TITLE: Reaction
ICON ARTIST: sodoesrachel
AUTHOR: Kuria Dalmatia
Characters/Pairings: Hotch/Haley
SPOILERS: None
RATING: R (language)

No beta. All mistakes are mine. Standard disclaimers.

Free form prose instead of narrative fiction. What can I say? When the muse knocks at 1 AM and gives me this, who am I to say no?

Staring at him as he explained
Always knowing that one of these days
Something like this could happen

She remembered the week she'd spent that hotel
Because some freak had delivered an envelope to her

This wasn't the first time he'd been hurt

The bullet wound
The bruising around his neck
The gashes across his hand
"Nothing serious," he would say

All those other times, close calls he never talked about
This time? Full disclosure
And it scared the hell out of her

Made her wonder what he hadn't said about that Garner guy

So she bitched. She complained.
Because it was easy to do
Automatic
Expected
Because fucking SWAT had stormed her home
They scared the shit out of her while she was folding laundry
One of the men crushed Jack's toy soldier
Jack had wailed loudly upon seeing it
So yes

She shouted.
She bitched.
She was selfish.

Because she couldn't say the things that she wanted to say

Not with him looking like that

Bandaged
Hooked up to monitors
Ashen
Stoic
Swearing that he'd spend the rest of his life making this up to her

He would, of course

He spoke to Jack
So stalwart
Except for the tears in his eyes

And as he spoke, she saw the mask slip across his features
SSA Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, Unit Chief of the BAU
His armor

Sealing himself off
A means of survival
She knew about that as well

And as she got in the car, holding Jack close to her
She mourned

Because the Aaron Hotchner she knew…
The one who courted
The one who sang off key
The one who…

He was gone

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