|Brick By Brick
Author: Please.Insert.Name PM
Building trust takes time. A glimpse into the early BAU to see just how Hotch and Rossi's friendship was forged. Warning: mentions of child abuse.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - A. Hotchner/Hotch & D. Rossi - Words: 2,490 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-02-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7245862
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In order to be discipled by others a person must have a trusting heart, one that listens even when it doesn't fully comprehend or see the end result.
~ Ed Townsend
Hotch stared with steely eyes as the man was dragged out of the apartment. His white vest was stained with what looked like beer, and moving closer, Hotch could smell the alcohol on his pungent breath. The building was dilapidated, large stains canvassing areas where pipes had burst before being repaired as the years had crept by. The scent of urine reached his nostrils, wafting from the open door, and he internally shuddered at what had happened here.
"What you Feds doing here? This is ma property!" spat the man, his bald patch gleaming with sweat under the artificial lights of the hallway.
"As soon as you decided to rape little boys Mr Garner, you lost your rights," replied Hotch, drawing a spiel of curses from him, as officers carted him down the stairs.
Harold Garner truly was a monster. He would linger outside primary schools, see which children were the most isolated before offering them friendship. The blind trust would be their downfall, and as a result, six of the seven were dead, and the seventh wasn't expected to live. In his apartment, Hotch saw what one would normally expect, it was only when he moved through to the bedroom he almost reeled back, unwanted memories popping into his mind before being violently quelled.
Next to the double bed was a cot. Dangling from the metal framework were handcuffs, with blood and other such fluids saturating the shabby bedding the victims had been allowed. Feeling his stomach churn, Hotch moved over to Rossi who was talking with one of the CSI's. This was meant to be the last case they were on together. The elder profiler had been mentoring him, and this was his last test to see if he was up to doing it on his own. Normally he would be elated, but having risen through the ranks as fast as he did, he didn't appreciate being 'babied' for want of a better word. However, he had still to see what made the man tick. They talked, mostly about inconsequential stuff, and besides knowing he was getting married for a third time, Hotch never really knew much about the man, and, if he was being honest, it infuriated him.
"Ready to wrap it up here?" asked Rossi, moving over to him. If he noticed Hotch's discomfort then he made no comment on it.
"Yes," replied Hotch, following the elder profiler out of the room.
Maybe it was the scotch, but writing up this report was getting to him. Somehow, it had gotten past his defences, wriggling under his skin like and itch that just wouldn't allow itself to be ignored. Flicking his eyes to the photos, he saw the bodies of the victims splayed out on the slabs in the morgue. The ligature marks were consistent with restraint, meaning either the unsub got off on control, or wasn't physically capable to handle a nine year old. Turns out it was the former.
Unconsciously, Aaron began rubbing his wrist, the skin feeling as if it were prickling slightly as once again his memories threatened to engulf him. He knew Rossi was worried. For this whole case he had been edgy, behind the stoic mask, anger and frustration had burned so brightly that it was surprising only his mentor noticed it.
Still, this was different. These boys were beaten and raped, the latter he had thankfully not been subjected too. Rubbing his hand down his spine, he could still feel where the belt had made contact, the marks buried deep within his skin, but nevertheless still there.
Sighing, Aaron closed his file, moving over to the mini-fridge for another scotch. He never used to drink the hard stuff. When he was a prosecutor, he had drank it now and again, but since coming to the BAU, the horrors he had seen, he relished the numbness the liquor gave him. Relished it, but was not addicted to it. That was the important thing.
Throwing himself onto his bed, he loosened his tie with one hand whilst unscrewing the miniature bottle with the other. Pouring the amber liquid into a plastic tumbler, he watched as it splashed off the sides, the sound setting him at ease before eventually coming to a halt. Sipping, he felt the burn slide down his throat, overpowering all else. The gentle flame caressed his insides, warming him up with its artificial heat.
Hearing a sharp knock on the door broke the tranquillity he felt settling in his bones. The calmness shattered, piercing the little bubble he had placed himself in, and reluctantly he got up, weary feet moving slowly over the well-worn carpet before opening the door.
Rossi's face came into view, the smile belying the concern simmering beneath his brown eyes, and if he was completely sober, Aaron would have went on his guard. As it was, he just let him enter, only sparking more worry from the elder man.
"Are you okay, Aaron?" Rossi was direct, and sometimes Aaron appreciated it, but this wasn't one of those times. He was buzzed, he wanted to just lie back and watch the world go by for a little bit, forgetting all that has been and all that will. Rossi injected normalcy into this, with his presence the outside world was leaking in, bringing back memories from that case, and he fought to remain numb.
"I'm fine, what do you want?" The question was blunt, but he had no time for games, unfortunately Rossi loved them, and sitting back on the bed, he waited to see the next avenue Dave would go down.
"A scotch would be good." Damn, he wanted to stay. Couldn't one of the best profilers in the world see he never wanted to be disturbed? After Rossi had his drink, he sat next to him, Aaron regretfully conceded that he couldn't read the blazing signals telling him to leave.
After a few more sips, Aaron managed to drag himself back to his 'relaxed' zone, and he was vaguely wondering if Dave was actually going to do anything else here except raid his mini-cabinet. When the elder man opened his mouth, his alcohol soaked brain slowly became aware that there was something more to this. What was left of his defences were raised, and he braced himself, all the while wondering what he would have done to deserve a lecture.
Expecting to be reprimanded, Aaron almost jumped when he felt a hand land on his shoulder, squeezing slightly.
"What are you doing?" he asked hesitantly, his nerves screaming at him to get away. He never liked being touched, Rossi knew this, and so the fact that he had initiated physical contact was disconcerting to say the least, and sobered him up even more.
"I'm giving you comfort," came the infuriatingly vague answer.
"Why?" The question came out harsher than intended, but Aaron couldn't care less. If Rossi was perturbed by his less than welcoming tone, he never showed it, instead, all he did was look a little sadder, and Aaron felt his anger diminish slightly at this.
"This case was a rough one," Aaron had a feeling there was meant to be a 'but' added to that, and shook himself out of the man's grip. As much as he wanted to know what made David Rossi tick, this was getting way too personal. Moving to the edge of the bed, he saw Rossi sit up, and move down to join him.
"What is that supposed to mean?" asked Aaron, trying to distance himself from this. Looking around the room, he saw the clock ticking slowly on the furthermost wall, and focused on that. Anything but look his mentor in the eye, as a traitorous part of him whispered 'he knows.'
"I think we both know what I mean," said Rossi, his hand returning to Aaron's shoulder, but this time the younger man never pulled away.
"It wasn't the same," whispered Aaron finally, his hands balling into fists when he realised what Rossi had done. By staying silent, he had made him want to fill the void in the conversation, eventually drawing him out to say what he had long suspected. In Aaron's mind, he had just been treated as an unsub, and anger licked once more at his insides.
"But it was bad enough."
"Don't profile me," said Aaron coldly, retreating from Rossi once more, only this time the man got the hint, and never made any move to follow him.
Now standing, Aaron paced the room, trying to work off the fury that was fast building in his mind. The heated emotion mingled with shame when he realised that Rossi would also know how weak he was, how defenceless he had been. No longer would he see the competent FBI agent, but the broken little boy, too badly beaten to make it upstairs from the basement.
"It isn't something I can turn off, Aaron. Either we can talk about this, or I can let you drown yourself in scotch like you've taken to doing after cases like these," said Dave coolly, watching the younger man pace back and forth like a frantic animal. Internally Dave cursed Aaron's father for doing this. The hard shell he wore in the field had came from something much more horrid that the cases they had worked on, and when stripped of it, the resourceful agent was reduced to a lost child, unable to cope without his shields - like robbing Superman of his mask, and showing the world he was really Clark Kent.
"I don't do that," snarled Aaron, his dark eyes flashing, giving a hint of the rage and desperation that dwelled within.
"Yes you do," said Dave calmly.
"Get out," the icy words seemed to freeze the room, and the temperature went down a notch.
"How am I supposed to sign you off as an official member of this unit if I can't trust you with these cases? How can I sleep easy at night, knowing that you are probably trying to drink yourself to oblivion?"
"I am not an alcoholic."
"You're not, but if you keep this up you could soon become one. There are better ways to deal with emotions without eradicating them through drinking," soothed Dave, trying to calm his protégé.
"How, Dave?" asked Aaron, sarcasm oozing from every pour.
"Why would I talk to you? I barely know you!" exclaimed Aaron, his hopelessness made more evident by his tone, and telling the elder that he was slowly chipping through the younger's armour.
"I won't judge you," said Dave, patting the seat next to him in invitation.
"Yes, you will," whispered Aaron, his head bowed as he refused Dave's offer.
"No, I will not," replied Dave firmly, all but pulling Aaron to sit next to him. However, even seated, the younger man wouldn't look at him. Aaron's anger had burnt out, replaced with the desperation that Dave knew lingered there, and for once, the older profiler felt he was really seeing his recruit.
"I don't know you," said Aaron persistently.
"That's the point. How can you judge someone you don't know?" Reluctantly, dark eyes met his as this question. The gaze was hesitant, and wondering if this was for the best, Dave wrapped his arms around his protégé in a loose embrace. He never expected to be hugged back, all he wanted was to show Aaron that he wasn't alone, that he could confide in someone without fearing being judged. Pulling back, he saw confusion in the man's eyes, but also a brief flicker of hope, and he watched as the final wall descended.
"What did your father do?" asked Dave, seeing that there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of Aaron broaching the subject.
"He, he would take me down to the basement. My mother would be at work, or with Sean, and… he…. ah…" Aaron struggled to continue, hoping that what he left unsaid would be more than enough. By now though, he should have known that it wasn't.
"And," prompted Dave, feeling bad for wrenching this out of the kid, but knowing at the same time this was indeed better for him.
"He really liked his belt," whispered Aaron, looking away from his mentor, fearing that there would be disappointment in his eyes.
"But you survived," said Dave, placing his hand once more on Aaron's shoulder, anchoring him to the present, and not letting him be weighed down by the past.
"Those boys never." The words were hushed, and it took Dave a moment to realised that Aaron had actually spoken.
"We stopped that bastard getting more though, that has to be worth something."
"What's the difference?" asked Aaron, his eyes still remaining glued to the carpet.
"Between what?" asked Dave, confused for a moment.
"Between me and them. Why did I survive and they never? What makes me worthy of living and them not?"
Dave paused for a moment before answering. "Sometimes this world doesn't make sense. You are alive, they aren't. No one can explain it, and analysing it will only drive you mad."
"Still, I'm not worth the same as-"
"Do not say that you don't deserve to live, Aaron! Because of you, the children of this city can sleep easy knowing that their predator is behind bars. You made the breakthrough. If you were dead it is unlikely he would have been caught in time," interrupted Dave, the anger in his voice startling Aaron.
"So I'm just supposed to accept that some are meant to live, and some are meant to die for no reason!"
"You'll never accept it, just appreciate the fact that you survived and move on," said Dave, his anger swiftly receding.
"To survival," said Aaron bitterly, holding up his plastic tumbler, and clinking it with Dave's.
The two men sat for a while, both sipping their drinks, indulging in idle chatter. They both knew that Aaron wasn't ready to talk yet, baring his soul wasn't something the man was used to doing. However, the offer had been made, the first bridge had been built, and, for the first time, Aaron didn't feel alone.
A/N: I've seen and read a lot of early Hotch fics, and I wanted to give it a go. Please tell me what you think, this combined with impending exam results is making me really nervous :S
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Criminal Minds.