-- 5 DAYS LATER --
Hotch stared at the man who towered over him with a shy grin, "Thanks for everything Jonas."
"Everything huh?" Blaine asked with a raised eyebrow.
Hotch blushed, "Maybe not everything."
A snicker was heard from behind and Hotch quickly flung his elbow backwards, grinning when he heard an 'oomph' from the same person that snickered.
"Oops," he grinned, giving an apologetic shrug to Blaine.
Blaine rolled his eyes, "One more time; rule one?"
Hotch stilled the groan on his lips as his backside gave him a reminder of why it was a bad idea to talk back to the imposing man in front of him. Instead he answered, "No drinking and driving."
"Two," Blaine prompted.
"No drinking," Hotch answered. Seeing the expected look from his mentor he continued, "Three, no all nighters; four, I call you every Friday; five, either I visit you or you visit me every other month; six, call you the moment I feel out of control."
"Good boy," Blaine smiled approvingly.
Hotch rolled his eyes but it was evident to his friends that he was secretly pleased. It had been a hard week for the FBI agent. Then again, it always was when Blaine took all control away from him.
Like the other couple times it had happened, Hotch had bucked wildly at the restraints in place. He had always been in control and when it was taken from him he didn't know how to react. But his friend knew this and never reacted in a negative way.
The outcome was always the same too; in the end, though, having to not worry about being in control, helped Hotch become more in control. He didn't question it…well, there were times he wanted to question Blaine's method but he never dared to do so.
He wasn't sure how many more times he could be upended in a week. Oh yes…it had not only been a hard week, it had been a long and painful week.
For now though, the week was over and Hotch was going home…nervously.
"You'll be fine pup," The red head spoke.
Hotch leaned into his 'brother's' embrace, "What if they hate me?"
"I doubt they hate you," Blaine put his two cents in. The young man was passed from one to the other. Blaine hugged him close. "You apologize and you promise not to let it happen again." Blaine cupped Hotch's chin in his hand, forcing the younger man to look at him, "And if you do, do it again, you best be prepared to pay the full penalty."
Hotch blushed, "Got it Jonas."
"See that you do little boy," Blaine gave him a stern look.
The FBI agent had to hide an eye roll at the 'little boy'. Really, could Blaine not tell that he was no longer a rookie trying to prove himself? He was now a seasoned FBI agent and leader of one of the…
"Mmmph," Hotch glared at the red head who had suddenly slapped his hand over Hotch's mouth.
"Now would be a bad time to sing that song," Mack stared back at him hard until he saw recognition light the younger man's eyes.
Hotch had the good graces to blush, "I didn't say anything."
The two older man shared looks but said nothing as the heard the page for their friend's flight.
With a final hug, Hotch handed over his ticket and walked onto the plane. He was once again grateful that between them, they had enough pull to get Blaine and Mack permission to travel as far as the gate with him.
As he settled in his seat, trying to keep from shifting too much, he thought back to three days before…
-- FLAHSBACK –
Hotch stared at the wall, mentally berating himself. Was it really that hard for him to give a straight answer when Blaine asked a question?
"You calm now?" A voice sounded from behind.
"Go to hell," Hotch spoke clearly before closing his yes. Yup, apparently it was too hard to give a straight answer.
Hotch frowned as he gave a quick rub to the right side of his backside which had just been smacked before rubbing his forehead which had hit the wall when he had jumped from surprise at the smack.
"Turn around," Blaine ordered.
Hotch slowly did as he was told, silently biting his inner cheek in worry.
Blaine held out a cell phone. "You are going to call Special Agent Rossi and apologize for not telling him that you were taking additional time off and for not telling him where you were going. You are going to promise not to do again; a promise, I might add, that I will hold you too. Then, we are going to talk about what's bothering you. Ah-ah," Jonas held out a finger in warning when he saw his friend start to protest. "You will talk or I will start the conversation. Remember, though, if I start the conversation, it's not over until I say so."
Hotch glared at the phone before taking it. He silently cursed Rossi. The day had been going better then the others but noo-oo Rossi had to call and ruin it all.
Of course if Hotch had just told his friend that he needed to call work once he remembered that he had told Rossi he'd be gone for only a few days Blaine would have been none the wiser.
But that was too hard for him to do. So instead, he'd done nothing; allowing himself to forget about his obligations…until he heard a familiar ring earlier in the day.
He'd been working on the ten page report and, knowing that Blaine would never allow him to answer the phone, had ignored it.
He, of course, couldn't ignore the irate Blaine that had stormed into the kitchen demanding to know why he hadn't told anyone where he was or how long he'd be gone. The 'why the hell would I tell anyone' that came to Hotch's lips slipped out which had led to some yelling, some swatting…and the younger man being put into the corner.
Hearing a 'yeah' on the other end of the phone Hotch shook himself out of his thoughts, "It's Hotch; I was told you called…uh huh…I'm at a friends…did you need me to come back? Ok…yeah…I'll be home in a few days…yeah…I gotta go"
Hotch glanced over at his friend and read the look he was getting. With another sigh he added, "Sorry I didn't tell you…uh huh…yeah…I'll remember next time…thanks for calling…bye."
Hotch glared as Blaine and thrust the phone back at him, "There; happy now?"
"Ecstatic," Blaine answered, staring at his friend hard. "He was worried about Aaron."
Hotch couldn't stop the scoff that came to his lips. He knew he was once again acting like a petulant teenager but he couldn't stop himself.
"So he shouldn't be worried by the fact that he hadn't heard from you?" Blaine asked.
"Yeah he was real worried Jonas," Hotch spat out before storming to his room and throwing over his shoulder, "He waited until I was three days over due before calling."
"Aaron," Blaine started, trying to keep his voice even.
"No!" Hotch growled, spinning around and glaring at his friend. "I don't give a damn what you think!"
With that he turned and once again headed for his room.
He entered and started to slam the door.
Blaine followed on his heels, catching the door before it could slam shut, "I'm getting real tired of your attitude little boy."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Hotch exploded. "I'm not some rookie trying to prove myself! I'm a seasoned FBI agent; treat me like it!"
"Then act like one," Blaine's voice was surprising gentle. "I can't help you if you don't tell me what's going on in that mind of yours Aaron."
"Why should I?" The younger mans' eyes had tears. "No one cares anyways."
"I care," Blaine's voice was firm. "TALK…TO…ME"
"NO!" Hotch could only watch as he picked up box and chucked it across the room. He didn't stop as he spun around and started to grab his stuff, wanting and needed to get out.
Blaine wouldn't let it happen. He grabbed his friend's bag and held it away from him, "You're not going any where."
"You can't keep me here!" Hotch took a running start at his friend.
Blaine saw it when it happened…the moment when Hotch lost all control.
Before the younger man knew what was happening he found himself face down.
"Let me go! You can't do this!" He hollered. "I hate you!"
"Hate me all you want," Blaine informed him, "You're not leaving until you've talked."
"LET ME GO!" Hotch continued to thrash about, stilling only when he felt his jeans and boxers being lowered to his knees, "Jonas…let me go."
"Not gonna happen son," Jonas lifted a hand and brought it down with a resounding swat.
Hotch continued to buck but Blaine's aim was dead on each time. It didn't take long before Hotch stilled, silent tears running down his face.
"I know," SWAT, SWAT "you're upset," SWAT, SWAT "but that doesn't" SWAT, SWAT "give you the right" SWAT, SWAT "to behave the way you are." SWAT, SWAT "I care about you" SWAT, SWAT "whether you want me to" SWAT, SWAT "or not." SWAT, SWAT "I'm not going," SWAT, SWAT "to let you," SWAT, SWAT "self destruct." SWAT, SWAT "You tell me" SWAT, SWAT "when you're ready" SWAT, SWAT "to talk." SWAT, SWAT
Blaine's hand continued to fall until finally Hotch spoke, "I-I'll talk! Please J-Jonas!"
"You're gonna tell me" SWAT, SWAT "what's bother you" SWAT, SWAT "without" SWAT, SWAT "lying to me?" SWAT, SWAT
A particularly harsh swat fell, "Are you yelling at me little boy?"
"N-n-no s-sir," Hotch quickly answered through his tears.
Hotch gave a short cry when he felt his clothes being righted even though it was done as gently as possible. Blaine quickly righted him, holding him close and making sure the younger man's backside didn't touch anything.
"Aaron?" His voice was gentle.
"I…I can't do it anymore Jonas. I'm not strong enough anymore." The younger man's words poured out unstopped. "It's all too much. First Elle, th-then we almost long Morgan, a-and th-then…"
"Breathe for me kiddo; come on," Blaine soothed.
Hotch took a deep breath before continuing, "W-we, I-I failed R-Reid and then Gideon l-left. I can't do it; please don't make me."
Hotch scrambled to get up but Blaine held him close, "Settle down Aaron."
When that didn't work, Blaine did the only thing he could think of. He angled Hotch slightly and brought his hand down to meet the tender backside. Hotch let out a yelp but settled down.
"What happened son?" Jonas asked, worry in his face.
Seeing the expression and hearing the words, the rest of Hotch's walls crumbled as he slumped against the man who he thought of as a father. Slowly the words came out…how Reid's behavior had changed…how the case they'd just finished has brought out the bad side of Reid's personality…how all of them had just shushed him and not offered words of comfort or wisdom…how he'd gotten mad when Reid refused to go to the graveyard with them…and how he'd watched as Reid stood in front of the teen gunman, blocking his teams shots.
"He could have died Jonas," Hotch continued through his tears. "All I kept thinking about was how I was going to tell Gideon I got his son killed."
"That wouldn't have been on you," Blaine protested.
"I promised," Hotch sobbed, "I promised Jason I would look after him. I had to tell him that I would…that I would fire him if ever did it again and then I got mad…"
Blaine closed his eyes, "What did you do?" Hotch refused to look his friend in the eyes. Blaine grabbed his chin in his hand, "Aaron Eric Hotchner, what did you do?"
Hotch looked at him, fear in his eyes, "I started to yell at him when we got back and – and then Morgan told me to back off and – and then he told everyone to g-go home. I…started to yell at him…th-then – then I – I p-punched him."
The ending result came out in a whisper.
"You did what?" Blaine's voice was deceptively calm.
Hotch's mouth opened and, when no sound was forthcoming, shut. He refused to meet Blaine's eyes. The guilt was pouring off of him and waves.
Blaine held in a sigh. He wanted the younger man to forgive himself. He also knew it was an impossible task. With that thought he upended him one more time, this time leaving his clothes in place, and began to swat the up turned backside.
"You do not take your frustration out on anyone for any reason. If you have a problem you talk it out, you come to me, or you go to the gym. Solving a problem with your fists is never an answer."
"Jonas, plee-eease! I'm sorry!" Hotch cried out after the fourth swat. "I won't do it again!" After several more swats he went limp over the older man's lap and sobbed.
Blaine finished up quickly before righting him again. "It's ok boy. I got you."
With that Hotch allowed himself to fully relax into the hold of his friend. His sobs soon quieted as he fell into a deep sleep for the first time since his altercation with Derrick Morgan.
-- END FLASHBACK –
The bumpy landing caused Hotch's sore backside to come in contact with the seat harder then he would have liked which in turn brought him out of his reverie. He bit back a yelp and instead settled for a slight grimace.
'Damn Mack and his bright ideas,' Hotch growled to himself.
If he had been honest with himself he would admit that Mack was only half at fault. He wouldn't be so sore if he hadn't fought Blaine on calling Morgan the morning before.
Not that it had been an overly long 'conversation.' Nope, Hotch may be many things but he wasn't stupid; he'd conceded defeat shortly after it started.
He'd gotten a worse spanking later that night after he and Mack had pulled a rather splendid prank…but that was a story for another time. For now he got himself off the plane and home. He had to be at work the next day…he worried about his team's response to him.
Despite reassurance from Morgan that no one on the team knew what happened, Hotch was worried. He'd been so out of control at the time he hadn't realized that everyone had, at Morgan's order, gone home. He still didn't know what kind of mark he'd left on the man he considered a friend.
Taking a deep breath, Hotch entered the bullpen. He kept his head held high as he made his way to his office, going neither fast nor slow.
Morgan stopped him halfway, "Wondering when you were coming back. Rossi's been driving us nuts."
Hotch smiled, trying to keep his nervousness at bay, "He gets like that."
The two men were aware of the eyes on them. Morgan looked his boss up and down and gave a nod of…approval?
"There's a game Friday," Morgan mentioned. "I have an extra ticket."
"I know a designated driver," Hotch replied.
He gave a nod before finishing his walk to his office. On his desk, laid the case files, in order, all finished by neat precise handwriting…stickers where his signature was needed.
"We got a case," a voice spoke from the door.
Hotch looked up and nodded his understanding, "And Morgan…" Morgan stopped and looked at him, "Thanks."
Morgan nodded before leaving.
Hotch stood at his door momentarily…he was back in control.