Not So Natural Born Fighter
by étienneofthewestwind

Summary: Same universe as Quest for a Supervisor, but before that fic. Hotch´s reflections on his present vs. his past when confronted by Perotta in Natural Born Killer.
I own nothing but the words that follow—Okay, I do own material things, but I have no monetary claim one worlds crossed herein.

An adolescence spent fighting demons should be worth more than this. Granted, most of said fighting consisted of getting his ass kicked. Still, demons generally outclassed humans. He should make a better showing than his current performance.

After all, he had not let Haley toss and kick him around the school gym for fun. They worked until the moves and blocks were instinctive—muscle memory that responded without conscious thought.

Granted, demon blitz attacks tended toward throwing their victims around, which gave time to twist into a breakfall and then roll into a counterattack posture. Perotta had knocked his feet out from under him with a weapon—a pipe?—and enough force that he hit the ground faster and harder than a simple fall. Aaron managed to land without breaking bones, but the impact stunned him. Not long, but enough for Perotta to pick him up and slam him against a van.

Perotta punched nearly as hard as his mother used to. Each blow to his face stunned him anew, yet he became more enured to them. He just needed to fight through the remains of the haze and…

"Hotch?" Gideon's voice sounded through his earpiece, and reminded Aaron that he could call for backup—

Perotta's fist slammed into his gut, forcing air out of his lungs. As he doubled over, Perotta grabbed his shirt and threw him back to the ground. He rolled to crouch on his feet and grabbed his ankle holster. Screw physically fighting back. He was shooting Perotta in the leg. A loop of wire descended over his head. His hands flew to grab it before it closed around his throat. Perotta pulled the wire tight, trapping both his hands between the wire and his throat. As blackness closed around his vision, he realized his mistake. He could not let the wire cut into his throat, but with both hands trapped, he could not strike back at Perotta. A good elbow to the gut or vice grip on the nuts would have at least weakened the man's hold…

"Hotch! Let me take him!" Morgan's voice cut through the night. With a blink, Aaron saw the other agent in front of them, his gun aimed at them. The only clear shot Morgan could possibly have would be a headshot. Somehow, he found the strength to shake his head despite the tightening noose. They needed to take Perotta alive; it was their strongest chance of locating Baker. And with Morgan here, the others would soon take Perotta. He just needed to hang on until then. "Gideon, I've got a headshot! That's it."

Perotta tightened the ligature, apparently determined to claim one last kill before going down rather than use him as a hostage. Aaron felt himself go limp and his vision vanished. The next thing he knew, he was on the ground choking in delightful gulps of air. He heard the distinctive hiss of a Taser firing. As Aaron heard electricity crackle down the leads, he realized that he heard that sound before the Taser fired.

Then Gideon knelt next to him, untangling the back of Perotta's loosened ligature, and it soon fell completely free from his neck. "You okay?" Gideon asked.

Aaron nodded. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw agents cuffing Perotta. The suspect was struggling despite taking two Taser shots.

"Take your tie off for once in your life," Gideon instructed, all ready undoing said tie. Then Gideon unbuttoned and opened his shirt collar. Glad for the air, it took Aaron a moment to realize that the scarring might be visible.

"It's all right," he rasped as he brought his hand up to his throat, laying it on Gideon's hand. Gideon stopped undoing his shirt and laid his hand flat against his chest. Gideon's other hand rested on his back. Aaron relaxed and enjoyed the contact for a moment. If he had to relive his teenaged fighting experiences, at least he also got to relive having good, solid friends at his side.