Fill Up the Sky (Part Two)
Notes: Dialogue heavy, beware of cliffhanger. I'm not sorry for what I'm doing to Hotch, but I am a little sorry for what I'm doing to Derek. I listen to A LOT (really almost exclusively) of Sam Cooke when I write Hotch & Morgan, so it gets a little schmoopy and sad. ~2500 words again (I think it'll probably be more like 4 parts at this point)
Previously On: PART ONE
“What happened to that whole I work too much speech?” Derek asked, leaning in the doorway to the small guest room set up for he and Aaron. A crease formed between his brows while Aaron continued tapping the keys on his laptop, a scowl marring the otherwise soft appearance of the man in his khakis and sweater and reading glasses. He glanced up at Derek and relaxed his features, affected an air of nonchalance when he was really coiled tight and feeling electric.
“I missed a deadline, a report that I didn't realize I was responsible for creating, I just thought I was supposed to sign and send it on when it came through. I have to get this to the Director by the end of the day. Ten minutes, Derek.”
“You said that twenty minutes ago.” His tone was accusatory, sharp. He'd heard it all before, the excuses, the reasons, it was always important. That was the problem, there wasn't any part of Aaron's job that wasn't important so it was impossible to brush any of it off.
“Derek,” said Aaron helplessly. “I'm trying. My phone has been ringing off the hook today and I've let a lot of it go but I can't ignore it all.”
“Oh, so you want some kind of award or something? Man, you told me you'd be good to stay. What the hell is it that can't wait until we get back?”
“With Strauss on leave,” Aaron started, closing his laptop so he could stand, giving Derek his full attention. Arguing was second nature for them, disagreements and head butting happened almost daily and neither of them took it seriously, but it rarely got heated anymore. Aaron felt a hot one coming on and was bracing himself. “I have a lot more on my plate. It's temporary, but for the time being I have no other choice.”
“No other choice? You were already doing two jobs!”
“Yes, and now I'm doing three. Derek, when you called the EAP, when you checked her into rehab, what exactly did you expect would happen? That her job would just stop needing to be done, wait for her to return? That isn't how it works.” He kept his voice low, lips barely moving while he spoke. He was tense, arms crossed tight across his chest, sweater bunching awkwardly in the sharp angles of his elbows. Derek was always open, arms at his sides, he didn't bottle things up, he didn't close himself off in the same ways Aaron did. It made their arguments explosive at times, but they both did their best to keep a lid on this one, for the sake of the people they loved in the house beneath them. Derek pressed into the room and closed the door behind him to muffle the sounds.
“Why don't you ever tell anyone you're drowning? Make people step up? I don't think I've ever seen Rossi do a single report, not ONE. You never make anyone pull their own weight, you show up hours before anyone and leave hours after, and a lot of it is you doing their jobs and your own and then you have the nerve to come here and talk to me like some kind of martyr when the suits at the top see a sucker and take advantage! And then you have the audacity to be surprised when your doctor tells you that you need to lighten your load and find healthy ways to deal with your stress before your damn heart explodes...”
“Derek...” Aaron attempted, and Derek knew that last bit was below the belt but he was hot and it was the truth. There was a knock at the door and they both paused, tried to shake it off and loosen up. Derek pulled the door open and smiled at his mother, standing there with a mug of coffee in her hand.
“I thought Aaron might need this,” she said softly, handing the mug to Aaron with a smile. He took it gratefully and hugged it close to him, the heat stinging his fingertips. In the moment of quiet, he became acutely aware of a tightness in his chest and he focused hard on the way Fran's earrings sparkled when she moved her head but he couldn't seem to draw in enough breath. He gripped the mug tighter, moved it to his face and tried to breathe in the steam. Something happened then, like his lungs remembered how to do their jobs and he pulled in a deep breath, feeling it slice painfully through him, arcing off of his ribs like a bolt of lightning.
“Dinner is ready,” she added quietly, still just looking at them. Maybe willing them to talk, or just hanging out long enough that they both cooled off. Whatever it was, she just stood there in silence watching them.
“Thank you, Mrs. Morgan,” Aaron replied, forcing air through his lungs and inching a little closer to Derek, until their elbows touched, a silent offer of his white flag. His chest ached and the last thing he wanted was to have Derek mad at him. Fran looked them up and down and shook her head, she knew what two hot headed people could be like and she could read the tension in the room loud and clear. She left without another word, though she had plenty she'd like to say to her son. It could wait for another time, they had their own things to sort out. When she'd gone, Derek closed the door again and turned to look at Aaron, both of them with softer features than before. This was how it usually ended, with a quiet apology because they both understood that, harsh words aside, they were on the same side and they wanted the same things, they just struggled with how to get there. Derek knew Aaron didn't want to be tied to the office, not like this anyway. He liked his job, he thrived on his job, but even he had his limits and he was well beyond them, that much was clear. His son was downstairs with a brand new family, and Jessica was learning how to cook Derek's aunt's famous beef stew and he was up here tied to his laptop trying to fumble his way through a report he barely understood, he wasn't fighting for it because he wanted it, he was fighting for it because he had no other choice.
“I just want you to be here with us,” Derek said, resting his hand on Aaron's arm softly. “My family wants to know you and who knows when we'll get another opportunity like this.”
Aaron sighed and took a sip of the coffee to settle himself, to feel the way the warmth spread through the tightness in his ribs. “I'm sorry Derek. Really. Ten minutes, and I'm yours for the rest of the night. No phone, no laptop. Ten minutes.” He didn't say he promised, he knew better than that, but he meant it. Derek just nodded and let out a long, low sigh before making his way out of the room without another word and Aaron sat back down, opening up his laptop to try and figure out what the hell he was supposed to be sending before he got another angry phone call.
Derek excused himself to take a quick walk around the block, told everyone to go ahead and eat without them. No one did, they all insisted on waiting, carried on visiting instead. It was loud in his head, but the street was quiet in that slow time reserved for dinner and family in the neighborhood. He listened to the wind rustling through the leaves above, car horns honking in the distance felt like they were on another planet. Not his city. His city was quiet now, it was listening to his heavy breathing, his angry footsteps pounding on the sidewalk.
“How are you?” he asked, holding his phone delicately, leaning his back up against a brick building at the end of the block. He kept his house in sight, afraid he might somehow lose it in his anger.
“I'm doing alright,” the woman on the other end of the line said. Her voice was somber, a little rough around the edges but kind. Derek could feel his breath catch in his throat, listening to her raw pain through her breaths. He had no business calling her, he knew that, but there was something dark twisting through him and he was desperate for relief, someone to tell him it would be okay. He wouldn't get it here, though, he knew that now. "But you didn't call to ask about me."
“Chief Strauss,” he said, sliding down the building until he was crouched on his haunches, staring desperately at the asphalt beneath his feet. The oil slicks, the cigarette butts, the scuffed toes of his motorcycle boots. “I know I have no right to call you about this after placing you on leave but...I don't know who else to call. They have Hotch doing your job and his own and,” he was rambling, but she cut him off with a shrill, mirthless chuckle.
“Why do you think his wife left him? Why do you think my marriage crumbled? I never took you for someone so naive, Agent Morgan.”
It hit him like a torpedo, right in the gut, knocked the wind out of him. He slipped down until he was sitting and dropped his phone, letting her voice come through the speaker without hearing the words any longer. It was the second time that day it was implied that he was naive, blind and he realized maybe it was the truth. Running his hands over his head, dragging them down his face, he chastised himself – what had he expected? He'd been watching the slow, methodical demise of Aaron Hotchner since he joined the BAU and somehow, every single day, he fooled himself into believing it wasn't true. It couldn't happen, not to him.
When Aaron made his way down to the kitchen, Derek saw his face, the shadow cast over his sharp features. There was a pinched, pained look there, his knuckles white as he gripped the banister and descended the staircase and Derek almost jumped up to see what was wrong, but the minute his foot hit the landing he melted into a creature made entirely of gentle curves and not a single angle. He smiled at Jack and Jessica, made his way to the table and sat down in time to have a bowl of beef stew placed before him. He glanced over at Derek with a silent nod, acknowledging his compliance with their pact. Not a phone in sight, his laptop was powered down and put away. The table was full of faces Aaron didn't know, not really, though he felt like he did. Derek talked about his family often, told stories about all of the people he was now meeting. There were a few familiar faces, people he'd met with his scowl and his suit and tie in police stations, but he wondered if they remembered him, or knew who he was now, sitting there at the table smiling and joking with his son, tugging playfully at Jessica's unruly curls in his face when she leaned across him to hand Jack a napkin or splash hot sauce into his stew when she thought he wasn't looking. His phone rang off the hook upstairs, but he didn't plan to look at it until the morning. It wasn't easy, he could feel the pull, the way his fingers itched to grab it and see who needed him and why, but he forced himself to be present and though his head was throbbing now and he felt hot around the collar, he sat with his glass of wine and visited with Derek's family, looked through photo albums he begged them not to pull out, listened to stories about how scrawny he'd been as a little boy. Cindy took particular joy in telling those stories, and her son and Jack wandered off to find play in the world of imaginative little boys, bored by the incessant adult talking.
By the time they were in bed, lying curled around each other, Derek was feeling more hopeful. He knew how hard it was for Aaron to ignore work the entire night, but he made it look effortless the way he stayed present, smiled, laughed, engaged with everyone the best he knew how. Social situations weren't easy for him, he was always quiet and preferred listening over talking, but Derek could tell he was there. Really, truly there. He had no problem being the center of attention, holding the room in hysterics, hypnotized by his charisma, he didn't expect Aaron to do the same. He just needed him there. Aaron pressed himself into Derek's embrace, folding his long legs and arms up as tight as he could, pressing his cold toes into the soft places behind Derek's knees. It wasn't often that Aaron went to bed without socks on, but he didn't have any, he hadn't been planning on spending this long in Chicago so they'd need to do some laundry in the morning. They didn't talk, not a single word, just fell asleep to the rhythm of the other's breath.
2:24am. Aaron woke with a start, a sharp, desperate gulp of air that couldn't seem to make it into his lungs. He pushed away from Derek, untangled himself like it might help, eyes wide in the inky black of the room. Silver strands of moonlight pooled near the open window and he tried to focus his eyes there, tried to draw in in a breath. The dull ache in his chest had become a crushing pain, the kind they tell you all about in movies and you don't believe until it's happening to you. His heart was racing so hard it felt like a bloody fist beating at his ribs, hammering against his breast bone. He blinked hard against the throbbing in his ears, stood and tried to make it to the door, to the bathroom, stumbling on weary legs just to get away, to hide somewhere safe and alone. Stretching his hand out, palm against the wall, he steadied himself and hung his head, tears burning hot down his cheeks.
“Derek,” he gasped, realizing he wasn't going to make it to the bathroom. Slowly, Derek came to, sitting himself upright, and Aaron felt his whole chest seize up, like his heart had just stopped working, like he might die right there and then Derek's hands were on his arms and he tried to speak but nothing came out. Derek pulled him away from the wall, into his chest and his voice sounded faint, faraway though it was right there, hot breath against his skin. Easing them down onto the bed, whispering soft, calming words into Aaron's ear, Derek held him and Aaron realized Derek thought it was a panic attack, was holding him so tight like that would help and he thought about the boy who cried wolf. He shook his head, trembling hands pounding at his chest while he tried to speak, to tell Derek that wasn't it but he'd seen this too many times before, he knew how it played out when there wasn't really a wolf stalking the sheep. He blinked up, tried to focus, saw Derek's face so close now and he hated the concern, the fear in his eyes and maybe it was just a panic attack, maybe he wasn't dying. He wanted to take it away, to tell him he was fine, if he could just get a breath into his lungs he could do it, he could force the lie out and maybe Derek would believe it.
He always had before.
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Surviving versus Living
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: implied/reference child abuse and child neglect, scuicidal thoughts, mention of alcohol, drugs, death, and divorce
There is a difference between surviving and living.
Most of Aaron's childhood was him surviving. He was surviving his father punches, his mother's neglectedness, and protecting his little brother from all the horrors in the world. He never had a chance to live. He didn't want to live. Why would he? Why would anyone want to? The world is a horrible place where nobody cares about anybody.
But Aaron quickly changed his mind when Haley came.
Haley was the sun. She was the sun in Aaron's dark world. At first, Aaron didn't let the sun shine in his dark world. But soon the same clouds start to disappear causing rays of the sun to shine through. By the end of highschool, Aaron's dark world turned into a garden full of sunshine.
By college, Aaron was living. He was living life to the fullest. Going to frat parties, getting drunk, and just partying. He even got high once. Aaron was happy. His father was dead and his mother was too busy taking care of her favorite child to even check up on her neglected son. And he was dating Haley and would marry her by the end of college. Aaron was living.
But then everything start crumbling down. His mother died, Sean barely talks to him anymore, and Aaron was entering fatherhood. He was terrified when he found out Haley was pregnant. He was even more terrified tha y it was a boy. Everyone Hotchner has a bad relealtionship with their son. It was in their genes. But that didn't mean Aaron didn't even try to he there for his family. He did. He really tried. But it wasn't enough. Haley reached to her breaking point and left in the middle on the night with their son. Which then lead to Hotch signing the divorce. All he was thinking was if Haley would be happier with the man she is cheating Aaron on. Because that's all mattered to Aaron. Haley's happiness.
Then Haley died. The sun, that once shined in Aaron's world, stopped shining. The sky then filled with dark clouds. Now Aaron was surviving. Surviving the guilt of being the reason Haley died. Surviving of being a single father. Surviving with working with a team who could replace him in a second and no one would bat an eye. Aaron doesn’t think he could ever live again.
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Fill Up the Sky (Part One)
Notes: This takes place immediately after the events in The Company (7x20). It's Mortch but definitely not the fluffy kind (though it reads like it will be, you'll just have to be patient), and it'll be at least two chapters, possibly three if I really get into the pain. (Title comes from the song "Fight" by The Cure) ~2500 words
Somewhere in that dizzy time between making the arrest and boarding the jet, Derek paced the police station. There was usually a slew of reporters outside, officers rushing around, but it was quiet this time and it afforded him an opportunity to think, to plan his next move. This case hadn't been on anyone's radar but theirs, there would be no front page news article about Cindy being returned to her family or The Company being exposed for what it was. It would fade into the memories of those who helped save Cindy, the sight of those children in the cabin would haunt those who saw, but to anyone else it was just another night with Chicago PD. Derek knew the place well enough that he could pace the corridors that didn't see much traffic, could find corners to duck into if he needed, knew which rooms didn't get used as often as others and why. The drunk tank was full, the paperwork piled up and everyone was talking about what they were going to do with their next days off. Derek's mother had asked him to stay behind, their family needed time to heal and he was part of that, especially after the role he'd played in the events. He had ties to mend, lies to atone for, hugs to give and receive. There was more he needed to do, he was coming clean and coming clean meant everything, a fresh start, so he said he'd try and get the time off and now he had to find a way to ask for it while his team packed up and readied themselves for the return home in the morning.
“Hey, uh...Hotch?” Derek asked, approaching cautiously. Aaron stood, arms folded across his chest, the lines of his body tight like a violin string as he listened to the detectives talk. He wasn't really paying attention to the words they said, he was just there because he had a brief moment of quiet and he had no idea what to do with it. “Can I talk to you in private?”
There was the end to his quiet moment. He opened his mouth to excuse himself before he realized he hadn't actually been involved in any conversations and nodded, following Derek into a conference room. The door closed behind them with a soft click, and Derek pressed them into a corner out of sight of passers by, shielded by the heavy door. The smell of old pizza hung heavy in the air, emanating from a discarded box thrown haphazardly in the corner amid a pile of water bottles and crumpled greasy napkins. The smell turned Aaron's stomach, already on edge and coated in the residue of more Tums than was recommended on the bottle. It wasn't hard to do these days, he'd been battling some sort of illness since the day he'd taken on Erin Strauss' duties without so much as a second glance from the Director when it came to offloading some of his other duties. Yes sir, he'd said, I can do three jobs at once. No, I don't need anything, unless you've got that cloning device up and running. Whatever it was that was plaguing him, it never got worse, but it never seemed to resolve either. Some days it presented as just a headache, some days came with a fever or a slight cough, but most days it settled in deep and felt like anxiety building in his chest and stomach. It was easily ignored, so he popped his ibuprofen and his vitamin C and let it follow him around like a needy puppy, always nipping at his heels. He focused on Derek, remembered that he liked the other man, loved him in fact, and tried to show it in his increasingly pinched features.
“I was wondering if you would mind if I stuck around a few extra days, to be with my family.”
Aaron nodded, flooded with relief. The various scenarios his mind had been furiously coming up with hadn't included anything so simple. Pretty common mistake on his part. He hung onto the scenarios, filed them and their imaginary responses away for a later date, you never knew when you might need something like that.
“Take as much time as you need. Your family has been through a tremendous ordeal.” He meant it. What was one more job on his plate anyway? He wasn't keeping up with the three he had, adding a fourth couldn't make it any worse than it already was. He'd found rock bottom the week prior, now he was just setting up camp there.
His mind raced, figuring out what parts of Derek's job he could take on and which parts he would let ride until the other man returned, and he entirely missed the look that flashed across Derek's features, the one that would have told him there was a secondary request coming.
“Can you stay too?” he asked, and Aaron felt his heart leap into his throat for just a moment. Derek had just handed him a jackhammer and told him to have a go at rock bottom, see if they could get further. The look in Derek's eye was one of quiet desperation, and Aaron knew he shouldn't stay, but Derek was always bending over backward to take care of him and it was more than just his turn. It would be his turn for the next century and he still wouldn't make it even. He supposed it wasn't really about keeping score, but that was how his mind worked. He took more than he gave, he'd been hearing that his entire life, understood it to be fact.
“I'll fly Jack and Jessica out,” Derek offered, taking Aaron's silence as a bad sign and trying just a little harder. His eyes were full of doubt, but there was the slightest glimmer of hope as he continued. “I'd like my family to meet you. Officially, anyway, not in a police station.”
“I'll have to rearrange a few things,” Aaron replied with an air of calm that was nothing more than smoke and mirrors while he silently sorted through his over-packed mental calendar. There really was no way he could rearrange anything, his schedule was already double booked as it was but that look in Derek's eye made him unable to think straight. “There are some important calls I'll have to take while I'm here, but I think I can make it work for a couple of days.”
The look of complete shock that flashed across Derek's somber features was unmistakable. Aaron knew it wasn't going to be easy, he really had no business saying yes, coming out to Chicago for this case had already dealt him a death blow. His energy levels were at an all time low, but he'd find a way to make it work somehow, even if it killed him. At least then he would have given something instead of taking.
“Really?” Derek asked, a little incredulously. “That's it?”
“You were hoping for an argument?”
Derek grinned that big, toothy grin of his that lit up his entire face and Aaron was certain he was making a mistake but if it made Derek's face do that, it would have to be worthwhile. “No. No, I just...I wasn't expecting you to say yes. You never say yes.”
“Well, it's been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that I might spend a little too much time at the office, but if you'd prefer I go back...”
“You're staying.” He squeezed Aaron's fingers, brought his hand to his lips and kissed them. “Thank you.” The air was sucked out of the room as Derek's lips found Aaron's, his hands now slipping around the taller man's body, under the fall of his jacket until they found skin. With the delicacy of handling something fragile, Derek let his hands rest against the downy skin at the small of Aaron's back, shocked momentarily by the unusual warmth he found there but too distracted by Aaron's lips on his to make a comment. “Thank you.”
They spent the night in their hotel rooms, and Aaron lied, a little white lie he said to himself, just so he could be alone. Jack and Jessica would be on the earliest flight out in the morning, he didn't have much time to set his things in order, so he told Derek he wanted to get some sleep instead of going out with the team before they all loaded into the jet in the morning. Instead of sleeping, he brewed a pot of bitter black coffee and pulled out his laptop. The coffee tasted worse than usual and churned angrily in his stomach but it kept him awake enough to read through reports and respond to emails long since overdue. He pressed his fingertips into his eyes, dragging his hands down his face, peeling his eyes open. 3:17am, time for another cup. He threw it into the microwave and paced the room until it told him his mug of late night regret was done heating up. The magic of the hotel coffee wore off a little after 4am, and desperate as he was to make it all night, he crashed hard. He'd discarded his jacket sometime around midnight, and his tie and shoes long before that, but hadn't bothered with anything more before he dozed off, computer still in his lap, leaning against the headboard.
“So when you said you were coming back to get some sleep...” Derek muttered, shutting Aaron's laptop and tossing it to the side. He hadn't really said it to Aaron, it was more just a general grumbling sound as he looked around the room and shook his head. They had to be at the airport in an hour to pick Aaron's family up, and it was going to easily take that long to set his hotel room in order. Aaron was slouched to the side, partially upright, arms folded across his chest like he'd fallen asleep reading an email, and Derek knew that was more than likely what had happened. He shook his head miserably before setting to cleaning up, letting Aaron sleep a few more minutes, brewing the argument in his head while he worked. Maybe he'd never say the words, maybe he just needed to be upset and let it go. Only time would tell.
“What time is it?” Aaron moaned, pushing his stiff back into some semblance of an upright position. He whimpered, a small pathetic sound coming from the man who slept in his suit, craning his neck from side to side, feeling it crunch and creak at each movement.
“Time to go pick up your son,” Derek replied, throwing the last of Aaron's toiletries into his bag. He kept his back to Aaron, words laced with a little more sting than he'd hoped and Aaron felt it. Neither of them put words to the problem, just swept it under the rug. Aaron slid off of the bed and did his best to stretch himself out, loosen up his aching joints and tight muscles. “I'm gonna drop you guys off at the Field Museum, Jack will love it. I gotta prepare my family to be on their best behavior. Make sure my mom doesn't bust out any of the embarrassing shit, you know.”
“Does she know about us?” Aaron asked, and felt stupid for it immediately. It didn't matter, they weren't children hiding a forbidden smoking habit, they were grown men capable of making life choices without the consent of their parents. The team didn't know, and had the decency not to say anything if they did, but that secrecy didn't extend beyond the boundaries of the BAU. Derek shrugged.
“Sure,” he replied, giving it zero thought. “Of course. I tell my mom everything.” Aaron had no concept of what that would even look like. He hadn't spoken to his brother in years, not since he told Sean that Haley had passed and he didn't even have the decency to make the trip to Virginia for her funeral. At first it had been about money, but Aaron offered to pay for a round trip ticket, and then it became about where he would stay, that he couldn't miss work. He never gave Aaron an honest answer, but he stopped begging after awhile – and sure, maybe if he'd told Sean that he wanted him there, that he needed his brother there by his side as he put the love of his life into the ground, he would have come. Maybe if he'd told Sean how much it would mean to Jack to have his uncle there, to have him stay with them, maybe if he'd opened up even a little instead of sounding like a salesman trying to offer Sean a free trip to Virginia he would have come. So maybe they both shouldered blame, maybe their resentment for one another was rooted too deeply in their own self-loathing. Whatever it was, the Hotchners were bound together by surname only.
Aaron's phone rang almost non-stop as they made their way through the museum. He tried to be selective about answering it, but as the day wore on, the calls became more urgent, there were a lot of people in D.C none too thrilled that he'd opted to stay in the windy city a few extra days. He pushed case consults through to JJ and Garcia, both apologetically and appreciatively, and found it easy to forward lecture requests to Reid and Blake, leaving Rossi to handle the suits who needed face to face time. It didn't take much off of his plate in the grand scheme of things, but it helped him for the next few hours.
More than once he found himself seated on a bench, head hung between his legs with an air of total defeat, bone tired exhaustion, while Jessica walked Jack through an exhibit. He was too old to pull all-nighters anymore, that he was painfully aware of. He had to skip the Hall of Birds to talk with the Director about a report he'd missed the deadline on (My apologies, sir, it won't happen again, the report will be in your inbox before end of day), but managed to ignore a few other calls so he could see Sue the T-Rex and the rest of the dinosaur exhibit because Jack would never forgive him if he worked through that. He had to sit down and rest after the dinosaurs, his legs couldn't carry him through another exhibit without collapsing, so he convinced them to watch the short 3D film about the Titanosaur and he closed his eyes and let his head fall to the side, coming away with no idea what the film was about, just the knowledge that it hadn't been nearly long enough. It gave him just enough of a recharge that he could get up and walk through the Ancient Egypt exhibit, but that was where he had to call it quits. He asked Jessica to show Jack the Hall of Gems and he collapsed heavily onto the bench outside of the men's room, slumped against the wall. Derek would be picking them up soon, and getting into that car and making the forty five minute drive through downtown to the Morgan house in Chicago traffic sounded like the purest slice of heaven he could imagine. He just had to be able to get from the bench to the car using his own faculties when the time came.
“You ready to go?” Jessica asked, bounding over to where Aaron sat with Jack attached to her side. Their arms were full of items from the gift shop now, a careful ploy Aaron had come up with to buy him a few more minutes of time to sit on the bench and stew in his exhaustion. He nodded and pushed himself upright, steadying himself there before taking an uneasy step toward the front door, toward the parking lot where Derek waited to take them to meet his family. It wasn't even lunch time yet and he felt like he had one foot in the grave.
His phone buzzed in his pocket. Once, then twice, then silence. He let it go to voicemail.
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The Places I Can't Reach
Warnings: Nothing really. It takes place mostly in the hospital but I kept the descriptions of Hotch's injury (Foyet's stabbing) minimal - it's not about that.
Notes: I've been writing this for a while now and it's not getting any better so...it just has to be done. It's just straight up Mortch, some sad, some fluff, mostly just...average ramblings because one night I wondered what it would look like if someone suddenly decided to be a parent to Hotch. ~4000 words
“Derek?” He could hear it in his voice. It was Aaron, of course it was because he watched him speak, but it also was not. He was weak and tired and the countless medications being dumped into his system to keep him alive, keep his pain managed, were creating a perfect storm of confusion and fear and hopelessness. He stood over Aaron's bed, holding his hand, and he tried to force a soft, reassuring smile while the world crumbled to dust around him. He'd sworn after Carl Buford never to put another person, not a single other living breathing creature fallible as he was on a pedestal but here he was, shattered at the sight of a man he hadn't realized he'd held in quite such high regard until the moment he'd witnessed him struck down. There was more to it than that, there always was, but that was the ground floor, the foundation of it all. The man in the hospital bed was just a man, and until this moment, watching him come apart at the seams, too weak to move, barely able to speak, he was certain that hadn't really ever occurred to him. Not like this, anyway.
“We gotta go to Albuquerque,” Derek said, and he heard what sounded like a strangled sob, a hitched breath, a painful gasp and he watched with his own growing fear as Aaron fell apart, just briefly, like it caught even him off guard when it happened. His features contorted into something tragic and silent tears burned in his eyes, coated his lashes as he tried to blink them away. Derek had already been wary of leaving, had tried to worm his way out of it, and now he knew without a doubt it was a mistake. It was just he and Rossi going, they had a trial they'd been subpoenaed for and there wasn't any way out of it no matter who he talked to. The one person who had the connections and the authority to get him out of it was lying in a hospital bed, unable to even sit upright without help. Aaron didn't know what day it was most of the time, so asking him to be in charge of his faculties enough to talk to the AG was akin to asking for the moon.
“Please. Please don't leave me. ” Even through the fear he couldn't admit what was really there, and on every level beneath the surface he knew the truth - that Derek had to leave, that everyone always left, and if they didn't, he would push them away. Good intentions mean nothing to the ebb and flow of reality. He would let Derek go before admitting he was afraid to be without him. The only person who didn't look at him with pity, the only person who made him still feel human, like Foyet hadn't stripped him completely of his dignity. The only person who didn't look at him like Foyet had shucked him, removed his shell and returned him to the scared, angry boy he once was, eager to fist fight his way out of any situation fueled by sheer desperation and fear and rage. Derek knelt beside him, he wanted to sit on the bed but they'd tried that trick already and it had ended up with blood and a crash cart, and maybe it had nothing to do with him being so close but he never wanted to feel that helpless again so he would have to settle for a little more distance. He kissed Aaron's knuckles, let his fingers trail up along the soft gauze on his arm, held eye contact. Every move he made was small, carefully planned and methodical, no surprises, no sudden movements.
“We'll be back in four days. And when I get back, I'll be just in time to bust you out of this place.” He wouldn't say he promised, though, because Derek didn't like to make promises – he wouldn't ever forgive himself for breaking one. Instead, he told Aaron that he wouldn't be alone, and even though Aaron had asked the team to stop visiting him, demanded it really, he had something else up his sleeve.
A moment of peace. A soft, sweet voice, barely audible over the hum of the machines, the groan and hiss of the blood pressure cuff inflating and deflating on his calf, the strangled sound of his own breath. It was barely there, but he could feel it and he knew it wasn't someone from his team, he'd told them to go home, to stay there. To stop coming, tear up their damn schedule and let him be. Maybe it was too angry and maybe they didn't realize before just how angry he was, the fury that burned slowly just waiting for a real spark. It wouldn't have to be much. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate their devotion but he just wanted silence, he wanted to be free from endlessly having to convince them he was alright for their own good, he needed them to stop pushing him so damn hard. He thought his weakness scared them, but maybe it was the anger that hovered there just beneath the surface that really did it. Emily wanted him to talk, to tell her things he never wanted to share and she wouldn't take no for an answer, but he could be silent forever if he needed to, he could fade away until you forgot he existed at all. JJ and Penelope wanted him to eat, but they didn't understand how bad it hurt to eat, to put food in knowing it had to come back out. Dave wanted to reassure him they'd catch Foyet but he'd been chasing Foyet for over a decade already and he hadn't yet so it just felt like lies. They were desperate and directionless without him, without knowing how to help him. It knocked out their center of gravity, they were spiraling, and there was a moment when Derek made his decision clear by simply telling him that he didn't owe any of them a single thing. That no matter how involved they tried to be, this time, this pain, this healing belonged entirely to him.
So he told them to stop. Rip up their schedule, get back to work, leave him alone. Dave and Derek took charge and brought their feet back to the ground, meeting every argument to the contrary with the same canned response that he was a grown man and they would respect his wishes. He may have been lonely, but the loneliness could be comforting in its familiarity. Even with Derek and Dave out of town, the team respected his wishes, no one came to visit him (though he suspected they were keeping tabs, maybe even peeking through the open door, but no one entered).
Still, there was a voice beside him anyway.
Somehow, even after all the years, he'd underestimated Derek and his enormous bleeding heart. He hadn't counted on Derek doing exactly what he said, following his orders to a T, but also carefully ambushing him with someone to care for him that let him be exactly where he was, off the hook for strength, lonely and in pain and weak. She wouldn't stand for his false bravado, wouldn't put up with any of his grumbling about being able to do something on his own that he clearly could not or should not. Instead, she sat beside his bed in that chair and she made sure the nurses were called when they were needed, she made sure he drank his apple juice by watering it down until he could handle it and ate whatever food the doctors said was absolutely necessary but let him off the hook for anything they considered optional (there would be plenty of time for food later), and she kept his phone from him so he wouldn't be the least bit tempted to work. Most of all she talked with him, she listened to him, and when he was spent, she read to him until he slept in the hopes that his dreams would be good because she understood all too well how nightmares could settle into every crack and crevice if you let them.
Derek had flown his mother in from Chicago, and it was everything Aaron didn't know he needed, he'd never had a mother who doted on him, who was nurturing in the ways Derek's mother was. His own mother comforted out of necessity, and it was strained and it was selfish.
Fran appeared after he woke, startled from a dream, the same awful dream over and over and he'd expected to see Dave there like he usually did. Dave would hover over him when he frightened himself awake, and he'd see his friend reassuring him it was all a dream, he was safe, but that didn't happen. No Dave lying to tell him he was safe because he was not safe, he never had been. Dave was in Albuquerque he reminded himself. Dave and Derek were both there, across the country, away from him. He turned his head painfully to the side at the sound of crinkling paper, pages turning. His gauze and stitches bit into his skin at the subtle shift. The smallest movement took all of his energy, reminded him that stillness was his only recourse.
“Fran?” he whispered, licking his dry, chapped lips. She looked up from her book and smiled so sweetly at him he thought he may have been dreaming, except no one smiled in his dreams.
“Hey sweetie,” she replied, sliding a worn out business card into her book to mark her page and setting it down. He tried to speak but the words wouldn't come, his throat was sandpaper. She grabbed his water cup and held it up to him, turned the straw to let him sip, remembering what Derek had told her. Aaron would never ask for what he needed, she would have to learn how to read minds and learn it quick. He'd given her a list, things to do, things to say, and most of it she intended to ignore completely – she knew how to comfort people without a numbered list, especially from her son. The list would be easily forgotten. She thought she knew Aaron especially well after all of the years Derek had been on the team, and all of the years her son had been head over heels for this strange, too serious man with his angry, pinched features that softened to sunshine around her son.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, finally, once the water had done its job, eased the pain in his throat. He'd asked her this same question for two days now, the drugs fading his memories in and out, but she just smiled like it was the first time because he deserved that much.
“Can I get you anything?” she asked, ignoring his question. Telling him the truth, that she'd been there two days already and he couldn't remember it wouldn't help anyone, least of all him, but she wouldn't lie to him either. When he shook his head no and closed his eyes, she put down her own book and picked up their book, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the book she'd been reading aloud since she'd made herself comfortable beside him. She'd read it to her children, even as teenagers. Derek had told her it was a particular favorite of Aaron's and one he planned to read Jack someday. It was a sweet adventure, nothing too heavy, and one he could easily lose himself in if he afforded himself the luxury. She'd asked the nurse if it was an odd choice to read to a grown man in his position, but she assured her it was perfect, meeting him where he was with something light that flooded him with memories of goodness and comfort, things he needed above all else. When she began reading about Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, Aaron opened his eyes and she could see it, the sadness and humiliation as he remembered how long she'd been there, how much of the book they'd already covered, he just forgot, but she forged onward. He let himself sit in Mr. Tumnus' home, and the words swirled through his mind as she spoke them, sometimes even a moment before, he knew the story so well. He opened his mouth to speak, and she paused, marked the page with her finger and set it in her lap to listen.
“I read this book to Sean,” he whispered, his features grim but soft. “It was summer, and I blew out my knee in a soccer game, couldn't go outside and play for a month...just had to stay on the couch.” She pursed her lips and nodded, leaning closer to hear him, he was so soft spoken, his lips hardly moved. “Sean was little, four maybe. He sat on my stomach with his cereal in the morning and I read to him, we got through the whole book before I could go play again. Mr. Tumnus was his favorite. I asked our mother to get us some Turkish Delight, we didn't know what it was but it had to be great for Edmund to sell his soul for it. I'm not sure how she did it, but my mom found some. It was the best thing either one of us had ever eaten, just pure sugar. We used to joke that the White Witch could have us anytime she wanted so long as she brought the candy.” He went silent again and she smiled at the memory, told him it was sweet, but she knew his relationship with his brother was strained so she didn't ask if Sean was going to come visit or what he was up to now. Instead she just made a soft humming noise and went back to reading, and he didn't speak again before falling asleep.
“Who is that with Hotch?” JJ asked, wheeling Spencer down from his room. The chair had a squeaky wheel and it echoed through the hallway, announcing their arrival with every turn. They paused in front of Aaron's room, peering in through the door silently. He'd been cooped up in the hospital the same amount of time, but he hadn't been down to visit Aaron and even though he knew they were under strict orders to stop coming, he didn't think that applied to him since technically he hadn't even done it yet.
“That's Derek's mom,” Spencer replied, very matter of fact, as if JJ should have known that though he wasn't sure why she would. He couldn't recall a time when the two of them would have met, in fact, he'd only met her once years before. He couldn't account for why she was there, though, in Aaron's room reading softly to him. He couldn't hear her but he could read her lips, knew what she was reading. JJ glanced down at Spencer, eyes wide.
“Derek's mom? Like...Derek Morgan's mom?”
“Yes,” Spencer's reply was short, he was trying to sort things out. “Her name is Fran. I think we should leave. Come back later.” JJ nodded, she agreed. There was something strange about knowing Derek's mother was sitting with Aaron, something that felt forbidden, like they were trespassing on something not meant for them. There was no explanation either could come up with, on their way back up to Spencer's room, that seemed to hold any water but JJ was struck by a feeling reminiscent to her own not so long ago, trying to preserve some level of privacy in a group of people designed to invade and penetrate that very thing. Still, her curiosity was piqued.
“We could just...ask Derek,” JJ said, finally, helping Spencer back into his bed. He glanced up at her, a look of concern crossing his features. She didn't want to, but it was on the table. The room was too quiet, every word they spoke seemed to echo mercilessly.
“He would have mentioned it if he wanted us to know.”
“You think he's trying to hide something?”
“I don't know. I guess I just figured he would have said oh, by the way, I'm flying my mom in to be with Hotch or something but he didn't so maybe it's supposed to be a secret.”
“Yeah, that sounds just like him,” she muttered sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “Come on Spence. He probably thought something like I'm not about to just let him be alone and then bought her a plane ticket without saying anything to anyone because he makes his own rules.” She did her best Derek impression and Spencer chuckled, she wasn't half bad at mimicking his deep, gravelly tones. Still, it gave them pause, and after some more careful consideration they decided to call him.
“I forgot you knew what my mom looked like, kid,” Derek said to Spencer, seated on the bed in his hotel room. He was preparing for another day in court, psyching himself up to be called to the stand. This phone call wasn't helping. “Didn't think anyone would know. Don't say anything, okay? You're the only ones who know she's here and I really don't wanna answer any questions.”
“Why is it a secret?”
“Spence...” JJ said, having put it together the moment she heard the tone in Derek's voice. “Think about it.”
“I am. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I saw her and it doesn't make sense, unless...” he let his voice trail off, and Derek waited expectantly, knowing he was nearly there. This wasn't exactly how he'd pictured them telling their friends, but then, he hadn't really ever pictured being in this situation in the first place. He'd also been operating under the assumption that they might just be able to hide it forever.
“Unless...” Derek mumbled, and Spencer's eyes went wide and he blinked rapidly, three four five times like he was short circuiting. JJ suppressed a smile.
“Yeah, kid. Don't have an aneurysm OK? It's all good.”
Fran sat with Aaron morning and night, taking only small breaks in the middle of the day while he had appointments with all sorts of therapists to go to Derek's home to walk his dog, take a shower, change her clothes. She spoke on the phone to her daughters and her friends, kept busy, but made sure that when his eyes were open, she was all his because that's what a mom was supposed to do and she was certain, the longer this went on, that he'd never been given this much attention by anyone in his entire life who didn't want something from him in return. During one particularly painful evening, when the doctors couldn't seem to get him comfortable or keep him asleep no matter what they pumped into his IV, he looked at her and called her mom, cried out for her and it nearly broke her heart but she sat there beside him and held his hand, there wasn't anything else she could do. He wouldn't ever remember doing it, but she wouldn't ever forget it.
“Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you,” she read softly, and out of the corner of her eye she saw the shadow of her son leaning in the doorway, duffel bag slung over his shoulder like he'd come directly from the jet. She smiled and closed her book, set it on her lap gingerly and stood up to greet Derek.
“He sleeping?” Derek whispered, wrapping his mom in a hug. She nodded.
“Just barely, it's been another bad night.” He knew what that meant, knew how hard it was, but the peaceful look on his face made him infinitely glad he'd flown his mother out. “Are you staying?”
“Yeah, mom, I'll stay. You go get some sleep.”
Derek couldn't believe Aaron would want to return to his apartment. He'd hounded everyone he could to get new carpet, to fix the hole in the wall, but all of the work was sub-par at best and if Derek could tell, Aaron would surely be able to. He tried to convince him to come stay at his house, at least temporarily, but Aaron needed his autonomy, he needed his solitude, and on some level Derek suspected Aaron was punishing himself for what had happened to him, to Haley and Jack, to Derek, to O'Mara, the people on the bus, anyone he could imagine to be a victim of Foyet's. He would need to pay a penance for all of it, and part of that had to be living in the home he'd been violated in, the place that should have been safe and secure.
“I'm staying,” Derek told him, and Aaron argued fiercely, he may have been weak and in tremendous pain but he wouldn't go down without a fight. Suddenly he was ten again, fighting for his life on the playground with boys two and three grades above him who saw an easy target in the boy who was too small, who bruised easily and cried furious tears as he threw his fists around. He was desperately trying to gain some sort of control over his unraveling life, and it looked like anger and harsh words and a pain he could explain away as his wounds but it started long before Foyet and his knife. Derek wasn't afraid of him, and he wouldn't fight back, he just planted himself firmly before Aaron and told him repeatedly that he wasn't going anywhere. Sheer exhaustion and unbearable pain forced Aaron to give in, to lie in his bed and let Derek help him. He brought his ice packs and his heating pads, he heated up broth and watered down apple juice to the point that it was barely able to be considered juice at all. He counted out his pills in the morning and in the evening, he changed bandages, and he took a break only when his mother told him he was pushing too hard and he needed to leave for a bit. She was gentle with Aaron, she met him where he was, didn't try to force him to take a step forward when all he wanted to do was stay put.
“It's okay,” she would say. “Today, you're right here. Tomorrow you might want to take a few steps, or maybe that won't happen for a week, or even a month. There's no timeline for this, sweetheart, but we're here to take those steps by your side when you're ready.”
She baked him a peach cobbler and told him to keep Derek's hands off of it. She portioned some of it into tiny little cups and threw them in the freezer, for when he wanted a little treat, and left the rest in the refrigerator. When Derek noticed it, he dove right in with a fork, unable to contain his glee. He hadn't had his mother's cooking in far too long, and her cobbler was a masterpiece with sweet syrup and cinnamon and buttery biscuits on top.
“Uh uh,” she scolded, smacking the fork out of his hand. “That's for Aaron.” They both knew Derek would end up eating all of it, that Aaron wouldn't touch more than a bite or two, but that wasn't the part that mattered.
After a few more days, she flew back to Chicago and Derek went back to work, giving him his days to himself. Derek still came by after work, stayed the night with him, but he didn't push so hard. Aaron was reading the rest of the Narnia series, a book a day for a short while, and then he was picking up books from his shelves that he'd bought years ago collecting dust or recommendations from Spencer that he hadn't gotten around to reading. Derek would return from work to find him curled up on his couch, wrapped in his heated blanket and a book, a cup of tea on the coffee table usually untouched but at least he tried, at least the effort was there. Some days he'd eaten a few saltines or a bowl of real soup, other days he couldn't stomach anything and Derek would have to force him to drink one of those thick, chalky shakes the doctors prescribed that made him sick but at least he would get some form of calories.
A week after Fran had gone, a package showed up on his doorstep. He'd heard the knock but he couldn't bring himself to open the door, afraid of what he'd find on the other side. Instead, the package waited on his stoop until Derek came strolling in after work. It was a small box, and upon opening it, he found it to be an ornate candy box, red with gold trim and a gold ribbon tied delicately around it all. Inside were six Turkish Delight candies, bright red and orange and dusted with powdered sugar and glistening like tiny jewels. He smiled and pulled out the card from inside the box.
Call your brother. - Mom
“Uh oh, my bad...” Derek said, draping his arm over Aaron's shoulder as he sat with the small box in his lap, hardly able to comprehend the gift, or the note, or the love behind both. It wasn't anything akin to what he was used to, what he knew a mother's love to be, and he wasn't entirely sure how to navigate. “There's no turning back now. I don't know why, but she must have liked you. Lemme just tell you...if you don't call Sean, she'll know. I wouldn't test her.”
He didn't want to call Sean, but he also didn't want to upset Fran Morgan, so he popped a candy into his mouth (which made Morgan unreasonably happy to watch on a night when he knew they were destined for another chalky protein shake) and he picked up his phone.
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Going Back to the Past
Summery: Aaron goes back to his hometown to meet his stepfather.
A/N: My take on Hotch’s childhood is kind of different than what most people thinks so here is the link on my take of his childhood so you can understand better. (Btw this is an au where his stepdad doesn’t die)
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Implied/reference child abuse, mention death, mention of suicide, small mention of homophobia, alcohol
Aaron walks over the the front porch of his parent’s house. His father’s house actually. They moved across town after her mom remarried. And she passed away while Aaron was still in college so his father is the only one living in the house. Aaron silently gulps and he rings the doorbell. The sound of the bell still haunts him to this day.
A tall man with blonde-grey hair and bags under his blue eyes opens the door. Aaron stares at him before saying anything.
“Aren’t you going to give your father a hug?” Michael asks as he opens his arms. Aaron slowly walks over to him and gives him a small hug. He doesn’t even try to muster a fake smile.
“Come in”, the older man says. Aaron nods and comes inside. He looks around the living room. Nothing had changed. Aaron sits down on the couch and his stepfather sits in a seat in front of him.
“So what brings you here?” Michael asks. Aaron looks up to him. Why is he here?
“I uh w-wanted to see how you were doing”, Aaron replies, stuttering a little. He always stutters around his father.
“Seems like you haven’t changed a bit. Still the shy, stuttering kid huh?” Michael says, teasing his stepson. Aaron cringes. He hates it when people tease his stutter.
“Well, how’s your wife? The Brooks girl?” Michael asks. Aaron looks at the coffee table in front of him.
“She .. she uh passed away a few weeks ago”, Aaron replies softly. Michael frowns.
“Oh .. what happened?” Michael asks. Aaron silently gulps.
“A-a serial killer .. he wanted to hurt me so-so he killed her”, Aaron says quickly without explaining all the details. The older man scoffs at him.
“Well that what happens when you can’t separate your work life and your personal life”, Michael replies to Aaron. Aaron snaps his head up.
“Wh-what?” Aaron asks. Did he heard that right? Was his father blaming him for Haley’s death? Aaron already blames himself and surely his stepfather already knows that.
“Come on, do you know how many death threats I get for being a defence attorney? About me and our family? And yet they never tried to hurt you. Because I separate both of my personal life from my work life”, The blonde man explains. Aaron stares at him with tears in his eyes.
“My-my wife just died”, Aaron says quietly.
“And who’s fault is that?” Michael asks. Aaron stares at him in shock. The older man stands up and goes into the kitchen.
“I’m going to go get something to drink”, Michael says as he walks into the kitchen. Aaron nods and stares back at the coffee table. Soon the older man comes back with a bottle of vodka and two glasses. Aaron felt a pit in his stomach. It’s what his stepfather would get drunk on when he beat Aaron. Michael pours the alcohol into two glasses and gives one to Aaron. He takes it and takes a small sip of it. He hates it but he still drank it.
“So son, anything else? How’s the Brook family?” Michael asks his stepson.
“Don’t call me your son”, Aaron mutters under his breathe. Michael frowns at him.
“What did you say?” The older man asks. Aaron looks up at him.
“I said ... Don’t call me your son”, Aaron says, raising his voice a little.
“How dare you? I put a roof over your head, I took care of you”, Michael replies.
“Oh so those times where you’d beat me was you taking care of me? The times I cried myself to sleep was you taking care of me?” Aaron asks. Michael doesn’t say anything for a second.
“Well look where you are now. You’re a successful FBI agent who makes more then a hundred grand a year. And that’s because of me, your father”, Michael replies. Aaron suddenly stands up and throws the glass on the coffee table, shattering it.
“You’re not my dad!” Aaron yells as he stands up. The older man stares at him, unfazed.
“And where I am now has nothing to do with you helping me. You’d beat ever chance you get. Do you know how many times I’ve thought about killing my self? But I didn’t. And now I’m one of the best profilers in the country because of me!” Aaron yells at his stepfather. The older man just smirks at him.
“Wow ... you kind of remind me of myself. Your son must be scared of you”, Michael replies. Aaron feels tears pooling in his eyes.
“I-I’m.. I’m leaving”, Aaron says quietly before leaving the living room. Michael sighs and rolls his eyes.
“Go ahead, it’s what you always do”, Michael says to Aaron. Aaron quickly leaves the house and goes into his car. He sits in the driver’s seat and starts crying. He sobs as he covers his mouth with his right hand. Why did he bother coming there in the first place? He knew this was going to happen but he still came. Maybe it’s because he misses his father. The one who would held Aaron when he cried. The one who stormed into the principal’s office when he was being bullied. The one who would’ve accepted his son for being bisexual even though they go to church every Sunday. Aaron misses his real father.
After a couple of minutes, Aaron had stopped crying. He wiped the tears off his face and started the car. He drove for a couple of minutes before reaching to the other side of town. He parks his car in front of a cemetery and walks in. Aaron walks across the cemetery until he reaches the back corner. He stands in front of a grave. The grave of Johnathon Hotchner.
People would always say that he looked just like his father. Dark hair with brown eyes. A smile that could light up the room. His grandfather had even told him that he even sounded just like him. Still Aaron feared of becoming just his stepdad. An abusive father and husband who would hit his son every chance he got. But he didn’t. Because every time Michael would hit him or make him cry, Aaron would sneak out at night and walk all the way across town to his father’s grave. Because it was the only thing that reminded him that he’s not a bad person.
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How to Save a Life
Summery: Chris and Aaron get engaged but one fatal car crash changes everything.
A/N: So I'm starting to ship Chris and Aaron more than him and Blake. Anyways, this is connected to my two other fics called The Text Message and The Text Message pt 2. And yes, I stole the title from the song called How to Save a Life.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Car crash, blood, head trauma, injuries, drunk driver
Aaron stares at the ring on his finger. The engagement ring, in fact. He smiles at the rose gold metal around his finger. Yesterday, Chris had proposed to him while they were eating dinner. Despite being an amazing profiler, Aaron didn't saw it coming.
Aaron opens the door and comes inside. It was a long day and all he wants to do is go home to his boyfriend.
He walks inside and sees Chris cooking dinner. Aaron walks up behind him and looks over his shoulder. Chris turns around to see Aaron behind him and jumps.
"Jesus, Aaron. You scared me", Chris says as he drops the spatula.
"Oh, sorry", Aaron replies. He picks up the spatula on the ground and gives it to Chris but he pulls him into a kiss.
"How was work?" Chris asks as he pulls back from the kiss but keeping Aaron in his arms.
"Not good, rough case", Aaron replies. Chris looks at his sadly.
"I'm sorry. Are you ok?", Chris asks softly, touching Aaron's arm. Aaron turns around to look at food behind them.
"Yeah", Aaron replies. He looks at the stove to see what Chris is cooking.
“What are you making?” Aaron asks.
“Some Italian dish. Rossi actually gave me that recipe. Turns out he can cook something other than pasta”, Chris jokes. Suddenly Chris’s phone dings.
“Can you get that for me?” Chris asks. Aaron felt a pit in his stomach. The last time his boyfriend asked to get his phone for him is when he found out that Blake has been cheating on him. Aaron slowly walks over to the counter and picks up the phone.
“Can you read what it says?” Chris asks, who was still by the kitchen, cooking them dinner. Aaron gulps silently.
“It says ... will you marry me?” Aaron reads the notification. He looks back at Chris who was now on the ground with a ring. Aaron covers his hand with his mouth to try to hide the tears.
“I love you, Aaron. I love everything about you. Even the things you hate about yourself. So, will you marry me?” Chris asks.
“Yes”, Aaron chokes out. He drops to the ground and places his lips against Chris's. They were going to get married.
Chris told Penelope that he was going to propose to Aaron. She helped him picked out the ring. They were both hackers in the FBI so they became friends quickly. Penelope though was dissapointed when she realized they weren't going to have a wedding. They just wanted to sign the forms and have a party later. Aaron never liked big parties, especially weddings. There is always some dessert that has strawberries that Aaron accidentally eats which leads to the rest go the day in the hospital.
When Aaron told Derek that they were getting married, he had joked that their ship name would be crotch. Derek and Chris couldn't stop laughing while Aaron was trying to hide his smile.
Jack was happy to find out that his father was going to marry Chris. In fact, he had already started calling him papa. Aaron was worried Jack would think Chris was going to replace Haley but he didn't seem to think that way.
Three days later after Chris proposed Aaron, they were both driving to their local register office to sign the legal papers. While they were driving, Aaron's head was resting on Chris's shoulder while complaining about Dave inviting more than thirty people to the party. Suddenly while Chris was driving, a car ran through a red light and smashed into the drivers seat. Chris pushed Aaron off his shoulder and the car got pushed to the side and hit a pole.
Aaron's head hit the glass window next to him. After a couple do seconds, Aaron slowly lifts his head from the window and looks next to him. Chris's head was on the steering wheel. There was a glass that hit next to Chris's eye and blood on the side of his face.
"Chris ...?" Aaron asks, softly. He shakes him a little to wake him up but it doesn't work. He presses two fingers on his neck to feel a small pulse. He's still alive. Aaron tries to get out of the passenger seat but the pole fell on the car trapping Aaron's leg. He looks outside to see people around them recording the crash. He also sees a couple of people calling 911.
Aaron tries to push the door open but the pole keeps him from doing that. Aaron looks around to see if anyone is near enough to help him but they're all too far. He looks behind him to the electricity lines on the ground, keeping from anyone coming near them. Aaron looks back at his leg and tries to pull it out. After a couple tries, he got his leg free. Aaron groans in pain. He goes into the back seat and gets out of the car.
He looks around to see if any ambulances are near but there was none in sight. His right leg was aching in pain but he didn't care. His only concern was Chris.
Aaron goes to the other side of the car, making sure he doesn't get electrocuted. Aaron looks at the car that crashed them. It seemed oddly familiar. He looks in the drivers seat to see empty beer bottles and a man with light brown hair and blue eyes. It was Blake. Blake was the guy who hit them.
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two thousand, five hundred and fifty-five
Surprise, I have not finished the date or any of the things for my 300 sleepover, but I have written this thing set seven years after Haley’s death. I absolutely hate it, it makes no sense and it’s not been proofread but I also want to sleep so... yeah, it’s fine. Not my finest work, but something.
Trigger Warnings: grief/mourning, depictions of violence and death, religious themes, graveyards, unhealthy thinking patterns, slight implications of suicidal thoughts and thoughts of death, lots and lots of survivors guilt
read on ao3!
The one constant thing in Aaron's life had been Haley.
It had always been Haley, from the moment they first set eyes on each other. It had been the last day of school when he truly saw her for the first time. And he had been so taken aback by her smile and innocence that he'd crashed into a pile of props, sending them all tumbling to the floor.
She had refused to let him clear it up alone, and when their eyes met, he could've sworn he saw the life he could have if he would just get over himself and speak to her properly. But then her friends had called her over and she ran away without another word.
When his father came home with flowers for his mother, he didn't even remember to be disgusted. Because when he looked at the flowers, he didn't see a false apology, or an attempt to keep up the facade that the Hotchners were a perfect family. He just saw Haley's beautiful and kind eyes in the ribbon they were tied with.
And when his father died, filling him with grief so consuming and painful, even in spite of everything that had happened, Haley held his hand. She held his hand as they lowered his casket. And she held his soul when he sobbed, not understanding why he missed the man that had done nothing but hurt him.
Then his mother died, a semester into his final year at law school, Haley fought for him to be given a break, saying that he needed time but could still do it and didn't need to drop out. She held his hand at the funeral, rubbing comforting circles that warmed his skin and reminded him he was alive.
She held his hand at every funeral they ever had to attend, grounding him, reminding him of the reasons he kept fighting. Even after Adrian Bale murdered six agents, she held his hand. She did it because she wanted to, not even realising just how much it helped him.
Haley was light and good. But she never once hesitated to touch Aaron, and that was the one thing that convinced him he wasn't a monster that would turn into his father and destroy everything he touched. Even when the divorce papers were signed, she never left him. She had left because he wasn't the man she needed, and she was not the woman he wanted, but she would love him till she died.
But she had always assumed that she would die when Jack had his own children and Aaron had retired from the FBI, having taken a job at the local college to lecture the future lawyers. She had assumed it would be in her sleep, when her hair was grey and her joints ached. She always assumed Aaron would go first.
It was morbid, but true. His family had a history of cancer and heart attacks. His job involved putting his life on the line every single day. Unsubs set off bombs that caused shrapnel to the leg and they fired guns and they burnt down buildings.
Her job involved teaching children that music was not just something that needed to be a hobby. Telling children that they were good enough to do whatever they wanted and they could not let people control their futures because at the end of the day, it was their life.
Two thousand, five hundred and fifty five days ago, Haley Hotchner Brooks was murdered by George Foyet. Erin Strauss told her ex-husband that the death was swift and painless.
She had lied. George Foyet shot her, but he deliberately missed striking anything that would be fatal because he wanted to drag it out. He wanted to watch as her blood stained the living room carpet, the red a terrible and ugly contrast to the neutral tones. He wanted to watch as life left her body and as she fought so valiantly to keep her eyes open for her ex-husband and son. He wanted to watch the fear settle in her eyes as she realised that Aaron wasn’t coming to save her. Nobody was. He wanted her to know she was dying. Know that there was no coming back from this one. That she was never going to hold her son or kiss Aaron ever again.
And then he had dragged her body up the stairs, into their old bedroom for him to find. Aaron hadn’t been able to convince himself she was sleeping. Her body was too posed, too still. Haley always smiled as she slept. Her face, when he found the body, was contorted with fear because she had known that this was her ending.
Because she was too good, too selfless, her final thoughts had not been of everything she hadn’t gotten to do. It was not of the dreams that had been ripped from her far too early. Nor had it been anger and hatred directed towards Aaron. She knew he had done his best, and she would not let herself die hating him.
Haley Brooks' last thoughts had been a desperate prayer to anyone that was listening. She prayed that Jack would be able to enjoy the fireworks that would be set off on Independence and New Years Day. She prayed that Aaron's grief would not consume him and he would accept that it was not his fault, that she had always loved him, and that he would let himself love again. But most of all, she prayed that he would be spared the truth, if only so he would keep himself alive. She prayed Jack would be the perfect combination of them. And that he would be enough to remind Aaron of the reason he kept fighting.
Jack hated Independence Day. He hated New Years. Those were the days that Hotch would play Anastasia louder than was safe for his hearing. The days they would make a pillow fort in the living room and sleep with the light on because sleeping in the bedroom felt too much like hiding in that box.
There had been a time when Aaron's grief had consumed him. Jack had been away at summer camp. He had been alone, with no cases and no son to keep him occupied. All he had were his thoughts and guilt. Derek had pulled him from the shower, fully clothed and trembling from the cold, just in time. He had gotten suspicious when Aaron didn't turn up for their run for the first time since Haley had left and thought of the last time they had waited.
It was that same week that Aaron started telling his therapist the truth. They couldn't help him unless he let them. And he was finally ready to do that. He still believed it was his fault, because there had been so many things he could have done differently, but he had always let himself love again. Him and Beth had been beautiful together, and some of her artwork was still hung up in his apartment. Even though they hadn't lasted, it was nice to know that his heart still worked.
Her final prayer had been answered. Erin Strauss had heard how much Aaron still loved Haley from each of his team members. That final phone call had been played for her as part of the investigation into his actions. She had seen the look on his face when he said that George Foyet would have gotten up, killed him and then his son. He wasn't making assumptions. He was repeating what had been said.
He was already so broken and distraught. There was no need for him to know the truth. So she had looked down at the file that contained all of the violent and graphic details in one final attempt to pull herself together. And then she had looked her subordinate in the eye and lied to him.
Maybe it made her a terrible person, but she hadn't felt any remorse. It kept him alive. It kept him fighting and with the BAU. That had to be better than the alternative.
That lie had been told exactly two thousand, five hundred and fifty-five days ago. Seven years. Haley Hotchner Brooks had died a brutal and painful death, but everyone that knew the truth had told Aaron Hotchner and Jessica Brooks that it had been quick and painless in order to keep them alive.
Aaron Hotchner woke up on the morning of the seventh anniversary of her death with a pit in his stomach. Jack had been quiet and withdrawn for the week leading up to it. He was some weird and imperfect combination of his mother and father, even though one had always been missing from the most formative years of his life. He grieved in the same way his father did and Aaron wasn't sure whether or not that was a good thing.
He didn't want to face the day. He didn't want to think about the science behind cells or take Jack to the graveyard and ask him how he was. He didn't want to pretend that Haley could hear what they were saying because he didn't believe she was in a better place. He didn't want to face sympathetic glances from everyone they came into contact with, or phone Jack's school to say he would be absent today.
But Jack couldn't go alone, he was still too young. And he needed to be asked so he could break down or shout or just shrug and say he didn't quite know. Jack still believed that Haley was watching over them from heaven, and that whatever they said would reach her because he had faith in happy endings. He would hate the sympathy, but accept it with a slight smile.
He would love the stories people shared about his mother. It helped him cope. It reminded him of how similar they truly were and made him feel like a piece of her was still with them. He know his dad would find it difficult to do everything, so he climbed out of bed and headed to the kitchen without making a sound.
Oatmeal was an easy meal for a child to make. Even one that wasn't even in high school yet. So Jack made two bowls that were far too full and took them to the bedroom.
Hotch had found it in him to sit up, even if he still hadn't made it out of bed.
"Look!" Jack exclaimed, with a wide grin. "It looks like the one you make!"
It didn't, not really, but Hotch forced a smile and nodded. "Yeah. Thank you buddy. How are you feeling?"
Jack hesitated, spoon halfway to his mouth, then shrugged. "Not sure. My stomach hurts. Do you think Mom's proud of me for making us breakfast without burning the apartment down?"
The lump that had been forming in Aaron's throat got larger. He swallowed. "Yeah buddy," he said, voice cracking slightly. "She's proud of you every minute of every day. Don't ever forget that, okay?"
"I won't," Jack promised, then ate his breakfast like it was any other day.
The florist gave them both a sad smile when they entered. She had made up their bouquets as soon as she had gotten in the shop, knowing exactly what they would want. The son always had a flower of each colour, tied together with a yellow ribbon. Even though it was unfair that he'd been forced to say goodbye at such a young age, making his bouquet always brought a smile to her face. He was still so innocent.
The father always asked for purple hyacinths. She wasn't stupid. She knew he was Aaron Hotchner with the BAU. She knew his ex-wife had been murdered by the same serial killer that had broken into his apartment and stabbed him. She wondered if it was a coincidence, or if he knew what they meant.
He did. It was why he picked them. Haley would laugh and call him an idiot if she knew, but she didn't so he carried on taking the same bouquet every time he went, no matter what time of year it was. They were always tied with white ribbon. It looked pretty.
Innocent. Pure. Like she had been until his obsession with the chase got her killed.
He handed his card to her without a word. She longed to ask if he needed anything, but didn't. It would be weird.
Jack waved her goodbye, and she smiled. Only when they were out of sight did she turn and wipe her eyes. Seven years they had been coming to her shop, and not once had the boy forgotten to say goodbye to her. Not once had the father left without saying thank you.
They both deserved better.
Hotch didn't let go of Jack's hand as they approached the grave. Jack set his flowers down with the utmost care, and then sat next to the headstone. Haley hadn't wanted anything fancy. In fact, her only request had been that it said Hotchner. Aaron remained a few feet away, wanting to give Jack some privacy, but also making sure that nothing bad happened.
He had always found something about graveyards morbidly peaceful. Even despite the tension that always accompanied a visit with Jack, he found himself admiring the other flowers, the trees and bushes that had been planted and the way the sun shone down on them.
The weather was so perfectly Haley that it caused him physical pain.
"Dad, you need to put your flowers down and talk too," Jack said, pulling him from his thoughts. Even though his features were completely Haley's, the look Jack got when he was being serious was purely Hotch's.
"Are you done talking?" he asked, trying to work out how long he had been thinking for.
Jack nodded. "Can I go and make sure the other people know that someone cares about them?" That soft and caring part of him, that demanded he save everyone, was both of his parents.
"Of course you can. Don't wander too far though," Hotch said. Jack rolled his eyes, as though his father was being the most unreasonable man in the world and, after blowing one last kiss to his mother, walked away, talking to himself as he went.
Hotch sighed, placed his own bouquet next to Jack's then stepped back. He didn't deserve to sit and be comfortable.
"It's been seven years," he whispered. "It's been two thousand, five hundred and fifty-five days, yet I still remember the day I met you perfectly. Is that weird? I like to think that you still remembered it."
When he looked back, Jack was busy talking to one of the other people that was visiting a grave. Aaron recognised who it was, so he turned back and allowed a few of his own tears to roll down his cheeks. For a few minutes, he could stop pretending that he was fine and just break.
"Haley, I don't know if you can hear me or if heaven is real, but I do know that I am so, so sorry that it was you and not me. And I hate that it was you. If there was a way to go back in time and make sure it was you standing here, I would take it in a heartbeat. You deserved so much better and I am sorry I could not give it to you. So, so sorry."
He had told Haley he would spend the rest of his life making it up to her because he had believed that he would not live long enough to do so, and that his death would be his final act of penance.He had believed that he would be able to save her.
"One day I will earn your forgiveness. One day you will laugh at me for saying all of this, but until that day comes, I will make sure Jack is just like you. Because you were as perfect as a single person could be. And I- I miss you, every single day. I hope, wherever you are, you're happy."
For seven years, he had been making some version of that speech. Only today, it felt different. More important. More painful. And suddenly, he needed to get away. From her grave, from the flowers, from everything.
He went over to Jack, apologised for cutting their conversation short and asked if he was ready to go home. Jack said yes, because that was what his father wanted to hear. The walk home was silent, and when they got back, Jack announced that he was going for a shower. Hotch knew why. He wasn't ready to watch one of the old videos either.
Only when the shower started running did Aaron bury his head in the pillow and sob.
Two thousand, five hundred and fifty-five days George Foyet touched him for the last time. The nine scars on his torso would always be there, serving as a permanent reminder of what his failure had caused, preventing him from ever being truly comfortable in his body. But seven years had passed since Foyet's hands had been on his body. Every single cell had been replaced. His touch no longer lingered like a bad smell. Aaron was finally free. Knowing that he had a body that Foyet had not ruined was an indescribable relief.
Foyet's touch had faded into nothing.
But so had Haley's. He could no longer cling to the comfort that knowing a part of her still lived in him provided. He could no longer look at Jack and say that Mom's last hug would forever be a part of him. It would always be in his memory, no matter how fuzzy it was. But it wouldn't be there in the way that counted. Jack would never be able to know what his mother's touch felt like and it was all his fault. Haley was longer part of their bodies.
The final piece of her that was easy to cling to had finally ceased to exist.
Hotch was not sure he could survive anymore. But then the shower stopped running, and Jack emerged in the Captain America pajamas that he still hasn't outgrown from the previous year. And Aaron rubbed his eyes, pretending he was just a little sleepy before following Jack into the living room.
Jack did not want to watch a video. So Hotch made them something light to eat, and then they built a pillow fort. It was then that he told the story of how they met, of how Haley always smiled at his jokes, of how she would make him smile. He told Jack that if he ever wanted to see what his mother's smile had been like, he just needed to look in the mirror.
The stories didn't stop until Jack fell asleep, with his legs dangling off the couch and his head in his father's lap. Aaron knew he would regret it, that his back couldn't handle doing this anymore, but his son looked so peaceful that he refused to move. Instead, he played with Jack's hair. The same way Haley had always played with his own locks.
Seven years was a long time. To Aaron, it passed in the blink of an eye. The day Haley had died, Jack had fallen asleep in his lap, much like he had now. Only then, he had been so small. Fragile. Aaron had been terrified. Now, he was growing into the kindest young man Aaron had ever known. And he was strong. Aaron was still terrified, for different reasons than he had been then.
Haley's touch would never find its way to either of them again. Aaron could accept it as his punishment for letting her get away. For letting her die. But maybe his own gentle touch would be enough for Jack to understand just how much he was loved. Maybe it would be okay. Maybe Jack would never wake up and blame him for his mother's death, instead choosing to be just as good as she had been.
Aaron fell asleep on the couch too. He fell asleep, disappointed and angry with himself for letting her die. But he fell asleep so proud of his son for not losing his softness or kindness. He fell asleep, finding some comfort in the knowledge that although Haley had died well before her time, it had been quick. Painless.
The next day, both father and son would regret sleeping the way they had.
But Jack would go to school and accept the comfort people tried to show him with a gracious smile. He would be secretly grateful that people still cared. And he would know that even if every cell in your body was replaced every seven years, it didn't matter because he still remembered the smell of his mom's perfume. He still remembered what her hugs felt like.
Aaron would return to work, tired and a little worse for the wear, but ready to be the hero his son still believed he was. He would let Penelope hug him for longer than was strictly necessary and find a way to thank Derek for doing his paperwork. And he would find some comfort in knowing that even if this body of his didn't know Haley, it also did not Foyet.
And the BAU would carry the truth of Haley's death to their own graves.
It was the only way forward.
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Winning a Battle, Losing the War: Alternative Ending
Summery: Morgan confronts Aaron who has been ignoring him.
A/N: This is for the one and only @ellyhotchner. This is mortch/hotchgan alternative ending where they get together.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: attempted murder, mental hospital, witness protection
Here is part one, part two, part three, and part four!
It's been one month since Aaron has started his recovery and he was doing pretty well. He had apologized to the nurses and Jessica multiple times and talked to Jack. But there is one person who he hasn't talked to and it's Derek Morgan.
From his vague memories of what happened, he remembers punching and attacking Morgan. He has been ignoring him ever since. Derek had asked if he needed anything but he just been trying to avoid him. He doesn't know why he would still talk to him even though he had hurt him. And it's worse knowing that Aaron loves him and would never dream of hurting him. But he did, and he can't forgive himself for that.
Derek has been tired of Aaron ignoring him. He knows him well enough to know he's probably blaming himself. But it wasn't his fault, he was under the influence of Peter Lewis. He knows Aaron would never hurt him. So Derek decides to confront him and give him a piece of his minds.
Derek reached to Aaron's house and rang the door bell. He waited for a couple of minutes to see Aaron open the door. It was pretty late at night and he hadn't expect him to be here.
"Morgan?" Aaron asks, wondering why he is here. Derek let's himself in. Aaron looks at him confused before shutting the door.
"What are you doing here?" Aaron asks.
"I want to talk to you", Derek replies.
"Talk about what?" Aaron asks. Derek sighs.
"Talk about you ignoring me. Why are you avoiding me?" Derek asks. Aaron looks st the ground, guilty.
"You know why", Aaron replies.
"No, I don't", Morgan says back.
"I- I hurted you", Aaron says softly.
"No you didn't. Peter Lewis made you do that. And I know you didn't mean it", Derek replies. Aaron doesn't say anything.
"What's wrong, Aaron?" Derek asks saying his first name. Aaron looks up to him.
"I can't forgive myself", Aaron replies.
"Why?" Derek asks.
"Because I- ...", Aaron starts saying. Derek frowns.
"Because what?" He asks.
"Because I love you and I hurted you. Jack couldn't talk to me for a month because of what he saw. Jessica refuses to let me see my own son for two weeks because she was scared of me. And some of the nurses flinched whenver I moved my hand. I'm- I'm a monster", Aaron says finally. He had tears in his eyes that was threatening to spill. Derek looks at him sadly. He holds Aaron's hand.
"You're not a monster, Aaron", Derek replies. Aaron scoffs.
"You're one of the most strongest people I know. You always put the team before you and you never hesitate to risk your life for others. That's not a monster", Derek replies. Aaron has tears streaming down his face. Derek pulls him into a hug. Aaron wrap his arms around him and burries his face in Derek's chest. He can feel his shirt getting wet but he doesn't say anything. Instead he whispers something in his ear.
"I love you too", Derek whispers. Aaron doesn't say anything. They both stay like that. Because all that matters is that they both love each other.
But their love costs both of their lives. Derek, Aaron, and Jack have to go to witness protection. And they both end up leaving the BAU to start a family. The ending in inevitable.
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Winning a Battle, Losing the War: Finale Chapter
Summery: Aaron starts his recovery and talks to Jack.
A/N: this is the last chapter except I will be making an alternative ending that is hotchgan/mortch for @ellyhotchner. Sorry for the short and fast chapter, kinda needed to wrap it up.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: recovery, mental hospital, drug, injections, implied/referenced child abuse
Here is part 1, part 2, part 3!
The next morning, the team, Jessica , and Jack all drive to the hospital. The nurse called and said the lab results are here. They still don't know if the antidote is actually going to help Aaron but they hope it does.
The team and Jessica both go into a separate room. Jack was told to stay in the waiting room. All seven of them sit down around the table and looks at the nurse.
"So the lab results are here and it seems like it's the actual antidote", the nurse says. The team sighs in relief.
"When can he start taking it?" Jessica asks.
"Right now, just sign a few papers and we'll start the treatment", the nurse says. Jessica nods and starts going through the paperwork.
"So how you going to like give him the antidote?" Morgan asks. The team looks at the nurse, wondering the same thing.
"We're going to inject the antidote into him. Most likely on his shoulder", the nurse replies.
"With a needle?" Emily says recalling the last time they had to use a needle on Aaron.
"Yup", the nurse replies. Jessica finished signing the form and gave it to the nurse.
"Thank you, we'll be starting the medication right away", the nurse says to the team.
"Do you need any help? With .. You know", Morgan asks.
"I think I can manage, I've seen to have gained his trust", the nurse replies. The team nods and leaves the room. The nurse starts preparing the antidote to give to Aaron. All they could do noe is just wait ...
One month has passed and Aaron was finally allowed to leave the hospital and stay at his own home. He was feeling much better except the guilt of him hurting people. He apologized multiple times to the nurse and staff which they all laughed and said it was their job. But for some reason he can't seem to talk to Jack.
Jack has been ignoring him ever since he started his recovery. Aaron doesn't remember what actually happened when he was under the influence of Peter Lewis's drug. His memory is still a little foggy. But he did something to traumatize him.
Jack was in the living room watching t.v. and doing his homework. Aaron sighs. If he's going to talk to Jack, he has to do it now. Aaron walks into the living room and turn off the t.v.
"Hey!" Jack yells. He sees his father and immediately closes his mouth.
"Sorry", he mutters and looks at the ground. He seemed scared of him. Aaron's heart shattered. Jack has never been scared of him. Aaron never wanted his son to be scared of him like he was to his father. Aaron sits next to him.
"Jack ...", Aaron starts saying. Jack is still looking at the ground, afraid to meet his father's eyes.
"Jack, I- I'm sorry", Aaron starts apologizing.
"I don't- I don't remember what I did but something happened and I scared you. So whatever I did, I'm sorry. I really am", Aaron apologizes. Suddenly, Jack wraps his arms around his father. Aaron freezes.
"No .. I'm sorry. I was scared you were going to turn back but now I made you sad", Jack says with tears in his eyes. Aaron hugs Jack back.
"Oh buddy. It's ok, I know you didn't mean to make me sad", Aaron replies. They both stay like that for a while. Because now Jack doesn't fear that his father is going to turn back to the monster he was. And Aaron doesn't fear of ever becoming like his father.
But all doesn't end there. Because Peter Lewis still shows up to Jack's game. And Aaron still goes to witness protection with his son. He still retires from the BAU and decides to spend more time as a father to Jack. Because no matter what happens, Aaron Hotchner's ending at the BAU is inevitable.
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Winning a Battle, Losing the War: Chapter Two
Summery: The team rushes the decode Mr. Scratch’s message
A/N: @yourlocalheartbreaker helped me with this idea so thank you to her! Disclaimer: I don’t know what’s it like being in a mental hospital so this may not be accurate.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: drugs, mention of serial killers, mental hospital, attempted murder, mention of murder and death
Here is part one!
The team left the hospital and went to the Behavioural Analysis Unit building and went to the briefing room. Garcia just told us that Peter Lewis emailed her. Knowing the serial killer, he is probably offering some deal in exchange to telling us what drug he used on Aaron. We told Jessica we had to go and she said she should also go because staying there was no use. Jack is still pretty shaken up after seeing what happened to his father.
The team went into the briefing room and waited for Garcia to come with her laptop. She quickly came in and projected the screen on the wall. She opened up the email that Peter Lewis sent her.
I see you’ve figured out what happened to Agent Hotchner and who did it. Well this is going to be so much fun now that I’m offering you a deal. You have 72 hours to decode this message. Decode the message and I’ll give you the antidote to cure Agent Hotchner. And to make this more exciting, every day you fail to decode the message, I’ll kill an innocent citizen. Good luck. - Mr. Scratch
The team all looked at each other after reading the email. They didn’t have any choice. They have to help Hotch and in order to do that is to play along his game.
“Well, what’s the message we have to decode?” Emily asks.
“Uh right here”, Penelope says as she clicks on the PDF in the email. Inside the PDF is a message that writes ...
18424 )90”8; 49@$ (49753 619) 17@;58+9, 048:+3 28””8@: +97;56, =84*i;8@, 22172 7#@
“Reid, do you recognize this? Is it some code spies used back in the days or something?” Morgan asks Reid. Reid looks at the screen and frowns.
“No ... it’s just random numbers and symbols. I don’t think it has any significant meaning”, Reid replies.
“Well it has to, he said we have to decode it in seventy-two hours”, Emily says.
“Ok well what do you think the message will tell us, like would it be a riddle or a phrase?” Rossi asks Reid.
“I uh ... I don’t know. I’m trying to think all the possible things each symbol would mean but I just ...”, Reid replies.
“How about you just trace back the email. We’ll arrest Lewis and force him to tell us where the antidote is”, JJ says.
“I tried that at first but he had deleted his email address after sending us the email which means I can’t do that ... this is our only option”, Garcia replies to JJ. The team says silent for a moment.
“Well what do we know, Lewis somehow drugged Hotch so I think we should start there”, Morgan says to the team, immediately taking leadership since Hotch isn't around.
"What about the code?" JJ asks Morgan.
"Emily, Reid, and Rossi will stay here and figure out the code while the rest of us go figure out how Lewis drugged Hotch", Morgan replies. The team nods and starts working on their tasks.
Meanwhile, Aaron is still isolated in the room. Every once in a while, a nurse would ask if he needs to go to the bathroom or is hungry which Aaron would shake his head. He doesn't know who those people are or why he is here. All he knows is that he's supposed to kill anyone he sees or else something bad would happen to him.
But he can't do that since he's chained to the wall. He hopes the voice in his head will understand. But who was that little boy? And why did he call him dad? He tried to remember if he had met the kid somewhere but he doesn't remember him. But he does look familiar ... He looks like someone Aaron used to love.
Aaron looks at Haley and smiles. He runs over to her.
“Look ...”, Haley says, pointing at the sunset. Aaron looks at the sun that is setting down.
“It’s so pretty”, Haley says. Aaron stares at her.
“Yeah ... it is”, Aaron says. Haley turns to face Aaron and smiles. They both share a kiss. At that time, the only thing that mattered is that they both love each other.
Haley ... Aaron thinks. He doesn’t know who she is but he knows he loved her. And that the little boy looked like her. Was that boy actually his son? Is that why he didn’t seem scared of him? Suddenly the door opens and Aaron flinches. A nurse walks in with a tray. And puts it down in front of him. Aaron backs away.
“I’m not going to hurt you”, the nurse says softly. She walks up to Aaron and takes the cage out of his face. Aaron doesn’t say anything and just stares at her.
“I’m guessing you’re hungry right now so I brought food”, the nurse says. Aaron looks at the tray. There is beans, a piece of bread, and some vegetables. Aaron stares at the food. The nurse gives him a water bottle.
“And here is some water. Don’t worry, it’s not bad as it looks”, the nurse says with a smile. Aaron shakes his handcuffs that is still cuffed to the wall. The nurse calls the security guard and he come to unlock it.
“Try to attack someone and we’ll strap you to the bed”, the guard grumbles. Aaron rubs his wrists and nods. The nurse and guard leaves and Aaron starts eating. It’s not bad but not good either. He wonders though, what is happening to the boy right now.
Morgan, JJ, and Garcia go into Hotch’s house where Jessica was staying. ￼It was late at night and Jack was probably sleeping. Jessica opened the door and let them in. Jessica is still wearing a turtleneck to hide the bruises. They all go to the living room and sit down.
“Coffee?” Jessica offers. Morgan nods and JJ and Penelope ask for tea.
“So what brings you here?” Jessica asks.
“We were wondering how Peter Lewis drugged Hotch and was hoping you would tell us”, Morgan replies.
“Well I told you that we were eating ice cream and then suddenly he just ... snapped”, Jessica says.
“You said that he came into the house for maintenance”, JJ asks. Jessica nods.
“Do you know if he went to the kitchen?” JJ asks.
“Yeah he went to the living room and then into the kitchen”, ￼Jessica replies.
“Can you show us?” Penelope asks. Jessica nods and shows them the kitchen. She told them how he went through the cabinets and the washing machine.
“Did he went through this?” Morgan asks showing Jessica the drawer.
“Yeah, why?” Jessica asks. Morgan opens the drawer to show all the spoons, forks, and knives in there. Jessica gasps in realization.
“JJ, put all of these in separate bags so we can go test them”, Morgan asks. ￼JJ nods and starts doing as he’s told.
“I-I didn’t see him. I just left a for a second- I swear and-“, Jessica starts rambling again.
“Jess, this wasn’t your fault. It was his, ok?” Morgan says to Jessica. She nods wiping a tear from her eye. It took a while to get the utensils into separate bags but they did and sent them to the lab. They then go into the briefing room where Rossi, Emily, and Reid is staying at.
“We think Lewis infected the spoon Hotch used and it’s why he’s acting like that”, Morgan says to the team.
“Well we noticed that these symbols were only used in the twenty-first century as codes. Some serial killers used them to send to police stations and news reporters”, Emily says.
“Yeah and we’re trying to see if we can use those messages to decode this message”, Rossi adds.
“Ok, I’ll go check up on Hotch”, Morgan says. The team nods and continues working on the message Peter Lewis sent them. Morgan leaves the building and drives to the hospital Aaron is staying at. Twenty minutes later, Morgan is following a nurse to Aaron’s room.
“He seems to be in a calm state right now”, the nurse says. Morgan nods and was about to go in when the nurse stopped him.
“Wait! I know Hotch is some sort of nickname but stick to his first name. It seems to trigger him”, the nurse says. Morgan nods and goes into the room. Inside he sees Aaron who is sitting on his bed. He wasn’t handcuffed this time. Aaron immediately back away as he sees Morgan walking towards him.
“Aaron ... it’s just me”, Morgan says. But the voice in Aaron’s head says something different. Aaron suddenly jumps up and attack Morgan. Morgan freezes in shock as Aaron starts punching him. Morgan kicks Aaron off him and holds his wrists so he won’t hurt him.
“Aaron! It’s me, Morgan. Remember?” Morgan says again but Aaron doesn’t seem to hear him. Aaron kicks him in the stomach and Morgan releases his grip. The nurses and security guards quickly come in. The guard handcuffs Aaron to his bed and the nurses pull Morgan away.
“Are you alright?” The nurse asks Morgan.
“Yeah, just a few punches. But why did he act like that? You said he was in a calm state”, Morgan asks the nurse.
“We don’t know. We’re still figuring out what is triggering him”, the nurse says. Morgan nods as the nurse starts stitching him up. Suddenly his phone rings. Morgan tells the nurses to wait as he answers his phone. Emily was calling him.
“Yeah, Emily?” Morgan asks into the phone. Morgan then frowns.
“What do you mean there is a dead body?” Morgan asks. He then checks the time. It’s been twenty four hours. Morgan then remembers what Lewis said in the email. Everyday the team doesn’t decode the message, he kills someone.
15 notes · View notes
Winning a Battle, Losing the War
Summery: Mr. Scratch injects a drug inside of Aaron making him go violent and the team has to try to find the antidote.
A/N: I was actually inspired by the movie Zootopia to write this fic lol. Disclaimer: I never watch the Mr. Scratch arc so this may not be accurate from the show but I did ask @yourlocalheartbreaker and she helped me with the plot. Also I don’t have any experience being in a a mental hospital so this information may not be accurate.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: drugs, choking, attempted murder, mental hospital
The BAU team rushed to the mental hospital of Quantico, Virginia. They just got a call that Aaron was on some sort of drug, making him attack Jessica. The team knows that he would never hurt her so they came quickly. In the waiting room, they see Jessica wearing a turtleneck and fidgeting with her hands. She looks up to see the team already here.
“Oh, thank god you’re here”, Jessica says as she stands up.
“What happened, where’s Hotch?” Morgan asks.
“I don’t know what happened, we were just eating ice cream when he attacked me out of nowhere. He-he would never do that. I swear. Oh my god, did I do something? I don’t think I did-“, Jessica starts rambling. Morgan holds Jessica’s hand.
“Jessica, what happened?” Morgan asks slowly. Jessica gulps. She begins telling him what happened.
Aaron was eating ice cream with Jessica. Thirteen prisoners just escaped jail, including Peter Lewis. Jessica offered him to take a break by eating ice cream. Jack was outside playing with the neighbors and their pet dog. Aaron took a couple of spoons out of his ice cream while listening to Jessica talking about her new job as a teacher. Suddenly, Aaron felt something weird in his stomach. Jessica noticed and immediately stopped talking.
“Aaron? Aaron, I swear to god if you accidentally bought strawberry ice cream-“, Jessica starts saying but she stops talking when Aaron stared at her. Something wasn’t right, she could see it in his eyes. Before she could ask what’s wrong, Aaron leaped at his and pushed her to the floor. Jessica screams but stopped when Aaron puts his hands around her throat. He started choking her. She tries to use him off but he won’t move so she grabs a book and hits it on his head. Aaron flinches in pain and Jessica runs out of the room. She grabs the home phone on the kitchen counter and begins dailing nine one one.
“991, what’s your emergency”
“H-hello, I don’t know what’s happening. He’s never like this. Please send help, please-“, Jessica starts saying into the phone.
“Ma’am, please tell me your address so we can send the police”, the woman from the phone says. Jessica begins saying the address when Aaron comes to the kitchen and twists her wrist, making her drop the phone. Jessica screams in shock. Aaron tries to choke her again but she grabs a vase and smashes on his head. She runs upstairs and locks the door. She can feel Aaron trying to get in but she used a chair to block the doorknob.
Aaron kept trying to push the door open, breaking the locks. Jessica can feel tears streaming down her face. He’s known Aaron ever since they were in high school and she knew that he would never hurt anyone, especially her. Why is he acting like this?
After a couple of minutes, the police come into the house. Aaron tries to attack the police but they tased him. When he was finally arrested and gone, Jessica came out. An officer tries to get a statement from her but she was in shock. She demanded to be there with Aaron so the police drove her to the mental hospital he was staying at.
The team looks at each other. They already knew who did this. Peter Lewis. He escaped jail a couple of days ago and now he is obviously after Aaron. But how did they drug him? And what drug did he use to make him react this way?
“Jess, do you recognize this man?” Emily says. She pulls out her phone and shows her a picture of Peter Lewis. Jessica's eyes widen.
“Y-yeah, he came to my house yesterday. Something about maintenance and doing a quick check-up”, Jessica replies. Emily looks at the rest of the team.
“Oh my god, he did this?” Jessica asks. She can feel tears in her eyes. It’s her fault, she let him in the house.
“How about you sit down?” Emily says. Jessica sits down on one of those chairs, and Emily sits right next to her.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him and we’ll make sure Hotch goes back to his normal self”, Emily reassures her. Jessica nods.
"Where is he?" Spencer asks.
"I don't know, they said I couldn't see him. Something about him being too dangerous. But ask the lady on the desk", Jessie replies. Reid nods. He, Morgan, and Emily show their badges and the nurse leads them to Aaron. JJ and Rossi stay with Jessica to comfort her.
"There he is", the nurse says. Aaron was isolated in a room, his hands were cuffed to the wall and there is a cage on his mouth.
“We tried to restrain him on the bed but he wouldn’t let us so this was the safest thing to do”, the nurse adds.
"Why does he has a cage on his face?" Morgan asks.
"He started biting the employees here and tried to bite the handcuffs off", the nurse says. Reid flinches at the thought of Aaron biting people.
"Can we see him?" Emily asks. The nurse shakes her head.
"He doesn't like meeting new people and will try to attack them. It's too dangerous", the nurse replies.
"But we know him, we're like his family", Emily argues.
"It seems like he doesn't know who his family is. He did attack his sister-in-law", the nurse says calmly. Emily looks at Aaron who is trying to move his hands but can’t because of the restraints. ￼
"Ok, well thank you-", Morgan starts saying but was interrupted by JJ.
"Jack, no!" JJ yells as she chases Jack. All four of them turn around to see Jack running down the hall and towards the room where his father is staying at. Morgan was about to chase him when the nurse stops him.
"Don't go, you might startle him. I'll go call some other nurses and we'll get him out of there", the nurse says. Morgan nods and looks at Jack somehow got in the room.
Jack runs towards his father. Aaron looks up to see a little boy running towards him. He doesn't recognize him. Aaron tries to move but his hands were cuffs to the wall. Aaron growls making Jack freeze.
"Dad?" Jack asks, confused. Aaron growls again and tries to move. Jack flinches. Aaron tries to pull the handcuffs out of the wall so he can attack the boy in front of him. Jack slowly walks towards his father. Aaron flinches, not knowing what he is doing and tries to back away but Jack cornered him. Jack sits down in front of his father. Aaron just stares at him. They both sit there in silence. He still doesn’t know who he is but he knows it’s someone important to him.
Suddenly the nurses come making Aaron go back to his violent state. The starts growling and pulling the handcuffs from the wall. One of the nurses pulls Jack out of the room. Aaron tries to attack the nurses but one of them quickly sedated him. Jack was watching the whole thing.
"Jack, you weren't supposed to go in there", JJ says softly.
"Why was he like that? Did I do something?" Jack asks JJ. She could see the tears in the little boy's eyes.
"No Jack, your dad is just sick but he'll feel better soon", JJ replies. Jack looks at the ground.
“But he didn’t hurt me, he only tried to hurt he nurses. He-he looked scared”, Jack says, wiping the tears from his eyes. The team looks at him sadly.
“I think your father is scared, he’s not his normal self”, JJ replies to Jack. Jack nods. JJ leads Jack into the lobby where Jessica is so he won’t see anything more. Garcia quickly passes them and walks towards Morgan, Reid, and Emily.
"Guys, you need to come like right now", Garcia says in a worried tone. Morgan looks at her confused.
"What's wrong, baby girl?" Morgan asks.
"Peter Lewis just emailed me", Garcia replies. All four of them stand there in silence. This just got way worse.
18 notes · View notes
I’ve got your back
Summery: Aaron and Derek get kidnapped and have to make it out alive.
A/N: Not a Hotchgan story, just their friendship but it has those vibes so I’m still tagging it hotchgan/mortch
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: kidnap, torture, guns, blood, attempted murder
Aaron groaned as he slowly wakes up. He looks around him to see himself in some sort of basement. He looks next to him and sees Derek who is also waking up. He tries to remember what happened. They were on a case, looking for a serial killer who kidnaps and torture their victims before killing them. He and Derek stayed behind to finalize the profile for tomorrow. But then it started to get really late so they walked back to the hotel. And now they were here.
“Hotch?” Derek asks as his opens his eyes. His hand were also tied in front of him.
“Derek, stay there”, Aaron says as he slowly makes his way to him. Derek looks at him confused. Aaron grabs his hands and tries to untie them. All he knows is that someone kidnapped him and they have to escape.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to stop you right there”
Aaron and Derek both look to see who was talking to them. Two men slowly walk in the room. One of them is holding a bat while the other one is holding a gun. Aaron stops trying to untie Derek’s hands and stares at two men.
“I think I should introduce myself. I’m Jason and this is my brother Mathew”, Jason introduces himself. Aaron and Derek both don’t say anything.
“Now, which one of you is Derek Morgan?” Jason asks. They both still don’t say anything. Jason sighs and grabs his brother’s gun. He then points it to Derek.
“Are you Derek Morgan?” Jason asks. Derek tries to say something before getting interrupted by Aaron.
“I am. I’m Derek Morgan”, Aaron says quickly. Derek looks at him. What the hell is he doing? Jason grins and points his gun to Aaron.
“Took you a while to speak up”, Jason replies with a sick grin. Jason grabs the gun and shoved it down Aaron’s throat.
“Now give me one good reason that I should kill you right now?” Jason asks. Aaron looks at him knowing that he can’t say anything with a gun down his throat. So instead, Derek speaks for him.
“Because you’re a sadist and get off on torturing people. You wouldn’t kill him, you want to torture him first”, Derek says. Derek realizes that they got kidnapped by the unsub but why did he kidnap both of them? And why is he asking for Derek?
“Sounds like someone has done their homework”, Jason jokes, looking at Derek.
“What’s your name?” Jason asks. Aaron looks at Derek trying to tell him to not use his real name.
“Uh, Aaron .. Hotchner”, Derek lies.
“Well Aaron, how do you feel watching your friend here get tortured?” Jason asks, keeping his gun in Aaron’s mouth. Derek stares at Aaron. Aaron tries to nod telling him to say yes but he can’t do that. He can’t just let the unsub torture his boss when he really wants to hurt him.
“Wouldn’t hurting me be a better torture. I mean watching your friend get hurt is a pretty could physiological torture if you ask me”, Derek says trying to save his boss’s life. He didn’t even notice the fact he called Aaron his friend. Jason looks at Derek and smiles.
“You’re right, that’s why I’m going to let you watch your friend get beaten up”, Jason replies. He takes the gun out of Aaron’s mouth and grabs a bat. Before Aaron could get ready, Jason uses the bat and hit him across the face. Aaron spits out blood.
“Don’t worry, this’ll only hurt more. I practised this on other people”, the unsub says before hitting Aaron again.
“Ho- Derek!” Derek yells. Aaron looks at Derek.
“It’s- it’s alright, I can take it”, Aaron says to Derek as he looks back to the unsub. Jason smiles and hits him with a bat again but this time at the stomach. Aaron groans in pain but he didn’t stop right there. The unsub keeps hitting Aaron in the stomach, well known of the internal bleeding he may cause.
“Wait ... stop!” Derek yells. But the unsub doesn’t stop.
“I’m Derek Morgan!” Derek yells. Jason stops and looks at Derek and then back to Aaron. Aaron looks at Derek in shock.
“Wha- no, he’s lying. I’m Derek Morgan”, Aaron says to the unsub. Jason looks at both of them confused. He then looks at his brother who also seems confused.
“Don’t move”, Jason says, sternly. He walks to his brother and whispers something in his ear. His brother then shows his a picture on his phone. Jason nods and looks back Aaron and Derek. He then walks over to Derek and shoves a gun to his forehead. He looks at Aaron.
“Tell me the truth, are you Derek Morgan? Lie to me and I’ll kill him”, Jason says. Aaron gulps. He can’t lie now. He can’t risk lying when there is a chance the unsub already knows who is who.
“H-he is. I lied”, Aaron admits. Jason scowls and look at Derek. He then punches Derek in the face. Aaron flinches. Jason grabs Derek’s face and punches him again ... and again. Aaron panics. He knows how long it takes to punch a man to death.
“Wait ... please stop. I’ll do anything you want just stop, please”, Aaron pleads. This makes Jason stop, he looks at Aaron. He gulps as the unsub walks towards him.
“Anything?” Jason asks. Aaron stares at him silently. He then nods.
“Y-yeah”, Aaron replies. Jason smiles at him and then unties his hands. Aaron looks at him confused. The unsub then gives him his gun.
“Kill him”, Jason says. Aaron looks at him in horror.
“He’s going to die anyways, atleast give him a quick death”, Jason says grimly. He pushes Aaron in front of Derek and points his gun at him.
“Do it”, the unsub whispers in Aaron’s ear. Aaron shudders.
“I’m sorry”, Aaron says to Derek softly. Derek looks at him sadly. He’s really going to kill him. He doesn’t feel any anger towards him, he’s going to die anyways. He knows that Aaron would never hurt him on purpose. He closes his eyes, waiting for a quick and easy death.
Aaron pulls the trigger and shoots Derek. He then pushes the unsub back and quickly shoot him. The unsub lies on the floor with blood pooling from his head. Aaron looks back at Derek, who’s shoulder got shot and is dripping with blood. Derek looks at him in shock.
“What, you really though I was going to kill you?” Aaron asks with a weak smile. Derek tries to say something but then Jason’s brother came up behind and hits Aaron in the head with a bat.
“You killed my brother”, Mathew says. Aaron falls to the ground. Derek doesn’t know if he had killed him or just knocked him out. Mathew then looks at Derek, he holds his bat up high and was about to swing when the door gets kicked down. Emily comes rushing in, telling Mathew to put the bat down. He does and Emily arrests him. Reid calls for a medic and they were both sent to the hospital. Derek hopes Aaron is alive after saving his life.
Derek slowly wakes up to see bright lights above his head. He looks around him to see himself in a hospital room. Memories came rushing down him, reminding him what happened. Derek looks at his shoulder which is wrapped in bandages. He tried to say something but Emily beats him to it.
“There you are, was getting bored watching you sleep”, Emily says to Derek. Derek chuckles.
“Where’s .. Hotch?” Morgan says slowly. Emily smiles. Suddenly door opens with Aaron on a wheel chair with Dave pushing it.
“I can walk perfectly fine, Dave”, Aaron complains. Dave rolls his eyes and parks the wheelchair next to Derek’s hospital bed. Aaron looks at him. Emily and Dave both leave the room to give them some privacy.
“How you’re doing?” Aaron asks.
“Fine, a little sleepy. You?” Derek asks.
“I’ll be fine, memory is still a little foggy”, Aaron says gesturing to his head. Derek smiles.
“Hey uh did the team ever figure out why the unsub wanted me dead?” Derek asks. Aaron shrugs.
“Dave told me that apparently you had something to do with their father getting or something like that”, Aaron replies. Derek hums.￼
“Well ... thank you”, Derek says. Aaron looks at him confused.
“For what?” Aaron asks.
“For not killing me”, Derek replies. Aaron gives a small laugh.
“No problem, I’ve got your back”, Aaron says. Derek smiles at him and Aaron smiles back. Despite all the disputes and trust issues between Derek and Aaron, they both will always have each other’s back.
20 notes · View notes
Chasing Cars pt 4
Summery: Aaron wakes up in the hospital.
A/N: Idk if there is going to be a part five but we'll see!
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Car crash, head trauma, paralyzed arm, mention of physical therapy
Here is part 1, part 2, and part 3!
Aaron slowly wakes up to the cold chill in the room. He looks around to see himself in a hospital room. He sees a heart monitor and breathing tubes on his face. Aaron hates breathing tubes. It’s uncomfortable on his face. He looks to his left to see Derek, who is also walking up.
“You’re awake”, Derek says. He stands up and helps Aaron sit up.
“Thanks”, Aaron rasps.
“No problem, the doctor should be here anytime soon”, Morgan replies. Aaron nods. Soon enough, a doctor comes in
“I see you’ve waken up Agent Hotchner. My name is Dr. Alexander and I’ll be taking a quick check-up on you”, the doctor says. Aaron nods.
“Are fine with him staying around?” The doctor asks, pointing to Derek.
“It’s fine”, Aaron replies. The doctor nods and jots a few things on his clipboard and begins checking on Aaron. He uses his stethoscope to measure his heart rate.
“Alright, seems like you’re breathing fine. Do you remember what happened before you sent to the hospital?” The doctor asks.
“I was in a car crash and then the unsub- serial killer tried to kidnap me”, Aaron says recalling his memories. The doctor hums and writes down some things on his chart.
“Ok can you tell me what’s four plus four?”
“Eight”, Aaron replies immediately.
“Fifteen time five?”
Aaron pauses and Derek laughs.
“There’s nothing wrong with his brain, he’s just not good at math”, Derek says to the doctor. The doctor smiles and writes down more things on his clipboard. He sets his clipboard aside and walks over to Aaron’s bedside.
“Can you move your right arm?” The doctor asks. Aaron looks at his arm and tries to move it, but he can’t. The doctor looks at him sympathetically as Aaron tries to move his arm. Morgan’s smile fades as he realizes Aaron can’t move his arm.
“Can you feel this?” The doctor says as he lightly pinched his arm. Aaron shakes his head.
The doctor sighs and grabs his clipboard and writes more things on there.
“Well, unfortunately, it seems like you’re arm is paralyzed”, the doctor says. Aaron doesn’t say anything and continues staring at his arm.
“Is it going to stay like that forever?” Derek asks for Aaron.
“There is a chance he could regain his ability to move his arm by physical therapy but even if he does go through that, there is a chance his arm may be paralyzed forever”, the doctor replies to Derek. Derek sighs.
“So it’s your choice if you want to go through physical therapy or not. I’ll give you some time to thing. If you have any questions then ask the nurses to page me”, the doctor says. He glances at Aaron for a quick second before leaving the room. Derek looks at Aaron who is still trying to move his arm.
“Hotch- Aaron”, Derek says. Aaron doesn’t say anything for a while.
“I-I’m trying to move my arm but I-I can’t”, Aaron says. Derek looks at him sadly.
"I know how much you hate going to therapy but this might be good for you. There is a chance that you can regain your arm back", Derek replies. Aaron stays silent and then he realizes something.
"Jess, she was calling me. Where is she? Is Jack ok?" Aaron starts asking questions. As if in cue, Jessica and Jack come in the hospital room.
"Dad!" Jack yells as he runs towards is father's bedside. Derek picks up Jack so he can sit on the hospital bed. He then leaves, giving them some privacy.
"Hey buddy, how are you?" Aaron asks. Jack looks at Jess with a guilty face. Aaron looks at them confused.
"What happened?" Aaron asks Jess.
"Go on Jack, tell your father what happened", Jess says to Jack. Jack looks at his hands.
"I tried to sneak out a kitten in my backpack from the pet store but then Auntie Jess caught me. I had to apologize to the store owner", Jack says quietly. Aaron sighs in relief. He thought something worse happened to him.
"Oh Jack, you know you can't take anything without permission", Aaron says to Jack. Jack nods.
"But I asked auntie Jess but she won't let me adopt a cat", Jack replies. Jess sighs.
"You know your grandfather is allergic to them", Jess reminds Jack.
"How about this, when I come back home, then we can think about asking your aunt Emily to let you take care of Sergio for a while, ok?" Aaron comprises with Jack. Jack nods with a big smile on his face.
"Ok now go to uncle Derek, me and Jess needs to have a grown-up talk", Aaron says. Jack nods and goes out of them room. Now it was just Aaron and Jess.
"Are you alright?" Jess asks. Aaron looks at his arm.
"The doctor says that my arm is paralyzed and that I can go to physical therapy to try to regain my arm", Aaron replies.
"Then go to physical therapy", Jess says.
"But even then, my arm still might be paralyzed. It'll all be for nothing then", Aaron replies. Jess sighs.
"Well atleast you have a chance to try. You have a job and a son. Imagine all the things you will miss in because you didn't try", Jess argues with Aaron. Aaron doesn't say anything back.
"Just ... think about it, please. For Jack", Jess says.
"I'm going to show Jack the daycare so he can play while you make your desicion", Jess says. Aaron nods. Jess walls out of the room and Derek comes in.
"So what's it going to be?" Derek asks. Aaron looks at his arm and to what Jess said.
"Page Dr. Alexander. Tell him I'm going to physical therapy", Aaron replies.
15 notes · View notes
Chasing Cars pt 3
Summery: Aaron tries to talk his way out while having a gun pointed towards him.
A/N: Got inspired by April Kepner in the Grey's Anatomy shooting episode.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Guns, gun shot, car crash, mention of death, head truama, paralyzed arm.
Here is part one and part two!
Aaron gulps silently. At this point, he isn't trying to hide his fear of him. If Aaron dies right now, Jack will be an orphan. And then Jess will blame herself. And his team will hate themselves for not findinng him sooner. Him dying will cause his family to be hurt emotionally and he can't do that. He can't die, not right now.
"Please ... I have a son, his name is Jack and he is eight years old", Aaron starts saying. Right now, the unsub has a gun pointed at him.
"You really think you're going to talk me out of this", Jimmy says through his teeth. He has a bandage under his chin where Aaron stabbed him at, making him speak without his jaw moving so much.
"He already lost his mother, he name was Haley and she was the love of my life. My highschool sweetheart. And she has a sister. He name is Jessica and-", Aaron continues saying with tears in his eyes. He feels selfish talking about Haley just to get him out of this situation.
"Shut up", Jimmy interrupts but Aaron ignores him.
"She is with my son and she called me which means something happened to my son. Please, I'm begging you to let me go. My son needs me right now", Aaron finishes saying. Tears are streaking his face and Aaron looks at him with pleading eyes. The unsub looks at him and then looks at the ground.
"Your son... his name is Jack, right?" Junmy asks. Aaron nods.
"Yes", Aaron chokes out. Jimmy curses on his breath. That's how old his son is right now.
"You have a son too right? How do you think he will feel knowing what you're doing right now?" Aaron asks softly. Jimmy looks at him and slowly puts his gun down. Aaron can feel himself holding his breath is he letting him go right now?
"Go ...", Jimmy says. Aaron hesitates before standing up slowly.
"I- I can go?" Aaron asks to make sure. Jimmy nods. Suddenly cop cars and black SUV's come speeding down the road to where Aaron is at. Jimmy looks behind him and sees cops and FBI agents coming put and puting his gun towards him. Jimmy grabs Aaron and holds him hostage whole he has a gun pointed to his face.
"Shoot me and I'll shoot him", Jimmy snarls.
"You don't have to do this Barton", Rossi says, trying to negotiate.
"I have to, I lost my wife and my children. And now everyone is going to feel my pain", Jimmy replies. Rossi tries to come closer to Jimmy.
"Don't come any closer", Jimmy warns Rossi but he doesn't listen. Rossi steps toward to get a better view of the unsub. Jimmy shoots Aaron's already hurt shoulder. Aaron couldn't feel anything but that hurt more. Rossi immediately stops seeing that the unsub isn't joking.
"Let me go and I'll spare him", Jimmy says.
"You know we can't do that", Rossi replies.
"Fine, guess I'm taking him with me", Jimmy says pointing his gun back at Aaron. He was about to shoot him but Morgan got to him first. He was on the hill being them with a sniper. Jimmy's body fell to the ground and Aaron was free from his grasp. Emily quickly runs towards Aaron with the medics.
"Don't worry Hotch, you're going to be ok", Emily reassures. Aaron nods as the medics stitch up his forehead and try to stop the bleeding from his shoulder.
"Sir, can you feel this?" One the medics say whole pinching his arm. Aaron shakes his head and the medics both look at each other with the same lool on their face.
"Ok, let's get you in the gurney", the medics says. Aaron nods and gets himself on the gurney. The medics strap him down so he won't fall and puts him in the ambulance.
"You can meet us at the hospital but he looks like he needs surgery", the medics says to Emily. Emily nods as they close the back doors and drive off to the ambulance. She can hear the sirens getting softer as the ambulance slowly drives out of sight. She hopes Aaron will be ok.
18 notes · View notes
Chasing Cars pt 2
Summery: Aaron gets kidnapped by an unsub.
A/N: Still have no idea where I'm going with this so just hold on tight... also, sorry for the short chapter.
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Kidnap, car crash, paralyzed arm, gun, stabbing
Here is part one!
Aaron silently gulps. Right next to him is the unsub they are looking for. Aaron looks out from the window planning where he should jump out of the car. Up ahead, was a small hill with trees. Aaron could jump and hide behind the trees. He tried to stay calm and not to alarm the unsub. Aaron counts to three and opens the car handle to jump. But it was locked.
“Thought you could get away that easy, huh?” Jimmy asks with a sick grin on his face. Aaron gulps silently. He let’s go of the handle and slowly reaches in his pocket for anything. Then he realizes he still has a glass shard on his shoulder.
“You’re an FBI agent?” Jimmy asks but he already knows the answer. Aaron doesn’t say anything.
“Answer me”, Jimmy says. Aaron still doesn’t say anything. In anger, Jimmy pulls out a gun and points it to Aaron.
“Answer.. me”, Jimmy says sternly.
“Yes, I am”, Aaron finally says. Jimmy then grins again.
“What do you know about me?” Jimmy asks. Aaron stares at him for a second before saying something.
“I know that you went through a divorce which caused you to start killing people”, Aaron starts to say.
“Go on”, Jimmy says with his eyes on the road and his gun pointed at Aaron.
“You also had to fight for custody and lost which made you slip up. Making your third victim survive”, Aaron continues on. He can see the unsub clenches his jaw but doesn’t say anything.
“And now you’re angrier than ever and are going on a killing spree”, Aaron finished off. Jimmy scoffs.
“Is that all?” The unsub asks.
“I also know you’re incompetent”, Aaron adds, taking a big risk.
“What?” Jimmy asks looking at Aaron.
“You can’t handle your own anger so you take it out on others, as a release for yourself”, Aaron continues saying.
“Alright that’s enough”, the unsub says.
“Which is why you-“, Aaron tries to say, despite the unsub telling him not to.
“I said enough!” Jimmy yells shoving he gun to Aaron’s temple. Aaron holds his breath and looks at the gun. And then smiles softly. The gun isn’t loaded.
“Which is why you forgot to load your gun and fell in my trap”, Aaron says slowly. The unsubs looks at him confused. But before he could say anything, Aaron reaches for his shoulder and takes the glass shard out. He then stabs it under Jimmy’s chin and through his jaw. The unsub yells in pain and loses control of his car.
The car turns to the side and is about to hit a side of a mountain. Aaron quickly unlocks the car door from the driver’s side and jumps out. The unsub’s car then crashes into the side of the mountain, knocking him out. Aaron sighs in relief. And does his best to stand up but his shoulder hurts more than ever. Aaron walks towards the car and opens the back seat. He looks through and sees an extra jacket.
Aaron takes of his suit which is soaked in his blood and uses the jacket to tie it on his shoulder. It wasn’t a permanent fix but it’s enough to stop the bleeding for now. Aaron opens the front car and looks for Jimmy’s phone. He soon finds it in one of his pockets. Aaron opens the phone, praying that it works. The screen is cracked but it works. Aaron sighs in relief and calls Morgan. He waits for the phone to ring.
“Hello?’ Morgan asks into the phone.
“Morgan, it’s Hotch. I got into a car crash and I found the unsub”, Aaron says.
“Are you alright?” Morgan immediately asks.
“My shoulder is pretty messed up and I can’t feel my right arm. I also hit my head pretty hard”, Aaron says looking at his injuries.
“I’m going to get an ambulance, where are you?” Morgan asks.
“I’m at-”, Aaron tries to say but the call ended. Aaron looks at the phone confused. It’s dead. No ..., Aaron thinks. Aaron clicks the button on the phone multiple times but it was no use.
Aaron looks at the useless phone and throws it at the car. He was so close to finally making it back but then the phone dies. Just his luck. Aaron sits down on the road and puts his back against the car. He looks at his right arm. He tries to move it, giving himself some hope but his arm just lays there. Aaron groans and puts his head against the car. He closes his eyes. He’s so tired, taking a nap won’t hurt.
Twenty minutes passes and Aaron slowly wakes up from his nap. He can feel the sun shinning on his eyes. He tries to wake up but he feels a cold metal presses against his forehead. Aaron’s eyes snap open. He sees Jimmy with a gun presses against his forehead.
“Don’t worry, this time I made sure the gun was loaded”
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Summery: Aaron gets in a car crash and has to find a way to stay alive.
A/N: I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this but I wanted to write a series so ... And yes the title is based on the song "Chasing Cars".
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Warnings: Car crashes, blood, injuries, head trauma, mention of murder, paralyzed arm
Aaron gasps for air. He lifts his head from the steering wheel. He blinks rapidly, looking around on what just happened. His head suddenly starts hurting. Aaron groans in pain and reaches his head, only to find blood dripping down from the side of his face. Aaron looks around and sees what happened. The car fell down a hill and hit a tree. Aaron looks to the passenger seat. He sees the phone cracked, probably broken, and remembers what happened.
Jess was calling. Aaron tries to reach for his phone but he swerved and fell down a hill. And then he hit a tree. Aaron tries to grab his phone but his shoulder ached in pain. He looks at his shoulder and sees a glass shard plunged in his shoulder. He uses his other hand, which seems to be undamaged, and uses it to hold his other shoulder. Aaron turns to his side and uses his legs to kick the car door open. After a few kicks, the door broke open and Aaron could get out of the car.
Aaron got out of the car and did his best to stand. His leg weren’t as badly injured as his shoulder but they still hurt. Aaron did his best to take off his jacket. He then tries to wrap it around his shoulder to stop the bleeding. He didn’t much medical training but he knew it’s best to keep the glass hard inside so he won’t die of blood loss.
Aaron looks around him to see where he is. His car fell off road and went down a hill. Aaron looked behind him to see the same hill his car fell off from. It was a pretty steep hill and Aaron only had one arm in perfect shape. But he doesn’t have a choice. He has to climb up a hill and hope someone is driving by. He knew he shouldn’t do that because there is an unsub picking up people on the side of the road and murdering them.
“The unsub is a male in his late thirties to early forties”, Aaron starts the profile.
“He is most likely experienced a event which could be a loss of job, divorce, etc and using victims as his outlet for his anger”, Derek adds on.
“He has killed three people in the last month and only one of them survived. Which means something happened recently, making him slip up and not finish killing the victim”, Emily says to the group of officers.
“He has also managed to raise no alarm to his victims, which mean he knows how to talk his way to seem to be friendly”, Rossi add on from Emily.
“He also seems to be dropping his victims off the sides of roads which could be where he picked them up. So using reverse geographical profiling he most likely lives in the west side of the city”, Spencer says.
“Alright, let’s go catch this bastard”, Aaron says, finishing off the profile. The police officers scatter and all go off to do their job. Aaron quickly leaves the room discreetly and goes somewhere. He picks up his phone and calls Jess.
“Hey Jess, can I talk to Jack?” Aaron asks.
“Hey buddy, how are you doing?” Aaron asks to Jack. Jack then rambles about his day at the pet shop and how he was able to touch the baby kittens. Aaron smiles as he listens to his son talk. He had told Jessica to call Aaron whenever something happened to Jack, no matter how small the situation it.
Aaron realizes why Jess had called him. Something happened to Jack. Aaron gulps and uses all of his will to climb up the hill. He grabs a stick and uses it to help him climb up the hill. He has to go back to the police station and call Jess back. He doesn’t care how bad his legs or his right arm is, he has to call Jess back.
Aaron groans in pain for almost every step he takes. He feels like an century has passed and he was only half way up the hill. Aaron sits down for a while. He can feel tears forming in his eyes. He rarely cries but right now he feels pathetic, useless. He can’t even climb a damn hill, even when his son could be hurt right now. His team is probably didn’t even noticed he’s been missing for a while. They shouldn’t. They shouldn’t have to worry about him. But now the Aaron Hotchner is crying on a hill he can’t even climb.
Anger fills his mind and he stands up. He uses all of his will and energy and he continue climbs up the hill. Ten minutes later, he has successfully climbed up the hill. He looks around to see no cars in his view. Aaron takes this moment to sit down. He looks at his shoulder. He tries to lift his right arm but it wouldn’t move. Calm down, it’s probably because of the blood loss, Aaron thinks. He grabs a small stick and stabs it on his arm. He doesn’t feel a thing. There is a chance his arm is now paralyzed. Before Aaron could panic, a car comes.
Aaron immediately stands up and waves his left arm. The car notices him and slows down. Aaron sighs in relief. He slowly walks up towards the car door and opens it. He sits inside and looks at the driver.
“Thank you so much, I crashed my car and my phone broke and I really have to call my son”, Aaron thanks the driver.
“No problem”, the driver replies. The driver is a middle-aged man with short blonde hair. He has brown eyes and is wearing a flannel and jeans.
“Where to? Maybe I should get you to the hospital for your shoulder”, The driver suggest, gesturing to Aaron’s arm.
“I’ll take care of it later, I just need to get to the police station”, Aaron replies. The driver nods and starts driving down the road. Aaron sighs and slumps against the car seat. He is one lucky man.
“What’s your name?” The driver asks.
“Aaron ... yours?” Aaron also asks.
“Jimmy ... Jimmy Barton”, the driver says. Aaron’s eyes widen in fear.
Aaron finish talking to Jack. He says goodbye to him and Jess and makes his way to the team. He was stopped halfway when his phone rings. Garcia is calling him.
“Yes, Garcia?” Aaron asks into the phone.
“Sir, I think I found a potential suspect”, Garcia says.
“Alright, tell me”, Aaron replies.
“He is thirty nine years old and went through a messy divorce. Then he had to fight custody for his child and lost which was around the same time he kidnapped the third victim", Garcia says reading off from her screen.
"Ok, send me a picture of him and I'll go confirm with the third victim", Aaron says.
"Ok, just send it you your phone!" Garcia says, typing on her computer.
"Ok and uh what was the suspect's name again?" Aaron asks.
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Hell Doesn’t Love Them (Part Three)
Warnings: Trauma, blood, canon-typical blood/injury, implied abuse, mentioned/implied self-harm & suicide. This is a Hotchner story.
Notes: We’re getting dark and dramatic here as we dive in, exploring Sean and his trauma. This one got a little dialogue heavy I’m afraid.
Previously On: PART ONE, PART TWO
His nose itched. Such a simple task to take care of but he couldn't do it, he couldn't lift his hand. He was acutely aware of his injury, nerves like a flaming sword ripped from the pages of the Bible, immobile but the other hand, the one that should have been at his command wouldn't move either. He cracked his eyes open, peered down at his hand and struggled for a moment to make the connection. There was a cuff, a buckle, wrapped tight around his wrist and he squinted, tried to make sense of it. He was restrained but he couldn't remember fighting anyone, couldn't figure out why. With every bit of energy reserve he had, he turned his head, tried to find someone in his room to help him and found himself alone in the bright morning light. He lay back, closed his eyes and tried to focus on anything but the way the tip of his nose wouldn't stop itching.
“Aaron Hotchner?” Derek asked, stalking through the automatic doors toward the admitting desk. The young man couldn't believe how many people seemed to want to see this one person, but he gave Derek the room number and watched as he tore down the hallway like a gladiator ready to enter the arena and tear someone apart with his bare hands. He slammed the elevator buttons harder than he needed and waited impatiently, finally just deciding to bust through the exit stairwell door instead. He took the stairs to the second floor two at a time, pulling himself up by the hand rail and made it before the elevator ever made it to the first floor to pick him up. Aaron's room wasn't far from the stairwell and he could see as he approached that his partner was alone in the room, he thought about just taking him, not waiting for a doctor to discharge him he was so angry after his conversation with Sean. He stormed down the hall but stopped short of the room, standing still for a moment to collect himself, to remember that he wasn't angry at Aaron, he was angry at Sean and his family, he rounded his shoulders and softened his features, the scowl melting into a soft sad smile at the sight of Aaron there in the bed.
“Hey gorgeous,” he said, announcing his presence. Aaron turned his head, blinked through the slivers of morning sunshine at Derek but he didn't smile. “Can't you ever just take one normal vacation?”
“Guess not,” Aaron croaked in a voice that hadn't been used in too long. Derek approached the bed and immediately began working at the restraint, he wasn't even going to ask permission. “Thanks.” Aaron reached up and scratched at the tip of his nose, almost too hard, and a look of pure satisfaction crossed his features momentarily.
“This is bullshit,” he muttered, dropped the restraint over the edge of the bed and replacing it with his own hands around Aaron's. “Your brother is an asshole.”
“Sean did this?” Aaron asked, closing his eyes against the throbbing at the base of his skull. Derek nodded, and he had no idea how much Aaron knew or remembered, Sean said he was making all of the decisions because their mother wouldn't come to the hospital and Jessica had no authority. He was in over his head and acting out of fear. “Why?” his voice was soft, and Derek could hear the hurt as plain as day, he didn't even bother to hide it. He knew why, he just hated the thought.
“He was worried that you,” Derek began, but he couldn't finish. Aaron nodded.
“Hurt myself on purpose.”
“Yeah. But...you didn't...” he didn't phrase it as a question, he just shook his head and touched Aaron's face, drug his thumb along his chin and down his neck.
“It was an accident.”
“Do you?” Aaron opened his eyes now, stared up at Derek, dared the tears hovering there to fall. “How?”
Derek just shook his head and sat on the bed beside Aaron, pressing his weight against the other man's thigh, holding his hand. “I watched you walk into a house with a murderer in the middle of a psychotic break without your vest or backup, at a time when I know damn well you would have loved for someone to just take you out. Aaron, I know what you look like when you're in that space and this isn't it. I believe when you say it was an accident.”
Exposed was the only word for how he felt, lying there bandaged and unable to move in a hospital bed. Exposed because he was sitting beside a man who knew him inside and out, try as he might to keep his walls up, keep himself so carefully guarded. He never had to say a word for Derek to know him that intimately, it was like looking in a mirror.
“I'm going to have them discharge you now. Sean said they were ready to last night until he asked them to hold you for observation, but I'm your proxy and I say it's time to blow this Popsicle stand.” Aaron just nodded and swallowed thickly, his throat was dry and his arm felt like it weighed a thousand pounds and was hanging by a thread. The discharge happened quickly, no one argued with Derek, they either believed he wasn't a danger to himself or were afraid of his hired muscle, either way Aaron didn't mind because he was being loaded into a wheelchair and pushed out the door fast enough to make his head spin.
“You hungry? Wanna stop for a bite to eat?”
“No thanks,” Aaron whispered, settling into the seat, hugging his arm close to him. He was bandaged from his fingers to his bicep, it was thick and he could see bits of blood dried in the frayed bits around his fingers, he could see the yellow of his skin where the iodine stained. “I just want to see Jack.” The rest of the drive was silent, windows down, fresh air blowing through his messy hair. He was wearing one of Derek's hoodies, it was too big and Derek had cut the arm off so they could get it over his bandage, even after he'd protested. It smelled like Derek, felt softer than anything he owned, and he balled his hand up inside of the sleeve and pulled it tight around him while Derek drove. If he had to wear something from here to eternity, he supposed he could have done a lot worse. It wasn't a long drive but he was lost somewhere deep in his head, feeling like a teenager again on the ride back to hell after a short reprieve only this time the devil wasn't going to answer the door.
“What's going on in that beautiful head of yours?” Derek asked, pulling into the driveway. Aaron snapped back to reality and peered out at his mother's house.
“Does Jack think...” he began, but he stopped. He couldn't finish the question, and he felt Derek's hand on his thigh, squeezing gently.
“If he does, we'll make sure he knows the truth.”
He leaned heavily against Derek on legs that were barely working as they approached the porch, and he tried to lift his legs, to breach the stairs, but his body was still coursing with sedatives and his blood pressure had still been dangerously low, he was weak and tired and he thought about just stopping there, sitting down and resting on the stairs but Derek had other plans. Without asking, he slipped his arms into place and lifted Aaron into his arms, and every cell at Aaron's disposal wanted to protest, to fight against the indignity of it, but he simply didn't have the power to do anything other than let his head fall against Derek's shoulder and bury his face there, the only defense he had.
“Sorry about this,” Derek whispered and Aaron nodded, he understood. He hated it, but he understood. “Couch?” Aaron nodded again, cradling his arm against his stomach protectively, willing it to be over. The couch was still as he left it, his piles of blankets thrown about like a nest just waiting for his return and Derek settled him into it, using a few throw pillows as a perch for propping his arm up beside him. He crouched there, beside Aaron, and watched him settle himself, watched him come to terms with his vulnerability and he reached out, touched Aaron on the shoulder and smiled.
“No one saw. Our secret.”
Derek searched out the inhabitants of the house, found Jessica first in the bathroom scrubbing at some blinds in the bathtub. They talked in hushed tones, he knew he could trust her, told her about the restraints and she nodded, Sean had told her and she argued but he was in a frenzy, wouldn't listen to reason. She washed her hands and followed Derek out into the front room, smiled at the sight of Aaron lying on the couch and approached quietly, crouching beside him.
“Hey you,” she muttered and he turned to look at her and she was crushed by the sadness and betrayal she thought she could see. “I'm so sorry. I know what you must think.”
“It's fine.” She knew it wasn't, though, the knowledge that his family didn't trust him.
“Maybe if you just...if we just knew what happened...the way your arm was cut is...you know how it must look right?”
“What would be the point? Everyone has already made up their minds.”
“Not everyone...” she whispered, touching his collar bone, small soft fingers dancing along the ridge so delicately. “Tell me. Please. You scare me sometimes Aaron, losing you terrifies me...but I promise I'll believe you.”
He looked away, couldn't meet her eyes. “I had the window open,” he started, staring at the back of the couch. “It was raining but it smelled good. Didn't think about it getting the floor wet.” He continued, telling her about scrubbing the tempered glass shelves and letting them air dry on the table, and how he was carrying one when he heard the crash from above and was afraid Sean was hurt so he turned around quickly to put the shelf back on the table but he slipped in the rain on the tile floor and he fell with the glass shelf and he heard it crash against the floor and felt it rip open his arm as he scrambled to try and catch himself. He hit his head hard on the tile, and he couldn't remember anything after that, just flashes, blood and he saw his arm flayed like a fish in his mother's hands and he felt Sean sitting on his chest. She filled in the blanks, told him the bookcase in his father's office had broken and everything fell to the floor but Sean was okay, and that Jack called 911, and Sean stopped the bleeding and rode with him. The pieces were being put together now and she trusted him, she knew he was telling the truth. She could see the tears in his eyes when she told him about Jack, could see the way he recoiled at the thought that his son saw any of it.
“Where is Jack?”
“He's down the street playing with the Barker kids. I can go get him.”
“No...” he started, wiping at the tears threatening to spill down his cheeks. He cleared his throat. “No, let him play. I'm tired.”
He was tired, but he couldn't sleep. Lying down made his arm burn, like he could feel the threads of his nerve knitting themselves back together, his fingertips were electric and pulsed. He tried sitting up and it didn't help much, he couldn't get comfortable. Out in the shed, Derek had cornered Sean and was giving him a piece of his mind. Sean was indignant and angry, hurling obscenities at Derek as fast as he could come up with them. Their voices carried and Jessica could hear them from the bathroom where she worked, wondered if Aaron could hear them too. The way Sean was just throwing out story after story about Aaron hurting himself, being reckless, it made her stomach turn. It was clear that Sean knew more than he let on but understood so little of it, even now he viewed it in a selfish and childlike way. She didn't hear Derek's voice much, he was keeping it quiet, and finally she'd had enough and threw the sponge down into the dirty water and wiped her hands angrily on her jeans and stormed out of the house. Aaron watched her with tired eyes, he'd been listening, he could hear it all. Knew that Sean was putting on a show for all of them, he was well aware how loud you had to be to hear someone in the shed from inside of the house. He wasn’t surprised by anything Sean said, anything he felt.
“Sean Hotchner,” Jessica called, throwing open the shed door, listening to the hinges scream out in protest. She kept her voice low, spoke through gritted teeth. “You're out here hollering about things you don't understand and your brother can hear every damn word of it. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“Things I don't understand?” he asked, turning on her. Derek moved to her side protectively, and Sean softened at the sight of it, realized what Derek thought of him in that moment and backed up. “I understand that my brother's wanted to die since he was a kid.”
“You're wrong,” Derek muttered. “He struggles, sure, I'll give you that. Can you blame him? But this was just an accident, a very unfortunate accident, and what you're doing is making a mess out of your entire family because you're afraid. Think about the seeds you've been planting for Jack, he didn't even want to go see his dad in the hospital.”
“That kid is six years old and he knew how to dial 911 and talk to them like a fucking grown up! You're gonna tell me I planted those seeds?”
“Haley taught him how to call for help because of Aaron's job a long time ago,” Jessica said softly, leveling her glare at Sean. “And because Aaron has medical conditions that could mean he's in an emergency situation and needs help fast. Conditions you're well aware of. Conditions that meant you knew how to call for help as a child, too.”
“I don't think he ever once thought his dad wanted to die before you put that there, that one is on you,” Derek added, a little more venom to his words than he'd intended but he'd had enough of this conversation. “You need to fix this.”
Sean avoided the front room the entire day, and Jack spent the night at his friends' house at Jessica's request. Until the rift between Aaron and Sean was patched up, she didn't want Jack anywhere near them or that house. Dinner was quiet in the kitchen and Jessica made sure to bring out some food for Aaron, but his mom wouldn't look at him and he didn't want to sit in there with any of them, two of them defending him against something he didn’t do and two of them putting him under the microscope. It was all a nightmare. Derek made himself a bed on the floor, right beside the couch, out of piles of blankets and stoked the wood stove as hot and full as he could get it. Aaron tried to lay down, tried to sleep but the pain in his arm was worse when he lay down and there was nothing he could do to get comfortable, to make it stop. The drugs had worn off and though they'd given him pain medication it wasn't helping at all, it was just making him groggy and irritable. Derek pulled Aaron down into his pile of blankets on the floor and curled around him, tried to make him as comfortable as he could and sang softly to him, just barely audible, trying to calm him down and get him to close his eyes. Neither of them slept much, but the fire was warm because Derek kept loading more logs into the stove and his soft voice singing Sam Cooke to Aaron in the dark was enough to take the edge off.
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Worse Things Have Happened To Me
Warnings for canon typical violence, vomiting, nightmares, minor character death, a child dying.
When David Rossi hired Aaron Hotchner he didn't know the man was a walking danger zone. Or 5 times Rossi had to call Haley because her husband got hurt.
This doesn’t really end on a happy note. So beware.
David Rossi hated his job. Well, not his job per se but definitely some of the duties that came with it. Being the one who has to call an agent’s spouse, parent, child or significant other never became any easier, no matter how often he had to do it. There was no way to profile the other person’s reaction because a) he didn’t know them and b) everyone reacted differently to the news that their son, daughter, parent, husband or wife had been badly injured or worse. The first few times he had had to make that call the pause, that more often than not greeted him after introducing himself, gave him ample time to worry about what would come next. Experience soon taught him that the answer was simple and almost always the same: more questions.
„How is she?“
„Will they be okay?“
The brave or really angry ones asked the question most others only thought about. „Why them and not you?“ He never found an answer to that one.
Then there were the calls he had to make to one Haley Hotchner, wife of Agent Aaron Hotchner, the latest addition to the BAU. When he hired the man from the Seattle field office, he thought he’d get a pair of fresh eyes, a young but yet experienced agent, someone smart and polite, an excellent marksman, a man with a sense of humour so dry as to rival the desert, a family man with strong morals who was destined to do great things for the BAU. Rossi had to admit to himself that he got all of the above, but no one from the field office told him that all those pros were followed by a list of cons about a mile long. Hotchner was a walking disaster zone, an accident waiting to happen, a danger not so much to others but to himself. The traits that made him so great at his job were also some of the traits that were detrimental to his own health. He constantly put cases and victims before his own needs. Sleep, food and hydration took a backseat when he was following leads and clues. Headaches, a cold or a fever as well as minor injuries, though the definition of the latter was more than vague, were disregarded for as long as humanly possible so his colleagues weren’t distracted by worrying about him but could focus on the case at hand. His protectiveness of victims and random civilians also meant that he would put himself in danger’s way by drawing an unsub’s attention - and fire - to himself, walking unarmed into hostage situations, being the last person to clear a building that was rigged to explode, and this was only the top of the list.
For the 5th time in 7 months Rossi had to make a call to Haley Hotchner. The first call went as expected. He introduced himself, she immediately asked what had happened and if her husband was okay, he reassured her that yes, he was fine considering the circumstances and if she please could send him a text with all the other things he was apparently almost deathly allergic to besides strawberries. ‚Ask and ye shall receive‘, he thought to himself when he got a list that not only included strawberries but basically all nuts, some pollen, cats and, due to his pollen allergies, some cross allergies including, but not limited to, raw apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries. Hotchner himself, arms and chest still covered in itching hives but finally able to breath normally again, downplayed the whole thing later that night when he was allowed to leave the ER. „It wasn’t *that* bad Dave, I didn’t even need to use my epi-pen.“ „Maybe if you had“, Rossi replied, „we could have avoided the hospital altogether.“
Caller-ID was simultaneously a burden and a blessing. The second time he had to call Mrs Hotchner, she recognised the number, didn’t even say hello but asked right away if Aaron was alive. While the man in question wasn’t in mortal danger at the moment, he wasn’t doing too well either but would be fine in a day or two. Was there maybe any chance that that husband of hers was prone to motion sickness? Her answer didn’t surprise him at all.
„Yes, sitting in the back of a car for longer than about 15 minutes really does a number on him. In the passenger seat he’s usually fine for up to an hour but anything beyond that, you better let him drive. Boats and planes are no problem, public transport is usually okay, especially when he can stretch his legs a bit. Why do you ask, Agent Rossi?“
Rossi sighed and gave her the short version of the events that lead to her husband lying completely exhausted in his hotel room, crackers, ginger ale and water on his nightstand, a bucket next to the bed and Rossi’s favourite pair of shoes as well as his socks in the hotel’s dumpster.
The case had been closed quickly and the team went out to celebrate at a local Indian restaurant. It was buffet night, all-you-can-eat buffet night to be precise. Every member of the team dug in, no one more so than Hotchner. Rossi was mildly impressed by not only the amount of food he was able to put away but also by the fact that he didn’t even blink while basically inhaling pork vindaloo and kolhapuri chicken despite it being the hottest food Rossi had ever tried. It was supposed to be a fun and relaxing evening and it would have been just that if the team had decided to go straight back to the hotel which was only a 10 minute drive away, but Max had the brilliant idea to visit a bar outside of the city limits. Unfortunately he forgot to mention this to his colleagues before getting into the the car. Knowing now what he didn’t know then, it really was no surprise that after about 20 minutes a very pale and clammy hand grabbed Max’s shoulder from behind and a strained voice asked him to stop the car. Thankfully Max did just that and barely 3 seconds later Aaron Hotchner had gotten out and was standing doubled over next to the car, violently vomiting. Rossi grabbed a bottle of water from the trunk and when the vomiting had finally stopped, he stepped closer, mindful to avoid the puddle of of not yet fully digested Indian cuisine on the ground, rubbing the other man’s back in a soothing motion. The bottle was taken out of his hands with a soft „Thanks, Rossi“, followed by an „I’m sorry.“ After rinsing and spitting a still very pale Hotchner turned around to face Rossi but before either of them could say anything he doubled over again and thus David Rossi’s shoes and socks were the unfortunate victims of one stubborn idiot agent who didn’t want to bother his colleagues with switching seats.
The third time Rossi called Haley Hotchner was on a Friday afternoon. Yes, Agent Hotchner was hurt. No, nothing bad, just a sprained wrist, some bruised ribs and a few scratches. Nope, it didn’t happen in the field but in the office. He was carrying some recording equipment for a prisoner interview down the steps and stumbled. Rather than letting go of the equipment and trying to hold on to the railing he went down the stairs and ended up in the ER. Could she please come and collect him and make sure that he’d stay at home for at least a week? She tried her best and even argued with her husband, but to no avail. Aaron Hotchner returned to the office for desk duty after 4 days. Rossi was surprised his wife managed to keep him from coming in even earlier. He had to respect a woman who was able to achieve that.
The fourth call was, once again, from a hospital. This time though, the doctors insisted on keeping Hotchner at least over night, disregarding the man’s many attempts to convince them that he was ‚fine’ and ‚okay‘ and could go home. They already had their doubts but looking at Rossi who was standing behind Hotchner and vehemently shaking his head convinced them that their initial assessment was right.
Rossi excused himself and went into the hallway while the nurses were still fussing over their patient, his concussion and the cuts, bruises and scratches he received when he fell out of a tree. As worried as Haley was when she saw the familiar number, after Rossi’s account of her husband’s daring attempt to rescue some poor kid’s kitten, she was almost laughing. Only her kind hearted and too polite for his own good Aaron would climb a tree in dress shoes and a suit to rescue a cat that probably didn’t need rescuing in the first place.
The team had arrested the unsub after a foot chase in a residential area and had handed him off to the local LEOs. Walking back to their car they saw a little boy staring up a large tree and calling his cats name. After a short conversation with the teary eyed 7 year old Hotchner decided to rescue the kitten. The way up was no problem at all and after a few minutes the cat was safe and happy sitting in one of his large hands. Which was exactly when things began to literally go downhill. Climbing a tree while using only one hand and wearing shoes that offered next to none traction turned out to be way more difficult than expected and the unfortunate outcome was a semi conscious 6’2“ FBI agent on the pavement and a happy kitten sitting on his chest. While the kid scooped up his cat and went his way the other agents argued about calling an ambulance or getting the car. The decision was made for them when Hotchner got up on shaky legs and started to walk in the wrong direction. Rossi held him back, told him in no uncertain terms to park his backside down on the pavement again and to try not to hurt himself any further while Max was getting the car. No, they were not going back to the hotel but to the ER. If he hadn’t been so groggy, Hotch, as his colleagues had started to call him, most likely would have been able to talk the others out of their plans but in his current state there was no chance of that so he resigned and sat back down, leaning his bruised back and throbbing head against the tree. Closing his eyes he listened to Rossi swear in Italian. It put a rare smile on his face. When Max came back with the car they helped Hotch onto the backseat, then remembered his motion sickness and let him ride shotgun to the ER instead.
Since her husband turned out to be such a troublemaker for Rossi and the BAU, Haley decided the least she could do to make those phone calls easier for Rossi was to let him call her by her first name. So the fifth time Rossi dialled the by now way too familiar number he called her Haley and she called him Dave.
On this late February evening Rossi was driving to the Hotchner residence. Miraculously, a few weeks had gone by without any hotchcident. That’s what Max and Gideon had started to call those incidents with Hotch. They also had devised an actual scale from 1 to 10 depending on how badly hurt the man was. 10 would be death, an overnight stay in a hospital a 7, a single cut or bruise a 1 and everything else fell somewhere in between. Today the hotchcident was around the 6.5 mark. Maybe even at 7. Rossi looked at the restlessly sleeping figure in the passenger seat. Hotch was pale, his unruly hair plastered to his face from the fever’s sweat, the heat radiating off of him but despite his elevated body temperature he was shivering. He had called Haley after landing and told her that he would drive Hotch home since he was in no condition to drive by himself. Mentally and physically exhausted, he was barely able to stay awake long enough to walk through the airport and to the car, driving was completely out of the question. He turned the car’s heating up and fell asleep before they had left the parking lot. Dave told her that Hotch got their man but paid for it with a bad cold, harbouring on pneumonia, a mild case of hypothermia and bone deep exhaustion. The cuts, bruised ribs and minor concussion were just a given at this point. Naturally he had discharged himself against medical advice. Haley knew that there had to be more to the story but Rossi’s tone convinced her that no further questions would be answered. So she prepared a hot bath, preheated her husband’s heat blanket and grabbed all the cold medication she could find, waiting for Rossi to almost carry her husband into the house. He made her promise to call him if she needed anything or if Hotch got worse.
This time Hotch managed to stay home for a fortnight, his nights frequently disturbed by nightmares in which he saw the boy’s fear stricken face, felt the cold of the river again and looked into the unsub’s eyes. He was only able to fall back to sleep again when Haley hugged him, whispering sweet nothings and assurances into his ear, playing with his hair and just being there for him. She never mentioned the wet spots on her pyjamas where her husbands tears had fallen.
The unsub was smart. Not smart enough for the combined efforts of Gideon, Hotch and Rossi, but smart nonetheless. He left his victims, children between the ages of 4 and 6, north and south of the Canadian border, in different states and territories. The last victim had been found in Washington state and that’s also where they finally found the unsub himself. Unfortunately for all parties involved he had already kidnapped another boy from a camp site despite knowing that the FBI wasn’t far behind. Taking off into the forrest with the kid, wildly firing shots at the agents to deter them from following, he would have gotten away if it had only been Gideon and Rossi. They would have done the reasonable thing, i.e. waiting for backup, not running blindly into unknown territory and quite possible straight at the local river which divided the forrest into two parts. Hotch on the other hand was a wild card, that’s something Rossi knew just to well at this point. To say he was more annoyed and worried than surprised when he saw him in pursuit off the unsub would have been an understatement.
Taking cover behind trees when the man fired the occasional shot at him and running at full speed when he was not fired at, Hotch slowly but steadily managed to get closer to his target. After about 20 minutes both men came to a standoff at the edge of the forrest. The trees were growing further apart there, offering almost no cover. The unsub was standing right at the river bank, pressing his gun to the child’s head, his vacant stare directed at the agent who stepped out into the open, his own gun drawn and aimed at the other man’s head. Things happened so quickly, he later wouldn’t be able to say who was the first to pull their trigger. In the end it didn’t really matter since things would have turned out bad either way. The unsub’s gun was empty, a fact he had no time to contemplate since the bullet from Hotchner’s gun hit him a fraction of a second later, right between his eyes. Hotch reacted purely on instinct when he realised what was going to happen. His shot not only took the man out but also down. Into the river, still holding the child with his death grip. Hotch jumped after them, trying to get to the boy but the currents and the cold worked against him. Just when he had managed to grab the boy’s arm he got thrown against some rocks, the impact making him lose his grip and also almost his consciousness.
When Gideon, Rossi and the backup finally got the river bank there was only some blood on the ground but neither a body or living person in sight. Running downstream, yelling Hotch’s name, they found him a few minutes later. By sheer luck and will he had somehow made it onto dry land again. He was wet, colder than he’d ever been before and thankfully so numb that he wasn’t feeling any physical pain. When Rossi saw him lying on the ground he wasn’t sure if Hotch was dead or alive. He was completely still, deathly pale and his clothes were torn in several places. The EMTs rushed into action while the police continued their search for the unsub and the little boy.
Four days later, after their return home, Rossi was notified that the boy’s body had been found by a couple of teenagers building a bonfire. The unsub’s body wasn’t found until years later, the bullet hole in the skull made the identification a lot easier for the ME.
Hotch was cleared of all wrongdoing by the bureau but nothing they could have done to him would have been worse than his own sense of failure. If only he knew what the future had in store for him…
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Hell Doesn’t Love Them (Part Two)
Warnings: Trauma, blood, canon-typical blood/injury, implied abuse, mentioned/implied self-harm. This is a Hotchner story.
Notes: Sorry about the cliffhanger guys, I hope I update quickly enough that it isn’t too painful! This one is getting pretty dark, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel I promise. Here’s to more of Sean & Jessica!
Previously On: PART ONE
Jessica woke with a start. She heard her father snoring from down the hall, and it wasn't unusual for her to be startled awake by that sound but she knew in her bones that it wasn't what woke her. She picked up her phone, unlocked it with sleepy eyes expecting to see a call or a text from Aaron asking her to watch Jack, that's almost always what it was. She wouldn't hear the phone but she'd feel it somehow. There were twelve texts and two missed calls and she realized her phone was on silent, she didn't recognize the number but it was the same one each time. She opened the texts first, and stared blankly when they told her who they were and what they wanted and the voicemails sounded terrified and frantic. The first one was left from inside an ambulance, she could hear the EMTs telling Sean to shut off his phone, and the rest were from the waiting room of the hospital. She called the number back and it went to voicemail, of all things, but she knew exactly where he was so she hurriedly threw on some clothes and rushed out the door. While her car warmed up she called her father's nurse and told her that she had to leave town for an emergency and there was a key under the planter on the right side of the porch, if she could please come and check on Roy as soon as she was able. When Sean called her back, finally, she was already on the interstate heading right for them. She hadn't even brushed her hair or her teeth. She was relatively certain Aaron wouldn't mind.
“JESSICA!” he shouted into the phone, pacing back and forth in the waiting room of the nearly empty hospital. He ran his hand through his long, dirty blonde hair and twisted his fingers in it, pulling when he got to the end. A nervous habit. “I'm sorry, I didn't know who else to call...I know it's late. Aaron's sleeping now, he's been sleeping all day and I'm the only one here and I don't know what to do.”
“Okay, okay, calm down. I'm about a half hour away. What happened?”
He recalled what he could, but it was patchy, only Aaron actually knew what happened and he hadn't been awake long enough to speak. All he knew was that they had separated to clean, and Sean was upstairs and Aaron was in the kitchen. He was cleaning in their father's office, pulling books off of the big book case that he thought was anchored to the wall when it made a horrifying creaking sound and came crashing down around his feet, each shelf just dropping to the ground with a stack of law books that nearly buried him. He tried to figure out how to fix the damage, and while he was upstairs trying to put the shelves back in place and sort the books somehow, he heard his mother scream, he hadn't realized they'd come back. He pushed the books aside, scrambled out of the mess, and nearly fell down the stairs calling out for his mother, afraid something had happened to she and Jack. What he found was his mother on the floor beside Aaron, blood and glass everywhere, and Jack was dialing 911 with the calmest hands he'd ever seen on a six year old.
“So what happened?” she asked, confused by the scene being painted for her. Sean was rattled, nothing was making sense, and she was taken back to a time when he was so little and he'd called her and begged her to come pick them up because Aaron was hurt bad and she was the only person he knew who had a car. Haley was out of town with the drama club, on a trip to New York to see a real Broadway play, and Aaron had come home to visit for spring break from university. She wasn't even sure he and Haley were seeing each other at the time, they'd decided to take a break when he went to college, just to see what happened. But Sean had called her and she'd jumped into her car and picked them up and Aaron bled all over her backseat but it wasn't their father that hurt him, he did it to himself while arguing with the man Sean had said. Their father couldn't hurt him anymore, he was weak and he was dying but he still had venom in the way he spoke to Aaron and Aaron had such a temper, had been so volatile in those days that he smashed his beer bottle, brown glass shattering all over the bedroom floor and dug it into his arm right in front of his father while screaming at him. Jessica asked Sean if it was like that night, and he was sure it wasn't, Aaron was too old for that, he didn't feel that way anymore, this was different but she still had her doubts. She'd seen how desperate and sad he was since Haley had died, and you didn't just grow out of those feelings.
The hospital's light shone bright far before you reached its parking lot, she could see it glowing in the distance white with its ominous red letters and the big blue H lit up on the tower. She knew Aaron was in there, she'd taken him there plenty of times in their youth, she knew the halls like the back of her hands. The doctors and nurses were different but the smells and the stories those walls could tell, they never changed.
“I'm here to see Aaron Hotchner,” she told the young man at the admitting desk and he pointed her in the direction of the elevator banks down the hall, a formality she hadn't needed but it made her feel better, like this wasn't so common, like she didn't belong here. The hospital was small, only two floors for the main wing and four in the tower, but she didn't need the tower, that was for the really bad stuff. Aaron was on the short list, regular admitting, and that was a good sign in her book. She caught sight of Sean at the end of the hall, pacing back and forth outside of a room, and he looked so different but somehow familiar, just like their mother only bigger and his shirt was white blotted with blood.
“Jessica!” he called and he rushed at her, arms wide open like a child and she pulled him in close like she used to when they were nothing but children haunting these same halls. She'd always held him so close, he was so little, too little to see what he saw, to know what he knew. He wasn't little now, he towered over her and he smelled like a man, he felt bigger than Aaron, somehow. There was more to him. “He's still sleeping. They said he lost a lot of blood, had to have a lot of transfusions so he might not wake up for a while.”
“Is he okay?”
“I don't know...” Sean's voice trailed off as he looked into the room, staring through the murky glass window at his brother sleeping and bandaged, hooked up to monitors he didn't understand. “He was in surgery for a long time, they said um...they repaired a radial artery bleed and he had some um...some nerve damage. I wish I knew what happened. They found glass in the wound but I don't...I don't know...” He ran his hands through his hair again, pulling it tight away from his face.
“He'll tell us,” she said calmly, patting Sean on the shoulder. She was always the voice of reason, even when she was falling to pieces on the inside. “When he's able. You should go take a shower or get some sleep, I'll stay with him tonight.”
“No, no I can't leave...” he was pleading, and she thought she saw doubt in his eyes, like he thought maybe his brother had tried something dark, something stupid. The house had a way of turning on him, getting inside of him. Just a flash and then it was gone and he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I can't go, I didn't drive here.” He thought he had her, in his sly, stubborn Hotchner way. He hadn't driven, he'd been in the ambulance and he had no way home except to walk and she wouldn't make him walk, not in the middle of the night.
“Sean, you look exhausted and you're covered in blood. Please. I'm not going anywhere, come back when you're ready, you can take my car.” She tossed her keys in his direction, knowing he wouldn't let them hit the floor. His reflexes kicked in and he reached out, caught them, a silent agreement to leave, to go shower and he knew he wouldn't sleep but maybe he'd call Derek and maybe he'd check on Jack and his mom, they hadn't called him all day or night. Hadn't bothered to check to see how Aaron was, it was radio silence until it drove him mad and he called Jessica.
The room was cold, too cold even for her taste. She'd worked in hospitals long enough to know why they kept the rooms chilly but she also knew Aaron hated to be cold so she rifled through a cabinet in the corner of the room until she found the stash of extra blankets she knew they kept hidden and pulled them out, three of them, to drape over her sleeping friend. She was careful to avoid the cords, his IV and his heavily bandaged arm propped up high beside him on a pile of pillows. His hand was limp and swollen, fingers just barely visible under the mass of gauze, yellowed at the edges from iodine and blood. He was pale and thin, though she knew it wasn't possible for him to really look thinner than he had when she'd seen him two days prior, it just felt wrong. Like he was different somehow. He didn't stir, not even a flinch when she draped the blankets over him and tucked them in where she could. His pulse was slow and his blood pressure was too low but it wasn't sounding any alarms. She touched his forehead, ran her fingers along his cheek and she spoke to him, told him a silly story about her day with her father and funny things he'd said that hadn't made any sense to the poor man at the mechanic shop as they got her oil changed but Aaron would understand it, he would laugh if he could. Night stretched into day, her eyelids were heavy and he hadn't moved, not even a little but each time the nurses made their rounds they told her his vitals were getting stronger and they expected him to be able to go home soon. She had her doubts, but this hospital was small and they didn't have the capacity to hold onto people, they were known for early discharge and that was something Aaron had always loved about them, even if it wasn't in his best interest. They did what they could, but rural hospitals just didn't have the budget or the staff to do everything their big city counterparts did.
When the doctor came through at 7am, he managed to rouse Aaron, just slightly. She watched him blink his eyes open, thick lashes fluttering against his cheeks and the first thing he asked was where he was in a voice that seemed nothing more than a far away rattle. She stepped in closer to him, hoping to enter his line of sight so he wasn't afraid, didn't think he was alone. The doctor told him what had happened, his best version of it anyway, and Aaron nodded and swallowed thickly and he looked at Jessica with the saddest eyes she thought she'd ever seen.
“Was having a good time...” he mumbled, only half coherent through the haze of medications being pumped into him, and she had no idea what it meant but it broke her heart somehow anyway. He licked his lips and closed his eyes. The doctor looked at Jessica and offered her a smile, told her he was doing great and they wanted to keep him a few hours more for observation but if he seemed to come around pretty well he could be home by dinner. She wanted to ask Aaron questions, ask him how it happened, if he did it on purpose, but she just walked around to the side of his bed and grabbed the hand that wasn't in a bandage, and she held on. She wrapped his hand up inside of hers and pushed all of her love through her arms, into him, because what else could she do? She loved this big stupid man with her whole heart, he was the brother she'd never had and he loved the sister she didn't have anymore and she didn't think she could live without him. He was sleeping again by the time Sean came back, and she was still holding his hand, she couldn't make herself let go. Her ribs ached and her lungs were on fire as she fought back tears. She told Sean what the doctor had said and he was angry he'd missed talking to the doctor but he looked better, he was clean and he'd shaven. He told her he'd called Derek and left him a voicemail which was probably going to make Aaron mad but he needed help. Jack was angry, he'd locked himself in Aaron's room and was refusing to come out and his mother was just sitting at the kitchen table chain smoking, which she hadn't done in decades now. They were falling apart and he didn't know what to do. Jessica held Aaron's hand and she smiled weakly at Sean and told him they would figure it out, one step at a time. They always did.
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What love does to a person
Summery: Blake gets kidnapped and it's up to the team to find him.
A/N: Thank you for @yourlocalheartbreaker for giving me this idea and thank you to everyone that follows me. I just reached a 300 followers milestone and decided to write this for you guys!
Taglist: @ellyhotchner @unionjackpillow @eleanorbloom
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Original Male Character (Blake)
Warnings: Angst (with happy ending), torture, kidnapping, mention of suicide, blood
Blake was walking to his apartment. He was on his phone texting his boyfriend, Aaron Hotchner. He hasn't told his team yet about him but Blake is patient. He only met the team once when he first met Aaron. He will never forget that moment.
Blake suddenly heard a car slow down behind him. He felt emptiness in his stomach but he just brushed it off. Probably some dropped their phone between the car seats.
He shouldn't have ignored it though because he heard someone get out of the car and walk behind him. Blake walked faster and tried calling Aaron but he didn't pick up. He was about to leave a voicemail before he felt a bag go over his head. Everything went black after that.
Aaron saw Blake calling him but he ignored it. It was late at night in the BAU jet and all he wants is to take a nap. He is probably just calling him about Jack and buying him a new action figure. He sees a notification about a voicemail but he fell asleep before he could check it.
The jet landed around early in the morning and the team had good enough sleep to work through the entire day. Aaron went to the bathroom and changed into another suit he packed in his go-bag. After he did that, he went got his office to check the voicemail Blake sent him.
Aaron sits on his chair with a big sigh. He closes his eyes and opens the voicemail. Instead of hearing his boyfriend talking about action figures, he heard muffling and a bug thump. Aaron's eyes snap open and replay the voicemail. He was dreaming of that, right? He has to be. His boyfriend getting kidnapped was his biggest fear.
Aaron replays the message but it was the same. Muffling and then a thump. Aaron felt a cold sweat going down his body. Before he could think do anything on what to do, Derek comes into his office.
"Hey, Hotch can I- Hotch are you alright?" Derek asks noticing his paleness. Aaron looks at him.
"Get the team", Aaron says.
"What?"' Derek asks.
"I said get the team!", Aaron says who is now raising his voice. He stands up from his chair
"Not until you tell me what's wrong?", Derek replies, also raising his voice.
"Blake got kidnapped"
"My boyfriend, he got kidnapped and I have proof. Now get the team into the briefing room", Aaron says sternly at Derek. Derek widens his eyes for a second before going out of his office to get the team. Aaron leans against his desk. He silently gulps and pulls his tie off. He can't lose Blake, he can't lose another person he loves.
Five minutes later and the team is in the briefing room listening to the voicemail.
"When did Blake sent you this?" Dave asks.
"Yesterday, at night I think. Before I fell asleep", Aaron replies.
"Are you sure he just fell or something?" JJ asks.
"No, I called him five times and he didn't pick up. And I called his landlord and he didn't show up to his apartment", Aaron replies.
"Ok, so Blake has been missing for more than six hours now. What do we know about kidnappers", Emily says to the team.
"Most kidnappers stalk their victims before capturing them. And they either know the person or they remind them of someone who completes their fantasy", Aaron replies. The team looks at him and then each other.
"What?", Aaron asks.
"Hotch, let’s uh go outside for a second", Derek says to Aaron. Aaron looks at him confused but goes outside the briefing room.
“I think you should sit this one out”, Derek says once they are outside.
“What?!” Aaron asks.
“You’re dealing with a lot of emotion right now and he’s your boyfriend-”, Derek starts explaining.
“I am the unit chief and I get to decide if I want to be on this case or not”, Aaron interrupts. Derek sighs. He knew this would happen.
"Remember what happened to Haley?" Derek says making Aaron freeze. They both stare at each other for a while. Derek hates mentioning Haley's death but it was needed in this situation. Aaron silently gulps and looks at the ground.
"I'll be in my office", Aaron says quietly. Derek nods as Aaron goes back to his office. He sighs hoping he did the right thing.
Aaron sits on his chair. He stays there for a moment thinking about what's happening to Blake right now. How angry he must be at him? For not picking up the phone. How hurt he is right now? Most kidnappers like to torture their victims and that is probably what's to Blake. Aaron felt tears coming down his cheeks. It didn't take him long to start crying. Aaron places his arms at his desk and buries his face on them. It was the most effective way for Aaron to cry without making a noise. He had learned that from his early years as Unit Chief. Aaron cries into his arms staining his sleeves. He cries for a good seven minutes before staying there silently. He tries to think of something, of anything else to get his mind off his boyfriend getting tortured this second. Suddenly he remembers an old memory of them.
“I already told you, I don’t dance!” Aaron says to his boyfriend. Right now they are at a club in the middle of the dance floor.
“I don’t believe you”, Blake replies. He holds Aaron’s hands and starts dancing to the music. Blake laughs at Aaron who is standing still.
Blake lets go of his hands and steps closer to him. He places his hands on Aaron's hips. Aaron puts his hands on Blake's chest. As if the DJ was watching them, the hip-hop music changes into slow music. Blake presses his forehead to Aaron's. They both start swaying to the music, not caring who in the world sees them. Because now it's just both of them. They both are happy. They both love each other. And they both want to grow old together.
But that wasn't going to happen now. Not until Aaron's team finds Blake, alive.
Aaron gets up and wipes the tears on his face. He then opens his laptop, hoping to distract him from what's going on right now. He had texted Jessica to keep Jack for a while but not tell him what's going on.
Aaron opens his laptop to see an email sent from a person he doesn't know. He opens it and sees a link. Cautiously, he clicks on the link. Aaron's eyes widen at what he sees in the link. He closes the laptop and quickly brings it to the briefing room.
"Hotch, you can't be here", Emily says as she sees Aaron walk into the room. Aaron places the laptop on the table and opens it.
"Garcia, can you trace this live video and see where it's taking place", Aaron asks Garcia.
"Uh, I can try but what's in the live feed?", Garcia asks. Aaron projects his screen on the big t.v.
In the video, there is Blake tied to a chair with duct tape on his mouth. His light brown hair is all over his face and there is blood coming down the side of his face.
"Hello Agent Hotchner", says the voice from the video. A man steps into the camera's view. The man's hair looks like to be just shaven. He is wearing an old hoodie and some ripped jeans.
"You probably might not remember me so let me refresh your memory. The year was 1993 and it was a court case of someone who allegedly commits murder. That, someone, was me. But here's the thing, I didn't commit the crime. In fact, I had an alibi buy you convinced the judges that I commit murder, and I was sent to prison for nineteen years. But now I'm back and ready to actually commit murder", the man says to the camera. He picks up a bat and swings to Blake's stomach. Blake groans in pain and slumps down, trying to cover his stomach. The man repeatedly hits Blake’s stomach with the bat.
Aaron flinches. He can feel tears forming in his eyes again. Aaron stands up and leaves the room. He can’t let his team see him breakdown. He goes back to his office and locks the door. It’s the only place he knows he can breakdown at where no one can see him. Aaron drops to the ground, his back is against the door and he sobs. He shouldn’t have to go through this. It’s all his fault, just like what happened to Haley.
Aaron looks up to see Blake in the doorway.
“What’s wrong, baby?” Blake asks.
Blake slowly walks towards Aaron and sits next to him on the bed. Aaron doesn’t say anything and looks at the ground.
“You know you can tell me anything”, Blake says.
“It was just a bad case, that's all", Aaron finally replies. He was hoping Blake would just drop the conversation.
Blake looks at him sadly and hugs him. Aaron couldn't control the tears spilling from his eyes. Blake doesn’t say anything and just let Aaron cry in his arms. It's the best he could do right now.
Aaron quickly wipes the tears on his face and stands up. He opens the door to see Emily.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t-”, Aaron starts apologizing before Emily cuts him off.
“You have nothing to apologize for. I was just wondering if you wanted to talk”, Emily interrupts. Aaron looks at her for a second before letting her in his office.
“We’re going to find him, Aaron”, Emily says trying to reassure him.
“I just don’t want to lose him”, Aaron replies. He can’t. Blake is proof that Aaron can love again.
Emily looks at him sadly. She then steps forwards and wraps her arms around Aaron. Aaron freezes for a second before hugging his back. He hugs her tightly and closes his eyes. He suddenly thinks back to what the man said about a court case and him going to prison. His eyes shot open and lets go of Emily.
“Where’s Garcia?” Aaron asks. Emily looks at him confused.
“She’s at her office-”, Emily replies but she couldn’t finish her sentence because Aaron was already out the door.
Aaron quickly walks to Garcia’s office. He slows down when he passes Strauss’s office. If she knew what was happening right now, she would immediately give the case to someone else. And Aaron only trusts the team to find his boyfriend. Aaron finally reaches her office and goes inside.
“Sir, you’re not supposed to-”, Garcia tries to say.
“Fred Dawson”, Aaron says.
“What?” Garcia asks.
“Fred Dawson. He kidnapped Blake”, Aaron says again. Garcia turns to face her computer and starts typing his name.
“Fred Dawson, he was charged for murder in 1993. He has a wife but she committed suicide after Dawson went to jail. He was released two months ago”, Garcia reads of the screen.
“That’s him. He kidnapped Blake”, Aaron says. He gets up and quickly runs out of the door.
“But sir! You’re not supposed to ...”, Garcia tries to say but it was too late, Aaron was already gone. Garcia quickly calls the team and tells them who the kidnapper is and where he currently lives. She also told him that Aaron was going after him right now. She hopes that Aaron won’t do anything he shouldn’t do.
Aaron kicks the front door open. He slowly walks inside with a gun in his hand. He walks through the living room and towards the basement. He slowly opens the door, not alerting Dawson that he is there. He slowly walks down the stairs. He quickly shows himself to the kidnapper.
“Well well well, I was wondering when you would show up”, Dawson says. He has a gun pointed towards Blake’s head. Blake has tears streaming down his cheeks. His clothes are all torn up and there is blood staining them.
“Put the gun down or I swear to god I will kill you”, Aaron threatens. Dawson smiles.
“Oh is this how we’re going to play, huh? My wife died because of you and now I’m going to get revenge”, Dawson replies.
Suddenly, Aaron’s phone rings. Aaron looks at his phone for a split second to see Morgan calling him. Dawson took this chance to point his gun towards Aaron. But before he can shoot Aaron, Blake kicks him in the shin. Dawson groans in pain and tries to shoot Blake. But Aaron got to him first. Dawson’s body drops to the ground and blood spills from his forehead.
Aaron quickly runs towards Blake and drops his gun. He rips the duct tape from Blake’s mouth and unties his hands. Blake gasps, finally being able to breathe from his mouth.
“Blake, I’m so sorry-”, Aaron starts apologizing. Tears forms in his eyes at the sight of his boyfriend.
“You found me”, Blake says softly.
“Y-you found me and saved my life”, Blake says to Aaron. Aaron looks at him confused. He almost got him killed, why is he saying that he saved his life?
“B-but I- I was the reason he almost tried to kill you”, Aaron says, confused. Blake looks at him sadly. He knew him long enough to know he was going to blame himself.
“But you found me. I knew you were going to find no matter what that guy said to me”, Blake replies. Aaron runs his hand through Blake’s hair. He pulls him into a hug. Soon his team found Aaron and Blake. They both leave the room, giving them some privacy. Aaron hugs him tightly, afraid he would disappear if he let go. And Blake hugged him just as tight.
“Marry me”, Blake says softly. Aaron pulls away from their hug and looks at Blake.
“What?” Aaron asks even though he knew exactly what he said.
“Marry me”, Blake says again. Aaron feels tears going down his face.
“Ok, I’ll marry you”, Aaron replies. Blake smiles at him. Aaron presses his lips against Blake’s. Blake kisses him back. Because now it's just both of them. They both are happy. They both love each other. And they both want to grow old together. And that was going to happen now. Because Aaron found Blake, alive.
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