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When Love Lies Bleeding and Broken
TV Prompt: Touching Evil - Love Lies Bleeding
"Don't you dare die on me," he rasped, pressing his hand frantically against his lover's bleeding chest. "Don't you dare, Rossi," Aaron Hotchner ground out as he felt Dave's faltering hand cover his own where it pressed firmly against the wound, trying frantically to stem the flowing blood.
"Love you," Dave whispered weakly, the effort to even form the thoughts taking more than he had ever thought possible.
"Shut up," Hotch growled, his own eyes burning as he realized how fruitless his efforts were. The blood flowed fast and freely from beneath his palm, the red flood gushing. The damn bullet had hit an artery; he was almost sure of it. "Where the fuck was your vest?" he asked angrily, not really expecting an answer. "What the fuck possessed you to negotiate without a goddamn vest?"
"Trying to build trust with unsub," Dave answered haltingly, grimacing when Aaron's hand pressed harder. Damn, how was he supposed to be facing an interrogation when he was doing his best to just breathe?
"Yeah?" Hotch queried sarcastically, shifting to his knees. "How'd that work out for you?"
"Not so great," Dave winced. Eyes fluttering as he tried to find the wherewithal to even think, he heard Aaron bark his name.
"Open your eyes, Dave!" Hotch ordered, his heart skipping a beat as the older man's lashes fell.
Forcing his eyes open again took more almost more will than he had, but he managed it. "So'ry," he slurred, blinking slowly. The world was suddenly becoming a far more calmer place, the edges starting to blur.
"Uh huh," Aaron muttered as he nodded, shooting an anxious glance over his shoulder. Where the hell were those medics. "I'll remember that when I'm filling out paperwork for the next six months," he said, turning his gaze back to his longtime lover and smiling tightly. "You just hang on for me, okay?"
"Trying," Dave rasped, swallowing hard against the sudden dryness in his throat. "Love you," he repeated, needing the other man to know how he felt. Sure, he'd said it before. But he needed Aaron to know that they weren't just words...needed him to know how much he'd meant. "More'n any of the wives."
"Comforting," Hotch replied as he forced himself to smile, his own eyes burning as his eyes locked with Dave's. His love was growing paler...stiller by the minute. "Just stay with me, Dave," he soothed with he watched another grimace cross his face. "Dave?" Hotch asked, his voice slightly panicked even to his own ears as he felt a tremor rock the elder man's body.
"C-cold," Rossi's voice, notably weaker, rasped.
"You're going to be okay," Hotch countered insistently, willing the ambulance to hurry...willing help to arrive and save the day. He couldn't live through this again. Not again.
Dave watched the fear enter Aaron's eyes with a heavy heart. He knew what his death would do to the younger man and he needed to do what he could now to alleviate those feelings. "Hey," he choked, coughing a little and tasting blood on his tongue, "This wasn't your fault. I wanted to go in alone," he reminded his partner.
"I should never have agreed," Hotch bit out, his throat thick with unshed tears as he tightened his grip against Dave's shoulder. "I should have waited."
Looking toward the cowering three children they'd rescued, their backs pressed against the wall, eyes wide with fear, Dave shook his head...or at least he hoped he had. "Worth it." Those kids would live because of them. Regardless of what happened, it was a win in his book.
Following Dave's gaze toward the kids, Hotch swallowed. "I should have kept the team together."
"Two locations, two possibilities, Aaron. We did what we could," Dave denied, relieved that the pain was beginning to ebb. The part of mind that was still functioning knew that it was just his body's response to shock and the beginning of the end, but he didn't care anymore. "Just wish it hadn't happened today of all days." He smiled sadly. "I've heard of Cupid's bow, but Cupid's bullet?" he joked lamely.
"Shut up," Hotch ordered softly, shaking his head as he refused to allow himself to scream. "It's not funny."
"I know," Dave whispered, reaching up with the last of his strength to slide his fingers across Hotch's clenched jaw.
Hearing sirens wailing in the distance, Hotch murmured, "You here that? That's the Calvary."
"Valentine's Day in the hospital," Dave groaned as the sound reached his own ears. "Yay."
"Next time, maybe you'll wear the vest," Hotch growled, blinking against the moisture in his eyes as he heard a door slam upstairs.
God, let there be a next time, they both prayed as the sirens grew louder and voices echoed above stairs.
"Aaron, if I don't..."
"Don't you say it," Hotch whispered violently, horrified by the amount of blood covering them. How many liters did the human body have? How many had the man he loved already lost? "You are going to be fine, you hear me?"
"No buts. But isn't an option here," Hotch informed the injured man in a hard voice. "I love you," he said, bending to whisper against Dave's ear. "I love you and I can't lose you, too."
Turning his head to press his lips against Aaron's cheek, Dave inhaled deeply, savoring Hotch's unique scent. He'd never get tired of smelling that blend of spice and man. "I love you, too."
"Don't leave me," Aaron told him, his voice finally breaking, his control collapsing. "I don't think I can keep going if you leave me."
Dave felt his neck dampen as his lover spoke. "I'll try," he promised as footsteps echoed against the steps leading down to the basement.
"Try hard, Dave," Hotch replied, lifting his head to stare into Dave's bleary eyes. "Try really, really hard."
"I will," Dave offered, rapidly losing strength, the realization that he could no longer feel his hands flooding over him. "For you, I will."
But even as he was shuttled aside by the paramedics filling the small space, Aaron knew that some promises couldn't be kept. Even those made with the greatest conviction and strongest love…
He just prayed that God or Cupid, or whatever deity watching at that very moment, would take mercy on two lost lovers who had found each other years too late.