- HOSPITAL -
"You bought me roses?"
"If I didn't knew better I'd say you're courting me!", Reid joked.
"In this case you clearly don't know better."
"But I know everything!"
Aaron smiled and didn't respond. He took a vase from a shelf full of vases and arranged the flowers he had brought with him. "Where shall I put them?"
"On my bedside cabinet, obviously! Put these on that chest over there instead." Reid pointed at a very colourful bouquet that was decorated with all sorts of kitsch.
"Who else would send such a multicoloured monster?" Spencer smiled. He looked very pale and he still had hollow eyes. Although he wasn't allowed to leave the bed yet he didn't seem to be too weakened. Several bandages ornamented his chest. The sight of the bare skin underneath them made Aaron want to ravage the younger man against the hospital wall, so he just busied himself with arranging the flowers some more.
"Didn't you bring Jack with you?"
"He's still in kindergarten but I can bring him along tonight if you like."
"You're not allowed to visit me after five o'clock."
"I'm a senior FBI agent, I'm allowed to visit you whenever I want to!"
Spencer smiled. "Good."
Hotch beamed back. He put the flowers and the chocolates on the bedside cabinet, kissed his lover very gently and cautiously and sat down next to his bed. "How are you?"
"The doctor says I'm recovering rather quickly. My injuries are mostly external and healing well. I'll need to stay for two more days though."
"Any news about your headaches?"
"I'm permanently on pain killers, so I'm not feeling anything and I'm sleeping well."
Hotch had to suppress the notion to put his arms around Spencer. "I'm sorry."
"I left you. At four in the morning I left your room and two minutes later you were gone. Had I just stayed with you all this would never have happened!"
"That wasn't your fault, Hotch! If the unsub hadn't abducted me it would have been somebody else's turn. At least this way we were able to find him."
"He almost killed you! I would never have forgiven myself if he had succeeded! I won't leave you ever again, that's a promise!"
"But you saved me! That's what matters!"
Aaron just nodded. He still didn't feel less guilty but he didn't want to argue. He'd hoped that keeping their love a secret would protect Reid and instead it had been the reason for him being abducted.
- HOTCHNER'S OFFICE -
He was just finishing the report of their most recent case as someone knocked at his door.
"Enter!", he called.
It was Erin Strauss. "I need to talk to you for a minute.", she said with a rather strict look on her face.
"Oh, do come in, please!" He offered her a seat. "How can I help?"
She avoided his gaze for a moment, then she said, "I have found that you held back important information in your last case."
"Important information? But we solved it in time!"
"Well... I'm trying to be as discreet as I can. To cut a long story short: The forensics team found your DNA in Dr. Reid's room."
Hotch didn't answer, he just stared at his principal, completely taken by surprise. He had entirely forgotten about the forensics! His DNA must have been all over the room! And he had failed to remember to remove his watch, as well. "Ah...", was all he was able to say.
"This means that you were most likely the last person who saw Dr. Reid before he was abducted."
He swallowed. "Yes, that is most likely indeed."
"I hope you understand that this fact could have helped your team to figure out the exact time the incident happened. It might have been useful!"
"So why didn't you tell them?"
"Um. I didn't want them to know about me and Reid."
She raised an eyebrow.
"I didn't want anyone to know.", he explained, "People who loved me have died before. I couldn't let this happen again."
"In this case I'm surprised you didn't care more about concealing your relationship. The security cameras of the garage show that Dr. Reid got in your car after work for almost two months now. And he got out of it every morning as well."
"I guess I just wasn't thinking about these things."
"You clearly had your mind elsewhere.", she replied dryly. "I hope you have learned your lesson. We need our agents to be honest to each other, at least when it comes to a case. Every little bit of information could be of importance. You do of course realise that I will have to put the detail about finding your DNA in the official report."
Hotch sighed. Usually the team never even looked at those files but since the case involved a team member they were very likely to read this one thoroughly this time. They'd definitely know then. "Yes, I do. You'd break the law if you didn't."
"Very well. I'll leave you to finish your work then. Have a nice day."
"The same to you, Erin!"
She cast him a meaningful look, then she got up and left.
Only fifteen minutes after Hotch's chief had left he had called all remaining four members of his team into his office. He was very anxious but somehow he was able to hide it. Now they were all assembled in front of him, looking at him expectantly. His heart was beating fast and he felt his mouth going dry. He started fiddling with a pen.
"I have asked for this little meeting because I wanted to tell you something. I probably should have done so before and I'm sorry I didn't confide in you earlier." He drew a deep breath and looked straight at Garcia. "Some of you might have already found out. Me and Spencer are together."
Ashley Seaver spilled her coffee.
"I knew it!", said Rossi.
"I thought so, too, after noticing that you've been to France together.", Penelope replied calmly and with a little smile. "And Derek was sure of it, too."
"Wh... All of you knew?" He hadn't foreseen that reaction.
"Hey, we're profilers after all! What did you expect?", David answered.
"I didn't notice it!", said Seaver, turning to Derek, "Why didn't anyone tell me?"
Morgan needed a fraction of a second to close his gaping mouth and try to find an answer. He cleared his throat. "Actually, I thought Reid was dating Emily. It was just obvious that he was head over heels in love and Emily was acting weird, too."
"Oh. Right. So much for keeping a secret from you!", Aaron sighed.
"Why did you want to hide it anyway? We're your friends!"
He looked at his black and well-polished shoes. "We... well, I was thinking of Haley and what has happened to her. I didn't want Spencer to become the target of someone who wanted to hurt me like Foyet did." As he said that he became aware of the fact that this wasn't actually true. It was just a pretext. He had in fact been enormously afraid of his teammates' scorn. The relief he felt when they didn't start to disdain him was startlingly vast and made him realise the truth. Why had he been so very nervous before telling them?
Later that day he went to pick up Jack from kindergarten and together they drove to the hospital again. As he had expected, showing his badge was enough to get to Reid even if it was too late for visitors. Nobody asked any questions.
Spencer was just having his dinner. When he saw them he had to smirk.
"Look who's here!", Hotch said.
"Jack! Hey buddy, how're you doing?"
"Fine. Can I have your chocolate pudding?"
"Now really!", Aaron chid.
His lover pretended to think about this. "Hmm. You can have it if you give me permission to kiss your dad. On the lips."
Jack looked at him with a very serious air, then he nodded. "Deal!"
Spencer handed the pudding over. As he looked up again he saw Aaron watching them, smiling. He was pretty sure that he was one of the few people who very often saw his supervisor that cheerful. He was lying in hospital, he sometimes had nightmares and his mysterious headaches hadn't disappeared. And yet, from the moment he knew that Hotch loved him the world seemed to be so much more beautiful to him. Whatever his future might hold for him, the awareness that he had someone who truly and thoroughly cared for him made him feel safe nonetheless.
~ THE END/FIN/ENDE/FINE/LOPPU
Soo, darlings, that's it I'm afraid. Thank you again for all your kind feedback of all sorts and most importantly for staying with the story till now! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!