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Three Months Later.
"Are you sure you still want to do this?"
Reid smoothed out his unruly hair in order to hide his unease, smiling calming in contrast to how he really felt: "Yes, Derek. We talked about this, remember?"
They were standing in one of the hallways of the same hospital that they had first kissed in just three months ago. There had been many more kisses after that, kisses that almost made them worth the ordeal they had gone through to get together.
This time though, it was a different wing of the hospital and the only thing Morgan did with his lips was frown.
Just around the corner was a room that Reid had been to several times after his recovery.
The sign on the door said Aaron Hotchner, a painful mockery of the one he´d had in his office at the BAU.
Reid was a little on edge, just like he always was coming here, and Morgan's objections weren't exactly helping him.
"I'm just saying I'm not comfortable letting you walk in there all by yourself every time.", Morgan continued, stepping up to him.
His large hands gripped Reid´s upper arms just firmly enough to pull him closer.
Reid sighed and stood very still as his boyfriend gave him a worried look, his caressing thumbs on his arms barely enough to not make it seem like he was trying to physically hold him back.
There was no one to see them in the corridor, so Reid let him have this moment; he knew that every time he went to see their former boss Morgan was painfully reminded of how he had almost killed them both.
"There´s a security guard right by the door.", he said softly, trying to reassure the older man: "Plus, you´re right here."
When the frown still wouldn't leave Morgan's face, he stood on tiptoes and kissed him shortly but softly. That had yet to fail in getting a smile out of his lover.
And really, Morgan chuckled dryly, pressing his forehead against Reid´s for a second before letting him go and taking a step back.
"That's right, pretty boy. I´ll be right here.", the warmth and promise in his eyes almost suppressed the dread lurking behind them.
"I´ll be quick.", Reid promised. Then he turned around and took the corner before he could change his mind.
The guard assigned to the whole corridor was just passing Hotch´s room and he nodded to Reid when he saw him. He had seen him several times before.
"Visiting, Dr. Reid?", he smiled neutrally, stopping next to him.
Reid nodded: "I am…Do you know…has there been any change in his condition?"
The man shrugged apologetically: "You'll have to ask his doctor…but not from what I can tell, no."
Reid nodded, trying not to let his disappointment show too much.
It had been three months since Hotch was brought here, and nothing much had changed since then. He wasn't aggressive anymore –at least during Reid´s visits, and he was getting help with his delusions, but he still didn't recognize Reid as his coworker.
The doctors had told him that the connection to his son was Hotch´s life line and it would be the hardest to sever. It would have to come last, after he was fine on all other levels.
And until then, Reid would return time after time. No matter what others thought about it. Including Morgan.
Reid sighed, thinking about all his fruitless visits here. Each time Morgan had accompanied him and every time they got into the same argument just before parting. Morgan never let Reid come here alone, his discomfort at the idea of him visiting Hotch clearly visible in every one of his mimics and gestures.
Still, Reid had not let himself be deterred. He had made a promise to not leave Hotch alone until he was well enough to return to his life. And that day had not come yet.
"Do you want to talk to him in the community room?", the guard asked, but Reid shook his head.
He wasn't planning on staying that long. He and Morgan had dinner plans.
"No, I´ll just quickly say hello here if that's okay."
The man nodded: "Of course, Dr. Go right in."
Reid took a deep breath before stepping up to the door and opening it carefully. He could feel the guard´s immediate presence behind him; Hotch wasn't allowed to have unsupervised visits to his room.
And no civilian visitors at all for that matter. He was technically still considered a risk after killing six people.
Even his son hadn't been allowed here, but they had come to the consensus anyway that it was better if he stayed with Jessica for now. He shouldn't have to see his father like that.
And even if his real son managed to break Hotch´s delusion, he wouldn't be able to give him the comfort and support that Reid did now.
No, it was better this way for now.
Hotch was sitting on a white bed by the wall with his knees drawn to his chest, his clothes the same color as the sheets. He looked healthy than just weeks ago, but he wasn't the same man he´d known back at Quantico. Even now.
The moment Reid walked into the room, Hotch´s face lit up and he practically jumped off the bed to greet him. Reid hoped his smile looked authentic as he let his former boss pull him into a tight hug.
The guard behind them shuffled his feet nervously but Reid just shot him a reassuring look. He wasn't worried that Hotch might hurt him. Now less than ever.
"I missed you.", Hotch murmured into his ear, the hand at the back of his head making it impossible for Reid to move much. He let Hotch be for another moment before carefully disentangling himself.
They both sat on the edge of the bed then, falling easily into their routine. Reid asked some questions about Hotch treatment and well being while the older man held his hand and called him Jack.
"How are those medications making you feel?", Reid asked, for the dozens time wondering just how Hotch could even uphold his delusion when his alleged five year old talked like a college professor.
"I´m better. I´m starting to feel calmer these days, more like myself…", Hotch told him earnestly.
"That's great.", Reid smiled: "I´m sure you're making good progress."
Hotch nodded, smiling back at him: "I´m trying really hard to work with them, so it won't have to be too long anymore till I can come home. I know I've left you all alone and I worry every day…"
"It´s okay."; Reid squeezed his hand reassuringly: "You don't need to worry about me."
Hotch´s eyebrows pulled together then like he was in pain and he pulled the young man into another half-hug.
When he spoke again his voice was all but a little bit choked: "You're so strong, Jack. Just a little bit longer and I promise I´ll be strong for you again…I promise…"
Reid allowed himself to briefly close his eyes, trying to keep his composure.
He lightly patted Hotch´s back, just sitting there with him: "Take all the time you need. And when you´re better, I will still be waiting."
And that he would. No matter how long it would take.
snif, not a happy ending per se...but there is hope at least. anyways, this is it for this story.
i hope you were mostly satisfied with the way it turned out.
thank you all so much for sticking with me through the whole thing. let me know how you liked it, please.