Edge of Insanity
Hatochiisai aka Ahmose Inarus
Disclaimer: I do NOT own Criminal Minds or any of its characters.
SLASH WARNING! Hotch/Reid
Haley Brooks-Hotchner paced back and forth. She had just dropped Jack off at pre-school and had the day to herself. But she didn't know what to do. She didn't sleep last night. She couldn't. She kept running things through her mind… little scenes she had glimpsed in her rearview mirror… Aaron and Dr. Reid holding hands… Aaron kissing Dr. Reid… And of course, walking into his office and finding the boy in the man's arms. And Dr. Reid was… LIVING with Aaron!
And then there were the words of her own son…
"… Is… Dr. Reid with you a lot when you spend a few days with daddy?"
"Does he spend the night with daddy?"
"Where does he sleep?"
"Does daddy… hug Dr. Reid?"
"Does he ever… kiss him?"
"… It's a secret."
"Sometimes when they think I'm sleeping."
"How long have Daddy and Dr. Reid been having… sleepovers?"
Haley found herself with tears in her eyes again, and covered her mouth with her hand. God… What had Aaron done?
Dr. Reid, obviously… A nasty little voice in her head chuckled. She froze, then shook her head and grabbed her keys, leaving the house. She drove, her mind in anguish. She didn't know whether to scream, cry, or do both. She parked in front of the building and sat there for a moment, then got out of the car and headed inside. The doorman nodded to her with a smile. She made her way to the apartment and stood in front of the door, screwed up her courage, and knocked. Then she waited. A moment later, the door was unlocked and opened.
"… Haley." Hotch said, blinking as he stood there in boxers and bathrobe, hair disheveled with a cup of coffee in his hand. "Is everything okay? Where's Jack?"
"He's at pre-school." Haley said, stepping in. "And no. Everything is NOT okay."
"… You tell me." She hissed, turning to face him as he closed the door. Hotch gave her a confused look. "Where is he, Aaron?"
"… I'm sorry?" Hotch asked. Haley shook her head, and looked at the sofa. The bed was not folded out.
"Where's Dr. Reid?" She asked, gesturing to the sofa. "I think he's too tall to sleep in that racecar bed you got Jack."
"… He left early." Hotch said quickly.
"… Without his badge and gun? Sure." Haley said.
"He's coming back. Haley, what's this about?"
"Oh, I think you can guess." Haley hissed, then whirled and stormed down the hall.
"Haley!" Hotch called, and set the coffee down before chasing after her. But he wasn't fast enough. Haley threw open the door to his bedroom and stood there, staring at the long, lithe form that was stretched out on the left side of the bed. What had once been HER side of the bed…
"Rnnng…" Reid grumbled, dragging a pillow over his head.
"You little slut…" Haley hissed.
"Haley!" Hotch cried, making a grab for her arm, but he missed as she moved across the room with long strides.
"YOU LITTLE SLUT!" She shouted and Reid bolted upright in bed, startled out of his doze. But he didn't even have time to register Haley's presence before his head was whipped to the side by a harsh slap. "You filthy bastard!" He heard a woman screaming, and then he was slapped again.
"HALEY! STOP!" He heard a male voice shout… it sounded like Hotch, but… it was harsh and angry. His heart began to pound. He began to feel dizzy as he gasped for breath. He cried out as he was slapped again, this time fingernails catching his cheek and leaving scratches.
"You little son of a bitch!" The woman was still shouting.
"STOP IT!" The man responded. "HALEY STOP!" Things got blurry…
"I'LL KILL YOU! I WARNED YOU! I TOLD YOU IF YOU HURT HIM I WOULD KILL YOU! YOU SON OF A BITCH! YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED HIM!"
Paloma's voice echoed through his head. There was blood on his hands…
"No…" Reid whimpered, curling up into the fetal position and rocking himself lightly. "No… No no no…"
Hotch finally dragged Haley back and shoved her away, running to the bed and dragging Reid towards the edge.
"Spencer…" He gasped, taking the boy's face in his hands and looking him in the eyes. But Reid's eyes were glazed and unfocused, and he was hyperventilating. "Between your knees, Spencer…" Hotch instructed gently, pressing Reid's head down. "Head between your knees… breathe… in and out… slowly, Spencer. There you go…"
Haley watched from where she stood against the wall. She watched her ex-husband's hands rub gentle circles over the young man's back. As Reid slowly calmed, Hotch removed his robe and flung it around Reid's trembling body, and Reid drew it tightly around himself.
"Easy, baby…" Hotch murmured. "… better?" Reid gulped and nodded, his tremors finally abating. Slowly, Hotch stood and turned, fixing dark eyes on Haley. They stared at each other for a long time. Reid squirmed a bit, not liking the tension in the room.
Then, Haley walked across the room and stood before Hotch. They stared each other in the eye, and then Haley slapped him. Hotch's face turned to the side, but he didn't blink. He turned back to face her.
"… Are you finished?" He asked.
"Not even close." Haley hissed. "How could you?"
"… I love him." Hotch said, gently. "I have for a long time. Let's take this out to the living room."
"No." Haley snapped, shooting a look of loathing at the young man curled up on her ex husband's bed. "He can listen to results of this mess he's made."
"HE didn't do this, Haley." Hotch said, harshly.
"How long have you been sleeping with him?" Haley demanded to know.
"… nine, ten months." Hotch admitted. Haley stared at him. "You and I had been divorced for over a year. And YOU filed for that divorce. You also wanted me to sign the papers uncontested. I did. The moment I signed those papers, I was free to see whomever I wanted. At least I waited until I was officially single before I saw someone else."
"What are you talking about?"
"Come on, Haley." Hotch scoffed, shaking his head. "I'm a profiler. Did you really think you could hide an affair from me?"
"Considering how often you weren't home…?" Haley snorted, crossing her arms. She eyed Reid in distaste, and shook her head. "You're disgusting, Aaron. And if this wasn't bad enough, you involved Jack!"
"Jack loves Reid! And he doesn't know about our relationship!"
"LIKE HELL HE DOESN'T!" Haley shouted. "How do you think I found out? I had to find out from YOUR SON! Your YOUNG SON! He told me that you were KISSING him!"
"… We never did that in front of him… we were discreet." Reid gasped, his voice tiny and scared.
"When you thought he was asleep." Haley hissed, shooting a glare at Reid. "And then what?" She turned back to Hotch. "Would you go to bed and… and…"
"We never do anything beyond kissing when Jack is here. And we never will. I promise."
"Oh…" Haley laughed, shaking her head. "No, you won't. Because Jack is NEVER staying with you again!"
"Haley…" Hotch snarled, his eyes flashing. "You will NOT keep me from my son."
"Watch me." She snapped, then glared at Reid. "And you… you little tramp… Do you make it a habit to sleep with your superiors?"
"Haley." Hotch interrupted, stepping between his past and present mates.
"Did he sleep with Gideon, too!"
"NO!" Reid cried, jumping to his feet.
"Spencer, I'll handle this." Hotch said.
"No! I can defend myself!" Reid shouted, now looking enraged. "Not only is Aaron the only person I have ever been with willingly, he was my first!"
"And you think that makes what you're doing okay?" Haley snapped.
"And what's wrong with what we're doing?" Hotch demanded. "I love him. I did not cheat on you. I'm not your husband anymore." The man said. "And that was YOUR choice. Not mine. I would have stayed with you, Haley. It was you who left me."
"No, Aaron. You left me long ago." Haley hissed. "You left me for your job. For… THAT." And she pointed accusingly at Reid.
"I never chose between anything."
"Well, you are now." Haley hissed. "As long as you're with… HIM…" And she shot Reid a look again, "You are NOT coming anywhere NEAR my son!"
"I am NOT choosing between the people I love!"
"Oh yes you are." Haley snarled. "And I plan to file a restraining order. I do not want HIM," and she jabbed a finger in Reid's direction, "Anywhere near Jack EVER again!"
"And YOU should be worrying about whether or not I let YOU near Jack ever again!"
"… You wouldn't dare." Hotch snarled in a low tone. Reid tensed; he knew how dangerous that tone was.
"And what will you do?" Haley demanded to know. "File for custody?"
"I AM a lawyer, Haley. Or maybe you've forgotten?"
"Like that's supposed to scare me, Aaron? You're out of town more often than not, work ridiculous hours when you're IN town, and you're in a homosexual relationship with an underling? Yeah, right… You're not THAT good." And with that, she turned and swept out of the room. Hotch just watched her go, and didn't even blink when he heard the front door slam.
Hotch let out a sigh and turned. "I'm sorry about that, Spencer." He said, then stared. Reid sat there shaking, tears pouring down his face. "Spencer?" Hotch gasped, hurrying over and kneeling before the boy, placing his hands on his cheeks and wiping away his tears with his thumb. "Spencer… what's wrong?"
"I'm sorry…" Reid whimpered, shaking his head. "God Hotch, I'm SO sorry…"
"What? No…" Hotch murmured. "No… you have NOTHING to be sorry for, baby. You didn't do anything wrong… We knew she would find out eventually…"
"She won't keep me from him." Hotch said firmly. "Nothing will."
"Aaron… I… But… He's your SON!"
"And you are my…" Hotch trailed off, and Reid blinked at the man's thoughtful look.
"… Your subordinate." Reid mumbled.
"My heart." Hotch told him, staring him in the eye. "For better or worse. You are my boyfriend. My lover. My mate. Whatever you want to call it. We are one, and I won't let anything come between us any more than I would let someone keep me from my son."
"And what if you have to… choose?" Reid asked softly. Hotch just stared at him. "You have to choose Jack, Aaron. I won't ever hold it against you. He's your son."
"That's not going to happen." Hotch assured Reid. "It will NEVER come to that." Reid opened his mouth to argue, but Hotch pressed a finger to his lips. Reid blinked, then sighed and closed his eyes as the man kissed his forehead. "Everything will be fine." Hotch murmured. "I promise. Now get dressed. I have to go to work, and if you're coming along you need to be ready to go."
Reid nodded and moved to shower and dress. Then he and Hotch hopped into the car and headed to the BAU.
"Hey! Pretty boy!"
"There's my Buttercream." Garcia cooed, and Hotch just smiled to himself as his lover was snatched from his side, and chuckled as he watched Reid finding himself the focus of playful teasing and pampering. He would normally scold them and tell them to get back to work, but excitement was high with the prospect of Reid coming back to work on Monday once the results of his psych eval was in. Oh… speak of the devil… He sat down behind his desk and ripped open the envelope, unfolding the letter and reading.
He tensed. His eyes widened in disbelief. The more he read, the harder he gripped the paper and the colder and colder he felt. Words jumped out at him.
'… severe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress…'
'… psychotic break possible…'
'… inevitable threat to himself and others…'
'… manifestations of Schizophrenia…'
'… committed to a facility for psychiatric treatment immediately…'
"No…" Hotch gasped. His blood slithered through his veins, thick and cold… his gut congealed…
'Manifestations of Schizophrenia… committed…' It took him several moments to realize that his phone was ringing. He answered it.
"Hotchner." He said, his voice holding strong.
"Did you receive the letter from Dr. Carlson?"
"There must be some mistake. I need to speak with him."
"I'm afraid that's not possible." Strauss said, her voice heavy with regret. "I'm sorry Aaron… but the Bureau must follow his recommendation."
"Why can't I speak with him?" Hotch demanded.
"He resigned. He's gone." Strauss said. "I've already made the call."
"… What call?" Hotch growled, his tone low and deadly.
"… I've called Willow Ridge." She said. Hotch sat there, stunned. Willow Ridge… The nearest state run long term care psychiatric hospital. "They're on their way. I know this is a difficult thing for you, Agent Hotchner… but I need you to see that things go as smoothly as possible when they get here in a few minutes."
"… Agent Reid is not going to go quietly." Hotch gasped.
"Well… you need to make him go quietly." Strauss said. "I'm sorry, Aaron… this is over all of our heads. Neither of us can do anything but try to make this go as smoothly as possible when they get here to pick him up." And she hung up. Hotch sat there for a long time, frozen. He didn't know how long it was before he finally set down the phone. Slowly, he stood and walked out of his office.
"BAU team to the conference room please." He heard himself say. They all looked up, then moved. "Reid. Stay." He said. Reid blinked, and slowly sat back down again. The team headed to the conference room, exchanging worried glances as they watched their Unit Chief pace restlessly.
"… Hotch?" Morgan asked.
"I just got Reid's psych eval results." Hotch said.
"Is… something wrong?" JJ asked.
"He didn't pass." Hotch said.
"So he… needs more time to recover." Garcia said softly.
"… It's worse than that." Hotch said, and turned to face them. "… The Bureau is sending him to Willow Ridge."
"What?" Rossi blurted. Hotch sighed and looked at the letter in his hands.
"Dr. Carlson has diagnosed Reid with Post Traumatic Stress and the be-" He took a deep breath. "The beginnings of schizophrenia."
"Oh my God…" Morgan breathed.
"He said that a psychotic break is strongly possible and he should be committed immediately…"
"What?" Garcia gasped. "No! Oh no!"
"Hotch! You can't let them do that!" Morgan cried, leaping to his feet.
"We all know how much the idea of being committed scares him…" Garcia whimpered, tears rolling down her face.
"… You think I don't know?" Hotch snapped, shaking his head. "I have no say in this. This came from above me. From above Strauss… We don't have any choice… Strauss has given us the job of getting Reid to go quietly."
"If we do that… Spence will never trust us again…" JJ pointed out.
"Which is why I want you all to make yourselves scarce and stay out of it." Hotch said.
"No way, man." Morgan said. "I'm not leaving my boy here without backup."
"I agree." Emily said, finally speaking up. "He needs to know that we have his back and that we believe in him…"
"… This isn't gonna be pretty…" Rossi drawled.
Next time, they come to take Reid away... and Reid takes it worse than anyone ever imagined...