes later. The silence vanishes with Rossi, leaving laughter in its wake as he tells old stories about Hotch.
When the rest of the team arrives, they follow the noise to Hotch’s office, and soon you’re surrounded by your family. Your real family.
Once eight-thirty rolls around, you all begin to disperse, back to your respective spaces to start working for the day, and everything feels normal.
And then, in a matter of seconds, it isn’t.
The second your eyes land on your partner standing down in the bullpen, you fall to your knees, scaring the shit out of Hotch.
“What happened?” He blurts, kneeling down to you. “Are you okay?”
“No,” you shake your head. “No, no, no...No, Hotch, they’re out there.”
Hotch doesn’t need their name. The fear on your face is enough.
About this time, you hear Derek’s voice growing in volume. The most you can make out is, “Put...down…!” And that’s when your blood runs ice cold.
You pat your right hip, hoping, praying, your weapon is magically there, even though you know it’s not. You put it in the safe when you got home last night. You didn’t have time to grab it before you ran out and drove to Hotch’s place. You left it there, in the safe, because you never think twice about it since it’s locked away.
“Don’t do this, man,” Derek yells. “Put. It. Down.”
“Where is she?” Your partner yells. “Tell me where she is!”
“I’m not telling you shit until you put the gun down,” Derek says, firmly. You’re frozen in place, on the floor next to Hotch’s desk as you listen.
“They have my gun,” you whisper to Hotch. “I didn’t think they— I don’t know how they knew the code, I change it every week, I thought—”
“Hey, hey, don’t worry,” Hotch shushes you. “You stay here. Do not move. Try to get under my desk if you can.” He pauses. “There’s an extra pistol underneath. I want you to grab it just in case.”
You nod, but then a memory of last night grips you. “No! You can’t go out there!” You hiss, gripping Hotch’s arm.
Outside, you hear Emily’s voice adding to Derek’s, trying to talk your partner down. It’s a scene out of a horror movie. Straight from your worst nightmare.
“They already feel threatened by you, they’ll just shoot you the second they see you.”
“Not when they already have five guns on them.”
“Let me come with you,” you offer.
“No. Absolutely not.”
“Aaron, I have eight years of experience talking them down. I know what I’m doing.”
Hotch doesn’t like that you’re right.
“Are you sure?” He asks.
You nod. You’re shaking all over, but you still nod.
“Okay. Crawl over and grab the pistol from my desk. Tuck it in your waistband, on your back. Go now.”
You stay low as you crawl over, finding the pistol strapped underneath his desk on the right side. Once it’s tucked in your waistband, you stand, facing the window. Hotch stands too, with his back to the blinds, and thank God they’re closed.
“Is she in there?” You hear your partner scream. “Is she with him?”
“Shit,” you mutter. “Shit, shit, shit, they’re gonna fucking kill me.” You hate that the possibility is very real. They have your gun. They could shoot you the second they see you. You’re not wearing any protective gear.
“No,” Hotch replies. “I’m not letting that happen.”
“Come out here, you lying bitch!”
Hotch looks ready to kill your partner himself.
“Babe?” You call out, putting on a false tone, the same one you always use when talking them down. “Babe, what are you doing here?”
You step into the doorway, feeling another frozen chill of fear shoot straight down your spine. They look crazed. Insane, even. Worse than you’ve ever seen, worse than last night, worse than the last eight years.
“Don’t babe me,” your partner seethes, but the gun is still trained on Derek.
You know it makes no sense, but you want them to turn the gun on you. Not Derek. Derek can’t be hurt because of you, not like this.
“Put the gun down,” you say, trying to stay calm and sweet, the way you usually have to be at home.
“I’m not listening to a damn thing you say,” your partner yells, and then the gun turns on you. “There he is.” The gun isn’t aimed at you. It’s on Aaron.
“Put it down,” Aaron’s level voice floats through the terror roaring in your ears. “I won’t ask again.” He shifts and you realize then that he has his own weapon trained on your partner.
“You won’t need to. Come out from behind my fiancé you coward.”
“She’s not your fiancé,” Hotch says. “And you won’t shoot her.”
“Want to bet on it?” Your partner lowers the gun slightly, now pointing it straight at your chest. Strangely, you don’t feel any panic surge through you. It’s telling. That even now, your head is telling you, they won’t hurt me, they never hurt me before.
“Don’t do it,” Derek yells. “I will shoot you, man. Don’t do it. You have six guns pointed at you right now. Do you really want to do this?”
The metal of Aaron’s pistol bites into your lower back when you shift on your heels. Your arms are frozen by your side, too afraid to reach for the gun.
“Put it down,” Rossi yells.
“You’ve got five seconds,” Derek adds. “Don’t make me get to one. Five. Four.”
Your partner’s fingers twitch on the trigger. Aaron catches the movement. Nods once when Derek says three. And on two, Derek pulls the trigger before your partner can do it first.
A broken scream rips from your chest when the bullet lodges itself in your partner’s side, your gun clattering to the ground. Derek steps forward and kicks the gun further away, out of reach.
Hotch lifts you around your waist and pulls you back into his office, kicking the door closed with his foot.
You’re numb to everything as he sits you down on the couch, wrapping his arms around you as you finally sob, letting out every scream that you’ve been holding in.
Your partner is taken to the hospital to be treated for the gunshot wound.
Hotch tells you they won’t stand a chance at being acquitted, too many charges looming over their head already without the addition of domestic violence. You hardly hear his words, but you nod like you do.
He takes care of you while the commotion outside struggles to calm down. A blanket is wrapped around your shoulders, you hug a pillow to your chest, sniffling every few minutes as fresh tears cascade down your cheeks. Spencer brings you a mug of steaming tea that you barely manage to thank him for. Hotch thanks him properly for you before softly shutting his office door.
For months, you’ve been thinking about leaving them. For so long, you’ve wondered what life might be like without them. Now, you don’t know a thing.
You don’t know what to do. Where to go. Will you have to testify in court? If you do, will you have to talk about the...abuse? The abuse that you can barely bring yourself to label blatantly as abuse even though Aaron, your brain, everyone screams at you that that’s what it is — abusive behavior.
When you were a teenager, and even in your early twenties, learning about signs of abusive, unhealthy relationships, you never thought you’d end up in one. You thought surely you’d recognize the first signs and get out of there.
But instead, you did exactly what they said most people do. You brushed them off. You thought, oh, they just love me deeply, that’s all. They want what’s best for me, that’s all. They want me to be safe and protected, that’s all.
And that’s lovely, but there’s a difference. Between caring and controlling.
You never thought the difference would be so hard to see.
“Come on,” Aaron’s soft voice pierces through your thoughts. “Let’s get you out of here.”
You blink. “Where?”
“Wherever you want to go,” he replies gently. “Your apartment?”
Immediately, you shake your head. But then you pause. Because aside from your apartment and the BAU, you have nowhere else to go.
“Would you be comfortable going back to my apartment?” He asks. “I understand if it’s uncomfortable. I’m sure Garcia or Prentiss would be happy to let you stay with them, and I’ll gladly send them home with you.”
As much as you love Garcia and Prentiss, you strangely feel more comfortable with Aaron. After all, Pen and Emily don’t— or didn’t know about your partner’s behavior. Only Hotch knew.
“If you don’t mind, I’m...I’m okay with your place.”
“I don’t mind at all,” he smiles. “The guest room is yours for as long as you need.”
That makes you smile, though the expression feels foreign on your lips. “Don’t you have to stay?”
“It can be dealt with tomorrow,” he replies. “The paperwork will still exist tomorrow at eight a.m.”
“Okay,” you accept defeat. “Can I take this blanket?” You don’t like the idea of this weight leaving your shoulders.
“Of course,” he says.
You fall asleep in the car.
You didn’t mean to, but you were exhausted. And by the time you woke, Aaron had already carried you into his apartment. Startled, you gripped his arm a little too tight, but he shushed you carefully, letting you know you’re safe, he just didn’t want to wake you because you were sleeping so soundly.
He set you down on the guest bed where you tried and failed to get some rest last night, but now, you sleep like a baby.
Months after the incident, the guest room at Aaron’s apartment has become your temporary home.
You still haven’t been back to the apartment you owned with your partner — even though their name is on the lease, not yours. You went once with Aaron to pick up your clothes and anything else important, but it was a quick trip. You were desperate to get out of there.
Aaron didn’t like what he saw. The broken glass, the dents in the walls. The way your body language changed immediately. Your unwillingness to return there is fine by him.
It’s a slow, uphill battle as you begin to heal. Your partner still sits in jail, awaiting their trial date. You know you might have to testify, but you know your team might have to be there as well, so that makes you feel better.
Aaron has been incredibly respectful of your space. You were the one who brought up the idea of carpooling to work, one of you driving every other day, to save on gas for the both of you. He had assumed you wanted to drive on your own and always have your car — which is true, but you didn’t mind riding with him.
He’s the only one your terrified brain doesn’t seem to be scared of.
And you’re not complaining. You’re grateful to feel a small ounce of safety after feeling every sense of unsafe for the past eight years.
Your ex-partner’s trial comes and goes in the following three months. You did testify, along with the rest of your team, the verdict is guilty. Life in prison.
You wept on the steps of the courthouse from the sheer relief of it all.
“They’ll never hurt you again,” Aaron had told you and you didn’t believe him for one second.
Still now, as you know for a fact they are sitting in a prison cell, you have a small fear. But you think you always will.
You continue “rooming” with Aaron — that’s the best way you can think to put it — and you’ve come to really enjoy the weekends when Jack comes over. At the start, Aaron would try to take Jack out to the park to give you time alone, or you’d go spend some time with Penelope, but after a while, you started staying. And after a little while longer, Jack started warming up to you, and expecting your presence.
One weekend, you hear Jack and Aaron playing in the living room while you’re in Aaron’s office, trying to get some work done. And halfway through signing your name on a piece of paperwork, you hear Jack “whispering” to Aaron about you.
“Do you like her?” Jack whispers, but it definitely comes across as more of a soft shout.
Aaron’s eyes widen, and he presses his index finger to his lips. “A lot,” he says, but you don’t hear him — though you were straining pretty hard.
“Me too,” Jack giggles. “Is she your girlfriend?” He teases, poking his dad with his Lego sculpture.
Aaron pokes his son back with his own design. “No, buddy, she isn’t.” Again, you can’t hear him, but Jack’s question made your heart hammer in your chest.
You know you’ve had some feelings begin to develop because truthfully, they were blooming months ago, back when you began having dinner with Aaron. But then everything happened, and you still loved your ex, and things got too complicated.
Now, though, seven months out from the start of it all, the feelings are still there.
Aaron hasn’t made any moves, so you’ve kept silent. You don’t know how much of his good deeds are simply out of his own kindness. And you certainly don’t want to mistake it for something it’s not.
But kids pick up on things adults try hardest to hide.
You continue with your paperwork, listening to them continue to play.
It’s not until after Jack goes home to Hailey that his question is brought up, and it’s only because Aaron asked what was bothering you.
“It’s alright if you don’t want to talk about it,” he says. “But I’m here if you do.”
He’s always here. That’s what made you have a crush on him in the first place, years ago. He’s always there for anyone who needs him.
“I heard you and Jack earlier,” you start. “When he asked if I’m your girlfriend.”
Aaron sighs. “I’m sorry. I think it’s just confusing for him because to him, living together equals relationship since all he’s known is me and Hailey—”
“I’d like to be,” you interrupt his nervous rambling. “If that’s something you’d like, too.”
He blinks a few times, then smiles. “You…” He pauses. “Are you sure?”
“Aaron, I’ve liked you for so long and never said anything—”
“I’ve liked you for so long and never said anything,” he counters. “You’re serious?”
“Very,” you whisper.
When he kisses you, it’s what you’ve longed for all this time. It’s exactly what you’ve been yearning for. It’s exactly the kind of love you know now that you deserve.
Recovery has been messy, and will continue to be messy for some time, but you’ll have Aaron next to you every step of the way. Always.
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aaron and some dancing and some house chores
jack groans as he sees the list on the fridge. sees the little tally marks next to his name.
“take out the trash day?” he mumbles, and you offer a smile, ruffling his hair.
it’s a whole family affair, chore day. you have a list for all of them, little things to do around the house. jack’s are focused on his room and the trash, while you and aaron split the real home work.
but, there’s a little bit of planning to it all — because while jack turns on his own music on his earbuds, it means you have control up in the kitchen. and when aaron comes in from mowing the lawn, a little bit (incredibly) sweaty with grass on his legs, you’re dancing to something on the speakers while you sweep.
“don’t you,” you suddenly hear in your ear, aaron’s low sing. it makes you jump a little, but then you’re laughing as he insists on hugging you, making your nose wrinkle, “forget about me.”
“don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t!” you chant, and he laughs before kissing you.
on a long drive! send me a ship or a character and a prompt and i’ll write a drabble.
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more bau team family fluff :)
feat: bemused hotch listening to Reid ramble, Reid drinking tea because unlike the show, I didn’t forget about his addiction, Morgan and Garcia being cute, and Emily and jj flirting over Cheetos and shots
(from now on, I shall be classifying my art style as *technically* bad, but a cute idea regardless)
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Hi! Could you please write a blurb about dad!hotch, with jack and maybe another baby? I am so soft for that kind of stuff!
“you look good,” you can’t help but remark from your position on the couch. you’re leaning back against the cushions, watching aaron’s body gently sway as he holds the little girl on his hip.
he does look good. he looks comfortable, as he listens to your daughter’s babbles, gently adjusting the set of teething keys in her hand so it doesn’t slip. he looks happy, as he hums and waits for the his son.
“oh, yeah?” he asks. looks over at you with a smirk.
“yeah,” you laugh. “i don’t know if you know this, but. i kinda have a huge crush on you.”
the little tease makes him laugh, and then haley joy is giggling too, enough to make him press big kisses to her cheeks. it’s that sound that’s interrupted by jack’s pounding feet on the stairs, his cleats clicking on the hardwood.
“sport, what did i say about cleats in the house?” aaron calls to him. it makes you snort, jack’s open mouth.
“coach said he’d start me today!” is the teenager’s response. “i have to be ready.”
there’s a long-suffering sigh. and you giggle before lifting from your seat, moving over to ruffle jack’s head. “well, let’s get in the car, then. before dad over there has a conniption.”
aaron’s grumpy muttering of “i’m not having a conniption” is drowned out by jack’s whoop, and soon the hotchner family moves to another sunshine-filled saturday on the soccer field.
on a long drive! send me a character or ship and a prompt and i’ll write a drabble.
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Can you write something fluffy with Aaron Hotchner, like cuddling on a rainy day? :)
aaron’s eyes catch on a raindrop on the window. he watches it drip down the glass, watches it catch others until the whole thing lands on the sill. he finds another one, watches it take the same journey. something to entertain himself, as he feels the thud of your heart against his chest.
because see, he can’t exactly move right now.
not that he wants to. he’s comfortable here, the most comfortable, with the weight of you on him. one of his arms is curled around you, and there’s a blanket over your back, his fingers trailing up and down over your shirt. he’s at home here, and he knows you need sleep like you need air, and so your gentle dozing traps him right where he needs to be.
he kisses your head. right at the crown. pushes your hair back from your forehead. it makes you stir, makes your brow furrow and look up at him.
your little grumble makes him chuckle. “sorry,” he whispers. and when you doze off again, he has to give you another kiss.
yeah. this is where he wants to be. this is where he needs to be.
where he’s meant to be.
send me a ship or a character with a situation and i’ll do a blurb on my phone.
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Summary: Spencer really likes his new coworkers: they're nice, welcoming, friendly, and made his transition to the BAU as easy as possible. Which makes it impossible for him to turn down an invitation to eat dinner with them at an upscale fancy restaurant, no matter how anxious that makes a boy who grew up with next to nothing feel.
Tags: insecurity, anxiety, allusions to poverty, hurt/comfort, team as family, angst with a happy ending, fluff, background jelle
TW: mentions of poverty, financial difficulties, and food insecurity
Pairing: Gen (Aaron Hotchner & Spencer Reid, Derek Morgan & Spencer Reid)
Word Count: 3k
Masterlist // Read on AO3 // Bad Things Happen Bingo
This fills my "trying not to cry" bad things happen bingo square and is set a few weeks after Spencer joins the BAU, in an AU in which Elle was there before him.
Everyone is so nice, is the thing.
And that’s great. Really, it is. Spencer isn’t about to complain when JJ kindly walks him through the filing system all the while asking questions about him and his life, or when Derek ribs him gently about his ducktail hair or his nerdy brain. No-one cuts him off when he gets carried away — unless it’s time-sensitive, of course — or teases him about anything that cuts too close to home. Being the new guy in the most prestigious unit in the FBI could’ve been a nightmare, but this team made it easy. He’s so grateful for all of it.
It just makes it really hard to turn down dinner invitations.
He watches his shaking fingers in the mirror as they button his shirt up and wrap his tie around his neck, poking it fastidiously under the collar, not a wrinkle of fabric out of place. He glances down at the countertop again, re-reading the restaurant name copied down in JJ’s careful handwriting onto a piece of copier paper regardless of having committed it to memory the first time he heard it. Sur la Rivière: a fancy European restaurant in DC.
He’d hoped for a cheap and cheerful Chinese when Hotch had first brought up the idea of a team bonding dinner, something more his style, but he’d smiled anyway when Elle had mentioned this place her foodie friend had recommended, no matter how strained it might have been. He’s the new guy after all. He doesn’t expect much swing when it comes to choosing where to eat.
As soon as his shirt and tie are perfectly in place, he gets to work on taming his curly hair. It makes him look younger when it’s loose and fluffy, and with a baby-face like his combined with already being the youngest person in the entire FBI, every year he can add on counts. Soon, though, there’s no more grooming he can use to stall the inevitable, and he sighs tiredly before clicking off the bathroom light and heading to the hall.
He collects his phone and wallet, checking for the sixth time that evening that his credit card and extra money to tip the waiter is definitely in there, grabs his keys, and heads out of his apartment.
Derek is in his car waiting on the curb for him like he promised he would be, looking effortlessly suave and cool in a way Spencer never will as he honks his horn at the sight of the younger man walking towards him.
“Pretty boy!” he calls, his grin making Spencer smile, too. “Took you long enough. Hop in, fancy European cuisine awaits.”
Another rush of nerves floods Spencer’s stomach at the mention of the fate he’s signed up for, but he smiles anyway as he opens the passenger door and slides in. “Thanks for giving me a lift, Derek,” he says, hating that his anxious discomfort is so obvious in his voice.
Thankfully, Derek doesn’t pick him up on it, simply pulling away from the curb and beginning the drive across town. “How many times do I have to tell you not to mention it? I live less than ten minutes away, Spencer, it’s really not a problem.”
Spencer flushes a bit at that, wringing his hands in his lap as he watches the streets of his district pass by out the window. “Well, I appreciate it anyway,” he settles on, flashing Derek a quick smile that he doubts he sees anyway with his eyes glued so firmly to the road. “Riding the metro is a nightmare at this hour.”
“Never learned how to drive?
I didn’t have the money for lessons, Spencer wants to say, irrationally frustrated at his situation. I was rushed through the academy too quickly to learn something as trivial as driving.
“I was too busy getting five degrees,” Spencer says instead, forcing a smile on his face. He wishes he wasn’t so well-practiced at managing other people’s emotions; wishes he could say what he’s really thinking. But he can’t, not in front of the people he’s trying to impress, not so soon.
“Alright, alright, I get it, you’re a genius,” Derek chuckles. “I’m glad you’re coming tonight, we all are. Gideon didn’t tell us much before he left, just that you had an IQ of 187 and he’d pulled a lot of strings to get you in at only 22.”
Spencer winces slightly at the mention of his ex-mentor. “Yeah, I’m sorry he ran out on you guys so suddenly.”
“Hey, from what I hear, he did the same to you,” Derek counters. “You guys seemed way closer than we were anyway. I never really liked the guy.”
As much as most of Spencer hates Gideon for abandoning him without warning, leaving him to find his footing in the FBI alone and afraid, a small part of him still itches to defend him. “He was a good mentor. Not such a good friend, as it turns out.”
Derek looks away from the road for a moment and shoots him a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry, man. But Gideon’s loss is our gain. You’re gonna be an amazing asset to the team, I just know it.”
A genuine smile crosses Spencer’s face at that. “Thanks, Derek. I can’t wait to really get stuck in, you know?”
“I remember the feeling.” Derek grins again.
They continue chatting for the rest of the journey, Spencer finally relaxing into the company of a new friend— that is, until Derek cuts across one of his stories from his second PhD. “Hey, the restaurant should be up on the left somewhere but I can’t see it…
“Oh, there,” Spencer says, pointing at the sleek, almost anonymous-looking black sign hanging above a set of fancy doors. How can doors be fancy? They’re supposed to be functional, not pretentious. All of a sudden that sinking feeling that had lifted on the car ride over settles back into his stomach and he can’t help but swallow nervously as Derek parks the car and they step out into the street.
Everyone’s already seated when they finally push through the restaurant doors, and Spencer hates that he made them both late with his apprehensive stalling, but no-one really seems to mind as they all cheer happily at the sight of them, ignoring the dirty looks it earns them from the other patrons.
“You made it!” Penelope squeals as she gets up from her seat to give Spencer a hug. He’s a little touch-averse, really, but something about Penelope’s hugs make him never want to leave her arms. He does anyway, though, and he and Derek find their seats opposite one another at the end of the table.
“I’m glad you’re here, Spencer,” Hotch says kindly as the waitress passes the two late-comers their menus.
“You’ll fit right in,” JJ promises, “we’re like a weird little family, to be honest.”
Spencer flushes a bit under the attention of so many experienced FBI agents, but he nods anyway before they all get started on deciding what to eat. He listens vaguely to everyone talking amongst themselves, giving one another suggestions in a way that corroborates JJ’s statement, and all of a sudden Spencer’s collar feels tight. It’s not just the nerves of meeting new people or the anxiety of an alien social environment, he realises he doesn’t recognise a single item on the menu.
He knows what the words themselves mean, but reading the words 'tortellini of venison’ and trying to imagine deer meat pasta is not easily done. The only simple meals seem to be seafood and Spencer’s never been a fan of fish. The only food he can even begin to imagine himself actually putting in his mouth, chewing, and swallowing is the porterhouse steak: not that he’s ever really eaten much red meat like that.
Spencer isn’t a fussy eater. He’s eaten a wide variety of dishes from any number of different restaurants across multiple cuisines, he’s just never had the kind of money to eat at a place that serves caviar, for God’s sake. Far too soon, the waitress wanders back over to the table, taking everyone’s orders with a polite smile on her face.
He listens as everyone confidently orders their meals: the smoked trout, the Moroccan quail, the lobster tagliatelle. Spencer thanks the heavens he isn’t a vegetarian, at least, but it’s not much of a consolation prize when everyone’s eyes fall on him.
“Uh, I’ll have the porterhouse steak,” he says uncertainly, hoping nobody notices the sweat beading on his forehead or the anxiety raging behind his eyes.
Everyone seems to accept his answer, the waitress taking their menus and walking back towards the kitchen as the rest of them resume their conversation. Hotch’s eyes linger a moment too long on him, and Spencer thinks he sees something like concern in his gaze, but before he can think much of it, Penelope’s drawing everyone’s attention to JJ’s bracelet.
“Can we please appreciate this?” she says, sounding scandalised for some reason Spencer can’t quite discern from context yet. “Elle, baby, you have taste. This is absolutely gorgeous! Are you sure you don’t want to date me, too?”
Spencer’s eyebrows raise slightly at that. “Oh, you two are together?” he asks, although now that he realises it he’s not sure how he didn’t notice sooner.
“Are you sure you’re a profiler, kid?” Derek laughs. “They don’t exactly hide it.
“Even though they’re supposed to,” Hotch chimes in with a faux stern look. “You two are gonna have my job at some point.”
“Aw, but where would we find another Unit Chief that would help us hide our secret so well?” Elle says charmingly, making everyone laugh, including JJ, who presses her face into her shoulder fondly.
It’s easy for Spencer to momentarily lose himself in the banter, smiling as they tease one another, interspersing their gripes and funny stories from work among it all. They include him in all of it, and he doesn’t feel left out for even a second, finally relaxing into the unfamiliar environment of a fancy restaurant, eased by the reassuring company of his new team.
“JJ’s right,” he muses out loud when there’s a brief lull in conversation, “you guys really are like a little family.”
JJ leans away from Elle towards him for a moment, wrapping him in a side hug. “And you’re the perfect addition to it, Spence,” she says softly, everyone’s expressions reading nothing but fond agreement. “We needed a little brother to add into the mix.”
Spencer blushes again but leans into her touch.
No-one gets a chance to say anything else before the food arrives, the servers bringing JJ and Elle’s meals first, then serving Hotch and Penelope, before they finally bring out his and Derek’s order.
Everyone dives into their food, immediately making noises of contentment, passing bites around to one another, but Spencer can’t join in the jubilant celebration of a good meal. He picks his knife and fork up shakily as he stares at the massive portion of steak in front of him. It’s served with roast potatoes and flecks of a pointless salad that he suspects is only there as a garnish rather than actually part of the meal, but that’s not what has him worried.
This huge slab of meat hasn’t been sliced beforehand. He knows that he’ll shake the whole table if he tries to do it: it’s a massive, impenetrable slab of red meat that Spencer has no chance of enjoying, let alone finishing. He stares at it as tears burn in his eyes: he’s so out of his comfort zone and he’s so terrified of messing up and pushing away these newfound friends that he can’t move.
“Spence?” JJ cuts in gently, putting a hand on his shoulder, forcing him to look up, only to find everyone looking at him with worried expressions on their faces. “Are you okay?”
“Sorry,” he says, standing up abruptly, the disturbance of the table barely registering in his brain. “I just need a minute.”
He rushes out of the restaurant without looking back, drawing in deep breaths as soon as he’s in the cool evening air of spring. Thoughts race through his mind at a million miles an hour as he grasps for something concrete to grab onto, eventually settling for a tall flower pot.
He looks up to find Hotch standing next to him, deep concern written across his face, and Spencer’s heart clenches at the thought that he’s already messed this up so quickly. Could this night possibly get any worse?
Apparently, it can, because all of a sudden he feels his face crumple and the stinging tears finally spill down his cheeks. He sinks down to the ground and buries his face in his hands, humiliation glimmering in every cell of his body.
“Oh, Spencer,” Hotch says gently, lowering himself to the cool pavement next to him and placing a warm hand on his back. He lets him cry it out for a couple of minutes, his palm drawing small circles in between his shoulder blades, trying again to get through to him when Spencer’s sobs calm down slightly. “You want to tell me what’s going on?”
With a shuddering breath, he forces himself to lift his face from his palms, although he still refuses to meet Hotch’s eyes, keeping his gaze fixed firmly on the Korean restaurant across the street. “I guess it just all got to be too much,” he whispers.
“Yeah?” Hotch says encouragingly. “What specifically?”
“I— I didn’t have much growing up. It was just me and my mom so we were living in the middle of Vegas on a single disability check each month. And, uh, then I went to college, and I was barely scraping by there, too. It’s only recently that I’ve known the luxury of knowing for sure I was eating that night, and it still gets to me sometimes when I’m faced with fancy restaurants and heavy, expensive meals. My body’s had to work for years on virtually nothing, there’s no way I can stomach a steak like that. I guess, all those feelings that are a lifetime in the making combined with the anxiety of eating with the team for the first time… wanting to make a good impression, it just all got too much. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
Hotch raises a hand, and Spencer finally meets his eyes, finding nothing but compassion and understanding there no matter how much he searches. “You don’t need to apologise, Spencer, not for something like this. I’m sorry that none of us thought to make the first team dinner with you a more casual affair, and I’m even more sorry that you felt like you couldn’t tell us you were uncomfortable.”
“It’s not, but I’m glad you accept my apology,” Hotch says, smiling softly. “You know, we all bring baggage with us, Spencer. I can’t relate to food insecurity, but I had my own issues when I first joined the BAU. I grew up with a pretty terrible father, and the thing I found myself reprimanded for the most when I was a new recruit was the inability to follow orders. I’d spent my whole life scared of this man, obeying his every word, and I couldn’t help but hear him when my superiors would tell me to do something. When I was finally free of him, it was like I couldn’t help but rebel.
“You’re not the only one whose childhood follows them around, and I’d much rather it be something like this that we can easily manage, than something that will affect you or the team in the field, okay? Instead of beating yourself up over things you can’t control, try and remember that you have a whole new family who will do anything they can to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We already think the world of you, Spencer. Sacrificing fancy dinners that — let’s face it — can’t beat cheap junk food anyway is hardly a big ask.
Warmth spreads across his chest at Hotch’s words, replacing the feelings of failure and rising anxiety with something that feels like a promise of all the good to come. There’s something fatherly, something deeply paternal in Hotch that there wasn’t in Gideon, and it’s the most comfort Spencer’s felt in years. “Really?”
“Really,” Hotch nods, squeezing his shoulder gently. “You wait here one minute, okay?”
“Okay…” Hotch is gone before he can finish replying, and Spencer is left staring at the doors confused, until the rest of the team are piling out of them a few minutes later, Hotch bringing up the rear with his jacket and wallet in hand.
“We just paid the tab. How does cheap Chinese food eaten in the park a couple hundred yards down sound?” Hotch suggests, raising an eyebrow as he smiles warmly at Spencer.
He looks around briefly at the rest of the team, who are all giving him encouraging looks, not a trace of judgement or annoyance to be found.
“That sounds amazing,” he laughs wetly, the tears springing to his eyes this time caused by a completely different emotion. “I can pay you back, though.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, pretty boy,” Derek says, patting Spencer’s back, “we’ve got it. Now, come on, I’m gonna order sweet and sour chicken balls, and I want them now.”
“That’s what she said,” Penelope giggles, linking her arm with Derek’s.
“That was terrible, baby girl, but I love that you tried.”
“Do you want to share shrimp chop suey with me, babe?” Elle asks JJ as they clasp hands, walking a couple of steps ahead of them.
“Well, I’m certainly not sharing with any of these losers,” JJ teases, before kissing Elle’s cheek.
Spencer feels Hotch place his hand on his back, and he turns to smile gratefully at the older man. “Thank you,” he says quietly, trying to convey just how earnestly he means it. “No-one’s ever done anything this nice for me before.”
There’s a slightly sad tinge to Hotch’s smile, but it doesn’t look like pity. “I’d get used to it if I were you. That’s just how we do things in the BAU.”
Well, if that’s the case, Spencer thinks, smiling as he falls into step between Hotch and Penelope, I think I might just stick around.
taglist: @criminalmindsvibez @suburban--gothic @strippersenseii @takeyourleap-of-faith @negativefouriq @makaylajadewrites @iamrenstark @hotchseyebrows @temily @jellejareau @reidology @spencerspecifics @bau-gremlin @tobias-hankel @garcias-bitch @oliverbrnch @physics-magic @sbeno22 @im-autistic-not-stupid(taglist form)
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hey guys! just wanted to pop in and say there’s probably not going to be a new fic today, because i have a 10 page paper due tomorrow that has my name on the doc and that’s it 🥴
i do have a WIP in the final stages of writing thats soft and fluffy and will be posted on saturday to make up for today. thank you all for bearing with me during finals, i love you guys so much!! 💗💗💗
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Just so you don’t think I took all those ideas for nothing... One down, 24 to go!
~Sometimes Hotch makes you wait for what you really want.~
Aaron Hotchner x F!Reader
Warnings: NSFW. Edging. Bondage. Tenderness. Dom!Hotch. Yummy.
COMING TO PATREON MAY 24th
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