Usual disclaimers, not mine, all theirs, yada yada. Let's hear it for ABC, CBS, Mark Gordon Co., Erica Messer, and the whole gang of writers, not to mention the awesome actors who give our favorite characters' lives their flesh, blood, and bone.

This happens about midway through Season Three. It's the story of the point at which Aaron Hotchner's "Home Demonstration" thing with Spencer Reid grew from an experiment to a relationship. It's not the hardest M that you have ever read, but it's no T-on-steroids. It's a real M.

This story contains mild but graphic consensual verbal and physical violence, plus a double scoop of slashiness. You have been warned, people.

Ain't gonna like it, shouldn't oughta read it.

~ o ~

The Talisman

Late in the night, a single light burned above the dining room table in the apartment that still felt painfully temporary. Maybe it was the new, purchased-almost-at-random furniture. Maybe it was the absence of Jack's toys strewn where he could step on them in his stocking feet.

Maybe it would help if—no, whenwhen he got around to unpacking the rest of the boxes.

There was no sense in reviewing departmental priorities a seventeenth or an eighteenth time, but he did it anyhow, because he was Aaron Hotchner, dammit, and somehow he would be fair to everyone on the team. He was exhausted. His eyes burned and stung. His neck and shoulder muscles ached. His brain seemed to have been set on "mush" for the past half hour or so, but still he stared pointlessly at those scraps of paper, hoping that something elegant and logical, or at least something reasonable, would emerge from the confusion.

God, but he felt like a failure!

Haley had been gone five months now, and he was beginning to see not only the drawbacks (Haley wasn't there to massage his back and assure him that he would figure it all out) but also the advantages to a life alone. (Haley wasn't there to scowl and sigh, "Aaron, if you can't do something that basic, then maybe you're just out of your depth at the BAU.")

He rubbed his forehead and his eyes, then he sat there for a few minutes with his face still buried in his hands. Maybe when he looked again, some kind of compromise would leap out at him. He opened his hands, peek-a-boo style.

Nothing leaped out.

He looked hopefully at the sideboard, at the bottle of bourbon there within just a few feet of where he sat. A couple shots would go down so well right now, he thought …

And then he realized that he was thinking, But there are only maybe eight shots left in there! What if I run out? And that scared the crap out of him, because it meant he was beginning to be dependent on it, and he was going to turn out just like his father, a man who could not get through the day without a substantial boost from Jack Daniels. The potential for dependency scared him even more than the idea of running out of bourbon.

Walk it off instead, he told himself. He reassembled all the scraps of paper into one neat pile and placed a paperweight over it. Then he stood up, stretched, and grabbed his pullover from the back of the captain's chair at the head of the table.

Walk it off. Snow flurries tonight; it should be pretty out.

Which did not explain how he found himself twenty-three minutes later behind the wheel of his car. For the second time, he circled the apartment block where Spencer Reid lived and looked up hopefully at his living room windows, which were still brightly illuminated, even at this godawful hour.

OK, cowboy. Gonna keep circling like a stalker, or gonna suck it up and go ring the bell?

He parked, not in Reid's lot, but almost two blocks away. As he strode along the sidewalk, he rehearsed a handful of cover stories, none of which sounded even remotely credible.

After that first, very strange, very … empowering encounter with Reid as a Dominant, he had waited for that creepy, dirty feeling to settle in, that funky, furtive sense of regret. Hotchner was the kind of buttoned-up, physically modest, by-the-book guy who could get creepy, dirty feelings just from being a functioning male, never mind the kinky stuff. He could probably spend a lifetime in therapy and never figure out why he was so tolerant of others' needs and so ashamed of his own, but there it was. And yet the moment of shame he had expected from the encounter had never arrived.

After the tensions started to build again, he had seen Reid a second time, nervous and self-conscious as an adolescent in an adult bookstore. He had known that he wanted to do it, but he had not been sure why, and he was not inclined to examine his motives any too closely. At the time, he had managed to convince himself that it was an experiment, a way to see things through someone else's eyes. It was just a way to prove to himself that the first time had been a fluke.

And now...

He stabbed viciously at Reid's doorbell.

From the tinny little security system, a familiar voice said, "And this would be—?"

Hotchner sighed. When all else failed, humor was a good option. "Some random stalker?"

"At one-fifty-two in the morning?"

"What, stalking has gone prime time?"

Reid chuckled and the buzzer sounded.

That could have gone a lot worse, Hotchner thought as he ascended the stairs. When he reached the second floor, Reid was standing in his open doorway with his arms folded across his chest.

"Evening," Hotch said, as though social calls at a little before two in the morning were part of his normal pattern.

Reid nodded. "Hey," he said quietly. No curiosity on his face at all. None. So it was probably just as well that Aaron had discarded all of his excuses for his arrival.

He walked all the way into the room and hesitated at the table Reid kept, much the way that he himself did, in the end of the living room closest to the kitchen. There he stood, because neither time he and Spencer had done … whatever it was that they'd done … had they been at Reid's place. For all Hotch knew, it only happened in other people's homes. He glanced around nervously. A bottle of beer sat beside a velveteen recliner, and a book, its spine out of view, lay face-down on the arm of the chair. Softly in the background he heard almost incomprehensible lyrics.

When the ship runs out of ocean and the vessel runs aground, land's where we know the boat is found. Now there's nothing unexpected about the water giving out. 'Land!' is not a word we have to shout ...

What the hell kind of nonsense was that? The ship running out of ocean?

The music ceased. "You can't expect me to speak for you," Reid said in a gentle voice. He stood beside his sound system, his fingers on the controls. Then he chugged the last couple sips of the beer he had left by his chair and raised his eyebrow.

"I'm … I'm sorry?"

"You can't expect me to speak for you, Aaron." The use of his first name both frightened and encouraged Hotchner. That and that weird, in-charge attitude that geek-boy seemed able to emanate at will.

When the ship runs out of ocean …

Got the opposite problem here. I'm fucking drowning.

He found that he could not raise his head. "Fluffernutter," he mumbled, staring down at the carpeting.

"I'm glad you showed up," Reid said, "because we need to have a talk."

And Aaron cringed, because in a long and eventful life he had yet to see any kind of positive outcome follow the words, "We need to have a talk."

"Beer?" Reid asked, and Hotchner nodded warily. "You don't need a glass, do you?" Aaron shook his head. When the younger agent gestured toward a chair at the table, Hotchner peeled off his fleece pullover, sat down, and waited in silence.

After a moment or two, Reid emerged from the kitchen, cold bottles of Yuengling in each hand, and sat down opposite Hotchner. "So, how are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm OK," Hotchner lied automatically. The lie was less conscious than it was genetic, drilled into him from earliest childhood. Aaron Hotchner was always OK, he was always fine. It was axiomatic.

"Mm," Reid murmured. "I can certainly tell." He took a long pull from his own beer bottle and leaned across the table. "Aaron, I'll always be here for you, but I want more from you than just showing up when you're in need."

Hotchner searched in vain for a coaster to set his own bottle upon, and finally planted it on a nearby magazine, some technical journal. No, he wasn't drowning. He was the opposite of drowning. He was a fish flung to the deck, flopping desperately, gasping for lack of water. "More how?" Holy crap, had his voice just squeaked?

"I need to know that you understand that this—this arrangement that you call fluffernutter—is not a game. That it's a contractual relationship, and reciprocal."

Hotchner envisioned molesting a mute Reid in a doorway and found that it did nothing for him. Nothing at all. "Reciprocal," he repeated dully.

Reid beamed. "Reciprocal, Aaron, as in, when I am the one with the hunger, when I wish to command you, you submit instantly and without question." When Hotch looked up, startled, he continued, "As in, stop pretending that you don't know what's going on, that you don't know what it means when I do what I do, when you do as you do. As in, accept that, under certain circumstances, given very specific conventions, I am your master." He leaned forward, his voice forceful. "I own you."

No, I didn't sign on for anything like that, I never signed on for anything ...

Aaron surged to his feet. Perhaps because he was as exhausted as he was frustrated, absolutely out of character, he raised one disgusted eyebrow and snarled, "Fuck you."

He snagged the edge of his pullover from the back of the chair and headed for the door. Without warning, he was spun around. A glowering, determined Spencer Reid was backing him up against the wall.

So, come on! Resist him! Are you just going to stand there?

Well, yeah. Kind of looks that way.

Maybe it was because he knew he could snap Spencer Reid like a piece of dry spaghetti that he had so little difficulty standing absolutely still, meeting the younger man's eyes steadily.

Reid's pale brown eyes met his. "You don't ever say that to me," he said in that weirdly calm and controlled voice he used when he … when they … when it happened, whatever the hell that thing was. "You don't say that to me because I … don't … fuck … you."

"No," he found himself stammering, trying to patch up their relationship, any part of it, any part of their professional relationship, even, which he had probably just destroyed. "No, of course—"

"But I will," Reid continued sternly.

Which shut Hotchner up pretty damn effectively.

Still pinned against the wall, he gazed, dumbfounded, at the young man.

"If and when we are committed to each other, I guarantee you that I will fuck you every way you can possibly be fucked." (What the fuck?) "Not because I'm gay or you're gay or because it's something either of us might get off on doing, but because it will be necessary for you to demonstrate the extent of your submission to me. Because it's all about power and I'm the one who has it."

Man, I'm in wayyyy over my head on this one ...

"Do you understand me, Aaron?"

Yes. No. Maybe. When the fish runs out of ocean ...

"Yes," he rasped.

Reid eased up a little on the pressure. "Good," he said, his voice silky, seductive. "Now let me tell you more about what you can expect."

Hotchner's thoughts were a tangle, a lunatic chop suey of fears, hopes, and expectations. He no longer had any firm sense of what he did or did not want from Spencer Reid. "OK," he said unsteadily.

Still flopping about on the metaphorical deck, half hoping to flip himself overboard, back into the darkness of the rest of his life. Half hoping someone or something would just impale him already and put him out of his misery. And still he gazed steadily at his most junior agent, so confident, so smooth, like a fucking James Bond villain, but one whom he already knew could take him to sensual heights he had only imagined back … back before fluffernutter.

God, what an idiotic word.

Reid leaned in, way past Hotchner's comfort zone, and breathed in his ear. "If and when we are committed to each other, I will never, ever lie to you or mislead you in any way. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," Hotch whispered.

"And I expect the same from you. Absolute honesty. Do you understand me?"

Aaron nodded.

"Not that I really believe you," Reid said with a low chuckle, "since you don't even know how to be honest with yourself, let alone anyone else. But we'll work on it."

That … sounded unnervingly like something a Bureau therapist had said to him on more than one occasion.

"OK," Aaron said. Meh, surely we can negotiate on that one a little … If I can charm my way past a Bureau shrink I can charm my way past Spencer Reid.

"Second, I promise always to know you far better than you know yourself. I will know what your needs, your wants, and your limits are. I will know your body, your nerve endings, your soul better than you would yourself if you had any genuine insight into what makes you tick."

Hotchner nodded. Yeah, the last bit had been a cheap shot, but the rest of it rang consistent with what he already knew of this side of Spencer Reid.

Reid leaned in so close that Aaron could feel the heat of him all up and down his body. "Finally," he said, enunciating carefully, "if and when we are committed to each other, I will push your limits constantly. Do you understand what that means? It means that—subject as always to your one right, the right to invoke Cape Town—I will command you to do things that you never dreamed of doing, and you will scramble to obey me. I will use you in ways you can't begin to imagine. You will endure things that you thought you could never survive, and the rewards for your obedience will be so—so blindingly delicious that you can't imagine them, either. Do you understand me?"

If his brain had been mush in his apartment, his body and his will were mush now. "Yes," he breathed. "I understand."

What the fuck did I just commit to?

"Now: In terms of this, all of this," Reid said, "how far do you trust me?"

Complete honesty. "Um, eighty, eighty-five percent," he stammered. "I'm, ah, still a work in progress."

A nod. "Good answer."

Reid leaned in, if anything, even further. "And let's call it what it is. This is a Dominant-and-submissive relationship, a Master-slave relationship. It cannot and it will not ever happen during work hours, but when we're both off the clock, either of us can call for it." A ghost of a grin danced on his lips. "Of course, as Master, I don't have to comply. You do. But I'm a good Master, a responsible Master. And I'm sure that you'll soon learn all kinds of ways to please me, to get what you want from me.

"Now—do you have any questions?"

Hotchner discovered to his chagrin that he had only one. "The word," he said. "'Fluffernutter.' Should I change it to something—something more dignified?"

Reid brushed at the annoying lock that always seemed to spill down over Aaron's forehead when the hour grew late and his hair gel gave up the struggle. "No. No, I love 'fluffernutter.' Truly, I do. I love that you have this gentle, silly, whimsical quality all locked up inside you, and that you've chosen to share it with me. I think it's incredibly sweet, and it makes me smile in all the very best ways."

"Then—" Aaron licked his lips and fought to keep his voice steady, hoping there wasn't some weird and humiliating ritual involved. (Although there will be eventually, he realized, and the knowledge fascinated him almost as much as it frightened him.) "What do I need to say, or to do, to—"

Another stroke of his brow. "You already did. Now, because it's late and we've covered a lot of ground tonight, we're not going to have a session just now."

Hotch felt a twinge of desperation. No, you don't understand, I fucking need it ...

Reid pushed himself upright. "Come along with me, I want you to stand in this doorway right here—"

Confused, since Reid had just said—hadn't he?—that there would be no session that night, he trailed along after the gawky young man now fully into graceful mode. Into cobra mode.

Reid placed his hands on Aaron's waist. "Open doorway tonight," he said. "I don't want you to have anywhere to lean."

So something will happen.

"Close your eyes and take hold of the top of the door."

Hotchner complied, his heart thumping wildly as he wrapped his fingers around the top of the door sill.

"You were disrespectful this evening," Reid told him, his voice level and warm, "and I do not tolerate disrespect." His hands moved gently, almost reassuringly, at Hotchner's waist. "There will be no session, but I will punish you for your disrespect."

OK, OK, not so good … but anything is better than nothing.

"I understand," he said softly.

He braced himself, wondering where the first blow would fall. He was an old hand at enduring beatings.

Instead, he felt Reid's fingers unzipping his slacks, leaving the button and his belt fastened.

Probably not ready for that.

Reid's fingers reached in through his fly, into his boxers, and Aaron cried out as something bit into his right nut. "Keep it there," Reid ordered, gently stroking Aaron's face with the fingers of his free hand. "I'll remove it when it's time. Try not to move. The more you move, the more it will hurt."

Keep it there? Remove it? There's fucking something ON me? Somewhere in his imagination he got a vision of a lizard in his pants. He pictured that goddamn CGI spokescritter from the insurance commercials gnawing on his privates; stress and exhaustion had always played hell with his imagination.

For a few minutes he was all right, or kind of all right, clinging fiercely to the door frame with his teeth gritted, unabashedly whimpering. Finally his curiosity and sense of self-preservation won out, and he dared to open his eyes and look down at whatever fucking reptile or insect Spencer Reid had sicced on his privates.

An old-fashioned wooden pinch-style clothespin was affixed to his testicle and resting in the opening of his boxers, bouncing on his open zipper. Low tech, inexpensive, and it hurt like hell. Hurt way more than he would have imagined it would, if someone had suggested it to him.

"Well, there you go," Reid said softly from where he sat in a nearby chair. "Always pushing the limits. I never would have pegged you for a rule-breaker, but you just never know. More time for you, and here you were almost done." He checked the time on his cell phone and smiled. "Eyes shut. You know better than that."

He gave Reid one pleading look then meekly closed his eyes. It occurred to him that he was fully complicit in what was happening, that he had almost invited it by pushing the limits— OK, no "almost" to it—and that … shit.

There was something satisfying, almost soothing, about having absolutely no control over what happened to him, even if he had voluntarily ceded that control. And not just satisfying: In spite of the pain, he could feel himself firming up. The knowledge that it would eventually poke out of his shorts and be easily visible to Reid (why not just raise a banner that says, "whoa, you hurt me so good," you fucking sicko?), far from turning him off, was fueling the ferocity of his erection.

Suddenly he could hear Reid move, smell him, feel his warmth. He was standing directly in front of Aaron. "I'm going to remove it now," Reid said in a low, reassuring voice. "Now, the interesting thing is that, like removing cuffs that were too tight, it's actually going to hurt worse for a minute or so, and there's nothing that you or I or anyone else can do about it. You can answer. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," he panted, and braced himself against the door frame. Reid fucking yanked the pin off, and Aaron wailed something that might have been awww Jesus, and his knees gave way. Spencer caught him, murmuring soothing noises and urging him upright again.

"All through," he crooned as Hotchner straightened up. "I know, I know. Some of us are just wired that way. Now grab the door again."

"But you said we were all through," Aaron blurted. He didn't think he could handle any more of the fucking clothespin.

"Well, almost all through."

"No, please—" A wave of panic rolled over him as he recalled that in a session, please meant that he wanted more—

"Sh. It's OK," Spencer reassured him. "This isn't a session, and it just means what it means." His hands remained on Hotchner's waist, his fingers gently tracing circles along his ribs. "How does it feel now?"

"Better," Aaron whispered faintly.

"Good." Reid reached again into Aaron's shorts and cupped his balls. "I know. Some of us are just wired that way. Now grab the door again."

And Hotchner was not sure what he was talking about until Spencer wrapped his other hand around Aaron's dick and began to stroke it—and it was all in the world he wanted. More than love, more than justice or success, more than relief from the pain, he wanted that release. He clutched feverishly at the doorjamb, moaning, and drank in the crazy-making sensations. Spencer Reid had touched his genitals just twice before, and already he knew Aaron's nerve endings better than Aaron knew them himself. He knew just when to clutch and just when to caress. He touched Hotchner in ways he had never thought of and in places he hadn't even known that he had.

Yes, I am wired that way.

"Please," he panted, as his heart raced and his legs trembled. When he came into Spencer's hand it felt as though his brain and his eyeballs shot out of his dick as well, and he collapsed again with a howl into Reid's arms. This time, Reid just chuckled against his ear and lowered him to the floor, and sat down beside him.

"A good one, huh?" Reid said, and Aaron could only nod and groan. When he felt Spencer's hand against his chin, he bent to it. "No," Reid said. "Open your eyes and look. I want you to see what you're doing."

A part of him resisted. It was a whole lot easier to clean Spencer's hand with his eyes shut, so he could pretend he didn't know what he was doing.

"Eyes open," Spencer commanded.

He obeyed and suddenly there was no fantasy left for him, no way to deny that he was sitting on the floor of his most junior agent's apartment, about to lick his own semen off the kid's palm. The resistant part of him considered fleeing, considered how silly he would look as he staggered to his feet, trying to pull his trousers up, and compared it to the intensity—hell, the degradation—of what Reid expected from him.

Flight seemed the more sensible option.

His gaze flickered upward and he found himself looking into Spencer Reid's pale brown eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Finally he sighed and bent his head to his task—there isn't really all that much there; I can do this—and extended his tongue.

For better or for worse, this is a part of who I am.

One lick, two licks, three, and then Reid's fingers were on his jaw, raising his face upwards.

He met those unsettlingly commanding eyes again, feeling impaled, hypnotized, frozen. By a kid with peach fuzz on his upper lip.

"Are you mine?" Spencer breathed.

Hotchner nodded numbly.

Reid bent his head, his tangle of honey hair falling around his face, and raised his own palm to his own lips. With full eye contact and the faintest smile, he extended his narrow pink tongue and licked away Aaron's semen. When he was finished, he raised Aaron's face and kissed him softly on the mouth. Then he wrapped his long skinny arms around him and whispered, "Which means I am also yours."

They remained there entangled for less than a minute before Reid said, "And we're done."

And that was that. Reid rose to his feet and returned to the table, leaving Hotch crouched there, rubbing thoughtfully at his jaw and wondering exactly what had just happened, and why he felt so … satisfied by it. Pleased, in fact.

He glanced up at Reid's slim form as he pulled out his chair. He glanced furtively at the front of Reid's slacks for any signs that the young doctor might himself have been aroused.

Nothing. Of course, it was corduroy. Corduroy could camouflage a lot. It had certainly hidden plenty during Aaron's junior high days. Corduroy trousers and that eight-by-twelve German II workbook, they had hidden a lot of adolescent activity.

He wondered why he was thinking of that. He wondered why instead of blushing, he was grinning.

He squirmed around adjusting his clothing, then clambered to his own feet and returned to his beer, slowly warming on its makeshift coaster, the back cover of a forensic chemistry journal.

Reid smiled faintly at him. "I can replace that with a cold one if you'd prefer."

Aaron took a sip. "No, this'll be fine. Sorry about the ring on the magazine."

Reid made a dismissive noise. "It isn't exactly a collector's item."

They spoke not a word of what had just passed between them. Instead, they talked idly of work, of Bureau politics and personalities. Aaron asked what that song had been about, that song about the fish that ran out of ocean, and Spencer said, no, it's a ship that ran out of ocean, and said the name of the song was "Women and Men," which made no damn sense at all to Hotchner if it was a song about fish. Or ships.

It didn't really matter. He was relaxed, focused. On top of life again.

After half an hour or so, he got up to leave.

"One thing," Reid said, not in-charge Reid, but diffident Reid. Subordinate Reid. "I'd like you to have this." He extended his hand with the fucking clothespin in it. "I'd like you to carry it with you everywhere. In your pocket, in your briefcase, I don't care, but I want you to carry it at all times. Will you do that for me?"

Hotchner looked down at the godawful thing for a few seconds, then said, "Sure." He closed his fingers around it and tucked it into the pocket of his slacks.

He nodded curtly to Reid, slid his pullover down over his head, and headed for the door.

~ o ~

When he arrived home, still walking gingerly, favoring the right side of his crotch, he stopped at the dining room table and shoved the paperweight to one side. He sat down carefully—still a little bit more bite there than he was comfortable with—and looked again at his notes.


If he stopped looking at them in a linear fashion, he could … he moved forms around a little, fanned them out. Frowned. Looked for logical flaws, because it all seemed too easy, but, no. The solution was right there, and the best part was that Strauss would absolutely hate it.

He carefully arranged all the pieces of paper in the right order. He stuck a few Post-Its on them with scribbled reminders and amounts and percentages.

He reached for a paper clip, and hesitated.

Beaming, he gathered all the papers up and fastened them together with …

… … ...

"A clothespin?" Strauss said with a sniff. She unclipped it from the forms and handed it back to Aaron. "Does this mean your wife is back?"

"No, ma'am." He returned the offending piece of laundry room equipment to his trouser pocket, his posture perfect, his face expressionless.

If you had any idea where that has been …

In spite of the soreness in his groin, he all but strutted out of the room.