Summary: After graduation from the FBI Academy, all new agents go through a year of New Agent Training before becoming official agents of the bureau. By some stroke of luck, you get assigned to complete your training with the department you’ve always wanted to join– the Behavioral Analysis Unit. You signed up for a year of profiling, case work, and catching serial killers, but you’re in for more than you could ever dream of…
Chapter Summary: Emotionally, you and Hotch are closer than you’ve ever been before. But when a case takes the team to a tiny town in Alaska, you and your SSA might have to get physically closer too (for warmth, of course).
(A/N: This is our last chapter that deals directly with canon! It follows season 5, episode 21, “Exit Wounds.” From here on out though, the cases -- and plot -- are all my own...which we’re already starting to see in this chapter because I can’t write anything CM-related without putting Jemily in there. Anywho! Enjoy!)
One | Two | Three | Four | Five
“I Want to Hold Your Hand”
“So, who’s the guy?”
Pocketing your phone, you glanced at Garcia as the two of you walked down the street. Her eyes sparkled beneath the streetlights and if you didn’t know better, you’d think she could read your mind.
“What?” You feigned ignorance.
“The guy you’re texting. Actually, sorry that’s heteronormative of me—the person you’re texting who’s got you all moon-eyed.”
“I am not moon-eyed.” You protested, though you could feel heat rising to your cheeks.
For a moment, you considered telling her the truth– that Hotch had texted you to say Jack had finished the puzzle you’d gotten him during the last case. You’d started working on it with Jack the weekend before, the two of you sorting out all the edge pieces and putting the border together.
Hotch attached a photo of Jack next to the assembled masterpiece with the message.
Hotch | 5:25 p.m. | He said 100 pieces was too easy.
Y/N L/N | 5:25 p.m. | Maybe he can help with the 1,000 piece one on my coffee table. I started it a year ago and still haven’t finished.
The truth seemed too complex to explain, and you weren’t sure if you were ready to admit aloud that Hotch did make you moon-eyed and lovestruck.
So you settled for part of the truth instead. “It was just a friend sending me a picture.”
“Uh-huh.” She said, clearly unconvinced. “You know you don’t have to tell me anything, lovie, but I am starving for some juicy mid-twenty-year-old gossip. The most exciting things Reid ever tells me are about the reruns of Star Trek he watched over the weekend.”
“Please,” You laughed, “What I know, you know. And you probably know more than I do. I mean, look at me, Pen. The closest to normal mid-twenties activities I get is the fact that I’m spending Friday night with my best friends.”
“Who happen to be a hot and very smart mom, a mysterious beautiful badass, a tech genius...Okay, fair enough, mon cheri.”
Prentiss and JJ emerged from a café ahead of you, each carrying two styrofoam cups.
“Oh, no.” JJ shook her head as the four of you reunited, taking in the armfuls of bags Garcia was carrying.
“I know, I know, I know. Don’t say it. But when you see what’s in here...and it’s not my fault. They were calling to me, I swear.” Garcia defended.
JJ and Prentiss both glanced at you, but you just shrugged. You knew better than to try to intervene in Penelope Garcia’s affairs.
“And they were all on sale,” Garcia continued. “And when you think about it, that means I am helping the economy.”
“Just please tell me all of those aren’t for my son.” JJ cut in.
Garcia lifted one small black bag. “This one is for Kevin.”
Prentiss laughed, and you just shook your head, smiling.
“What? It is my duty as a fairy godmother to spoil the child. And Henry is finally old enough to be fun when opening presents. I am not taking them back. Give me my coffee and no one’s gonna get hurt.”
“Oh, a half-caf extra shot venti, 2-pump nonfat, hold the whip caramel macchiato.” Prentiss recited, handing Garcia one of the cups while JJ handed you yours.
The four of you started walking down the street again.
“Actually, Garcia, I think Henry could use some fairy godmother magic right now,” JJ admitted, her tone growing serious. “Will and I, um, we’ve decided to split up.”
“JJ,” You furrowed your brow, “I’m so sorry.”
She lifted one shoulder in a half shrug, “It’s been coming for a while. When I got pregnant I thought we’d get stronger but what we have...it’s better as friends and co-parents.”
“Still, breakups suck.” Garcia said. “If there’s anything we can do, you know we’re your fierce and loyal protection and support squad.”
JJ smiled at that, “I know.”
She glanced at Prentiss and you noticed the dark haired profiler didn’t appear too surprised by JJ’s news. You didn’t have time to analyze much, though, when JJ’s phone beeped and she slowed to read the incoming message.
“Wait,” She sighed, and you knew what she was going to say next. “Time to go to the BAU, ladies.”
The rest of you echoed her sigh, but stopped anyway. Prentiss stepped up to the curb, raising her arm to hail a cab. The four of you piled in, laughing as Garcia’s gift haul blocked all view of the route to Quantico and each other.
Hotch and Reid were already in the conference room when you arrived. You settled into your usual seat between Reid and Prentiss. Hotch met your gaze from across the table, amusement in his eyes as he noted the matching cups set at your and Prentiss’s places.
“Not anymore, sadly.” Garcia said, reaching out to mess with Reid’s hair, “But we like you boys anyway.”
Reid ducked away from her touch, trying to fix his long locks, but he had a soft smile on his face. You smiled too, surprisingly unbothered to be opening the new case file in front of you. Morgan arrived soon after, dropping into his chair beside Garcia, leaving the end of the table open for Rossi.
“Woah,” Prentiss’s eyes widened as Rossi entered in a tuxedo, his bowtie undone.
“Sorry to ruin your night.” Hotch said.
“What are you, working on wife number four?” Morgan teased, spinning a pen between his fingers.
Rossi sighed. “I see you people way too much.”
A chuckle made its way around the table, quieting as Rossi sat.
“Let’s get started.” Hotch prompted, looking to where JJ stood by the flatscreen at the other end of the table.
“Alright, the Anchorage Field Office is asking us to investigate a series of murders in Franklin, Alaska. There’s three people dead in less than a week.”
“For a town with a population of 1,476, that’s fairly significant.” Reid said.
“It’s their first murder investigation on record.” JJ confirmed.
“Who are the victims?” Rossi asked.
“Uh, Jon Baker, a hunter. Dedaimia Swanson, a schoolteacher. Brenda Bright, the first mate on a fishing boat. There’s a new victim every two days.”
“Any connections?” Prentiss asked.
“Unfortunately, in a town this small, everything’s connected.”
“Different methods of murder, though.” You pointed out, looking at the file. “The first two were shot but Brenda Bright was stabbed with an arrow. That seems odd.”
“Are we sure it’s the same guy?” Rossi wondered.
“All three victims were found in heavily trafficked areas.” Hotch said. “The unsub wants them found sooner than later.”
“Jon Baker’s body was left exposed to the elements but the two women were buried under mounds of trash. Why?” Prentiss asked.
“It could be a sign of remorse.” Reid theorized. “Cover the bodies so he doesn’t have to be faced with what he’s done.”
“Or he thinks that the women are trash and he’s just placed them where he thinks they belong.” Morgan countered.
“Well, we can’t be sure of anything yet.” JJ said. “Franklin is an isolated fishing community that’s been hit really hard by the current economy. Add to that a series of unsolved murders and everyone’s on edge.”
“The local sheriff is out of his depth and Alaska hasn’t handled a serial investigation since Robert Hansen in the ‘80s. We’ll fly out tonight, everybody can sleep on the plane.” Hotch said. “Garcia, I need you with us.”
“I’ve tasked a satellite uplink and it’s your job to keep us connected.” He explained.
“This town’s already on the brink, and if the pattern continues, we’ve only got a day until the next murder. Let’s finish this fast.” Hotch instructed. “Wheels up in thirty.”
Early on in your time with the BAU, you learned to keep two go-bags packed and ready. One was for warm weather and the other for cold (with some items to go either way in both). You were grateful, stepping off the jet in Anchorage and heading for the float plane that would take the team to Franklin, that your cold weather bag was stocked with long sleeves, sweaters, and the nice long coat you’d already dug out during the nine hour flight.
Assigned to work the crime scene with Morgan and Prentiss, you hung back on the dock after exiting the float plane as the rest of the team walked ahead. A woman in sheriff’s brown and khaki stepped up, sliding a pair of aviators into her breast pocket.
“Welcome to Franklin. I’m Deputy Flack.”
“Agent Prentiss,” Prentiss introduced, shaking her hand. “These are agents Morgan and L/N.”
“Is this the dock where Brenda Bright was working the night she was killed?” Morgan asked.
“Alright, we’ll get started here.” He said, and the three of you followed Deputy Flack up to the main walk.
“It’s pretty isolated out here. How do you get basic supplies?” Morgan asked, falling into step next to the deputy while you and Prentiss followed behind.
“Float planes bring grocery and hardware deliveries on a weekly basis, and fishermen and hunters provide the town’s meat supply.”
You paused as a man passed from the opposite direction, pausing in front of you.
“Hey, I’m Craig Ramey. You all the F.B.I.?”
“What gave us away?” Prentiss asked, and you stifled a laugh, looking at Morgan’s sunglasses and your own long dark coat.
Morgan looked him up and down. “You’re sure packing an awful lot of stuff for a fishing trip.”
“I’m not going fishing. I’m getting the hell out of dodge before it’s me or my wife put in the ground.”
“Did you know Brenda well?” Prentiss asked.
“Everyone did. She was sweet. She’d pull a haul just as good as any guy on these docks.” He turned to the deputy. “As soon as I get my house boarded up, I’m heading out. I suggest you do the same, Susan. Excuse me.”
He passed by and you kept walking.
“I can’t say I blame him. With everything that’s going on, I’m surprised more people aren’t trying to leave.” Deputy Flack said, leading you to a fishing boat where a man was working on a fishing net. “This is Keith Graves, he was with Brenda the night she died.”
“Hello, Mr. Graves.” You greeted, “Did you notice anything strange or out of the ordinary the night Brenda died?”
He shook his head, fiddling with the net. “No. I offered to wait for her, but she insisted I head up to town without her.”
“What were you two doing that night?” Prentiss asked.
“We finished for the day, I left, and she stuck around to clean the fish that she wanted to take home.”
“Was that typical?” You followed up. “For her to walk home alone?”
“Yeah,” He nodded, “Brenda said that walking was good for the soul.”
“How far is it into town?” Morgan asked.
“About half a mile.”
Prentiss nodded. “The unsub could have waited for her anywhere.”
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Graves,” You said, nodding to him before the four of you set off again.
You walked the half mile into town, to the place where Brenda Bright’s body was found. It was a junkyard, an old car abandoned by some overgrown chain link fence. Trash was strewn on the ground, most of it piled up against the fence.
“Your report said the assault occurred here.” Morgan said.
“That’s right.” Deputy Flack nodded, pointing towards the road. “There was a trail of blood coming from that direction.”
“I don’t see any blood.” Morgan said.
“We covered it up.”
“You contaminated the scene?” Prentiss asked, surprised.
“We had to. We’ve got a rabid bear in the woods, it’s been ripping smaller game to shreds. A creature like that smells blood, he’ll come into town, no hesitation.”
“And the other two victims were found in places like this?” You asked.
“Jon was found on the edge of the woods. Dedaimia was up by Crest Falls. It’s a popular hiking route.”
“Who would know their routines?” Prentiss asked.
You glanced at your teammates, finding your thoughts mirrored in their expressions– so far, not so good.
The profile began to take shape, however, when the team reconvened at the local inn (your base of operations for the case) in the evening. The others were already gathered in the hotel’s lobby/common space, a fire roaring in the fireplace. You sat as close as possible, chilled from your day outside in the cold.
“He’s already experimenting with his victims,” Rossi pointed out. “He violated Brenda Bright with an arrow.”
“And he’s inciting panic,” Morgan added. “People who have lived here most of their lives are packing up to leave.”
“Can you blame them?” JJ said, “We have a psychopath whose hunting ground is a town of 1,400 people.”
“Most of them grew up learning to hunt animals and start fires.” Reid said.
“Sounds like your basic survival skills.” Sheriff Rhodes said.
“No,” Rossi said, “They’re hunting skills. Think about it, the marksmanship, the urine– it makes sense.”
“The urine makes sense?” Morgan raised an eyebrow.
“It’s a hunter’s trick.” Rossi nodded. “You urinate downwind to keep the animals away.”
“He tried to preserve Jon Baker’s body so it would be discovered intact.” Hotch confirmed.
“Alright,” JJ nodded, “So we’ve got a psychopath with hunting skills who knows the routines of everyone in town. How are we supposed to keep everyone safe?”
“Sheriff, I suggest you institute a curfew until we have the unsub in custody. Nobody out after dark.” Hotch said.
“I’ll have one of my deputies patrolling around the clock.” The sheriff nodded.
“Garcia, how are the town records coming?” Hotch asked.
“I’ve run everyone who’s been printed through CODIS. Nothing’s come up so far, I’m going to pull an all-nighter, finish going through the town records. Should have background checks by sunrise.”
“Good.” Hotch nodded. “The rest of us should get some sleep, start fresh in the morning.”
Carol, the owner of the inn, stepped closer to the couches. “I’ve got four of the upstairs rooms available.”
“Four?” Reid croaked.
“Come on,” the sheriff said. “It’s the best we can do. Your team is double the size of my department. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Goodnight,” Hotch nodded to him before turning back to the team. “Looks like we’ll have to double up.”
“I am not sleeping with Reid.” Morgan declared, unmoved by the hurt-puppy-dog look on Reid’s face.
Garcia’s hand shot out to grab Morgan’s. “Dibs.”
“Emily and I always share when we double up.” JJ said (a little too quickly), she and Prentiss both getting up and gathering their bags.
“I’ll take the kid.” Rossi, ever the long-suffering father figure, ushered Reid up out of his armchair. “Come on.”
“I’m older than Y/N!” Reid protested, but followed Rossi anyway.
You watched them with amusement, biting down your laughter so as not to hurt Reid’s feelings. The mirth fizzled quickly, however, as you turned back and found Hotch looking at you. A shiver of realization (and a bit of apprehension) ran down your spine.
You swallowed, offering a small smile. “I guess it’s you and me, then.”
“Is that alright?” The furrow between his brows deepened with concern. “I can arrange for–”
“I don’t mind.” You cut in, cringing internally at how eager you sounded. Clearing your throat, you evened your tone. “Really, it’s fine.”
“Okay,” His expression softened to its usual unreadable state, “I’ll get the room keys, you can head up. We’re staying on the third floor.”
“Sure,” You nodded, standing and grabbing your bag.
You said goodnight to Morgan and Garcia and made your way upstairs. Hotch (and his long legs) arrived soon after, directing you to the room furthest down the hall. He unlocked the door and handed you your own key. It was an actual key, too, not the keycards you got at the hotels the BAU usually stayed in.
He held the door as you walked in first, flipping on the light switch. The room wasn’t terribly large, with two more doors leading to a closet and the bathroom. A desk sat against one wall, with a bed pushed up against the opposite wall.
A bed. One, singular queen-sized bed.
Hotch stepped up behind you, close enough for his shoulder to brush yours. Another shiver ran down your spine, which you decided to blame on the Alaskan cold. You glanced at him, finding his gaze on the bed, analyzing it like a crime scene.
“Do you mind if I take the bathroom?” You moved further into the room, setting your bag on one side of the bed and tossing your coat next to it. “I could use a hot shower.”
“Of course,” Hotch nodded, stepping out of the way.
“Thanks.” You said, sending him a weak smile as you headed for the bathroom.
Alone, with the door shut behind you, you forced yourself to take a deep breath.
You could do this, you reminded yourself as you grabbed one of the towels folded on the bathroom counter, hanging it on the peg beside the shower. There was no reason this had to be weird, you told yourself as you turned on the water and undressed as you waited for it to heat up. You and Hotch were friends, you were both adults.
Everything was fine.
Until you got out of the shower, dried off, and realized that in your haste you’d forgotten to grab any clean clothes.
“Shit.” You hissed, weighing your options.
You could put your old clothes back on and go out to grab new ones. But one look at your wrinkled slacks and sweater, stale from two airplanes and dusty from a day walking around Franklin, you couldn’t bring yourself to put them back on.
You could crack the door and ask Hotch to grab them for you. But that was much worse. You’d rather sit through a dinner with all of Rossi’s ex-wives than ask Hotch to dig through your underwear for a clean tee shirt and pants.
That left you with one possibility (apart from hiding in the bathroom for the rest of your life). So, reminding yourself that you were friends, you were both adults, everything is fine, you wrapped the towel as securely around yourself as possible and left the bathroom.
Hotch was sitting at the desk, the case file open in front of him. He had a pen in hand, jotting down notes from the day’s casework.
Though you willed him not to, he looked up at the sound of the door opening.
His eyes widened a fraction, the straight line of his lips breaking as his mouth opened slightly. And then he quickly looked down again, snapping his usual mask into place.
Nevermind the heat of the shower, you felt your entire body flush with embarrassment.
“Sorry, forgot to grab my clothes.” You said, hurrying to your bag.
“It’s fine.” Hotch said, the words coming out slightly tense.
Your stomach twisted and you tried not to notice his knuckles turning white as he gripped the pen. Pressing the hastily gathered bundle of clothes to your chest, you hurried back to the bathroom.
Changing into a faded tee and a pair of sweats sporting your college’s name down the left pant leg, you forced yourself to take several more deep breaths. Covered and comfortable, you felt calmer as you exited the bathroom a second time.
“All yours,” You said, managing a smile when he looked up again.
Hotch nodded, his gaze flicking down to where your too-long pants covered your feet and then quickly back up before turning back to his file. You forced yourself over to the bed, folding your worn clothes and shoving them to the bottom of your bag.
While you were rearranging your things, Hotch wordlessly moved to his own bag next to the desk, pulling a few things out and disappearing into the bathroom, shutting the door with a soft click.
After pulling out your own copy of the case file, you moved your bag from the bed, setting it in the bottom of the closet. Straightening up, you realized Hotch had hung up your coat, his own quilted down coat hung next to it.
You sat back down on the edge of the bed, one leg bent beneath you as you looked over the file. The unsub was disorganized, but skilled. He knew the town and its citizens well, but seemed to strike randomly. Every lead seemed to end in a sharp turn.
“I’ll take the floor.”
You looked up to see Hotch had changed as well, into a white tee shirt and lightweight blue pajama pants. If seeing him in jeans had been strange, this was like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia.
You blinked, “What?”
“There are some extra blankets in the closet. I’ll take those and sleep on the floor.”
“Hotch, no.” You shook your head in disbelief, standing up. “It’s way too cold to sleep on the floor. Not to mention it looks incredibly uncomfortable.”
He crossed his arms, and you forced yourself to focus on his face.
“Seriously, Hotch, you’re not going to get any rest sleeping like that.” You insisted. “We’re both adults. We can share a bed for one night, right?”
He remained stoic for a moment, scowling, before inclining his head.
“Good,” you sighed, retreating to close the case file and leave it on the bedside table before pulling back the covers and sliding into bed. “You were making me cold just thinking about sleeping on that floor.”
Hotch let out a quiet chuckle, shaking his head with one of those almost-smiles on his face. He walked over towards the door and turned off the light.
You laid completely still, wondering if he could hear the sound of your heartbeat echoing through the small room. If he did, he made no comment, padding quietly over to the other side of the bed. You felt the blankets shift and the mattress dip as he lay down beside you.
As a child, you always thought queen beds were enormous, with more space than anyone could ever imagine.
Now, though, you were very aware of the few inches between your body and his. Not close enough to touch, but close enough that you could feel the warmth of him radiating outwards.
Outside, you heard the hoot of an owl in a nearby tree.
“Goodnight, Y/N.” Hotch said, his voice soft and deep.
“Goodnight, Hotch.” You breathed, forcing yourself to relax.
You shut your eyes, and to your surprise, found a dreamless sleep not far away.
The first thing you knew when you woke up was that you did not want to be awake.
You could feel how cold it was in the room compared to how delightfully warm you were, curled up under the covers with– wait a minute.
Your mind quickly shook off the confusion of sleep as you became suddenly aware of how your position had changed since falling asleep. Those few inches of space between you and Hotch were long gone as you’d apparently shifted closer in your sleep. You lay on your side, your head nestled against his shoulder. His arm, the one you weren’t using as a pillow, was slung across your waist.
The agonizing decision of whether to stay in the warm embrace or move away was suddenly taken away from you as Hotch’s phone began to ring.
He shifted, the pattern of his breathing changing beneath you as he woke up to the shrill tone. Feeling a small rush of panic, you pulled away and sat up, blinking blearily at the light of his phone screen.
Hotch rolled over and grabbed it, sitting up as he answered. “Hotchner.”
“It’s Rhodes.” You heard the sheriff’s voice on the other line, “We’ve got a problem.”
Your arms were already chilled now that you’d left the safety of the blankets, and though you didn’t know what the problem was, you were pretty sure of what came next. So you got out of bed and turned on the light before opening the closet and grabbing some clothes. You used the bathroom and changed quickly, swapping your pajamas for a thick cable-knit and jeans.
If Hotch had been aware of your...sleeping arrangement, he said nothing about it, the two of you sliding past each other in the bathroom doorway.
“The unsub killed again.” He said, “Garcia saw him run away. The body isn’t far from the hotel, Rhodes and his people are already there.”
“Should I wake the others?”
“Yes,” Hotch said, “I’ll meet you out there in a minute.”
“Alright.” You nodded, grabbing your coat from the closet and stepping out into the hallway.
You, Reid, Rossi, Hotch and Prentiss went to check out the scene. Garcia was (understandably) shaken from witnessing the murder, and Morgan took her back inside to clean off the victim’s blood and calm her down as best he could.
“His name’s Craig Ramey,” the sheriff said as you all stood above the body. “A fisherman.”
“We met him yesterday,” You said, glancing at Prentiss, “He and his wife were getting ready to leave town.”
“He’s accelerating his schedule,” said Reid, “We should have had another day. Why change that?”
“Ramey was pretty vocal about wanting to get out of town. If the unsub knew that, he could have struck early to prevent his target from getting away.” Prentiss theororized.
“Has to be more to it than that,” Rossi said. “He brought the body to the tavern we’re staying at.”
“He’s telling us he’s not afraid of us,” Hotch said. “He’s gaining confidence.”
Rossi crouched to get a better look at the corpse. “He switched to a hunting knife. Looks like a jagged edge.”
“There’s more physical damage too, like he was cut open.” Reid pointed out. “I won’t know until Dr. Johnson does an autopsy, but I’d be willing to bet he took a piece of the victim with him.”
“What kind of piece?” Hotch asked.
“Hard to say, but judging from the location I would guess liver or spleen.”
You pressed your lips together, turning away from the bloody scene to think. Morgan approached from the inn.
“Was Garcia able to give you any more information?” Hotch asked as Morgan joined the group.
“She’s given all she can.” Morgan said, sounding defeated.
“This guy’s taunting us, he’s one step ahead.” Rossi said.
“I think you’re giving him more credit than he deserves,” Hotch said. “It’s like Emily said on the plane, he’s all over the place. The victimology is inconsistent, the methodology’s evolving, the first kill was sloppy and unplanned.”
“The first one was an accident.” You said.
“But it triggered a sexual response.” Prentiss said. “He got off on it.”
“And he knew then and there that he’d have to kill again.” Morgan said. “He learned how to get the job done more efficiently.”
“Yeah, but why the organs?” the sheriff wondered.
“Consumption typically indicates a desire to keep the victims with him. He’s having trouble letting go.” Reid said. “We’re probably looking for someone with severe abandonment issues.”
“Craig Ramey was leaving town,” You said. “If the unsub knew that, maybe it triggered him.”
“It’s possible.” Reid nodded.
Somewhere out in the woods, a coyote howled.
“It’ll be light soon,” Hotch said, “Let’s get everyone together and go over what we know.”
You were happy to oblige, your hands cold even with them shoved deep into your coat pockets. The team settled back into the lobby, waiting for Rhodes to call in his deputies. You stood close to the fireplace, looking out one of the windows as the first murky blue light of dawn began to break.
Someone stepped up beside you, and you turned to see Hotch. He held out a mug with a faded “Beautiful Alaska” design, steam curling above the coffee. You accepted the cup, wrapping your hands around it and enjoying the warmth seeping through.
“Thanks,” You said before taking a sip.
“I want you here today,” He said, “Go over Garcia’s background on the victims and look for connections.”
“Yeah, I’m on it.” You said, giving him a small smile.
“Good,” He nodded, and as his gaze lingered for a moment you saw something...softer than his usual SSA stare flash across his face.
And then it was gone again.
“Alright,” Sheriff Rhodes spoke from the other end of the room, “I think we’re all here.”
Hotch moved to stand with the rest of the team, and you followed, perching on the arm of one of the couches with your coffee in hand.
“We’re looking for an emotionally immature male,” Hotch began, “Probably in his mid to late twenties who suffered a traumatic loss.”
“Now this loss could be anything, death of a parent, separation of a parent, a loved one who moved away. Something that made the unsub feel abandoned and alone.” Morgan added.
“He had extensive hunting experience,” Rossi picked up. “The bodies were buried not because of remorse, they were buried to protect them from wild animals.”
“His familiarity with the victim’s routines suggests the unsub has lived here most of his life.” Prentiss said. “He also has extensive knowledge of the landscape and surroundings.”
“So we should split up and cover the town.” Hotch said, “Focus on younger residents with a history of petty crimes and assaults.”
“You should look in their trash,” Morgan suggested, “Fireplaces, even their laundry. Look for signs of bloody clothes or even cuts and bruises. One of the victims may have gotten in a blow or two before they died.”
“Bring in anyone who seems to have something to hide.” said Rossi, “The unsub has already broken patterns, so he could strike again at any time.”
“Sheriff, you and I need to look at the school,” Hotch said. “Talk to the teacher, see if she remembers any students exhibiting any early signs of homicidal behavior.”
Sheriff Rhodes nodded, addressing his small police force. “Let’s move.”
By the end of the day, the case had become a waiting game. Together, the team and Rhodes’s deputies had rounded up as many men matching the profile as they could find– including the hotel owner’s son, Joshua, who was suspect number one.
Working out of the lobby with Garcia all day, you’d helped get her back to her old sparkling self and made a connection between all four victims (more significant than their hunting licenses). All of them had plans to leave town, and leave town soon. Another young woman, Kat Allen, had plans to leave Franklin to go back to school and had been put under police protection until you closed the case.
With Joshua in custody and Kat looked after, all you could do was wait. If the unsub didn’t kill again in the next few hours, you’d know you had your man. If he did...then you’d continue the chase.
Everyone knew there was nothing more to be done, but that didn’t make the waiting any easier.
Around midnight, you closed the case file and tossed it onto the bedside table with a sigh. You’d been reading it over and over for almost an hour, hoping something new might jump out at you. But you got nothing.
Hotch sat at the desk, glaring down at the notes in front of him. From the scowl on his face, you guessed he was making about as much progress as you.
“Hotch,” You called, and he lifted his head to look at you. “You should get some sleep.”
“This town is a powderkeg.” He said, shaking his head, “I’d rather not just wait for it to explode.”
“It hasn’t exploded yet.” You said, “And I don’t think staring at that file until you pass out is going to help. We’ll all be better off to handle whatever happens if we’ve gotten some rest.”
His gaze wandered back to the file, posture caught between getting up and staying seated.
“I know you’d like me to believe otherwise, but even you need sleep, Hotch.” You teased gently.
The frustration in his face melted at that, a small smile gracing his expression. “Who told you that?”
“I have my sources,” You shrugged, smiling as he stood from the chair.
You got yourself settled in the bed, shifting to lie down with all but your head snuggled beneath the blankets. Hotch switched off the light and crossed the room quietly. Again, you felt the mattress dip and heard the soft rustle of him joining you beneath the covers.
Somehow, you felt much calmer about it tonight. It felt...normal. Comforting, even, to know he was right there next to you.
“Jack asked about you today.” Hotch said, and you imagined a smile on his face as he spoke.
You turned onto your side, facing him. “Did he?”
The blankets pulled and then settled as he mirrored you, and you could just barely make out the outline of his face in the darkness.
“He asked me if I knew what you were bringing him this time.” Hotch said, “I told him he shouldn’t expect something from every case.”
“I did already buy him a 500 piece puzzle when we were in Anchorage, though.”
Hotch let out a breathy chuckle and you couldn’t help but smile.
“He also asked if you would be coming over next weekend.”
You bit your lip, feeling a small cloud of butterflies fluttering in your stomach. “What did you tell him?”
“I said I would ask.” Hotch answered honestly. “But you shouldn’t feel any pressure to say yes. You’ve been over a lot and I don’t want to keep you from your life.”
You almost laughed. What life? Apart from the BAU, he and Jack made up the entirety of your social calendar.
“You’re not obligated to spend time with us when you could be having night’s out with your friends,” His voice got tighter around the next words, “Going on dates, living your life.”
You actually did laugh at that.
“I’m sorry,” You grinned. “I shouldn’t laugh when you’re being so thoughtful...”
You could practically feel his confused frown.
“Hotch,” You said, the smile clear in your voice, “I don’t feel obligated. I don’t feel pressured. There’s nothing I’d like more than to spend my weekend with you and Jack.”
“Okay,” He said softly, as if speaking to himself more than to you.
“So I’ll be there.” You promised, and then closed your eyes. “Now stop stalling and get some rest.”
He let out an amused hum, “Yes ma’am.”
Again, with his warm presence close by, you drifted easily into sleep.
A few hours later, you were again awoken before you were ready. Still half-asleep, you barely registered why someone might be knocking loudly on the door, only caring that they stop and let you stay where you were.
Because you were incredibly comfortable, having once again shifted closer to Hotch in your sleep.
Another knock sounded, this time making Hotch stir as well. Feeling sleepy and stubborn (and not really thinking about it), you made a small noise of protest and pressed your face into his neck. His arms tightened around you, protective and soothing, drawing you even closer.
“Hotch!” Morgan yelled, giving up on knocking and just pounding his fist against the door.
That broke whatever sleeping spell still lingered over you.
With something very close to a groan of frustration, Hotch let go and you pulled back, rising and stalking to the door before swinging it open.
“Yes?” His tone was clipped, voice rough from sleep.
You dragged yourself out of bed, moving to stand behind Hotch. The shaft of light from the hallway was too bright, and you lifted a hand to rub your eyes. Morgan glanced between Hotch and where you stood past his shoulder.
“Sorry. Didn’t realize you were sleeping.” He said, before turning to the issue at hand. “The unsub struck again last night.”
You sighed, already shuffling back into the room to find a new sweater.
“Alright,” Hotch said to Morgan, “We’ll be down in a minute.”
Yet again, the unsub had changed his behavior. Instead of targeting Kat Allen, he murdered Carol Beardsley. Not only that, but he broke into her home to do so and mutilated the body post-mortem.
It was clear, this one was personal.
When you heard of the mutilation, a puzzle piece fell into place in your head. Hotch and Reid went with you to the police station to compare photos from the Beardsley scene with photos of the supposed “bear attacks” Deputy Flack had mentioned when you arrived.
You looked up from the photos, finding the same certainty mirrored in Hotch’s gaze.
“Sheriff, we need to adjust the profile.” Hotch said.
“What do you mean?”
“A bear didn’t do this.” You said, holding up one of the photos.
“You mean a person?” The sheriff looked between the three of you in disbelief.
“A bear or other animal wouldn’t have left so much behind.” Reid explained.
“I should have realized earlier.” You went on, “It’s a core part of the homicidal triad.”
“We said the kills were all over the map. The unsub lacks sophistication and shows immaturity in his skills because he is immature.” Reid said.
“He was taught to hunt early on, so he started with animals.” You said.
“And when he got bored with animals, he moved on to more challenging prey.” Hotch continued.
“People.” You said.
“Sheriff, your unsub is a teenage boy.” Hotch finished.
Between a trip to the town school and some digging from Garcia, you quickly narrowed the suspect list down to one: Owen Porter. Joshua had taken him under his wing at school, treated him like a younger brother until moving to Anchorage with his mother and leaving Owen behind...with an abusive father.
With you and the sheriff behind either shoulder, Hotch knocked on the Porters’ front door. The shades were all drawn, a fraying lace banner with the word “Home” hanging on the door.
A tall, frightening looking man appeared behind the windowpane, opening the door.
“Mr. Porter, is your son at home?” Hotch demanded, more than asked.
“What’s it to you?” Porter spat defensively.
Hotch shoved past him, striding inside where Mrs. Porter sat in an armchair by the TV.
“Turn that off.” Hotch ordered.
You moved to shut it off while the sheriff walked to another door, opening it and searching for Owen.
“Did you know?” Hotch addressed Mrs. Porter.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about!” Porter yelled.
“Not for sure,” Mrs. Porter said, her eyes watery and her voice wobbling. “Not until last night. He came in covered in blood.”
“He’s not here.” Rhodes reemerged, “But the window’s open.”
“You’ve washed blood out of his clothes before, haven’t you, Mrs. Porter?” You asked.
“Don’t answer them, Martha!” Mr. Porter bellowed, taking an angry step towards you.
Hotch turned on him, stilling him with a stern glare. “Sit down, and shut up.”
“He won’t hurt you again, Martha.” You said, drawing her attention away from her husband. “I promise.”
“No,” She admitted. “It wasn’t the first time.”
“Mrs. Porter, I understand you’re only trying to protect Owen,” Hotch said, more softly. “But you can’t anymore.”
“He’s always been different,” She cried. “He’s not like us. When he was a little boy, he used to go out into the woods and come home covered in blood.”
“Why didn’t you tell anyone, Martha?” The sheriff asked. “How could you just sit there and say nothing while people died!”
“How did Owen react when Joshua was sent away?” Hotch asked.
“He wanted to leave too. But I couldn’t let him.”
“Mrs. Porter, do you understand the effects of social isolation on children?” You asked, chest aching.
“I was afraid of what he might do if he ever left here.” She held your gaze despite the shame in her eyes. “We knew. We knew what he was.”
“Do you know where he’s headed?” Hotch asked.
“Is there somewhere he would go to be by himself?” You asked.
“A hiding spot when you were mad at him?” Hotch added.
“Hiding spot.” Mr. Porter scoffed. “How the hell are we supposed to know?”
Hotch shot Mr. Porter another glare before continuing. “If you know you need to tell me. I’m trying to help him. There’s a mob out there, and if they find him they’re not going to turn him over. They’re going to take justice into their own hands.”
“Please, if you want to save your son’s life, you have to help us.” You pleaded.
“Martha, don’t!” Mr. Porter hissed.
“Lake Lafayette.” She said, “He and Joshua built a fort there when they were younger.”
“He’ll need a boat upriver to get there.” The sheriff said. “You head to the harbor, I’ll radio for one of the deputies to meet you. I’ll stay and handle these two.”
Mr. Porter’s jaw ticked, but he wouldn’t try anything if he knew what was good for him. You and Hotch left the house, climbing into the car and taking off through town. You called Morgan from the passenger seat, telling him the plan. As promised, a deputy was waiting when you arrived.
“He isn’t here yet,” He said, the three of you jogging down the pier, “That’s his boat.”
“We’ll wait in there,” Hotch nodded to a larger boat in the berth beside it, the helm covered and allowing for cover.
The deputy stepped down first, and Hotch followed, reaching back up to help you down. The deputy crouched behind the windshield at the prow while you and Hotch hid in the cabin. You drew your gun, holding it at your side as you waited.
A few minutes later, you heard one set of footsteps running down the dock, followed by a thump as they jumped down to the smaller boat. Hotch nodded to you, leading the way out into the sunlight.
You flanked him, raising your gun at the same time and aiming it towards where Owen stood on the boat below, a rifle in his hands and a confused look on his face.
“Owen, put the gun down.” Hotch said.
The hunting party, led by Joshua Beardsley, barrelled out onto the dock above, guns trained on Owen.
“Who do you want to take your chances with,” Hotch continued, “Us or them?”
Joshua cocked his rifle and Hotch lifted his gun to point at him. “Drop your weapons and walk away!”
You and the deputy kept your handguns trained on Owen as he spun to look at the opposing sides, frightened and bewildered.
“Can’t do that, agents,” One of the men, Keith Graves, said. “The boy’s coming with us.”
“It’s not happening!” Hotch shouted.
“Drop it, Keith!” The deputy called. “We’ve got this under control.”
“What are you going to do, Jerry? He’s sixteen. Send him to juvie so he’s out in two years? He killed Brenda.”
“He killed my mom.” Joshua echoed.
“He will be held accountable for his crimes.” Hotch shouted.
“Accountable? Five people are dead!” Joshua yelled back. “Why’d you do it, Owen? Huh? Why’d you kill her?”
“You left me behind!” Owen cried.
“You killed my mom!”
“She sent you away! You left and you didn’t come back. Eight years and I never heard from you again.”
“Please,” You shouted, “Let us take him in!”
“Sorry, I know what you’re saying is right, but I can’t do it.” Joshua held steady.
“Joshua, I’m so sorry about your mom,” You pleaded. “But if you put your guns down, no one else will get hurt.”
“Are you kidding?” Joshua said, unaware of the rest of your team approaching behind him. “You’re outnumbered and outgunned. Who do you think has the higher ground here?”
“I’m pretty sure we do!” Rossi answered, he, Morgan, Prentiss, and Deputy Flack all aiming their weapons and Joshua and his crew.
The other hunters lowered their guns to the ground slowly, rising with their hands in the air.
“What are you– what are you doing?” Joshua looked at them, his aim wavering away from Owen and towards you. “We can still take him!”
You were suddenly very aware of the fact that neither you or Hotch had time to put on bulletproof vests before reaching the dock. Hotch seemed to realize this as well, stepping in front of you. You lowered your gun as he completely blocked your view, confused.
“Hotch?” You whispered.
“Stay behind me.” He ordered.
You obeyed, but kept your grip on the handle of your gun, ready to step out and fire if necessary.
“It’s over, Joshua.” Graves said.
“He killed my mom!”
“I know, and I’m sorry.”
A beat of silence passed, and then a shot rang out. You side-stepped to see what had happened, finding Joshua collapsed in Graves’s arms.
“You shot him.” Graves gawked at Rossi.
“He’ll live.” Rossi said.
Morgan and Deputy Flack moved in, taking Joshua’s gun away. You moved forward with Hotch and the other deputy, taking Owen’s rifle as Hotch handed it back to you. The deputy cuffed Owen, who looked a lot more like a scared child than a man who’d terrorized a town for nearly a week. You thought about his father, the anger in his eyes, and you wondered if this was really justice.
A hand settled on your lower back and you looked up to find Hotch watching you.
“Yeah,” You nodded, snapping yourself out of it. “Yeah, I’m good.”
You maneuvered over to the side of the boat, handing the confiscated rifle up to Morgan and accepted Prentiss’s hand up as you climbed back up to the dock. Hotch followed, and the team started the trek back.
The flight home felt even longer than the flight out. The jet left Anchorage a little before sunset, and you flew deeper and deeper into the night as you headed for the east coast again.
As was often the case, you and Hotch found yourselves to be the only two still awake.
“You might want me to believe otherwise,” He said quietly, settling into the seat beside yours. “But I know even you need sleep.”
“That’s funny,” You said dryly, “I see what you did there, turning what I said against me.”
“Well,” He kept a completely straight face as he looked at you. “I am the funny one.”
You laughed, quickly covering your mouth and trying to stifle it before you woke one of the others. As you got yourself under control, you shot him a half-hearted glare.
“You should sleep.” He pressed. “There’s seven hours left until we touch down.”
“Only if you sleep this time, too.”
He hesitated, and then sighed. “I’ll try.”
“Good,” You nodded your approval, balling up your coat to use as a pillow against the window.
“You–” Hotch cleared his throat. “You can lean on me. If that would be more comfortable.”
Your heartbeat sped up a notch, and you looked at him questioningly. “Really?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Well, okay.” You managed a playful smile, “You do make a pretty good pillow.”
Hotch let out a noise somewhere between a chuckle and a scoff. He shifted, angling himself slightly towards you and extending his arm. You leaned forward, letting his arm curl around you as you tucked into his side, letting your head rest against his shoulder. Hotch grabbed your coat with his free hand, laying it over you like a blanket.
“This okay?” He asked, voice soft and breath tickling the side of your neck.
“Yeah,” You whispered, closing your eyes.
It didn’t take long for sleep to pull at the edges of your mind, your breath evening out and your thoughts melting into haze. But you were just awake enough to feel Hotch tilt his head, resting it gently on top of yours.
Imagine waking up from a sex dream at like midnight. Hotch is sound asleep next to you in nothing but his boxers. You try and fall back asleep because you don’t want to wake him up, but you can’t. You leave kisses on his jaw and down his chest until he wakes up. He just like, “What is it, my love?” You explain what it was and he just says, “Spread your legs.” He’s half asleep while he slowly fucks you and his voice is so very low as he groans quietly in your ear. You both end up falling asleep while he’s still inside of you. You wake up in the morning and continue where you left off.
Anyways- bestie, would you like to run this blog??
you let out a stretch, pushing your hands toward the ceiling. the sun barely peeks through your curtains, but you see the tint of orange in the sky.
“too early,” aaron murmurs from next to you. mouth on your shoulder over your shirt. go back to sleep.”
you smile a little, but don’t look at him yet. the overhead fan clicks softly with every spin. you turn your body, and he takes his spot behind you, arm around your stomach with ease that only comes from practice. familiarity.
“i don’t think you slept a wink,” you counter, eyes blinking slowly at the light from the curtain. his lips touch the back of your neck.
“no,” he whispers. pulls you a little bit closer. “too amped up from the case. but i liked watching you. got a little jealous when you started snoring.”
“i don’t snore,” you reply easily.
he leans up to kiss your temple. drags his mouth down your cheek. jaw. neck again. shoulder once more. “no. you just twitch. it’s very cute.”
“i’ll concede to that… counselor.”
he snorts. “haven’t been one of those in a while.”
“never stopped being one, handsome. that j.d. and esquire sit firmly by your name.”
one more pull towards him. you settle back, blink a few times, and finally close your eyes. “that’s better,” he says, voice barely a breath. “i’ll wake you up when it’s time to get up.”
“mmmm,” you hum. “and not a moment before, hotchner. it’s a big day today.”
“a day off,” he chuckles. “nothing bigger. but, sleep. i’ll wake you up when it’s time.”
but at that point you’ve already dozed against him, the sun slowly rising, and aaron’s breath slows against your back.
“that’s better,” he whispers one more time, and presses his forehead between your shoulders. “happy anniversary.”
Soft Hotch Saturday! Imagine you’re pregnant with your’s and Aaron’s second baby - the third Hotchner baby all together - and you find out it’s a boy! You’re so happy thinking Jack would be so excited to have a baby brother, not that he doesn’t adore his little sister, but you just figure it would be nice for him! And of course Jack is excited, but as the pregnancy moves along you notice Jack isn’t as excited as he was with his baby sister. It has been hours since you put them both down for bed, you do a quick peaks into their rooms to check and head to the couch as you await for your loving husband to come back with your late night cravings of fast food. Five minutes pass and you head some pattering of feet and look up and it’s Jack. You pat the seat next to you and Jack curls up beside you, he’s almost a teenager now, but still loves snuggle time with his momma. You can tell he thinking hard about something so you press him about him and he finally relents all that’s been bothering him for the last 4 months since you told him baby Hotchner was a boy. “Momma, will I still be your baby boy? Since you’re having a baby boy of your own.” Your heart shatters and you immediately sit Jack up so he will look at you. “Jackers, you will ALWAYS be MY baby boy! I’ve loved you from the moment I met you. Nothing changes that. Just because you didn’t come from me doesn’t mean your not MY baby boy.” You pepper him with kisses and just keep telling him how much you love him and how you’re going to embarrass him as he continues to get older because you’ll always call him your baby boy. Aaron had witnessed the whole thing and finally enters the living room (once things settled) with your cravings request and sets it down in front of you and goes “it’s a good thing I got plenty of extra!” And the three of you dig in and continue to remind Jack he is and always will be your first baby boy.
🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺 sweet little baby boy jack
you of course cry because pregnancy hormones which makes jacks eyes get huge (and little tears of his own) while you kiss his forehead and stroke his hair “you’re always going to be my baby boy, jack, from the moment i met you and fell in love with your dad you were mine just as much in your momma” and he nods while a little tear rolls down his cheek that you wipe away “i love you so much, baby, you’re my very first baby youre the one that made me a momma” and he just snuggles in so close to your side, whispering that he loves you which makes more tears of your own slide down that aaron wipes away when he joins you with a little kiss
Y/N is a wealthy socialite who went to law school and has been with the FBI for 10+ years, the BAU for 5. The age gap with her and Hotch is like 10+ years, she’s mid 30s he’s mid to late 40s. This is probably around season 8ish (Hotch is with Beth), but my cast members are Rossi, Hotch, Prentiss, Morgan, Reid, JJ and Garcia. She and Derek are BFF because I think he’s awesome. She’s dealing with feelings for Hotch and the aftermath of being held by an UnSub, and everything that goes along with that. ☺️ ❤️
You wake the next morning, not even morning, it’s well before dawn. It’s nearly impossible to sleep. Trying not to wake Marc, you slip out of bed, and sneak into the closet, pull on a sports bra, FBI academy t-shirt, leggings, and sneakers, and head downstairs to the kitchen. You have your phone, headphones in hand and are about to grab your keys to head out for a run, when the hair on the back of your neck pricks up. Something stops you. You pause at the island, and change direction, instead of walking out the door, you turn left and head down the hall from the kitchen, past your den and office and into the spare room Marc had slowly been converting into a home gym over the last couple of months. What was the point of having it if you never used it?
You step onto the treadmill, pop your headphones in and turn it on. While you walk, you open your iTunes, and turn on your playlist. You go to set the phone down, but you find your fingers swiping before you can think.
Y/N, 5:08AM: Good morning, Agent Hotchner.
AH, 5:08AM: It’s a little early, why aren’t you sleeping?
Y/N: You’re awake too! I’m about to run. Just wanted to say good morning.
AH: Out for a run by yourself, in the dark?
YN: No, treadmill. In my apartment.
AH: Ok. That makes me feel better.
YN: See you a little later.
AH: Have a good run.
You set the phone down, and turn the speed up. Letting your mind clear, focusing on your feet hit the belt. Left, right, left, right. It’s mindless and distracting. You’re in your own world when the smell of coffee begins to drift into the room. Marc’s up, probably already showered, and set up in the living room. You check your phone. 5:58AM. You slow the treadmill, walking another half mile before turning it off and making your way into the kitchen.
You pour yourself a cup of coffee, grabbing the oatmilk out of the fridge, adding some and putting it back. Taking the mug, you walk towards the stairs, to go up to shower.
“Morning, baby,” you say to him, to his back. He’s drinking his coffee, focused on the TV, Squawk Box has started and you know you’re about to lose him, to prepare for earnings calls, or whatever his morning holds.
“Good morning. You were up early today,” he’s looking you over, “Get a good run in? I told you the treadmill was a good idea.”
“Yeah, I did. About five miles. And you were right, it was a good idea,” the conversation is stiff. Not like two people who are betrothed and nearly cohabitating.
“Make sure you wear a turtleneck today,” he says before turning back to his laptop and coffee, leaving you with only the back of his head.
“Trying to cop my style, huh, cupcake?” Derek comments as he sits next to you. You’re wearing a navy cashmere turtleneck, army green fitted cargo pants and those infamous Stuart Weitzman military boots.
“No, you don’t wear turtlenecks,” you smirk at him.
Hotch is the last to join, along with Garcia.
“This morning we have a lot of interviews scheduled, the magic of trying to nail down college students and out-of-town family members, so I’m splitting us all up. Y/N, you’ll handle Marguerite’s, Maggie’s, friend, Moira Goldman, with me Interview Room 1, Prentiss and Morgan, you can talk to Julie Sullivan’s friend, Lily Swanson, in Interview Room 2, and JJ and Rossi, Bonnie Watson’s parents are coming in, they’ll be in Interview Room 3. Reid, I’d like to have you back here, to go over more of the cell phone and personal data with Garcia. They should all be here in the next few minutes or so, so we’ll run interviews and then reconvene after,” he says, effectively ending the meeting before it even starts.
You shrug at your teammates and head back to your desk to collect your things, adjust the neck on your sweater, smooth your hair over, which is fixed into a low, but elaborate bun, swipe on some tinted lip balm, and just generally make yourself a little more presentable. You tell yourself it’s because you’re going to be interacting with the public.
You’re giving one more once over to the case files that are spread open on your desk, a map of DC up on your desk top when Hotch approaches you, his own case file in hand, “She’s downstairs, you ready?” You nod and stand, following him out to the elevators.
Hotch holds the door to Interview Room 1 open for you, and you find a pretty, young brunette at the table.
“Hello, Lily Swanson? I’m Agent Hotchner and this is Agent Y/L/N. Thank you for coming in this morning. We just want to express our condolences about losing your friend. You’re not in trouble, we just want to talk to you about your relationship with Marguerite Hollister. We’re hoping you can answer some questions, give us some insight into who she is.” The two of you sit down across from her, you setting your phone on the table to record, Hotch taking a pen out of his pocket to take written notes.
“Marguerite Hollister? I don’t know who that is. I was here to talk about Julie Sullivan. She was my best friend.”
You can feel Hotch’s eyes on you, “Right, sorry, Miss Swanson. We’ve spoken to a lot of people this week, and we’re running on very little sleep. Please. What can you tell us about Julie?” You feel Hotch squeeze your thigh. You tap his hand, signaling that you’re ok to stay to finish the interview.
“She was great. Super fun, beautiful.”
“We see she was a student at GW. A senior majoring in political science? Did she like school? Do you know what her plans were after school?”
“Ha! School. She was a decent student. But it wasn’t her focus,” Lily scoffs at your question.
“So she was a party girl? Maybe a girl about town?”
“She wasn’t a party girl. She was focused, just not on school. Julie was focused on getting her degree. Her M.R.S. degree! She spent all her time on her looks, working out and dating, when she wasn’t in class.”
“So she dated a lot?”
“Oh yeah. But not guys our age. She was on all of those sugar baby dating sites. She was after that trophy wife life. She wanted one of those,” Lily points at your ring.
“She thought she was gonna get one too. She had this whale hooked on the line.”
“I’m sorry, whale?” you ask.
“It’s what the girls call a super wealthy guy, like, you know, a billionaire type. The kind that buys you a huge diamond, like yours.”
“Ok. What can you tell us about that relationship?” Hotch is measured in his tone.
“I’ll tell you this. She dropped almost everyone else after she met him. He spoiled the fuck out of her. Oh, sorry, can I swear?”
“Yes, that’s fine, you can swear. Spoiled her how? What does that mean?” you ask.
“You know, gifts, trips, and cash. He got her her first Chanel bag. He’d give her like, a thousand bucks just to go out with the girls for the night. That’s how we knew he was loaded. He was always showing up with new lingerie. He liked that brand, what’s it called, La... La... La... something...”
“Yeah! That’s the one!”
You press your lips into a thin line. Hotch squeezes your thigh again, a little higher up.
“Did she ever talk about this man, give you a name, any identifying details? Anything other than the material gifts she received?”
“Just that his name was Marc. He was with some boring lady, a lawyer or cop or something, I don’t know, she traveled a lot. So maybe not a cop. I didn’t really pay attention to that part. He was real ballsy though. At one point he took Julie to the Hamptons, and put her up in the same hotel as him and his girlfriend. I mean, that takes some balls, doesn’t it?!” She sounds disconnected from her words, like she’s recounting a soap opera, not actual events of her late friend’s life.
You look at Hotch, and then back to the young woman, “Did Julie ever tell you she was afraid of him, or did she ever seem scared of him? Did he ever threaten her?”
Her eyes drop to her hands which are resting on the table.
“Lily, it’s ok. We just want to find out who killed her. Please. Please help us do that,” you reach across the table and place your hand over hers.
“She threatened to tell the girlfriend. She thought maybe he would raise her allowance if she did that. Other girls online said it would work. It didn’t though. He got really mad. He said that she had no idea who he was, and that she would regret it if she did. He broke up with her and blocked her after that. I don’t know what happened after that, because she died only a few days later.”
“Thank you Miss Swanson. You’ve been a big help. We’ll be in touch if we need anything else. You’re free to go,” Hotch tells her.
You step off the elevator and see Garcia in the bullpen with the rest of the team. You sigh a sigh of gratitude, and veer off to your left, straight for her office. You need a moment to yourself. You let yourself into her office and lean against one of the desks.
Your mind is spinning. Is it possible that you’ve been sleeping next to a serial killer? You’re a profiler. Has your judgment been that poor? Had you been so distracted by Hotch that all of this passed you by?
The door creaks and you take a deep breath before you turn around. You expect to see a flash of bright color, but it’s Hotch, and he’s by your side in what feels like a heartbeat. “You ok?”
You shake your head and inhale again. You don’t want to cry. He’s now facing you, close enough that you can feel his breath. He slides his right hand over your neck, his thumb brushing your earlobe, fingers just under your bun. You lean into it reflexively. Your hand goes to his waist, just above his belt, your fingers kneading into his shirt, feeling the warmth of his skin underneath. His proximity is comforting, the desire to be close to him overwhelming.
“Please,” you whimper.
He closes the remaining space, pressing a soft kiss to your lips. You breath into it and open your mouth for him, digging your fingers further into his side. His other hand comes up to the back of your head, his tongue finds yours, you moan into it.
“Sir,” Garcia’s voice fills the room. You and Hotch nearly jump apart.
She sounds excited yet reticent to speak. “I have something you need to see.”
She hands the file she’s holding over to Hotch, who is now standing, leaning against another desk. He looks it over, his expression changing, brow pinching in, and running his hand over the back of his head, slamming the file down next to him, punctuating his upset with a loud “FUCK!” that echoes through the office.
He doesn’t even look at the two of you before storming out of the office, and back to the bullpen. You follow him, trying to keep up. “I need to see all of you in the round table room now. Right now,” he orders you, before sticking his head into Rossi’s office Whatever he tells Rossi has upset him too.
You’re all now sitting in the roundtable room, eyes on the door, when Rossi comes in, Hotch right behind him.
“We got a match back on one of the guns used, the gun used in the last two murders, the one found at the Hollister crime scene.”
“Great! Do we have a name?” JJ sounds upbeat, hopeful.
“Yes. It’s registered to Y/N,” he runs his thumb over his knuckles and paces around the table as he speaks.
“What?!” Morgan scoffs.
“The gun used in the last two murders is registered to Y/N Y/L/N,” Hotch repeats, almost as if he wasn’t sure he said it out loud at all.
“That can’t be right,” Morgan is incredulous.
“When was the last time you did an inventory?” Emily looks at you, her eyes slightly widened.
“I, I....I don’t know. Um, I lock these up,” you tap your waist, “every night. The ones in the safe are still there.”
“Do you keep any outside of the safe?”
The blood drains from your face, “Yeah, I do. Um. Ever since, you know. I keep a couple around the apartment.”
“Does anyone know that?” Rossi’s asks.
“No, no, I don’t think so. Maybe my housekeeper? I don’t know,” you don’t seem to be capable of a thought that isn’t expressed by ‘I don’t know.’
“Y/N you need to go home right now and take an inventory of all of your firearms, and then make sure they’re locked up,” Rossi’s trying to conceal his concern, but isn’t doing a good job of it.
“Dave’s right. You need to go home and take an inventory.”
You nod, not getting up from your seat. Everything is beginning to cloud over.
“Y/N?” Morgan’s voice cuts through.
You take a deep breath, collecting yourself, finally standing, “Ok, Yeah, I’ll let you guys know what I find.”
Morgan and Hotch exchange a look.
“No, you’re not going alone.”
“Hotch, it’s fine. I’ll be back in a couple of hours. I’ll call you from the house.”
You head into the building, walking right past the doormen, who are distracted with new tenants moving in.
You enter your apartment, and look back at Morgan. The door is locked, everything is in its place when you enter.
“Let’s check the safe first, then the house. We need to check that everything is where it should be,” he’s all business.
He follows you up the stairs, into your bedroom, crossing the room just a step behind you, and follows you into the closet. You head to the back, kneel down in front of the dresser drawer panel that conceals your gun safe. You swing the false drawer front open, press your thumb to the pad, enter the code, and wait for the double beep. You open the door, counting in your head. All of your guns, magazines and ammo are accounted for. You snap some photos and jot some notes down in your phone.
You look up at Derek, “I don’t see anything missing, I don’t think.”
“You don’t sound convinced. What are you thinking?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if I trust my recollection. What if I am missing a magazine or a box of ammunition. I really only target practice at work, so it’s not like I check to see what’s here.”
“OK. But then maybe it would be more likely you would notice something missing if you almost never touch anything in there, except when you lock up and retrieve your work hardware.”
“I guess so,” you lock the safe back up, and swing the drawer panel closed. The safe now completely obscured and blended into the interior of the room.
Derek looks around, taking in the hanging clothes, shelves of bags and shoes, the two free standing dressers and dressing benches.
“What? What is it?”
“Look around this room, cupcake. This is a fashionista’s closet. Not an armory. If you didn’t know you were in the FBI, heck, if you didn’t know there was a gun safe in here, already, would that ever cross your mind. Whoever took your stuff knew where it was, how you stored it and when to access it.”
“But nothing is missing. So I don’t know that I follow...”
“You said you now keep stuff outside the safe?”
“Yeah, I, uh, keep a Beretta in the nightstand and a Glock in the kitchen.”
“Yes, well, no, the magazines are kept separate, but have ammunition in them.”
“Ok, so someone could steal them and they’d be ready to use?”
“Yeah, they’re pretty easy to operate.”
“Derek, what are you thinking?”
“Show me the nightstand.”
You walk over to your bed and open the top drawer. Inside is a flashlight, a couple of remotes, batteries, a spare cell phone, an envelope of cash, and a small box.
You point to the box. Morgan slips his hand in his back pocket and pulls out a pair of latex gloves. You swallow.
He slides them on, and uses his phone to take a few photos of the drawer contents as you’ve found them Then he takes box out of the drawer setting it on the nightstand. He takes the lid off and it’s is empty. The gun and the magazine are gone. He snaps a couple of pictures, then sends Hotch a text. He puts the lid back on the box, and takes it with you when you head back downstairs to the kitchen.
“So,” you say as you walk, “I know this one is here, because I just saw it.”
Derek sets the empty box on the island, as you grab the drawer handle, sliding it open, “See it’s right....” You freeze. The drawer is empty, save for some random tchockes and kitchen things. You look up at Derek.
“When did you see it last?”
“Last night. It was here last night. I showed it to Ho--” you stop. “It was here last night when I checked.”
He pulls his lips into a straight line to avoid smiling before he speaks, “So you saw it here last night, was it here this morning?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t check it this morning.”
You shut the drawer, and lean back against the island. Derek steps towards you, “We need to photograph that drawer and call Hotch. We need a CSI team out here. You know that. We have a problem here. You have a gun in the wind.”
“I know,” you step away so he can used his gloved hand to open the drawer, and then snap some more photos.
He swipes across the screen of his phone again, and lifts it to his ear, “Hotch, you might want to send a crime scene team out here, they’re both missing. The one from the kitchen is now unaccounted for.”
Summary: Your relationship with Hotch develops more, and one night in NYC turns eventful *song by Matt Maltese (and some spice for next chapter!)
Rating: Mature, Tags: flirting, kissing, and drinking
WC: approx 5k -and more definitely
You’re used to having an irregular sleeping schedule: sleepless nights from research over a case, general anxiety, or just something that had been on your head all day and carried out into the night. What you’re not used to is Hotch being the cause of it lately. He continues sending case files, like nothing changed between the two of you in that respect.
But after Ohio, he texts you quite often; says good morning and good night at almost a fixed schedule, and the idea he must have set alarms of sorts is not that wild. You start looking forward to them too, especially after a long day of work. Those messages become a naïve sense of comfort.
Then one night, preceding his text, you call him; and you’re a ball of nervousness while the phone dials. Hotch answers quickly.
“Hello?” The deep baritone of his voice sends a warm spark to your stomach, untensing all your muscles.
“Hey! Hi!” Then the confidence fades away, and your face heats up. You hadn’t planned on what to say or talk about. “Sorry. I thought talking on the phone could be…” you scramble for the appropriate word: hot? Scratch that. Why is that the first word that pops up? Maybe, a new thing to try out with your kissing partner?
“ Nice” you settle, “unless it’s not obviously, or you’re busy, but I wanted to… try it”
Hotch seems to consider it for a few seconds.
“I’m just mad I didn’t think of it first” he says through a huff of a laugh, and something stammers inside your chest, “It’s nicer to have you like this”
The feeling of hearing his voice pressed to your ear being just nice goes away quickly. It is sensual. It sends your mind down the gutter very fast. You stand up, blaming it on fact you’re on your bed. You take a walk around your place while he asks about your day and you answer, like you’re both out on a stroll instead. You ask him about his day and he replies, and soon enough it becomes natural, like maybe you both should have started out with this method of communication right away.
You make a few jokes and he laughs, and by the end of it – your free roaming and the phone call – you’re as heated as having been in the sun all day. Happens without Hotch ever mentioning any of your shared moments together (see here : big monumental make out sessions, or stolen kisses right before he left).
Thinking about them though, leaves you in shambles just like when they happened. It does not help that thinking about Hotch renders you giddy and smiley during the day. Then, late at night when he calls – he takes to making those his good-nights – you’re buzzing inside your skin, hands shaking a little as if you never once kissed him, while the frustration adds up.
Two weeks have passed when Matt comes to visit you in New York, without the kids. Something in regards to a job position or research he’s conducting, and there is no surprise when he drags you out for that New York nightlife.
The bar he finds is not your style or anything you can afford. Located at an historic landmark restored and refined with contemporary design elements, it is spacious, luxurious and elegant. Which means you have to take out your fanciest dress, a tiny black one that is passable at best, and your jaw is on the floor when you follow Matt inside. The whole place looks curated rather than decorated – with custom wood, leather seating, bold brass accents that makes everything look dark and golden. There’s a jazz trio band playing music softly, and everyone looks either like they’re old-money rich, or they’ve suddenly fallen into massive wealth. You are neither, so you glare at your brother.
“I’m paying” Matt says, waving your worries away, “And don’t embarrass me here.”
You roll your eyes but you take the offer happily. When you’re on the counter, ordering your second cocktail, ready to swipe Matt’s credit card – your eyes go to a couple of men sitting not too far away. One of them is lanky, wild auburn hair, and you recognize the Comme des Garcons pullover from afar, so you smile, try to wave a hand at him, before realizing it’s not etiquette when the bartender looks at you strange.
Spencer says something to the man sitting in front of him before leaving. The latter turns and takes out his phone over the small table, large fingers turning it on and hovering over a number. His face is illuminated by the light of the screen and you recognize him even with the distance. Your heart gallops inside your chest, knowing at once who it is. He calls someone and at the same time, you feel your phone ring inside the small bag slung across your shoulder. Hotch. Out of all the places in the world, and everything – and he’s calling you too.
“Hi” you answer, barely hiding the smile in your voice. Hotch must hear it because you see that same smile bloom on his face. “It’s too early for a goodnight call, isn’t it?”
His free hand rests over the brilliant marbled table, and his voice is playful, matching your tone. “Is that what you've named them?”
“Yes” you sit on a stool, swirl the drink the bartender hands you before taking a sip, “aren’t they? You call me at exactly 11pm, sometimes 11.30pm or later. Never earlier.”
He laughs and you see it from afar, “Am I that predictable that you know my patterns?”
You shrug, know he cannot see when he hasn’t noticed you yet, “You’re not predictable at all.” Not when he’s here in NYC, only few feet away from you.
“Right” he says, his fingers over the table tapping gently, “because I called you at --” You look at golden clock hanging over the head of the bar, just as Hotch glances at his wristwatch, “10:15 pm. That hardly makes me predictable, per your words”
“Impulsive, even” and your smile is wide, and your belly flutters remembering when he’d said he’d be only with you.
Hotch tugs at his necktie with his free hand, and you’re hardly in control of yourself anymore. He shifts in his seat, and you catch sight of his empty drink. Well, fuck etiquette. You lean over the counter, hand over the speaker, and order a whiskey neat, pay it with your brother’s card, and wait until the waitress brings it to his table and in time with it you say, slow, voice almost foreign to your own ears:
“I’ll buy you a shot, next.”
Hotch twists around, looks at the whiskey then around, before the waitress guides him to the bar, where you sit cross-legged. His gaze pans to the entirety of your figure, head to toe, and it feels like he’s stripped you of all your clothes in the middle of this room.
You carry your drink to him and air leaves your lungs from his proximity. A minute ago you’d felt bold, confident, and a tinge of seduction played across your voice with every word you said to him. Standing in front of him you feel all of those things and another - unsteady.
“You’re in NYC” you mutter dumbly, and are grateful for the heels because his face is closer – his mouth, easily reachable.
Unsure what the appropriate greeting is with him, you wait for his cue, though you want nothing but to kiss him again. The earth beneath your soles vibrates with the need for you to do so.
In a dark navy suit, checkered tie, and hair in a side part and swept to the sides away from his face, he looks achingly attractive, like something out of a black and white movie.
Hotch grants you a dimpled smile, leaving you dazed. “Yes.”
You wait for a lengthier explanation but he looks caught. His gaze is intense as he does nothing but look at you.
Your brows flicker up, “And---?”
“And” he looks down at both your hands wrapped around your cocktail, “that’s why I called you – to tell you about it”
“Oh” you quirk a brow, “so it was one of those calls?”
The implication hits him quick and his jaw clenches, eyes dropping to your mouth as you laugh it off. God, if he did actually booty call you or made any other suggestive activities you would have jumped right off. Would have gotten the first taxi out and met him anywhere – and just the mere thought of it has your mind spinning, your hands trembling with anticipation.
Hotch shakes his head, wraps his hand around yours, and looks at you like you’re the only two people in the bar, perhaps even New York.
“You look beautiful” he says, leaning forward to brush a chaste kiss over your cheekbone, and you roll your eyes.
That’s avoidance if you’ve never even known it, but then his other hand latches to the side of your waist, and you melt against him. Your list of good outfits - ones that derive reactions out of Hotch – extends: suits, sundresses, and now cocktail dresses. You’re ready to say something in the same line but you bite your lip. Anything good in your brain sounds too much like your clothes do you so well, Hotch, and I love them but only on you, so you keep it to yourself.
He lets you go when someone clears their throat behind you.
“It’s you again -” Matt says cheerily, “the man from FBI”
Hotch extends a hand and your brother shakes it. You look pointedly at him, plead him wordlessly to not be a pest about it.
“You live in NYC, as well? Is that how you met?” Matt asks, planting himself on a free chair at his table, without waiting for an invitation.
Hotch pulls out a chair for you to sit on and you give him a small thanks, then he sits back down.
“No. Washington D.C”
You glare daggers at your brother. He’s never been one to do the third degree with any of your old friends or former partners – not that Hotch is one of them, not that you’d consider him as anything else but, but --
“He’s my mentor” you blurt out, disrupting their very normal conversation.
Matt gives you a strange look and so does Hotch. “We worked on a case here, and then...” you have to skip quite a lot of details, “we talked and now he’s mentoring me”
Matt takes a sip of his scotch, shoves his packet of cigars in the inside pocket of his jacket before turning to Hotch. “Huh,” he says unimpressed, “is that what they’re calling it nowadays? Mentoring?”
You elbow him in the stomach, your entire face heating up, while Hotch struggles with a sip of his drink, and by the sound of it – seems to be choking on it.
“Matt, seriously, it’s not --”
“I did catch you two outside of our childhood-- ” he emphasis the last word, like you’re personally to blame for ruining his, “home. Had to make sure.”
You fake a polite laughter, though you're flushed with embarrassment for having Hotch bear all of this.
“That’s my mistake” He jumps in, holds your gaze, “But she is being serious - I am technically mentoring her.”
The way Hotch says it sounds almost thrilling. Okay, enough alcohol in your system for tonight, because even that cannot be hot right now, so you push your cocktail away.
You swipe Matt’s drink right under him, before he even tries to say something funny. Having resorted to the old childish play of quit it or I will not give you back your belongings he gives up easily. Takes a deep breath and plasters on a smile.
“And why do we have the pleasure to have you here with us, in the Big Apple?”
You nod at Hotch and he smiles, more amused than anything.
“The department I work for is often invited for guest lectures or conferences at universities. Usually, our brightest or most notorious members attend, but one of them couldn’t so I replaced him.”
You smile – that means Rossi, right?
“Oh” Matt straightens up. Takes one single mention of academia life to have him play nice. “Which one was it?”
“New York Tech and RIT” Hotch replies, and you get a small sense of relief, when he seems to note the difference in your brother’s behavior as well, “I prefer RIT because of the extensive criminal justice programme but they’re both good”
Matt nods along to it, “Yes, yes. So, is that where you finished your studies?”
God, here goes his usual academic elitism --
You rest a hand over his glass, “You don’t have to answer that, Hotch. My brother insists on talking to only people coming from ivy leagues or prestigious universities.”
Hotch only smiles over his drink, “Harvard for undergrad, and George Washington for post graduate.”
Matt and you share a look, and hope you read each other’s thoughts. Yours are trying to relay: okay, I get your thing about smart men now. His says: I get your thing over law enforcement agents when they are exclusively from the FBI.
A waitress passes by your table, clears out Spencer’s empty drink, and takes all of Hotch’s attention.
Matt leans in and you do too, whispering aggressively, “Okay, don’t mention the police thing, please. God, don’t embarrass me. I will owe you. I promise I will look after your gremlins every time you want me to. Especially on short notice”
His eyes glint in mischievousness. “Even on short notice? Wow, that is a big promise”
Hotch continues talking to the waitress, and Matt finally agrees, promises to keep his mouth shut. “I don’t understand fully your obsession with dating men in uniforms or guns or FBI --”
Then just like that, he stops talking, gazing off to the distance like he’s frozen.
You consider waving a hand in front of his face, but then Spencer speaks.
“Oh, hi ______” he sits down between Hotch and you, smiling bright, “Hotch said he was going to call you? You arrived fast.”
“Oh, no” Hotch replies, “coincidentally she was already here with her brother, who works at MIT, Matt.”
Matt seems to hit restart because his face switches fast. He fixes the glasses over his face, then puts on a dazzling smile, and flashes it Spencer’s direction, then extends a hand to shake his.
You bite the inside of your cheek, stifling a laugh – wow, your brother works quick. Too bad, you think, just as Spencer smiles awkwardly and mumbles a soft “Sorry, I don’t do handshakes. Too many germs. It’s actually much safer to kiss. I am Doctor Spencer Reid.”
Matt’s brows shoot so far up they’re lost in his hairline, “Right, sure”
“MIT?” Spencer asks curiously, seemingly not understanding why Matt perks up, “What department?”
But before he can reply, you interject, finally getting your revenge on him.
“Spence, how have you been?” The younger agent smiles softly, looks in between you and your brother then decides to answer.
“I’m doing well, thank you. It was good to be out for something else today and not casework. The students were also quite intelligent, they were very interested in our work. Hotch thinks we might have recruited a few.”
Matt folds his hands over the table, opens his mouth to add something, and you interrupt again, “Did you take the train or the plane? Was it worse than your private jet?”
Out of the corner of your eye, Hotch chuckles, sips more of his whiskey quietly. You flash him a knowing smile when you catch his gaze.
You all listen to Spencer go on and on about the day they’ve had – the train ride in the early morning, the car they had to rent to travel from each university, and the lectures they did. He’s so passionate about his job and teaching, it is visible in his eyes, and his wild gesturing.
You half listen to him, not out of unkindness, but because Hotch is in your direct line of sight, and you can’t help but get distracted.
“Oh, by the way” Spencer takes out his satchel, rummages in it before pulling out a thick book, and puts it over the table. You’re ready to make a joke – that in the dark ambiance of the bar, the soothing notes of the bass guitar and saxophone, and the book sitting perfectly between, you look like you’re about to cast spells or summon a demon – your laughter already bubbling out of your throat at the thought, but Matt takes the book in his hands.
“Lost in Math” he reads aloud, in wonder. “I read this a while back – the quest for aesthetics in theories having placed scientific objectivity at odds. Dr. Hossenfelder’s argument that we should reframe the methods and embrace reality before discovering more is a very provoking thought.”
Your eyes dart from Matt to Spencer, who looks at him like the former has discovered black holes, and you don’t quite understand their language. It is nerdy, after all, so it must be a good sign...?
“I, uh, “Spencer stutters in his words, his cheeks flushing pink, “brought it because it is also quite funny and --” he turns your way, “you called yourself a scientifically curious person last time we spoke.”
You frown, stare down at the book cocooned in Matt’s hands like a precious object. “Spence, I—uh, thanks?”
Being the bigger person is never as entertaining as not being one, especially in fights with your brother, but you let it go.
“Matt actually is a PhD researcher in the physics department.”
Spencer blushes even more, as if you’ve told him your brother thinks he’s the handsomest specimen in the universe. But maybe he wants to say that himself, and both of them have dumbed down. Apparently two of the smartest people you know cannot be in close proximity or their brains will melt.
You slide Matt’s credit card across the table, raise your brows so he gets what you're implying, and it connects.
“Doctor Reid, can I buy you a drink?”
The other nods frantically, before deciding to stand and trail behind him. As soon as they are out of earshot, you laugh harder than you’ve ever had. Resting your forehead over the clean cold table, you try your best to muffle the happiness bubbling out of you. The embarrassment too, lingering like a bittersweet aftertaste.
“God, that was awful.” you say, keeping your face hidden, shier than you’ve ever been in your life, “I apologize for that. Matt likes making fun of me and -” you roll your shoulders lazily, “I do too, in fact. We are both adults and we annoy each other so much.”
“It is a good relationship” Hotch says softly, much closer than before, “I wish my brother respected me as much as yours.”
The mention of his life and his closest people – anything at all but work - makes you soft and gooey. You lift your head, rest your chin over your forearm instead, “You have a brother?”
Hotch nods, eyes kind, “Sean. I used to be the rebel kid and he wasn’t. When I got sent to boarding school he took over.”
“That is a form of respect” you offer, “He wanted to imitate you, so, highest form of flattery”
He rests his elbows over the table, squeezes the distance between you two. “I guess you’re right, but I do wish we’d be as ingrained in each other’s lives as when we were kids, like you are with Matt.”
His words ring true and you’d never thought it before now. At home, in Ohio, it was always you and him, and then when he moved out first, it felt like you lost a part of yourself. Then New York happened and suddenly you started to show up at each other’s places at inopportune times, out of spite, out of boredom. But there was affection in there too. Hotch’s words don’t manage to hide away the small hint of envy in them.
“It’s never too late to reach out.” you mutter and he draws closer, “If it’s something you want, or something you feel it’s missing. It'll do you good as well”
He cocks his head to the side, “How so?”
“It’ll make you feel like a kid again.” you answer without thinking, “Whatever lives you build up for yourselves, with your sibling, you’ll always feel like you’re kids again”
Hotch is quiet, deep dark eyes shining under the golden shimmer of the lighting fixtures above. The entirety of him is washed up in gold – his black hair, the sharp glide of his nose, and the curvature of his cheekbones. The wide expanse of his shoulders too, and his hands, fingers intertwined with yours. You have no idea how long or since when they’ve been like that. Something small you have come to terms with: your body reacting to him, unconsciously – but never without intent.
It sets your skin ablaze, renders your thoughts hazy. You fix your posture, but never let him go.
The tunes of the music around you blur, and the noise of the people chatting and chuckling fades away, and it feels like a minute, or like you’re spending 7 days in comforting silence, looking at the man before you. Exhilarating, delirious, and achingly slow – desire builds up inside you, filling you to the brim.
Hotch reaches out to graze the side of your face with a hand, and you lean into it, “I wouldn’t be able to convince you to dance with me, would I?”
There’s a tiny droplet of whiskey staining his bottom lip, perched there, like it rests from tiring travels. It lingers, desiring selfishly to remain where it is. It says don’t you wish this was you? Don’t you want to be accommodated like this? Pressed, and tenderly held and dangerously close to the hot slide of his tongue?
Your lips tug into a smile, “Nope. Not unless you drag me out and I will scream and fight.”
His thumb brushes your cheek before he lets go. But it’s his eyes you can’t look away from. “You’re staring at me.”
“I am” he smiles, and you squeeze your legs together, call at your brain that no, pushing the table in-between you out of the way and jumping him is not bar etiquette.
“Is it my dress?” you look down at it. If he calls you beautiful again, you won’t oppose it. “Is it my hair? Does it look strange like this?”
Hotch’s smile is tender, and he squeezes your hand, “Yes, I didn’t know how to tell you”
The giggle you let out would have been embarrassing if it weren’t for him, pulling you in, in response. He lifts your hand to his mouth and brushes a kiss over your fingertips. It zaps electricity to your lower belly, turning your insides into liquid heat.
If you don’t kiss him soon, you’re sure to go crazy. So, you stand. Hotch rests his back against the chair, looks up at you as you circle the table to get to him. The way your body moves is languid, slow, but your heart races, fingers aching as he squeezes them softly in his hand.
“I want to –”
Something catches your attention by the bar and you stop and stare. You only see Spencer’s back, his hands cradling someone's head, and – oh.
You slap a hand over your eyes and Hotch laughs. “What’s wrong?”
You point the bar’s direction and he turns, his laughter deeper, louder when he spots Spencer making out with – you shudder – your brother.
“They’re gone” Hotch says after a minute, “I promise”
His squeezes your wrist and you look at him, “Where?”
His grin is wide, “I’m no sure you’ll want to know”
You groan and Hotch only tugs you closer, “I don’t. I just want to know if he’s going to drive me home or not”
His brows furrow, then he cocks his head to your left - the men’s bathroom. “I don’t know him too well but… I am saying that is a definite no”
You pout, think over your alternatives. One of them is extremely appealing at the moment – having Hotch take you home.
“I could give you a lift” he says, reading your mind, and stands up.
God, and in his full height and those clothes he’s the most attractive man in the world.
He bends to you, smoothes the hair at the side of your head with a gentle hand and nods, “I’d love to”.
Out in the chill night air, you’re less shy and press to Hotch’s side, his arm loose around your waist.
He talks about something in regards to work and traveling and how often times it has made him quickly adaptable. You ask absent-mindedly if that means he misses home more and he pauses.
“This is it” the car is not a SUV but it still has that FBI look – black BMW and dark windows and you smile up to him.
“Did you steal this from James Bond?”
He grants you another of his smiles that leave you dizzy. “There’s something I have to tell you”
Oh? You squash down the fiery tendrils of hope that it’s something sexual.
Hotch lets you go to stand closer to the car. “I, uh,” he rubs the back of his neck with a hand, “I’ve got a kid”
Your brows furrow. “What, in the trunk?”
He huffs out a laugh, “No. I mean, back home. I have a kid. I don’t know if that’s…”
Oh , you understand him at last. You’d seen the photos of Hotch with his wife, and of course he has a child, so it’s not the least bit surprising.
“God, Hotch,” you take a step towards him, “you thought that would be a deal breaker?”
You consider showing him how much it is not but you’re not sure you’ll be able to detach off his mouth once you’re kissing it.
“It isn’t. It really isn’t.” As long as his kid is back in Washington D.C, you’re fine with it. “ You met my family and that wasn’t your deal breaker, so I’m set”
Hotch smiles softly, tucks a strand of hair behind your ear, the path of his fingers making you shiver.
“You don’t have to call me that. I’d prefer Aaron”
You blink lazily, heavy emotion stirring in your chest, because you want to kiss Aaron Hotchner in the privacy of your place. Never been a person who made plans except this instance.
summary: you and hotch are eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little one.
word count: 2K
contains: pregnancy, kissing
prompt: “So cute when you try to act angry”
a/n: prompt idea from @mrsh0tchner cm discord writing challenge///1000% inspired by lovebug by the jonas brothers
“Come on,” you grunted as you laid on your back on your bed. “Almost got it.” Your fingers continued to fumble with the button on your jeans as you tried to get them over your ever growing baby bump. You dug your heels into the edge of the bed and lifted your hips up, trying to shimmy the pants further up. “These fit fine last week.”
With a few more tries, you flopped down onto your bed, unsuccessful with getting on the jeans. You sighed loudly as you stared up at the ceiling, rubbing a hand over your tummy. “Little one, you are going to owe mommy a lot of clothes when you're older.”
You peered your head up, having to look up over your belly as much as possible. You smiled as you saw Aaron Hotchner, the love of your life and father of your child, leaning against the doorframe to your bedroom.
“Yeah, she is,” you laughed. You sat up on the bed, struggling a bit to get up. “Do you know how many jeans I have not been able to wear because of her?”
Aaron walked over to you, rolling his eyes playfully. “You’ll get back into them after our little boy is here,” he said as he pecked a kiss to your lips before going down onto his knees in front of your legs. He leaned forward, rested his hand on your belly and pressed a kiss to it.
“Still convinced it’s a boy I see,” you teased. Aaron peered up at you, a small smirk dancing across his face.
“I know for a fact that our baby is a boy.” He rubbed your stomach again, his large hand practically covering the majority of your bump.
“Are you sure you don’t want to find out the gender before we go in there? I mean, we have only a month left...We’ve stuck it out for this long,” you explained, hoping that he would succumb to your hints at wanting to know the baby’s gender.
Aaron tsked softly and laughed. “Exactly. We’ve waited this long. We can wait another month.”
You scoffed and tapped him on his shoulder. “You are so stubborn. What if I want to know now?”
Aaron shook his head and raised his brows. “Not going to happen, my love,” he said as he leaned up to kiss you softly. “We agreed for this to be a surprise and surprise it will be.”
You sighed against his lips, caressing his cheek. “You know how impatient I can be.”
He hummed in response and nodded his head as he continued to kiss you. “Mhm. Is that why you asked me out to dinner for our first date before I had the chance to?” he chuckled.
You pulled back from him and carded your fingers through his hair as he continued to rest in between your legs. “100% correct. You were taking too long.” You smiled softly and laughed, thinking back to the look of shock on Aaron’s face when you took the first steps into what would become the best years of your lives.
“I was nervous you’d say no,” he admitted as he went back to rubbing to your stomach softly.
You kissed the top of his head and hooked your finger under his chin to get him to look up at you. “I could never say no to you, Aaron.” He smiled, grabbing your hand with his, pressing the faintest of kisses on the back of it.
“One more month,” he assured. “One more month until our little boy Hotchner is here.”
“One more month until our little girl Hotchner is here,” you corrected.
The next month flew by. It was filled with so much love and anticipation. You quickly outgrew more clothes as your bump continued to grow. And it warmed your heart that Aaron always made sure that you were comfortable during it all. You quickly became a fan of the massages that he would give you as the two of you would get ready for bed, something he said he had done ‘Because you deserve to be taken care of. Besides, you’re carrying our child right now. Let me take as much of that pressure off of you as I can.”
Throughout the whole experience of being pregnant, you knew that Aaron would be there for you every step of the way. He was there for every doctor appointment, every Lamaze class-which was his suggestion. And you were glad that as the time drew nearer for you to have your baby that he wasn’t taken away on cases with the rest of the BAU. You had stopped working in the field a few months into your pregnancy, not willing to risk the chance that something could happen. You missed work and being around the team all the time, but at the end of the day, you had to put the safety of your family above your job.
And when the time finally came for your bundle of joy to enter the world, you knew that he would help you through it all.
After all the hours of labor were said and done, after dealing with the multitude of contractions, your little baby Hotchner had finally arrived.
“I told you that the baby was going to be a girl,” Aaron murmured as he scooted in next to you in the hospital bed where you were holding your child against your chest. You whipped your head in his direction and your jaw dropped.
“I beg your pardon?” you laughed, lacing your sentence with playful annoyance.
“A girl. I was right.” He smirked at you as he rested his hand on your arm so that the two of you were holding onto your baby together.
“Aaron Hotchner, don’t you play the I told you so when you are in no place to play that card.”
Aaron leaned over to you and pressed a kiss to your temple. “You’re so cute when you try to act angry, you know that?” he teased.
You rolled your eyes and rested your head on his shoulder, looking down at the baby in your arms. She had Aaron’s smile and his gorgeous eyes. Her button nose and hair were all you. “I can’t stand you sometimes, you know that?”
“You love me.”
You picked your head up off his shoulder and looked up at him. You pressed a gentle kiss against his lips and smiled at him. “I do love you. So much.”
Aaron cupped your cheek in his hand, running his thumb over your jawline. “I love you too, Y/N.” He kissed you as best as he could without disturbing your hold on your daughter. He pressed his forehead against yours, nuzzling against it lightly. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“For what?” you asked softly.
“For bringing our beautiful daughter into the world. For being so strong to do so. For being an amazing mother already.”
You felt the tears welling in your eyes, a combination of your already haywire hormones and the thoughtfulness of his words. “Thank you for being the one to bring her into the world with me.”
Aaron smiled, his dimples larger than ever. He pressed another kiss to your lips before resting his chin back on top of your head with his arm wrapped around your shoulder as the two of you sat quietly, just watching the movements of your daughter in your arms.
You weren’t sure how much time passed with the two of you taking turns holding your daughter before the pitter patter of feet in the doorway grabbed the attention of the both of you.
“Is she here yet? Is she here yet, Dad?” Jack hollered as he ran into the hospital room, his aunt Jessica following behind.
Aaron held his finger against his lips, shushing Jack quietly. “Quiet, buddy.” Aaron shifted next to you and patted his lap for Jack to hop up onto him. “She’s here,” he whispered as he sat Jack down on the bed, moving him in between the two of you.
Jack gasped loudly, his face turning up into a bright smile. “She’s really here,” he said excitedly.
“Yeah, Jack. You’re a big brother now,” you said to him as you passed your daughter to Aaron to give him some time to hold her.
“I always wanted to be a big brother,” Jack said as he held his finger in front of the baby, brushing his finger gently along her cheek. Jack turned his head in Aaron’s direction. “I told you it was going to be a girl. I wanted a little sister, not a little brother,” Jack said. You felt your heart melt at your stepsons words, happy at the joy he felt.
Aaron scoffed and rolled his eyes, a deep chuckle reverberating out of his chest. “So you both were Team Baby Girl Hotchner?” he asked.
“Actually, the majority of us were,” Penelope said as she shuffled into the room, holding a gift bag in her hand as the rest of your BAU family filed into the room behind her.
“Yeah, that reminds me,” Rossi started as he walked next to the bed. He pointed his finger at Derek, Emily, and JJ. “The three of you owe me money for that bet.”
Your eyes widened. “Hold on...you all bet on the gender of our child?” You let out a soft laugh, not expecting anything less from the lot of them.
Half of the team fumbled to get their wallets out, passing Rossi the money. He counted it and held it up towards you. “Don’t worry. It’s going towards that fancy stroller that you guys want.” He gave you a quick wink.
“You guys don’t have to do that,” Aaron said, peering down at your daughter with a proud look on his face.
“Well, we want to and we are going to,” Emily retorted. She smiled widely and watched as Aaron fawned over your daughter.
“She’s going to be a real daddy’s girl, huh?” Derek asked. You remember the joy you felt for him when he welcomed his own son into the world and now that you know what it felt like, you realized that nothing compared to the feeling.
“Yeah, she will be,” Aaron agreed, rubbing his finger gently in front of your baby’s hand. You thought that your heart was going to explode out of your chest when her little hand wrapped around the end of his finger. “You hear that, little one?” He pressed a gentle kiss on top of your daughter’s forehead. “You’re going to be my little lovebug.”
Rossi raised a brow at Aaron. “Lovebug?” he quipped.
Aaron looked up at him and scoffed. “Just shut up. I’m extremely happy alright,” he chuckled, bringing his attention back to the new life he held in his arms.
You leaned over and pressed a kiss to Aaron’s cheek, leaning over Jack. You ruffled your stepson’s hair and held him tight against you, wanting to cherish the moment forever.
You felt a small tear slipping from your eye as you felt overwhelmed with love and excitement for the next chapter of your lives.
“Thank you guys for coming,” you addressed the team. “It means a lot to us.”
“Oh, we wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Penelope assured. She took a few steps forward and passed you the little gift bag that she had been holding on to. “This is just a little something for baby Hotchner.”
You told her your thanks and passed the bag to Jack. “Open it up, buddy.”
Jack took the tissue paper out of the bag carefully before pulling out a small light grey onesie from the bag. He unfolded it and turned it so that you and Aaron could read it as well.
You laughed at the words on the front of it, your heart growing even more full of love for your team, for your daughter and for Aaron.
“Well, what does it say?” Emily asked.
Aaron gave you a small smirk before bringing his attention back to the team to tell them.
hey homies, hope all is well, i’m coming at ya tonight with a new headcanon ask list :)) you can send in numbers to my ask box here for any criminal minds characters<3 the emojis you see at the end of each section, you can send, and i’ll give you a headcanon that’s not listed 🕺🏻
JOIN DA DISCORD
have fun yall and remember you’re all loved💖
1 ✧ Do they prefer driving or riding while on cases
2 ✧ What’s in their carry on bag
3 ✧ How would they handle getting lost
4 ✧ What does retirement look like for them
5 ✧ What are they usually doing on the ride back
6 ✧ How did they deal with gideon leaving
7 ✧ Whats one case that really stuck with them
8 ✧ If they werent in the bau what career path would they choose
9 ✧ Nicknames for the team
10 ✧ Where do they go when stress gets a little too much
send a 📁 for me to give you a random quantico themed headcanon of mine not listed
11 ✧ What is their love language
12 ✧ How do they envision their future with their partner
13 ✧ Where would they take their partner on a first date
14 ✧ Mornings with them
15 ✧ Where would they make anniversary dates
16 ✧ How they surprise their partner
17 ✧ What are their kisses like
18 ✧ Do they like to cuddle
19 ✧ How would they break up with their partner
20 ✧ What’s their wedding like
send a 🌹 for me to give you a random love themed headcanon of mine not listed
21 ✧ Their thoughts and opinions about family pets
22 ✧ How would they celebrate and decorate for the holidays
23 ✧ Family traditions
24 ✧ How are they with kids
25 ✧ Do they plan for a family; how big
26 ✧ How do they hold on to memories
27 ✧ Where would they plan family vacations
28 ✧ Some family rules
29 ✧ What meal would they cook their kids to cheer them up
30 ✧ A must have when looking for a house
send a 🧸 for me to give you a random family themed headcanon of mine not listed
31 ✧ Whats their favorite tv show
32 ✧ Are they team Edward or team Jacob
33 ✧ Do they have any subscriptions to magazines
34 ✧ Whats their favorite movie
35 ✧ Are they more of a Marvel or D.C. person
36 ✧ Whats their favorite type of music
37 ✧ Whats their favorite genre of books
38 ✧ What color were they in among us
39 ✧ Are they team Tony or team Cap
40 ✧ Do they use social media
send a 📚 for me to give you a random media themed headcanon of mine not listed
41 ✧ Favorite snack for car and jet rides
42 ✧ How would they take their coffee
43 ✧ Do they prefer fruits or veggies
44 ✧ Comfort food
45 ✧ Favorite pie
46 ✧ Favorite condiment
47 ✧ How do they like their steak
48 ✧ Drink of choice
49 ✧ How do they like their eggs
50 ✧ Any food allergies
send a 🥣 for me to give you a random quantico themed headcanon of mine not listed
51 ✧ Favorite subject
52 ✧ What sport did they play
53 ✧ What clique were they in
54 ✧ How would they ask their partner to homecoming
55 ✧ Favorite study spot
56 ✧ Did they prefer coffee vs tea
57 ✧ Favorite social media app
58 ✧ Did they prefer chromebook or macbook
59 ✧ What would their snap name/score be
60 ✧ Were they involved in after school activites
send a 🪁 for me to give you a random highschool themed headcanon of mine not listed
61 ✧ Do they prefer liquid or foaming soap
62 ✧ What side of the bed do they sleep on with their partner
63 ✧ Do they have any bad habits
64 ✧ Aquariums or museums
65 ✧ Is there a catch phrase they say alot
66 ✧ How gentle are they physically and emotionally
67 ✧ Are they prone to jealousy
68 ✧ How open are they
69 ✧ Do they know how to change a tire
70 ✧ Favorite season
71 ✧ Whats a life goal of theirs
72 ✧ Favorite board game
73 ✧ Do they like roller coasters
74 ✧ What temperature do they set their thermostat
75 ✧ Favorite design pattern
send a 🎟 for me to give you a random headcanon of mine not listed
Moodboard for Chapter One of my Country Boy Hotch series (still needs a name).
What if Aaron Hotchner never followed in his fathers footsteps to become a lawyer? What if he never married Haley, never joined the BAU? What if he spent long summer days working the fields of an old Rancher’s farm, herding cattle and tending to horses?
What if Reader was the child of the old Rancher, coming home for the summer to spend time with their family after being away for the last several years? And if the summer they expected, full of boring yard work and small town gossip, actually turned into a summer of mystery and whirlwind romance?
picking jack up from school on a day off that you and aaron had and he looks as happy as a little boy could be. you ask how his day was and he rambles on about how "mrs mckee gave me three jolly ranchers today :3! here i saved one for you and the other for dad!" and "i read two chapter of my book during indepent reading time!" and so on and so forth... and then you ask what homework he has and he says very cheerfully "a family tree!" and you smile at him in the rearview mirror and then tells you about the book they're reading in class and how he now knows how to add fractions :') over the next day or so, you help him with the family tree project, helping him pick out what pictures he wants to use, and it's a good excuse to pull out an old photo album aaron had of him, haley and jack and just look over baby jack (he giggles at the pictures of him and haley at the hospital because "i was that tiny!? wooah thats super cool! now im big!!!" and you giggle and kiss his forehead and agree with him). anyway, once he has aaron and haley's side of the tree down, he says "yay! we're done :3 !" and you smile happily with him but youre heart also hurts bc you'd like to think you would've been on there, even if it was just a little picture, but alas, if he didn't want you on there, you wouldn't overstep. that night, aaron notices you're a bit more quiet than usual and you barely respond when he makes a silly joke so asks what's wrong and you hesistate to tell him because you dont want him to think youre not happy with jack because you are! how could you be anything but? however you tell him anyway and he kisses you and holds you close that night and says "im sure he has a good reason as to why he didnt put you on there, but he doesnt not like you honey, youre all he ever talks about.." and you feel a little better but fall asleep a little sad that night and aaron wishes he could tell you the truthe but jack would be upsetti spaghetti with him if he did >:( so he just waits. and it proves to be worth it when you pick up jack a few days later from school and he's holding the tri-fold poster you recognized as the family tree one and he's so giggly and basically bouncing in his seat and zooms into the apartment building as soon as you parked and unlocked the car doors. he gets into comfier clothes than the ones he was wearing and then you three have dinner while he talks about how his presentation went. he asks if he can present it to you and aaron in the living room (aaron asks if you guys should invite jess, to which jack nods and tries to say "yeah!" through a mouthful of pasta but you and aaron give him a playful look) so you wait for jess to arrive and then you all sit on the couch and watch jack get his board ready and his little index cards 🥺🥺🥺 and then he opens it up and your breath hitches in your throat when you see one side is just as covered with your family as the others are covered with aaron and haley's :((( (not to mention there's a little dotted line pointing out of aaron and you that connects to pictures of the team with little handwriting you recognized as jack's that says "aunties and uncles :) !!") you keep your tears at bay for most of the presentation until he moves to be closer to your side of the board and says "and here we have my momma's family :3 !!" you begin to weep and jack stops his presentation because he thinks your sad and he frowns because he thinks he upset you but you pull him into a hug and kiss all over his face and tell him that you're just super happy :(( then he continues (but not before scurrying off to find a tissue box for you :'3)
YESSSSS MORE JESS THOUGHTS 😭😭🥺👉🏻👈🏻
:((( you tucked a couple of pictures of you and aaron or you and jack into your hands when you were helping jack with the tree just in case he wanted to put you on there so you’d be prepared, and aaron finds them on your bedside table that night and feels a little bad about the secret that he’s helping jack keep but he knows it will be so so worth it when you see it 🥺 hehehe jack scurrying off to find you tissues “for your nose, momma!” while jess rubs her hand over your back so sweetly and gives you the nicest smile and aaron leans over to kiss your cheek hehe when he’s done with presenting to you three, jack comes right over into His Spot and crawls into your lap “did you like it, momma? :3” and you squish his cute little cheeks before kissing his little forehead “i loved it so so much, baby boy” and he giggles all happily because on the family tree he put under your column that his momma calls him “baby boy, baby, jackers, jack-jack, sweet pea, and the seasonal jack-o-lantern” and aaron watches you two all cuddled up and lovey with each other and knows he was right, that it was so worth it to see the surprise and the happiness on your face when you were shown just how much that little boy loves you 🥺🥺🥺
overview: the team cant help but notice reader and spencer's obvious affections towards eachother, so they start keeping track.
a/n: i think this is cute can u tell i love mutual pining lmaooo but yeah this is a short one sorry anyway lmk if you guys like it :)
everyone had their little thing that stayed on the jet. go bags come and go, hell, even agents come and go. but for their time being, everyone had a jet item that never left the plane.
for morgan it was his soundproof headphones. for hotch it was a very specific notebook. for you it was a small pillow that you adored. so on and so fourth
for spencer it was his blanket. his and only his because everyone has icky germs and a blanket lays all over someone when they sleep its a microscopic bloodbath. and he did not need any of that. he kept it on his unassigned assigned seat and would take it with him to sleep on the jets couch seat. so it really only ever touched him. it was his blanket that he never ever shared with anyone ever.
except for when he shared it with you.
one time, after a case that was particularly draining for you, he insisted you take the long seat on the jet so you could try and get some decent sleep. and you were out like a light but it looked to be a very uncomfortable slumber. your face was contorted with worry and your shoulders shook slightly every so minutes when a shiver would run down your spine. the jet was pretty cold and you looked like you could really use a comfy, warm blanket.
he pondered it for a second. did he mind your germs? no, not really. should he mind them? yes. but he doesn't. for whatever reason he would even be completely ok with you using him as your own personal blanket. he felt his cheeks heat up at the thought of being so physically close to you.
wordlessly, and selectively oblivious to the confused stares he was receiving from the team, he walked over to you and draped the blanket across your body; pulling it up to reach your neck and ensure maximum warmth. after all, humans lose 90% of their body heat through their head and neck. immediately the shivering stopped. you snuggled it closer and he couldn't help but smile watching you quickly find peace and comfort.
jj nudged Emily who cocked an eyebrow at Derek who smirked at Rossi who tapped hotch and they all took a second to watch the scene unfolding at the front of the jet. they could tell Spencer was already smitten before he even figured it out himself. they had their suspicions for a while, and morgan now owes prentiss $5, because this act of affection was confirmation enough for all of them.
Spencer felt a warmth grow in his chest, something he really only felt when he was around you. or thinking of you. or talking to you. basically, having anything to do with you. so he stifled his smile and went back to his seat, opening up his book and trying to ignore the teams eyes boring into him.
when you were shaken awake you were warm and safe and everything smelled like Spencer. and then you recognized Spencer's blanket had been draped across your body and you were holding one of the corners close to your chest. smiling at the mere thought of spencer, you looked up and were met with a smirking Derek.
"come on pretty girl, you're the last one on the jet again," he chuckled, helping you up.
"you can go without me i need to grab my things," you yawned.
he nodded and walked off leaving you alone with Spencer's blanket. you folded it neatly before placing it on Spencer's usual unassigned assigned seat.
the next time you guys were heading home on the jet you could tell Spencer was visibly very tired. a perfect coincidence set up by God himself to help you repay him for letting you use his blanket. you watched him scrunch up his cardigan countless times trying to make it a pillow comfortable enough to sleep ok but it just was not working. though, it was adorable watching his curls bounce around with each movement of his head, you wished some peace would grace his features once again.
you simply couldn't watch him struggle anymore so you walked over to him, gently lifted his head, and placed the pillow beneath it. he looked up confused but when he saw it was you and realized what you were doing he gave you a smile that made you melt.
the team once again took notice of this and started keeping a track of you guys in hotch's notebook. anytime you two did something couple adjacent, a tally mark would be made and bets were even placed on how many tallies it would take for you guys to realize your feelings. Derek told Penelope about it when they landed (because she was originally the one who had been trying to set you two up together from the moment you walked into the bullpen) and she had to be lead into another room to squeal. she was given an update on the tallies after each flight and often gave her own observations when you were all in office.
and so, they watched as you gave each other the blanket and pillow, brought one another coffee, read to each other, left work together, listened to each others none sense ramblings, hugs lingered, hands touched, smiles radiated, eyes met. they were rooting for you nerds to finally realize you were in love.
after one case, you had gotten a little bit injured. nothing major, just a cut on your hand after tackling the unsub, but it was enough to make Spencer fret. it was dangerous, and you shouldn't have been there alone. it could have ended so badly. but he couldn't even be mad at you. so you sat next together on the jet, silent and thinking, just glad to be in each other's presence. Spencer saw your eyelids drooping, looking more adorable than ever to him. he took the blanket that was bunched up next to him and draped it over the both of you.
you smiled at him, taking the pillow from behind your head and handing it to him.
"no you were using this." he whispered.
"its ok ill use your arm instead." you sighed sleepily, snuggling into his arm.
the two of you were bright red and absolutely soaring from being this close. dopey smiles were etched on both of your faces.
"how many is this?" prentiss asked, looking expectedly at hotch.
"this would be number..." he scanned the pages in his notebook, "87"
"for a couple of profilers they sure are bad at seeing the signs," Rossi chuckled.
they looked over and watched as Spencer pressed a kiss to the top of your head before resting his own on it as you snuggled closer to it.
TW: War themes, Middle East, guns, cannon violence — additional tags will be added as necessary.
A/N: This set beginning between Seasons 6 and 7, and Hotch is sent to Pakistan. Instead of him running the operation, he reports to Reader, who is the CIA case officer/intelligence officer in charge. The operation is run through the clandestine service, not the military as shown on CM. This is her first op as IOC, and she’s a tough bitch. I’m taking some liberties with the time line, vocabulary, and actual operational protocol for the sake of the story. This is a very slow burn, and enemies to friends to lovers theme. There will be time jumps later throughout the story.
“Morning, agent,” you step into the elevator just after Hotch. “Heading to the gym?”
“Good morning, Y/L/N. Yes, I am. What about you?”
“I’m going to workout,” you press a button for one of the sublevels.
He looks at the button you’ve pushed. “I’ve always wondered where you go. What’s down there, a private gym?”
You chuckle. “No, no private gym. I don’t use equipment, I have my own little thing I do.”
He cocks his head at you, and then looks you up and down, not in a sexual way, but in a sincerely curious manner.
“Would you like to join me?”
“Sure. Yeah. Yes, I’d like that. See what you do on the mornings when I’m pounding out my five miles.”
“Ok. Let’s go.”
The elevator opens into some sort of sub-basement. It smells like wet metal, and cleaning products. It’s grey and ominous, but not dark.
“So, what do you do down here?”
“Suicides, pushups, mountain climbers, burpees, you know, anything that gets your heart rate up, uses body weight. I don’t always have a lot of time, so jogging isn’t really efficient.”
“Nope. Here, let’s start with fifteen minutes, and then we’ll see how you feel.”
You start leading him through an abbreviated version of your routine, and within the fifteen minutes he’s red faced, huffing and puffing. “Shit, you do this every day?”
“Most days. Whips you into shape, doesn’t it?”
“Whew, yeah it does.”
“Let’s just finish up with some laps, then we’ll head upstairs. Sound good?”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
You start running down the length of the corridor, at a steady pace. “You know, I think we’re close to getting Bukhari to talk. He’s really taken a shine to you. I have to say, you were right about choosing him to focus on, as opposed to Abbasi.”
“Well, he has a family, he has more to lose, or gain. It’s easier for him to go under the radar, a driver who hears everything as opposed to a second in command like Abbasi.”
“I think you’re right. I think this is going to be the asset we need to tie up this network. C’mon, lets grab a coffee, we have a long day ahead of us,” you start towards the elevator, Hotch on your heels.
That first workout is the first of several over the next few weeks. In addition to working out, you spend them going over strategy, assets, the strengths and weaknesses over the other team members, it’s almost collaborative, but he always defers to you. He must be doing them on his own too, his strength and stamina improves rapidly, and he drops at least ten pounds. Most surprisingly, you find yourself looking forward to these workout slash pow wows.
“Agent Hotchner, you have a sat phone call,” one of the communications officers enters your tent, holding out a sat phone.
Hotch stands up and meets the young man in the middle of the tent, pressing it to his ear. “Hotchner. What? Hold on.” he walks out of the tent. You follow him.
“You know, long days, nothing surprising. Is Declan safe? Morgan, I didn’t authorize this. Alright, I’m coming back. Be careful, it could be a trap. You make sure you have eyes on Doyle. Then you take the shot,” he hands the sat phone back to the marine. He turns around and comes nearly face to face with you.
“What do you mean you’re ‘coming back?’”
“I have to leave. I have to get back to DC, uh, Quantico.”
“Are you fucking kidding? You have another eight weeks on your assignment, we’re still collecting intel.”
“I understand that, but this is urgent, my team has located a missing arms dealer and his son may be missing, there’s a lot to explain, and I just don’t have time. I need to get on the next plane,” he’s climbing into a Humvee as he speaks.
You stop the door as he goes to close it, you can feel the blood pulsing into your face, your cheeks flushing, “You’re walking out on a mission to stop the proliferation of chemical weapons and the spread of ISIS for a missing kid? Hotchner. You get on that plane, and I’ll be on the phone to the director and your credentials will be revoked before you even land in Germany.”
“You do what you need to do. I’m doing what I need to do,” and he slams the door shut in your face.
Your threat ends up becoming an empty one. The director tells you that he has no intention of revoking Agent Hotchner’s credentials, but he’ll take your complaint under consideration during the annual audit of the BAU. It should make you feel better, but it doesn’t. Did you make that phone call really because of breach of protocol, a threat to your operation? Or was it really just because of the blow to your ego?
You don’t make it back to the embassy for another two days after Hotch walks out. He never called to confirm his arrival back in the states or to apologize, and as far as you were concerned, despite what had looked like a blossoming friendship, if you never saw him again, that would be fine with you. You’re walking down the hall to your apartment, when you notice his door is ajar. You push it open. It’s immaculate. The bed is made, everything is pristine. You walk over the the breakfast bar, the laptop and his cells phone are lined up, along with he key cards, and a small gift bag. You peek in the top, and there’s a card, with your name scrawled across the front in his signature block-y handwriting.
“Y/N, this wasn’t how I had planned to give this to you, but I still wanted you to have it. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the last few months, the experience has been invaluable. I wish you the best in the future. --AH”
You lift the tissue paper and find one of the scarves from the day you took him to the market, in that same teal color you’d worn that day. You shove the scarf and card back into the bag, and toss them in the trash can. You walk over to the fridge and find it empty save for the two thirds full six pack you’d brought over that night and the remaining bourbon. You shake your head. You take the beer and bourbon out of the fridge and gather the stuff off of the breakfast bar, and carry it back over to your apartment. You set everything down on the coffee table, and open a beer, guzzling back half of it in one go. You fight back the tears forming in the corners of your eyes. You take a deep breath, and walk back across the hall and into his apartment. You pull the gift bag and card out of the trash can and go back to your space, where you spend the remainder of the evening, finishing the beer and trying not to cry.
You’re in your office when one of your task force members comes rushing in. “He wants to talk, he wants to talk,” he’s winded and worked up.
“Bukhari! He wants to talk. He’s asking for Hotchner. What do you want to do? He wants his family to be moved and to move to the states and for money.”
“Ok, ok. Where is he?”
“He’s at the number four safe house. What do you want us to do?”
“Nothing. Don’t do anything. I’m going to handle this.”
You call for a ground transport and head out to the safe house.
You spend two days there, talking and negotiating with a panicked Bukhari, and despite your fluent Urdu, kind nature, promise of close to whatever he wants, he only wants to talk to Hotch. He does not trust you, and has told you as much. You end up releasing him with a few thousand dollars and a plea to reconsider aiding the US. It’s a crushing blow.
You end up having to explain how you, an experienced and elite case officer, wasn’t able to turn an asset that someone with no field experience was on the brink of recruiting.
After the loss of Bukhari, spend another six months in Pakistan, working, recruiting, running another task force. You are met with great success, actionable intelligence, and accolades you can’t share with anyone, nor ones to which your country would admit. Another series of anniversaries pass. You put in a request to be reassigned to Moscow, thinking a change of location will do you some good, provide a fresh start.
You’re six months into your stint in Moscow, when you decide you can’t do it anymore. You need to go home. You need to stop running. The change of atmosphere doesn’t provide the relief for which you’d hoped.
You place a call to to the deputy director of Directorate of Operations, and one of your friends at Langley, who does domestic placements. You inquire about a desk job, an analyst position, running something, anything, from home. There’s nothing available, and no funds to create something but you’re told they’ll make some calls and get back to you.
The next morning, the phone rings, a United States area code, a 703 number you don’t recognize.
“Hello, is this Y/N?”
“Yes, this is she.”
“This is Agent Martin with the FBI in Quantico, Virginia,” Agent Martin begins, her voice on the verge of frantic, “I spoke to a couple of people over at Langley, and I was told you’re looking for a new assignment stateside, and I am, well, I’m desperate. I need someone who is familiar with the Middle East, Syria and Russia. I need someone to join my task force, to run it, essentially, starting like, yesterday. I know this is an unusual transfer, moving agencies like this, but we’ll be able to offer you a generous and comprehensive package, and you’d be able to complete an accelerated academy course load, that can all be worked out, and you’d be the direct report, essentially the unit chief, or whatever title we work out for you. What do you think? Can we talk about it?”
You don’t even think.
“When can you book my flight?”
“Is that a yes? You’ll run my task force?”
“Yes, that’s a yes. I’ll run your task force,” you try to contain your relief, excitement and, yes, fear about returning home.
The Bureau had been extraordinarily flexible, flying you home, letting you work through an accelerated Academy course load at a rapid pace. Agent Martin pairs you with seasoned agents for certain material, letting you test out of things like some of the law classes, fire arms qualifications, topics that overlap with your Agency credentials. You’re required to take a certain number of seminars, which are at least in a variety of different topics.
This particular morning you’re attending a seminar on profiling, a hot ticket according to Martin who had pulled several strings to get you a spot. The seminar is taught by an SSA Rossi and Dr. Reid. The names are glaringly familiar, but you can’t place them. Needless to say, the seminar is interesting and informative. It’s the most engaged you’ve been in the few weeks you’ve been working through the academy materials. You pass the exam given at the end of the two day session with a 99.
That grade, along with your active participation, garners you some attention from SSA Rossi, who corners you for a conversation about your goals and aspirations inside the Bureau. He tells you he teaches interrogation, that he can get you into the next seminar, even though it’s full. You politely thank him and decline, biting your tongue, refraining from telling him that you could teach the class; he seems so earnest in his offer.
He then suggests that maybe you look into joining his unit. You finally tell him that the courses are all a formality, you’ve transferred to the Bureau from another agency to run your own unit, but you are flattered by his suggestion and invitation. You gather from his reaction that no one ever turns down the BAU, turns down SSA David Rossi.
It’s a mere sixty-five days after that first phone call, when you’re setthing up in a new office on the ninth floor of the FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. You’ve been assigned your very own team of of agents, all bright and eager, ready to work. The assignment is thrilling, tracking Putin’s links to Al-Assad, trying to track their movements and links with in the US and abroad. You get to use all of your skills, and you greatly enjoy the people who work under you.
While you’re fulfilled at work, there’s flashes of the life you don’t have. Free weekends and evenings to yourself leave more time to yourself than you realized. You try to fill that time with hobbies, reaching out to old classmates, taking art classes, attending wine tastings, dating from time to time, even going on...vacations. It’s nice. Quiet. Nearly domestic. You’re actually...content. For awhile.
Twelve months after you accept that offer from your Moscow apartment, you receive word that your unit is being shut down. They tell you in a status meeting, right after your unit provides valuable, politically valuable, information. But you aren’t given another assignment, your agents are being moved to other counter intelligence and counter terrorism units. You’re not given any more information than that.
Shortly after your informed about the dissolution of your unit, You receive a cryptic email. You hope they’re assigning you a new unit or new task force, something similar to the one you just led. But it’s from the DNI and the deputy director of the Bureau, along with some name you don’t recognize from the NCAVC and the IOSS Section Chief, Erin Strauss. They’re all requesting a meeting with you tomorrow, Tuesday, 10am. It’s a little confusing. You have zero experience in major crimes, or standard investigative work. But you’re happy to take the meeting, your last agent left your little corner of the ninth floor the previous Thursday, and you’d essentially been twiddling your thumbs since.
It’s finally Tuesday,10am and you head to the sixth floor for this meeting. You are greeted with pleasantries and handshakes. A blonde woman, who introduces herself as Erin Strauss offers you coffee, which you accept, walking to the back of the conference room, helping yourself to the coffee station.
Coffee in hand, you turn around, nearly dropping your cup. He’s clean shaven, and filled out a little, but it’s the same Aaron Hotchner, the perfectly pressed man who stepped out of that helicopter a little over two years earlier. The same man who up and left you in the middle of assignment in Pakistan. The same man who nearly blew up your operation for god-knows-what.
The same alarm you feel rising up in your chest, registers on his face, but only for a second. “Good morning, Chief Strauss,” he greets her, his eyes still trained on you.
“Aaron, come, you remember SSA Y/N Y/L/N. She’s just wrapped up a very successful investigation and task force and she comes highly recommended by both CIA and FBI leadership, and of course, your own exit interview.” Strauss says.
“SSA? SSA?” he looks just as confused as you feel. He shoots you a look.
Your mouth is agape, “I beg your pardon, Chief Strauss, recommended? Recommended me for what?”
“Yes, please, let’s sit,” she motions to the table.
The group of you sit around a large conference table. The video conference screen turns on, and on the left is the DNI, and on the right is the deputy director of the FBI.
The DNI begins first, “Good morning all of you, I want to thank you for taking time to meet. I have to say, I am extremely excited about this, I think it’s going to be great PR for both the FBI and CIA, it’s going to show great inter-ageny cooperation, be really good for the American people. You know everyone is just fascinated with the whole serial killer thing, it’s really becoming a cultural phenomenon. As you all know SSA Y/L/N was with the clandestine services branch, the directorate of operations, of the CIA for over ten years, and now she’s been with the FBI for a year, and that’s been a great success. I’m sure you all saw the press conference the AG gave last week, and that wouldn’t have been possible without her,” the room erupts in a golf clap. “That said, I think this transfer is the absolute best move for the Bureau, especially considering the volatile year the BAU has just had. It’s just great optics all around.”
“Pardon me, sir, great optics? Transfer? To do what?” you’re the only one who dares to speak.
“Yes, Agent Y/L/N. We need to make some moves to bring trust back to the American people and I think this move is a great one. Moving you to the BAU. As a profiler.” Says DNI.
“A profiler? I understand your concerns sir, but if you’re looking for someone who would be good in the public eye, I don’t know that I’m that person. As you know, my work history is almost entirely classified, for lack of a better word, I was a spy. And I have, well, I have no experience working major crimes, or in profiling. Wouldn’t I be much better suited to run another task force? I’m not looking for the notoriety that comes with such a public facing unit,” you counter.
“But that’s it, exactly! Who better to become a profiler than someone who spent her career figuring out bad guys, recruiting assets and gathering intelligence! I am sure that Agent Hotchner will avail himself of your vast skill set, isn’t that right, Agent Hotchner?”
“Sir. I want to begin by thanking you for thinking about what’s best for my unit, but I am think that but Agent Y/L/N is right. It takes years of training to become a profiler, it takes a very special skill set and years of experience and I don’t even know that she has the underlying academics to support such an assignment,” Hotch responds, his face expressionless.
”Not to worry Agent Hotchner, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together Agent Y/L/N’s academic credentials, her very impressive academic credentials, I’m sure you’ll agree, and her CIA and FBI work history, to the extent it wasn’t classified above your clearance,” DNI James’ patience clearly wearing thin.
“Again, no disrespect meant sir, but her time with the Bureau, as an agent is that of a NAT, not an agent with years of experience,” Hotch tries again.
“Well, it’s been brought to my attention that during that whole Agent Prentiss fiasco, you did have a NAT assigned to your unit, an Agent Seaver. In fact, it was my understanding that you signed off on the request personally. So I don’t think that should be an issue. We’ve also based a lot of this selection, this decision to transfer Agent Y/L/N on your own exit interview,” Deputy Director Hansen says, his irritation also apparent.
“I’m sorry, my exit interview?” Hotch is clearly caught off guard again.
“When you were assigned to her task force in Islamabad, you completed an exit interview, assessing your assignment, but moreover, Agent Y/L/N’s leadership skills, talents and your overall experience working with her and for her. And frankly, that’s what sealed the deal for us. I have that interview transcript in front of me and you said, and I quote, ‘Y/L/N is a born profiler,’ and ‘one of the most talented minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.’”
Hotch isn’t given a chance to voice a rebuttal. Strauss jumps into the conversation.
“I think this is a great fit, a great opportunity for the BAU to expand its capabilities and talents. Agent Hotchner obviously has great confidence in Agent Y/L/N’s abilities. Thank you for your time DNI James and Deputy Director Hansen. Thank you all for your time. I will make sure that Agent Hotchner has all the support he needs to make this a successful transition and that Agent Y/L/N’s transfer is effective immediately.” Strauss beams at you. You feel like she’s just bid on a prize pig at an auction.
It was clear that no matter what the two of you say, this was a done deal. You would be the newest member of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, reporting to one Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner.
overview: the reader is hopelessly, head over heels in love with spencer (the other option is that they believe they have carbon monoxide poisoning) and thinks he doesn't feel the same way.
genre: angsty-ish (?), fluff-ish(?), PINING (so much pining), friends to lovers teehee
pairing: spencer reid x gn!reader
a/n: hiii ! omg this is my first ever fanfic and asdhfsdfjhgdhjfs i'm super scared and excited rn. i just wanna say tysm for taking the time to read this and especially thank you to @samuel-de-champagne-problems, @jemilyisms and @spencerreidat3am for taking a look at my drafts ! i totally was not projecting onto reader, the entire time, and writing about my real-life scenario where my i'm in love with my best friend and she doesn't like me back ahahahah. anyways if anyone wants to cry about unrequited love come to me and lets cry together. the title is based on this stardust quote and idk it kinda fits the theme of unknown unrequited love - ahhh i'm just waffling at this point. i hope you enjoy the fic :) <3 !
it had been a couple weeks since you’d last hung out with Spencer by yourself. after forcing him to re-watch your favourite film ‘stardust’ for the 80th time together, you found yourself tucked away in his arms; his hands tracing circles gently against your back, whilst you both lay on the sofa.
you’d almost confessed there and then.
it hadn’t been the first time that you both sought each other out whilst watching a film; you were always almost touching in some way or another. a head on a shoulder. legs draped across one another. pinkies intertwined. it had taken him a long time to get used to your love language, touch, and now you both of you couldn’t go too long without touching each other in some way. platonically of course.
but this time you could barely suppress your feelings – the overwhelming urge to look up at him and tell him there and then that you were in love with him. Spencer Walter Reid.
i mean, at least you were pretty you were in love with him. when you first began to question these feelings you searched up your symptoms: slight dizziness (when he wore his favourite cologne), shortness of breath (whenever he platonically flirted with you), heart palpitations (whenever he came near you and brushed his hands against yours). unhelpfully, these were also symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning - so the jury was still out on whether it truly was love.
you’d given up watching on the film halfway through that night – you could practically recite it anyway (you knew for a fact that he could too) - and instead focused on him. Spence’s eyes were still focused on the television screen.
your eyes were drawn back to his lips – in a definitely nonsexual, nonfuckingcreepy way. you just loved the way he smiled. the way he would slightly poke his tongue out whilst he beamed. you loved the way he laughed; the way he would throw his head back and his eyes would light up. you loved the way he cared about his mom, cared about the team, cared about everyone. he was the sweetest soul you’d ever met – the way he would look after JJ after a long day or how he would check up on Garcia when the team was working on a tough case. you loved the way he loved and protected and cherished the ones closest to him. and you hated that you couldn’t tell him.
“you’re staring again, (y/n).” he’d said smirking, that day on the couch, whilst the credits of stardust rolled.
and in that moment, in his arms, you wanted to tell him. tell him that you couldn’t sit in a room without staring at him because he was your world, your everything. but instead, you did what you did best – and forced down all those feelings that you’d tried to convince yourself were insignificant because spencer did not like you the same way you liked him. and you couldn’t risk that. you couldn’t risk losing him. he was too important – too significant in your life to lose him over something as stupid as your feelings.
you’d rolled your eyes at him and told him to “fuck off”, as you left the warmth of his arms and made your way to the kitchen in hope that he hadn’t seen how flushed your face was.
and it was there you told yourself that you couldn’t do this anymore. you couldn’t let yourself get too close to him because jesus fucking christ it hurt too much to know that he would never feel the same way as you did.
and you stuck to your words. for the next couple of weeks, you avoided him successfully (well as successfully as you could considering that you both saw each other every day at work, were paired together on your most recent case and literally spent every waking second together). but you’d avoided spending any substantial time alone together – you sat next to Morgan on the plane (opposed to your usual seat next to Spencer), thankfully you got to share a room with JJ, and as embarrassing as it was every time you saw Spencer around the local precinct, you quickly turned the other direction to avoid bumping into him.
you told yourself it would be fine. it was fine. you were fine. this tiny crush (more like this monumental mass of love that was crushing your whole existence) would soon disappear, and things would be back to normal in no time (i mean who were you kidding it had been nearly a whole year since you’d realised that you a felt a certain way about a certain doctor).
but things were genuinely fine for the next couple of days.
until they weren’t.
your luck had run out – because this weekend you and spencer had tickets to go to the local aquarium.
i mean had you known months ago that you’d end up making yourself promise that you’d avoid your best friend then obviously you wouldn’t have booked tickets. but it was the aquarium (one of his favourite places on earth) and there was a brand-new exhibition about the conservation of jellyfish (one of his favourite animals on earth) and you’d booked the tickets in the spur of the moment without even asking him because it just felt right (once you told him that you booked the tickets, he agreed to come immediately, enveloping you in his arms - thanking you over and over again for thinking about him so selflessly).
and now you couldn’t refund your ticket or cancel last minute (you were pretty sure he had no idea that you were avoiding him, if spencer hadn’t realised by now that you were hopelessly in love with him there was no way he would’ve realised you were doing everything in your power to stop feeling the way you felt).
so, there you were stuck in this predicament – forced to pretend that you weren’t in love with the love of your life for a solid three hours, all by yourselves on a rainy saturday afternoon.