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Few things in life had the ability to shock Aaron Hotchner anymore. Even rarer still were things that managed to scare him. After facing the worst society had to offer...one of which had taken a loved one from him...fear seemed almost impossible for him now.
He'd thought only one thing could inspire that feeling in him now: the thought of anything happening to his precious son.
But he'd been wrong.
The feel of Spencer Reid's soft lips against and beneath his had been enough to terrify him to the depths of his soul. Not the kiss itself...no, that had felt incredible.
Once he'd overcome his initial shock, that is. No, that part had been...what was the word his addled mind searched for?
Hot. Ardent. Infinitely sensual.
Of course, there were other words to describe it, too...
Stupid. Thoughtless. Infinitely forbidden...deliciously sinful.
Shaking his head dumbly as he sat in his car outside Spencer's apartment building, clutching the steering wheel as if somehow it could ground him, Hotch winced at his own loss of control.
God, he'd made a mess of things. His intentions, however, had been noble...honorable.
Ah, what was the saying about the best laid plans of mice and men?
Sighing heavily, he dropped his head back against the leather headrest. What had he done? When he'd set out to check on Reid tonight, he'd never envisioned for the briefest moment the events that had transpired just minutes ago.
He'd only meant to offer his condolences...to make sure the younger man knew he had a willing ear if he needed it. He'd never expected Reid to take him up on his offer. Not because he hadn't meant it, but because Reid rarely shared his personal burdens with anyone...let alone his boss.
But he had tonight. Tonight, the youngest BAU agent had been broken open by his mother's death, hanging by a fraying emotional rope when Aaron had arrived, his grief raw and new. Logically, Aaron knew Reid had simply been searching for a way to ease the ache. He refused to believe that he'd completely missed this physical attraction over the years. He couldn't have been that dense, could he?
No, Reid had been searching for a way to assuage the pain...looking for an outlet to pour his turbulent feelings into, to release the overwhelming burden that Hotch knew all too well. That had to be all it was.
Reid's lips had been frantic when they'd touched his, desperate in his intent. He should have drawn back immediately. But when Reid's soft, wet tongue had breached the seam of his lips and touched his, he'd momentarily lost his mind. Instead of pulling away, he'd cupped the back of the sensitive genius' head and met his kiss thrust for thrust, tangling his tongue with Spencer's for what could have been mere moments or hours. Sitting there on Reid's couch, time had ceased to exist for either of them as they'd exchanged one kiss after another, each one hotter and wetter than the last.
It had been his own low groan, wrenched from somewhere deep within him, that sent him crashing back into reality with a jarring thud. He'd ripped himself away from Reid's deliciously evocative kiss and stood staring at the other man for several long heartbeats, both breathing hard in the aftermath.
He could still hear Reid's slightly breathless voice whispering, "Why did you stop?"
He knew all the "right" answers he should have given. They were colleagues. He was the boss. It was an emotionally charged moment for the younger man. Dozens of "correct" answers he could have given...but, instead, he'd told the truth.
"I can't be what you need, Spencer," he'd said huskily to his younger friend.
He'd sat there watching as a crestfallen Spencer had nodded and swallowed nervously, his fingers wringing as he'd obviously fought emotions that both of them were feeling.
He'd apologized profusely...and made a bad situation ten times worse. With every 'I'm sorry' that had escaped Aaron's lips, Reid had shut down further, barely speaking...hell, barely breathing.
The kindest thing he could do was to leave. Get the hell out of that apartment before he could finish demolishing an already destroyed man.
Reid hadn't even acknowledged him, not that he could blame him. Like an idiot, Aaron had allowed things to progress too far...become all too real for both of them.
And the saddest part of all was that he wasn't altogether sure what frightened him more. Was it the fact that he'd done it...crossed that invisible line in the sand with someone with which he never should have...or the fact that he didn't know if he could stop himself from doing it again?
It was the worst kind of question...one for which he had no answer.