Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds.

Summary: He needs her to keep on smiling. He needs that, above most things, to keep him sane. HotchGarcia, oneshot

So, um, this is my recent pairing fascination. I hope that I do these two justice. It's pretty much just an introspective piece, but I hope that y'all like this! I would love to hear your opinions!


Penelope Garcia is a bold beacon of loud colored clothing and blonde hair smack in the middle of blood and death.

She is just what everyone needs - a bright, cheery being in the midst of all of this destruction and the hopelessness that everyone who takes on this job faces every day of their career, and the days after.

She always finds a way to smile, no matter what.

That grin, her joking nature, her laugh, it all helps the days at the BAU - even the toughest ones - seem just a bit brighter.

She is also very strong, Hotch knows this above everything else.

Only a strong person could find the will to smile like she does after all of the things she's seen during her job.

Only a strong person could stomach everything being thrown at her.

Only a strong person could deal with the constant threat of having one of her friends taken from her at any given time.

He admires her for that.

It is something that he has never been able to do - to smile so freely.

This job takes its toll on everyone. Like Gideon, Elle… A person can only handle so much death before they lose themselves. In fact, Hotch has been close to the breaking point more times than he can count, but he's still working every case as if it were his first. Though the times have weathered him, he still tries his best to give it his all for the families, the victims, to find the killers.

He figures that anyone who had been through half the things he's gone through would've thrown in the towel long ago, and though he's felt like it many a time, now he feels as if his job is all he has left, along with Jack. Everything else has been taken from him in one violent frenzy, with another exception being his friends at the BAU.

The dark thoughts plague him sometimes. He's gotten better at managing the grief. He still breaks down from time to time, because those wounds are still so fresh, so engrained in his memory as if etched there in stone.

He envies Penelope Garcia and the way she looks at the world, her viewpoint much like that of an innocent child, mischievous and finding the humor in everything.

He envies the fact that she can still look at him and smile so brightly, without a tinge of pity. She knows that he hates when people pity him, so she tries her hardest not to let it show around him.

It's almost strange, how she can be so happy and joke around and smile all the time, so weird that while working one case, Hotch had uttered, "Remind me to have her drug tested."

He figures that she is just on her own natural kind of high. High on life, some people call it. Which is strangely ironic since they deal in death.

She makes him think that there is a way to work through this business and come out slightly unscathed.

Because he knows that even Garcia has her scars. They all do. It is almost a requirement of this job. He thinks she would probably say that to have scars is almost a requirement of life in general. He thinks she would be right.

Sometimes, when she is out of her tech room, he goes in there, just to take a break from whatever files he was going through.

He would look at all of the random decorations. The bright colors, the different pens, the feathers poking out from each crevice, the few stuffed animals that scattered themselves around the place. It would all soothe him to some extent, to know that there was this kind of purity in the world after all of the evil he has witnessed.

He thinks that as long as she is there at the BAU, it will be a lighter place, in spite of what they have to do each time they get an invite in to an investigation.

He remembers the one time when he asked her to profile - the series of fires that were set by a brother for his sister - and saw the stress that had taken place on her features. The hurt, the disbelief, the utter hopelessness… It had all hurt him, because he knew he had made her do that, and while it was completely necessary, that still didn't erase the guilt for putting so much strain on her that she was clearly hurt by.

He remembers coming into her office after that, seeing her in the brightest outfit he had ever seen on her - and that was saying something - and listening to her talk about what had all happened.

He had reassured her that no one would want her to change. That everyone needed her the way she was. Everyone needed her Cheshire grin, her R-rated jokes, her attention-grabbing outfits…

He needs her to keep on smiling.

He needs that, above most things, to keep him sane.

He sighs as he leans back into the soft leather of his chair, closing his eyes and rubbing his face. It had been another long day and he couldn't wait to get to his bed and at least try to get some sleep. The pleasantness of unconsciousness has evaded him lately, and he is tired most of the time.

He knows he has to finish the report he's working on, but the feeling of tiredness creeps closer and closer, and suddenly he wishes he had the loud colors of Garcia's tech room to keep him awake.

A knock at the door startles him, but the jolt is barely visible. Very few things can make him show true shock these days.

He looks over to the door and sees Garcia poking her head through it, slightly timidly, as if afraid she is disturbing his quasi-nap. "Um, boss?"

"Yes, Garcia, come in." He rubs his eyes again as he says this, but somehow he doesn't mind this show of weakness in front of her.

"I've got the files on that case together…" She voices, handing him a manila envelope.

Hotch takes the envelope from her hands and looks at it, feeling a large wave of procrastination overwhelm him. They had just finished a rather tough case - a string of child murders, which are always the hardest to deal with - and now they were doing all the necessary paperwork that came with finishing a case.

"Ah, thank you." He replies cordially.

Even now, as his eyes rake over her form, she is wearing her brightest colors. Gaudy purple, pink, blue, and yellow all mixed together into a dress that could only be described as Garcia. Her hair is pulled back with a sparkling clip, and her earrings are pretty baubles the color of honeysuckle. She looks at him over her glasses and offers him a slight smile - there it is, that thing that the team cannot go one without - looking at him with kindness.

"Would you like a cup of coffee, sir?"

Hotch looks up at her, wanting to say that he was fine, but really, he could feel his lids start to droop and a yawn is stifled before he answers, "That…would actually be very nice, Garcia."

Her soft smile erupts into a full blown grin, as if she is just so excited to get him a cup of coffee, of all things. Again, it is one of the things that Hotch can't really grasp, the fact that she can so easily smile over something so mundane. But, he doesn't mind. He welcomes that kind of childish innocence.

It is a mere few minutes before she comes back, coffee cup in hand. But it is one of hers. One of those colorful, bright things that looks so out of place in his quiet office the minute she brings it in the room.

"Er…all the other coffee cups were dirty. So I used one of mine." She says sheepishly, and she hands him the aforementioned cup. He takes it in his hands and blows at the steam that rises from it. The warmth that emits from it reminds him of her.

"Thank you." He finally says.

"Yes, well," Garcia smiles at him jokingly, "you probably need a bit of color in your life."

He quirks a brow at her, but gives her a gentle look in her direction.

"Right, right, back to work, Garcia." She says, imitating his voice perfectly on the last phrase. It causes his lip to twitch upward and an actual chuckle that threatens to rumble his chest.

With a slight wink in his direction, she leaves him alone with his thoughts.

All of his musings from before come rushing back through his head.

He stares at the vibrantly colored coffee cup that sits so comfortably in his hands, and the faintest hint of a smile itch his lips as his finger traces the lip of the cup ever-so delicately, as if it is made of the finest china.

"…you probably need a bit of color in your life…"

Yes, maybe he does.


My first H/G is done! I actually really like this. I really enjoyed writing this and I hope that everyone liked reading it. I really love these two together, so… yeah. Hopefully I did them justice. I would love to hear everyone's opinions, so please review! Haha.

Thanks so much for reading!