Title: Triggers & Ties 9: Parallel

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: FRM/R (profanity, adult content, sexual situations)

Characters/Pairing: Hotch/Reid

Summary: It was rare for Spencer to outright panic. But when his former lover sent a text message—RUMOVIES?—on a Thursday at 8:45 p.m., a chill shot up Spencer's spine.

Word Count: ~5,100

ARCHIVING: my LJ... anyone else? Please ask first.

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.

VERSION: May—July 2010

TIMELINES/SPOILERS: Season 5. This takes place before "The Performer".

THANKS TO: finalure, daylyn, and ayashi_mikage for coming to my research rescue for S5 episodes as I recovered from foot/ankle surgery. Also to ayashi_mikage for the wonderful manip provided for the story. To MomBailey1973 for excessive hand-holding, cookies and encouragement. To pabzi, as always, for the encouragement. To lady_of_scarlet for the beta and commentary.


"Look not back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around you in awareness."

Ross Hersey


It was rare for Spencer to outright panic. But when his former lover sent a text message—RUMOVIES?—on a Thursday at 8:45 p.m., a chill shot up Spencer's spine.

Hotch and Spencer's professional relationship, for the most part, remained unchanged despite the fact that Morgan was now the one technically calling the shots at the BAU. It was a little more formal than it used to be, but Spencer had noticed Hotch was a hell of a lot more formal with them all nowadays.

For Spencer, it was the only contact they had now.

He initially hoped that Aaron ending their romantic relationship was a byproduct of the paranoia and irritability brought on by PTSD and a bad combination of medications. It had been terrifying to see his lover just…fall apart like that. There was no real way to describe Aaron's behavior except extreme and uncontrolled.

Up until tonight, the only non-work related message that had been initiated by Aaron had been an "I'M SORRY" text message, which happened the morning after Prentiss had called about Aaron's panic attack. Spencer still didn't know all the details and Prentiss outright refused to discuss it. Spencer had texted back "PLZ TALK?" hoping that it would be an opening, but had never received a response.

When Aaron returned to active duty, Spencer noticed that he had stopped carrying his personal phone, which stung more than he expected it to.



A text asking about movies.

Spencer closed his eyes briefly and recalled how haunted Aaron had become. A bit more reckless. A bit more careless.

Funny how the three things that sent Morgan ranting about Hotch's erratic behavior were three things that Spencer had done himself: returning to active duty "too early" (everyone was convinced Hotch had faked his way through the psych eval, but nothing could really beat Spencer successfully navigating the drug tests and the whole 'second opinion' thing after Georgia), confronting an UnSub sans Kevlar vest and weapon (not to mention blocking everyone's shot at the UnSub), and finally, chasing after an UnSub without waiting for backup.

Well, Morgan was just as guilty of that as Spencer was.

Then, something else kicked in, and Spencer's panic sent him scrambling off his bed where he'd been working on a journal submission.

Jack's birthday.

Not the boy's actual birthday. That had been six weeks ago and the mood at the BAU had been somber. The whispers between agents reached a crescendo when they observed Kasselmeyer shaking Hotch's hand by the elevators and Hotch clasping the other man's upper arm.

In the lexicon of Hotchner Body Language, that gesture meant, "Thank you. I trust you. I consider you a friend." It had been a while since Spencer had observed the gesture (even longer since he'd been a recipient), so yes, there was a bit of irrational jealousy that Kasselmeyer was bestowed that privilege.

If Hotch had been considered emotionally distant before, it was even more pronounced now.

It seemed those at the BAU had been expecting Hotch to act differently, to somehow mourn the fact that he couldn't see his son on his birthday. But Spencer knew that it wasn't Jack's actual birthday that would bother Aaron. It would be the annual leave orchestrated six weeks afterwards, AL that had been planned for months.

I found this camping thing for kids his age. I want to make it special for him.

When Hotch had insisted that Spencer be part it, Spencer was speechless (and more than a little terrified). The original plan was to have Haley drop off Jack on Thursday night, and it would be father/son Thursday, all-day Friday, and Saturday morning. Then, Spencer would come over for lunch and spend four days with them, including two 'camping' days.

You're part of my life and therefore, you're part of Jack's. Period. And, yes, you're spending the night with me when Jack is here.

That was gone now, courtesy of Foyet. Today was the Thursday that Haley was supposed to drop Jack off.

That morning in the office, Hotch had been more surly than usual. The only person who escaped the Hotchner Stare during the afternoon Team meeting was Garcia, and that was by virtue of the Chocolately Toffee Coffee Biscotti which had mysteriously appeared on his desk around lunchtime.

The weather even matched Hotch's mood: steady rain with occasional thunder and lightning.

Before Foyet, there would have been some kind of conversation between him and Hotch, even if it was a simple, "I'm pissed off and not talking about it," from Hotch. Nowadays?


That, Spencer supposed, he could handle. He'd steeled himself for this eventuality—Aaron breaking it off—from Day One. He knew the risks. He predicted the behavior. And he wasn't sure whether to be thrilled or horrified that he'd been so accurate about how Hotch would act post-breakup.

The worst part about it was everyone trying to be helpful.

It was impossible to approach Hotch, so they focused on Spencer instead. There were days when he wanted to yell, "Leave me the fuck alone! My relationship with Aaron is none of your damn business! You're not making it any better!" He never did, because that would cause the Team to focus on Hotch and that was the last thing the man needed.

So he sucked it up. Watched from afar, and swore that he'd take the shot even if Foyet surrendered (which he would… because the fucker was a narcissist and would want to relive his "masterpiece" as many times as he could).

Spencer finally understood why Elle had done what she'd done.

He glanced at the clock. He factored in the downpour (the reason he didn't attend his meeting) and the effect it had on traffic. Spencer sent back:


And when OK flashed on the screen, Spencer let out the breath he didn't realize he was holding.

Spencer called for a taxi. He slung his messenger bag over one shoulder, checked for keys, wallet, and credentials, fitted his revolver on his belt, and balanced himself on his crutches.

It was pouring down rain.

He didn't care.


It was rare for Spencer to outright panic. But when his former lover sent a text message—RUMOVIES?—on a Thursday at 8:45 p.m., a chill shot up Spencer's spine.