Disclaimers: No member of the BAU belongs to me, though I love them dearly. They are the playthings of Messrs. Gordon, Bernero, and Mundy.
Rating: T (mentions of biological functions, mentions of the Hotch-whumping inflicted by Mr. Mundy in 5x01)
Spoilers: Season 5- explicitly for 5x01, in general up to 5x04
Characters: Hotch, Reid
Genre: GEN
Pairing: None
Note: Originally written and posted on LJ for the CM Gen Comment Fic/Drabblethon, hosted by the lovely and talented melliyna. It kind of took on a life of it's own.
Prompt: "Hotch, and telling what happened to him"

Summary: If Hotch had his way, *all* his scars would remain hidden.


It's a messy case. They're all messy cases, but this, for once, is literally messy.

Blood. (Pools of it, again.) (And that, they will never know, ever. Not without sodium thiopental, or a lot more scotch than he ever intends to drink.)

Vomit. Urine. And a various mixture of all three, partly all over him. They talked Jenny Abbott down, thank god. But she did not go quietly. And she got in her lumps on him. Bruises only. A black eye. He can manage that.

But his team, as usual (or as usual has been defined recently, it seems) insists he go with the EMTs. He's no longer needed at the scene. The Lancaster County Sheriff's office has it under control. Plus, it seems like it would make them feel better, so he does it.

Another ER, another cacophony of pain and toil and confusion. He lets it wash over him, as he sits in one of their curtained areas. He imagines that he remembers the last time he was in one, but he's pretty sure it's the talented embroidery of his own mind.

He remembers everything else from that day. He told Emily he passed out after the first stab. He lied. His memories actually fail him somewhere around being thrown, bodily, into the backseat of Foyet's dingy sedan.

They'll do the tests anyway. It's procedure. Procedure is a good thing. But Jenny Abbott, as far as they know, did not have HIV, or Hep-C. Or any diseases he might be likely to catch by being sprayed in her bodily fluids. A blessing, he guesses. One on which he's not likely to think too closely.

They took (and probably burned) his shirt, which got the worst of it. He's sitting in his pants, and one of those flimsy doctor's office gowns. Not one of the cotton ones, which you get if you're a long -term guest. The ones that are the same ply as his kitchen napkins. The ones ostensibly for privacy, that provide none.

The nurse comes back with a scrub shirt, and a tray of needles for the blood draws. He'd never been one to be scared of needles, and he is even less so now. He pulls down the napkin shirt, and lets her do her work.

She's drawing for the last test, and he's watching her. The curtain moves, as if someone tried to knock. A familiar high tenor voice asks "Can I come in?" Before he can think better of it, Hotch replies in the affirmative.

Spencer Reid takes two cane-assisted steps towards the gurney, and then he stops. He stares once, and then looks anywhere but Hotch. He tries to make his actions inconspicuous. But "inconspicuous" is one of Reid's more practiced skills, which tend to fail him at times like these.

The nurse displays one of the great skills of her profession, and makes a quick but subtle exit. As Reid makes his way to the adjacent chair, Hotch dispenses with the gown, and pulls on the scrub shirt. It's been 4 months. He shouldn't feel the stitches anymore, but he can. And he can give you chapter and medical verse on all 9 of them. One to the left flank, under the 12th rib. One near the right clavicle. Another to the right flank, closer to the tenth intercostal. All 9.

Reid hasn't yet said anything. But now he's staring at Hotch's face, just waiting. Which is almost worse. Because he knows, of all of them, Reid might come the closest to understanding. And Hotch doesn't know whether he's ready for that.

" 'Yours are going to be just the same.' " Hotch speaks this to the floor.

"The scars." Reid says this to the bed-light, overhead.


"And he took his time…in between."

"So I could regain consciousness."

"You remember all of it." A statement, not a question.


Hotch smiles, now, but it is a bitter twisted creature.

"I've taught you well, haven't I, Reid?"

Reid smiles back, but doesn't try to catch Hotch's eye yet.

"Very well, yeah."

"All of you know the profile."

Reid's face falters. "The profile?"

"Stabbing. The use of a knife."

Spencer goes into "Reid-mode" without a second thought. "Well, without any other mitigating factors, it's usually a sign of impotence or other sexual…dysfunction…oh."

His voice trails off. Hotch can feel Reid's piercing gaze head-on now. But he can't return it. He can't.

After a long time, Reid looks over at the bed-lamp again.

"Jenny Abbott's locked up in the holding cell. Sheriff Candiotti needs us back at the station for wrap-up."

"Well, we should get going then."

Hotch rises from the gurney. He goes to grab his coat, hanging from the side of the chair, but Reid gets there first. His motions suggest he might try to aid Hotch in putting it on.

"I've got it, it's okay."

He looks Reid straight in the eye for the first time since the young man's arrival.

"Reid, really, I'm fine."

Reid can't say anything, but simply nods.

Hotch returns the gesture. Together they walk towards the doors of the ER.