A/N: Hello again my fine friends! Ok, so I'm stepping way outside my comfort zone on this one. Way, way, WAY outside my comfort zone. Like…so far away my comfort zone is on another planet!!! But after having a discussion with a dear friend, this story just would not leave my head. It drove me to distraction so I had to write it. This is my first, and very likely my only attempt at a slash fic. (WrenWing…this is ALL your fault!!! LOL!) I do feel that a few warnings are in order before we get started…
Warning 1: SLASH! This is the beginnings of a Hotch/Rossi relationship. Chapter one is mostly a hurt/comfort chapter and is rated T. It can be read on it's own as a one-shot if slash isn't your thing.
Warning 2: Chapters 2 and 3 will most definitely be rated M! This will get explicit, so if this isn't your cup of tea, please stop here! And I know some of my readers are a bit young, so please mind the rating!!!
A/N 2: I also feel I should add that I am a heterosexual female so I have absolutely NO experience with this stuff whatsoever! My only knowledge comes from reading other slash fics, so I hope this is at least a somewhat accurate portrayal. I'd love to know what you think. (I was so nervous about this fic that I almost did not post it!)
Okay, I think that's enough. So here we go! Enjoy…
Everyone was amazed that he hadn't lost it yet. They expected any minute to see him break. This case hit way too close to home for all of them, but for him it was like reliving hell. Young mothers murdered, leaving behind grieving husbands who were suddenly single fathers. Yet somehow he'd persevered. He'd made it through gut wrenching interviews with each father. Each member had their doubts when he said he wanted to conduct the interviews himself, but they didn't argue. They knew it was something he needed to do. Rossi went with him, keeping a constant watch, waiting for that fragile moment when this would all become too much. But he remained strong as usual, that is until their visit with the final victim's husband. The man was angry, and rightfully so. When he stood and yelled that they had no idea how he felt, Hotch looked at the floor and replied, "Yes. I do." He looked up at the man and told him a shortened version of how he'd lost his world. The man cried and apologized. He shook Rossi's hand as they were leaving. He hugged Hotch and thanked him for their efforts.
Outside, Hotch handed Rossi the keys to the SUV. "I can't drive right now."
They got in the car silently. Rossi looked over at Hotch before pulling away from the curb. Hotch was sitting with his head leaned back against the seat with his eyes closed tightly. He was taking very shaky deep breaths trying to force down his emotions. Rossi shook his head but didn't say anything. As he drove he called Morgan.
"We're done. We're heading back to the hotel."
"How's he doing?"
He stole another glance at Hotch. "He's…hanging in there."
Morgan knew what that little hesitation in Rossi's answer meant. He rubbed the back of his head and took a deep breath. "He's breaking, isn't he?"
Rossi sighed. "This last one was hard, Morgan. He's struggling." He felt sure Hotch wasn't hearing this conversation. He was trapped in his own personal hell. Made more evident when he glanced across and watched as Hotch loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his dress shirt, gasping for breath.
"Okay," Morgan sighed. "Take care of him, Rossi."
Rossi hung up and risked another glance at Hotch who was still sitting with his eyes closed. He pressed a little harder on the gas, needing to get them back to the hotel sooner rather than later.
Hotch didn't open his eyes until the car stopped in front of the hotel. Rossi was standing next to the passenger door. "Come on."
They walked in silence through the hallways to their hotel room. Rossi opened the door, dropped his bag on the bed and made his way to the bathroom. Hotch barely made it in the door. He let the door close behind him, but as soon as he was alone, he broke.
Rossi came out of the bathroom to find Hotch slumped on the floor against the door with his head between his knees, his hands threaded through his hair, sobbing. His breaths were coming in short bursts and he was physically shaking. Rossi closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It tore at his heart to see his friend in this much pain. He did the only thing he could think to do. He sat down next to Hotch, facing him, and put his arms around him pulling him close.
"Shhh," he whispered. "I've got you. Just breathe. Just breathe."
Rossi held him tightly, rubbing soothing circles on his back. Hotch latched onto Rossi's arm as if it were a lifeline, the only thing keeping him from absolute darkness. He could hear Rossi's soothing voice as the sobs wracked his body. "I've got you. You're okay. Just breathe."
Time seemed to be suspended. Who knows how long they sat in front of the door. Rossi never wavered. He continued to comfort his friend, never letting go. He kept whispering to him, reassuring him that he was okay, reminding him to breathe, that he wasn't alone. After several minutes, Hotch began to calm down. He was finally able to take some deep breaths. He moved his head to rest it on Rossi's shoulder. He was suddenly exhausted. But there was something else there, something comforting in Rossi's presence that made him feel less lonely, like somebody cared. Rossi reached up and ran his hand through Hotch's hair. He was surprised when Hotch seemed to nuzzle closer into his neck. He continued to hold him close, afraid if he let go Hotch would crumble.
Something else happened that Rossi wasn't expecting. Hotch finally lifted his head off his shoulder, still a bit tentative, and brushed a soft kiss against his lips. It sent thrills through Rossi's body, but he knew he had to stop what was happening.
"Hotch," he whispered. But instead of stopping, he kissed him again. Rossi put his hand to Hotch's cheek.
"Aaron, I need you to listen to me for a minute." He spoke softly after catching his breath. "My bisexuality has never been a secret from you, neither have my feelings toward you. And Lord knows I want this. But I don't want to hurt you. And I don't want you doing something you're going to regret in the morning. If all you want is one night, I'm okay with that. If you want more, then we'll take it day by day. But you have to be sure, Aaron. I won't do this if I think for one second you're going to regret it. I don't think I could handle it."
He kept eye contact with Aaron the whole time. With their emotions running so high he needed to make sure Aaron understood what was happening. To his surprise Aaron kissed him again. He rested his forehead against Dave's and he still had a grip on his arm, though not as intense. He needed to feel Dave close to him. He needed that human connection.
"I don't want to be alone anymore," Aaron whispered, his voice still shaky from his emotional break.
"You're not alone, Aaron," Dave whispered back, pulling him closer. "You'll never be alone."