Fandom: Criminal Minds
Word Count: 889 words.
Prompt: 'First Kiss' Comment Fic Meme on Dreamwidth.
Summary: Hotch lets his guard down for only a moment, and somehow, Reid manages to slip in.
Author's Notes: Set during the ride back to Quantico after interviewing Chester Hardwick in season 3, episode 14: Damaged.
[[ ... One Shot ... ]]
The very first time, it was an accident. Hotch had been leaning over Reid to look at a file, Reid had looked up at him, and Hotch, possessed by the same impulse that had driven him to try out for the Pirates of Penzance in college (worst fourth pirate in history, but it caught Haley's attention), had dropped a soft kiss to Dr. Spencer Reid's forehead. Reid recovered first, blushing softly and quickly redirecting Hotch's attention to some detail in their case. Both of them, Hotch was certain, had never been more grateful for the fact that they were staying late, alone, in the office that night. No one had seen it.
That had been shortly before the divorce, before Gideon had left, before everything had changed. Gideon's disappearance had shaken Reid to the core, and Hotch was doing little more than going through the motions as he sorted out his own issues. Everything had finally culminated in the Chester Hardwick interview though. Reid had backed away as far as he dared, even as Hotch had encouraged the posturing, desperate for some sort of confrontation, some way to blow off the stress of Haley's constant pressuring.
Then Reid had opened his mouth, and it really dawned on Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner that he was risking not only his own life, but Reid's. Something cold washed over him, made him grip the tie he'd snatched off earlier so tightly that his knuckles hurt. He had no right to place someone as sensitive as Reid in that position. He was supposed to protect Reid, to keep him as far removed from the physical dangers of their job as was possible.
The bitter taste had only become more prominent when Reid confessed quietly in the car, "I find I do some of my best work under intense terror." He grinned slightly, trying to laugh it off, trying to hide how much he was shaking as he shuffled the papers around, tucking them back into the proper folders.
Hotch gripped the steering wheel a little more tightly, apologized, and finally made the decision to admit the real reason for his stress. "So, Haley wants me to sign the divorce papers uncontested so nobody wastes money on lawyers." He didn't have to tell Reid, didn't have to open this topic. He shot a very quick glance over at the other profiler.
Reid swallowed, carefully looked away, and asked in a neutral tone, "You don't want to?"
"What I want, I'm not going to go get," Hotch replied, looking straight ahead at the road. He was avoiding the question, not sure of the answer himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Reid nod. The young doctor was probably trying to figure out what to say, what Hotch might be leading up to. Reid didn't know that Hotch had antagonized Haley the same way he had Chester Hardwick. He had pressed and pressed, at first without realizing what he was doing, and then with the grim determination of a man who had already lost everything. He didn't want Haley any more (the spark in their marriage had died the moment he admitted that his team needed him), but he did want Jack.
He pulled over at the first diner they saw, parked in the far corner of the small lot, and sighed. Reid fidgeted for a minute, then finally reached out a hand and touched one of his arms. "Hotch..."
"It's..." Hotch swallowed, keeping his hands on the steering wheel. He was going to break in front of a member of his team, in front of someone that he'd sworn to keep at arm's length. "I'm fine." That hand on his arm squeezed just a little, and Hotch glanced over toward Reid when he heard the seat belt unbuckling. The young doctor leaned over, closing the space between them. Hotch had enough time to stop him; he knew what was coming. And so help him, he didn't move, scarcely breathed. The featherlight touch of Reid's lips against his own was sweeter than he expected. Did this make it their first kiss, or were they supposed to count Hotch's earlier indiscretion?
For just a heartbeat, he was perfectly still, his hands squeezing the steering wheel a fraction more, then he yielded. He let the car go, reached up and buried his fingers in that soft hair, scratching at Reid's scalp very lightly with the tips of his fingers. Hotch was demanding- he always had been- as he pulled Reid closer, as he deepened the kiss. Reid made a very soft noise into his mouth but didn't struggle, didn't fight. He yielded, soft and pliant under Hotch's mouth, one of his hands sliding up Hotch's arm to touch his shoulder, the other fumbling for the seat belt, even as Hotch coaxed him closer. The moment waxed to full, stretched a little more, then slowly waned as they pulled away, Hotch carefully beginning to disentangle himself from his subordinate.
Reid must have sensed that there was more to Hotch's movements than just repositioning, because he leaned forward a little, touched his forehead to Hotch's as he whispered softly, his voice shaking, "Don't even try to tell me that this won't happen again." His eyes lifted from Hotch's lips to lock gazes. "I want this, Aaron."