|I'll Bring You Home
Author: seditionary PM
Set a year or so after Haley's death. Hotch suffers a breakdown. Reid helps him through it. Mature subject matter, references to suicide. Slash, language. Hotch/Reid established relationship.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - A. Hotchner/Hotch & S. Reid - Words: 2,513 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 47 - Follows: 10 - Published: 06-17-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7090553
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Written for CMAli, inspired by the song "Carry Me Home" by Rie Sinclair. This is a bit dark, some bad language, but has a happy ending.
Love you, Ali!
Five-thirty AM on a Saturday and Spencer Reid was already driving. His destination was a damn two hours away, but he didn't care.
Today, Reid was bringing Aaron Hotchner home.
(Six weeks earlier...)
I can't do this anymore.
Hotch's voice on the line sounded faint and far away. The words struck Reid in the gut-there was a finality in them that sent a choking sob into his throat and made it hard to talk. "Please, Aaron," he'd managed. "Please, don't. I'll be home in a few minutes, I'm leaving now. Don't do anything, don't-"
"It's too late." The phone went silent and Reid thought he would lose it, right there in the middle of the bull pen with Prentiss and Morgan staring at him. But he pulled himself together, called 9-1-1 and had them send an emergency team to the Hotchner-Reid address. Then, he ran like hell to his car, jumped in and headed for home.
No one tried to stop him; they knew they couldn't.
The drive home was insane. Reid wasn't the greatest driver, but all his senses were clicking, sharp, and he knocked an easy seven minutes off his normal time without causing an accident or even drawing the attention of a cop. When he got home, he saw the police car and the ambulance with two paramedics standing at the curb, and his heart felt as if a giant fist was squeezing it. The front door of his house was open, it looked like a gaping wound-just anyone could have walked in and breached this most private, sickening moment.
Reid didn't allow himself the luxury of thought. He mechanically got out of the car and strode up the walkway. What he'd imagined, thankfully, wasn't there-no blood, no mangled body slumped in Aaron's favorite chair, the one he sat in to tell Jack stories, the one where he took Reid after he'd grabbed him on his way to the kitchen, to hold him on his lap and tickle and tease and caress him before leading him off to the bedroom to make love. He looked through the door to the chair and saw...
He saw Aaron, the love of his life, with a pistol in his hands.
He was hunched forward with his elbows on his knees, holding the weapon upright. The side of the barrel was pressed against his forehead, and he was rubbing it as if the cold steel felt good to him. The safety was off. A fresh pack of bullets lay open on the coffee table.
Hotch's eyes were closed.
Spencer walked into the house. Two officers, one on either side of Hotch, were clearly in calm reasoning mode, and they cast warning glances at Reid as he entered.
"Sir, do not come in here." One stepped forward to block Reid's way. "We have the situation under control."
"I don't think you do," Reid said quietly as he showed his badge. He directed his words to Hotch. "Aaron? What are you doing, love?"
Hotch opened his eyes. "I'm sorry," he said softly. "I'm so sorry." His shoulders slumped and he lowered the gun so that it was pointing downward at the floor. His grip was loose around the handle.
"Aaron, let me have the gun. Please." Reid took a few steps toward his partner. The officer stepped aside.
Hotch looked up. "Don't." His fingers tightened around the pistol and his eyes glittered. He stared right into Reid's soul, showing him his darkness, his emptiness. It made a shiver run through the younger man's core, but he forced a smile.
"It's okay, Aaron. Everything's okay. I'm here. We can talk. We haven't had much time to talk lately, have we? That's my fault, you know, not yours." He took another step. "Here. Let me have that." He held out his hand and edged a little closer. The cops moved back, hands on their own weapons, just in case the man in the chair chose to take someone down with him.
"No, Reid. Just because you chose to embarrass me by calling 9-1-1 doesn't mean I won't do what needs to be done. I had hoped you would honor my wishes, but-"
Reid had to force down a sob. His voice was shaky. "Aaron, please, baby-I love you. I love you so much. And, what about Jack? My God, who will Jack have if you go away? He loves you, Aaron, he needs his daddy, he-"
"He'd still have his mom if it weren't for me. But, it's all right-now he'll have you. It's better this way-you're a better man than I ever was, you'll be the kind of father he deserves..."
"No! No, I can't do this alone, Aaron. I need you, I-I need you so much..." The tears broke through and Reid couldn't control the way his hands were shaking, but he was now within arm's length of the pistol. "I'm begging you, Aaron-give me the gun, and let's talk. What do you want to do, baby? We can go away somewhere-maybe Paris-remember? You said you wanted to go to Paris. Let's do it! Let's... Let's run away, okay? Just you and me. We can send for Jack when school lets out. We'll rent a flat in the old part of the city, we'll walk to market every day, and, and-"
Hotch laughed, a cold, chilling sound. "Stop it. Stop. There's no future for us. I'm just an anchor around your neck, Spencer. I do love you-more than you can imagine. I love you enough to know I can't keep doing this to you." Hotch raised the weapon, turning it toward himself.
Reid's sharp mind pushed aside the roiling emotions; his eyes narrowed, his instincts took over, and he spoke clearly. "All right. All right. I suppose I can't stop you. So, go ahead. But, know this-if you pull that trigger, Aaron Hotchner, I will never forgive you." The words were low and thin as they came out, but the voice was pure steel. "I will never forgive you, and I'll fucking hate you for the rest of my life. And... so will Jack." The two men stared at each other for a long moment, then Reid added, "I'll make sure of it."
Suddenly, Hotch's face crumbled into spasms, and tears streamed down his cheeks. He raised his eyes to the ceiling and a racking sob broke the stillness of the room. With a sure and fluid motion, Reid had the gun in his hands, and he passed it to one of the officers. Then, he wrapped Hotch in his arms, and held him, held him.
"Thank you," Reid whispered.
He wasn't sure to whom.
"You're early, Dr. Reid," the ward nurse said cheerfully. "He's not quite ready to go. He hasn't even had a shower yet."
"That's all right. I'll take him any way I can get him." Reid's grin cut through the drawn look of worry that had become his natural expression for the last six weeks.
"Well, all right. Let's see what's going on." She tapped on the door of room 516. "Agent Hotchner? Are you decent?"
An orderly unlocked the door from the inside and let them in. He was holding a disposable razor. "Hey, come on in, I was just about to give Mr. H his gets-to-go-home shave."
Reid stepped into the room and saw Hotch, several days' growth of black beard hair on his face. He was sitting in the bathroom in front of the mirror wearing white hospital-issue pajamas, and a towel was draped around his neck. He smiled broadly when he saw Reid. "Hey," he said. Reid was thankful-he sounded like his old self, and he sounded genuinely happy.
"Hey! So, they're going to make you pretty for me, huh?"
"I don't think that's possible, but I thought it'd be a good idea to look a little less disreputable that I have been. Besides, I was afraid Jack might not recognize me." He gave the orderly a look of irritation. "I thought perhaps I could do it myself, but Carlos says 'no.'"
"Regulations, boss. Sorry." The orderly moved to take his place beside Hotch and picked up the shaving cream. Reid watched him shake it, then he cleared his throat. "Um... mind if I do that?" Carlos glanced at Reid, then at Hotch. He shrugged.
"Okay. I'll be right over here if he tries anything."
"Okay. I'll call if he gets unruly." Reid grinned, took the razor and made a show of examining it. "How in God's name do they think you could harm yourself with one of these things, do you suppose?"
Hotch laughed. "Probably the same way you could detonate a bomb with a set of nail clippers on an airplane. Can't be too careful, you know."
Reid smiled and sprayed a palmful of shaving cream into his hand. He rubbed it gently onto Hotch's right cheek, noting the scrubby feel of the hair, then smoothed it slowly down over his jaw, onto his neck. He added more to his hand, then applied it to Hotch's left side. Hotch made a low noise in his throat. "That feels nice. I've missed your touch."
"Well-I've never shaved another person before. Maybe I should get Carlos back in here."
"No, I want you to do it."
"Oh? You trust me, do you?"
"Yes. You have a steady hand I've noticed. With your magic tricks, and with a gun. I'm sure you can manage a plastic razor."
"We'll see." Reid started on the right side of Hotch's face and brought the blade up from his jaw, going against the hair. He swiped it firmly, holding it close to Hotch's skin. He studied the clean path it left and nodded, pleased. "Not bad." He continued, the razor making a bristly sound as it mowed down the beard growth. Hotch liked the way Reid's fingers held his jaw, moving his face from side to side as needed, skillfully, confidently. He looked up at his beautiful lover and thought of how far he'd come from the awkward young boy he'd been when they first met.
"I've missed you, Spencer."
"And, I... have missed you," Reid said distractedly as he worked around Hotch's ear. "Do this." Reid pulled his lips taut, and Hotch mirrored the gesture as Reid shaved his upper lip. "There... Gorgeous as ever with all features intact. Wash your face."
"I love it when you're bossy."
"I think I was a barber in a past life."
"I always thought you were Galileo in your past life."
"I've had many lives, Aaron."
Hotch laughed, then cupped Reid's chin in his hand. "Thank you for sharing this one with me."
Reid's twinkle of amusement faded. "Yeah... Well, you better get your shower or they'll never let you out of here. I'll go see about the paper work."
"Is Jack all right?"
"I could barely get him to sleep last night, he was so excited that you were coming home. He can't wait to see you."
Hotch nodded, then stood up. "Me, too." He handed the razor to Reid. "Here, don't forget this. You have to turn this in to Carlos, or he'll put me in a head lock."
"Okay. I'll see you in a few." Impulsively, Reid threw his arms around Hotch and they stood there, holding on, until Reid pulled back. He regarded Hotch's face-so thin without the facial hair. He kissed him. "Can't wait to get you home." He firmly patted Hotch on the shoulder, then went to find the check-out desk.
Hotch watched him walk away, resisting the urge to run after him like a small child. He took a deep breath. Reid would come back, he knew that. He'd come to take him home. He turned those words over and over in his mind and smiled.
Just feeling Reid's hand on him had taken him halfway there.
"Daddy!" Hotch knelt and the little boy came running to throw himself into his father's arms like a juggernaut.
"Hey, buddy! Man, is it good to see you." Hotch stood up with his son tightly clasped around him and he turned to see Reid grinning delightedly. He held out his free arm, slid it around Reid's waist and squeezed.
"So good to be home."
Hotch set Jack on his feet and the boy ran to his room, saying something about a welcome-home present. Hotch gave Reid an inquiring look.
"He drew a picture for you every day, and I helped him sew them into a book."
Hotch nodded and gave a slight smile. "Kind of like what you do for your mom."
Reid frowned. "Well, yes..." The realization that Hotch might have thought he was comparing him to his mother made Reid stammer. "I-I mean, no! This was very different! You had a severe, sudden-onset anxiety episode brought on by post-traumatic stress, depression-"
"I know what I had, Reid."
"-while my mother suffers from a chronic mental illness. Drawing pictures was simply a way to help Jack cope with missing you-"
"I know. It's okay, I was joking. More or less."
Reid faltered. "I'm sorry. I just..."
Just then, Jack came back with his gift and Hotch sat on the floor with him, and went through it page by page. When they were done, Hotch swiped at his eyes. "That... is a beautiful present, Jack. I love it." He hugged and kissed his son, then stood up. He looked at Reid and smiled.
"Thank you for seeing me through all of this. And, thank you for bringing me home," he said. "In every sense of the word."
Reid looked into his eyes. They were clear and warm, the empty places filled. Intellectually, he knew that the journey was nowhere near over-there would be doctor visits, and pills, and middle-of-the-night talks and waking up in a sweat, but emotionally, he suddenly felt elated. He leaned into Hotch's arms and rested his head on his shoulder.
"I'll always bring you home, Aaron. It's where you belong."